europe, society, UK Politics, World Politics

The EU has to be harsh with Britain if it is to survive

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Two-and-a-half months on from June’s shock-to-the-system Brexit vote, Britain’s foreign affairs forecast looks murky. The Netherlands, Austria and Denmark are fast lining up their Brexit sequels, nations which, if withdrawn, could hugely question the longevity of the EU and its current agenda.

With high levels of disregard for the political class, a tidal wave of populism threatens to damage the European Union. But officials have to be harsh with Britain, setting an example of resilience to other nations, in order to prevent the EU from crumbling.

Yesterday, Brexit captain Boris Johnson declared Vote Leave’s £350m EU savings promise simply impractical. Today, Brexit minister David Davis signalled that turbulent negotiations could result in WTO trading tariffs for Britain. Recent reports have also suggested that British wages are shrinking, that the economy is lagging, and that prices are plummeting. Theresa May has for weeks reinforced that “Brexit means Brexit”, but exactly how her government plans to implement June’s decision is yet to be seen.

The dire facet of Britain’s vote to leave the EU is that most of the answers are yet to come. A mass exodus from the EU could hugely damage the stability of the global economy and cause the political equilibrium to wobble.

The EU cannot allow eurosceptic populists to walk all over it. But it seems that European leaders have lost confidence. British Prime Minister Theresa May several weeks ago travelled to Germany in order to speak with Chancellor Angela Merkel regarding Britain’s conditions for EU abandonment.

After weeks of stubbornness from EU states, she did in fact return with success. May has managed to convince the EU ‘leader’ that Britain would need more time before kick-starting the leave process, and that talks would not commence in 2016. Talks of a similar nature held with French President François Hollande resulted in a more relaxed approach towards the need for Dover-Calais border checks, and that free movement would suddenly be up for discussion.

The EU’s decision to warm to the requests of Brexit Britain is risky. Allowing member states to slide out of what could still be a successful union will destroy the chances of dealing easily with global problems.

Most importantly, pandering to British finger clicking will degrade the EU and any chances of future reform. If EU leaders continue to allow the UK’s government to cherry-pick its way through Brexit, more European nations will chip away at the EU. Reform can only be done through a harsh stance towards Britain, allowing existing member states to work on piecing a more coherent and functional EU.

Britain has always negotiated its way through EU relations, the kind of picky politics that the EU ought to stamp out. Britain’s strong disdain for the Eurozone system, its naughty school pupil rebellions against the rulings of the European Court of Justice, and its excruciatingly particular agreements regarding border controls have shown that Britain has modified the politics of the EU, with self-interest at the fore. Britain regularly shuns the political protocol of the EU, seen as a burden on its individualist agenda.

The EU cannot show that it can be easily pushed over. Eurosceptics in other nations could soon be lining up to leave what could still be a successful union. A union like that of the EU should be a patchwork of states which share common values and goals. But if every nation requests a bespoke, nitpicking relationship, then the EU will have little chance of survival.

Perhaps Theresa May, however, by orchestrating a crippling Brexit and pushing the EU to breaking point is planning a grand post-Brexit European reform which will one-up her predecessor, David Cameron, with a process of reform. May could even manage to transform the EU back into the pre-1998 economic union, allowing Britain to regain control.

Watching President Hollande and Chancellor Merkel benignly allow the UK to call the shots over Brexit makes for painful watching. The EU now has the chance to repair itself, taking up arms against the next artillery fire from other Eurosceptics. If the EU is to survive, and have any chance of remaining as an authoritative and reputable force for political and economic decision making, it must restore order and assert its authority.

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europe, human rights, society, World Politics

The refugee crisis has proven that we are not global citizens

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As hordes of Syrian and Iraqi cities and towns are pillaged by Islamic State extremists, the human side effects have been immense, as hundreds of thousands seek shelter. Fierce skies raging with Western airstrikes, and an appalling disregard for migrants simply in search of better days, have come to define a new era of global politics. Our governments are leaving our fellow global citizens behind.

As Western nations trudge on in their anti-Islamic State crusades – programmes of devastating warfare – the results are not just a long and drawn-out campaign of thwarting radicals. Their expeditions often beam back to the West unsettling scenes of bewildered young people who are trapped in a world of detritus and despair.

One subject of this collateral damage is Omrsn Daqneesh. Yesterday, disturbing footage of the absorbed newswires and consumed social media feeds. Pictures showed the desperate boy being tugged from a mound of rubble, carried to an ambulance, plonked down in a daze, and rubbing his dusty, bloody forehead, astonished by the events around him.

His story is certainly not unheard-of. The UN estimates that children constitute 41% of refugees, young people demoralised and displaced by the disorder of a new era of war. Over 250,000 citizens have died as a result of coalition vs. Islamic State Warfare in recent months, and the numbers continue to rise. Many more are sure to have sustained unthinkable injuries. Possibly worse is that, last month, the Guardian reported that as many as 73 civilians were killed in just one Syrian village by a US airstrike, 35 of whom children.

The sad thing is that this type of trauma has become something normal. The upsetting reports of Omran Daqneesh have doubtless raged many in the Western world. There is only so much that the citizens of developed nations can do, however. Their raising of awareness may tug heartstrings, but our leaders seem to be in a state of denial. How can such painful airstrikes, and the sight of perishing humans diminish the complacency of Islamic State guerrillas, whilst killing and hurting the most innocent people at the heart of the conflict – Syrians and Iraqis themselves?

The answer is that it does not. This approach sacrifices many for a long-term goal, currently far from being reached. Of course, extremism and Middle Eastern terrorism must be diminished – and it must be done fast. It is often this argument that has served to justify the mass airstrikes and divisive domestic policies which have taken states such as Syria and countries of the EU, respectively, by storm.

But as our nations continue to barricade themselves against the tempestuous tidal wave that is terrorism, both at home and abroad, we have become lax and afraid to rescue those at the heart of global conflict – in some ways, we are maybe becoming ignorant to it. Our responses to the new global political crises are defining our place in the world. We have closed ourselves off to the tribulations of many fellow human beings. Rhetoric from hard-right populists has served to inject cultural fear into the international community, fuelling an epidemic of xenophobia, and building higher the bricks of national borders.

In this flurry of bombs and grenades, our governments have forgotten about our fellow global citizens. This, in essence, means that we are not global citizens either.

Developed nations have become consumed by a decade of selfishness, with a lack of concern for deaths within warzones, and with disregard for the traumatised Middle Eastern civilians who are seemingly disposed into camps such as “The Jungle” in Calais – some of whom as a result of Western involvements.

