Sigmar gabriel presents kubicki book: when two like each other

The ex-SPD leader and the FDP politician make a unanimous appearance in Berlin. In the process, they scold young people – and the media.

Kubicki and Gabriel in Berlin on Wednesday: refugee children among themselves Photo: dpa

One hand washes the other, that also applies in politics – and so Sigmar Gabriel takes on the role of laudator at the presentation of Wolfgang Kubicki’s book. In September 2018, it had been the other way around.

So now the FDP man is following suit as the author. "Say what’s what" is the title of the Bundestag vice president’s first book, which was presented in Berlin on Thursday. "The publisher promises "plain talk from the north.

Right at the beginning, when Sigmar Gabriel describes himself as a "Wolfgang Kubicki fan" in his opening remarks, it becomes clear that two people are sitting here who appreciate each other – although one in particular appreciates himself first and foremost. The next 60 minutes reveal this.

Gabriel emphasizes that Kubicki’s autobiography does not omit darker episodes, such as his friendship with Jurgen Mollemann. But the book is not limited to reminiscences; it is a "textbook for young politicians, a "plea for freedom and responsibility.

Refugee children among themselves

Gabriel and Kubicki both come from refugee families (Gabriel’s mother came from East Prussia, Kubicki’s father from Silesia). "You have to fight for social recognition," he, Kubicki, thought to himself. That’s how it was with "Sigmar," he said. "Maybe that’s why we like each other."

Kubicki, on the other hand, doesn’t like the great of the new generation of politicians: "career cowards," even in the FDP. He, who still works as a lawyer in his own firm, is particularly annoyed by the lack of life experience. "Actually, everyone should have worked two to three years before entering the Bundestag." This is followed by a blatant backlash against Kevin Kuhnert.

Gabriel, who has considerably less to say, seems calmer about it. He laments the alienation of lower social classes. But he also complains about the lack of willingness to attend local meetings.

Kubicki, on the other hand, can’t understand why some members of parliament take short internships during the summer break to get a taste of other professions. That is not possible for him, he says, in the office. "That’s where I hear a lot from people." It remains unclear how a top lawyer learns about the hardships of a geriatric nurse or a kindergarten teacher in this way.

A bit smug

The impression of complacency gradually sets in – but perhaps presentations of autobiographies have that in themselves.

That "old, white men" in the FDP prevented the chances of straight young deputies was wrong, in any case. "We have the youngest parliamentary group in the Bundestag." But also a women’s problem. However, Kubicki, who repeatedly gives himself the image of the women’s hero, does not come to talk about this.

What is disconcerting is the obvious satisfaction he feels in the face of the media’s financial difficulties – not least for presenter Christiane Hoffmann of Der Spiegel. The magazine and the media do not come off well for Kubicki anyway. "The so-called serious press" has "feasted on the fate of the FDP," he says. He is annoyed by abbreviations and misrepresentations. Gabriel, too, would feel a "secret joy" about the problems of the media industry after all, he says, patting him on the leg. Gabriel, however, seems less joyful, but laments the often disrespectful way journalists treat politicians.

"Everyone wants applause from Greta".

The two passionately discuss how to deal with the AfD and environmental protection. Both agree: the people should not be forgotten. Gabriel is gaining the upper hand. He sees an earlier lignite phase-out as pure "symbolic politics": "Everyone just wants the applause of Greta and Fridays for Future."

Interestingly, Kubicki advises a "more relaxed" approach to Fridays for Future. After all, his party leader Lindner has not distinguished himself in this way so far. He, Kubicki, had also skipped school for demonstrations in his youth. And that much of what this man has done was right – at least this is the impression he gives himself.