Democracy

Britain must ditch post-imperial fantasies for a shot of sober realism – just as it did in 1975

God forbid that a leading Brexiteer should have to own the mess he has helped create. Fintan O’Toole NewStatesman As Robert Saunders reports in his fine book Yes to Europe!, the popular mood in 1974, a year after Britain joined the Common Market, was nicely captured by an official at the Department of Trade and Industry. He likened the British public, in its attitude to its European adventure, to “a crowd of holidaymakers who, after much doubt and expense, have made ... Read More »

Pedro Sánchez sets sights on Brussels

As the UK is leaving and Italy is ruled by populists, the Spanish PM tells POLITICO that his country can step up to the plate. By DAVID M. HERSZENHORN AND DIEGO TORRES Politico MADRID — Pedro Sánchez sees an opening in Brussels — and he intends for Spain to fill it. Less than six months after taking power, the Socialist prime minister is leading in national polls and looking to raise his international profile, in part by claiming a stronger role for his country ... Read More »

Conversation should be had about lowering the voting age: AG

Queensland’s top law officer has called for a conversation to be had about lowering the voting age from 18. Felicity Caldwell Brisbane Times Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath was speaking at the release of findings from a Queensland Family and Child Commission study which surveyed the views of more than 7000 people aged four to 18. The study found young people had an “intense desire” to be included in decisions that affected their lives, with more than one-quarter highlighting the need for leaders ... Read More »

Breaking Algeria’s Economic Paralysis

Political paralysis in oil-dependent Algeria has blocked much-needed economic reform. ICG To avoid a new era of instability, the government should increase transparency and accountability within state institutions and the private sector, as well as improve opportunities for the country’s burgeoning youth. What’s new?  Since the 2014 oil price drop, Algeria’s economic model, which emerged from the civil war in the 1990s, appears increasingly unsustainable. Despite repeated reform promises, the political system remains paralysed, led by an… Why does it ... Read More »

Nicola Sturgeon: decision on Scottish independence vote in ‘not-too-distant future’

Nicola Sturgeon has said her MPs will vote against Theresa May’s Brexit plan and that she will make a statement on a second independence vote soon. Paris Gourtsoyiannis The Scotsaman The First Minister said plans for another referendum on independence would have to wait “until the dust settles”, meaning after a Commons vote on the proposed Brexit deal, and any public vote that could follow. Uncertainty over the UK’s relationship with the EU has forced Ms Sturgeon to repeatedly delay ... Read More »

Fairfax-Ipsos poll: Australians split on Muslim migration ahead of new population policy

Australian voters are split on whether to cut the number of migrants coming from Muslim countries, as the Morrison government considers an overhaul of immigration and population rules within weeks. David Crowe The Sydney Morning Herald A special Fairfax-Ipsos survey finds only 14 per cent of voters support an increase in the number of immigrants from Muslim countries while 35 per cent believe the intake should stay the same. But another 46 per cent believe the intake should be reduced ... Read More »

Tony Abbott rejects warnings, urges Scott Morrison to move Israel embassy

Tony Abbott has urged Prime Minister Scott Morrison to proceed with a controversial shift in policy on Israel despite a warning from Malaysia that the move could fuel terrorism and concerns from Indonesia over a… David Crowe The Canberra Times Mr Abbott said the “rhetorical backlash” from Muslim countries in Asia was always going to happen but that this should not stop Australia showing its support for Israel by moving the Australian embassy from Tel… The comments are another strong ... Read More »

Detained and in danger: The tortured Australian families who fear for their missing loved ones

Increasingly helpless and desperate, Uighurs building new lives in Australian suburbs feel compelled to go public with their stories and identities despite the risks. Fergus Hunter The Age The security agents came for Adeham Abliz late on a Thursday night. That day, September 8, 2016, had been much like any other in the 59-year-old Uighur man’s life in the city of Ghulja in north-western China. Abliz, a shopkeeper, had performed his five daily prayers, starting with fajr at dawn through ... Read More »

