Hands off our … umm, social networks.

When the proverbial faeces hits the fan, it’s generally a good idea to spend some time figuring out what we might want to do differently in future. Coming together to clean it up is a good start, and says more about the ‘moral character’ of this country than any...

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Riots are an argument for more civil liberties, not fewer

And so the post-mortem has begun. Now that the initial wave of rioting and looting appears to have subsided, the question of what can be done to prevent a repetition comes to the lips. David Cameron has come up with the, in our eyes rather feeble-minded, idea of restricting the use of...

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Does it take violence to get noticed?

Let’s start this post by making it absolutely clear that we’re in no way condoning the behaviour of people who have taken it upon themselves to take to the streets of London and go on the rampage. The story of a young boy, bloodied and confused from being caught up in the...

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Tottenham Riots: cause and effect

It’s easy to dismiss rioters and looters in Tottenham as ‘feral youth’, and indeed it’s possible that some were motivated by little more than opportunism. On the other hand, it’s equally possible to justify criminal damage and intimidating behaviour as a...

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Mubarak on trial

So, after considerable doubt that he would in fact make it to the courtroom, Hosni Mubarak, former President/dictator of Egypt, stands accused of corruption and of the unlawful killing of protestors. If convicted, he faces the death penalty. It’s a situation that could unite...

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We have met the enemy and he is us

Walt Kelly famously coined the phrase ‘we have met the enemy and he is us’ in a Pogo comic strip in the 1950s. The phrase takes on a macabre prescience this week in the wake of the horrific attacks carried out in Norway. Islamophobia has driven great swatches of both...

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Hackgate: cause or symptom?

There’s been a lot of talk over the past few days about whether Murdoch’s media empire is soon to crumble, and about the illegitimate activities supposedly carried out by employees of News International. We’re no fans of Murdoch’s approach to journalism, and we...

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News International: what does it mean for civil society?

We’ve kept fairly quiet about the astonishing sequence of event that has unfolded over the past couple of weeks, preferring to take stock and seek to make sense of them on a broader scale. There has, of course, been an immediate seismic impact: the closure of the News of the...

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Security Theatre: what next?

We’ve written before about the ineffectiveness of full body scanners, along with the health and privacy risks they carry. In the US, in particular, there is a groundswell of popular opinion against them — perhaps in part because they are used so much more frequently there...

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Afghanistan: Civilian casualties and conscientious objection

Two stories about Afghanistan have particularly caught our eye this week. The first is the revelation, in the Los Angeles Times, of the incredibly high numbers of civilians who are dying in the country: 30 in one 48-hour period. According to the article: The Taliban and other...

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