Things Meghan Markle Can’t Do Now She’s A Royal

Mandera County Forum,May 20, 2018

Meghan Markle may be getting the fairytale ending she always wanted and will become the Princess of England, but that is not to say it is going to be an easy task. In fact, there are certain rules and laws Meghan will have to follow, and certain things she will have to give up.

Sleep When She Wants

If Meghan happens to be staying over to sleep at the Queen’s house, she is not allowed to go to bed before the Queen does.

Cross Her Legs When Sitting

It is the protocol that members of the royal family are only allowed to sit with their legs touching side-by-side, with a slight tilt to the side and will never be seen sitting with their legs crossed, something we are all used to. Dubbed as “the Duchess slant,” Kate Middleton will always be seen to sit this way, and Meghan will have to learn how to sit like a member of the royal family, since crossing your legs is frowned up.

Eat As Fast Or Slow As She Likes

We all know the feeling of being so hungry we cannot help but eat everything in front of us in a fast-paced manner, but Meghan is no longer allowed to be in this situation. According to Diane Gottsman, the author of Modern Etiquette for a Better Life, she says that when in the presence of the Queen, you must only begin your meals when she does. It is also the case that you must also stop eating as soon as the Queen finishes her food.

Vote

Meghan is in the process of becoming a British citizen and will be once she is married to Prince Harry. However, while she may have become a citizen of the United Kingdom, she still will not get to vote like any other citizen. In fact, the U.K. parliament states that it is “unconstitutional” for members of the monarch family to vote, and once she is married, she too will be become a member of the monarchy. Meghan also won’t be allowed to express any opinions on political matters.

Use Any Of Her Social Media Accounts

Meghan was once an active user on social media and even once had her own blog site called, The Tig. However, you may have noticed less of activity from the American actress. Since she became associated with Prince Harry and it was confirmed that the couple had become engaged, Meghan had to deactivate all her social media accounts completely. She even wrote a farewell message on her blog website before closing it down. Rather, she has joined the Royal family’s official Kensington Royals accounts.

Take Selfies

She was once the leading lady on the hit series, Suits, and everyone wanted a selfie with Rachel Zane. However, according to Glamour, since the first time Meghan went out in public with Prince Harry, she’s had to turn down fan requests for a selfie. It was believed she denied the photo opportunity by saying, “we’re not allowed to take selfies.” In fact, it is deemed inappropriate to take or ask for a selfie with a Royal, and you should always ask someone else to take the picture.

Get A Colorful Manicure

Meghan was once the writer of a lifestyle and fashion blog, often showing off her latest style and fashion choices. Just like many girls, this would include a well-groomed manicure, often going with a color fitting for the season. However, according to StyleCaster, all members of the royal family are prohibited from wearing any non-neutral nail polish colors. This rule is part of the Royals’ dress code, so you will never see a member of the royal family sporting a bold red or dark purple nail color.

Wear Wedges

As for the Royal dress code, according to a source from Vanity Fair, “The Queen isn’t a fan of wedged shoes. She really doesn’t like them, and it’s well known among the women in the family.” It is doubtful that the Royal ladies will be looking to upset or fail to impress the Queen so will, therefore, abide by her likes and dislikes and follow suit. The same will go for her attitude towards wedged shoes, and Markle will have to give wedges a miss.

Never Play Monopoly Again

This one may surprise many since it perhaps wouldn’t be expected. Following claims made by The Telegraph, Meghan Markle will never be allowed to play another game of Monopoly again. The British newspaper stated that Prince Andrew revealed that the popular board game is forbidden in the royal household. While most royal laws are for a good reason, this one is because “it gets too vicious.” Perhaps this is not an actual law but still a rule they happen to follow.

Be Too Affectionate With Her Husband In Public

While there is no official rule that states royals must refrain from showing too much affection for one another in public, it is a rule that goes without saying. Queen Elizabeth II has always kept it professional and has rarely ever been photographed showing any PDA towards her husband, Prince Phillip. It is with that said that the matriarch has set the tone for future royals to follow suit, and they certainly have. Looking at Prince William and Kate, the couple are rarely seen even holding hands.

Showing Off Her Bare Legs

Royal expert, Victoria Arbiter, gave details to the Business Insider which spoke of how Royals should dress. She said, “You never see a royal without their nude stockings.” Arbiter continued, “I would say that’s really the only hard, steadfast rule in terms of what the Queen requires.” This may come as a surprise since the photographs of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announcing their engagement show the future royal with her bare legs. While Meghan may not have known this policy at the time, she sure will now.

No More Acting

Just like anyone who marries into the Royals, Meghan has decided to leave her career behind. Speaking of her decision, Meghan said, “I don’t see it as giving anything up. I just see it as a change. It’s a new chapter.” Meghan, whose most well-known role was on the hit series, Suits, was last seen on the show getting married. Now, the next time she will be seen on television, will not be for her next Hollywood role, but to become the Princess of England.

No Traveling Alone

Meghan Markle has shown herself to be an avid traveler, previously posting photographs to her blog site and Instagram page. However, just like her social media pages, her days of traveling solo are a thing of the past. According to Express, Meghan was issued royal protection officers at the time she became engaged to Prince Harry. It is unsurprising that all current and prospective members of the Royal Family must have a sufficient amount of security at all times, even when they’re off on their honeymoons.

Her Life In Canada

Meghan was known to live a quiet life in Canada before making the move to London, United Kingdom. She lived in the Canadian city, Toronto, where she kept herself under the radar while filming for her television series, Suits. She would dine at restaurants near her home in the Annex and have drinks at the private Soho House club downtown. Fast forward to her time of meeting Prince Harry, she became linked to one of the most eligible bachelors in the world, and, subsequently became the most googled actress of 2016.

Her Dogs

Meghan made her admiration for her two pet rescue dogs no secret but, when she moved to London to live with Prince Harry, she only brought one of her dogs with her. While she brought her beagle named Guy along with her to her new London home, she left Bogart, a Labrador-Shepherd mix, behind. Although she was very close to Bogart, he was considered as being too old to be able to adapt with the move from Toronto to London.

Go Out In Public Alone

While living a quiet life in Toronto, Meghan was probably used running around and completing her errands without any hassle at all. Since becoming engaged to the Prince of England, it seems that Meghan will never be able to go out in public alone, and will have round the clock security with her at all times. Even when she jets off on her honeymoon with Prince Harry, a time when newlyweds can spend time with just one another, the Royal couple will be accompanied by security 24/7.

