In Part 01, we focused on the American presidential campaign.
AUSTRALIA: Australia is due to have a federal election in 2016. Current Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who successfully won a leadership challenge against former Prime Minister Tony Abbott in September 2015, appears to enjoy public goodwill, even though he has left the Abbott government’s policies intact. .
While Mr. Turnbull could be considered a left-leaning PM of a conservative political party, he has to decided - decisively so - if the Australian Liberal Party which he leads will remain ‘broad church’ - encompassing people with a range of positions - or go down the pathway of solid ‘progressivism,’ (e.g. big government with lots of borrowing, taxing, spending, and liberal on social issues), which would virtually mirror the left-wing Australian Labor Party.
The ‘broad church’ approach was used successfully by former Prime Minister John Howard, who was elected four times. If Turnbull goes the latter way and becomes a ‘Labor lookalike, conservative Liberal Parliamentarians will be muscled out and conservative Australians will abandon the party in droves, virtually handing government to Labor Party.
UNITED KINGDOM: Current Prime Minister David Cameron is fighting another uphill battle, perhaps the biggest of his political career. In September 2014, the UK survived intact after the defeat of the Scottish Independence Referendum. Cameron had a shock victory in the general elections of May 2015, even though ‘experts’ and the media predicted a hung parliament. This time, there will be a referendum on 23 June 2016 about continued UK-membership in the European Union. The referendum, a simple ‘In or Out Vote.’ For Cameron to succeed, he needs to secure a better deal from Brussels for Britain, which he claimed to receive before setting the referendum date. For example, Britain wants to delay child payments to non-British EU citizens working in the UK. It also wants increased British sovereignty, including the right to veto EU law. Though the EU wants a ‘ever closer union,’ Britain wants to opt out and never become part of a European superstate. Cameron favours remaining in the EU and says leaving would be a ‘leap in the dark.’ Yet some of his closest political allies will campaign to for Britain to leave the EU, known as ‘Brexit.’ As a key member, it will shake the entire Union. This is a referendum worth watching.
MERKEL & GERMANY: Angela Merkel has been Chancellor of Germany since 2005. Her long tenure has earned her admiration and respect inside and outside her nation. In many ways, as premier of the EU’s strongest economy, Merkel is the de facto leader of Europe. Moderate and cautious, she has overseen a prosperous Germany while helping put out forest fires within the European Union, especially regarding Greece’s economic woes that could drag down the entire Union.
Merkel has been leading Germany and Europe into ‘convergence,’ meaning an ‘ever-closer union.’ Of course, that is the goal of the European Union movers and shakers, with a universal currency, Schengen open borders, free movement of peoples, etc., with the end result being a European superstate. This drawing the 28 members states into a stronger union was considered inevitable, until now. And that’s not counting the possibility of a British exit (Brexit).
Convergence was also applied within Germany. Despite some big gaps in economy and culture, the former East Germany has been greatly integrated to the West. Turkish migrants from the 1960s are considered part of the German mainstream, and society has been more tolerant. The grand coalition between the Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats almost erased the distinction between left-wing and right-wing.
Merkel’s seemingly impromptu ‘open door’ invitation to ‘Syrian refugees’ has resulted in a flood of migrants from various countries into Europe. In less than 12 months, 1.1 million have come to Germany alone, outstripping all previous records. But her decision did not affect Germany alone - other EU countries that sit between Greece and Germany have felt the migrant footprints as they trek north. The sordid reports of sexual harassment of German women in Cologne and elsewhere have created a backlash. The ‘Alternate for Germany’ right-wing nationalist political party and PERGIDA movement have attracted Eastern Germans, older white men, and others disaffected by convergence.
The Chancellor’s normally high approval rating has fallen to only 46% while over 80% of Germans disagree with her policy towards the Middle East migrants. She has even hinted that once the Syrian war is over and ISIS is history, the Syrians need to go home.
Could we be seeing the end of the Merkel era? Or the European Union? As ‘children of Issachar,’ we need to watch and pray (Matthew 26:41).
MELBOURNE AREA FRIENDS - Mark Your Calenders:
There will be TWO public meetings (known as ‘Your Early Warning Service’ or YEWS) regarding Europe, the Middle East, and last days.
Monday 18 April 2016 (7:30 PM): South West Christian Church, 147-155 Hogans Road, Hoppers Crossing (Melway 202 E9)
Monday 9 May 2016 (7:30 PM): Grow Church, 3/4 100 New Street, Ringwood (Melway 49 F10).
Syrian Meltdown and World War III?
The European Union, the Middle East, and the Future’
‘Tidal Wave: What Does the Migrant Flow Mean for Europe, the Middle East, and the Future?’