Iâm probably going to upset a lot of people here, but itâsÂ been a long day at the Abbey, and Iâve been on double cider making duties because the rest of the Order have gone in a charabanc up to London; allegedly to see Pope Rottweiler III or whatever heâs called, but actually to spend some time in Spearmint Rhino. Iâm barred from there, so Iâm left behind.
Anyway, as we all know, the French have a problem with the Roma. To some they have thus committed a thought crime because that is a generalisation – just as I have by referring to âthe Frenchâ. But sometimes generalisations work. Generally, it getâs light in the morning, for example. Not in Finland, obviously. Or Leeds. But generally.
But even worse the French have decided to do something about by herding said Roma into cattle trucks at bayonet point and sending them to concentration camps where they will be starved and shot. Well, by cracking down on illegally built camps and offering subsidies and incentives to go back to Romania and Bulgaria, actually.
Anyway, this has seriously ticked off some bods at the EU. The inhabitants of Planet Strasbourg, who do not themselves live next to illegal Roma encampments but in a modern Versailles of air conditioned offices and smoke glass windows, quietly and efficiently lining their pockets and consuming their champagne and hock and canapÃ©s, seem to think that there is something wrong with this.
I admit my debt to the always interesting and informative Old Holborn for drawing my attention to a short clip of âEuropean Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenshipâ Viviane Reding (Doctorate in Human Sciences from the Sorbonne…hmmm) giving the French a real telling off and in which amongst other things (for those of you who have neither the time nor inclination to listen to the full rant) the steely haired Ms Reding describes herself and fellow commissioners as âGuardians of the Treatyâ
I merely have a few musings on this little matter. I know itâs not the apogee of political analysis but here we go, in no particular order:
First, if Ms Reding wants to come to the aid of the Roma, I suggest she make a camp site available by, or even in, her lovely air conditioned office. But do please bear in mind they probably donât pay tax (and hence your wages) but I, and even some French, do.
Next. Excuse me, but erm…who are you exactly? And who appointed you to be the âGuardianâ of anything? And why is it that I find that phrase somehow rather chilling, in an Orwellian sort of way. Anyone who describes themselves as âthe Guardian of the Treatyâ sounds to me like they have a dangerous certainty in their own moral rectitude â the kind that gets people locked up and tortured. Itâs but a short step from Commission to Inquisition in my book.
Plus, my experience of anything which describes itself as the âSomething of Justiceâ is that âJusticeâ is pretty much the last thing you are likely to get. Itâs like that old clichÃ© of calling somewhere âThe Peopleâs Democratic Socialist Republic of …â You know at once that itâs not run by the people, itâs not democratic, and itâs likely to be run by a paranoid dictator with a coronet who is King in all but name. Depressingly, we have our own âMinistry of Justiceâ now, and the very First âMinister for Justiceâ was the unelected uber crony, âCharlieâ Falconer. Enough said, really.
Next, whilst I may have been a bit cloistered here in the Abbey, is this woman actually scandalized and amazed that our charming Gallic cousins actually have their own idiosyncratic attitude to EU rules and regulations; i.e. they ignore them when it suits them? This is news? Wake up and smell the coffee!!
But mainly what struck me was something about her amazement and barely concealed anger that suggested to me that her real problem wasnât with the treatment of the Roma at all. It was that someone â in this case mes amies – had had the nerve, the temerity, to give the all powerful Commission the metaphorical bird (I would say the two fingered salute but that has unfortunate connotations for our Gallic friends).
There was something else, too. Is it just me or something faintly power crazed about this woman? Something menacing in the âENOUGH IS ENOUGHâ bit? And something faintly….mechanical? Then thereâs all that steel gray hair. And those glasses. It seemed to remind me of something. I couldnât put my finger on it, until it I saw this. Apologies for those who have delicate ears…
Now, whereâs my cosmic screwdriver?
Gildas the Monk