The West has stood back for long enough, with too many nations continually turning their backs on the mass exodus of refugees flowing from war-torn nations. Many of those making their way to the European Continent come from no extremist background at all, merely seeking to avoid the bombs and broken buildings. Germany has been one of the most willing recipients of Middle Eastern refugees, with over 1.3m entering the country. Meanwhile, nations like Britain have accepted only around 9,000 refugees today. Spain has taken in 8,000, and France has absorbed 11,000.

The resistance and half-hearted responses of so many Western nations is very disheartening. Last week’s Nauru files, detailing horrific child abuse towards detained Australian asylum seekers, has shown another deep disregard for fellow global citizens, too. With such lacklustre for solving the problems of refugees displaced by the chaos of extremism, the West will become similarly troubled. Failing to fully involve ourselves in a broad taskforce of UN nations committed to clearing up the side-effects of Islamic State conflict will only create larger social and political problems in the long run. Ignoring those who have been stranded as a result of the Islamic State’s agenda will only top up the fuel tank of their campaign, and threats to the stability of domestic politics will only become more regular. Showing that the West can adapt to the problematic Islamic State regime, and treating the moral high ground, is the true way towards the defeat of such barbarism.

Some reassuring news is, however, coming to light. Britain is part of a team of global nations providing material aid to Syrians – to the amount of $1.1bn, in fact. The USA, Israel and others have been keen to contribute, too. Hopefully, a few more refugees will be welcomed soon. News came today in the Guardian of MP Stella Creasy’s parliamentary amendment attempts, which could see thousands of Calais refugees making their way to Britain if successful. Lords peer Alf Dubs has already managed to force the government to bringing as many as 3,000 more child refugees to Britain.

But there is still work to do. The West must make sure that it continues these efforts, and that it builds upon them. The UN reported in February 2016 that 13.5m people are in grave need of humanitarian support, and that 11.4m have been displaced by the Syrian schism. These people will not vanish. Recent attacks have likely pushed up these totals much higher. The so-called Islamic State’s bloodshed has been ramped up in recent weeks, as the siege of key strongholds like Aleppo and Raqqa builds more intense every day.

The more developed Western nations of Europe, North America, and Oceania have a moral duty to respond to the challenges of extremism with boosted humanitarian support, and open borders. Maintaining our moral strength, and resisting the taunts of extremists aimed at breaking down the integrity and principles of our societies, is key to defeating groups such as the so-called Islamic State. Avidly tuning in to populists and their rhetoric, and implementing divisive, barring policy, will only draw our societies closer apart.

But the main problem is that there is no global agenda and that the atmosphere of co-operation is dangerously thin. Western nations now see themselves as separate entities. We are not Europeans, or Westerners. The European Union has broken down, and the West is intent on rubbing its hands of common global issues like those of refugees, off-shore corruption, or even climate change. We are no longer Earthlings, instead divided by the constructed ideas of nation state and nationality.

How will we be able to come together in the future, ready to fight our corners against extremists? We must confront the problems facing the children of the future along with the their demoralised families, with a matter of urgency. If we do not, our places as global citizens will remain in question.

This entire crisis of extremism, hatred, and halted migration currently ravaging our world questions each of us directly, in fact. Are we really global citizens? Global citizens aren’t bystanders who watch on whilst fellow human beings perish, whilst children are deprived of futures and human rights, and whilst extremists take over the political landscape. The only way of solving common issues is via common involvement and common progress. If the refugee crisis has taught us anything, it is that unity is the only way forward.

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society, World Politics

Brazil has reminded the world of its strong soft power

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As this year’s Olympic host, Brazil opened its arms to the rest of the world on Friday ahead of a vibrant 16-day showcase of physical and cultural triumphs. But the Latin American country’s efforts to impress have not gone uncontested. Issues of health and safety, and political stability have made Brazil’s journey towards success at this month’s Games in Rio de Janeiro considerably turbulent.

Brazil faces a paralysing outbreak of political corruption, as well as a battle against the life-threatening Zika virus. National unemployment levels have reached a record high over recent years, and the city of Rio faces a widespread crime epidemic. At a cost of $14.4bn, staging the world’s most high-profile sporting event – which can come with rewards of great political kudos – has certainly become the subject of much controversy amongst Brazilian citizens. Such calamity doesn’t only ravage the political and societal components of Brazil’s national constructs, though. The International Olympic Committee has found itself in dangerously hot water, too, after the sport world’s most astonishing doping cover-up came to light just several days ago.

If Friday evening’s Opening Ceremony was anything to go by, however, there are already huge positives coming from Rio’s hosting of the Games. Brazil may be shrouded in the darkness of its political and structural chaos, but it’s soft power has been a huge triumph. Not only was Friday’s joyous, colourful occasion a huge celebration of Brazil’s carnival atmosphere and the nation’s tumultuous but very unique history. Rio de Janeiro’s prelude to this year’s Games reminded us of the strength of its culture.

Commencing Friday’s showcase with a brief account of national history, Rio capitalised on its foundations of migration and diversity. Among the first settlers of what is known today as Brazil were humans of European, African, and Japanese descent. Whilst international political debate of recent months has tended to focus on hostility towards growing diversity and the free movement of people, Brazil’s openness and willingness to promote multiculturalism must be reassuring. Even today, over half of Brazil’s population is of non-white ethnicity, and many indigenous cultures exist throughout parts of the nation’s undestroyed natural settings. In 2014, it was noted that requests for asylum had increased by 800% over four years, Brazil being a preferred country among African migrants. This year’s Olympic Games even has refugee athletes competing under the flag of the IOC. Rio’s message of inclusion and unity, reinforced in Friday’s grand opening, has undoubtedly set a sparkling precedent for other nations, and must have restored confidence in its people.

As sport brings people of all backgrounds together, it seems that Rio’s focus on common global issues was particularly fitting. Brazil’s opening ceremony was quick to hone in on the growing threats of climate change. In recent months, the worldwide temperature has grown by as much as 1.3°C, just 0.2°C below the critical temperature for major global warming catastrophe. By encouraging all athletes to plant a tree as part of Rio’s sustainable legacy, raising awareness of increasingly detrimental CO2 emissions, and finishing with the symbol of the Olympic rings clad in green, Brazil has made excellent use of the international stage. The Rio Games’ flame cauldron is the most eco-friendly ever, too. With such a vast expanse of rainforest, as well as exemplary energy policy, Brazil is a key player in climate change discussions. Its political track record may not be flawless, but at least the South American has succeeded in focusing on sustainability, a strong focus on which many nations are yet to place.

