Taide’s Weblog

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Wöltingerode/Vienenburg: a Humble Venue for a Humbly-abled Government

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Lower Saxony’s prime minister, Christian Wulff, seems to have a soft spot for Cistercian monasteries. He had his son baptised in Loccum, and this month, he took his cabinet to the monastery of Wöltingerode, in Vienenburg, the Harz mountains.

Wulff has been Lower Saxony’s prime minister since March 4, 2003. He is the member of a conservative party, the Christian Democrats. They are traditionally credited with knowing how to handle budgets. Ora et labora, the old rule of monastic order, was still true in our times, the prime minister told his ministers at the outset of the venue there in Vienenburg.

Some will become aware here how dramatic the situation is, the Nordwestzeitung quoted a government official. The Wulff government plans to slash some 1,500 jobs in the public service, and another 4.6 billion Euros of debt for the federal state. And public officers, whose jobs are basically safe, will need to get prepared for a retirement age of 67. And the state will need fewer teachers, Wulff suggests: the number of students would drop by almost 25 per cent. In short: after seven years of a party in government that knows how to handle money, we are bankrupt.

That would be reason to condemn Mr Wulff’s and his government’s performance. As long as they were in the opposition, a “Lower Saxonian public debt clock” was showing the latest digits in the Christian Democrat’s parliamentary group’s conference room. (I suppose they have either removed it, or have become blind to it.)

Another problem is that it’s impossible to see a policy in what Wulff and his ministers are now doing. Education is one of the few core jurisdictions of a German federal state (i.e. a member state of the German Federal Republic). So far I have only heard that there will be blood, sweat, and tears. But where is the enemy that needs to be overcome? And where is the glory that awaits us after victory? What, besides saving money, does this government want to achieve?

The federal state government’s communication skills either suck, or their jobs have been slashed long ago.

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  1. […] Özkan was appointed minister of social affairs by former Lower Saxonian prime minister Christian Wulff, shortly before Wulff himself chose to become Germany’s top empty shirt & tie, probably after learning that his state’s financial situation was fairly rotten. […]


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