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Monday, 10 September

19:49

Michel Martin: the core of nationalism is to secure a unity of people and not just a unity of structures "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

In his recently published book, my old Slugger partner in crime Paul Evans describes the rise in the populism as a  form of anti-utilitarianism in which political gaming is gradually crowding out representative democracy.

Whilst keen not to paint Brexit or the election of Trump as civilisations end, he highlights the capacity for hidden interests to manipulate any electorate through dark money and by sending radically different political messages even to people living under the same roof is rising.

The resulting squeezing of a common ground and/or common understanding of shared problems and difficulties was one of several key themes of an end of summer speech from Micheal Martin at the British Irish Association Conference

Brexit has directly and dramatically destabilised a settlement which was in any event already very fragile.  And one of the worst developments in this atmosphere has been the reckless and short-term approach of many participants.  

Where once a premium was placed on showing leadership through building relations and demonstrating respect, too often we have seen complex issues dealt with through duelling headlines.

Broad-brush historical claims have been made without any serious reflection and there has been a quite dramatic tendency of some to return to the rhetoric of the past.

And

In just over 200 days the core foundation for UK-Ireland relations for nearly 50 years will be removed through Brexit and we have not the slightest idea what will replace it.

At the inter-governmental level relations are worse than at any time in at least the last thirty years.  The Taoiseach and Prime Minister appear to have no substantive working relationship and go long periods without talking to each other.  

It is inconceivable that Bertie Ahern and Tony Blair, or Brian Cowen and Gordon Brown would have gone seven weeks without talking at any time let alone during a crisis.

At other levels, many meetings happen but their impact is limited and it took immense pressure to force London to convene the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference.  It is also worrying that there was no joint press conference afterwards and the Irish ministers had to speak to the media on the street.

And within Northern Ir...

19:15

For Bulgarian citizens when populism is mainstreamed, contestability is more important than consent "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Protests may not achieve their goals or provide a new democratic model, but they have been a laboratory for citizenship through contestation.

lead lead Sofia Pride 2017. NurPhoto/Press Association. All rights reserved.

I feel that I can change the world,[1] a volunteer said. Such unqualified confidence seems paradoxical: how can volunteer work with refugee children rendered invisible in the public space by hegemonic securitarian and anti-refugee discourses change society, politics, the world?

However, it deftly captures the emergence of a new type of citizenship and its transformative power. Hannah Arendt once said in The Human Condition: To act ... means to take an initiative, to begin to set something into motion... This beginning is not the same as the beginning of the world; it is not the beginning of something but of somebody, who is a beginner himself.

For Arendt, acting blends together agency, initiative, beginning, change of the world and of the active Self. This conceptual blend underlies our concept of citizenship as commitment, participation, transformation.

Contestatory citizenship

The 2013 Bulgarian summer of protests started on the day when an oligarch with a particularly negative reputation was appointed director of the governmental agency for national security. Tens of thousands of people gathered in downtown Sofia, and the protests lasted a whole year.

In this Bulgarian Occupy, oligarchization had a concrete face, but those protests also had a more global goal. The problem isnt with people; its with the system[2] and Weve had enough of hierarchy. We want direct democracy: those slogans from the June 2013 protests in Sofia sum up the high ambitions to reject outright the existing model and invent a new one. The ccupy mobilizations in post-communist Bulgaria have had a great impact in two directions: taking the...

18:45

Left populism over the years "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

A conversation about the rise of the right-wing since the turn of the century, what this tells us about liberal democracy, and the deepening of democracy needed in response.

lead lead Protesters at an "anti-Macron" demonstration organized by La France Insoumise in Marseille, April, 2018. Chagnard Guillaume/Press Association. All rights reserved.

Rosemary Bechler, openDemocracy (RB): Chantal, this is exactly twenty years after my last interview with you.Thank you for giving me this chance to talk to you on the occasion of the most recent reformulation of your project, published this year in For A Left Populism (Verso). I am intrigued to find out from you how you think your thinking has moved on in the intervening years. But the first thing I want to do is to acknowledge the considerable success with which twenty years ago you envisaged the crisis of democracy that we would be encountering today. 