Stick Her Tongue Out

You may often see the youngest members of the Royal family sticking their tongues out, especially at the paps calling their names and trying to get a photo. However, even those instances are rare, and it is also not expected for any of the elder members to act in such a playful manner. Markle may have broken royal protocol by sticking her tongue out to a local bystander on Christmas Day, but perhaps won’t be caught doing so for a second time in the future.

Carry Giant Purses

It is unknown as to whether there are rules in regards to the purses the ladies of the Royal Family should be carrying, but there is a reason Kate Middleton and the Queen are almost always seen with bags with small handles or clutches. A Royal expert explained to The Daily Mail that the Duchess of Cambridge and the Queen perhaps opt for a clutch over a bag with a strap as they “may well prefer not to shake hands with certain people.”

Attend Fashion Week

Meghan Markle has become quite the fashion icon, and once she is seen in a fashionable outfit, it is most likely to sell out in moments. Even before she was set to become the next British Royal, Meghan would showcase her fashion taste on her social media sites, on the red carpet, and at fashion shows. However, do not expect to see Meghan Markle sitting front row at any future fashion shows since she will be too busy attending royal engagements and gatherings.

Sit Wherever She Wants

For many of us, we can all probably pick and choose where we wish to sit at all arrangements. However, while Meghan may be used to choosing where she sits on the couch at home, she has to follow a certain seating plan when out with the Royal Family. It all begins when she enters the room since there is a procession she has to follow. It begins with Queen Elizabeth, followed by Prince Philip, Prince Charles, Camilla, Prince William, Kate Middleton, and then Prince Harry and Meghan.

Open Presents On Christmas Day

Although it is the Royal tradition that only spouses attend Christmas Day at Sandringham House at the invite of Queen Elizabeth, Meghan Markle was extended an invite with her fiance Prince Harry for Christmas in 2017. However, Christmas Day for the Royals differs from the one most of us are used too since, traditionally, the Royal Family do not open presents on Christmas Day. Rather, their gifts are opened on Christmas Eve, and this is then followed by attending Church service on Christmas morning.

Give Hugs To The Public

According to the Royal Family’s website, when meeting the Queen or any member of the royal family, the traditional protocol is for men to bow from the neck only and for women to curtsy. If a member of the Royal Family offers a handshake first, then this is also acceptable. Meghan, however, was caught hugging a charity worker named Alice Thompson during a trip to Scotland. “Outside the shop, I went to shake her hand, and she nudged it out of the way and embraced me with a cuddle.”.

Sign Autographs

Just as the former Rachel Zane will not be allowed to take selfies, the popular actress will also not be allowed to sign her autograph either. This is a safety precaution taken by the Royal family to avoid any possible incidences where their signature could be forged. The only time’s members of the Royal family can sign their signature is for legal documents, Royal documents, and on occasion, visitor’s books. Meghan does have a beautiful signature, however, due to her talent in calligraphy writing.

Wear See-Through Outfits

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry released official photos following the news of their engagement, and Markle was captured wearing a $75,000, sheer look Ralph & Russo dress in the photo. While the photo showed no obvious cleavage or slip-up, the sheer look of the dress proved to be a concern to some, which was enough for it to be the last time Meghan wears something of the sort in public or for official photographs. Along with the photos of her being pictured without wearing stockings, this raised a few eyebrows.

Eat Shellfish

It has been reported that Prince Charles and Camilla take their own alcohol with them when traveling to avoid their drinks potentially being spiked. Another thing Royals apparently avoid, is shellfish, to prevent possible dangers of food poisoning or a possible allergic reaction. The Royals would want to avoid this because of their health, of course, but also so it does not stop them from performing their important duties. It is known that, while some Royals may have tried it once or twice in their life, the Queen never has.

Live In A Regular House

Once Meghan Markle and Prince Harry become husband and wife they are expected to move into royal residence. It is the Royal protocol that any Royal couple home would require an association with the Queen, meaning no current royal family live in a ‘regular house.’ While they are currently living in Kensington Palace’s Nottingham cottage, they will be moving into a 21-bedroom apartment in Kensington Palace’s Apartment 1A. Their new home, which is currently being renovated, is next door to Prince William and Kate.

Can’t Marry In The U.S.

Meghan may be an American citizen but, when she marries Prince Harry, there is a chance she will have to give this up. Meanwhile, there is no chance the couple could get married in America or anywhere other than England for that matter. Prince Harry and his soon-to-be-Duchess wouldn’t be able to be part of the British Royal Family if they were to marry elsewhere. As seen in the past, British Royal weddings are a huge, official affair, with some of the most important people attending.

No More Lifestyle Website

One passion that Meghan Markle needed to sacrifice before tying the knot with Harry was her lifestyle website, The Tig, which she recently shut down with a heavy heart. She left a heartwarming farewell letter, which is still on the site’s homepage. “What began as a passion project (my little engine that could) evolved into an amazing community of inspiration, support, fun and frivolity,” Meghan wrote. “You’ve made my days brighter and filled this experience with so much joy.”

Can’t Avoid Politicians Anymore

It is well documented that Meghan Markle is not a fan of politicians and even tried to avoid President Donald Trump after being invited to a game of golf a couple of years ago. However, as part of the Royal Family, she won’t have the choice and will need to attend any future meetings with Members of Parliament. “I can see that this is going to be a real problem in the months and years ahead for her, an existential problem,” historian Robert Lacey said.

She Must Have Myrtle In Her Bouquet

It might not seem like such a big deal, but Meghan’s bouquet must have myrtle at her wedding. The tradition is that Royal brides carry a bit of myrtle around them on their big day and began during the times of Queen Victoria. When her daughter, Princess Victoria carried her bridal flowers back in 1858, she also carried myrtle. Other royal brides such as the Queen, the Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Diana, all carried myrtle on their wedding days.

Get Married Whenever

Similarly to the rules regarding their wedding location, Harry and Meghan can’t just get engaged or married whenever they like. Under Royal Marriages Act 1772, a royal engagement must be approved by the Queen, and the Queen almost always attends the weddings in person. Therefore, before it becomes public knowledge, let alone the couple’s own families, there are many hoops a Royal couple have to go through before getting engaged. The couple then has to follow certain rules and guidelines for their wedding also.

