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Archive for juni, 2014

STRATEGI | Fabian Lindes analys av den politiska ideologin bakom Vladimir Putins utrikespolitik är nog det bästa som skrivits på svenska.

Internationella Studier nr 2 2014

Artikeln ”I huvudet på Vladimir Putin” borde vara obligatorisk läsning för alla som vill förstå Rysslands politik gentemot sina grannar.

Linde, som är forskare vid Uppsala Centrum för Rysslandsstudier, skriver i Internationella Studier att Putins ideologi brukar av forskare kallas ”civilisationsnationalism”.

Ideologin är ett hopkok där man kombinerar ”ett slags endemisk mångkulturalism, med ett värnande om ryskhetens centrala ställning.” I denna ideologi är den ryska staten allt.

Linde skriver:

Internationella studier nr 2 2014 1

Internationella studier nr 2 2014 2Internationella studier nr 2 2014 3

Om detta är sant är det inte bara Ukraina som ligger illa till. Alla länder – inklusive de tre baltiska länderna – har anledning att frukta Putins nästa steg.

Tidskriftsomslag: Utrikespolitiska institutets tidskrift Internationella Studier nr 2, 2014.

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William Hague Manchester Evening News

I was one of the first people into Downing Street the night the government changed. It was striking how it was set up in there for communications, not for decision-making. That was, sadly, the story of the Gordon Brown administration; it ended up with neither good communications nor good decision-making.

– Utrikesminister William Hague, Total Politics, oktober 2013

Bild: Manchester Evening News

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Invesco Perpetual ad 2014

Var skall man använda Margaret Thatcher i sin reklam om inte i en konservativ tidskrift? Denna helsidesannons är från The Spectator den 7 juni.

Här ser man Thatcher framför 10 Downing Street. 1979 var året Thatcher blev premiärminister efter att ha besegrat Labour och James Callaghan.

Denna helsidesannons från Invesco Perpetual inleds så här:

Equity in the UK

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Bob Gorrell may 13 2014

Bild: Bob Gorrell. Fler av hans teckningar på GoComics

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ELITER | Vad är anledningen till UKIP:s framgångar? Många skulle automatiskt svara deras EU motstånd och deras kritik av invandringspolitiken.

The Spectator 24 maj 2014

Men det finns även en annan, mer sofistikerad, förklaring. Nämligen att övriga partier inte riktigt gillar sina egna medlemmar.

Detta öppnar upp för partier som UK Independence Party som uppfattas som mer ”äkta” och ”folkliga”.

Trogna partimedlemmar och kärnväljare är ofta fullständigt ointresserade av strategiska överväganden kring vilka frågor partiet bör driva för att kunna locka väljare.

De är ofta inte speciellt intresserade av att sakfrågor skall testas i opinionsundersökningar och fokusgrupper. De vill bara se att partiet kämpar för att få genomslag för deras hjärtefrågor.

Den ökade professionaliseringen av partierna för med sig att partitoppen och deras anställda ofta har mer gemensamt med motsvarande personer i konkurrerande partier än vad de har med sina egna medlemmar.

För partieliten är medlemmarna, i bästa fall, ett nödvändigt ont.

Peter Oborne, på The Daily Telegraph och The Spectator, beskriver en utveckling i Storbritannien som lika väl skulle kunna vara en beskrivning av Sverige.

Nigel Farage is a subversive who has reintroduced the vanished concept of political opposition into British politics.

When he emerged as a force ten years ago, Britain was governed by a cross-party conspiracy. It was impossible to raise the issue of immigration without being labelled racist, or of leaving the EU without being insulted as a fanatic. Mainstream arguments to shrink the size of the state, or even to challenge its growth, were regarded as a sign of madness or inhumanity […].

Meanwhile, the three main political parties had been captured by the modernisers, an elite group which defied political boundaries and was contemptuous of party rank and file. As I demonstrated in The Triumph of the Political Class (2007), politicians suddenly emerged as a separate interest group. The senior cadres of the New Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem parties had far more in common with each other than ordinary voters. General elections were taken out of the hands of (unpaid) party activists and placed in the hands of a new class of political expert.

