Gilets Jaunes: More Than Esprit Français

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The endurance and energy of the ‘Gilets Jaunes’ (yellow jackets) movement has been a surprise even in a country familiar with street protests. The demonstrations have continued for the fifth week in a row, or ‘Act Five’ as it has been called. With a turnout of around 66,000 on Saturday 16th December, the numbers were… Continue Reading ➤

In conversation with Chris Giles, Economics Editor for the Financial Times: Britain, Brexit and the Budget

May

Following the announcement on Wednesday evening that Mrs. May had finally agreed a draft withdrawal deal, the attention of the nation has been on the response of the Cabinet. Thursday saw the resignation of a number of senior ministers, including the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, Dominic Raab, who claimed that he… Continue Reading ➤

Ele Não: The International Media’s Complicity in the Rise of Populism in Brazil and Beyond

Jair Bolsonaro Source: Wikimedia Commons

Brazilian Elections: Front Page News on an Unprecedented Scale This Sunday, Brazilians will go to the polls for the second time to elect their next president, but the result is already all but decided. Right-wing populist and retired army officer Jair Bolsonaro, coming off a landslide (and almost outright) victory in the first round, is… Continue Reading ➤

Transcontinental Turkey: Where is it heading?

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Relations between Turkey and the West are undeniably fraught. The post-war paradigm of relations has shifted. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian rule has brought him into conflict with Western leaders, the debacle of Pastor Brunson indicating a new crisis point with the US, and the jailing of journalists bringing complaints from Germany. These shifting… Continue Reading ➤

A “Bavarian Revolution”?

Source: Wikimedia Commons

“The election [on Sunday 14th of October]”, writes the Süddeutsche Zeitung, “was a typical Bavarian revolution. Fireworks, a lot of smoke [and] dreams in Schwabing [a central Munich district in which the Greens obtained 34% of the votes] which, throughout the night, felt like they could become true. The morning after, the Alps are still… Continue Reading ➤

How the US midterms will unfold, Part 1: The House of Representatives

Protest outside Trump Tower; Democrats hope an energised voter base will deliver them control of the House.               

Source: Wikimedia Commons

On November 6th, Americans will go to the polls to pick their representatives for both houses of Congress. All 435 seats in the House of Representatives are up for election, and 35 of the Senate’s 100 seats. Half-way through Donald Trump’s first term, this is the United States’ first chance since the 2016 election to… Continue Reading ➤

Four lessons from Wittgenstein on Trump

The Trump Blimp in Parliament Square
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Lesson 1 – Politics is not science In Remarks on Frazer’s Golden Bough, Wittgenstein critiques anthropologist James George Frazer’s argument that the ritual practices (magic) of ‘primitive cultures’ are an early and ineffective form of ‘modern science’. Instead, Wittgenstein argues that societies use magic for an entirely different purpose to science – they do fundamentally… Continue Reading ➤

Putin Crafts Spectacle for Re-election Landslide

Source: Wikimedia commons

It is election day in Russia and the country’s incumbent president, Vladimir Putin, has his victory in the bag. The impending 2018-2024 term is expected to be Putin’s fourth in power, since the former KGB agent, once deputy mayor of St. Petersburg, relieved a widely unpopular Boris Yeltsin of the presidential sceptre in 2000. Nevertheless,… Continue Reading ➤

Have we finally run out of luck?

Source: Jerry Cummins

Human existence is frustratingly and sometimes terrifyingly arbitrary. Society seems to change chaotically. Nature throws us major curve balls all-too-often, with tsunamis, floods and earthquakes causing utter devastation and loss of life with little or no warning. The world can be a scarily unpredictable place, and for many people, the point of politics is to… Continue Reading ➤

Inverting Democracy: Gerrymandering in America

Source: Wikipedia

It might seem a truism to say that voters should choose their representatives, but in the USA gerrymandering has got this precisely the wrong way round. Frank Mascara had served for three decades as an elected official of Washington county, which covers southern Pittsburgh. The last eight of those had been in the House of… Continue Reading ➤