Sir Richard Branson has long been Britain’s favourite capitalist. Unlike the fat cat tycoons of left-wing caricatures, sat atop their shiny towers counting wads of cash, Branson is considered one of a new breed of entrepreneurs that emerged at the turn of the century
There are those who are appalled by George Galloway now, and those who have always been appalled by George Galloway
The most striking thing about George Galloway’s latest outburst was not what he said so much as the fact that there were still people willing to take him seriously.
Today in Britain some of the highest train fares in Europe co-exist alongside some extremely low rates of electrification and embarrassingly shoddy services.
Many bad things that are done in the world are done by people who are convinced that what they are doing is unquestionably good.
Student: “Those blowing themselves up and committing atrocities are using religion as an excuse for what they are doing.”
Me: “But you can find justification for all sorts of atrocities against non-believers, apostates and others in the Holy texts.”
Student: “How dare you say that! That is deeply offensive. Lots of us have faith and don’t go around doing the things you say that religious people do.”
Tony Blair made a tentative return to politics last week as an advisor to the Labour Party. For a number of people on the left, including your humble servant, this did not sit particularly well. Many of us had hoped that under the stewardship of Ed Miliband the Labour Party would move beyond the privatisation and political cowardice of the “triangulation” years to a more confidently social democratic outlook
Anyone who has ever had dealings with a marketing or PR department will probably have experienced at the time feelings similar to when they first encountered a foreign language. “Our new line of streamlined products will enhance our client-focused approach”, was how it was put to me a few days ago by a particularly polished “blue skies thinking” sort of person.
At some point during the last 10 years or so, the idea that everything that can be taken for free has become widely accepted. The most intriguing thing about the 2009 parliamentary expenses scandal was not the relaxed set of regulations governing the expenses process, but rather the widespread assumption by MPs that if it was possible to put in a claim for something it would be fit and proper to do so – the morality of the claim itself being a moot point.
The trade union subscription to the Labour Party for an individual member is around three pounds a year, which it is possible to opt out of and which is less than half the cost of a book of First Class stamps.
The era of moderate politicians is at an end. Right across Europe many people who grew up on a diet of consumerism and political cynicism are beginning to shake-off apathy and re-engage. As a consequence, from the Élysée Palace to the so-called “cradle of democracy”, the people of Europe are starting to rediscover the radical possibilities of the ballot box.
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