Thu. May 19th, 2022

Rory Stewart makes some good, if known, points about the shortcomings of Boris Johnson and the public’s (media-induced) view “that politics is a game” (OpinionFT Weekend, January 22).

However, by praising Angela Merkel uncritically, he undermines his support for “seriousness, respect, critical thinking”, or at least his conviction that they will surely deliver the right result.

What about the former German chancellor’s hasty response to the Fukushima nuclear disaster, or to the 2015 migrant crisis? We make it (we can get it right) barely came down to a policy. And before that, Germany was a key player in the deplorable EU response to the financial crisis, with its undermining of the democratically elected governments of Italy and Greece and its failure to support a rational economic policy for the sovereign debt crisis.

One can also point to Germany’s long-term failure to improve its use of technology, to devise a realistic response to climate change, or to formulate a coherent response to the threats posed by Russia and China. Merkel’s extraordinary reputation (“Mutti” and all that) is an excellent example of the dangerous power of mitigation.

Andrew Anderson
Edinburgh, United Kingdom

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