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About Robin Wilson
Robin Wilson has been lead editor of the openSecurity section of openDemocracy. He advises the Council of Europe on the intercultural paradigm for the management of cultural diversity, on which it has been the global standard-setter in the last decade. He is heavily involved in debates across Europe on the future of progressive politics, through Compass in the UK, TASC in Ireland and the Foundation for European Progressive Studies and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung on a wider canvas.
Articles by Robin Wilson
This week's editor
En Liang Khong is openDemocracy’s assistant editor.
No to TTIP
The odd thing was that it turned out the man whose communist spectre frightened the 19th century world saved it in the 21st. Marx would have chortled at the irony. But he had seen it coming. He watched in England as the rapacious capitalists threatened to destroy their workforce—a mere ‘externality’ for each of them—through exploiting children and making adults work impossibly long hours. And he wrote in Capital volume I of how the labour movement had actually secured the long-term interest of capital by fighting successfully for the eight-hour day. Two centuries on, the green industrial revolution had achieved the same outcome—this time with the ecological movement in the van in saving capital from itself.
True, the more progressive capitalists could see the markets in green technologies and supported the case for regulation, so they didn’t fight to the death. And the demise of the Chinese dictatorship, when it could no longer keep cutting off the Hydra heads of internet-based civil society movements, was a key moment. Funnily enough, the US, with its rusting oil and car industries shrouding the one-time democratic ‘beacon on the hill’, was neither here nor there.
Karl Marx http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/fc/Karl_Marx.jpg/500px-Karl_Marx.jpg
A spate of killings by extreme paramilitary groups highlight the social pressures and political tensions that surround Northern Ireland's post-1998 settlement, says Robin Wilson.
Robin Wilson (Belfast, Policy Analyst): The suggestion that the various secretaries of state for the nations and regions should be wrapped up into one department has made sense ever since devolution was established in the initial years of ‘New’ Labour. But devolution to Scotland, Wales and (always shakily) Northern Ireland was, paradoxically, characterised by the patrician English trope of amateurish muddling through. And so the repeated case made by the Constitution Unit for a formal system of intergovernmental relations, as in Canada or Australia—and of which the unified department would have been one element, along with Lords reform to make the second chamber a voice for the nations and regions—fell on deaf Whitehall ears. Other departments in effect became ‘English’ departments, even when their actions had implications for devolved counterparts.
A decision to move belatedly towards having a single minister for the devolved jurisdictions at the cabinet table—a further step from the rather awkward job-sharing of recent years—would certainly be welcome, if media speculation is borne out. But a fly in the ointment remains Northern Ireland—and if such a move were premised on a belief that imminent devolution of policing and justice powers would slot in the last piece of the jigsaw of a settlement for the troubled region, this could turn out to be a mistaken assumption.
The controversy surrounding the murder of Denis Donaldson, a former senior Sinn Féin official who spied for Britain, underlines the need for political transparency and responsibility in Northern Ireland, says Robin Wilson of Democratic Dialogue.
Stephen Howes dissection of Ulster Loyalist culture suggests that a link between new institutions and changed ways of thinking is the route to a settled society, says Robin Wilson of Democratic Dialogue.
Five fearless, grieving sisters may break the back of Europes most successful terrorist movement, writes Robin Wilson in Northern Ireland