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Politics nerd, policy wonk | Founder, medium.com/politics-fast-and-slow | Editor, politika.org.uk | twitter.com/dave_olsen16 | Policy Paper: https://rb.gy/7coyj

Skirmish at sea between French and Jersey fishermen highlights the dysfunction and discord in the post-Brexit trading relationship.

The EU and UK are turning up the heat in their latest battle over fishing rights (Image by gen hyung lee from Pixabay)

The deal the European Union and United Kingdom agreed on and signed at the eleventh hour last year was a compromise — but not just between the positions of the two sides in the negotiation. It was also a compromise between two scenarios: the deal falling apart, and the deal being fully completed.

It is choc-full of future dates for negotiation and re-negotiation, and mechanisms for potential change. It is characterised by what is generously referred to as “constructive ambiguity” in the world of international agreements and negotiations. …


Bad news can be good for you. But the news needs to get more informative, analytical, and investigative — debates and simple presentations are not enough.

Earlier this year, in my pre-Covid naïvety, I penned — well, typed — a long(ish) read on the news media. A formative thesis of my thinking on the news, I made the fairly simple move of informing my readers that news is just a lens for the world that filters out most of the good, keeps in some of the mundane, and retains almost all the bad. But, perhaps slightly differently to most of the “bad news” takes, I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

I started off with a definition of the news as reporting on things that are…


A more informative lens for the Israel-Palestine conflict could help to reduce tensions, reveal the truth, and pave a way forward.

Image by RJA1988 from Pixabay

I don’t intend to discuss the events of recent days at length. I’ll mostly leave that to people far better placed than me to dissect exactly what’s happened, but here’s a very basic potted summary of the flare-up between Israel and Palestine.

The violence started a couple of days ago over a land dispute between the two countries in East Jerusalem. In the predominantly Palestinian neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, Israeli settlers, who claim this neighbourhood is a part of Israel, are working to displace the roughly 70 Palestinians there. The residents staged a protest, the police turned up, the resident…


But we’re turning immigrants away.

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

The last half-decade has seen two decades of rising populism come to the fore of global politics. The unfounded resentment of immigration which was an unwelcome undercurrent to much of our politics following the 9/11 attacks and the financial crisis has become a key issue, driving voters towards the populist radical right.

Bolsonaro, Trump, Modi, Johnson, Orban — you know the names, you know what they stand for. Every one has embraced a nativist ideology that rejects multiculturalism, immigration, and refugees as a scourge on society, the source of economic stagnation, and a parasitic force.

It is all too simple…


Following last week’s local and mayoral elections, the government is pressing ahead with self-interested, regressive electoral reform.

Image by blank76 from Pixabay

It should come as no surprise.

After all, this is the government that tried to prorogue Parliament for 5 weeks in 2019 to force through a no-deal Brexit without democratic consent — before being knocked back at the Supreme Court, the judges of which senior government figures then proceeded to attack, smear, and threaten with talk of a politicised appointments process.

This is the government that consented to more devolution of powers in the cities and regions of England, and then when one mayor, Andy Burnham, dared to give them an answer they didn’t want, kicked up a stink, stripping…


The pandemic has laid bare global tensions, making clear the huge challenge we face in combatting climate change and the rise of new tech.

Image by Yuri_B from Pixabay

We are faced with massive global challenges, unprecedented in both scale and simultaneity.

There’s the continuing threat from the pandemic that, if anything, looks to be worsening. With India in the grips of a horrific second wave, we’re reminded of the dangers of variants and the importance of getting a global vaccine rollout right.

Climate change, ever-present in threat but drifting in and out of the minds of distracted leaders, needs to be tackled, together, in the very near future. It cannot be put off any longer.

And with the rise of machine learning AI and biotechnology, the international community…


How complex coalitions, proxy wars, and arms deals have created a new warzone, one without blame, guilt, and moral sanction.

Image by Tayeb MEZAHDIA from Pixabay

The good news is that today, fewer people die in wars, fewer civilians die as a proportion of total fatalities, and fewer wars are fought due to democratisation and the rise of diplomacy. The bad news is that because of the rise of new weapons, new battlefields, and the securitisation of warfare, the nature of warfare is irreversibly changed for the worse.

Each of these three developments helps to put the blame for war, the atrocities it veils, and the destruction it wreaks, further away from those driving it. New weapons such as unmanned drones remove the human aspect of…


Corruption scandals and an angry outburst from Boris Johnson are among the latest revelations in a government collapsing into comic tragedy.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/chathamhouse/26147764939

For the best part of a year, there has been a constant stream of allegations of corruption, sleaze, and nepotism surrounding the government’s pandemic procurement, subtly undermining their work. Sometimes a low rumble of thunder, sometimes a booming thunderclap crashing down on №10 — but never for long, and never seriously threatening the government’s durability.

The government had, until recently, been enjoying a bounce in the polls due to the undeniably successful vaccine rollout. One-fifth of Britons have now had both doses of the vaccine, and well over half have had at least one dose, with those groups of people…


Brexit always presented an impossible conundrum for peace in Northern Ireland. Violence has now erupted on the streets.

Image Credit

On April 7th, the sixth night of violence between unionists, nationalists, and the Northern Irish police (PSNI), a mob threw burning projectiles into a bus, forcing its driver out and leaving the bus to go up in flames.

It was hard to avoid thinking of the now-infamous Vote Leave bus, complete with the reckless campaign and lies it is associated with.


Once a member, and now a foe: the UK is locked in a bitter dispute with the EU over vaccine nationalism, procurement, and export bans.

Image by mcruetten from Pixabay

The rollout of vaccines is going well.

At least, that’s what you’d say if you’re from the UK, US, or Israel. Anywhere else, and you’ve probably got very different feelings about the rollout, with most countries around the world lagging far behind these frontrunners, leaving Covid-19 to wreak havoc and take thousands more lives.

This is what happens when vaccine scarcity meets nationalism and global wealth inequality: the wealthiest few win, while the poorer lose out. The developing world is struggling to even get vaccines, with the Covax facility delivering only minimal numbers to lower-income countries. …

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