The original title was “In Praise of Unionism: What the European Left Can Learn From America,” but we souped it up a bit. It’s a bit longer and more comprehensive than the stuff I usually do here. The folks at CA are delightful to work with. They’re putting out some really terrific long-form pieces that dig into things more deeply than a lot of what we see on the web these days.
Each time there’s an international summit, I see the same articles over and over, arguing that America no longer leads the west–Germany does. It’s understandable why people make this argument–President Trump is rather uninspiring, to put it mildly, and Germany is the last of the major western powers to retain the leader it had before the 2008 financial crisis. Chancellor Merkel has been in power for nearly 12 years. In that time, the United States has had three presidents and Britain has had four prime ministers. Merkel seems to offer stability in a world that’s increasingly off its rocker. But seeming is not being–in truth, there is no western leader who has done more in the last decade to contribute to the political instability that has brought about Trump and Brexit than Angela Merkel.
Not to be discouraged by a hung parliament, British Prime Minister Theresa May now intends to govern with the aid of the DUP, the “Democratic Unionist Party” of Northern Ireland. This is unbelievably reckless and puts the security and future of the British people at risk.
Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party has gained 31 seats in parliament and increased its vote share by nearly 10 points. This gives Labour its largest vote share by percentage since 2001. This is somewhat perplexing, because Corbyn had a net approval rating of -11, even during the final week of the election campaign. But even though many ordinary Labour voters might have preferred a more traditional Labour leader, they appear to have nonetheless preferred Corbyn’s Labour Party to the alternatives. In the meantime, Corbyn helped bring in three groups of people which a more traditional Labour leader might have failed to attract.
On June 8 (this Thursday), Britain has a general election. I care deeply about British politics–I’m doing my PhD at Cambridge. But more importantly, Theresa May’s government has managed the country’s economy and public services with stunning fecklessness, and I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t do my part to point this out.