Friday, 25 November 2011


Currently three topics are dominating the German headlines - the exposure and capture of a neo-Nazi terror gang; the €uro crisis; and the ongoing protests over the Stuttgart Bahnhof restructuring and the atomic waste storage facility in Gorleben.

The arrest of members of the neo-Nazi group (two committed suicide when trapped after robbing a bank) has started a tremendous debate over the issue of "right-extremists" and there is a great deal of soul searching being done over this group which has, it transpires, been active for over 10 years. The Secret Service (Ferfassungsdienst) in several of the Federal States apparently knew of their activities and were monitoring them, but failed to share this with the relevant State Police forces. Justifiably there is anger over this in all quarters and now there are calls for the parent political party, the NPD (National Socialist Party) to be banned outright. As ever, the Left are the most vocal in demanding a ban, conveniently ignoring the fact that Germany also has a problem with "Links extremismus"groups, the most notorious of which was the Red Army Faction (Bader-Meinhof Gang), but there are still others at large, though not as active and there is also the threat of Al Qaeda groups and members. Bans usually mean driving groups like these deeper underground and making it even more difficult to track, monitor and deal with them. This seems to have been realised here, though the debate continues.

The €uro crisis concerns everyone, probably the Germans more than anyone else. Older people here remember their parents talking about the collapse of the Mark in the Weimar Republic and the consequences. They also remember clearly the struggle in the post-war years as the country and the economy was slowly rebuilt. They entered the €uro cautiously and their economic rectitude has been worthwhile. Their banks, on the whole, survived the scandal of 2008 very nicely, the majority without any bailouts. Currently, the Chancellor is fighting her corner with the usual Keynesian economists who got us into this mess in the first place and who now want to sell €urobonds and print more money. Germany knows all to well what happens to a currency once the presses start printing more banknotes than the economy can sustain in value. Currently, Germany has a 1.8% interest on borrowing rate on the world exchange as opposed to something akin to 34% for Greece. The €urobond idea would see Germany paying a higher rate for their loans so that France, Spain, Greece et al pay the same as Germany - and Mrs Merkel knows the German people won't be happy bunnies if that happens!

The third item is worthy of a post on its own as anyone watching these protest groups soon comes to realise that for many it is almost a religious dogma. "We are against (insert activity of choice)" and no amount of debate, exchange of information, even inspection of facilities will change that stance. We are against it and it doesn't matter what you say, we will not change or position. This seems to be a human condition, one that is visible in many different things and in many different societies. For those of this mindset there is no "middle ground" and no compromise. For them it is their way or nothing.

On which note I will stop for the moment. Perhaps tomorrow will provide the inspiration to ponder that a little more.

1 comment:

  1. One of my German friends may be part of the anti-nuclear protesting again. She spoke over the summer when I saw her last of rushing a track to block the movement of nuclear fuels/waste. She made it appear as if it was mainly a movement of fresh activist, and the police unable to know how to effectively deal with them. It appears the police have stepped up things.

    There are a number of us who really don't like the left wing union activities in a lot of the activist groups, where independents, people who are representative of the demographic, come in to work on campaigns and find themselves excluded through cliques and power roles/positioning. We see roles given to people in THEIR circles, rather than those with common sense who illuminate areas needing workgroups on. We also find all too frequently that those of us with boots on the ground aren't those who manoeuvre and have these roles.

    Today I have been responding to people who have been caring too much about external issues to the point they fail to protect those around them in local issues. Also where certain people complain about other governments making gay literature illegal, whilst supporting local militant feminists attempting to ban 'lads mags' from sale on home institutions campuses. Both are censorship, but apparently we cannot say the militant feminists are wrong to censor what is legal here under our rights and freedoms.

    A student is about to stand up for an Israeli situation next Tuesday as he set off a referendum to his students union that is being discussed, to possible pair with a Hebrew university and show balance since the pro-Palestine campaigners have been far too vocal, and well,to put it bluntly, spittingly over emotional. The student in question is not Jewish, is raising this on a democratic/equality platform, and is not fazed yet even though last academic year his accommodation got a window put through because he flew an Israeli flag visible at his bedroom window.

    I am not left wing, I am non-partisan. If a local issue looks wrong and I have the ability to work somewhat towards fighting the issue at hand legally and democratically, why shouldn't I put some time in? I also believe the left wing vocabulary and methods of operating can only alienate the populous, and their socialism is close to communism in the public eye which will present a huge barrier to getting the general public onside, even on a righteous campaign.