A View from the Think Tank – What to hope for from the Paris Conference, and what to expect

This is the first of the series of posts we will publish in the run up to the COP21 United Nations Conference on Climate Change, scheduled to commence in one week’s time. Continue reading “A View from the Think Tank – What to hope for from the Paris Conference, and what to expect”

TTIP – A corruption of Europe’s own making

Uniting citizens across Europe, bashing TTIP has been a welcome unifier for a continent in chaos. TTIP, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, is a trade treaty the European Union is currently negotiating with the US. Whatever our internal differences may be, Europe is united in its dislike of extreme American capitalism. Conservative, liberal or socialist, in the US we would all be shades of Democrat. Right? Well, maybe yes, but US capitalism and its horrors are only a part of the problems inherent in TTIP. We Europeans are to blame for its real problems. Continue reading “TTIP – A corruption of Europe’s own making”

If at First You Don’t Succeed, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Again: Western Delusion and Syria

Editor’s Note: this was initially published on October 30th, before the attacks in Paris, so some references to summits are out-of-date, but the analysis still stands. 

This isn’t working, is it? Ever since the US was enticed into the Syrian Civil War two years ago, once again under the delusion that it can ‘fix’ the Middle East, the conflict has only grown more chaotic, convoluted and deadly. It’s a familiar narrative; from 2002, when President Bush identified Iran, Iraq and Syria as part of an “axis of evil”, American, and very often British, military forces have with impunity entered Middle Eastern states under the pretext of defending the national interest, only to withdraw years later leaving in their wake a great many dead and displaced. This author believes that if the concerned Western forces are to save Syria from total state-failure they must recognise, firstly, the failings of similar recent forays into the Middle East and, secondly, the singularity of the Syrian conflict. Continue reading “If at First You Don’t Succeed, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Again: Western Delusion and Syria”

How do we fill in the Gaps in Education Policy? A Look at the US and the UK.

It almost goes without saying that education is the key to success. But it does still need to be said, because huge achievement gaps in primary and secondary education stubbornly persist in both the United States and the UK. Children from different socioeconomic, ethnic, and geographic backgrounds are simply not awarded the same educational opportunities, a discrepancy that has profound consequences for their chances later in life. This gap is often quantifiable. For example, why is it that in 2008 test scores for black seventeen-year-olds in the US, as opposed to their white seventeen-year-old peers, reflected a difference in learning approximately equivalent to three fewer years of school? Why are there two black Caribbean students for every three white British students in the highest testing tier at age fourteen, even when these students’ test scores at age eleven were equivalent? Clearly, something crucial is missing in the approaches that both countries currently take to educating diverse groups of students. The question that follows is whether current policy is capable of addressing these trends, and, if not, what the most effective and efficient policies might be. Continue reading “How do we fill in the Gaps in Education Policy? A Look at the US and the UK.”

Transatlantic Trade: A Solution to Economic Stagnation or a Destroyer of European Standards?

TTIP, or the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, is an agreement between the US and the EU that emphasizes the depreciation of tariffs and the assuagement of trade regulations. While the deal will promote market accessibility, it will have serious consequences for major trade sectors, including pharmaceuticals, energy, clothing, and finance. Continue reading “Transatlantic Trade: A Solution to Economic Stagnation or a Destroyer of European Standards?”