The resignation of AKK

The recent resignation of the Leader of the CDU in Germany, AKK, received little attention in the UK media compared say to the daily stories about the Democrat opposition in the USA.  We should consider why the lead party in the German governing coalition has just lost its new Leader, who was meant to be taking over from Mrs Merkel as Chancellor candidate or as Chancellor before the next election. Germany is an important country and economy, and her current troubles will have an impact on our economy  just as US politics has an impact on it.

The tribulations of AKK got worse late last October  with the Thuringia State election. We are told far more about the Democrat caucus in Iowa than such Lander elections in Germany. In that election Mrs Merkel’s CDU party fell to third place with just 21.7% of the vote, losing 13  of its 34 seats in the Parliament. The AFD came second with 23.4% of the vote, adding 11 seats to its existing 11. Its leader is a very contentious figure with views about Germany’s past  that all mainstream parties find unacceptable.   Mrs Merkel’s main coalition partner, the SPD (Social Democrats) sank to just 8.2% of the vote, losing 4 of their 12 seats. Die Linke, the left wing challenger party stayed top with 31% and 29 seats.

In this state election the combined forces of CDU and SPD (Traditional centre right and centre left dominant parties, Conservative and Labour in UK terms) polled just 29.9% of the vote. Two radical parties of left and right polled 54.4% between them. In the hung Parliament created in a recent vote CDU members helped the AFD throw out the Die Linke left radical  Minister President  and replace him with the Leader of the  Free Democrats who got just 5% of the vote. This broke the Merkel rule that CDU members should not support the AFD, and led AKK to take the hit and resign, for the bad result and above all for the voting decision taken in the new Thuringia Parliament. Public protest soon led to the resignation of the new Minister President. The Parliament is currently unwilling to hold new elections which Mrs Merkel and some others want and has yet to appoint a new Minister President.

This tells us there is great unhappiness in Germany about current policy and the stance of the present government. It means there is a lack of leadership in the CDU who have been leading government for much of the time in recent years. Mrs Merkel clings to her pro EU green strategy, offering no support to her struggling car industry. The economy has plunged from good performance to little or no growth interspersed with the odd negative quarter.  There is a big argument going on about how to spend the surplus on the budget within the coalition, with some CDU hawks still unhappy about the whole idea of fiscal reflation.

It is still not clear what will happen about who should govern Thuringia. Many Germans are alarmed at what has happened there.

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  1. Posted February 12, 2020 at 5:28 am | Permalink

    Let us hope the FCO is getting better advice from its local embassy than it received in the case of the US elections.

    As with a well-known Labour Party, does it really matter who next leads the ailing CDU? None of the leading four candidates is at all inspiring, although all are better than Mrs Kramp-Karrenbauer.

    • Posted February 12, 2020 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      She’s just realised that Germany will be expected to pick up the vast majority of the UK’s contribution to the EU budget (France will insist!); and nobody in their right mind would hang around to take on that thankless task!

      Good luck EU, you took the UK for granted, treated us with rudeness and disrespect, now you have to lie in it.

      • Posted February 14, 2020 at 12:13 am | Permalink

        There is growing unhappiness in Germany and AfD is becoming stronger. Avoiding the German biased MSM, the people have become tired of old status quo politics (Merkel).

        On a recent trip to a town in the Ruhrgebiet (Germany’s industrial heartland) an hour’s drive from my home in Cologne, there is a growing sense of political abandonment due to high blue-collar unemployment, city center decline, social service cuts, and high immigration, which has released a significant level of frustration and simmering anger.

        Much that was the pride of German manufacturing (Steel/Coal) heartland has closed down or move to Poland and the Czech Republic. A close family friend (City official) pointed to Merkel’s failure in tackling local issues or understanding people’s intrinsic concerns.

        When you speak to Germans today (as opposed to 4 years ago), there is a growing feeling Britain has done the right thing in leaving the EU…but this is still not being discussed publicly. The main focus of concern is the loss of national identity, accelerating tax burden, spiraling unemployment and the general feeling of insecurity?

        Germany has not reached a crisis point, far from it, but fundamental changes are urgently required if AfD are to lose their key political weapon “unrest”

    • Posted February 12, 2020 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      John extrapolates from three percent of the German population, in former East Germany, to the whole people, with his assertion that there is much unhappiness in Germany.

      This is very weakly based, I think.

      I don’t see too much skipping about over here, do you?

      • Posted February 12, 2020 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

        Martin, Well, I’m skipping about here because Remain lost. Does that count?

      • Posted February 13, 2020 at 10:19 am | Permalink

        The Germans are extremely happy:

        Massive automotive layoffs

        The German auto sector has been hard hit. For example, car maker Opel recently announced 2,100 job cuts in Germany. Late last year Daimler, owner of Mercedes Benz, announced plans “to ax at least 10,000 jobs,” Volkswagen’s Audi said “it would slash up to 9,500 jobs or one in ten staff by 2025 and car suppliers Continental and Osram announced staff and cost cuts.”

        The Financial Times reported today that Daimler suffered its “worst results in decade” and that its earnings “plunged 60% in 2019 amid ‘Dieselgate’ woes.” Daimler also “refused to deny reports” that an additional 5,000 jobs could be cut.

        The Financial Times adds: “Daimler is being forced to spend heavily on electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids in order to avoid fines from Brussels for breaching new emissions regulations.”

        What’s not to like?

      • Posted February 13, 2020 at 11:39 am | Permalink

        There is also the symbolism -Thuringia was the first state in Germany where the Nazis won government roles in the early 1930s.

      • Posted February 14, 2020 at 12:18 am | Permalink

        M in C

        You have no idea what is happening in Germany and John is correct on all points!

        Stick to what you know, however limited?

  2. Posted February 12, 2020 at 6:02 am | Permalink

    Ok so we have the mathmatics of the political movements but what do they actually believe in. Describing them as left,right etc does not mean very much. To make any sort of judgement we need to know what they believe in, and what has caused the German people to change the way they are thinking.

    • Posted February 12, 2020 at 9:09 am | Permalink


      The problem seems to be World wide, and the problem appears to be too much Government by politicians that want ever increasing control of every aspect of our lives, finances and way of life.

      Life now has become far far too complicated with endless regulations, laws, taxes and the like.

      No wonder the people are in revolt, the problem with that is it opens up the opportunity for the rather more extreme, who like the present lot will make promises they know they cannot or will not keep just to get power.

      Thus we are presently voting for the least worst option in many cases.

      What a sad state of affairs.

  3. Posted February 12, 2020 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    One of the other problems that AKK faces, is that she is still very much in Chancellor Mekels shadow. When UK PM’s resign they also resign the party leadership. This allow for a clean broom and fresh policies. With Chancellor Merkel still in power there is no chance for change and, hence the poor showing.

    The Germans have had it pretty good right up until now. They have been able to dominate the EU and thereby other countries. This has resulted in policies that have had a negative effect on their economies which has now come back to bite them. Shaddenfrauder (sp) I think they call it.

