Germany is one of our nearest neighbours, and yet despite its tragic past, it has made huge insteps into becoming one of the most green and progressive nations in Europe and the world. The huge Green vote means their forests are highly protected (unlike ours – only a petition at 38 Degrees stopped our government from recently trying to sell off all our forests to private companies).
Not just good environmental policies, but it manages to provide good public transport too. In England, our second-largest pear tree was recently destroyed to make way for the HS2 project that is destroying much of Buckinghamshire and will do nothing to stop climate change (ask the scientists). Germany’s state-owned railways are deemed the best in the world, because they spend funds on upgrading stock, rather than building big white elephant projects, that only a few people want.
Progressive Politics in Germany
Whereas most countries have no or few Green MPs (in England, Caroline Lucas has been the only Green MP for years), Greens are high up in Germany government. Although the new Chancellor was not the Green co-leader as predicted (in his spare time, he writes poetry), many say fellow Green co-leader Annalena Baerbock (above) could be the next leader.
Greens are in power-sharing in many European countries, including Switzerland, Sweden and Finland, proving that the people who laugh at the thought of Greens gaining power, have not done their homework. It reminds one of the phrase that Gandhi once said ‘ First, they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win’.
One reason why Greens gain more votes abroad, is because they have fairer voting systems. Labour may be ‘for the people’, but neither they nor the Tories want proportional representation (where you don’t have to use tactical voting) as it would mean smaller parties like Lib Dems, Greens and independents would start gaining seats. They are still all about power, no matter what they say. Many Labour supporters want PR, but it’s blocked by the unions. One expert said that if PR came into play, it’s likely that both parties would never gain whole power again. Democracy, eh?
It will be interesting when (and that’s more likely than if) Scotland gains independence, what happens. SNP would likely be in power, and have plans to introduce PR. So at the election after that, it will be interesting to see if new and progressive parties start to come up and gain power, if this happens.
The Natural Lifestyle of Germany
Germany has a strong holistic lifestyle, in that naturopaths are given the same status as medical GP Doctors. The herb St John’s Wort is prescribed more for depression than Prozac, with the knowledge on who not to give it to – it can be dangerous for some people on medication. The country also has the highest ratio on earth of vegans and vegetarians. If you thought that Germans all ate frankfurters, think again. The city of Berlin even has vegan supermarkets! The recipe above from popular blog Eat This! is Käsespätzle (a Bavarian feast of homemade noodles with plant-based Emmental cheese). Serve with citrus-spiced mulled wine (Crowded Kitchen).
Like much of continental Europe, outside cold evenings are more about roasted chestnuts and Christmas markets , rather than everyone getting in a car and driving to the supermarket or going to the fast food restaurants. Beer is however certainly on the menu – in Bavaria, it’s classed legally as food!
Want to Learn The German Language?
Good luck with that. It’s not known as the easiest of languages, even though like English, it’s Germanic. Experts say that the easiest language for an English newbie to learn is Norwegian, as it has similar verbs etc. However if you get it right, it’s a useful language as many people do business with Germans, and it’s a bit embarrassing when they all speak perfect English! Just like here with Geordies etc, there are very strong dialects, so often people from one area of Germany has trouble understanding someone from a different area – regional TV sometimes even has subtitles! But if you do learn it, you can pop over one of the many borders and speak the lingo there too – German is spoken in Austria and Liechtenstein and also in Switzerland and Luxembourg (who speak three or four languages each).
Music Break: Thank You
This is quite lovely. Lena is a superstar in her native Germany, and it’s not hard to see why. If you’re a Eurovision fan, you’ll likely remember her winning a few years back with her fun little ditty Satellite.