There have been a series of interviews lately whereby the nightly news programme, Jeff Randall Live has been introducing the nation to some of the Germans who now are on the ground running many of our companies here in the UK, rather than as many of their compatriots, who have the same task back in Germany, but operate via the EU in Brussels. They were Volker Beckers of Npower, Torsten Muller-Otvos of Rolls Royce, Doktor Klaus Peter Fouquet of Bosch,
Roger Helmer MEP (still) has chosen to draw attention to this phenonema in a less striking or high profile way by blogging on the topic, and naming it lebensraum, a difficult foreign concept for non-German speakers to grasp the precise connotation.
I have recently been drawing attention on this blog to the activities of the Hanseatic League in the Middle Ages, and have been ruminating and researching what seems to be a New Hansa, perhaps a better and more familiar phrase for we English.
The Anglo-Hanseatic War ran from 1470 to 1475, see here, during which German vessels ravaged the towns of England’s North Sea coast, taking prisoners which they hung from the masts of their ships. One such ship was the Peter von Danzig. Certainly, of course, as in all things of the Middle Ages, there would clearly have been atrocities and huge injustices on either side. The Treaty of Utrecht saw peace and England cede control of part of London to German occupation which lasted well into (and on the East Coast beyond) the first Elizabethan era. The trade monopoly of the Hanseatic League was not broken until brave Elizabethan marine adventurers found their way to Russia as the Company of Merchant Adventurers which became the Muscovy Company.
There is already a supposed tourist promotion organisation calling itself The New Hansa, with links to the EU Council of Europe and associations with UNESCO; none of which takes me far from what I suspect are the true motives of such a group, as witnessed by events across Europe at the present time. This new Hanse’s leaflet (here in pdf,) concludes with the following statement of its objectives:
This new HANSE has set itself the task of keeping alive
the Hanseatic spirit of a common way of life and culture in
these towns and cities. By maintaining traditions and a
lively exchange between the member towns and cities, the
HANSE aims to contribute to the economic, cultural, social
and political unity of Europe
Understanding the spirit of the original Hanse is best done by reading of their history in Bergen. Pages 237 to 243 of the Google Book linked here will give a good start.
Does Europe want poltical unity led by Germany? Be in no doubt, that is exactly where we are headed!
(This post was first published, [with numerous links,] on Ironies Too, earlier today)