Desiring and Acting Differently: A Sketch Towards a Critique of Consent

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1. As I write the verdict in the retrial of footballer Ched Evans has just recently been announced. The verdict itself is a shock but what is even more disheartening are the facts of the trial; that the complainant’s personal sexual history was used against her after the judge made a rare exception to allow it as evidence and that the family and partner of Evans was known to have offered a cash reward for information leading to his acquittal. The repercussions of this verdict and the precedent that the judge’s exception may set will undoubtedly be felt for years … Continue reading

Saudi Arabia is Going to Execute a Poet

There are few occasions on which the United Nations is able to disgrace itself more effectively than when it comes to making appointments to committees and sinecures. Iraq, for example, was due to take the chairmanship of the special committee on disarmament in 2003; a move prohibited not by any common sense on the part of the U.N. but because the US-led intervention in that same year made such an appointment impossible. Iran has recently been re-elected to a seat on the U.N’s Commission on the Status of Women. Robert Mugabe, the subject of a wide-ranging travel ban, was asked … Continue reading

Reframing the Present: Secularisation and the Rule of Law

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“God is himself law; therefore law is dear to him” Sachsenspiegel (Saxon Law) of Eike von Repgau, Early 13th Century Of all the grand narratives supposedly put to the sword during the era of post-modernity secularisation seems peculiarly resistant. While we are familiar with critiques of Western progress, cultural superiority and ethics, the narrative that would have us believe we in the West live in predominantly irreligious societies, and thus have passed through some process by the name of secularisation remains common wisdom. This idea is implicit in the way we see ourselves and how we frame our dealings with … Continue reading