Brazil’s establishment have been the architects of an almighty mess recently. Judging by Rio de Janeiro’s Olympic showcase, however, Brazil’s people and their ethoses certainly aren’t in decay. Brazil has long been known as one of the world’s most luminous carnival capitals, and had a tourist industry of over $6.6bn in 2012.

Most of all, however, Brazil has shown to have immense soft power, with a progressive outlook on global issues, and a past of diversity and migration which seems to be continuing into the present. The success of the far-right and its isolationist rhetoric is currently damaging many Western societies, shutting out those of different backgrounds, and sometimes denying the importance of tackling climate change. But this weekend, Brazil has proven to the world that it remains level-headed, and boasts impressive soft power. Brazil’s society and its political scene may appear to be weak. But the nation is clearly determined to underpin and hold on to its deeply-rooted ideas of unity promoted by the Olympic Games which will only be reinforced in the coming days of competition, and surely over years to come, too.

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europe, society, World Politics

Communities are turning against each other in a new era of terrorism

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The seemingly eternal fight against terrorism and rampant extremism has, in recent weeks, shown no signs of coming to an end. As the West continues to barricade itself against a tempestuous storm of malicious attacks and organised crime, governments and citizens are being pushed to their limits. Cities across Europe and at the other side of the Atlantic are entering a new age of insecurity and paranoia.

France is just one of the countries at the brunt of this pandemic. The nation’s state of emergency has remained firmly in place despite President François Hollande’s hopes to lift it this week. Since anti-Semitic attacks in January 2015, and a fatal bout of terrorism in November of the same year, France has found itself and its society battered by gunmen and extremism all the more. Today saw yet another terrorist disaster at the courtesy of the so-called Islamic State take place at a church in Normandy after the already devastating French assault in Nice two weeks ago. This recent scourge of terrorism is certainly not specific to France, however. The epidemic has continued to ravage German communities in recent days after attacks in Würzburg, Reutlingen and, yesterday, Ansbach. Fatal shootings at a gay bar in Orlando, USA were also carried out killing or injuring over 100 people last month.

Whilst a great deal of the terrorism encapsulating the West has been attributed solely to extremist organisations from far abroad, not all attackers have had direct links to organised crime groups. The killer of revellers in Orlando last month was found to have no connection to Islamic State whatsoever. The same goes for the killer in a brutal knife attack this morning in Japan, and also for the 18-year-old who was inspired by growing far-right sentiment to stage a massacre of his own involving shoppers in Munich. The problems of today do not relate solely to explicitly foreign-motivated terrorism, but instead they relate more to the eruptions of radicalisation of and the extremism which involves individuals based more locally. These are people of minorities who have become consistently marginalised by government and society, and of violent attackers who have been motivated by new isolationists and frightful rhetoricians.

This paints a rather sorry picture for Europe and its similarly beaten up American partners. Communities are being drawn apart in front of our eyes. A new era of ‘interior’ terrorism and national insecurity is emerging. The task of the West isn’t only to defeat the barbaric extremist group that is Islamic State, but to instead deal with the worrying contagion of radicals pledging fealty to the IS operation, and striking in the name of it. 

Very recently, European and American leaders have introduced rigorous counterterrorism measures, some of which widely criticised for accentuating and worsening the divides of our already cut up global community. The priorities of our governments must be set straight. Of course, counteracting organised terrorism ought to be high on leaders’ to do lists. But legislation has for too long presumed criminal tendencies of select groups of people. Instead of efforts to promote cohesion and unity, our leaders have come to harshly set apart certain individuals from the rest. It is this that motivates a large proportion of today’s killers, notably those who attack under their own name, an not that of an extremist organisation.

Unity and robust social cohesion are the key components which are missing from the constructs of today’s global society. Diversity and multiculturalism must be embraced by all. For example, France’s ban on the Muslim women’s burqa is highly controversial, and has attacked important cultural principles. US presidential hopeful Donald J. Trump’s divisive comments of a Muslim shutdown, and his plans for a more “closed door” America have increasingly vilified numerous US minorities. The alarming rhetoric which has come to isolate so many has been consistently condemned by myriad advisory experts, including Australia’s Race Discrimination Commissioner, Tim Soutphommasane. Soutphommasane highlighted that many of those marginalised by stringent counterterrorism policy had been motivated by this alone in their savage revolts. Building support for the “anti politics” (as New Statesman writer George Eaton put it) of division, marginalisation, and stubbornness is infuriating communities, means that deviance is only likely to rise.

Whilst attempting to smother chances of terrorism, governments and security institutions are in fact creating even larger problems for themselves. Of course, only very, very few humans ever attempt to create devastation on the scale of recent attacks in Western nations. But the clear targeting and labelling of sub-groups is proving to be detrimental, and has only widened the scope for extremism to flourish. Whether attackers are frustrated by incomers to their homeland, or one minority individual is dismayed by Western nations’ disregard for them, divisive rhetoric and policies intent on singling out individuals look to only induce terrorism. The disgusting increase in casual racism and the promotion of such careless, outspoken politics continues to alienate many across the West.

Our societies are becoming fractured by racial and cultural injustices, and instead of appearing united, are leaving our communities vulnerable to the tribulations of terror. Damaging and fearful rhetoric has divided our communities. More worryingly, it is spurring a large contagion of extremists who dead set on tearing nations apart on their own initiative. People with no direct affiliation to terror groups are becoming criminals, inspired by the acts of others. 

The war on terror is moving into a new era. Unless governments and their citizens bind together to embrace multiculturalism, abandon the harm of racism, and build up social cohesion, we will make spontaneous extremists’ dreams a reality. Counterterrorism strategy and, indeed, international relations, must not centre around singling out entire minorities.

If the rise in support for the politics of the hard right escalates further, social unity and the true destruction of extremism will not materialise. The suppression and demonisation of select individuals is simply not a viable solution. Those who feel cut off from society are those who have created most harm, a theme evident in attacks which have ravaged a European, Northern American, and Asian nations of late. 

For the more conceited and judgmental wings of our political society are most to blame for the deep societal crevasses which continue to widen across global societies. Inclusion is the answer to the reunification of our communities, and the solution to the new era of terrorism taking humanity by storm. 

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American Politics, society, World Politics

The Democrats have lost their integrity, and maybe the presidential election, too

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As if the mess of Hillary Clinton’s private email malpractice were not enough to embarrass the US Democratic Party, the uncovering of another abominable scandal has come back to kick them, and may even hinder the Party’s chances of election success in November’s Presidential vote. 