    • Posted February 12, 2020 at 8:54 am | Permalink


      Ask Andy or Martin, even MH about that sort of pleasure.

    • Posted February 12, 2020 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      Mark B

      No, they call it ‘Schadenfreude’. It pays to check before lumbering yourself with foreign words.

      • Posted February 14, 2020 at 12:43 am | Permalink

        margaret howard

        I am happy to discuss the German language in-depth meanings with you, assuming you are in a position to understand German to a high level?

        “Schadenfreude (pleasure derived by someone from another person’s misfortune) comprises three separable but interrelated subforms — aggression, rivalry, and justice — which have distinct developmental origins and personality correlations” Depending on the circumstances, Schadenfreude has a deeper meaning than simply “pleasure derived……”

        If you are going to point out another’s lack of understanding of a foreign language “word”, may I suggest you become better acquainted with it yourself?

  4. Posted February 12, 2020 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    I don’t know the answer, but I do wonder if their politicians are like many of ours, ie. dishonest, by promising one thing to get votes, and then doing the opposite. It is just a quick route to public distrust with the whole system and deliberately prevents democracy when the electorate are not given an honest choice.

    • Posted February 12, 2020 at 7:28 am | Permalink

      Politicians “promising one thing to get votes, and then doing the complete opposite” – surely they would never do that in the UK?

      Do you mean that people like Cameron were not actually the low tax at heart, cast iron, EUsceptic, Conservatives at all? But really tax borrow and piss down the drain, climate alarmist, EUphiles?

      That Theresa May was a LibDem liar just pretending to be a Conservative and had no intention at all of delivering a real Brexit? Surely not? How could one be so sceptical of our UK MPs.

      Or people like Soubry, Grieve, Hammond x2 , SOAMES, Greening, Clark X2, BOLES, Vazey, Sandbatch and all the rest standing on a manifesto to deliver Brexit but then voting for the treachery of the Benn Act. It would not happen in the UK surely.

      • Posted February 12, 2020 at 9:09 am | Permalink

        Good old Cast Iron Cameron. I will stay on and issue the section 50 letter next day if the referendum outcome is for leaving. Such honest politicians we have!

  5. Posted February 12, 2020 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    Indeed a good analysis of the German position.

    Scrapping the licence fee ‘will weaken the nation’ says Sir David Clementi (PPE Oxon) the BBC chairman. He warns that the “subscription model” could mean paying to watch royal weddings.

    Well is the BBC is as popular as he claims people will be queuing up to pay them so let us see.
    What on earth is wrong with people paying for what they want to watch (royal wedding as an example) and not having to if they do not want to watch. The licence tax is clearly blatantly unfair competition to others in the market so where is the competition authority?.

    The main problem from the BBC though is it is a left wing, climate alarmist, insufferably PC, big government propaganda organisation. It is wrong headed propaganda on almost every major issue too. Staffed as it is, almost exclusively, by dim lefty art graduates. It is one of the main reason we have the highest taxes for 40+ years and even the Conservative Party want to have even higher taxes still.

    • Posted February 12, 2020 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

      people should be paid to watch Royal Weddings, their funerals, their separations.
      Enough to get a free licence anyway.

    • Posted February 12, 2020 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

      I wanted to watch a midnight mass live, as i was unable to attend in person that year. As i did not have a TV license i could not.
      I could not bear to support the BBC with my hard earned funds.

      • Posted February 13, 2020 at 11:05 am | Permalink

        No need to only watch on the BBC anon, google church services tv.

  6. Posted February 12, 2020 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    Go morning Sir John

    I believe your thoughts and interpretations of the situation in Germany and in the same light the US are misguided

    For further clarification also take into account the Republic of Ireland. Are people really voting for the IRA or are the voting against those that believe that they are the establishment?

    Those that have set themselves up as the Elite appear to have been rumbled. They are not the People and for the most part they spin the notion of democracy to make themselves look legitimate.

    Reflect back on the UK did we vote for the best Government or the least worst? This is the same the World over, what we end up with is corrupt systems mirroring each other’s pretensions.

    Did the UK elect a Conservative Party? From the headlines we just have another set of interfering busy bodies that know better than the rest of us. They seem more content with overbearing extreme left wing ideology than creating the framework for people to thrive.

    Honestly! The grand gesture of HS2, that maybe up and running in 30years time will have no impact on the wealth and wellbeing of the north by the next election.

    • Posted February 12, 2020 at 7:21 am | Permalink

      Yes I tend to share your cynicism. I ask myself this. If we are the 5th largest economy in the World were is all the benefit going. Not on the infrastructure, nor rough sleepers, nor education, nor housing and a myriad other areas where we fail to match up to many of the other areas of the World I have visited. Are we being abysmally governed or simply conned for the benefit of a few.

      • Posted February 12, 2020 at 8:56 am | Permalink

        possibly both?

      • Posted February 12, 2020 at 9:30 am | Permalink

        It strikes me Sir Humphrey runs things at the request of the EU while puppets pretend to the public.

        Whitehall has already won three monumental disastrous decisions- Brino and vassalage, Haewei now HS2. The comedian in office is there to amuse the public. Well done Sidwell!

        Sleaze of peerages will go down very badly with the public.

        • Posted February 12, 2020 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

          For what I remember of ‘Yes, Minister’ and ‘Yes, Prime Minister’, Sir Humphrey Appleby was not particularly pro-European.
          Watch again on YouTube “Sir Humphrey explains Brexit” and this dates from 1985.

          • Posted February 13, 2020 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

            Hef, no need. I did not write he was pro EU. Try reading again before writing.

          • Posted February 14, 2020 at 9:03 am | Permalink

            Sorry, not ‘pro-EU’ but ‘running things at the request of the EU’.

      • Posted February 12, 2020 at 9:39 am | Permalink

        Agricola. Answers on a post card please but I think your last sentence is the correct answer.

      • Posted February 12, 2020 at 10:40 am | Permalink

        Much of the wealth created is going to the government. Taxes are the highest in history. Much of the money is wasted, aid, EU HS2 etc. and the general public are being stiffed to pay for useless windmills.
        The next scam is domestic boilers and electric vehicles.
        There is room all over Europe for Trump type people to be voted in to stop this nonsense.
        Arise St. Nigel, your work is not finished.

      • Posted February 12, 2020 at 11:17 am | Permalink

        The smoke and mirrors of GDP in a heavily financialised service economy where we cut each others hair,pour each other cups of coffee, sue each other and go shopping but are heavily food and energy deficient.

      • Posted February 12, 2020 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

        Will you also be asking why, in the words of Sajid Javid, we have never spent more on Welfare – when unemployment is at a historic low? Perhaps the Chancellor should.

    • Posted February 12, 2020 at 7:48 am | Permalink


      In 5 years time nothing will have changed in the North, except perhaps higher household bills (all the green gestures have a cost). The Midlands will start being scarred by HS2 construction sites, populated by an army of migrant workers (under 25s earning £18k, or trained construction workers earning £26k all allowed free entry under the proposed migration policy). The south outside of London will still have lousy roads and public transport. Great strategy to win votes.

