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Oskar and I

Oskar Lafontaine, the most powerful figure in the new German government, has the chance to be my hero again

By David Goodhart   November 1998

Oskar Lafontaine was my hero. It was the late 1980s; I was a young reporter working in Bonn for the Financial Times. A Red-Green coalition in Germany seemed an exciting possibility and Oskar was the coming man of the European left.

He had interesting ideas and wrote books about them. (Green taxes are old hat now; but then, especially to British ears, they sounded pretty hot.) He had a smell of danger about him-unlike most postwar German politicians-and was happy to take on both the right-wing patriarchs of his own party such as Helmut Schmidt, and the left in the…

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