As evidence of climate change and mass extinctions becomes ever harder to ignore, a new tide of eco-activism is making waves. Schoolchildren across the world have been coming out on strike, with Swedish student climate activist Greta Thunberg meeting Pope Francis this week. Meanwhile, a movement calling itself Extinction Rebellion continues to occupy key locations in central London and elsewhere, stopping traffic, gluing themselves to things, even smashing the occasional oil company window. Their message is clear – they want action on climate change and they want it now. But the answers are not simple, and the approach can be divisive. So what are the best tactics and strategies for such an epic fight? Is the latest wave just a western phenomenon, or are the developing countries most at risk from climate change also on board? How important are arguments about social justice, and human rights? Are governments actually paying attention? And what lessons have been learnt from the eco-warriors of the past?
Ritula Shah is joined by a panel of activists and experts to discuss the new green activism.
Has Brexit broken UK politics?
Has what’s happened since the Brexit referendum revealed serious problems with the way the UK is governed? Was the big mistake to have a referendum on such a complex issue in the first place, challenging the sovereignty of parliament and our representative system? Are UK politicians ignorant of the art of compromise, and if so, would proportional representation change the political culture? Do there need to be reforms, even a written constitution? Or is the problem not the system, but the failures of a few key people to understand the rules?
Paul Henley is joined by a panel to discuss the UK's constitutional crisis.
Picture: Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow during a debate on the second reading of the European Union Withdrawal (No. 5) Bill, April 3, 2019. Credit: Mark Duffy/AFP/Getty Images
Has the International Criminal Court failed?
Since the inception of the ICC 20 years ago it has been controversial. Supporters see it as a guarantor of justice, ready to step in when states are unable or unwilling to prosecute crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes. But to many the Court has now fallen from grace, having spent an estimated $1.7 bn but secured only three convictions for core crimes. The superpowers still show no signs of joining – with the US recently imposing sanctions on officials after the Prosecutor began examining US actions in Afghanistan. So is the ICC just on a long learning curve, at a time when support for multilateral institutions is on the wane? Will the Court ever convict sitting leaders, or citizens of powerful states? Has it already dangerously overextended itself? And if it has failed in its own terms to address impunity, can and should it survive?
Ritula Shah is joined by a panel to discuss the health of the International Criminal Court.
Picture: Fatou Bensouda, the ICC prosecutor. Credit: Reuters.
What’s at stake in India’s election?
Battle lines have been drawn, alliances are being firmed up, and the electoral machine has kicked into action. With over 900 million eligible voters, the 2019 parliamentary elections in India will be the biggest exercise of democracy in the world. Voting will begin on 11 April and will be held in seven stages across India’s 29 states.
Five years ago, the Hindu nationalist BJP won its first ever landslide victory, but can Narendra Modi’s party win again this time? The BJP says it is the party of economic success and national security, but it has also been widely accused of unleashing ethnic tensions and restricting human rights. The main opposition Congress party has accused the BJP of destroying India’s secular ideals, and say this vote is a battle for India’s soul. So what is at stake in India’s election? Ritula Shah is joined by a panel to discuss the challenges and choices facing India in this election year.
Photo: Boy holding an Indian flag. Crediti: Saikat Paul/Pacific Press/LightRocket/Getty Images)
Who are the far-right extremists?
The terror attack on Muslims worshipping in Christchurch, New Zealand has focused minds around the world on the threat from racist far-right extremists. The man responsible cited influences from the US and UK among others, and claimed to be motivated by white supremacist ideas. So, who are these extremists? What do they believe and why? And what role might politics and media play in planting the roots of extremism in society? Ritula Shah is joined by a panel of experts to discuss the nature and challenge of far-right extremism.
(Photo: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern hugs a female member of the Muslim community in Christchurch, 16 March 2019. Credit: Boris Jancic/European Photopress Agency)