Will we be ready for the next pandemic?

10 Mar

Here are some numbers that are worth knowing. There are about 7.5 billion humans who are currently alive. That’s quite a lot: certainly more than have ever been alive at any point in the past. But it’s probably only about 7% of all the modern humans, Homo sapiens, who have ever lived; there have been […]

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Ten woke ways to shut down debate

10 Mar

Suppressing free speech has a long and bloody history. To see how violence and intimidation can be used to silence opponents, just look at the record of any tyrannical regime that’s ever existed. And then there are more subtle methods. ‘Cancel culture’ is spoken of as if it were something new. It isn’t. You don’t […]

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Ahead of the Stormont budget, should the Executive be rethinking its priorities?

6 Mar

With the first budget of the newly reconstituted Northern Ireland Executive expected shortly, there will be an opportunity to consider whether public resources are being directed appropriately to deal with Northern Ireland’s priorities for the decade to come. The table above shows UK public spending per person in each UK region for various expenditure categories for the 2018-19 fiscal year, in both monetary terms and expressed as a percentage of the UK average. For example, health spending in Northern Ireland … Read more

It’s time liberals embraced economic nationalism

6 Mar

The coronavirus pandemic is the perfect metaphor for the perils of hyper-connection. We no longer need the help of rats or fleas to spread disease — we can do it ourselves thanks to mass international travel and supply chains. And we are no longer self-sufficient when things go wrong — as the UK doesn’t have […]

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Notes From Underground #9: Crossing the Threshold

23 Jan

This is the ninth in a series of weekly essays from Dougald Hine. Notes From Underground is for anyone who has been sitting with what we know and what we fear about the climate crisis – it’s an invitation to a deepening reflection on the context …