Is Germany really such a role model?

The British romance with Germany has always been an on-off affair. At the turn of the century, Kaiser Bill enjoyed brief popularity, based on dynastic ties, until his bombastic militarism set Germany on a path to war. Thirty years on, as Tim Bouverie reminds us in his book Appeasing Hitler, many in the English ruling class favoured Nazi Germany over revanchist France. After the war, Rhenish capitalism, Germany’s social contract between management and labour, appeared to offer a soothing alternative to strike-torn Britain. Then Mrs Thatcher arrived with stiffer medicine. John Kampfner’s Why the Germans Do It Better is a beguiling title because the British have undoubtedly hit a bad

Why Boris Johnson’s ‘New Deal’ won’t save us

John Maynard Keynes looks down and smiles, recalling his own perhaps too-often quoted remark that ‘when the facts change, I change my mind’. Boris Johnson’s £5 billion ‘New Deal’ of school and hospital projects to stimulate the pandemic-torn economy is pure Keynes, as well as a conscious reference to Franklin Roosevelt. And like the totality of the Treasury response to Covid, it represents a 180-degree change of mind from the modern Conservative belief in squashing state spending while letting the private sector drive. But in dire circumstances, most commentators accept it’s right to park ideology and try anything that looks like it might work. And for a while — I’d