People on the UK’s coronavirus furlough scheme should be put to work to help the country out of the crisis

by Rashmee

Posted on May 19, 2020 / The Focus


At the moment, 7.5 million jobs in the UK are covered by the government’s furlough scheme, that’s an awful lot of people out of work. They say there are always lessons we can learn from history. In that case, it’s worth examining an 18th century proto-Keynesian state intervention in north India that proved successful. It … Continue reading “People on the UK’s coronavirus furlough scheme should be put to work to help the country out of the crisis”

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A world of Zoombies: What it means, really

by Rashmee

Posted on May 16, 2020


In the past 24 hours, I have been on three Zoom calls. The first on Friday night was with good friends, calling with birthday wishes. The second and third, on Saturday, were with disparate groups of family members, similarly reaching out across the lockdown with loving virtual hugs and kisses. The Friday night call ran … Continue reading “A world of Zoombies: What it means, really”

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‘Sell city, buy country’? The pandemic won’t empty London, NYC

by Rashmee

Posted on May 14, 2020


Some very clever people are writing off cities. Not altogether, but quite substantially. Consider a new piece in Politico magazine by Parag Khanna, bestselling author and managing partner of the data and scenario-based strategic global advisory firm FutureMap. The pandemic “may cause fundamental shifts in our human geography,” Mr Khanna writes. “Why choose to stay in a … Continue reading “‘Sell city, buy country’? The pandemic won’t empty London, NYC”

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O brave new world. It’s the week it opens the door and gingerly peers out

by Rashmee

Posted on May 10, 2020


This is the week the world tries to recover its nerve even though we remain months away from a vaccine for Covid-19 and still have no cure. As 15-year-old Miranda said in Act V of The Tempest: “How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world That has such people in’t!” Indeed, rather a brave attempt … Continue reading “O brave new world. It’s the week it opens the door and gingerly peers out”

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In a world hit by a pandemic, does Brexit even matter anymore?

by Rashmee

Posted on May 9, 2020


Britain will leave the European Union’s (EU) single market at the end of its post-Brexit transition period, which is to say January 1, 2021 will be the start of a whole new phase in the life of the United Kingdom. Will this matter in a world hit by a pandemic? More to the point, does … Continue reading “In a world hit by a pandemic, does Brexit even matter anymore?”

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A photo journal of a plague month (-and-a-half)

by Rashmee

Posted on May 7, 2020


Britain went into lockdown, reluctantly and rather later than much of the world, on March 23. In the past six weeks, here’s a snapshot of the small but significant changes to the way we live now. I see masks everywhere. Not as many as are being worn in other countries because the British are apparently … Continue reading “A photo journal of a plague month (-and-a-half)”

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‘From near-death to paternity’? Surely the sequence must’ve been different for Boris Johnson?

by Rashmee

Posted on April 30, 2020


In the span of just a few weeks, British prime minister Boris Johnson has used the National Health Service in two very different ways – to treat a life-threatening illness and to safely bring new life into the world. “From near-death to paternity” is how the Daily Mail put it. That’s about right, in substance … Continue reading “‘From near-death to paternity’? Surely the sequence must’ve been different for Boris Johnson?”

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The British weather has failed us – again. It should have been a grey, rainy weekend

by Rashmee

Posted on April 11, 2020


The favourite phrase in the British press this Easter weekend has been “sun-drenched lockdown”. It’s quite obvious that it was said through gritted teeth, the computer keys sulkily pressed to form the two terrible words that sum up the strangest Easter anyone has known for more than a century. A pandemic. A global lockdown. Britain … Continue reading “The British weather has failed us – again. It should have been a grey, rainy weekend”

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Coronavirus won’t kill off the high price of Brexit and ‘nostalgic nationalism’

by Rashmee

Posted on April 4, 2020


The joint Brexit committee – composed of EU and UK representatives – had its first teleconference on March 30, and reportedly boasted a “constructive and productive atmosphere”. That was the word from European Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič, committee co-chair with the UK’s Michael Gove. Despite the cheeriness, it’s true that Brexit negotiations have been … Continue reading “Coronavirus won’t kill off the high price of Brexit and ‘nostalgic nationalism’”

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An Open Letter to the West: About toilet paper and other matters

by Rashmee

Posted on April 2, 2020


  Dear Brothers and Sisters Born in the West In these extraordinary and difficult times, do you know what’s reassuringly familiar? Your panic about toilet paper. The last one that made headlines (and for much scratching of heads) was the American TP panic of 1973. Now that was the year of the oil shock and … Continue reading “An Open Letter to the West: About toilet paper and other matters”

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Rashmee has lived and worked in several countries in the past decade, including Afghanistan, India, Haiti, Tunisia, the UAE, US and UK