      Ripe pickings for any emergent“Alternative for England” party?

      • Posted February 12, 2020 at 9:13 am | Permalink

        BeebTax: I have a (conspiracy?!!!) theory, which I may have expressed before, so apologies if I’ve become a bore! Is HS2 really a vehicle for London Central to keep control and actively delay the development of a flourishing Northern Powerhouse? It certainly appears to have worked well so far. If the solution to East/West connectivity problems had been given priority, it would have enabled economic growth to transfer to the North sooner, with the area becoming a direct competitor with London Central and the South East. We can’t have that, can we?

        • Posted February 12, 2020 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

          Not boring at all, BJC; a cynical thought that had also crossed my mind.

          Another one is that, with HS2 going ahead, the suspicion will endure that brexit is now deemed to be a temporary aberration, and that any continuity Remainer government down the line will have completed a significant ‘sweetener’ by 2040 or thereabouts to help UK rejoin whatever the EU has become by then.

      • Posted February 12, 2020 at 10:10 am | Permalink

        Based on Chinese hospital building speed we should hand them the whole HS2 project.

      • Posted February 12, 2020 at 11:00 am | Permalink

        I sadly agree with your comments

        Also note that Taiwan built their 270 mile high speed rail in 9 years

    • Posted February 12, 2020 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      Agree…and because the establishment has managed to recalibrate morality ie Left=good, Right =bad there are few actual right wing opposition parties to vote for.
      When there is a party mildly right of Stalin the establishment bullies and threatens people into not voting for it…as with BP at the last election.
      As with Ireland the relentless move to the Left leads people to put their trust in the trickery of commies because its their only route of protest when neo liberal policies fail to support good standards of living. ( And promote insanity).
      We will all probably be Venezuela.

    • Posted February 12, 2020 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      In 30 years time I will be dead.

  7. Posted February 12, 2020 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    Did CDU just happen to vote the same way as AFD in the presidential election, or was it discussed between them in advance?

    If the former, AFD can block and CDU initiative simply by voting FOR it!

    And even in the latter case, CDU leadership seem to be over-sensitive: sticking to a purist principle was possible when CDU was the dominant force, now it just looks arrogant.

    AFD got nearly a quarter of the votes. CDU can’t just block them by fiat from influence.

    If CDU doesn’t like AFD getting so many votes, then they have to come up with better policies which the people like.

    • Posted February 13, 2020 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

      Only in a province with just a few percent of Germany’s population.

  8. Posted February 12, 2020 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    can block any initiative

  9. Posted February 12, 2020 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    James Forsyth, in a spectator podcast yesterday, suggest that Boris might well use HS2 as an excuse to cancel the new runway at Heathrow.

    But the extension of Heathrow is sensible and has a good business case – HS2 is an economic basket case. Why can Boris and the government not see this? He should listen to Dominic Cummings.

    What is actually needed is a five runway Heathwick Hub with a rapid shuttle link between Heathrow and Gatwick. This plus thousands of smaller improvements to the road and rail network all over the place. HS2 is an insane waste of money and a vanity project that will damage the economy hugely.

    • Posted February 12, 2020 at 8:48 am | Permalink

      @LL; “[a spectator podcast suggest] Boris might well use HS2 as an excuse to cancel the new runway at Heathrow.”

      Well yes, that actually makes sense and it does change the economics of HS2, I still don’t agree with the need for a new High Speed line but do see logic in the argument, assuming that the intention is to make more use of Midlands & Northern airports.

      “What is actually needed is a five runway Heathwick Hub with a rapid shuttle link between Heathrow and Gatwick.”

      Yet you call HS2 an economic basket case…

      Building a rapid shuttle link between Heathrow and Gatwick will make the propriety compensation bill for HS2 look small change. in short the only people who would gain from such a “Heathwick” project are property owners. Not only that but the Tories will be kissing goodbye to a lot of votes in the wider southern stockbroker-belt outside of the M25 if they expand Gatwick.

    • Posted February 12, 2020 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      L/L Spot on as usual!!! Why can’t our politicians seem to see sense?

    • Posted February 12, 2020 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      I admit to being ignorant on this matter, but just what good will a ‘hub’ airport of any sort do.? As I understand it, it will allow passengers say from the USA to land and catch another plane to somewhere else. Where is the profit for the nation in that in exchange for the billions involved and the upheaval of local people? Will they buy a cup of coffee while they wait? What about pollution? Climate change or not, you can smell when you get near Heathrow. Unless we get electric planes, more flights will mean more air pollution. Similar surely for air cargo.

      I am sure lots of these trips are unnecessary . I remember as a young man working for an air cargo freight forwarder and was shocked at what was being flown in – things like bits and pieces to put in Christmas crackers, as well as the stuff that really matters, because their weight was negligible compared to cube and airlines allowed seven times the cube ships did.

    • Posted February 12, 2020 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      Shaun Bailey on Politics Live today. He may well be a very delightful chap for all I know but he is totally hopeless as a Conservative candidate for Mayor. He has no chance whatsoever (even against the appallingly useless Sadiq Khan). Is this really the best the Tories could come up with?

    • Posted February 12, 2020 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      Why are we expanding airport capacity when we are desperately trying to cut CO2 emissions?

      • Posted February 12, 2020 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

        Why are we desperately cutting C02 emissions for no good reason? Just to export jobs and CO2 emissions overseas I assume. Though I do try to keep my annual travel bill to about 1% of Prince Charles’s

  10. Posted February 12, 2020 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    Germany, like Ireland – It doesn’t matter who they vote for, Brussels is in charge and will tell them what to do.

    • Posted February 12, 2020 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      Except Germany is telling Brussels what to do.

      • Posted February 13, 2020 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

        With only one Commissioner and just about one eight of the MEPs, how does it do that?

    • Posted February 12, 2020 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      +1 and why to so many Scots seem to want this too?

  11. Posted February 12, 2020 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    Yes, the main TV news channels spend far too much time covering US politics. They should give us a brief overview and spare us the rest, especially live coverage of events.

    • Posted February 12, 2020 at 9:35 am | Permalink

      “the main TV news channels spend far too much time covering US politics”

      With lashings of anti Trump spin.

    • Posted February 12, 2020 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

      Its sad that I have to go to RT & Aljazeera News to find out whats going on in Europe….Sky, BBC etc just don’t cover European news

  12. Posted February 12, 2020 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Neither will the stupid bridge. The English will pay for an Irish and Scottish connection when the trade goes the short way to Holyhead. The Denmark to Sweden bridge makes sense because it connects Scandinavia in the short direction. Boris has some psychological flaw about bridges. Having wasted millions on the daft garden bridge he should have learned by now. He needs therapy like a spendthrift bankrupt.

    • Posted February 12, 2020 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      A spendthrift bankrupt – except he is bankrupting taxpayers and businesses rather then himself unfortunately!

