Wednesday, May 14, 2014

This Election

In roughly ten days, EU elections will be held across all EU countries (yes, Germany included).

A hotly contested race?  No.  You will see some posters hanging up.  There are a few commercials on TV.   Public discussion forums?  Mostly rare and talking mostly stances and little else.

Why isn't it held with the national elections?  Well....every European country runs it's own election cycle, so it's impossible to get one date that makes everyone happy.  It's held on a four-year cycle.

What does the EU parliament structure do?  They generally talk on subjects which don't get brought up in their own their own papers....or in their own public forums.  And the EU guys pass legislation which is expected to be the final word on various topics.  As you can imagine.....some folks wake up and suddenly realize that something pretty big and drastic....never got discussed in the German public, yet gets passed via the EU mechanism.

One example?  The EU sat down and thought that it would be wonderful if all cars sold would be mandated to have a GPS-like device which talked back to a satellite....alerting them to call a cop, a ambulance or mechanical help.  So they mandated that all cars in the EU....newly manufactured in 2015....must have this chip-GPS-like device.

What keeps the device from reporting mileage for tax purposes?  One simple update, and it'd report weekly or monthly or yearly mileage.  Most political folks think by 2020.....the EU will quietly establish a very cheap low-cost tax on milage accomplished.  It might be twenty or forty Euro a year....just to establish a threshold in the mileage tax arena.  Could such a feature ever get passed by Germans via the Bundestag?  No.  The EU gimmick is a way to get things done by political parties, without much internal discussion within their own country.

The unique features of this 2014 race?  The BIG Partei is actively pushing an agenda.    It's described (their own words) as a multi-cultural political party.  What BIG tends to say is that the current agenda is a failure of economics, immigration, education, and family traditions.

I sat down for a while and looked at their platform. It's a pretty generic listing: peace and freedom, security, compassion, love, patience, humility, innovation, honesty, mutual loyalty, and appreciation. Generally, it's hard to find anyone against these features of life.  Then I kinda came to this one slogan of need to be open-minded.....meaning that a liberal and conservative attitude doesn't get you the right solution.  A guy would stand there and ask some stupid questions at that point, and suspect that there's some type of gimmick that hasn't been fully explained in the details.

The BIG results?  Hard to say, but I would think it's less than one percent of the vote within Germany.  Course, the true gimmick in this deal is that seven million residents in Germany ARE NOT ethnic Germans.  So BIG is thinking years ahead and likely calculating that eventually....they might get five or six million votes, and have a major say in elections.  Just my humble observation.

The other party in the running?  The Tierschutz Partei.  Basically, they are against harming animals, especially in the slaughter and butcher business.  They are pro-environment, anti-hunter, and support hefty reform of pensions and German welfare (Hartz IV).  They've apparently been around since the early 90's and claim at least one thousand members.  Vote-wise?  If they get more than ten thousand votes in this election....I'd be shocked.

A lot of radical parties in this election?  In general.....Germany has a number of unusual parties.  Some have memberships in the dozens.....some in the thousands.  This is one of the little odd facts about German politics.....people want to fit themselves into a more precise agenda, which they agree with.  So, unlike America, where there's two major parties and maybe two minor parties.....and no one really fits comfortable with any of the's a different story.

This election?  It's hard to say if even thirty percent of the population will come out and vote.  There's no ironclad topic which demands your attention, and most Germans don't yet feel threatened by the EU legislative process (that might change by 2018).  Generally, you can expect a liberal vote trend, and some commentary that evening of the vote....then nothing.  In the 18-to-25 year-old age group?  I'd have doubts if one in ten show up to vote....because it's not on their agenda and there's nothing of a peppy campaign.

An election without meaning?  Yeah.  But maybe that's a good thing.

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