LSE Comment

This section showcases articles from LSE academics, students and alumni which have appeared on EUROPP – European Politics and Policy.

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    Catalonia’s referendum: Four views on whether the vote should go ahead

Catalonia’s referendum: Four views on whether the vote should go ahead

The Catalan government has announced plans to hold a referendum on independence from Spain on 1 October. However, the Spanish government has argued that such a referendum would be unconstitutional and it is still unclear whether the vote will take place. We asked four academics to give their views on whether the vote should be held, and what it would potentially mean […]

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    Britain’s surprising election: Austerity and inequality make for angry and unpredictable voters

Britain’s surprising election: Austerity and inequality make for angry and unpredictable voters

The unexpected result of the general election is just another case of voters punishing governments for their handling of the economy, writes Jonathan Hopkin. He argues citizens have had enough of an economic system that deliberately benefits only the few. Established political parties have failed to provide a vision for change, and so new political leaders who do so […]

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    How ‘groupthink’ in Theresa May’s Downing Street delivered another round of UK political chaos

How ‘groupthink’ in Theresa May’s Downing Street delivered another round of UK political chaos

The UK’s political turmoil has continued with the Conservatives’ disastrous 2017 campaign. But what led to the multiple miscalculations involved? Patrick Dunleavy argues that it forms part of a wider pattern of mis-governing from the centre of Whitehall that has characterised Theresa May’s leadership style from the outset.

Credit: Number 10 / Jay Allen (Crown Copyright)
All British Prime Ministers end […]

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    UK general election preview: What to look out for as Britain goes to the polls

UK general election preview: What to look out for as Britain goes to the polls

The UK’s snap election on 8 June initially looked like being a comfortable victory for Theresa May and the Conservatives, but with the polls tightening in the last few weeks, there is now far more uncertainty about the outcome. We asked some of our contributors for their reflections on the campaign and the key things to watch out for […]

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    The Marshall Plan speech at 70 – and the lessons it can provide for today’s challenges

The Marshall Plan speech at 70 – and the lessons it can provide for today’s challenges

The 70th anniversary of the Marshall Plan speech given by US Secretary of State George Marshall on 5 June 1947 was recently celebrated. The speech outlined the principles of the Marshall Plan, under which the United States provided financial support to help rebuild Western Europe after the Second World War. Effie G. H. Pedaliu writes that while the conditions present […]

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    President Trump’s speech on the Paris Agreement was full of confusion and bogus claims

President Trump’s speech on the Paris Agreement was full of confusion and bogus claims

Donald Trump has indicated that he intends to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement. Bob Ward writes that the President’s speech put forward a confused interpretation of the agreement, included references to climate research that has previously been debunked, and gave a highly misleading account of the agreement’s impact on the United States’ coal industry.

Credit: Chairman […]

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    Croatia’s local elections: Key takeaways and the duels to watch in the second round

Croatia’s local elections: Key takeaways and the duels to watch in the second round

Croatia held a first round of voting in local elections on 21 May, with the second round scheduled for 4 June. Tena Prelec assesses the results of the first round and previews some of the key mayoral races to watch as voters go back to the polls. The elections will be particularly noteworthy as they will give an indication of […]

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    The Western Balkans could be the first casualty of a ‘connectivity war’ between the EU and Turkey

The Western Balkans could be the first casualty of a ‘connectivity war’ between the EU and Turkey

The EU negotiated a deal with Turkey during the migration crisis that aimed to halt the flow of people into Europe. But recent tensions between the EU and Turkey have raised questions about whether this deal will be viable in the long-term. Vuk Vuksanovic writes that relations between the EU and Turkey can be conceived of as a potential ‘connectivity […]

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The Eurovision in Ukraine was an exercise in soft power

Eurovision 2017, held in Kyiv, may have lacked overt politicisation when it came to the performances showcased on stage, especially in comparison to previous years. But as Roch Dunin-Wąsowicz argues, the contest nevertheless delivered a carefully constructed ideological message about Ukraine’s European aspirations and its pride in its cultural heritage and traditions, while also signalling comradeship with the Slavic […]

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What research tells us about the avocado toast controversy

Why do people consume conspicuously even when they cannot afford healthcare, or housing? The recent ‘avocado toast controversy’, started by tycoon Tim Gurner, has re-ignited this debate. Clement Bellet and Eve Sihra explain that, contrary to the Australian businessman’s argument, consuming ‘luxury’ goods plays a key role for deprived individuals.

