Scholz and the compulsory vaccination: A question of trust

Dhe introduction of a general compulsory vaccination is certainly, like so many other subjects that are debated in Parliament, also a question of conscience. The longer the process drags on, the more completely different questions come to the fore. They all start from the neuralgic point that prompted the coalition to declare the vote on it “open”: The coalition does not have a majority of its own. It was therefore not the conscience and the freedom of the mandate that induced the Chancellor and the parliamentary group leaders not to make the compulsory vaccination part of the tried and tested procedure. They simply had the problem of not being able to close their own ranks.

The matter is dragging on because group proposals take time. Members of parliament first have to find each other to formulate them. In the meantime, the carnival had to serve to prevent it from going as fast as one supposedly wishes. Although he has clearly stated that he is in favor of compulsory vaccination, Olaf Scholz makes no public effort to contribute to the speedy implementation of an application. It is similar with Karl Lauterbach, the Federal Minister of Health. Both have to live with resistance, primarily from the FDP parliamentary group. That is, they no longer have control over what becomes of an issue that they believe is right.

Generally, however, it is precisely this conviction that it has to enforce the right thing, the reason why a government wants to govern. She can play for time if she is not convinced of the urgency of a demand. This is also obvious with the compulsory vaccination. What still seems sensible and urgent today may seem disproportionate again tomorrow in the face of an unpredictable pandemic. With his evasive maneuver, however, Scholz has condemned himself to passivity in one of the most important tasks that the country and its government are currently facing.

Even Lindner could no longer jump in with Scholz

That was only wise because Scholz was able to avoid the opposition turning the vote on the general vaccination into a question of confidence. That would inevitably have happened if the government had made vaccination compulsory its business. In the Bundestag, Scholz could not have relied on the majority of the traffic lights. In other words: he would have to ask the vote of confidence in order to assert himself on this question. But maybe that wouldn’t help either.

The FDP parliamentary group was determined early on because a group around Wolfgang Kubicki opposed the compulsory vaccination and thus opposed the government line. For Christian Lindner, too, the trust of his own troops has been at stake since then, a completely new feeling for the liberal autocrat. As for the vote of confidence, he could no longer stand up to Scholz. But the parliamentary group on the left would certainly have been ready to fill the void. The traffic light would have gotten into an embarrassing situation right at the beginning of the electoral term.

The Union faction did not want to let Scholz escape so easily from the trap. This was the direction in which the government was asked to demonstrate its ability to act and to submit its own draft law. The Union faction will not do that. This means that the compulsory vaccination was back where Scholz did not want it, namely on the field of the opposition and the government.

But neither can the CDU / CSU parliamentary group simply sit back and do nothing. Pointing out alternatives is ultimately the opposition’s own task. But she too had to fear that she would not find a majority for her bill. Ralph Brinkhaus has now made it clear that he wants to participate by offering a collaboration between the opposition and the coalition. This is intended to resolve a tangle of applications that do not find a majority in each case. In other words: if the traffic lights don’t work, at least the grand coalition will.

The impression remains that the red-green-yellow coalition agrees on “gigantic” tasks, but not on the most important task that is currently facing itself, the fight against the pandemic. This is cherry-picking, but not the daring that the traffic light coalition always claims for itself.

If there is cooperation between the Union faction and parts of the coalition, in which Scholz and Lauterbach are also involved, that would be only to be welcomed. Clarity would quickly be created – right up to a clear majority, which is also important for the time afterwards. The question of trust would then no longer be an issue. But after just a few weeks of his reign, it is in the room for Scholz. That too is an answer.

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