A double apology is needed here.
First, to my regret I was unable to find a nicer metaphor for the EU than a snake, partly because my zoology is weak and partly because no nicer metaphor really fit.
Second, to my even greater regret, observing Manny Macron’s two-front war with Germany and Italy, I experienced a shameful and decidedly un-Christian feeling my friend Angie Merkel would describe as Schadenfreude.
Gloating at other people’s misfortunes is as disgraceful as it’s hard to resist. Especially here, for, amazing as it sounds, Manny is on the right side of the argument in both cases. Well, sort of.
First Manny got cross with Italy’s Deputy PM Luigi Di Maio. The uppity Italian had the temerity to meet Christophe Chalençon, the leader of France’s gilets jaunes protest movement and express his unwavering solidarity.
Now the gilets will have many candidates standing in the upcoming elections to the European parliament, and they’re likely to take seats from Manny’s own party.
Thus one can understand Manny’s ire over what he almost correctly perceives as Italy’s meddling in France’s internal politics.
‘Almost’ is a necessary qualifier because Di Maio really meddled in European, not French, elections. If all EU members have the same parliament, who says they have to restrict campaigning to their own countries? If populist parties from across Europe form a coalition, surely they can be expected to seek votes wherever they can find them?
Yet one can understand why Manny should feel aggrieved by this interpretation of the grand European idea. Indeed, using one of his mouthpieces, Manny thundered about “unfounded attacks and outlandish claims”.
France then recalled its ambassador to Italy, saying the situation was “unprecedented” since the end of World War Two. That gave me two shocks.
For one thing, I would have thought that the EU is such a close-knit family that exchanging diplomatic missions should be redundant in the first place. I mean, Sussex and Kent don’t send ambassadors to each other and neither do, say, Texas and Ohio.
But then appearances need to be kept up, and the outside world must be given the impression that EU members don’t yet form a single state, although they plan to do so in the near future.
That explains the ambassadors. But what about recalling the French envoy? That’s an act of a hostile foreign power, not of a warm and loving next of kin.
Now that Manny mentioned the war, for example Germany and the USSR didn’t recall their ambassadors until the shooting actually started – this even though they had known for months that war was imminent.
The thing is that, though Di Maio and Salvini, the leaders of Italy’s governing coalition, can have their arms twisted to accept EU money, they detest the EU. That feeling is naturally extended to Manny, who’s the EU’s most fanatical shill.
Actually, though they do like EU money, they’d rather it weren’t denominated in euros, a currency they not unreasonably blame for many of Europe’s troubles. Di Maio and Salvini would love to bust the euro – and Manny too while they’re at it.
After all, Manny did refer to Italy’s governing coalition as “leprosy”, which doesn’t sound to me like a term of praise. However, as someone who alternately despises and hates the EU, I’m pleased to see the second and third largest economies in the eurozone at daggers drawn.
However, if you believe Charles Dickens, accidents will happen even in the best regulated families, and few families are as tightly regulated as the EU. Yet the EU has a family within a family, and you know what that is.
Since the Germans no longer want to be Germans, but the French do, the two countries have for all intents and purposes already fulfilled the dream of forming a single state.
It may not yet be officially known as such, but, with the two countries having agreed to merge both their domestic and foreign policies, I’d say it’s as near as damn.
So one would expect the two senior members of the EU to be in agreement on most vital issues. It’s a crude parallel, but it’s fine for two brothers to exchange blows every now and then but, when Mummy and Daddy do the same thing, the integrity of the family is seriously threatened.
Transsexuality being in fashion, I dare say it’s Angie who acts as the father in this relationship, with Manny assuming the maternal role. Yet women no longer accept subservience, and Manny attacked the EU father figure with all he had.
You see, Daddy-Angie is playing footsies with Putin, who has pumped $11 billion into Nord Stream-2, the project of building two more gas pipelines to Europe.
As I argued a couple of days ago (http://www.alexanderboot.com/europes-energy-policy-is-a-gas/), this is going to increase Europe’s already worrying dependence on Gazprom, which is to say Putin.
Manny agrees, and this is the first time he and I have agreed on anything, although we come at the problem from different angles.
Manny’s angle is that most of Europe’s populist parties are on Putin’s payroll, meaning that the Russian mafia (aka government) finances bids to unseat traditional governments.
One such government is Manny’s own, and one such party is Marine Le Pen’s National Rally, formerly known as the National Front.
Understandably, Manny is trying to torpedo the project through Brussels’s good offices, while Angie is fighting back with masculine vigour.
I can’t understand those British parliamentarians who wish to remain in the midst of such squabbles, not to mention in the midst of the recession into which both economies are slipping – and pay with British sovereignty for the privilege.
If you can, I’m open to explanations. Meanwhile, let’s have fun watching the EU’s tail disappearing into its gullet.