Category: Blog

‘Balanced Budgets or Battleships?’, by John Keiger

The French President must reform the economy at home if his aim of returning France to its position as a world leader is to succeed, writes John Keiger:

It is a French tradition that Presidents of the Republic do not comment on French domestic affairs when abroad. Emmanuel Macron, who since his election has spent much time abroad proclaiming «France is back!», broke that rule last week when on a state visit to Greece. Commenting on the demonstrations organised for 12 September against his labour law reforms, he declared that he would not give in…Read on

Theresa May’s Florence speech coincides with the 25th Anniversary of the UK leaving the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM), the precursor to the Euro, writes Manish Singh. 16th September 1992 has since become known as “Black Wednesday” due to the market turmoil and the losses it caused to the UK Treasury. 

The decision to join the ERM was championed by John Major, then Chancellor of the Exchequer in Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet. As per the rules that governed the ERM, member countries agreed to fix their exchange rates with each other. Since Germany had the strongest economy in Europe, each country set its currency’s value in Deutschmarks (DM).  The exchange rate was allowed to fluctuate…Read on

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‘Uncomfortable Truths’, by Jonathan Clark

The intolerance of unwelcome views in  universities  is not confined to ‘generation snowflake’, says Jonathan Clark. Although the mass of people change only slowly,  small groups of activists exploit every opportunity to secure their ends:

The Vice Chancellor of Oxford University recently hit the headlines for responding to a student complaint that a professor had criticised homosexuality by saying ‘My job isn’t to make you feel comfortable.’

What is surprising about such a pronouncement is that it had to be made at all. In such awkward moments, and they are increasingly common, university leaders seldom or never say: ‘my university, as a university, has no views; it merely provides a safe arena in which research, and discussion of controversial matters, can take place so that the truth can emerge’.

Why do they not say this? Because those leaders seldom believe it. They are more commonly activists who wish to use their institutions as fulcrums with which to move the world in directions of which they approve. Can it really be said that even Oxford University has clean hands?…Read on

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‘Veiled Debates’, by Paola Mattei

This week as children went back to school, reports of 5 year old girls wearing a hijab – the headscarf often worn by Muslim girls for reasons of modesty after puberty – follow earlier controversy about headscarves in a Burnley secondary school, claimed by some as not ‘modest enough’. In France, by contrast headscarves have been banned by law at school along with other religious symbols since 2004. Here Paola Mattei considers the French approach:

In France the 2004 ban of the veil in schools was intended to serve as a defence of laïcité as a republican value, from the perceived threat of religious extremism and radicalization of schoolchildren.

The opponents of the 2004 ban claim that it is an infringement on individual freedom of expression. The restriction by law on the display of ostentatious religious signs is viewed as a limitation to individual freedom. Schoolgirls who choose deliberately to wear the hijab in schools are restricted in their ability to do so in public, and in turn they are said to feel discriminated against. The alleged discrimination against women who wear the hijab raises the question of whether the ban is a means of discrimination against Muslim minorities in France…Read on

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‘A Mandate to Move’, by Sheila Lawlor

Britain’s democracy matters to it voters, and the decision to leave the EU must be put resolutely into effect and without delay, says Politeia’s Director, Sheila Lawlor, in the summer blog.

In the run up to the June election, I spoke to a Liberal Democrat voter who confirmed that for the first time she would not vote for ‘her’ party. ‘The people of this country’, she explained ‘voted to leave’ and ‘my’ party refuses to accept the democratic decision. It had, as a result, ruled itself out for her and she, along with millions of others, voted for Labour or the Conservatives, each party publicly committed to honour the ‘leave’ decision. Few more graphic illustrations exist of this country’s belief in its free democratic system. Britain’s democracy matters to its people, who have seen it through the last two centuries, through a slow, peaceful, evolution to the model of parliamentary freedom which its people value…Read on

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