Bill Longstaff: On Putin the poisoner

According to a report by former British High Court judge Robert Owen, the 2006 murder of ex-KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko in London was carried out by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) and probably approved by President Vladimir Putin. Putin has, of course, denied the charge but I would put my money on the good judge, ...

Bill Longstaff: UK MPs vote overwhelmingly to recognize State of Palestine

It was overwhelming. British MPs voted 274 to 12 this week in support of a motion to recognize Palestine as a state. The vote was only symbolic, as it isn’t binding on the government, nonetheless it sends a clear message on how sentiment is going in the UK and elsewhere on the Palestine issue. MPs ...

Bill Longstaff: Who is "part of the problem," Mr. Cameron?

Recently British PM David Cameron, even while encouraging Iran to help deal with ISIS, couldn’t resist taking a shot at the country. In his UN speech, he stated superciliously that Iran can be “part of the solution, not part of the problem.” Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, took umbrage, declaring the remark “wrong and unacceptable.” A ...

Bill Longstaff: ISIS—a force for peace?

A juxtaposition of two articles in the Guardian this week suggested a very odd development indeed in the Middle East—the barbaric hordes of ISIS currently marauding through Syria and northern Iraq may actually be, in the longer term, a force for peace. The first article referred to a meeting in New York between British PM ...

Bill Longstaff: UK PM claims Britain is a Christian country—it ain’t

British Prime Minister David Cameron has put the cat among the pigeons claiming, perhaps unduly influenced by the Easter season, that Britain is a Christian country. In fact, he suggested Brits should be downright evangelical about it. He is, however, dead wrong. A 2012 British Society Attitudes Survey indicated that the country is barely religious, ...

Bill Longstaff: Tory MPs defy government

No, the above headline most certainly does not refer to Canadian Tory MPs. In the recent vote in the British House of Commons on Prime Minister David Cameron’s motion to initiate military action against Syria, all attention was focused on the defeat of the motion. And rightly so—the vote was of considerable importance in world ...

Bill Longstaff: Starbucks sticks it to the Brits

I always look forward to reading yet another story about how multinational corporations slither out of their tax responsibilities and was, therefore, duly amused by a piece I encountered in Al Jazeera about the world’s favourite coffee shop. It appears Starbucks, while selling £643-million worth of goods in the U.K. last year, paid not a ...

Trashy's World: Ah. Foreign monarchies are so…

… foreign… (5) Trashy, Ottawa, Ontario

Bill Longstaff: Time to disestablish the Church of England

The Anglican Church, as the nation’s officially “established” church, has had a privileged position in England since the Act of Supremacy in 1534. It isn’t called the Church of England for nothing. For example, the 26 most senior bishops of the Church have by right a seat in the House of Lords. The head of ...

Bill Longstaff: Why does Britain have nuclear weapons?

There’s a lot of talk these days about the possibility of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons. Britain’s government is one of the voices adamant that it must not be allowed to do so. Oddly, no one has raised the obvious question, Why does the UK have nuclear weapons? Iran, although insisting it has no intention of ...

Bill Longstaff: Funny picture of the day—Julian Assange’s personal patrol

Below is a Sang Tan/Associated Press photo of policemen hanging out at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. The occasion is Julian Assange’s presence within. As the whole world knows, Ecuador has granted Assange political asylum from the pursuit of British and Swedish authorities. But look at the cops! I count 13 of them twiddling their ...

Canadian Progressive World: London Olympics: 12 Athletes With Very Interesting Names

Names have always facinated me. What do they really mean? Or subtly suggest? If anything. Consider these 12 names carrying the hopes of hundreds of thousands of people around the world at the 2012 London Olympics: Kelsey Titmarsh, Canada, Gymnastics Karen Cockburn, Canada, Trampoline Hope Solo, USA, Soccer Sarah Hammer, USA, Cycling Destinee Hooker, USA, ...

Bill Longstaff: Rupert Murdoch unfit for journalism

A British parliamentary panel has concluded that press lord Rupert Murdoch “is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company.” They might equally have said he is not a fit person to exercise stewardship over journalism. The sleaze that has been revealed in Murdoch’s media empire is a direct result ...

Bill Longstaff: Iran under siege … for 2,500 years

David Cameron hoisted himself onto the world stage once again, as he is wont to do, and declared Iran an international threat. This is rich coming from a British PM. The Brits have been harassing Iran since the days of the Great Game. They invaded the country in the 1940s and were instrumental in destroying ...

Bill Longstaff: Baroness Tonge, Israel and the pain of political correctness

Of all the various catalysts of political correctness, perhaps Israel is the most powerful. Anyone who seriously criticizes Israel or seriously supports the Palestinians is seriously in danger of being accused of such wickedness he or she must be dismissed from public discourse. Such was the fate of Jenny Tonge, Baronesss of Kew, recently a ...