News

Editorial: Gearing up for battles this spring

Issue section: 
Issue: 

Could a spectre be haunting Europe once again? As we go to press millions of public sector workers in France — including teachers, civil servants, air traffic controllers, hospital workers and rail workers — are striking and marching together in protest at President Emmanuel Macron’s proposed “reforms” (read: pay freezes, job cuts and wholesale attacks on conditions).

This one-day action is set to be followed by three months of strikes by rail workers, who plan to strike for two days out of every five from 3 April to 28 June.

Germany’s grand coalition boosts right

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

The Nazi-led Alternative for Deutschland (AfD) is poised to become Germany’s main opposition party thanks to the political bankruptcy of leaders of the country’s Social Democratic Party (SPD).

The SPD reached a deal with Conservative CDU leader Angela Merkel last week, reviving the “grand coalition” of the previous four years, which was a prime reason for the far-right’s rise.

Northern Ireland Executive impasse

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Talks to re-establish the Northern Ireland Executive after more than a year’s stalemate have collapsed. The Guardian editorial put the blame unequivocally on Sinn Fein: “The darker truth here is that Sinn Fein has chosen to weaponise the language question for political ends, less to protect minority rights than to antagonise unionists.”

This assessment could not be further from the truth. An agreement had been reached by all parties which included a proposed Irish Language Act.

Anxiety among Egypt’s leaders

Issue section: 
Author: 

Campaigners internationally have welcomed the news that human rights lawyer Mahienour el-Massry and trade unionist Moatasem Medhat were released from an Egyptian prison on 16 January.

They had both been jailed in November 2017 for allegedly breaching Egypt’s repressive anti-protest law, for “insulting the president”, and for thuggery during the protests over the transfer of Egyptian islands Tiran and Sanafir. The charges against the duo were dropped after an appeal, while three other activists were tried and charged in absentia.

Linguistic juggling can’t hide Brexit woes

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Brexit has become a classic example of how public discourse is designed to obscure meaning. As May’s “triumph” at reaching the “end of the beginning” begins to look somewhat premature, metaphors of divorce have become stretched to breaking point. Donald Tusk, president of the EU Council, clearly auditioning for the role of marriage guidance counsellor, sets the ball rolling: “Breaking up is hard, but building a new relationship is harder.”

What chance a fight over pay this year?

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

The cost of living is higher and the squeeze on earnings is back with a vengeance, but pay in the public sector and most parts of the private sector is still being held at below-inflation levels, as it has been for the best part of a decade. The Tories reacted to near-defeat in the general election in June by shifting their position slightly — increases of just 1 percent became 2 percent for some groups.

News in brief

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Fat cats grab the most

The richest 0.1 percent of the world’s population have increased their combined wealth by the same amount as the poorest 50 percent since 1980, says the World Inequality Report, published in December. Around 76,000 people — the 0.001 percent — grabbed 4 percent of the all new wealth created over the past four decades. The richest 5 percent in the UK have an average wealth of £3.7 million, compared with £68,000 for the bottom 90 percent.

Preparing for Trump

Tories Brexit Blues: A European crisis

Issue section: 
Author: 

The dominant narrative of the political establishment and its various media echo chambers is that the European Union has Britain over a barrel as the Brexit negotiations stumble towards the end of their first phase.

The reality is more complex. The Tory crisis is real enough, but it is to some extent mirrored by the situation of Europe as a whole, if not in its economic manifestations then certainly in its political ruptures.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - News