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…

Controversy Over Kosovo Refugees In Germany

This is an updated version of an earlier post. I first retain the post as it was, then I have added some reflections in the light of comments received.

The Independent is running the following story:

Germany is deporting tens of thousands of Roma refugees to Kosovo despite clear threats to their safety and dire warnings from human rights groups that they will face “massive discrimination” on arrival.
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