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This week’s front page editor


Francesc Badia i Dalmases is Editor and Director of democraciaAbierta.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

It’s the most direct form of communication between citizens and governments. From the thumbprint, to the ballot card, to electronic voting: how do you win people's trust in democracy?

Millions are missing from the UK’s electoral registers

The foundations of UK democracy are threatened by a crisis in voter registration. 

Philosophies of migration

Migration raises more fundamental questions than 'should these people be here': it probes into the very essence of what it means to be human, as well as how we define our communities.

Who's afraid of the 'global poor'?

Shifting the migration debate to consider the impact of global phenomena such as climate change and global capitalism on the movement of people requires an understanding of scarcity and insecurity as factors which affect citizens and non-citizens alike.

One year on from the 'Go Home vans' flop: has the Home Office learned anything?

The UK government seems immune to criticism of its hostile approach to immigration, but the decision to return home for any migrant is not a simple one. Rather than obscuring evidence, the government must be transparent about what really constitutes a solution.

UK Detention Inquiry: a step in the right direction

A parliamentary inquiry, launched today, will hear from people directly affected by immigration detention. Will the mass incarceration of migrants finally be recognised as a political concern worthy of public scrutiny and debate, asks Eiri Ohtani.

A call to action in memory of the woman I never knew

At least 20 people have died in immigration detention in the UK: how many more must die before the UK changes its detention policy? The public must shout louder, says Eiri Ohtani. 

Justice for asylum seekers: Back to the drawing board, Ms May

The British High Court has found the level of support given to asylum seekers ‘flawed’: a political calculation rather than an assessment of what constitutes an essential living need. We must force reason back into the system, says Sile Reynolds.

Sun, sand...and indefinite detention

The UK’s second largest immigration detention centre is about to open in Weymouth. Jennifer Allsopp reports on local responses to the imminent presence of hundreds of foreigners, locked up off the coast of this small and friendly town. 

Black, male, care leaver, seeking asylum: access to higher education in Britain

Despite their determination and aspiration, many young asylum seekers are being barred from higher education by multiple discriminations. The current inquiry on Race and Higher Education must recognise this fact.  

20 years of arbitrary detention in Britain

This weekend marks the 20th anniversary of Campsfield, the immigration removal centre which heralded a mass expansion of detention and opened the door for profit in immigration control in Britain. Yet outside the prison and within, there are voices of dissent, says Bill MacKeith.

The future of Scottish immigration

The depiction of Scotland as being welcoming to newcomers is an important aspect of Scottish national identity, but what are the prospects for immigration reform in the case of Scottish independence? Joanna Wiseman reports from the Edinburgh Festival of Politics. 

Anti-immigrant sentiment: time to talk about gender?

The way in which gender figures in the picture of anti-immigrant sentiment is rarely discussed, yet anti-immigrant sentiment, wherever it is found, represents a rejection of ‘feminized’ populations and a concern with a national illusion that is distinctly masculine.

UKIP on the march in Britain

The success of the UK Independence Party in local elections indicates a lack of trust in mainstream politicians on migration. This leaves the pro-migration lobby with a bigger role than ever, and some challenging questions about how to impact on public opinion

Anti-deportation campaigns: ‘What kind of country do you want this to be?’

A new musical, Glasgow Girls, showcases the power of anti-deportation campaigns as both an expression of human solidarity and an essential device for holding states to account. But their key role, argues Jennifer Allsopp, is to build support for an asylum system that upholds the rights of all.

Togo: a country of strangers?

Making peace in Togo is not a numbers game. Nor is it about searching to find out who was wrong in the past. As the next election approaches it is time to recreate our country’s history and invest in unity and peace, says Mawusse Domefaa  Atimasso.

Britain's future - where do the Labour candidates stand?

With hustings for the Labour Party Leadership well underway, the five candidates have been busy battling to distance themselves from the era of Blair and Brown. But what have they had to say about electoral reform, civil liberties, human rights and Iraq, and how does each of their respective voting records stand up to scrutiny?

True democracy needs a voting trail

Margaret McGaley led a successful campaign – Irish Citizens for Trustworthy Voting – to persuade Ireland that it is people, not computers, who vote. She explains how e–communication won the day for verified votes

What's wrong with electronic voting machines?

The United States election of 2004 reinforces a vital lesson: truly safe and accurate voting machines do not exist, says computer security expert Bruce Schneier.

The touchscreen future

The punch-card voting system that caused the 2000 Florida fiasco is both unreliable and severely deficient from a civil rights perspective. Daniel Tokaji explains how touchscreen voting can serve democratic principles of inclusion and fairness.

Democracy needs good design

The solution to problems in the electoral process, says Louise Ferguson, lies not in technology but in human-centred design.

Whom do you trust to count your vote?

America’s distrustful, polarised political climate blocks open discussion of one of the country’s most serious democratic deficits: voting technology.

What happens when we vote?

The impact of new technologies makes a fair voting, recording and counting system even more essential to a healthy democratic process. Recent international experience, says Siva Vaidhyanathan, highlights four guiding principles that should be followed: trust, accountability, openness, and universality. How does the United States measure up?
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