The truth about John Bercow’s comments at the University of Reading

Dr Mark Shanahan (Lecturer in Politics and International Relations, University of Reading)

There was a point when I turned to the Rt Hon John Bercow MP, during a public discussion event at the University of Reading, and asked him if he felt he had been at the centre of history as MPs debated the Bill to trigger Brexit.

His answer was clear, candid and probably more revealing than I had expected. It was the mark of an evening where the Speaker of the House of Commons opened-up more than any previous ‘Political Voice’ I had interviewed or listened to over the previous two years of this occasional programme. However open they were, I did not expect his comments to be the cause of a media furore over this past weekend.

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What is new and what is nationalist about the ‘new nationalism’?

The success of several new parties with a broadly nationalist agenda has prompted some authors to speak of the rise of a ‘new nationalism’ in European politics. But what is new and what is nationalist about Europe’s ‘new nationalism’? Daphne Halikiopoulou argues that while the rhetoric of these parties is indeed centred on nationalism, the drivers of support are neither new nor necessarily nationalism-related. What is new is the ability of far right parties to seize the opportunities created by economic and political insecurities using ideological rather than biological justifications of national belonging, thus successfully appealing to mainstream voters.

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Dr Long’s recent book named best book of 2016 by Foreign Affairs!

Dr Tom Long’s recent book entitled “Latin America Confronts the United States: Asymmetry and Influence” was named a Best Book of 2016 by Foreign Affairs.

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Politics student Chris Imms to represent University of Reading on University Challenge

Politics and Economics student Chris Imms has been chosen to represent University of Reading on University Challenge. Chris, who was selected from a pool of sixty student applicants joins four other UoR students to form the University’s team on the BBC show widely regarded as a national institution. Chris qualified for the team after extensive testing through examination; where he finished in the top 5 out of the sixty UoR students who put themselves forward.

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Peter Campbell Memorial Lecture

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Latin America Confronts the United States: Asymmetry and influence

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Why the Golden Dawn is a Neo-Nazi Party

Daphne Halikiopoulou (University of Reading) and Sofia Vasilopoulou (University of York), first posted on Huffington Post

With the on-going Golden Dawn trial in Greece there has been much debate as to whether the Golden Dawn is a neo-Nazi group. The party itself has rejected the Neo-Nazi label, arguing that that this terminology may only be applied to Hitler’s regime. They instead term themselves ‘Greek nationalists’, emphasising that the party does not espouse the ideas of German National Socialism of the inter-war period. Proponents of terming the Golden Dawn Neo-Nazi have focused on the party’s past use of Nazi symbols, for example the swastika, the Nazi anthem and various other paraphernalia. The Golden Dawn however has been careful to remove such references in its more recent activities, since its election in 2012. Continue reading

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Anti-immigrant attitudes in the UK are among the strongest in Europe

Dr Tim Vlandas, First posted at LSE Brexit blog

The vote for Brexit took place. I had hoped that this would have been the end of the obsession with immigration. Brexit would allow the UK to ‘take back control’ of  its immigration policy, thereby nullifying the need for politicians to talk about it on an almost daily basis. However, in fact the reverse is happening. Having decided to leave the EU, the vote is increasingly interpreted as a call to end immigration almost entirely and, furthermore, it is discussed even more often and more negatively than before the referendum.

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GEOPOLITICS AND TRADE – What Sir Halford Mackinder would have said about the Referendum

A singular failure of the current referendum campaign that can be attributed equally to both sides has been an absence of any attempt to articulate the nature of Britain’s geopolitical relationship to Europe. By geopolitics I do not mean its current form of usage: serving merely as a synonym for international strategic rivalry. What can be described as classical geopolitics is a confluence of three subjects: geography, history and strategy. The reason why geopolitics can provide guidance in practical matters is because it doesn’t obey the artificial boundaries of disciplinary knowledge; it requires synthetic thought to address policy problems and issues. Furthermore, the problems and issues themselves do not respect those boundaries: nor do the solutions. Continue reading

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‘Once more unto the breach’

‘Once more unto the breach’ –

On Hillary Benn and Fighting Wars with Words

Dr Nadya Ali

Shadow Home Secretary Hillary Benn has emerged as the unlikely oratory hero through his speech to the House of Commons during the debate on whether to carry out airstrikes in Syria. It has been hailed as ‘extraordinary’ and as one “that will go down as one of the truly great speeches made in this House of Commons”. Benn has been described as ‘the mouse that roared’ and now even as a potential leadership candidate. The effusive coverage of the speech comes in the aftermath of the successful vote which enables the extension of British airstrikes targeting Islamic State (IS) from Iraq into Syria. Leaving aside the context of internal Labour party politics, Benn’s words have a resonance and political utility that extend far beyond the party. Nadya Ali argues despite the plaudits and unlike Shakespeare’s Henry V, Benn did not deliver a great speech but simply the right speech. Continue reading

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