One person I’m extremely glad I don’t have to swap minds with is Heiner Geißler. Apart from the fact that I’d have to be 81 and deaf and a member of the CDU – any two of which would already outweigh the many tribulations of being Konrad Werner – any sudden Freaky-Friday-style soul-swap between Heiner and me would mean I would have had to have spent the past 10 months sitting in an airless room in Baden-Württemberg listening to a bunch of arses bickering about a railway station.
Considering his physical frailty, one has to assume that Geißler is only still alive because he has learned how to discreetly turn off his hearing aid and still appear to follow the intense discussion between a pompous Deutsche Bahn executive and a bourgeois hippy who only likes those wooden train-sets with magnets and thinks all trains should be built that way.
But the fact is Heiner Geißler is a machine. Last weekend, not only did his nervous system not give up and fry his brain, but he actually had an idea. And it wasn’t “let’s just nuke Stuttgart and make any survivors clear the rubble with wheelbarrows” but “let’s build a bit of the station underground and a bit of it over ground. Then you’d both be happy, surely.”
But of course they weren’t, and the soul-destroying row continued. Whereupon Geißler, probably throwing his hands up in the air and wishing he’d spent the past nine months learning how to do the merengue instead, thus ticking off one more item on his bucket list, made the ill-advised decision to quote Goebbels, and asked the arguing parties: “Do you want a total war?”
This caused much debate and shock and anger in the press. And he himself gave a hilariously bad-tempered and unrepentant interview to an interviewer pretending to be outraged on Deutschlandfunk (where you can hear the desperation of the last ten months in every word) which caused even more blustering moral outrage.
But frankly, if I’d have been him, I probably would’ve been quoting Goebbels months ago. In fact, by now, if me and Heiner had done a Freaky Friday back in October I probably would’ve moved on from Goebbels and taken to reading out passages from Mein Kampf in that fucking room until those fucking idiots finally agreed to fucking bulldoze that fucking railway station and build the world’s biggest fucking Media Markt there instead. Everyone needs batteries.