In a spot of political hot water? Tiresome critics raking over your past? Need a little help from your friends? What you really want is some historical expertise! Call in someone from a different corner of the political, economic and cultural elite – someone who has won many gongs and plaudits in a long and distinguished career, someone who has the imprimatur of a prestigious institution, someone whose voice carries authority, and someone who no one could reasonably deny is totally independent. Make sure, of course, that it is someone who shares your basic values, someone who knows how hard it really was for you back then, when times were, in any case, so very different – you were a victim of history, not one of its perpetrators, right? – and someone who thus understands that the real problem is not your own history, but actually those annoying lefties who keep nipping at your ankles in such irritating fashion. Who do they think they are, dammit?
British politicians and Australian media moguls who have found their dubious pasts dragged into the limelight in such unedifying fashion recently should take note: German big businesses have been honing their skills in this regard, and with no small measure of success, for the best part of two decades now.