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Open Democracy is a digital commons that aims to provide an independent journalistic alternative to corporate media. It publishes articles from over 5000 authors, aiming to challenge the political and economic status quo, promoting genuine openness in debate and democratic alternatives.

One useful thing parliament could do NOW to protect us from a Trumpian trade deal

It often feels like the media have given us wall-to-wall coverage of every single aspect of Brexit. But there is a key issue which has hardly been mentioned: the Trade Bill.

The Trade Bill governs arrangements for future trade deals: with the EU, USA, Japan, India, or wherever. The next big argument after Brexit itself will be around the Government’s efforts to get a trade deal with Donald Trump. Whatever is in the law on trade agreements at that point is going to be crucial.

How whales and dolphins can teach us to be less stupid

For those tens of millions of us who have been watching the extraordinary

‘Blue Planet II’, the final programme in the series (which looked at the human-caused threats facing the seas) may have come as both a wake-up call and a disappointment. Disappointment, at what we’ve done to this beautiful planet. And perhaps also, disappointment that the BBC didn’t look deeply enough into why these harms have happened.

What emerges when we reflect more profoundly in this way?

How UKIP and the Tory right will defeat themselves

Why are those so opposed to migration so blind to something that will cause it to increase so dramatically?

I’m not talking about the sheer barkingness and loose-cannonness of so many of UKIP's Councillors and MEPs; I’m not talking about how their plans to move to an American-style healthcare system (i.e. to dismantle the NHS) will doom them electorally once voters get to know about them; I’m not even talking about their barely-suppressed racism and anti-Muslim prejudice which will surely come back to bite them as Britain keeps becoming a more tolerant society. I’m talking about their outright climate-denial, and the consequences thereof, consequences that I think we are only just starting to understand.

Greens - the UKIP of the left?

Over the past 12 months, there have been repeated calls for a 'UKIP of the left'. Including from prominent voices such as John Harris in the Guardian, from the New Statesman, and more. The latest is Simon Jenkins, writing in the Guardian. His article (Jan 24) supportive of the Brighton Green administration's referendum on increasing Council Tax (to preserve vital services that government cuts are endlessly squeezing) is welcome. His claim that the Greens are 'the UKIP of the left' however requires further examination.

Guardians of Britain's future generations?

Last week in Parliament the new ‘Green House’ thinktank launched with a report I’ve authored on how to restructure our democratic institutions to take account of those who are not here yet: future people. The 30 page report prepared with the assistance of the new ‘Alliance for future generations’ umbrella-group of NGOs is called Guardians of the Future.

The starting point of my thinking on all this is this question: ‘Democracy’ means ‘government by the people’, but who are ‘the people’?

The British should heed Free Libya’s call for a no fly zone

The most crucial argument in favour of a no-fly-zone is that it is what the free Libyans, at least as manifested in the Transitional National Council in Benghazi (the fledgling caretaker-government-in-waiting), have themselves called for. Just as we supported sanctions against South Africa because it was what the black South Africans themselves called for, so we should do what the free Libyans are calling for.

AV means you can stick to First Past the Post if you really want to!

I’ve made the case for AV in detail here and here. I thought I had worked out all the pro-AV arguments. But sometimes a question comes along that makes one realise that there is still more to learn.

Example… I was recently asked this question: "Will there be an option, in AV, to just vote for one party when not wanting any of the others in at all?"