Friday, 30 June 2017

Germany’s late but welcome turn on gay marriage

Merkel’s decision to allow same sex marriage is a calculated political move ahead of the election. 

For several years, Germany has seemed like a strange anomaly in Western Europe on one of the key cultural issues of the modern era. 

As country after country passed gay marriage in Europe and the Americas, Germany held out

On the gay marriage map of Europe, a wave of dark blue came rushing in from the West. Starting with The Netherlands and Belgium in 2001, countries adopted full gay marriage. 

The most surprising development came in 2015, when the Irish voted in a referendum to allow gay marriage - the first country to do so by public vote. Long known as a conservative country dominated by the Catholic church, it was a chance for the country to demonstrate just how much it has changed over the past three decades. 

But meanwhile in central Europe, everything remained frozen.

Friday, 9 June 2017

So where does this leave Brexit?

Theresa May scored an own goal with her disastrous decision to call a snap UK election, but her humiliating defeat was not a plea from the public to stay in the EU. 

When Theresa May called a snap election in April, it was a nakedly opportunistic move. 

The opposition Labour Party was in disarray, 20 points behind the Conservatives in the polls. Their leader, Jeremy Corbyn, did not command the loyalty of his MPs and had only held on to his position because of grassroots support. 

The UK Independence Party essentially had no raison d'etre any more. The one-issue party had gotten their wish - Britain was leaving the EU. The Scottish National Party looked to be in trouble in Scotland as well. May saw an opportunity to hoover up Labour, UKIP and SNP votes and give her perhaps the largest majority in UK history - making the country effectively a one-party state. It would be a big improvement from her existing situation, having inherited a razor-thin majority government from David Cameron.