Martin… er… who?

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Martin… er… who?

Posted by Mad Mitch on UTC 2018-02-10 10:14. Updated on UTC 2018-02-10

The news yesterday evening of Martin Schulz's resignation as German Foreign Minister came as a 'bombshell' (to use the pre-ordained terminology in such situations).

He had already resigned his post as party chairman so he is now officially in the German political wilderness, never to return – er… never say never, but it looks very much like whisky and pistol time. Only two things are certain at this moment:

One

The political pundits in the media have generally little to no idea what is going on. With all the sympathy we have for their miserable (paid! paid!) position of having to write to order and to deadlines, we have to accept that not one of them foresaw Schulz's rapid exit. They are now in the even more miserable position of having to 'explain' with fitting gravitas the reasons for Schulz's resignation to their readers.

The cognitive dissonance – that phrase again! – must be greater for those commentators who only a day and a half ago were putting forward the opinion that Schulz, in playing so hard to get both before and during the GroKo negotions, had in fact played a negotiating blinder: he obtained far more government positions for the SPD from Mrs Merkel and the Union than were really its due, so gagging for him and his big Coalition the lady had been.

The more swivel-eyed commentators even suggested that the eurofanatic Schulz had been playing some Manchurian Candidate-style long-game under the influence of that demon, his patron Jean-Claude Juncker, with the goal of forcing through the agenda of ever closer EU integration and bringing about the end of the nation state in Europe.

The same pundits are now scribbling frantically, smoke rising from their keyboards, telling us what an idiot Schulz is: a small town lefty, recovering alcoholic, incompetent President of the EU Parliament and so on, who has broken his word twice (no GroKo! no ministerial position!). We are only waiting for them to mention our Peter-May Principle for political incompetence – it has to come.

Two

Stepping back from the smoke of battle and transitory human things, the Editor-in-Chief of the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Eric Gujer, delivers a magisterial and absolutely correct summary of the GroKo:

Deutschland blocks itself with this coalition

The mantra of the Grand Coalition in Germany is stability at any price. The result is a standstill in its politics internally as well as in Europe. And Merkel's authority breaks down even further.

Deutschland blockiert sich mit dieser Koalition selbst
Das Mantra der grossen Koalition in Deutschland lautet Stabilität um jeden Preis. Das Resultat ist Stillstand in der Innenpolitik wie in Europa. Und Merkels Autorität bröckelt weiter.

In other words: In German politics, nothing ever changes. To which we can now add two corollaries:

  • If anything ever changes in German politics, it is no longer German.
  • If change ever becomes an option in German politics, it is never chosen.

Update 10.02.2018

A less magisterial but still fitting summary of the situation from the cartoonist Götz Wiedenroth in PI-News:

Martin Schulz the drunken motorcyclist. Image: ©Götz Wiedenroth

Martin Schulz the motorcyclist, drunk with power, subtracts himself from public view. 'SPD in opposition' – 'No - on the contrary' – 'For me, no ministerial post under Merkel' – 'No - yes' – 'Foreign Minister post for me'… Image: ©Götz Wiedenroth