It is never a good idea to be the shortest guy in the class. Being small is a big disadvantage unless you can attract a strong protector, and strong protectors are always in short supply, and they are seldom the brightest ones in the class.
Shorter guys are often subjected to bullying which is still a favourite pastime of many “large” European politicians.
Even though Finnish schools are pleased to see a major eradication of bullying in schools, bullying is far from being removed from the centre of power in the European Union and in other big countries like Trumpland.
The four Nordic countries have often kept their heads down in the EU because France, the UK, and Germany have almost always wanted to decide what happens next in the EU.
It is probable that none of the leaders of these big countries ever regard themselves as being bullies. They are just the leaders of the biggest and richest countries and that means, in their eyes that they are, by default the chosen leaders of Europe.
This reaction comes naturally to these big countries – they have always pushed themselves to their thrones with colonial-like policies for the last 200 years and longer – from greedy Kings, to despot crooks, to cruel dictators and more recently to elected Presidents, who pardon their mafia mates!
But back to today’s Europe pressing problems…
The key to keep some degree of power balance for the Nordics is to form Nordic blocks with assistance from like-minded Netherlands and Austria. That has been difficult because political agendas can be displaced by populist parties or domestic imperatives.
This group, which fluctuates in membership over months and years, has aligned itself with Germany, with whom they all have good working relationship in trade, in services, and in culture. Because we are geographically so near it is obvious that we now have many cultural similarities of which law-abiding orderliness is one key aspect.
We all expected that Ms. Merkel to last for ever! Mutter is an easy figure to sell to the electorate and with so many engineers and a long tradition to treat German, rather than French, as the next most important language after Finnish, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Dutch, Flemish, Österreichisches Hochdeutsch, and English.
But she is about to leave so we are now faced with the Germans making a choice between Friedrich Merz, Armin Laschet, Norbert Röttgen, Jens Spahn or Markus Söder. You will note that all are men in suits with silk ties.
Here is a line-up to help German voters to make the next momentous decision:
Friedrich Merz – (born 1955) A lawyer who was Chairman of BlackRock Germany. He is selling Germany’s budget surplus as a big tax refund for voters. Most of us know by now that tax cuts do not bring productivity to production and only put more cash in the pockets of the wealthy like him so they can “give” a tiny fraction to charity while sitting on their yacht off the coast in some warm haven… a CDU man.
Armin Laschet – (born 1961) he is described as a moderate CDU politician… whatever that means. He is a lawyer, President of North Rhine-Westphalia, a practicing catholic, objects to same sex marriages, nickname “Turkish Armin”, has supported Merkel on immigration policy, been a journalist and a CEO of a catholic publishing house, as well as being mostly a politician. Probably a nicer guy than Mr. Merz… a CDU man.
Norbert Röttgen – a younger lawyer (born 1965) was Armin Laschet’s predecessor as President of North Rhine-Westphalia. He has served time at KfW, Germany’s state development bank – a really big global player. He has also been super active on Climate Change for many years and much more assertive to condemning Russia. In 2015, he called for a review of the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline, saying it was a “highly-political subject which carried the risk of splitting Europe” and may “contradict the aims of the agreed European energy policy.” More international, and perhaps, a little more human in outlook than the other two above… a CDU man.
Jens Spahn – (born 1980) a complicated person who is a mix and not of the above… he is a gay catholic Minister of Health who objected to Merkel’s immigration policy because it put too much emphasis on humanity(!) – definitely the youngest candidate, who is almost a lawyer, almost a banker, almost the youngest MP, almost Merkel’s successor in 2015, as CDU leader but lost against Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer. Following her decision to resign in February 2020, he announced that he would not run for the party’s leadership but instead endorse candidate Armin Laschet, but this enigmatic figure might be changing his mind…
Markus Söder – (born 1967) is a German politician serving as President of Bavaria since 2018 and Leader of the Christian Social Union in Bavaria (CSU) since 2019. He is a lawyer whose PhD dealt with the important questions relating to “The development of municipal legislation in Bavaria on the right bank of the Rhine between 1802 and 1818.” He has got involved in solving local banking problems and dealing with naughty VW who were caught, like the rest of German car manufacturers, colluding to falsify emission data. He has also sharply criticised Merkel’s migrant policies. A typical Bavarian who probably enjoys beer, pork meat and lederhosen to the fullest…
Who would you vote for because us Nordics definitely want somebody who is smarter than the rest… our future depends on the right direction of Europe which cannot be dominated by short-term national or regional politics.