Dick of the year: Angela Merkel
This is a nomination for the Bright Green #dick2010 award, from Paris Gourtsoyannis
I confess that I have a soft spot for Angela Merkel. She reminds me a lot of Madeleine Albright: an irrepressible, grandmotherly figure willing to mix it up in male-dominated world of statecraft, with a fantastic back-story to boot.
Nonetheless, Merkel wins her nomination for her inability to open her mouth in 2010 without driving one of Europe’s smaller economies to the wall. In an effort to curry favour with angry, spendthrift voters with a dash of xenophobia, she clearly felt the need to dish out some tough love to those suffering sovereign debt issues in the Eurozone. We know who they are; there’s no need to use any demeaning porcine abbreviations, especially since it’s clear what unifies those on the receiving end of Merkel’s Teutonic discipline – they’re brown.
Never mind that Europe’s Anglo-Saxon states have treated their credit with the same level of disregard; Moody’s doesn’t pick off one of its own. Cast aside that many of these so-called ‘peripheral economies’ (racial code if ever I heard it) have only recently emerged from dictatorship, with under-developed social, governmental and financial institutions and traditions. Ignore even the fact that Germany owes its economic might to the hundreds of thousands of Gastarbeiter from the dusky south of Europe that were essential in its postwar ‘economic miracle’.
She’s been so good at driving up Greek and Portuguese bond yields with a single soundbite that she’s even been rapped on the knuckles by that most buxom of freemarket cheerleaders, the Economist. So next time you’re visiting the Acropolis or the Coliseum, take note of that dull, rumbling noise – it’s the sound of Edward Said spinning in his grave. Orientalism is alive and well, and the Iron Frau just can’t get enough.