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Chris Bertram

Tivoli: the Gardens of the Villa d'Este - faces

Sunday photoblogging: Strasbourg Cathedral

by Chris Bertram on March 31, 2019

One from back in 2013

Strasbourg Cathedral-3

Sunday photoblogging: People’s Vote march

by Chris Bertram on March 24, 2019

People's Vote March 23 March 2019-10

A shot from yesterday’s People’s Vote march to stop Brexit. (There are some other pictures on my Flickrstream of the same event.) We’ve reached a crunch moment when those of us who want the UK to remain in the European Union could win or where we end up with a disorderly exit (followed by a humiliating agreement from a position of weakness).

Sunday photoblogging: Hebron Road

by Chris Bertram on March 17, 2019

Hebron Road, BS3

British Road, BS3

Sunday photoblogging: reflections

by Chris Bertram on February 24, 2019

Reflections-3

The UK takes a step toward tyranny

by Chris Bertram on February 20, 2019

The UK Home Secretary, Sayid Javid, has decided to revoke the citizenship of Shamima Begum, who notoriously travelled to Syria at the age of fifteen with two companions and married an ISIS fighter. She is now in a Syrian refugee camp, has now given birth to a child and was reportedly keen on returning to the UK. Begum has given interviews saying that she regrets nothing and that she wasn’t “fazed” by seen the severed heads of those murdered by Daesh. Not an appealing character, but, given that she was groomed as a child by a criminal gang, one who might have been seen as a victim in other circumstances.

The UK government has given itself the power to deprive people of citizenship where this is “conducive to the public good” but the law up to now had been that they had to be satisfied that the person would not be rendered stateless. After all, as we know, if citizenship is the right to have right, statelessness is a condition of near rightlessness. In the present case, they seem to be claiming that a person born in the UK who acquired British nationality at birth can be deprived of citizenship because she is entitled to Bangladeshi nationality through her mother. Shamima Begum has never been to Bangladesh and has no connection to the country. Though her case involves terrorism the UK has also begun to use citizenship deprivation in cases involving “serious criminality”, a vague category that is capable of being defined downwards (as it was when Javid spoke about a group of people recently deported to Jamaica).

Millions of people born in the UK and holding British nationality currently have “access to” another citizenship. It may be Irish citizenship (the entire nationalist population of Northern Ireland!). It may be Israeli citizenship through the law of return. It may be the citizenship of some country in Britain’s former empire, such as Bangladesh. The new expansions of citizenship deprivation theoretically expose all of them to the possibility of exile and banishment to another country should they be convicted of serious crime. The immigration regime has long been one where the rule of law is muted, where due process is little more than what the government says it is, and where means of appeal and assertion of rights are limited. By bringing millions of people into the ambit of such a regime, you render them exposed to a system of arbitrary punishment decided upon by a minister. There are two ways to look at this: either millions of ordinary people are subject to tyranny, or they would never do that to ordinary white people, only to those with a “funny tinge”. Either way lies an appalling vista.

Update: I’ve written a longer blog (and with improved legal information) at the London Review of Books blog.

Sunday photoblogging: The Apple Tree

by Chris Bertram on February 10, 2019

The Apple Tree

Sunday photoblogging: stairwell, Tate Britain

by Chris Bertram on February 3, 2019

Stairwell, Tate Britain

Sunday photoblogging: Diner

by Chris Bertram on January 27, 2019

Diner

Getting on beneath the vaulted sky

by Chris Bertram on January 22, 2019

Early last year, I began to experience some pains in my hands. I associated them with bringing a large turkey back from the butchers. Hadn’t taken the car, because parking, but it was heavier than I appreciated and I struggled with the bird as the handles of the plastic bad tore on my fingers. I went to the doctor. Tendons, probably, he said. Most likely be better in a few months.

Then in September, back from a touring holiday in France which had involved a lot of lugging of boxes and cases up and down stairs, the pain was back, worse. I lacked the strength to open cans and bottles. Some movements were fine but turning a knob or using a key sometimes — ouch! [click to continue…]

Sunday photoblogging: Bedminster Lantern Parade

by Chris Bertram on January 20, 2019

One of the regular fixtures since I moved south of the river in Bristol has been the Bedminster Lantern Parade. It is supposed to happen in December, but quite often gets rescheduled to January because of the weather. Paper lanterns don’t do well in torrential rain. As well as all the local schools parading with their lanterns in fantastic shapes (dragons, leopards, the Clifton suspension bridge) there are troupes of dancers, drummers and the rest who make their way through the terraced streets. Here’s a shot from last night:
Bedminster Lantern Parade-4

Sunday photoblogging: Liverpool, from Albert Dock

by Chris Bertram on January 13, 2019

Looking towards Pier Head, Liverpool

One charge that conservatives often level at professors in universities is that we are biased and that in the humanities and social sciences, our teaching amounts to left/liberal propaganda. Much of this is silly and some of it is self-fulfilling: vilify a group of people long enough, attack their funding and, hey presto!, they end up favouring your political opponents. But I take seriously the pedagogical need to put arguments on both sides in political philosophy. And actually, for some issues in political philosophy it isn’t too hard because there are pro-capitalist libertarians out there who aren’t shy about articulating their reasons. Some of them are even very gifted at crafting teaching-discussion friendly cases and examples: Robert Nozick, for instance or Mike Huemer.

But there’s an issue where I’m struggling to find a text that articulates the conservative case well, and that’s the issue of access to national citizenship, an issue where the libertarians and the liberal left are broadly in agreement. The case isn’t entirely hopeless: I can find plenty of people willing to argue that adult immigrants who chose to immigrate, particularly those who don’t share the culture or values of the receiving state, should face obstacles to naturalization, or even should be barred from it altogether. The trouble is that none of those arguments really works to justify similar barriers to membership for children. [click to continue…]

Sunday photoblogging: Bradgate Park

by Chris Bertram on January 6, 2019

Bradgate Park, Leicestershire