This week's editor

Heather McRobie

Heather McRobie is an editor at 5050.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

The British syndrome: an abdication of responsibility

There are glaring absences at the heart of the UK elections contest. The new preface to his ‘Essay on Britain, now’ - by one of Britain’s leading political thinkers tells us why. Remarkably, it suggests ways in which to free ourselves from the trap we are in.

In new gods do we trust?

Do you expect the machine to solve the problems? In this wide-ranging interview with the Director of the Open Rights Group we discuss bulk collection, state bureaucracies, the pre-crime era and trust.

Scrutinising the Scrutineers: part 3

UK media coverage of EU issues is frequently superficial and plagued by basic errors. The BBC, and others, must work to change this.

The plurality deficit: public service broadcasting and institutional competition

Is institutional competition the answer to the ‘plurality deficit’ in public broadcasting? The evidence suggests no.

Charlie Hebdo, and being non-European

Being European is a form of life beyond ethnicity, religion, skin color, or sex; it is a peculiar ontology that is open to everybody, that is an achievement of world history. 

Contradictions and challenges of the Podemos phenomenon

Podemos came from the streets, social media platforms and out of a horizontal ideology not found in the traditional parties.

The renewable revolution

Four reasons why the transition from fossil fuels to a green energy era is gaining traction.

Why bother about digital rights? An absence in the election campaigns

Digital rights are too often reduced to questions of ‘security’. In their election manifestos none of the major British parties appear to have grasped their wider significance.

Scrutinising the Scrutineers: part 2

Infuriated by the BBC’s lack of coverage of its work, The European Scrutiny committee is at the centre of a discussion about the ‘limits’ of the corporation's independence. 

Scrutinising the Scrutineers: part 1

The European Scrutiny Committee has locked horns with the BBC, repeatedly accusing it of a pro-EU bias. Is the corporation’s editorial independence under threat? 

On the strangeness of contemporary antisemitism

Can we agree on one thing? That contemporary antisemitism is profoundly strange. 

Rule Britannia

Today’s parallel with feudal 1215 is the absolute dominance of a “collective monarchy”, combining the power not merely of the Westminster state but also of the corporate and financial institutions and their elites. 

Our otherness: imagining Balkan and mid-Eastern identities

Rayna Stamboliyska

The original quote by Orwell is “He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past”. In just two sentences, he has embraced our fate.

Project modernity

The universalism of the Enlightenment had, at best, a paternalistic attitude towards 'the savages', and at worst, sought to eviscerate entire peoples, cultures and histories.

The Great Charter of Liberties

Looking at the distance between the Westminster parliamentary system and those to whom elected representatives are ultimately accountable, the Chartists had a point – in fact, at least six points.

Further notes on the evolution of the jihadi international movement

The Islamic State project is finding some consensus in countries where political deadlock reduces our social lives to a primordial level. Social and economic frustration stays at an all-time high level, even in a country like Tunisia.

Kenya’s Security Law Act: freedom of expression and media freedom

The measures risk deterring journalists from covering terrorism-related topics and may have a significant effect on the quality of public debate.

Shia crescent: self-fulfilling prophecy

Iran does not have influence over the region’s various Shia actors by default, but is helped by the way the Arab world regimes have historically treated Shia actors in the region. 

First we take Amsterdam, then we take The Hague

For those in Red Square, the Winter Palace is not in Amsterdam, but in the Dutch seat of government. Meanwhile, the New University has a life of its own.

Does the governance and regulation of the BBC need to be changed?

The third City University and OurBeeb seminar on the future of the BBC was held on Thursday 26 March. This time, a real consensus began to emerge.

Six ways to break British research

To maintain British biological and veterinary research, we need to think honestly and critically about campaigns against animal studies.

Reinventing urban democracy in Barcelona

Barcelona's citizens are setting aside the historical baggage of the nineteenth and twentieth century struggles of industrial workers movements, inventing a newly resonant language of rights and democracy. Español.

Breaching the long litany of unlesses: a response to Simon Glendinning’s ‘Saving Europe from salvation'

The risk to Europe is a perpetuation of crisis by implacable erosion, and with this the abdication of political institutions from protecting the interests of citizens that they are responsible for and to.

Philosophy as a model of active and responsible life

The task of philosophy then becomes an opportunity to dialogue. We have to risk being in search of what joins us in our dissimilarity. 

Political dissidence as care for the soul: reflections on Jan Patočka

In the experience and activity of political dissidence, care for the soul realized itself through denying the falsehoods imposed by the authorities and exalting truth above any imposed scheme.

Charter 77 and the “solidarity of the shaken”

The individual should learn to expose himself to the risk of giving up his egoistic prerogatives, in order to build a new form of community.

Making policy out of mindfulness

Does the attempt to rationalize mindfulness and make a tool for better performance and efficiency undermine its core concept?      

On Solidarity

The idea of solidarity has its roots in the history of the workers’ movement, and as this is usually excluded from conventional tales of human endeavour, it is seldom understood. 

Europe in a labyrinth and the material power of ideas

The Greek government has the mandate to revive the idea of solidarity and social justice, but also the idea of the economy itself.

The crisis of means without ends: two forms of rationality in the foundations of Europe

Patočka calls for a renewed effort in Europe today to reestablish some kind of equilibrium between “the rationality of means” and “the rationality of ends”.

Money that flourishes

We need to embrace and create new money systems that focus on enabling us to achieve our goals and maximize our potential.

Athens, a flourishing polis

Amid the crisis, the Athens city council won the Bloomberg Philanthropy sustainable development and EFTA solidarity awards. 

Digital citizenship: from liberal privilege to democratic emancipation

On the anniversary of the Magna Carta, a call for a new debate on the conception of citizenship. Let’s seize the opportunity to transform our utopian dreams into everyday life.

Secretive and seedy: how aid donors are opening the agribusiness flood gates

When big agribusiness teams up with international aid organisations to corner the market on seeds, everyone loses. 

Introducing three old ideas for a new Europe: flourishing, solidarity and care for the soul

These ideas--care for the soul, flourishing, solidarity--are ideas that according to Jan Patočka could be useful for reinterpreting our political space, in the face of a crisis which is shattering it.

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