This is an excellent, quite lengthy but MUST READ article on Angela Merkel in Spiegel. Check it out!
A Smug Merkel Avoids Controversy in Bid for Reelection – SPIEGEL ONLINE.rather than issues.
As I read the lengthy article, my mind wandered, picking up some of the threads in the article.
Initially, I suppose that I was angered that German voters were not challenging important political issues but soon realized that the German election was about personalities. It seems that German voters see Angela Merkel as a safe pair of hands, so are happy not to ask awkward questions. It worries me that Angela Merkel is able to avoid debating real issues in Germany.
Interestingly, the article painted a very different international Merkel to domestic Merkel. In the international arena, Merkel is a formidable leader. There is an interesting story about a meeting with Vladimir Putin in Russia, where Putin was forced to back down. Perhaps, David Cameron and Barack Obama could learn from Angela Merkel a few tips about dealing with Vladimir Putin.
Personally, I identified with Angela Merkel’s view on the European Commission that it has too much power which should be reduced and returned to national states. Surely, this is a big issue? Well it seems that EU power is not an election issue; it’s tucked away for after the election.
Most importantly, I compared Angela Merkel to David Cameron. In Germany voters trust Angela Merkel so much that they do not question about policies and issues. In the UK, of course, typically I sense that voters do not trust David Cameron’s leadership. In the UK they see a privileged, somewhat arrogant leader who is able to jump from crisis to crisis, regularly changing or reversing policies. Most importantly, Angela Merkel is a consensus leader, whereas David Cameron is more about “OK chaps tally ho!”
Let me turn this to an open question:
What lessons should European political leaders, especially those in the UK, learn from Angela Merkel?