Olaf Scholz is tanking

North-Rhine Westphalia is Germany’s largest state, almost as large as the Netherlands. It was a traditional SPD fiefdom during the time of Helmut Kohl, but in 2005 it became a CDU state. Surely, if the SPD was on the march, ready to turn Germany’s regional politics red as it did the chancellery in last year’s election, a state like North-Rhine Westphalia would return to the party? But the big news from yesterday’s federal state elections is that the SPD, the party of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, scored its worst-ever result in Westphalia: less than 27 per cent of the vote. The CDU won with 35.5 per cent and will probably

Germany’s military muddle over Ukraine

The reluctance of chancellor Olaf Scholz to provide heavy weapons to Ukraine is now coming under increasing fire from abroad and within Germany itself. Prominent politicians from the liberal FDP and the Greens, the coalition partners of Scholz’s Social Democrats in Berlin, have criticised the chancellor for his lack of leadership, and complain that Germany is lagging behind other major western powers in supplying weapons. Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, the flamboyant chairwoman of the defence committee in the German parliament, hit out at the chancellor’s ‘deafening silence’ on the subject. German media have claimed that a list of available military equipment offered by the German defence industry had been cut back by

Could the Green party revive Germany’s fortunes?

The BMWs and Mercs will be banned from the autobahns. People will only have electricity when there is enough of a breeze to keep the windmills turning. And the factories will be on a three-day week, while the airports will be converted into organic farms. Most businesses, and of course conservatives of any sort, will be nervous at the increasingly likely prospect of the Greens taking charge in Berlin later this year. But they shouldn’t be. In fact, they would be a huge improvement on Angela Merkel’s chaotic twilight years. As she heads towards retirements, Merkel’s legacy is looking very tarnished. The CDU is slumping in the polls. It has

Do Tories know the truth about Boris Johnson?

Exactly 40 years ago tomorrow, four Labour party grandees issued the Limehouse Declaration, signalling ‘the re-emergence of social democracy in Great Britain’. The declaration, made on a windswept bridge near the east London home of Dr David Owen, marked the formation of a Council for Social Democracy, that soon became a fully-fledged political party, the SDP. The ‘gang of four’ very nearly succeeded in breaking the mould of British politics, as their moderation hit the spot with millions of voters who opposed Thatcherism but also recoiled from Labour’s radical socialist agenda of the time. But they were thwarted, first by Britain’s first past the post electoral system that made gaining