Monthly Archives: March 2013

It’s now left to Shakespeare to remind us of the depths we are capable of

IT’S POSSIBLE we are to be denied a free press thanks to a backroom deal made in Westminster. But when our right to know what is happening right now is being curtailed, we can at least turn to timeless things for comfort. I attended a thrilling production of Romeo and Juliet last night – but not one primarily for anyone reading this paper. It is instead part of a Deutsche Bank-sponsored initiative at Shakespeare’s Globe, designed to introduce a new generation to the bard. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Freedom, Human nature, Liberal education, Literature, Politics, Publishing

Three technological miracles to keep us believing in the future’s promise

AS SAMSUNG unveils its latest refinement on the smartphone, it is worth stepping back to celebrate not just this marginal evolution on a marvellously useful gadget, but the breakthroughs that will transform our lives for the better tomorrow. With the UK economy looking dismal, and with little hope of supply-side reforms to kickstart growth in George Osborne’s budget next week, here are three reasons to keep believing in the future. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Innovation, Technology

Britain needs a principled voice like Rand Paul’s to shame our cynical elite

IN FRANK Capra’s classic 1939 film Mr Smith Goes To Washington, James Stewart plays junior senator Jefferson Smith, a man who finds himself at odds with a corrupt political establishment. In the famous climax, Smith tries to prove his innocence by staging a filibuster, talking for hour after hour in a monologue that reaffirms American liberty and tries to expose the machinations of his opponents.

This week, a US politician reenacted the iconic sequence for real, accompanied by a chorus of popular support playing out live on twenty-first-century social networks. Rand Paul, the junior senator for Kentucky, stood for 13 hours to delay the appointment of John Brennan as head of the CIA. Brennan is a key architect of President Obama’s controversial drone strike policy, which claims the right to kill US citizens without due process even on American soil. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Politics

In defence of the middleman: There is more to intermediaries than fees

KICKSTARTER just won an Oscar. This year’s prize for best short documentary went to crowdfunded Inocente. More than 290 backers contributed $50,000 (£32,900) to pay for its post-production.

Around one in 10 of the films at last year’s Cannes film festival were crowdfunded, but it is far more than a great new way to raise financing for art projects. Jeff Lynn’s FSA-regulated Seedrs is aggregating seed capital for startups through its online platform, and Petridish lets scientific researchers bid for backers.

But there is also a danger in the crowdfunding goldrush. At least part of its attraction stems from a false dream: the elimination of middlemen. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Business, Economics, History, Human nature, Innovation