      We have the highest (and most idiotic and complex) taxes for 40+ years and yet all we get from the socialist Javid is proposals for even further taxes, mansion taxes, attacks on the self employed, pensions and the rest. This will just diminish the tax base, kill jobs and raise less tax in the end not more. The country is crying out for tax cuts and less government.

      Despite all this taxation we still have dire public services in general too especially the monopoly NHS that kills thousands.

    • Posted February 12, 2020 at 10:12 am | Permalink

      You might be onto something. Bridges, buses and bikes. There must be a connection;-)

      • Posted February 12, 2020 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

        They alliterate with Boris. Boris Bikes, Boris Bridges, Boris Buses.

        So why the economic basket case Boris HS2 as that doesn’t?

        • Posted February 12, 2020 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

          Huawei, HS2, Heathrow? Could be Lord Hammond.

    • Posted February 12, 2020 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      I won’t give my full reasoning here, but if the bridge is to go ahead it should only do so as a PFI, with the contractor taking all of the risk and all of the profits. When there are no takers, Boris might get the message that there is no economic case for it.
      P.S. I am, in general, anti-PFI, which has impoverished the public purse.

  13. Posted February 12, 2020 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    “Mrs Merkel clings to her pro EU green strategy, offering no support to her struggling car industry.”

    You could say the same about the last May and new Johnson governments. Either they are clueless about the impact of their statements about their future intentions on current purchase decisions or they understand completely in their deliberate attempts to undermine and destroy the industry. That certainly is the Green agenda.

    It is a measure of the utter incompetence (or double dealing) of government that some £6+ billion has, according to reports, already been spent on HS2 before it’s “approval” yesterday. Evidently the squander bug mentality is alive and well in the corridors of power.

    • Posted February 12, 2020 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

      Germany is a huge carbon polluter – buying ‘vouchers’ to statistically offset this does not a carbon reduction strategy make – it is others elsewhere who have cut emissions and sold their reductions for a profit.

      Net reduction = nil!

      Smoke and mirrors

      • Posted February 12, 2020 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

        ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ sounds like Coal offset by Solar.

  14. Posted February 12, 2020 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    Good morning Sir John
    Nice to hear someone in public life highlighting the media obsession with USA elections, a year ahead of the vote, contrasting with almost zero coverage of important elections within major EU nations. Given the 3 years of Remain hysteria at the prospect of “losing contact” with these nations, it is even more remarkable. Except of course that in general the news, economically and politically, from the EU (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Hungary etc), is all bad. If the reverse were the case, I’m sure the coverage would increase! Speaking of Hungary, it was worrying to see a Tory MP censured for visiting the country. Heaven forbid he should bring home some of their family friendly, or even conservative (shhh) policies. Best regards.

    • Posted February 12, 2020 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      Johnny. He is our MP and is much respected by many of us.

    • Posted February 12, 2020 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      Perhaps it is that very few in our media understand the varied languages involved, never mind the politics. In the USA we can all understand what is said, admire it or not.

    • Posted February 12, 2020 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      Yes, the MSM have deliberately ignored the street demonstrations in France for months and they wonder why people have stopped buying their newspapers and paying for BBC Licences.

  15. Posted February 12, 2020 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    And so it continues. The UK has left the EU, but you remain obsessed with it. Impossible to break a habit of a lifetime, I suppose.

    Reply Why are you so nervous about discussing German politics? I remain interested in Germany as I am interested in China and the USA. These larger economies have a world impact that we need to understand.

    • Posted February 12, 2020 at 9:35 am | Permalink

      Tory in Cumbria. So according to you we are not allowed to talk about Europe anymore?? Just because we have left the EU doesn’t mean we can’t talk about things going on inside Europe. Things that happen in Germany, France, Italy etc have as much impact on us as things that happen in Japan, China (the effects of the coronavirus and their economy) Canada, USA or NZ and OZ. We are not obsessed with the EU but we are interested in the EU as such but what is happening in general in Europe. It will have an effect on other countries apart from ours.

      • Posted February 12, 2020 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

        its a bit like knowing a star in the sky will explode within a year or two – – we would keep gazing skyward hoping to catch it.

        • Posted February 13, 2020 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

          “The euro will be dead and buried by Christmas 2012” – Nigel Farage MEP.

          • Posted February 14, 2020 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

            I keep seeing you and Margaret quoting this exact phrase but I cannot find a link to his speech despite trying a few different internet search engines.
            Is it a myth or did Farage actually say these words?

    • Posted February 12, 2020 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      Dear TIC
      We hear very little about Europe from the BBC that’s why Sir John is like a breath of fresh air here saying facts.
      Being kept in the dark here In the UK we need a balance of informative views, not led like sheep …
      Any positive quips you can shed light on would be most welcome TIC instead of bleating.

    • Posted February 12, 2020 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply

      Not nervous but just interested why your observations regarding the US are nearly always positive which you wish this country to emulate while your EU country input is nearly always concerned with negative aspects.

  16. Posted February 12, 2020 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    Jeremy Hunt, at the weekend, seems to have finally realised that we need a proper open reporting system for errors at the NHS (we also need some real and fair competition but he has not realised this yet). So why did he do almost nothing sensible during his four years as health secretary to reduce the vast numbers of these often needless deaths and tragedies at the NHS (especially in maternity care) but all over the system or rationing/delay and incompetence?

    I hear that very many newly qualified (at large public expense) doctors are leaving the NHS as the pressures put on them by incompetent management in the NHS and a lack of satisfactory specialist back up is so bad. Putting these very junior doctors in impossible positions. The ones that cope best are the ones who do not care too much about the patients often it seems.

  17. Posted February 12, 2020 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    As a general point it is odd that the left-wing commentariat profess to dislike the USA but in reality are absolutely obsessed by it. And the exact opposite for the EU – they say they love it but they ignore it. One example you point out is the coverage of the USA elections compared with the German elections but there are lots of other examples. For example subsidised London theatres (eg. the National Theatre) are always putting on American plays and using American actors but hardly ever plays from France or Germany or Italy.

    • Posted February 12, 2020 at 9:57 am | Permalink

      Perhaps the NT recognise that only a limited audience in London can enjoy plays in German, French, or Italian.

  18. Posted February 12, 2020 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    Philip Johnson in the Telegraph today – With HS2, Boris has rediscovered the can-do spirit of the Victorians. Judge huge infrastructure projects by how they transform the country, not by their monstrous cost.

    What compete drivel, HS2 will do almost nothing positive the money could have produced over 1000 times the return by being spent sensibly rather than pissed down the drain on this lunacy. The Victorians were largely investing their own money not pissing tax payers money down the drain. What sensible private investor would ever put money into HS2?

    • Posted February 12, 2020 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      Absolutely correct

      I would not put a penny of my money in such a scheme .

      But oh dear someone knows better than me and has decided to put my money on the line .

      How to lose friends and voters and piss people off in one quick lesson

    • Posted February 12, 2020 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      Wait until it is up and running. If it looks like it will make a profit, with huge public subsidies of course, it will be handed over to some private firm to milk the profits.

