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Author: CycleFree

The China Peril

The China Peril

The charge sheet The oppression and destruction of the Uighurs. Its methods include killing, mass imprisonment, torture, rape, medical experiments, the removal of children from their parents, destruction of mosques and burial grounds, banning the use of the Uighur language, indoctrination, oppressive surveillance, slave labour: a genocide for the 21st century. And let’s not forget Tibet. Pressurising Turkey to stop providing refuge to Uighur and Turkic Muslims fleeing China and to extradite them to countries such as Tajikistan, from where…

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Dangerous myths

Dangerous myths

What happened today was down to him – a President who has ignored his oath of office, who has for months deliberately cast doubt on the democratic process and trust in it, who has undermined its processes, who has spread lies about the result, who has abused the legal process to try and support his lies, who has deliberately woven a myth about his election victory being stolen from him and who has urged his supporters to fight. And now…

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Cyclefree’s 2020 Awards

Cyclefree’s 2020 Awards

Back by popular demand – mine. I have to do something to while away the time in my lonely barn halfway up a sheep-ridden hillside, wrapped up in scarves and mittens, pencil stub between my fingers, teeth chattering, the stormy wind howling outside, rain lashing the windows, like some minor character in Dr Zhivago or Jane Eyre with no-… (“Enough with the clichés! Get on with it!” Ed). 1. The Shami Chakrabarti Award for Trashing One’s Reputation – Of course,…

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Cyclefree gives her Predictions for 2021

Cyclefree gives her Predictions for 2021

The virus will continue to do its worst. It may well mutate further. There will be another outbreak (possibly even a serious one) in China but the Chinese government will say far less about it. Foreign journalists reporting on it will be expelled. Chinese journalists won’t report on it for fear of facing the same fate as Zhang Zhan. The government’s vaccination programme will not reach the level of daily vaccinations needed to stop its spread. By early summer the…

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Some Definitions

Some Definitions

“Democracy in Europe” by Larry Siedentop, written when the EU was trying to draft a constitution is, despite its age, worth a read. Surprising as it may seem, given the US’s own current democratic difficulties, the outsider’s analysis of what constitutions mean, how they are arrived at, different views of democracy and how these interact with a Continent’s history, culture and religions is acute. It is one which European and British politicians would have done well to consider before embarking…

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Covid Whack-A-Mole

Covid Whack-A-Mole

“Fatta la legge, trovato l’inganno.” Every law has a loophole. Though many Italians view it less as a description, more an order, a necessity, even, if life is to be bearable. Find the loopholes and stretch the rules to their limits. It is an approach which comes from a long history of mistrust of often distant, capricious, arbitrary rulers, a belief that the state’s benefits are, as has often been the case, doled out to favourites, to those clever enough…

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Setting An Example

Setting An Example

Wikimedia Commons During the hearings of the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, any number of senior bank officials were rightly chastised for their failures, particularly in relation to creating a culture in which wrongdoing flourished, many people were aware and yet no-one said anything. (“Poor governance and controls are illustrated by the rarity of whistle-blowing, either within or beyond the firm, even where, such as in the case of Libor manipulation, prolonged and blatant misconduct has been evident.”) If anyone…

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In The Bleak Midwinter

In The Bleak Midwinter

“Tis the season to be jolly careful”. The Prime Minister’s default is always to go for the quip or memorable phrase. It is infuriating when so much is at stake. The other clear message is: don’t go to a restaurant or pub, unless you are on your own or with your family. If your son comes home from university, you are two households and on no account must you go out for a meal together. But you can go to…

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