One of the quaintest notions that I am frequently subjected to is that Germany is a country utterly transformed. The Federal Republic, apparently, is an entirely new Germany — a Germany that has broken with the its imperial legacies, both monarchic and republican. Parenthetically, the post-First World War German republics were still legally considered empires. That is one of the quirks of translation. If one looks deeper, takes a spade and shovels a few inches beneath the surface a different, deeply troubling truth emerges.
Since 1945 Germany has been an ardently pacifist state. From the twin establishments of the BRD and DDR in 1948 to what has proven to be a calamitous “reunification” in 1990, ostensibly under the mores and governance of the BRD, war has forever been renounced. The most modest concession of joining peace keeping missions under UN aegis wasn’t affected without a deeply bitter and divisive constitutional debate. Like Japan, Germany was disarmed and pacified. The victors of the war have in subsequent decades grown to resent just how successful their pacification campaign was. As the popular settlements in both countries stand, permanent demilitarisation means permanent demilitarisation. Some of you will recall that the Japanese prime minister, Abe Shinzo, had a hellish go of convincing the Japanese Diet — and Japanese electorate — to consent to Japan’s active involvement of joint collective defence in Asia outside Japanese territorial waters. The latter is still not entirely reconciled to a Japanese military that might not be used exclusively for defending Japan’s 6,852 islands from Kimmy Jungle, etc.
Over the past year I’ve largely taken over my grandmother’s daily affairs. She’s no longer the youngest, 85, and her health hasn’t been what it was since my grandfather crossed over to his heavenly abode in March, 2016. There have been certain successes on my part — she’s generally less hysterical now and her obesity is under control since I’m the one who cooks. This has done much to reduce her problems with diabetes. What I haven’t been able to change is the asinine nature of Germany’s legal system. It’s difficult to explain to anyone with an iota of the slightest trace of a modicum of common sense how laws here work. If you desire to gain a deep understanding of German law, take a hit or twenty of acid, shoot up a few CCs of heroine and smoke a gramme or two of crack. It’s like Kafka, Dali and Baudelaire came together to craft the most surreal legal system imaginable.
Here’s an example… Someone has broken in several times and important legal documents have gone missing. We know who it was, but the police cannot act because “he” has the right to enter any way he pleases. As we lack CCTV, there is no undeniable proof that “he” stole anything so nothing changes. There won’t even be a formal “chat”, despite his frank and open admission to a number of his actions. Under German law he has the right to do it. He also, apparently, has the right to bring any guest he bloody well chooses despite direct requests not to. It took the combined efforts of all the furies of hell to convince him that he probably should not, despite the repeated requests of the property owner to the contrary, undertake major renovations at her expense. He could, in theory, have ordered tens of thousands of euro of work done against her wishes and she would have been liable. There is no flexibility in this regard.
The nan is as stubborn as a goat. This stubbornness, borne of wanting her word to be law, has created a very difficult legal situation for her. Under Hunnish law a functionary can decide with the minimum of medical information to force someone into an old age home and seize her/his assets and sell them to offset said expenses. The only prophylactic is an advanced directive which is legally binding if completed correctly and properly certified after qualified medical counsel. After years of strenuous efforts, she finally consented to fill one in. Her GP is no longer in any position to certify it as she has been diagnosed with the early stages of dementia. Her great hope is that her designated next of kin’s wishes will be respected. There is no guarantee of this. The dregs of a landmass between Denmark and Switzerland has grown quite keen on killing off its pensioners as quickly as possible. By sending them to the cheapest old age homes, their spirits are crushed and their wills to live are ground down into matcha-fine powder. To secure even the slightest improvement in circumstances requires a near-violent resolve.Again, there is little-to-no flexibility. In Germany, one really has no rights — only constitutional allowances which can be toyed with by politicians at whim. There is, by design, no democratic brake.
For all Germany’s sanctimonious blather, the country is in many respects less sound than Italy. Four states’ surpluses keep the country solvent. This solvency is increasingly tenuous as Germany’s population ages rapidly. Berlin’s day of fiscal reckoning was brought forth by a decade due to Muttie Angela’s foolhardy invitation to all and sundry loitering in the Balkans and Hungary, be they genuine candidates for asylum or merely economic opportunists. Most were the latter. As a result, Germany’s policies are growing increasingly arbitrary. People are being squeezed for every last cent. The millions of people forced to go on benefit because of Germany’s dysfunctional labour laws are having to verify every cent they receive and spend. That most would prefer to stay away from the dole office is entirely irrelevant. Berlin knows better. As there is no democratic brake, there is no fear that anyone can do anything to challenge them. As a result, emigration is ticking up rapidly. Those who can very often leave. There are 62 days until I defect to Britain.
