EU

Merkel and multiculturalism

The Chancellor talks about one problem but avoids others

Angela MerkelAngela Merkel
What to make of Angela Merkel and her comments on modern Germany? See the response from the Guardian and the Telegraph. This is a rather complicated situation with several powerful ingredients. There is Merkel herself, the symbol of a united Germany. The multiculturalism of which she was speaking can be seen as either a race or religion based concept, or perhaps both. Then there is the economic aspect behind her comments, modern Germany, the EU and the collapse of world markets that are giving Germany the jitters. In other words it's something for everyone, something to latch onto or to reject. Always a darling of the liberal/left Merkel will have upset many of her fans. Much as the liberal/left have created Obamamania, they have drooled over Merkel. Born behind the Iron Curtain and now the leader of the largest country in the EU. Thus assumed to be the de facto champion of the EU and a woman.

The Celtic tiger

Large cats and small countries explained

Small girl strangles tiger, eh?Small girl strangles tiger, eh?

Can you remember the Celtic tiger? This now extinct animal once roamed the financial world unchallenged by any predator. So what happened, what did it eat and why did it die? Well first a quick look backwards. The romantics would have you believe that Ireland has always lived under the yoke of the British. And if you are looking for a nation of romantics then look no further than the Irish. Also, if hyperbole could be exported then the whole Irish population would be fabulously wealthy. Put the two together and you get the foundation of the ongoing theme 'Brits bad, Irish good'. Using this as a platform, umpteen novels and plays have been written and, ironically, some have made the authors rich.

We could call this the proximity theory - as for example Russian and Finland, yes the latter has a right to complain but in the case of the UK and Ireland it is, I think you will agree, a bit different. Here it's a mixed bag, advantages and disadvantages. Has there been a tradition of Finns going to work in Russia? I think not. Likewise did the rouble ever support the markka? Whoops! Showing off again! The markka predates the euro in Finland. The fact is, life was hard in post WW2 Ireland but then so it was in most of Europe and for roughly the same reasons.

The Nick Clegg legacy?

Small political parties make sense

Up,up and away?Up,up and away?
It's been wall-to-wall Clegg, as for the LibDems, their time has come. But Nick Clegg and his party should be careful. Not so long ago Peter Mandelson dominated the media. In this case the exposure for Mandy did not always benefit Labour, as a result many in the Labour Party became resentful. He never did anything for the greater good and the party faithful knew it.Tony Blair may have insisted that his party "learn to love" Mandy, but to no avail and now they are both loathed by the party faithful and country alike. It's the LibDem conference in Liverpool but this explains only some of the publicity for Clegg. For the man and his party are being given the long hard look; are there problems ahead? Probably yes.

Listen to the things our Prime Minister says

And the difference between a prison and a trap is?

One can, one can'tOne can, one can't
Does our PM need help and advice with his PR? It is a well know fact that before leading this nation to the sunny uplands David Cameron worked in public relations. Mind you that was a long time ago, has he lost his touch? The question arises as the PM and his deputy have jointly written to the cabinet before it goes off on its summer break - "Dear colleague".... it starts. It's the letter a boss sends to his 'team', designed to both thank and buck-them-up. There's plenty to rake over but one line sticks out -

Our government’s purpose is to make two major shifts in our political and national life: The first is a radical redistribution of power from government to communities and people, to reverse decades of over-centralisation.

The Nucoalition fails to spot etc

The Deputy PM and Foreign Secretary make us laugh (intentionally?)

They're laughing now,but later? They're laughing now,but later?
"Are we nearly there"? The cry of the bored traveller who has not kept alert on the journey, disappointed to be still on the train but not at the destination. When Nick Clegg, with an almost child-like approach, asked us to say which laws we wanted him to magic away he had not been more then half awake.

Perhaps like a child on the way to the seaside he had nodded off, lulled by the motion, and had dreamt all was well. Poor man! His plan was for us to direct our attention to the pettiness of government, he would do the rest. What happened was that many people, well aware a lot of government is awful, said they were more than happy to let this stand, for a while. But what they would really like would be for large chunks of legislation that have come from the EU to be removed first. Clegg, as an ex-MEP, had only himself to blame for this pratfall. Is this the sort of mistake the Deputy PM should be making?

However, the devoted EU supporter is always of the opinion that the UK public is further on than 'nearly there' when it comes to the EU. They like to think that 'the journey', the act of acceptance, is over. We have arrived and we are all so happy with out lot.

William Hague, or some journalists on his behalf, tried something similar.

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