News in the departments

Keep up to date with the latest news and events from around the school and the wide-ranging projects our staff and students get involved with.

Ukraine ceasefire announced at Minsk summit – what next?

Ukraine ceasefire announced at Minsk summit – what next?
Description
Written by Professor Stefan Wolff. After all night talks in the Belarusian capital Minsk, the outcomes of the four party talks in the so-called Normandy format (Ukraine, Russia, France, and Germany) have neither brought a major breakthrough or a complete disaster. As a deal, it is not a solution, but perhaps a step towards one.
Date:
Friday 13th February 2015

The international media is failing to report the Syrian war properly

The international media is failing to report the Syrian war properly
Description
Written by Professor Scott Lucas. February 2015 has already seen some major developments in Syria's four-year conflict. At the start of February, rebels launched more than 100 rockets into Damascus and the Assad regime fired mortars on areas of its own capital, hoping to discredit the insurgents. At least six people were killed in the attacks.
Date:
Tuesday 10th February 2015

Why peace in Ukraine won't save the Russian economy

Why peace in Ukraine won't save the Russian economy
Description
Written by Dr Richard Connolly. Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande's push for peace in Moscow has helped fuel optimism about the prospects for Russia's spluttering economy. On the morning of the meeting, the rouble had strengthened against the dollar and the euro, and both the dollar and rouble-based sections of the Russian stock exchange saw sharp gains. Unfortunately for those in the Kremlin, however, Russia's economic woes are so deep-rooted that peace in Ukraine is likely to offer only temporary respite at best.
Date:
Monday 9th February 2015

Greek Election 2015

Greek Election 2015
Description
Dr George Kyris and Dr Sotirios Zartaloudis reflect on Syriza's victory in the Greek election and discuss what it might mean for the rest of Europe.
Date:
Thursday 5th February 2015

The cyber threat to the United Kingdom

The cyber threat to the United Kingdom
Description
Written by Gavin E L Hall (Doctoral Researcher in POLSIS). When the new government takes office in May 2015 one of the first tasks will be to initiate a Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR).
Date:
Thursday 5th February 2015

Podcast: The Greek Elections: Results and Implications

Podcast: The Greek Elections: Results and Implications
Description
The Department of Political Science and International Studies (POLSIS) Departmental Seminar. Speakers: George Kyris and Sotirios Zartaloudis (POLSIS)
Date:
Thursday 5th February 2015

As its power grows, is the ECB overstepping its mandate?

As its power grows, is the ECB overstepping its mandate?
Description
Written by Dr Nicole Scicluna. The European Central Bank (ECB) symbolises the strange mix of politics and technocracy that marks EU governance. The bank was pushed to centre stage by the eurozone debt crisis and the unwillingness or inability of Europe's national governments to come up with timely solutions. Its rise as a political actor started while it was led by Jean-Claude Trichet, but it has become much clearer under his successor, Mario Draghi.
Date:
Thursday 5th February 2015

Ed Balls pledges £30 billion to English regions – and that's not all

Ed Balls pledges £30 billion to English regions – and that's not all
Description
Written by Chris Game. Two noteworthy things happened in Milton Keynes on Monday morning. Ed Miliband chaired the first meeting of Labour's English Regional Shadow Cabinet – comprising mainly leaders of councils and combined authorities. And, as a curtain-raiser, shadow Chancellor Ed Balls announced that, if Labour forms the next government, it will transfer £30 billion-worth of funding for housing, transport, business support, employment and skills training to England's regions.
Date:
Thursday 5th February 2015

International court upholds Srebrenica massacre verdicts

International court upholds Srebrenica massacre verdicts
Description
Written by Louis Monroy Santander. In 1995 the Bosnian Serb army killed more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslims in what was known as the Srebrenica massacre. And after nearly 20 years and a ten-year legal battle, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has upheld its guilty verdicts against five of the men involved, confirming sentences of between 18 years and life for what has been judged to be a crime against humanity involving genocide.
Date:
Thursday 5th February 2015

Prime Evil: why South Africa is releasing Eugene De Kock

Prime Evil: why South Africa is releasing Eugene De Kock
Description
Written by Professor Paul Jackson. The release of Eugene de Kock, former commander of the notorious Vlakplaas counterinsurgency unit responsible for numerous clandestine assassinations in apartheid South Africa, raises a number of critical issues with respect to justice in societies in transition.
Date:
Wednesday 4th February 2015

Blog: International court upholds Srebrenica massacre verdicts

Blog: International court upholds Srebrenica massacre verdicts
Description
Written by Louis Monroy Santander, PhD student in IDD, focusing on issues of reconciliation, post-conflict peace-building and social reconstruction in the Western Balkans (Bosnia and Kosovo).
Date:
Monday 2nd February 2015

How stable is Saudi monarchy after King Abdullah's death?

How stable is Saudi monarchy after King Abdullah's death?
Description
Written by Professor Scott Lucas. On 23 January, Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah died at the age of 90 and was succeeded by his half-brother Salman, 79, one of the last sons of Saudi Arabia's founder Ibn Saud. The regime is keeping a watchful eye on dissent, including in the mainly Shia Eastern Province, and on internal security amid concerns over returning fighters from conflicts such as the Syrian crisis.
Date:
Friday 30th January 2015

Podcast: EU as an international security actor

Podcast: EU as an international security actor
Description
The Department of Political Science and International Studies (POLSIS) Departmental Seminar. Speaker: Adrian Hyde-Price (Gothenburg), Discussant: Derek Averre (POLSIS/CREES).
Date:
Friday 30th January 2015

Explainer: what is Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia?