      • Posted February 12, 2020 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

        well if the profit and loss statement starts with interest on £106bn to pay, it will take a few years to return a profit.

    • Posted February 12, 2020 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

      You are right and this HS2 decision will haunt Boris Johnson and the Tory party for many years to come with cost over-runs and further delays. Its an own goal that Labour will exploit at the next election

      • Posted February 12, 2020 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

        Indeed and it will go on for year and years. Doing nothing but harm, expense and disruption with no significant payback even when it is finished.

  19. Posted February 12, 2020 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Thanks for making that situation clear – there have been snippets on this, but as you say, the MSM ignores totally the things close to home and of importance to us.

    Isn’t this just a case of Merkel desperately hanging onto power?

    With strikes and protests in France and Germany, things are moving beyond just unhappiness with the current rulers. No leader with any degree of competence could have brought both countries to such a dire state…. It appears to be deliberate – they are using the myth of AGW to bring ruin …. or is something else going on?

  20. Posted February 12, 2020 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    Our host opinionates about politics in Germany whilst many here in the UK are discussing the political earthquake that has just hit Éire…

    • Posted February 12, 2020 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      Just in case you hadn’t noticed, this is a blog not a newspaper, so if our host wants to discuss the political/economic situation in Germany or devote the next three weeks’ entries to the state of his back garden, that’s his business – and no-one is forcing you to read it.

      • Posted February 12, 2020 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

        @SM; Yes and he can also police his own site too, no help from you needed – as I have often been told… If our host was unhappy about my comment he has a delete button.

        You might have noticed now and then that our host, in the days following, often writes about specific issues that his readers raise.

        In the whole scheme of things who leads Germany (or any of the EU27, bar Éire) is pretty irrelevant to the UK now, we will either get a FTA worth signing from the EC or we will leave the transition period on WTO terms. On the other hand who is the Taoiseach and what parties are in government in Éire is very important to the UK, especially in NI, considering the Good Friday agreement.

        • Posted February 12, 2020 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

          with luck Varadkar will disappear for good. He had his 15 minutes (more like 15 days) of fame.

          • Posted February 13, 2020 at 7:12 am | Permalink

            @Fred H; Quite possibly considering he was not elected on the first count and it took five more (rounds of redistributed votes) before he was re-elected – apparently the first time a serving/outgoing Taoiseach has not been re-elected on the first count!

  21. Posted February 12, 2020 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    I entirely agree that the focus of media attention on the US is absurd. It is a great shame that greater efforts were not made to involve the UK in its European identity other than as a suitable mute to be blamed for everything.
    It is also disheartening to see the rise of the German far right and Sinn Féin in Ireland mirroring the Brexit disaster in England and its squabbling Nationalist twin North of the border.
    Those of us determined to hold to the centre must summon our determination and courage to oppose these dark forces and their smooth apologists. We must succeed.

    • Posted February 12, 2020 at 9:00 am | Permalink

      @Newmania; “the rise of the German far right and Sinn Féin in Ireland mirroring the Brexit disaster in England [not forgetting the rise of eurosceptics in many EU27 member countries]”

      Funny how there appears to be a pattern developing, and what is the common link in all this political dissatisfaction … the European Union and their undemocratic onward march against national self-governance perhaps?

    • Posted February 12, 2020 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      My wife has been following Ed Balls in his trip around Europe. He went to the village that that voted strongly for the AFD looking for Nazis. What he found instead were hard working country folk who were concerned for their livelihoods and the state of the roads. Why had they voted AFD? The AFD had actually bothered to come along and speak to them, understand thier local issues and (of course) promised to fix them. They hadn’t seen anyone else from the main parties.

      Sounded like a familiar story – large political parties assuming that they ‘own’ the vote without bothering to find out what real peoples concerns are and making those issues their priority.

      • Posted February 12, 2020 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

        ‘My wife has been following Ed Balls in his trip around Europe.’


    • Posted February 12, 2020 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      If the centre worked people would not gravitate right or left.

      Pick some winners and back them.

  22. Posted February 12, 2020 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    “[The AFD’s] leader is a very contentious figure with views about Germany’s past that all mainstream parties find unacceptable.”

    If you are going to fill the void in German political coverage, can you please be more informative than the above statement?

  23. Posted February 12, 2020 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    The Coronavirus effects in China will have a timely effect on our EU FT negotiations , the loss of the Chinese market for German cars should be leverage for us to exploit, for they would be in no position to play hardball with us, losing a second market would hard to explain to the German electorate in the federal elections later this year.

  24. Posted February 12, 2020 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    As long as the country doesn’t get a buffoon like ours heading a party that has few noteworthy politicians.

  25. Posted February 12, 2020 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Merkel caught The Green Madness, and the voters do not like it.
    Boris should watch and learn. He is showing dangerous symptoms of infection also.
    Banning private cars and central heating indeed!
    He has challenge enough working out how to replace all the coal and nuclear power stations closing in his first term.

    • Posted February 12, 2020 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      Recently read that an electric car went on fire, the fire brigade came to put it out with standard appliance i.e water, but due to so many electrical components it made the fire worst and as completely engulfed. Will all fire engine appliances have to be converted to water and foam/powder in the future

      • Posted February 12, 2020 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

        EV use lithium batteries. Lithium explodes in water. Burns in CO2, burns in Nitrogen. A ton of liquid argon might do it.
        Fire brigades will set up perimeter around burning car/garage/house and try and save neighbours.
        Oh, and 600V battery+water = electrocution, so that’s another good reason to stand well clear and watch the fireworks. Nice red flame from burning lithium.
        The Green Madness is very infectious and utterly destructive.

  26. Posted February 12, 2020 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    All over the EU political extremists are on the rise. In France the front National might win the next election. In Sweden the Swedish Democrats top the polls. Sinn Fein, ( including past ed) long term apologists for (words left out ed) terrorism, have just topped the poll in Ireland. Germany’s rising opposition party is (said to have people in it who are) apologists for nazism. Spain now has a far left govt. the (far left ed) of Syriza and the (far right ed) of golden dawn are still strong In Greece. Why? Could it be that the EU infantilises national parliaments and govts with it’s ever centralising aims and powers? Meanwhile listen to the de haut en bas language of M. barnier. The language throughout Brexit has been reminiscent of the contemptuous tone used eg to and about the Greeks during the eurozone crisis.

    I was a floating voter in the referendum. But nothing that’s happened since has made me feel the Country made the wrong choice, in particular the language and tone of leading EU functionaries.

  27. Posted February 12, 2020 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    OT –

    According the Telegraph Thursday’s reshuffle will see a pro-EU, Remain dominated Cabinet back in charge. So much for Brexit

    I told my father not to vote Tory as their leader would betray Brexit and refuse to reform Labour’s client state and their progressive march through our most revered instututions

    How right I was and indeed others to warn of Johnson’s chicanery and his use of Churchillian, patriotic rhetoric to conceal his true stance

    A most disgraceful betrayal of his backbenchers, the real Tory party and morality

  28. Posted February 12, 2020 at 10:08 am | Permalink


    You say “The AFD came second with 23.4% of the vote, adding 11 seats to its existing 11. Its leader is a very contentious figure with views about Germany’s past that all mainstream parties find unacceptable”

    With 23.4% of the vote and 22 seats presumably, AFD is also a mainstream party. Maybe you intended to say “that all other mainstream parties find unacceptable” ?

