Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Could this landmark animal rights ruling spell the end of zoos?

My piece from today's Daily Express.

IT'S a landmark judgment that could mark the beginning of the end for the world’s zoos.
It could also potentially lead to thousands of animals held in captivity being released into the wild. 
A court in Argentina has ruled that a 29-year-old Sumatran orangutan called Sandra – who has been in captivity in a Buenos Aires zoo for 20 years – is a “nonhuman person” and entitled to more freedom after an animal rights group filed a writ demanding her release. 
“This opens the way not only for other great apes but also for other sentient beings which are unfairly and arbitrarily deprived of their liberty in zoos, circuses, water parks and scientific laboratories,” Paul Muompadre, the lawyer for Afada, the organisation that brought the legal action, told reporters. 
Subject to any appeal Sandra will be on her way to a nature sanctuary in Brazil. 
The repercussions of the case could be enormous as it is likely to encourage other animal rights groups to bring similar actions....

You can read the whole article here 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Australia’s interventionist foreign policy- time for a rethink

My latest OpEdge piece for

The tragic Sydney café siege of earlier this week, which resulted in the death of three people, raises quite a few serious questions.
Why on earth was Man Haron Monis, the hostage taker who faced more than 40 sexual assault and indecency charges, and who had been charged with being an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife, still at liberty? Why did the Australian authorities refuse to send Monis back to Iran, his home country, who it has been reported, repeatedly requested his extradition via Interpol to answer charges of fraud? And why wasn‘t a man who had sent hate mail to the grieving families of members of the Australian armed forces who had been killed in action and who had publicly pledged his allegiance to the Islamic State, under any form of monitoring by Australia‘s security services?
These questions are very important and need to be answered pretty quickly, but there‘s something else we ought to be discussing too...

You can read the whole article here.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

What could Ukraine learn from South Africa?

My latest piece for OpEdge

One year on from the death of Madiba - Nelson Mandela - South Africa still has lessons for other countries about political reconciliation, and particularly for right-wing anti-Russian nationalists in Ukraine.

It’s a warm and sunny day in Cape Town and we’re standing in front of the statue of Jan Smuts, the former Prime Minister of South Africa

Smuts is a controversial figure among South Africans, our guide Errol tells us. On the one hand he was a racialist who believed in the superiority of white people and who supported segregation. On the other hand, he was a nature lover and conservationist who did much to protect and preserve South Africa’s amazing flora.

You can read the whole piece here.

Friday, December 12, 2014

The True Scandal- Tony Blair still awaits the Nobel Peace Prize

My parody piece for Sputnik News...

The usual hysterical 'anti-war' voices are attacking the Global Legacy award given by Save the Children to Tony Blair. We should ignore them. The scandal is not that his great humanitarian work has finally been recognised, but that Mr Blair has not yet been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
It’s a baffling omission for no man on this planet — save perhaps George W. Bush or Benjamin Netanyahu — deserves it more...

You can read the whole piece here.

Monday, December 08, 2014

From Democracy to Autonocracy: How Dr Who's Nightmare Came True in Britain

My new piece for Sputnik News.

In a recent episode of Dr Who Jon Pertwee successfully foils a dastardly plan of the Nestene - a non-physical alien intelligence - to replace leading political and public figures in Britain with plastic replicas.
The Nestene take over a toy factory in Epping, where they manufacture the plastic 'Autons'- who will help them take over the country.
That Dr Who story 'Spearhead from Space' got me thinking. When it was first broadcast in 1970 we could easily have told the difference between our leading politicians and a bunch of automatons. You could agree or disagree with them, but no one could accuse Harold Wilson, Edward Heath, Tony Benn or Enoch Powell of being robotic...

You can read the whole piece here.