Posts tagged ‘Politics’

March 12, 2017

Is International Women’s Day Patronising?

We’re women and we’re feminists. Bunty and I have always identified as feminists and we grew up in feminist households where the men were also feminists. What is International Women’s Day about?

Is it an annual appraisal of ‘women’s issues’ based on progress and regress of women’s rights? Is it about celebration and protest? It it

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May 18, 2016

Feminism & Film

Thelma and Louise

Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis starting the selfie craze in Thelma and Louise

What does it mean to be a celebrity feminist and do they help or hinder the cause? Can they even call themselves so?

In an article in The Guardian, a journalist forensically analyses the contribution of so-called Hollywood Feministas (my word) and whether they failed. Feminists such as Emma Watson are berated

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May 18, 2016

All Hail Mayor Sadiq Khan

Sadiq Khan The Chatterjis Blog

What an amazing city London is. Not only a world capital, a fashion capital, an art and architectural capital, but can it now claim to to be the most tolerant and integrated capital city?

After what everyone agrees was a racist, vicious campaign by the Tories and their candidate, Zac Goldsmith, the majority election of

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March 6, 2016

Marvelous Manto: The Great Writer from Pakistan

mantoAn indie flick from Pakistan has been wowing critics and I found myself part of a 300 strong crowd at its premier in London last week.

Manto is the kind of literary figure that my mum becomes glaze eyed about and she’ll suddenly recite passages and look at me with an air of pride at how, clearly, all artists in Urdu are superior to any other.

Manto was a controversial writer whose career spans the 40s and

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January 25, 2016

The World Goes Pop!

The World Goes Pop Tate Modern

Proving that pop art is more than Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, The World Goes Pop at the Tate Modern is an exhibition that tracks pop art through the ages and the world. We couldn’t recommend it enough. Rarely has such an amazing

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September 30, 2015

Kashmir: The Vajpayee Years

AS Dulat Kashmir The Vajpayee Years Launch LondonThe truth can be elastic as it sometimes depends upon the perspective and knowledge of the person making the claim, however, Mr A S Dulat, formerly the head of India’s intelligence agency (Research & Analysis Wing) can perhaps claim to know the truth more than most of us. Kashmir: The Vajpayee Years by A S Dulat was launched in London last week at a lovely event at the Taj St James’ Court with guest of honour, Dr Farooq Abdullah (former Chief Minister of Kashmir, the Indian side).

It was a packed event with people standing at the back of the room. I had encouraged Mr Dulat to launch his book in London and as adorably humble as ever, he said ‘who would want to come to that?’ Loads of people was my reply! A couple of months later and there we were celebrating.

Kashmir is a well known and forever difficult subject for Indians and Pakistanis and often the

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August 27, 2015

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Bidisha & Mohammed Osborne

Yasmin Alibhai Brown and Bidisha

For a few seconds, time stopped and the audience dropped a collective jaw as Yasmin Alibhai-Brown asked if we knew that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne’s brother was a Muslim convert, Mohammed Osborne. No we didn’t! But…but… how did that happen?

exotic_england_ Yasmin Alibhai Brown

It was a sell out session with the charismatic journalist and writer,

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August 20, 2015

Why Did Europe Conquer The World?

Why did Europe conquer the world

In 1914, 84% of the world was under colonial rule from a European nation. Quite an achievement considering that Europe makes approximately 8% of the world’s land mass. These were some of the attention-grabbing opening lines of economic historian, Philip T Hoffman’s event at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

How did that happen?

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August 17, 2014

The Honourable Woman

the honourable woman

Summer is fun but you are invariably saving up for a holiday or have recently spent over your budget on one. This is how my sister and I came to find ourselves one evening in London. Water water everywhere and not a drop to sip. (Change “water” to “champagne” and you will have our general mood).

“This looks a bit shit,” one of us murmurs “but shall we watch it?”. Yah, we have nothing better to do. Enter episode one of the Honourable Woman, which I have to admit did not really impress me. Yet I found myself returning week after week to watch it.  (I have not religiously watched a weekly series since Twin Peaks and I’m not exaggerating).  I believe it was because of the women.

When was the last time you saw a tv series filled with older women in strong roles with excellent dialogue?

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June 13, 2014

Strange Fruit in Uttar Pradesh

Sexual assault against women in India, particularly Uttar Pradesh, seems to be taking turn for the worst as rapists become emboldened by the lack of police investigation and political sympathy in favour of the criminal.   In the last fortnight four women have been raped and hung from trees by their own dupatta (scarf) or sari.

