About Niki Seth-Smith

Niki Seth-Smith is a freelance journalist and a Commissioning Editor for 50.50. She is interested in democracy, nationality and gender.

 

Articles by Niki Seth-Smith

This week's editor

James Ron

James Ron hosts this week's openGlobalRights theme: public opinion and human rights.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

The BBC's dumb public: a view from Greece

The BBC’s election coverage has been filled with gossip, technological gimmicks, and patronising ‘common sense’ rhetoric. This has little to do with its public service remit.   

The Fall: extreme violence as a distorted mirror of post-conflict Belfast

The most watched drama on the BBC for 20 years,The Fall, is about a serial killer in Belfast who murders and 'poses' his women victims in the nude. Is the violence gratuitous, or does it capture the current post-conflict mood and mindset of Belfast?

What I learned from going cold turkey on technology

After I developed RSI, the use of social media led to crippling pain which forced me to confront my compulsion to react. What would life be like if everyone thought twice? 

Nationalism: a war over a word

A vote for independence may be the right or wrong answer for Scotland. What it won’t be is a vote for ‘nationalism’.

Could republican ideas provide the framework for a new economy?

A resurgence of interest in republicanism within academic circles is reclaiming the tradition, while the post-crash political landscape has brought to the fore demands for citizen participation and an interest in sharing control of the economy that can be read as republican in spirit.

Review: The politics of English nationhood

Michael Kenny's new book, The Politics of English Nationhood, is a vital read and charts much new ground, but its overriding analysis is constrained by its focus on identity and belonging at the expense of democracy.

Why are the hopes of the Good Friday Peace Agreement still unfulfilled?

At the launch of 50.50's series on women peacebuilders in Northern Ireland, we explore the connection between the failure to include women at all levels of political life in building a shared future and the ongoing search for peace in Northern Ireland.

Strengthening the anti-fascist movement in Greece

An anti-fascist festival in Athens earlier this month brought activists from across Greece and Europe together to build solidarity and co-ordinate resistance against Golden Dawn. Niki Seth-Smith reports on the debates on sexism, homophobia, fascist attacks, gender roles, and much more.

Podcast: What's happening in Scotland and why the rest of the UK should care

What's going on in Scotland, why the English should care about it: this week's NovaraMedia podcast was a discussion with current and former OurKingdom co-editors.

Violence as a virus: the treatment

Following the riots in 2011, the UK government pledged to treat violence as a health issue. Niki Seth-Smith reports on a project that is doing just that, while millions are wasted in public money on surveillance, enforcement and gang crime.

‘Blokes don’t need help’

Men are more likely to be criminal, violent, alcoholic and suicidal. That’s their own fault, right? Last weekend’s Being a Man festival revealed a world that has turned its back on men’s problems.

"Rehearsing the revolution": theatre in Israel-Palestine

In Israel/Palestine, former combatants are using the Theatre of the Oppressed to move towards an end to the occupation. Recently London theatre group Cardboard Citizens invited a former Israeli officer to share his experience of making theatre for peace.

Detroit: from disaster to salvation?

Detroit was the cradle of Fordist capitalism and the American dream. Then it became their grave. But now, amidst the ruins, something is moving. Is there an end to the city's decline? 

Rape in the UK: myths about myths

The old myths around rape persist. Many people still believe that 'serious' rape must be a violent attack. Now new voices are entering the debate. They claim that legal and academic 'experts' are using rape myths to shut down discussion and subvert the law.

On girls, performance and the internet

Meet Catherine Bennett: an alternative, positive role model for girls. Created as an antidote to the flood of sexual and misogynistic representations of women that surround girls today, Bennett is a testament to the emancipating power of digital performance.

UKIP and the rise of English nationalism

People in England increasingly indentify as English rather than British, and so far it is the ‘blood and bitter’ reactionary nationalism of UKIP that is benefiting.

Romantic love: an agent of change?

What is love? On the one hand, it's a lucrative industry, bound up in 21st century hyper-capitalism. But openDemocracy's new section Transformation aims to reclaim love as a positive force for social change. 

