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Merkel is clearly not another Maggie (and neither is George).

Also in that edition of 'Newsweek', an excellent essay about the ridiculous nature of the American neo-con arguments towards Iran.

Nice picture by the way. I'm sure I remember that view from the time I used to be able to grab the odd freebie to various EU 'seminars'!

Which still leaves the economic liberals here to explain how their manufacturing balance of payments is £80bil to the good whilst ours is £60bil to the bad???

Germany actually produced a clear left of centre majority at the last election (SPD+Greens+Die Linke) on both party and constituency lists (I'm not sure how their system works, looks like some kind of hybrid PR system).

The CDU/CSU actually marginally lost vote share in 2005 and the SPDs vote share went down by less than Die Linke went up so if anything there was a slight swing to the left at the last election........

Germany hasn't 'shifted leftwards' because it never shifted rightwards!!

To some extent the arithmetic of the German legislature prevents Merkel from carrying out what she wants to do - the last election was very close.
That's possibly a measure of their ludicrous electoral system and why I strongly support first-past-the-post.

Angela Merkel is a politician blown by the opinion polls. Nicolas Sarkozy by contrast is a much more serious minded politician. In fact Sarkozy has tried to advise Merkel that the Euro is becoming overvalued and Merkel showed very poor form in slapping down new boy Sarkozy before the world's media.

Sadly Germany is shifting leftwards. The Germans have only themselves to blame. If they had any sense the FDP would be the sole party of government.

Good news in Switzerland though. The sensible SVP gained 29% of the vote recently and now controls 2 of the 7 seats on the Fed Council I think. Well done to them!

The Tory Party should support Germany's Free Democrat Party (classical liberal/libertarian) rather than the europhile and 'wet' CDU-CSU.

What are you doing in a Starbucks in Cologne Tim? You should be in something more German. When in Rome...

I needed internet access Jennifer. I did eat two Bratwurst and also broke my no-alcohol until Thanksgiving pledge by enjoying a few Pilseners with my hosts!

Unemployment down by a million? the German economy booming? Merkel enjoying sky-high approval ratings? Worst of all, a failure to adhere to some undigested American dogmas that have never had a place in post-war European Christian Democracy? Quelle horreur!

All seems to be going rather well for Frau Merkel. She's a big enough lady to ignore the sniping of those who don't understand German politics one bit.

Rather apt you've retreated to that brash symbol of American ubiquity, Starbucks, to type, eh Tim?

It's a mistake to judge 'continental' politics by Anglo-Saxon standards. This is a fatal mistake the British have been making for many years.

Bismarck described his social security measures as 'State Socialism', and as the perceptive historian Mark Mazower has demonstrated, many of the less outrageous roots of National Socialism lay in a left-right consensus stretching back decades before the rise of Hitler.

The founders of today's CDU - many of whom were members of the pre-1933 Centre Party - were very much at the heart of that consensus. The Centre Party was wedded to a social Catholicism which is utterly unknown to most British observers. Merkel, regardless of her religion, is heir to that tradition.

This is not something to be 'condemned' in the Germans. It's just the way other people order their affairs. It is we Brits who are naive for ever assuming that things were other than they in fact are.

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