Have Bridesmaids Her Own Age

While there have been speculations as to who Meghan would choose for her bridesmaids amongst her closest girlfriends, it is traditionally speaking that the bride’s party at a Royal wedding should only include children and pre-teens. However, Queen Elizabeth II and Kate Middleton both broke this rule, so it is unknown as to what Meghan will choose to do. Kensington Palace did reveal that page boys and bridesmaids will join Meghan, but it is still unclear as to who her bridesmaids will be.

Can’t Have A Baby Out Of Wedlock

The world gushed at the announcement that Prince William and Kate were welcoming their third child, and in April 2018 they announced the arrival of the new Prince of England. Prince Louis plays brother to Prince George and Princess Charlotte, who have already won the hearts of millions around the world. With the Royal wedding soon impending, talks of more royal babies have circulated. However, do not expect any pregnancy announcement from Prince Harry and Meghan before the wedding, as Royals are not permitted to have a baby out of wedlock.

Continue reading Things Meghan Markle Can’t Do Now She’s A Royal

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The Barry boy who helped free Nelson Mandela

Welsh-born Somali diplomat Abdulrahim Abby Farah has died aged 98 at home in New York

Welsh-born Somali diplomat Abdulrahim Abby Farah who has died at home in New York worked to free Nelson Mandela

Welsh-born Somali diplomat Abdulrahim Abby Farah who has died at home in New York worked to free Nelson MandelaHe was once described as the “Barry Boy that helped free Mandela”. Welsh-born Somali diplomat Abdulrahim Abby Farah who has died at home in New York aged 98 worked tirelessly behind the scenes at the United Nations . His death has prompted tributes from around the world.The early 20th century was not the easiest time to be born a Somali Welshman in a terraced street in Barry, but Abdulrahim Abby Farah’s family stood out as high achievers as Wales struggled in the aftermath of World War One.Racism and poverty were issues for many in the community, but from the small local primary he attended Abdulrahim used education to change his destiny and that of others far beyond Wales.
Abdulrahim’s father Abby Farah, a Somali seaman, had crossed the world to work in Barry Docks in the late 19th century and set about becoming a community leader as well as encouraging his children’s studies.As a pupil at Gladstone Primary Abdulrahim did well and passed the 11-plus to attend Barry Grammar. From there he went on to study at Exeter College, Oxford before forging a career as diplomat for Somalia in the United Nations.

Nelson Mandela salutes well wishers after being released from prison.

Abdulrahim Abby Farah chaired a special UN committee against apartheid which helped in the release of Nelson Mandela pictured here saluting well wishers after being released from prison in 1990.As Permanent Representative of Somalia to the UN he was an influential figure in peace envoys to the middle east and worked to end apartheid.During 25 years with the UN he was Undersecretary General from 1979-1990 and chaired a special committee against apartheid which helped in the release of Nelson Mandela.When Somalia declared independence in 1960 he became ambassador to Ethiopia before moving to the UN as permanent representative of Somalia. He was also Minister of Agriculture for the self declared state of Somaliland and its representative on the Organisation of African Unity.
From 1969 to 1972, the Barry-born diplomat was chairman of the UN Special Committee Against Apartheid, presiding over a special session of the United Nations Security Council in 1972.He also served as Somalia’s representative within the League of Arab States From 1979 to 1990 during which time he led several peace envoys, his family said.Abdulrahim’s great nephew Steve Khaireh himself such a successful community worker he was awarded an MBE, remembers him as a warm, unassuming man.“He did come back to visit and was last here in Barry two years ago,” says Steve.“He visited the community. He was very humble and straight forward and was always trying to encourage people.“In his job as a diplomat you do keep a low profile but he went all over the world on peace envoys. He was a big anti apartheid campaigner.“There is a sense of pride in the community for what he did. His funeral is being held in New York but we will be doing something in his memory here as well.”

He was once described as the “Barry Boy that helped free Mandela”. Welsh-born Somali diplomat Abdulrahim Abby Farah who has died at home in New York aged 98 worked tirelessly behind the scenes at the United Nations . His death has prompted tributes from around the world.The early 20th century was not the easiest time to be born a Somali Welshman in a terraced street in Barry, but Abdulrahim Abby Farah’s family stood out as high achievers as Wales struggled in the aftermath of World War One.Racism and poverty were issues for many in the community, but from the small local primary he attended Abdulrahim used education to change his destiny and that of others far beyond Wales.
Abdulrahim’s father Abby Farah, a Somali seaman, had crossed the world to work in Barry Docks in the late 19th century and set about becoming a community leader as well as encouraging his children’s studies.As a pupil at Gladstone Primary Abdulrahim did well and passed the 11-plus to attend Barry Grammar. From there he went on to study at Exeter College, Oxford before forging a career as diplomat for Somalia in the United Nations.

Nelson Mandela salutes well wishers after being released from prison.

Abdulrahim Abby Farah chaired a special UN committee against apartheid which helped in the release of Nelson Mandela pictured here saluting well wishers after being released from prison in 1990.As Permanent Representative of Somalia to the UN he was an influential figure in peace envoys to the middle east and worked to end apartheid.During 25 years with the UN he was Undersecretary General from 1979-1990 and chaired a special committee against apartheid which helped in the release of Nelson Mandela.When Somalia declared independence in 1960 he became ambassador to Ethiopia before moving to the UN as permanent representative of Somalia. He was also Minister of Agriculture for the self declared state of Somaliland and its representative on the Organisation of African Unity.
From 1969 to 1972, the Barry-born diplomat was chairman of the UN Special Committee Against Apartheid, presiding over a special session of the United Nations Security Council in 1972.He also served as Somalia’s representative within the League of Arab States From 1979 to 1990 during which time he led several peace envoys, his family said.Abdulrahim’s great nephew Steve Khaireh himself such a successful community worker he was awarded an MBE, remembers him as a warm, unassuming man.“He did come back to visit and was last here in Barry two years ago,” says Steve.“He visited the community. He was very humble and straight forward and was always trying to encourage people.“In his job as a diplomat you do keep a low profile but he went all over the world on peace envoys. He was a big anti apartheid campaigner.“There is a sense of pride in the community for what he did. His funeral is being held in New York but we will be doing something in his memory here as well.”

