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EXCLUSIVE: Nick congratulates Guido Westerwelle

September 30th, 2009 Posted in EU Politics, UK Politics by

nicks-letter-to-fdp1Following Liberal Vision’s celebration of the rise to power of the German liberals, Nick Clegg has now written to congratulate their leader Guido Westerwelle following the superb performance of  the Free Democrats in last weekend’s election.

It’s not on Nick’s or the party’s website yet, as far as I can see.

And the “latest news” from Nick’s constituency website is that – about six weeks ago –  he wrote to congratulate someone called Jessica Ennis, who apparently won the heptahlon at an athletics event in Berlin in the Summer. It appears that she went to school in Sheffield Hallam. You can read his letter to Ms. Ennis here.

His letter to Guido Westerwelle – dated yesterday –  is available in full here. My GCSE German is a little rusty – but I’m guessing it’s all pretty damned positive stuff.

11 Responses to “EXCLUSIVE: Nick congratulates Guido Westerwelle”

  1. Richard Says:

    Perhaps now Clegg will adopt some FDP policies? Must be uncomfortable being allies with a group that has more in common with the Tories…

  2. Mark Littlewood Says:

    Hmmm…I bet the British Tories adore the FDP’s staunch support of a federal Europe, the single currency and proportional representation…

  3. Frank H Little Says:

    Well, he’s praising them for their liberalism, not their “economic liberalism”, so those of us in the party with a social conscience should perhaps not worry too much.

  4. Mark Littlewood Says:

    @Frank, thanks for the translation. I wonder if you can tell me…Does Nick seem happy that they’ve done well? Can one adduce that if Nick was a German voter, he would have enthusiastically voted FDP? Or does he give the impression that he is closer to the CDU or SPD?

  5. Julian H Says:

    I do love this idea that having a “social conscience” means supporting coercive responses to everything.

  6. Philip Walker Says:

    Mark: there’s not a lot in it, from what I can make out. My GCSE German is also rather rusty, but combining what I can dredge up with what can be found by aid of an online dictionary, I reckon it goes a-little a-like a-this:

    Dear Guido,

    In the name of your British friends and colleagues in the Liberal Democrats, I wish you and the whole FDP hearty congratulations on your outstanding success in the Bundestag elections.

    In these times of international financial and economic crisis which pose to us which pose great and grave challenges, a strong, liberal force is as important as ever. Therefore, the best result of the FDP since the foundation of the Bundesrepublik is also a fantastic result for liberalism in all of Europe.

    Today we wish you and your colleagues successful coalition talks and a clear, liberal voice in government.

    With our best wishes for a successful future for you, Guido, and the FDP, I remain cordially [yours],

    Nick Clegg MP

    [Any errors in translation are mine, obviously. Some of the clunkier sentences are ‘for gist only’!]

  7. David Heigham Says:

    Wish we could look forward to a clear liberal voice in government ( I envy Nick’s German). However, neither the Tory nor the Labour leadership – both at least as far right as Angela Merkel – are partners to be trusted.

  8. Richard Says:

    “Hmmm…I bet the British Tories adore the FDP’s staunch support of a federal Europe, the single currency and proportional representation…”

    Well as long as they don’t want to force those things on Britain it shouldn’t be a problem! I must say it’s surprising to see a libertarianish party being so pro-EU.

  9. Mark Littlewood Says:

    @Richard. I think it was totally okay for the EU to (practically) demand that the British MEPs were elected by PR rather than by, say, first-past-the-post or trial by ordeal…or whatever weird system we’d dreamt up for ourselves.

    Because we were sending MEPs to the European Parliament on the indefensible FPTP system (certainly indefensible for Euro elections), we were distorting the make-up of the Parliament.

    I’m glad we were obliged to adopt a proportional system. I’m sad that our own nationally sovereign government decided to pick about the worst system of PR known to humanity. But that’s Her Majesty’s Government for you…

  10. Niklas Smith Says:

    @David Heigham: Angela Merkel “far right”?!?!

    I honestly don’t know how to respond to that. Surely as Chancellor she has consistently opted for compromises with the Social Democrats? Hasn’t she increased state pensions and vocally criticised the failings of free financial markets? Hasn’t she bailed out Opel, making a socialist/nationalist conditition that no German jobs are to be cut (but other fellow Europeans can happily go on the dole)?

    As for the FDP, it won 13% of the working-class vote, only a tad less than its 15% total share – perhaps not evidence of a rabid class-war party? It’s worth remembering that the FDP was founded by a merger of both social liberals and pro-business liberals from two Weimar Republic parties. They are probably more economically liberal than the Liberal Democrats, but the gulf is hardly huge. They certainly share our defence of civil liberties: the FDP justice minister resigned in 1996 in protest against a decision to allow eavesdropping.

    But on the subject of whether we could govern with either Labour or the Tories, I find myself agreeing that it is difficult to trust either party at the moment – I find both much more objectionable than Angela Merkel. If David Cameron becomes PM leading a minority government I think the best solution would be to let him become a Stephen Harper-style PM, governing without a coalition but finding support from other parties from issue to issue. Anything that gives Vince Cable more influence over fiscal and economic policy and George Osborne less is a good thing 😉

  11. Niklas Smith Says:

    P.S. The Stephen Harper link is wrong for some reason, here is the correct one:

    P.P.S. I agree with commenters above that Nick’s German is enviable (I too did GCSE, though being bilingual in Swedish does make German a bit easier to understand).