Monthly Archives: December 2011

Politics and the WWF – The New Alliance?


Today the Guardian’s article on the Earth expiring by 2050 has shocked many including myself. Whilst I cannot be said to be an ostrich Tory, burying my head in the sand about global warming and the Earth’s potential dilemmas, I certainly would not have guessed the Earth could possibly become uninhabitable within this time-frame. The Tories used to have the motto “vote blue, go green” and when the WWF’s study is officially released on Tuesday this will be more necessary than ever. UK elections have never really been won or lost on the environment, on pollution, global warming, save the rhino or any other liberal-sounding ideologies but it seems the time has come when this is indeed necessary.

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Bad News for the Syrian Government: Violence Will Only Lead to Isolation

The decision of the Arab League to Suspend Syria in mid-November led to a somewhat predictable show of violence, with raging groups of protestors storming embassies and missions “responsible” for this suspension. Diplomats and representatives of the states that voted for Syria’s suspension are facing life-threatening situations and some have had return to their countries. The violence is to be expected as Syria, being not only a member of the Arab League, but a founding one, is now facing imminent suspension on Wednesday. There is one major issue that hides in the shadow of this violence and flees of diplomats, the repercussions to the future. The suspension of Syria from the Arab league and its resulting violence are not merely leading to diplomats leaving the country. The underlying problem is evident with the repercussions that this issue will have on the relations between the states represented by these fleeing diplomats and Syria. Syria is now not only losing its membership to the Arab League that it so proudly founded, but the violence resulting from the suspension is a threat to the relations with other states. The US already withdrew its ambassador last month, while countries such as Turkey and Saudi-Arabia have started withdrawing most of their diplomats. The question is what comes next? What will happen to Syria? My fear is isolation as a result of uncontrollable violence towards diplomacy is inevitable.

It has now been almost a month and Syria is mentioned every day if not minute. It has been unavoidable to notice the turmoil brought by the events of November. Now, more than ever, Syria is being watched by Western countries with an eye that unfortunately lacks trust. It was only a few days ago the United States starting keeping Syria’s chemical arms progress under watch, as now they even fear a possible attack. History has shown that once a country starts being watched due to such fear, or politics of fear to be more specific, they directly become part of ‘the black list’. Looking at it realistically, the consequences of being black-listed will be innumerable. Starting from taxation watch to lowered travel rights, Syria will grow defensive and paranoid of their neighbours and the world. It is only a matter of time until this country becomes fully isolated and loses its diplomatic ties with the west and the rest of the world.

It took less than 30 days for such drastic changes to occur, but it is not over yet. Syria has now grown weary not only of other countries but its own people too. A few days ago a free blogger was arrested for expressing her discontent. Following this issue, Syria banned the use of iPhones and iPads in order to silence its citizens from expressing journalistic opinions over the situation. It is somewhat a scary thought to see that a country could do this in the 21-st century, who knows what else will happen; all that can be seen right now is fear, lack of trust, and paranoia. Will this be the end of Syria’s diplomatic relations? It is all up to the future to tell us.

Learning from a General

General Sir David Richards’ end of year speech should be required reading for ministers across the Coalition Government. The drive for collective action and a ‘grand strategy’ to tackle the flagging economy is a worthy goal for any department.

Last week, General Sir David Richards, the head of the armed forces, said that the economy is today’s ‘biggest strategic threat’ to the United Kingdom. In his speech he warned that the crisis in the euro zone was of ‘huge importance not just for the City of London but to the whole country, and to military planners like me.’

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Greece and the Eurozone; better out than in?

In the past week, Europe has resembled something like  school playground. Due to David Cameron using his Veto last week, the French have lashed out with several, vindictive  and frankly, rather childish statements about the state of the British economy; despite the fact that  Angela Merkel pointed out that Britain still had an important role to play in helping to sort out the Eurozone Crisis. It’s worth pointing out I feel, that in a note of poetic irony, Standard & Poor are expected to downgrade the French credit rating within days, whilst Britain’s remains as stable as ever. There have been calls from many influential people, that to ensure the survival of the Eurozone, that Greece should be allowed to bow out gracefully, and with as much dignity as it can muster.

Is it Greece that needs the Euro, or does the Euro need Greece? (Photo from http://www.telegraph.co.uk)

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Nick Clegg: voice of opposition?

In a speech somewhat overshadowed by other events, Nick Clegg yesterday made a marked attack on the Conservative policy of a tax break for married couples. Perhaps emboldened by the Prime Minister’s recent actions, backbench Tory MPs have reportedly been increasing pressure for the manifesto policy to be enacted by the Government, a move that would clearly not meet with the Deputy Prime Minister’s approval.

The speech was supposedly designed to lay out Clegg’s political philosophy, but while the contents of the speech went much further than the comments on marriage, it is indicative of his present standing that his political voice is now heard only within the context of the Coalition. The issue at hand is, though, extremely important. Clegg may have entered government seeking Lords reform, changes to party political funding  and a narrowing of inequality, but the austerity agenda to which he has so firmly tied his party will undoubtedly overshadow any of this. The effects of George Osborne’s economic policy will be felt well beyond the Treasury. What Conservatives may feel is merely support for the institution of marriage appears to others just part of a wider symbolic attempt to reinforce the traditional institutions of marriage, the family, the church and voluntary organisations as the role of the state is so brutally undermined. Read the rest of this entry

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