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Archive for the ‘Britain’ Category

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.


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.

A Selfish Act of Cowardice

In Britain on June 24, 2016 at 16:00

With the result of the referendum now unchangeable, one cannot but describe David Cameron as a coward, a selfish coward. It was him who pledged to hold this referendum in the first place in order to win back voters who would have gone to UKIP or elsewhere. After the General Election he had the chance to say eff off to those hoping for a referendum; it is usual policy not to remember any promises made before an election once the votes are counted and the result has gone the direction it was expected to go. He did not, thus starting a nasty campaign that tore Britain apart.

Once the result of this vote was clear he had nothing better to do than to resign. He has caused this result to happen and now he is not ready to clean up the mess. He is avoiding responsibility. However, a referendum is NOT an election but only an opinion of the electorate. Therefore, Cameron has had another chance to give a flying to the opinion of the electorate. He chose not to. Since he decided to step down, he opened the door to worse things to happen in Britain, much much worse. Figures like Farage, who has no manners, Johnson who has no brains and Gove who thinks he always knows best, will come to govern the UK for the immediate future. And make the country a different place to the one i have come to know in five years of living there.

The question for the EU now is: what will happen if others follow suit and decide to leave? Will this construct implode like a house of cards? Now more than ever is there an urgent need to look carefully and scrutinize everything that constitutes this union and reform it, reshape it to the benefit of the common people, not shareholders, politicians, technocrats.

2012: Annus Britannicus

In Britain, Identity, Olympics, Sport on September 11, 2012 at 13:07


The current year will go into the history books of Britain for various reasons. First, there is the jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. Second, Bradley Wiggins is the first Briton who has won the Tour de France. He later added Olympic Gold which was the major sporting event of this year so far: The London Olympics. Finally, Andy Murray has won a Grand Slam title, the first for a Briton since 1936! Read the rest of this entry »

olympic blogging

In Britain, Olympics on August 16, 2012 at 11:00

Here follows a collection of some interesting and some simply nice blog posts about the Olympic Games in London.

It starts with Boris Johnson who gave 20 reasons to feel cheerful about the Games. Number 19: There were semi-naked women playing beach volleyball in the Horse Guards. Read the rest of this entry »

Olympic Legacy

In Britain, Identity, Media Analysis, Olympics on August 14, 2012 at 15:21

The London Games of 2012 are history and they have made history as London was the first city to host Olympic Games (summer or winter) three times. The LOCOG have argued that the games would all be about the legacy and it certainly was this fact that made gave London the games ahead of Paris when the decision was made in July 2005. Was this idea of a legacy just a smoke screen? Read the rest of this entry »

How to build a team: Handball

In Britain, Olympics, Sport on July 31, 2012 at 12:56

Britain is a country that is dominated by football, cricket and rugby. Add tennis, golf and the sporting calendar for many sporting enthusiasts is full to the brim. Interestingly, indoor sports are not featuring on this list. For the London Olympics Britain for the first time field a men’s handball team. If they manage to win a medal is doubtful. The women’s team is a far more interesting story as the team consists of players ‘assembled’ from all over Europe. Read the rest of this entry »

Special Relationships

In Academia, Britain, England, Germany, History, Identity, Literature on April 23, 2012 at 14:26

The possibly best known ‘special relationship‘ in modern history is between the United States and the United Kingdom. This blog is about the ‘special relationship’ the UK and Germany have enjoyed over the last 60 and more years, particularly on the football pitch but also on other field such as music, the press and literature. This post however, will look at recent press outpourings in Germany about a poem published by Nobel laureate Günter Grass in which he heavily criticized Israel and thus shed a light upon this special relationship. Read the rest of this entry »

Match of the Century, Football miracles and Jahrhundertspiele

In Britain, Cold War, England, Football, Germany, History, Identity, Sport on March 1, 2012 at 14:50

This blog is all about the Anglo-German rivalry and how it affects everyday life, football and politics. However, there are games that were labelled ‘Match of the Century’, ‘Miracles’ like the World Cup final of 1954 or the victories of West Germany against England in 1970 and 1972 or the ‘Jahrhundertspiel‘ between Italy and Germany. In each of the following examples at least either of them is always present, England or Germany, making a necessary link to the Anglo-German football rivalry. Where does this love for labelling games come from? And were these games really what their labels promised? Read the rest of this entry »

The Bull in the China shop

In Britain, Germany, History, Identity on January 31, 2012 at 12:54

Der Elefant im Porzellanladen or the bull in the china shop, both phrases describe a person that is not very sensitive when it comes to their environment and surroundings. This however, is the impression the German chancellor Angela Merkel is giving during these troubled times. Read the rest of this entry »

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