Angela Merkel (Source: DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam Facebook page).

DPM Tharman’s comment on German election spurs discussion on lessons to be learnt

In a Facebook post by Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam dated 25 September 2017, he commented that Angela Merkel, German politician and the Chancellor of Germany, will lead Germany, but the election results just out were a major setback – for her, for Germany, and for the politics of moderation.

DPM Tharman wrote that the two anchor parties in German politics – Merkel’s conservatives and the Social Democrats – are both weaker than they have been in six decades, adding that the extreme right Alternative for Germany (AfD) is now the third-strongest party, riding on the unhappiness over the sudden influx of refugees.

“It is the first time since the early days of postwar Germany that a far-right party will be in the Bundestag, Germany’s parliament – a worrying shift, and a challenge to the moderation and consensus-driven culture of Germany’s political landscape,” he stressed.

He also wrote that quick assessment by German newspaper Der Spiegel said, “That will have consequences in the form of clashes, provocations and scandalous rhetoric. From the beginning, the AfD will do all it can to ensure that it returns to parliament four years from now – and for that to happen, German society must remain divided. That will be the focus of the AfD caucus in the Bundestag.”

Election result of the German Election 2017

Chris Kuan, a regular commentary writer on social media has this to say about DPM Tharman’s comments,

Contrary to what Tharman said about the German election resulting in a major setback for the politics of moderation, it is about invigorating hidebound German politics as Kaffeeklatsch puts it. “But my instinct is that the “Germany for optimists” is the more accurate. The election result is unsettling on several fronts, deeply so where the AfD is concerned. But much of Germany’s pre-election tranquility was illusory anyway. The anger had been building for years; the AfD’s success has just brought it to the surface, where perhaps it can even be understood and addressed. Questions that were going unanswered, tensions that were going unconfronted, now brook no oversight.”
We can do with a lot of this. Only a PAP man like Tharman would see the dark side because it is in the interest of his party to do so.

On DPM Tharman’s Facebook post itself, many netizens wrote that the result of German election should be a lesson that the ruling party, People’s Action Party (PAP), should learn and reflect itself upon.

Glenn Fang wrote,

“Politics of moderation? There is nothing moderate about opening the floodgates of Europe to millions of ‘refugees’, most of whom aren’t even fleeing from war or persecution; they’re just going to Europe to leech off the generous welfare promised by Merkel’s policies. Along with the importation of the ‘refugees’ comes their incompatible cultures, which no European country subservient to Merkel’s agenda has been able to assimilate.

The heavy costs of her policies are billed to the general population, who have to deal with the resultant social ills, no-go zones, and other security threats.
The political centre of gravity in the West has shifted so far to the left that traditional right-wing conservatism is now being classed as ‘extreme right’. And the hypocrisy of this catastrophisation is the complete double standards applied to other end of the spectrum—i’m still waiting for the same negative rhetoric to be applied to far-left parties, but i’m not holding my breath.
The rise of AfD should be a surprise to literally nobody. Every action produces an equal, opposite reaction. The rise of parties like the AfD, National Front, PVV is proof of that. As what many here have said, the PAP would be wise to learn from the EU elections.”

Jason Loh wrote, “Result of the govt not looking after the citizens’ needs, first and foremost. Looking after refugees is not what the govt was voted in for, no matter what.”

Mathavan Devadas wrote. “This is a general mood reflected across the world with a growing distaste for globalisation. But the vast majority still reject the politics of the extreme right. What needs to be dine is to listen and to slowly educate the masses on the need for tolerance and working together.”

Tay Hongda wrote, “Please treat this as a learning point for SG and do whatever you can as a member in PAP to make sure no more silly decisions are made again.
Many have faith in PAP but our faith is not blind faith. We are well educated people who knows what’s happening no matter how things are being disguised/sugar coated.
Don’t take our faith for granted. PE 2016 will haunt the next GE.”

Daniel Vu wrote, “The AfD, like the Front National cannot rule without an outright majority. The real winners are the FDP, and as long as they don’t sell out like the Lib Dems in UK, may in time become the voice of reason to be reckoned with.”

Molly Wolters wrote, “Swing can happen in any country. SG can learn from the trends in USA & EU. When a govt. does not adopt a consultative approach, the people have only 1 voice ~ their votes. Noble of Meckel to let in more refugees but the influx is already exploding at its seams, whilst 3 million unemployment or living off social security? Parallel for SG is influx of FTs giving rise to social & economic issues. Even GRAB hires a foreign designer of $7K. Of course if FT is good, go for it. It raises local unemployment rate, reduces the CPF contributions that has deep repercussions. Do Singaporeans want more foreigners ? No.”

Christian Eliav Ratnam wrote, “I think it’s a step in the right direction. Immigration and the refusal of immigrants to assimilate has destroyed Europe and Germany in particular. I hope the right keeps growing in popularity. Germany is no longer Germany. It’s little Turkey.”

Nicholas Tay wrote, “Well the same storm is coming to singapore as well, we are in for a change with or without the current government. Current government are not so receptive to change partly because when you are too highly paid you don’t take risk anymore “comfort zone thingy”. Recent unhappiness presidential election already portray the tip of the change. Good luck.”

Chen Seh Choong wrote, “Unhappiness over the influx of foreigners is similar sentiment many true blue Singaporeans share and something PAP should address adequately.”

Keok Ngee Sim wrote, “Lesson. PAP government must willing to listen to different views.”

Lance Kuan wrote, “End of “moderation and consensus building” or just failure of their globalist vision?
You reap what you sow. No difference for Singapore.”