End of Jamaica makes Lindner a Facebook hero
Christian Lindner ousts fireman Rudi: This is how Facebook fans of FDP reacted to the breakdown of the Jamaica talks.
The week before the breakdown of the coalition talks, nothing in the Facebook community of the FDP suggested that Jamaica might be on shaky ground.
Some FDP fans shared the results of a Focus Online survey, according to which 68% of respondents wished for new elections. They also kept an eye on tensions between their party and the Greens.
For instance, one of the most widely shared links led to a piece in the Welt in which Christian Lindner announced that he would not comply with the Green Party with regards to the refugee question, clarifying his position in the following way: “An expansion of family reunification would immediately unravel the credibility of the new government.”
Also, a Welt article suggesting that Angela Merkel did not sufficiently enforce the removal of the solidarity tax (for the Länder in East Germany) demanded by FDP became a trend. That the FDP considers the solidarity tax question as their core topic was already evident on the party’s website Portal Liberal shortly before.
Jamaica fatigue during the days before the end
All in all, however, a kind of Jamaica fatigue seems to materialise during the week from November 13th to 19th.
Instead of informing themselves about the actual talks, many FDP fans shared a text of the satirical newspaper Der Postillon which accuses the negotiators of having started a secret Jamaica WhatsApp chat. Apart from that, the users mainly focused on news not related to the Jamaica negotiations.
For instance, they often clicked on each type of manhunt appeal published by the police. Another topic of great interest was the Frankfurt District Court’s decision to allow Kuwait Airways to refuse carriage of Israeli passengers even in Germany.
Users often headed for the long-wided text “Springer director Mathias Döpfner: The submission to Islam has started” on the website Tichys Einblick, which considers itself liberal-conservative. In the text, the District Court’s decision is interpreted as a sign of a self-destructing country.
Lighter topics were also well received, including thoughts on Boris Becker’s fiftieth birthday and the mysterious story about an unknown person who dropped a pound of minced meat at a railway station in Karlsruhe.
Fireman Rudi steals the show from politicians
The star of the week in the Facebook community of FDP, however, was fireman Rudi who—after an accident that left several dead—used his fire hose to keep people from filming the accident scene.
First, social media posts and some media articles suggest that the fireman should expect investigation procedures as a consequence of his actions. Many Facebook users therefore campaigned for impunity for “Rudi,” and they even started an online petition.
Mimikama, the association for the debunking of Internet abuse, then clarified that the prosecution did not intend to initiate preliminary proceedings, and this corrected version of the story also reached many FDP Facebook fans.
After Jamaica: Hero-worshipping Christian Lindner
The interests of FDP Facebook fans changed abruptly the moment the breakdown of the coalition talks was made public.
Although a few users continued being interested in manhunt calls and Robert Mugabe’s future, as well as in a fake declaration of death of the former CDU politician and AfD supporter Erika Steinbachs, many discussions around the FDP withdrawal took center stage, and most of the trending topics had a strong focus on the politician Christian Lindner.
Between November 19th and November 20th, Lindners statement about the withdrawal from the coalition talks became – unsurprisingly – less of a trend. In his statement, the party leader coined the slogan, “It is better not to govern than to govern wrongly,” which was widely shared in social networks in subsequent days.
While the first media reaction to the Jamaica breakdown was nearly entirely negative, almost no critical voices could be heard in the FDP Facebook community. There, comprehension or even joy prevailed.
Scapegoat role refused
Agreement with Christian Lindner’s decision can be found in the media pieces which aroused interest on November 20th and 21st. It is striking that only a few articles and videos were shared, but those few were shared often.
One of the FDP fans’ favourite pieces was an NZZ article in which Benedict Neff criticises the German media for making the Liberals the scapegoat of the breakdown of the coalition talks. ‘The narrative of the responsible Green Party and the uncompromising Liberals is too one-sided’, argued the author.
Apart from a text of Tichys Einblick titled ‘Without Jamaica the county can finally break free from lifelong lies’, users were particularly interested in a text on FDP’s own website Portal Liberal in which the party lists five reasons for ending the coalition talks. They refer to finance policies, immigration, education, energy and climate politics and Europe.
By no means a Grand Coalition with some chives
In the ZDF Heute-Journal from November 20th, Mariette Slomka confronted the party leader with a list of objections against his withdrawal decision. Among other questions, she asked Lindner why the FDP, in contrast to other parties, was not ready to condone ‘pain’ in order to prevent re-elections or a minority government.
Christian Lindner countered that, during the talks, none of FPD’s demands could be pushed through, and he described the Jamaica scenario in the following way: ‘It eventually is the programme of the Grand Coalition with some green chives.’
Slomka also quoted a survey conducted by the Forschungsgruppe Wahlen (‘election research group’) according to which two thirds of respondents regret that the Jamaica coalition would not be formed, and 55% blame the FDP for the breakdown.
Christian Lindner: The saviour of stock prices
A Spiegel Online article also circulated among Facebook fans of FDP, however, which suggested the exact opposite. According to the ‘Spiegel Online election trend,’ in which shortly after the Jamaica breakdown 5,000 people were questioned, the party FDP gained 1.7% more potential votes.
An ntv-opinion piece also trended in which Wolfram Weimer declared Lindner the person of the week and praised the party leader for having ‘applied the emergency break’ in the coalition talks.
According to Weimer, even the other parties were secretly glad about the end of Jamaica. As alleged proof of Lindner having made the right decision, Weimer highlighted the rising stock prices of several key industries that could be observed directly after the breakdown of the coalition talks. The Facebook community of FDP probably fully agreed with this argument.
This analysis is based on 936 publicly shared Facebook posts published from 13/11 to 19/11 and from 20/11/17 to 21/11/2017. It is not representative, but it allows deep insights into the Facebook community of FDP.