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The very first students arrived at LSE 120 years ago this year, on 10 October 1895. We are celebrating the people, places and sometimes quirky events that make up the story of LSE, from 1895 to 2015. Look out for events, blog posts, publications, video and audio telling you more than you ever thought you could possibly want to know about what has made LSE one of the world’s most influential seats of learning.

Articles by BlogAdmin

Third-way à la française: What do Macron’s reforms involve and how likely are they to succeed?

1 day ago

Now that Emmanuel Macron has won a large majority in the French parliament, there are few obstacles preventing him from implementing his ambitious reform agenda. But what exactly will Macron’s reforms involve and are they likely to be successful? Philip Rathgeb and Fabio Wolkenstein draw a parallel between Macron’s agenda and the ‘Third Way’ politics of Gerhard Schröder. But they suggest that the dynamics of the French economy and the large potential for social unrest over his planned labour market reforms may make Macron’s task far more challenging than that faced by his German counterpart.
On 18 June, in the second round of the French parliamentary election, Emmanuel Macron’s newly founded party La République en Marche won a clear parliamentary majority. Macron is now in a position to

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Shaped by pragmatism: What the Czechs want to get out of Brexit

2 days ago

The UK is the Czech Republic’s fourth-largest export market, and many of its citizens live in Britain. Monika Brusenbauch Meislová looks at the country’s negotiating stance and asks whether it will stay in line with the rest of the EU27 – or whether domestic political pressures will lead it to break with the rest of the bloc.
Before the EU referendum, there was little discussion about Brexit in the Czech Republic. The country seemed to expect Remain to prevail. A poll conducted a few days before the referendum found 60% of Czechs did not want to see the UK leave the EU, with the economy cited as the most common concern.
Yet with the UK on its way to withdrawing from the bloc, the Czech Republic is about to lose an important ally. The partners have shared a similar outlook on a range of

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The Brexit talks have started, but have the French and British elections changed the tone?

3 days ago

Britain’s negotiations to leave the European Union formally began on 19 June, but it is still unclear what impact the unexpected result of the UK’s general election will have on the process. Julian M Hoerner indicates that from the EU’s perspective, little has changed following the election as the EU had already decided on its negotiating position in advance. However, he argues that the victory of Emmanuel Macron in the French legislative elections could ultimately make concessions for the UK less likely.
In 2017, citizens in the three largest EU member states have gone (or are due to go) to the ballot box. The general election in the UK was followed by the French legislative elections, while in September, Angela Merkel is facing German voters in her bid to become chancellor for the fourth

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Deepening the Economic and Monetary Union: What the Commission missed in its reflection paper

4 days ago

The European Commission published a reflection paper at the end of May on deepening economic and monetary union. Enrico Marelli and Marcello Signorelli present an analysis of the Commission’s proposals and respond to some of the paper’s key weaknesses in laying out a path for future reforms.

The European Commission’s recent reflection paper on deepening economic and monetary union raises several key questions about the past and future of the Eurozone. The paper certainly represents a positive contribution to the ongoing process of European integration, after the impasse caused by the deep and prolonged economic crisis, the political developments in some European countries (including the Brexit referendum) and the severe social situation (the well-being of many citizens of the Eurozone is

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Is ‘hybrid geopolitics’ the next EU foreign policy doctrine?

5 days ago

The EU has faced a diverse range of criticisms over its actions during the Ukraine crisis. While some observers have accused EU states of being too weak in the face of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, others suggest that the crisis itself emerged from a misguided attempt by the EU to push for an Association Agreement with Ukraine. Richard Youngs highlights that the crisis has encouraged the EU to become a different kind of policy actor, with less emphasis on promoting EU norms and rules, and a greater focus on the potential geopolitical impact of different policy options.

