Posts byOllie Corfe

“My own opinion is enough for me, and I claim the right to have it defended against any consensus, any majority, anywhere, any place, any time. And anyone who disagrees with this can pick a number, get in line, and kiss my ass.” - Christopher Hitchens

Cuba Sin Castro

The end of communism in the Americas?

For the first time in over sixty years, a member of the Castro family will not be leading Cuba. At the end of another five-year term as First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba, Raúl Castro, who took the reins from his older brother Fidel in 2008, is finally taking a back seat. His

The 4-Day Working Week

Eat, Sleep, Work... Obsolete?

Few would expect a nascent political party that took home less than 3% of the vote to have much sway on policy. And yet, the progressives of Más País have just obtained approval from the Spanish government for the crux of their launch platform: a state-backed trial of a 4-day working week. Although this secures

“My Strength and Stay”

The British monarchy’s longest serving consort passes away

On the morning of Friday, April 9th 2021, Buckingham Palace announced the death of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. The Queen’s husband of 73 years passed away peacefully at Windsor Castle, only two months and one day from his 100th birthday. In what has been a challenging year for the Royal Family,

Freedom from the Press

Private people versus the public interest

In 2002, the California Coastal Records Project took to the skies to monitor the erosion of the Golden State’s shoreline. Unbeknownst to them, one of the over 12,000 photos compiled captured the sprawling residence of Barbra Streisand. Despite the image languishing in archival obscurity, the singer and actress promptly filed a $50 million lawsuit against

Battery Strife

How going green is bound to get us all charged up

No sovereign nation has ever been able to lay claim to more than 20% of global oil reserves, the backbone of 20th century energy and the underlying cause of immeasurable bloodshed. If current trends are to be heeded and the harnessing of renewables is to power this century, batteries are destined to be the bottleneck

For the Brecord…

Setting the Brexit record straight once and for all

Netflix certainly won’t be hard-pressed for conflict in their inevitable Brexit-based political drama (HBO have already cranked out a film on the subject). After dominating British public discourse for the best part of five years, it’s easy to forget why the United Kingdom opted to leave the European Union in the first place. Left unchecked, the distortions that divided the country during the Brexit process risk filling the history books, no doubt deploying an exhaustive “Brexicon” of questionably imaginative portmanteaus (that even have their own scientific paper): you’ve no doubt heard

Branko Milanović on Inequality and the Two Faces of Capitalism

Branko Milanović is a Serbian-American economist currently teaching at LSE and the Barcelona Institute for International Studies. His doctoral thesis, undertaken at the University of Belgrade in 1987, focussed on inequality in then-Yugoslavia, setting the tone for his future work. Ever since, his specialty has been income distribution. Last year, he published Capitalism, Alone: The Future of the System That Rules the World, detailing the consequences of inequality around the world and putting forth the idea of two

We the Sheeple

How collectivism is the keystone of conspiracy.

“It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.” ― Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes  According to the late Austrian-British philosopher Karl Popper, the validity of a scientific hypothesis hinges on its falsifiability: the quality of being open to refutation

“Death to France”

Why is the French Republic trapped in the crosshairs of radical Islamists?

On October 16th, middle-school teacher Samuel Paty was decapitated for having shown caricatures of the prophet Mohammed to his class. The cartoons were the work of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, twelve of whose editors fell prey to an Islamist attack of their own in January 2015. On October 29th, less than two weeks later, an assailant claimed the lives of three people in Nice, one of whom was also beheaded. In the same town, in July 2016, an Islamic terrorist drove a truck through a

Claudio Borio and the Behind-the-Scenes Bank Keeping Us Afloat

The chief economist of the central bankers' bank discusses the price of the pandemic.

Claudio Borio, a man humorously self-described as “very secretive”, is without doubt one of the most important people you’ve never heard of. Italian by birth, he grew up in Argentina before a gap year in the UK fortuitously turned into a 9-year stint at the University of Oxford: all the way from PPE undergraduate to research fellow, picking up a

New New Labour

The Official Opposition Officially Back In Business

Brexit, coronavirus, the US presidential election – competition for the spotlight of public attention is rarely so fierce. On the stage of British politics in particular, the battle for the immediate health and long-term prospects of UK nationals seems to have pitted the Conservative government against a new foe every day of the year. Meanwhile, reeling from a historic defeat in the general election last December, the

How Are The Mighty Fallen!

“The west is the best Get here and we’ll do the rest” – The Doors, The End (1967)  Jim Morrison couldn’t have foreseen that those words would ring with more irony today than they did when he wrote them over 50 years ago. At present, Costa Ricans enjoy a higher life expectancy than US citizens, Belarus has a lower poverty rate than Canada, Jordan has a higher literacy rate than

COVID-19 Dispatch: Frans de Waal Talks Human Nature

Our evolutionary past manifests itself in more ways than one.

The world hasn’t been quite this chaotic for some time: society as we know it seems ripe to burst after three months of pandemic. If you’re tired of the accusatory politics and contradictory science, Frans de Waal is just the right man to take a step back and peel back the layers of perplexing human

Space Corp.

One small step for a private company, one giant leap for the private sector.

For the first time since the Space Shuttle was decommissioned in 2011, American astronauts were launched aboard an American spacecraft from American soil. On Saturday May 30th, NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken took off from Cape Canaveral in a SpaceX vehicle, and successfully docked with the ISS on Sunday morning. The event marked the first time that a private company has been contracted (and, crucially, trusted) by NASA to perform such a delicate

Rhythm and Blues

How the sudden break in routine is wreaking havoc with our personal lives.

The beat has stopped, yet the show must go on. The global consequences of lockdown are plastered wall to wall across every news outlet. The personal consequences, however, are far more discreet. Ever since the plug was pulled we have been swaying awkwardly, mouths agape, waiting for the party to resume. Yet rather than just a skip on the record, it now sounds like we’re in this for the long haul. Unless we make a compelling effort to adapt and keep our footing, our new rhythm will feel awfully like

COVID-19 Dispatch: Adam Tooze Talks History In The Making

A crisis expert makes sense of a world in chaos.

It can’t have escaped many by now that what we are living through is entirely unprecedented. Despite the novelty of these uncertain times, a great many lessons can be learned from those well-versed in historical disaster. Adam Tooze towers above the fray as arguably the most informed of them all: Professor of History at Columbia University, former International Security Studies director at

COVID-19 Dispatch: Arnoud Boot Talks Europe’s Funding Feud

United we stand, divided we fall short.

If you were tasked with crafting the most eye-watering resumé imaginable for a finance student, you’d be hard pressed to do better than Arnoud Boot’s. The University of Amsterdam’s very own Professor of Corporate Finance and Financial Markets, whose expertise has previously been called upon by the central banks of the Netherlands, France and Sweden, also happens to be the author of a collection of renowned books on banking and

Biting The Hand That Heals You

         In many corners of the globe, calling out the tyrannical practices of an over-zealous executive, corrupt judicial or archaic legislature is crucial for progress, peace and prosperity. In the most mature democracies of the developed world (“Western world” belongs on the Rolodex of anachronisms), we’ve all but forgotten what it means to worry about the sanctity our fundamental institutions. The pillars of our governments stand true and inviolable, and yet, for some reason, public discontent

A Kingdom Divided, An Ireland Reunited?

      It’s no secret that England and Ireland have historically endured a bitter relationship. Northern Ireland, the offspring of their centuries-old row, traumatized by decades of violence, is today cause for concern for both of its progenitors. As cascading political upheavals have passions running high, cries for re–examining the custody of the country have been growing louder by the day. Is it high time for Northern Ireland to take its leave of the United Kingdom and