So, here I am, leaving Germany the day before the fun of the elections. But then, this is Germany, where elections are staid affairs, so missing one isn’t going to be the end of the world. What will be interesting will be to see if the AfD – the “Alternative für Deutschland” (Germany’s alternative) – increase their share of the vote. No, this isn’t how America does things: it’s not “if” but by how much they improve their share of the vote.
What was interesting in the run up to the Dutch elections earlier this year was the Americans pushing the Turks to hold a rally in support of their referendum in the week before the election. The ensuing uproar, helped along by headlines in the American controlled press, led people to think the Dutch were unwelcoming to a democratic referendum – which in fact was a referendum to restrict voters’ power in Turkey and increase that of their president. That wasn’t mentioned in the press, though… only what counted was the unfairness of a government refusing to allow another government to hold a rally at a time as sensitive as an election…
Not that the Americans would have tolerated this behaviour in their neighbouring countries, leave alone their own. American elections are sacrosanct.
The result was that the PVV increased their share of the vote. And Geert Wilders, their leader, hadn’t so much as put his nose outside the door for the duration of the election campaign. Which is a very important point in the light of the AfD’s antics. Or lack of them in the election campaign; I met several parties campaigning in the streets, usually on market day when it can be expected that residents will turn out in force. The various parties were all there, at least, the bigger ones. The notable exception being the AfD.
They do have their posters on the lamp posts, though, with slogans like “strengthen our agriculture” and “pensioners deserve more pensions.” Which is fair enough in as far as it goes. Any German with a granny will agree with the statement, which begs the question why the other parties aren’t campaigning with this slogan. It’s not as if they don’t want to, it’s more a question of how they would achieve this end: you see, this is Germany and if you are on the hustings or standing in the marketplace, you are going to be asked some awkward questions, such as: “how are you going to pay for these pensions when interest rates are at an all time low?”
Because the Alternative für Deutschland are a real alternative to German politics: they represent something that no German party could ever support, which is to say, lots of slogans. Not one of which has any foundation in sound reason. This is a party that represents an alternative in the way both sides of the American elections represent their ideas: through neat slogans that nobody could back up if questioned. To be fair on Trump in the Presidential election, he did try to form serious and sensible policies, but the powers in the US ensured that these would remain dreams in the way the slogans of the AfD are and will remain only dreams.
That won’t stop people voting for the AfD. They have a following amongst the unquestioning of Germany, the people for whom a straightforward slogan is the path to direct action. This from today’s Telegraph, describing the AfD:
Alternative for Germany (AfD): A right-wing populist party lead by Alice Weidel and Alexander Gauland. The party’s hardline anti-EU, anti-immigration views have attracted voters from almost all of the other parties, especially among lower income households.
Thankfully for them, the chances of the AfD ever forming a government are remote. Even Hitler with the millions of dollars flooding into his election coffers from across the Atlantic couldn’t thwart the German election system: at best he only ever got 37% of the vote – and he had to seize power illegally. The AfD, for all their popularity – or lack of it – will never be able to act illegally. The Germans are wise to this after being trounced by Hitler. They know what’s good for them and the Bundestag is there to see it done.
The Thorn In Germany’s Side.
The AfD, like the PVV, are not European parties in the remotest sense of the word. Lacking anything close to a firm policy that can be interrogated and pulled to pieces in the squabbles that are the result of a hung parliament in Europe, the AfD will be left on its own. Put better, it chooses to fold its arms and turn its back on these unseemly squabbles. In the way British parliamentary parties do, because with their absurdly distorted voting system in place, it means that a party with a modest share of the vote will have a majority of the seats in parliament. This is wonderful for the slogan makers because they’ll never be questioned and the Prime Minister can deflect all questions by the Leader of the Opposition. It’s great for the rudderless mind that wants to rule but without having to take any responsibility for ruling. The ensuing chaos that will attend Brexit is one case in point, the dangerous levels of British debt are another – and they are but two of the things that the mainstream newspapers choose to ignore.
I state the above because this is the “Alternative” the Alternatives want to bring to Germany. That is to say, make your policies as you go along and don’t worry your little head about the future.
Which is the weakness that makes German politics – along with other European countries – so powerful. Whilst poor Frau Merkel has never had a greater share of the vote than 42%, she has never had more than 42% of the seats, give or take. In Britain, Margaret Thatcher had something like 60% of the seats for 40% of the vote; something that Merkel could only ever dream of.
Merkel Must Go!
The AfD dreamed this one up a while ago, and it goes down well with the brain-dead on outlets like Facebook.
