Pundit Wire

Where Political Speechwriters Comment on the News

Finding Churchill’s Faith

God & Churchill“King and country, in that order, that’s about the only religion Winston has.”

So wrote Lord Moran, Sir Winston Churchill’s friend and physician. Most historians would agree. After all, did not Churchill himself quip that he was “not a pillar of the church, but a flying buttress”?

Yet if Churchill had no religion beyond king and country, how do we account for the references to “God” and “Providence” that appear so prominently again and again in his speeches? Were they no more than a politician’s cynical nod to the religious sensibilities of his countrymen?

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Obama v Putin – a New Realism?

Barack_Obama_addresses_the_United_Nations_General_AssemblyThe prospect of Russia fighter jets and special forces setting about ISIL with gusto and no mercy whatsoever warms the cockles of Western leaders’ hearts. And maybe some grimy deal that keeps Assad afloat for the time being is better than Syria collapsing completely and all those refugees banging on the door. Plus shared progress here might lead to shared progress over Ukraine.

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Cock-and-bull Candidates

In a secular, multicultural society, truth is just someone’s, or some group’s, point of view. Everything is relative. Under the surface, everything is political. Facts are just opinions backed by the power to enforce them. Objectivity is just oppression dressed up as science. You’ve got your fact-checkers; I’ve got mine.

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Grace Under Pressure

gordon hal rapelIf looking up from the base of the cliff had been intimidating, looking down from the top was unsettling in the extreme. Suddenly, I was beset with misgivings. I was ready to plead chronic acrophobia and make the humiliating trek back down to the base with my tail between my legs. But I didn’t want to be a wimp. So what should I do?

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Delusional Politics Feed Public Frustration

trump and sandersIt would be nice if Jeb Bush could deliver on his promise to make America’s economy grow by 4% annually.

And it would be nice if Bernie Sanders could enact programs estimated to cost $18 trillion over a decade to provide us all with health and higher education without worrying about how to pay the bills, an outcome that would be more achievable if our economy grew 4% a year.

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Whose 5776?

I realized how experience-poor I actually was as soon as I began to travel, which I’ve done as often as I can ever since. Anyone who has escaped a parochial bubble knows the advantage of losing your bearings, the fraught discovery that everything you’ve thought was normal turns out to be just your own tribal variant of an unimaginable profusion of ways to know, feel, and act in the world. There are, you come to learn, countless local versions of a normal breakfast, a normal parent, a normal song, a normal god. It’s disorienting to realize that when you get back home again and are going about the routine business of your life, the foreign lives you’ve glimpsed are still going on as strangely — and as ordinarily — as ever. And it’s discomfiting to realize that if they knew how much we privileged our own normalcy, they’d figure out what kind of hicks we’d have to be to believe that.

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Posted in General, International, Religion | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Borders and Identity

LE_Eithne_Operation_TritonGermany is now realising that it cannot make such an apparently open-ended offer, so is pressing hard for other EU countries to share the burden through some sort of mandatory quota system. Poland, Hungary and some other states are resisting. They have spent long decades if not centuries grappling to assert their national and linguistic identity under different imperial powers, and are determined not to see their hard-won independence eroded.

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Revenge of the Clowns

Radio_Martí_broadcast_studioThe Cuban government’s resentment of Caballero’s employer is understandable, if a bit huffy.  After 30 years of beaming anti-Castro broadcasts toward “La Isla” (Cuba), U.S. Government-funded Radio and TV Martí has a pretty pathetic record.  Created in 1985 as an alternative news source for beleaguered Cubans, Martí never reached more than two per cent of the Cuban people, and 90 per cent of Cubans never even knew it existed.  Effective jamming by the Cuban government scrambled the signal almost all the time, even and especially during the brave days of broadcasting from a blimp over the Caribbean.

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