Before the 2009 election kicked off in Germany, Hamburg’s miniature railway museum - Miniatur Wonderland - gave the country's main political players the opportunity to create their very own model of a perfect Germany to show off the visions they had for their country’s future. Each party was given one square meter of space to create their own scale models of utopia. The exhibition was first held four years ago as an attempt to familiarize voters with political concepts ahead of the 2009 general election. Now as another election approaches in 2013, Miniatur Wonderland invited the six major political parties once again to create new utopias.
Working closely with model makers from Miniatur Wonderland, the six political parties - Christian Democrats (CDU), Christian Social Union (CSU), Social Democrats (SPD), the Green Party, Free Democrats (FDP) and Left Party - created six pretty models that mirrored their own specific policies. The models will be shown in a special exhibition within the museum in Hamburg from Sept. 10 through to election day on Sept. 22. A total of 4,000 hours were invested into the project.
Christian Democratic Party’s Utopia
The conservative Christian Democrats' heavily featured the European Union flag and a black policeman guiding children and elderly people across a road suggested successful integration.
“Liveable homeland: Thanks to good schools and day care, upscale medical care, a widespread voluntary engagement, and a thriving agriculture, rural regions offer a liveable home in which the rich cultural heritage of our country is being preserved. Due to a comprehensive provision with fast internet connections, rural regions have become attractive economic locations.”
“Making Germany fit for a digital future: Germany is the number 1 country for digital growth in Europe. Schools are equipped with the most recent technology, and facilitate barrier-free learning. In “digital class-rooms” kids are naturally working with electronic books, and are thus getting familiar with innovative electronic possibilities. In a founder’s center next door new enterprises receive start-up counsel.”
“In Europe there are solid financial politics, flourishing trade, more investments in education and research. A dual education in schools and businesses provides a good professional future for young people all over Europe.”
Christian Social Union’s Utopia
The Christian Social Union (CSU) pictured a return to traditional Bavarian ideals, with miniature Germans enjoying the region's annual Maypole festival.
“Family and marriage are at the centre of our policies. We want the splitting of income taxes for married couples to remain untouched. We wish to increase children’s benefit money as well as the child tax allowance and hold on to the Bavarian child-raising allowance for low-income families. Social security also consists of higher pensions for mothers and the best medical treatment.”
“Modern infrastructure: A modern country needs a modern infrastructure. We are investing a billion Euro in digital pilot projects, and also in a state-wide high-speed internet connection. We have massively increased our investments in the transport section but we need more fairness when it comes to the financing of streets. That’s why we want an automobile toll charge for foreigners on German Autobahns – just as almost all our European neighbours do.”
“We will free Bavaria of debts until 2030 and we have already paid back 2 billion Euro in debts. The tax increases planned by other parties are poison for the economy and for the employment rate – we are for mid-sized businesses, for workers and families. No tax increases! No new debts!”
Free Democratic Party’s Utopia
The business-friendly FDP envisioned a debt-free Germany, symbolized by a giant zero in the middle of a bustling market square. Their model of a perfect Germany also featured gay parents standing in line to donate blood -- a manifestation of the party's traditionally liberal stance on gay rights. Gay men are currently not allowed to donate blood and same-sex couples do not have the right to adopt in Germany.
“For the FDP party, everything is centered on the “black zero”. The liberal town has no debts. This is our goal for Germany. We are on a good track: For 2014 we’re presenting the first structurally balanced budget since 40 years. Only with us financial relief and the diminishing of debts are possible at the same time.”
“Same privileges - same duties: In our free town it does not matter where you come from, how old you are, what you believe, or whom you love. Equal duties entail equal rights. This is allegorized by the same-gender couple which, unlike in Germany today, is allowed to donate blood and adopt children.”
“Day-care: The promotion of our children is the foundation of our society’s future, and of our town. Our 24-hour day-care center facilitates parents to combine family and professional life. It makes non-bureaucratic child care and early-childhood education around the clock possible. It creates a freedom in which everyone can choose his own way.”
“Removal of security cameras: We want a republic of free citizens, and politics for the constitutional rights and the freedom of the people in our country. The people are free to choose their own way of life. We are strictly opposing data retention. Therefore, all surveillance cameras in town are being removed.”
“New buildings: Investments in infrastructure and new residential buildings have paid out. The prices on the free housing market have stabilized. Instead of rent controls, which repel potential investors and add to the deterioration of existing realty, in our town we believe in investing in new residential property and the infrastructure. “
Social Democratic Party’s Utopia
Taking a more abstract approach, the center-left SPD's miniature utopia featured a series of model citizens building a bridge to close the gap between "education" and "equal opportunities." It also included model Germans climbing up a miniature "education staircase" carved from the inside of a book in order to improve their living standards.
“The Rift: A widening rift illustrates the increasing rift in our society, and the drifting apart of the poor and the rich. Looking closely at the rocks, one can find some of the causes. Many people are bridging the gap. They are straining ropes to build a bridge and are closing the gaping scissors.”
“Education: Many people, the rich as well as the poor are climbing up the staircase inside the book together. Advancement with education for all and long-term shared learning leads to equal chances for everyone.”
“Slow movement: Our times are lined with rush and stress. We need slower movement: More time for the family, for hobbies, for education, for care, and for volunteer activities. In our model it is symbolized by the clock.”
“Tolerance: A gay couple has a church wedding. We respect all forms of human relationships. Around the wedding scene there’s a circle of people from different ethnic backgrounds. Utopia is not possible on a national level only, but internationally. A musical group gathered around “Stork Heinar” is approaching the scene. It symbolizes the fight against right-wing extremism and intolerance.”
“Peace: Without peace, we have nothing. In our future society, conflicts are not being solved with military, but with political means within democratic structures. Arms are unnecessary. In our model, a tank is being dismantled. After greenery is planted onto it, it’s being integrated into the landscape.”
“Locust: Franz Müntefering’s remark comparing financial sharks with locusts stripping companies and then throwing them away, remains unforgotten. Here, the giant locust is being fettered by many people – just like in Gulliver’s Travels.”
Green Party’s Utopia
The Green Party -- which has recently been dwindling at the polls -- showed its commitment to sustainable energy and agriculture. The party also turned the challenge on its head by including a delapidated headquarters of the right-wing extremist National Democrats (NPD). An elderly lady, among others, was shown engaging in what looks like a violent confrontation outside the NPD building.
“Regulation of the financial market: Badly regulated financial markets have led the world into an epic financial and economic crisis. Despite this fact, banks and hedgefonds are still not being controlled more effectively. Next to a European bank union with a clear-cut supervision, we need bank financed rescue funds, and most of all a compulsory debt brake for banks. Die Grünen want to rearrange the capital markets.”
“Polyclinic: Today, people with high incomes can switch from the statutory health insurance to private ones where they receive privileged medical treatment. It’s unfair and shows a lack of solidarity. Our alternative is he green citizen’s insurance. It will include everyone: statutory and privately insured, officials, and free-lancers. We will terminate the two-class medical treatment system in our health care system.”
“Ending factory farming: The suffering of animals held in factory farming is terrible, and the large amounts of cheap meat can only be produced by using massive antibiotics – with considerable risks to our health. We, Die Grünen, will no longer tolerate it. Intensive livestock farming must no longer be subsidized, and the abuse of antibiotics must be stopped.”
Left Party’s Utopia
The socialist Left Party's model also included a dystopian element: a giant surveillance center allowing the government to spy on ordinary citizens, a reference to the NSA surveillance scandal that has rocked Germany in recent months.
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