Receive our best stories in your inbox every Wednesday. Click here to learn more or enter your details below to sign up.
Spain has “crossed a red line,” Catalan president Carles Puigdemont said after gendarmerie raided offices of his regional government in Barcelona and arrested a dozen civil servants.
“On October 1, we are called to defend democracy from a repressive and intimidating regime,” Puigdemont told Catalans in a televised speech.
He argued that the actions of the Spanish state, which considers a planned independence vote illegal, are “totalitarian” and amount to the suspension of Catalan home rule. Read more
Germany’s Social Democrats are making the same mistake as the Dutch Labor Party, I argue in the Netherlands’ NRC newspaper this week.
Like Labor, which went down from 25 to 6 percent support in the most recent election, the Social Democrats are trying to appeal to both working- and middle-class supporters. It is that indecision that is turning both groups away from them.
College-educated voters in the city see the benefits of open borders in Europe and free trade with the rest of the world. Low-skilled workers and small towns feel the downsides. Progressives obsess about gay rights and gender issues that animate few blue-collar voters. Read more
There is little doubt Angela Merkel will win reelection in Germany on Sunday. Her Christian Democrats are projected to win up to 40 percent support against 25 percent for the second party, the Social Democrats.
The two could continue to share power in a “grand coalition”, but we’re hoping the liberal Free Democrats will win enough seats to help form a center-right government instead.
Polls suggest that the two parties might just fall short of a majority. Conservative and liberal voters who want to keep the left out of power ought to give the Free Democrats their support. Read more
German views on Catalonia’s independence bid break down along partisan lines. Left-wing commentators sympathize with Catalan pleas for self-determination and blame Spain for the impasse. Conservatives focus on the illegality of the planned October 1 vote. Read more
When Theresa May named Boris Johnson foreign secretary last year, she wisely took the Brexit and international-trade portfolios away from him. This way, she contained the damage the buffoonish Johnson could do to both British foreign policy and her premiership.
But the former mayor of London’s appetite for higher office and publicity is never satisfied.
The other day, I explained that the reason Americans can’t get a European-style health-care system is not opposition from insurance companies but the fears of 155 million Americans who currently get health insurance through their employers. They worry that a single-payer system, like Britain’s, would mean higher taxes and lower-quality care.
Such fears — largely unfounded — would undoubtedly be amplified by drug companies, health providers and insurance companies if the Democrats campaigned for “Medicare for all”.
So instead of having an abstract, and probably pointless, debate about which health-care system is superior, why not look at what advocates of single-payer hope to achieve and see if this can’t be done without eliminating private insurance? Read more