Franca L.

Beautiful German of the week.

Franca Lehfeldt

Because somebody has to admire them.

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It’s Guys Like These Who Give Liberals A Good Name

These are your “classic” liberals, the pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP). And more power to them.

Lindner

Lindner has very good reasons to not join a four-party coalition just after he managed to lead the FDP from the political wilderness back into parliament. He has sought to re-brand the FDP as a party with clear principles, delineating core demands that the FDP would pursue: investing in education, promoting digital transformation, lowering taxes, blocking an EU “transfer union” and controlling immigration. After a compelling campaign, the party re-entered parliament with 10.7 percent of the vote.

“It is better not to govern than to govern in the wrong way.”

Kenya, Jamaica, It’s All Rhineland-Palatinate To Me

Or, if you prefer, German of the day: Koalition.

Palette

That means coalition, as in coalition government. And a working one is going to be hard to conjure up after the mixed results of Sunday’s state government elections in Germany (no one is willing to work together with the AfD).

SEVERAL German states, and perhaps the whole country one day, may have a political future as Kenya or Jamaica. Or as a traffic light. Germany could also become Germany, and other things besides. Unfortunately such talk—which is all the rage among German wonks since three regional elections on March 13th—makes little sense to people outside of Germany. That is because it refers to the colours of political parties and the coalitions they could form to produce governing majorities. Thus a “Kenyan” government would be some combination of black, red and green, as on Kenya’s flag. Jamaica would mean black, yellow and green. A traffic light would be red, yellow and green. Germany would be black, red and yellow. Motley as these descriptions may be, they point to a bigger change in Germany’s political landscape since March 13th. What is going on?

Der FDP-Bundesvorsitzende Christian Lindner steht einer von der SPD geführten rot-grün-gelben Koalition mit FDP und Grünen in Rheinland-Pfalz wohlwollend gegenüber.

German Of The Day: German Mut

Nope, that doesn’t mean German pooch or mongrel. That means German courage.

German Mut

And it takes quite a bit of German courage for a German political party to come out in support of economic-liberal policies and free choice in a country like Germany these days (in the end, most Germans want everything regulated for them and prefer equality and conformity to free choice). But that is what the FDP (FDP 2.0?) is trying to do. They’re still on the outside looking in after their ousting in 2013 but appear to be bouncing back, at least for the moment.

They are currently so courageous, in fact, that they must be high. Not only are the Free Democrats now proposing that marijuana be legalized, which isn’t all that original these days, they also think it’s time for Germany to introduce a flat tax. Good luck on that. That’ll be a real hard one to sell here, as elsewhere. Who’s going to “eat the rich” then?

“Die erste Reform, die wir unserem Land empfehlen, ist eine Reform der Mentalität.”

It’s Not That We’re Too Strong

The rest of you guys out there in Europe are just too weak. Like start doing more push-ups or something.

Germany

German dominance is in part a consequence of others’ retreat. That may be why complaints have been muted. “If the Italians don’t bring pasta and the French don’t bring pâté,” says a diplomat, “you can’t complain about Mrs Merkel’s cabbage soup.

PS: And speaking of getting stronger, you folks over at the FDP should learn to smile a little already. Polls indicate that you’re back over that magical 5 percent line and could get back in the saddle again – if elections were to be held today.

Please Come Back

We miss you. Or at least I do.

The FDP, the traditional king-maker in German politics, lost all of its seats in the national parliament in the 2013 election, leaving conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel little choice but to ally with the center-left Social Democrats. As part of their coalition pact, she also agreed to new laws, including a national minimum wage, that have angered business leaders…

An impromptu rant by Christian Lindner, the Free Democratic Party’s chairman, defending entrepreneurs and startup culture made it onto newspaper front pages here and became one of the most watched political speeches of recent months.

“If one succeeds, one ends up in the sights of the Social Democratic redistribution machinery and, if one fails, one can be sure of derision and mockery.”

Der FDP endlich Beine machen!