Category: Democracy

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Knepp Estate: who controls and benefits from rewilding?

Ross McNally

Rewilding is all the rage yet there remain key fatal flaws in the model. First is the fragmented nature of rewilding in the UK. Second, it remains largely the domain of a handful of privileged people. Could greater democratic oversight help repair fragmentation?

Boris Johnson: the party’s over

Vivienne Griffiths
Photo of House of Commons with text overlaid: PM apologises in House of Commons for offence caused by aides joking about Christmas party.

Over the past few weeks a number of scandals have rocked Westminster and Boris Johnson’s position as prime minister. Vivienne Griffiths examines the fallout of the ongoing furore and its impact on the Conservative government and its leader.

Who will police the police?

Allegra Chapman
Downing Street police guards seen through the railings

Since Sarah Everard was murdered in March by a serving police officer, 81 women have been killed in the UK at the hands of men. How are women supposed to feel safe on our streets if the very people whose primary job is to protect us are instead disregarding, mocking or killing us? Can women trust the police? And perhaps more importantly, should we?

Labour conference buried gem: Land laws reform to stop the “free-for-all”

Rick Dillon
Labour Party Shadow Secretary for Housing Lucy Powell speaking at the Labour Party conference in Brighton, Sept 2021

Forget Starmer’s speech, McDonald’s resignation and Rayner’s expletives, says Sussex Bylines writer Rick Dillon, who attended much of the Labour Party Conference in Brighton this week. Far more important were the under-reported land laws reform proposals, some put forward by the Hastings & Rye local party and passed enthusiastically by delegates, that would stop the developers’ planning free-for-all and could finally fix our nation’s housing crisis…

The unkindest cut – real life stories

Sussex Bylines
Woman looking at the "Keep the lifeline" petition on her smart phone

We invited Sussex Bylines readers to share their personal experiences of how the government’s planned Universal Credit cut will affect them. We have already received some courageous responses that make for sobering – and in some cases, heartbreaking – reading…

Is devolution the UK’s best route to fairer voting and true democracy?

Tom Serpell
Tiny polling station for pixies in a colourful children's playground

The results of devolved elections are almost always more proportional than UK general elections, which means that smaller parties are better represented in devolved legislatures and single-party majorities are rare. But the lack of understanding about how local economies work and the lives of the majority of people makes for poor targeting, underfunding of actual needs and both a perception and reality of unfairness.

Sex, Lies and Videotape: Has cronyism finally had its comeuppance?

Vivienne Griffiths
Led By Donkeys poster featuring a CCTV still of Hancock and his aide in a clinch, highlighting government hypocrisy

While some expressed moral outrage, most people were more upset by the hypocrisy shown by the Health Secretary in brazenly breaking the social distancing guidelines that he himself had set, especially when so many who have lost loved ones to Covid had stuck to the rules…. It was only the unrelenting outcry from MPs, the public, and the media, that finally forced Hancock’s hand into “doing the decent thing” and resigning.

THIS LAND IS OUR LAND – how can land be treated as personal property?

Tom Serpell
Private property sign on a barbed wire fence in the UK countryside

Over the centuries, and particularly in the last hundred years or so, there’s been a decrease in wealthy land-owning aristocrats, an increase in “self-made” rich businesspeople, and therefore a larger number of owners participating in the real estate market. Yet shockingly, around half of England is owned by just 1% of landowners, and they are almost entirely a mixture of corporations, oligarchs and aristocrats. Tom Serpell asks: should anyone actually be entitled to claim ownership of land?

What legacy do you want to leave?

Tom Serpell
An adoring grandfather holds up his infant grandchild, who is smiling back

A retired, lifelong left-of-centre activist ponders what constitutes a meaningful legacy, and worries his generation is failing to leave the next with the right kind of wealth…

DEFENDERS OF DEMOCRACY

Defenders of Democracy: A C Grayling

Ginny Smith
Portrait shot of AC Grayling

AC Grayling, philosopher, author, eminent academic, journalist, social media activist…and champion for Remain is profiled by Ginny Smith in Sussex Bylines’ popular Defenders of Democracy series.

DEFENDERS OF DEMOCRACY

Defenders of Democracy: Terry Reintke MEP

Ginny Smith

Terry Reintke attributes her growing awareness of inequality and the injustices in the world to the fact that she grew up as a German. Living with the knowledge that my grandparents and great-grandparents had a duty as citizens in a democracy to speak up for the rule of law, for minorities, and they didn’t really do that. That knowledge brings a level of responsibility and it is why politics and democracy have always played an important part in my own thinking.

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY

International Women’s Day 2021: #ChooseToChallenge

Sussex Bylines

To mark International Women’s Day 2021, we feature this selection of articles published in Sussex Bylines in the run-up to 8 March, along with other pieces about women who have fought for political representation, challenged prejudice, refused to remain invisible, and who have been proud to hold the banner of women’s rights high.

NEW WRITER

Off with her head!

Manek Dubash

For years, the Queen has been meddling in what laws are passed in this country – just one more example of a corrupt system weighted in favour of the wealthy.

NEW WRITER

If you’re going to lie, make it a BIG one

Hannah Chapman

You’d think, wouldn’t you, that the most dangerous lie would be a sneaky one, one that is reasonably close to the truth? One that kind of grows on the truth − on the fertile fabric of what we already know to be true. But no, it seems that a Big Lie is more potent because in order to believe it you have to disbelieve everything else.

Keeping the faith: an American story

Rev Susie Courtault

Susie Courtault explores the role of religion in US politics, examining the differences between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. While Trump cynically used Christianity to court the right-wing evangelical base, Biden at his inauguration pledged to restore the soul of America in a truly unifying speech, imbued with heart and soul, and love cloaked in patriotism.

Greece: the mother of democracy

Richard Bernden

Has democracy ever been as threatened as it is now by populist strong men, serial liars, alternative truths and the eye watering wealth, power and baleful influence of big business?
With its history of democracy discovered, developed, lost and reclaimed, Greece reminds us of what we owe the past, how we conduct ourselves in the present, and how long it takes for great ideas to come to fruition.