June 30, 2010

Why I'm Not a Monarchist Anymore

We have a new head of state. Angela Merkel's candidate Christian Wulff won a much watched election in the third round of voting to become Germany's next president. The high office is largely ceremonial, however, Germans like to be able to identify with the office holder and his wife.

Wulff won an absolute majority of 625 of the 1,242 votes cast in a special parliamentary assembly, the Bundesrat, in the third and final ballot in which a simple majority would have sufficed. His main opponent, Joachim Gauck, won 494 votes. He was governor of the state of Lower Saxony since 2003 before his candidacy and will be at 51 the youngest president in Germany's history.

Wulff, who is a lawyer by profession, is one of those typical empty-faced, profile- and characterless career politicians whom we exactly do NOT want in that office. But then, maybe we do.

Because it gets worse. In March 2008, after the divorce from his much-respected first wife of almost 20 years, the lawyer Christa, he married wife #2, with whom he had already fathered a child while still married to his first wife. Wife #2, 14 years his junior, has another child, as it is so preciously put, "from a previous relationship".

It gets worse. This is our brand new first lady:
Foto: Reuters.

The conservative (giggle) FAZ, who informs us that people with tattoos are keen on making new experiences (which fits the second Mrs. Wulff to a "T") and more ready to go off the beaten track than others, qualities, which ought to be seen as a good omen for German politics, asked:
What is that supposed to be? A keyhole with licking tongues of flame surrounding it ...?
Well, to play Old Dr. Freud: Not really a KEYhole.
However, bad as all this may be, the good thing is that we will be rid of Wulff and the Missus (whoever she may be then) in 5 or 10 years, the latter if the worst-case scenario happens. This comes, mind you, from a supporter of the monarchist thought who was badly burnt by the recent -- sortof -- royal wedding where the future Queen of Sweden married a gigolo form the fish'n chips shop her "fitnesstrainer".


beakerkin said...

I must be in the minority despising tatoos.

radical royalist said...

I hope you are aware of the fact that for the next thirty and more years, Christian Wulff will receive a full president's salary (just like Walter Scheel who, now aged 90, left office in 1979 and happily enjoyed the taxpayer's gift plus paid office, chauffeur driven car etc.). In Wulff's case it is likely that his widow will outlive him by twenty years. Which means: For the next 50 or so years the German taxpayer will finance this couple. Give me back the Kaiser!

The_Editrix said...

Beak, are you telling me that tattoos are the accepted thing among the upper classes in America?

RR, I hope you are aware of the fact that I was speaking tongue in cheek. ;-)

I don't think that it's just a republican head of state that costs us so much. Frankly, I don't quite believe those pro-monarchy maths. (Yes, I AM pro monarchy, I just wish to lead the debate with a modicum of intellectual honesty.) It is DEMOCRACY that costs us so much. Case in point: my late father (1911-1977) was for 12 years (3 election periods) from 1954 to 1966 a member of the parliament of the German state of Northrhine-Westphalia. My mother (born 1923) receives since she is of retirement age, which is for more than 20 years now, a widow's pension, which is currently almost 1,400 Euro per month. A conservative calculation tells us that is the equivalent of more than 300,000 Euro. While I am theoretically not against a pension for those ex-MPs (and their widows) who had serious professional setbacks because of their parlamentarian engagement, I doubt, however, that there exists even a single case of such an MP. Most MPs are civil servants and are getting two pensions anyway. My father was quite rich, so that my mother shouldn't need it. And that is just one case from the parliament one of the curently 16 German federal states, not to speak of the Bundestag, the national parliament, where the remunerations are even higher. So as it's democracy and not so much the republic that costs us so much, and as a monarch isn't working for tips either, I don't think that the money argument is all that valid.

I don't know from what you derive your monarchist stance and I hope not just from the great financial benefits that let the monarchy tower over the republic. (That was tongue-in-cheek as well!) For me, it's Christianity, and (and I am serious now) I don't see a point in backing a bunch of glossy magazine scum with lower middleclass tastes and a slutty lifestyle. If you go to my style blog, you'll find under the label "Royalty" more angry rants about it.

