Category: Democracy

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.

Defending the rights of citizen journalists and campaigners

Rev Susie Courtault

While citizen journalists in the UK work to combat mainstream media bias, other countries arrest and torture the brave voices who speak truth to power. Susie Courtault examines the treatment of two women journalists, in China and Saudi Arabia, and fears for the future of human rights protection in the UK.

Johnson’s Brexit deal: For richer or for poorer?

Juliet Lodge

Juliet Lodge summarises reactions on Twitter to the last-minute Brexit deal agreed between the UK and the EU. With Boris Johnson’s early promise of frictionless trade abandoned, and parliament given just one day to debate the deal, what does the future hold for Britain’s relationship with its largest trading partner?

Is democracy in Sussex really too much to ask for?

Tom Serpell

In a democracy every citizen should have the right not only to vote, but also to have someone in parliament who speaks for them, which simply does not happen in First Past the Post races. For Sussex, and the rest of the country, a fair proportional representative voting system seems overdue.

Should people’s kindness excuse government from duty?

Tom Serpell

Dolly Parton; Bill Gates; Marcus Rashford, heroes all! Trussell Trust; Sussex Hospices; Help for Heroes, all saints. Or are they? Doing things for others is political activism which is as rewarding for those who do it as for those who may benefit. But much of it should not be happening.

DEFENDERS OF DEMOCRACY

Defenders of Democracy: Peter Geoghegan

Ginny Smith

Peter Geoghegan, investigations editor for Open Democracy, has played a key role in exposing some of the fault lines in our present democracy. In this interview with Ginny Smith he explains what has influenced him, and what motivates him to shine light into the dark corners of UK politics.

Brighton’s cameo in Lisbon’s revolution

Richard Bernden

The Anglo-Portuguese Treaty of Windsor is the oldest international agreement, anywhere, that is still in force. While there have been wars between England and France and England and Spain, there have been none between this country and Portugal. Friendly relations have endured for centuries. Even bottles of port all seem to have English names (Graham’s, […]

Free and equal in dignity and rights … for now

Caroline Brown

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948) They’re invisible, intangible and all too easy to lose down the back of the sofa – but you really do need to hang on to human rights. Britain can look back with justifiable pride at a long […]

DEFENDERS OF DEMOCRACY

Defenders of Democracy: Gina Miller

Ginny Smith

Meeting Gina Miller, you are struck by her energy, her determination, and her passion for social justice. Although her name first came to public notice at the time of the EU referendum, she has actually been a remarkably successful campaigner over a couple of decades. She was a driving force behind the introduction of the 1996 Special Education Needs Act, and later worked on the report and the draft of the Modern Slavery Act with the Centre for Social Justice.

For better local government, we need more diversity

Amy Heley

Since the local elections of May 2019, councillors of all parties and the residents they represent have been thrown from crisis to crisis. The word ‘unprecedented’ has never been used so many times. The following events have coincided with my time as a local councillor: Brexit, a snap general election, the Covid-19 pandemic, the Black […]

Three little words to save democracy

Tom Serpell

Remember ‘Lock her up!’ and ‘Build the wall’? Surely not a manifesto for government yet the foundation for Trump’s victory four years ago. We live in an age of populism in which messages matter more than manifestos. Even backbench Tories are complaining that their leadership routinely bypasses them, parliament and democracy.  Rule by the people, […]

DEFENDERS OF DEMOCRACY

Defenders of Democracy: Amanda Robinson

Ginny Smith

The initiator of the LoveEU campaign (“a love letter to Europe”), a key figure in Women4Europe, the leader of the Release the Russia Report demonstrations in Westminster, and one of the founders of savedemocracy.uk, Amanda Robinson typifies the many passionate, committed and creative campaigners on the frontline of the battle to maintain the rule of law in the UK.

Dare we trust the UK government?

Amanda Robinson

True to form, the UK government has started their media PR machine and war-mongering rhetoric to blame their own ignorance and breach of International Law on the EU, so one has to ask: with so much hot air flying from the mouths of these Tories, can we trust the UK government to do anything to […]

Is democracy a sham?

Tom Serpell

In the centuries since the English Civil War and the Putney Debates it has become customary that democracy is seen and promoted as the most desirable basis for governance, whether at state or local level. Rooted in the concept of human rights, democracy seeks active engagement of all qualifying citizens in selection of policies and […]

DEFENDERS OF DEMOCRACY

Defenders of Democracy: Nick Davies

Ginny Smith

At a time when our Parliamentary democracy is under threat, those few courageous voices in the media and in public life who are prepared to come forward and expose corruption, wrong-doing and lying, sometimes appear to be the only upholders of our democratic system. This is the first in a series of articles that will […]