WikiLeaks, the organisation of radicals best known for uncovering some of the political world’s greatest scandals, has struck again – and quite rightly so. After several cyber attacks on US government email servers in recent months, the Democratic Party has found itself in hot water over its Clinton-related complacency.

It won’t be so complacent anymore, though. Over 20,000 emails have come to light which detail pro-Clinton bias from the highest ranks of the US’ biggest liberal party even before any formal judgments had been made by delegates in state primaries. The revelations have highlighted the shameful attempts of top officials to smother the election chances of popular left winger Bernie Sanders.

WikiLeaks’ uncovered emails clearly show discussions of how best to bring down Democrat candidate Bernie Sanders by publically questioning matters of his religious affiliation, and detail suggestions of circulating smears relating to Sanders’ political career in order to decrease his support. Such revelations are sure to plague the Clinton campaign irrevocably, and seriously question the integrity of the Democrat Party.

In addition, Democrat directors are shown to have pestered media outlets for maximum Democrat support in news agendas across America, and to have been secretly communicating with journalists in attempts for minimal Democrat backlash. The uncovered emails reveal also the way in which wealthy supporters are lavishly treated by the Party, detailing tactics of coercing donors into giving mammoth sums of money in exchange for considerable policy input, prestigious garden parties, and hobnobbing with the President.

This week sees the Democrat National Convention take place in Philadelphia, where the Democrats are set to firmly outline their political agenda and play their proposed prelude to the post-Obama era. Hillary Clinton was once the undisputed, sure-fire solution to preventing Republican nominee Donald J. Trump from storming the Oval Office this November. At one point during 2015, Clinton was reported to have the support of as much as two thirds of the Democrat Party.

But a couple of weeks ago, polls reported that public trust of Clinton had reached an election low, making November’s result even harder to predict. The next scandal Clinton will have to face is likely to damage her popularity in the polls to an even further extent. The appearance of the alternative Bernie Sanders has partially contributed to lower support for Clinton, but the recent marks against the former First Lady’s cards are proving much more indelible than previously thought.

After clear examples of the Democrats’ undermining of democracy, many citizens won’t be so sure of Clinton anymore. Today’s events may well leave hers and the Democratic Party’s reputations in shreds, and only boost discontent with the current campaign trail – possibly so much as to provoke swing voters to defect to the Republican camps.

Democrat National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz is just one of those credited with knowledge of the party’s undemocratic activities. Footage of Schultz and her colleagues this morning attempting to calm frustrated delegates makes for extremely awkward watching. The Party Chair was reported to have been escorted off stage shrouded by angry activists who brandished pro-Sanders signs and booed to show off their deep discontent.

Isn’t such a reaction right, though? It is indeed. Key figures of the US Democratic Party have greatly undermined the principles for which they claim to advocate. WikiLeaks’ revelations have exposed shocking truths of the party’s disdain for anyone besides Clinton, hoping to protect the former stateswoman as she recovers from any potentially dangerous press ammunition.

Republican nominee Donald J. Trump’s campaign has for months centred on racist comments, controversial protectionism, and the infectious global epidemic of right wing populism. On these grounds, it was seen as the Democrats’ chance to unstoppably halt the causes of Trump, with real values of liberal democracy, social justice, equality and kindness instead. However, the tone of a great deal of the Democrat campaign has been considerably low. How can the campaign pioneered by Hillary Clinton aim to beat the scare tactics deployed by the Trump side herself and her staff involved in such fatal wrongdoing, too?

Embroiled in a scandal relating to communications secrecy during her tenure as US Secretary of State, and now in one possibly more serious relating to her party’s underhanded corruption, her election chances are crumbling. In the midst of such societal division, the Democrats had their chance to rejuvenate the US Establishment, and provide politics of unity and hope.

When will the US Presidential campaign become positive? Perhaps Bernie Sanders was the only one who advocated for progressiveness and just debate all along. It’s just too bad that now the DNC have prevented him from achieving his full potential. The pleas of other candidates at past primaries have had one defining principle – that one candidate is not another candidate, and that one does not stand for what the other does. The US Presidential debate has shown little sign of conversation relating to big social and political issues, but instead has revolved around scaremongering, controversy and anti-establishment sentiment. The Democrats’ flawed strategy won’t make US politics progressive at all, and has shown that it can competently fight battles of playground politics, too – not only Donald J. Trump.

Party officials may have believed that rigging the Democratic primaries would set Clinton’s candidacy above the storm of uncertainty which currently ravages the nation’s political sphere, had their actions gone undiscovered. Instead, the Democrats’ gamble has done more harm than good. The Party has lost its credibility, and possibly its ability to win safely in the November vote. The Democrats are sure to find that votes are harder to pick up in the all important swing states of Florida, California, Virginia, and the like. It is these votes that may decide the next President. Failure to capture floating voters, and the support of the volatile middle classes, could be fatal.

The Party also has a mission to restore confidence in its own constructs, and restore public confidence in the entirety of US politics. This mission is even greater than it were before today’s WikiLeaks scandal, given the sheer tidal wave of anti-establishment feeling which is sweeping global societies.

No matter the outcome of this year’s election, the next person to hold office will be tainted with the grave issues of their unsportsmanlike campaign. Hillary Clinton could have escaped this dark shadow easily by simply treading the moral high ground with a transparent, humble presidential bid. The sketchy outline of the truth of her email use as Secretary of State, and now the exposure of her party’s underhanded tactics, undeniably defying true democracy, will hinder her campaign’s success. Perhaps those all important swing votes will end up going to the Republicans after all.

The Democrats could have chosen to carry on from the Obama era with the principles of fairness and justice of which he will likely be most remembered. Confidence in the US Establishment is now painfully low, something which the Democrat Party could have restored, and now will have an even greater task of attempting to restore. The pathogens of corruption are currently diseasing the vital organs of the US Democrats, Clinton’s arsenal of political artillery becoming exhausted.

The Democrats seem to be a paralysed force, riddled with underhand tactics and intense political divides. The argument that Hillary Clinton isn’t Donald J. Trump lacks strength now. This election campaign ought to have been based on real political and social issues, and with pragmatism at the fore. Further to this, the Democrats ought to have offered a vision of fair play and progressiveness in order to defeat the alarming proclamations of Trump. If the Democrats can restore public confidence, they may be able to revive themselves. It will be no easy feat. Should they fail to, the very worrying politics of Donald J. Trump may be successful in November, many Democrats losing not only the election campaign, but also their integrity.

