Eurozone Crisis Summit
As David Cameron flew to Brussels today to take part in the crisis summit, I found myself meditating on the EU and asking one very simple question: What is it for exactly? Is it a trading block? Is it a union of states, seeking closer harmonization for the peace and prosperity of their collective inhabitants? Or is the question itself as elusive as Professor Heidegger's search for a definition of 'being'; is it in essence 'a great unanswerable'?
After much cogitation over a reasonably priced luncheon of quail, hare and gratin dauphinois, I had to admit that I had quite given up. I suspect in the end anybody asking the same question would, just as I did many years ago with regard to the foolish ideas upon which Mr Heidegger based his life-times work.
However, this I know: The EU is doomed and it is so for one very obvious reason. Since the beginning of civilization, no successful 'trading block' has ever been hewn from the rib of peace. From the Akkadians to the Persians, from the Byzantines to the British all 'trading blocks' have in essence been empires and no empire was ever created from anything so disagreeable as 'compromise'. One only has to think of the Romans who built harmony across their considerable domain, only after they had crushed inferior weaklings beneath the sandals of their all conquering legions. The EU, by contrast, has been a piecemeal affair from the very beginning, full of damp squibs, sops to French farmers, 'worthy' human rights acts, sops to Italian cheese-makers, minimum wages, sops to Belgian waffle salesmen, health and safety acts, sops to Spanish fishermen, curbs on bankers trying to make a decent living and sops to the Greeks (full sop). No blood has been spilt, no slaves have been driven before it, no elephants used to intimidate barbarians, no christians executed for sport.
Worse still, the Union has provided us with not one single great unifying figure. No Ghengis Khan, no Earl Grey, no Nebuchadnezzar or Alexander; not even an imitation Napoleon Bonaparte, just the suggestion of one.
As H hour approaches, the closest we are offered by way of an Otto Von Bismark is a Herman Van Rompuy, a man who would seem to personify that old gag about 'the problem with political jokes is they get elected' were it not for the fact that he has NOT been elected.
Bowler hatted council workers
Regular readers of this 'blog' will not have been in the least bit surprised to have heard of my calls in the House this week for council workers to wear bowler hats. This is part of my on-going campaign to 'spruce up' sloppy sartorial standards in the public sector. Some weeks ago I argued that HM Customs and Revenue staff, who present a lamentable first impression for visitors to these islands, should sport crisp 'military style' uniforms and possibly pith helmets. On reflection I have come up with some other 'workers' who might benefit from a 'make-over'.
- Latrine staff at railway stations in ruffs
- Leather jerkins for 'road-sweepers'
- Striped suits for prisoners (with matching hats)
- Frock coats for Railtrack staff
- Top hatted toll booth operators
- Starched wing collars, robes and mortar boards for all teachers in secondary moderns
Although one fears such suggestions will be dismissed without a thought, I feel convinced that they would at the very least offer a wonderful sight to behold.
As ever I welcome your comments and contributions and wish you all a hearty week-end.
Ego vobis valedico