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German Left and Greens level with Merkel Coalition

This is not how they are reporting it in Bloomberg. There they say the SPD (equivalent of our New Labour) are on 23% and Greens on 24% making for a massive 47%. Up against this Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats are on 30% and ‘Free Democrats’ on 5%, so trailing by 12%.

On the other hand, if the Left Party and Greens totted up their numbers, that would make 35% – neck and neck with the Rightwing ruling coalition.

And, of course, if that very long bridge over ideological differences could be traversed, then a Progressive Coalition of Left/Green/SPD  (or some such idea) would hold 58% of the vote.

In six months, there will be state elections where the Greens are hoping to win 2 states.

The biggest obstacle to any understanding is that the Greens in Germany support the Afghanistan War (seems quite strange at first as Germany was against the Iraq War in 2003, also when the Foreign Minister was a Green…….).

There are no signs of a Grand Bargain on the Centre and Left.

This is the country where the Right and Centre-Right (SPD) ruled jointly recently.

Who knows then?

German unemployment fell to the lowest in eighteen years, almost to the point of re-unification.

A German economist, Andreas Scheuerle, says: “the 3 million figure is a magical psychological threshold”.

The Bundesbank thinks economic growth will be 3% or more this year.

German unemployment is 7.5%.

Meanwhile, French jobless figures are at a five year high at 10.1%, the highest in twelve years.

Both Merkel and Sarkozy are suffering at the polls.

A big part of the reason for German economic prowess now is that the Euro is a straitjacket and forcing ‘internal devaluations’ by the Mediterranean countries. Germany is exporting its capital machineries and cars to the rest of Europe as well as high tech equipment to China.

If the global economy dips next year and / or there is a default-type of crisis by Greece or even Spain, then the economic picture in Germany will not look so rosy.

Germans are unhappy over the pro-nuclear stance by Merkel and also on the bailout of the Greeks. Actually, it was a bailout of the German and French banks  who refused to take a haircut on their loans to Athens.

But then, that’s not how it’s explained, is it? Instead of gold plated Greek pensions, it’s platinum plated German bankers (that’s another story for another day).

Anyway, if an economic rebound does not help, then Merkel’s Conservatives will hope that a currency crisis will allow her to do a ‘Gordon Brown’ and ‘save the world’.

Oops. Brown lost, didn’t he?

As the centre of economic gravity shifts to MittelEuropa  so does its politics.

With the English Left dead in the water and its remnants still in a ridiculous embrace with New Labour;  the French Socialist Party in disarray, it seems the French, Spanish and Greek Unions & Left Movements had better look to Germany for some good news.

The Greens there will be pivotal. I just hope they are not still stuck five years back – pre crisis.

The Lisbon Treaty or the Bankers’ Charter is from another era in the never never land where free markets (and banks) would solve our economic problems.

Don’t get your hopes up too high.

There has to be an almighty battle within the German Greens to rediscover their intellectual roots and grasp the nettle. And would they stick together?

As the Chinese say, these are interesting times (translation: dangerous and unpredictable).

If we want to know the direction of Europe, both politically and economically, let’s spend less time wondering whether Nick Clegg smokes or not on his Desert Island and instead take our cue from Germany.

Pity then that Paul the Octopus passed away this week – were he around, I am sure they would have asked him who would win the electoral joust in Berlin…

 

Farid Bakht

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Comments

One Comment so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. Die Linke is the successor to the DDR ruling Socialist Unity Party of Germany (Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands or SED), I can’t see how Bündnis 90/Die Grünen can work with them. Die Linke is the party of the Stasi, Bündnis 90 their victims.

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