Saturday, 10 February 2018

Angela Merkel rides again


Angela Merkel is a woman, as slow as Theresa May at making decisions and as unconservative.

There the resemblances between the two seem to end. Frau Merkel is a brilliant and cunning politician who did to her party what Mr. Blair did to his. She created a real conservative party, the AfD, rather as his legacy is a far left Labour Party led by Mr. Corbyn and George W Bush and Mr Obama's is President Trump.

Under the new coalition she has stitched together the SPD, which was punished badly for governing with CDU, won the best jobs and will be able to move Germany and Europe to the left, though CDU by now is a Social Democratic party too, thanks to Angela Merkel. Refugees and their relations will continue to flood Germany, despite what the politicians pretend and most importantly AfD will be the main opposition party. That is if the SDP members agree the coalition, which they might not.

In many ways a minority government would be the most democratic result of an election which the main parties lost and in which AfD and FDP did well. In any case, whether there's a coalition, minority government or fresh elections, I imagine AfD will continue to grow in strength.

Under the headline "Why German Politics Can't Move Beyond Merkel," René Pfister, of Der Spiegel' wrote:

"A popular question these days is what, exactly, will remain from the Merkel era once she is gone. Adenauer is known for anchoring the country in the Western community of nations. Kohl's legacy is the introduction of the euro. But one can make the argument that with her political style, Merkel changed the country more fundamentally than any of her predecessors.

"The dominant trend these days is that of the political movement...the established big-tent parties seem strangely outmoded, trapped in a corset of rituals and ideological constraints. But it was likely Merkel herself who first realized how potent it could be if the party leader emancipated herself from her own party's doctrine.

"Merkel has never had the kind of charisma possessed by [France's President Emmanuel] Macron. And she certainly didn't transform the CDU into a vehicle of her own ambition with the vehemence and speed that Sebastian Kurz transformed the ÖVP [Austrian People's Party]. But the persistence with which she relieved the party of everything that once distinguished it from the political competition had a similar effect over time: What ultimately mattered was no longer the common convictions held by the party, but the party chair's determination to cling to power. The CDU was transformed into Merkel's own personal political party.

"On the way, though, the competition of political ideas—the policy conflicts that are the lifeblood of democracy and which provide voters with direction—was lost. As was the CDU's identity."

Blogger Rainer Zitelmann argued:

"Actually, all opposition parties in the German Bundestag can be happy. From a broader perspective, the SPD is being crushed between the Left Party and the Greens and the CDU between [classical liberal] FDP and AfD. Merkel does not care. She knows that this is her last term."

1 comment:

  1. We're so tired of her. But the economy is running well anyway. With or without Merkel.