In 1998, it was five years after you had published the first edition of The Return of the Political and six since Dimensions of Radical Democracy: Pluralism, Citizenship, Community. In those works you already anticipated the rise of the radical right in several European countries. At the time you only really had Austrias Freedom Party in your sights, as well of course as the advance of Le Pen pre in France. But you saw these as symptoms of the deep crisis of political identity which liberal democracy was facing. What impressed me then was that your call was not for the demise of liberal democracy, but an urgent invitation to rework liberal democracy in ways that can overcome precisely these types of crisis.

At that time you were talking about the triangulation experiments of New Labour and Clintons Democrats in the United States, and how they had removed the conflict between left and right that is an essential component of modern democracy. You argued that doing this had precipitated an archetypal failure in democratic politics; that the political in its antagonistic dimen...

17:47

Boundary Commission removes one seat and puts Dungiven back together "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

So the latest boundary review has reported. It should be the final one. N0rthern Ireland loses just one constituency, as its share of the 50 that have to go under the coalitions Rules of Redistribution.

The BBC have a broad outline of the major changes in Northern Ireland

Dungiven will no longer be split between three constituencies, instead it will be moved to Sperrin.

Lagan Valley and Strangford will also disappear from the constituency map.

The new plan will see the creation of the Causeway constituency on the north coast, merging part of East Londonderry with part of North Antrim and a small section of East Antrim.

The remainder of North Antrim is renamed Mid Antrim and takes in parts of East Antrim and South Antrim.

South Antrim, in turn, takes part of a defunct Lagan Valley.

Another portion of Lagan Valley merges with a section of Strangford, and a small part of South Down, to become Mid Down.

17:08

The Swedish model is still alive "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Stefan Lfven's party received 28.4% of the votes, a strong result for a Social Democratic party in government in today's Europe.

Prime Minister of Sweden Stefan Lofven and his wife Ulla Lofven walk out to cast their votes in Stockholm, Sweden, Sept. 9, 2018. Shi Tiansheng/ Press Association. All rights reserved.

First I hear the drums. Then red flags and banners appear at the corner leading up to Kungsgatan, a central street in Stockholm. A brass orchestra follows, starting to play The Internationale. In the front row of the May 1 demonstration marches Social Democratic party leader and Swedish prime minister Stefan Lfven, together with his wife Ulla. Activists follow under red banners. Most messages on the placards they carry are variations of the official party message: Together against uncertainty and fear. But some demonstrators are also arguing for a more liberal migration policy after the political leaderships U-turn on the issue in 2015.

Soon, the demonstrators have passed by, leaving the street empty. Already? A sign of a Social Democracy in crisis, in a country where the party once held power for 44 successive years? This was the narrative in May, as well as in the run-up to the Swedish elections this Sunday.

International media also reported extensively on immigration, fear of crime and challenges to the welfare state. This is a biased picture. Many parts of Swedish society are developing well, and Sweden is ranked among the top countries when it comes to issues such as quality of life, gender equality and innovation.

But yes, there are challenges when Sweden is rapidly changing. One reason for the rise of the far-right Sweden Democrats is that other parties have disregarded such problems for too long. One reason for the rise of the far-right Sweden Democrats is that other parties have disregarded such problems for too long.

Segregation and income inequality have grown. The risk of poverty increased drastically in connection with the 20...

17:00

Platform parties vs plutocrat PR: welcome to the future of UK politics "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Deserted by members, right-wing parties serve the rich, while people have flocked to centre and left alternatives, only to be smeared as "dogs" and "Trots".

"SNP Live", 2016. Image, YouTube, Fair Use.

