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You know you’re a European when…

22 May 2014

1:14 PM

22 May 2014

1:14 PM

Today’s European election is not just a matter of deciding who gets to represent my made-up region in Brussels’ toy town parliament. It is a celebration of our common heritage as a people, and our proud record of centuries of killing each other in futile wars and thinking up political schemes that never work.

Some proud Europeans have described their own ideas about what marks us out as Europeans. Here are mine:

1). You work to live, not live to work, and after 30 years of 30 hour-weeks you get to retire for another 27 years. And you get angry when people suggest that this insane system will leave your grandchildren impoverished.

2). You don’t believe in God, because only yokels and idiots do that, but you hold faith in an all-powerful state that will look after you from cradle to grave.

3). Your car is older than your democracy and may well probably outlast it. America may be a young country, but in constitutional terms the United States is ancient by European standards. As Mark Steyn has pointed out, only eight countries in the world have had unbroken democracy for the past century, and five of them speak English.

4). Your kitchen is kitted out in German gadgets, paid for by massive loans from Germany, which your country can’t afford. So the Germans have to lend you more money. This system will last forever.

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5). You oppose war, except when some lunatic on your doorstep starts his own 1930s reenactment, in which case the Americans have to be called in to save the day, again.

6). You have openly Neo-Nazi MEPs representing your country in parliament, brandishing thinly-disguised swastika-esque flags and still blaming everything on the few thousand remaining Jews in the country.

7). You oppose gay marriage and support the death penalty, but what you think doesn’t matter because these things are decided by your betters anyway. Popular support for capital punishment is roughly the same in the US as it is in Britain and the Netherlands; in fact Italy is the outlier in being a European country where the public strongly oppose the death penalty. The reason why many states in America have it is because the US is more democratic (and capital punishment is in decline there – five states have recently abolished it – because the public is turning against it). In the US gay marriage has been largely fought over in state referenda, and the pro-lobby has won largely through debate; in Britain and France it is decided by political elites in agreement with each other.

8). You wouldn’t be able to name more than three MEPs, or even your ‘president’, Herman van Rompuy.

9). You appreciate higher culture, which is why your largest-selling newspaper has tits in it and your country’s greatest cultural export is The Weakest Link.

10). And you have lots of ancient, beautiful cities that no one except a banker or politician can afford to live in.

11). Diversity is the very essence of your philosophy, except when it comes to differing opinions. Then it’s ‘culture wars’ and ‘extremism’.

12). Family values are very important to you. In fact, family is so important that you have to be a cousin of the mayor to get a building permit, because corruption levels are through the roof in southeast Europe. Here are Italy and Romania in 69th place, Bulgaria in 77th and Greece in 80th. Still, they’re all models of republican virtue compared to new EU candidate Albania – placed 116th.

13). Anyway, no one in your family under the age of 25 has a job.

14). Your remake of Breaking Bad would have got to about series 3 before Walter succumbed.

15). Not that you would remake it, because all your favourite television shows come from America anyway.


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Show comments
  • global city

    The EU parliament has just announced (9.10p.m) that the turnout was 43.11%…. get ready for some really strange results in some countries and plenty of corruption.

    I reckon the ‘pro’ parties will ‘do much better’ than is expected, with the help of some sleight of hand.

  • Jonathan Sidaway

    Light but telling piece on the mass of crucial contradictions and special pleading that is Europe. It is more a state of mind than a continent – and why is India, so much more definite, always only a subcontinent?

  • Kaine

    Trite and lazy article.

  • StephanieJCW

    ” but what you think doesn’t matter because these things are decided by your betters anyway. Popular support for capital punishment is roughly the same in the US as it is in Britain and the Netherlands; in fact Italy is the outlier in being a European country where the public strongly oppose the death penalty. The reason why many states in America have it is because the US is more democratic (and capital punishment is in decline there – five states have recently abolished it – because the public is turning against it). In the US gay marriage has been largely fought over in state referenda, and the pro-lobby has won largely through debate; in Britain and France it is decided by political elites in agreement with each other.”

    I am not sure what democracy has to do with this – or how it is democracy for people’s ability to marry their partner is restricted on the basis of the ‘majority’ (ditto the death penalty.)

    Never heard of the ‘tyranny of the majority’? (Besides it’s not just the elite – in Britain and France polls reveal a majority in support of gay marriage)

  • StephanieJCW

    “You work to live, not live to work”

    This is bad because…?

  • Bill_der_Berg

    Living to work? All very well if you have no interests and responsibilities outside of work. As for 30 years of a 30 hour week, where do you find an occupation like that?

    • Lucy Sky Diamonds

      Work for the BBC

  • UniteAgainstSocialism

    You know you’re a European when you want to invade Britain

    • Wessex Man

      love it!

  • Bill_der_Berg

    On the subject of family values.

    “Vice President Joe Biden’s son joins Ukraine gas company” (BBC)

  • Kitty MLB

    Running out of ideas for threads are we. Maybe after today we can have more of a variety of topics, me old beansprout.

  • Bill_der_Berg

    ” Family values are very important to you. In fact, family is so important that you have to be a cousin of the mayor to get a building permit”.

    Good one.

  • Martin Adamson

    You oppose capital punishment for murderers, but support it for the old, sick and infant children.

  • saffrin

    So, Ed West is a racist then.

  • rtj1211

    Depends what you define as ‘culture’, Mr West. The EPL is an elephant to ‘the Weakest Link”s ant and I’m sure that Clarkson and Top Gear outsell TWL.

    I do have one simple piece of advice for you. Go and actually live in America for 5 years to disabuse yourself of the notion that America is some panacea dream land. It’s not.

    Then go live in a country where America ‘saved the day’. It may dawn upon you that what they actually did was create a mess for two or three generations.

    I also suggest that it’s very easy for you to be a warmonger now you’re old enough not to have to fight. I do hope you’re going to have your children conscripted though, because it would be intolerable hypocrisy for you not to do so. I’m sure you’re so patriotic that losing one or two offspring is ‘acceptable collateral damage’ in the West household??

    No doubt you buy into all this ‘Putin is Hitler’ nosnense that Aaronovitch is whoring right now. I think any sane commentator would suggest that the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya etc etc make the goings on in Ukraine seem like a primary school punch up with 8 year olds in comparison.

    Show me Putin’s Jew hating. He was a father figure to Abramovitch who is, incredibly, of Jewish descent. So are plenty of other Russian oligarchs. They might not like gays and blacks (they are no worse than we were in the 1970s), but there are no stars worn by Jews to identify them to the FSB, are there??

    I don’t believe in the EU superstate. But then I don’t think the USA is a force for good either. I’d like to balkanise America, I’d like to balkanise India and I’d like to balkanise China too.

    You see, if you had to build consensus amongst 40 regions of China for significant action to be pushed internationally, you’d be more likely to make wise decisions. Quakers have done it for centuries after all……it’s only bloodthirsty dictators like journalists who have to peddle ‘no surrender, no surrender, no surrender to the Lib Dem c**ts!!’, isn’t it??

  • Bill_der_Berg

    You oppose war, until your American masters find that yet another new Hitler has arisen to threaten the world. Then you obediently join in the attack, remembering that half-a-million deaths is a small price to pay.

  • Mike Barnes

    What?

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