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German & Irish voters make it clear they want real change. Establishment puzzled & fails to understand that the problem is THEM

Damian Wilson
Damian Wilson
is a UK journalist, ex-Fleet Street editor, financial industry consultant and political communications special advisor in the UK and EU.
is a UK journalist, ex-Fleet Street editor, financial industry consultant and political communications special advisor in the UK and EU.
German & Irish voters make it clear they want real change. Establishment puzzled & fails to understand that the problem is THEM
Shock election results in Germany and Ireland are signs of a political earthquake that rumbles on across Europe and with more polls penned in for this year, the voter upsets will roll on much to the dismay of the establishment.

The political tremors rumble on in Germany after the main governing party lost its leader and future chancellor Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer amid the self-flagellation of an AfD-assisted win for the CDU in a regional German vote.

Elsewhere, Ireland’s general election resulted in the previously unthought of scenario of Sinn Féin (which started its life as the political wing of the paramilitary IRA) topping the poll.

Both incidents are part of a massive seismic shift that has hit politics in the Western world and shows no sign of easing, and while the career politicians and their pals sit around and scratch their heads, puzzling over what went wrong and why they didn’t see it, they fail to acknowledge one simple truth that every voter knows.

The problem is them.

Also on rt.com BBC journalist sparks anger online after ‘populist’ jibe in wake of historic success for Sinn Féin in Irish elections

Establishment politicians throughout Europe, and even further abroad, have now spent a couple of decades shifting away from fulfilling the roles that we have come to expect of them. We no longer have any real first class statesmen or visionaries with brilliant ideas that fit right in with the new social, technological and global environment.

Instead, we are overloaded with narcissists, media obsessives, intellectual lightweights and poseurs using hollow assurances of a life devoted to public service to disguise the reality that they are more interested in the business of self-service.

And my, what a shock when the emperor’s new clothes are revealed!

Ireland’s Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has spent his time in office sucking up to the EU in return for tough words on the Irish border and a hardman role in the Brexit withdrawal bill negotiations.

While the telegenic young leader of the EU’s youngest nation loved the way this seemed to play out, the folk at home were less impressed. And when the chance came to hit him where it hurts, they seized it, turning to Sinn Fein in their droves, with only the over-65s with longer memories than others of historical troubles sticking with the conventional offerings.

It caught Sinn Féin so much by surprise to win 24% that even they are guilty of playing politics with the same old rules as always. Standing candidates in select areas, using strategic voting, rather than looking to have as many people represented as possible.

Not so the German CDU candidate Thomas Kemmerich in Thuringia, who opted to enlist the support of Alternative for Deutschland in order to win his bid for office. 

Also on rt.com German politicians can heckle the AfD as Nazis, or they can work with them… not both

While the mainstream media continues to brand the AfD as “far right” in an obvious attempt to link it to the Nazis, the party has a massive appeal throughout Germany, particularly in the east.

But what Kemmerich did was branded “unforgivable” by Angela Merkel because it is considered taboo by those in the mainstream to deal with anybody from the “far right”, even where those credentials don’t really fit.

So here we have a democratically elected politician hounded out of office for refusing to play by the establishment rules. Germany has a problem.

The treatment drips with hypocrisy.

Then again, the German leadership has been accused of having a tin ear ever since Merkel opened the doors to 1 million migrants in 2015, so no one is surprised by this “Mummy knows best” approach.

They don’t take into account that voters are far more sophisticated these days.

They are not surprised when genuine politicians with a real connection to the people form alliances or partnerships that will actually help address the concerns of those who elected them.

This is exactly what the modern voter wants. Pragmatic, go-getters. Not someone whose hands are tied because a party machine forbids them from using any sort of initiative.

Look at Matteo Salvini in Italy. He might have been the world’s worst coalition partner during his time as interior minister in the short-lived government with partners Five Star Movement (M5S) as he insisted on grabbing the headlines and dominating the national political narrative. But heavens above he was, and remains, popular.

Later this year we have more elections in Europe, which are all capable of throwing the cat among the pigeons.

There are national polls in Cyprus, Croatia, Romania, Slovakia and Lithuania with presidential elections in Poland.

Each of these EU nations has its own internal issues; sluggish economies, endemic corruption, underperforming representatives, take your pick.

Then there are a host of regional elections across Italy and more in Spain, including Catalonia, in which anything could and probably will happen as issues of immigration and the economy cause headaches for the Italians and regional separatism dogs the Spanish.

Also on rt.com ‘We will be independent,’ Catalonia’s regional leader vows

Rather than accept disruption as the new face of democracy however, the entrenched political establishment will continue to threaten, cajole and coerce those who undermine the way they do things, even if that means upsetting the voters or going against their explicit wishes.

They will do this at their peril.

People expect more in 2020. They might all have their own issues — climate, digital access, transport, housing or the lack of work — but are all agreed on one thing. They will no longer take inaction or excuses from their politicians.

Try those and see what happens.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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