The SNP has more members than the Conservatives. Labour is the biggest its been since the Sixties. The Lib Dems recruited nearly 20,000 people over 2017 and are the biggest theyve been in 20 years, and the Greens have around twice as many members as UKIP.

These figures, published by the House of Commons library last week, tell an important story about the future of our politics.

Zombie members and PR nationalism

Conservative party membership peaked at 2.8 million in the 1950s and has declined rapidly ever since. By 2003 it had fallen to 273,000. It then halved under David Cameron and is now 124,000. UKIPs membership has fallen since the Brexit referendum, from 34,293 in December 2016 to 23,280 now. And while the Tories look ripe for infiltration, the attempt by former UKIP funder Arron Banks to lead the charge seems to be failing, with, according to the Daily Express, only around 100 people joining the so-called blue wave. It seems the Brexit movement has moved on.

The long-term collapse in Conservative membership correlates with a drastic fall in the size of three other traditional institutions of conservatism: the Church of England, the armed forces and farming.

It seems that neoliberalism has done two things to the ruling class. First, it has taught people that they can attain more power throu...

12:51

Heated and abandoned: the Ecuador-Colombia border "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Figuring out what is going on at the northern border of Ecuador is like trying to put together a puzzle with a huge number of pieces namely, organized crime, drug trafficking, paramilitary forces and human trafficking. Espaol

The FARC are still present in the territory. Image: losirreverentes.com

The various social problems currently at play on the border between Ecuador and Colombia generate complex situations which affect a vulnerable population.

The history of the last 30 years and the economic, social and political changes that have recently occurred in Ecuador and Colombia increase the complexity of the new scenarios, even though the actors remain practically the same.

There is no doubt that those who suffer the most are, as always, the local populations which stand to witness the violation of their most basic human rights and how truth, justice and reason are sacrificed, giving way to fear, distrust and silence.

Recent history of this dividing line between Colombia and Ecuador, a heated and at the same time neglected border, enables us to understand how the current situation has come about.

The border in the 90s

The situation on the northern border of Ecuador in the 1990s was marked by violence triggered by the presence of the various conflicting groups:

  1. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
  2. The Colombian armed forces: the police and the army.
  3. The paramilitary groups, the so-called United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC).
  4. The drug cartels and groups related to drug trafficking.

What kind of relationships did these groups have and what were their power spaces?

Most certainly, the AUC and the Colombian armed forces maintained a factual, though never formally recognized alliance. The paramilitary forces spr...

12:07

Making another economic future possible: 100 policies to end austerity "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

The Progressive Economy Forum launches a new initiative to cultivate new ideas, policies and plans to end austerity.

The lost decade?

A decade on from the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), now is the time for serious reflection on where we are, how we got here and what future lies before us. In the aftermath of the 2008 crisis, finance-driven capitalism appeared to be on a precipice. The collapse of leading global financial institutions in the US and UK led to a free fall in global markets, followed by the European Sovereign Debt crisis. It all seemed to herald the end of unfettered financial expansion. Indeed, many believed 2008 was another 1929 moment.

The lost decade?

A decade on from the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), now is the time for serious reflection on where we are, how we got here and what future lies before us. In the aftermath of the 2008 crisis, finance-driven capitalism appeared to be on a precipice. The collapse of leading global financial institutions in the US and UK led to a free fall in global markets, followed by the European Sovereign Debt crisis. It all seemed to herald the end of unfettered financial expansion. Indeed, many believed 2008 was another 1929 moment a systemic crisis would bring about a New Deal style recovery and a Bretton Woods agreement for the 21st century to establish clear parameters for a stable global financial system. A decade later the outcome is far different: finance capitalism has never had it so good. The initial bailouts, deemed necessary to keep the financial system afloat, were followed by drastic reductions in interest rates that have yet to return to pre-crisis levels. Risk guarantees offered by Central Banks and Treasury Departments across the globe were committed to providing the money (liquidity) necessary to maintain the stability the global financial system. This was followed by asset buy-back schemes and long-term refinance operations which became systematised into successive rounds of Quantitative Easing (QE). Technocratic speak refers to the last decade, euphemistically, as the era of unconventional monetary policy, or the biggest ever helicopter money drop onto the financial sector in living memory. Those who believed 2008 could have been a reckoning for the failures of finance-driven growth could not be more disappointed. The financial sector is more entrenched than before the crisis, and the political power of finance to control the public policy agenda stronger than ever.

