This week's editor

Jeremy Noble, editor

This week Jeremy Noble and the oDR team edit the front page.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

A political economy fit for purpose: what the UK could learn from Germany

Is the UK wants to diversify its economy and stem rising inequalities it could learn a few tricks from the German model: do away with narrow-minded anti-union attitudes and restore the link between finance and industry

OccupyLSX, unruly politics and subversive ruliness

Any social movement that challenges the state but leaves streets unsafe and refuse uncollected will rapidly lose legitimacy. The trick is to undermine power by exposing its hypocrisy and to make new rules in the process of unruly contestation.

Is Britishness a generous thing, or has it damaged England?

The Daily Telegraph's Peter Oborne and Scottish writer Neal Ascherson discuss national identity in light of the approaching referendum on Scottish independence.

EU democracy in crisis: mired in a perfect storm or rebounding?

If the heart of the crisis lies in the politics – including in the politics of the economic policy choices being made – then solutions may lie, not in yet more EU institutional changes and the creation of an austerity union, but in the practice and the dynamism of democratic European politics. But a certain tradition of creating a theoretically more democratic Europe for the people even if they do not seem to want it has deep roots in the EU elites. So far, this hasn't worked.

Ignoring Britain's poor is not only morally bad, it's economically unsound

If Britain wants her economy to recover, she needs to tackle poverty first, ensuring more people can realise their potential.

Islamism and secularism in Tunisia

In Tunisia at least, radical Salafism is not just a challenge to secularists: it’s also a challenge to moderate Islamists like Ennahda.

Why are Egyptians and the west surprised by the Islamists' victory in post-revolutionary Egypt?

What should liberals do to play any effective role in Egypt's post-revolutionary parliament? It is time to stop moaning and start acting

Goodbye, year of new movements: bring on 2012 and Occupy Everything

The editor of our Networked Society debate concludes the project by sharing his reflections on the last tumultuous year of global networked protest, making way for a new debate on the escalating Occupy Movement.

What would Scottish independence mean for the North?

Scotland will have its referendum before the end of 2014. Will independence, or further devolution, be good, bad or indifferent for the North of England?

Act now to defend Occupy London and the right to protest

The authorities are acting swiftly to outlaw protests of the kind seen outside St Paul's. Speak out now against this - because every piece of legislation that inhibits the right to peaceful protest is a blow to our democracy.

Budapest: thoughts on December 24

Government campaigns against the poor are nothing new in Hungary. But 2011 saw some unusual developments.

Part One: the alter-globalisation movement goes North

Part One of our conclusion to the Networked Society debate: Goodbye, year of new movements: bring on 2012 and Occupy Everything.

Dear Mr. Monti

You have a huge opportunity on your hands: responsibility and social justice can be brought back into the Italian system with sacrifice and good governance. Tackling political salaries and the duopoly of the television networks would be a good start

The beginning of the break-up of Britain?

Scotland's independence referendum will be held in Autumn 2014. Whatever the people decide, Scotland and the UK will never be the same again.

Part Three: reality management #fail

Part Three of our conclusion to the Networked Society debate: Goodbye, year of new movements: bring on 2012 and Occupy Everything.

And so?: Occupy Everything

The final part of our conclusion to the Networked Society debate: Goodbye, year of new movements: bring on 2012 and Occupy Everything.

Occupy: rediscovering the general will in hard times

Times of economic crisis call into question our systems of democracy. Today's global occupy movement is a call to reclaim the economy as a site of decision. To do so, we will need to rethink ourselves as political subjects.

High pay: what Machiavelli would have recommended a politician do

It's true that high pay for bosses serves no purpose except keeping them (and their headquarters) in the country. The only real solution is economic policy coordination. In its absence, Machiavelli would have been proud of the proposals and statements on display this new year in the UK

Where were you when Europe fell apart?

Too many Europeans have too long avoided the question of Europe. To prevent the EU from turning into a "post-democratic regime of bureaucrats", intellectuals need to stop mumbling and take their and our fear of Europe seriously

Structural funds and crocodile tears

Misdirected EU aid has strengthened rent-seeking elements in the Greek economy and fostered political clientelism, writes Iannis Carras. Instead of learning from mistakes, current EU/IMF policy favours construction and privatization of state land, enabled through a legal sleight of hand. Quite apart from the environmental risks, this is counterproductive in economic terms

From eastern Europe, lessons for Egypt’s newborn democracy

Ukraine and Georgia - two countries in a region undergoing dramatic change in the past two decades - can help Egypt examine the circumstances in which high aspirations do or do not lead to a successful transformation.

Is political Islam on the losing side of the Arab Spring ?

Islamic political narratives flourish in opposition but will suffer in the long term

In Place of Austerity: Reconstructing the economy, state and public services

When even ex-Blairites are turning their back on the doctrine of New Public Management, why do such policies still guide reform? Dexter Whitfield's new book asks how we got here, and what practical alternatives there are for the future.

Capital E Nationalism versus little e (and €) capitalism

To be a big player in Europe, England needs to be a big nation. Britain cannot fulfill that role because it is not a nation, but an empty shell.

The great Ethiopian land-grab: feudalism, leninism, neo-liberalism ... plus ça change

Land in Ethiopia is being leased to agro-industry investors on very long terms and below market rates. The beneficiaries have good political connections. But land has been the play-thing of centralising authoritarians throughout Ethiopia's recent history

Is inflation a good tax? Can we have an honest political discussion about it?

UK inflation at 5% is considered almost a victory by the economic managers of the nation. Yet it is a blunt instrument with strong redistributive effects. So what is a well-managed currency, and can we have an honest political discussion about it?

Risk: tricky stuff

If you are a banker what you want is risky, high interest rate loans without the risk... Sooner or later it follows that what the bankers need to do above all else is to elevate financial contracts above democracy.

Chronicle of a non-violent protest: Jobat, Madhya Pradesh (India)

For more than three weeks over 130 people have carried out the longest occupation of government-owned land ever registered in Madhya Pradesh (a state in central India).

In the shadows of globalisation: drug violence in Mexico and Central America

The wave of violence afflicting Mexico and the northern triangle of Central America (Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador) is caused by three developments: changes in the global drug market, the effect of the war against organised crime and the international financial crisis, making the problem not just a criminal one.

Fumbling for change

If politics is “the art of the possible” then 2011 has left us, as artists, with suddenly a much larger canvas and a new palate of colours to choose from. This broadened scope requires of us a new capacity for imagination.

Time for Tax Transparency in the UK

In the wake of the PAC report on HMRC's failure to tax corporations fairly, what other solutions might there be to bridge Britain's £25bn "tax gap"?

Water in the Arab Spring

Water scarcity in the Middle East & North Africa is at the root of the region’s uprisings. In the coming years, it will also be the source of further social unrest across the region.

The UK and Europe: how much damage did Cameron's veto do?

Reactions are still rolling in, just over a week after Cameron's veto. Was it the tantrum of an 'obstinate kid'? Whatever reasons he had, he has relegated the UK to the sidelines of Europe.

How do we reform Britain's media? Proposals and your responses

A new committee has drawn up media reform proposals in the light of the Leveson Inquiry. We publish the CCMR's proposals, alongside responses from media experts and practitioners, and invite our readers to join in the debate.

How the crisis may puncture the GDP cult

Short-term economic growth has been Europe's guiding star since World War Two. It's time for a new horizon, before our lack of imagination leads us into ever deeper crisis.
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