Liberal politics: “turning point” as an opportunity and risk for the FDP


Status: 04/24/2022 3:07 p.m

The FDP could bring the “turning point” new attention, says Martin Polansky. Because where issues such as the cost of living and defense become more important, she can show what she has to offer – if she finds the right answers.

A comment by Martin Polansky, ARD capital studio

The FDP still has the best time ahead of it. Secretary General Bijan Djir-Sarai said at the party congress. Sounds like a joke. But the much-vaunted “turning point” can actually bring new attention to the FDP and open up fields of action that seemed almost closed.

The FDP’s big competitor, the Greens, have had a strong influence on political issues in recent years: Wind turbines, the phase-out of coal, organic farming – questions of national defense did not play a major role in the visions for the future.

But now the “turn of the era” can be felt by everyone. Even in the discounter, a kilo of minced meat suddenly costs ten euros and a liter of Super at the gas station costs two euros. Concerns about whether there will be enough heating gas next winter and how the Bundeswehr is doing. And some are now noticing at the checkout: a society must be able to afford some of the green designs for the future.

A kind of neo-realism

This is where the FDP comes into play. As the smallest partner in a more left-wing coalition of three, it does not have to turn around now when it comes to equipping the Bundeswehr adequately, appreciating the protection of the NATO partner USA and sticking to Germany’s nuclear participation.

The FDP does not have to be convinced that it makes sense to have our own liquid gas terminals in this country, that cheap food is also a value in itself and that the country’s prosperity is first and foremost based on a growth-oriented economy.

The example of France shows that issues related to prosperity and the cost of living can suddenly push many other issues to the sidelines. You could call it neo-realism.

Opportunity and risk at the same time

For an economically liberal party, the turning point is both an opportunity and a risk. Opportunity, because the FDP has quite a few recipes to offer. The motto “no tax increases” is basically correct if you want to promote performance and growth. Open markets and free trade agreements with partners such as the USA or Canada are fundamentally correct when the world is increasingly divided into authoritarian and non-authoritarian states. Giving central priority to stable public finances is essentially the right thing to do if you want to overcome crises like the one we are currently experiencing.

But the turning point is also a risk for the FDP – namely if it does not manage to find the right answers to the crisis now, especially Finance Minister Christian Lindner. And one can ask whether subsidies for plug-in hybrids or a fuel discount are the right answers for everyone to address the concerns of the working population and to keep an eye on the careful use of budgetary funds.

Feel-good topics were yesterday, good times are not in sight for the time being. But the FDP can now show what it actually has to offer.

Editorial note

Comments always reflect the opinion of the respective author and not that of the editors.

Liberal Politics for the Turning Point – A Commentary

Martin Polansky, ARD Berlin, April 24, 2022 2:31 p.m

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