Monday, 7 November 2011

Mockery can unite us

What an edifying spectacle Europe presents for us these days!

David Cameron retains some residual popularity, in Britain, or at least England, though it stops dead at the White Cliffs of Dover.

Silvio Berlusconi is the butt of everyone’s humour, that being the only response possible, other than despair, at the idea that the fate of the Eurozone, so dependent on Italy, is in the hands of a man facing at least three separate trials on matters of fraud and moral turpitude.

No-one can stand Sarkozy, seen as a latter day Napoleon, minus the charm. To say nothing of the vision, courage, competence or ability.

Angela Merkel is running out of road. Even Barack Obama, celebrated to the point of notoriety for keeping his cool in all circumstances, seems to be losing patience with her.

As for George Papandreou, with his flip-flops between caving in to the pressure on Greece or resisting it, he has spent the last few days simply drifting inexorably towards the only solution on which his countrymen seem virtually unanimous: that he should go.

Now I’ve been a committed European for years, strongly in favour of turning the European Union into a single, federal state. 

Don’t the the present circumstances provide a powerful argument in favour of that position?

Surely, if only from the point of view of efficiency and cost effectiveness, it would make much more sense to have a single government for the whole of the Union? What on Earth is the point of having all those separate little chiefs to despise and drag through the mud? Why don’t we have just one?

Then we could channel our contempt at just one set of leaders and leave them to get on with getting up the noses of the Americans and Chinese on behalf of us all.

A convenient target for all our mockery?
Postscript – another train experience: This morning, sitting across the aisle from me, was a woman in her thirties dressed for power but with great taste and fine aesthetic sense.

As we pulled in to St Pancras station, she rose from her seat and from the luggage rack above her pulled an exquisitely tailored coat – one of those that swings through the air, like a cloak with sleeves. She wrapped it round herself in one graceful movement, hitting me on the side of my head and sweeping across my face in a way that would have sent my glasses flying to the ground had I been wearing them. Next came her handbag, large but finely designed, which she swung the other way – had I not ducked it would have taken me in the forehead. Finally, she floated gracefully down the carriage, as self-controlled and self-confident as ever, and completely oblivious to the injuries she had so nearly cause me.

At least, I hope she was oblivious. I can forgive the condescension which made her unaware of her impact, literally, on the people around her; I would find it more difficult to excuse her arrogance if in fact she knew what she’d done and chose to ignore it anyway. 

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