Wednesday, August 10, 2011

How we are seen abroad

Here is the Berliner Zeitung,
"The country has lost faith in every authority: the banks, politicians, the media, the police. The corruption has reached even the smallest unit -- the family. There is a generation growing up without values of any kind."
"Even when the fires are quelled and the streets are cleaned, the deeper problems will remain. Britain must have a debate over its values. They actually need someone like [controversial German anti-immigration author] Thilo Sarrazin who speaks the uncomfortable truths. Perhaps David Cameron, the super-rich prime minister with the baroness wife, who now has to lead Britain through hard times, would be a good person to do some plain talking. But everything will probably remain the same. The Brits will fall back into their standard stoic mentality. 'Keep Calm and Carry On.' Until the next riot."
Amused by the Blitz reference.

The Financial Times Deutschland writes:

"British Prime Minister David Cameron called the excesses 'criminality pure and simple.' … But his statements are too simple. And they distract from what lies behind the overwhelming violence: the frustration over the British elite."

"The British elite has systematically compromised itself in recent years. They claimed to be a role model, or at least trustworthy. In the economic crisis the financial establishment declared bankruptcy, and British politicians became mired in the expenses scandal of 2009. Then this year the media and politicians have been damaged by the Murdoch scandal. When the country's elites don't take the law seriously, why should we? No question is more dangerous for a society."
While the Süddeutsche Zeitung has a different take,

"Behind the glittering facade that Britain presents, so much pent-up irritation, resentment and anger has built up that all it took was a spark to trigger an explosion."

"It is no coincidence that intelligent observers are drawing parallels between the popular uprisings taking place in the Arab spring and the street battles of this London summer. The British teens, with their hooded tops may be the citizens of a functioning democracy which is proud of being the world's oldest. But elections mean nothing to them and will not do anything to change their personal situation. The prospects of these youth in London are as dismal as those of young people in Cairo or Sana'a: They need unemployment benefits, odd jobs, state handouts and perhaps a bit of petty crime to stay afloat. The message to the British underclass couldn't be any clearer: Born poor, you will remain poor and that naturally also applies to your children and grandchildren. Your chances of winning the lottery are greater than breaking out of your class."

"In no other country in Europe is inequality as cemented in society as in the United Kingdom. Today, as in the past, a person's name, family and place of birth is decisive when it comes to establishing a career. Regardless whether a person is a politician, executive or journalist, they all went to the same schools, studied the same subjects and speak the same refined English they were taught by their parents."
Whilst there is some truth in these caricatures, they are extremely reminicent of the views of the German media in the late 30s.

1 comment:

Roger Mellie said...

"Regardless whether a person is a politician... [they] speak the same refined English they were taught by their parents"

Obviously John Prescott has passed them by...