Recent Articles

The backlash to Credit Ratings Agencies gathers steam

by Ben Mitchell     March 13, 2012 at 1:10 pm

“The three credit ratings agencies were key enablers of the financial meltdown. The mortgage-related securities at the heart of the crisis could not have been marketed and sold without their seal of approval. Investors relied on them, often blindly…”

The damning verdict by America’s Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission in January 2011 laid significant blame with the main credit agencies for the credit crunch and subsequent crash of 2008.

And yet, and yet, the chancellor still woos them, still panders to them, warning the country that last month’s ‘negative’ outlook for Britain’s triple A rating was merely ‘a reality check’ that must be heeded.
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Women’s rights are under attack in Israel

by Ben Mitchell     December 15, 2011 at 1:22 pm

“A public transportation operator, like any other person, does not have the right to order, request, or tell women where they may sit simply because they are women.”

So said Israel’s Supreme Court Justice, Elyakim Rubinstein, in a ruling in 2010, in response to an outcry over gender segregation being enforced on Israel’s buses that served mostly ultra-orthodox areas of Jerusalem.

‘Voluntary segregation’, with passenger consent, however, is still permitted.
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Is our intervention in Libya already back-firing in our faces?

by Ben Mitchell     November 7, 2011 at 8:50 am

I was never a supporter of the West’s military intervention in Libya. All I could think of were ulterior motives: oil, defence contracts, geo-political influence in such a vital and unstable part of the world.

Also, why help Libya but not other countries rising up against tyranny?

The Economist wrote that not intervening everywhere was no reason not to intervene somewhere. I accepted this as a plausible argument, but still found myself against intervention.
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After bombing Libya, Tories now want to sell them weapons

by Ben Mitchell     October 27, 2011 at 1:33 pm

Merely hours after the world was digesting the news that Colonel Gaddafi had been killed, Philip Hammond, the new Defence Secretary, was telling BBC Radio 4’s Today programme last Friday that he hoped to see representatives from the British defence industry hopping on the next plane to Tripoli.

Philip Hammond was more than happy to concur, when asked by John Humphrys, whether in helping to liberate Libya, it was only right that the UK should now benefit financially.
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How far should government get involved to reduce obesity?

by Ben Mitchell     October 21, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Last week we had a great example of what I’d call “you’re free to die in a ditch if you so choose” Conservatism.

The government launched its own obesity strategy and came out with this groundbreaking policy proposal: eat less. That’s it.

The public just need to be more “honest with themselves about what they’re eating and drinking,” said Professor Sally Davies, the country’s chief medical officer, who’s clearly swallowed this bilge hook, line, and sinker.
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Why Obama’s base will come back to him in the end

by Ben Mitchell     September 24, 2011 at 9:57 am

Being a Democrat supporter recently has probably involved much gritting of teeth, a certain degree of anger, and at times, a sense of bewilderment.

Many believe that President Obama has been too ready to cave in to the demands of the Republican Party, as they themselves, infected by a virulent strain of extremist politics, otherwise known as the Tea Party, become dragged further and further to the right, and away from the more moderate mainstream.

There was at least some comfort to his liberal base on Monday, with President Obama’s call for a ‘Buffet Tax’ which would see earners of over $1m being taxed at a higher rate, and the clamping down on tax loopholes.
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