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Last week’s coup attempt by military forces in Turkey — the military’s first overt attempt to take power since 1980 — came as a great shock to the international community. At least 290 people were killed and 1,440 wounded. The coup also spurred a dramatic wave of purges; less than 24 hours after the turmoil began, 2,839 army members and a member of the constitutional court were arrested, while 2,745 judges and five members of the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors were removed from their posts. The purges only intensified thereafter; within a week, about 60,000 soldiers, police, judges, civil servants and …

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Photo credit: Plashing Vole, Flickr: CC BY-NC 2.0

The Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) is currently engaged in an ongoing struggle with its leader, Jeremy Corbyn. In a series of exchanges, my colleague, Blake Ewing, and I engage in a debate over whether he should stay or go. Ewing has taken the time to reply to my response to his original piece. There is disagreement between on us on quite a number of fronts, including on our fundamental political commitments. I think the most productive approach, is to summarise what I take to be his three most important arguments and offer my response. So here goes. Ewing disputes my …
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The result of the UK referendum on EU membership was an act of rejection of elite opinion. Almost the entirety of the country’s intellectual, economic and political establishment had explicitly opposed Brexit. There had been letters by Nobel laureates detailing the cost to UK research of a ‘Leave’ vote, a public statement by over 250 academics to the same affect, the official opposition of most British businesses as well as an avalanche of expert reports indicating the significant economic cost of leaving the world’s largest single market. In political terms, the ‘Remain’ campaign had the formal support of the country’s four …
Photo credit - Plashing Vole (Flickr:CC BY-NC 2.0)

Readers of this blog, and especially prospective students in PPE and History and Politics, should see this on-going exchange between my colleague Bruno Leipold, a diehard Corbynista (and expert on Marx), and myself, a defender of what he calls ‘the embittered sliver’ of the Labour Party who want rid of him, as a showcase of the good natured and humoured discourse that goes on here at the university. [You can read my piece here, and his response here.] From time to time we like to talk about so-called ‘real politics’, and why ideas matter. Now, in his article, he describes the …
Photo credit: Garry Knight (Flickr:CC BY-NC 2.0)

Last night I attended an emergency local meeting of Momentum (the Labour Party focused organisation set up to defend Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership). More than fifty people crowded into a small meeting room of the South Oxford Community Centre to express their indignation at the actions of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP). Like every Momentum meeting I’ve attended, this was done in tones so polite and reserved that you’d have hardly guessed that we were in the midst of the most profound political and constitutional crisis of the country in at least a generation. Though the group would have had every …
Demonstration against FARC (Photo credit: xmascarol, Flickr:CC BY-NC 2.0)

The “how” and the “when” of Colombia’s latest peace breakthrough are of course important — but so is the “where” and “with whom.” On June 23, the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC) signed a bilateral ceasefire agreement, after more than five decades of armed conflict. For Colombia’s peace process to succeed, it will need to break the cycle of conflict, organized crime and state neglect in Colombia’s border regions. The agreement stipulates that the FARC lay down its weapons within 180 days of a final peace deal, which has a July target date. The disarmament will take …
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As always, once the people have spoken, the people has to work out what they were all saying, to whom, how and why. Consequently, there are hundreds of interpretations out there including a confusing array of numbers and charts and a lot of hostility, resentment and name-calling. I therefore apologise for adding to the racket. But I wanted to try and describe what people were saying with their vote in terms which are general and simplified but also, I think, relatively clear and accurate terms. I also wanted to point out that of all the different constituencies or groups which …
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