What You Can Get Away With » germany

George Lakoff: ‘Conservatives don’t follow the polls, they want to change them … Liberals do everything wrong’ – Interesting perspective from a psychologist, which is in line with some of the comments Drew Westen made in The Political Brain.
Remarks on climate change – A speech by US Secretary of State John Kerry, where he appears to be committing the US to action.
Of wind farms, birds and global warming – Guess what’s mozt hazardous to birds: wind turbines or habitat destruction from climate change?
Recent developments in the United States vividly illustrate inequality’s threat to democracy – from Democratic Audit.
In World’s Best-Run Economy, House Prices Keep Falling — Because That’s What House Prices Are Supposed To Do – I’m sure you won’t be surprised to find this article isn’t about Britain.

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Covering a wide range of time, mainly because I went on holiday in the middle of collecting them.

We Are All Princes, Paupers and Part of the Human Family – “anyone who was alive 2,000-3,000 years ago is either the ancestor of everyone who’s now alive, or no one at all.”
Mindscapes: First interview with a dead man – New Scientist interviews someone suffering from Cotard’s Syndrome, in which people believe themselves or parts of their body to be dead.
Why the world faces climate chaos – “In brief, humanity is conducting a huge, uncontrolled and almost certainly irreversible climate experiment with the only home it is likely to have.”
Hanging on to Mutti – Neal Ascherson in the LRB on the current political situation in Germany
Speech by Rory Stewart MP on the Iraq War – “The starting point for any discussion of Iraq has to be an acknowledgment that it was a failure and a scandal. However we look at the costs and benefits of what happened there, it was probably the worst British foreign policy decision since the Boer war or the first Anglo-Afghan war of 1839. Never have the British Government made a worse decision.”

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None of these links were placed here by small grey aliens from Zeta Reticuli. That must be true, the Men In Black told me so.

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen – Flying Rodent imagines an Orwellian version of the Scottish Premier League.
Facebook Social Readers Are All Collapsing – Oh, please let them go away. Clicking on an interesting-looking link only to discover a screen demanding you sign up to share your reading habits before you’re allowed to read it is bloody annoying.
Walking is political – An extract from Will Self’s inaugural lecture as Professor of Contemporary Thought at Brunel University.
How Germany’s Pirate Party is hacking politics – Some silly errors in this (seemingly thinking the 15 seats won in Berlin were elected by FPTP, not list seats under AMS) but still interesting, and a good explanation of the Liquid Feedback system, which interests me (and I may blog about in more detail later).
Do normal people go into politics anymore? – Another interesting post from Jason O’Mahony on the difference between the political classes and the rest of the world.

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Which nation’s international football record does England’s most resemble – Sweden or Germany?

(Answer under the cut, so if you don’t want to know the score and are reading this in some manner that doesn’t allow for the cut, look away now)

Read the rest of this entry

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Why rush?

Following that Dutch article I linked to yesterday, I’ve been looking into how coalitions get formed in other countries and found some interesting information about the aftermath of the German elections of 2005.

The election took place on September 18 and returned an inconclusive result, with the CDU and SPD almost equal on seats and neither able to achieve a majority with their preferred coalition party (the FDP for the CDU, the Greens for the SPD). First each of the big parties tried to arrange a coalition with both the small parties and when those failed, they ended up negotiating for a grand coalition of the CDU and SDP. Agreement in principle on that was finally reached on October 10 – 22 days after the election – with detailed negotiations carrying on into November with Angela Merkel not being elected as Chancellor until 22 November – 2 months after the election. Even in 2009, with an election that resulted in a much clearer result, it took a month for the CDU and FDP to agree all the details of their coalition.

Now, do you remember the German economy or society collapsing at either time? Even last year, when there was a global financial crisis, no one panicked that adults were taking the time to talk things through and get them right, rather than forcing Merkel and Gudio Westerwelle to come to an agreement in the shortest possible time. This mad insistence that we must have an agreement and we must have a government and we must have it now is nothing more than that good old fashioned British principle of “something must be done, this is something, therefore it must be done”.

I still don’t know whether I’ll agree or not with whatever the various negotiations come up with, but I’m mature enough to wait for them to go through calm and reasonable discussions, instead of expecting them to engage in some form of political speed dating with the news media holding guns to their heads while screaming at them to do something.

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