  29. Posted February 12, 2020 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    It’s reported in the Telegraph that Remain-supporting Chloe Smith, Oliver Dowden and Lucy Frazer are to be promoted to the Cabinet at the expense of Brexit supporting ministers like Geoffrey Cox, Andrea Leadsom and Theresa Villiers.
    What gives?

    • Posted February 13, 2020 at 12:34 am | Permalink


      The great stitch up has started. Farage could be right with his many concerns.

  30. Posted February 12, 2020 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Mrs Merkel is one of the towering figures of post-war European politics. De Gaulle, Kohl, Blair – if you’re generous Thatcher – and Merkel.

    Almost 15 years as Chancellor. Close to two decades at the head of her party. She is a real political giant. A proper class act and we all have much to thank her for. And she is, you should remember, a conservative. Centre right. Merkel is what the Tory party should be if it ever climbs out of the medieval hole it has dug itself into.

    But all things must change and a democracy needs power to change hands to stay healthy. I hope Mrs Merkel’s CDU loses next time.

    As for the US – it gets a lot of media coverage because the whole election process is so exciting. It really is no more complex than that.

    For what it’s worth I expect Mr Trump to lose the popular vote in November – like he did last time – whoever he faces. Whether he wins the electoral college I suspect depends on his opponent. If he is president again despite losing I suspect the calls for Constitutional reform will be unstoppable. It’ll mean the Republicans have won the presidency three times in just 20 years despite the majority voting against them. Think of the outrage among the right if the roles were reversed.

    • Posted February 12, 2020 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

      The elctoral college system tries to balance the voting powers of California and East coast big cities due to their densely populated areas with other less populated but large states in the mid west and southern areas.
      It works well to give all states a fairly equal say.
      You now dont like it because Trump is President but I dont recall any complaints from you when Obama got elected under the same system.
      Which has been America’s system of election for centuries.

      • Posted February 12, 2020 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

        Indeed, but that’s quite far from a ‘one person, one vote’ democracy. And if you look at the history of the USA there have been relatively few Presidents elected thanks to the electoral college only, R.B. Hayes (1876), B. Harrison (1888), G.W. Bush (2000), D.J.Trump (2016). Out of the 45 presidents elected under the Constitution of the USA, only less than 10% were/have not been able to convince the majority of the voters.

        As for your comment that such a system gives a fairly equal say to all parts of the country, that’s a curious statement, the US Senate with two senators per state is where such a balance between heavy populated and much less populated states is supposed to happen.

        When I was leaving in the States at the time of R.Reagan’s reelection, my American friends, both Democrats and Republicans, were quite relieved (D)/happy (R) that RWR had been reelected by both the electoral college and the voters. The President had been properly elected.

        • Posted February 12, 2020 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

          living, not leaving …

        • Posted February 13, 2020 at 8:33 am | Permalink

          There is a system in the USA which has rules for elections of their Presidents.
          It is well understood by the voters.
          President Trump was duly elected under their system.

          The rise in population in California and big East coast cities and a relative decline in population in middle America means the system works just as it was intended.
          But the left’s hatred of Trump drives this sudden campaign to alter the system so they can win.

          • Posted February 13, 2020 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

            What does that add to your 12/02 06:30 comment, I wonder. And can you give me any reference about ‘this sudden campaign to alter the system’.
            Just for your failing memory, it was even before being candidate that Trump had warned in 2012 against the electoral college, calling it a disaster when Romney lost to Obama even though Obama had won both the electoral college and the popular vote.

          • Posted February 14, 2020 at 8:23 am | Permalink

            What does that add to your previous comment hef?
            And your comment of “failing memory” is poor and unnecessary.
            Just listen to Democrats and the other anti- Trump groups, they all keep mentioning that Hilary won the popular vote.
            Just like UK remainers they just cannot accept that they lost.

          • Posted February 14, 2020 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

            Well, it is no use to try and discuss with you. I was just pointing out that Trump had started this type of comments in 2012. And you could have known and possibly recognized this fact. OK, as you please.

    • Posted February 13, 2020 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

      Yes, Andy, and let’s remember that it was she and Hollande, who succeeded in stopping all-out war in Ukraine and Crimea, while the UK sat on the sidelines.

  31. Posted February 12, 2020 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Brussels will deem it a sucess if it can ‘liberate’ N. Ireland & Scotland from GB, Catalonia from Spain, and encourage the splitting up of Germany.
    Federalisation good, Nationalism bad.

  32. Posted February 12, 2020 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    The High Speed Train

    NHS reductions,
    No ifs, no buts,
    Reducing our nursing,
    Ward closures and cuts.
    No money to pay
    for new drugs that cure pain,
    But they’re still buying
    The High Speed Train.

    Reduced education,
    No money for schools,
    A deprived generation,
    Fewer teachers, more fools.
    Less colleges, less uni’
    less for students to gain,
    But they’re still buying
    The High Speed Train.

    Battered old railways
    And crumbling old roads,
    The lifeblood of commerce
    that carries the loads.
    The potholes and diverts
    from fast to slow lane,
    But they’re still buying
    The High Speed Train.

    Making people work longer
    Until they retire
    Reducing their pensions
    For an old age so dire.
    Making petty cost cuts
    When no savings remain,
    But they’re still buying
    The High Speed Train.

    Less Air Force, less Navy,
    and even less Army
    Cutting everything sacred,
    doing things that are barmy.
    Sacked soldiers who have served us,
    through trauma and pain,
    But they’re still buying
    The High Speed Train.

    Neglect of our country,
    Abuse of their duty,
    Allowing destruction
    of the countryside’s beauty.
    Never learning a lesson
    Wrong, time and again,
    Yes, they’re still buying
    The High Speed Train.

    • Posted February 12, 2020 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

      Great post

  33. Posted February 12, 2020 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    It is to be expected that Germany and German politicians are being treated the way that they are. Many of the people in country areas are disgusted with the way that they are ignored regarding wind turbines, plus electricity prices rising about 8.1% in the past few months and the extra 7 euro cents per litre of fuel for their cars. Other parties that are normally ignored have started to pick up votes. As Mr Corbyn discovered in our recent election, listen to the public or face the consequences.

    • Posted February 12, 2020 at 11:21 pm | Permalink


      “Wind power had already gained very high social acceptance in Germany since 2008.

