We use cookies to help improve and maintain our site. More information.

June 19, 2017

SPD to focus on inequality

The SPD is about to present the fiscal part of its election manifesto this week. As FAZ reports, it suggests that the SPD is going to focus heavily on inequality, which we think is probably a smart strategy in principle, except that we do not believe that the detailed programme itself will be radically different from what the CDU/CSU will offer. The paper quotes Martin Schulz as lambasting the low taxes paid by Germany’s richest families. To help middle class income earners he also promises to raise the threshold from which the highest tax rate will be effective. Another focus of the SPD’s campaign will be tax avoidance by large EU corporations, who are exploiting discrepancies among national tax regimes. Schulz is also quoted as saying that the SPD will campaign on three themes: inequality, innovation, and Europe. We thought it illuminating how he explained away two of the three consecutive defeats in state elections. In the Saarland, he said, the SPD lost because it failed to exclude an alliance with the Left Party; and in North-Rhine Westphalia the SPD lost because of its disastrous education policies.

A quiet campaign focusing on inequality and tax avoidance is, in principle, a good idea, as inequality has risen in Germany as well as elsewhere. People respond to these issues. But the problem is that the SPD has governed for 16 out of the last 20 years, during which period much of this inequality has arisen. And we fail to see the logic of a domestic campaign in favour of tax harmonisation at EU level since Schulz will not be able to force the issue unilaterally. We have yet to see a big issue on which the SPD offers a radical alternative. And since Schulz is not ruling out participation in a Grand Coalition, one questions the credibility of these pledges.

Show Comments Write a Comment

June 19, 2017

On radical uncertainty

We noted a few articles on a similar theme - on fundamental shifts affecting the way politics works. We noted a well-researched article in Buzzfeed on how left-wing bloggers have more than compensated for the impact of the Tory-supporting anti-European press. The article cites the example of a few blogs - Another Angry Voice, The Canary, and Evolve Politics. Most of those did not exist two years ago, but together they vastly outperformed the traditional media during the last elections. While the Sun and the Daily Mail may still sell 3m copies a day altogether, their decade-long dominance of British public opinion is finally coming to an end.

In his FT column, Wolfgang Munchau notes that we have entered an age of radical uncertainty in politics when traditional modes of analysis and thinking no longer work. He notes that David Cameron, Theresa May, and Matteo Renzi, were all fooled by the polls when they called referendums and elections. The polls were not wrong, but public opinion shifted by voting day. Even the modern tools of political analysis, like social network analysis, have not produced persistently reliable results - they are better at explaining what went wrong and providing a sense of how public opinion is evolving in real time. This age of radical uncertainty requires politicians of a different kind - those with a deep understanding of their electorates, and with the flexibility to move quickly.

Show Comments Write a Comment

This is the public section of the Eurointelligence Professional Briefing, which focuses on the geopolitical aspects of our news coverage. It appears daily at 2pm CET. The full briefing, which appears at 9am CET, is only available to subscribers. Please click here for a free trial, and here for the Eurointelligence home page.


Recent News

  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • October 16, 2017
  • What‘s the deep meaning of the elections in Lower Saxony?
  • Can Brexit be revoked?
  • Macron's grand narrative
  • April 19, 2017
  • Shadows of money
  • Breppe Grillo vs Eurointelligence
  • October 20, 2016
  • No games please, we are Europeans
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • September 18, 2017
  • Why Germany cannot lead Europe, let alone the free world
  • Will Macron help to build up Mélenchon?
  • Boris' Coup
  • May 12, 2017
  • What to do with Germany’s tax windfall
  • How Macron counts on building a majority
  • Options for the eurozone
  • January 05, 2017
  • French Socialist primaries - old wine in new bottles
  • Le Pen's hard ecu
  • Will Tusk get a second mandate?
  • Themes of 2017
  • August 30, 2016
  • Brexit facts on the ground
  • Burkinis and Republican primaries
  • The SPD and TTIP
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • January 05, 2018
  • Catalonia's government by Skype
  • The case for EEA membership
  • December 11, 2017
  • A new era for the French right
  • Growing scepticism of a grand coalition
  • November 24, 2017
  • Irish snap elections in January?
  • Alternatives to single market membership
  • Are the Irish bluffing?
  • November 08, 2017
  • Spain's attorney general personally sought pre-emptive prison for Catalan rebels
  • Spain's finance ministry to control Madrid city spending
  • National identity with a new twist
  • October 23, 2017
  • Macron's plans for the European Parliament
  • First phase of Brexit negotiations in final stretch
  • Why the left hates Europe
  • October 09, 2017
  • UK is starting to prepare for a no-deal Brexit
  • Why Germany will resist meaningful eurozone reform
  • September 25, 2017
  • Where does this leave eurozone governance reform?
  • Is Mélenchon losing his momentum?
  • Lost in Florence
  • September 13, 2017
  • Why the Turkey negotiations will continue
  • September 01, 2017
  • Rutte deflates Dutch labour party like a hot air balloon
  • August 21, 2017
  • Soft, getting softer
  • Tsipras' chances of a boost
  • On the fallacy of a middle-ground option for the eurozone
  • August 02, 2017
  • On the importance of a Brexit transition
  • To kill a referendum, starve it
  • How to spot a moron?
  • July 25, 2017
  • The impact of Duda's veto
  • How to undo Brexit
  • Front National: Frexit or not?
  • July 17, 2017
  • What Tony Blair's Brexit confusion tells us
  • Schulz advocates compulsory investments
  • Italy’s government has effectively lost its majority
  • July 11, 2017
  • The political fallout of the G20 in Germany
  • July 05, 2017
  • Europe’s next migration crisis
  • Philippe: French need to kick spending addiction
  • June 30, 2017
  • Recurring Brexit myths
  • On EU citizen rights
  • On Brexodus
  • June 26, 2017
  • Brexit - the central case and the tail-risk
  • The German fear of Macron
  • June 21, 2017
  • Why has the SPD deflated?
  • Berlusconi’s strategy
  • June 20, 2017
  • How to soften Brexit?
  • The deep roots of Brexit: Thatcher and the Germans
  • June 19, 2017
  • SPD to focus on inequality
  • On radical uncertainty