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Review of Stephen Lambi's book "Decision Days" - Culture

Review of Stephen Lambi’s book “Decision Days” – Culture

When the traffic light coalition agreement was signed yesterday at the Futurium Berlin, Stefan Lambi could already be seen in the room while he waited. Somewhat apart, watching intently, present and not intrusive. He was there because something is always going on in German politics. He has written a history of German politics in several award-winning films. They are important films in which the protagonists of the film have their say in detail and often say a little more than they mean.

In one of his films about CDU, Kohl’s late period and the donation case, Wolfgang Schäuble ends the myth of anonymous donors and Helmut Kohl’s antithesis. As is known, it was reported that the large sum of money in the black coffers of the CDU came from four or five individuals, to whom he had given a word of honor by not revealing their names. And bear a lie for a former federal chancellor—very few dared to do so, even if his story always seemed implausible. Schäuble confided in Stefan Lambi, saying the remaining amount was from Flick’s donations. Historic moment.

Meltdowns Instead of Ideas – What does the election campaign reveal about our society?

Lambie also accompanied the last federal election campaign and honored her in a movie. But there was more material and he composed it in a book. It appears after the elections, but it actually increases in value with each passing week. Complaints about the empty, complicated and crumbling federal election campaign have not ceased throughout the year. And they were not without foundation, because instead of a contest of ideas that seemed to be a festival of “bankruptcy, misfortune and collapse,” one was already waiting for moderator Fritz Aigner. There was a fight between Söder and Laschet, back and forth between the Counsellor and Prime Minister in the Anti-Coronavirus Department, Laschet’s laughter, plagiarism in Annalena Barbock’s book, and above all the CSU mask case – but how do you explain this individual hate streak? What does thinking about the election campaign tell us about society and our time?

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Lamby also serves as a reserved documentary filmmaker on this book, stitching together the sequences and letting the audience think for themselves. In addition to brief descriptions and quotes, he avoids explanations, and does not text anyone with theoretical theses about the nature of politics. But it also broadens the focus here, not only interviewing political professionals, but also civil society actors such as pianist Igor Levitt. Commenting on the unreal mood of the pandemic, he gives an interpretation of time from the point of view of a committed artist. One of the early coronavirus deniers also has an opinion – it can be used to gauge the power of entirely new social movements capable of influencing political events. Moreover, how much they feed off a feeling of distrust of established parties, in this case the CDU. However, these conversations are taking place at a time when the lateral thinkers movement had not yet radicalized as much as it is today.

Stefan Lambie: Decision Days. Behind the scenes of changing power. CH Beck, Munich 2021. 382 pages, €22.

The book’s first realization is how far political events are from party headquarters and parliaments. Social media contributes to this, as it sets a style and pace that machines aren’t tuned for. This became apparent for a long time, but only in this federal election campaign did digital exchange platforms prove themselves to be the crucial political stage: the fact that the CDU did not find an adequate answer to the success of Rezo’s video is not just a flaw on the part of the staff unit at this reading an important moment in the development country’s political.

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It is clear that the ruling party has missed a lot. The quiet collapse of the CDU, observable only in the fine cracks, but now complete with the role of the opposition, forms the core of the dramatist. First of all – the book here serves as a special diary, on which you can see in amazement how funny you were thinking – such a development is out of the question, because the stakes, the zeitgeist, the opinion of experts – everything on which the alliance of black and green depends. Whenever there is speculation about a future CDU president, who should be named after Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer withdrew, there is always talk that a potential future chancellor will now be nominated as well.

It may have to do with this assumption that the position of Christian Democratic chancellor is forever, but today it is shocking to read the naivety with which a professional political figure like Armin Laschet entered an election year. He has no strategy for dealing with Marcus Soder and the appropriate strategy for managing the epidemic, no project and no convincing message. The calm he wanted to show was interpreted as neglect, and the unhappy laughter that passed him during his visit with the Federal President in the disaster zone reinforced this impression in a way that could not be corrected again.

Completed with flashbacks, the union’s decline appears in an almost epic dimension

Laschet was not well enough prepared, but the decline of the Federation appears in this book in a semi-epic dimension, because Stefan Lambie can fuse very old memories. He brought excerpts from conversations with Helmut Kohl, in which he concerned his conflict with Bavarian Prime Minister Franz Josef Strauss. This lends an frankly tragic dimension to the story, because it turns out that the deep conflict in the so-called bourgeois camp is only sleeping while Angela Merkel is more or less in the saddle. But already in 2015, Horst Seehofer caused strain in the relationship due to the refugee policy without a ready strategic alternative.

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Far from portraying Angela Merkel as the liberal modernizing agent of a conservative party, Lampe makes it clear that she is the only one who has kept the business together all these years. His gradual withdrawal, first from the leadership of the party, and then from the chancellery, poses insoluble problems for the Union, because the circles have long become unfamiliar and the employees are weary from years of government in times of crisis. But the Greens also overestimate themselves while underestimating the internal dynamics of the federal election campaign. There’s a particularly funny clip when Robert Habeck is supposed to comment on the Burbock plagiarism controversy, but he doesn’t want it and apologizes by pointing out that he was on vacation during those days and couldn’t be reached. Only Lambi can maintain his composure at such moments, suppress laughter and hope that he will be able to participate again in the next election campaign.

The traffic light came out of the chaos. But it is precisely through this story that the essence of the project, linked to content and style, is revealed. After all the drama with the union, scandals like the untold mask affair through which politicians wanted to make private profits from the pandemic, the ongoing intra-partisan strife, the unpleasant follies and alliances with pictureA newspaper has one thing in common: to make it reasonably appropriate. In a restrained and fascinating style, Stefan Lambie has created a book that delivers exactly what others promise, a comprehensive account of our present. It is a political description of the situation in frugal means and the capital novel that everyone has been waiting for.