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europe, society, UK Politics, World Politics

Angela Merkel was in charge of the EU – now it’s Theresa May

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If anyone should be credited with the title of ‘president’ of the European Union, it has to be Germany’s formidable Chancellor, Angela Merkel. Since her election as the German nation’s premier in 2005, the strategic and nifty Merkel has become one of the European Union’s main figureheads and prolific boss of the world’s second largest economy. Recent years have seen the EU’s de facto commander preside over some of the EU’s greatest challenges including global economic crises, the biggest spurt of human movement since the Second World War, and, of course, the current epidemic of Euroscepticism.

Angela Merkel may not hold this title for much longer, however. After a British vote to leave the EU last month, the island nation, which has long had an extremely particular relationship with Europe, is now calling the shots. The number of disgruntled EU citizens is growing.

The leader of the first nation to formally vote to leave the EU, Theresa May, has unprecedented influence over the future of the European Union. This week, the new British Prime Minister made the first of her foreign visits to Germany. In the aftermath of a turbulent EU debate, Mrs May has been particularly keen to promote consistent and amicable ties with European nations.

Britain’s Vote Leave campaign, the eventual victor, and its still rampant support has been met with strong retort from European leaders who remained firm on their promises not to allow Britain to destroy the EU. But after several weeks of pressure, and after the Prime Minister’s discussions with German and French premiers, it seems that the EU is slowly warming to the reality of Brexit, paying attention to the imminent threats of Euroscepticism, and listening to the ever louder calls for EU reform.

As the reality of the UK’s vote to leave the European Union sets in, the EU is having to completely re-evaluate itself. Britain is the nation which has spurred an entirely new European era – one of provoking game-changing reform. It is Prime Minister Theresa May who is at the helm of this fascination transformation. The successes of Eurosceptic and anti-immigrant bodies around Europe are continuing to build, and it is these organisations and their supporters which shed the real influence upon the future of the Eurozone.

As discontent with the European Union in its existing state grows, the power of the EU’s most prolific leader, Angela Merkel, and her allies is rapidly declining. Power is now in the hands of those who reject the status quo – the hands of those such as Prime Minister Theresa May who must now seek a different European format for her people, and also who has sparked the creation of a different type of EU for all Europeans.

Speaking for the majority of EU member states in the company of Mrs May, Chancellor Merkel this week announced that the EU will allow Britain to delay its exit from the European Union until its action plan is totally clear. Doing so is in the European Union’s interests, and buys back time for a huge, Europe-wide re-negotiation of the EU’s institutions – a re-negotiation which may save the Eurozone from further crumbling.

Allowing Britain the liberty of deciding when to implement the Article 50 membership emergency stop clause is not the only concession being made for the UK’s Brexit. Changes to the EU’s liberal policies of free movement of people may soon be granted in attempts to soothe anti-immigration sentiment. Migration allowances coexisting with the ability to freely trade has long been one of the principle cogs of the European Union’s machinery, but one which now seems to be rusting. Despite strong initial rejection by leaders including French President François Hollande, plans for a migration break lasting for up to seven years may soon be granted to nations like the UK.

Discussions of a different future for the European Union have long proven unfruitful for Europe’s growing hard-right. Many of these conservatives are sure to be rubbing their hands. Whilst the EU becomes twitchy and the atmosphere of uncertainty becomes thick, changes surrounding the way that Europe works are becoming increasingly necessary.

As May negotiates her way to a different future for the UK in Europe, the British Prime Minister is in an enviably strong position, and perhaps is the new driver of the EU vehicle. The newly invested British premier is now vying for a plan which would allow Britain to completely control its migration levels whilst yielding the benefits of a position within the European Economic Area. Mrs May might not have voted to leave the EU herself, but as UK Prime Minister, it is now her mission to “make a success of it,” as she has repeatedly vowed.

Making a success of Brexit is exactly the type of move which will serve Mrs May’s reputation and her credibility well. Whilst a Brexit might not be the outcome for which the Prime Minister had hoped of the EU referendum in June, Theresa May is now in a position to push for real change, becoming a hero of the European right wing. As Angela Merkel’s EU becomes unworkable, Theresa May’s plan may become the solution.

The German Chancellor and her European allies are known for being stubborn, but the British Prime Minister has finally been successful in making headway. If Britain succeeds in its bid for the ability to control migration, increased controls for member states over a wide range of different issues may come. Reform is, of course, in the European Union’s interests. Hard-right populists and Eurosceptics are sure to continue to triumph if changes fail to materialise.

If the European Union wishes to survive, it looks like Merkel and her team must face up to dealing with the new challenges which could one day serve to destroy it. Reform of the EU is what will dilute Euroscepticism, keep the EU economy thriving, and ease the strain of global crises on its member states.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s European dream looks close to fading, and Theresa May is corroding the authority and political power wielded by the German leader and her supporters. Perhaps Brits believed that a vote to leave the European Union would draw it away from the continent almost instantaneously. But if the events of the past week are anything to go by, the United Kingdom is still very much involved in the politics of the EU for now.

Angela Merkel could turn around her European Union. Pressure from Theresa May and Eurosceptics from around Europe – most prevalent in nations such as France, Denmark, Austria and Netherlands – may well in coming weeks and months force large-scale reform on the EU. If current EU officials fail to recognise the need to address grave problems of migration, security and the economy, the institution which has united European nations since the end of the Second World War may break down in front of them.

Britain has led the way in starting the possible – but albeit preventable – mass exodus of European Union nations. Theresa May now has the upper hand on the EU quandary, and her protest on behalf of the British people is sure to provoke reform sooner or later. It is clear now, however, that it is largely Mrs May who is calling the shots over the future of the EU, and it could indeed be her who, quite paradoxically, saves it.

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human rights, society, World Politics

The West can’t let Erdoğan win, and must push for real democracy

Last Friday’s coup in Turkey, which aimed to provoke a military takeover, failed, but the country’s current political set-up is still far from perfect. As the nation’s President resumed control in the early hours of Saturday morning, some might have seen the survival of Erdoğan as an example of widespread support for him from the Turkish people.

But do not be fooled. With ever harsher clamps upon the southern European nation’s press, ethnic, and societal freedoms, the President’s regime is highly controversial. His policies are not progressive, and ought to be halted fast. It must be something a little comforting, however, to see that predominant support for his presidency when contrasted with potentially dangerous military rule is existent. Myriad citizens have taken to the streets in pro-government demonstrations over past days. The public faced with the lesser of two evils, President Erdoğan still has an increasing monopoly over domestic policy, furthered by this week’s emergency decrees.