[…]

In this new world, the vast majority of voters ceased to count. The new political class immediately wrote off all voters in safe seats — from unemployed ship-workers in Glasgow to retired lieutenant colonels in Tunbridge Wells. Their views could be disregarded because in electoral terms they were of no account.

[…]

For ten years, academic theorists and political experts have been wringing their hands about voter apathy. The Hansard Society would annually come up with a new proposal to remedy declining turnout at general elections. Baroness Helena Kennedy’s Power Inquiry conveyed its earnest bafflement about the readiness of the British people to join charities like Oxfam while turning their backs on our national politics.

In reality, it was the British politicians who turned their back on the electorate, not the other way around. The voters were much less apathetic than the national politicians assumed and (horrifying for the Helena Kennedys of this world) Ukip is the party that has proved it.

Tidskriftsomslag: The Spectator den 24 maj 2014

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IMAGE Alla utgår ifrån att ingen kan stoppa Hillary Clinton om hon bara vill bli demokraternas nästa presidentkandidat.

Picture-Tweet from Ready for Hillary 11 june 2014

Joe Klein i tidskriften Time är inte lika säker:

Most Democrats think that she’ll not only waltz to the nomination but also crush anyone the Republicans put up, except maybe Jeb Bush – and hasn’t the Bush family saga become a moldy oldie over the decades?

But wait a minute. Aren’t the Clinton approaching their sell-by date too? Aren’t Americans about to become tired of their personal and policy baggage and retinue of overcaffeinated too-loyal aides spewing talking points on cable news?

It can and will also be argued that the Clintons are out of touch with millennials and their handheld virtual society, out of touch with the growing populism of the Democratic Party, too closely aligned with Wall Street and untrammeled free trade, too hawkish, too closely aligned with an unpopular incumbent President.

[…]

Some presidential campaigns are about inevitability. Others are about energy. The best have both, but it’s rare: inevitability tends to crush energy. It makes candidates cautious.

[…]

That is probably the ultimate argument against Clinton. She can be prohibitively ”political” and far more cautious than she needs to be. The trouble is, presidential campaigns can’t be managed like book tours. They tend to be overwhelmed by events and trivialities. There is a constant gotcha contest with the press. In a Recent Politico article about Clinton and the press, one of her advisers is quoted: ”Look, she hates you. Period. That is not going to change. ”To make things worse, her top communications adviser Philippe Reines, argued that Clinton didn’t really hate the press. She brought bagels to the back of the bus. But bringing bagels to the back of the bus is an embarrassingly transparent ploy. Bringing candor to the back of the bus might be a little more successful. I’ve seen her candor more than once, but always off the record. That will have to change. If Hillary Clinton hopes to succeed, she’s going to have to drop the veil-spontaneously, quite possibly in a crucial moments, like a debate-and trust the public to accept who she really is. Absent that, there is no such thing as inevitability.

Bild: Ready for Hillary PAC. Tweet den 11 juni 2014.

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POLITIK | Om man som parti kan odla bilden av sig själv som uppstickare har man mycket gratis. Uppfattas man dessutom som ”inne” har man fått jackpot.

Fokus 23-29 maj 2014

Allt detta passar ganska väl in på Feministiskt initiativ.

Maggie Strömberg visar t.ex. tydligt i Fokus att Soraya Post knappast är någon nybörjare som slår underifrån. Snarare är hon en garvad lobbyist med många års erfarenhet från maktens korridorer.

Men det är knappast en bild media har målat upp.

Det finns många sätt för media att lyfta fram ett parti. Media behöver inte skrivs hyllningsartiklar för att ett parti skall få fördelar framför konkurrenterna.

Det räcker att skriva om helt banala händelser eller skriva okritiska artiklar om hur ett parti är ute och kampanjar och att alla minsann känner stor entusiasm och stridsvilja.

Den typen av ”neutrala” reportage är guld värt. Speciellt om det samtidigt saknas mer kritiskt granskande artiklar om politikens innehåll.

I EU-valet blev det mycket tydligt att alla partier inte behandlades lika.