EU-Ukraine summit 2016: EU Council President Donald Tusk (left), Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko (centre), and EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. Credits: EEAS (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Most assessments of the EU’s

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Romania’s political crisis reflects severe tensions within the country’s Social Democratic Party

5 days ago

Only six months after winning parliamentary elections, Romania’s Social Democratic Party is in turmoil following an attempt by the party’s leader, Liviu Dragnea, to remove the current Prime Minister, Sorin Grindeanu. With the party set for a key parliamentary vote on whether to keep the Prime Minister in power, Mihnea Stoica suggests that both Grindeanu and Dragnea’s political futures are now in the balance.
Romania’s Social Democrats won the country’s parliamentary elections in December last year. But their first six months in power have turned out to be an extremely bumpy ride. The latest drama has seen the party enter a spiral of crises following a failed attempt by their leader, Liviu Dragnea, to sack Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu, who was until recently perceived to be something of a

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Tactical Europeanisation: Why Serbia’s decision to appoint an openly gay PM is no great leap forward for LGBT rights

6 days ago

Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić has nominated Ana Brnabić as the country’s next Prime Minister. Brnabić, whose appointment is now largely a formality, will be Serbia’s first female and openly gay Prime Minister. Koen Slootmaeckers argues that while many observers outside the country have portrayed the appointment as a step forward for LGBT rights in Serbia, the decision says far more about Vučić’s attempts to advance the country’s EU accession process.
Ana Brnabić, Serbia’s new PM. (biografija.org)
The news that Serbia is set to have its first openly gay and female Prime Minister has generated a response from the global LGBT community and Western media that can best be described as ecstatic. As the news developed on the evening of 15 June, my Twitter and Facebook feeds were overwhelmed

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Refuge: Transforming a Broken Refugee System – by Alexander Betts and Paul Collier

6 days ago

Book Review – In Refuge: Transforming a Broken Refugee System, Alexander Betts and Paul Collier set out to offer solutions to the flawed system of refugee management that has gained increasing attention through the emergence of the crisis discourse surrounding migration. While this ambitious book sets out to challenge this through restoring a narrative of hope, Gayle Munro questions whether its underlying optimism sufficiently grapples with the nature of the current political and legislative environment. 
Refuge: Transforming a Broken Refugee System. Alexander Betts and Paul Collier. Penguin Random House. 2017.
Find this book: 
The ‘refugee crisis’; the ‘migration crisis’; a ‘humanitarian crisis’; a ‘crisis of politics’; the ‘European migrant crisis’. Whether you acknowledge the validity

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Italy’s municipal elections: The beginning of the end for the Five Star Movement?

8 days ago

Despite leading many opinion polls at the national level, Italy’s Five Star Movement (M5S) suffered a disappointing result in the first round of municipal elections on 11 June. Fabio Bordignon argues that the result should not be translated into national support as the party faces several obstacles that prevent it from effectively fighting local elections. The most likely picture for the next general election remains a three-way contest between the centre-left, centre-right and the M5S.
The Five Star Movement (M5S) is dead: once again. It’s not the first time that pundits and political opponents have predicted the end for Beppe Grillo’s non-party after an electoral defeat. The first round of the 2017 Italian municipal elections, held on 11 June, has been seen by many as a clear sign of the

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Prelude to a political crisis? Why France now has an abstention problem in legislative elections

9 days ago

Emmanuel Macron’s La République en marche (LREM) are set to win a large majority of seats in the second round of the French legislative elections on 18 June. But perhaps the biggest story from the first round was the low turnout, with abstentions passing the 50 per cent mark. Alexandros Alexandropoulos suggests that declining turnout in French legislative elections can be traced as far back as the 1970s, and that with the electoral path considered to be futile by many French citizens, the country’s political tensions may well be expressed via the streets instead.
In the first round of the French legislative elections on 11 June, Emmanuel Macron’s newly formed party, La République en marche (LREM), gained a comfortable majority. But this was not the most newsworthy story from the election.

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The timing is just right for Navalny to challenge Putin’s regime

10 days ago

Can prominent anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny endanger Vladimir Putin’s long-standing rule? In light of the recent protests in Moscow, Alexander Titov traces the history of anti-Putin protests since the 2011 swapping of roles between Putin and Dmitry Medvedev. He argues that the timing is just right for a new protest movement to gather momentum ahead of the March 2018 presidential election, but a question mark remains over whether Navalny’s appeal can spread beyond the relatively narrow anti-regime electorate.

Alexei Navalny. Credits: Alexey Yushenkov / Алексей Юшенков (CC BY SA 3.0)
It looks like Russia’s protest politics are waking up after a long sleep. In the last three months, Russia has witnessed two nation-wide protests, with hundreds arrested by the riot police. At the

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Boris Johnson might have the political capital to avert a Hard Brexit

11 days ago

If Theresa May manages to carry on as Prime Minister, her precarious position within the Conservative Party and in Parliament will leave her a weaker negotiator. Kevin Featherstone argues that if she fights on – and either returns from Brussels without a deal, or is ousted after failing to secure an acceptable one – Tory party politics make a hard Brexit inevitable. Were Boris Johnson to take over, he might have the political capital to make the compromises a less destructive Brexit would require.
Theresa May’s reputation for ‘strong and stable’ leadership has been shattered by the chaos of her election campaign and the loss of the Tory majority. No previous British prime minister has entered an election with such a commanding opinion poll lead only to see it evaporate when voters cast

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The GE2017 outcome was no Remainers’ revenge

11 days ago

British PM Theresa May’s election battering had nothing to do with Brexit, argues Brian Melican. Politically speaking, Britain is now a post-Brexit landscape: for politicians the process might only be starting, but for voters it has already happened. 
It’s become a truism that being a pollster is hard work these days. Yet while the problems plaguing psephologists are now almost proverbial and every poll is taken with more than just a pinch of salt, it’s astonishing how blithely pundits and politicians who would never trust a survey bandy about post-facto assertions on voting behaviour.

Credits: Picture Alliance
Last week’s general election in the UK is a case in point. Both inside and outside of Britain, there has been no shortage of people citing “remainers’ revenge” as one of the

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Kosovo election: When the elites teamed up to see through their KLA troubles

12 days ago

Kosovo held parliamentary elections on 11 June. A coalition led by former PM Ramush Haradinaj won the election with around 35% of the vote, while the left-wing opposition party Vetevendosje and the coalition associated with outgoing Prime Minister Isa Mustafa each held around 25%. The backdrop to the election was an ongoing adjudication over war crimes committed by the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA): Andrea Lorenzo Capussela explains that many politicians with a background in the KLA were keen to secure a government position to protect themselves from charges, and reflects on the success of anti-elite party Vetevendosje.
Most analyses of Kosovo’s election campaign (for instance, here, here, and here) suggest that the policy debate was quite superficial, if not downright empty, and that the

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Catalonia’s independence referendum: The stage is set for yet another political and legal battle

12 days ago

A referendum on Catalan independence is set to take place on 1 October. Paul Anderson traces the change in tack in Catalonia, where polls have started to record a sharp upturn in favour of independence over the past seven years, bolstered by the Rajoy government’s refusal to engage in dialogue. A ‘Yes’ vote is unlikely, but not impossible: it would not be accepted by Madrid, and the EU would come to play an important role. 
On 1 October 2017, Catalans will vote in an historic referendum on the secession of Catalonia from the Spanish State. After several years of constitutional wrangling, including a previous attempt to hold an independence referendum, Catalans will be asked ‘Do you want Catalonia to become an independent state in the form of a republic?’. The Catalan government considers

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Croatia’s local elections: Key takeaways and the duels to watch in the second round

23 days ago

Croatia held a first round of voting in local elections on 21 May, with the second round scheduled for 4 June. Tena Prelec assesses the results of the first round and previews some of the key mayoral races to watch as voters go back to the polls. The elections will be particularly noteworthy as they will give an indication of the trends ahead of expected early parliamentary elections later in the year.

Aerial view of Pula, the largest city in the Istria region, where the regional party IDS imposed itself already in the first round. CC BY-SA 3.0
The local elections come at a moment of political and economic upheaval in Croatia. The country is living through the biggest economic turmoil in its short history, as the over-indebtedness of the food giant Agrokor – the biggest company in the

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No longer going steady, but playing the field: Trade unions and the decline of social democracy

24 days ago

Parties on the centre-left often enjoy a special relationship with trade unions, but recent electoral losses for social democratic parties may limit the ability of unions to influence public policy. Simon Otjes and Anne Rasmussen examine how trade union-party relationships in the Netherlands might be affected by these developments. They argue that the losses suffered by the Social Democrats in the 2017 Dutch elections are unlikely to fundamentally weaken the role of Dutch trade unions in policy-making. Unions enjoy a direct connection to policy-making independent of government composition, and they hold ties to parties across the political spectrum due to the specific trade union traditions present in the country.
In the Dutch elections on 15 March, the Labour Party (PvdA) lost three

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Mapping the British public’s views ahead of the general election: How Labour could pick off the UKIP vote

25 days ago

The British electorate is generally portrayed as being more fragmented on the left than it is on the right, with Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the SNP and the Greens, among others, all competing for the same voters. Ahead of the UK’s upcoming general election on 8 June, John Connolly reassesses this picture using British Election Study data. His analysis suggests that a large group of voters on the left who are both anti-EU and anti-immigration could be drawn back toward Labour if the UKIP vote collapses.

UKIP campaigners, 2013. Credits: Jennifer Jane Mills (CC BY 2.0)
In September 2016, following the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, the findings of a joint analysis of the British electorate by Opinium and the Social Market Foundation (SMF) were reported in The Guardian. The

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Book Review: Thinking Like a Political Scientist: A Practical Guide to Research Methods by Christopher Howard

27 days ago

In Thinking like a Political Scientist: A Practical Guide to Research Methods, Christopher Howard makes a compelling case for transforming how research methods are taught to undergraduate students of political science. Through its accessible, easy-to-follow approach, this new guide equips and encourages the next generation of political scientists to undertake research that has the potential to directly impact pressing political issues, writes Iván Farías Pelcastre.
Thinking Like a Political Scientist: A Practical Guide to Research Methods. Christopher Howard. University of Chicago Press. 2017.
Find this book: 
There is an often overlooked fact at the heart of political science: the study of politics has been the realm of moral philosophers, legal thinkers and public administrators for

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Julia Gillard: It is in everybody’s interest to make sure that we are educating every child

28 days ago

The world’s children must be equipped to meet the challenges of our globalised world – irrespective of their gender, ethnicity, or location – argues Julia Gillard. She talks to Artemis Photiadou about the vital work of the Global Partnership for Education, and its impact in improving the lives of millions of children in the developing world.
Could you explain how the Global Partnership for Education works?
GPE is the only multilateral partnership and fund dedicated exclusively to education in the world’s poorest countries – it includes developing country partners, donor countries, multilateral agencies, civil society, teachers, philanthropic foundations, and the private sector.
One of our key aims is to strengthen developing countries’ education systems so they are sustainable over the

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Cabinets and concrete floors: The women in Macron’s cabinet strengthen the case for gender parity in government

29 days ago

The first cabinet appointed by new French President Emmanuel Macron contained a 50-50 gender balance, with eleven out of the twenty-two cabinet members being women. Karen Beckwith writes that Macron’s decision to appoint a gender-balanced cabinet should not have come as a surprise. Drawing on research in seven separate democracies with her colleagues Susan Franceschet and Claire Annesley, she illustrates that there is now an informal ‘concrete floor’ for women’s participation in cabinets, indicating a minimum number of women who must be appointed if the government is to avoid criticism.

Ministers attending the 34th Annual Meeting of Ministers Responsible for the Status of Women, 2016. Credits: Government of Alberta (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron has

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The European ideal has sunk to the bottom of the Mediterranean with the migrants it rejects

May 25, 2017

The EU prizes the freedom of movement its citizens enjoy. Yet this depends on securing ‘Fortress Europe’ against non-Europeans – including the thousands who drown trying to cross the Mediterranean. Claire Sutherland asks how the Union can tolerate squalid migrant camps that are, in the words of its own migration commissioner, ‘an insult to our values and civilisation’.

Credits: Rodrigo Amorim (CC BY 2.0)
At the end of the Cold War, and on the breakup of Yugoslavia, the EU offered Ukraine the tantalising prospect of membership – or at least partnership – and thus a share in what Ukrainians apparently wanted. As José Manuel Barroso, then President of the European Commission, made clear: ‘They want freedom, they want prosperity, they want stability’. European flags waved in the streets of

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The Western Balkans could be the first casualty of a ‘connectivity war’ between the EU and Turkey

May 25, 2017

The EU negotiated a deal with Turkey during the migration crisis that aimed to halt the flow of people into Europe. But recent tensions between the EU and Turkey have raised questions about whether this deal will be viable in the long-term. Vuk Vuksanovic writes that relations between the EU and Turkey can be conceived of as a potential ‘connectivity war’, in which Turkey’s influence over migration flows grants it influence over the EU. But if this situation deteriorates, the fallout may be felt most acutely in the Western Balkans.

