by Katja Hoyer
Wednesday, 30
June 2021
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07:00

In Germany, the Green bubble is bursting

A plagiarism scandal is another set-back for the party's leader
by Katja Hoyer
Annalena Baerbock, co-head of the German Greens Party, speaks at the virtual federal party congress. Credit: Getty

When the leader of the German Green Party Annalena Baerbock published a new book last Monday she hoped it would boost her credibility as a leader and add depth to her political profile. However, there has been very little debate around the ideas she puts forward in it. Instead, the book has made headlines because it allegedly contains vast swathes of plagiarised material.

Peppered with personal anecdotes that aim to show that there is genuine passion behind her ideas, the book practically serves as an extended party manifesto in which the chancellor candidate aims to lend credibility and depth to her party’s agenda.

However, a scandal erupted when the Austrian blogger Stefan Weber published a comprehensive scrutiny of Baerbock’s book on his website where he compares whole paragraphs from her work with sections from other books and websites. The Green Party denied it, even getting a media lawyer involved, but there is a growing consensus that plagiarism took place.

Whatever the legal ins and outs of the situation, the allegations will have a damaging effect on the Green leader in the run-up to the German elections. The more Baerbock has appeared in public, giving interviews and speeches, the more her grasp of details has been scrutinised. This book was an attempt to put allegations of vagueness and embarrassing inaccuracies to bed. Instead, the debate around the credibility of her work will reinforce the impression that she may not be fit to be chancellor.

The episode has dealt another blow to Baerbock’s already battered reputation. Earlier this month, questions were raised about the authenticity of the Green leader’s CV and qualifications, after it emerged that she had held a master’s degree in Public International Law from LSE even though she had not completed a bachelor degree first. The fact that Baerbock held a comparable qualification from the University of Hamburg did not stop her critics chipping away at her.

Whether this is a concerted campaign by political enemies to bring her down, as the Greens claim, or merely another incident among many that reinforced the public’s perception of Baerbock as a political lightweight, the popularity of the German Greens has been steadily waning since her appointment as chancellor-candidate. At one point in May, they were the highest polling party, even pipping the CDU, but now they have slipped to a miserable 18% as the CDU has soared to 28%.

After all the hype that surrounded the Green Party just a couple of months ago, it appears as though that bubble has now burst.

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Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago

‘Green’ is another name for ‘Socialism’. It is the theory of intellectual 40-somethings with degrees in useless subjects, who have to make a theory about something to justify their existence. It is about other people stopping doing things while the top-dogs continue to do them as ‘leaders’.

Tom Lewis
Tom Lewis
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

I never knew that Matt Hancock was Green, but there you go, you learn something new everyday.

mike otter
mike otter
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom Lewis

That would be “Greenhorn”

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

It will soon be as thoroughly infiltrated by Marxists as Labour now is.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Sorry to be pushy but I read a lot last night about tinnitus. As I said, I have a great faith in self-hypnosis and I know that people use it as an anaesthetic for dental and surgical procedures. It is about training the brain to ignore an annoying signal coming from the senses (like pain).
This kind of thing doesn’t produce a cure for chronic issues but it allows for breaks of peace and quiet or helps to lull you back to sleep at night if the problem occurs.

Last edited 1 year ago by Chris Wheatley
Niels Georg Bach
Niels Georg Bach
1 year ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Could be, but one of the Greens strenght originally are their foundation in the more Conservative countryside. And from the beginning they have been a split between the ‘Realos’ and the ‘Fundis’ (*), but. as the development of the old Maoist Joscha Fischer documented ‘fundis’ can be clever ‘realos’ . (*) German jargon for practical politics and ‘Left wing dreamers’. Both SPD – Socialdemocrats and ultra left wing ‘Linke’ contains both wings. And by the way Baerbock don’t have a master from Hamburg,she didnt’ even finish her Bachelor, but got a honor one before she joined LSE. The germans are really petty about this, because so many politicians has been caught in scheating their Dr. degree – which isn’t a Phd, by the way.

Last edited 1 year ago by Niels Georg Bach
J Bryant
J Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

 ‘Socialism’. It is the theory of intellectual 40-somethings with degrees in useless subjects, who have to make a theory about something to justify their existence.
Nicely put. A summary not just of socialism but of the whole progressive agenda and grievance industry.

Philip Stott
Philip Stott
1 year ago

The criticism regarding her having a master’s without holding a bachelor’s degree isn’t valid.
I was an entirely self-taught software developer for 10 years before gaining a master’s in computer science, which I was allowed to sit on the basis of having industry experience.
OK, it was only Southwark, but I still put MSc on my CV.

mike otter
mike otter
1 year ago

Greens seem to start off far left of Marx, Mao etc. They tend to come from the Pol Pot and Kim Il Sung end of the spectrum but like many lefties have to compromise to achieve a share of power. So they end up with more Stalin/Scargill/Corbyn type policy offerings. Both the above are unpalatable to voters and are infact incompatible with democracy, so they fail. This is why they seek unelected power in education or the civil service. As true in Germany and UK, it explains why Ms Baerbock has ended up as party leader when she’d be better employed digging the roads.

Last edited 1 year ago by mike otter
Niels Georg Bach
Niels Georg Bach
1 year ago
Reply to  mike otter

Please don’t compare the facetted Green party with Stalin/Scargill/Corbyn type policy offerings – They are regarding foreign politics far away from Corbyn. Their basic left wing roots ‘Bündnis 90’ was very critical of the Eastern Block. They chose Baerbock tactically because she is a woman and a mother.  Robert Habeck is of course much better qualifie, not only as an academic and as a writer, but also a much more experienced politician. He has experience from minister posts in Schleswig Holstein. And as a dane of course it means something that he understand danish just like many important german politicians before him.

J Bryant
J Bryant
1 year ago

I’m not condoning plagiarism (if that’s what happened) but politicians are forever writing lightweight books to somehow establish themselves as intellectual/political players or curry favor with the public. These books are always heavy on generalities and sound bites that could have (and maybe were) lifted from a book by some other political wannabe.
I suspect Baerbock was just playing that game badly.

David Bell
David Bell
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Better buy Baerbock’s buch. That was her hope, at least.