Angele Merkel’s centre-right CDU party is about to get comprehensively stuffed in two major state elections his weekend.
Rhineland-Palatinate (my patch) is pretty much a shoo-in for Kurt Beck, the rustic incumbent with
street paddock-creds, despite an effective challenge by Julia Klöckner, a hard-eyed one-time Wine Queen who can dodge a journalist’s straight question with the best of them.
Baden-Württemberg, on the other hand, shouldn’t even be up for grabs. Traditionally CDU-ruled with none of this coalition crap, they’ve thrown away any semblance of a lead in the polls by a display of unparalleled arrogance in trying to force through a rebuild of the main station in Stuttgart against massive popular opposition.
And then there’s the nuclear power issue.
Nuclear power is about as popular in Germany as a pig in a synagogue anywhere else and extending the lifetime of a number of them a couple of months back did Angela’s polls no good at all and the environmentalist Green Party all sorts of good.
The events in Japan over the last couple of week, though, gave her the perfect opportunity to do a flip-flop without too much egg being left on her face.
“Crikey” she said ” We’d better take the oldest plants off-line straight away and let’s have a 3 months moratorium on extending the life of the others
until the state elections are over and everyone’s forgotten about it all”
She reckoned without Rainer Brüderle, her Minister of Economics from her coalition Free Democratic partner.
At the exact moment that she announced the reactor shutdowns, Brüderle was addressing a meeting of the Federation of German Industries (BDI) – a body which includes 40 of the country’s top businessmen.
The minutes of the meeting noted his words “that given the approaching state elections, politicians are under pressure and, as such, decisions are not always rational.”
And then he denies it, BDI backs him up with a “We’reverysorrythesecretaryfuckedupandshe’sbeenceremoniouslybeheadedhedidn’tsaythatatall” which no-one believes anyway and there’s a great whooshing sound as all credibility flies out of the window.
What Angela should have said is this:
“Until we can replace nuclear energy and fossil fuels with renewables, we’re stuck with reactors. They’re no less safe now than before the Fukushima incident and we’ll ramp up the inspection regime. We have a strategy for reducing our reliance on nuclear power and we’re sticking to it.
But let’s be clear on one thing – Germany’s an industrial economy and we need power to produce the stuff we sell overseas.
I COULD shut down the older reactors to appease the anti-nuclear lobby, but that would be pure populistic electioneering and it would mean that we’ll have rolling power cuts until we’ve built enough windmills and solar plants to compensate for the shortfall.
You’ve elected me as CEO of Deutschland Inc. The next shareholder meeting is in 2012 and if you don’t think I’ve done a good job, you can vote me out then.
Until then, I’ll do what I think is right for Germany”
If she still loses the state elections, she could at least look at herself in the mirror.