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The British are deluded about Germany's fear of a no-deal Brexit
Last month Ola Kaellenius, the new chief executive of Daimler AG, had a discreet meeting with German chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.

The two had a lot to talk about and their the meeting, scheduled for 40 minutes, ran on for more than an hour. Yet those present say one issue didn't even cross their lips: Brexit.

After the June 2016 vote, Merkel insisted on political carte blanche in looming talks and warned German industry not to harass her with special pleading over their UK business. Managers agreed and, three years on, that agreement has held.

Yet a competing narrative has stabilised itself during the same period in Brexit Britain: that Berlin will yield to its powerful car lobby to avoid a no-deal departure and, if necessary, Germany will sell the Irish down the river to keep the British market open for Daimler, VW and BMW.

Anything may happen between now and October 31st. But there have been no signs so far from Berlin - on or off the record - that the British narrative will come to pass.



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Aug 10th, 2019 at 11:30:47 AM EST
The idea that the German car industry would gang up on the chancellor to shore up a 20 per cent stake of their dwindling EU market is wishful thinking. That such thinking refuses to go away is an indication of British self-delusion. That such British self-delusion has penetrated many Irish minds - on Brexit and beyond - tells a story all its own.

Our shared language makes it almost impossible to escape the framing, messaging and spin emerging from our larger neighbour. Though loyal consumers of domestic media, many Irish also graze on British news throughout the day on their phones, leave Sky News running as they're cooking dinner and tune into the BBC news and Newsnight before bed.

Knowing what the British are thinking and talking about in the Brexit debate is crucial. But not knowing what other big European neighbours are thinking and talking about is careless, even negligent.

The internet and cable/satellite television have opened up Europe and the world to us, but when was the last time you tuned into France24 reports on Brexit, or dipped into talk shows on DW - Germany's (largely English-language) equivalent of the BBC World Service?

Ireland's history in the EU to date has been about liberating itself economically from its larger neighbour.

Instead, laziness and habit traps people on their sofas, inside a monolingual bubble, eating the Brexit crisps on offer from the UK.



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Aug 10th, 2019 at 11:40:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I read an interesting article on dKos last week, about how the German car industry painted itself into a corner on the internal combustion engine and is now woefully behind on developing 21st century technology electric vehicles. Something which is hurting it badly on its main export market of china.

However, I suspect that they are planning to use the excuse of brexit to get the EU to pay for the R&D and re-tooling they declined to pay for themselves by way of brexit compensation.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Aug 11th, 2019 at 02:57:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Heck, the French car industry (Renault, Peugeot, Valeo...) will want in too. And they are not late to the EV party, but money is money.
(there's more to the EU than Germany)
by Bernard on Sun Aug 11th, 2019 at 03:59:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure what constitutes high tech in electric cars, but I bought an i3 a couple years ago and I've never been more pleased with a new car. It goes. It stops. It's built to last. I drove Japanese, American, German and French EVs before buying, but in respect to actually driving a car, the BMW was as good as any, and better than most.
Cars aren't phones.
by Andhakari on Sun Aug 11th, 2019 at 05:20:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem with the traditional car companies, not only in Europe but everywhere, is that they think they need to be car companies. The outlier is Telsa, which sells a great car but more importantly has an extensive charging network. Porsche, for example, is going on and on about their new EV, but where will people plug it in? They need both a great car and a charging network.

EVs are disruptive. The existing car companies don't seem to get what they need to do to respond.

Tesla charger maps.

by asdf on Sun Aug 11th, 2019 at 05:34:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm blessed to live in the EV paradise of Norway, and finding a charging point of whatever flavour is not in the least difficult here. Replicating Norway's incentive programs would be a good place to start for any country seeking to expand the purchase and use of EVs.
by Andhakari on Sun Aug 11th, 2019 at 06:00:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Telsa, which sells a great car

I'm really not much into cars, so can't really evaluate Tesla the car, but ol Musky is one of the most blatant grifters since Theranos.

by generic on Sun Aug 11th, 2019 at 06:41:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think he has delivered a lot more than most grifters. That is not to say that he is not a grifter...
by asdf on Mon Aug 12th, 2019 at 02:13:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My understanding was that he bought the whole Telsa business plan from that Eberhard guy.
by generic on Mon Aug 12th, 2019 at 11:35:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Lots of Mercedes in the Tesla platform geometry, electrical parts, safety systems, etc. (At least for the model S.) But nevertheless he is selling a lot of them.

His motivation is certainly questionable; Musk obviously straddles the line between genius and insanity.

It seems pretty clear that Porsche have lost track of the fact that they sell a specialist version of a component part of a public transportation system. There's no utilitarian difference between a Porsche and a Toyota. That the basic structure of the transportation system is changing, and thus their position within that system also changing, has not occurred to them. Yet.

Sharing a charging station with a bunch of Fiats and Hondas is not going to provide the Porsche owner with the same class appeal as the Tesla-only stations provided by the competition.

by asdf on Mon Aug 12th, 2019 at 03:47:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Anecdotal, but I noticed on vacation this summer that lots of roadside eateries in Sweden has one or two parking spots with chargers. Probably on an assumption that you will grab a bite to eat while charging.
by fjallstrom on Sun Aug 11th, 2019 at 11:05:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, the German car industry, that old chestnut.

You covered this particular delusion in your last year's diary: BMW = Brexit Made Wonderful.

Merkel and the German leadership have always been quite clear; even the Torygraph reported about it back in 2016.

Also, this interesting piece on How Cameron's misreading of Merkel led to Brexit, in the Spectator, of all places

by Bernard on Sat Aug 10th, 2019 at 01:31:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
wut

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Aug 10th, 2019 at 05:19:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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