Photo by Kevin Dooley (kevin dooley; Flickr CC)
I once had a Freaky Friday fantasy that I could swap souls with Heiner Geißler, the octogenarian mediator in the Stuttgart 21 railway station dispute. Now I don't need to fantasize about this anymore, because I know what Heiner Geißler is thinking.
He's thinking: "Well, the people of Baden-Württemberg really are a fruity bunch. Having spent a large part of my waning life negotiating between them and Deutsche Bahn about a railway station that they pretended to really hate, they've gone and changed their minds. Wow, it's going to be so much fun explaining this to my neglected grandchildren. I was meant to dress up as Santa last year and everything."
Last weekend, the contrary people of Baden-Württemberg voted in a referendum to say they actually like the idea of an underground railway station after all. This comes after they voted to install Germany's first ever Green party state premier back in March, specifically because of the Greens' opposition to the massive infrastructure project, called Stuttgart 21.
That same premier, a hapless bean called Winfried Kretschmann, now has to sign the bill that allows the bulldozers and the cement-mixers to trundle in and flatten the flowerbeds.
Little do the people of Baden-Württemberg know, however, that there was a bit of a cock-up with the trains last week, and the Gorleben Castor transport is now headed their way. Deutsche Bahn, cannily spying an opportunity to economize on construction materials, has therefore agreed to build Stuttgart 21 entirely out of nuclear waste.
The railway operator announced that they are fine with the change of plan, which they made up, and are understood to have received a substantial grant from the French to store the waste.
"Well, at least it will reduce the carbon footprint of all those protestors," a DB spokesman told me in a made-up quote. "This way, they'll only have to travel to one protest. I'm not holding my breath for any fucking gratitude though. Whingers."