The problem here is that the slogan “Merkel Must Go” is patently absurd to any person who can both think and has a modicum of knowledge of how Germany works. But then, few outsiders and fewer Americans do. Which is why this slogan is so appealing to them and their Facebook friends! Living as they do in a political world where the boss gets to make up the policies long after the elections have been fought means that political bosses are important: they rule the roost. Given that Merkel is bound by not only by her promises to her voters but the agreements she formed with the various other parties with whom she forms a government means her hands are tied. She isn’t a boss…
An agreement to a German is an agreement. Something notably absent in British or American politics… after all, who needs agreements with anybody if you’re making it all up as you go along? Add to which you have the majority in parliament so nobody can disagree with you. When you think in these terms, a slogan like “Merkel Must Go” makes perfect sense.
But that is the problem for the AfD: they can chant their slogans at the top of their voices inside the Bundestag and out, with no effect whatsoever. Merkel is not stupid, albeit many men will think her so because she’s not pretty or desirable. Not that this has any bearing on a person’s intelligence, but that only speaks of the average bloke’s inability in the intelligence department. It’s not hard to spot: they think that mens is better at thinking coz they can measure it with a ruler (on the occasions when they get a hard on, that is). Since women don’t have one, they can’t be intelligent. Logical it is not, intelligent it is not, but fools think themselves intelligent are the most dangerous of fools.
Whilst Merkel is the boss today, there are others who are as able as she is. Not only that, but you can trust them to keep their word. If Merkel goes, as the AfD want, someone else who has her ability to defend her policies as easily as to dissect those of the opposition.You can appreciate that forming coalition governments is a fertile breeding ground for the likes of Frau Merkel… whilst the AfD dream of topping the German leader, there are dozens who can take her place.
Wait A Moment!!!
What about all the migrants that arrived in Europe, thanks to a few American benefactors? They are mentioned in the newspapers, as one might expect, given that they are controlled by the US. The migrant problem was there to influence the German voter to vote for the unvotable. Sorry, the AfD, the Alternative to politics.
I am so sorry, they are the alternative for Germany.
So, in all the conversations I had in the last week, the migrant question did not arise on any occasion. Not that I wanted to turn the conversations in that direction, the Germans who I spoke with didn’t either. Nor were there any migrants to be seen! The German government has done a pretty good job of tidying them all up and keeping them cosy and warm in the refugee shelters. The reports in the press have come from Sweden, where the problem can be discussed, mainly because many Germans simply don’t know that the Swedes will have taken note of what the Germans did and will have followed suite. Not that this will stop the Americans from adding the occasional scare story to shock the unshockable Germans into voting for their – the US’s – favourite party. You know the one…
After all, there is little one can do about migrants in the news in Germany because it isn’t news any more. It’s been nearly two years since a migrant ran off with my suitcase on my return from Stuttgart and my ability to put down my suitcase on a German railway platform (and not have it stolen) returned long ago. Only the Dutch police are there to see that any forgotten suitcase is treated as a potential bomb threat. Well, that’s the Dutch for you… they wait patiently in the trains that have been stopped and wait for them to be allowed to start again. It’s the British who panic at the sight of a suitcase, the Dutch phone the police knowing that they are the people who can see it returned to its rightful owner. Not knowing that the US has pulled a few strings in the policy department and thus the police act out of character…
For the Dutch, at least. It’s only when you know the character of the Dutch and German cultures that it is possible to see the glaring errors that the Yanks make. Flooding Germany with a million migrants might seem a lot to an American (or, come to that, a Brit) but they forget that the Yanks wanted the Germans to take in their Turkish “Gastarbeiter” – the guest worker. There are three million Turks who live in Germany, few of whom are anything else than Turkish speaking Germans or German speaking Turks. Nobody really notices them, as they keep themselves to themselves and don’t do the kinds of thing that are reported in the Swedish “no-go areas” as screamed in the headlines at repeated intervals.
The upshot of the refugee “crisis” will be a slight drain on the German treasury; some of them will remain on benefits. Now that Aleppo has been freed of terrorists – sorry, that should read “freed of moderate terrorists” because that is how the Americans like to call them, and if I don’t say this kind of thing, Google and Facebook will censor my blog again. It’s called Freedom in America. I don’t know the corresponding word in German. Suffice it to say that with Aleppo freed and the legitimate government of Syria on the up, many of these migrants will be able to return home. The others will do what migrants have traditionally done in Germany: open a restaurant. Geeks, Italians, Spanish, Hungarian… British? No. Don’t go there.
Suffice it to say that there aren’t many Syrian restaurants in Germany and the Germans like going out to restaurants at the weekend. There’s one Syrian restaurant that’s already something of a success in Berlin, and it will probably spread. It means the Syrians can sustain themselves in a culture that is naturally accepting of good cooking and likes diversity. For the Syrian it might be tough going, but thanks to the Americans, they’re probably used to that…
Just as the Germans are.