Looking to the future and seeing much of the same

Looking back over the past decade, even achieving an economic recovery took longer than the Great Depression. The promises of a rebalancing of growth across Great...

12:06

The EU may shoot Boriss fox and bail Theresa out "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

The FT  has discovered a blink of light for Theresa May  amid the general Brexit gloom.  The Daily Telegraph is among other papers  lifting the story, labelling it, Operation Save Theresa.       

The EU is preparing to give its Brexit negotiator new instructions to help close a deal with Britain, in a conciliatory move that will bolster Theresa May as she suffers savage attacks from Brexiters at home.

An informal summit in Salzburg this month between the EUs 27 remaining leaders is emerging as one of the most significant Brexit discussions since the bloc first set its strategy for talks. Ambassadors in Brussels have been told that, as well as the planned timing of any deal and sticking points such as the Irish border, the meeting will discuss whether to issue additional guidance to Michel Barnier, the EUs chief negotiator.

While the EU continues to have fundamental reservations about Mrs Mays Chequers plan for close integration with the EU after Brexit, the blocs main priority is concluding a withdrawal deal with the UK, including guarantees to avoid a hard border across the island of Ireland. Diplomats expect many hard choices over future relations to be left until after Brexit.

If leaders agree at the September 20 meeting, diplomats expect a final set of guidelines to be formally adopted at the October summit of EU leaders, setting the stage for a special Brexit summit in November, where the two sides would aim to conclude talks.

It all depends on what they think they can sell back home, said an EU diplomat involved in Brexit talks. There are some things that will not work. We do have a requirement for a legally operable backstop [for the Irish border]. The rest is solvable.

But the  backstop  wont go away.  In his latest spate of metaphors attacking the Chequers plan ,  Boris Johnson rehearsed the Brexit case that the border problem is grossly inflated by Brussels and Dublin

Now under the Chequers proposal, we are set to agree to accept their rules forever with no say on the making of those rules.

It is a humiliation. We look like a seven-stone weakling being comically bent out of shape by a 500 lb gorilla. And the reason is simple: Northern Ireland, and the insanity of the so-called backstop.

We have opened ourselves to perpetual political blackmail. We have wrapped a suicide vest around the British consti...

07:46

The united German extreme right "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Chemnitz shows how collaboration across three rightwing sectors is a recipe for disaster, as the extreme right understands very well.

lead lead September 1, 2018 demonstration by the AfD, Pegida alliance, and right-wing populist citizens' movement, Pro Chemnitz. Ralf Hirschberger/ Press Association. All rights reserved.

Haunting video footage of groups of German right-wing extremists chasing, harassing and attacking ethnic minorities, journalists and counter-protesters circulated widely on social media last week, along with footage of overwhelmed police. If the mob attacks, a policeman warns a Lebanese refugee counter-protester in one video, we cant guarantee your safety.

Protests had developed rapidly in the east German town of Chemnitz last Sunday, after a German man died in a street fight stabbing and two Syrian and Iraqi asylum seekers were arrested for the crime. What was originally a spontaneous crowd protesting criminal migrants grew overnight largely through social media recruiting to 6,000 protesters. Far outnumbered, local police struggled to hold the line, and swathes of the city fell out of police control for two days, until police reinforcements arrived.

The Chemnitz events horrified mainstream Germans and citizens across the globe, but they also brought the new face of far right extremism into sharp relief. More than ever, it is now clear that the tactics and strategies of extreme right-wing violent movements have changed. For decades, a small number of hard-core, militant neo-Nazi marches have taken place...  violence was typically limited to clashes between left and right.

