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Posts from the ‘Democracy’ Category

Brexit – Well That Wasn’t Meant to Happen But There’s Democracy For You.

The cliches maybe old and tired but they usually contain an element of truth this time on what happens now in UK politics – it’s anyone’s game, all is possible, the cat is out of the bag and who knows what tomorrow brings or the worst possible outcome of all would be cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war as Europe has often witnessed, and recently too with Bosnia in 1990’s and Ukraine now although on the EU periphery it’s geographically part of Europe.
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Brexit: The Great Tory Tear up and Why Britain is Better Bumbling Along.

The polling cards have been delivered and the debate is at large for the referendum on the United Kingdom remaining or leaving the European Union on the 23rd June 2016.
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Out and Proud with Ruth: Has the Tory Tide Turned in Scotland?

The election result was never in doubt in the May 2016 Scottish Parliament elections it was more about who came in second place. The governing SNP won the election easily with 63 out of the 129 seats only 2 short of an outright majority although losing its parliamentary majority did take the shine off an otherwise good result again for the SNP.
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What kind of a billionaire would you be?

US Republican nominee frontrunner Donald Trump appears at the moment to be the billionaire who has both the magic and the pong touch. He appeals to a section of disaffected voters across America, yet causes dismay and bemusement elsewhere. However, with his comments on whether women should be punished for abortion or not he has, bluntly put, handed Democratic front runner Senator Hilary Clinton a big club to beat him with.
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2016: What’s Coming – the Good, the Bad or Mediocrity.

Another year starting so what’s in store for investors and markets?

In 2015 the GDP of the US economy grew at 2.4%, the UK did 2.5% and the EU managed 1.5% with all its currency and migrant upheavals (GS, 2015). China slowed down yet still reported 6.9% causing investors or speculators a heap of disappointment or margin call troubles depending on what figures one believes. India performed better at 7.4% and seems to have the confidence of pundits for an improvement in 2016 to 7.8% (GS, 2015). Let’s hope so, as India the world’s largest democracy, has disappointed before and there’s still plenty of debt and cronyism in its large institutions.
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Corbyn’s Secret War Yet Public Disarray.

The Labour party is in trouble and HM Opposition isn’t functioning properly. In an autumn statement where the UK Chancellor George Osborne announced U-turns on tax credit reform and public spending budgets including the police and with cash for military spending too. The Labour party had a golden opportunity to attack and ridicule the Conservative government for its change of heart and to question the soundness of their economic policies and assumptions for future growth.
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Electric Elections: Conservatives Surprise and Turkish Delight

Part 2: Turkish Delight

“When you are in the basement the only way is up,” is a comment from a Kurdish ex-pat friend on the expectation of better times ahead for his people.

So much for the UK’s unexpected electoral dramas over in Turkey there was a game changer for the ruling AKP and its power seeking President Erdogan. They were denied a majority for the 1st time for 13 years with the Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) winning 13% of the vote in the June 2015 General Election and some 80 seats in the Turkish parliament and set to alter the political power structure in Turkey.

The result is being touted by some commentators as an opportunity, “to shape a new political culture,” (FT, 2015). Factional fighting is evident and widespread across most public institutions including the judiciary and the central bank as well as the political parties who contested the elections.

The main factions are the Ataturk inspired Turkish secularists the Republican Peoples’ Party (CHP), the factions of President Erdogan’s Islamist-orientated AKP and his once ally US based Fethullah Gulen and his Islamist supporters, and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), seen by the US as a terrorist organisation.

Will a more consensus orientated approach to decision making arise with an AKP minority government in coalition with others? The HDP, led by Selahattin Demirtas, has won its seats by being more inclusive broadening its appeal which secured votes from secular Turks keen to check the president’s power. The CHP itself embraced candidates from other ethnic groups and actively cheered on the HDP’s bid to enter parliament (FT.2015).

It will be interesting to see how the HDP’s charismatic parliamentary leader will affect Abdullah Ocalan’s, the jailed PKK leader, control of the Kurdish movement now that parliament representation is the new focus.

A less factional, ethnically divided democracy is certainly a step in the right direction for Turkey opposed to an ever more authoritarian president with ethnically divided opposition as was the case until a short time ago.

The election here in the UK came as a real surprise, especially for the pollsters, however since the 7th of June for Turkey it may be a real political game changer for years to come-electric elections indeed.

The AKP in coalition will need to address the opposition’s demands, with broad public support in Turkey, such as tackling corruption and reducing the president’s powers which will increase tensions between President Erdogan and his Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu over political control and direction during the remaining term of his presidency.

The other striking issue is the alleged support to jihadis groups in combat with both the Assad regime and the Kurdish Peshmegra forces in the complex multi-factional war in Syria. How many in Turkey still fear or wish to hinder as long as possible any Kurdish ascendancy?

On Sunday 28th June riot police quelled the annual gay pride march with rubber bullets and water cannon after the crowds began to denounce President’s Erdogan (Euro news, 2015). Suggests consensus and toleration of dissenting views and opinions will remain a tough struggle to achieve with an entrenched and still powerful minority regime even after a seemingly game changing election.

However it’s worth the effort for the Kurds and for the Gay movement too-80 seats for the HDP is a good progress-as ruling elites, regimes and their security services usually don’t give in without a protracted fight. Consensus and toleration are hard fought for.

Recently, the Syrian Kurdish forces have enjoyed a vital territorial gain along the northern border of Syria opening a corridor of control by Kurdish forces and closing supply and communication lines for jihadi forces- please see my next blog for more on this story and linked events in the Middle East.

LDC

References and further reading-

Euro News; (2015); “Istanbul Gay Pride Quashed by Riot Police, Rubber Bullets and Water Cannon”, by Sarah Joanne Taylor with AFP, Reuters. Website accessed Sunday 28th June 2015: www.euronews.com/2015/06/28/istanbul-gay-pride-quashed-by-riot-police-rubber-bullets-and-water-cannon/

Financial Times Ltd; (2015); “Turkey: Fading factionalism,” article by Daniel Dombey 11th June 2015, London UK; website accessed: 23rd June 2015: www.ft.com/cms/s/0/eed19814-1019-11e5-bd70-00144feabdc0.html?siteedition=uk#axzz3dukaoU3p

Guardian news and Media Ltd; (2015); “Turkey election 2015: Kurdish Obama is the country’s bright new star”, Agence-France Presse; website accessed 23rd June 2015: www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/08/turkey-election-2015-kurdish-obama-is-the-countrys-bright-new-star

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Electric Elections: Conservatives Surprise and Turkish Delight

Part 1: Conservatives Surprise

The UK General Election in May 2015 brought an unexpected win majority win for David Cameron’s Conservative Party, with red faces for the pollsters.

The Labour Party had a disaster, almost being wiped out in Scotland and Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls losing his seat in West Yorkshire, frankly they have a mountain to climb as big as they faced since Michael Foot’s 1983 electoral defeat. The new UK and Scottish Labour leadership requires fresh faces with new ideas and a lot of patience, especially in Scotland where the SNP won a staggering 56 of 59 seats, to regain once loyal voters lost to the SNP by political attrition and inertia over decades. Read more

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How To Do It and How Not: Peaceful Separation or A Changed Union for The UK Opposed to Chaos in The Middle East and Despicable Actions in Ukraine.

The friendly Commonwealth Games are underway in Glasgow. The Test Series between former British colony and now Commonwealth partner India continues in Southampton in Hampshire. The Golf Open and Wimbledon Tennis Championships are already past. The UK is enjoying some pleasant summer weather along with economic growth and GDP finally back above 2008 levels (though not per capita).
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