Rafe Mair

Former lawyer, cabinet minister and scratch golfer who went into honest work and became a broadcaster and writer on public affairs.

all articles

August 23, 2013
Where Is the Real Democracy Here?

There are, it scarcely needs saying, many forms of so-called «democracy»… Let’s turn to the USA, the self-proclaimed paragon of democratic virtue… Twice in my lifetime, the presidential election may well have been fraudulent… The American system is simply corrupt from top to bottom. It surely must follow that we have no right to criticize elections elsewhere at least until we start to clean up our own acts…

July 31, 2013
The Mouse Lies down with the Elephant

The relationship between Canada and the United States is difficult enough for Canadians much less others to understand… The American nation came about by a sense of «manifest destiny» which meant, in their view, they had a right to all of North America save Mexico from whom they simply seized 1/3 of their country… To summarize the unsummarizable, a long, often stormy relationship which in latter days has seen Canada and the US much closer on trade matters while on international matters more and more marches to her own drummer…

July 19, 2013
A «Nobler» Route to the Prize

International lessons are hard learned. When powerful countries mess about in other lands sooner or later it backfires… The situation in the Middle East has been simmering for a long time and it is indeed hard to tell the players without a program. There are, however, two realities the United States must understand – forms of government cannot be forced upon unwilling countries and that the real issue is not the USA’s perception of democracy but a combination of pride and reluctance to «lose face»…

June 29, 2013
Farewell UK

…The United Kingdom will leave the European Union within 5 years and likely sooner. In making this assessment it’s largely wasteful to scan the economic issues for they are not a driving force. In fact the catalyst is one man, Nigel Farage, with a powerful following and whose popularity is on the increase but before we get to that, some history…

May 21, 2013
The Tumult and the Shouting Dies

The European Union is an empire. Empires are often unwilling to describe themselves as such. My own effort would be «numbers of ethnically diverse peoples who have a political and economic history together». To that I would add, «History tells us that empires sooner or later collapse when the benefits of a common economy no longer mask the ethnic strains.» Sprinkled into those definitions I would add «ethnicity never goes away»…

April 12, 2013
A New Deal for Israel

Just like bouts of poison ivy, every few years we see a watershed visit to Israel by a sitting US president. And every time that happens we’re all supposed to take heart. Then the usual drift sets in, there are international incidents and resolutions of the United Nations. President Obama has just concluded such a session with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and although it depends upon who’s reporting, Mr Obama was seen to be backing Israel while belittling the Palestinians. This is understandable in terms of US current internal politics but is folly for the long term…

March 20, 2013
Britain and the EU, a crap shoot?

What Britain has shown since it came into the Common Market, now the EU, on January 1, 1973 is an unwillingness to throw in its lot with Europe when it doesn’t suit them; whether its social policy or fiscal union, Britain has said “no thanks”. Does that mean the public will say “NO” to a referendum held in 2017 or before?

March 4, 2013
Obama, an Activist in His Last Term?

In assessing the situation as President Obama begins his second term one very important point must be made – unlike most parliamentary democracies there is no leader of the opposition. Strangely, this works to the disadvantage of Mr. Obama… Probably the president’s biggest problem is to bring the American monetary situation under control… Perhaps Mr. Obama’s biggest problem is what to do with the Middle East…

February 10, 2013
Scottish Secession from the UK – Divorce with Bedroom Privileges?

…I see several apparent consequences from Scotland breaking away starting with what will remain afterwards. The economic intertwining of the UK makes it impossible for this non-economist to assess but we do know that Scotland is overrepresented in the UK parliament and receives more money per person than other Britons. Who owns the North Sea oil? If Scotland leaves, can it sustain itself or does she see continued British aid, a sort of divorce with bedroom privileges? What about the European Union? Does Scotland automatically become a member?..

February 5, 2013
Odd Man in, Odd Man Out

The UK will, within the next couple of years, hold a referendum on whether or not to continue its membership in the EU and will vote to get out – if they’re not booted out first. To understand Britain one must remember that they have never really been in…