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Issue #144

Issue #144

Guten Morgen! 

Drum rolls, please…This week, we would like to welcome Atticus Partners to the Krautshell family: From now on, each week, we will have some insights into the UK political landscape directly from the Brits. We are thrilled to have you on board and look forward to your expert insights! A little background: Atticus Partners, based in London and Dublin, is an award-winning integrated communications agency that is experienced in strategic counsel, government affairs, and public relations and delivers a bespoke, multi-disciplinary approach to clients across a multitude of sectors and geographies.

Now that the pleasantries are done let’s jump into your weekly dose of lighthearted news and tidbits. In our main article, we cover information about a new political party in Germany with a unique blend from two extreme sides of the spectrum, an ambitious, comprehensive industrial strategy from Germany’s Minister of Economics, and how the European Union’s lack of unity led to extra work for Joe Biden’s team in arranging separate meetings with Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel.

Additionally, from the UK front, we have insights into the struggles faced by the Conservative Party and the government’s attempts to sway voters for the upcoming general elections.

Lastly, let Christian inspire your thinking with his WOOM about the importance of linguistic accuracy, both in comedy and political discourse. Wish you a spooky but tremendous and refreshing start to the week.


Anna                                                     Szilvia



Wagenknecht gets serious – Association formed to launch a New Left Party with a Right Twist

Sahra Wagenknecht’s recent announcement of a new political party in Germany has certainly shaken up the political landscape, and one could say it’s a remarkable feat of political theater. Wagenknecht, a prominent member of the left-wing Die Linke party, has decided that the solution to Germany’s complex political landscape is to establish her party, for the founding of which she has now presented an association, quite modestly called “Bündnis Sahra Wagenknecht” (BSW). She’s not embarking on this journey alone; she’s bringing along 9 out of the 38 members of parliament from Die Linke fraction, which has raised more than a few eyebrows.

The mission of that party – whose foundation the BSW is to prepare – seems to be to attract support from the far-right by taking a critical stance on unchecked migration and what Wagenknecht describes as “haphazard eco-activism.” Her vision appears to carve out a unique niche, blending elements of anti-Americanism, Putin-friendly sentiments, socialism, migration skepticism, and even a dash of openness to conspiracy theories. Well, talk about a unique blend! The burning question is whether a previously undiscovered political market exists for such a medley of stances or if this concoction will lead to political chaos.

 However, the future Wagenknecht party has already faced scrutiny over the viability of its economic plans. The proposal to fund extensive state and social programs solely by taxing the wealthy while leaving wealth and inheritances untouched has been met with skepticism. Wagenknecht’s plan seems like a political tightrope walk with the potential to alienate the middle class.

One overarching consequence of this political theater is the risk of complete fragmentation within the left-leaning political spectrum in Germany. Die Linke has been grappling with poor election results for an extended period. Some members of Die Linke now fear the party’s dissolution, while others hold out hope for clarity and improved results. Nonetheless, the BSW party’s current state raises concerns that any democracy should be vigilant about. 


How to save the German industry with no money

In a remarkable move that has captivated both the public and political spheres, Robert Habeck, Germany’s Minister of Economics, unveiled a comprehensive industrial strategy this week. While some aspects may appear familiar, Habeck’s vision introduces key elements that deserve our attention and consideration. The strategy defines economic security as a new priority in industrial and economic policy and outlines strategic approaches and fields of action. The German industry is not only crucial for economic matters but also a part of the country’s identity and a source of stability. One goal is to reduce the dependencies of autocracies. Moreover, Habeck called for a substantial expansion of renewable energies, cheaper electricity prices, less bureaucracy, and the rapid implementation of plans for the immigration of skilled workers.

A concrete measure that will spark a debate across parties is the plan to subsidize a bridge electricity price with up to 30 billion euros. The financing of this project already raises questions. Habeck’s implicit demand to suspend the debt brake to finance his project will certainly not be welcomed by the Free Democrats (FDP). According to the Economics Minister, Germany’s strict debt rules should be redesigned to keep pace with the current developments. However, the last word has not been spoken yet. The fact that Habeck is presenting such a strategy now without having formed the central element of the puzzle in the coalition risks disappointment. He has a nice strategy … but no plan to finance it.


A not so Unified European Union?

Not surprisingly, the European Union exerts the most influence on the global stage when acting in unison. This mission was not accomplished last week as U.S. President Joe Biden hosted the Union’s leaders for meaningful negotiations in Washington. Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, and Charles Michel, President of the European Council, could not project a united front in their negotiations with the U.S. leadership. Their notoriously icy relationship required President Biden to take a bilateral meeting with Michel before strolling the Rose Garden with Ursula von der Leyen. Two separate meetings? This sounds like a soapy episode from House of Cards.  

Notably, the relationship between the two EU leaders, von der Leyen and Michel has been tense. The strain on the two EU leader’s relationship was recently exacerbated when von der Leyen visited Israel with the European Parliament’s President Roberta Metsola without consulting Michel or EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell. The visit to Israel faced criticism as EU member states have varying positions, making it challenging to create a consistent policy.

