Friday, 28 April 2017


Angela Merkel has once again waded into the Brexit business with what she imagines are hope-dashing remarks designed to wound, to intimidate, to threaten and generally to weaken Britain’s resolve to leave the EU. All around her, the fawning sycophants, the unter-nations, simper and occasionally click their heels together, reflexively muttering ‘Mein F├╝hrer’ as they feel they must; the instincts of the Teutons and their quislings are never far from the surface. Did you hear about the new German-Chinese restaurant? The food is great, but an hour later, you're hungry for power.

Anyway, Frau Merkel is no stranger to holding power over others. As a leading light in the Free German Youth, the junior wing of East Germany’s ruling Socialist Unity Party a young Angela Kasner quickly grew to learn what it felt like to be in charge. In those straitened times, back during the cold war, rationing was a fact of daily life and only the party faithful were guaranteed easy access to education, the arts and even sausages.

One cold morning in the party canteen the absence of sausages for breakfast caused some consternation and so Angela rallied her cohort to scour the town for the emblematic meat stuff of the glorious German Democratic Republic. In pairs they toured the butcher’s shops in search of snorkers. To her annoyance, Angela’s party found a disgracefully locked door at one shop and hammered on it with her fists, demanding the owner come out. “Go away!” came a voice from the other side as a sleep-worn face appeared at the window. Angela, undeterred, thrust her party membership card at the face.

A moment later the door opened and a suitably shamefaced butcher allowed them access. “You are allowed two sausages each” he said, at which Angela set her face and asked “Do you realise who you are talking to?” The man slumped, opened up his cold store and watched in misery as the youngsters took as many as they wanted. As they left Angela said “Thank you, comrade, the party will reimburse you directly.” They both knew this was a lie.

Next, eggs. Once again the raiding party set out and found a grocer’s store just opening for the day. Under the threadbare awning a few boxes, meagrely stocked with wilting cabbages and flaccid turnips bespoke hard times. “We want a dozen eggs!” demanded the troop at which the shopkeeper protested he had but four and indicated said number nestled in a large straw-lined box. Once again, out came the card and out came the hoarded eggs. Breakfast was looking more assured by the minute.

“But wait,” said a young acolyte as they were headed back to barracks, “have we milk for our coffee?” They turned and strode out to the edge of town where the dairy farm was situated. The farmer was repairing a fence, his rosy wind-battered cheeks glowing in the brisk morning air. “Good morning, comrade” Angela declared, we have come for milk. With that she opened the gate to the farmer’s protestation “You can’t go in there!” he yelled. “Oh no?” said Angela “do you see this card?” The card was waved in his face at which the farmer gave in, shrugged and waved her on.

A few minutes later a scream was heard, along with a blood-curdling bellow. In the middle of the field a frantic Angela was running as fast as her legs would carry her, closely pursued by a large, angry bull. The other cadets gasped and froze in fright and impotence, but the farmer ran over to the fence and waved his arms to attract her attention. Then he cupped his hand to his mouth and yelled “Your card! Show him your card!”