Abdulrahim’s great nephew Steve Khaireh was awarded an MBE for community

While tributes from around the world poured in on social media, with Cardiff community worker Ali Abdi led local tributes saying: “Very sad day for the Somali community. Abdulrahim Abby Farah was probably the most accomplished and decorated Somali diplomat.”The Vice President of the Republic of Somaliland Abdirahman Saylici paid tribute on Twitter saying: “Ambassador Abdulrahim was an outstanding and distinguished Diplomat from Somaliland. On behalf of Somaliland Government, I extend my deepest condolences to his family and friends. “While his job as a diplomat meant much of his work was necessarily done behind the scenes his efforts to help free Nelson Mandela were celebrated by the Vale CVS charity as part of Black History Month in 2014 when the charity described him as a “Barry Boy that helped free Mandela”.During decades of service as a diplomat and at the UN he did far more than that, but it is for this that he may be best remembered.He is survived by his five children and at least three siblings including his brother Brian Farah who still lives locally, said his great nephew Steve.And while his achievements on the global stage stand out, Steve points out that two of Abdulrahim’s other brothers also studied at Oxford University while his father also received a MBE.Abby was known as “Father” to colonial seamen who visited Cardiff, Barry and Newport as he was the first point of reference for seamen who sought advice when they arrived in Wales. He founded “Cardiff and Barry Coloured Society” and the Domino Youth Club in Barry. Abby also became the president of the Colonial Club in Barry and went on to manage the Colonial Club in Cardiff. He was awarded the MBE by King George VI for his war time services to seamen.As Steve says, it is a family story that ought to be told and a piece of local history that ought to be taught to children.

Radical right-wing populism in Europe, a threat to democracy?

Researcher and professor (FPU) in the Political Science Department of the University of Granada

In 2004, the political scientist Cas Mudde defined populism as the spirit of the time in Europe (The Populist Zeitgeist). A spirit that is additionally accompanied by strong nationalist, xenophobic and authoritarian sentiments. Focusing on Western Europe, the last elections have in effect confirmed that radical right-wing populism is consolidating itself, not only as a parliamentary force, but also as a real option of government. In October 2017, Austrian legislative elections put an end to the grand coalition formed by conservatives and social democrats, giving way to a coalition government between the conservatives and the Radical Right, the Freedom Party (FPÖ).

Marine le pen

In the presidential elections of the previous year, the FPÖ candidateNorbert Hofer was came a few tenths of a percentage point of being elected President of the Republic. In September 2017, the populist spirit also appeared in Germany: Alternative for Germany (AfD) managed to enter the federal legislature with 94 seats and 12.6% of the votes. In Norway, the September elections gave rise to a republication right-wing coalition that began in 2013 and which includes as a government member the radical right, the Progress Party (FrP).

In May, Marine Le Pen passed into the second round of the presidential elections in France, being the second most voted candidate. In the June legislative elections, the National Frontdropped some tenths of a percentage point with respect to the previous ones in 2012, but it managed to increase its parliamentary representation from two to eight seats. The June elections in the United Kingdom showed that the majority electoral system continues to act as an effective barrier against the Radical Right, keeping the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) out of Parliament (with the exception of the seat it won in 2015). However, institutional barriers have not prevented the UKIP from achieving the purpose that gave rise to its formation: the country’s exit from the European Union.

TO THE ASSAULT OF POWER

In March, the Freedom Party (PVV) consolidated itself as the second parliamentary force in the highly-fragmented Parliament of the Netherlands. In Switzerland, the federal elections of 2015 situated the Swiss People’s Party (SVP) as the first parliamentary force, a position it has held since 2003 and which ensures two seats in the country’s collegiate executive.

In Finland, the True Finns (PS) joined the executive after the 2015 elections, occupying such significant positions as Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Affairs, Defence, Justice and Employment, Social Affairs and Health.

In Denmark, the Danish People’s Party(DF) is the current second parliamentary force and leading party of the right-wing bloc in votes, acting as a parliamentary support for conservative governments. Sweden, meanwhile, ceased to be the Scandinavian exception in 2010 when the Swedish Democrats (SD) managed to enter Parliament with 20 seats, rising to 49 in 2014. Currently, the SD is the third parliamentary force in the country, but exclusion barrier that has extended the rest of the parties keeps them out of any government coalition. In Belgium, the same “exclusion barrier” practice has kept the Flemish interest (VB) away from the executive for years, which, together with the emergence of a Flemish nationalist force (NVA), has encouraged its electoral decline (although polls predict a strong recovery for it in the next elections).

Finally, and despite the unstable evolution of the Northern League (LN), the party has managed to maintain considerable parliamentary representation since its founding in the early 90s. The League has been a member of the Berlusconigovernments and everything points to the coalition of the Right being reinstated in the next elections. As we can see, the Radical Right has consolidated itself in most Western European countries, with the exception of Spain, Portugal and Ireland where the great recession has given impetus to left-wing populism.

In Greece, populism has also appeared on the Left, given that, in the case of Golden Dawn, they would be a better fit as the old Far Right.

To understand why radical right-wing populism has consolidated itself as an increasingly viable alternative government in European party systems, it is worth mentioning, first of all, the effort to adapt these political formations to contemporary democracies. In this way, and before the development of democracies in the continent after The Second World War, the anti-democratic and Far-Right forces linked to fascism and Nazism were totally delegitimized as regards public opinion and, consequently were without the real possibility to access political power. Since then, the Radical Right’s new formations have made an effort to present a more respectable profile, stripping themselves of any extremist and anti-democratic features that would identify them as a threat to democracy (which in some countries might even be illegal).

WITH A FRIENDLIER FACE

Specifically, the radical right-wing formations have tried to leave behind the postulates of biologicist racism (which affirms the superiority of some races over others) and the frontal opposition to democracy, evolving into a cultural or differentialist racism (which affirms the irreducibility of cultural differences) and a plebiscitary policy. In this way, the success of the contemporary Radical Right resides in the adoption of a more “friendly” face that combines populism, nativism (a mixture of nationalism and xenophobia) and a certain authoritarianism vis-à-vis the old openly anti-democratic Far Right, racist and linked to fascist and Nazi organisations.

Swedish Democrats serve as a recent example of a formation that has tried to free itself from the stigma of extremist inclination to move towards a populist and nativist one, following the classic example of the National Front.

