do not mention the war

Rule, Britannia

In Britain on June 19, 2017 at 06:00

Britannia rule the waves…

Most people are familiar with this song and the lyrics. It is a poem written by James Thomson in 1740 and set to music by Thomas Arne. Even though the British Empire was not yet as large and Britain was not yet ruling the waves, the song nonetheless stands for the British Empire like few other songs and depicts the idea of Britain as a nation of seaman and traders.

With the Brexit negotiations scheduled to begin on June 19, Britain will find itself at sea, mastering waves it has no experience of sailing. Instead the country will find itself lost at sea.

The ship is captained by a woman who doesn’t want to be there in the first place, her crew is waiting for a chance to get rid of her and the passengers have a gut feeling that this journey might end with their ship running aground.

England win the World Cup

In Stereotypes on June 14, 2017 at 09:15

An England team has achieved the unthinkable: winning the world cup.

We have to expect a parade in an open top bus where the team will be greeted by millions of people lining the streets in a wave of euphoria.

The prime minister will join the team in their celebration in a central London hotel to enjoy the sun in the shadow of this team. She will draw strength from this success for her upcoming​ challenge to the continent.

The England manager will postulate that his team will be unbeatable for decades to come and he as well as the team captain will be on the New Year’s honours list.

In the following decades England teams will be measured against this lot of youngsters and most of them will come up short in comparison. English self esteem is naturally on a high as England have proven that the Anglo-Saxon way to play is more successful than the fanciful display of the Southern Europeans and Americans. No trickery, just powerful surges forward have carried the Three Lions to the title.

There will be special editions of newspapers to mark every anniversary of this success. The retro industry will have a field day. Academics will publish books and articles placing the occasion into the wider socio-cultural background of Britain in 2017.

Across the globe England will be revered and English swagger will be dominating the terraces once again.

The Wobbly Lady: what the German papers think about the Election 2017

In Britain on June 10, 2017 at 16:12

The people have voted and have given the outgoing and continuing British government a vote of no confidence. That much is clear. Theresa May has gambled on extending her majority in parliament in order to strengthen her hand in the forthcoming Brexit negotiations. That gamble has backfired spectacularly. The Tories lost their majority and Labour came within a couple of yards of getting into Downing Street. Why the campaign of May went off the rails and whether Corbyn would be a better Prime Minister, should not be the aim of this piece. Rather, a press review of the German press is aimed to be presented here. After Brexit Germany is most likely the most powerful country in the EU27. Therefore it is of particular importance how the political commentators regard the general election of 2017.

In a video comment in Der Spiegel, Kevin Hagen has analysed the campaign of the Conservative Party and Theresa May and concluded that she lost her focus during the weeks leading up to the polls. Her main topic, Brexit, played no role ever since the manifesto was published. That was due to the ‘dementia tax’ and her performance in the public. May did not exist outside a carefully preserved and caressed bubble.

Die Welt sees the result as problematic for the Brexit negotiations. A weak British government could lead the EU to soften their position which in return could be beneficial for the UK. However, the report states that the planned schedule is at risk. There is just under a year and a half left for the talks to be finished. With an unstable government that cannot rely on a majority this is likely to fail from the writers point of view.

Der Tagesspiegel puts the result in line with the previous election of 2015 and the referendum 2016. There is no clear idea how the Conservative Party wants to proceed from here. Nor has it been clearer after the shock result from last year. David Cameron is partly to blame for this message as he promised this referendum only to walk away whistling once he saw he would not get away with his lax attitude towards Europe. Like Cameron, May gambled and lost. Now her and her party look like a besotted poodle.

The headline ‘Mayday’ as it was used in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung probably best described the situation. Going from a position of strength to one where May relies upon a small and ultra conservative party is a sign that Britain has gone from strong and stable to weak and wobbly over the course of two years. The writer concludes that it is possibly better with May at the helm for the time being simply in order to provide some stability.

There is no Schadenfreude to be found in the papers looked at. Rather, there are questions as to how the British have come to this point. The slogan of a ‘strong and stable’ government wasn’t even valid going into this election, therefore May’s logic was proven wrong. That she continues as Prime Minister is possibly the only sign of stability the papers reviewed here largely agree. That her situation nonetheless resembles a shambles, most papers agree upon.

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