Levelling up: don’t copy the Germans

‘Germany has succeeded in levelling up where we have not,’ Boris Johnson claimed back in July last year, when talk of pork pie putsches lay far off in the future. But as the government unveils its levelling up plans today, the promise of a German-style investment package is unlikely to materialise. And that’s probably a good thing. Germany’s economic and social reunification is not the miracle it is claimed to be. In many ways, East Germany and the left-behind regions of Britain have similar economic problems, if for different reasons. When the Berlin wall fell in 1989, East Germany’s largely nationalised economy was sold-out to private investors at breakneck speed.