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Taking control of your own technology

Time to put away the student politics

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Those who resort to violence, always lose their claim

After the 18th and 19th centuries, there were many competing territorial claims over former Prussia; Germany had some valid and some not so valid claims, as did other countries. Going to war (twice) over the claims was not valid however.

It is a long standing and basic principle of world order that the belligerent aggressor loses whatever claims they had. Now of course Germany is a peaceful and wonderful country and also makes no claim to any of these areas.

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Whatever the right or wrongs of the Falklands issue were before 1982, once Argentina invaded and spilt British blood, they lost any claim to the islands; it is just how it goes.

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It is also an issue of basic democracy that as recently as 2013, the Falkland Islanders had a referendum with a turnout of 91.94%, where 99.8% voted not to change the Islands’ status in anyway. The results of referendums must be respected, especially with such a high turnout.

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There is also the practical matter that saying anything different will be a sure loser in British election.

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Likewise, the question of whether making the state of Israel was the correct response to the evil of the holocaust, became a non-issue after 1967. Israel did not start the war, the Arabs did, but the Israelis won the war and the issue was settled.

Any claims the Arabs had over the land was lost then. You don’t get to claim territory through starting wars, you must only lose by starting wars.

Time to boycott calling for boycotts

Even if you disagree with Israel’s policies, collective punishment against its citizens can have no practical effect on those policies.

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Dis-inviting an innocent academic from a conference, will not change policy. A professor of Artificial Intelligence or Manuscript Studies (made up examples for the sake of argument) does not set Israeli security or foreign policy.

If a UK institution chose an Israeli company to provide a product, it did so based on price and quality. Pressuring an institution to boycott the Israeli company will just make innocent workers there poorer and will mean the UK institution will get a higher priced and/or lower quality good. An orange juice producer or a software company does not set Israeli security or foreign policy.

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The same principle applies to exports. Pressuring a UK company to not sell products to Israel, tractors for example, will not change a single Israeli policy. It will just mean they buy a tractor from someone else and workers in the UK have less jobs making tractors.

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Discretion is the better part of valour

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The sad truth is that there is nothing the UK can usefully do to make peace in the middle east. Tony Blair of all people tried to be a peace envoy and yet there is still no peace.

Any politicians that want to pander to either Muslim or Jewish voters by taking a side are just being dishonest with the voters. The UK just has no leverage on either side. The Middle East is just not a part of the world that cares what Britain thinks one way or the other.

Our winning strategy as a country is not to pick sides and just be a friend to everyone, and of course, sell them all our goods and services.

By the way, America has far more clout, expertise and money and still has not made much progress either but that is another story.

Yes there are poor and suffering people in the Middle East, but there are poor and suffering people everywhere so we should focus on areas where we are wanted and we can have a meaningful impact, such as African free trade and development which we have ignored for too long.

It is not our fight

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So it total baffles me why Palestinian liberation or Latin American politics are cause celebres on the UK left. There are no votes to be won here.

We talked before about the difference between few hundred thousand people in the UK who have strong political views and the millions who just want cake.

The average British voter does not care a monkeys about Palestine or improving Anglo-Argentinean relations and just wants to hear domestic policies.

It seems like Jeremy Corbyn is wise enough to know that there is a difference in being a backbench MP who can obsess about these obscure issues and a potential Prime Minister who needs to have total clarity and focus to cut through a hostile media. I hope so anyway.

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