May Day for Emergent Service Workers: a protest against ourselves

This May Day, Space Hijackers set up camp outside Google's London HQ. Part-pagan, part-protest against the struggles of digital labour, this was a "political party - but the good kind".

A new dawn for the Unions? Frances O’Grady and economic democracy

The TUC’s new General Secretary seems to represent real change in the 'pale, male, stale' world of British unions. But can she shake them up in policy terms, and draw in the energy of a disparate anti-austerity movement?

Risk and revelations: on leaving OurKingdom

After two and a half years as Co-Editor of openDemocracy's British section, Niki Seth-Smith is leaving OurKingdom. Through intimate reflections, she gives an insight into the project, Britain's landscape of power, and the struggle against neoliberalism to come.

Thatcher was not the answer but a new direction was needed

Before advocating a return to a pre-Thatcher era of socialism and solidarity, remember the suffocating Labour years preceding her ascension. This House, playing at The National, takes us back to the last hurrah of a failing post-war consensus.

Can we trust the BBC? Audio from Cafe Oto event

Late last year, at the tail end of the Savile-McAlpine crisis, OurKingdom held a discussion on the BBC. Kicked off by panellists Peter Oborne, Jacky Davis, Omar El Khairy and Anthony Barnett, it was an intense public debate at a turning point for the Corporation. Here is the complete audio.

OurKingdom Best of 2012: have your say

Help us pick out the writing and the moments worth remembering from the last year. 

Lobbyists and the Day of Rage

On the day that millions of anti-austerity demonstrators took to the streets across Europe, an official EU event took place on ‘engaging Europe’s citizens’. A troubled participant tells her story.

Occupy and its ally in the Bank of England

Last night, as part of the New Putney Debates, senior Bank official Andy Haldane said Occupy is "right" about the economic crisis. What kind of friend is he?

Who are the Conservatives now? The One Nation debate

Ed Miliband’s confident evocation of the Tory mantra ‘One Nation’ speaks volumes about the Conservative Party's failure to conserve its ideological roots. But who will benefit from the land grab? 

The end of the 'Great British Summer'

'The Great British Summer' of 2012 is well and truly over. OurKingdom takes a rollercoaster journey back through the season to close its series.

Capture parliament to renew democracy: will Whittam Smith’s strategy work?

Andreas Whittam Smith’s radical call to seize the UK Parliament from career politicians resonates with the anger of a disenfranchised public. While it is increasingly clear that getting ‘the right people’ into ‘the right seats’ is not enough to stimulate meaningful democratic reform, these proposals could provide an important framework for disrupting the vested interests of the political and corporate elite.    

Festivals, nu-folk and the allure of the 'temporary community'

Intimate 'boutique' festivals are mushrooming across the English countryside. Their biggest selling point: a sense of belonging. Is this a rejection of individualistic hedonism? Or the return of the pastoral, manufactured by the urban elite? One thing is certain - they are a sign of things to come.

A job seeker sets himself on fire: how will Cameron respond?

An unemployed man set himself alight outside a job centre in Birmingham this morning, allegedly over a claim. This, days after the Prime Minister prepared Britain for more welfare cuts with a speech denouncing our 'something for nothing' culture. So what is the job seeker owed, if anything? What would Cameron say?  

Labour should talk about England (but no action, please): Ed Miliband on the Union

The Labour leader has set out his defence of the Union in a speech that appealed to his party to recognise England and show pride in the English. But is this enough, with Scotland considering independence and the English question waiting to explode?

A country mansion and a wireless connection: Raymond Williams and the future of transformative education

As formal education in Britain faces commodification, networks of informal participative learning are flourishing. openDemocracy is building ties with these through our relationship to the Raymond Williams Foundation, whose residential last week explored the theme of the Long Revolution.

Taking 'perhaps' seriously: the resurgence of the British co-operative spirit

For a century, the 'political left' has dominated the 'social left'. But in post-crash Britain, the balance is beginning to change. So argued Richard Sennett in the annual Compass lecture this week, prompting a lively discussion on the craft of co-operation. 

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