These crimes are outrageous enough but even more so are the continuous foot-in-mouth statements from the chief minister of the state, his father and a growing chorus of male chief ministers from other states.   I watched a TV discussion on NDTV (channel 511 on Sky) where a representative of the UP government repeatedly stated ‘what about men who are wrongly accused?’

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May 17, 2014

A New Saffron Dawn in Indian Politics

narendra-modi

‘The world’s largest democracy’ cast more than 500 million votes over five weeks to decide who would win and take India roaring into the future and Narendra Modi came out on top with a huge majority.  India has spoken. Decisively.

For the first time in 30 years Indian voters helped create a majority government blasting the incumbents to an insignificant minority.  Right wing and Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) had long been tipped to win the election but most Delhiites I spoke to last month were sure that they wouldn’t have an outright majority and would inevitably have to form a coalition of sorts.  My goodness was everyone shocked, it was time for a new generation.  Even former MPs that had held on to their safe seats for 15 years or more were ousted for the first time. 

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March 28, 2014

Nick Clegg v Nigel Farage

clegg farage

Did you hear the Great Debate yesterday between the above? Probably not if you don’t live in England or have a job as it was aired during office hours.

Anyway, there is much commentary and analysis about it today in the papers and on Radio 4. Wide consensus is that Farage won.

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March 23, 2014

Asia House Literature Festival 2014

asia house litfest

The Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival is back in May and what a programme they have in store! The Chatterjis Blog will cover the event as official bloggers for the festival which includes writers from over 17 different Asian countries.  In addition to a regular festival format a new series, Extra Words will introduce debut authors from Pakistan, Nepal and Thailand.

the last word

The festival officially opens on 6th May with high profile writer, Hanif Kureishi who will talk about his new book The Last Word.  There are a few pre-festival events in April that sound fabulous too.  On 10th April there is an event called Separations discussing what happens when a country suffers from political divisions.  Featuring Korean writers Kyung-sook Shin (2011 Man Asia Prize winner) and Krys Lee and Pakistani writer Qaisra Shahraz whose work focuses on women and partition it should be a lively evening.  Why Do Indians Vote? Democracy in India is another pre-festival

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March 14, 2014

Letters From a Prince

Prince Charles

Earlier this week the Guardian newspaper won a nine year court battle with the UK government in order to see letters sent by Prince Charles to UK ministers under the Freedom of Information Act.

The letters apparently show evidence of the prince lobbying senior government ministers to change policies that he is unhappy with.

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August 18, 2013

The Most Overpaid Apprentice in the World

prince-charles

HRH Prince Charles, the world’s longest serving and most overpaid apprentice, has been making MPs nervous with his increasing desires to meddle in British politics.  The Guardian newspaper reported over the weekend that Prince Charles has seconded two of his staff to government offices, one was even in the cabinet! 

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July 1, 2013

Snowden’s Snowballs

edward snowden

If you were going to make the USA your biggest enemy, shhhurely you’d plan your travel arrangements a little better?  One way ticket to Mars anyone?

Edward Snowden’s grand whistleblowing revelations have not saved lives and were not super urgent so why did he not fly to a safe country before  making his announcements?  He could then skip along to the respective embassy that he would apply for asylum  and hey presto, relief and a new start while the USA initiated life-long legal proceedings for extradition.

Whilst Edward Snowden’s revelations have

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June 17, 2013

Syria: Herewegoagain…urgh…and Whose Side Should We Be On?

syrian-refugee-camp

The names and places change but the sad fact is that I am war fatigued and rather disillusioned and skeptical of Western governments justification of their desire to intervene in Syria.  No one listens to the general public and there is no alternative political party to vote for, only war-mongering ones. The Assad regime is no longer fashionable and Britain is on the side of the rebels.  Except the British government’s mouthpiece, the BBC, casually mentions towns that are captured by the rebels and the death toll of civilians at the hands of the rebels –  67 was the number of civilian deaths in ONE town in the last news report I listened to and they are meant to be the goodies!!

The old global political alliances seem to be reassuring us that nothing has changed in their mentality since the Cold War. 

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June 14, 2013

What Does A Male Feminist Look Like?

freddie mercury

The Guardian today published a lovely article written by Australian comedian Ben Pobjie addressed to Australian men about the embarrassing sexist attitudes reaching international media attention, particularly as it is directed at Australia’s female prime minister.  I was only just gearing up to write about the disgusting menu presented at an Australian fund raiser for their opposition party where the Australian PM’s body parts were described when today another news story broke.  This time the Australian PM was asked whether her hair stylist husband was gay.

Whilst the article makes for an interesting read and I’m glad to see Australian men upset at the behaviour of other Australian men, the most interesting part of the article for me was a tiny paragraph in the middle of the article:

But I understand the urge to deny that sexism is happening, because I’m a man and I hate talking about sexism: it makes me feel guilty and self-conscious. It is, frankly, awkward.

