And so the annual autumn ritual of American masochism begins again in New York. Like inviting your least likeable in-laws to detail your worst features to your nearest and dearest after an agreeable Christmas lunch, this week’s 68th UN General Assembly welcomes heads of state and government from its 193 member states. With its plenary session overshadowed by Syria, and issues from Iran’s nuclear programme and Israeli-Palestinian relations vying for competition on the agenda, the media expectancy is even greater than usual. “The stakes are very high,” according to PJ Crowley, a former assistant US secretary of state.
What fatuous nonsense. Continue reading
The House of Lords is one of the great conundrums of British politics. Every radical government since 1911 has tried to reform it, with varying degrees of success. Yet it still remains, 102 years later, unelected, half reformed and, to some, a matter of ‘unfinished business’. The House of Lords is now increasingly packed (if not after the recent ‘top up’ full to the brim) with political appointees. Any new attempt at change faces two obstacles: the lack of agreement in the House of Commons and a lack of interest among the public. Continue reading
Many of my Egyptian friends joined the celebrations on Tahrir Square in July when General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi declared that Muhammad Mursi is no longer president. Believing in the power of people, they were convinced that their peaceful protest ousted a president who they deemed incapable of managing the country’s deep economic crisis and political stalemate. Continue reading