Turkey’s past is not one that revolves around finite democracy. Whilst the country is certainly more democratic than it were ten years ago, it is clear that the Erdoğan presidency is not one which encompasses all human rights. This week, President Erdoğan has made no delay of his purge of public office, effortlessly chucking out opponents to his rule. Real power lies exclusively in the hands of the governing AKP.

After last week’s coup attempt, President Erdoğan’s recent actions are not surprising. Just a few days ago, Turkey brushed up against a regime of heightened authoritarianism which ought to have any last drops of momentum soaked up. This week, thousands upon thousands of civil servants, judges and other public officials thought to not side fully with the Erdoğan regime have been forcibly removed from their posts. Today, over 1,000 privately run education institutions will be closed. More than 58,000 people in total are thought to be feeling the effects of the President’s latest purge which he justifies with the need to destroy chances of an even more dangerous coup. Already this year, President Erdoğan has waged a tough war on scores of press journalists who actively speak out against the AKP’s semi-authoritarian regime, an act which largely defies the supposed democratic principles upon which Turkey is said to be built.

Currently, Turkey is one of the most talked-about nations in the world, the end point of Europe and gateway to the Middle East. A hugely advantageous base for the West in interventions against the so-called Islamic State, as well as for dealing with the refugee crisis which continues to grow in seriousness, Turkey’s mustn’t be upset. But maintaining our nations’ moral and political integrity is still important.

Handing privileges of fast-tracked EU membership to Turkey in return for saving the EU from a great deal of the refugee crisis, or allowing the gravely problematic Erdoğan regime to exist undemocratically is simply not permissible. The persecution of dissidence, slamming of anti-regime journalists, and the force-feeding of government prescribed values is unacceptable for Western support no matter the advantages.

British Prime Minister Theresa May’s current views of Turkish disarray are feeble, as she last week underlined the importance of a rule of law within Turkey. The biggest problem is that Turkey’s rule of law is not robust, and that its constitution is hugely flawed. Moreover, such a draconian President should not be permitted by major Western powers.

I am sure that Erdoğan’s plans for controlling dissenters will incite fear among the Turks, but more organised coups with wider support could materialise in the near future. One of them may even win, posing greater problems for the Middle East and the currently fragile European Union. Turkey’s growing relationship with traits of authoritarianism is highly toxic, and failing to stamp out Erdoğan’s politics could result in absolute chaos.

The UK and the rest of the West’s lax attitude to the government’s purging of opponents, and rejection of the European Convention on Human Rights is thus abominable. Turkey is certainly an extremely useful global actor, but our absolutely necessary reliance upon the nation cannot prevent us from upholding typically European values of democracy. Full friendship with Turkish authorities must not come until its political system is strong. Currently President Erdoğan is monumentally pushing over European and North American States and their integrity.

If Erdoğan continues, instability will eventually arrive, prime stomping ground for extremists and a nursery for terrorism. If anything, the attempted coup last week has shown that discontent in relation to the Turkish government is brewing. Turkey’s politics and society are extremely volatile. It is time that the West took the hint, and implemented sturdier pillars of democracy. For it is in the interests of Western nations to prevent a better organised future coup, which could have the potential for more authoritarian principles. Such an attack on Turkey’s already weak political infrastructure could devastate not only the country itself, but also the future of the European Union and standards of international security.

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American Politics, society, World Politics

The US election will leave Congress divided and society polarised

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If presumptive Republican candidate Donald Trump must be credited with one success this campaign – and only one – it is that he has certainly engaged many US citizens with the nation’s politics. For both right and wrong reasons, his comments, hair-dos and demeanour have captivated social media and many a conversation. On the other side of the debate, the growth in support for the presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders has seen the creation of a new, more radical left-wing of Democrats, similarly energising interest in US affairs amongst the electorate. But not only are citizens now gripped by intense debate ahead of the November vote.

Both the Republican and Democrat parties have found themselves in considerable quandaries over their party policy in the midst of a presidential campaign which many hoped would see unanimous support for one candidate representing each party. Donald Trump’s policies have profoundly split the GOP down the middle in ways never seen before, with many delegates attending this week’s deciding Cleveland convention seeking to change their sides.

Similarly, Hillary Clinton’s campaign has had its support snatched by those who preferred the politics of the more radical Bernie Sanders. ‘Socialism’ certainly isn’t a curse word anymore. Even though Clinton is the candidate of choice for the majority of Democrats, many new left-wingers remain dissatisfied. It is the powerful legacy of Bernie Sanders which is, in the same way as Trump has split the GOP, sure to firmly part the two camps making up the US Democrats.

There is no questioning that Republican nominee Donald Trump is a powerful speaker, and that he has gained the attention of many with his outspoken and sometimes controversial remarks. His far-right politics has pushed the party into a new era which many supporters passionately welcome. But a large section of the Republican party remains unconvinced. Even those conservatives who don’t passionately support Trump will likely end up voting for him, more repulsed by Democrat Hilary Clinton’s campaign.

However, it is important to note that a vote for a Presidential candidate and a vote for a Congressional candidate are two very different things. Presidents do not have ultimate power over Congress, and thus Trump’s policy is this year not likely to reflect the views of the entire party. The anti-establishment, far-right legacy of Donald Trump is sure to live on for several elections to come. His campaign has seen the creation of two vastly different wings – one promoting typically populist, hard-right values, and another which represents supporters of more moderate, traditionally Republican politics.

Make no mistake – this is a divide which is something a little similar to the sort that currently ravages the UK’s Conservative Party, and one which could come to greatly disrupt Republican progress. This is bad news for the GOP. Passing policy in Congress has already been difficult for them and their Democrat counterparts, the Democrats just as divided between its internally liberal and more centrist wings. For them, the appearance of Bernie Sanders is likely to accentuate their party’s problems all the more. The final years of Barack Obama’s presidency have seen huge divisions between the Houses of Congress and the US Executive, with a Republican majority Senate, a House of Representatives which has gradually moved into Republican control, and, of course, a determined Democrat as US President.

The 2016 election campaign has sadly given us no hint that these internal barriers will break down. Bipartisanship will be more necessary than ever before when it comes to policymaking. Both parties may struggle to bring themselves to it given the disarray. As the US socialist movement has gained unbelievable momentum, with still existent support for Bernie Sanders, and after Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton has become embroiled in scandals relating to email malpractice, America’s liberals are just as split as the Republicans are with the Trump phenomenon. Mid-term elections take place as well this year, the results of which likely to serve as evidence of the deeply laid party differences in both Houses of Congress – differences that are sure to hinder US political progress.

