It sounds like a soft joke, but two years ago, Jens Spahn was Germany’s most popular politician. At that time, in the initial stage of the epidemic, the fight against the coronavirus seemed to be a matter of political luck for the ambitious man of the Communist Party of Ukraine. The presidency of the party, the candidacy of the chancellor. Everything was supposedly within reach for Jens Spahn.
But then it didn’t work out.
From top to bottom
Shortly after the height of his popularity, the then Federal Minister of Health suffered a political decline not often seen. When Span’s tenure as head of the Federal Ministry of Health ended on December 8 of last year, he was politically at the bottom, unpopular with the population, burned out in the party. Since then, Spahn has been looking for a way to reinvent himself politically. What else can he do? He is only 42 years old, at some point he wants to be something again.
And this is how the book published by Span these days should be read. “We will have to forgive each other a lot,” co-authored by journalists Olaf Köhne and Peter Kaeferlein, recounts the two years Spahn, as federal health minister in charge of the coronavirus pandemic, had to manage the unprecedented crisis. proportions. It is his attempt to at least partially restore the authority to interpret this period. The question is, is it more?
self-criticism? Yes, but only in homeopathic doses
The officer writes at the very beginning that he wants to honestly reflect on the events of that time. “Critical, also self-critical, but without belittling or ignoring what has been achieved.” In terms of self-criticism, he keeps this promise only to a very limited extent. Because surely one is reading one’s own heroic story here.
You can read how North Rhine-Westphalia’s health minister Karl-Josef Laumann (CDU) informed him about the coronavirus outbreak in Heinsberg (“Jens, we have a problem”), how prime ministers complain about the lack of protective equipment (“Jens. , where Do my masks remain?) and since the Officer already suspected that the idea of Easter vacation in 2021 will not work. chaos”.
He tells of endless meetings and days off. And how he wants to take the wind out of the excited nurses’ sails. “I noticed some were still screaming, of course, but most people knew I was right.”
But there are things that he doesn’t tell either. For example, Spann addresses a case involving his private real estate dealings that put him under a lot of political pressure in the middle of the pandemic. She writes in detail about the need for private recreation, which led to the fact that she and her husband want to buy a house together;
However, buying the house that was finally found was painful. At the height of the pandemic, it was “really bad timing and, from that perspective, wrong,” Spahn writes. However, he does not mention that the purchase of the property was not criticized in any way because of the timing. But rather because of unclear financing. The listed villa has a “relatively high value”, as its owner nicely put it. And the question of how Spa could afford it on a federal minister’s salary was therefore politically important, not the timing of the purchase.
As an author, Spann is like a politician. sometimes he takes the truth too homeopathically.
Awaiting Lauterbach’s appointment at the steakhouse
That doesn’t mean there aren’t interesting aspects to his book. The passages in which he describes how he felt the growing irritability of society are undoubtedly a moving document of the times. In a few moments, the Officer even allows you to look behind the facade, which is always under control; at the very end when he talks about his last day in office.
His successor, Karl Lauterbach (SPD), had already moved into his office, but the official handover was not due until midday. “So I didn’t know where to go until the 3pm handover.” Spann then reveals how she and her husband hang out at the steakhouse for hours to pass the time somehow;
Jens Spahn, Olaf Köhn, Peter Keiferlein“We will have to forgive each other a lot. How the pandemic has changed us and what it teaches us for the future. Internal views of the crisis. Heyne-Verlag Munich 2022. 304 pages, 22 euros. E-book: €17.99. (in stores from Wednesday, September 28)