There’s Meth-od To German Politician’s Madness


Far and Away the best example of spin this correspondent has encountered in the twenty-odd years of observing the news, came from reading about a Mr Michael Hartmann, (the Social Democrat Member of Parliament for Wackernheim, a small town in western Germany) and his recent experience of being on the wrong side of the German law.

Mr Hartmann’s brush with the law began back in July when he was named by a local drug-dealer as purchasing Crystal Meth (drug similar to speed) from said dealer.

Unfortunately for Mr Hartmann, he was unable to deny this breach of German law (his word against the drug-dealer) as the dealer had been under police surveillance at the time.

Most politicians, after being caught (breaking some law e.g. taking illegal drugs) would apologise to their colleagues and constituents for their actions, give an excuse e.g. stress or some other unhappy incident in their life that caused their fall from the straight and narrow, and hope the consequences would not be too severe.

Michael’s response to be caught on the crooked, non-law-abiding path, displays an example of superlative spin. He explained (through his lawyer) that the reason he’d taken Crystal Meth was not due to stress or an unhappy incident in his life, but to improve his performance as an M.P. He claimed, he thought small amounts of the drug would help him work better for his constituents. His lawyer further stated that Michael had hoped to be more efficient at work through using Crystal Meth.

As this correspondent said earlier, a piece of masterly spin, where Michael endeavours to favourably influence those (colleagues and constituents) who will decide whether he gets to keep his job or not.

This tale reminds your correspondent of a time when he also tried to favourably influence someone (although not in the same league as Mr Hartmann) after being caught in an unpleasant situation.

This correspondent had been discovered in the cellar of a London West-End boozer (where your correspondent used to work) on a keg eating a bar of chocolate, by the manager, while the boozer was very busy.

Your correspondent’s manager had come through the cellar door, seen your correspondent in his restive state, looked at all the beer fobs, (the see-through plastic instruments, which when ‘down’/empty, indicate that a beer-keg needs changing) which were up, and then enquired after, an explanation from this correspondent for his presence in the cellar.

Your correspondent focused his attention at one of the fobs (if memory serves well, it was the Carling one) and pointed towards it saying “See that Fob over there, I’ve had a feeling that it is nearly about to go (down)”.

This correspondent was successful with his piece of spin, not because his manager believed this explanation (again the memory is hazy, but I think the manager said something along the lines of ‘you chancer’, and told your correspondent to get back to work- with a smile) but because your correspondent’s boss liked him.

Similar to this correspondent’s boss, one would speculate (bear in mind readers, that your correspondent’s track-record in gambling isn’t great) that Mr Hartmann’s success with the constituents of Wackernheim will depend less on his consumption of Crystal Meth for their benefit, and more on whether they like him.

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