Posted by Phil Over the past few days, one of my former homes has been in the news rather a lot.… [more]
Posted by Phil The Keystone XL Pipeline Project is the name given to the proposed roughly… [more]
Posted by Phil The shocking murder of a British serviceman on the streets of London this week has… [more]
Posted by Phil On January 29th 2013 I went to lunch with my mother at a small café near her work,… [more]
Posted by Phil The University of London Union is one of the largest student unions in the world. Taking… [more]
Posted by Phil Speaking to Bloomberg in a trailing article for their May issue that will cover the… [more]
Over the past few days, one of my former homes has been in the news rather a lot. Georgetown, a Jesuit Catholic university in Washington D.C. has been attacked ferociously by an alumnus, successful author William Blatty regarding the increasingly liberal stance it has taken on many issues. In turn, the Washington Post carried an op-ed in which another former student, Jason Steidl, defended the university for in his view teaching the true spirit of Catholicism.
This episode of a rather important discussion which is long overdue in modern Catholic discourse. Many Catholic institutions, orders and indeed parishioners seem to be completely at odds with the leadership and hierarchy that is so central to their Church. From a host of social issues, to the role of women, the fractures within Catholicism – at least in the developed world – appear to be too fundamental to ignore.
While Steidl and others have made laudable arguments in favour of their preferences when it comes to how they practice their faith, the reality is they have become utterly divorced from the religion they claim to profess. It is time for them to accept that they appear to have accepted a silent Reformation and abandoned the Catholic Church for good.
The Keystone XL Pipeline Project is the name given to the proposed roughly 1,700 mile extension to the main Canada-US oil pipeline, designed to expedite the transport of oil from the tar sands of Canada to the Gulf of Mexico for distribution and refining. A hotly contested issue during the 2012 US Presidential campaign, the pipeline now largely has bipartisan support and President Obama has stated that he intends to push for completion as soon as possible.
Those who support Keystone XL claim that it will bring huge economic growth, both in short term job creation from the investment involved in building the pipeline and stations along the way, but also in terms of reduced energy costs through cheaper fuel. Opponents are often unfairly described as fringe environmentalists – as if the environmental repercussions were not potentially catastrophic – but also have concerns regarding the real economic worth of the proposal, as well as the rights of current landholders along the route.
Unfortunately, as happens all too often in American political debate, legitimate environmental concerns have been dismissed without explanation, and big oil is now heading for even bigger profit.
The shocking murder of a British serviceman on the streets of London this week has raised once again the specter of Islamic extremism and the threat it poses to the UK. Unfortunately, legitimate concern regarding terrorism is crowding out another significant discussion that needs to be had. While major Muslim organisations laudably condemned the attack swiftly and without qualification, few of the commentators have spent time considering the following: Are we doing enough for our men and women in uniform?
Posted by Phil
On January 29th 2013 I went to lunch with my mother at a small café near her work, which is contained within a bookshop. As most of the clientele are eating in a rush and alone, there are newspapers and magazines spread out on the tables. The one next to me was one of the supplements which come with The Guardian. I remember taking a photo and thinking that I would send it to the Editor after the next terror attack that would inevitably come. Instead, I want to use it to talk about the way that a coalition of Libertarians and Leftists are putting our lives in danger. I want to talk about the march of the cowards into the abyss, and their attempts to drag us all in with them.
The University of London Union is one of the largest student unions in the world. Taking into account all of the constituent colleges, it has a membership representing around 120,000 students. By uniting so many young people in the capital, ULU could be a force for positive engagement of students with politics as well as strengthening the services available to members across the city. Instead, it has become a corrupt, irrelevant den of dishonesty, obfuscation and bullying. With debates circling about the viability of ULU, it is time for the University of London to cut the Union off at the source; funding. In short, it is time that we let ULU go bankrupt.
Speaking to Bloomberg in a trailing article for their May issue that will cover the former Prime Minister, Tony Blair has come up with one of his characteristically modest statements about his own ability:
“Frankly, if I’d had a fourth election, I would have given Cameron a run for his money. I’m not saying I would have won, but it would have been tighter than it was.“
As an occasional defender of the legacy of the longest-serving Labour Prime Minister in history, it feels strange to critcise him all of a sudden. On this matter, however, Blair simply must stop with the delusions.
When Mohammad Mursi was elected President of Egypt, the world seemed to rejoice at the democratic transition taking place before our eyes. The rise of a democratic Egypt, the leader of the Arab world, was seen as the first step in the spread of democracy across that region. What a difference 9 months makes.
This morning former New York City Mayor Ed Koch passed away at 88. I wanted to take a second to remember Koch for his very personal style of politics, which helped him remain a public servant to his city even in the years following his mayoralty. Koch – who inspired the city’s current mayor by teling him to make sure he attends as many parades as possible, because that is the best part of the job – was never a hypocrite, always a pragmatist, and persistently outspoken. While working on Sen. Joe Lieberman’s 2006 campaign, I once overheard Koch say, “If you agree with me on eight of ten issues, vote for me. If you agree with me on nine of ten issues, volunteer for me. If you agree with me on ten of ten issues, see a shrink.” Koch was great mayor, and a great American.
It was just three short months ago that the ‘#unbonjuif‘ scandal was reported by this correspondent. Unfortunately, the French public has once again come together en masse to engage in grotesque attacks on the Jewish community. The hashtag in question this time has so far peaked at 3rd on French Twitter, and is ‘#sijetaisnazi‘, which translates as ‘If I were a Nazi’. The depressing familiarity of this episode does little to undo the damage it is doing to community relations in France. The time has come to seriously consider how much France is moving towards the same vicious anti-Semitism that animated its society during the Dreyfus Affair of the 1890s.
This Christmas Eve, as people around the world sit down with family and friends to celebrate the birth of Jesus, many thoughts will turn (and rightly so) to the suffering currently taking place in Syria. At this time of peace, and good will to all men, despair and misery reigns in that country. A tragic campaign of violence is claiming the lives of thousands, and the future of a nation. Many on the Dovish Left are screaming out for something to be done. For Assad to fall, for democracy and peace to come. Yet how do they want it achieved? The truth is, they are themselves responsible for the massacre that is unfolding before us.