Photo by Franz Richter (Wikimedia Commons)
Wulff and wife
Dear German Newspapers,
You might not realize this, but no one – that's ZERO NUMBER OF PEOPLE – gives a shit about Christian Wulff's free hotel upgrade. If you listen closely, you can actually hear people all over the world, trying to concentrate long enough on the story, straining their bowels to give a shit about it. But nothing is coming out. So few people can give a poo about it that The Local hasn't done a story about the former German president's "corruption" trial since it started, during which time they have found news space for a dead boar, an Evil Santa picture gallery, and a mildly amusing incident involving a scarf.
Why this curious failure of the public to be properly outraged, despite the fact that you, German Newspapers, are having a massive scandalgasm about it? Hm, tough one. Let me think – maybe it's because, letting your friend spend €700 so you can get a free massage and the personalized embossed letter paper in your room, in exchange for trying to get a company to sponsor his vanity film project is NOT VERY EVIL. It barely counts as corruption. In fact, it's the most rubbish case of corruption ever.
Anyway, German Newspapers, it's okay if you want to pretend that Wulff snaffling a room with a complimentary fruit bowl and a Blu-Ray player is morally the same as training child soldiers, but in case you don't know what corruption actually is, Transparency International helpfully released a report this week and found "worrying tendencies in lobbyism" in German politics.
It's fine for car companies to donate money to political parties, because obviously nothing gets you more passionate about politics than making luxury cars. But some car companies, like Daimler, seem a bit confused and can't decide what kind of politics they like the best, so they generously donate €150,000 to both the CDU and the SPD every year. And BMW handed €690,000 to Merkel's CDU just before her government went to Brussels to, erm, negotiate new emissions levels for cars.
Meanwhile, German politicians have developed a real knack for getting top business jobs when they finish with politics. But neither former CDU state secretary Eckart von Klaeden (now head of "politics and public relations" at Daimler after reportedly being "well-informed" about a deal between the state and his future bosses) or the SPD's former head Kurt Beck (now consultant for pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim, after resigning from public office for health reasons, ironically enough) are in court for using their power for personal gain. But instead of questioning the laws that allow that shit to happen, you German Newspapers are getting a hard-on over Wulff's €700 hotel bill.
I realize you don't like Wulff, because he was a bit too PC for a German president and you'd quite like to shag his wife, but IT'S NOT THE FUCKING SAME.