      In Germany, hundreds of thousands of people have invested in citizens’ wind farms across the country and thousands of small and medium-sized enterprises are running successful businesses in a new sector that in 2015 employed 142,900 people and generated 12.3 percent of Germany’s electricity in 2016”

      • Posted February 13, 2020 at 8:26 am | Permalink

        But your figures are out of date Margaret.
        In the first half of 2019 only 35 new windmills were installed a decline of more than 80% compared with same period in 2018.
        Public resistance and tougher planning rules mean local people are stopping new wind farms near where they live.
        And changes to the EEG Germany’s renewable energy law means this year wind turbines with a total capacity of 4000mw will see their generous subsidies end.
        A study by VDMA Power systems estimates 40,000 jobs will have gone by the end of 2020 and warns another 27% of jobs could be lost by 2030 as wind farm companies see a less profitable future with lower subsidies on offer.

  34. Posted February 12, 2020 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    “Many Germans are alarmed”- of course just like in almost every country in the globe from time to time there will be hiccups. Generally speaking the Germans are a pragmatic lot who have their feet firmly planted- they will work it out

  35. Posted February 12, 2020 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    The elections in one of the smaller German Lande surely merit about as much coverage here as elections to the state legislatures of similarly ranked US states such as Arkansas and Iowa. Such elections would also be a fair comparison rather than this equating of the election of a head of state to elections in one of the smaller regions.

    This article also completely ignores a fundamental difference between German elections and US elections – that of the fact that German elections are proportional, and therefore deliver a representative outcome, so voters vote knowing that their vote actually counts, unlike the US and UK where many voters know that voting is a futile exercise, so simply don’t waste their time. Turnout in the last US presidential election was just 55.7% and the winning candidate came second in terms of vote share.

    • Posted February 12, 2020 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

      So did Obama but only now Trump gets elected under the same system sre there complaints.

      • Posted February 13, 2020 at 9:01 am | Permalink

        You are completely wrong. Obama secured over 50% of the popular vote on both occasions (52.9% and 51.1%).

        • Posted February 13, 2020 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

          If those were Trump’s figures I could see you posting how he was elected on a slender majority of popular votes.

    • Posted February 12, 2020 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

      PR working well in the Republic of Ireland.
      A week after a vote and chaos reigns.
      No one knows who is forming a government.
      Policies voters were presented with are now being dropped in the rush to gain power.
      All very democratic.

      • Posted February 13, 2020 at 9:04 am | Permalink

        The Irish system is doing exactly what the British government (who created it) intended. Give every voter an equal voice and ensure that no communities are overlooked and ignored, as FPTP allows them to do.

        The policies that will get implemented are those which can command the support of the majority. Isn’t that what democracy is all about? The will of the majority?

        The will of the majority is far superior to the will of the one third as FPTP has given the UK on multiple occasions in recent times.

        • Posted February 13, 2020 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

          “Command the support of the majority”…of politicians is that what you mean, rather than the original policies set out by the candidates before the election, which the voters voted for originally.
          What we have now is a number of elected politicians trading behind closed doors between each other who will be in power and what policies they will proceed with.
          The voters are outside in the cold.

          • Posted February 14, 2020 at 8:50 am | Permalink

            Ed2, One must be very naive if one thinks that once the elections are over, the people retain any power to influence what the politicians decide (as we are seeing it right now with the power in N.10).
            As yourself has told us in the past, it is only at the next election that the voters have the possibility to change anything.
            Try (if you can) to be consistent in your postings.

          • Posted February 14, 2020 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

            It is a question of how much direct power a voter has.
            In the UK system apart from voting out your MP every election there is a more direct link between the manifesto you vote for and what happens after an election compared with PR.
            I am most consistent in my views on this topic and many others.
            It is just you dont like my views hef.
            I can live happily with that.

    • Posted February 12, 2020 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

      On the contrary, with PR voters vote knowing that theoretically the *total vote* counts, but that coalitions will be formed that may force their party of choice either to renege on its electoral pledges and adopt the diametrical opposite of its election platform, and join with a party mandated to entirely different policies, or else languish in the wilderness of the opposition – which it will do in any case if centrists or a’neutral President’ decide to exclude your party from government, even where it wins the most votes.
      So much for knowing ‘your vote counts’! 🙂

      In Belgium Michel became PM with 9% of the popular vote, representing a French Walloon party only the Walloons were able to vote for or against.
      In Germany the two very large left and right parties (Union/SPD) have shrunk to a mere 32% *joint* popular support.
      In France de Gaulle solved the voting problem by neutering the Chamber of Deputies so it never matters much who ‘wins’ – it’s always the President in power.
      And so on. PR means one or two 5% parties being kingmakers for ever and ever.

      • Posted February 13, 2020 at 9:19 am | Permalink

        Your vote counts under PR systems because it contributes delivering representation in an equal manner to everyone else’s vote, unlike FPTP. A system which includes as part of it the concept of wasted votes is appauling.

        PR means fair representation for the voters. In most countries, the voters know which other parties a particular party is prepared to work with (and therefore compromise with) and can vote using that knowledge as part of their decision. The government that ends up being formed represents the compromise view of the majority, and personally I don’t consider compromise to be a dirty, evil concept as some on here seem to do. If a party wants to be able to do everything in their manifesto, they should have to persuade the majority of voters to support them.

        Apart from Cameron in 2010, no post-war UK PM has led a government whose mandate came from a majority of the popular vote. UK government is almost always about one minority imposing its will on the majority who didn’t vote for them. That, to me, isn’t democracy.

        • Posted February 14, 2020 at 8:18 am | Permalink

          Under PR even less popular votes elect the leader.
          He or she is usually a surprise winner after the post election deals are done.
          Look at the current PR chaos in Republic of Ireland.

      • Posted February 13, 2020 at 11:18 am | Permalink

        mancunius, I agree about the big problem with PR nobody gets what they thought they were voting for.

        Surely a PR government should be made up by ministers in a fair % of the votes cast for each potential MP and then a leader elected by every elected parliamentary member.

        • Posted February 13, 2020 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

          I would suggest even with FPTP nobody gets what they thought they were voting for ! Rollback prior to Blair and then come forward reflecting on what governments ‘stood for’ and what they DID.
          moi a cynic?

  36. Posted February 12, 2020 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Both AKK and Merkel are to blame for this embarrassing resignation. The former should never have agreed to assume the leadership of the CDU, while Merkel stayed on in the Chancellory, rather than resigning. Tensions were bound to rise, reminiscent of 2006/7 when Blair came under pressure from Brown to quit, leading to divided loyalties in No. 10.

  37. Posted February 12, 2020 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    I would have thought that the CDU would think it had more in common with AfD than with SPD. I’m looking forward to the end of the Merkel Chancellorship.

    • Posted February 12, 2020 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

      Only if you believe in the false dichotomy between the ‘left’ and ‘right’ in Germany as it exists (or used to exist in the UK before Jeremy Corbyn) or exists in the USA (apart from Bernie Sanders; Trump is the pretend breakout candidate on the right).
      The CDU and SPD are the official governing party and opposition and the MSM is very happy to entertain oi poloi by playing up the ‘differences’ as in the UK or the USA. As JR points out, the official governing parties have been losing support to parties with genuinely different platforms so they can no longer control the game. Parties or candidates which are not on board with the anti-nationalist neo-liberal agenda such as the AfD (nationalist) are considered anathema by all decent Germans whose Weltanschauung is moulded by the MSM which itself is moulded by a foreign intelligence service (Yes, Germany is still occupied for having been perceived as a threat to the British Empire in the first World War and the Bolshevik Empire (and its German vectors) in the second).

