The End of a Promising Career

My twenty years in parliamentary politics taught me that, contrary to the opinions of many, most politicians pursue a political career for other than exclusively self-serving reasons.  Most genuinely want to serve their fellow citizens or believe that they can make a real contribution to improving the way our society works.   I concede, though, […]

What Does Inequality Look Like?

What does inequality look like?  In a society where the gap between rich and poor has widened significantly, what evidence of that gap would one expect to see? A dramatic and painful answer to that question was provided to us this week with the shocking image of the burning London tower block.  If we ever […]

The Many, Not The Few

The British general election has produced an impressive list of casualties.  Theresa May may survive for the time being but her gamble on a snap election so as to increase her majority – and her authority, especially in the forthcoming Brexit talks – has spectacularly misfired.  Even with the support of the Democratic Unionist Party […]

Abdicating Responsibility

America versus the world!  For Donald Trump, it seems, the battle against global warming is a conspiracy against the US concocted by those who wish to do them down.  “I am the President for Pittsburgh,” he declares, “not Paris”. It does not seem to occur to him that the US – and Pittsburgh – are […]

A Naughty Boy

We have been able to obtain a recording of a telephone call recently made by an early childhood educator (we’ll call her Miss X) to the parent of a newly enrolled small boy who was just completing his first day at his new pre-school.  The following is a transcript. Miss X:  Is that Mrs Trump? […]

Is There Any Limit to Australia’s Anti-Kiwi Hostility

My wife and I have often enjoyed holidays in Australia.  A year or two ago, we returned to Noosa, and visited a café where we remembered having had good coffee a year earlier. As he handed us our coffees, I asked the barista whether he was the Kiwi we recalled having met there briefly on […]

Will the Voters Think?

Winston Churchill is reputed to have once said that “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others”.  If he did indeed say that, he was presumably trying to capture a somewhat paradoxical truth – that democracy, at its best, has great underlying virtues that are unmatched by other forms of government, […]

A Trump Dictatorship

How do dictatorships come about?  That is a question easily answered in most cases.  The classic instances arise as the result of a military coup or at least with the support of the military or following a victory in a civil war.  There is almost always an element of force – but not always. Hitler, […]

What I would Have Said in the Herald

I have received in the last couple of days a number of inquiries as to whether, when and how I will respond to Don Brash’s latest exposition in the Herald of his understanding (or lack of it) of the banks’ role in money creation. The answer is that the Herald – perhaps understandably – do […]

Putting a Proper Value on Work

The success enjoyed by the trade unions recently in establishing that, across the economy as a whole, we can put a minimum value on particular categories of work has been of immediate benefit to thousands of low-paid workers, and particularly to carers, many of whose wages have been held down because of their gender. But […]