have long seemed unthinkable

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baab

Senior Member
Vietnamese
A conservative alliance would have long seemed unthinkable with the Greens, whose first generation of hippies and peaceniks entered parliament handing out sunflowers.

Source: "Merkel, defeated rivals discuss possible coalition", AFP.

Please help me with the bold phrase.

I think the noun that after "long seemed unthinkable" was omitted here. What is the noun? Could you explain a bit about the meaning? Thanks for help.
 
  • perpend

    Banned
    American English
    Merkel's party is conservative.

    Germany's government often has to create coalitions/alliances, to form a majority.

    To form a conservative alliance with the Green Party (Merkel's Party (CDU?) & Green Party) would have long seemed unthinkable/impossible. It would have seemed not to jive. :)

    EDIT: Cross-posted with Florentia.
     

    baab

    Senior Member
    Vietnamese
    Well, got it. Thanks. :thumbsup:

    Could you help me understand the sentence completely with the phrase "handling out sunflowers"?
    I can't find its meaning in dictionaries.
     

    Mahantongo

    Senior Member
    English (U.S.)
    The sentence is meant to be understood literally.

    Every dictionary should have the phrasal verb "hand out", and the noun "sunflowers".
     

    baab

    Senior Member
    Vietnamese
    Thank you, Mahantongo.

    I misread those words. It is "handing out sunflowers" not "handling out sunflowers".
     

    perpend

    Banned
    American English
    The "hippie" generation was fueled by "flower power". Though the text can be understood literally, there is more behind the writing than meets the eyes, in my opinion.

    It's it trying to contrast the Green Party in Germany, whose beginnings were "flowery", with the very conservative Christian Democrats.

    So, while the Greens might have entered the government back when, literally handing out sunflowers, I think the text written today is meant to be more figurative.
     
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