  38. Posted February 12, 2020 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    They had that left wing obsessive Ed Balls on TV recently going around Europe talking about the rise of nationalist parties. He seemed a bit perplexed as to the reason why they had become popular, but if he can’t see it he needs to change his optician.

    The EU suppresses nationalities and cultures and the euro has created divisions and imbalances where they used to be sorted out by currency fluctuations. Ironically it’s the Germans who have benefited most from the euro, but even they can see that their culture is being eroded. This, of course, is particularly evident in the old East Germany and similar to the changes here in the north of England, politicians fail to realise that national pride and loyalty to their fellow countrymen is extremely strong amongst the poorer members of society.

  39. Posted February 12, 2020 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    Yes it fits with Toronto and First Nation endeavour. It would have to,
    to make me worry about myself wouldn’t it.

  40. Posted February 12, 2020 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    We are still waiting for the Globalist Main Stream Media to even mention, let alone show the French Yellow Vest “Gilet Jaune” anti Macron demonstrations throughout France which have been ongoing for 60plus weeks now. However as Macron is a globalist puppet there is not much chance of anything being reported. Remember people – News is not just what happens, it is what a fairly small group of people decide is the news.

  41. Posted February 12, 2020 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Reported today – The European Commission opened its first post-brexit disciplinary notice against the UK, which is legally binding under the Brexit transition period. Eurocrats accused the Government of discriminating against European truckers by charging a special tax against them as they enter Britain

    • Posted February 13, 2020 at 12:27 am | Permalink

      Glen Cullen

      It’s just the start and it can go on until 2025.

      We remainasa vassal state . Just get us out where out means out .

      Somebody better to tell Boristoget A into G and start listening what the voters want.

      His so called deal is as a lot of people voiced concerns about a deal with no substance and no end it would seem. He’s beginning not to even talk a good act.

      We are going to pay a hell of a price for what is seemingly his shortcomings.

  42. Posted February 12, 2020 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    What is forgotten is how German reunification took place.
    In 1989/90 there was the option of retaining the separate national and monetary status of East Germany, letting the two countries converge over a brief time. But Kohl preemptively announced complete unification immediately, without consulting any Nato allies, as he saw his chance to bolster up the total population of Germany in time for Maastricht (so as to give Germany more fire power in the forthcoming EU horsetrading over ERM, and enable it to dominate the European continent again. (Oh, benevolently, no doubt..:-). Then Kohl arranged it that the new state was defined as an extension of the western BRD, so as to continue with all the advantages of West German sovereignty. In effect, it was a takeover by the west of the east, and the 1=1 demoniation of the DM with the Ostmark was the kind of monetary and political madness that was to be repeated later with the euro. With the scandalous Treuhand rapacity that ensued, and with grudgingly patchy infrastructure and industrial development (for west Germans had a patronising contempt for the ‘backwards’ ‘communist’ eastern provinces of Germany) the workers of the east suffered disproportionately from unemployment and economic disadvantage. They were pushed around as second-class citizens for years to come.

    Despite appallingly oppressive aspects of the SED regime, certain altruistic social and individual values that had survived in the East, trampled down in 1990 by the merciless dash for state corporate ‘Gleichschaltung’ (the regimentation of monopolistic big business on the Erhard model) that reminded many of the older people in the east of the pre-1945 regime.
    Then Merkel opened the borders – completely illegally – to all and sundry. The workers in the east were already suffering from an influx from Poland etc, now increased by large communities of ‘refugees’ who imported further social problems.
    AKK, a minor semi-politician who had spent her career so far running a small state on Germany’s western border on France, was never going to cut the mustard as a Chancellor of what we should realistically call ‘Both Germanies’. Merkel is recently praised by German media for having shown a ‘sisterly, feminist regard’ for Kramp-Karrenbauer, having picked her out and propped her up. But why does Germany regard the choice of a future national leader of 80m+ citizens as something that has to be decided for it by a now-failed, retiring politician of dubious intent?
    Yet again, Mrs Thatcher’s instincts about unification were absolutely right, but she was bullied and sidelined by Kohl and Mitterand.

    • Posted February 13, 2020 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      The differences between east and west Germany are many centuries old-the Rhineland,Bavaria ,Hanover,etc have always tended to be more industrious and western looking with,looking further back, a greater connection with the Roman empire.On the other hand,Prussia,Saxony,Pomerania,Silesia.etc have histories more connected with Poland,Russia and Sweden and peoples who were never Romanised.

      You can see this tendency at work during the post-Napoleonic Congress System when there was an autocratic eastern bloc of Russia,Prussia and Austria and a liberal western bloc of England and France.Metternich,as a Rhinelander rather than a true Austrian,had some sympathy with the western bloc and flirted with it to enhance Austria’s standing as it became increasingly clear that Austria was slipping behind Prussia as the premier German state.

  43. Posted February 12, 2020 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    1=1 *denomination*

  44. Posted February 12, 2020 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    Freedom of speech is now under direct threat by your party in government, by your leader as PM

    I told my father, do not trust the Tory party. I have been vindicated.

    This government will expose us all to woke authoritarian legislation.

    Welcome to the inside of Orwell’s imagination


  45. Posted February 12, 2020 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    “Many Germans are alarmed at what has happened there.”

    Many Brits are alarmed at what has happened here.

  46. Posted February 12, 2020 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

    The British media obsession with American politics isn’t hard to understand. It’s the English language. Far easier to broadcast hours of hearings in the Senate live than to show the German parliament with subtitles or interpretation.

    Also US politics is entertaining and dramatic, which German politics might not be and the EU parliament is anything but. I wonder after 47 years of ever closer union how many people in the UK could find Thuringia on a map. Let’s face it, language is culture. Which is why so many of us naturally feel closer to Australia and Canada than France and Germany, however much we might admire their character and enjoy visiting them.

  47. Posted February 13, 2020 at 1:24 am | Permalink

    It is puzzling that the media in the UK, and in my native Canada, are so obsessed about competition amongst Democrats and Republicans in the USA to decide who will run as the presidential candidate. And this has been the case for many years.

  48. Posted February 13, 2020 at 1:28 am | Permalink

    The CDU would be well advised to let the far left and far right form a temporary – and no doubt unstable – coalition.

    Germany’s economy – including its car industry – is bound to suffer while one of its main export markets (China) is experiencing recession.

  49. Posted February 13, 2020 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

    Watched the programme travels in Euroland with Ed Balls – I was surprised the bbc allowed it as it was actually quite enlightening to how the rest of Europe feel about the EU and why these populist parties are on the rise. It is worth a watch even if Ed Balls is the presenter (to be fair he was actually alright in it as he just listened to peoples concerns and didn’t try to influence what they were saying).

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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