only search

This week's editor

NSS, editor

Niki Seth-Smith is a freelance journalist and contributing editor to 50.50.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

May and Spain's Bermuda Triangle

Real Democracy Now, if it had done nothing else, has rescued a supine Spanish electorate from the stultifying boredom of the recent election period. However, people still turned out to vote. So what’s new?

Five reasons why Europe is cracking up

In Germany, France and Italy, but also in many other places, we find ourselves confronted with a generation of leaders ever more shortsighted and given over to electioneering: among them, none speak to Europe nor for Europe.

The fiery birth of the Prevent counter-terrorism strategy: England's Summer of Discontent, ten years on

As the UK government reviews its counter-terrorism, counter-radicalisation strategy, Jonathan Githens-Mazer and Robert Lambert argue that a panicked reading of the events of summer 2001 - the attacks on the twin towers and communal riots in the north of England - have set the tone of a divisive and counterproductive debate on the connection between radicalism and terrorism. On the tenth anniversary of the Oldham, Burnley and Bradford riots, it is time for a fundamental rethinking of counter-terrorism and community cohesion strategy.

Yemen on the verge of collapse

On Friday, heavy fighting continued in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa. Street protests that erupted in January against the rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh have escalated to the point where the capital has been divided between those forces loyal to the President and rival tribal militias. The fighting has killed at least 135 people in the last ten days. Street combat between government and tribal forces has also led to the temporary grounding of flights at Yemen’s main airport.

German angst and catastrophic modernity: switching off nuclear power

Germany's decision to decommission its nuclear power stations is the outcome of a half century of anxiety about technocratic modernity.

A Radical Manifesto for Higher Education

Our universities are under attack, with the Coalition determined to throw them to the mercy of the market. Support is growing for a Manifesto for Higher Education that sets out demands on universities and the government, but will it reignite the student movement?

"Jacks-in-the-box": Orenburg’s migrant workers

Bordering Kazakhstan, Orenburg is a first destination for migrant workers from post-Soviet Central Asia. In her latest letter from the Russian Provinces, Elena Strelnikova considers the pluses and minuses of the visitors and how they integrate — or not — into the local society

The nuclear dilemmas of South Asia

An accelerating nuclear arms race between a fragile Pakistani government aiming at a strategic balance with India and an Indian state that ignores its neighbor's security concerns is on the verge of spiraling out of control, says Yogesh Joshi

Festival of Britain 2011: microcosm of a troubled Union

As Scotland faces the prospect of a vote on independence, the Festival of Britain 2011 is underway in central London. Designed to celebrate the anniversary of the 1951 exhibition and capture the spirit of modern Britain, the festival instead reveals a Union in crisis and denial

England needs an independence conversation

The English no longer know who they are. The Scottish do. Labour must learn from the Scots in rediscovering an optimistic Englishness that embraces the future with confidence

Belarus: the president's dilemma

A dramatic devaluation of the national currency has combined with international isolation to plunge the usually reliable Belarus deep in a sea of instability. The crisis is unlikely to seriously threaten President Lukashenka's position, says David Marples. But the country may yet have to pay a high price for his clinging on.

'No Confidence' in the Coalitions' policy for higher education

A campaign is launched to express 'no confidence' in the British government's policy on higher education. Does it go far enough?

How a divided Spain started a revolution

The Spanish Revolution is a result of deep underlying divisions running through the Spanish society, which the political class and mainstream media continue to ignore at the peril of the country's democracy.

After Obama’s Middle East speech: save Palestinian reconciliation

To get beyond the current impasse in the Israel-Palestine conflict, the "Quartet principles" need to be abandoned in favor of an active promotion of Fatah-Hamas reconciliation.

Bonfire of the experts: the Arab uprisings and the Israeli-Palestinian question

We need to understand that patience on the Palestinian side has almost completely run out after many fruitless years of aimless negotiations and feeble international mediation. The Palestinians – exasperated by US reluctance or impotence - see the shelf-life of the long-running but deeply flawed peace process expiring later this year.

Hue and cry over the UCU

Critics of Israel are increasingly accused of delegitimising Israel and encouraging antisemitism. This creates a climate of suspicion in which the onus is on critics to somehow demonstrate that they are not antisemitic.

Drugs, the Death Penalty and a Cautionary Tale for Governments

The harrowing struggle to spare a young Australian named Scott Rush from the firing squad in Indonesia appears to be over. But now Rush’s own government should confront its role in the case to avoid exposing people to similar dangers in the future.

Ratko Mladic’s arrest and international justice

The forthcoming trial in The Hague of the arrested Serb warlord is an occasion to assess the achievements of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, says Benjamin Ward.

International justice, wild west vs ICC: a coming crisis

The killing of Osama bin Laden and arrest of Ratko Mladic highlight the precariousness of international order and international law as much as their advance, says Martin Shaw.

Dead souls: rank and responsibility in the Russian military

In 2010, the Russian military experienced acute delays with procurement. The official response to the affair was outlined last month: three officers were to be sacked and several company directors punished. Basic research shows the government's position to be nothing more than a smoke screen, writes Alexander Volk.