Sitting in the shade with a hundred other Bavarians and visitors outside the Nurnburger Bratwurstglockl in the heart of Munich, enjoying helles bier in 30 deg heat, a pile of bratwurst and street entertainment in equal measure, it is hard not to see the world as idyllic and lfe rich and fulfilling. Any untraveled Brits who think of Germans as cold and humourless have never met any Bavarians. The entire Altsdadt (city centre) is an exercise in how to make a largely intact medieval street warren into a sprawling human-friendly popular venue. A personal tragedy for me is that my home city of Edinburgh, although twinned with Munich for the last 50 years, seems to have learned nothing in this regard. Coming here, it took the X100 Airport “Express” bus 15 minutes to clear Waverley Bridge.
In my half-dozen conversations with locals so far, nobody seems to know or care who Boris Johnson or even who Theresa May is. But they do know about Brexit. Amd there is a common theme—somewhere between disappointment and anger. The disappointment comes from the Germans feeling that, apart from the French (when it suits them), the only allies they have in the EU against the profligacy of the PIGS are sensible northerners like Holland and Sweden—and until recently, Britain.Rather than us taking our train set home in the huff, they would rather we had joined with them to pick up dissolute southerners and Brussels bureaucrats by the lapels and made the made the EU better.
What this means for the long term is anyone’s guess, but the chance that even the Germans are likely to allow the pick ‘n’ mix of May’s White Paper to get very far (assuming the Jacob Rees-Muggers don’t already assure it is still-born at Westminster) is slim to the point of vanishing to zero.
Which effectively means a hard Brexit with no deal. This may be raw meat to May’s boisterous back benches, nobody here in Germany seems happy with such an outcome. They are fully aware that AIrBus Siemens and a boatloads of car/components manufacturers will lose money, business and momentum. But the Germans are sticklers for doing things right. They will deal with ‘no deal’ with the same calm efficiency that made them world-class manufacturers and rebuilt shattered cities to a standard we can only envy.
And take no comfort from the Brexiteers bluster that “The EU sells more to the UK than we sell to them”. Look at it in proportion to the 60m Brit, compared to five times that number in the EU and you realise they have the clout to find other markets easier than the UK will.
So I am here, enjoying my beer and wurst while I can still afford them, Once the Little Emglander tail has finished wagging the Conservative dog, they will eventually be proved right about an influx of foreigners, But these will be affluent EU citizens with Euros to burn in the low-budget third-world island just 30 km offshore.