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European Politics and Society

In the wake of the scandal currently afflicting Britain’s news industry, it is tempting to believe that anything might be better than putting our faith in the ethics and trustworthiness of professional journalists. So it is a good time to review what social media means for a news industry that is, to put it kindly, in a state of flux. As Tom Standage’s special report makes clear, social media and bloggers can contribute far more to news than was once thought. In recent years mainstream news organisations have often relied on them to break stories that professionals either couldn’t get to or didn’t know about, or to expose weaknesses or failures of interpretation amongst those same professionals. So there is …

The credit crunch and the disillusion with parliamentary democracy prove that there is a problem with the way we govern ourselves, as organisations and states. I would like to propose a solution which, if implemented, would go a long way to providing effective governance, economic growth, and social stability. THE PROBLEM All our existing institutions and regulations failed to prevent the credit crunch, the Madoff and Stanford frauds, the obvious risk of bankers lending to people who can’t afford to repay, and the collapse of numerous financial organisations. The banking crisis was caused by banks knowingly lending to people who couldn’t repay; therefore the crisis was predictable. So why did they do it? Because current governance processes don’t work. In …

David Cameron took office having pledged during his campaign to reduce net migration to the “tens of thousands rather than hundreds of thousands,” a commitment that has been reiterated numerous times since then by Cameron and other Conservative ministers (although it is technically a Conservative party goal rather than a coalition government policy).  But reducing migration appears much easier said than done.  The coalition government has put forward policies designed to reduce net migration through limitations on international students and skilled labour migrants. It has opened a consultation on policy toward settlement—the granting of indefinite leave to remain in the UK, as opposed to mere temporary resident status—and it plans to address marriage- or family-related migration soon. My colleagues at …

Before the varied attire of Arab Spring protesters, in recent times, revolutions tended to come in colours. Ukraine was awash with orange. Kyrgyzstan chose pink and Georgia rose. Thailand could not make its mind up over red and yellow. Choices varied but in each instance pigmentation signified unity behind certain causes and grievances. Yet in some cases the colours imbued more than solidarity – they bred an artistic renaissance. Last Friday, Olga Onuch, a former DPhil student in the DPIR and now a post-doc at the University of Toronto, and her father, Jerzy Onuch, spoke about the intersection between art and protest. Both know a lot about the topic: it is the subject of Ms. Onuch’s recently completed PhD dissertation …

Sounds unlikely.  Did Twitter? Nobody really seems to claim so, though Evgeny Morozov erroneously claims that Andrew Sullivan claims so, though Sullivan actually only raised the question and linked to Ethan Zuckerman, who … wait, back to the fax machine. I met Marc Plattner yesterday, who edits the Journal of Democracy and is a veteran of both academic and policy discussions around issues of democracy and democratization. He told me about how some people used to claim the fax machine “caused” (or at least played a large part in) the collapse of the Soviet Union. You can imagine all the arguments that could be marshalled. (“Between them, television, the fax machine and word of mouth have banished fear,” writes John …

The People’s Charter of 1848 contained six demands, then considered dangerously radical by both Whig and Tory governments. One of the six was: EQUAL CONSTITUENCIES, securing the same amount of representation for the same number of electors, instead of allowing small constituencies to swamp the votes of larger ones. The Chartists might have been surprised to find that it was a Conservative-dominated government which first tried to enact equal representation, in the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill 2010 (PVSCB in civil servantese). As I write, the controversial bill has passed the Commons, and is being considered by Their (unelected) Lordships, who have no scruples about amending bills on how to elect another house.  Oh well, that’s politics. Some political …

  Today there is no agreement on what should replace the Kyoto Protocol (KP) expiring in 2012. What is certain, however, is that the framing of the new climate regime may create new scenarios, involving new fora and strengthening certain international players while weakening others.