Why David Cameron Should Be Dating Angela Merkel
Posted by jonathanfryer on Sunday, 23rd August, 2009
According to Forbes Magazine, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel has risen significantly up the charts of the most powerful women in the world. Actually, one doesn’t really need an American publication to tell us that: here in Europe it is bleeding obvious. At least, one would have thought so. But apparently that is not the case for the UK Conservative leader, David Cameron, who recently cold-shouldered Frau Merkel and her Christian Democrat party by getting into bed with some pretty distasteful Eastern European fringe politicians in the European Parliament. He may well live to regret this move, as like Mrs Thatcher when she was in office, Angela Merkel keeps a close eye on who is ‘one of us’ and who is not. Moreover, despite being dismissed as a frowsty East German technocrat when she first entered post-reunification German politics, Frau Merkel can be steely when she wants. She certainly knew when to stick the knife into her former leader Helmut Kohl when the time was ripe.
David Cameron’s crass misjudgement of where his party’s best interests lie, in terms of European alignments, could unfortunately have serious repercussions for Britain. Angela Merkel is no longer just the apparent ‘token woman’ in photo line-ups of EU or G8 leaders. She positively oozes authority and competence, in contrast to counterparts such as the superannuated Italian Lothario Silvio Berlusconi or the flash Frenchman Nicolas Sarkozy. Those two men do nonetheless have the nous to keep close to her politically, as any sensible British Conservative leader should have done. If the Irish approve the Lisbon Treaty in their second referendum this autumn, as seems highly likely, it will be Frau Merkel who will be seen to be then pushing the European project forward, even if technically the Swedes are occupying the presidential seat.
If David Cameron becomes Prime Minister next year (and increasingly I believe it is ‘if’, not ‘when’), far from automatically being one of the Big Four political beasts at the heart of Europe, he will look very much out on a limb — which reflects current Tory policy towards the EU, of course. This is bound to weaken Britain’s role in European decision-making. Cameron will also stand out for his blatant inexperience, which has already been made painfully obvious, by his politically snubbing Anglea Merkel instead of dating her.