In a previous blog I referred to the importance of style in democratic politics - qualities such as civility and moderation. (sept.14, 2018 post). It is President Trump's total disregard for such qualities that makes him so toxic to democracy in America.
This blog looks at two different qualities: coherence and congruity and, in particular, to their relevance to problems of ‘illiberal democracy’.
The EU was originally scheduled to launch in May a three-year Conference on the Future of Europe. The start now looks likely to happen in the autumn instead. The EU faces challenges on many fronts. Divisions laid bare by the coronavirus pandemic have made the need to revitalise the Union even more urgent. The purpose of the Conference is to shape both a policy response and an institutional response to the challenges. This blog looks at the institutional strand.
For some, the Conference is an opportunity to define steps towards a fully federal future Popular opinion however could support moves in the other direction towards a more confederal future. This blog compares the two agendas.
It has been a constant refrain in recent years that, with globalisation, borders no longer matter. Supply chains are global. Capital is mobile across the world. Cashless payments systems cross borders. Pollution is no respecter of borders. Neither are infectious diseases. Data flows through the world wide web. Professionals connect through international networks.
One corollary is that small nations might as well pack up shop. Only the big brigades count (the US, China. India, Nigeria, Russia, the EU). Non-state actors are the future.
Yet, despite these assertions, borders are making a comeback. .Trite thinking ascribes the comeback to 'economic nationalism'. This blog gives seven reasons why they still matter.
In the UK the surprise resignation of the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the middle of a cabinet reshuffle in February over his loss of control over the appointment of his special advisors has drawn attention to the role of the advisor. So too has the prominence of David Frost the Prime Minister's advisor and Brexit negotiator.
The passage of the EU Withdrawal Bill marks the end of a more than three-year period of great uncertainty in British politics. The UK’s new relationship with the EU remains to be negotiated. Nevertheless, the government has a comfortable majority in the House of Commons. The question is how far we should now expect politics in the UK to return to ‘normal’, or to ‘business as usual’, as it used to be prior to the referendum vote on Brexit in 2016.
When political scientists refer to ‘capture’ they usually refer to a situation where business interests take control of the levers of political power alongside politicians.
It is a worldwide phenomenon that can be seen, in different forms, from Russia to South Africa and from China to Brazil.
This blog outlines three ways of looking at these situations. It points to the difficulty of cure.
We all claim to value our privacy. At the same time, we are all extraordinarily careless about the amount of personal information about ourselves that we allow to be available on the internet.
This blog identifies four main routes to the protection of personal information. It suggests we will need to move away from the current reliance on the principle of informed consent to a more robust approach to the structure of the internet industry, including a ‘safe harbour ‘obligation placed on data controllers and data processors.
There is an increasing level of concern about the erosion of democratic standards in the world.
There is less agreement about what is causing this erosion of democratic standards. Some observers blame economics and, in particular, the growth of income and wealth inequalities. Others suggest that we need to rethink the constitutional frameworks under which democracies work.
Getting constitutional discussion going is difficult. The subject appears remote and abstract. Most constitutions deliberately discourage change and make amendment difficult. Power holders under existing arrangements react defensively. In addition, there is no generally agreed starting point.
This blog looks at different alternative starting points for constitutional discussion.
Who trusts China’s government, or the regime in Russia, in global efforts to improve cyber security in financial systems or to respect privacy? Who places any value on their commitments in the area of protecting endangered habitats or species, or to phase out products that damage the ozone layer? Who trusts them to respect intellectual property rights, or to develop AI, or genetic engineering in a socially responsible way?
This blog looks at an approach to building global rules that excludes those governments we cannot trust to share the same fundamental values or to implement the same goals. It does not rely on the top down promulgation of universal rules built on the theatre of grandstanding global conferences, self-serving international bodies and empty international treaties. It maps a different way ahead in an imperfect world.
Backsliding in democracies and the splintering of opinion between left and right is triggering new concerns about ‘fairness’ in democratic societies. If citizens feel that their system of government is stacked against them and their chances in life, then they have no reason to support it. People will turn to non-democratic systems of government.
This blog looks at the different meanings we can give to ‘fairness’ and their links to democratic forms of government.
These different meanings are important. They lead to different diagnoses of what is wrong in modern democracies. They point to different remedies.