So now I turn my post away from Australian men to men in general. Why does sexism make you feel guilty and awkward? 

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May 15, 2013

Foot-in-Mouth

toru hashimoto

Only yesterday, I was declaring Sepp Blatt to be a knobhead and within minutes we have a new knobhead of the day.

Today’s coveted award goes to Osaka mayor, Toru Hashimoto, who said that there is no proof that thousands of Korean women that were the sex slaves

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April 14, 2013

Who Deserves Military Honours?

CEREMONIAL PROCESSION ENTERS WHITEHALL

Queen Mother’s funeral

Former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher will receive military honour for her funeral and this has caused great concern amongst some, especially (apparently) from Buckingham Palace.

That there seems to be huffing and puffing about an extraordinary Brit receiving military honours usually reserved for Royalty is astonishing.  Margaret Thatcher did far more for her country than the Queen Mother and Princess Diana

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April 9, 2013

The Iron Lady Dies

Margaret Thatcher

You will have read and heard enough of Margaret Thatcher’s death yesterday on 8 April.  Although she was a polarising politician like no other, she was Britain’s first and only female Prime Minister.

I grew up in a world when a woman ran the country and was an excellent stateswoman, holding her ground amongst the other great leaders of the world.  My mother would often remind me that her father owned a shop and look where she was! Prime Minister of Great Britain!

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April 5, 2013

It’s Football Not Politics!

Paolo Di Canio Sunderland

The new manager of Sunderland Football Club has caused more controversy and taken over more newspaper inches over his past political affiliations than his job and he’s not pleased about it.

In the past, Paulo Di Canio, a former Lazio player, was recorded as stating he was a facist but not a racist during a mix up of prejudices in a conversation.

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March 24, 2013

Legally Robbed

cyprus-bank-protest

As I write, the Cypriot President is in Brussels trying to negotiate a deal to rescue his financially strapped country from bankruptcy.  The potential deal is thought to include a mandatory tax of 20% on those with savings over €100,000.  Last week the tax that was being agreed was 10% on all savings over €10,000 which amounts to legally sanctioned daylight robbery.

It’s an understatement to say people on the island are aren’t very pleased

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March 1, 2013

Mount Etna Casts Her Vote

mount etna

The Gods broke their silence in the Italian election deadlock to vote against Silvio Berlusconi.  Speaking through their Earthly representative and Europe’s only active volcano, Mount Etna, they threatened to flatten Italy if that sleaze got back into power.

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November 20, 2012

How to Lose Friends and Alienate People

Even formerly sympathetic people find themselves disgusted by Israel’s mini war on Hammas and the Palestinians.

The timing has been blamed on Israeli elections taking place in January and that the war should make Netenyahu look good and distract from social politics to his favoured security politics.  Well, I’m sure the Gazans dying ‘by accident’

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November 8, 2012

Ambassador Hamilton of Formula 1

The rubber tyres screech in from the Indian Formula 1 track and Lewis Hamilton leaves the glamour, girls and champagne behind to jump on to a small jet waiting to show him tiny premature babies in incubators that proved to him that India still needs British aid.

In recent weeks the British government announced that it would be cutting back aid to India.  India is touted as a fast developing nation, Indian MPs sniff at British aid donations saying it is unnecessary and the British public is less concerned about a country that has a growing number of millionaires with an insatiable appetite for Range Rovers.

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November 8, 2012

Argo

I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but I have to confess that if I’d known a little more about the film I watched last night, I probably would have thought nope, not for me!

A film starring and directed by Ben Affleck? And George Clooney? Urgh! About the Iranian hostage crisis in late 70s/early 80s. Double urgh, stars and stripes waving??

To my dismay (and enjoyment) it was really good. There is so much

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November 6, 2012

US Presidential Countdown

Four years ago, Barrack Obama won the greatest ever Presidential victory known in modern history. I never believed that I would see an African American sit in the White House as President of the USA.

Memories of euphoria, of utterly disbelief and of hope filled the world. I do wonder what emotions will fill the world after this election?

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October 4, 2012

Spaghetti Union

A story broke today about an Italian local government officer who slashed the tyres of a disabled man’s car as he complained that the minister was using the disabled parking spot.  Yesterday news broke out from the Great Stiletto that the head of the tax collection agency had been arrested

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September 27, 2012

Masters of Money

If you are fascinated with economics, Masters of Money, is a really good series by the BBC portraying 3 of the most influential economists of the 20th century, John Maynard Keynes, Friedrich Hayek, and Karl Marx.