As the American liberals became delayed in Congress, and their presidential candidates began to cause divisions, the Republicans believed that they were safe. Instead, the epidemic of populism has come to set their party back, as much as it has, in some ways, transformed it. Congress will now be a battleground not only between the Democrat and Republican entities, but increasingly between the more specific factions which separate politicians of both parties internally, too.

Winning a presidential election may be doable this November for Trump. But carrying through an effective presidency which commands unity amid such dispute could mean something very different if he is to gain success. Whilst Trump controls the most part of the Republican party right now, and Clinton prevails with most – but by no means all – Democrat party support, either one of them may become US politics’ next lame duck, failing to bring together even their own party members in Congress. Passing successful policy will now be some hard feat, and is sure to require hard bargaining.

It has to be said that a win for Trump would certainly be something quite paradoxical. It is predominantly he who has nursed such an intense split in the GOP. His new politics is the reason for his success, but could be the reason for his downfall should Trump win this year, and seek re-election in 2020. At the other lectern, Hillary Clinton must not fall into a state of illusion whereby she believes herself safe. The great support for Sanders, and also her own malpractice has come to weaken her support. Both US parties remain intensely split, and this will undoubtedly come to threaten the chances of success for the next President of America.

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europe, society, UK Politics, World Politics

The future of Boris and his ambition is in May’s hands

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Flapping around in the midst of the EU referendum fallout, the Conservative Party is currently enduring what may only be the start of a lengthy spell of political turbulence. Prevailing volatility amongst raging factions of Remainers and Brexiteers has shown that the UK’s recent vote has failed to eradicate the tense mood which currently shrouds the Tory party. Stranded at the epicentre of the Brexit wreckage, the Tories have been left broken and despairing. June’s ballot has certainly not put an end to the Conservatives party’s epidemic of quarrelling, and future success for the party looks to be considerably far out of reach.

The European Union isn’t the only source of the UK government’s quandaries, though. In a vetting process originally set to take at least ten weeks, David Cameron’s successor has been rapidly selected in just three. Upon the surprising victory for Vote Leave, it were former Mayor of London Boris Johnson who was originally tipped to succeed the now disposed of Cameron.

After a rather uncharacteristically serious stint as co-frontman for the Vote Leave campaign alongside Michael Gove, a large proportion of the Tory party believed that it were Boris who had proven himself worthy of leadership. But Gove’s crafty moves to undermine Johnson in the party leadership contest were relatively successful. His cunning decision to run against Johnson – an act described by many as treachery – has certainly prevented Boris from mapping the Conservatives’ direction in the short term.

Last week, most thought that Boris Johnson was finished, and that he may never hold any more influential party position than that of a constituency MP. But the prominent blondie may well come back to widen the Tory party’s divide in months and years to come – especially during or following the incumbency of newly-appointed Theresa May.

Yesterday, it were instead she, the former Home Secretary, who triumphantly stood in front of Number 10, ready to colonise Westminster with her distinctly formidable demeanour and uncompromising approach to decision-making. Today, May pressed on with the hand-picking of her new political arsenal. Mrs May’s cabinet has seen many a surprising appointment, however, including – rather controversially – that of the  Boris Johnson who is now Britain’s foreign secretary.

One of the politicians deemed most responsible for the great rift which has sprung up in the middle of the Tory party now sits in one of the most important positions in politics. But seated underneath the watch of Theresa May means that Johnson will be, to an extent, constrained. Everyone knows that Boris is a careerist and has dreams of the Tory party leadership. Theresa May’s tactics remain to be seen, but, needless to say, Mrs May will be keen to dissociate herself from Johnson’s politics which could subvert her much-needed authority.

But it is Mrs May who has the upper hand now. It is she who has the power to decide the fate of Boris Johnson. Will he be a successful foreign secretary, bolster his standing within the party, continuing to stoke the still red hot coals of the Eurosceptics’ campfire? Or will the new Prime Minister user her iron fist to manoeuvre Johnson off her path, clamping down on his sizeable realm of support?

By promoting Boris Johnson, who will surely be one of her government’s most prolific ministers, Theresa May could possibly have made a fatal error. Despite only a marginal win for Vote Leave, Brexit generated not only wide support for cutting ties with the European Union, but also for Boris Johnson himself. Today’s cabinet announcements include six Brexiteers – six individuals who still advocate for the views of the Tories’ large Eurosceptic, more libertarian base.

Herein lies the problem. In the event that the popularity of Mrs May begins to wane, the grounds for Boris Johnson to become the backseat driver of this government could look strong. Providing Boris Johnson with such stature could come back to kick Mrs May, and could be detrimental to the stability of her brand new premiership.

On the other hand, allowing Boris Johnson to have a degree of political ammunition is a somewhat clever move. Undoubtedly, Boris’ careerism and ambition to work his way into the top seats of government still exists. Keeping the man who has the power to be most divisive in the cabinet forces a great deal of responsibility upon him.

His ability to largely manage the UK’s global affairs, and, needless to say, implement the Brexit for which he so desperately advocated, shows that sympathy is not one of Theresa May’s defining characteristics as a politician. If the operation of leaving the European Union backfires, it will not be Mrs May who takes the blame. And, of course, an ability to broker deals and negotiate with international neighbours is essential for truly great politicians.

Should Boris Johnson fail to become a hit with the rest of the world’s biggest economies, the future premiership hopeful’s reputation will be destroyed. Currently, his global record isn’t wholly clean, having made several offensive remarks in relation to other cultures, prompting worldwide hostility. Johnson was booed at a French press conference today, is reportedly hated in Brussels, and many Germans cannot believe Boris’ new status. Judging by Theresa May’s ‘take no prisoners’ attitude to government, Boris Johnson and his future chances will be eaten alive by his fellow party members should he make detrimental diplomatic blunders.

Albeit considerably better organised, the Tory party is still precariously balanced upon the controversy of issues relating to the European Union, immigration, and the only very recently more earnest Boris Johnson. Prime Minister Theresa May has made the decision to feed Mr Johnson the power for which he eternally begs, but keeping Boris at bay is vital to the stability of her leadership. Gaffes, policy rejection, and rebellion could result in a challenge to her leadership just as messy as that carried out by Gove towards Johnson.

Theresa May has shown in the past that she is a formidable leader. She is one of few Home Secretaries to emerge from the position with their reputation unscathed enough to battle on in the cabinet. With the right foresight and meticulousness, Mrs May could indeed revive the Tory party to its former robustness. As the internal lining of the Conservative party fabric is now close to tearing, it is vital that stitches it back together, with Theresa May pushing her cabinet ministers and backbenchers into line with her tough approach – especially Boris Johnson.

UK politics has never before been so Machiavellian, based on opportunism, and required such precise tactics. If the nation’s new Prime Minister shows any signs of flinching, those on the other side of the Tory party will surely squirm their way out of their muzzles immediately, Boris Johnson clenching the reins. Theresa May had better have had her game plan drawn up weeks ago. The careerism and ambition of Boris Johnson has certainly not been halted, but the Prime Minister must fast minimise it. Clever manipulation by Mrs May of her internal opponents is what will veer them away from her new political stomping ground. Johnson is the Prime Minister’s biggest threat, but whether or not he will be a success or a failure is her call.

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europe, Scotland, society, UK Politics, World Politics

Brexit isn’t progressive, but Sturgeon’s plan could be

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The events of the United Kingdom’s political scene over the past seven days have shown that change in politics takes place at a rapid pace. Since a vote last Thursday to leave the European Union, Prime Minister David Cameron has tendered his resignation, Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Corbyn has been left reeling after damning Cabinet resignations and a vote of no confidence, myriad international markets have become volatile, and many British citizens are now profoundly divided – both politically and socially.

For those voters who are startled by violent change, or simply prefer the status quo, then at least some of the Remain campaign’s predictions seem to have translated into reality. They don’t make for comfortable listening, though. Needless to say, supporters of a vote to remain as a member of the EU claimed that economic hardship, extremism, and constitutional crises would disease our societal construct in the light of a Brexit.

As if the murder of an MP and the demonisation of many ethnic minorities were not demoralising enough, recent days have already shown that the fear-centric Vote Leave campaign is infilitrating British communities fast. Many police forces this week have already reported a huge rise in racially motivated crimes, an albeit small minority of Brexiteers rejecting the EU on the grounds of abhorrent xenophobia.

A vast degree of economic calamity has arrived, too, causing pandemonium among CEOs, financial boffins and top bankers. The UK has lost its first class credit rating, the housing market is showing signs of slowing, market trading figures and the value of the pound have plummeted, and some of the globe’s biggest corporations are questioning the security of their futures within Britain.

More fascinatingly, but still worrying enough, is that Britain has pushed itself into an abyss of constitutional uncertainty. After a clear divide between English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish voters last Thursday, the 300-year-old union is showing its age. Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s political arsenal has more artillery than ever, the infamous SNP leader currently one of the world’s most influential leaders with the potential to drastically alter the international affairs agenda.

Wednesday saw Sturgeon meet with numerous EU officials including Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, and Parliamentary President Martin Schulz. Scotland’s voice drowned out by the largely English-driven Brexit cacophony, the First Minister is keen to spread her crucial message – that her nation’s interests are being overriden.

It is now that Nicola Sturgeon has the freedom to forge new politics for Scotland. With Sturgeon holding an unprecedented global stature for a Scottish leader, the quandaries of Scotland’s interests and position are back up for discussion. In just several years’ time, citizens may bear witness to a fiery independence referendum campaign once again. Yesterday evening, JP Morgan predicted that , by the UK’s 2019 exit from the EU, Scotland will vote again on independence and use a separate currency.

Sturgeon has, for all of her life, been a stringent advocate and guardian of Scottish interests. Over the momentarily slippery issues in relation to the EU, she shows no signs of doing anything differently. The SNP’s 2016 manifesto clearly outlined that the party still saw independence as achievable in the not-too-distant future. For Sturgeon, the elongated EU debate has provided the chance for reignition of the independence flame, and for the creation of a progressive Scottish state.

The intentions of Vote Leave’s Boris Johnson and Michael Gove may seem like an unlikely match with those of the truly internationalist Nicola Sturgeon’s. But the aforementioned politics do have more in common than you may think at first. Both sides intend to leave some form of political, social, cultural, and economic union. For the right-wing Brexit duo of Johnson and Gove, the European Union is their foe, and for the socially democratic Sturgeon, the arguably outdated United Kingdom is her achilles heel.

Undeniably, the two sides differ majorly. In a huge contrast, the Brexit soon to be fully imposed on UK citizens is in no ways progressive, support for which predominantly – but not totally – thanks to those of the right. Sturgeon’s possible exit is nothing of this type, however. The plan supported by the SNP and by an increasing number of Scots is for a truly progressive relationship with the European Union – an ethos set to extend to issues of home affairs, too.

Sturgeon only has the Brexit crisis to thank for this sudden boost in success. Glancing over the recent prognosis of the ailing United Kingdom, the iconic leader must be feeling a tad of schadenfreude. Many voters are now having the revelation which Alex Salmond’s independence campaign fell short of wholly inspiring two years ago. The 2014 referendum bid frightened many away from a Yes vote with the worries that independence would isolate the Scottish nation, and render the views of the people dead in future decision-making.

A high degree of political isolation is what many supporters of a Brexit have indeed voted for of late, and its consequences are provingt that a Scottish exit from the UK would be something vastly different. Unfortunately, Brexiteers have voted for a UK nation that will have attributes of deeper social injustice at its fore. It seems that the chances of a more left-wing Brexit have been shattered with the paralysis of the Labour party.

It is Sturgeon’s plan, though, that could eradicate the poisonous epidemic of xenophobia and paranoia currently sweeping Britain. The exit which Britain has made from the European Union is exactly what Sturgeon’s plan for Scottish independence wouldn’t be. Johnson and Gove’s Brexit blueprint has highlighted that Scotland’s exit from the UK could spur positive change, and that the policies for which they advocated during the EU campaign were not progressive.

As a growingly successful – and truly European – leader, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon now has the power to transform Scotland, making the nation a key voice within an ever louder European chorus. Despite being the outcome the First Minister wanted least, a vote to leave the European Union last week has provided the grounds for an argument detailing a more progressive Scotland. Brexit has pushed the topic of Scottish sovereignty back into the political arena, and her case has generated a great deal of support.Prime Minister David Cameron, whose days are numbered, even praised Sturgeon’s EU efforts on Wednesday.

Nicola Sturgeon’s diplomatic campaign this week did not just have the ideas of Scottish independence at heart, but also ideas of a solidarity, social justice, and co-operation. Her position as the antithesis of Boris Johnson has been a real plus. What could have been Sturgeon’s greatest nightmare has turned into a huge political advantage. Many who are dismayed by the new, somewhat backward Brexit may flock to Sturgeon’s side in the hope that an independent Scotland would be a game-changer. Presenting herself as face of an alternative to the individualist and neoliberal case for Brexit has shown that Scotland is a uniquely different entity, and that the SNP are one force of true advocates for togetherness and political, social, and economic growth.

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