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Tag: CSU

Aristides the Just in Bavaria

Saturday, 13 October, 2018

Bavaria is booming. Unemployment is under three percent and the sun has shone almost every day since April. Easy peasy then, you would think, for the CSU, which has ruled the southern German state with an absolute majority for most of the post-war era. The party won nearly 48 percent of the vote at the last regional election, in 2013, but change is in the air. For the first time in living memory, the CSU appears almost certain to fall well below the 40 percent mark in tomorrow’s election, an outcome that would send shockwaves all the way from Munich to Berlin.

What’s up? Frustration with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s moralistic migration policy is one issue; infighting within the CSU and in the coalition government in Berlin is another. People are looking for alternatives. Despite the extraordinary prosperity and stability that the CSU has helped bestow upon Bavaria, the voters are restless. The situation reminds one of an incident recounted by Plutarch in The Life of Aristides the Just. Note: An ostracon (plural ostraka) was a shard of pottery upon which the ancient Greeks wrote short messages:

“Now at the time of which I was speaking, as the voters were inscribing their ostraka [to determine which politicians would be expelled from the city], it is said that an unlettered and utterly boorish ostrakon fellow handed his ostrakon to Aristides, whom he took to be one of the ordinary crowd, and asked him to write Aristides on it. He, astonished, asked the man what possible wrong Aristides had done him. ‘None whatever,’ was the answer, ‘I don’t even know the fellow, but I am tired of hearing him everywhere called ‘The Just’. On hearing this, Aristides made no answer, but wrote his name on the ostracon and handed it back.”

In the most recent polls, CSU support has fallen to 33 percent. In much of Europe today, that would be a dream result for a centrist party, but given the CSU’s almost permanent reign, such an outcome would be treated as a disaster. Stay tuned.

Germany is so dull it’s Breaking Bad

Thursday, 22 August, 2013 0 Comments

With that tweet, Spiegel, for once, was reporting something that approximated the truth. The upcoming German election is dull. In fact, it must be the dullest election campaign of all time. Why is this? Well, one reason could be that there appears to be no political parties in Germany. Sure, there are politicians and they claim to lead political parties but it is impossible to tell one from the other — the politicians and the parties. Part of the problem is that the “parties” are meant to be distinguished by letters of the alphabet, but it isn’t easy to separate the sheep from the sheep when what you’ve got to go on is CDUCSUSPDFDP. For the alphabetically-challenged, there’s a colour scheme that’s used — black, green, red, yellow — to tell the differences between the uniforms, but like all childish arrangements, it has its limits when it encounters dull reality.

Another reason why “Germans Tune Out Dull Campaign” is that the German media is a mirror image of German politics. All the newspapers, magazines, TV stations, radio stations and websites are identical. Within the ZDFTAZARDSZFAZS axis, it is impossible to find one that is different or isn’t dull. For example, when David Miranda, the Brazilian mule used by the self-aggrandizing Glen Greenwald to smuggle stolen security information into the UK, was questioned, lawfully, by the UK authorities, German media uniformly reported this as the end of press freedom in Britain. Not only were the dull headlines identical; the broadcast and written reports were indistinguishable in their absurdly leftist homogeneity. Similarly, it was the copycat coverage of the Guardian‘s reportage of the material filched by the traitorous Edward Snowden. The German media, uniformly, republished it all, lines-for-line.

So if Germans are tuning out a dull campaign made duller by a dull media, what are they turning to for diversion and enlightenment? Two words: Breaking Bad.