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Month: March 2015

Is it time to start believing in an SNP landslide?

By Mark Stuart

The last four general elections in Scotland have been dull affairs. Very few seats have changed hands, and Labour dominance has been preserved. All that looks set to change if Lord Ashcroft’s recent constituency-based poll of 8,000 Scottish voters is to be believed.  He predicts that the SNP could win an astonishing 56 of the 59 Scottish constituencies, with Jim Murphy, Labour’s Scottish leader left clinging onto his East Renfrewshire bastion. Meanwhile, the Conservatives may need to cut cards to determine if they retain their only seat in Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale. The Liberal Democrats would be wiped off the mainland of Scotland (including the likeable Charles Kennedy in Ross, Skye and Lochaber) and left only with Orkney and Shetland, the former seat of Jo Grimond.

Promises, promises in the Croatian Presidential Elections

By Mladen Pupavac and Vanessa Pupavac

“I won’t let anyone say that Croatia won’t become prosperous and rich. Croatia will be among the most developed countries of the EU and the world, I promise you here tonight”.

So promised Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic of the Croatian Democratic Union party (HDZ) after winning the 2014-15 Croatian presidential election and becoming the first female president of Croatia.

The electoral race was very close. Kitarovic won 50.74% and the previous president Ivo Josipovic of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) 49.26% of the popular vote. In absolute terms, the difference between the two candidates was only around 30,000 votes, with the number of spoiled ballots twice that number at around 60,000.

A new political turn for Indian Kashmir

By Andrew Whitehead

The 79-year old Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was sworn-in on Sunday (1st March) as the new chief minister of the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir. Attending the ceremony in the state’s winter capital of Jammu was India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. For his party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), it was a landmark moment. For the first time, a party often described as Hindu nationalist is in power in Jammu & Kashmir, India’s only Muslim minority state and its most disaffected.

Class division in Brave New World and The Hunger Games: How capitalist dystopias limit individual agency

By Ibtisam Ahmed

The idea of utopia is to offer solutions to existing social problems, often in radical ways. The broad scope of the term and the etymological paradox at its heart – a place that is not a place – gives us an understanding of why this particular field of political thought appears so often in fiction. Whether the positive eutopia or the negative dystopia, a range of novels, films, television shows and even comic books have been used to explore these themes. To suggest that fictional accounts are not useful tools, then, is a glaring insult to the potential they hold.

Six lessons from the initial failed international response to Ebola

By Catherine Gegout

The Ebola virus has killed more than 9,000 people – about 2,000 in Guinea, 3,000 in Sierra Leone and 4,000 in Liberia. The outbreak started in Guinea in December 2013, but the Ebola crisis really started in April 2014 when it began to spread.

The initial international response was deemed “totally inadequate” by British MPs. Since then efforts have improved, but here are six lessons that can be learned from the problematic initial response – from the problems highlighted by the MPs – and especially pertinent to those states that have the capacity to react to epidemics.