Tag Archives: democracy

Democracy in Portsmouth? It’d Be a Good Idea

27 Feb

In the wake of recent protests both local and global, I question how representative our elected representatives really are – in Portsmouth and beyond.

Criticisms of democracy have been around since the birth of democracy itself. But new questions are being asked in the West about how fair, efficient and representative our systems are given the allegations of dirty tricks in the run-up to the EU referendum and the election of Donald Trump with almost 3 million fewer votes than his opponent Hillary Clinton. The unprecedented protests against Trump across the United States are, in part, a symptom of public frustration with a perverse procedure that, on four occasions in American history, has handed the presidency to the candidate who won the electoral college but lost the popular vote.

Read the rest of this article here on Star & Crescent.

Spotlight: Oman (originally published in New Internationalist)

4 Sep

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Predicted to run out of petroleum by 2050, Oman will suffer from the recent 40% dive in crude oil prices. The consequent spending cuts and business closures will hurt the already beleaguered Omani working class – 80% of whom are migrants – and could incite the kinds of protests last seen during the Arab Spring. In February 2011, activists took to the street and targeted aspects of their society they deemed corrupt and unjust. Some picketed a shopping mall for two days, others tried to block the export of oil products at Sohar port. With one hand the Sultan waved in some limited political reforms, but with the other fist he smashed down on critics of the regime, six of whom were jailed for writing “provocative” blogs.

Now the elderly and childless Sultan is in ill health and there is speculation about who will succeed him. Could this be the opportunity for democratisation that Omanis have been waiting for?

(Originally published in New Internationalist, January 2015)

Agenda: Oman (originally published in New Internationalist)

13 Mar

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Predicted to run out of petroleum by 2050, Oman will suffer from the recent 40% dive in crude oil prices. The consequent spending cuts and business closures will hurt the already beleaguered Omani working class – 80% of whom are migrants – and could incite the kinds of protests last seen during the Arab Spring. In February 2011, activists took to the street and targeted aspects of their society they deemed corrupt and unjust. Some picketed a shopping mall for two days, others tried to block the export of oil products at Sohar port. With one hand the Sultan waved in some limited political reforms, but with the other fist he smashed down on critics of the regime, six of whom were jailed for writing “provocative” blogs.

Now the elderly and childless Sultan is in ill health and there is speculation about who will succeed him. Could this be the opportunity for democratisation that Omanis have been waiting for?

Tom Sykes

This article originally appeared in New Internationalist magazine, www.newint.org