Europe
No Insurance

No Insurance

It took us a few seconds to figure out what was happening. One minute my host brothers had been hurling snowballs towards the roof of an apartment building, and the next we were being assaulted by a blur of a man, shirtless but a little sweaty despite the fierce cold. He landed one punch, missed another, then turned to charge at me. “I don’t have insurance,” I shouted in German, More»

The Fourth Party

The Fourth Party

What was once unthinkable has become a reality. Nigel Farage will be partaking in the TV debates in the run up to the 2015 election, alongside David Cameron, Nick Clegg, and Ed Miliband. Perhaps the mainstream media concluded that the only way to keep political discourse alive was to inject Farage, and report on the consequences. The lesson is obvious: It’s impossible to ignore UKIP, and its rise to fourth party status. More»

Post-Passion Europe

Post-Passion Europe

Heroes are hard to come by in Europe. Even as the nightmare of two world wars recedes farther into the distance, the sense that they were the product of excessive belief persists. Had there been less passion to mobilize, the reasoning goes, the flames of nationalism would have petered out a lot sooner. But it is proving increasingly difficult to keep the continent bound together with “post-passion.” More»

Ukraine is Everywhere

Ukraine is Everywhere

On September 3rd, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan made a “surprise declaration” – as it is still sometimes referred to – that he would bring his country into the new Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) alongside Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia. Of course, it should have been anything but that. More»

French, Jewish, Jihadist

French, Jewish, Jihadist

Meyer Habib was clearly shocked when describing a Jewish woman who has joined Islamic State. “It’s the end of the world,” the Jewish MP declared. Habib was using colourful language, but his tone was appropriate. More»

The Ghost of Enoch Powell

The Ghost of Enoch Powell

The lady in Clacton-on-Sea’s library says she’ll be glad to tell me who she is voting for in the by-election taking place today. “I’m white, I’m English….he’ll help us get out of Europe. Obviously I’m going to vote for Carswell! Who do you vote for?” More»

Devil May Dare

Devil May Dare

“Daredevil” is not a word that many people associate with Germany these days; certainly not the nation’s military. And that’s probably a blessing, even if its allies long for less hesitant support. The history of Germans acting boldly took a wrong turn shortly after Martin Luther nailed his theses to the church door. Does anybody want to risk urging them to act now and think later? More»

The Russian Option

The Russian Option

Carl Bildt, Sweden’s outgoing foreign minister, apparently took a decision that shocked many across Europe last week. He announced that the representatives of the Right Livelihoods Award, who bestow the yearly Alternative Nobel Prize, were banned from announcing this year’s winner at his ministry, something they had been doing for 18 years. More»

Referendum Day

Referendum Day

“Why do you want Scotland to be independent? You’re English!” These words were spoken to me by my 99-year old Godmother, Auntie Margaret, who has known my Glaswegian mother for the past sixty years and me ever since I was born (including the five years that I was a student at Glasgow University). More»

Free of London

Free of London

In only a matter of days, Scotland will decide on its future. The Left seems to have lined up behind the Yes-side of the referendum on independence. What is the case for unionism here? Surely, there has to be a progressive angle. After all, the Union stood firm against the rising tide of fascism in the early decades of the twentieth century. What makes it unworthy of progressive politics, now? More»

Capitalism as Communism

Capitalism as Communism

The reactions were predictable. Putin perfunctorily denied it was an invasion, while the media wondered whether it was even right to even call it a war. That Russian forces were already occupying a third of Ukraine was still insufficient evidence. Nearly 15 years from the day when he first too took the reins of the presidency, the ex-KGB agent was living out the wildest of Cold War fantasies More»

From Famines to Austerity

From Famines to Austerity

From Brussels to Turin, the flyers read the same. The 2008 economic crisis continues on, slowly but surely transforming the European Union’s weakest member states into Third World countries in all but name, quasi-colonial holdings of their wealthier neighbors, and the banks bailing them out. More»