The SNP have unexpectedly lost majority power in Scotland – what does this mean for the Scottish independence movement? Is it a sign of reversion to the pre-independence referendum status quo? Or are there signs that the SNP have actually helped drive a bigger shift in Scottish politics?
Flicking through the news channels in the last two weeks has revealed an image of Turkey sliding deeper into political turmoil. One of the reasons for this is President Erdogan’s ambition to change the political system to an executive presidency, a path we can now say with near certainty he has chosen over economic reforms. The game he is playing is about numbers. His AKP has 317 seats in parliament which is not enough to change the constitution. Only 330 votes would allow him to unilaterally put constitutional changes to a referendum, and with 367 votes the AKP could do it alone. This simple arithmetic demonstrates that achieving an executive presidency would require extraordinary measures.
Picking carefully through the numbers from the March 13 state elections in Germany brings home an important point about just how blue collar the AfD has become as a party. The AfD which did well in Baden-Württemberg, Rheinland-Pfalz and Sachsen-Anhalt, as it was expected to do. In doing so, it demonstrated how the crisis has transformed the party from one of professors into one of economic and cultural protestors.
Today’s budget included a tax break for self-employed workers. The government’s approach is a rare example in Europe of promotion of the self-employment model, though the prospect of a comprehensive strategy remain remote while the government pursues its deficit elimination strategy.
London always likes to think it is a step ahead of Brussels. In electricity generation policy it may just be. EU Energy and Climate Change Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete has just given a speech to the European Electricity Regulatory Forum in Florence on completing the internal market for electricity in Europe. He set out both an ambitious and pro-market program, calling for the need for “price signals for investment in adequate capacity or demand response”. So far, so anglo saxon.
Europe is in the midst of a crisis over migration. But how worried are Europeans about immigration? The answer depends on whether you look at Europe as a whole, or individual countries. And it may matter is thinking about the impact in the EU of a Brexit in June.
Global regulator the Financial Stability Board is at pains to cast banking reform in 2016 as an implementation exercise, not a policy-making one. But the ghost of Paul Volcker lives on in the US as the question of ending ‘too big to fail’ returns to the fore.