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
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?
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?
Government or opposition? This is the question intensifying already deep divisions within Germany's Social Democrats (SPD). Initially intent on opposition after a terrible General Election performance, the SPD leadership has been negotiating terms for another ‘grand’ coalition (‘GroKo’) with Chancellor Merkel's Christian Democrats — despite a slump in support for both parties. At the SPD's … Continue reading learning from labour
This year, as usual, I’ve kept a note of every book I’ve read. Not the books for research, but simply for personal enjoyment. Quite a few found their way onto the bookshelf via Jewish Book Week (Jonathan Wittenberg, Ruth Gilligan, Barbara Honigmann, for example); some were written by long-time favourite authors, while others were the … Continue reading the reading list 2017
Amidst the confusion and uncertainty surrounding the building of the next German government, another issue has been attracting attention over the last few weeks. It all centres on a doctor, a court case, and on Germany’s restrictive abortion laws. First, a quick bit of background on those laws. The basic position according to Section 218 … Continue reading the price of knowledge
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
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
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’?
This is a ‘state of play’ blog focusing on my research. For part-time or independent researchers, getting into the right mindset and into the routine of writing can be tough. With so many competing demands on your time it's sometimes hard to feel you're part of the research community, or to even think about writing … Continue reading research update #1: election strategy and returning to the (grass)roots