who is listening to the left-behind?

“Worse still is the fact that no one is really speaking up for those who are left behind. Conventional parties of the so-called left are barely audible in France, Britain and the U.S. Leaders like Obama are too afraid to “challenge elite priorities, in particular the obsession with budget deficits, for fear of being considered irresponsible,” Krugman writes. “And that leaves the field open for unconventional leaders — some of them seriously scary — who are willing to address the anger and despair of ordinary citizens.”

Of course. To talk about social issues and poverty, to acknowledge that these are serious issues and to define them as a political priority is considered to be populism. In many countries. But then we are wondering about the rising popularity of UKIP in England and similar movements elsewhere. However, the more conventional politicians will get obsessed with the rat-race and ambitious growth projects and the more they will treat corporations not the citizens as their main electorate, the more these conventional politicians will have to fear the up and coming extremism in various forms. 

 

EU elections 2014: how to get the voters to the polling stations?

Upcoming EU elections (from 22- 25 May) have renewed public debate about the low voter turnout and thus crisis of democracy in Europe. UK voters, particularly in case of EU elections, have always been quite passive: in 1999 only 23% of the eligible voters voted, whilst in 2004 and 2009 it rose to 38% and 34% respectively. Politicians and campaigners are worried that  this year the trend of decreasing activity will continue and various initiatives are planned to encourage people to take part in these elections.

Besides a very complex voting system which includes registration long time before elections, my simple question is: how on Earth one can expect a great voter turnout if the elections are organized on Thursday? I would find it close to impossible to get the time off, go to a polling station and give my vote. Moreover, there are so many people who do hourly-paid work which would mean that they would incur loss in income if they chose to vote instead of working. With the exception of Latvia (voting on Sunday, 25 May), Czech republic and Slovakia (voting on 23 and/or 24 May) and Ireland (voting on Friday 23 May), the rest of the EU countries organize the elections on Saturday, 24 May (check for reference here). Why UK wants to stand out and organize elections on Thursday? what is the rationale? Is there a logical reason of not doing it over the weekend?

In 2009 in Latvia voters’ turnout was about 56%. What if there is a direct correlation between the election day and voters’ turnout?

Africa’s storyteller

It was devastating to find out few days ago about the sudden death of BBC presenter Komla Dumor. He was one of my favorite BBC presenters and i always enjoyed his stories about the diverse, rising Africa. I am sharing with you here his TED talk which, i think, captures very well his professionalism, values, charismatic personality, and his approach to balanced story-telling which is particularly important when the story is told about Africa. He’s gone way too early.

R.I.P.

 

Enoughness

This is probably the shortest and most concise film on the current economic challenges people around the world are facing. It addresses western vs indigenous cultures, individualism vs community and interconnectedness, scarcity vs abundance of nature’s resources, accumulation and centralization of resources vs redistribution, sharing, decentralization of production.

Concept of ‘enoughness’ makes us depart from quantitative to qualitative approach on economic activity and suggests us to see ourselves as individuals, communities, countries not as individual units but as interconnected elements in space and time.