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Taking over schools is taking over the heart and minds of the next generation: The case of Hungary

Written by Ksenia Northmore-Ball.

Whoever, in a given society, controls the content of school textbooks is in the highly privileged position of shaping how the next generation of citizens views the world. As the American Pulitzer-winning journalist and historian, Frances FitzGerald has said, school textbooks “tell children what their elders want them to know.” School textbooks take a special position in that they command unquestioning authority. The younger the school children reading the books, the less equipped they are to question the content – in other words, school children are the ideal captive and impressionable audience. Any ambitious political leader, movement, or regime with a strong guiding world view will ultimately desire to influence and control the education system, particularly the content of school textbooks. In a liberal democracy, one hopes that a plurality of social and political actors can influence this content.

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Mohammad Bin Salman’s Ambitious Moves: Order or Disorder in Saudi Arabia?

Written by Khurram Shahzad Siddiqui.

A headstrong 32 years old Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman known colloquially as MBS caught the attention of international media in April 2015 when King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud made him the defence minister and Mohammed bin Nayef (MBN) as a crown prince, making him first in line to the throne of Saudi Arabia. The first step MBS took as a defence minister was to make a pan-GCC coalition with other Arab states and launch air strikes on Yemen in March 2015 after Saudi backed President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi was forced into exile by the Houthi rebel movement. This was the first move by MBS to show his authority to the other powerful princes of the House of Saud, like Prince Muqrin, Director General of Al Mukhabarat Al A’amah (Saudi Intelligence Agency) and Mohammad bin Nayef (MBN) crown prince, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Interior of Saudi Arabia and chairman of the Council for Political and Security Affairs. By this move MBS flexed his muscles to the Arab World in order to make Saudi Arabia a key regional player and conveying a direct message to Iran of his power.

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Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical Hamilton is just a historical safe space

Written by Steven Fielding.

That most peculiar of demographic groups – left-wingers and liberals who like musical theatre – has keenly anticipated the opening in London’s glittering West End of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway hit Hamilton. Reader, it is here! Those who can afford to travel to the capital and have enough cash left over for the price of a ticket, are apparently in for a treat.

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Hurricane Matthew: Haiti faces yet another challenge to ‘build back better’

Hundreds of people are now known to have died when Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti with 145 mile-per-hour winds on October 1. The poorest country in Matthew’s path, Haiti was also the hardest hit. Poor coastal communities have been devastated; villagers have lost their crops, their animals and their homes. A combination of poverty, hazardous and insecure housing and weak governance left Haitians vulnerable to the elements.

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Populist and Extreme Parties: To Ban or Not To Ban?

Written by Fernando Casal Bértoa and Angela Bourne.

Extreme, populist and anti-systemic parties are on the rise! Only this year elections in the Netherlands and Bulgaria and Germany returned excellent results for radical right parties (e.g. Party of FreedomAlternative for Germanyor Ataka). Even in usually quiet Liechtenstein The Independents (DU), a right-wing populist party, managed to obtain more than 18 percent of the votes. In France, Marine Le Pen came second in the presidential elections. Last Sunday the Freedom Party of Austria got more than 20 percent of the vote, and in countries like Greece or Slovakia support for neo-Nazi parties (i.e. Golden Dawn or People’s Party Our Slovakia) reach a notable 7 percent of the electorate.

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For the Catalan and Spanish government to negotiate, the EU must be involved

Written by Simon Toubeau. 

Unless the Catalan and Spanish immediately open channels of dialogue about the constitutional future of Catalonia, the scenes witnessed last Sunday may only be a mild precursor of things to come. But for this dialogue to take place, the EU must be actively involved.

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Lessons from history for Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘government in waiting’

Written by Steven Fielding.

History, as Henry Ford once claimed, is bunk: and that is what many Jeremy Corbyn supporters now believe. Prior to the 2017 election, Corbynites were told by supposed experts like myself that, as Tony Blair had it, when a traditional left-wing party competes with a traditional right-wing party the traditional result will follow: defeat for the left.

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