Analysis

Australia’s obsession with opinion polls is eroding political leadership

In its early days, political opinion polling’s leading advocate, George Gallup, sold it as an essential tool for democracy. Ian Cook The Conversation He believed polling made for better representation because it allowed politicians to take the people’s “pulse”. But opinion polling didn’t so much enhance democracy as remake it. Thanks to Gallup, polls have become so ubiquitous in modern-day politics that we’re now convinced they can accurately predict elections. (Even though Donald Trump’s surprising victory in the 2016 US ... Read More »

Equality: our secret weapon to fight corruption

“We look after our mates,” Australia’s new prime minister, Scott Morrison, has declared. He’s said it on several occasions, in fact. So it must be a value he thinks important. Meanwhile the man he defeated for the top job, Peter Dutton, has been embroiled in controversy over allegedly using his… Tony Ward The Conversation Where do we draw the line between looking after a mate and being corrupt? The line, like beauty, is often in the eye of the beholder. ... Read More »

Welcome to Europe’s ‘club’ for populists

A Belgian lawyer and Donald Trump’s former chief strategist want to unite the far right. By Maïa de La Baume and Silvia Sciorilli Borrelli Politico Populists of Europe, unite — in suburban Brussels! That’s what an unlikely pair — a Belgian lawyer and Donald Trump’s former chief strategist — hope will happen with The Movement, the first ever “club” for Euroskeptics and populists. “We are building a club that will bring people together, whose members we will help … like ... Read More »

Russia: new research shows even authoritarian regimes struggle to pass laws

When we think of parliaments in non-democratic states, we often think of a room full of raised hands. This compelling image of unanimity conveys a simple idea: that these assemblies are stuffed with loyal servants of the ruling elite. Ben Noble The Conversation Rather than scrutinise, challenge, amend, and block initiatives from the government, they provide guaranteed support. Rather than act as a check on executive power, they provide symbolic, merely ceremonial approval. Or that’s how the conventional wisdom goes. ... Read More »

Ten photos that changed how we see human rights

Nearly 70 years ago, in December 1948, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Jane Lydon The Conversation At this time, the UN’s cultural arm, UNESCO, sought to harness the “universal language” of photography to communicate the new system of human rights globally, across barriers of race and language. UNESCO curated the ground-breaking “Human Rights Exhibition” in 1949, seeking to create a sense of a universal humanity through photographs. It sent portable photo albums around ... Read More »

Can Europe save itself?

LONDON — One of the key arguments of the populists who have continued to attack the European Union’s legitimacy is that they represent the will of the people and embody freedom and democracy in a… Michael Cottakis The Washington Post While this is disingenuous, it contains a grain of truth. The E.U., after all, is not a democratic system. And while it has sought to reform for some time, those efforts tend to miss the point. One of the best ... Read More »

Britain’s Constitutional Responsibilities to the Republic of Cyprus: Past, Present and Future

Thank you for your kind invitation to this inaugural seminar, I am honoured to have been invited to such an important event in relation to the Constitutional role of Britain according to the Constitution of The Republic of Cyprus. Anna Theologou * When I entered politics 2 years ago I promised myself that I will always speak the truth and my mind and adhere to my principles even at the expense of political cost, because I was never font of ... Read More »

Eighty years on: The shame and tragedy of Munich

Dr Marcus Papadopoulos looks back 80 years to Britain and France’s connivance in the carve-up of Czechoslovakia Morning Star YESTERDAY marked the 80th anniversary of the Munich Agreement, one of the most shameful and tragic chapters in the history of the foreign policies of Britain and France and one that constituted a… This is not to castigate the governments of Neville Chamberlain and Edouard Daladier for wanting to avoid another world… The traumas of the Great War were ingrained in ... Read More »

The Cyprus Treaty of Guarantee 1960 and the Responsibilities of the UK Government

