the left party: three key strengths — and an uphill task

This is the first in a series of blog posts on Germany’s approaching General Election (Bundestagswahl) and the implications for my research. Anyone who knows me personally and/or reads this blog will also know that the Left Party (Die Linke) is ‘my’ subject — so I’m starting things off with an overview of the party’s … Continue reading the left party: three key strengths — and an uphill task

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reconnecting and looking ahead

(research notebook) The only downside of returning after three weeks’ complete break (and I'm honestly not complaining) is the mountain of work demanding your immediate attention. Which is why, after a truly brilliant time in Canada and with January rapidly slipping away, all I’ve managed to blog so far is this update and outlook. But there’s plenty … Continue reading reconnecting and looking ahead

lines in the sand: greens and the progressive alliance

The recent parliamentary by-election turned out to be something of a game changer. Not only did the Lib Dems defeat Tory-turned-‘independent’ Zac Goldsmith, but the Greens, by deciding to stand aside, demonstrated how a Progressive Alliance might work in practice. The idea is that parties with a broadly progressive policy agenda set aside their differences to strategically … Continue reading lines in the sand: greens and the progressive alliance

a healing process: labour’s future (conference report)

‘Political renewal and the future of Labour’. This was the title of a recent conference convened by Labour Together, bringing various groups and interests within the Labour movement together for the first time to exchange and explore ideas in a common space. The conference aimed to initiate discussion: how should Labour ‘rediscover its sense of historic … Continue reading a healing process: labour’s future (conference report)

left, right and party ‘cartels’

Following five German regional elections this year, there’s now a bit of a breather. Needless to say there’s been plenty of analysis, not least on TV talk shows, with guests from various parties chewing over what it all means. Beyond the percentages, plusses and minuses, something that’s really caught my attention is a renewed focus … Continue reading left, right and party ‘cartels’

germany’s shifting political landscape — part two: what’s next for the left party?

Another weekend, another German regional election, this time in Berlin. And in stark contrast to the recent outcome in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (MV), the Berlin Senate result gave a much-needed boost to the Left Party. But some trends are still worrying: in both elections, waged workers supported the right-wing populist AfD over the democratic socialists; and unlike the … Continue reading germany’s shifting political landscape — part two: what’s next for the left party?

germany’s shifting political landscape — part one: the election shock

Sunday’s regional election in the northeastern state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (MV) saw the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (Alternativ für Deutschland - AfD) make significant gains. Not a complete surprise, but shocking nonetheless. The party — which didn’t even exist at the last MV election — is now the second largest in the state (20.8%), behind … Continue reading germany’s shifting political landscape — part one: the election shock

electoral reform: time for a sense of proportion

Electoral systems aren’t sexy. But we’re hearing more and more about them. In the UK and in Canada, debates are taking place about alternatives to the First Past the Post (FPTP) majoritarian system. This blog looks at one of those alternatives — Mixed Member Proportional Representation (MMP) — and answers some common questions and concerns, … Continue reading electoral reform: time for a sense of proportion

the faces of labour’s leadership conflict (part two)

This is the second of two posts offering a theory-based interpretation of the current Labour leadership crisis. Part One set out the various faces of the party — the party in office/parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) and the grassroots membership and activists (party on the ground) — and how Jeremy Corbyn’s election as leader has upset … Continue reading the faces of labour’s leadership conflict (part two)

a progressive alliance for positive, democratic change

A big lesson from Brexit is that while change is inevitable, there is nothing inevitable about positive change.  With this in mind, the Green Party of England and Wales has sent an open letter [full text here] urging the respective leaders of the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru to explore the possibilities for a … Continue reading a progressive alliance for positive, democratic change