Our Spring magazine is finally here! Click here to view and read our new articles!

The Month in Politics: May

Image: The White House via Flickr
Image: The White House via Flickr
Image: The White House via Flickr

Keeping up to date with developments in global politics and headlines can be time consuming and overwhelming. But yet, in our increasingly fast-paced world, knowing what’s happening is crucial. In this feature, The Yorker summarises the major news stories of the past month, helping you feel informed and aware of global political developments.

Local Elections:

In the UK, local elections were held across the country on Thursday 3rd May. Seen by many as an election of consolidation, the results were far from conclusive, with many polls predeicting that if similar results had been seen in a general election, we would be facing another hung parliament. Some controversy has arisen regarding the media’s reporting of the results. Labour were reported by many news outlets to have fallen short of their goals. Despite failing to take councils such as Wandsworth, Labour nevertheless emerged with control of 74 councils, in comparison Conservative’s 46, and almost double the number of councillors. Some areas saw the introduction of a voter ID trial, resulting in many voters being unable to vote.

Trump and Iran:

Early in May, Donald Trump broke from the Iran deal, made in 2015. The Iran nuclear deal, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was implemented in 2015, lifting sactions on Iran in return for the implementation of strict limits on its nuclear programme. We are yet to see the full consequences of this decision, but Trump’s abandonment of this deal has been labelled by many as likely to significantly escalate tensions in the Middle East, and has been widely condemned by other nations who signed the deal.

Israel and Palestine:

On 14th of May, violence exploded between Israeli soliders and Palestinians protesting the opening of the American embassy in Jerusalem. 58 Palestianians were killed and as many as 1,200 wounded. The moving of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem sparked outcry amongst Palestinians, who see Jerusalem as the capital of their future nation. This decision broke from global consensus, which has generally seen the status of Jerusalem as something to be discussed in future peace talks between Israel and Palestine, and sparked widespread condemnation from international leaders.

Irish referendum:

On 25th May, Ireland held a referendum to decide whether the country should repeal the 8th Amendment, a controversial piece of legislation that recognised the rights of and unborn child, and thus put in place incredibly restrictive abortion laws. Under the 8th amendment, terminations were only allowed if the life of the mother was considered to be in immediate danger, meaning that women, even if pregnant as a result of rape, or pregnant with a child who would not survive outside the womb, had to carry their pregnancy to term. The referedum was won for repeal by a landslide, with 66% voting in favour of axing the amendment. This marks a historic victory for women’s rights, and also suggests that Ireland is no longer the overtly religious nation that it has been seen as in the past.

North Korea:

Once again, North Korea has made headlines this month. The state has claimed to have destroyed its nuclear test site, an apparent gesture of goodwill ahead of a summit between the US and North Korea in June. However, the future of the summit itself has been in doubt over the last week, with both sides threatening to pull out of a meeting. On 24th May Trump announced that the summit would be cancelled, apparently as a result of a threatening statement from Pyongyang. However, only yesterday, Trump stated that the summit would go ahead as planned in Singapore. For now it seems, we must watch and wait to see whether these two rivals will ever meet.


By no means is this everything that went on in May. However, these are some of the major stories that hit our headlines over the past month. We’ll be back at the end of June to summarise all you need to know.