Refugees? Which refugees? As far as Angela Merkel is concerned, refugees aren’t a burning issue. Not now, and not for the next two months leading up to the German elections on 24 September. And anyway, aren’t there more urgent problems: the future of the German automobile industry, and Germany’s increasingly volatile relationship with Turkey, to name just the two most obvious ones?
Articles from Inside Story
Every other day the web page of the world’s number one search engine features a cute cartoon to celebrate something like World Chocolate Day or the woman who invented potato flour; occasionally it’s even animated. It’s designed to make Google look like a happy kingdom of approachable hipsters, rather than a company with — how should I put this? — a mixed reputation among consumers and competitors.
Anyone in the book trade will tell you that memoirs, after cookbooks, are the mainstay of the business. Memoirs sell, and their sales often carry other kinds of books that don’t find such a ready market. Perhaps it’s related to gossip: we love to read other people’s stories, whether they’re exotically different from, or comfortingly emblematic of, our own. Digital technology and better access to genealogical information have help fuel the genre’s success.
New Liberal Party president Nick Greiner uttered a formulation this week that made no sense whatsoever. Warning that disunity is death for political parties, and that continuing public bickering within the Turnbull government would lead to defeat at the next election, he declared that Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott need to get together and sort out their differences.
When an unarmed black teenager was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, protesters took to the streets, their anger fuelled not just by the incident but also by a history of black deaths at the hands of the police. It’s difficult to fault the sentiment behind such a reaction: most of us believe that people who are unjustly treated have a right to be angry. Anger is healthy and good, we think, when it motivates people to struggle against wrongs or to condemn bad actions.
In Spoils and Spoilers, Geoffrey Bolton wrote what we might consider to be Australia’s first national synthesis of environmental history. It was published in 1981, that stellar year in Australian historical literature.
Twenty-one parties will contest sixty-five parliamentary seats and decide who governs Timor-Leste in national elections on 22 July. In a population with a median age of just under nineteen years and a voting age of seventeen, a fifth of Timor-Leste’s 750,000 registered voters will be participating for the first time. This is just one of the factors making the exact composition of the new parliament, and the complexion of the government, hard to pick.
On a Himalayan plateau next to the mountainous Indian state of Sikkim, jammed between India, Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan, Chinese and Indian troops are again facing off over a disputed border. Known for its periodic flare-ups, the India–China border dispute has been the major sticking point in the two countries’ relationship since the late nineteenth century.
Let’s be optimistic and say that it’s never too late to start restoring trust in politics and its practitioners. It is not as though we can return to some golden age of democracy, when voters considered politics an honourable and noble profession, because such an era never existed, at least not on this side of ancient Athens. But the healthy scepticism we used to display towards politics has developed a more malignant form, uncomfortably reminiscent of 1930s and 1940s Europe.