(Epilogue; 00-04; p.2)
Epilogue 2004: the political year in retrospect
In terms of German foreign affairs there has
been nothing much to name or blame in the year 2004 just gone.
In stark contrast to some other, the German government did not
solely grasp that there is something international, i.e. matters
to be negotiated between nations, but also that there are international
relations, i.e. a global and multi-layered network of relations.
Moreover, members of the German federal government are strongly
rooted on planet earth and do not justify their actions by stating
that they were living on a planet further off the sun and accordingly
would not have any choice.
Thus, the German government did not let itself be drawn into conflicts,
it didn’t conjure up, but tributes as watchful as resolute to
safeguard its sovereign from man-made threats.
Have-nots and priorities
In terms of domestic issues there has been something
to name and blame that alas, has almost passed by unnoticed so
far: the generalisation of social benefits, euphemistically called
"merging of benefits for unemployed and social benefits".
(Until the end of this year there has been a difference in the
German welfare system between people made redundant and poor people
who had hardly gotten a chance to work. To cut it short: the first
group has been treated and paid – obviously the taxpayer’s money
– better than the other; from 2005 on both fall back to social
benefits for the needy, provided they qualify for that.)
Approved already in late 2003, a very big coalition
of involved party politicians – the governing Social Democrats
and Greens as well as the formal opposition of Christian Democrats
and Liberals – succeeded in stonewalling the decision with muteness.
In effect, the regulations will deprave especially East Germans,
since they usually have a work biography of full-time employment
in the GDR, being made redundant in the FRG, being fobbed off
with benefits for unemployed and now being cut back to social
benefits, provided that they are poor enough.
– Last summer, there has been a short row about
alleged communication problems and a connected criticism of a
government’s speaker. Seen in retrospect, it has more of a manoeuvre
of deception: none of the party politicians involved had an interest
in making the depravations public – there were elections in Eastern
Germany – and until this very summer there were no precise regulations
for the authorities for valuing fortunes and proceeding in general
that could have been communicated. (read