Democracy should start this minute

Where are the women? I have been devoting a great deal of time to the EU referendum debate and have noted that the tone is harsh, full of ad hominem attacks and straw men. I have been trying to advocate constructive dialogue rather than point-scoring debate. I am also aware that the raw anger in…

Head or heart?

A constant refrain in the EU referendum debate from potential voters has been that they feel ill-informed. Without wishing to sound rude, I think they might be right. And this lack of knowledge is not going to be fixed by a glossy leaflet or even a couple of feature-length articles in a newspaper (even assuming…

Post-referendum accord

Most people seem to realise that the tone of the EU referendum campaign has been harsh so far. This is why in both the 4 week course and the mini course I organised on the topic of the referendum, I included some guidelines on using dialogue rather than debate. And some commentary has just been…

Trying to dialogue

It is very hard to switch from point-scoring debate to constructive dialogue! Especially in politics where feelings run high. But if the aim is to convince opponents to switch sides then although the probability is remote, it is even more remote if the tone is disrespectful, accusatory and negative. I have previously set out the…

Britain: Leading not leaving

This is the title of a new book by Gordon Brown which makes the case for Britain to stay in the EU. A digital version will set you back about ¬£3. My reading list tends to those who can put their point across with respect. On the Leave side I have read Roger Bootle’s “The…

My democratic journey

I have no vote in UK elections therefore was not entitled to vote in the recent EU referendum even though the result of that vote had the potential to drastically alter my life as a British expat based elsewhere in the EU. I was therefore on the side of Remain but what could I do…

Don’t mention the S-word!

On April 18th I wrote: One thing which you can talk about in Denmark but which you can’t in the UK is the issue of making decisions on the basis of a wider social solidarity. The anti-EU movement in Denmark is born out of fear of losing the solidarity of high environmental and worker safeguards…

EU: a brake on democracy?

The intellectual arm of the Leave campaign seems to be focused on the issue of democracy. Articles such as this one emphasise the democratic deficit aspect of the EU in the UK. More than this, the article paints a very dull and sclerotic picture of democracy in the UK which would flourish only if the…

The EU Twitter Challenge

Get ready for the EU referendum by taking this series of Twitter Challenges. Follow me on Twitter @foxdenuk and take a series of challenges. We start on Monday 23rd May. There will be 10 challenges with a few bonus challenges if events warrant it. Meet the challenge by replying to my tweets with your answers….

More dialogue please!

According to an analysis of the ¬†online debate about the UK referendum on the EU, the two opposing sides are only talking to their followers and not engaging with each other. When you only talk to like-minded people, you tend to dehumanise the other side and the tone gets worse and worse. And I must…

Dialogue as a way forward

Did you know there was a difference between debate and dialogue? In debates you are usually trying to score points off your opponent and win the debate, whereas in dialogue you are trying to build your own understanding by building bridges to the contribution made by the other person in the discussion.