There is still a long way to go when it comes to the march for LGBT equality. There are a number of battles that need to be fought around the world from the embryonic struggle to end the criminalisation of homosexual activity to more complex areas like systemic homophobia in public institutions. In the case of the latter the ultimate symbol of progress is the choice of an LGBT person to become the leader of a country. However it is important to stress that this symbolism has a different significance in different political cultures.
In the 2015 the DUP and the UUP formed an informal electoral alliance whereby the parties agreed not to run candidates in certain constituencies so as not to split the unionist vote. The result of this, in collaboration with some other local factors, was that unionist candidates in two constituencies, namely Fermanagh and South Tyrone and East Belfast, defeated non-unionist incumbents. However, in the last few days it was announced that the DUP and the UUP will not pursue such a pact in the upcoming general election. This needs to be exploited by the republican movement before the opportunity passes.
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.
I’m going to preface this article by saying that I am not from Northern Ireland, I have never lived in Northern Ireland and I have never even visited the place. I’m also going to declare my support for the unification of Ireland in line with Ulster’s republican parties such as Sinn Féin and the SDLP. Nevertheless I am now going to defend the British imperialism-apologists also known as the DUP and the UUP because what Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers said at the Tory Party Conference today illustrated how she fundamentally doesn’t understand Northern Ireland.
Today the Greek people go to the polls to elect the Hellenic Parliament for the second time in 2015. With the result on a knife-edge between the left-wing SYRIZA coalition and the centre-right New Democracy Party, the election will have consequences both within Greece and across Europe including on British politics. The Greek crisis has been pushed out of the news due to the slowdown of the Chinese economy and the European refugee crisis, however the re-election of SYRIZA is important as it would reinvigorate the Left months before Podemos’ potential election in great numbers in the Spanish elections in November as well as encourage the supporters of Jeremy Corbyn in Britain.
The Conservatives are insisting that the High-Speed 2 rail-link, at a current cost of around £50 billion, will bring immeasurable economic benefits to the Midlands and the North because it will become more interconnected with the most prosperous region of the country- the South East and London. The government is also refusing the countenance the idea of starting construction in the North of England and working its way towards London, thus continuing to propagate the idea of the Conservatives only caring about the South East and marginal constituencies in the Midlands.
A report out from the Woodland Trust has shown that the current HS2 route will destroy more ancient woodland than previously thought, which will only increase opposition from nature and conservation groups. As I have mentioned in a previous post, a left-wing political party attempting to get into government shouldn’t oppose HS2, it should actually support the idea but suggest a change of location to link up the major northern cities and rebalance the economy; by focussing investment in the North the environment of the South East will be preserved and a left-wing party would become much more popular in Buckinghamshire and the Chilterns.