Germany’s Green Party are doing well in the polls, says Jeremy Cliffe in the New Statesman. So well that after this year’s general election in September, the party could be heading a governing coalition, and its co-leader Annalena Baerbock could be chancellor. The former champion trampolinist did a “wordless interview” with a newspaper two years ago. When asked if she could imagine being chancellor one day, she performed “a rather impressive handstand. Her meaning is clear: yes, I’m up to it.”
The Greens aren’t Extinction Rebellion socialists, says Katja Hoyer in The Spectator – in many ways, they’re more right-wing than today’s Tories. The party’s centrist “realists” won an internal battle with the handmade-jumper brigade years ago. But unlike Merkel, the Greens oppose the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany – a position that can only endear it to Berlin’s western allies.
Time to uninstall WhatsApp, Boris
Dominic Cummings is the culprit behind Boris Johnson’s leaked text messages to James Dyson and Mohammed bin Salman, No 10 sources claim. The suggestion is that the PM’s former special adviser “is on a rampage to damage the administration” he was kicked out of in November, says Emilio Casalicchio in Politico. But the claim is just a “meaningless distraction”: much more important than who leaked the texts is that this “under the radar” lobbying was going on at all. “Johnson should face questions over who else he’s been WhatsApping, rather than a supposed spat with his ex-aide.”
Goodbye to Carter’s formidable VP
Walter Mondale, Jimmy Carter’s vice president, has died aged 93. He turned the role, usually “peripheral and ceremonial”, into one that played a central part in government, says The Times. Born in a Minnesota prairie town, he unwound by reading Shakespeare, watching Monty Python and taking fishing trips to lakes in his home state. Once asked why he fished, he said: “It’s cheaper than a psychiatrist.’’
Juncker’s drinking habits nothing more than a bad joke
Jean-Claude Juncker, the former EU president, gained a reputation in the British press as a bit of a drunk. It wasn’t really fair. When asked by a journalist if he drank two cognacs a day for breakfast, he jokingly replied: “No, it’s four.” The response was written up seriously. “I guess I overestimated the British sense of humour,” he tells the i newspaper. Not everyone considered him a figure of fun. Donald Trump described Juncker as a “killer” when the pair met to negotiate a trade deal in 2018. High praise indeed.