Are you sitting comfortably children? Gather round.
Once upon a time, the Germans and the French fell out. Rather badly. They were neighbours and it became difficult for everyone. “What can we do to stop this happening again”, said the grown ups? “They won’t share their toys any more.”
They looked across the water to the Mother of all Parliaments for a solution.
You see, children, long, long, ago, Mummy Parliament had had the same problem. The little Scottish boys and the little English boys had fallen out over the Hadrian fence, as had the little Welsh boys and the little English boys over the Uffa ditch, and Mummy Parliament had insisted that they shared all their toys out equally. She called it a Union, and henceforth the little Welsh boys had to share their water with everyone else, and the little Scottish boys had to share their barren hillsides with everyone else, and eventually even the little Irish boys had to share their overwhelming debt with everyone else, and it was all a resounding success.
They stopped fighting; actually they had to stop fighting, because by that time they had unelected judges forcing their laws on everyone and making it an offence to call the Irish work dodging tossers, or even the Scots, tight fisted gits. Mummy Parliament made lots of new laws giving civil servants delegated powers to change all the laws she passed from something that sounded vaguely sensible to something that made no sense at all in operation, and she shared all the pocket money out according to need rather than according to who had done the most work. Mummy said everyone could sleep in whichever bed they liked, no need to ask permission, and if anyone needed new toys, Mummy would pay for them.
“Why, that’s the very model of what we need” cried the neighbours of the French and the Germans. “We’ll do the same thing”. And they called it a Union, just as Mummy had done. They had unelected judges making the law, and civil servants dreaming up daft ideas under delegated legislation, and everyone could sleep in anyone else’s bed, and the little boys with barren hillsides could have new toys and everything – what could go wrong?
It worked so well that Mummy decided she wanted to join in too, and eventually she was allowed to.
“But” cried Mummy, “I’m not sharing my pocket money with you, you give it out equally to little boys with barren hillsides who don’t do any work”. The grown-ups were baffled, they’d just been copying Mummy after all, but they said nothing (relatively!) and gave Mummy a rebate on her pocket money.
“And” cried Mummy, “I’m not having you lot sleeping in our beds willy-nilly, you have to ask permission first” The grown-ups were baffled, they’d just been copying Mummy after all, but they said nothing (relatively!) and drew up the Schengen agreement which said that you could sleep in everyone else’s bed except those in Mummy’s house.
“And another thing” cried Mummy, “You’ve got these unelected judges making laws, its outrageous; I’m not standing for it.” The grown-ups were baffled, they’d just been copying Mummy after all, but they said nothing (relatively!) and gave Mummy lots of exemptions and ways out of following the laws. She didn’t take them; she applied the laws far more strictly than she had to and then blamed the grown-ups for the resulting mess.
“And whilst I’m on the subject” cried Mummy (“are you ever off it”, cried the grown-ups) “I’m not having the pocket money shared out according to need, those little Greek boys have done nothing for me, they don’t deserve it” The grown-ups were baffled, they’d just been copying Mummy after all, but they said nothing (relatively!) and……
To be continued when it has been decided whether following Mummy’s example of how to form a Union was a good idea or not…..