A commonplace of german politics

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You never go completely

16 September, 2008 (13:40) | media, particulars, political trade | By: Aerar

Kurt Beck has waited a long time, but on September, 7th he resigned from his post as leader of the SPD. Many felt that the boss has become the incarnation of the bad polls of the party and his picture in the public often was accordingly. In the end came the “Finishing shot for the problem bear” (link no longer found) as Spiegelfechter titels elegant but a bit malicious.

The satiric magazin “Titanic” invented the BussiBeck-Cartoons which drew a picture of the honest but luckless efforts of Kurt Beck, who was once thought to candidate for chancellorship. But the picture in german press and in polls tended to be disastrous, be it by a campaign or not. Furthermore there were technical failures like the one a few days before the election in Hamburg, when Beck did not want to except (and prevent) the possibility of Andrea Ypsilanti beeing elected as leader in Hessen by accepting the votes of the party Die Linke. This lead the SPD into a crisis of confidence and into problems to explain, how such an experiment could definitely be denied in the Bundestag elections. But it that enough to fire Kurt Beck?

Yes and No. The job of a politician is to serve his country by his personality, ability and by his deeds. This needs a certain continuity, to make it possible to lead into a choosen political direction. Faces are important as well providing identification to the electors. Otherwise politics were anonymous and faceless. As politicians are human they will make mistakes and this has to be accepted to a certain degree. In the case of Kurt Beck there was no moral failure, no lies und no disloyalty. Seeing it from this side Kurt Beck could have stayed leader of the party. But his appearance as party leader was displayed as luckless and impotent by too many and such attributes will fall to the party as well then. But the SPD is one of the big “Volksparteien” in Germany and part of the current government. It’s current weakness has massive impact to the political life and to the further development of Germany. And this is more important than the leadership of Kurt Beck. If resignation of the leader would help to consolidate the party, Beck should have left earlier than now to serve his party and his country. In that case his political direction would have been (form the point of view of the majority) wrong and it would have been time for a change.

But it seems, and this is the main problem, as if political posts often are not treated as a service to the country but as personal posts. In the radio fake interview which meanwhile in parts appeared on “Youtube” between Andrea Ypsilanti and a voice imitator (faking the new designated “party leader” of the SPD Franz Müntefering) , Ypsilanti at least could resist the faked post offers but on the other hand does not seem to be surprised on the fact that she got those offers. Quite open are still sounding the words of Heidi Siminos, former leader of Schleswig-Holstein, who in TV interview was asked if she could consider a withdrawal from her posts. “Und wo bleibe ich dabei?” (translation by the author: “But what is left for me then?”) was her reply. After her failure in the third ballot we got the answer: she became honorary leader of UNICEF in germany. Maybe that this post was not political enough or be it that Ms. Simonis had learned her lesson: later she withdraw due to a scandal on charitable donations which fell into the time of her mandate.

But among the Christdemokraten (another big “Volkspartei” and part of the government as well) the aptitude for withdrawals seems even less. Neither the names of the CDU-spenders, still covered by an “Ehrenwort”  (translation by the author: “word of honour”) got known by now nor did the “brutalstmögliche Aufklärung” (translation by the author: “most brutal investigation which is possible”) bring much results. And no withdrawals as well of course. In Bayern on the other Hand the former leader has to make the failure to choose so long between a chair in Berlin or in München until they both are lost for him.

In the end it is important that polical posts are filled out (and not taken) by persons, who first of all serve their country and not see themselves as a kind of “institution”.