Postcard from... Germany
Angela Merkel may be one of Germany's most popular post-war leaders, but yesterday she was recast as a giant three dimensional "mother pig" which was paraded through the streets of Cologne to the merriment of thousands of onlookers.
On top of a porcine female chancellor were lots of little piglets waving the flags of the eurozone's crisis-plagued states. It was a classic example of the kind of political humour which is wheeled out to order every year in the Catholic Rhine region during the days leading up to Lent.
Rio has its Mardi Gras and Venice its masks, but satirical floats are the highlight of carnival processions in the cities of Cologne, Düsseldorf and Mainz. This year's targets included the European Union's Nobel Peace Prize which was shown standing on crates bulging with weapons for export.
The rise of the far right was another issue: Germany's Interior Minister was shown squatting on a lavatory containing an exploding neo-Nazi bomb.
The business of lampooning authority began on the Rhine during the 19th century when Prussia was the occupying power. During carnival the locals donned mock blue Prussian army uniforms and wooden guns. The legend of Rhineland anti-authoritarianism was born.
But the myth was exploded a couple of years ago when researchers found photographs showing how Cologne residents delighted in demonising the Jews during carnival processions held under the Nazis. The unpalatable truth was documented in an exhibition.
- 1 Michael Douglas regrets 'embarrassing' Catherine Zeta-Jones with oral sex comments
- 2 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 3 Tunisian builder has been hailed a hero after knocking gunman to the ground with roof tiles
- 4 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 5 E.L James's #AskELJames Twitter Q&A didn't go exactly as planned
Kim Jong-un shows off airport designed by architect he likely had executed
Michael Douglas regrets 'embarrassing' Catherine Zeta-Jones with oral sex comments
Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
Dutch city of Utrecht to experiment with a universal, unconditional 'basic income'
German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
David Cameron struck double blow in his hopes to win Britain a new EU deal
Extend Right To Buy to tenants of private landlords, Labour's Jeremy Corbyn says
Pentagon accuses Russia of 'playing with fire' over nuclear threats towards Nato
£15000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The position will be home based...
£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are friendly, sociable, ...
£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This independent publishing and...