27 august 2013, a piece still in germany

I have always been fascinated by politics; our latest stay up until 2am binge series is house of cards; and I remember the original. I have always had an interesting relationship with germany, my earlier institutionalised boycott replaced by deep fascination through living there longer than I have anywhere else but the uk. My first article when I started writing my column was on the country that is too big for europe and too small for the world, and I've never really stopped, so it's no surprise I am watching the 22 september election in the euro area's hegemon closely. Angela merkel, europe's calm captain, looks a strong probability to remain chancellor; yet there are more open questions than most suggest. As in most western economies, the main parties, both merkel's centre-right (cdu-csu, black) and the centre-left (spd, red) have bled support over the last decades, giving ever more power to the greens, the liberals (yellow) and the hard left (purple), which together won nearly half the vote in the last election. Hence the talk about whether merkel will keep her black-yellow coalition or there may again be a grand (black-red) coalition, probably the most likely outcome. There is though the possibility of a red-green-yellow (traffic light) coalition freezing out angie, or even an unprecented red-green-purple that brings the left into government for the first time; highly unlikely. The last grand coalition though, led by the current two main leaders, speeded the decline of their parties, making this logical and internationally-sought outcome of a balanced election a tall order, especially for the spd, whose leader has said he won't agree to serve under merkel under any conditions. That probably won't be enough to stop it though, and no bad thing either. In germany even more than most places, stability and consensus wins out in politics over radical and sexy every time.