Democratic values? A nice idea ….

by Chris Bertram on August 28, 2013

In an op-ed with the Orwellian title “This is a moment for democratic nations to live up to their values”, British Foreign Secretary William Hague makes the case for intervention in Syria. I just want to focus on one sentence of his article:

According to the UN, the Syrian conflict is already the worst refugee crisis since the Rwandan genocide, creating nearly two million refugees and killing more than 100,000 people so far.

Last year, Hague’s colleague, Home Secretary Theresa May put in place measures to make it as hard as possible for Syrian refugees to reach sanctuary in the UK. Subsequently, Syrians who have travelled to the UK and sought asylum have been prosecuted for travelling on false papers and imprisoned, despite the Court of Appeal having ruled that this should not happen. Meanwhile, much poorer countries, such as Jordan, have been coping with a volume of refugees much greater that wealthy countries like the UK have ever had to. The complaints of western politicians that they are motivated by humanitarian concern as they ratchet up the rhetoric for bombing should be listened to in the light of their shameful efforts to evade their humanitarian obligations in the conflict so far.

More Nones than Republicans?

by John Quiggin on August 28, 2013

19 per cent. That’s the proportion of respondents to the latest Pew poll who say they identify as Republicans, an all-time low. It’s also Pew’s 2012 estimate of the proportion of the US population who describe their religious affilation as “atheist”, “agnostic”, or “nothing in particular”, or in the current shorthand, “Nones”.

These results need to be qualified in lots of ways (see over fold). But they still suggest that the ground is shifting against the kind of Christianist politics long exemplified by the Repubs.

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