May Adopts Energy Policy Her Predecessor Called “Nuts”

British prime minister Theresa May delivers a news conference together with Carwyn Jones, the first minister of Wales, in Swansea, March 20
British prime minister Theresa May delivers a news conference together with Carwyn Jones, the first minister of Wales, in Swansea, March 20 (The Prime Minister’s Office/Jay Allen)

British prime minister Theresa May has adopted a policy her Conservative predecessor, David Cameron, once described as “nuts”.

When the opposition Labour Party proposed to freeze electricity rates in 2013, Cameron, then the Conservative Party leader, ridiculed it.

Now May has taken it over. Read more

Elect Macron to Move France Forward

Former French economy minister Emmanuel Macron speaks with farmers in Châlons-en-Champagne, September 1, 2016
Former French economy minister Emmanuel Macron speaks with farmers in Châlons-en-Champagne, September 1, 2016 (Facebook)

For once, the French are spoilt for choice.

Their presidential elections used to be a battle for the center between the mainstream left and the mainstream right. Now there are five candidates with a reasonable chance of qualifying for the second voting round in May, including a big-government socialist, a small-government conservative, a nationalist of the left and a nationalist of the right.

Our sympathies lie with the fifth man in the middle: Emmanuel Macron. Comfortable with neither the statist inclinations of the Socialist Party nor the social conservatism of the Republicans, he launched his own progressive movement last year for the rejuvenation of France. It represents the best alternative to the anti-globalism of Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Marine Le Pen. Read more

Don’t Rely on American and British News About Europe

A newspaper stand
A newspaper stand (greenzowie)

If you want to understand what’s going on in continental European politics, don’t rely solely on American and British sources. English-language commentators routinely misread the mood and have a tendency to project their own doubts about the European Union on the people living in it. Read more

Poland’s Opposition to Multispeed Europe Is Ill-Considered

Polish Law and Justice party leaders Jarosław Kaczyński and Beata Szydło attend the opening of an LNG terminal in Świnoujściu, June 18, 2016
Polish Law and Justice party leaders Jarosław Kaczyński and Beata Szydło attend the opening of an LNG terminal in Świnoujściu, June 18, 2016 (PiS)

Poland’s ruling party has come out against a proposal for more flexible integration in Europe that is supported by the leaders of France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

“We cannot accept any announcements of a two-speed Europe,” Jarosław Kaczyński, the head of the conservative Law and Justice party, told the weekly W Sieci.

This would mean either pushing us out of the European Union or downgrading us to an inferior category of members.

This is hyperbole. Read more

Republican Obamacare Replacement Does All the Wrong Things

Republican House speaker Paul Ryan meets with religious leaders in Washington DC, March 2, 2016
Republican House speaker Paul Ryan meets with religious leaders in Washington DC, March 2, 2016 (Bread for the World)

It’s hard to unite health care commentators from the left and the right, but that’s what House Republicans have done with their plan to replace Obamacare.

The left is appalled that Republicans would make health care cheaper for Americans who are well-off and leave those who currently depend on Obamacare in the cold.

The right is disappointed that the plan only eliminates the individual mandate but keeps other parts of Obamacare in place, including the principle of federal subsidies and its insurance plan requirements. Read more

Absence of Obamacare Replacement Exposes Republican Deception

President Donald Trump, House speaker Paul Ryan and Vice President Mike Pence of the United States meet at the Capitol in Washington DC, November 13, 2016
President Donald Trump, House speaker Paul Ryan and Vice President Mike Pence of the United States meet at the Capitol in Washington DC, November 13, 2016 (Facebook/Speaker Paul Ryan)

Something must be seriously wrong if I’m on the same side as Paul Krugman.

The economist writes in The New York Times that it isn’t just Donald Trump who is incompetent but his entire political party that has been faking it for years.

Its leaders’ rhetoric was empty; they have no idea how to turn their slogans into actual legislation, because they’ve never bothered to understand how anything important works.

That last bit is ungenerous. The reality is that Republicans have put politics over policy, but Krugman — unfortunately — isn’t altogether wrong. Read more

Fillon Disqualifies Himself by Smearing Investigators

French Republican leader François Fillon arrives in Brussels for a meeting with other European conservative party leaders, December 15, 2016
French Republican leader François Fillon arrives in Brussels for a meeting with other European conservative party leaders, December 15, 2016 (EPP)

French presidential candidate François Fillon has gone down the same road as Brexiteers in the United Kingdom and Donald Trump in the United States by disparaging the institutions that stand in his way and appealing directly to “the people”.

Fillon, the center-right Republican candidate for the presidential elections in April and May, has dismissed charges that he paid his wife hundreds of thousands of euros over the years for a fictitious job as a “political assassination”.

He alleges that the rule of law “has been systematically violated” in France and that “the notion of innocent until proven guilty has completely disappeared.” Read more