Al Jazeera, July 2020
The constitutional future of the United Kingdom has never looked less certain.
According to the latest polling data, 54 per cent of Scots want Scotland to become an independent country, compared to 46 per cent who back the Anglo-Scottish Union.
Bella Caledonia, June 2020
Six weeks ago, Boris Johnson dismissed the idea of using spending cuts to pay off Britain’s rapidly-inflating coronavirus debts. “I’ve never particularly liked the term that you just used to describe government economic policy and it will certainly not be part of our approach,” the prime minister told a reporter during a Downing Street press conference on 30 April. “Austerity, by the way, was the term you just used.”
At first glance, the explosion of state expenditure triggered by COVID-19 seems to have been embraced by the Conservative Party. According to the Office for Budget Responsibility, the UK’s deficit will hit 15 per cent of GDP by the end of 2020 and public debt will top 115 per cent by the middle of 2021. These are staggering figures — at the height of the 2008 financial crisis, Britain’s deficit didn’t exceed 11 per cent of GDP.
Bella Caledonia, April 2020
Compared to the sweeping liberal romanticism of Barack Obama and the raw political cynicism of Bill Clinton, Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. is a void. There is simply nothing there. The figure that emerges from Yesterday’s Man — Branko Marcetic’s biting profile of the former senator and vice president, and now presumptive Democratic presidential nominee — doesn’t have a transformative national vision or an eye-catching policy platform or even a particularly interesting personal backstory to sell. At some point in the early 1970s, Biden decided that American elections were won and lost in the dead centre of the ideological spectrum — and that is precisely where he has stayed for the full span of his 50-year political career.
As Marcetic — a staff writer at Jacobin magazine — argues, being a centrist in American politics doesn’t make you a moderate. It just means that you’re prepared to strike legislative compromises with the hard-right, or with uniquely predatory forms of capital, in order to burnish your institutional credentials. Biden has done this time and time again in the US Senate, to the extent that ‘working across the aisle’ in a ‘bipartisan fashion’ is all that meaningfully exists of the 77-year-old’s political identity.
Bella Caledonia, February 2020
On Wednesday, Paul Wheelhouse, the Scottish government minister for Energy, Connectivity, and the Islands, suggested that firms operating in the North Sea should start using wind turbines to power their oil and gas platforms.
This initiative is already being trialled in Norway by the country’s state-owned petroleum company, Equinor, Wheelhouse said, and could help the UK oil industry realize its “low carbon ambitions” ahead of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow later this year.
Foreign Policy, January 2020
In the British general election on Dec. 12, 2019, the Scottish National Party (SNP) won a resounding mandate from its constituents, taking 48 of Scotland’s 59 seats in the U.K. House of Commons and 45 percent of all ballots cast by Scottish voters. A week later, on Dec. 19, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon sent a letter to Britain’s newly reelected Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson requesting the power to hold a second referendum on Scottish independence. (The first referendum, which took place in September 2014, resulted in a 10-point victory for the Anglo-Scottish union.)
On Jan. 14, the prime minister delivered his answer. “I cannot agree to any request … that would lead to further independence referendums,” he wrote in a formal memorandum to Sturgeon. “The people of Scotland voted decisively on that promise to keep our United Kingdom together … The U.K. government will continue to uphold the democratic decision [made in 2014].”
Boris Johnson is beatable. That’s the core lesson from the first few days of this general election campaign.
Justin Trudeau’s Anaemic Victory Shows The Limits Of Centrist Politics | Bella Caledonia | October 2019
On Monday night, Canadians delivered a fractured and ambiguous election result. Justin Trudeau, the country’s scandal-ridden Liberal prime minister, watched his parliamentary majority evaporate — but will nonetheless return to power at the head of a minority government.
This week, California Democrat Nancy Pelosi — the majority leader in the House of Representatives — announced that she was launching an official impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump. Pelosi’s inquiry will bring the six congressional committee investigations currently ongoing into Trump’s conduct together under one umbrella initiative — with the aim of establishing whether or […]
Norway’s Pivot Away From Oil Shows What Scotland Could Do With Independence | Sunday National | August 2019
In the 1970s and ’80s, North Sea oil was the key symbol of Scotland’s political impotence and lost economic sovereignty. In the future, renewable energy could occupy a similar place in our national psyche.
Brazil’s National Crisis Brought Down Lula – It Could Destroy Bolsonaro, Too | Sunday National | June 2019
Over the past two months, Brazil has been convulsed by a series of strikes, protests, and public demonstrations. On 16 May, thousands of students and teachers took to the streets in opposition to budget cuts imposed on the education system by the new far-right government of president Jair Bolsonaro.
The IMF In Argentina: Imposing Austerity That Won’t Work, On A Country That Doesn’t Want It | Bella Caledonia | June 2019
Between June and September of last year, the International Monetary Fund provided an emergency bailout package to the Argentinian government totalling nearly $60 billion. The move was prompted by Argentina’s descent, during the preceding months, into headlong financial collapse, fuelled by a rapid pile-up of foreign debt and a dramatic decline in the value of […]