BSJ

The Butler Scholarly Journal

Category: Politics

  1. Fractured Society: France and Islam

    France is still reeling from the horrendous attacks on its capital which left 130 dead. It asks itself: why us? While Islamist terrorism is a much worse scourge in countries across Africa, the Middle East and Asia, in our Western bubble it is France that has suffered most: from Mohammed Merah’s murderous rampage in Toulouse and Montauban in 2012, to the Charlie Hebdo attacks at the beginning of this year, to the recent massacre in Paris. Meanwhile, a report by the French Senate in April estimated that of the 3000 plus Europeans who have left to fight for ISIS, at…

  2. The Irresistible Illusion of Success: Has Britain Learnt Anything From Afghanistan?

    On 16 January 2015, the last Victorian died. It is an incredible idea that at the start of 2015, Ethel Lang, who was born a subject of Queen Victoria, was even alive. During the course of Ethel’s life there have been many game-changing historical events: the founding of the British Labour party, two World Wars, the production of atomic weapons, and the invention of the Internet, Facebook, and the iPad, to name but a few. Thus, it is no wonder that crinoline-clad Victorianism in the present day feels alien. This feeling, however, is illusory. The Victorian era should not be…

  3. The Economic Case for Open Borders

    Ever since the human race evolved in Africa some 200,000 years ago, humans have spread to all corners of the globe in search of better living conditions. This global spread of humanity is what distinguishes humans from most other living species. Of course, it is evident that movement of peoples did not end with complete migration to all parts of the world. Today, humans are tightly packed into a global economy that links all parts of the world through a complex economic and social system in which everyone is dependent on strangers from across the globe. In fact, Canada has…

  4. Do we really want a ‘UKIP of the left’?

    Following Douglas Carswell’s victory in the Clacton by-election (with an astonishing 59.7%), more serious questions are being raised about the legitimacy of UKIP’s threat to the three core parties in Britain. UKIP is incontrovertibly developing as an established figure in British politics with its mild successes in the May 2014 European elections and more recently, their first ever elected MP. With many right-leaning voters struggling to distinguish between Labour, Conservatives, and Liberal Democrats, UKIP is offering a viable alternative. So, as many writers have asked, why isn’t there the option of a ‘UKIP of the left?’ Personally, I wouldn’t vote…

  5. La France en crise

    Alexis de Toqueville once wrote of France, “Has there ever been any nation on earth which was so full of contrasts, and so extreme in all of its acts, more dominated by emotions, and less by principles; always doing better or worse than we expect, sometimes below the common level of humanity, sometimes much above it.” The tale of François Hollande as president is extreme, emotional and overwhelmingly negative. Hollande’s economic programme has been a big volte-face, illustrated in the replacement of left-wing finance minister, Arnaud Montebourg. Montebourg described the efforts to reduce budget deficits in the Eurozone as Kafkaesque,…

  6. Scottish Labour: An Obituary

    Whatever the result of the referendum on 18 September, Scottish Labour will never be the same. Over the past two years it has caused irreparable damage to its own reputation, estranging and insulting both its target middle-voters and its most loyal supporters. Many of the once proudly Labour Scottish left are divorcing themselves in favour of pastures new in the Scottish Greens, SNP and, curiously, UKIP. Labour’s adamant, almost ruthless determination to remain with the union has come at an unprecedented cost. It is the only remotely left-wing party which has sided with the No campaign, and its public image…

  7. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it: A response to Gove’s English syllabus reforms

    Michael Gove recently caused somewhat of a furore with the announcement of his plans to remove American Literature from the GCSE English Literature syllabus, discarding John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird in favour of Austen and Dickens. One fellow English Literature student wailed, ‘Now kids will never know about Atticus Finch, and that is just wrong!’ Much as their melodramatic anguish made me laugh, I could neither refute that their point was valid nor that I was equally infuriated by Gove’s decision. That is not to say that Charles Dickens is anything short…

  8. The World’s Greatest Weapon

    What is the greatest weapon that the world has ever seen? There are a number of strong contenders: the bow and arrow is one of the most enduring and effective weapons in history, whose origins date back 12,000 years; the AK-47 is the most popular gun in the world with between 75 and 100 million in existence; the atomic bomb has the ability to wipe out whole cities in the blink of an eye. These weapons have been ruthlessly efficient at inflicting harm on people across the globe, but in this author’s opinion, none of them count as the world’s…

  9. Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word…

    Wars do not just end once the armistice is signed and the combatants have agreed to a ceasefire. During WWI, German occupying forces devastated the Belgian economy by requisitioning resources, deporting labourers and moving entire factories to Germany to support the war effort. The Allied bombing of Dresden in World War II left the city in ruins and 25,000 civilians dead. The Kosovo War in the late 1990s left over 200,000 internally displaced in its wake. With the development of total war, the effects of war, and the consequences of decimated populations or devastated infrastructure, persist long after the cessation…

  10. Debate: Should Scotland become an independent country?

    Scotland has been part of the United Kingdom since 1707. On 18th September 2014, citizens will have the chance to vote on whether Scotland should become an independent country in its own right, but opinions on the subject are polarised. Here, two Butlerites present either side of the argument for Scottish independence, a debate which has divided the nation. Yes: Kieran Devlin explores the reasons why Scotland should become independent… In this conflict of sneering demonising and contrived one-upmanship, where one “camp’s” mantra is fundamentally petulant fear-mongering, and the other’s fundamentally naïve uber-nationalism; rationality and objectivity is a myth. It’s…