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Perceptions of Security & Governance in De-Facto and Partially-recognised states

On September 11 and 12, scholars, policy-makers, and practitioners working on and in so-called de facto states came together at UCL to discuss questions related to security and governance. The project grew out of Dr. Kristin M. Bakke’s ESRC-funded project on “After the War Ends,” which investigates state-building in de facto states born out of violent struggles.
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Dr Meg Russell on BBC Westminster Hour discussing the unsustainable House of Lords appointments

Dr Meg Russell was on the BBC Westminster Hour programme on Sunday 27 July  discussing unsustainable House of Lords appointments and the need for regulation. Dr Russell explains the most urgent Lords reform is the need to regulate unsustainable level of PM's appointments. Listen to the show on BBC website.

Dr Meg Russell was also quoted in The Times (24/07/2014) on the row over appointment of new peers.

Meg Russell says “The size of the Lords grew by around 70 between 1999 and 2010 under Blair and Brown, and if 20 peers are indeed to be appointed, it will have grown by around 120 more under Cameron. This is plainly completely unsustainable, and there is an urgent need to regulate the prime minister’s appointment power.”

“The Lords is now a serious legislative institution, with a major impact on policy. Particularly given the growing size of the chamber, dissolution and resignation honours lists are outdated indulgences that we can no longer afford,”

“The current appointments system is completely unsustainable, and now urgently needs independent regulation, including a transparent formula for allocating seats between the parties and an agreed maximum size. That the prime minister continues to decide the size and party balance of one chamber of parliament is no longer defensible.”

In her Westminster Hour interview Meg Russell expanded on these themes, stating:

”I think we really have to face up seriously now to the need to regulate prime ministerial appointments to the House of Lords. The House of Lords matters more to British politics than it has done for a long time... We have to introduce some kind of regulation system that first of all says what the maximum size of the chamber is (it’s very unusual to have a parliament with no maximum size), and then we need an agreed formula for appointments so that there’s some fair distribution of appointments between the parties, and the party leaders are told how many appointments they can have within the quota. I think we need to give that over to the House of Lords Appointments Commission or some other independent body that will, in an objective independent way, regulate the system.”

A full transcript of the interview is available here.

The Bellamy Discourse: President of Ireland Attends RIA Ethics Discourse at University of Limerick


President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins opened a Discourse of the Royal Irish Academy (RIA) on “International Human Rights and Democratic Public Ethics” at the University of Limerick on Friday June 6th.  The Discourse was given by Professor Richard Bellamy and attended by a capacity audience of over 190 invited guests and members of the public.

The Bellamy Discourse, which was developed under the auspices of ‘The President of Ireland’s Ethics Initiative’, examined the complex area of human rights and how best to defend them from the perspective of Governments and the Judiciary.

Speaking about his ethics initiative President Higgins said: “The aim of ‘The President of Ireland’s Ethics Initiative’ is to place the citizen at the centre of the debate about the future of our society by recovering a strong sense of the public world, and by using that public discourse to raise questions that go to the heart of the choices facing our society and institutions.  Since I launched this initiative in February, I have been greatly encouraged by the enthusiasm of our citizens for engaging with these profound questions and for formulating an alternative set of principles by which Irish people can represent and project their lives together. The response from all levels of our society has been remarkable.”

Professor Richard Bellamy is the director of the Max Weber Programme at the European University Institute. His main research interests are in the History of European Social and Political Theory post-1750; Contemporary Analytical Legal and Political Philosophy; Public Ethics; Constitutionalism, Rights and the Rule of Law; Citizenship, Representation and Democracy, and their application to issues of Global Governance, especially the European Union

Speaking from the event UL President, Professor Don Barry said “The President of Ireland has asked us to further the national discourse on ethics, to enhance awareness of ethical responsibility and to engage the community in a serious debate on ethical standards. Given the challenging times that we live in, it could be argued that there has never been a more pressing case for a renewal of our national focus on Ethics.  The topic of today’s discourse is ‘International Human Rights and Democratic Public Ethics’ and is held under the auspices of the President of Ireland Ethics Initiative in association with the 2014 Limerick City of Culture.”

Professor Mary E. Daly, President of the Royal Irish Academy said: “'As President of the Royal Irish Academy, I am delighted to have the privilege of welcoming President Higgins and Professor Bellamy to speak at our discourse held here in the magnificent surroundings of the University of Limerick. Through his Presidential Ethics Initiative, which is being supported by the Royal Irish Academy, the President has played a singularly important role in exploring the ethical connection between economy and society.  Today's discourse by Professor Richard Bellamy, who is one of the foremost authors on the concepts of public ethics and citizenship, will make a powerful contribution to that debate, by exploring the interface between international human rights and democratic public ethics.”

The University of Limerick is hosting a number of public debates, academic conferences and key note speeches on ‘Ethics’ across a variety of sectors in response to  the President of Ireland Ethics Initiative. 

Foreign fighters don’t always help

One of the policy concerns about violent conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Pakistan, Russia’s North Caucasus region, Somalia, and the ongoing war in Syria has been that these struggles could attract and breed foreign fighters. Yet  we know relatively little about the ways in which foreign fighters, once they arrive, influence the struggles they join. I argue, in my article in the spring 2014 issue of International Security, that foreign fighters may actually weaken the rebel movements they come to support. More...

The Eighth European Parliament: More politicization

Article from http://governancejournal.net, May 26, 2014. More...

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