Second oldest profession in the world – arms dealing

I fear it was a terrible move to axe the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigation into the Al Yamamah (“the dove”) arms deal between UK and Saudi Arabia.

All parties have been stressing (implausibly) that the decision was not economic – supposedly 50,000 arms-related jobs at stake. For example, see SFO’s terse statement. It’s obviously […]

What’s the opposite of "human rights with common sense"

What is the opposite of ‘common sense’? ‘Stupid’ could be right. Or ‘arbitrary’. But one opposite might also be ‘principled’… meaning that you stick to deeply-held principles, even if they give you discomfort in specific cases. Conservative leader David Cameron called for “human rights with common sense” as he promised to repeal the Human Rights […]

"Brown stays nuclear" is not a story

The government was always going to renew its nuclear weapons capability and despite the minor furore, the Chancellor was stating the obvious in his Mansion House speech (BBC story). Despite the obvious lack of an enemy, the obvious threats for which nuclear weapons are useless, and the obvious opportunity cost of not using the […]

Suicide as ‘act of war’? Guantanamo reveals madness of US military

Just when you thought the US military couldn’t become more detached, it describes the suicide of three inmates at Guantanamo Bay as an “act of asymmetric warfare waged against us” (BBC report). Guantanamo reminds me of The Trial by Franz Kafka – a surreal, bullying and unflinching judicial apparatus that denies humanity and justice. But […]