Monday, 9 November 2009

When a dowdy lady trumps a shiny fellow

David Cameron, leader of the British Conservative Party and barring some currently unforeseeable dramatic event, soon to be Prime Minister, continues to impress.

Today is the twentieth anniversary of the breaching of the Berlin Wall. The TV news shows pictures of a dowdy little middle-aged woman wandering around the crowd gathered to celebrate the event, shaking a hand here, pausing to exchange a smile there, engaging in conversation with some who, like her, came through the wall in the first hours that it was opened back in 1989. And who is she? Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany. True, the people around her seem to react with great affection to the obviously kind and approachable figure which probably explains why she was so decisively re-elected to her post a few weeks ago. But, oh dear, where’s the charisma, where’s the presence, where's that shiny smile that makes a PR expert like Cameron the man of the moment?

You only need to look at that dull little figure to understand why Cameron chose to pull the Conservative Party out of the European People’s Party to which Merkel’s European MPs belong. Instead, he built a new grouping with really outstanding figures, such as former Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topol├ínek, of whom many have rightly said ‘Who?’

Merkel spoke out in Berlin about the demand of citizens of the old East Germany for freedom, quoting their battle cry, ‘We are the people’. So dull, so motherhood and apple pie. You really want to associate with people like Poland’s Law and Justice Party, which banned gay marches while it was in power, on the grounds that they are obscene, or Latvia’s National Independence Movement, some of whose leaders celebrate the exploits of Latvian members of the Nazis’ Waffen SS.

After all, who does Merkel speak for anyway? Leading the world’s third largest economy may win the respect of an Obama, but wouldn’t it be more interesting to work with the Law and Justice Party, one of whose members in the Polish Parliament described the election of Obama as ‘the end of the civilisation of the white man’? How many enlightened people around the world shared that reaction to last year’s presidential election?

So on this great anniversary of the end of the Cold War, let us salute this man Cameron and the courage with which he is prepared to throw off the shackles of the past, and link up with those around the Continent who really understand the needs of civilisation today.

2 comments:

Bob said...

"...of whom many have rightly said ‘Who?’"

Too witty!

David Beeson said...

Appropriate too, don't you think?

Good to hear from you, Bob - hope everything's going well