German Politics

Hamburg. Quite Spontaneous.

What’s happening to my blogging spontaneity? Whenever I try to write about something important I end up writing an almost finished 1500 word article which is to academic and dry to read. I hope that’s just a phase.

So today I will briefly say something about last week’s Hamburg election that I wanted to say last Sunday but have not since. I actually started a post at fistful but guess what, it became longer and longer, and wasn’t actually finished when I had to leave. The poor unfinished article is still saved as draft…

OK, I know this will be counterintuitive and contrary to many of the analyses you may have read or seen with respect to Ole von Beust’s stunning victory in Hamburg. I argue, and I think this is backed by some early demographic analyses I have seen, that the election is not simply good for Mr von Beust or the CDU but also – to some extent – for the Chancellor.

To be sure, Gerhard Schroeder would have preferred an SPD victory, but this defeat is, in my opinion, actually strenghthening his political agenda within the party. The demographic election analyses will show (I assume they will in the end, some preliminary numbers broadcast did indicate this) that – to the extent that federal politics influenced this election – the SPD’s worst enemy was not, as suspected, the people’s general reform fatigue, but rather the public’s disappointment about unprofessional legislation and lack of real leadership. The latter, of course, is a straightforward consequence of the SPD’s internal struggles between reformers and those old style loony lefts whose constituency is leaving the party in scores.

Thus, a dissection of the Hamburg election will show that the cahncellor was right in his claim that much of the SPD’s difficulties lie in the communicative realm, which was politico-parlor for internal disputes. These quarrels, alongside sloppy execution, less so the SPD’s policies, were the main culprits for this defeat.

He will certainly make the loony left feel it. And rightly so.