Friday, December 2, 2016

It's the economy, stupid.

We've all encountered the person who says climate change can't be happening, the planet isn't getting warmer, because it's cold right now. I'm pretty sure we all know that that's a result of an overly simplistic understanding of what climate is, how it works, and we know that they're thoroughly wrong.

 Now, President Obama is handing over the strongest economy in ages - but Trump's voters are convinced the economy's wrecked, and Trump can fix it. Why is that?

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Prison Problem

In the news today, the US Department of Justice has announced that it intends to end its use of privately-run, for-profit prisons. There has been much rejoicing, but though this does represent a great step forward, offsetting the great retrograde step of using the damn things in the first place, it does not solve the underlying structural problem with the USA's system of incarceration.

Friday, June 24, 2016

The country I left is gone.

In voting to exit the European Union, the British electorate have killed my homeland. A manifestly imperfect homeland, but a land which strove to be welcoming, to learn from the new people it met. A land which acknowledged its bloody past as Not What We Ought To Have Done. The hope I knew has been swept away in a stream of fear, and of exploitation of that fear for personal gain. The recriminations have begun; Scotland now demands another plebiscite, so that they at least may escape the folly of the English. People who voted to leave now profess remorse, claiming that they did not expect to actually win. The pound, once an exemplar of a strong currency, wilts in the heat of uncertainty. London's financial engines falter, and Calais demands an end to the cooperative arrangement which made popping over to France a trivial matter for those within a few hours of the Channel Tunnel. The Troubles are about to re-emerge, worse than they ever were because everybody thought we had things sorted out; Northern Ireland wishes to remain within the EU, within the group which acts as guarantor of its first run of peace in a century.

The United Kingdom is united no longer, and the land I grew up in, with all its flaws, is dead, killed by ignorance, xenophobia, and lies. Oh ye who now tread the soil of the British Isles, walk softly; for you walk upon the grave of my first home.