(The Daily Mail reported this week on the oh-so-historic meeting of the Clooneys and Angela Merkel over the European refugee and migrant crisis. It was such an important story that no single journalist could possibly cover it. So the Mail used two. Here, exclusively for the lucky and privileged readers of The Conservative Woman website is a reconstruction of exactly what happened…)
Frau Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, looks around her office in the Bundeskanzleramt and sighs. How she wishes it could all be different. She longs to be able to work in a building and an office with character, something built a bit further back than the turn of the twenty-first century. She envies Obama’s and Cameron’s offices, both housed in buildings centuries-old, that resonate with the people and politics of the past, with tradition, continuity, power. Now they, they had character.
Continuity. A luxury her nation had not really enjoyed. With her degree in physics, she could have been part of the team that isolated the Higgs Boson. Instead she has to govern in the name of the German people – with SDP leader Sigmar Gabriel snapping at her heels.
She slips open the desk drawer and looks at the picture concealed in there of the historic twentieth-century leader she admires the most. A powerful leader, firm in outlook, strident, strong, uncompromising, triumphant until the very end. Merkel wishes she could emulate the style, but Germany, the World, would not accept it. The perfectly-coiffed bouffant, the blue power suit. The Handbag. She wishes it could all be hers. The Lady even had a degree in science and is venerated globally over a quarter-century after she left the stage. Would she ever be?
“Ducks and geese”, she says to herself, “back to work.”
Work. Her in-tray. The Ukraine Crisis. The Greek Crisis. The Syria Crisis. The Euro crisis. The British crisis. The problems with Deutsche Bank. How soon is it before the Chairman, Paul Achleitner, is on the carpet in front of her desk, pleading for help she cannot give?
Power is diffused in modern Germany, not centralised, never again. She governs in a grand coalition with her rivals the Social Democrats run by the brick outhouse-built Herr Gabriel, relative kittens now after they abandoned Marxism way back in 1959. When she has to negotiate every day with Gabriel on this-or-that, she envies Cameron and his first-past-the-post system that allows the winner to take all the power. How cruelly decisive, how firm. How… so un-German.
Which crisis should she work on today? Obama had given her a Magic 8-BallTM, to help her at a summit a few years ago. It had worked wonders. When millions of refugees and migrants had flowed into the European Union, she had given it a good old shake. The worldwide praise had been universal. Pity about Cologne, though. Who knew that men’s lust could not be tempered by state generosity? Didn’t they know that things are different here in Europe?
There is a knock at the door and an aide slips through. The news is disturbing. There is a man at the front door of the Bundeskanzleramt who says he is George Clooney, and could he have a word?
“Fried potatoes and mayonnaise.”, says the Chancellor. “How is it that we are the knowing that this is actually him that is being?”
“Just a look to be the having.”, replies the aide, walking to the massive wall screen that is silently pumping images from a dozen news channels. At the flick of a switch the partitioned images give way to the camera at the entrance to the Bundeskanzleramt.
It is Clooney all right. He had found the camera and was dominating the screen, his close-shaved semi-tanned face filling the view outside so nothing else of note could be seen.
Lettuce and salad-cream, she thinks. What is she to do? Could she go down in history as The Woman Who Said No To Clooney? The Lady had been deposed when events turned away from her. Is this one? She reaches for the Magic 8-BallTM and gives it a thorough shaking.
Minutes later, Clooney is in the room. But not just him. There is an entourage. How come she had not seen? Of course, Clooney had seduced the camera, he always did. With him is a woman called, what, Anal? Surely not, no, Amal, who says she is his wife.
Clooney married? Who knew? She will have to renew her subscription to Bild-Zeitung.
There is also a thin, dark-haired man called Miliband, except he does not have the funny nose and prominent teeth, nasal whine or even a recently-acquired hang-dog expression. He is, however, holding a banana aloft in his right hand (“He never goes anywhere without a fresh banana,”, George explained. “It’s his thing”. “Pineapples and grapefruit”, said Merkel.).
None of the visitors can speak German. “Bicycles and inner-tubes”, says Merkel. “For them, a translator I will have to being a provider be.”
“We could the Google feature being use”, suggests the aide.
“I think the experience a little taxing would be”, replies Merkel.
George, being George, does all the talking. The word ‘plight’ recurs far too many times. Merkel tries to determine exactly what this man, this oh-so handsome man (Wolves and foxes, Angela, get a grip, she thinks to herself), this actor, who mixes caper films and screwball comedies with more sombre, sometimes political work, has to say to her that is actually new.
She has, at her disposal, the output of a dozen news channels, almost instant contact with every leader on the planet – well apart from Kim Jong-un, but then who has? – , thousands of civil servants in the Auswärtiges Amt and people working for the Bundesnachrichtendienst, to provide her with exactly and precisely what this man with his soft brown eyes and rounded monotone voice (Rabbits and guinea-pigs, Angela!) is saying to her.
A photographer is on hand to take some shots. The banana and its wielder are kept out of view.
Merkel looks back at her desk. What would The Lady have done? The times seemed so much simpler, then. She clutches at an imaginary Magic 8-BallTM. Could she curtail the meeting and throw these people out? She wants to bang on the coffee-table and shout “Nein! Nein! Nein!”, but she knows she can never ever do this. Perhaps this weekend she could try out The Lady’s hairstyle at home. Just the once.
Then it is all over. The guests leave. She has made promises, hopefully vague enough to be broken quietly. The newspapers have their pictures. Sigmar Gabriel’s wife will be jealous. Miliband had eaten his banana. The peel lies on the sofa. He had immediately retrieved another from his suit pocket. On the outside camera, she sees Clooney and his wife get in to a Mercedes-Benz. Miliband walks away down Paul-Löbe-Allee, pointing his new banana at the trees in the parkland.
“Peas and carrots.”, she says under her breath.
Clooney stretches out in the back of the Mercedes as it purrs down the Scheidermannstraße.
“Yup An-, er, Amal,”, he says to his wife. “That’s how us actors give something back. This is what we do. We’ve been doing it for years. Look at the Brit, David Niven, working in Hollywood when the war starts, rejoins the British Army and fights his way from Normandy in ‘forty-four through Europe, but still had time to make a couple of movies. Got a Legion of Merit medal from us into the bargain. Or Jimmy Stewart, back in ‘forty, raising funds to keep England in the war, joins the US Army Air Force and flies Fortresses over Germany, perhaps over where we are now. So does Clark Gable. Heck, the Germans even put a bounty on his head. Yup, dear, just like those guys, I’m doing my bit. Giving something back. Niven, Stewart, Gable, and now Clooney, that’s how we will be remembered. Hey, where shall we go for lunch? What’s good to eat in Berlin these days? Do they do low-carb over here?”
Angela Merkel reaches for her private phone and dials the number from her book of contacts. Paul Achleitner had called (Bratwurst and cabbage!, what now?). He wants a meeting.
“Hello, yes. There is a special job for you this weekend that I am wanting to be done. I want a new hairstyle.”
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