Michael Sandel: “The energy of the Brexiteers and Trump is born of the failure of elites”

brexit images
Jason Cowley: Shall we begin with Brexit? It’s very close here at the moment: the Remain side had big leads in the polls but it’s narrowed considerably since the conversation moved on to immigration, porous borders and freedom of movement of migrant workers within the EU. What forces are driving the desire for Brexit?

Michael Sandel: As an outside observer, I don’t feel it’s for me to offer a personal view about how Britain should vote. I think there are really two questions. One is whether Brexit would be good for Europe and the other is the question of whether it would be good for Britain. It seems to me that for Britain to remain in the EU would be a good thing for Europe, but whether it’s a good thing for Britain is something that’s for British voters to decide.

A big part of the debate has been about economics – jobs and trade and prosperity – but my hunch is that voters will decide less on economics than on culture and ­questions of identity and belonging.

JC Superficially, the United Kingdom seems a becalmed society, but we’re experiencing eruptions. We had the Scottish referendum in 2014, and we almost saw the break-up of the British state. Now we’re having a referendum on whether we should continue to be a member of the European Union. Why are there so many unsettled questions? Why are the people of the United Kingdom so restive?

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I want my country back (BREXIT)

This morning, I woke up in a country I do not recognise. David Cameron’s big gamble – the future of Britain against his personal political ambitions – has backfired so badly that we’ve blasted clean out of the EU. By the time I’d put the kettle on, the stock markets were in free fall, Scotland was debating a new independence referendum, Sinn Fein was making secession noises, and the prime minister had resigned.

There’s not enough tea in the entire nation to help us Keep Calm and Carry On today. Not on a day when prejudice, propaganda, naked xenophobia and callous fear-mongering have won out over the common sense we British like to pride ourselves on. Not on a day when we’re being congratulated by Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen, and nobody else. Well done, turkeys. Santa’s on his way.

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A Blow for Peace and Democracy: Why the British Said No to Europe

The majority vote by Britons to leave the European Union was an act of raw democracy. Millions of ordinary people refused to be bullied, intimidated and dismissed with open contempt by their presumed betters in the major parties, the leaders of the business and banking oligarchy and the media.

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Fighting near and far | The Economist

http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21678847-islamic-state-may-be-lashing-out-abroad-because-it-has-been-weakened-nearer-home-it-will?fsrc=scn/tw/te/pe/ed/fightingnearandfar

“ENDURING and expanding”: Islamic State’s alliterative motto leaves out its burning desire to eradicate everything else, but otherwise sums up its ambitions pretty well. If IS has, in recent times, seemed more concerned with the enduring bit, its history shows that it has never long lost sight of expanding in any way possible: by capturing territory, by spawning offshoots far and wide, by inspiring new recruits, and by spreading fear. As a state with puny resources and no real friends, it needs to be a moving target.

The Age of Buhari: Regicide and the Post Ethnic Youth- Richard Ali (The Mantle, 8 May, 2015)

Buhari

A few months ago, this online magazine asked for an article on the then (still) upcoming Nigerian elections, which were held on March 28. I accepted, but failed to deliver. Looking back, I now consider that my failure had something to do with being in the arena of my life within my country’s history, in the sense of the famous quote by Theodore Roosevelt.1 It was difficult to write about a complex, a monster, a phenomenon that I was facing while I was engaged with it. I remember writing an errant paragraph or two. The theme was rejuvenation, second acts. The central idea was of young people teaming up with their grandfathers to fight against their fathers.

The chair of the Independent Electoral Commission, Professor Attahiru Jega, announced the final results just hours shy of April Fools’ Day. The winner of the presidential contest was retired Major General Muhamadu Buhari, who had ruled for twenty months at the head of a junta in the 1980s, whose All Progressive Congress (APC) political party beat the incumbent Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and his People’s Democratic Party (PDP), which has been in power for all of the sixteen years since Nigeria returned to democratic rule. Buhari achieved his win with a margin of well over two million votes. (The APC also wrested control of the upper legislative house from the PDP.)

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Why I didn’t sign the Charlie Hebdo protest letter

Charlie Hebdo

te last week, a letter circulated to members of PEN American Center protesting the organization’s decision to award the PEN/Toni and James C. Goodale Freedom of Expression Courage Award to the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo at its annual awards dinner in New York on Tuesday night.

Charlie Hebdo, you will remember, was the target of a terrorist attack in early January, when two gunmen killed 12 people at the paper’s offices in retaliation for publishing satirical images of Muhammad. A week later, Charlie Hebdo put out an issue featuring the prophet on the cover, with a caption declaring, “All is forgiven.”

Say what you want about Charlie Hebdo’s provocations or its politics, but it was undeniably an act of courage for the editors to produce and distribute this so-called “survivors’ issue.”

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