The government of Baden-Württemberg wants to encourage people to save energy. After his washcloth tip, country father Kretschmann now shows how to turn the thermostat to zero. The Green doesn’t seem to think much of “responsible citizens”.

Politicians like to talk about “responsible citizens” who already know what is good for the country – and for themselves as well. Admittedly, many voters seem to have only selective judgment.

Minimum wage, debt brake, NATO membership – these are topics that everyone supposedly knows about. If you also know the fine difference between stretching mode and reserve mode, you will no longer have your head free for such banal things as lowering the room temperature.

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At least that seems to be the opinion of the green-black state government of Baden-Württemberg. In the land of doers of all places, where one can supposedly do everything except standard German, things get stuck with the simple things in life.

At least that’s what country father Winfried Kretschmann of the Greens thinks. A few weeks ago, the 74-year-old had pointed out the blessings of the washcloth to his country children in a grandfatherly manner. With this “useful invention” personal hygiene can be done with less energy than under a shower.

It is not known how many people in Baden and Swabia have switched to manual operation for the morning toilet. Apparently not enough. Because now the state government is advertising in a video series for the throttling of energy consumption. What used to be the “two-stage regulation for toilet flushing” is now the “night reduction” for heating, the head of government announced.

Now you can – at least with modern heaters – adjust the heating so that it automatically emits less heat at night than during the day. But Kretschmann does not believe that the inhabitants of the “land of inventors and inventors” he governs are capable of such programming. So he demonstrates in sound and vision how it’s done: He kneels on the floor and sets the thermostat to zero.

The whole thing runs under the motto “Cleverländ. Saving energy together.” Because people in the south-west state consider themselves particularly clever simply because they let an agency market them as “The Länd”. Which also sounds more cosmopolitan than Ländle, even if this slogan is likely to strain the language skills of high German-speaking contemporaries.

Kretschmann, once a teacher of biology, chemistry and ethics, shows his viewers how much they can save on their wallets: “1 percent less temperature saves 6 percent energy”. And, oh wonder, at 4 degrees less, the savings add up to 25 percent, according to Kretschmann. Calculating cleverly also seems to be one of the strengths of the “Länd”.

Kretschmann has already shown up with the washcloth and the thermostat. His deputy, Minister of the Interior Thomas Strobl (CDU), is also allowed to play in video number 2. He advises simply “unplugging” the standby mode on televisions, computers or telephones.

The oh so clever Southwesterners don’t seem to come up with this idea alone; because it requires cinematic instruction from the highest authority. Whether every member of the cabinet in Stuttgart is now allowed to put themselves in the limelight with such little films? It is to be feared.

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So let’s be clear: The green-black rulers in the southwest do not consider their subjects smart enough to do without official government instructions when it comes to saving energy.

But shortly before the next election, the same Swabians and Badeners are praised and courted as “responsible citizens”. Green-Black even thinks 16-year-olds are clever enough to vote in the next state elections.

Well, ticking a party is easier than turning a thermostat in the right direction or pulling a plug. But who knows: maybe by then Kretschmann will explain to the young voters in a video how to hold a pencil. Because his country’s children can supposedly do everything – but apparently nothing right.