The Swedish formation, founded in 1988, has its roots in Swedish fascism, with something of an overlap between the party and some Nazi and fascist groups. Thus, and until 2010, this extremist stigma had prevented them from surpassing the 4% electoral barrier, making Sweden the Scandinavian exception. This is why the party has tried to find a more respectable profile gradually: in 1996, the management prohibited the use of military uniforms by its members; in 1999, they explicitly condemned Nazism after the murder of some police officers and a trade unionist at the hands of criminals linked to Nazi movements; in 2003, they pronounced that the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights would be a cornerstone in their policies; and in 2005, they changed the party logo, going from a burning torch to a nice blue daisy. Since then, they have enjoyed an increasing electoral trend, to become the third parliamentary force in the country.

Secondly, the success of these formations is also due to the structural changes that western societies have undergone in the previous decades and that have generated a demand in the electorate favourable to populist ideas in general, and in particular, to the populist ideas of the Radical Right. On one hand, the post-industrialization process has brought about great changes in the electorate’s attitudes, such as the decline of the class vote and party identification that has translated into greater volatility, greater distrust towards the traditional parties and a more critical attitude towards them.

On the other hand, the processes linked to globalisation, and in our case, European integration, have opened a new fracture in the electorate that has greatly favoured the Radical Right populisms. This fracture of demarcation vs. integration (in terms of Kriesi) or of protectionism vs. cosmopolitanism, has given strength to the cultural dimension of politics, putting at the centre of the debate questions such as the protection of the national culture and the defence of the nation against elements considered threatening, such as immigration and multiculturalism. However, we could say that these structural changes are shared by western democracies, which a priori would not explain the electoral differences between countries.

A DANGER TO DEMOCRACY?

This is where the national characteristics that make up different structures of political opportunities for the new political forces come into play. Institutional aspects such as the proportionality of electoral systems or the possibility of participation through mechanisms of direct democracy, on one hand; and aspects of party competition, such as the convergence in the ideological centre of the majority parties or the formation of large coalitions, on the other; they form more favourable structures for this type of formations.

Periods of crisis, whether economic, national security, or migratory (to cite only a few), have proven to be fertile ground for populist discourses.

Finally, the question in a million we have to ask ourselves: do these formations that have adopted nice margaritas as a logo pose a real threat to democracy? Yes and no. Let’s start with the no. A priori, they do not constitute a threat to democracy if we reduce it to a simple decision-making mechanism by the majority. On the contrary, if we understand it as a more complex regime that combines majority government with mechanisms of power limitation and the protection of the rights and freedoms of individuals and minorities -democracy in its liberal and constitutional interpretation-, without a doubt radical Right populisms signify a threat to it.

To understand in what sense they pose a threat, we need to mention at least briefly the ideological aspects of these formations. Accordingly, we could summarize the central ideology in three Radical Right populist elements: nativism (a combination of nationalism and xenophobia), authoritarianism (maximum respect for the authorities and prioritising security over freedom) and populism (elitism and radicalization of popular sovereignty). The first two elements are the ones that would differentiate the Radical Right (exclusionary ) populisms from the left (inclusionary) populisms.

THE PRINCIPLE OF MAJORITY, EXTREME

Starting with their own home-grown elements, nativism combined with authoritarianism is a frontal challenge to the liberal character of European democracies, particularly as regards the protection minorities’ rights (they would place the welfare of the nation above those of minority groups) and of individuals (they would place national security before certain freedoms and individual rights). The populist element, which in its most extreme forms defends the supremacy of popular power over even the law and constitutional frameworks, is a frontal challenge to the idea of limiting power, a limitation that inspired the design of our democracies. In other words, these formations would combine these three elements to legitimize democratically (“if the majority wants it..”.) their exclusive and authoritarian positions.

An example of how a radical right-wing populist party operates in practice would be the Swiss People’s Party (SVP). In its electoral programmes it affirms openly that the will of the Swiss people expressed by any mechanism of direct democracy cannot be limited or modified by the law or by the Constitution. This argument allows them to attack fiercely -and on the people’s behalf- whatever judges, parties or any other institution, which tries to limit or not implement the measures approved by referendum (such as, for example, the prohibition of minarets or the establishment of quotas of immigrants that contravene bilateral agreements with the European Union).

As such, they defend a democratic model that understands the principle of majority in its most extreme form, one that puts security before freedom, and that has to be constituted exclusively by the elements (people and ideas) native to the nation

Raila and Uhuru’s handshakes no longer about peace and prosperity, but a threat to our devolved units

By Abu Shaahid

 

In 2010, when then-coalition government ratified and inaugurated the new constitution (2010) which gave new hope and anticipation of a rebirth of a new country, decentralizations of self governance as well as widening of our local democratic space.
At the time Raila Odinga was hailed the sol guardian of this rebirth second liberation of Kenya. His was dubbed countrywide as the father of devolution, all his efforts and moves were described as “a massive devolutionary moments for Kenya since independence”, until after the so called handshake with president Uhuru Kenyatta.

Who would have predicted the handshake between Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga, and Kenya’s ten years of devolution gains would so quickly degenerate into a sterile debate about constitutional reorganisation and dilution of the county systems?

The Unveiling of the fourteen people technical team by the executive and the opposition leader, whose mandate were allegedly as put in the terms of reference (which was not unveiled fully yet) and a raft of reorganisation proposals submitted by ODM Party to executive and the two legislatives arms Senate and National Assembly, among the proposal put forward are the two contentious issues

1. Constitutional amendments to create three tier systems of executives, to cap the presidential power, alternate it with parliamentary democracy and
2. Reorganisation of county system to a regional blocks, in my opinion it is a selfish to indicate that the apparent default solution to the troubled County is going through i.e. corruption, financial misappropriations, incompetence and low Tax contributions, is to reorganise counties and centralised them to regional blocks and administered centrally.

These are dangerous obsessions based on the idea that fewer counties a and larger regional blocks would save money and that regional blocks would lead to more efficient, less corruption, more effective and cheaper decentralised government. But there is about 40 years of academic research to indicate that reorganisation and larger regional blocks is no guarantee of improvements in performance, cost or efficiency. The research also consistently shows that making sub regional umbrella bigger has a negative effect on local democracy.

In the case of ODM proposal, the most worrying aspect of Raila and ODM’s ambition is the belief that reorganising of the county devolved unit structure into 14 fourteen regional blocks– rather than the existing structure of a devolved unit, would solve the problem. There is little evidence to justify regionalisation of devolution, it never worked for Brazil or South Africa and it wouldn’t work for kenya.

