The European Commission have recently handed Apple with a tax bill of £11 billion. The executive of a supranational organisation that has a track record of undemocratically imposing neoliberalism on countries has just made a correct decision. But the Irish government have revealed themselves to be paragons of irrationality by stating that they actually don’t want the money. The Irish government are so entrenched in their own ideological backwardness that they are literally rejecting free money.
Malcolm Turnbull has been dealt a political blow this week after the Nick Xenophon Team (NXT) withdrew its support for a plebiscite on same-sex marriage. The NXT join the Greens and Labor, which all support marriage equality but oppose Turnbull’s desire for a plebiscite. Normally I would be criticising these political parties for getting in the way of a democratic vote on this issue but because of the structure of the Australian political system, the opposition parties are right to be unforgiving.
I recently had the good fortune to visit the city of Berlin in Germany. As well as doing all the standard tourism stuff I did some research into how the people of the city think about Germany politically and how they perceive the city’s past. I came across a phenomenon called ‘Ostalgia’ which I wanted to unpack. Ostalgia is literally nostalgia for East Germany (‘ost’ is east in German), and this can be from people who previously lived behind the Berlin Wall or people who look back on the DDR with a romantic longing.
When it comes to LGBT rights India has show a different progression to other countries. In many Western countries the chronology of LGBT rights struggles have been largely focused on LGB individuals, because the three are very inter-related, before attention turned to transgender issues. However this has not been the case. Transgender rights in India are more socially acceptable the rights for same-sex couples, which is refreshing but there is still much to be done.
Homophobia, on the other hand, is still commonplace and this issue isn’t discussed enough, both domestically and by foreigners like myself. The LGBT community’s progress is aided by the work of straight allies and India’s new surrogacy bill is an opportunity to build some bridges.
The recent political news in the UK has been ‘traingate’. A few weeks ago Jeremy Corbyn sat on the floor on a train journey from London to Newcastle. The purpose of the stunt was to draw attention to the overcrowding on many train services throughout the country and to call for the renationalisation of Britain’s railway network. However the controversy began when Richard Branson, the head of the Virgin Group, criticised Corbyn’s actions. The billionaire, whose company operated the service that Corbyn took to Newcastle, accused the Labour leader of lying because CCTV footage showed that the train had plenty of spare seats. Let’s break down as many aspects of this story as possible.
The new Japanese Defence Minister has garnered headlines in the last few days because of her history making controversial statements about the history of Japan. Tomomi Inada was appointed by Shinzo Abe just over two weeks ago and is being tipped to replace Abe as Prime Minister in the near future. This should be worrying not only for anyone who values Japan’s post-war constitution, but for anyone who values a true recollection of history.
American conservatives have constructed their own reality, and this is worrying. Since the beginnings of talk radio we have known that there would be a danger that people would talk past each other and not agree on basic facts. At first these disputes were over normative things regarding social issues, which was often a matter of opinion and so these disputes could be chalked up to a red-blue divide. Unfortunately, the opinion of the Right has crossed over into the realm of factual discussions.