About Anthony Barnett

Anthony Barnett (@AnthonyBarnett) is the founder of openDemocracy 

Articles by Anthony Barnett

This week's editor

Alex Sakalis, Editor

Alex Sakalis is associate editor of openDemocracy and co-edits the Can Europe Make It? page.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

A Choice

The Comic Tragedy of British Politics 3: Real People

Three Men in a Studio

The Comic Tragedy of British Politics, 2: Can England join the Union?

The haunted election

The comic tragedy of British politics: 1  

Learning from Scotland

Can the English left finally wake up and smell the constitution?

On the eve of Magna Carta’s 800th birthday, the British legal system is being ripped apart

A protest march against the Global Law Summit in London symbolises the relevance of the Magna Carta.

From here to democracy, open letter to Ed Miliband

Labour is promising British voters a muddled, demoralising way forward for democratic reform despite its leader knowing better, here is the solution.

Dear Ban Ki-moon, please withdraw your video

A respectful request to the head of the United Nations.

Response to committee - a new Magna Carta?

openDemocracy's founder explains why Britain must go for a fully written constitution, and why a constitutional convention is necessary to achieve that.

Change? How? England arises…

We are now clearly in the middle of a "constitutional moment" and those who want a new settlement for the country are beginning to stir and take action. How can you get involved, and what's coming up?


The 50th anniversary of Winston Churchill's death brought forth a spasm of second-rate musings and hagiographical blather about the great man by the London media, but little understanding of the transformation of Britain which, despite himself, he personified. Here, by contrast, is the 1982 analysis of Anthony Barnett.

Opening up a new British constitution

A Commons Select Committee has called for members of the British public to send them a model Preamble for a new UK constitution. Anthony Barnett tries his hand.

Torture, the UK's role, "I'm satisfied that our system is dealing with all of these issues"

A new Senate report lays bare US involvement in torture. As for Britain's collusion, well, you'll just have to take David Cameron's word — they're handling things. What could possibly go wrong?

A parallel moment not to be missed: for old nations, new times

Anthony Barnett on the rise of UKIP at a particular moment for Scotland and England. (Video)

Take a look at the Magna Carta

There is now an online version of the original that lets you see every letter in close up, along with a translation.

Party memberships in the UK: some context (Tory termination?)

The long term trend with membership of the traditional political parties in the UK shows an astonishing decline.

Fear not, England

English supporters of a No vote often cling to Britishness as a remedy for England's alleged ills: intolerance, ethnic nationalism, and so on. Yet we lose none of our tolerance in a Yes vote. We are the same England, and we should embrace this opportunity for constitutional renewal.

Introducing Tom Nairn, prophet of the break-up of Britain

Tom Nairn is introduced to a young generation by an old friend

Thank you Scotland - and, hold your nerve

If the world could only follow Scotland's example, peace would break out and democracy would spread. The powerful are terrified.

We want our Rights not Magna Bollocks

Today is Magna Carta Day. The great charter was sealed on 15 June 799 years ago. As preparations begin for the 800th anniversary the people of England need to claim their rights and liberties not be subject to a self-congratulatory celebration. 

“We had to wait for Snowden for proof”, an exchange with William Binney

The NSA preferred a much more expensive system of bulk collection of foreign data. That was a fatal choice as it deprived the NSA of understanding what it was monitoring and this permitted the planning of 9/11 to escape them, not to mention the surveilling of American citizens, which is unconstitutional.

All I can say is that you are uninteresting! An exchange with General Michael Hayden, Director of the NSA from 1999-2005

On the first anniversary of Ed Snowden’s revelations, this interview contributes to what we intend will become a growing, in depth exploration of the significance of surveillance for the future of humanity across the globe.

Water cannon will end an era of consent

The London police want water cannon. If public opposition is over-ruled a new period of British government begins, for sure.

Don't Spy On Us - The day we fight back

A global day of action under the banner Don't Spy On Us against mass surveillance takes place on Tuesday 11 February 2014. The UK's GCHQ is an important contributor to the various programmes of bulk data intelligence gathering organised by America's NSA. Now an alliance of British organisations has come together to support Don't Spy On Us.

Scotland step by step but what about England?

The Scottish Government has outlined its vision for independence from Westminster. But what the British elite is most afraid of is that the English start to demand independence from them too...

Kick starting a movement against mass surveillance

Next week will see a public meeting in London discussing what we can do about the rise of mass government surveillance. Anthony Barnett outlines why this is a crucial issue, and why you should be there.

We are Gromit - the challenge for Ed Miliband

Can Labour give voice to the energy and anger of England, which from its health service to its fundamental liberties, not to speak of its economy, is threatened by the Coalitions embrace of global finance? Anthony Barnett posed the question to Ed Miliband in the New Statesman's special Labour Party conference edition.

Saturday morning in London and an Open University honorary degree

openDemocracy founder and long serving editor at OurKingdom, Anthony Barnett has been awarded an honorary degree from the Open University. Here's what he said in his acceptance speech.

Saul Landau, American leftist, 1936 - 2013

Marking the death of an outstanding militant of the American left: filmmaker, writer and organiser.

A defeat for Blair and his heirs

Blair's deceptions on Iraq were a central theme of last night's debate and even if Chilcot has been deliberately stalled, the House yesterday passed a damning judgement on both Blair and Cameron.

Ten years ago today in Baghdad

Ten years ago today in Baghdad a terror attack blasted apart the UN headquarters in Iraq... At the moment of the explosion Gil Loescher and Arthur Helton were sitting down to interview Sergio Vieira de Mello for their joint openDemocracy column....

openDemocracy as a digital commons

Anthony Barnett, a founder of openDemocracy, explains how the idea of the commons has increasingly informed his thinking about both digital media and the emerging struggle against a global regime of commodification.

The fight for the square - Tahrir, Sol, Wall Street, Taksim

“The fight for the square is turning people into something new, whatever one thinks of what can happen after…”, a conversation with Annalena di Giovanni.

Occupy Runnymede: Six reasons why the British Establishment hates the Magna Carta

On Magna Carta day, 798 years after the Magna Carta was signed by King John, what is there to celebrate?

The Battle for Taksim Square and the Gezi Park Commune

A report from Istanbul on the historic explosion of opposition to Turkey's leader

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