Sunday, September 26, 2004
Easy Win
Easiest argument win ever:

Dripping Wet EP Researcher: "Howard's immigration speech this week was a mindless lurch to the right, solely designed to return the Tories to their "core-vote" strategy in a mad panic."

Me: "Rubbish. It was full of quite compassionate and sensible principles."

DWEPR: "No, it was quasi-fascist Monday Club rubbish."

Me: "Do you know what the Monday Club stand for? Have you read their manifesto?"

DWEPR: "Er, no, but, er, fascists, er, right-wing, er...."

Me: "Have you even read Howard's speech in full?"

DWEPR: "Er, no, but, it's obvious, er, fascists..."

Me: "You don't have a clue what you're talking about, do you?"

DWEPR: "Er, mumble....." (goes red)

These knee-jerk leftists profoundly irritate me. This chap was a Conservative Party researcher, yet he couldn't even be bothered to read the full text of his Leader's speech before criticising it in public for the sole reason that the gist he had gathered from BBC News's hackneyed sub-editing didn't suit his general "liberal" gut feeling. Quite ridiculous: if he had bothered to read the bloody thing (it was e-mailed to all our offices, after all) and chosen subsequently to criticise the specific content, I would have given him some credit, although I would have questioned his claim to be a "conservative". I can't understand this mindless desire to criticise for the sole mention of certain policy topics (tax = Tory cuts, immigration = Tory racists, etc) - particularly from supposed Tory activists.

The worst thing is, the London Conservative Party and CCO are full of idiots like this. No wonder the Conservatives are going nowhere in spite of the fact they're actually coming out with some wholly decent policies.

Saturday, September 25, 2004
Zimbabwean hypocrisy
This week, Robert Mugabe selected as his representative to the EU-ACP committee a politician who has been banned from entering the EU. Mr Kumbirai Kanagai is Number 22 on a list of 95 Mugabe associates banned by the EU from travel to the EU in its Common Position of 19 February 2004. The Belgian Government consistently seeks to waive this ban on the grounds that the ACP is subject to multilateral agreements conferring privileges and immunities.

It's a complete farce. Rather like the ICB's refusal to ban cricket teams from playing in Zimbabwe, this is another example of international double-standards. If this had been an Apartheid-era South African politician these people would have eaten their own heads rather than let him into the country. It makes me sick.

The situation in Zimbabwe is utterly unacceptable and this minister's entry into Belgium is yet another example of how toothlessly inept and hypocritically flexible the EU is at enforcing their own laws. Kanagai's presence should have served to emphasise the need for nation states to better enforce their own domestic laws, given the EU's proven ineptitude on the matter. The EU-phile's answer to the situation? MORE powers to the EU, even when they've proven hopeless at enforcing what powers they have. Pure idiocy. The UK government should take a firm stand on this issue and take action to resolve the situation in Zimbabwe once and for all.

Friday, September 24, 2004
Happening Number One: crazy bifters UKIP are off to a flying start in the Parliament. Godfrey "Get Back Into The Kitchen, Woman!" Bloom has been all over the in-house press for his boozy antics. Apparently, bald-headed Mr Bloom was entirely spiflicated in a Strasbourg bar and attempted to open a can of whoop-ass on a Labour MEP for the alleged crime of nearly spilling his pint by trying trip him up by the bar. Sources report that Mr Bloom had to be restrained by UKIP group leader Nigel Farage. Still, good effort all round. It's a delight to see the British Right taking a stand against socialists and their evil tripping ways.

Happening Number Two: a fad for tasteless jokes amongst certain stagieres. Best offering so far: "What's funnier than a dead baby? A dead baby in a clown suit".

Happening Number Three: Fat Boy's Chilli. Fat Boy's is not a tribute to the sexual tastes of a chubby-chaser. It is a sports bar on the Place Luxembourg - the lunchtime / post-work Mecca for many European Parliament employees. Amongst many different types of beer, they serve chilli. Eat a bowl and for three subsequent days you will need to remain within fifty metres of a toilet. It's bloody marvellous.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Seen on the Metro
Picture the scene. I'm at Madou station, my local stop, waiting to catch a train that takes me to work (two stops. Ten minute walk. Yes, I'm very lazy). There's a delay on the Metro (Brussels underground). The boards show that there are three or four trains queued up, waiting to enter Madou, but for some reason one is stuck at the next station down the line. There is a sizeable crowd on the platform as there has been no train for a while.

