For a long time I felt I had no alternative, but to portray some of the leading politicians of the German state of Rheinland Pfalz (RLP) as Star Wars figures in a galaxy far away and long ago, because they really seem to have no connection with the real world. Given the threat which the Mosel Bridge poses to a string of the best and most famous vineyards in the Mosel Valley that seemed like a bad joke. However, the increasingly critical situation on the Mosel due to construction work (see above) makes it impossible to continue with this black humour. Now is the time for a radical reassessment of the entire situation.
Before doing this I think that it is worth noting that I recieved no complaints from Kurt Beck (SPD Minister President of RLP), Eveline Lemke (Green minister for the economy in RLP) or anyone else for my Star Wars campaign against the Mosel Bridge, nor did anyone serve me a writ accusing me of defaming their character. This surely means that when I potrayed Kurt Beck as Darth Vader, declared that Eveline Lemke, had gone over to the dark side of the Force, and asked if the managing director of a leading concrete company or a senior civil servant was the evil emperor I was horribly close to the truth, i.e. RHEINLAND PFLAZ HAS STAR WARS POLITICS!
Recently Beck & Co. have been using hard-core spin to try and make it look like the Billion Euro White Elephant which is the Mosel Bridge is actually the smartest and most elegant thing since the invention of the wheel. The hard-core spin is necessary because the Mosel Bridge is so sensationally unnecessary a piece of infrastructure, so titanically expensive and so unbelievably destructive to this part of the Mosel region and its economy. Really, the only people who would benefit are the construction companies and those who will supply the materials (steel and concrete).
Of course, this is the lobby behind the project and they seem to have Beck so perfectly under control he’s starting to resemble a machine pulling levers on command. I can’t tell you how the construction lobby achieved this feat of robotics if anything illegal was involved in the process, but anyone familiar with the German construction business knows that it isn’t corruption-free, and as the Minister-President of a German state who must remain anonymous said to me last year, „politics is a dirty business.“ Let us presume innocence – that Beck is doing all this without either expecting or getting any personal / party benefit for his actions – until guilt has been proven, also because today the issue is not how this was achieved. Today the fundamental political situation is my subject, that is the way German politicians from all parties have become primarily involved in servicing the commercial interests of lobby groups and the legitimate interests of voters have been reduced to a mere detail.
Years ago I started refering to the Mosel as a „democracy-weak region“, and, when you see how gently the media in RLP have handled Beck in recent years despite some major political gaffs, you have to ask if this term has to be extended to the entire state. A written democratic consitution like Germany’s (for which I have the greatest respect), however good it is, does not alone gaurantee an evenly high standard of democracy throughout the nation. This is hard for Germans who live in democracy-strong regions to grasp, for we all tend to assume that things elswhere are similar to how they are at home. There is also an element of wishful thinking in this too, of wanting to believe that in Germany everything must be in order, because Germany is the land of order. Baden-Württemberg, where there there is enormous popular opposition to the Stuttgart 21 railway project is a positive example of discontent with the way lobbies have gained excessive political influence at the expense of voters interests; a hopeful sign for the future of German politics. Sadly, in spite of the international campaign against it, the Mosel Bridge remains a catastrophic example of how destructive the complex of a lobby with politicians in their pockets can be. This faillure makes me worry greatly about the future of German politics.
The fundamental principals of the Green Party ought to have prevented them from caving in to Beck on the Mosel Bridge, and we have it on good authority that the RLP Greens did not even try to discuss the issue with him. If their commitment to the environment, the very thing which theoretically gives them their political identity, can be negociated away, then the Greens clearly have no principals to speak of. History, also modern German history, shows how dictatorships take advantage of individuals and organisations lacking principals in order to grow and survive. At the moment we are „only“ talking about the dictatorships of industrial lobbies over vineyards that are also cultural momuments and the tourist industry associated with them, but this is of course just the thin end of the wedge.
One comment I heard from several directions recently is that it is now far too late to stop the Mosel Bridge and therefore our campaign has become completely pointless. The answer to this is the way the Federal government changed its position on atomic energy from lengthening the working lifetimes of all of Germany’s nuclear reactors to beginning a programme to close them all down within a single year. Given that, I would say that there is still a very good chance that the Mosel Bridge will be dropped, and in this belief I continue my part of the campaign.
The current situation regarding the project could best be described as follows: having obtaioned a large calibre revolver and plenty of ammunition by means foul or fair Beck & Co. decided to play “Russian Roulette” with the Mosel, have fully loaded the gun and put the muzzle up against the temple of the Mosel’s head. Now they say that they must pull the trigger, because otherwise all their preparations for this glorious moment will have been in vain.
Glorious? Only for Beck & Co. For the section of the Mosel Valley between Ürzig and Bernkastel it will be a disaster. The immediate cancellation of the Mosel Bridge followed by the filing of an application for World Heritage Status for the entire Mosel Valley with UNESCO is the most effective and the most cost-effective way to preserve it. Now only one quetion remains: DESTRUCTION OR PRESERVATION ?