Saturday, November 10, 2018

Thoughts from Hamburg, Germany: 10.11.18

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable. 
- Christopher Howse: A Pilgrim in Spain. 

If you've arrived here because of an interest in Galicia or Pontevedra, see my web page here. Garish but informative.

Matters Hamburg/German
  • As I've said, there are a lot of (BMW)Minis in Hamburg. Most of them are of recent vintage but there are also quite a few which look as if they come from years/decades ago. All in pristine condition. Either some company is assembling them or making good money from refurbishing old cars which really don't match modern standards but are possibly some sort of status symbol. Or madness. Or both, of course.
  • My host and I, taking a constitutional last night, were briefly puzzled by the sight of candles on the pavement(sidewalk) in front of doorways. 

And then we both guessed it was because of this.
  • There's a rather disturbing article from The Times below, headed: Far-right beliefs on the rise in Germany. And starting: More than half of Germans say they feel like strangers in their own land because of Muslim immigration. Worryingly, my (pessimistic?) host fears this understates the level of concern.
Matters Spanish
  • I'm sure this is an old friend from The Local - Stuff to eat during the winter.
  • By coincidence, 2 articles yesterday from the FT on Spain, assuming you can see them:-
  1. How Spain could improve its performance in the tech sector.
  2. The impact of the newish, far-right Vox party.
Matters USA
  • There's been more insanity from there overnight. But what's the point in repeating what we all know?
The UK/Brexit
  • Ditto.
  • Camino 'pilgrims'– or at least those who register once in Santiago de Compostela – are already way above what they were for the whole of last year. Estimates for this year are in the region of 320,000. 
  • Someone, somewhere has said that, if you want to get away from the conveyor belt of the French Way, you should do the Camino Primitivo. Maybe, but you should read my posts of April 2016 before you do - here and here. (I have to admit I just re-read these and pissed myself laughing at times. And also nearly cried at some memories. Probably not good form to say so but there you go.)
© [David] Colin Davies, Hamburg: 10.11.18


Half of Germans ‘feel like strangers in their own land’

More than half of Germans say they feel like strangers in their own land because of Muslim immigration, according to a study of the country’s rising far-right tendencies.

Researchers also found that one in nine people believes the German population is “naturally superior to other peoples” and that one in three thinks the state has been “overwhelmed by foreigners to a dangerous degree”.

“Xenophobia is becoming ever stronger and more widespread across the whole country,” said Oliver Decker, one of the directors of the University of Leipzig report.

Right-wing extremists remain a fringe group in Germany, accounting for 8.5 per cent of the population in the east and 5.4 per cent in the west, but illiberal and anti-migrant views appear to be much more widespread. The report estimated that 42 per cent of the public had “authoritarian” leanings, outnumbering the 29 per cent firmly committed to the principles of democracy.

In all, 65 per cent of Germans were judged to show pronounced signs of “authoritarian aggression”, such as the desire to shut out minorities or silence people who did not share their political opinions, and 44 per cent would like a ban on Muslims moving to Germany.

Ethnic prejudices and yearnings for a “leader who rules Germany with a strong hand for the good of the people” were most common in the former states of East Germany, which were subject to authoritarian rule and experienced relatively low levels of immigration between 1949 and 1989.

Nearly 40 per cent of east Germans agreed to some extent that “under certain circumstances, dictatorship is the best form of government for the national interest”, compared to 23 per cent in the west.

There were also some signs of a decline in far-right opinions, however. Antisemitism is as low as it has been at any point in the project’s 16-year history, and support for a right-wing dictatorship has also fallen. Most measurements of prejudice remain below the peak they hit in 2012.

The findings, published in a book called Flight into Illiberalism, are based on a survey of 1,900 people in west Germany and 500 in the east.

While East and West Germany were formally reunited in 1990, the two regions remain in many ways distinct from each other. The survey found that 30 per cent of people in the former East German states still felt that they were treated as second-class citizens.

Angela Merkel, the chancellor, has welcomed 1.6 million migrants to Germany since 2014. The influx is widely perceived to have doomed her fourth term. After suffering a drubbing in state elections last month she announced that she would step down after 18 years as chancellor in December.

Her party, the Christian Democratic Union, suffered its worst result for decades in the regional poll.


Sierra said...

Re: German immigration - how does your host account for the recent rise of the Green Party in the polls, given they are pro-immigration?

"Where the AfD often represents a Germany gazing back to the idolised image of a closed off, communitarian society, the Greens have managed to arise as the key representatives of the diametrically opposite image – a Germany that is socially liberal, open to immigration, and outward looking. And as a string of recent polls show, they are doing quite a good job at this."

Sounds like Brexiteers v. Remainers in UK

Alfred B. Mittington said...

Earnestly... You did not know the date of the Kristallnacht???


Colin Davies said...

Not being either German or Jewish, why would I??

Plus I have a much better reason for remembering 9 November.

It strikes me you might have missed this line below the foto:-

And then we both guessed it was because of this- [An article on Kristllnacht].