September 14, 2020

As with countless other pressing issues, the migrant crisis that faces the continent of Europe, and the European Union (EU) alike, has been removed from the media spotlight in recent months, replaced by the Covid-19 global pandemic. This is understandable, but not excusable. Europe faces a continual humanitarian crisis, and the media should be relentless in its coverage of this issue.  

Recently, this crisis has been thrust into public consciousness once again by some rather disturbing events. Firstly, in June, Greece ordered 11,000 refugees to leave migrant camps and EU subsidised accommodation provided during the early phases of the pandemic. However, without the necessary tools for integration, the majority of these refugees have been left on the street, unable to find a job to support t...

July 21, 2020

Last month, Russia voted on whether to approve 206 changes to approximately 60% of its Constitution. These changes included political reforms, most notably changing Presidential term limits to 2 overall rather than 2 consecutive and resetting the terms of the current President, Vladimir Putin, to 0. Thrown into the package were welfare reforms, including mandating pensions rising according to inflation, and social policies, including defining marriage as exclusively between one man and one woman. 77.9% and all but one of Russia’s 85 regions voted in favour.

These results, however, have been greatly challenged by allegations of manipulation and vote rigging, whilst their purpose has been perceived as dishonest, designed primarily to legitimise Constitutional amendments conferring Putin as ‘Presid...

May 21, 2020

Sweden hasn’t imposed a lockdown on its citizens and is instead keeping public spaces, including schools and restaurants, open. This unusual approach has largely led to the number of coronavirus cases in Sweden to plateau and has led many to question whether its citizens will develop greater immunity to the virus. 

Unlike most countries in Europe, Sweden hasn’t implemented a country-wide lockdown. Instead, the government has implemented strict social distancing measures and relies on the public to follow these guidelines. Many Swedes are taking on the responsibility with 9 out of 10 reporting they keep a metre away from people at least some of the time, according to a survey by Novus. Citizens are also actively avoiding using public transport to slow the spread of the virus and large numbers are...

April 18, 2020

A future after Covid-19 is a daunting thought. How might we be able to return to normality is an even more daunting question, as the Ithaca that we seek to harbour in again is no longer there. Writing at the beginning of April, what will come to be known as the early days of this history, leaves a lot liable to change. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has recently been moved out of intensive care suffers under the heavy burden of leading the country and fighting through the debilitating effects of this new Coronavirus, which has claimed the lives of thousands of people around the world. Whatever the outcome, Johnson’s is a historic premiership which will be catalogued in great detail in the future. 

The most immediate shock to our livelihoods, lucky we will be to have them back, is the spect...

April 16, 2020

During the 2008 financial crisis, many observers ventured to predict the impending collapse of the European single currency. Since 2016, the chaos and turbulence caused by Brexit have also led to the legitimacy crisis entailing the frailty of the EU. Yet what these two crises did not do is speculate over the collapse of the EU itself. In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, as warned by Italy’s prime minister Giuseppe Conte, the EU risks failing the “biggest test after the Second World War”. From the pandemic emerged three unsolved problems; how to help enterprises survive, avoiding a large-scale economic collapse twinned with mass unemployment, how to alleviate the high debt and inflation pressure whilst preserving the credibility of the euro and finally how EU member states can overcome their d...

April 16, 2020

On the 30th of March, democracy ended in Hungary. 

Recent liberal commentary concerning the emergence of populism throughout the western world commonly veers into hyperbole, if not outright catastrophising - a tendency which has been keenly ridiculed by political opponents. Nevertheless, the statement I opened this piece with is nothing of the sort. Last month, Hungary’s parliament voted to extend its state of emergency – declared under the pretext of facilitating a swifter state response to the coronavirus pandemic – indefinitely, allowing Viktor Orban, the country’s Prime Minister, to rule by decree until further notice. Needless to say, this unprecedented measure didn’t arise amidst a moment of national unity, and neither was there any meaningful consultation with the opposition; after all, O...

April 13, 2020

A decade and three subsequent general elections have passed since the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition’s ascension to government in 2010. In that time, rough sleeping has more than doubled in the United Kingdom. Government data - which has been faced criticism from homelessness charities for significant underestimation - suggested that while 1768 people faced sleeping on the streets in 2010, 4266 people found themselves in the same position in 2019. According to a BBC investigation involving local councils, the true number of rough sleepers annually is more than 28,000.

The increase in homelessness can be attributed to a variety of interwoven causes. The post-financial crisis austerity measures which the Conservative governments of the decade have embarked on with insatiable energy have d...

March 26, 2020

With his hand on a gold-embossed copy of the Russian constitution, Putin was sworn in for the fourth time in 2018, when he promised to serve the Russian people faithfully. Today, he is trying to alter and shape that same constitution to suit his own interests and cement his power, possibly in perpetuity. Putin has backed a proposal by a member of Russia’s ruling party to amend the constitution in a way that in effect “resets” Putin’s presidential term count back to zero.

Russia’s constitution determines that a person can serve as president for two consecutive six-year terms. However, whilst the constitution forbids more than two consecutive terms, it says nothing about subsequent terms in office. Putin ruled as acting President in 1999 and then was officially elected and inaugurated in 2000 and...

March 24, 2020

On the 21st April 2019, Volodymyr Zelensky, a former comedian and complete political outsider, was swept to power in the Ukrainian Presidential elections. He comfortably beat his incumbent rival Petro Poroshenko by gaining 73% of the vote. Around the world, this election marked the beginning of a crackdown on widespread corruption and signalled a glimmer of hope for  war-torn Ukraine. However, it now seems like the light is going out. President Zelensky is under pressure from America, from Russia and from powerful interests within his own country, making his position more precarious than ever.

On one side of the world, a NATO ally continues to cause problems for Ukraine. That is to say, the USA is alleged to have pressured Zelensky into opening an investigation into Trump’s Presidential rival Jo...

March 17, 2020

In 2003, when Roman Polanski won the Academy Award for Best Director for his film The Pianist, he was met with thunderous applause and a standing ovation, even from long time #MeToo activist Meryl Streep. Despite what the whole of the film industry knew of Roman Polanski’s history of sexual assault, he was still given massive approval by his peers. Granted, The Pianist is a masterpiece of cinematic achievement, but his win created discussion about how far we can separate the art from the artist when they commit atrocious acts. Yes, Hollywood and the majority of the film industry has moved away from Polanski now by voting to expel him from the Academy in 2018 and the emergence of the #MeToo movement resurrecting his history of sexual misconduct. However, his recent win for directing J’accuse at...

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