The culmination of these concerns was reflected in a letter from more than 800 EU officials, expressing their reservations about Ursula von der Leyen’s seemingly one-sided support for Israel in the ongoing conflict. The letter contends that the EU’s actions reveal indifference to human rights and international humanitarian law in Gaza’s crisis. The letter further underscores the divisions within the EU concerning how to address the conflict and the EU’s role in this matter. Simultaneously, it is initiating a conversation on another level: to what extent is the EU willing to engage in conflicts beyond its borders?


Here in the UK, we are maximum a year out from a General Election. In 2019, it was thought that an 80-seat majority for the Conservative Party had ushered in a never-ending run of Conservative government.

Four years on, it couldn’t be more different, with two fairly seismic by-election results in Mid-Bedfordshire and Tamworth this week, both caused by resignations under clouds. These results not only gave the Conservative Party one of their worst by-election headaches ever, but also a potential glimpse of a future general electoral ‘Armageddon’ where even their most strongly held seats have fallen to Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour.

Starmer has used this opportunity to hail these results as ‘History in the making!’ whilst the Conservatives point to the low turn-out in both by-elections to show that there is actually no love there for Starmer. Whether the latter statement is true or not, it cannot be denied that those Conservative voters who stayed at home wanted to send a message, and that should be heard loudest of all. Business has also been watching voters closely, with the best attended Labour Party Conference in two decades – everyone wants to get close to Labour, His Majesty’s Official Opposition.

The government already knew they were in trouble, cancelling HS2, the country’s biggest infrastructure investment and delaying the UK’s net zero ambitions in an attempt to woo voters back to their party. They’ll now look ahead to the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement (our Finance Minister delivering one of the two major fiscal events in the calendar) in November as one of the few final opportunities to roll the financial policy dice to try to save any chances at the next election. It may be a losing bet, but the Conservative Party are growing increasingly desperate to find that winning horse and that Rishi Sunak can be a new term Prime Minister.




  • MEPs going forward with AI-Act After months of negotiations, initial compromises on the planned AI regulation were reached this week. However, disagreement about bans and exceptions for the use of AI systems in law enforcement and for national security remains. Let’s see what the next round of negotiations in December will bring.
  • Will AI harm EU elections? In its annual threat landscape report, the European Cyber Security Agency (ENISA) warns of the growing threat posed by AI-driven information manipulation and social engineering. It goes as far as to consider information manipulation campaigns a significant threat to upcoming EU elections.
  • Boost of the EU-U.S. cooperation While visiting the US, the EU’s leading lady, Ursula von der Leyen, stressed that the EU and the U.S. must stand together against Ukraine and Hamas’s terrorist attack against Israel no matter how different they may be. Her main goal is the protection of democracies.


Here are three appointments for next week that you should have on your radar:

New block Outlook
When? What?
October 31st, 2023 Industry Conference 2023 of the BMWK and the Alliance Future of Industry
November 3rd, 2023 42nd Meeting of the IT Planning Council
November 4th, 2023 The Greater European Conference 2023 by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung in Brussels


By Christian,
Founder and MD


Yesterday marked a day of peculiar significance in the realms of thought and humor. Francis Fukuyama, the man famously known for declaring the “End of History,” and John Cleese, one of the comedic geniuses behind Monty Python, both celebrated their birthdays. While their areas of expertise may appear worlds apart, there’s a surprising connection between their work that resonates deeply in today’s turbulent political landscape.


In a world where soundbites and memes often pass as political discourse, a scene from “Life of Brian” serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of linguistic precision: A Roman centurion (John Cleese) doesn’t concern himself with the anti-Roman content of the message Brian painted as graffiti on the wall in incorrect Latin words, “Romanes eunt Domus” (People called Romanes, they go the house). Instead, he exercises his executive authority over Brian to have him correct his graffiti to “Romani ite domum” (Romans go home).


The significance of language in shaping political narratives has also been on Fukuyama’s mind lately. Fukuyama witnessed the end of ideological battles with the triumph of liberal democracy, countering Huntington’s belief in his “Clash of Civilizations” theory, which predicted future conflicts would be cultural and civilizational. These two perspectives, akin to the bickering factions in “Life of Brian,” exemplify the profound influence of framing on how we perceive and engage with political ideas. In today’s world, where the victory of liberal democracies seems increasingly uncertain, Fukuyama continues to reframe and adapt his message in an effort to preserve its core.*


After all, even the most ingenious arguments can fall on deaf ears if they are wrapped in language that may sell well but does little to foster meaningful dialogue when rival ideas clash. In the spirit of “Life of Brian,” we need more nuanced, constructive, and linguistically adept conversations about the culture of power and the counterpower of cultures, especially in the face of seemingly insurmountable differences that lead to an ever more catastrophic storm.


*E.g. here in a discussion with the French Minister for Finance and Economy Bruno LeMaire: