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We propose eight principles of direct democracy that shall provide guidance on the basic premises to be considered when direct democratic decision-making institutions are constituted. While institutional setups vary immensely across countries, there may exist a number of fundamental propositions that are widely applicable; propositions that make the use of direct democracy less controversial, less risky, more cohesive, and, not least, more democratic. It is important to discuss and clarify the use of this constitutive democratic institution that receives rather little attention.
Rory Stewart, the UK’s new Secretary of State for Development has big ambitions for the country. In light of Stewart’s self-declared candidacy for Prime Minister, we look at four areas where he can demonstrate his credentials and value to UK taxpayers, and bolster international efforts to reduce poverty with UK leadership.
In a customs union with the EU, the UK could pursue reforms in services liberalisation, Aid for Trade, investment promotion, labour standards and bilateral trade agreements, while maintaining EU tariffs on goods imports. This may be its best trade-for-development strategy after Brexit.
Last week, the British Parliament rejected the Prime Minister’s EU Withdrawal Agreement by a resounding 432 votes to 202, making the odds of a no-deal Brexit greater than ever. Having survived a motion of no-confidence, the government now has fewer than 70 days to devise an alternative exit plan that MPs will support. If it fails, then under Article 50, the UK will leave the EU without an agreement on 29 March.
The UK government has made a welcome commitment to improve trade access for poor countries after Brexit. The question in the White Paper is how to do that. Brexit offers the opportunity to replace the EU’s Economic Partnership Agreements with a simpler, broader and more generous regime that encourages developing countries to export more.
What if there were a way to reduce the nursing shortage in the UK in a way that is good for the National Health Service (NHS), good for developing countries, and good for nurses? We believe this is possible, with something called a Global Skills Partnership, that uses UK aid in a win-win partnership with developing countries. In this blog post we explain exactly how it could work to relieve the strain on the UK’s beloved NHS, and how such an idea might be replicated in other countries and other contexts.
Britain just announced a new policy for trading with developing countries after Brexit. It maintains the current framework of duty free, quota free access to British markets for least developed countries. It is a good basis for the further steps we’d like to see Britain take.
Attention UK political parties: we know you are pretty busy right now, what with Prime Minister Theresa May calling a snap general election in a few weeks. So, we wrote an election manifesto on development for you. Feel free to plagiarize it; in fact, we’ve written it so you can just copy/paste parts of it if you want. To M Macron and Mme Le Pen, your manifestos are written, but you will find some good ideas here too. Needless to say, not all our CGD colleagues will agree with all our ideas, nor will many readers. So please let us know what we have missed or got wrong, in the comments below.