Netherlands: How rainbow-coloured became the new black

A heated debate around a centuries-old children’s festival throws a light on the complexities of integration and how the left should respond Immigration has been high on the agenda of many European governments for some time with debate usually focused on the number of people entering the country and society’s ability to cope. However, in […]
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Big banks are signing up to EU transparency. Now it’s the law firms’ turn.

European Voice reports today that a number of important financial institutions (including Banco Popular Español, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, the London Stock Exchange and Royal Bank of Scotland) signed up to the EU’s lobbying transparency register in the last week. A check of the (voluntary) register reveals that Banco Santander did so one week earlier. Doubtless […]
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For Google, political backing is only a campaign cheque away

The tech giant made political donations to three out of four Members of the US Congress who wrote to the European Parliament to warn against search engine “unbundling”. It is rare for members of the US Congress to agree on anything these days. So when two senior Congressmen and two senior US Senators, two Democrats […]
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Mandela Day

This morning, in response to the death of Nelson Mandela, I posted the following tweet: There already is a ‘Mandela Day’, and it’s officially recognised by the UN: 18 July, Mandela’s birthday. But it’s not  a public holiday, and it’s not exactly universally acknowledged. My idea is simple: let’s make 18 July the first truly […]
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A future for the UK in Europe

(This is a slightly edited version of my opening statement in oral evidence I gave on 10 July 2012 to the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee inquiry on the future of the UK government’s EU policy) It is one of the great ironies of European history that the Member State which has been consistently […]
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Gambling in the Hague

(A shortened version of this post appears in this month’s State of the Left Review) Two months ago, the members of the Dutch Labour Party (PvdA) overwhelmingly voted for Diederik Samsom to be their new leader. Today he is fighting his first general election campaign. Rarely has an opposition leader’s call for “elections, now!” been […]
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Can Diederik Samsom save Dutch Labour?

(This article, which was published in the March edition of Policy Network’s State of the Left review, is an adapation of an earlier blog post published here.) Last Saturday over 1,000 members of the Dutch Labour Party (Partij van de Arbeid, or PvdA) gathered in Rotterdam for a special party conference with just one item […]
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Double Dutch: how the Rutte government nearly lost the europlot

From the start of the current economic crisis the Dutch government has insisted on strict budgetary discipline in troubled eurozone countries – in particular for Greece. That shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all, the Netherlands is one of the biggest net contributors to the various eurozone rescue packages. This week the fiscally responsible Dutch […]
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Where next for Dutch Labour?

“Yes we Cohen!” That was how the Dutch Labour Party (Partij van de Arbeid, or PvdA) greeted the election of the universally popular mayor of Amsterdam, Job Cohen, as its new leader in the spring of 2010.  On Monday 20 February, after less than two years in the post, with the party more than halved […]
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How Cameron’s kamikaze act could have been prevented

Did David Cameron deliberately manoeuvre the UK into splendid isolation last night, or was it an accident that could have been prevented? The latter, if the following account from someone who followed the proceeding closely is to be believed: “I gather that the UK presented a whole draft protocol to the Council legal service the day before the […]
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