4 thoughts on “Panik!”
Of the four states that you say provide the profits that keep the country afloat, it would be interesting to see what percentage of those profits are derived from exports to the UK. As I read, in an interesting article the other day, there are really three parties involved in the post “Brexit” trading agreement negotiations. The EU, Britain itself and the other twenty seven nations with whom we trade. While all those trading together would all derive a obvious benefit from a tariff free trading agreement, the Commission needs to make any attempt to leave the union result in some form of punitive post exit trading terms in order be seen to maintain it’s “authority” over individual state governance and also to dissuade any other member states from from attempting to follow the same course. As a result of this, could we see “political” Germany, who would have to be seen as supporting the EU, facing a domestic head to head with “corporate” Germany, who will want to support continuing profits? If such a situation occurred, how would it go, in your opinion?
Of the four states, the one that pulls by far the most weight is Bavaria. BMW and Audi are two of Bavaria’s largest and most important employers, both reliant on exports to the UK. Bavaria, like Scotland, is a “special case”. Merkel’s party does not exist in that state, they have their own centre-right CSU which, by convention, sits with the CDU but is not the same party. They, in theory, could bring down her government by withdrawing their support and have forced policy changes with that threat.
Given a choice of collapsing its economy or letting up on EU fanaticism, Germany would collapse its economy. Germany is governed by an inflexible dogma and always has been. Germans will march to their destruction in order to see a point through than find a workable muddle. It will take the likes of the Nordic countries, Italy, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, etc. to undermine the German position for Germany to budge. Other than with France and Germany, the UK has fairly good relations. Of the two, France is more likely to budge as they’re also reliant on trade with Britain for what remains of their economy. The French are far more willing to concede to a fudge than is Germany. The French, ultimately, have no principle other than their self-preservation. Germany is incapable of self-preservation if that means sacrificing ideology
Do you think there would there be a change of political direction if Frau M’s party lost the next election or are all the major political parties committed to the development of an EU federal state, even taking into account the immigrant problems and the increased financial burdens that will fall on Germany as a result of the UK’s exit? I suppose that it’s the same as my original question phrased slightly differently, Would corporate Germany and political Germany share the same vision for the future after a change in government?
The SPD, the party that would lead the alternative coalition, are led by Martin Schulz — the former Speaker of the EU “Parliament”. The CDU, SPD and Greens are all eurofederalist. The only difference is degree. The FDP are largely pro-EU. Only the extreme leftist “Linke” and self-parodying AfD are sceptical. For Germany the financial burdens are irrelevant. Germany is the EU, the EU is Germany. There can be no Federal Republic without the EU. Germany is politically and constitutionally predicated on European integration. There is no debate on that, there never has been and there probably never will be. German voters have no means to object or protest. The only brake is Germany’s constitutional court which has slowed down and complicated the process a bit, but Germany being a civil law country, justices cannot do much more than decide if laws are constitutionally compliant or not and cannot overrule parliament in any meaningful way. Not that German voters would object. They’ve been taught that there cannot be Europe without European integration for four generations now. To a very large degree Germany’s economy relies on the dysfunctional euro. So long as Spain, Italy, Greece, Portugal, etc. are never more than a sneeze away from their next economic crisis the euro will remain relatively weak. This gives Germany a profound competitive advantage in exports of goods and services. Even if Germany has to take up all Britain’s liabilities, it would still make more money than it loses. That this situation is causing long-term damage to southern Europe is entirely irrelevant. This just means that German goods have an even greater share of the market as their competition is hollowed out. Germany will similarly not consent to euro-bonds. Rather, it would prefer intergovernmental support through a European mechanism. Germany will borrow certain amounts at low rates and lend to fragile economies at much higher rates — although still lower than market. These profits will be used to keep Germany’s debts down and stave off Germany’s financial rapidly increasingly financial problems.
According to the latest polling averages, the next government will be a coalition of Merkel’s CDU and the pro-business FDP. The SPD have seen their support collapse due to Schulz’s ineptness. Germans are naturally cautious voters and would rather take a known quantity than risk an unknown coalition.