A dazzling spectacle of China’s Totalitarianism (Washington Post 17 October 2017).

When the Congress of the Chinese Communist Party convenes in Beijing on Wednesday, the world will be served up a dazzling spectacle of power and procedure. The Great Hall of the People will be swathed in red banners, golden insignia and a sea of flowers. There will be reports, decisions and elections. Thousands of delegates will gather in imposing assembly, some in traditional dress, some in military uniform, the majority in black suits — almost all men, almost all with obligatory jet black hair with not a strand out of place. There will be order. — Read the article.

Quién puede decidir  (El Pais, Madrid 7 October 2017).

Existe en Cataluña un amplio movimiento partidario de separarse de España, de eso no cabe duda. Los líderes autonómicos, Carles Puigdemont y, antes que él, Artur Mas, han proclamado que tienen un mandato democrático, otorgado por las últimas elecciones y, ahora, el referéndum frustrado. ?Pero tienen ese mandato? ¿Qué argumentos democráticos lo respaldan? — Read the article.

The London Fire, Local People and Local Government (The Daily Telegraph 1 July 2017).

Of the inferno in London’s Grenfell Tower on June 14, we now know two things. The first is that residents, local people and safety experts had long warned about the state of fire security in this and similar blocks. We also know measures were available which would likely have prevented a fire inside one flat from engulfing the building. So why were residents not heard? Why was the potential danger they were in not remedied? — Read the article.

The State of Democracy After 2016 – Year of Reaction (The Cairo Review 15  January 2016).

Brexit. Trump. In Britain, the country’s membership in the European Union is rejected in a referendum. In America, a maverick anti-establishment political outsider wins the presidency. These results are monumental political upheavals in the two countries, with consequences that reach beyond their shores and throughout the world. –Read the article.

Warning: China is Going Ideological (South China Morning Post 11 April 2016, also in Taipei Times, Joon Ang Daily, Seoul, Open Magazine India, Lidove noviny, Prague, Aftenposten, Oslo).

Under the forceful leadership of Xi Jinping (習近平), a new China is emerging: more assertive and aggressive. Tensions are building again. The neighbouring countries are the most exposed, as seen in China’s expansion and base-building in the South China Sea. — Read the article

Beijing tightens the screws (OpenDemocracy 2 October 2015).

The Chinese state is now more ideological and more repressive than ever since the days of Mao. — Read the article

Is Chinese autocracy outperforming western democracy? (OpenDemocracy 12 June 2015).

In a new and important book, an eminent political scientist argues the case that the Chinese system is not only unique but also a morally justifiable alternative to democracy. An argument that utterly fails. – Read the article

A democratic case for Catalan independence? (OpenDemocracy October 2015).

Spain would be irrevocably changed if Catalonia secedes. Therefore this should be a choice not just for the Catalan people, but for all Spanish people. — Read the article

What’s Wrong with Democracy in America? (Open Democracy 27 October 2014.)

What happens when transgression from a big and biased backstage arena is institutionalised, is that power shifts: from the public good to corporate interests. — Read the article

Is American democracy headed to extinction? (Washington Post 28 March 2014).

It took only 250 years for democracy to disintegrate in ancient Athens. It would be 2,000 years before democracy was reinvented in the U.S. Constitution, now as representative democracy. The second democratic experiment is approaching 250 years. It has been as successful as the first. But the lesson from Athens is that success does not breed success. — Read the article

Is America Still a Democracy? (Yale University Press Blog 20 November 2013).

The standard verdict over American politics is now “dysfunctional.” But the health of the system is even worse than it looks. The democratic response to political failure is to throw out the rascals. But the problems now stick deeper. They are systemic. The visible mess in Washington is symptom, not cause. — Read the article

Misrule has made things worse for Britain. (Financial Times 18 February 2010).

We seem condemned to months of largely irrelevant election campaigning. Britain is in economic and political crisis but there is nothing to suggest that our leaders will rise to the occasion. — Read the article