Saturday, December 17, 2005

Bradley's silly question

Category:  [in English]  [(b)Eurocracy]  [Satire]

Hidden in the comment section of Paul Belien's article Blair Debacle. France Again Calls the Tune in the Brussels Journal, there is a little satirical masterpiece that deserves more exposure. It's an answer from Bob Doney to an American reader, Bradley, that wonders why the UK stays in the EU, and what it gets out of it.

Bradley, Bradley! The list of benefits is endless.

We get the opportunity to pay for the French to carry on producing their wonderful food, which we are allowed to sample when we go on our holidays there. There is a slight downside to the subsidy system, because it makes everyone else's food much more expensive than market forces would otherwise dictate. Us middle-class types don't worry too much about this though, as it's mainly the poor who bear the brunt of the suffering caused by overpriced food. Still they can always the sample the delicious French wine and cheeses when they take their mini-breaks to Provence. Oh, they can't afford them! Never mind. Nothing's perfect.

And we get to maintain the Spanish fishing fleet. Unfortunately they are so efficient they've nearly swept our seas bare of all the lovely cod we used to enjoy, but it would be churlish to grumble.

And another thing: Europe's bureaucrats are so productive that they've produced more rules and regulations in the few decades since we joined than our idle, native Whitehall chappies could manage in about 300 years. And we can read them all in twenty different languages. You Americans aren't very good at languages, are you? You miss out on all this.

We can now buy Cheddar Cheese made in Greece, but unfortunately not Feta Cheese made in Yorkshire.

We now have an excellent dumping ground for our failed politicians. We used to have to send them to the House of Lords, which has really comfy seats, but now our crooked, old losers can be sent off to a well-paid sinecure in Brussels to round off their careers. I've been reading in recent days about how much you Americans appreciate the negotiating skills of former Blair babe Peter Mandelson. He had to be sacked from the UK government a couple of times for dishonesty (yes, yes, I know the second time it was all a dreadful misunderstanding), but it's gratifying to know there is a place for him in the heart of Europe.

We have the benefit of Mr. Chirac's regular homilies on our shortcomings as a nation. As you can imagine, we really appreciate this, especially from a man of his truly fine calibre and blameless public life. A bit like being lectured by Bill Clinton on the sanctity of marriage, I would imagine.

But there's more!

As you know, Britain is the "sick man of Europe", but by our EU membership we get to join in the startling rate of economic growth that is the hallmark of the great European nations. Not for us the stagnation of non-members like China, India, Viet-Nam, Australia, USA, Singapore, Norway or Switzerland. We can share in France, Germany and Italy's bonanza. Unfortunately we haven't yet adopted their whizzy new currency, but I expect we'll see the error of our ways on this eventually.

There is one sour note however. Because of the craven way we are unduly influenced by the USA for historical reasons (some old diehards still feel a smidgeon of gratitude to you), we seem unable to fully enter into the European way of conducting foreign policy. Like you we can't seem to shake off this old imperial habit of blood and sacrifice in the cause of building a free world. I know we'll get over it one day, and learn the European way of soft power - and don't give me that crap about soft power just meaning not being prepared to pay for an proper army.

Hope this makes clear why we Brits have come to love Big Brother, err.... the European Union.

© Bob Doney, the Brussels Journal.


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