Friday, June 22, 2007

The Existential Fight - Eh?

The European Union is a subject too depressing to ponder for long, but today I caught some politiclal hack and Euro-plugger on the radio - Roger Liddle, I think he's called - talking about Blair's 'failure' to get us to sign up for the Euro, the 'ever closer union' and the whole shebang. Early in his premiership, said Liddle, Blair missed his opportunity for the 'existential fight' that would have settled it. 'Existential'? If that means anything, it must be something to do with our existence - as a soveriegn nation perhaps? However, as this is Eurospeak, total meaningless is the likelier option.
Meanwhile, a bracing blast of fresh air from over the Polish border has caused a mighty kerfuffle. It demonstrates all too clearly that the Poles haven't quite got the hang of Eurospeak, and, by extension, haven't a clue what they've let themselves in for. Oh well...


  1. I wondered about that too. I heard existential as something like in the manner of an existential fight, that is, with great intensity. The tolerably clear - at least to me - point was that Blair had spurned the opportunity of an intense but winnable fight.

    Not often that I get to accuse you of being literal-minded.

  2. Uniquely in humans, say the existentialists, existence precedes essence. This cannot be said of the EU, a rationalist enterprise. Just thought id' add that.

  3. well I've stopped listening - everytime they mention 'the poles', I think they mean the referendum.

    Is that Rod Liddle by any chance, Boris Johnson's drinking partner?

  4. If I were a German leader dreaming of the Fourth Reich, I think my strategy would be to get everyone in the world to feel the depth of our pain and contrition for the Third. Then I'd move in at midnight.

    From this side of the pond, these efforts to hide, erase and re-write Euro-history are surreal. A few years ago, we had the King of Norway here making a speech about how the Vikings were misunderstood--they weren't raiders at all, they were traders. (Fish, rancid furs and statues of Odin for gold, land and women?) Europe should look to Canada-US as a model. We are their best friends and love to trade with them, visit them and even support them in some of their crazy wars. But we don't teach our kids that they burned Toronto in 1813 because of some huge regrettable socio-economic misunderstanding. After all, a Yankee war crime is a Yankee war crime. Bastards.

  5. It's incomprehensible from this side of the Channel, Peter.

    I also don't understand the fuss made about English football fans singing WWII songs to the Germans. When you do something as bad as the Germans did, the least you should expect is a few generations of being reminded about it.

    Much as I enjoy visiting modern Germay, I can't abide these attempts at Euro historical air-brushing - it's sinister and unnatural.

    I'll bet that's what the eejit meant by the 'existential' fight.

  6. As Antoine de Caunes once said - 'Why does everybody hate the Germans? Just because they ruined the 20th century for the rest of us...'

  7. I don't recognize the name, Nige, but there was a French politician in the fifties who said: "I am often accused of being anti-German. Nothing could be further from the truth. I love Germany. In fact, I love it so much I want two of them."

  8. Antoine de Caunes is that rare thing: a funny French comedian.

  9. Anyone ever read Wall St & the Rise of Hitler? Interesting to see who was doing the funding of those lovely Nazis. For example:
    Prescott Bush, George W.'s grandfather, as Vice-President of Brown Brothers Harriman, helped finance the Nazi war machine and tried to hide his Nazi dealings during World War II.

    Prescott Bush was also a director of two Nazi front organizations: the Holland-American Trading Company and the Seamless Steel Corporation. In 1934, he became Managing Director of Union Bank, which made over $100 million profit from its dealings on behalf of Nazi Germany.

    Federal prosecutor John Loftus said Prescott Bush was "Hitler's banker in America" and should have been tried for treason. In 1942, the U.S. Alien Property Custodian seized the stock of Union Bank for trading with the enemy. Prescott Bush claimed to own only one share, for which he was compensated 1.2 million dollars. He was investigated, but not charged.
    "Every great family has its scandal. The Bush family's scandal is that they funded Hitler and profited from the Holocaust." John Loftus, 2003, Justice Department War Crimes Prosecutor

    I think the British people in the person of the British PM should remind the current US Pres' family past on a regular basis.

  10. I pity the Poles, forever caught between the devil and the...

  11. Whoa there Brit! Jacques Tati was pretty funny. And that Millenium Dome frog was a bit of a livewire too. Not to mention Eric Cantona's hilarious utterances.