Category Archives: Comment

Romania should withstand pressure to lift ban on international adoptions

european-parliament-buildingThis article was also published in the EU Observer in November 2009

Ever since Romania prohibited international adoptions in 2001 it has been pressurised by the leaders of France, Italy, Israel, Spain and the US to lift the ban.  Behind these politicians are private adoption agencies, adoptive parents and others interested in getting children for whatever reason. Continue reading

It’s a disaster

img_9832Preparing for disasters is an industry and also an attitude. There are lots of professionals flying around the world advising governments how to prepare for earthquakes, floods and natural disasters; thousands of humanitarian aid agencies rush in when disaster strikes and there are public officials everywhere whose job is to prepare the public for the worst — not to mention firemen, policemen, medical workers and soldiers who invariably form the front line of any disaster relief efforts. I have some experience of this profession. Continue reading

Confessions of an addict

ipodLast Christmas I bought myself an 80 megabyte iPod. This was a bit of a cheat considering it cost more than the presents I got for my loved ones, but I bought it through the company and justified it that way. Although iPods look amazing they are a pain in the butt because in order to use them you must download iTunes, Apple’s software, and this takes up 80 megabytes. And iTunes has its own way of organising your music, which I have still failed to understand, and this bugs me as I spent a long time thinking up a good filing system for my music. Continue reading

Seminars suck

seminars-boringI am sitting in a Ministry of Culture seminar about film making and it has all the hallmarks of a rotten event: a huge queue at the registry desk (but nobody saying hello), nowhere for coats, coffee servers arguing among themselves, an electrical fault that the secretary of state loudly complains about, doors that squeak horribly every time someone comes in (and there was a constant flow of latecomers), a loud buzzing noise from the speakers and technical problems with the presentations.
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Our economy is based on shopping

shopping-economyOne benefit of the current economic crisis is that financial news is now interesting; we’re all trying to find out why our banking system crashed and why the whole system is so vulnerable (at least I am).  Until recently I would rarely read an article about business but now it’s like reading adventure stories.

Eventually I worked out my own theory of what is wrong with our economic system.  The key word in understanding the crisis is leverage. Continue reading