Peadar Tóibín, founder of new political party Aontú, says his call for a debate on immigration was criticised unfairly and misrepresented THE Aontú political party is only three months old. We have held 40 public meetings around the country attended by 6,000 people. Last Saturday week, we had our national launch. Some 600 people heard three hours of debate on housing, health, education, Irish unity, Brexit, the right to life, and regional development. We also profiled 60 local election candidates on the day. This is phenomenal grassroots growth. There was no reference made to immigration by any speaker. In response to a journalist’s question on immigration, I said that if a person is fleeing war, violence or famine, that we, as a country, under international law, should provide refuge to them. I said that there needs to be a link between resource capacity and the numbers of people coming to Ireland. If there is not, there will be hardship for both Irish people … [Read more...] about A liberal democracy debates every issue, even immigration
In the US and Canada, indigenous peoples protest against the construction of pipelines across their land; in Australia, they protest the celebration of Australia Day. Yet across the world something unites these communities: universally higher rates of unemployment and incarceration, and lower levels of educational achievement and life expectancy. Their lack of individual and communal wellbeing is a direct consequence of the loss of responsibility for their own communities, and led the UN General Assembly to pass a resolution declaring the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2007. These include rights to practise and to maintain cultural and spiritual traditions, rights to traditional land and resources, a right “not to be subjected to forced assimilation or destruction of their culture”, and a right to self-determination. Crucially, the latter does not mean a right to independent statehood, but rather a right to … [Read more...] about In liberal democracies, should minorities have a claim to different rights?
I am asked to speak – and to read from one of my novels – at the memorial service of David Mepham, the former UK director of Human Rights Watch, an organisation I deeply respect. For so long Mepham had tirelessly defended minority rights, rule of law and freedom of speech in every corner of the world, including my motherland, Turkey. He wrote open letters to British governments urging them not to remain silent in the face of human rights violations in countries they had political and economic ties with. I feel honoured to be at the service, along with Mepham’s family, friends and colleagues. It was profoundly moving and very honest. A last farewell to a great man. London loves Afterwards I took a walk by the Thames, absorbing the sounds and colours of London. It has been ten years since I left Istanbul and settled down here. This city welcomed me like it did so many others – and restored my broken parts. London is where I feel most at home – free to … [Read more...] about Elif Shafak’s Diary: The retreat of liberal democracy, a night of Irish spirit, and Istanbul’s undesirables
Liberal democracy is under siege. ‘Authoritarian populists’ threaten our liberal norms; ‘surveillance capitalism’ could make our freedoms meaningless. A recent conference in Dublin run by the think-tank Tasc brought together, from across Europe, some of those trying to find solutions. Here are some of their ideas. Please Subscribe or Log in to continue reading Please Subscribe or Log in to continue reading Subscribe Login Independent journalism every day With digital access you can read The Business Post whenever, wherever, and however you want. Unlimited access to all sections of The Business Post on desktop, tablet and mobile. Breaking news, comment and analysis from the best Business Post writers seven days a week. Live blogs of major news events Videos and podcasts from some of the industry's most respected journalists such as Tom Lyons, Susan Mitchell and Ian Guider Access to The Business Post's extensive archive … [Read more...] about Five ideas for how to protect liberal democracy
Today Spain commemorates the 40th anniversary of the democratic constitution introduced following General Franco’s death. Having spent the past week in Madrid, the feeling I got by talking to Spanish family and friends was that of a certain ambivalence hanging over the commemoration, as if no one quite knows how – or even what – to celebrate. Back in the referendum of 1978, the Spaniards voted decisively for a new liberal democratic constitution that put a formal end to the dictatorial era of General Franco, which by late 20th-century Mediterranean political standards was an impressively progressive document. It neatly balanced republican institutions with a hereditary head of state, popular power with the rule of law, majority dominance with minority safeguards and – critically for a nation historically afflicted by regional conflicts – ensured sufficient federal autonomy vis-a-vis the centre. On paper, it looked perfect. But constitutions in themselves, … [Read more...] about ConsumerBusinessSpotlightConsumerBusinessSpotlightConsumerBusinessSpotlightConsumerBusinessSpotlightConsumerBusinessSpotlight After forty years of liberal democracy, Spain has not laid the ghosts its past to rest