No body is perfect
11th June 2010
It’s fine to find fault with cancer treatments, as Simon Crompton (May) does, but it’s worth asking yourself what you would do if you were diagnosed with cancer. I always thought that I would seek alternative treatment or at least consider other ways of treating the disease. When doctors recently discovered a large mass in my kidney, I researched alternative treatments and put my ideas to the surgeon. He told me the choice was to have the conventional treatment, or die. That prognosis does not leave you with many options.
Susan Lees Via the Prospect website
Democracy in danger 1
27th May 2010
Joshua Kurlantzick (June) makes some good points about democracy in the developing world, but they do not apply to Russia quite as he suggests.
The Russian case is not simply about self-interest and materialism. The Yeltsin-era chaos led to some disillusionment with the capitalist approach, but not necessarily with democracy itself. Total turnout in the 2007 Duma elections was over 63 per cent, similar to the voter turnout in Britain in the recent general election, while more than 73m voted in the 2008 Russian presidential election. And while people may be voting for Putin’s United Russia party, they are aware of their democratic power to vote it out if it fails to live up to expectations.
Kurlantzick also claims that “Medvedev oversaw a constitutional change that would allow Putin, now prime minister, to reclaim the presidency in 2012.” This is incorrect; the change extended the duration of the president’s time in office from four to six years, allowing a president to serve a maximum of 12 consecutive years. Putin was always eligible to run in 2012. Many, including myself, hope he will not.
Tomas Hirst Via the Prospect website
Democracy in danger 2
28th May 2010
Kurlantzick writes of “democracy in danger” in Thailand, among other countries. In Thailand, it is a crime to criticise or discuss the royal family, and the government has used this law to silence anyone who disagrees with them. Websites and newspapers that disagree with the regime have been routinely censored and shut down. Thailand has had 18 military coups in the last 70 years. Whenever the military felt that power was slipping from its grasp, it rolled the tanks out in the streets, dissolved parliament and the constitution and installed a puppet government.…