Before Chemnitz, there were two types of right-wing street protests in Germany that operated separately. For decades, a small number of hard-core, militant neo-Nazi marches have taken place periodically, typically to commemorate Nazi leaders like Rudolf Hess and attended by fringe extremists. Anti-fascist counter-protesters almost always far outnu...

03:20

A world of digital plenty is possible, but only if we take on the data barons "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Deep, structural reform of how data is generated, governed and used is needed so that everyone can benefit from digital technology. 

What links Donald Trump, Sajid Javid and Jeremy Corbyn? Answer: over the last couple of months, theyve all sought to capture the political energy from the seemingly endless sequence of tech giant scandals. Trump has tweeted about a supposed (unfounded) anti-right-wing bias in Google searches. In the UK, Javid has warned of tech firms record on child safety, while Corbyn highlighted the oversized role of social media and other platforms in our consumption of news. All have proposed responses to these threats. Javid favours fines, which, in the practice, often amount to less than a few minutes revenue. Corbyn has gone further, announcing his intention to create a new public sector body to drive digital innovation and inclusion. This is an improvement on the tepid centrist playbook (and on Trumps vague promise that this will be addressed!), but an adequate response requires something even deeper. The wealth, power and reach of the tech giants into so many areas of our social and economic lives shows that a more radical approach is required. Deep, structural reform of how data is generated, governed and used is needed so that all can gain from the benefits of digital technology. This benefit can and could be enormous from connecting people around the world on social media, through making industrial processes more efficient, to helping us understand and act on environmental change and opening up affordable, clean transport for all. But, so far, the development of the digital economy has been dominated by a small number of powerful firms whose activities tend towards monopoly. Its estimated that, in the UK, Facebook has 74% of the social network market share, Amazon is responsible for 90% of all e-book sales and 80% of online physical book sales, and Google has an 88% share of the desktop search engine market a...

00:50

Brexit and Scotland "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

By Russell Bruce

Newsnet is pleased to present this fascinating video of a packed meeting in Selkirk last week. Michael Russell MSP, is the Cabinet Secretary for Government Business and Constitutional Relations. Mr Russell took the audience though a lucid explanation of the thorny questions Scotland is facing as the UK government fails to make progress in negotiations with the EU and repeatedly ignores the  wishes of the Scottish Government and the Scottish Parliament.

Scotland voted 62% to Remain and all parties in the Scottish Parliament supported the Scottish Government in seeking to remain in the Single Market and a Customs Union with the sole exception of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party who now want to leave on whatever basis might finally emerge from the paralysis of a divided UK Conservative Government in perpetual internal conflict.

The event was arranged and supported by Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire SNP and filmed by the Newsnet team operating as Twinlaw Films.

 

The post Brexit and Scotland appeared first on Newsnet.scot.

Sunday, 09 September

19:20

How does change happen? One mans journey through the personal and the political "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

The first step to building a new world is to start living it, but dont stop there.

Jason Angell at Longhaul Farm in the Hudson Valley, New York. Credit: Theo Angell. All rights reserved.

For most of my life Ive been a political activist, believing the story that social transformation comes through radical legislation pushed along by brave elected leaders. I once imagined becoming one of those leaders myself, and had a mental picture of giving a speech to a massive group of people in what looked like the National Mall in Washington DC. 

I know I inherited that picture from my father, who harbored dreams of being a politician who had something true to say to people that would lead them out of the wilderness. He ran for Congress in 1972 unsuccessfully in the same community where I now live and have a farm, but my path to becoming a farmer was unexpected, paved by three experiences that challenged my belief that the change I hoped to see in the world could be won through the current political system.

The first was a brief run for the New York State Senate in my early thirties in the Hudson Valley.  Most of my days were spent alone, calling people to ask for money which I dreaded. Sometimes I would stand in front of civic groups, introduce myself, and tell them why I had the answers (which I didnt). So I dropped out.

