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Observations of an Expat: Free Trade – Ups and Downs

Brian Snyder/Reuters   By Tom Arms Free Trade has its upside and its downside. It is also emerging as one of the top issues in the Trump-Clinton tussle. The Donald is ‘agin’ it and Hillary is ‘fer’ it.

Observations of an Expat: The Refuge of the Failed Politician

By Tom Arms It’s as if Brexit was a loose thread in the complex political tapestry of the European Union. The Eurosceptics worked Britain loose and are now pulling with all their might on the rest of the fabric.

Observations of an Expat: Hope of millions vs Fear of Millions

Rodi Said/Reuters   By Tom Arms The figures are staggering. 65.3 million are currently forcibly displaced from their homes. Half of them are children. That figure from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is the highest since records began and has doubled over the past ten years.

Observations of an Expat: Bye Bye Kurds

Reuters photo   By Tom Arms Bye bye Kurds. That is the realpolitik message expected to be issued soon by the White House to one of the world’s saddest nationalities. It may not be as explicit as that, but the meaning will be clear.

Observations of an Expat: Trumped in Mexico

Yuri Cortez/AFP   By Tom Arms For a few short hours on Wednesday Enrique Pena Nieto was NOT the most unpopular man in Mexico. During that brief window the mantle was happily shouldered by presidential wannabee Donald Trump.

Observations of an Expat: Rio and the Paralympics

Martin Rickett/PA   By Tom Arms A society is judged by its treatment of those less able than the accepted norm. Rio, you have been judged lacking. I am not talking about green diving pools or empty Olympic stadium seats. All those issues pale into insignifcance compared to your plans for the staging of the […]

Observations of an Expat: Europe Still on the British Agenda

By Tom Arms It’s Thursday night. The votes are being counted as I am pressing tired fingers to a worn keyboard. As soon as I finish I am rushing off to Wandsworth Town Hall to find out if my wife Eileen has been elected to our local council. Up until the 23rd of June, ex-US […]

Observations of an Expat: Sticks, Stones and Words

AP photo   By Tom Arms “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” I can remember so clearly the playground chant across the years. It was total rubbish. It was total rubbish when I was seven and it is still total rubbish years later.

Observations of an Expat: Erdogan and Putin cosy up

Reuters photo   By Tom Arms What is Erdogan up to? Whatever it is, it has Putin turning cartwheels through the Kremlin corridors.

Observations of an Expat: ANC dominance in trouble in South Africa

Ben Curtis/AP   By Tom Arms ANC dominance of South Africa looks set to begin to end on the 3rd of August. And that will be a good thing.

Observations of an Expat: Trump and NATO

Bill Pugliano   By Tom Arms So much of diplomacy is common sense. You make a promise. You keep it. That is a simple and easily understandable rule of life. You break the promise and you suffer the consequences.

Observations of an Expat: I am an Immigrant

By Tom Arms I am an immigrant. I emigrated from the United States to the United Kingdom on the 12th of December 1971.

Observations of an Expat: Lies and Democracy

EPA photo   By Tom Arms Lies and democracy don’t mix. Also unacceptable in political recipes in the democratic pot are half-truths, misinformation, disinformation, distortions or any attempt to be economical with the truth.

Observations of an Expat: Brexit and Shakespeare

Jack Taylor   By Tom Arms BREXIT has plunged the land of the Bard into a Shakespearean tragedy. Or to be more accurate, it has plunged it into overlapping tragedies which have left the British ship of state without a helmsman and drifting rudderless into dangerous financial and political waters.

Observations of an Expat: Brexit Repercussions

By Tom Arms It looks like Marx was right. The world revolution will start in Britain. It started on Thursday.

Observations of an Expat: Brexit is BIG

By Tom Arms Next Thursday and Friday are BIG news days. Allow me to reinforce that through repetition. Next Thursday and Friday are BIG news days. The tail end of the next working week could go down as a historic watershed. At 7am the British electorate will start marching to polling stations to vote whether […]

Observations of an Expat: Refugee Deal in Crisis

Chris McGrath   By Tom Arms The EU-Turkey deal on Syrian refugees is hanging by a thread. If the thread breaks there could be far-reaching consequences for the refugees, the future of the European Union and the future direction of Turkey.

Observations of an Expat: The Battle of the Theme Parks

By Tom Arms The troops are lining up for the battle of the theme parks in China. On one side are Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Co. On the other are a battalion of dragons and 4,000 years of civilisation.

Observations of an Expat: Vietnam now US Proxy

Carolyn Kaster/AP   By Tom Arms It has taken 41 years. But Vietnam has finally completed the long journey from arch villain to American proxy. The final catalyst for this transformation? The South China Sea and the competing claims of China and Vietnam for these 2.2 million square miles of strategic maritime real estate.

Observations of an Expat: Megaphone Politics of the Deaf

By Tom Arms I call it megaphone politics of the deaf. Its methodology is quite simple: Opposing sides, shout at each other without listening to a word that the other is saying. They accompany their bellowing with a host of gross exaggerations, outright lies and sometimes physical brawling.

Observations of an Expat: Gibraltar

By Tom Arms Gibraltarians are happy people. They should be. The Rock is the second most prosperous territory in the EU. The economy is growing at an astonishing ten percent a year and has been for some time. Unemployment is less than half of one percent.

Observations of an Expat: The Social Contract

By Tom Arms It is probably one of the best known sentences in the world: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

Observations of an Expat: Sadiq Khan

By Tom Arms Sadiq Khan. Remember the name. You will hear it again quite soon–and a lot more often. Sadiq – as he is known in Britain– is the Labour candidate for the job of Mayor of London. He is also way ahead in the opinion polls for the elections next Thursday.

Observations of an Expat: Cities vs Countryside

C. Robert Harmon By Tom Arms Alan Turing and Oscar Wilde are dancing a jig somewhere in the hereafter. These historical icons of the British gay community were outrageously persecuted by the British Establishment during their lifetimes.

Observations of an Expat: The bad taste diplomatic row

REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz   By Tom Arms Germany is in the throes of a bad taste debate. Actually it is a real live, honest to God freedom of speech row with potentially far-reaching international repercussions. But the spark that lit this bonfire was an extreme case of extremely bad taste.

Observations of an Expat: Hypocrisy

By Tom Arms Hypocrisy. That is the most damning charge that can be laid at the feet of the world leaders implicated in the Panama tax haven scandal.

Observations of an Expat: A Statute of Limitations on National Guilt

By Tom Arms I propose a statute of limitations on national guilt. My proposal is prompted by the diktat from the politically correct academics of Australia’s University of New South Wales. They have told students that henceforth they should refer to the British involvement in Australia as an invasion, occupation and colonisation.

Observations of an Expat: Muslim Murders

By Tom Arms Assad Shah was a popular man. People popped into his open-all-hours Glasgow shop for a chat as often as they did for a carton of milk.

Observations of an Expat: The Nuclear Security Summit

By Tom Arms Brussels was devastating. So was Paris, London, Madrid and of course the horrific destruction of the soaring twin towers of New York. Now just think how much more worse it would have been if the suicidal religious fanatics had a nuclear bomb.

Observations of an Expat: Russia’s power credibility

By Tom Arms Power Credibility. That’s what Putin has. He has clearly established it in Syria.