Born in Cologne, Annette Dittert is a German author, filmmaker, correspondent, and journalist and regular commentator on British politics and Brexit. She has worked for ARD German TV since 2001, as a war correspondent in Poland, a senior correspondent in New York, and since 2008 as bureau chief in London.
In 2019, Annette was awarded the title of “political journalist of the year” for her reporting on Brexit.
Steve Wilson : British political moves to the right/far-right have been equated to the politics of Germany in the 1930s. Is this a fair assessment and what can we learn from the lessons of history?
No, I do not think you can compare this to the situation of Germany in the 1930s. Although British politics have moved to the right, and the Tories have been undermining liberal democracy and the rule of law again and again, so far, I think the centre holds. The Covid Enquiry, the Partygate enquiry, and also the Supreme Court and its judgment on Rwanda show that the British institutions safeguarding democracy in Britain are still there.
David Eldridge : Do you think the UK will rejoin the EU? What would the process and timescale be?
I think this will not happen in the near future. Simply because Labour has no mandate to do it after the next election, after having promised not to rejoin. AND: Brussels isn’t ready to even think about it before it can be sure that Britain comes back with all political parties being for it. The last thing the EU needs is another member being half-heartedly for rejoining and then leaving again.
Lisa Burton : How much do you think Brexit enabled the rise of the populist far-right in Europe and do you think the tide is now turning against them with election results such as in Poland?
I do not think that Brexit enabled the rise of the populist far right in Europe. That kind of politics is happening all over the world at the moment – If anything, it has stopped it for a while as Brexit is still seen as a failure even amongst most far right parties in Europe. And yes, what is happening in Poland currently is encouraging to see, although I don’t think it will turn the tide. Wilders in the Netherlands has just shown the opposite. And in Germany the AfD keeps polling around 20%.
Fi Cooper : Do you think that the problems experienced in Britain by our departure from the EU have strengthened ties between the remaining 27 nations?
Yes, I do think so. The fact that Britain didn’t manage to break that union during the negotiations has surely been a good thing for the EU.
Anonymous : Do you think Keir Starmer, once in power, will be forced to change his stance on Brexit and, if so, what might that look like?
I hope so, but it might take a long time, probably he won’t be able to do it before a potential second term, but it’s hard to make serious predictions on that now, as there are so many moving parts to it.
Valerie Chaplin : What are your thoughts on UK politics and how far they have swung right?
I have made my point many times, that Brexit was (amongst other things) basically a coup by a very right-wing elite that got Brexit done with empty promises based on lies. As the polls now show, a majority of the British people have understood this and want the Tories out of Government. So, the pendulum might swing back again next year. Let’s see.