Category: Politics

Welcome, President Xi

It’s official: Xi Jinping is coming to town. Here’s an early and famous photo of Chris Patten’s early days in Hong Kong: He wasn’t surrounded by security goons, the police didn’t have to glue the bricks to the ground to prevent people from picking them up and throwing them at him, and although this may… Read more »

Educating Uniformity

In a recent article, George Monbiot agonises about how the media got it so wrong on Corbyn. Monbiot’s complaint is that the journalists and pundits listened to each other telling each other how awful Corbyn was rather than listening to Corbyn himself. The reason this happened, Monbiot says, is how the media recruit journalists. In the old… Read more »

Epistle to Carrie Lam (1)

Dear Carrie Lam, Welcome to your new job. Since before you started, you have been the target of a lot of criticism. One of the most consistent is that you are resistant to new ideas. However, in your thirty years in the civil service, the Hong Kong government has executed many bold new ideas. They built… Read more »

Please Forward to All Americans You Know

Dear President Trump, On September 11, 2001, nineteen foreign nationals hijacked four planes on American soil and murdered over 2,500 innocent civilians. Within 24 hours, America’s NATO allies came to her aid and invoked Article 5 of the Washington Treaty We did so without hesitation, without shirking, and without bickering about money. Whatever history’s view of… Read more »

Axis of Evil

Trump is no doubt proud of the US$100bn order for bombs that he received from Saudi Arabia this week. This is huge. It is a win of the kind that he promised. It is also about double UNICEF’s annual budget. If Saudi were instead to spend that huge amount of money on education, HIV elimination, clean water, nutrition… Read more »

Carbon Democracy and the Road to Serfdom

Carbon Democracy is a book about the links between the oil industry and the current world order. The basic hypothesis is that many of our political institutions, both in the developed world and in the rest of the world, are shaped by the oil industry. When I read it, and without faulting the detailed footnotes and… Read more »

Fakebook Democracy

Thank you to my friend, JT, for pointing me at a long, detailed article exposing just how much technology the right-wing threw at winning Brexit. In short, a small coterie of right-wing billionaires applied data-mining and psychological profiling technology to social media data, to identify those undecided and target on the one-hand those disaffected to go out and vote for Brexit,… Read more »

Articulation, at Last!

Rex Tillerson gave a speech yesterday. Setting aside the folksy language that has come to dominate US political discourse, it was the first articulate expression by the Trump administration of anything at all, and I commend it on those grounds alone. That said, I can’t say I liked all of it. Tillerson set out what he has… Read more »

Panning for Gold

According to my sister’s book (yes, that was a plug), the 200,000 tonnes of rock that Kalgoorie’s Super Pit blows up every day yields three or four bars of gold. As each bar weighs 12.4 kg, that’s a yield of about 0.00002%. The Great Confusicator’s ratio of information to words must be about the same. Trump’s recent AP interview is typical (and… Read more »