Annalena Baerbock: next German Chancellor?

Annalena Baerbock is the Green Party choice to replace Angela Merkel. who retires as German Chancellor at the Federal election on 26th September. As the surprising choice of German  business leaders. Ms Baerbock has become an unexpectedly realistic possibility.

At first sight this looks like my wildest dreams coming true. at least in Germany. In the UK, I am vainly imploring the Green Party to reach out to Conservatives who are unnerved by their party’s climate denialism (in practice, not their current leader’s populist sound bites). But I am aware of how wrong I could be in the German context.  I do not know enough about German politics to guess how her stance will play out. How many compromises has Ms Baerbock made of which I would approve, and how many I would not? I hope to find out, but not in time for this initial comment (within a week of  her being chosen as the candidate).

Ms Baerbock is a ‘Realo’. I should explain to British readers that due to the greater likelihood of success, German Greens have a permanent, sharp division between ‘Realos’, who think obtaining some influence on the levers of power is the priority, and the ‘Fundis’ who think  conventional politics are too far removed from true Green philosophy.

Should I be worried? Probably, but not necessarily. I guess Ms Baerbock will be too busy during the next 5 months to read this weblog, but if there are any German Green readers, could I at least reiterate why I dissent from the UK view that Tories are our enemies, and always will be.

I start from the unfortunately still premature proposition stated by Wolfgang Sachs in 2003:

The World is no longer divided by the ideologies of ‘left’ and ‘right’, but by those who accept ecological limits and those who don’t.

I do not dispute that Capitalists, especially transnationals, are still behaving badly, but I credit them with the intelligence to adopt policies likely to prolong their existence, and possibly even profitability in the now climate breakdown threatened world.

This weblog suggests taxes to inhibit factors destroying the ecosphere. At first sight dependence on such taxes risk destroying their raison d’être, This danger would be countered by the new threat, which would, or ought to galvalnize attitudes generally, and especially the business community. However. eco-taxes would be unacceptable in a democracy unless accompanied by some form of assurance of basic needs, for which I propose an unconditional basic income (UBI). Earth Day has just come and gone without answering Greta Thunberg’s objection: something is needed which will work now, not in 2030 or beyond.

An adequate UBI would allow attudes to emerge which took account of the new danger. Market forces would no longer oppress the majority as they still do, allowing Wolfgang Sachs’ statement to become a reality.

I hope to find out how far Ms Baerbock’s version of Green politics, or indeed the expectations of the business community are consistent with my vision of how ‘left’ and ‘right’ might be reconciled, and the future of the ecosphere, not just Germany thereby ensured.

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