It’s been quite a week for relations between the UK and Germany. On Tuesday there was a certain football match at Wembley, where – in case you missed it – England prevailed by two goals to nil to advance to the quarter-finals of the Euros.
The next evening, BBC One delayed the News at Ten so the nation could see its tennis hero, Andy Murray, beating his second-round Wimbledon opponent, a German, in the fifth set. And Friday sees Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany for the past 16 years and the doyenne of European politics, visiting Boris Johnson at Chequers, where one topic of discussion is expected to be Merkel’s plan for the EU to quarantine anyone travelling to the Continent from these isles.
It has to be said that it is not that often that Germany – as Germany, rather than as a leading light of the EU – features in the UK news; and, when it does, the pretext is as likely to be football as anything else. This scarcity value may be one reason why such occasions bring forth a crop of agonising on the state of bilateral relations from a rather small coterie of Britons – of whom I am one – with first-hand experience of, and affection, for that country.
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