One train pulls into the station. It is already rammed. A few good citizens disembark. The train is still 95% full.

Enter Lardarse, stage left.

Seeing a full train, with two or three more trains indicated on the boards as being less than three minutes away, one could assume that our salad-dodging chum might be prepared to wait thirty seconds for the next train.

Alas not.

Jean Le Piemuncher, clearly believing there was some kind of steak dinner inside the train, crow-bars his way into a packed carriage, reaching out with both arms to steady himself and thereby forcing his sweaty, festering armpits into the faces of those either side of them. The sight of their tortured faces will stay with me to the grave. The doors of the train squeeze shut, wedging our portly chum's buttocks tightly up against the glass. The train slowly pulled away.

I am still unable to even contemplate eating.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004
Good things and bad things
I have decided that this blog is going to be a random series of thoughts, as and when they occur to me. Structure? Expect little. There's only going to be about two people reading it, anyway, I suppose - thereby making it a futile ego-wank of the highest order. Hey ho!

OK - quick explaination about the title of this blog; it's a quotation from a speech by William Hague. The speech itself effectively sums up my own personal beliefs, unerringly hit to the point of exactly what is wrong with the UK today and, to my mind, was the finest political speech since Enoch Powell's "Rivers of Blood" speech. So there.

[reading between the lines: I am a sad political geek and I need to be kicked up the erse until I learn to behave and stop quoting bald men]

Good thing: I now have a pass and can get into the Parliament without hanging around and having to wait for various assorted bints to let me in. I have stuck a Union Flag over the EU flag on the pass. These EU tosspots think they are a proper country and need to be reminded, as often as possible, that the EU is NOT a country.

Bad thing: my pass is only a stagiere pass until my contract is finalised, so I still need to wave at the obnoxious Belgian security guards until they deign to stop ogling their female co-workers and let me through the security gates (made of glass! Clever, clever thinking there, lads! That'll stop the terrorists, I'm sure...)

Good thing: my flat is great and my office is great. I live right next to a park and it is beautiful and I can run round and round and round it until my legs start hurting and I have to go to the pub to recover.

Bad thing: to take revenge on the World for being born Belgian, the Belgians are determined smother everyone who visits their country with endless swathes of bureaucracy, petty rules, red tape and general bullshit. It is, as we say in the European Parliament, really fucking irritating. Apparently if you're here for more than three months, you have to get a proper European identity card - one's passport not being good enough for the Belgian bureaucracy, obviously. I will say this, however: the EU might as well try and tattoo my wrist. The only way they will brand me with their petty barcodes is by prising the identity card into my cold, dead fist.

Good thing: at least the Belgians aren't French. It's their main redeeming feature.

Bad thing: the corridors of the German area of the Parliament positively reek of stale cigar smoke. It is horrible.

Good thing: the end of this post.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004
And here I am
Well, I'm in Brussels, hungover to hell after getting hammered on Belgian beer and watching last night's football with my new work colleagues (who are for the most part, damned fine chaps and chapesses - although one of the girls for some reason believed me when I told her my name was 'Boris').

The last couple of days have been a complete blur: I landed, booked into an awful hotel (a million miles from anywhere I wanted to go - complaint e-mail already zinging its way to the internet booking company who assured me it was central), struggled over to the Parliament, met my new office colleagues (who - I say again - are fantastic), found a tiny little studio flat for approximately two hundred millions Euros (evil, toy money) a minute, and signed my soul, life savings, and favourite Cornish rugby shirt away as a deposit. I've also been out drinking both nights, and consequently am tired and sluggish.

The European Parliament is a great place to work, I have to admit. Although I'd see the place shut down tomorrow by choice, if you have to work at the centre of the European behemoth, the best place to do it is in a beautifully appointed office, in a building where gourment chefs man even the staff canteen, where you can buy a cooked-to-order steak bearnaisse and frites for as little as six euros. On one level, I'm utterly appalled at the fact we're eating for cheap at the European taxpayers' expense. On the other level, I did just have a delicious bacon sandwich for only two euros.

Thank God the MEP I work for is such a renowned anti-European campaigner. It makes me feel less guilty about the fact I actually enjoy working here.

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