Some thoughts on the German election
The German election has inspired some thoughts.
1/ One of the saddest things for me is the decline of the SPD; 20% of the vote makes them a somewhat marginal force in the Bundestag. Critically, such a result also cannot be dismissed as a one-off. SPD has not led a Government since the early 2000s and, even more critically, social-democrats are doing very poorly in most other European countries. For those of us who think that social-democracy is the best way to reconcile individual liberties and socio-economic justice, this is a bleak time indeed.
2/ It goes without saying that it is devastating that AfD are now a serious force in the Bundestag. If you add the votes of the very dodgy far-left Die Linke party to those obtained by AfD, you get a figure of almost 22%. It is terrifying that such parties, who are sympathetic to Putin’s Russia, have more members of parliament than SPD.
3/ I of course think that Merkel/the CDU are totally different to AfD and Die Linke, but I don’t really understand why (in the Anglosphere) at least Merkel is something of a hero on the liberal-left/at least someone who it is not so fashionable to criticize. Even if you approve of the 2015 opening of the borders, which I think could have been done in a more ordered manner, there is the issue of the Eurozone. Let’s not forget that Merkel/CDU gutted southern Europe and almost brought about the collapse of the Euro/whole EU. It is odd that (in the Anglosphere at least) it is more fashionable to criticize the Spanish Conservative Government, who faced a far more constraining set of circumstances than their German counterparts. You can also argue that the European policy of Merkel/CDU was more reckless than that of David Cameron, but that the former were merely luckier than the latter.
4/ On that note, it is also difficult to see a significant change in the Eurozone policy of the new Government. Little changed when SPD were in coalition with CDU; it is therefore pretty unlikely that a coalition which involves the neoliberal FDP will do things differently. This is why I will continue to have reservations about Merkel/the German Government. I deeply admire the commitment of Merkel to liberal-democracy; it is just that her Governments, especially when managing the Eurozone, often take actions which undermine it!