Europe: there is life outside Brussels: October 8th - 14th on openDemocracy

Is there another way forward for Europe? Mary Kaldor and Sabine Selchow introduce our theme of the week, looking at the continent’s Subterranean Politics. Its frustration and inventiveness are evoked by Geoffrey Pleyers; new ways of decision-making challenge German democracy and attract David Budde; the indignados inspire trade unions in Italy and in SpainHungarians are not alone in asking on whose side is the EU; and Londoners put the European back into their global city. The team mull over what they have found in ‘Re-imagining Europe’, while Sean Deel updates us on the first transnational direct democratic tool ever.

14 October 2012

The debate is hosted in a special oD page, Can Europe make it? Its editor David Krivanek explains this is a democratic question, others warn against euroscepticism and corrosive lobbying dousing what remains of Enlightenment and Ben Hayes warns against over-excitement. Meanwhile, the Icelanders get on withdoing something about it and write their own constitution.

Elsewhere such a benign outcome is threatened by far-right populism. Outside their core militants, Marley Morris reports they are drawing on “reluctant radicals” of all ages across Europe. Meanwhile, in the UK, Our Kingdom interviews Daniel Trilling about his new book on the ugly, hard right while Sunder Katwala examines attitudes to the English Defence League and Joe Mulhall asks where the introduction of elected police commissioners will fit in while Tess Riley praises the rise of a sharing economy.

Will the international community defend democracy in the Maldives? - asks Stephen Zunes, who begins our war coverage: it’s words in Burma; motives in Syria; resurgent Naxalism in India; and forgotten combatants in Bangladesh, and two reports on the crucial impact of sanctions in Iran from Paul Ingram and Saeed Rahnema, while Paul Rogers provides the overview from Syria to Nigeria, unusually sober even for him.

In oD RussiaEuan Grant wants to tame organised crime, Mikhail Loginov highlights disillusioned voters and Ekaterina Loushnikova tracks down the families of imprisoned protesters – especially moving. An angry Sergii Leschenko says elections are rigged in the Ukraine. openSecurity however has some good news from Georgian voters.

We ask some questions: can women shape elections, the US elections and Tunisia? And is it really a good day for peasants in the United Nations and for domestic workers in the Gulf? Will this alert from Simon Maxwell and Sam Bickersteth do the trick on climate change? And the sordid side of England emerges even in OurBeeb, as the BBC slips again; is it time for its Trust to be elected?

Did you see last week’s impressive interview with David Potter, founder of Psion and ex- Bank of England? Take a read, the world financial crisis won’t be the same and you’ll Welcome the Enmity of bankers!

Also on the web, don’t miss:


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Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals

To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.

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