As Europe's leaders have learnt to their detriment, cross Angela Merkel at your peril. Perhaps someone should have sent that memo to Barack Obama. The president was left short of excuses this week as yet another embarrassing revelation was handed out by former US intelligence operative Edward Snowden. The Guardian continued their NSA exposes with the news that 35 world leaders, Germany's chancellor included, have unwittingly been chatting away on their phones with America listing in.
It is the task of a bold and constructive German foreign policy to play a leading role in the EU and in that Zwischeneuropa, the "Europe in-between", from the Baltic to the Black Sea; but also to influence the peace efforts in what has become the "Wild East" - the Orient. Maybe it is going too far to speak of a German pacifistic Sleeping Beauty slumber.
2013 is looking increasingly like a year one can split into three very distinct thirds. The first third took us up to May, encompassing the Cypriot crisis and the inconclusive Italian election, sending risk markets into tail-spins and yields lower, and finishing when Ben Bernanke first mentioned the possibility that the Fed may 'taper' or reduce its bond-buying quantitative easing program.
Godfrey Bloom, now formerly of the UKIP parish (the kind of parish you sense where people shake on the floor and preachers cure diabetes by staring at you) thanks to his use of the word "slut" in a public meeting, (though it was miraculous he survived Bongo Bongo Land) managed not so much a Brass Eye as a Brass Neck with Michael Crick...
The British system of parliamentary democracy is respected the world over. But in this modern age, where people won't just accept the concept of a two party dynamic, where people's political opinions don't just fit into left or right boxes, maybe the time has come to take some lessons from our friends in Germany.