German President Criticises UK ‘Stereotypes’

After the sorry incident of the Independent ‘racism scare’ yesterday, I really have to say I can sympathise with Germans who are getting tired of being treated as if they were all ‘Hitlers Children’.

“Germany’s federal president Horst K?hler called on the British people on Thursday to drop their “stereotypical” and “negative” views of Germany, in comments that look likely to revive debate on problems in British/German relations”….”Germans have a bigger affinity to Britain than the other way round,” he said. In unusually outspoken comments, he added: “I fear that German stereotypes in Britain are largely negative. Britain should take a more open view of Germany.” He criticised British schools for focusing only on the Nazi period when they taught German history..

Sometime I would write a longer post on all this. I am not sure that all German stereotypes in the UK are as negative as K?hler fears. Unless things have changed a lot recently there was always a tremendous regard for German craftsmanship, and efficiency. In the 70’s and 80’s the German model of social compact was extensively admired: Ralph Dahrendorf was brought in to head the LSE, for example.

This is why I was so jumpy about one commentator confusing the Telegraph with the Independent yesterday. I think maybe there were two schools of attitudes: those more on the right – like the Spectator and the Telegraph, who keep harping on about the nazi past, and those like the guardian, independent, economist, who have certainly all at one time or another been admirers of the ‘social economy’. That was why I was so shocked by the Independent yesterday. But then again there is the anglo-phobia to be found in continental Europe (although this is more likely to be found in France than in Germany). As I said, maybe one day a longer post…

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About Edward Hugh

Edward 'the bonobo is a Catalan economist of British extraction. After being born, brought-up and educated in the United Kingdom, Edward subsequently settled in Barcelona where he has now lived for over 15 years. As a consequence Edward considers himself to be "Catalan by adoption". He has also to some extent been "adopted by Catalonia", since throughout the current economic crisis he has been a constant voice on TV, radio and in the press arguing in favor of the need for some kind of internal devaluation if Spain wants to stay inside the Euro. By inclination he is a macro economist, but his obsession with trying to understand the economic impact of demographic changes has often taken him far from home, off and away from the more tranquil and placid pastures of the dismal science, into the bracken and thicket of demography, anthropology, biology, sociology and systems theory. All of which has lead him to ask himself whether Thomas Wolfe was not in fact right when he asserted that the fact of the matter is "you can never go home again".

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