Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is “determined to unite the party” and “committed to rooting out anti-Semitism”. Many are talking of a leftwing purge, which Keir emphatically denies, saying “we’re far better united”.

However, he has suspended his predecessor, who was for a large proportion of Labour Party members, the life and soul of the party. He has also purged the party of a pro-Corbyn contingent in Bristol West constituency on 13 November. While he has pledged to “work constructively” with Boris Johnson, he can’t do so with the Left roots of his own party.

For the record,

Starmer…

“In the midst of uncertainty and turmoil, America’s support for Israel’s security must be rock solid.”

So runs Harris’s address to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a pro-Israel lobby group with over 100,000 members and a “vast pool of donors” (link below).

Described by American political scholars John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt as having a “stranglehold on Congress”, AIPAC wields great power over Capitol Hill — often called on “to draft speeches, work on legislation, advise on tactics, perform research, collect co-sponsors and marshal votes” (quoting Douglas Bloomfield, former AIPAC staff member).

Harris repeated the refrain several times: “We must stand with Israel”. “As Hamas […] fires rockets across Israel’s southern border, we must…

What led to Winston Churchill being removed from office in the fabled ‘11th hour’ of World War II? In 1945, his Conservative Party lost the general election and Churchill resigned as Prime Minister of the UK. Instead, Clement Attlee’s Labour Party emerged victorious.

Winston Churchill’s rise to power

Churchill’s illustrious military career saw him serve in India, the Sudan and South Africa. He distinguished himself several times in battle, but resigned from the service in 1899 to focus on his literary and political career. After just a year, Churchill became Conservative MP for Oldham.

After the outbreak of World War II, Churchill replaced Neville Chamberlain…

Why do people troll? What’s the psychology behind it? Trolling has been around since the Old Norse word ‘troll’, meaning giant or demon, migrated into the English language.

But trolling has since taken on a new meaning, that of the elusive, indiscriminate and potent internet bully — the internet troll — who preys on weakness and feeds on negative reactions.

Here is a deep-dive exploration into why people troll and what they get out of it, psychologically.

What is an online troll?

BBC Bitesize defines online trolls as “people who leave intentionally provocative or offensive messages on the internet in order to get attention, cause…

What is the Proud Boys’ signal? President Trump’s “stand back and stand by” comment, made during the 29 September US presidential debate, was met with consternation, alarm bells and celebration. We wrote about it here. But did he give another signal too?

The Trump administration has received vocal support from Europe’s nationalist movements. The incumbent has presided over a reported 55 per cent increase in white nationalist hate groups. But is there any evidence of actual collusion with members of groups such as the Proud Boys?

And what is the Proud Boys’ secret signal?

Photo by Bithin raj from Pexels

The hand signals of white supremacists: When “OK” is not OK

On 13 July, Snopes fact-checked a…

Recently, Prue Leith from Bake Off opened up about her bad LSD trip story. LSD isn’t for everybody — not least, apparently, for The Great British Bake Off judge. The South African-born restaurateur come television presenter has spoken openly about an “appalling” acid trip.

It was the 1960s — it was LSD

The 1960s was a fecund period for counterculturists. Triggered by the assassination of JFK, post-war affluence and a burgeoning contingent of disaffected youths led to a proliferation of new cultural forms. Dynamic subcultures emerged, alongside alternative lifestyles and modern iterations of Bohemianism.

Another characteristic of this period was widespread experimentation with psychoactive drugs.

Lysergic acid diethylamide…

“Me and the boys at 2am looking for beans” was once a kingpin in the world of memes. It commanded legions and led to the creation of merchandise. Now, the meme is dank. Could it be the dankest meme of 2020? First, let’s take a step back.

What is a meme?

Property of the Internet

A meme is a unit of cultural information spread by imitation. British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins introduced the term in his 1976 work The Selfish Gene. He coined the neologism “meme” by shortening the Greek word mimema, meaning “imitated”.

Dawkins defined memes as “ideas that spread from brain to brain” — culturally equivalent…

This morning, the Mount Sinabung eruption shook Indonesia. When talking about calamities of this scale, it can help to understand the terms used.

[This originally appeared in The Focus]

Earlier this year, after 43 years of dormancy, the Philippine island of Luzon was shaken by the eruption of Taal Volcano. It was reported that its continuous eruption, over a period of only 5 hours, “generated a tall 10 to 15 kilometres steam-laden tephra column with frequent volcanic lightning that rained wet ash fall on the general north as far as Quezon City and Caloocan.”

Mt. Sinabung

This morning (August 10), according to…

After 4 months of lockdown, charity shop donations continue to rise. Businesses may be scraping around for funds, personnel, and volunteer hours, but the one thing they’re not missing is stock.

[This piece originally appeared in The Focus]

Clear-out season in the UK

We’ve all had clear-outs where we realised just how much junk we have accumulated over the years. Many of us, it seems, have had the following thought: Surely someone must be willing to take it?

The covid-19 pandemic has rendered many charity shops unable to accept donations directly. Stock has to be sanitised for a minimum of 72 hours in order to…

A week ago, a momentous blast shook Lebanon, in more ways than one. Many tourists and travellers will add Beirut to the list of no-go areas. The explosion was an accident, but the ensuing protests could be dangerous. Is it safe to travel to Lebanon?

[This piece originally appeared on The Focus]

Emerging from lock-down with a sense of wanderlust, perhaps tinged with claustrophobia, many people might be wondering: is it safe for me to travel to Lebanon, let alone Beirut, after the blast?

Your dollars, pounds and euros will be more valuable to the Lebanese now than they have…

Bruno Cooke

UK author/journalist writing about long distance cycle trips, cultural differences and global politics. Visit onurbicycle.com.

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