Monday, September 19, 2011

What can be made of this?

Elections in Berlin and the result had some unexpected details:
KLAUS WOWEREIT, a Social Democrat, was re-elected Berlin’s mayor yesterday, but the real story is what happened to two opposition parties.

The liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP), the junior partner in Angela Merkel’s coalition government at the national level, won a dismal 1.8% of the vote and disappeared from the city’s legislature. The Pirate Party, dedicated (awkwardly) to free information and rigid privacy protection, won nearly 9% and enters a German state parliament for the first time (Berlin is a city with the status of a state).

This is one of those what-does-it-all-mean moments. An established party like the FDP has the stuffing knocked out of it. Its place has been taken by a party that seems to have been dreamt up over a few beers (originally in Sweden). The Pirates’ top candidate, Andreas Baum, recently estimated Berlin’s debt at “many, many millions.” Technically that’s not wrong; the city owes €64 billion ($88 billion). But it was clear enough that he had no idea.
The assumption is that the vote showed a general disillusionment with politics and politicians, a problem we all know well. What will happen now that the Pirates are in a state parliament?


  1. They will be less thieving and dishonest.

    BTW, your login requirements look a little excessive: No I don't want to less some software access my Twitter account and download my contact list. A job for the Pirate Party, methinks.


  2. Y'arrr Maties! We be for makin' 'em walk the plank an' sendin' 'em straight to Davy Jones' Locker!

    Sorry, I'll get my coat...

  3. I think it's a sign that people still aren't taking the problems seriously. The FDP may have deserved its kicking, but while the Pirate Party isn't exactly a joke - it has some good ideas (and some absolutely terrible ones) - but it's not the sort of thing that's urgently needed right now. As you quote Bret Stephens saying above, the Europeans are still trying to take a holiday from history.