There’s no end to those Germans, I’m telling you. Aware that the new French president was on his way for a chat with Frau Merkel, they came up with a warning weapon just to remind him who’s boss.
Poor old Francois wasn’t Monsieur le President more than an hour when the Death Star struck his aeroplane with Das Blitzwaffe, forcing him to turn back and try again. Jesus Christ! If we didn’t know before, we sure as hell know now what the Germans might do. (Obviously, up to now, we had no idea that they were capable of violence. What a shock. Who knew?)
M. Hollande has suddenly burst on the scene out of nowhere as far as the rest of Europe is concerned, spreading cheer and relaxation after Sarkozy’s unrelenting fiscal misery, despite his own personal bon-vivant lifestyle and his ultimate trophy wife. But of course, Realpolitik is what it is, and it will remain even after M Hollande’s plane is permitted by the Commander of the Death Star to reach Berlin.
Auf wiedersehen, Merkozy.
What we’ll see here is an accommodation in which Merkel and Hollande arrive at a compromise not a million miles removed from the current proposal, but which will allow both of them to claim victory to their voters. Thesis and antithesis, eventually arriving at synthesis. Maybe Marx wasn’t so bonkers after all.
There will be talk of growth and there will be investment as a result. There will be fudging, and nonsense will be invented, as we’ve come to expect from politicians, but in the end, we’ll see the same proposal on the table as we have now, though perhaps tempered with a little pragmatism.
Merkel’s early age is probably coming to an end and now we enter the middle era where ideology becomes tempered by practicality and hard-edged politics must bend to hard-edged unassailable logic for once: austerity on its own will not work. This is the note that Hollande has tapped into, and belatedly, Merkel detects the same thing, but as a consummate politician, it might suit to jump ship and start espousing the formerly hated doctrine.
The mood in the Bundestag is against extreme monetarism, perhaps because even German politicians understand that this is not the Weimar republic and people will not be carrying their wages home in wheelbarrows.
What do we need? Certainly, we need practical German management.
What do we not need? The irrational side of Germany. The side controlled by folk memory. The side so terrified of a repeat of the Thirties and Forties that it can’t contemplate a forward-looking Europe.
Wouldn’t it be ironic if Germany destroyed Europe again, first through extremism and second by being too cautious?