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Konrad Werner: Integrating the CSU

This week, Konrad is very vexed by the CSU. Not because they're a bunch of parochial Bavarian bumpkins – though it's that too – but because he can't vote for them.

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Photo by Dolores Bennoit

Presumably, just by some law of genetic chance, there must be supporters of the Christian Social Union outside Bavaria. I don’t envy them much. They must have a miserable time. While all the Bavarian branches of their Catholic families get to vote for bucolically-inspired muppets like Horst Seehofer and or Ilse “No-Mr.-Zuckerberg-I-expect-you-to-die” Aigner – they have to vote for your bread-and-butter cut-throat opportunists like Wolfgang Schäuble and Angela Merkel – of the CDU.

The CSU, in case you’re not sure how the alliance works, is the CDU’s dog – an obedient pet that sometimes shits on the carpet. Probably it’s a very excitable and aggressive Great Dane, who constantly wants to be let out. The turds in this metaphor are the CSU’s public statements, which flop out clumsily and lie there offending everyone, and the kitchen door is the CDU’s access to the media.

The CSU’s main purpose politically is to be a caricatured reduction of the CDU’s policies on everything – effectively a filter that gets rid of any pretence to reason and distills the bile underneath. Feeling confused by the nuances of Merkel’s latest wishy-washy, contradictory statement on, say, immigration? Simply listen to Seehofer, who said on Wednesday that the CSU would “resist until the last bullet” in order to stop immigrants into the welfare system. There we are.

But as the FDP’s General Secretary Christian Lindner said the other day, “The CSU also wasn’t a formative force in German history… But it is still a societal reality that we must live with. Today we must also integrate the CSU.”

Obviously the CSU is feeling depressed at the moment, having just lost their poster-boy, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg. Luckily they made a cake with his face on it, and gave it to his dad to hold.