Birmingham Perspective

The School of Government and Societies contribution to the Birmingham perspective include:

A divided Ukraine could see two radically different states emerge

A divided Ukraine could see two radically different states emerge
Description
Written by Dr Richard Connolly. "It is increasingly difficult to predict what the future holds for Ukraine. One scenario sees the country becoming divided along roughly ethnic lines, with an ethnic Ukrainian western state and a more Russia-oriented eastern state comprising today's southern and eastern Ukraine. So what would the economies of these potential new states look like?"
Date:
Wednesday 5th March 2014

Ariel Sharon dies at 85 after decades as polarising presence

Ariel Sharon dies at 85 after decades as polarising presence
Description
Written by Dr Asaf Siniver. "Described by Ronald Reagan as 'a bellicose man who seemed to be chomping at the bit to start a war' and by George W Bush as "a man of peace", few contemporary figures could match Sharon's talent for invoking such contradictory sentiments by two American presidents."
Date:
Friday 24th January 2014

2013 

Autumn Statement 2013 - Response

Autumn Statement 2013 - Response
Description
We asked six leading academics for their response to the government's Autumn Statement and the likely impact it could have on everything from taxes to local service provision, the high street to personal wealth.
Date:
Tuesday 10th December 2013

Autumn Statement 2013 - Expert Opinions

Autumn Statement 2013 - Expert Opinions
Description
We asked six leading academics for their expert opinions on this week's Autumn Statement and the likely impact it could have on everything from taxes to local service provision, the high street to personal wealth.
Date:
Wednesday 4th December 2013

The true impact of migration for the UK

The true impact of migration for the UK
Description
As immigration tops the news agenda yet again, three University of Birmingham academics examine the real issues behind the headlines and the true impact of migration for the UK.
Date:
Monday 21st October 2013

Testing the Diplomatic Path with Iran in Geneva

Testing the Diplomatic Path with Iran in Geneva
Description
Written by Professor Nicholas J. Wheeler. "Speaking before the UN General Assembly on 24 September, US president Barack Obama said that he was 'encouraged' that Iran's new president Hassan Rouhani was charting a course that could lead to a 'meaningful agreement' on the nuclear issue. But Obama cautioned that 'conciliatory words will have to be matched by actions that are transparent and verifiable.'"
Date:
Monday 21st October 2013

The ethics of warfare part 3: How does drone warfare change the debate?

The ethics of warfare part 3: How does drone warfare change the debate?
Description
Professor Stefan Wolff: "Much of the current debate about drones (or unmanned aerial vehicles, UAVs) is about whether their deployment to countries like Pakistan and Yemen is legal or ethical. This debate is predominantly focused on armed drones and their use to carry out targeted and signature strikes against known or suspected terrorists and insurgents."
Date:
Monday 23rd September 2013

Alexei Navalny and the battle for Moscow

Alexei Navalny and the battle for Moscow
Description
Ahead of Moscow's mayoral elections, Dr David White discusses the prospects of candidate Alexei Navalny, the only serious contender to challenge the pro-Putin incumbent, Sergei Sobyanin. Portrayed glowingly in the Western media, and with his sights set on the presidential elections of 2018, he divides opinion among Russia's disparate and fragmented opposition.
Date:
Friday 13th September 2013

Commons vote on Syria is a first step in the right direction

Commons vote on Syria is a first step in the right direction
Description
Professor Stefan Wolff discusses the debate and vote in the British House of Commons on Syria and how it has demonstrated how little common ground there is between supporters and opponents of military action against the Assad regime in response to the use of chemical weapons.
Date:
Friday 30th August 2013

Military Intervention in Syria: the worst or just one among many bad options?

Military Intervention in Syria: the worst or just one among many bad options?
Description
"As Western rhetoric and resolve to 'do something' over the use of chemical weapons last week in Syria harden, one of the increasingly dominant logics is that with all other means exhausted, a military intervention of some sort is the last resort."
Date:
Friday 30th August 2013

Syria casts its shadow as G8 leaders gather

Syria casts its shadow as G8 leaders gather
Description
Professor Stefan Wolff: Where does all this leave Syria and its people? The short answer is "on their own". The pursuit of self-interest by powerful outsiders overlaps only marginally with what Syrians need in order to achieve an end to the violence they have suffered for more than two years now.
Date:
Friday 21st June 2013

Foreign aid and whether breaking the 0.7% promise really matters

Foreign aid and whether breaking the 0.7% promise really matters
Description
"At the last UK general election all three main parties pledged to spend 0.7% of Gross National Income on foreign aid. The 2010 Coalition government's agreement not only ratified this figure but vowed to "enshrine this commitment in law". Three years on, this bill has still not been enacted by parliament and was notably missing from the 2013 Queen's Speech."
Date:
Friday 31st May 2013

