“It’s not only about us versus the system. The system is really us.” As Iceland’s radical Pirate party approaches the gates of power, we speak to its figurehead Birgitta Jónsdóttir.
Birgitta Jónsdóttir. Frank Augstein/AP/Press Association Images. All rights reserved.Ashish Ghadiali: What is happening in Iceland right now? It’s really weird, right? You’ve got a prosperous nation, the economy has recovered out of a terrible collapse, and suddenly, led by the Pirate Party, you’ve got this most radical reformist government within an inch of power…
The Conservative justice minister filibustered a bill to pardon the thousands of men convicted under legislation that criminalised homosexuality. This act lays bear the discrimination still faced by LGBT people in this country.
A statue of Alan Turing, for whom the bill was named. Photo: Jon Callas. Wikimedia Commons. Creative Commons Licensed.The failure of the Turing Bill is a stark reminder of the homophobia embedded in British society. A staunchly undemocratic filibuster, led by none other than justice minister Sam Gyimah, ensured that no vote could be taken on the Bill. The Turing Bill, named after WW2 code breaker Alan Turing, was intended to pardon the gay men prosecuted before homosexuality was decriminalised in 1967.
Is Brexit bad for UK universities? This appears to be the question at the centre of an article from the Times Higher Education titled “UK researchers face uncertainty over EU grant applications” (David Matthews, June 29, 2016), which was approvingly reprinted in the Bulletin of the Canadian Association of University Teachers (Vol. 63, No. 7, September, 2016, p. 7). It’s peculiar that CAUT would republish this piece, which is not based on facts as much as fear, since CAUT has taken a fairly consistent, hard line in its criticisms of the impact of neoliberalism on higher education. Is it that CAUT’s writers only have a problem with neoliberalism when it adversely affects established traditions in post-secondary education in Canada, but otherwise have no problem with neoliberalism as such? That might explain the odd dualism.
In the Western Balkans, even the most fundamental and comparatively minute probing into the workings of government can provoke an aggressive response from the very top, as Milka Tadić-Mijović found out.
“No, no, I only won the libel case in Serbia. It’ll be a long time before I win in Montenegro,” Milka Tadić-Mijović tells me with a subtle scoff at the speed at which legal processes unfold in the Balkans.