Eventually I got a job as Director of the Center for Working Familiesa think-tank allied to the Working Families Party (WFP) and a place where ideas could be translated into direct action through the Partys political muscle. It was 2009 and New York State faced one of the largest budget deficits in the country. The old debate raged on: increase taxes or cut public services drastically? This was a fight I wanted to be a part of. I still remembered the visceral wrongness of walking by homeless people on frigid winter streets when I moved to New York City as a kid in 1986. 

Now Manhattan was the playground of the worlds wealthy elitebankers and hedge fund managers bringing home bonus check millions while the economy collapsed under the weight of their subprime mortgage lending greed. My job was to design a tax reform proposal to increase taxes on the wealthiest New Yorkers, which had been slashed for decades.

Progressives united around the causeteacher and healthcare unions, poor peoples organizations, private foundations, (some) Democrats and WFP legislatorsand the...

14:31

If the MoD stalls over the Ballymurphy inquest, you can forget drawing a line under the Troubles "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

The Channel 4 film Massacre at Ballymurphy will quickly be seized on as ammunition in the battle of narratives for dealing with the past.    Those who complain that not only the narrative but justice has become one sided may believe that the documentary has handed a propaganda victory to Sinn Fein: and so whatever the gross hypocrisy involved,  it probably has.  But this is beside the point.  To think of it only in Clausewitzian terms is to view it through the narowest of blinkers.  To do so would discount the eye witness evidence which is searingly compelling.  Although the families are now well organised and supported, it would be an insult and a cardinal error to think of them as republican stooges. So lets leave the propaganda battle aside.

True, the film was one sided. Thats because the MoD is reserving its position for the inquest about to begin shortly. Already the judge has warned the MoD not to drag its feet.

Because of the similar deployment of 1 Para, the witness testimony prefigured Bloody Sunday seven months later, but strung out over three days. All 11 victims died unarmed and isolated on open ground, 10 of them shot. The innocence of all of them is accepted already. The contrast between the youthful Fr Des Wilson of 47 years ago  and the elderly Des of  today was poignant  to behold but his eloquence was as striking as ever.

Why then was there not an immediate outcry as in Derry on the day of Bloody Sunday and the creation of a cause celebre?   Even here, the phenomenon of reluctance of the witnesses and relatives  to speak out prevailed for years  in case theyd be stigmatised as propaganda fodder.   At the time  the Ballymurphy experience was submerged in the  general  turmoil of  internment  throughout the province when 342 were arrested, three  shot dead, 7000 were left homeless  and all Belfast seemed on fire.

Even in the   turbulent atmosphere of   the internment operation launched on 9 August 1971, it is remarkable to say the least, that Ballymurphy (and not only Ballymurphy) was a virtual free fire zone and soldiers conduct was allowed to persist unchecked for three days.  As in Saville, the orders of the chain of...

11:31

Does Sweden's mainstream have to talk to the Sweden Democrats? "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

With the media on their side, the SD has managed to persuade many unionised women in the health service that it is the only party for them. Does the mainstream know why?

lead Sweden Democrat supporters of Jimmie kesson at a rally in Uppsala, Sweden, during the 2014 election campaign. Wikicommons/ Carl Ridderstrle. Some rights reserved.

One of the three biggest parties in Sweden, the nativist Sweden Democrats (SD) has become a force to reckon with. More scarily still, they might even become the second biggest in the national elections on the September 9. Even coming third would be a massive achievement for a party with links to Swedens neo-Nazi subculture.

So far, however, neither the Social Democrats nor the conservative party, Moderatarna (M), are willing to discuss a potential government coalition with SD, despite being unable to achieve a governing majority. Jimmie kesson, SD leader, says: we are big and we are wise.  He thinks it would be easier for the mainstream to talk to him rather than having to call for new elections. The SD first made it to Riksdagen, the Swedish parliament, in 2010 with 5.7% of the vote and 20 MPs. Fast-forward to 2014, and they had gained 12.9% which gave them 49 seats. In this years election, they may gain 20% or even 25% of the vote with one poll projecting as many as 72 seats being allocated to the populist radical right party.

kesson wants power, and he wants it now.  He wants to protect Sweden, Swedish values and Swedish culture like meatballs (DN leader portrait, pod...

