Is there some confusion over the meaning of ‘One Nation’ (‘Introducing… Theresa May’, Agenda, NI 496)? The expression has nothing to do with keeping Scotland in the UK (‘May presents herself as a One Nation Conservative, putting her in direct conflict with Scotland and its desire to stay in Europe’).
May is a full-on Thatcherite. The One Nation claim is an attempt by extremists to appear moderate and is an insult to genuine moderate, mixed-economy Tories of the social-democratic era.
The bankers want more money. The trade unionists (NI 495): they want more money. All could be seen as the same: greedy, selfish people with no regard for others. In the past, the big difference was that trade unions could claim the moral high ground and thus connect with millions of ordinary people. However, here in Scotland, against the wishes of the majority of the population, the only significant supporters of weapons of mass destruction being based here are the Conservative Party and Unite, the UK’s biggest union. When morality returns, so will the members.
I read with interest the article by Louisa Waugh (NI 495). My experience is observing the effects of UN peacekeeping in Timor-Leste. Maybe such articles could highlight 10 key ethical behaviours that are needed to ensure that the UN is doing a good job.
These could include: 1) Improve language skills of peacekeepers so that they have at least some cultural and linguistic understanding. 2) Involve women in the peacekeeping at every stage of the process, including as decision makers, implementers and monitors. 3) Peacekeeping requires both military responses and community building, so the intervention forces somehow need to have the structure to truly value the non-military. 4) Monitor and ensure high standards from the Blue Helmets.
Digital titans (NI 494) reminded me of an essay posted online by Carmen Hermosillo, who was a pioneer of the communities created by early bulletin-boards on the internet in the late 1990s – long before the worldwide web became commonplace. I quote:
‘It is fashionable to suggest that cyberspace is some island of the blessed where people are free to indulge and express their individuality. This is not true. I have seen many people spill out their emotions, their guts, online, and I did so myself until I began to see that I had commodified myself.
‘Commodification means that you turn something into a product that has a money value. In the 19th century, commodities were made in factories by workers who were mostly exploited. I created my interior thoughts as commodities for the corporations that owned the board that I was posting to, like Compuserve or AOL and that commodity was then sold on to other consumer entities as entertainment.’
A colleague just shared your online web documentary about life after Ebola in Sierra Leone (backintouch.org). I just wanted to thank you and your team of Salone reporters for this stunning, necessary work.
I covered Ebola in Liberia, in what was the early days for the international media but what was always far too late in the crisis for the people living with it. Watching your documentaries is hard for me but they’re beautiful and moving and I am so grateful to see this kind of storytelling from the days after the ‘crisis’ label wore off, but when ordinary people still must cope with this trauma.