German pride-still quashed by history

The ability for Germans to feel a connection to their country is still hindered by history; there is still the sense that they are linked to racism.

German pride is a curious thing. What with the history of the country, there is still a sense that patriotism is a hard thing to legitimize following the events of the mid 20th century.

It is improving, no doubt- it is easier now to feel pride in one’s identity as a German, as the influence of time has allowed the potential perpetrators and supporters of the Nazi regime to give way to new fresher generations, each with a more positive outlook on how to move forward. That is not to say that the Holocaust or Second World War have been forgotten, or that guilt has been absolved; all German children are required by law to visit a concentration camp during their time at school. History is a fundamental part of the country’s education; there is a continuous effort to educate the population about the events of the 1930s and 40s.

But it must be said that Germany has transformed remarkably; arguably to one of the most progressive countries in the world. The racist and discriminatory scene had dwindled considerably until the recent emergence of PEGIDA, however regardless the right wing in Germany have been sufficiently marginalized in comparison to other countries on mainland Europe.

However the overall stereotype of Germans as Nazis has regrettably not vanished. There is still a general association of far right politics with the country, due to the events of the Holocaust. And thus a stigma of Germans as racist lives on, perpetuated by articles such as this, which make it seem unlikely that any Germans stood up to the Nazi regime.

The article suggests that “one of the most unlikely battles of World War Two took place, at Itter in the Austrian Alps”, between an alliance of Germans and Americans, united against the Nazis. This is ultimately patronising and stereotypical; it wows at the possibility that there were Germans who did not support the Nazi regime, and in fact fought directly against it.

These suggestions, declarations and criticisms constrict the possibility of a new rhetoric on the German people, a German people who are predominantly accepting of all races, religions and cultures. Just like the majority of countries. It is not to say that racism in Germany has been extinguished; it is ridiculously naïve and presumptuous to say that racism does not feature in any particular country. The fight must continue across the board.

Yet Germany receives the harsh treatment due to it’s past. There are many countries throughout Europe, where racist parties pose a real threat to the stability of the nations. The Front National in France have been steadily rising in the polls for the 2017 general election, with a high of 33 per cent of the vote being recorded in January. Of course this is a poll, which cannot be taken as fool proof. But the polls do set the tone; racism is on the rise in France, and the country is in need of some international focus to combat this issue.

Stereotyping is an archaic principle; it found its height in the 19th and 20th centuries. It has no place in the current climate, the current age. Stigmatisation of the German people is unfounded and damaging, the mould of associating Germany with racism does not belong in the 21th century.

Scotland is about to see huge change

Edinburgh South represents a key battle seat between Labour and the SNP. But what does the election represent for Scotland?

Today there is huge hope. Not just in Edinburgh South, but in the entirety of Scotland. There is hope that this election will bring the voice Scots have been anticipating for so long.
Edinburgh South is a classic key battle seat. Labour and the SNP. Old against new. Last time out in 2010 Labour won a victory. Not a comfortable victory, but that time they were closely fought until the end by the Liberal Democrats. Ian Murray became an MP with his heart in his mouth and sweat binding his forehead, but he knew it would be a close call. This time there will be stress again, but Ian Murray may not be back in control of Edinburgh South.
From 2010 to 2015 the fortunes of the SNP have drastically changed. In Edinburgh South in 2010, they had just 8 per cent in the vote and won just six seats throughout Scotland. At the election last time out, Scottish Liberal Democrat Leader Tavish Scott laughed off the SNP manifesto, naming and shaming it as “a true Alex in Wonderland performance”. The Labour leader of Holyrood, Iain Gray, claimed that the SNP had just one policy, and that it was “fundamentally weak”. The SNP were mocked, discarded as irrelevant and laughable.
But the change implicit in Scottish politics has changed all that. Like other parties across Britain, like Plaid Cymru and the Green party, increasing support has made these parties invincible to these attacks. Claims that these parties are illegitimate are presently unfounded, purely because of the amount of support they have received in recent weeks.
SNP cars are the norm at the moment in Edinburgh. They hum through the streets somewhat quietly every day, with the Saltire and the SNP symbol adorning the window and back windscreen. They sense Edinburgh South is moving swiftly over to support the SNP, and that Neil Hay will quite possibly be the next candidate successfully sitting in the House of Commons.
This is the state Scottish politics are in. And yes some may call it a revolution, because parliamentary change is on the horizon, whether Labour and the Conservatives will admit it or not. The question for the whole of Great Britain is whether this change will be limited to Scotland, or whether the next election will see the emergence of a party who will have a significant say in the politics of Westminster. The hope is that the rest of Britain will see change is possible and imminent, and that other parties and other priorities can be representative in government. Other parties and priorities which fully match what people want coming out of Westminster.