Set against the backdrop of today’s recession, the series examines in lamens terms, the theories of these men and how their view on the economic crisis of their time shaped policies and politics around the world.

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September 25, 2012

Pleb-Gate

Here is an embarrassing incident that just won’t go away.

 

Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell has been officially logged calling serving officers of the Metropolitan police “plebs”. It was leaked to the press on Monday and today and following two apologies from Mr Mitchell, you would think that would be the end of it.

Not in this case. Is there more to this than meets the eye? Could it be because Mr Mitchell refuses to tell what he exactly did say? Could it be that the use of the word “pleb” demonstrates just how out of touch with the British public the government are or are we all just so insulted that the people who meant to serve us, who were voted in by us think of us as lower than them. Will this story only end in the resignation of Andrew Mitchell?

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September 18, 2012

Gaffe Prone Mitt

With not long to go before the US presidential election, some have declared today the day that Republican candidate, Mitt Romney lost.

Mitt Romney was filmed at a fundraiser sneering that he didn’t need to care about the 47% of Americans that don’t pay federal income tax.  Subsequently, whilst it appeared that he was embarrassed by the remarks he only apologised for the tone and not the content.

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September 4, 2012

Paralympic Boos And Snubs

Week 2, Day 2 and controversy overshadows the awesome Paralympics. First, there is the booing of George Osborne as he presented medals, secondly there was the alleged “snubbing” of Duchess Catherine, and thirdly and the most abhorrent was the attack on military guards at the Olympics.

The Olympics is supposed to be A-political. It is an event to celebrate the achievements of the greatest athletes regardless of creed or colour. Sorry for the sermon, but I feel slightly agitated.

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August 28, 2012

Red Heat: Consipiracy, Murder and the Cold War in the Caribbean

This wonderful book on political history by acclaimed author, Alex Von Tunzelmann (interviewed last year for the Chatterjis Hall of Fame) is set at a cracking pace like a thriller except, unfortunately for a certain part of the world, these events actually took place.

The USA, Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and their past and present leaders are the central characters.  The author charts the rise of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, the glamorous ladies man

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August 21, 2012

Assange: A Battle for Free Speech?

Is Julian Assange a hero of democracy and freedom of speech or someone who fell foul of technology like a celebrity who didn’t think before hitting ‘send’?

Technological improvements and new product launches promising instant and global communication pour out across the world almost monthly.  We are still naïve about the reach of the mass communication tools in our possession often to our detriment as recipients of fines for racist tweets are finding out.

Did Julian Assange honestly believe that there would be no consequences

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August 6, 2012

Insincere Sympathy

Six Sikh worshippers were killed in the USA today by a ‘domestic terrorist’ and this is only days after the gunman broke loose on Batman fans in Aurora, Colorado.

After awful atrocities like these there often appears to be much hand-wringing and squirming amongst politicians who at once want to show sympathy whilst distancing themselves from the gun law debate.

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June 7, 2012

Violent Politics

A Norwegian friend at university once made a hilarious impression of MPs at the House of Commons with their napping and sudden jeering.  It was the 90s and I confess his impression was accurate at the time although thank goodness things have changed.

The British political chamber is mild, however, compared to Indian, Pakistani and now shockingly that of GREECE.  I was surprised when I saw my first televised fist fight in Indian parliament but nothing prepared me for the physical attack on live television between a Greek far-right politician and two women MPs.

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May 8, 2012

Vivre Le France

After 31 years, France elects a socialist President, Francoise Hollande, who will immediately overturn right wing policies of scrapping tax breaks for the rich and taking steps to cap the public deficit. His first few quick symbolic measures will include freezing the cost of fuel for three months to ease the nation’s wallets and cutting his own presidential salary by 30%.

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April 27, 2012

Murdoch And Corleone

Perhaps Rupert Murdoch watched Godfather Part II (or his lawyers did) when preparing for his questioning as part of the Leveson enquiry into the British phone hacking scandal.  As Michael Corleone was hauled before a Senate Committee investigation into his family affairs the same applied to Rupert Murdoch and his famiglia, News Corporation.  Let’s play a game: Who Said What?

I’ve never asked a prime minister for anything in my life.

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April 24, 2012

Dining With The PM

James Murdoch is in a long line of dinner guests who have courted Prime Minister, David Cameron, to obtain political access for commercial gain. It was recently reported that 15 donors enjoyed secret dinners and lunches at Downing Street and Chequers parting with approximately £25million in cash. These donors would have had access to information and also the ability to influence policies that would ultimately effect you and I.

The term bribery comes to mind. But to what extent and what do we really expect…..

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