Piratpartiet ignorerades nästan helt. Sverigedemokraterna var troligtvis det mest granskade partiet medan Feministiskt initiativ var det minst granskade av alla.

Ett exempel på denna okritiska – och därmed ganska hjälpsamma journalistik – gav Metro exempel på efter EU-valet.

En rubrik lyder ”Så kan FI påverka i riksdagen – om de kommer in”.

Det är inte det vanligaste att tidningar vinklar artiklar så pass positivt för politiska partier. En betydligt vanligare rubrik hade naturligtvis varit det omvända. ”FI får ingen möjlighet att påverka i riksdagen” är mer i linje med medielogiken.

Än mer logiskt skulle kunna vara att poängtera att partiet har en helt ofinansierad politik.

Fokus ger ett annat exempel från EU-valet hur partiet har fått en positiv särbehandling av media:

Vid den senaste partiledardebatten i SVT bjöds hon in till försnack i studion. Piratpartiet, som sitter i parlamentet, fanns inte överhuvudtaget i lokalerna, men medvindspartiet feministiskt initiativ fick vara med.

[…]

På ett sätt skiljer sig inte feministiskt initiativ från de andra partier som plötsligt slagit igenom i de två senaste parlamentsvalen. Få förväntar sig att de faktiskt ska ha erfarenhet eller en heltäckande politik, eftersom de anses slå underifrån.

Kanske det. Men Feministiskt initiativ slår knappast ”underifrån”. De är etablerade sedan länge. Deras startsträcka har varit betydligt längre än t.ex. Piratpartiets.

Dessutom har de knappast granskats överhuvudtaget i media under de senaste åren. Och så länge som feminism är så gångbart och okontroversiellt kommer de alltid att ha en fördel i media framför andra partier.

Frågan är om media ens efter framgången i Europaparlamentsvalet kommer att ändra på sitt sätt att granska partiet. Om inte kommer Feministiskt initiativ med största sannolikhet att sitta i riksdagen efter nästa val.

Tidskriftsomslag: Fokus den 13-29 maj 2014.

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USA | Det var vicepresident Joe Biden som tvingade Barack Obama förklara sin syn på samkönade äktenskap.

The New York Times Magazine April 20 2014

Biden hade nämligen i en intervju förklarat sig vara för samkönade äktenskap innan presidenten officiellt tagit ställning.

”I think you may have just gotten in front of the president on gay marriage”, som Bidens communications direcctor uttryckte det efter intervjun.

När Obama väl bestämt sig ville Vita huset att presidenten skulle förklara sin syn i en intervju med den kvinnlige journalisten Robin Roberts på ”Good Morning America”. Man gillade nämligen hennes ”conversational style”.

Under intervjun fick Obama möjlighet att förklara att han förmodligen (“probably”) skulle säga ja till samkönade äktenskap innan valet. Biden hade bara ”got out a little bit over his skis”.

Det är berättelse om alla Vita husets strategiska överväganden som Jo Becker skriver om i en artikel i The New York Times Magazine.

Despite the president’s stated opposition, even his top advisers didn’t believe that he truly opposed allowing gay couples to marry. “He has never been comfortable with his position,” David Axelrod, then one of his closest aides, told me.

Indeed, long before Obama publicly stated that he was against same-sex marriage, he was on the record supporting it. As an Illinois State Senate candidate from Chicago’s liberal Hyde Park enclave, Obama signed a questionnaire in 1996 saying, “I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages.” But as his ambitions grew, and with them the need to appeal to a more politically diverse electorate, his position shifted.

In the course of an unsuccessful run for a House seat in 2000, he said he was “undecided” on the question. By the time he campaigned for the presidency, he had staked out an even safer political position: Citing his Christian faith, he said he believed marriage to be the sacred union of a man and a woman.

The assumption going into the 2012 campaign was that there was little to be gained politically from the president’s coming down firmly in favor of same-sex marriage. In particular, his political advisers were worried that his endorsement could splinter the coalition needed to win a second term, depressing turnout among socially conservative African-Americans, Latinos and white working-class Catholics in battleground states.

