Religion, Migration, Power and Money

Religion, Migration, Power and Money

The tale of two Athens hotels, the 5-star and the refugee camp. Religion, Migration, Power and Money was the title of last month's Athens Democracy Forum. The conference was sponsored by some Big Names, it attracted important people to come and speak, including the President of Greece, op-ed columnists at the New York Times, the Mayor of Athens, a top British QC and the European Commissioner for migration, among others. And they all had one thing in common: they were all grey-haired white men[1]. At this beautifully organised three-day conference, it was the white…Read more

Britain can be the real winner of the EU referendum: why we all need to be talking about Europe

  ‘How (not) to talk about Europe’  is a recent publication from the independent think tank Britain’s Future, that advises both the ‘In’ and ‘Out’ campaigns to change their narrative so as to involve and engage the wider public, leaving a lasting legacy of public participation. In this sense, we all need to be talking about Europe.    Here’s what we’re doing wrong: the debate has started and campaigns are pressing on ahead with rhetoric and branding, but the majority of the population have been left behind. They’re in the dark - ill informed…Read more

Now what, Europe, now what?

As the alcohol hangover from Sunday night fades, we can start to enjoy the political hangover. Here in the UK, there is a lot of finger-pointing at who "let UKIP in". Across the rest of Europe, the media narrative appears to be the rise of extremes. Personally, I think blaming people for the rise of UKIP is a pointless exercise. If 25% of people, or 10% people, or 50% of people believe that the EU should be abolished and immigration should end, then the point of a Parliament is to represent their views.…Read more

UK – EU Parliamentary Elections

Political Background The UK long backed European integration in theory, but has always been less certain about involvement itself. Winston Churchill backed a United States of Europe, but when the European Coal and Steel Community was started his successor as PM, Clement Attlee described it as made of “Six countries, four of which we had to save from the other two”. The country initially joined EFTA, but as that trade agreement fell behind the nascent EEC, it began to be attracted to membership. The country applied for membership in the EEC first in…Read more

Labour Party

Labour Party. The Labour Party is Britain’s dominant centre-left political force. Founded in 1900 out of the trade union movement, to which it has a formal link to this day. The party is responsible for building much of the British welfare state and especially Britain’s universal healthcare system, the NHS. The party has traditionally relied on a base of working class voters, but as this demographic has shrank and diversified the party has increased its base to include public sector workers, and ethnic minorities. The party spent eighteen years in opposition between 1979…Read more

United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP)

United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP). UKIP have long been a presence in British politics, but have recently begun to make much more serious inroads. The party was originally founded in 1993 by anti-Maastricht Treaty activists headed by the LSE Economist Alan Sked. The party was initially a single issue party with one desire: to get the UK out of the EU. This remains a primary objective for the party to this day. The party’s previous success was almost entirely restricted to European elections. In their recent book Revolt on the Right British political…Read more

Sweden – EU Parliamentary Elections

Political Background Sweden joined the EU in 1995, ending long years of Cold War neutrality for the country. It has so far stayed out of the Euro, with Swedes rejecting the single currency in a referendum in 2003. Sweden has long been held up as a beacon of progressivism across the developed world. As Sweden never had serfdom (largely an invention to deal with the damage from Viking attacks elsewhere in Europe), Sweden developed a particularly educated and politically powerful peasantry in the middle ages. When the industrial revolution and liberalism arrived, workers…Read more

Sweden Democrats (SD)

Sweden Democrats (SD). For a long time it was thought that progressive, sensible, successful Sweden was immune to the appeal of right-wing populist parties. In reality this view was over-egged. Sweden never developed a right-wing populist party because the correct personnel did not exist. Anti-immigration movements elsewhere emerged from politically legitimate traditions, such as the anti-tax movement in Norway and Denmark, or the agrarian movement in Finland, but in Sweden such parties have tended to emerge from illegitimate tradition of the far-right. The Sweden Democrats were founded in 1988 from a merger between…Read more

Left Party (V)

Left Party (V). The Left Party is the continuation of Sweden’s old Communist party. The party was founded from a splinter in the Social Democrats in 1917 caused by the Russian revolution. The party was never a major threat to the Social Democrats, taking 10.3% of the vote in 1944 at its height but otherwise mostly winning between 3% and 5%. While the party and the Social Democrats never really liked each other much (Social Democrat Tage Erlander once declared he would turn “every trade union into a battleground against the Communists” )…Read more

Liberal People’s Party (FP)

Liberal People’s Party (FP). Often known just as the ‘People’s Party’ the FP is Sweden’s main liberal party. The party’s ideology is predominantly social liberal, advocating a strong welfare state but high personal freedom in most other regards. It is predominantly known for being particularly attached to globalisation, supporting, as it does, Sweden’s most pro-American, pro-European and pro-Israel views. It has historically been Sweden’s most pro-immigration party but has recently begun to be accused for taking a more populist positioning due to its advocacy of language tests for migrants and other integrationist views.…Read more