Archive | 2013

The possibility of Scottish independence: is the ‘One Nation’ notion in peril?

Alex Salmond’s white paper, entitled ‘Scotland’s Future’, seems to have attracted a lot of media coverage – but it whiffs of both (self-)importance and an sense of underwhelming implausibility. There are two issues that Salmon has tackled in this white paper. Firstly he tackles the elephant in the room, Scottish independence from the UK. He […]

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A pan-European far right: an internal risk the EU cannot take

After the banking crisis and global recession came to the fore in 2007, analysts and commentators across Europe forecasted that the Euro would collapse, and that this would lead to the gradual collapse of the European Union itself. However, time has told that this is not the case. Despite relative success, the pan-European solidarity is […]

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The Economy Will Be the Deciding Factor Again

A year is a long time in economics. As 2013 dawned, many were expecting the worst since the financial crisis of 2008 the UK had suffered two recessions and a third was apparently just around the corner, ready to take the country into unchartered territory – the triple dip. Yet the picture began to brighten […]

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U.S. Energy Revolution: What Does It Mean for the UK and Europe?

Communications consultancy APCO’s London office recently held a roundtable discussion with former U.S. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson and Professor Alan Riley of City University regarding the implications of the U.S. energy revolution for the UK and Europe. The discussion could not have been timelier, with the energy debate in the UK heating up around the […]

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Euroscepticism: the spectre that compromises the UK’s economy

If there is one thing that stands out as extraordinary in this debate, it is the assertions put forward by the UK’s Chancellor George Osborne. He constantly claims that the recent crisis was caused completely by the irresponsibility of the Brown government, and uses this as his primary line of defence when tackling the popular backlash […]

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EU and US surveillance: invasion of privacy vs. preservation of security

As an introductory disclaimer, it is undeniable that most democratic countries and its citizens who hold liberty in high regard will support the idea of a right to privacy and its conceptual sister, the right to information. By contrast, the emergence of news that the NSA tapped into technology and cyber-data with the supposed assurance […]

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Hungarian PM: Much to say about nothing

Hungarian Prime Minister visits London and delivers address to Chatham House think tank but fails to address concerns over rule of law which have dogged his international reputation Mention the names of European political leaders in Brussels right now and few elicit such a negative response as Viktor Orban, the Hungarian Prime Minister. Since being […]

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Going gaga over Malala: the non-violent crusader of the 21st century

The Taliban has tried to kill her; the UN has listened to her impassioned speech on the inviolable importance of equal education; she even nearly won the Nobel Peace Prize (but let’s face it – she’s better than that!) Malala Yousafzai has now cemented her image as the Joan of Arc of the modern era. […]

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Elections Azeri Style!

One could almost be forgiven for not realising that Azerbaijan has just had a presidential election. Yes, the BBC has run an article on it and the news of the vote has made it into Western media, whereas elections in Belarus often fail to do, but it was a brief report in forming readers of […]

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Could the Department for International Development still learn a thing or two about global education reform?

Since 2010, the Department for International Development (DfID) has taken a controversial decision to pump foreign aid into low-cost private schools in developing countries (Nigeria, Ghana and Pakistan, to name a few) due to a need for investment in public education systems that, if anything, are growing exponentially. This move sparks a change in mentality for […]

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Vladislav Surkov: The Return of the Puppet Master in Russia

A cataclysm occurred on the 14th of May; at least it was an upheaval for two postgraduate students at the Centre for Russian and East European Studies (CREES) at the University of Birmingham. Such a momentous occasion called for a morning of coffee at the Starbucks to debate the issue and its connotations for Russia. […]

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Banning Golden Dawn is not the Answer

In the past week there have been increasing calls to ban the Greek far right party, known as Golden Dawn. Since the party has achieved national representation by winning 18 seats in the Greek Parliament, it has been making headlines in Greece, Europe and the World in general. This attention has come in the form […]

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Pope Francis: a modern representative of God?

In a recent interview with a Jesuit journal in Italy, Pope Francis declared that he wants to establish a “new balance” in the Catholic Church by encouraging more involvement from women in key decisions and a less perjorative focus on the LGBT community, divorce and abortion. The Pope called for the Catholic Church (and wider […]

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Catalonia: Holding Hands for Independence

Six days ago was Catalonia’s ‘national’ independence day, dedicated to the memory of the fall of Barcelona to Philip V during the Spanish war of succession in 1714. The past two years have seen a particular vehement demonstration of Catalan nationalism with 100,000 protesters last year protesting vociferously in the Placa de Catalunya. This year […]

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Swedish Weapons Inspectors: A History

The United Nations head chemical weapons inspector in Syria, Sweden’s Ake Sellström, responded to concerns over Syria’s alleged use of chemical weapons with a dazzling display of patient examination and prudent analysis in the tradition of fellow Swedish disarm-o-crats Rolf Ekéus and Hans Blix. As Sellström’s heroics have rekindled popular interest in Swedish weapons inspectors, […]

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