Tuesday, October 29, 2002

The West backs Russia's use of poison gas. Strange really -- I would have thought a leader who was prepared to use poison gas -- to use poison gas on his OWN people -- would be prepared to use nuclear weapons against the US. Or that's something how the argument usually goes.

More fundamentally I think this is an example of one of the more interesting problems facing a nation's leader -- when is it justified to attack another nation's policies, particularly when that country is an ally? Usually the agreement is you don't, which of course makes for the unusual site of Tony Blair currently (at least publicly) disagreeing with Al Gore and agreeing with George Bush, or saying that he thought Bill Clinton's sex scandals were irrelevant to his Presidency even when Congress was trying for impeachment. Nevertheless only supporting other countries' policies when their leaders are from the same wing of politics as you is usually the worse option -- one thinks of John Major's disastrous support for George Bush's election campaign in 1992.

Thursday, October 24, 2002

What's the point of the Onion when you have this?, Mark Kleiman notes.

Saturday, October 19, 2002

Paul Krugman in a wondeful article shows how inequality in the US has soared and the problems it causes.

Thursday, October 17, 2002

The Tories are in trouble concludes Iain and I have to agree. THe way to win power back after a long absence is first to understand why you are out of power, and to understand that you need to look at the social and economic changes that have occurred since you were last in power.

New Labour did this -- they realised that the old, trade-unionist manual working class had gone, and its it place was a broad middle-class which wanted privatization, more choice, and all the issues that would have been considered right-wing, but which also valued public services (of which it is by far the largest user) and was socially relatively liberal.

The Tories now need to understand this too -- shouting 'Save the Pound' or 'Save the Countryside' or 'Ban immigrants' might makes the blue-rinse brigade at the back of the conference hall go all tingly, but it gets you stuck on 30% of the vote.