Counties and devolved units have represented real places with which local people identify. Who would identify with regional authority called North Eastern Corridor? Or Western regional? Mandera County, Wajir county or Garissa County or Kakamega or Uasin Gishu county are all more plausible reflections of community identity.

Reducing the number of Counties and representations has become an unstated policy objective of Mount Kenya politician. In 1979 KANU administration strengthened centralisation of governance through reorganisations, Jubilee and ODM are taking a gradual approach to recreating the return to former provincial administration in Kenya. Political immaturity is certainly a push, as financial misappropriations raise again the idea that savings and improvements in efficiency and effectiveness can come from centralised blocks– despite the lack of consistent evidence.

The idea of decreasing counties size leaves unanswered the question of what would happen if the next so called bigger regional blocks experiences a budgetary crisis, corruption, mismanagement, and incompetencies, Jubilee and Opposition parties should work together to strengthen devolution rather than breaking it.
The way devolution is defined is too important to be decided by politicians alone or by some people with vested electoral interests?
Small Government and Financial efficiency is important, but so, too, are community identity, the preferences of local people at mashinani and the number of representations. County government structural change or constitutional amendment is not a solution – it simply makes the “Mashinani” in Mashinani more of a misnomer.

Cameron cautions against rush to elections in fragile nations

Former PM says it can be a mistake to push for western-style Democracy.

David Cameron: 'We have overloaded [fragile countries] with our own unachievable priorities, rather then focusing on a few simple things like security and economics' © AFP

By Laura Hughes.

It can be a mistake to push fragile countries into “winner take all” democratic elections, said David Cameron, ahead of a new report that seeks to turn long-held assumptions about foreign interventions “entirely on their head”.

He said that “building the blocks of democracy” was more important than “the act of holding elections themselves”.

Mr Cameron said there was a “total lack of realism” among developed countries and donors when it comes to assisting countries blighted by economic failure and conflict.

He pointed out that a number of fragile states such as Burundi and Somalia are in fact poorer today than they were 40 years ago, despite decades of foreign aid.

“We have overloaded [fragile countries] with our own unachievable priorities, rather then focusing on a few simple things like security and economics,” he said.

“I am a convinced democrat, but the truth is that in too many countries, particularly when they’re recovering from conflict, there has been a rush to multi-party elections.”

Mr Cameron made the comments ahead of the launch of a report by the LSE-University of Oxford commission on State Fragility, Growth and Development, of which he is chair.

Governments based on power-sharing, such as that in Afghanistan, offer the most viable path to peace © Reuters

The report criticised the “standard short-term strategy” of seeking to build the institutions of western democracy “immediately” and “insisting on early elections”.

“This impedes power sharing: since elections produce a winner and a loser, any power-sharing is seen as transient,” it said.

When societies are riven by deep identity divisions, the report argues this strategy inevitably fails.

“Inadvertently, the international community has arrived at a strategy of insisting that a fragile society much hold an election, and then insisting that it should not count the votes,” it added.

Instead, it suggested that inclusive governments based on power-sharing offer the most viable path to peace in countries experiencing open conflict, such as Libya, Yemen and Afghanistan.

“I think we will be accused of being anti-election, but that is not what we are saying,” Mr Cameron said. “We are saying you have to take time and it might be quite a lot of time. It’s quite hard to find examples where early elections have helped to drive change.”

Mr Cameron instead called for international players to spend more time and effort on the political settlement, power-sharing, and dealing with the fundamental conflicts at the heart of each individual country.

“A provisional government is sometimes the better option than rushing to multi-party elections,” he said.

“The very act of telling them what our priorities and policy ideas are has actually undermined these countries’ own institutions, which ultimately must be the things that we help these fragile states to build themselves up.

“What we ought to be saying is ‘you produce your plan’, we will back your plan, but we will replace policy conditions with governance conditions,” Mr Cameron said. “If the money we give you is wasted and if there isn’t a clear audit trail you won’t get any more.

My Journey to Kellogg College

Hamse Abdilahi

Hamse Abdilahi is a Somali community activist and writer. He is a postgraduate student at Kellogg College, University of Oxford, studying for an MSc in Sustainable Urban Development. Here he tells us about his childhood in Somaliland and he shares ten lessons which he learnt on his way to being accepted to study at the University of Oxford.

Hamse is also former Mandela Washington Fellow at the University of Delaware and a former Chevening Scholar at Bristol University.

I watched the majestic sight of sunrise from my half-empty Oxford-bound train window. Trying to figure out how my long educational journey culminated to that very dawn, I had a deep sense of appreciation for the great people who helped me along the way. The train’s automatic voice kept calling out the various stops it made along the Bristol-Oxford route. Even the cold October morning couldn’t dent my excitement to report to Oxford University for my course registration. As the train reached my destination, I grabbed my luggage and headed out of the small but otherwise packed train station. I patiently waited for a taxi at the parking space outside and it didn’t take long when a black taxi arrived. ‘Where?’ asked the taxi driver. ‘Kellogg College’ I answered.’ ‘Oh Kellogg’ smiled the taxi driver implying his familiarity with my destination.

At Kellogg College, I grabbed a cup of coffee and a biscuit. Students, dressed in black gown and hat, a white shirt and bow tie, continued to gather at the college for the matriculation day. Matriculation is an elaborate ceremony and an old Oxford tradition which is normally done in the first week of the Michaelmas Term – the first term according to the Oxford language. It is the last step of the University’s long and rigorous admission process where students are formally admitted to the various colleges they were accepted to. We marched to the Sheldonian Theatre where the Vice Chancellor read a centuries-old brief speech in Latin and English welcoming students to the university and wishing them a successful life. We then marched back to Kellogg for a group photo, lunch and conversations with students and college staff over tea. Despite the long day, it was a sigh of relief for me, for I was finally and officially an Oxford University student and a proud member of Kellogg College. But my pride was tempered by humility because of my very humble background.

