It was democracy in action again yesterday in Berlin, and it all went terribly wrong. Well, in my view it did. We all know that a government is only as good as the people who elect it (or vote it out of office), but if anybody ever had any doubts about referendums, well, here we have it. The same holds true for them, too.

Let’s do the numbers: Although opinion polls before the vote indicated that 60 percent of Berlin’s population was in favor of keeping Tempelhof open, only a mere 21 percent of those eligible even took the trouble to vote. Unfortunately, a 25 percent turnout was the minimum needed for the referendum to pass, the first such referendum in Berlin’s history, by the way.

But hey, it’s not the end of the world. It’s just the end of a century-old chapter of heroic aviation history and the “Mother of all airports” (Sir Norman Foster). And who knows? Maybe something good will come out of this, other than all the cool new graffiti we’ll be able to enjoy on Tempelhof’s walls starting this October, I mean.

New ideas are being sought for what to do with the monstrous facility, after all. I just hope nobody suggests putting any of these new ideas up to a vote.

If it wasn’t for disinterest, I wouldn’t have no interest at all.

Come visit me at Observing Hermann…

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