Two weekends, two election campaigns: I’ve been in Berlin this weekend and they are in the middle of a campaign for the Berliner Landtag, the state parliament. While I found the campaigning methods in Sweden last week quite fun and progressive, the efforts at promoting the elections in Berlin strike me as quite lousy in comparison.
None of the major parties really have any posters that catch the eye. The Greens are the best – some pleasant design, and some basic slogans about what they are actually going to do. The FDP, however, wins the prize for the most lousy efforts, especially their candidate Henner Schmidt in Berlin Mitte. He promises to make life “UNBEQUEM für Bürokraten” – uncomfortable for bureaucrats, and he states this with a nasty smirk on his face in the poster, as if it is actually pleasant to make life uncomfortable for people. Further, as Berlin is the administrative centre for Germany and has massive unemployment already, I think that thankfully these smug efforts of Herr Schmidt will not get him very far.
Schmidt’s efforts sadly reflect the general position of the FDP; the party’s national posters all claim now is the “Zeit für Macher” – time for people who actually do things. This is really playing the politics of anti-politics; by definition they are implying the rest of the parties are not doing anything. But playing politics this way hollows out politics overall – look at what Thatcher managed to do. Why can’t the FDP – in Berlin, the most liberal of places – actually make a sensible programme? Let’s hope that the Berlin electorate instead makes things Unbequem für Idioten.