We were all shocked by the level of violence on London’s streets this week. I am proud to be a Londoner – and this is not the city I recognise. For many of us, the first question we have had to ask ourselves is: what is a safe route home? But once there, watching TV blazes and hearing real life sirens, the next question emerges: why? Why have the city’s youth suddenly decided to act as extras in our own production of A Clockwork Orange?
After the December 2010 elections, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko lost legitimacy, both within Belarus and externally. His regime, based on a massive security apparatus, a propaganda machine and the guarantee of a job - albeit with low pay - is now in trouble. Belarus is facing serious economic problems and Lukashenko needs to regain popular support. The Belarusian leader is blackmailing the West with a new turn towards Russia. Lukashenko is bluffing, though. He is aware that relations with Moscow cannot be the same as before 2008 and that he is no longer perceived as a reliable ally for Russia.
The terrible events in Oslo, perpetrated by Anders Breivik, a lone and deranged right wing extremist, are sadly reminiscent of similar tragic events that occurred in the UK in 1999 at the hands of another deluded neo Nazi, David Copeland. This, however, has not been the only recent burst of extremist behaviour within the public domain; a UK-based Islamic extremist group has begun a campaign to create an Islamic Emirate within the UK. This article will highlight similarities between not only Breivik and Copeland, but also between their campaigns and that of the supporters of the Islamic Emirate.
The recent attacks in Norway highlight that Europe is suffering from a crisis of identity and increasingly militant xenophobia. Anders Behring Breivik's cold-blooded murders are but an extreme expression of increasing fears of foreigners throughout a Europe that finds itself questioning its identity and increasingly afraid of immigration and foreignness. Most worryingly, this trend is not only the province of extremists like Breivik, the British National Party, the English Defence League or Marine Le Pen's Front National, but has also gradually come to inform the political discourse of mainstream parties in the UK, Italy and France.
One month ago, the people of Turkey gave a third consecutive mandate to the incumbent government of the Justice and Development Party (AKP). The landslide electoral victory marked a new record in the history of the Turkish Republic: no party had ever won three elections in a row, whilst also increasing their percentage of the vote. Support for the AKP reached 49,8 per cent in the June 2011 general elections. Despite this, the AKP won fewer seats in the Turkish Grand National Assembly. Although Prime Minister Erdogan’s principal aim was to have 367 MPs to autonomously amend the constitution (or at least 330 MPs to avoid a compromise with the opposition and going directly through the popular referendum), Erdogan and the AKP missed both targets, gaining only 326.
The financial crises since 2007 have led to a resurgence in the stock of John Maynard Keynes. Recognised as one of the giants of economics, Keynes had been overtaken and largely forgotten by the neo-classical economics that had dominated public policy since the 1980s. Yet, Keynes’ concept of government stimulus spending became the go-to policy for a number of world governments desperate to avoid economic catastrophe. As Robert Lucas, a prominent member of the neo-classical orthodoxy, has dismissively remarked, “Everyone is a Keynesian in a foxhole”. Is this the limit to which Keynes is of use to us in the present?
Jacques Delors, the three-time President of the European Commission, once declared that “you cannot fall in love with the common market”. This surprising statement was uttered by the very person who ushered in the creation of the common market in an era characterised by euro-sclerosis. Arguably, the slow pace of European integration, combined with the lack of significant trade advantages deriving from the European Economic Community (EEC) membership set the pace for the creation of the common market.