Can social justice make a comeback?

I’ve been on my travels again but still managed to keep up with events via the news feeds. A little bit of unintended irony involved there, I guess - given all the current sinister revelations about what you can believe (or not) on social media. You’ve probably heard how uber data-wrangling outfit Cambridge Analytica is accused of grabbing masses of personal data gathered from a 2014 Facebook quiz. This information was allegedly used to colour opinions during the last US presidential election and EU referendum. Dominic Cummings of Vote Leave dismissed the idea, insisting that allegations published in the Observer are "factually wrong” and “nonsensical". Of course, this is pretty much describ

When murky worlds collide

The events of Salisbury and subsequent fallout are chilling but much is still unclear as recriminations drag on - and it could stay that way. Whatever the truth of things, it’s undeniable that those responsible showed a callous disregard for the victims and anyone else. In many respects, the attack resembled a sloppily-executed drone strike where collateral damage happens because the aggressor has no respect for sovereignty nor any fear of meaningful retaliation. Readers of espionage fiction will nod at this point in the knowledge that ‘Smiert Spionam’ (Death to Spies) calls for an exaggerated use of lethal force in a way that not only punishes traitors but deters others from thinking along

Building up unnecessary problems

It seems these days that Brexit is getting cited for everything bad in business. The latest is that uncertainty is proving to be “toxic” for the construction sector. According to latest figures issued by the Office of National Statistics (ONS), construction output fell by 3.4% in January from December. It’s claimed that a slowdown in housebuilding in January contributed to the biggest monthly decline since June 2012. This comes a week after Prime Minister Theresa May announced tougher planning rules to try to force house-builders to build more properties. It’s a measure that’s good for grabbing headlines yet no-one is holding their breath; mostly because the government is looking in the wron

Trade wars are no solution

The problem with populist politics is that it’s the slogans that do the talking while the logic often lags behind. A good example of this how US president Donald Trump thinks “Putting America First” equates to ‘easy’ trade wars on imported goods like steel. The White House pique is aimed at China which officials claim is using its overcapacity to flood world markets. The problem however is that it’s Canada, the EU and South Korea, who between them account for a quarter of US steel imports. China supplies just 2%. Many on Trump’s team think that singling out a big growth economy like China is a bad move, particularly when senior Chinese figures talk about “consequences that neither country wa

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