The Sunday Telegraph - Sunday
Remainers who idolise Germany are living in cloud cuckoo land
ought to have been a grim joke. And yet, riding the wave of fanatical continentalism among Remainers that followed Brexit, it was not.
Kampfner singles out for praise Deutschland’s policies on immigration, climate change, culture, and, laughably, the handling of Covid, foreign policy and even “history”. It was hailed as “excellent and provocative”, “passionate” and “timely” by the great and the good.
Timely – if you ignore Germany’s policy of appeasement of Russia, which was to backfire less than a year after the book came out with the invasion of Ukraine. Timely if you ignore the fact that 63 per cent of Germans under 40 don’t know that six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust. And timely if you ignore the insane decision to close all nuclear power stations amid an energy crisis.
It’s also a less “grown-up” country even than Britain when you consider the utterly parlous state of its rail network, one of the hallmarks of a well-run country. When I lived in Berlin in 2014, long-distance trains were already shocking and Deutsche Bahn customers were utterly fed up. Last week, dependent on an ICE train from Cologne to Brussels to catch a Eurostar back home, I found that nothing had changed. I suspected I would miss my Eurostar, since a delay of more than 40 mins in Germany would be fatal – and I did. The conductors were kept in the dark about the cause of several delays, which saw me over an hour late. The system is so broken – DB currently has its lowest-ever punctuality rates – train staff don’t even understand why they’re sat in a field.
A suggested and more “timely” update to Kampfner’s book?