This beginners guide to being a German politician draws from the legacy of Bismarck in 1871 to Merkel in 2015 with star turns by the Kaiser and Hitler in between and a cameo by Willy Brandt in the late 1960’s.
There are only five very simple rules:
1. Make a very bad decision that undermines your country and Europe and sometimes the world;
2. Stick rigidly to this decision despite overwhelming evidence of its disastrous consequences (this is known as “Teutonic Arrogance Regression Syndrome” in psychiatric circles and is a cyclical dormant condition that can never be fully cured and re-appears now and again despite everyones best efforts but always looks a little different – a little bit like herpes);
3. Fail spectacularly in what you were trying to achieve and destroy your country in the process and a few neighbouring ones too;
4. Perform a huge u-turn, mumble something about “orders” or “best intentions” or that “you were on holidays at the time you did not do it” or better still blame someone else for the decision and patch up your error with money, hand-wringing and sincere promises that you will not do it again;