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Auf Wiedersehen Mutti

If you have an hour to spare you might care to watch Angela Merkel’s farewell after 16 years in office – a farewell in which she is honoured with a Großer Zapfenstreich (a grand military tattoo), the highest military ceremony for a civilian.

At 10:50 Merkel takes to the podium. She speaks not only to her fellow Germans but to the world – about the profession of politics and what it involves: trust (the most valuable and valued political asset [1]), respect for one another, respect for people with conflicting political views, and respect for the truth.

Or you might enjoy the music, chosen by Merkel with political messages. It starts in true German style (18:30) with Beethoven ’s Marsch des Yorck’schen Korps. Then (25:40) the Bundeswehr band plays Nina Hagen’s Du hast den Farbfilm vergessen, a GDR pop hit of the 1970s, followed by (28:00) Hildegard Knepf’s Für mich soll’s rote Rosen regnen, one of Knepf’s celebrations of the decadent life in the old West Berlin.

1. „… dann empfinde ich vor allem dieses: Dankbarkeit und Demut. Demut vor dem Amt das ich so lange ausüben durfte. Dankbarkeit für das Vertrauen, das ich erfahren durfte. Vertrauen, dessen war ich mir immer bewusst, ist das wichtigste Kapital in der Politik.”

Barbados cleans up a constitutional anomaly

Some countries have really weird constitutional arrangements – even weirder perhaps than America’s constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

Barbados has been de facto a self-governing independent nation since 1966, but its head of state has been from the royal family of another small island lying off the French coast, 6800 km away.

On Monday in a short and dignified ceremony, they finally shook off this strange arrangement, and became truly independent.