Daniel M. Swain

Entries by Daniel M. Swain

The Anti-War Left Has No Answers For Threats From Dictatorships

(0) Comments | Posted 7 May 2014 | (18:49)

This week, the Assad regime stands accused of attacking Syrian civilians with chlorine gas, a vile chemical weapon whose offensive use has not been recorded since the Second World War. The stories of atrocities have only gained limited traction, as the continuous, brutal carnage of the Syrian Civil War, which...

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Opposing Pension Raises Is Political Noise

(0) Comments | Posted 10 December 2013 | (17:37)

George Osborne's announcement in the Autumn statement that the pension age will rise to 70 has prompted predictable populist opposition, which has been highlighted by the General Secretary of the Trade Union Congress, Frances O'Grady, absurdly claiming that "today's young workers are being told they must work until they drop."...

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Democracy Doesn't Owe You a Party

(1) Comments | Posted 29 October 2013 | (11:34)

The recent outburst of nauseating platitudes from Russell Brand has produced a reasonably lively debate over whether he's a prophet or a prick; I tend to err on the side of the latter. This unexpected turn of events also started another discussion over voting, with the standard sound bite defence,...

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Edfringe Reviews - One Star

(0) Comments | Posted 3 September 2013 | (12:04)

The reviewing and rating of shows at the Edinburgh festival is an incredibly important part of how the festival functions, but the quality of reviewing leaves a lot to be desired.

Every year, fringe performers pay large fees to fringe venues in order to perform in them and pay large...

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Intervention, and How to Swing It

(0) Comments | Posted 30 August 2013 | (13:21)

The debate over intervening in Syria has dominated the headlines this last week, and with a depressing tone. The intolerable smugness, and snideness of the anti-intervention lobby, in the face of a tyrannical regime using chemical weapons on its own people, has been almost as infuriating as the turgid and...

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Ukip's Anti-EU Diatribe Must Be Fought

(4) Comments | Posted 6 May 2013 | (16:41)

The success of Ukip in Thursday's council elections is a damning indictment upon the Labour Party, and on anyone in politics who hopes to steer the United Kingdom, and the wider world away from bigotry, prejudice, and generally moronic decision-making. The British political establishment has universally failed to inform the...

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Mann Is No Homo Economicus

(0) Comments | Posted 25 April 2013 | (12:11)

John Mann MP's comments in response to Thursday's UK GDP figures, for the first quarter of 2013, display a sort of unhelpful ignorance that is not conducive to any meaningful discussion on economic policy, or constructing a worthwhile criticism of the government's economic policy.

There are hundreds upon hundreds...

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Thatcherism Isn't Satanism

(1) Comments | Posted 9 April 2013 | (22:43)

The death of Margaret Thatcher has been like an electric surge through both British press and population. Thatcher, perhaps Britain's most ideological and divisive Prime Minister ever, brings the noise in every sphere of life owing to her dominant position in British politics for over 11 years. Whilst any sordid...

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You Won't Know

(0) Comments | Posted 1 March 2013 | (15:56)

Nuclear weapons get a lot of flak because they're dangerous, and a bit pricey. Both of these things are true. However, people getting upset about them because they watched Threads once and it (rightfully - very disturbing TV feature) scared them detracts from a rational debate. This debate would be...

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What Black Mirror Episode Be Right Back Says About Us and Technology

(0) Comments | Posted 11 February 2013 | (23:44)


The latest episode of Black Mirror, Be Right Back, is both a haunting vision of the future, and of what our relationship with technology could become. It is also a reminder of how our relationship with technology has changed since the mid-twentieth century.

Be Right Back, depicts the...

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Mourn Not HMV

(0) Comments | Posted 22 January 2013 | (15:29)

In the early 19th Century the Luddite movement swept across Yorkshire and smashed threshing machines, angry that their jobs had been made redundant by a technological innovation that was thrusting Britain into the Industrial Revolution. If the Luddites had modern analogues, this week, following news of the peril of media...

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Love Thy Enemy

(0) Comments | Posted 4 January 2013 | (12:20)

There's something that's really started to bother me: the vitriol that political leaders receive from their critics.

I went on a bizarre and quite boring journey of self-discovery the other night. It involved listening to world music and reading comments to articles on the Guardian. Internet article comments are the...

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Democracy on Parole

(0) Comments | Posted 23 November 2012 | (16:54)

The recent elections of police commissioners in the UK, or more specifically in England and Wales, are a brilliant example of democratic stupidity. Whilst it's a particularly silly example of strange ideas not corresponding to reality, it also highlights a point that many people seem to miss. That 'more democracy'...

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Faith Talks, Reason Walks

(1) Comments | Posted 22 November 2012 | (18:10)

Tony Baldry MP, member of parliament for Banbury, today summed up what everyone of any sane disposition was thinking, but he also highlighted a fabulous strength of modern British democracy. That it can deal with its lunatics in-house.

Baldry said that if the Church of England continues to make...

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A Day for Remembering

(2) Comments | Posted 11 November 2012 | (23:00)

Opposition to the activities of Remembrance Day are at a risk of missing the point. Most opposition, generally but not exclusively left-wing in nature (there are some particularly scary racists who have absurd arguments,) is based upon the notion that 11 November in some way serves to historically justify or...

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Visions of the Past

(2) Comments | Posted 6 November 2012 | (15:13)

Elections are framed as a clash of personalities, but whilst this adversarial dialogue is engaging, the US election is not a stage of Mortal Kombat. The US election is a complex discourse between different ideas. Sometimes the ideas aren't that different, sometimes they are. The most interesting difference between the...

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Beware Zealous Converts

(0) Comments | Posted 29 October 2012 | (19:13)

The recent headline that German-born Labour member of parliament Gisela Stuart said the UK should leave the European Union, represents a problem with the way ideas are communicated and overly contextualised in complex political debates. For the record, Gisela Stuart didn't actually say anything that explicit, and in every interview...

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The 21st Century With its Not-So-Ironic Veneration of Tyrants

(8) Comments | Posted 25 October 2012 | (00:00)


This is a t-shirt on sale in a bookshop near my flat and just off campus at the University of Edinburgh. It sits alongside a t-shirt which says 'I'm the one the Daily Mail warned you about', which makes me think whoever wears it...

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Open the Flood Gates and Drown the Opposition

(1) Comments | Posted 22 October 2012 | (19:06)

Opposition to immigration is an absolute nuisance to every politician who possesses thought. Like the death penalty, and (decreasingly) abortion and civil rights for homosexuals, all intelligent politicians recognise the correct policy action, but are often constrained by the general public's opinion.

All intelligent politicians recognise that the more...

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One Country, No Nation

(0) Comments | Posted 21 October 2012 | (22:14)

The referendum on Scottish independence in 2014 has slightly higher stakes for those on the rational side of politics than most realise; it risks ending Britain's chances of becoming the world's first true post-national state; and with it the potential of moving the world towards political unity.

Britain was the...

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