Explainer: what is Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia?
Description
Written by Dr Galina Yemelianova. The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has stirred debate about the future direction of the world's richest Arab state. That direction will be significantly coloured by how his brother and successor, King Salman, approaches Wahhabism – the religious sect that is at once an intrinsic part of the state and its biggest threat.
Date:
Friday 30th January 2015

Podcast: International Relations: All That Matters

Podcast: International Relations: All That Matters
Description
The talk introduced Professor Ken Booth's latest book, which seeks to provide an accessible but sophisticated understanding of international relations for those with no specialised knowledge of the field (which is almost everybody in the world).
Date:
Friday 30th January 2015

Lebanon is cracking under the pressure from Syria and Iraq

Lebanon is cracking under the pressure from Syria and Iraq
Description
Written by Dr Christalla Yakinthou. Lebanon has always been a complicated jigsaw, but despite years of war, regional conflict, and meddling in its affairs, it has displayed a tremendous ability to absorb tension. But the threads that hold this fragile country together are rapidly starting to fray.
Date:
Wednesday 28th January 2015

Putin's plan to fight recession in Russia also increases Kremlin's control of the economy

Putin's plan to fight recession in Russia also increases Kremlin's control of the economy
Description
Written by Dr Richard Connolly. The Russian rouble started 2015 in much the same way it finished 2014: badly. After losing nearly 50% of its dollar value between July and the end of the year, the rouble lost a further 7% in January. The primary cause of this continued decline is the falling price of oil: Brent crude has dropped from US$53 dollars per barrel at year end to just under US$48 per barrel, a decline of nearly 10% for the year so far.
Date:
Monday 26th January 2015

Ukraine sliding towards all-out war despite mediation efforts

Ukraine sliding towards all-out war despite mediation efforts
Description
Written by Professor Stefan Wolff. Over the past few days, Ukraine has taken a significant turn for the worse. Fighting between rebels and government forces has intensified, the civilian death toll has increased, and the war of words between Ukraine and Russia has further escalated.
Date:
Monday 26th January 2015

Why the fight against Islamic State is not the success we're told it is

Why the fight against Islamic State is not the success we're told it is
Description
Written by Professor Scott Lucas. Ministers from 21 countries gathered in London on January 22 to discuss the fight against Islamic State (IS). They had their photo opportunity and issued their statements. US secretary of state, John Kerry, told them that almost 6,000 jihadists had been killed, and almost 700 square kilometres of Iraqi territory retaken.
Date:
Monday 26th January 2015

Oil crisis: can short-term pain lead to economic gain for Russia?

Oil crisis: can short-term pain lead to economic gain for Russia?
Description
Written by Dr Richard Connolly. The recent crash in oil prices is causing much anxiety in oil-producing states. From Iran to Venezuela, many have come to rely on elevated oil prices to fuel economic growth and support government spending.
Date:
Friday 23rd January 2015
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Recent blog posts

Blog: The future is analogue – confirms local government's Honey Man

Blog: The future is analogue – confirms local government's Honey Man
Description
Written by Chris Game is a Visiting Lecturer at INLOGOV. Of all the reactions to Northamptonshire County Council's controversial 'Next Generation Model' – abandoning service provision in favour of outsourcing everything to 'specialist social enterprises' – few can have been as measured and dispassionate as my colleague Ian Briggs' reflections on the merits or otherwise of Public Interest Companies (PICs).
Date:
26/02/2015

Blog: All eyes on Manchester

Blog: All eyes on Manchester
Description
Written by Catherine Needham, Reader in Public Policy and Public Management at the Health Services Management Centre. If you live in Birmingham, like I do, you could be forgiven for feeling slightly green-eyed at what is going on in Manchester at the moment. After the unprecedented devolution package that the city secured at the end of 2014, it has today been announced that Greater Manchester will be given complete control of its £6 billion NHS budget.
Date:
26/02/2015

Blog: Getting to Grips with Public Interest Companies

Blog: Getting to Grips with Public Interest Companies
Description
Written by ian Briggs. The recent announcement by Northamptonshire County Council heralding a move towards a 'next generation model' where four public interest companies are to be established to deliver front line services and leaving a core client organisation of around 150 employees adds to the growing number of councils (and other parts of the public sector) who are seeking to adopt this model. What is interesting here is that is goes far beyond the tired rhetoric of what is best, direct public provision or privatisation?
Date:
24/02/2015

Blog: Pickles' Shock-horror News: Biggest Councils Have Biggest Tax Arrears

Blog: Pickles' Shock-horror News: Biggest Councils Have Biggest Tax Arrears
Description
Written by Chris Game, Visiting Lecturer at INLOGOV. Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles is famed for his sensitive news antennae. I wonder therefore just what – in a week dominated by revelations of his party's and government's moral flakiness on the whole tax collection business – persuaded those antennae that it would be a good time to attack local authorities' tax collecting record.
Date:
20/02/2015