Articles

The 27 who’ve cut themselves off

In Uncategorized on December 10, 2011 by grahamharrowell

Before Australia became PC there was a joke about knowing when the flight from London had arrived because the whining went on after the engines had been switched off. I imagine that there is much the same sort of feeling in Brussels (at the EU) every time the Brits turn up. One commentator yesterday likened Cameron to someone who had taken his ball home before the game started. I liked that analogy because it fitted nicely with his petulant schoolboy behaviour when he realised he been out-manoeuvred by Sarko. He told the meeting that the 26 (now 27) who had agreed to work together to resolve the financial crisis that they couldn’t use EU facilities for their meetings. Yah, boo and ner, nerny, ner,ner! I don’t see why the EU can’t rent out its buildings to suitable functions when they are not needed for Community business. In fact it seems right and proper that they should generate some income in these straitened times even if the charge is a token one.
I suggest that the new group should meet in Strasbourg. This would be a symbolic and practical venue and please the French to bits. There is a full set of EU buildings there used for occasional transhumance/migration of all and sundry in Brussels. Why not hire these? Strasbourg is practical and convenient for EU members and symbolic for the new Franco-German orientation of the organisation. It’s also nicer and much cleaner than Brussels. The real advantage, of course, is that unlike Brussels it has no direct high speed train link with London and those trying to save the European economy can get on with the job safe in the knowledge that Cameron, Clegg and Osborne aren’t going to turn up unannounced and piss in their tent.
By the by. The British press is making much of Sarko not shaking Cameron’s hand. (The French press by contrast led with this weekend’s timetable changes on the railway, an assault on a ticket collector in Marseille and then went to the accession of Croatia before mentioning that the EU was working on the Euro but, unsurprisingly Cameron had stalked out.) Hand shaking and kissing are deeply entrenched in the French psyche. They know instinctively when to shake and when to kiss. One golden rule is that you greet everyone the first time you meet them every day. Not only is it bad manners not to greet someone on the first daily meeting, it is equally bad manners to greet them a second time as this implies you have forgotten the first encounter and is in itself something of a snub. So if Cameron was trying to shake Sarko’s hand he was in breach of the etiquette as they had done so already that day, and Sarko was quite right to ignore him.

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One Response to “The 27 who’ve cut themselves off”

  1. …the sort of thing we have diplomats for. of course, the FCO is now briefing the papers that the UK Permanent Rep was kept in the dark about the No.10 negotiating position. I only disagree with this because it suggests that No.10 had a negotiating position in advance.

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