Monday, 2 December 2013

Lightweights of the world unite

It was pleasantly nostalgic to hear David Cameron today. He solemnly declared that he was going to throw his full weight behind a proposed free trade deal between China and Europe.

In in the long lost days of my ill-spent youth, back in the seventies and eighties, amongst the generally pretty dismal international news we got (much like today), light relief was occasionally provided by that remarkable statesman, Enver Hoxha, dictator of Albania.

Dodger Hoxha, China's friend yesterday
The surname rhymed with ‘Dodger’ and the Artful Dodger in Oliver Twist came to a sticky end. Enver, however, avoided his fate, contriving to die in his bed before his regime fell. 

That regime was Communist in name, but with no ties to either its far larger neighbour, Yugoslavia, or even the more distant Soviet Union, whose baleful power kept most of Eastern Europe whipped into order at that time. Instead, Enver aligned Albania with China. This meant that statements of policy on Albanian Radio would start ‘Albania and the People’s Republic of China have decided...’

China was smaller in those days, of course, at about a billion people, while Albania was rapidly growing towards its peak population of three and a half million. Impressive, for sure, but even so, it was hard to avoid thoughts of pimples and giants, or even dogs and fleas.

All that came back to me this afternoon. Ah, halcyon days, now rapidly receding into the mists of the past. 

Funnily enough, though, it wasn’t Cameron’s mention of China that got me remembering them.

It was the reference to his weight in the world.

Dodger Cameron, China's friend today.
Poised to become a latter-day Hoxha


Anonymous said...

Enver also used to remind the world that "we and the China have a combined population of 803 million souls."


David Beeson said...

And he was so right...