Popular, charismatic political saviours can be a contagion in their nation’s body politic. I’m not saying that Emmanuel Macron or Justin Trudeau are the patient zeroes of deadly pandemics, but that their impact has awakened a dormant problem that, while it won’t kill us, can severely impede our cognitive abilities. Case in point: Jacindamania – the media frenzy around the rise of new Labour leader Jacinda Ardern during New Zealand’s general election, that has pundits and political geeks feverishly hallucinating a two-horse race. Which in turn, for the public, enforces a delusion that the country still votes under a First Past the Post system. Without strong third parties, Labour and National – both still lacking truly bold reforms in housing, the environment, employment or productivity – as an 80% plus two-party billing could seal a cosy consensus for years to come.
It’s 9am and my daughter has a high fever. It’s been three days since she’s been her normal sassy self and I’m worried. Without a second thought I pick up the phone and try to find her a doctor’s appointment. I make two phone calls before I realise that I have been conducting these conversations entirely in German. Despite these attempts I’m unsuccessful in booking my daughter an appointment, so I open up my email and fire off a note to the pediatrician. Without using Google Translate.
This is what living in Berlin feels like four years on.