AND MERKEL…..? |
A woman with a tendency to annoy
But is she really the monster that most Europeans associate with their social maladies? Not at all. Angela Merkel protects her private life with great skill and perhaps some would say she had none anyway which is probably the case judging by the enormous number of hours she spends in committee sessions and public duties. She has the honour of being the first woman Chancellor to lead Germany and whilst her career is not as short as some others who have reached the Presidency, she is young by comparison and a passionate believer in a fair play that would have made it difficult for her to get there. Her camp commander image as portrayed by the Mediterranean countries could not be further from the truth and those who know her well, are always enthused about seeing her back to their private gatherings.
Angela Merkel is a romantic brought up in childhood dreams of fairytales and sleeping princesses. At heart she would love to be one of those woken up by that unexpected gleam of affection from someone who really cares for her as she is and not for what she has. Whilst many would say that this is the same for most people, this stalwart of serene leadership unperturbed, but only externally, is extremely sensitive to the personal approach from those who need to contact here. Her relationships with most of her European partners are very close and this usually means most of her day. Unflagging and conscientious and wary of being too automatic in her responses due to tiredness or exasperation, she goes through her future meetings and potential conversations with minute attention to retaining her composure and sense of consideration. This is an aspect that the public does not see, but her early life training in a religious household, proud of its heritage and anxious to be good citizens left its mark. It is often forgotten that this was also despite the incredibly dangerous political and ideological environment of the wrong side of the Berlin Wall. She was so struck by the end results of that obscure and badly managed economy that she concluded that only sizeable reforms could restore a competitive balance necessary for growth in ailing or state orientated economies. It is this life experience that has shaped her regard for the small and medium sized enterprises as essential, economic and political factors in strong economies. Angela Merkel could have been the monster so unfairly portrayed but the undeniable fact is that like all father doting daughters brought up with strict silent affection, her sense of duty camouflages the emotional and perhaps grief laden fears that she most likely fights hard to reject in her heart. Southern Europeans see her in the light of a bossy woman with a whiplash attitude designed to show that only Germany is right and the poor Latin countries predictably and eternally doing things wrongly. If something that can be said about her insight, it is that personality and geography means little to her, but that she is a martinet for efficiency and doing things properly. This may be classified as Germanic but it is not in fact and many Northern European States think similarly merely because of high levels of ethical training which hot climates appear not to encourage. Theft is theft and waste is waste – and thereby hangs the slight edge of that coldness that some, but not all, people see in her.
Angela Merkel knows what it is to fight against the very tides that battle against you in social political warfare. It would frighten most, but not Chancellor Merkel. She unusually enjoys her role and is very conscious of the enormous support she enjoys in her own country. Where perhaps many European leaders fail with her, is by their ambiguous, bigoted approaches that attempt to use her to fulfill needs best taken care of by self discipline. She can also see the person behind it and understands the political need even if she is not prepared to side with it all the time. Her personality and all seeing eyes are often clouded with strong affection by those leaders who get through to her and her moments with Zarkosy were a delight to watch, but then perhaps we should not forget that the origins of both were from the same side of the Berlin fence. Her eyes give her away sometimes when she thinks the cameras are not within striking distance perhaps although one would suspect that she cares little about the sort of gossip based on irrelevant sources. The edges of her mouth reveal the delight and amusement some situations provide her with and the occasional corner of her eye delight at the sight of the smart, spruce, clean shaven Cameron betray her real self. However, at heart, she is shy and perhaps to some extent the attempt to overcome it often clouds the image of the very tender person she is. Given that, perhaps there is much to her past life that many would love to know about, to be able to make up their minds as to why she is the way she is.
Merkel is a natural leader and unlike some other female Presidents there is a suave approach to public encounters that comes naturally including that sense of protocol that makes her so assured that it offends the overly sensitive Latin prone to imagining that the whole Saxon world looks down on them. It is true that the Protestant culture is ultra wary of the happy go lucky attitudes that lead to disrespect for life and social welfare but then she is of Lutheran build and this is perhaps even more rigorous in its presentation of commitment. However having said that, Germany has always been well disposed towards Spanish culture however much it does not allow itself to be influenced unduly, but will not tolerate hypocrisy or even cynicism which is often encouraged in the Latin Press by those who assume they are better equipped to understand the realities of life. For Merkel, who once put her finger and tongue up at the quips of the inimitable Bush Jnr for one of his playful remarks about the old world, her country and its needs do play an important part in her rescue missions, but not all the way as she has shown on most occasions. Whereas Germany has looked to her for European leadership, she has all too often upset her own fellow citizens by being soft on those member states that she knows are riding roughshod unknowingly into dangerous waters. She has also been the instrument a softer approach to the resolution of the problems of the many ailing countries of Europe who appear in any case not to understand the nature of economics and rules of the game. Whilst in the initial stages, the first member of the so called Troika may have had doubts about the willingness to change and adapt to the set European standards, on the part of countries like Spain and Greece, once converted, her behaviour lent support to the efforts of all to help them back on their feet again.
The German Chancellor is led by ethics and not in any way the robot she is made out to be by those who always look for the easy way out of every situation. She knows this is not the case, but understands the need to impress others that Europe is not a free for all or a party for some, but an attempt to get a new nation together that can heal the memory of the cruel past. Her best friends – and she has quite a few – see the real motherly figure and perhaps wonder how such a sensitive and compassionate person can be so stoical when the world around her appears to be caving in. But then perhaps the back to the wall situation is what made her what she is and lent credence to her success.
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