But by November 2011, it was becoming increasingly clear that continuing to sidestep the issue came with its own set of costs. The campaign’s internal polling revealed that the issue was a touchstone for likely Obama voters under 30. The campaign needed those voters to turn out in the record numbers they had four years earlier, and the biggest impediment was Obama’s refusal to say he favored allowing gay couples to wed.

“We understood that this would be galvanizing to some voters and be difficult with other voters,” said Jim Messina, the manager of Obama’s 2012 campaign.

Caught between countervailing political forces, Obama called his top aides together and said that if asked again for his position, he both wanted and needed to drop the pretense and tell people where he really stood.

“The politics of authenticity — not just the politics, but his own sense of authenticity — required that he finally step forward,” Axelrod said. “And the president understood that.”

But if he was really contemplating an endorsement of same-sex marriage, his advisers urged him to do it in a manner that caused minimal political damage. David Plouffe, a mastermind of the 2008 victory and a senior adviser to the president, reached out to Ken Mehlman for advice. The previous year, Mehlman, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee who engineered President George W. Bush’s re-election, came out as gay […] Mehlman had already met with Obama over lunch at the White House and told him that people voted for him in 2008 because they viewed him as an idealist who would put politics aside and do what was right. Endorsing same-sex marriage would remind voters that he was still that man. “The notion that politically this is going to kill you — I don’t buy it,” Mehlman recalled saying.

He told Plouffe that voters were far more likely to be supportive once they understood that gay couples wanted to marry for the same reason straight people did: It was a matter of love and commitment. Polling indicated that voters would best respond if the issue was framed around shared American values: the country’s fundamental promise of equality; voters’ antipathy toward government intrusion into their private lives; and the religious principle of treating others the way one would like to be treated.

Mehlman surveyed 5,000 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents and found that a majority supported some form of legal recognition of gay relationships. Generally, marriage was not a top priority for most Republicans, meaning that a presidential endorsement was unlikely to motivate the G.O.P. base or attract the kind of full-throated Republican criticism it might have in years past.

On Nov. 10, 2011, Mehlman sent Plouffe an email suggesting that the president announce his support for same-sex marriage in a TV interview with a female host. He also laid out specific language for Obama to use. Explain that this was a family decision and not a political one, he advised: “Michelle and I have been having a similar conversation in our family that lots of American families have been having on marriage equality.I fully understand that some will agree, while others will disagree, with where our family has come down on this.” Mehlman advised Obama to talk about his daughters — “as Michelle and I have been thinking through what we teach Sasha and Malia about America’s greatness” — and about religious liberty and fairness to all. “When you’re president, you’re president of all Americans. And all includes gays and lesbians — men and women who are serving across this country — firefighters, doctors, teachers, courageous soldiers who serve and protect the rest of us.”

Och så skulle Obama också komma att sälja in idén till den amerikanska allmänheten efter många överväganden.

Tidskriftsomslag: The New York Times Magazine, 20 april 2014.

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POLITIK | Alastair Campbell, Tony Blairs gamla kommunikationsrådgivare och spin doctor, har inte försvunnit från den politiska arenan.

Total Politics November 2013

Campbell var en hjärnorna bakom den numera legendariska valrörelse som 1997 förde Blair och New Labour till 10 Downing Street.

Enligt en intervju med Sam Macrory i Total Politics har han även planer på att hjälpa Ed Milibands Labour inför valet 2015.

Men Campbell har inte legat på latsidan sedan 1997. Erfarenheterna från valrörelsen kom väl till användning när Campbell hjälpte Edi Rama och hans albanska socialistiska parti till makten förra året.

Campbell helped Rama win this summer’s Albanian general election with what he proudly declares was a “New Labour landslide”. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, given what Campbell had brought with him from London. “It was the ‘97 playbook – everything. All the systems, pledge cards, messaging, changing the look, changing the name, everything. Obviously the world has moved on – social media, and all that stuff – but in terms of basic messaging, organisation, strategy, media monitoring, rebuttal, events and visits, we did the really basic stuff, and they were brilliant at it.”

