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A party in gentle but steady descent

It's good news for the chancellor in these turbulent days if one of his appearances is at least somewhat civilized.

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A party in gentle but steady descent

It's good news for the chancellor in these turbulent days if one of his appearances is at least somewhat civilized. If the number of "warmonger-warmonger" rabble-rousers outside in front of the hall can be counted on one hand and the protest there is mainly expressed in a leaflet in which a local initiative against the planned construction of the Autobahn 20 through the Elbe -Weser triangle turns. So if, for once, no unfavorable images and headlines can emerge for the Berlin traffic light coalition.

In this respect, the extreme north-western tip of Lower Saxony is an almost ideal address for Olaf Scholz at the end of this once again turbulent week, which was by no means a happy one for the government with the chaos of allocations, the relief debate and the reappearing of corona turbulence. The official start of the election campaign of the Lower Saxony Social Democrats in the overcrowded Cuxhaven Kugelbake Hall, that not only sounds like happier social democratic days, it also looks exactly like it.

Red carpet, red stage, red light, a soothing election campaign claim - "The country is in good hands", snappy soul music. In addition, there was an extremely benevolent audience of around 700 – almost always unmasked – who were supposed to register with the SPD in advance of the chancellor’s appearance. Significantly more security than usual, also more meticulous bag checks. Better safe than sorry. That also applies to Olaf Scholz.

Even in Cuxhaven, the chancellor does not allow himself to be lured out of his reserve. Not from the good atmosphere in the Kugelbake hall. And not by Lars Klingbeil either. The SPD chairman appeared in Cuxhaven as a kind of preliminary program for the head of government and revealed that Scholz's traffic light alliance is currently working very intensively on introducing an excess profit tax for those companies that are particularly benefiting from the energy price crisis.

"We will approach these billions for a limited period of time," says the SPD leader, meaning above all the additional profits that the energy companies have been able to collect due to the drastic price increases of the past few months. Klingbeil apparently considers the resistance of the FDP to this excess profit tax to be surmountable. According to the SPD leader, party leader Christian Lindner has repeatedly proved to be “open to good arguments” in the coalition. There is great applause in the Kugelbake Hall for this announcement by the SPD chairman, which almost sounds like a decision.

Scholz does not say a word about his party's new heart topic. In Cuxhaven, the chancellor is more of a statesman than an election campaigner. He assures doubting Ukrainians of further financial and military support and doubting Germans that the federal government will act decisively but also prudently in this conflict. "I guarantee that we will do exactly what most citizens expect of us."

Expectation management is what the Chancellor is currently trying to do in his public appearances. Just don't promise too much, just don't promise more than your own people are already doing anyway with ever new exoneration debates. The housing benefit reform, the citizens' benefit, and tax relief will also be available at the beginning of next year, Scholz outlines everything that has already become known in the past few weeks. Nothing new from the Chancellery, just vague. "You'll never walk alone." The Chancellor also prefers not to comment on the accidental gas allocation that evening.

Instead, he throws a pinch of hope into his presentation. With the help of the floating LNG terminals in Brunsbüttel, Lubmin and the Wilhelmshaven and Stade locations in Lower Saxony, with gas storage facilities that are as full as possible and the reactivated coal-fired power plants, the country could be able to get through the winter more or less unscathed, Scholz draws a preliminary conclusion of his previous energy crisis management. "We may be able to do this without too severe consequences for our businesses and our citizens."

The Social Democrats in the Kugelbaken Hall also received this almost homeopathic chancellor dose of optimism with great applause. You will still be able to use them in the next six weeks until the state elections on October 9th. Since Scholz took office in Berlin, the polls of the Lower Saxony SPD have been in a gentle but steady descent. The re-election of Prime Minister Stephan Weil, who is emphatically combative in Cuxhaven, is anything but certain, despite his very decent office bonus.

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