Judge orders White House to return CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s press pass

The White House has been ordered to return the press pass of CNN correspondent Jim Acosta with immediate effect. Jacob Jarvis Evening Standard A judge made the ruling on Friday afternoon that his credentials must be returned. US District Judge Timothy Kelly, who is hearing CNN’s lawsuit challenging the revocation, said there should be a due process in place for limiting a journalist’s access to the White House. The White House had set out reasons for the ban in a tweet from press secretary Sarah Sanders ... Read More »

‘A cancer on democracy’: the battle to end gerrymandering in America

New York: US politics in the age of Donald Trump may seem wild, but David Daley still remembers how feral and dysfunctional things were five years ago. Matthew Knott The Sydney Morning Herald Barack Obama was just beginning his second term as president and the anti-government fervour of the Tea Party was roiling the Republican Party. Among the 2013 lowlights: a two-week federal government shutdown because of Republican opposition to the Affordable Care Act (better known as “Obamacare”). And Congress failed to pass gun ... Read More »

Why Norman Geras’s essay ‘Our Morals’ should be essential reading for politics students – not a subversive threat

Politics students at the University of Reading were reportedly told to “take care” when reading an essay by the late political theorist, Norman Geras. Stephen De Wijze The Conversation The Observer newspaper reported the students were warned about the essay – which was on their reading list – in order not to fall foul of Prevent, the UK’s counter-terrorism strategy. I worked closely with Geras, who was a professor at the University of Manchester for most of his career. The ... Read More »

US only country in the world to vote against work of UN refugee agency

‘We will detain and prosecute those who enter US territory illegally,’ American ambassador says Harry Cockburn Independent The US has rejected a United Nations resolution on the work of the organisation’s refugee agency (UNHCR), amid American concerns over the document’s provision for immigrants and refugees. It was the only country to block the resolution on Tuesday, with US ambassador for economic and social affairs Kelley Currie saying it would not accept the draft text because parts of the document did ... Read More »

Rebuilding the Gaza Ceasefire

A ceasefire agreement has brought Israel and Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas back from the cusp of yet another calamitous war. ICG However fragile, it offers a rare opportunity for all parties to finally break the cycle of recurring hostilities that has killed thousands since 2007. What’s new?  For the first time since the 2014 war, a plan for a long-term ceasefire between Hamas and Israel started to take hold in early November, only to be disrupted by the… The ceasefire ... Read More »

PM statement on Brexit negotiations: 15 November 2018

Prime Minister Theresa May updates the House of Commons on the Brexit negotiations. Gov.UK With permission, Mr Speaker, I would like to update the House on our negotiations to leave the European Union. First, I want to pay tribute to my Rt Hon Friends the Members for Esher and Walton and Tatton. Delivering Brexit involves difficult choices for all of us. We do not agree on all of those choices but I respect their views and thank them sincerely for ... Read More »

The Death of Democracy in Bangladesh

Democracy in Bangladesh hangs in the balance, and an upcoming election will mark a critical inflection point. Atif Ahmad, Michael Kugelman Image: Reuters The National Interest It’s not often that armed motorcyclists attack a U.S. ambassador, but that’s exactly what happened to Marcia Bernicat, Washington’s envoy in Bangladesh, one night this past summer. Bernicat was leaving a dinner party in Dhaka on August 4 when men on motorbikes chased her vehicle and threw bricks. No perpetrators were named in the ... Read More »

Friday essay: turning up the level of civilisation

In October 2005 Stephen Colbert was just starting his eponymous show. It is somewhat chilling to realise that this was when he came up with the word truthiness: it seems so now. Julianne Schultz The Conversation It has taken a while to reach maturity and morphed into the even more menacing trumpiness. Truthiness captures the slippery world inhabited by those unencumbered by books, or facts, context or complexity – for those who just know with their heart rather than their ... Read More »