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The Spectator Podcast: Germany’s nightmare

On this week’s episode, we look at Germany’s political nightmare, speak to one of the world’s most eminent psychologists, and get excited by the Winter Olympics.

First up, since last year’s election, Angela Merkel’s chancellorship has seemed to be on thin ice. Her party, the Christian Democrats, have a coalition offer pending with the SPD, which would, at best, see the far right AfD become the main opposition. What is fuelling this unrest? And how long can Merkel continue in the current climate? Thomas Kielinger writes on the future of Germany’s leadership in the magazine and he joins the podcast along with Anne McElvoy, head of Economist Radio. As Thomas writes:

“On Monday, Angela Merkel did something quite extraordinary. As speculation about her party’s leadership mounted, she named an apparent successor: thae 55-year-old Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, appointed as the new general secretary of her Christian Democratic Union party. The choice came like a lightning strike: AKK, as she is already called, was to leave her job as a successful minister-president of the tiny federal state of Saarland and assume the governing position in her party. Now she sits as the CDU’s crown princess, looking to take the throne at (or even before) the next German election in 2021.”

Are things really as bad as they seem? No, says the cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker, who chronicles a world getting, by and large, better in his new book, Enlightenment Now. He writes this week’s diary in the magazine, and sat down to discuss small matters about our existence with our literary editor, Sam Leith. As Steven writes:

“Though I have no children, a year ago I became a grandfather when my stepdaughter had a baby boy. Solly and Yael have been living with us while waiting for an apartment, and for the first time I’ve experienced some of the perquisites of parenthood, such as being kept up by nighttime caterwauling and catching a disease from the baby germ pool.

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