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Konrad Werner: Why we need Bavaria

There was a lot of street-sign news from the transport ministry yesterday. Luckily, we have Bavarians to sort this stuff out.

Image for Konrad Werner: Why we need Bavaria
Photo (c) Deutscher Bundestag / Lichtblick / Achim Melde

Peter Ramsauer is the Minister for Transport, Building and Urban Affairs – three things that definitely do go together. Maybe that is why, unlike Ilse Aigner, he only allows fans on Facebook, not friends.

Some people think that friends automatically become fans once you hit a certain number, but this is just wrong, and the sort of thing people say with authority all the time. Being someone’s fan means their PA has to get up every morning and blearily write that they’re going to be on the radio today, while being someone’s friend means that you can go to their house and meet their mum and dad and steal their cake.

Peter Ramsauer has 472 fans (and one of them is me, and I’m not really his fan) and NO friends, while Ilse Aigner, the Food, Farms and Facebook Minister, has over 3,500 friends and NO fans. Make of THAT what you will. I make of it that Ramsauer is an old fuddy-duddy whose PA has no sense of Facebook etiquette – he thinks you’re meant to end updates with “Beste Grüße“, which is what comes of being Bavarian – while Aigner has massive MILF-appeal. Both of them are Bavarian, by the way, and members of the Bavarian-only CSU. Since the Christian Social Union is always the minor partner in conservative coalitions, the Bavarians always end up as minor ministers for minor things like roads, food and killing people in other countries. But these are the areas in which the Bavarian national character – and it is a nation – excels. (Sorry, that was racist. (Can you be racist about Bavarians? Probably.) I don’t mean it. My cousin is Bavarian, and he doesn’t cook or kill people, and he doesn’t have a car. And sorry for being sexist about Aigner before. She’s not a MILF – she’s a good consumer affairs minister coming to terms with the fact she has no power.)

Anyway, yesterday, Ramsauer reversed his predecessor’s policy of changing Germany’s road signs because local communities don’t have any money to do it. This predecessor, the smooth and almost hairless Wolfgang Tiefensee, decided that all the ones with old designs had to be replaced. But only 7 million of 20 million got done in his four-year tenure. That means there are 13 million street signs with an archaic design standing around in Germany. What an opportunity! We could have a competition, with a prize for who spots all of them. Or you could tie string between them to raise awareness for road safety. It would probably be some kind of road hazard, but that would be the point!

That was the news.