Postcard from... Berlin


Click to follow
The Independent Online


Angela Merkel is sometimes compared to the departed Margaret Thatcher, but it would be difficult to imagine the “Iron Lady” indulging in similar electioneering antics. Germany’s first woman leader was doing a bit of discreet campaigning last week, ahead of the country’s September general election.

The venue was Berlin’s Maxim Gorki Theatre, where she appeared before an almost exclusively female and reverential audience to answer softball questions lobbed at her by the editor of  the popular women’s magazine, Brigitte. We now know that Angela thinks that “beautiful eyes” are what make men attractive, that men are better at chopping wood and have deeper voices than women.

We have also been let in on the secret that she manages to forget that she is Chancellor when she cooks her husband’s supper. Insights like these probably do a lot to counteract the impression, held in much of southern Europe, that Angela Merkel, is a sort of latter-day Hitler who is bent on imposing Germany’s iron will on the rest of the continent. They also do a lot for Brigitte. Thanks to a court seat lottery, the magazine recently secured media accreditation for a major neo-Nazi trial which begins next week.

However the lottery outcome brought widespread accusations that Brigitte was too shallow a publication to warrant a press pass for such a serious court case. But now Brigitte has the last laugh: it can now boast that a magazine which secures an exclusive audience with Germany’s first female boss  for its readers can hardly be considered shallow.