talking about antisemitism

Here's something I heard on Radio 4 the other week:  'Hatred that starts with Jews doesn't end with Jews.'¹ There's been a lot of focus on antisemitism lately. Antisemitism was a contributory factor in Labour's failure to gain control of a target council (Barnet) in recent local elections. It's also been something of a talking … Continue reading talking about antisemitism


man out of time

This post takes a detour from German politics to reflect on some of my favourite historical fiction set in Germany, written by the late Philip Kerr. The two themes aren’t so different. Politics needs to be understood in the historical context, and well-written and well-researched fiction can play a valuable role in bringing that historical … Continue reading man out of time

the afd: more exposure, less threat?

Germany has embarked on its third ‘grand’ coalition government, with Angela Merkel sworn in as Chancellor for the fourth time. With the two main parties joined in government, the far-right AfD becomes the largest opposition party. The opposition also includes other parties, of course, both on the centre-right (FDP) and left (Greens, Die Linke, whose … Continue reading the afd: more exposure, less threat?

what’s in a name?

One eyebrow-raising idea from Germany’s new (old) coalition is the creation of a Heimatministerium -- a ‘Homeland Ministry’. Its remit is to push ahead with digitalisation and strengthen and develop rural areas, making these more attractive places for people and businesses. Article 72 of Germany's Basic Law refers to the establishment of ‘equivalent living conditions throughout the … Continue reading what’s in a name?

german election #2: greens, jamaica and dealing with the afd mindset

A month on from the German election, this post reflects on compromises and risks as the Greens continue Jamaica coalition talks, and also gives a personal take on how to respond to an emboldened and increasingly vocal AfD-mindset. the greens: could jamaica be a compromise too far? One of the biggest and thorniest topics up … Continue reading german election #2: greens, jamaica and dealing with the afd mindset

german election #1: pre-election thoughts

Today (Saturday) is the last day of campaigning for tomorrow’s General Election in Germany. At stalls and rallies all over the country, political parties will be trying to win over the many ‘undecideds’ and convince others to even vote at all. It’s with a sense of unease that I’ll be watching the result tomorrow evening, … Continue reading german election #1: pre-election thoughts

time for greens to abandon ‘leftwing populism’?

The debate about the future direction of the Greens continues. Much of the post-election discussion was preoccupied with the pros and cons of the progressive alliance strategy (all with the benefit of hindsight, of course). But what about the policies? Was the Green manifesto too leftwing? Not radical enough? Big questions, especially with local elections … Continue reading time for greens to abandon ‘leftwing populism’?

the electioneering behind germany’s marriage equality vote

There was some much-needed good news last week, as the German Bundestag voted in favour of marriage equality for same-sex couples. Finally. But why now, after all this time? Unfortunately, Friday’s vote wasn't a sudden manifestation of enlightenment and 'love wins'. It was the result of cynical party politics served with some stunning hypocrisy. Although Chancellor … Continue reading the electioneering behind germany’s marriage equality vote