The Imagination Attempts to..Relax

Another set of polls, this time taken for ARD TV and reported here, seem to bear out the surprising recovery of Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and the imagination-buggering prospect of a Red-Red-Green coalition. The CDU was down 2% at 41% and the SPD up 2% at 34%, with the Greens solid at 7%, the Linkspartei down 0.5% at 8.5%, and (curiously) the Homeopathic Parachute Club FDP up 0.5% at 6.5%.

Surely the 0.5% can’t be the same people? Anyway, that would put the Coalition of the Desperate at 49.5% against 47.5% for the Festival of Stern..if, of course, the imagination can be persuaded to “take it”. In these increasingly odd political waters, the first signs of people positioning themselves for post-election coalition talks are now visible. Coalition negotiations are the hard-core porn of politics, and this looks like it’s going to be absolutely filthy, especially if the death of the NPD candidate in Dresden prolongs things.

Schröder has publicly refused to talk coalitions, saying it would be wrong (ha! he wants it really!), and that his aim is to make the SPD the largest party and continue the coalition with the Greens. Angela Merkel has called him out and accused him of, ah, flirting with the Linkspartei, whilst Joschka Fischer has claimed that he will never, no, nay, never no more deal with Oskar Lafontaine. Nuh. Lafontaine further claims he has “not the slightest fear” of a grand coalition, although it would be worse than a rightwing government..and he is also busy rowing back on his remarks about foreign workers.

And for their sad little part, the neo-Nazis have selected their replacement candidate for Dresden. In an astonishingly original move, it’s Franz Schönhuber, the ancient founder, leader, general secretary and dogcatcher of the outlawed Republican Party, an octogenarian fascist who I thought was dead. Yawn!

11 thoughts on “The Imagination Attempts to..Relax

  1. What, REPs outlawed? Must have missed that one. Great news if true. But Schily couldn’t even manage to get the banning of the still more blatantly nazoid NPD done right. I doubt he could swing a ban on the Republicans, who can, if they put themselves to great efforts, pass momentarily for democrats (from 500 metres away, in dim light, if you squint both eyes and turn the other way).

    I thought that REPs had simply lost all their voters and money, and Schönhuber had to take a job as jester to Gerhard Frey.

  2. I was recently chastised by a Lib-Dem councilor in Britain for what he took to be a less than respectful reference to the FDP in Germany.

    It seems that the FDP and the Lib-Dems belong to the same group in the European Parliament. I have to admit to finding this a tad strange since the FDP belongs to the European classic liberal tradition – freer markets and trade – whereas members of the Lib-Dems in Britain are apt to claim they are to the “left” of and more radical than Blair’s Labour Party.

    The truth of the matter is perhaps that most of these political positioning statements don’t translate across borders and the traditional left-right division has long since past its sell-by date.

  3. NPD is not a danger. They would admit to being nazi’s if it wasn’t illegal to do so. And because of that they are very unlikely to become a big party (who would vote on a party who loves nazi’s after WWII) But the REPs would never admit that so they could grow to become large and dangerous

  4. Well realistically the NPD is the equivalent of the US Republicans. Their election slogan is “Arbeit, Familie, Vaterland” – thats family values and homeland security.

  5. Fascinating stuff. The slogan of the (collaborating) Vichy government in France during WW2 was: Patrie, Famille, Travail. How curious that Bush invoked the Churchillian spirit to justify the invasion of Iraq.

  6. While it is true that the NPD are not a threat at national level, even when they have teamed up with the Republicans and the DVU for this campaign, they are a threat at communal level. Communal elections in Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt have shown this.

    The chances of a red-red-green coalition are not great. The idea of anyone in the SPD wishing to link up with the extreme left politics of Gysi or with the former SPD member Lafontaine are slim to say the least. A red-black coalition is also not much of a possibility as the two parties would never be able to reconcile their differences.

    More likely, with the present trend highlighted by various polls, is that a red-green coalition will take over once more following September 18. The CDU / CSU are losing ground in the polls again, partially because of the things Stoiber claims aginst the former East, partially because of the many, many comments made by CDU politicians / candidates which jar with the public but mainly because of the Paul Kirchhof debacle over removing tax privileges, which will run up to the last moment.

    Now we also see the amusing spectacle of the CDU attacking the FDP (their partners!) for not trying hard enough in the campaign, and the FDP responding. Hardly the right stuff for a strong and lasting coalition.

    Pi.

  7. Are the neo-Nazis in Germany like the Rastfarians in that they both believe that their founders are alive and well?

  8. I’m beginning to think that an Ampelkoalition was what Schröder was after all along…

    @Pat Patterson: No, I don’t think they’re quite that frenzied, although they do like old SS men (wasn’t Schönhuber?)

  9. “but mainly because of the Paul Kirchhof debacle”

    Well you seem to be right. This seems to be becoming something of a fiasco. The FT today:

    “A week before national elections in Germany, opposition Christian Democrat leaders are attempting to sideline Paul Kirchhof, the shadow finance minister, fearing his controversial tax proposals could cost the centre-right what was seen as an assured victory a month ago.”

    Maybe Schröder will do something to throw a brake, since he almost seem in danger of being ‘too successful’, which I would guess is the last thing he really wants:

    “An Emnid survey published on Saturday showed the SPD up 3.5 points at 34.5 per cent in a week, while Ms Merkel’s CDU was off 1.5 points at 40.5 per cent, not enough to secure a majority with the small Free Democratic party, its preferred coalition partner.The CDU’s lead has melted from a seemingly impregnable 21 points at the end of May to six points. The “Politbarometer” survey of the political mood, considered a harbinger of political shifts, showed the SPD only two points behind the CDU last Friday.”

    “I’m beginning to think that an Ampelkoalition was what Schröder was after all along…..”

    Well it’s certainly another theory to consider, the difficulty seem to be, what would be the exit strategy?

  10. Rule the centre. Collect the Greens (a minority but with broad appeal) and the FDP (likewise), both of whom have things in common with the Schröder agenda, around the FDP and leave the CDU and Linke to not-cooperate with each other.

    I’ve said before, he’s not playing a deep game, he’s playing a shallow game.

  11. The FDP agenda has very little in common with the SPD. The left wing of that party is effectively dead. It is true that they would do everything for power, but you will not get the Greens to agree to the result. It has been tried and failed.
    The FDP today is a lot more right wing in economic matters and that is all that counts now.

    BTW .5% is within the margin of error. The number is meaningless

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