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Konrad Werner: It really tied the room together

Konrad's fingers are sore from scraping the bottom of the barrel – this week's hot political scandal in Germany? A slightly cheaper carpet.

Image for Konrad Werner: It really tied the room together
Photo by Afghanistan Matters (Flickr CC)

Ouch! Ooh! Yaah! Sorry readers, I’m typing with splinters in my finger-tips. Why’s that? Well, it’s because once again German politics has left me to scrape the bottom of the barrel.

Maybe this blog-envy is a hallucination, but it always seems like the big scandals are happening in other, less punctilious European countries. In Britain for instance, it came out this week that the prime minister was “in it together” with a corrupt phone-hacking newspaper editor with ravishing red hair. In France it seems like a week barely goes by where the prime minister doesn’t try to fabricate evidence that the president was an arms and/or drug dealer, while in Russia the whole political system is one big scandal. Even in Greece last week the crappest-name-ever “Golden Dawn” neo-Nazi party decided to start punching women on telly in a bizarre new experimental election tactic.

But what have I got? Dirk Niebel, the development minister, avoided tax on a carpet. A flippin’, bloomin’, chuffin’, slightly cheaper carpet. Alright, he got the secret service to sneak it past customs and fly it to his house from Afghanistan, and alright, he summoned an Afghan rug dealer to come to the German embassy like some kind of imperial satrap. But that’s it though. It’s still a just carpet.

Even Germany’s class of hypocritical lefties – you remember them, the ones who had little squeaky jittery fits because Christian Wulff got a free holiday – are having trouble getting worked up about this. They’re half asleep themselves. Someone from the SPD managed to stay awake long enough to call for Niebel to resign, and quip that his FDP had “a tradition of tax evasion,” but really that’s all the meat there was on this bone.

So anyway, for what it’s worth, here’s my opinion: I am against tax evasion, and I think the FDP is easily the biggest collection of tools in Germany except for the CSU, but I think Diebel should be allowed to have his carpet. At least we should withhold judgement until we know all the facts. For all we know, he really, really needed a carpet. Maybe there’s a mental lady living downstairs from him who keeps complaining about him clumping around in his Birkenstocks. Or maybe he might have had a room that needed a carpet to tie it together. At any rate I think Angela Merkel should call a proper independent judicial inquiry to bring to light all the facts in this murky affair. I feel that only then will the nation’s mind be at rest. Now what’s for breakfast?