Different future

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The British establishment will lay on a full court-press to welcome Angela Merkel: tea with the Queen, address to both Houses and, it is rumoured, membership of the R & A.

The German Chancellor endeared herself to many by tartly noting that Europe has 8 per cent of the world’s population and 25 per cent of its GDP but 50 per cent of its welfare spending.

And historian Niall Ferguson struck a chord when he claimed if we had kept out of the First World War we would have faced a Europe run by the likes of Frau Merkel rather than Herr Hitler.

Both nations could certainly learn from each other, with Germany shopping harder and saving less and the UK being more cautious financially and less obsessed with housing.

With the Celtic north getting ready to move off into some Brigadoon twilight, the Anglo-Saxons could do worse than snuggle a little closer to their Continental Saxon kin.

(Dr) John Cameron

Howard Place

St Andrews