Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Don't Blame the Germans for Our Own Shortcomings

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Don't Blame the Germans for Our Own Shortcomings

Article excerpt

Byline: Paul Benneworth

I'VE been visiting Brussels this week and been witness to Theresa May's rough ride among European leaders. Although the problem is one of her own making, the UK media have seemed aggrieved that the EU members' club should be looking after its members' interests.

As Brexit's hard cliff-edge approaches, there's a sinister undertone to the commentary that's gradually becoming a deafening drumbeat. Brexiteers are desperately seeking scapegoats for their failure to plan ahead and are whipping up frenzies of elusive "hidden powers" pulling the EU strings.

One of the most egregious of these has been to frame "the Germans" as the enemy of the piece. Daniel Kawczynski MP sought out the limelight to make the ridiculous claim that Germany use European government to dominate Europe as a twisted revenge for losing World War Two.

Living close to Germany myself, I just can't relate the revenge or domination motives in my daily experiences. I have German colleagues, students, friends, and they are simply people just like us.

But what is different is that Germany is a well-ordered society where organisations are designed to fill some particular societal need. German firms' ownership is structured to prioritise long-term investments over short-term profiteering and to ensure that people can have skilful employment.

The school system is designed to produce highly-skilled workers for all jobs, and civil servants who can deliver quality public services. Governments at different levels are properly funded by taxation with money for diverse essential and desirable services to build a generous and resilient civil society.

The advantages of this order became evident recently in the European refugee crisis after 2015. Germany attracted one-third of all refugees, and this influx created a problem for the Christian Democratic government.

But Germany responded in a very well-ordered way, Chancellor Merkel famously pronouncing "Wir schaffen das", or "we have plenty on our plate, so we can cope with that". …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.