Global HotSpots, Global Pairings

Political Courage: Merkel Vs. Cameron

The German Chancellor takes the lead on fighting bigotry.

(WikiCommons)

Takeaways


  • In politics, doing the right thing should be done for its own sake, not for tactical reasons.
  • There is no place here for stirring up hatred and telling lies about people who have come to us from other countries.
  • Mr. Cameron has mustered a weak rejection, even uncomfortable accommodation, of Britain’s mounting xenophobia.

In politics, doing the right thing should be done for its own sake, not for tactical reasons.

At the start of the New Year, the world leader who deserves praise in this regard is German Chancellor Angela Merkel. In the face of rising anti-Islamic protests in her country – a Dresden hate rally on December 22, 2014 reached a record 17,500 people – she chose to condemn the protests directly in her New Year’s speech.

“There is no place here for stirring up hatred and telling lies about people who have come to us from other countries,” she said.

Merkel added that the protest leaders had “prejudice, coldness or even hatred in their hearts” and observed that their clever rhetoric masks an ugly message that “You don’t belong, because of the color of your skin, or your religion.”

A spokesperson for the Chancellor followed up this pronouncement with the following statement:

“In Germany, there is no place for stirring up hatred against believers, for propaganda against religions of any sort, no place for right-wing extremism, and no place for xenophobia. The entire German government is united in its condemnation of any such thing.”

Lest readers believe this was an easy course of action requiring little thought, consider that a new poll by Forsa for Stern magazine. It found that 13% of Germans would attend an anti-Muslim rally in their own community — and 29% believed the rallies were justified.

Cameron’s response

Contrast Ms. Merkel’s determination in the face of a rising tide of xenophobic hate with Prime Minister David Cameron’s positioning. All that he has mustered is a weak rejection, even uncomfortable accommodation, of Britain’s mounting xenophobia and anti-immigrant views in the political sphere and general population.

Mr. Cameron has cowered before the growing power of UKIP and his own party’s more distasteful right wing, as the anti-outside-world politicians in Britain have surged to victories in the EU elections and parliamentary by-elections.

Conclusion

Chancellor Merkel deserves praise for standing fast against political extremism, anti-immigrant activists and anti-Muslim sentiments. Other elected global leaders would do well to learn from her example in the New Year’s speech and actually lead on this issue in 2015.

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About Bill Humphrey

Bill Humphrey is a senior editor at The Globalist. [United States] (@BillHumphreyMA)

Responses to “Political Courage: Merkel Vs. Cameron”

Archived Comments.

  1. On January 3, 2015 at 6:07 pm cynic8 responded with... #

    The Islam ‘no go ‘ zones in England and France are rejecting of the laws of the land and imposing sharia which is not English or French or GERMAN!Those that oppose immigrants are addressing the rejection by immigrants to adopting the laws and values of those who have given asylum. Is Islam a ‘religion’ as we know it or is it a mandate to make the whole world Islam, the ‘umma’. Islam does not advocate tolerance, but demands conversion. read the Qur’an.

  2. On January 4, 2015 at 6:24 am capetonian1945 responded with... #

    Here’s my take on this – anybody applying for citizenship in a secular democracy should be obliged to sign a declaration making it very clear that the constitution supersedes any and all religious instructions. It should be made quite clear to asylum seekers and those already benefiting from the generosity of European nations that they will be deported back to their country of origin if found to be in contravention of the same hard won values!