The normally staid world of German politics has been enlivened recently by some colourful name-calling within Angela Merkel's centre-right coalition. But now she has had enough.
The squabbling in Merkel's fractious centre-right coalition has boiled over in recent days, with members of the Bavarian conservative CSU party branding their pro-business Free Democrats allies "a bunch of amateurs" on health policy.
Meanwhile, Free Democrats described the CSU as a "wild sow" for what they deemed destructive input during a controversial health care debate.
And the glamorous rising star of German politics, the aristocratic Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, defence minister from the CSU, was reportedly branded "Rumpelstiltskin" - the treacherous and vicious dwarf in a famous fairy tale.
But the chancellor, often referred to herself, not always kindly, as "Mutti" meaning "Mummy," has now put her foot down.
Such mud-slinging is "unacceptable," she told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper on Friday.
Those engaged in name-calling "should not be surprised that respect for politics in general is sinking," she added.
It is not the only thing sinking. The popularity ratings of Merkel, four-times named the world's most powerful woman by Forbes magazine, have plunged recently, due in large part to bickering within the coalition.
For his part, Guttenberg made light of his new nickname, saying, according to the Bild daily, that he was pleased to be compared to Rumpelstiltskin, who had the highly useful skill of spinning gold from straw.
"If I could do that in the current budgetary situation, I would love to be Rumpelstiltskin," said Guttenberg, who, like all ministers, has been asked to make sweeping cuts given Germany's precarious fiscal state.
Just to bring a bit of ontd into the political...
For German political standards, those are quite strong insults, especially as the people who traded them are supposed to be governing together. Somehow, most of what is happening right now in German politics points to a slow self-destruction of government.
My own state does not even have a new government a month after the parliamentary election, because the parties were unable to form a government coalition out of the five parties in parliament. Now, it looks like we might keep the old government, but the parliament will work against them, passing its own laws and forcing the government ot execute them even though they don't want to (that's not usual in Germany, because the government almost always has a majority in parliament). I guess we'll be looking at a new election unless something drastic happens.
We as a country are doomed. The football world cup is probably the only thing that can save us now.