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Category archive for: EU

Does Brexit really realise the ideals of JS Mill?

Written by Helen McCabe.

Boris Johnson’s Valentine’s-day speech intended to make a ‘positive’ case for exiting the European Union.  It was not exactly a love-letter to the EU and ‘Remainers’.  Rather it was an oratorical bouquet, intended to persuade lovelorn anti-Leavers to end their attempts to ‘frustrate the will of the people’.

Continue reading Does Brexit really realise the ideals of JS Mill?

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.

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

What’s Left of the Left?

Written by Simon Toubeau. 

The paradox of the contemporary European left is that while many of the burning issues defining political debates- growing economic inequality, employment precariousness, the sustainability of health spending or pension entitlements- are traditional left-wing concerns, Social Democratic parties seem incapable of credibly addressing them either in office or in opposition.

So, what’s left of the left? The origins of the paradox stems from the mis-match in the architecture of authority between democracy and capitalism, rendering the notion of democratic capitalism ever more hollow. This tension has compounded broader demographic and economic transformations to divide the electoral base of the left. In France, the UK, the USA and elsewhere- there is a split between those in favour of regulated openness and those in favour of nationalist closure. Continue reading What’s Left of the Left?

Macron and Le Pen to face off for French presidency – but she won’t be pleased with first round result

Written by Paul Smith.

In the end, the polls were right. Emmanuel Macron will go into the second round of the French presidential election against Marine Le Pen. For a while it seemed as though a dead heat were on the cards but, in the end, Macron took first place, with nearly 24%, ahead of Le Pen at just under 22%.

Republican candidate François Fillon and far-left contender Jean-Luc Mélenchon followed close behind, with Socialist Benoît Hamon trailing badly. Continue reading Macron and Le Pen to face off for French presidency – but she won’t be pleased with first round result

Emmanuel Macron faces a really big problem if he becomes French president

Written by Ariane Bogain.

Currently riding high in the polls, Emmanuel Macron, the self-styled “beyond left and right” candidate for the French election, has been tipped to become the next president in May.

But if he does, will he actually run the country? This question might sound odd but the nuances of the French political system put Macron in a spot of bother. The president derives their power from the support of a majority in the lower house of parliament, the National Assembly. Macron was a minister for the Socialist Party government but quit in 2016 to form his own political movement. Now he doesn’t even have a party, let alone a majority. Continue reading Emmanuel Macron faces a really big problem if he becomes French president

Brexit causes anguish on Gibraltar

Written by Andrew Canessa.

Gibraltar was the first to declare its vote in June’s EU Referendum, returning a 96% vote in favour of Remain. But rather than set a trend for the night, Gibraltarians watched with nothing short of horror as the UK voted to Leave.

Gibraltar joined the European Economic Area with the UK in 1973 and will leave the EU with it. At a little over six square miles, this small territory is utterly dependent on the flow of goods and people across the border with Spain, not only for its prosperity, but for its survival. So Brexit is causing no small amount of concern among residents of what is colloquially known as the Rock.

We have been collecting the life stories of people on both sides of the border for several years in order to trace how a Spanish speaking population with strong kinship and cultural ties to Spain became so identified with Britain and its culture. Continue reading Brexit causes anguish on Gibraltar

Behind the bravado: why Theresa May has to play hardball on hard Brexit

Written by Simon Toubeau.

Even prior to the formal start of what is likely to be a long tournament, the players are taking their seats at the poker table. They’re puffing their chests, turning stone-faced, sternly glaring at each other in the eye. They’re looking at the hand they’ve been dealt and deciding what strategy to pursue. Winning does not depend on having a strong hand but rather on persuading your opponent that you do.

And so, as Theresa May delivered the final few sentences of her speech on her plan for Brexit, the thinly veiled threat was issued: “No deal for Britain is better than a bad deal for Britain.” Continue reading Behind the bravado: why Theresa May has to play hardball on hard Brexit

Italy says “No” to Renzi and she says it loudly

Written by Annalisa Cappellini

The Italian Constitution seems to be the biggest winner of the referendum on constitutional reforms that took place yesterday in Italy: in an era of political disengagement and low electoral participation 70% of Italian voters went to the polling station to have their say on its proposed modifications; over 19 million people (60%) said “no” to such changes. They said “no” to a reform the seemed to be both too rushed and badly written.

Matteo Renzi, on the contrary, appears to be biggest loser of this referendum, that he himself decided to turn into a vote on his government. He took a gamble, like Cameron did with the Brexit vote; Renzi took this gamble when all the political circumstances were in his favour but then the wind changed and he got wiped out, like many others political leaders. Continue reading Italy says “No” to Renzi and she says it loudly