Anonymous said...

I am afraid that, as an Italian, I have trouble with monarchy: if we were to resurrect ours, we would have the House of Savoy as national representatives - look up the current pretender, then you tell me. On the other hand, I have to say that the current French head of state has given a powerful argument to the opposing field with his third "marriage". Even the Bourbons, who "learned nothing and forgot nothing," never forgot that women of Carla Bruni's kind are for fun, not for marriage.

Anonymous said...

Following up links from this account, I discovered that the Die Linke (Communist) candidate Luc Jochimsen used to be a leading TV journalist, correspondent from London, winner of the Prix Italia and so on - until, following reunification, she came out as a full-fledged DDR-loving Communist apologist for terror and tyranny. I find it "interesting" that such a person should rise so high in a state broadcasting service, and I think you might write a post about it.

beakerkin said...


Amongst the young of the upper class
it is fairly common.

Jewish people of my generation loathe them because people we knew were given numbers. It is considered
an abomination amongst religious Jews
and I find it an eyesore.

The_Editrix said...

Fabio, I never saw a picture of the current pretender to the throne of Italy before, so
I DID look him up. Awmegawd, it really takes a Berlusconi (plus wife) to look even more debauched. (I know that Berlusconi is not your head of state.) And don't get me started on Carla Bruni.

Re Luc Jochimsen: You are right, but I am sometimes a bit weary of writing. English is not my mothertongue and it takes me quite some time, and saps my strength too, to finish a decent entry. I suspect that Americans are not really interested in German things and affairs off the beaten tracks of their prejudices. I have been called both, a self-hating German and a Nazi. That is what happens if one goes for a nuanced covering. If you go to my right sidebar and have a look at the entries under "The 2009 Pro-Köln-Dustup" and "A Crucial American Fallacy" you'll see what I mean.

Beak, of course tattoos have a different meaning for Jews post-Holocaust. But apart from that, it is considered the height of lower classness here if somebody is tattooed. It isn't "young", "irreverent" or whatever, it's sheer and undilutedly yobbish.

beakerkin said...

The young have a different take on things and tattoos are considered in.

Anonymous said...

Vittorio Emanuele of Savoy is not only unpleasant-looking - that would be the least of it. He is a shady character who trafficked in arms and even named his son after his client Reza Pahlevi, and he is strongly suspected of the manslaughter of Dirk Hamer, the son of German doctor Ryke Geerd Hamer, which, from what I read, may well have contributed to making his father insane. In short, Vittorio Emanuele is such an embarrassment that the surviving monarchist associations of Italy have contrived to find a pseudo-legal excuse to deprive him of the "succession" and hand it on to his blameless cousin Amedeo d'Aosta, an honourable naval officer and heir to a legendary war hero. But in the eyes of most Italians, Vittorio Emanuele is the successor - and a joke, if one that leaves a sour taste in the mouth. His son Emanuele Filiberto, second in line to the "throne" - the one who has "Reza" among his names - has seen fit to become a TV personality, hosting pop song festivals; what could be chavier? Seriously, the manifest inadequacy of the last generations of the House of Savoy (beginning with Vittorio Emanuele III and the bungled surrender of September 8, 1943) has helped Italians get over the sense of guilt about the referendum of 1946 that threw them out. The referendum was at the time widely suspected of having been manipulated, but even those who remain unhappy about it still agree that our republic, feeble and contentious though it may be, is still infinitely better than having a Vittorio Emanuele IV on the throne with an Emanuele Filiberto as designated successor.

The_Editrix said...

Well, beyond a certain age people are RESPONSIBLE for their faces, aren't they?

Thank you for the background information. I didn't make the Dirk-Hamer-connection, although it made headlines here (in Germany) as well. I think his father was, as quite a few highly gifted people are, off his rockers anyway and the death of his son pushed him over the edge. Not that this makes Vittorio Emanuele in any way less odious.