Kellogg College is Oxford University’s largest college by student size and the most international of all of Oxford University’s 38 colleges. A college does not mean a department or a faculty as many would expect, but rather an autonomous and self-governing corporation within the university. It is like a government within a government. The collegiate system entails that all teaching staff and students must belong to one of the colleges. Colleges have substantial amount of responsibilities which include administering houses of residence and tutorials. A typical Oxford college would comprise of a dining hall, a chapel, a library, a college bar, postgraduate and junior common rooms, lodgings for the dons etc. However, the university departments run the traditional tasks such as organising lectures, examinations, laboratories and central libraries.

My long journey to Kellogg College wasn’t all rosy. Raised by my maternal grandmother, I started school in a roofless building in Hargeisa in the early nineties. The city suffered a complete and spectacular devastation in the Somalia civil war. Occasionally, on my way back from school, I would come across people bleeding profusely after their legs were blown off by mines. I watched them helplessly as they were carried away on to the back of truck to be transferred to the nearest hospital which had little or no medical supplies. ‘Maybe I would help them when I grow up’ I would console myself and head home. The roofless school was short-lived as another civil war broke out forcing us to leave the town. Luckily, in several months, the war stopped, and my schooling was never interrupted again. This, however, was not the case in southern Somalia, where the conflict has endured and lasted to date.

The secessionist agenda which Somaliland pursued following the seemingly irreversible state collapse in Somalia has had the most dramatic effect on me and my generation. In one way, it spared us from the violence that consumed the rest of Somalia, but it also left us in an awkward situation. The idea of living in an internationally unrecognised state is unusual. There are only a little over a dozen unrecognised or de facto states in the world. Lacking official international recognition means that there are no diplomatic missions in the country, you can’t travel outside the country since you lack a valid and recognised passport, the government cannot go into formal trade deal nor binding international agreements with other nations and international organisations. In other words, you are stuck, the country is stuck, and everybody is stuck. And ever since, the country grappled with poverty and painstaking state building in the face of international diplomatic isolation. Lacking in infrastructure and near non-existent public services compounded the austere life in Somaliland. Working hard in school was the key to escaping not only the poverty but also breaking free from the shackles of that diplomatic ‘cage’. Despite such circumstances, I feel fortunate that both my undergrad and postgrad studies came through a merit-based scholarship all of which were competed nationally.

How did you end up at Oxford? Did you ever imagine going to Oxford? These are the common questions people ask me every time. Of course, I imagined being at Oxford, but I can’t point out a single factor which I can single-handedly attribute to my acceptance to Oxford. My life was a product of hard work, but also of luck, like meeting the right people who believed in me at the right time, giving me opportunity at the right time, all of whom were important in the trajectory I had over the years. My fundamental being hasn’t shifted after my acceptance to Oxford. I am still the same person.

Below are ten key lessons which I picked up along the way and through them you can understand the principles that sustained me during my journey to Oxford.

1 Master your English

Very early on, I understood that if I want to be successful in my studies, I have to master the English language. But having a good command of the English language wasn’t easy. English is my third language. Arabic was the medium of instruction in my primary school. Somali was the only language spoken at home, in the local media and in the wider society. As I progressed to high school, an afternoon English tuition class greatly helped me. I started to read English grammar books to improve my English. But it was my avid listening to the BBC World Service radio which proved most crucial in improving my English. The BBC radio programs also significantly improved my understanding of the world, my thinking horizon and my perspective on many global issues. The level of one’s English affects the quality of writing and the effectiveness of communication with people, all of which are critical in achieving success. Having good English has a bigger significance than a simple communication in today’s world. Most academic books are written in English, many of the best universities in the world are in English-speaking countries of the Western world, the world’s two biggest financial capitals are in English speaking countries and most international organisations have English as their medium of communication. I am also aware that I come from a British colony and I resent the English colonisation of my homeland, but I am also aware that English is key in navigating the current world order which, I believe, is not going to change anytime soon at least in my lifetime. I think there is nothing wrong with learning your former colonial master’s language and use it to your own advantage. As I passed by the Oxford English Centre one afternoon, it reminded me the Oxford English Dictionary, the world’s most trusted English dictionary. I held the Oxford dictionary in high esteem as it helped me greatly when I was an English language student.

2 Focus, aim for the best and believe that you are meant and destined for greatness

Focus as you plan to the end. But aim for the best and for the highest. According to most studies, great people and historic figures led normal lives before they took a dramatic decision at various times in their lifetime which made them great. Many of them did after the age of forty while others did it considerably later in their lifetime. This means that anybody can achieve greatness anytime in their lifetime. I want to be great for a great cause. But greatness can come in many forms. From a meaningful community service and empowering the girl child to freeing your people from the shackles of poverty and destitution and fighting environmental degradation, the opportunities to be great are endless. A genuine belief that you can be great and that you should do great things must underpin one’s own view in life. This is important because it affects your day-to-day decisions and priorities in life. Believing you are destined for greatness affects the way you conduct yourself and prevents you from bad behaviour such as political corruption.

3 Build your confidence to the level of believing you are the best in the world

Many people often ask me where I got that confidence. Again, it is a difficult answer. I wasn’t a confident person all my life. I have got my own insecurities and uncertainties. In my early years in school, I was shy and unable to speak before class. But I strove not to let them undermine my confidence to the level that I would believe that someone else can do better than I could. Today, I am invited to speak before many people. Confidence can be grown. But how does someone build his/her confidence? This is the million-dollar question. My answer is simple though controversial- first believe you are the best in the world in your respective field or area of interest. I won’t be apologetic on this point however absurd it may sound to many people. But one cannot be good on everything. Instead you’ve to identify a particular area of interest. You’ve to believe that you have the potential to be the best in that area. You also need to voraciously read about that field, contact the leading scholars in the field, chat with them, keep up with the latest literature, critique the direction of the current debate and come up with an original hypothesis or scientific discovery if you are in scientific research field. Overconfidence shouldn’t lead you to arrogance and close-mindedness, but be dynamic and open to change when facts against your position pile up. Be open to learn, but deep inside, believe you are the best while not uttering it publicly.

4 Genuinely acknowledge your biggest fear

My biggest fear in life wasn’t a financial or a political career failure; it was simply leading an unremarkable life and dying in obscurity. To be honest, I haven’t publicly shared it before, but I know it is my biggest fear. I always wanted to leave behind a meaningful legacy for my people and the world. I have always had a deep disdain for mediocrity. While I am not sure what that legacy would turn out in the end or whether I would even live long enough to see it or make it, but it is my hope that it would be profound. It is this very fear that drives me every day to move ahead so that I can stay ahead.

