I haven’t been wildly impressed by how Angela Merkel has handled the eurozone crisis, but this speech to the German people shows why (for my money) she’s easily the most impressive political leader in Europe, if not the world, right now. At a time when too many UK politicians have been pandering to extreme tendencies in a craven attempt to win votes on the back of a non-existent immigration issue, it is refreshing to see a leader actually face down racism and bigotry and honestly tell her fellow citizens that they are lucky to live in a successful country that less fortunate people want to come to.
“Today many people are again shouting on Mondays: ‘We are the people’. But in fact they mean: ‘You do not belong – because of the colour of your skin or your religion’.”
“I say to all those who go to such demonstrations: do not follow those who have called the rallies because all too often they have prejudice, coldness, even hatred in their hearts.”