Liberalism retreats before the advance of nationalism and the strong man

The turbulence of 2016 has revealed enough to make clear that we now have two competing visions of the global political order, liberalism and nationalism. One might say “nothing new then”, given that such a competition is in some ways a reversion to an older pre-1945 pattern, were it not for the apparent progress made since then to create a rules and human rights-based international order. Now however, some might think that such progress is going into reverse, with the rise of “strong man” authoritarian regimes in important states like Russia, Turkey, India and even, for some, the USA under Trump, to join longer-standing regimes in places like China. Suddenly liberal democracy looks to be under threat. A rules-based liberal global order Since the end of the Cold War, and the competing claims to legitimacy of democracy and communism, it … Read more

The great Scottish Nationalist wipe-out is a paradigm shift

The massive poll leads for the Scottish National Party (SNP) reported recently offers to change everything politically north of the border post the 2015 general election. It will be the great Scottish Nationalist wipe-out of their opponents which has been predicted since the 1970’s and now possible due to the dynamics of the 2014 independence referendum and the consequences of the 2008 financial crash. The SNP probably rightly senses that there’s a great opportunity, possibly a once-in-a-lifetime one, where it can control the balance of power at Westminster very much as the Irish Home Rulers did in the late 19th century and thus bring about a major shift towards home rule for Scots. Replacing Labour as the Scottish left-of-centre force They have been able to capitalise brilliantly on the massive explosion of enthusiasm for independence, particularly amongst the young, exposing … Read more

A UK political system in crisis

Today UK politics is confronted by the challenge of the breakdown of the two-party system and is struggling to come up with behaviours to deal with the new reality. A UK political system predicated on the First Past The Post electoral system and the long-term historical dominance by two main nationwide parties is arguably ill-equipped to respond to a multi-party situation, made more complex by a trend towards nationalist parties in some of the component “nations” of the UK. It was said that Britain “does not love coalitions”, and yet it might be said that that is exactly what she is going to have to do. A hung Parliament again As opinion polls are currently showing us, it is very unlikely that one party will be able to form a government after the May 2015 general election. As in 2010 … Read more

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