In January 2016, the European Council on Foreign Relations, a European think tank, published a study on so called ‘connectivity wars’. This collection of essays by European and US experts was built around a timely proposition: that in future the most important

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Against the odds: The improbable journey of Die Linke through unified Germany

May 24, 2017

Opinion polls suggest that as many as six independent parties could cross the electoral threshold and enter the Bundestag in Germany’s federal elections in September. In advance of the elections, we will be running a series profiling each of these parties. In the first article of the series, Ross Campbell writes on the German Left Party (Die Linke), which has confounded initial expectations after the unification of Germany to become a stable feature of the German party system. However, with the rise of new challengers, the 2017 elections could pose formidable challenges for the party as it seeks to build on the third place it achieved in the last federal elections in 2013.

Credits: Niels Holger Schmidt / DIE LINKE Nordrhein-Westfalen (CC BY 2.0)
Elections dramatise politics; and the ebbs

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The Eurovision in Ukraine was an exercise in soft power

May 24, 2017

Eurovision 2017, held in Kyiv, may have lacked overt politicisation when it came to the performances showcased on stage, especially in comparison to previous years. But as Roch Dunin-Wąsowicz argues, the contest nevertheless delivered a carefully constructed ideological message about Ukraine’s European aspirations and its pride in its cultural heritage and traditions, while also signalling comradeship with the Slavic world and Eastern Europe. The net result was a quintessential exercise in Eurovision’s enduring soft power.
The Eurovision Song Contest is no stranger to political controversy. Envisioned as a means of forging cultural ties between Europe’s nations in the aftermath of World War II, the contest was closely tied to the idea of European integration taking shape in the 1950s. For

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How Portugal’s leaders exploited the bail out to pass measures they already supported

May 23, 2017

During the Eurozone crisis, states receiving a bailout were required to implement spending cuts and other reforms in return for financial assistance. But to what extent did the governments of these states use the opportunity to advance their own policy agendas? Drawing on interviews with Portuguese politicians, Catherine Moury and Adam Standring argue that both the crisis and the bailout strengthened the hands of Portuguese government ministers in relation to other domestic actors. And when ministers favoured policies which were in line with those backed by international actors, they were able to use the situation to push for policies they already supported.

Former Portuguese PM José Sócrates. His government took advantage of the perceived need to ‘calm the markets’ to implement reforms

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Macron and Merkel’s warm words mask deeper Franco-German divisions over the future of Europe

May 23, 2017

One of Emmanuel Macron’s first acts as French President was to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Julian Göpffarth writes that Macron’s victory over Marine Le Pen was welcomed by both of Germany’s mainstream parties, albeit in different ways. But behind the warm words, his ambitious proposals for the Eurozone are bound to generate concerns among German politicians and both sides will have to compromise if their renewed Franco-German cooperation is to be successful.
On 15 May, Emmanuel Macron made his first official visit to meet Angela Merkel. Regardless of who will be German chancellor in September, the meeting possibly marked a starting point for renewed Franco-German cooperation in the EU. Macron is the fourth French President Merkel has had to work with, but under Macron’s

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What research tells us about the avocado toast controversy

May 22, 2017

Why do people consume conspicuously even when they cannot afford healthcare, or housing? The recent ‘avocado toast controversy’, started by tycoon Tim Gurner, has re-ignited this debate. Clement Bellet and Eve Sihra explain that, contrary to the Australian businessman’s argument, consuming ‘luxury’ goods plays a key role for deprived individuals.

A status symbol? Toast with mashed avocado and salsa verde, by Jennifer from Vancouver (CC-BY-2.0)
Millionaire and luxury property developer Tim Gurner recently suggested millennials should stop spending money on avocado toasts or expensive coffee so that they could afford to buy property. This comment started a heated debate relative to the way the young – and more generally lower income people – spend their money, and on the morality of

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The ‘last chance for social Europe’: The European Pillar of Social Rights can only work if integrated into the EU’s existing policies

May 22, 2017

The European Commission published its proposals for the creation of a European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR) at the end of April. Eleanor Brooks writes that it will be crucial to ‘mainstream’ the EPSR by integrating it into the EU’s existing policies, while civil society organisations will need to be afforded a strong role in the Pillar’s implementation if it is to meet its aims.
Labelled by some as the ‘last chance for social Europe’ and the ‘last chance saloon’ against rising anti-EU sentiment, the European Commission published on 26 April its proposals for a European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR). The Pillar is a list of 20 principles and rights aimed at earning Europe a ‘social triple A’ by fostering convergence towards better living and working standards. Principle 14, for instance,

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