Britain’s Constitutional Responsibilities to the Republic of Cyprus: Past, Present and Future Introduction. The Basic Documents (a) The Lancaster House Agreements  The Prime Ministers of the UK, the Kingdom of Greece and the Turkish /Republic, Harold Macmillan, C. Karamanlis, A. Menteres, on 19 February 1959 signed a Memorandum in London setting out the Agreed Foundation for the Final Settlement of the Problem of Cyprus. Dr. Christos Clerides * The representatives of the Greek Cypriot community and the Turkish Cypriot community declared that they ... Read More »

“Nobody Wants Us”: The Alienated Civilians of Eastern Ukraine

With living conditions worsening, and crossfire still claiming casualties, people residing in eastern Ukraine’s conflict zone feel increasingly abandoned by the central government. ICG Reintegrating the area requires Russian withdrawal, but in the meantime Kyiv can and should better protect civilians and meet humanitarian needs. What’s new?  Ukrainians in Donbas, the country’s eastern conflict zone, are in their fifth year of a humanitarian crisis deepened by Russian intervention – and also by Ukrainian government policies. Many complain that their country ... Read More »

Why do people work? Respect trumps money in South Africa case study

In South Africa, more than 50% of working age adults don’t have jobs. But is the country asking the right questions when it comes to understanding what drives people’s employment-related decisions? Christine Jeske The Conversation Research on unemployment mostly focuses on getting wages right. But there are also many non-monetary reasons that motivate South Africans’ work-related decisions. My research, conducted over the period of a year in KwaZulu-Natal province, sought to understand these decisions. My work included interviews and observations ... Read More »

Arctic Options: Why America Should Invest in a Future with China

America needs to increase its engagement in the Arctic’s rapidly-changing geopolitical environment because inaction could lead to Washington losing future opportunities in the area. Alison McFarland The National Interest In August, the Arctic’s oldest and thickest sea ice broke up, releasing water on Greenland’s northern coast that typically remains frozen throughout the year. Occurring for the second time this year, the melting ice not only raises environmental concerns, but also brings the potential for geopolitical change. China presents a driving ... Read More »

How Canada can, and must, empower Indigenous communities

The federal government recently spent $4.5 billion dollars to purchase the Trans Mountain pipeline, a move that highlights the significant political risk underlying the project’s expansion. Walid Hejazi The Conversation The government purchase was required as a last resort because there’s no private sector appetite to bear the risks. It’s culminated in a Federal Court of Appeal ruling, halting, at least temporarily, the expansion… That court ruling made reference to inadequate consultations with Indigenous peoples as a major factor in ... Read More »

The destructive American fad Australia needs to avoid

Politics since World War II has been dominated by the ideological struggle along Marxist economic lines. The working class versus the capitalist class. In the Australian labelling, Labor against Liberal. Peter Hartcher The Sydney Morning Herald That framework is in the process of being overlaid, and even overwhelmed. Politics increasingly is becoming a clash of identities. The US is leading the way, with Europe close behind. Because there’s no American fad too stupid for Australia to ape, we’d better pay ... Read More »

The geopolitics of artificial intelligence

In The WorldPost this week, we examine and evaluate two key developments of the digital age: the emergent geopolitics of artificial intelligence and Facebook’s recent move toward “reputational scores” as a means to signal trustworthy information to users. Nathan Gardels The Washington Post In an interview, AI guru Kai-Fu Lee talks about his new book, “AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley and the New World Order.” For Lee, who is based in Beijing, the world of AI has become a “duopoly” in which ... Read More »

Royal Commission shows banks have behaved appallingly, but we’ve helped them do it

The term deposit has matured. Initial scepticism over the timing, scope, and overall need for a royal commission into financial services has transformed into deep concern about the culture and practices in one of our most important industries. Andrew Grant The Conversation Malcolm Turnbull, the (perhaps not coincidentally) ex-prime minister, admitted it had been a “political mistake” to delay the royal commission by nearly two years. None of the major banks have escaped the Commission’s ire. Perhaps that’s because none ... Read More »