Financial systems have always been fragile. Barry Eichengreen

What the German Voters did

I was in Hamburg on the day of the elections. I watched the results come in with a girlfriend on her television. She is a green voter appalled to see the high proportion of seats won by the AfD. It was hardly a surprise. The result was symbolic of the breakdown of the old style binary parliamentary structures of Western European democracies that have been around for a century.

angela-merkel germany AfD election

A majority government with a main opposition party seems to have become outmoded. Also ‘Reality TV’ style popularist politics, with its resulting hasty ‘knee jerk’ reactions to press and social media, has greyed the policy divisions between conservatives and socialists and allowed the extremists a much louder voice.

Members of parliament of minority political parties in Great Britain have always hankered after Proportional Representation to give them greater influence in the House of commons in the name of democracy. In the past The Liberal parties have won say 20 % of the vote, but had less than 20 representatives out of 600! This is clearly unfair, however the German elections have seen Proportional Representation deliver a result which would seem to impede effective government in Germany. My understanding is that the ‘Jamaica Coalition’ is primarily in place because the SPD want to launch a more effective opposition, but what strange bed-fellows this has created! Angela Merkel will be forced even more to the liberal left and what the hell are de Linke and AfD going to agree on in opposition!

The implications of Merkel’s refugee policy

I think Angela Merkel was uncharacteristically hasty with her refugee decision. Her response to the refugee crisis was from the heart and not one of her typical carefully measured decisions. It was not a practical decision in that it did not take into consideration the different political climates in all the other EC states. The migration issue is a very big one. Peoples’ fear of refugees threatening their jobs and putting a strain on social resources is very real. Logarithmic population growth and consequent mass migration is ultimately the world’s greatest challenge. Already the first world is feeling the massive impact of the sinister side of silicon valley facilitating the wholesale loss of many jobs and ultimately many peoples’ way of life!

It was a sound humanitarian act but it has political consequences far and beyond her reputation, Germany, Europe and the whole world. It certainly exacerbated the rise of the right in Germany and beyond, playing straight into their racist hands. Her reaction is also symbolic for me in the increasingly liberal direction of the CDU. I think she probably is keen on a 4th term to oversee the consequences of her refugee and European policy. I believe it’s in Europe’s interest for her to stay in power. She is required to adopt a stabilising role, not unlike the one Helmut Schmidt adopted so effectively in former times.

Ultimately her refugee decision may well precipitate the restructuring of the EC itself, although I don’t believe this was Merkel’s intention at the time. It certainly brought out all the major differences between European states and indirectly made a Brexit vote more likely and demonstrated the true political colours of countries like Hungary. The knock-on effect has already been enormous. An EC without the UK will throw Germany into the role of Europe’s leader and scapegoat. No one will any longer be able to blame the Brits! Germany will have to accept it’s military responsibilities including nuclear weapons and will no longer have a British buffer between itself and the French.

What the UK voters did and will BREXIT ever happen?

The fateful Brexit decision was made, I believe, not out of protest but simple disillusionment with politicians’ ability to listen to or care about the less privileged in society. Brexit was presented as a binary issue without consequences. As it happened before in Britain.

Britain is still very polarized and divided on the issue. Maybe some feel stupid. The ‘Brexiteers’ feel they might be betrayed. I believe it won’t happen in a pure form or it will have a drastically detrimental effect on both Britain and Europe. We need one another’s support and it will be impossible to unravel 30 plus years of existence and infrastructure, never mind the legal and practical consequences which are insurmountable. Where are the borders in the English Channel? Under water ! If not Ireland’s borders, trade barriers and other. In conclusion, the Brexit vote was influenced by the refugee crisis and its high media profile. The panic over immigration overshadowed all the real and practically impossible implications of the UK leaving the EU. It was almost certainly the key issue that swung the Brexit vote.

John Watts is the head of Fischer Z, worldwide known since 1979. Together with the band John brings his poetic and very political message to Germany in October 2017. The tour dates are:

14.10. ROSENHOF OSNABRUCK
15.10. TOLLHAUS KARLSRUHE
16.10. SPECTRUM AUGSBURG
18.10. LICHTBURG ESSEN
19.10. FABRIK HAMBURG (SOLD OUT)
20.10. COLOS SAAL ASCHAFFENBURG
21.10. DIE KANTINE COLOGNE
23.10. HIRSCH NURNBERG
24.10. JAZZHAUS FREIBURG
25.10. IM WIZEMANN STUTTGART
26.10. REX MUSIKTHEATER BENSHEIM
28.10. MUSIC HALL WORPSWEDE (SOLD OUT)
29.10. COLUMBIA THEATER BERLIN
30.10. CAPITOL THEATER HANNOVER

Read more in this debate: Jean-Claude Juncker, Dietmar Bartsch, Dietmar Bartsch.

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