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About Laura Sandys
Laura Sandys is chair of the European Movement UK. She was Conservative MP for South Thanet 2010-15. She is a member and former Chairman of openDemocracy's board, and is a long-time campaigner, volunteer and political consultant, with experience of political structures across Europe, Turkey, South America and the US. Her full biography can be found on her website.
Articles by Laura Sandys
This week's editor
Phoebe Braithwaite is openDemocracy’s submissions editor.
No to TTIP
There is no question that the last few weeks have been the worst for British politics in my life time. And with very just cause. The public are revolted, disgusted and appalled. This is not limited to those outside the political sphere, activists who knock on doors, stuff envelopes, and deliver leaflets in support of their party feel particularly betrayed.
But there has been a typically British revolution simmering away for many years - not violent but one that has turned its back on politicians and the political class. The expense claims have been the lightening rod for this sense of disillusion, disempowerment and disengagement from our political process. Politics in this country have not been right for a long time.
Power has resided in the wrong places – centralised in Whitehall with faceless politicians and even more invisible bureaucrats deciding our futures. We are harassed by illogical inflexible procedures and pushed around by officialdom.
Why is it that we are educating people more while imprisoning them with regulations that inhibit their innovation and self-reliance. We are making people “compliant” rather than allowing diversity of opinion and approach to life and work. We have more regulation “police” monitoring our businesses and telling our local public servants how to do their jobs, giving them no opportunity to exercise their own sound judgement. As a people we are becoming fearful of risk, inhibited from being different, creating a grey society that is judged through box ticking as either compliant and obedient or risky and dangerously “adventurous”.
A month after the London bomb attacks, openDemocracys chair Laura Sandys calls on Britains government to shift its policy and thinking in relation to the countrys Muslim citizens.
What lies behind the revolt of the cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and his Shia followers? Does it signal the end of American rule in Iraq? Laura Sandys sees parallels and portents in an earlier period of colonial rule.
Who will be the vultures, and who the carrion, in a post-Saddam Iraq? The Iraqi opposition plans for transition. The countrys neighbours especially Turkey, Iran and Syria covet influence and power after regime change. America is torn between impulses of order and freedom. The decisive role belongs to Iraqs people. Will they unite, or fragment?
The latest malpractice crisis in the European Commission puts the new Constitutional Convention on the spot. There can be no democratic European constitution while the EU administration is mired in bureaucratic paranoia and political inertia.
International businesses operating in Europe are seeking to become more "European", argues the communications specialist whose mordant reflection on Washington appeared in openDemocracy 1. But a corporate US-style monoculture doesnt fit a plural continent. Instead, Europe is tending toward a different business model - one that turns its diversity into a strength.
Faith in the constitution has made mummies of the founding fathers. A European came to Washington, found it suffused with self-righteousness, and left.