Tom Stevenson
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Blog Entries by Tom Stevenson

Walking on Glass: Why We're Facing Another Half Decade of Recession

(23) Comments | Posted November 6, 2012 | 7:00 PM

The UK economy is stagnant, and is facing nominal stagnation and real terms recession for the next five years, at least according to aggregate growth estimates. 1% growth in a quarter that prices in the Olympic games is concrete evidence of this, not countervailing data.

The 'growth' rate for 2012...

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We Need an End to UN Leadership That Is More Secretary than General

(0) Comments | Posted October 20, 2012 | 9:31 AM

Every October five of the ten non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council are elected by the General Assembly. This year they were Argentina, Australia, Luxembourg, South Korea, and Rwanda.

I don't think I've met many people, even in international affairs circles, who could have named the five that...

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The Ghost of King Zahir

(0) Comments | Posted January 30, 2012 | 8:05 PM

Jan Kubiš' visit to Afghanistan was a fairly solemn affair. The new United Nations special envoy arrived in Kabul on 17 January, and was greeted by President Hamid Karzai the following day. Kubiš shook the President's hand, ensured him that his focus would be the "partnership" between Afghanistan and the...

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The West Has a Duty Not to 'Intervene' in Syria

(2) Comments | Posted January 3, 2012 | 5:31 PM

In an early First World War letter attributed to Kaiser Wilhelm II, the German emperor wrote (to Austrian Kaiser Franz Joseph):

"My soul is torn, but everything must be put to fire and sword; men, women and children and old men must be slaughtered and not a tree or house...

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The Dark Shadow of Tyranny

(0) Comments | Posted October 24, 2011 | 3:34 PM

Tyranny, tyranny, tyranny. It seems to echo from every direction like old church bells. Newspapers headline it, broadcasters auto-cue it, and party-goers celebrate the end of it - and they are right to. In his statement on Muammar al-Gaddafi's killing, Barack Obama said "the dark shadow of tyranny has been...

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Policing Occupy London is About Intimidation

(19) Comments | Posted October 16, 2011 | 8:00 PM

Standing on the steps of St. Paul's Cathedral, a young man addressed the 'Occupy London Stock Exchange' protest on Saturday. "There is a police line to my left", he said as the crowd repeated his words in unison to create an 'echo microphone' that allowed everyone to hear, "and we...

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Creating Convenient History

(0) Comments | Posted September 30, 2011 | 10:56 AM

"The deepest, the only theme of human history," wrote Goethe in Israel in the Desert, "is the conflict of scepticism with faith". True or not, his words certainly apply to written accounts of human history. Time and again, in reading what passes for intellectual critique of foreign policy, one sees...

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Unremembered Afghanistan

(0) Comments | Posted September 7, 2011 | 8:37 AM

In a small park just outside the sleepy Wiltshire town of Wootton Bassett, there are 35,000 wooden crosses planted in neat lines. Each has a red poppy pinned to its centre; many have photos of the smiling faces of deceased British soldiers clipped to them by loved ones. The 'Garden...

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Libya: A War For Regime Change?

(0) Comments | Posted August 22, 2011 | 4:27 PM

"Our differences could have been resolved very easily..." said Mohammed Gaddafi as the deafening sound of an AK47 round thundering from its barrel drowned out his voice. Colonel Muammar's son was giving a live telephone interview from his home (where he was supposedly under house arrest) last night when the...

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Some Elementary Remarks on Freedom of Expression

(3) Comments | Posted August 20, 2011 | 1:31 PM

It is a sad day indeed when a writer wishes that his own work were not necessary. Unfortunately such days have been common over the past century - many inspired by this very topic. Much of the sorrow I have at feeling compelled to write this article is, I hope,...

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Haiti: A Lesson for Supporters of NATO's Libya Campaign

(0) Comments | Posted August 15, 2011 | 11:06 AM

In 1823 Major General John Murray, the governor of a British slave colony in Jamaica, was confronted by a rebellion. In desperation, he promised the slaves 'reforms'. They rejected his bargaining - responding that it provided "no comfort". "Tired of being slaves", they demanded that "they should be free, and...

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'The Biggest Brother': The London Riots

(1) Comments | Posted August 9, 2011 | 9:58 AM

2011-08-09-BigBrother.jpg

Standing in the middle Mare Street in Hackney, I am face to face with a line of riot police. Behind them, a billboard with a picture of a large red eye looks over all of us. "Biggest Brother Ever", it reads - only the...

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Oh What a Tangled Web we Weave

(13) Comments | Posted July 27, 2011 | 9:25 AM

It's astonishing how quickly war becomes mundane. For the journalist, it happens quicker than for most. An initial article that praises the foolishness of men who speak only in clichés and sound bites - 'smooth transition of power', 'hearts and minds' - or occasionally one warning of the pecuniary cost...

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A History Lesson for William Hague

(20) Comments | Posted July 14, 2011 | 8:00 PM

William Hague is worried about Iran. So worried, in fact, that he declared his intention in The Guardian to add to EU sanctions against Iran. He is "determined", no matter what "Iran may hope", not to be distracted from its nuclear programme, and not to be so "naive"...

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The Truth About the Moroccan Referendum

(3) Comments | Posted July 12, 2011 | 8:05 AM

In a small hotel, within Marrakech's Medina, I talk with my host and friend Yousuf. Over the past two days he has been, very patiently, helping me to refine my impoverished and diminutive knowledge of Arabic. We discuss pronunciation and, of course, dialect. Arabic is perhaps more diverse...

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