A few weeks ago Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras reached an agreement with other Eurozone leaders over a third Greek bailout. This came after weeks of drama and protracted negotiations and has involved Greece making several concessions. However in accepting these terms many believe Tsipras has sold his country short and failed to act on what his voters demanded.
Tsipras was elected Prime Minister when the Syriza party won the Greek elections in 2014. The Syriza party were elected on a left wing manifesto which promised to be anti-austerity and stand up for the people of Greece in Europe. This anti-austerity position was given further weight when the Greek people decisively voted No in a recent referendum.
When a government is elected, regardless of the country they are elected in and the situation they face or inherit they are elected on a certain manifesto. This is the contract they make with their electors. On occasions a political party may have to change direction slightly from the manifesto, but a complete about turn does led to questions about legitimacy, especially when a political party knows the situation they will inherit.
This is not a debate about economics, it is a debate about democracy. There is a strong argument to say that because of this deal Greece and the Greek people will be in a far better position, however this is not what their voters voted for. A political party cannot be elected on a manifesto and then turn its back on the main tenants of that manifesto. It must have the confidence of its beliefs even in the most difficult of times.
The situation in Greece is complex and there is no easy solution. Regardless of whether an agreement had been reached or there had been no agreement, it is likely there would have been howls of anguish and claims of treachery. On this occasion though these claims are perfectly fair and Tsipras now faces a challenge to keep his party and country united in the midst of many harsh austerity reforms.
Jeb Bush has recently announced that he will run for President. In doing so he has raised the possibility of America electing their third Bush, with Jeb following in the path of his father and his brother.
In an ideal world, each politician would be judged on their policies and record rather than the more superficial elements. However in reality, this is not always the case. The surname Bush has become synonymous with some of America’s most controversial contributions to the world in recent times, notably the War on Terror and invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Therefore it would be naïve to believe this is not going to be a hindrance for Jeb, even though he is a different man to his father and brother.
The road to the White House will not be easy for Jeb. He first has to win the nomination from the Republican Party. Currently this race is very open and many candidates have put themselves forward, including a number of younger candidates who will be arguing the need for change and will be seeking to gain an advantage in any way they. This may include cynical and tactical attacks on Jeb. The Republican Party is also divided into numerous factions highlighted by the rise of the Tea Party, making it hard for any candidate to gain universal support across the party.
If Jeb successfully won the Republican nomination, he would then have to beat the Democratic candidate. In all likelihood this is going to be Hillary Clinton. Hillary has many strengths and will run a strong campaign, but her presence may actually enhance Jeb’s chances. The surname Clinton in American politics also carries some baggage and Hillary too will face many of the same questions Jeb will have to face. This could nullify the effectiveness of any Democratic attack in this regard.
The race for the Presidency is only at its very earliest stages and there are still some candidates who may yet declare. There is a lot still too happen and it is too early for any predictions to be made. Jeb has many barriers to overcome in the race, of which his name is one. Whether or not this will be critical to his chances is open to discussion!
In the last week we have seen the horrific actions of the group who call themselves the ‘Islamic State’. The horrific scenes in Tunisia have underlined the barbaric nature of this group and the threat they pose to Western ideals and beliefs.
There is much debate about how we in Britain and the West in general should respond to these attacks. One debate which has been raging is about how we should refer to the group, with David Cameron in particular expressing disappointment that the BBC are still referring to them as the ’Islamic State’, believing this legitimizes the group as ‘Islamic’.
The actions of this group cannot be ignored and do need to be reported on and therefore there has to be a suitable way to label them. However there is also a responsibility not to aid the group or increase their appeal by giving them unwanted or unneeded appeal.
With many young Muslims from across the world being attracted to this group, it would be foolish to believe there is not an ongoing propaganda battle happening here. By directly referring to the group as ‘Islamic’ we are adding to the romance of the movement and increasing their appeal and handing them another success.
This group does not represent Islam or Islamic values. The majority of Muslims are appalled by their actions and have been quick to condemn them. By referring to them in this current manner we strengthen the perception that the group is ‘Islamic’ when in reality this is simply being used as a cover to hide their grotesque actions.
There have been signs in the last few days that some of the broadcasters may be willing to change their position on this topic. This would be very welcome and would only be beneficial. Our task is to fight this group in any way we can and that includes limiting their appeal and legitimacy. By not referring to them as ‘Islamic’ we would do this and in this battle every small victory matters.