Mind the gap

Written By: Andrew Rosthorn
Published: January 1, 2017 Last modified: January 1, 2017

Theresa May, New Year Message 2017:

We all want a country that is fairer so that everyone has the chance to succeed. We all want a nation that is safe and secure for our children and grandchildren. These ambitions unite us, so that we are no longer the 52% who voted leave and the 48% who voted remain, but one great union of people and nations with a proud history and a bright future. So when I sit around the negotiating table in Europe this year, it will be with that in mind – the knowledge that I am there to get the right deal not just for those who voted to leave, but for every single person in this country.

Angela Merkel, New Year Message 2017:

Yes, Europe is slow. Yes, it is hard work. It has to suffer deep incisions, such as the departure of a member state. And yes, Europe should concentrate on what it can really do better than the nation-states on their owm.

But we Germans should never let ourselves pretend that a happy future could ever lie in going it alone as a nation.

Where Europe is challenged as a whole – such as in global competition, the protection of our external borders, or migration – it must also find the answer as a whole – regardless of how arduous and tough that is. And we Germans have every interest in playing a leading role.

It’s also a caricature that many paint of our parliamentary democracy. But in fact parliamentary democracy is strong. It enables people to work together and to have a say. It tolerates – no, it requires – dissent and criticism. Criticism that is peaceful and has respect for individuals, that seeks solutions and compromises and does not exclude whole groups.

Winston Churchill, Saturday Evening Post, 1930

Everywhere, in every age, in every area however wide, our every grouping of peoples however diverse, unity has made for strength and prosperity for all within its circle. Why should Europe fear unity?


The worst thing you can possibly do in a deal is seem desperate to make it. That makes the other guy smell blood, and then you’re dead.

Donald J. Trump witb Tony Schwartz 1987.