Local Elections 2013

Local Elections 2013
Description
Voters in 27 county councils and seven unitary authorities will head to the polls on Thursday 02 May. With 2,362 seats up for grabs, four INLOGOV academics examine the key issues.
Date:
Thursday 2nd May 2013

Thatcherism: A phrase coined here in Birmingham

Thatcherism: A phrase coined here in Birmingham
Description
The debate over Mrs Thatcher's legacy is one of the most important political debates of our time. At stake is not simply an evaluation of recent history; it is as much about the current and future direction of Britain as it is about the past. Birmingham perspective by Dr Peter Kerr.
Date:
Thursday 11th April 2013

Libya two years on: The management of contemporary security challenges

Libya two years on: The management of contemporary security challenges
Description
Professor Stefan Wolff's perspective piece, reflecting on Libya two years after the NATO's military intervention in the country.
Date:
Monday 18th March 2013

Libya two years on: the African Union perspective

Libya two years on: the African Union perspective
Description
Professor Paul Jackson's perspective piece, reflecting on Libya two years after the NATO's military intervention in the country.
Date:
Monday 18th March 2013

2012 

Autumn Statement 2012

Autumn Statement 2012
Description
Ahead of the government's Autumn Statement on Wednesday December 5, we ask six leading academics what they hope will be included and what the impact might be for everything from business and manufacturing to the high street and personal wealth.
Date:
Tuesday 4th December 2012

Birmingham perspective: Georgia's Parliamentary Elections - Democracy in Action?

Birmingham perspective: Georgia's Parliamentary Elections - Democracy in Action?
Description
"There is no doubt that the Parliamentary elections held in Georgia this autumn yielded to a new era in the country's politics. Despite the fact that it was the 8th Parliamentary elections conducted in the small post-Soviet state since 1990, they have been dubbed as 'landmark' and 'historic' since it is the first time that the transfer of power in Georgia has occurred through free and fair elections." Written by Nino kemoklidze, CREES PhD researcher.
Date:
Thursday 29th November 2012

Birmingham Perspective: UK aid to Rwanda

Birmingham Perspective: UK aid to Rwanda
Description
"The question that must be answered is this: on what basis did Andrew Mitchell make the decision to restore UK aid to Rwanda?" by Dr Danielle Beswick, lecturer in International Development
Date:
Wednesday 17th October 2012

A new future for Egypt: Reflections on the Muslim Brotherhood's election victory

A new future for Egypt: Reflections on the Muslim Brotherhood's election victory
Description
"On Sunday 24 June 2012, Egypt's presidential election commission announced that Muslim Brotherhood (MB) candidate Dr Mohamed Morsi won the presidency, defeating ex-premier Ahmed Shafiq. Morsi has thus become the first Islamist to be elected head of an Arab state." - Dr Michelle Pace
Date:
Monday 2nd July 2012

Birmingham Perspective: Elected mayor referendum

Birmingham Perspective: Elected mayor referendum
Description
"Analysis in the aftermath of the referenda suggests that a number of factors contributed to the 'no' votes, but it is clear that the overriding sentiments within the electorate were uncertainty and confusion." Read the perspective...
Date:
Thursday 17th May 2012

Building Mutual Nuclear Security with Iran

Building Mutual Nuclear Security with Iran
Description
Professor Nicholas Wheeler: "A fundamental problem of international politics is that we can rarely be sure whether we are dealing with aggressive or defensive states. Mutual security is possible between defensive states, and aggressors can only be balanced or deterred. But confusing these two types of states carry risks for national welfare and international security."
Date:
Monday 30th April 2012

Impact of Events in Egypt on the EU: Can any lessons be learnt from the Arab Spring?

Impact of Events in Egypt on the EU: Can any lessons be learnt from the Arab Spring?
Description
2011 was a truly historical turning point – it was a year which fundamentally changed the European Union's (EU) previous assumption about the Middle East and North African (MENA) region – that the fall of Arab autocrats was not imminent and that the dictators of the region would remain the partners to cooperate with in the near future. The Arab Spring events in Tunisia, Egypt, and beyond since December 2010 have successfully challenged the institutional order. Egypt is now embarking on a long and uncertain journey towards a more democratic future. But questions remain regarding the role of the EU towards nascent democracies.
Date:
Friday 23rd March 2012

