Archive for September 2017

The far-right AfD have won 13.5% of the German vote. What to do next?

So the AfD, a far-right party, have become the third-largest party in Germany, with 13.5% of the vote. They are the true winners of this election. They ran a campaign that was often chaotic, and always characterised by racist, explicitly Nazi rhetoric. Not neo-Nazi, really; Nazi. Millions of German citizens looked at all that they represented, and thought, “yes, I’ll have some of that”.
 
Despite all this, I am pretty calm about the news. It’s not a shock to me. It’s disappointing, I’ll admit that, because it shows that too many people have refused to heed the warnings of how bad the AfD will be for this society as a whole. Too many people think that the AfD are fine so long as they do unspeakable things to non-white people. We saw this with Trump, we saw this in the UK, we saw this in Holland and Austria and beyond. After a while, you build up something of an immunity to it. I was saying to a friend the other day that it’s a little like when your ears pop on the plane – you become accustomed to the new pressure.
 
13.5%, that’s a lot of people. Still, it’s a confirmation rather than a surprise. If it affects anything in the immediate future, it will be the speed and the focus that I give to the projects that I most care about; it will be the time and the care that I give to people in greatest need, both those I know and those I do not. I have said many times before that I find racism irritating, frustrating and hateful in the extreme because I am too busy trying to make a life for myself. So I’m going to do the same thing I did when Trump was elected – get my head down, and go for it. It’s the only approach that’s ever worked against racism, and it’s the only approach that ever will.