A status symbol? Toast with mashed avocado and salsa verde, by […]

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    Russia ups its game in the Balkans, but the West should avoid responding in kind

Russia ups its game in the Balkans, but the West should avoid responding in kind

Russia has recently been accused of stoking tensions in the Balkans by waging ‘information warfare’ in the region. Jarosław Wiśniewski writes that even if these allegations are true, the West should avoid responding in kind. Rather than engaging in the same tactics, the carrot of European integration should be used to exert greater influence.

Images of Vladimir Putin placed on an […]

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    Illustrating the spectacular decline of Labour in Scotland and the revival of the Scottish Conservatives

Illustrating the spectacular decline of Labour in Scotland and the revival of the Scottish Conservatives

Up until the 2015 UK general election, Scotland had been regarded as a Labour stronghold, with the country regularly returning a large number of Labour MPs to Westminster. But the party managed to secure only a single Scottish seat in 2015 and recent polls suggest its vote share could fall even further in the upcoming general election in June. […]

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    A four horse race? What to expect from the French presidential election

A four horse race? What to expect from the French presidential election

The French presidential campaign has been a rollercoaster of twists and turns so far. But with just a few days to go until the first round of voting on 23 April, does the contest have further surprises in store? Marta Lorimer outlines the possible scenarios and highlights the issues you should keep an eye out for.

 

A four horse race? Photo: The […]

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    Can Europe stand up for academic freedom? The Bologna Process, Hungary, and the Central European University

Can Europe stand up for academic freedom? The Bologna Process, Hungary, and the Central European University

Several politicians across Europe have voiced concern about academic freedom in Hungary following the passing of legislation that threatens the country’s Central European University. But do the EU’s institutions have any authority to act over the affair? Anne Corbett and Claire Gordon argue that a university coming under attack in an EU member state marks a critical moment, and […]

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    Erdoğan accuses Germany of echoing the Nazis – but his own record on anti-Semitism is shameful

Erdoğan accuses Germany of echoing the Nazis – but his own record on anti-Semitism is shameful

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan recently generated controversy in Germany after he compared the actions of German officials with Nazis. The comments came following Germany’s decision to block political rallies linked to an upcoming referendum in Turkey on 16 April. Marc David Baer argues that the incident should be used to shine a light on the Turkish government’s own deployment of […]

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Gender quotas and the crisis of the mediocre man

A common criticism against gender quotas is that they are anathema to meritocratic principles. This research on Sweden by Tim Besley, Olle Folke, Torsten Persson and Johanna Rickne shows that the opposite can be true: Quotas actually increased the competence of politicians by leading to the displacement of mediocre men whether as candidates or leaders. The results may also […]

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    Armenia’s election: The status quo wins at the expense of democracy

Armenia’s election: The status quo wins at the expense of democracy

Armenia held elections on 2 April which saw the ruling Republican Party of Armenia win the largest share of the vote. Armine Ishkanian indicates that the result was highly disappointing for civil society groups and democracy activists in the country. The question now is whether these groups will succumb to frustration and despair, or whether they will begin the difficult […]

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    Experts react: Aleksandar Vučić wins Serbia’s presidential election

Experts react: Aleksandar Vučić wins Serbia’s presidential election

Serbia held a presidential election on 2 April, with Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić projected to have won the contest in the first round. We asked some of our contributors for their response to the election, what the result means for Vučić, and where it leaves the country moving forward.

Dimitar Bechev: “Vučić’s election paves the way to the consolidation […]

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    Merkel vs Schulz: The return of the left-right divide or just another boring German election campaign?

Merkel vs Schulz: The return of the left-right divide or just another boring German election campaign?

The German social democrats (SPD) have experienced rising support in opinion polls following the selection of Martin Schulz, the former President of the European Parliament, as the party’s candidate for chancellor at the upcoming federal elections in September. Julian Göpffarth asks whether the re-emergence of the SPD will lead to a more polarised contest, with a clear choice between […]

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  • Permalink A sign at Tbilisi Airport celebrating the Association Agreement signed between the EU and Georgia, Credit: Max FrasGallery

    Four takeaways from Albania’s EU visa liberalisation journey for Georgia

Four takeaways from Albania’s EU visa liberalisation journey for Georgia

New rules allowing Georgian citizens to travel to the Schengen Area without a visa will come into full effect today. As Max Fras writes, EU visa liberalisation has been presented by the Georgian government as a major success story, but drawing on the experience of Albania, he presents four lessons that the country’s politicians should keep in mind now […]

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