5 Develop a fierce competitive spirit

My competitive nature started largely with working hard to perform well in school, but it stayed with me right through to adulthood. Later in life, it became instrumental in motivating me to compete for more important matters in life than finishing top in class. A competition for a job, a scholarship or a cash grant would motivate me and I would put all my effort to win it. If I won it, it felt exhilarating, when I failed to get it, I would attribute it to my approach to the competition but not to my ability. I hardly took it personally or lost momentum. And I would most likely run again for the same thing or run for a bigger job, a better scholarship or larger grant, and most likely I would land on one. For example, when I first applied to Oxford University, my application was rejected. I had two options then: to give up my pursuit for a place at Oxford and believe that maybe I am not an Oxford university material because I am not white and rich, or to refine my application and apply for a slightly different course in a different department, which I did. When I submitted my second application, in less than a week, I was invited to an interview by the university which was successful. So, my lesson is if you lose a competition, don’t take it personally, but blame your approach to the competition, revisit it and run again, chances are that you will nail it this time and harder. You will finally reach a stage where you will enjoy any competition regardless of winning a trophy. Some competitions and applications cost money. Don’t be too mean and withhold a small entry or application fee. I often see people who can’t take a small financial risk to go for a big prize. My advice is don’t be mean. You’ve to financially stretch yourself to go places. Also you’ve to push the boundaries and prove your critics wrong. Don’t just settle for a good job and a place at university, go for the best job, create the best business, aim to join the best university, meet the best people. In other words, push the boundaries and more importantly prove your critics wrong. There is nothing that gives me more pleasure and satisfaction than not only proving my critics wrong but also very wrong. When I had the car accident and during the lengthy hospitalisation that ensued, many people wrote me off. I did my best to prove them wrong. When I left the hospital, I was a changed man. Since then, I went back to work, travelled to New York, London and Moscow without carrying a North American or European passport. I had the opportunity to shake hands with President Obama in Washington D.C in 2015. I won a postgraduate British scholarship, I got accepted to Oxford, and more importantly I got married to the love of my life whom I am happily living with in the UK. I am not listing my progress to boast about it, but I am sure they utterly surprised my critics.

6 Believe that you can rise above the circumstance of your birth

Coming from Somaliland isn’t only coming from a place ranked bottom of the international socio-economic index. It simply does not exist on the world map. If you complain of coming from a poor country, I complain of coming from a country that doesn’t officially exist where you feel an outsider to the world order. If you complain of living in a city council house and live on state benefits, I never saw a welfare state in my life. If you complain of going to poor schools in poor neighbourhoods, I went to a roofless school and I suppose yours had some roof at least. If you complain about belonging to a patriarchal society, I too had my first female teacher in college. But when you rise above such circumstances, don’t just appear in the media and criticize your community wholesale as many people do. Instead, go to the grass root level, talk to the people and change your society from within and help them be more forward thinking so that they embrace positive change.

7 Be open-minded

I grew up in a homogenous society where everybody looked like me, spoke the same language and belonged to the same faith. I struggled to be an open-minded person. Getting rid of certain prejudices wasn’t easy. But finally, I like to believe that I did away with them or at least most of them. I like to engage with people, have simple conversations, ask them about their countries’ culture and history. After every discussion, I realise how we, as humans, are astonishingly similar in our emotions, psychology and aspirations.

8 Use your background to your own advantage and work twice harder

If you are the only black person in a predominantly white institution or the only woman in an all-male workforce or the only disabled person in all-able-bodied environment, use that to your own advantage. When I was interviewed for my UK postgraduate course by a British diplomat in Hargeisa in 2016, she asked me why I chose to do MSc in Public Policy at Bristol University. I told her that I trained to be a clinician in my undergraduate degree but shortly after leaving medical college and a few months into my medical practice, I was involved in a car accident and I spent many months in hospital, and that the accident made me experience both sides of care. I also told her that I came to understand to importance of having efficient public service such as health care and education and that is why I wanted to do MSc in Public Policy. ‘I want to make our government efficient’ I told her. ‘Ok, got it’ nodded the apparently convinced diplomat, and in a couple of months, she sent me the acceptance letter to come to the UK and do my course at Bristol University. In this example, I used the accident, a tragic moment in my life, to my own advantage and it worked.

9 Believe there are better days ahead and seize the opportunity very early

My life has seen its fair share of adversity from poverty and displacement to physical pain and lengthy hospitalisation and most of them in childhood and at the prime of my youth. I have always had a deep sense of belief that it is not yet over and that there is a better day ahead. I don’t mean that I am a tough man and that I can overcome any a serious challenge that life throws at me, but I strive to be optimistic about life. There are many times that I feel blue. I often get rejections to my applications which also disappoint me. As humans, we are emotional beings. There is nothing wrong with feeling sad, angry and depressed in certain situations, but continue to believe there is a great day ahead of you. Such belief must be grounded on unwavering hope that there is not only a better day ahead, but also a much better day. Seizing opportunities is also crucial. Some opportunities come and go like a flock of birds and sometimes never to return. For example, when I came back from America after finishing my summer fellowship at the University of Delaware, I understood it was the right moment for applying for an overseas postgraduate scholarship. Also, when I finished my masters at Bristol University, I knew this was the right moment to apply for my dream university – Oxford. It is crucial that someone recognises these opportunities as they pass, and never let them slip away, for we live in a very competitive world as one needs to outsmart his counterpart.

10 Don’t be intimidated by the disempowering statistics and big names

As joining Oxford was always a childhood dream, I used to read the news and reports about Oxford University. But most of the reports demotivated me. For example, I read that 42 out of the 56 UK prime ministers went to Oxbridge universities- Oxford and Cambridge with Oxford’s Christ Church College producing 13 UK prime ministers, more than any other Oxbridge college. The two universities have also produced many world leaders such as Bill Clinton and Australia’s Tony Abbott. Most UK members of parliament, most high-profile BBC journalists, most UK cabinet members, most CEOs of companies went to Oxbridge. Even the Governor of the Bank of England went to Oxford. These staggering statistics demonstrated the class culture entrenched in the English society of which I do not belong. But I kept believing that I can defy this culture and still go to Oxford. So, when you are told to lower your expectation because of your background, don’t bow to that. Never believe in a disempowering statistic or data.

After its sham election, Kenya can do better. And so can we