THREE YEARS ago this week the global financial crisis began. Back then it was called the "credit crunch" and seemed a bit quaint and obscure.
"The corollary of the big society is the smaller state. If you talk about the small state, people think you’re Attila the Hun. If you talk about the big society, people think you’re Mother Teresa."
In April 1951 US president Harry Truman sacked general of the army Douglas MacArthur, commander of the United Nations (UN) forces in Korea.
Remember all that stuff about how, in the era of globalisation, footloose capital can go where it likes and do what it likes? Apparently governments would elbow each other aside in their eagerness to do its will. Somehow I don’t think this is how it feels to Tony Hayward, chief executive of BP.
We live, we are constantly told, in a liberal pluralist society. Unlike the totalitarian states of Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia, information and ideas aren’t monolithically controlled from above in these societies.
The price of the so-called "rescue" of Greece is massive austerity for working people. This is coming up against resistance from the most militant working class in Europe.
In the full glare of publicity the three main parties jostle and manoeuvre over power. But, in the background, there is a much more fundamental assertion of power.
This general election has been the one most dominated by immigration since 1979. Consider the two most important incidents of the past week.
The hypocrisy of the British media can still surprise. Look at the warmth with which they bade farewell to Michael Foot when he died last week, after they had vilified him while he was leader of the Labour Party between 1980 and 1983.
At one level, the Greek crisis is a familiar tale of market blackmail and bullying. Through giving up its own currency and joining the euro, Greece attached itself to one of the world’s major economies, Germany.
Remember the Third World debt crisis of the 1970s and 1980s? The First World debt crisis of the 2000s and 2010s may make it look like a tea party.
The future course of the British and the world economies are shrouded in obscurity. But figures released last week give us a proper measure of the magnitude of what has already happened.
The United Nations climate change conference in Copenhagen last month proved to be a historic watershed. This isn’t because of what it achieved.
Is the Tobin Tax on international financial transfers an idea whose time has come? It has been endorsed by the United Nations, Gordon Brown, Angela Merkel, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Financial Services Authority chair Lord Turner, and now the European Union (EU).
The sneaking feeling of sympathy that I felt for Gordon Brown when he was ambushed and coshed by the Sun attack machine over Afghanistan didn’t survive the appalling speech he made about immigration on Thursday of last week.
If A contemporary Rip Van Winkle, awakening from three years’ sleep, took a walk down Wall Street last week, he might imagine that nothing had changed.
The media have been gloating about the plight of the left in the wake of the German federal elections a fortnight ago. "A spectre is haunting Europe – the spectre of socialism’s slow collapse", announced the New York Times last week.
Probably the most important thing about the G20 summit in Pittsburgh last week was that it is the third time it has met in the past year. What was a relatively marginal international body seems to be morphing into a significant institution.
Is Barack Obama’s decision to cancel the deployment of missile defence in central and eastern Europe another sign of how the US has been weakened by the Iraq disaster? In a very obvious sense, yes.
A large chunk of the already ramshackle case for the Western military occupation of Afghanistan has now collapsed.