The Birmingham Perspective... The politics of sporting mega events

The Birmingham Perspective... The politics of sporting mega events
Description
"The London Olympics will undoubtedly be a spectacular success and bring with it a number of memorable sporting moments. Beyond the two weeks of action, however, it is worth reflecting on the increasingly political use of sport by a wide variety of states throughout the world."
Date:
Friday 6th January 2012

2011

Research diaries: Week in Nepal - six months on

Research diaries: Week in Nepal - six months on
Description
Six months ago Professor Paul Jackson visited Nepal as part of a long term project for the UK's Department for International Development and an international NGO, Saferworld. As an adviser to the secretariat he was charged with managing the Maoist combatants following the ten year war in Nepal. Professor Jackson had previously spent a week in Nepal in March/April 2011|, the following blog is concerning his return to the country.
Date:
Thursday 3rd November 2011

Perspectives: Three questions for Libya and one on the region

Perspectives: Three questions for Libya and one on the region
Description
"As Colonel Gaddafi's 42 years in charge of Libya draw to a seemingly climactic end – the dramatic scenes in Tripoli leave a series of questions that need to be urgently answered."
Date:
Friday 26th August 2011

Research diaries: Week in Nepal

Research diaries: Week in Nepal
Description
This visit to Nepal is part of a longer term project for the UK's Department for International Development and an international NGO, Saferworld. It supports me (Paul Jackson) as an adviser to the secretariat charged with managing the Maoist combatants following the ten year war in Nepal. Since the Comprehensive peace Agreement in 2006, the Maoist Army has been held in cantonments and, as part of the peace agreement, there have been discussions about what to do with them.
Date:
Friday 1st April 2011

Alternative Vote: An end to wasted votes and a triumph for democracy?

Alternative Vote: An end to wasted votes and a triumph for democracy?
Description
Dr Karin Bottom: "The Liberal Democrats have long voiced a wish to replace the UK's Single Member Plurality voting system, more commonly termed First Past the Post (FPTP), arguing that it discriminates against smaller parties by failing to convert their votes into seats.". Dr Peter Kerr: "Many keen supporters of electoral reform and, indeed, any constitutional reform agenda which aims to strengthen processes of representation and accountability, may find it difficult to feel overly excited about the prospect of the introduction of the Alternative Vote (AV) for UK general elections."
Date:
Wednesday 2nd March 2011

Birmingham debate: The Big Society: Can a Government change behaviour?

Birmingham debate: The Big Society: Can a Government change behaviour?
Description
Amidst recent controversy over how to get people to volunteer in the 'big society', Professor Kathryn Ecclestone and Dr Will Leggett outline some of the tricky questions that confront a government hoping to find effective ways to change our behaviour.
Date:
Friday 11th February 2011

2010 

Is WikiLeaks right to release confidential information?

Is WikiLeaks right to release confidential information?
Description
Professor Scott Lucas: "The US State Department announced on Tuesday that it will host UNESCO's World Press Freedom Day event. On the same day, the US Government was pressing companies to withdraw technical, communications and financial services from WikiLeaks in the hope that it would knock the website out of existence.". Professor Stefan Wolff: "Misguided, irresponsible, reprehensible! These are just some of the words used by critics to describe the latest set of releases on the website, WikiLeaks. But is this more than hurt pride and should we really care one way or the other?".
Date:
Wednesday 15th December 2010

US midterm elections 2010

US midterm elections 2010
Description
What are the implications for Obama's Presidency? Professor Scott Lucas: "Nobody won on Tuesday evening in the US elections. That might seem a strange statement, given the biggest Republican gains in the House of Representatives since 1948 and some high-profile victories in the Senate as well as state governor's campaigns.". Dr Adam Quinn: "Are there times when it's better to secure a medium-sized victory than go all the way to maximal electoral triumph? For the Republican Party, this may be just such an instance and a perfect night, for two reasons."
Date:
Friday 5th November 2010

The Big Society debate

The Big Society debate
Description
Launched in the 2010 Conservative manifesto, the 'Big Society' is an integral part of the UK coalition Government. But can the idea of taking power away from the state and the radical transformation of public services to empower local communities really work?
Date:
Friday 8th October 2010
 

Latest Birmingham briefs - intelligent thought on policy issues

The Israeli-Palestinian crisis: A distressing déjà vu

The Israeli-Palestinian crisis: A distressing déjà vu
Description
Written by Dr Asaf Siniver. The most depressing aspect of the current round of violence between Israelis and Palestinians, beyond the death toll and the human suffering, is the sheer predictability of this crisis. As far as contemporary armed conflicts go, few could match the intensity, inevitability and perpetuity of the ongoing struggle between the militant group Hamas and the Israeli government.
Date:
17/07/2014

Read more Birmingham Briefs.