Tuesday, December 09, 2003

The following was something I wrote on Sunday, after an odd dialogue via email with a guy who works in the Australian Parliament. At the time I didn't get round to concluding (but might tonight).

From this BBC story "Turnout across Europe [in 1999] was higher than in the last US presidential election, and I don't hear people questioning the legitimacy of the presidency of the United States" Pat Cox, President of the European parliament.
A. How did you manage that? Don't you have media or gossip in Brussels, or Strasbourg, or Frankfurt, or Luxembourg, or wherever the seat of power happens to be resting today?
B. Guessing Mr, Mrs, Miss, or Ms [and I'm praying they're not Dr, Lord, or Comrade] Cox hasn't been following Blair's example, and been having a Big Conversation (where the Pm consults the country on what they want done, only not on that, or that, or those, as there's the whole not backing down and facing down revolt issue).
C. Also guessing that [insert title here] Cox missed that whole series of chadding court cases, oh, and those pesky stories about the people who make and provide the [possibly erratic, unverifiable] votingmachines all happening to be Bush donors.
D. And before you get cross with me about not knowing who Pat Cox is, and where the European Parliament is based, tell me who runs the EU. Who has overall control? Try europa.eu.int for hints. But whenever I try to get it figured out I end in a quagmire of committees, commissions and councils, and can never find the end.
It makes no sense, it is an amorphous being, lurking beyond and behind, not so much a hydra were for every head you remove another grows, but this abstract notion, where concept of looking for the head requires inventing new dimensions. It is unknown and unknowable, it speaks through these indistinguishable mouthpieces, united in dull awkwardness. Blank men saying nothing much. The media have more amusing things with which to fill their time, and so all mentions of occur only when stimulated by ineptitude and resultant anger.
I pity the EU's PR people.
Yet another story of petty bureaucracy dictating the impossible and the foolish? That'll be the EU.
Join the Euro, unifying equality for all, though obviously there are certain levels of equality.
We must must not be bullied (and you lot missed a good opportunity to keep quiet).
Stability pact? We may have agreed to abide by it, but that doesn't mean it's right, and as such we have the right to opt out, and damn anyone else. Sanctions? Come on if you think you're hard enough. Oh you're not, glad you noticed, keep it mind.
Amend the Common Agricultural Policy? Are you mad, you'll put our farms out of business. What do you mean "rationalise", that's what other countries do, not us.
You're surprised about the lack financial control, and the mislaying of money? But these things are...well they are to be expected. Correct them, prevent them - but why?

Vive L'Europe! (Mais "Vive La France", c'est plus elegant").

The EU is such a non-entity it can never defend itself. It a flickering illusion, unwittingly shrouding the horror stories. It is the ghosts of Whitehall passed, the emphemeral malevolence.
People don't know how it operates, whom it controls and who controls it. There is apparent reality, uninteresting, shiny buildings filled unknown corpo-politicos of miscellaneous descent, capitalised civil servants toiling for some great intangible force. Hoardes of underlings in streams of grey, occasionally some in witty beige, or rebellious navy, underlings for something or someone above.
It has become a thing of cardboard and superstition.
Where is the despisable figurehead? Who are the masses to boo and hiss? Bring us the "evildoer".
And if they are not the baddy, show us their great deeds.
Who is leader, who is the President, the PM?
Point to other countries or states and we speak of the ruler and what we know of them - UK = Blair, the rabid, manic, or just a bit unhinged. USA = Ar lawd uhn say-vyar Jawj Boosh, Ape-man, monkey-boy, bomb your way free. China = Hu Jintao I think, Australia = Howard, redefining "Liberal", France = Chirac, lesser of two evils. Germany = Schroeder, need I say more, Russia = Putin (lover of the Russian Queen? or Russia's greatest love machine?).
I think I just had a Kubla Khan[1,2] moment. I was writing following one train of thought, and for some reason I stopped, and now as I attempt to restart I cannot quite find where I was going. So anyway, an anti-EU [in it's present incarnation] rant, that I'm not sure I wholly agree with now. Oh well.

[1] Named after a weird poem written by someone who is bound to be dead by now[3] (i.e. I can't remember who wrote it, possibly Coleridge [none too sure of the spelling]). He wrote it whilst...being in a somewhat altered state.
[2] However in my case, no poppies were injured in the making of this statement.
[3] Look it was an English Lit lesson with a dim teacher[4] I hated - like I was going to be paying attention.
[4] But as her boss (the head of English[5]) told me that I'd "grow out of my dyslexia" (and that was on a good day when he'd admit the existence of such a syndrome). And yet he was still a much better teacher than her (though I hated the weekly essays at the time, but at least they made sure I was practiced for the exams - shame that by the GCSEs came round I had Little Miss Dim, who obviously set the minimum possible, so she didn't have lots of marking to do).
[5] Who greeted classes with "Come in, sit down and shut up". Even when it was the very first lesson we had at secondary school (this was after booting us out of the classroom first, and making us wait quietly outside, when we weren't even sure if it was the right classroom).

Anyhow, I'll give up on this (for now).

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