09:24

A market for moral, organisational and cultural values could fundamentally challenge neoliberalism and populism at one fell swoop "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

This market for values would offer individuals, companies and local communities an economic incentive to contribute to the common good and to a sense of community. 

Screen-shot: Iron cage.

In order to understand the times that we are going through, we should go back to concepts such as Max Weber's iron cage and Karl Marxs alienation. While neoliberalism and populism are perceived as conflicting narratives, they share some common elements, such as economism (policies and choices are assessed almost exclusively on the basis of their ability to provide material welfare), individualism (i.e. the mere freedom to choose how to access material welfare, as opposed to individuality i.e. the ability to freely decide on what makes a good life) and conformism (for instance, through consumerism). Economism, individualism ( as opposed to individuality), and conformism

Most people usually refer to values such as freedom and nation almost exclusively in a partisan way, for the benefit of who holds capital and political power, i.e. monetary and symbolic resources. Even when citizens genuinely believe in principles such as social justice and multiculturalism, they seem unable to discursively spread these values to the rest of society.   

To a great extent, social change is currently hindered by the lack of an authentic sense of community. Our societies are mainly instruments aimed at allowing individuals to pursue their private aims through a framework of common legal rules. Societies are not also communities, because there is no public shared identity, no public discourse on the importance of moral, organisational and cultural values. Societies are simply the place where the clash among different values take place, in order to choose which ones will be dominant. This happens because there is no autonomy: our values be it tolerance or racism, material or spiritual welfare are simply instrumental to our role in the social fabric. Therefore, there is no incentive to spread these values to the rest of society....

00:51

Who is the most incompetent Tory government minister? "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"


The modern Conservative Party is a microcosm of all that's gone so wrong in modern Britain. The vast majority of the top positions have been gobbled up by wealthy, over-entitled elitists with establishment connections, and there's practically no social mobility within the party to provide competition to replace people who are manifestly incompetent, so there's basically no getting rid of the people who created the appalling situation we're in.


Background

David Cameron bears a lot of responsibility for the state of things given his extraordinarily lax attitude towards the incompetence of his ministers:
  • Theresa May cocked up one piece of legislation after another, introduced the horrific "hostile environment" policies that created the Windrush scandal, and failed her (ridiculous and arbitrary) promise to cut net migration to below 100,000 so badly that net migration reached an all time high. 
  • And even the legendarily incompetent Iain Duncan Smith was allowed to continue maliciously and incompetently...

00:34

The LibDems Anti-Brexit Weekend "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Hampstead LibDems Brexit stallAcross Britain, Liberal Democrats have been out and about campaigning against Brexit this weekend and the mood everywhere seems to be that people dont like the way things are going. Theresa Mays Chequers plan is in tatters, yet the arch-Brexiteers among the Tories have failed to come up with an alternative of their own. Labour, meanwhile, is still stuck on the fence, apparently with superglue, but the chorus from Labour members calling for the party to back a Peoples Vote when a deal is proposed later this year is now getting so loud that it is hard to imagine that it will not dominate the Labour autumn conference, with prominent moderates such as Chuka Umunna and Ben Bradshaw leading the charge. There is even a growing band of Conservative ex-Ministers now putting their heads above the parapet to call for a referendum too. The Liberal Democrats will go into our own Brighton conference next weekend knowing that apart from a tiny minority, party members are overwhelmingly in favour of an Exit from Brexit, which has indeed become something of Vince Cables signature policy. But what I found interesting, helping man a stall on Hampstead High Street this morning, is how passionately many ordinary voters are starting to feel about the matter, including...

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