So brilliant, in fact, that Campbell has returned from Albania with a new idea for Ed Miliband: film as many recordings as you can of your critics, and play them back on giant screens to your audience. “Every voice was negative, and he’s framed his speech around it. It was really powerful,” says Campbell of Rama’s experiment, one which echoes the ‘masochism strategy’ that Blair deployed in the run-up to the Iraq War and the 2005 election. Campbell is convinced it would work for the current Labour leader.

“I’ve tried this on Ed, and I think it would work with his style. It’s not a case of persuading him, I’ve just said, ‘By the way, we did this and it was really powerful, it really worked’. It’s just out there as an idea, and I think Ed would do that well.”

Enthused by the idea, Campbell sets the scene: “For somebody to come up there and say, ‘You’re a geek, you haven’t got charisma’, somebody to come on and say, ‘Yeah, you speak quite well but you’re not Tony Blair, you’re no Barack Obama’, he can then say, ‘No, I’m not Blair, I’m me; this is what I am. OK, I might not be as charismatic as Barack Obama, but here’s what I’m going to do with energy, here’s what I’m going to do with this… ”

Tidskriftsomslag: Total Politics, November 2013.

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IDEOLOGI Rysslands agerande i Ukraina har fått omvärlden att fundera över vad som ideologiskt driver Vladimir Putin.

Standpoint April 2014

Father of Russia’s conservatism” av Lesley Chamberlain, Standpoint

There’s nothing new about the Russian conservatism Putin stands for, and it is something worth understanding, even if it makes us weep with frustration at the heavy-handed seizing of Crimea and the evident will of most Ukrainians not to be subject to Russian rule.

Just as many liberal Western democracies trace their histories of tolerance and a sharp separation of church and state back to the Enlightenment, so Russia still seems to be fighting the French Revolution, the political climax of that period. Russian conservativism has its roots in resistance to the modern momentum of individualistic liberation. There was never a Russian Edmund Burke to make a sophisticated plea for the powers of tradition and community over rationality as a guide to how to live. But there was always the Orthodox Church to bluntly dismiss reason as anathema. And for three and half centuries there was a tsar to rule by divine authority.

Whenever I try to understand the authoritarian Russian way anew I have to think of a man who 50 years before Lenin and 150 before Putin spelt out the classic Russian formula: Orthodoxy, autocracy, nationality. Count Sergei Uvarov’s tripartite slogan of 1833 was conservative Russia’s answer to liberté, egalité, fraternité. It meant, in something closer to today’s terms, autocracy, religious authority and managed democracy. Many Russians seem to find that acceptable.

Standpoint March 2014

The Russian Enigma: Is The Bear Turning East?” av Walter Laqueur, Standpoint

”An elite without an ideology is a threat.” This is the central point in an article by Aleksei Podberezkin in the first issue of 2014 of the Moscow weekly Zavtra. This is the organ of the Russian far-Right, Podberezkin being a leading figure in these circles. He is a strong believer in Russian nationalism and therefore critical of the present state of affairs in Russia in which politicians are preoccupied with ”technical” issues such as macroeconomics, but he also wants to preserve much of Soviet Communism. As a politician he was not very successful: competing in the elections for the presidency of Russia he scored 0.1 per cent of the vote. But he still is a respected figure in these circles as a political thinker. Whether the absence of an ideology is really a threat is not at all clear; Russia has  suffered from many disasters in its history but they were more often caused by a surfeit of ideology rather than the absence.

But it is certainly true that the recent period in Russian history has been marked by the absence of an ideology (or doctrine or strategy) comparable to the past. This has been noted by many authoritative interpreters of the Russian political scene irrespective of their political orientation. To give but one example, Dmitri Trenin, head of the Carnegie Moscow Centre, wrote ten years ago that in Russia at present ideas hardly mattered and interests reigned supreme. The world view of Russian elites centred on financial interests.

Russia has had a national idea ever since the days of Filotel, a 16th-century monk in the city of Pskov who claimed that Moscow was the third Rome and that a fourth Rome would never be. The leaders and the political elites were always preoccupied with Russia’s destiny.

Tidskriftsomslag: Standpoint mars respektive april 2014. 

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