Jean Claude Juncker, or Junk, as he likes to be known to his friends, among whom I proudly number myself, put his finger right on it when he ascribed the Brexit vote to “40 years of lies”.
“On Europe there are so many lies, so many half-truths that are circulated around, that one cannot be surprised,” he told me the other day over a shared bottle of his favourite tipple, Glenfarclas malt whisky. Actually, sharing is a loose description, for I barely managed to have a couple of drinks before the rest of the nectar disappeared down Junk’s zinc-lined throat.
To digress, his detractors ascribe Junk’s eccentric views and behaviour to his inordinate fondness for that particular Scottish product. As someone who has seen Junk consume two bottles of the stuff in the course of a normal business day, I can testify that nothing can be further from the truth.
Junk holds his liquor remarkably well, and whisky has no appreciable effect on him. If Junk sometimes slurs his words, it’s because of the difficulty he at times has with constantly switching from one language to another, or rather from one mix of languages to another. And if at times Junk walks in zigzags, it’s his natural gait, as he once explained to a tactless, prying hack.
Anyway, I agreed with him avidly. “Right you are, Junk,” I said, nursing the few drops my friend left for me in the £120 bottle of Glenfarclas he had put on his EU expense account.
“More than 40 years actually. It was over 60 years ago that Jean Monnet outlined his plan for gradually duping Europeans into believing that the EU is a purely economic construct, rather than a systematic effort to create a single state.
“Since then every blatantly political step has been passed for an economic one. And don’t get me started on the European army, which the EU has always said it didn’t want. You know, the one it has now been announced they’re going ahead with…”
“No, tais-toi, Dummkopf, shut up, mein lieber ami,” shouted Junk, drawing askance glances from our fellow drinkers and emphasising yet again the multi-lingual ease of his self-expression.
“These aren’t the Lügen I mean! The mensonges I’m talking about are the lies les Anglo-Saxons spread about the EU! Himmelherrgott, those sales cons d’Anglais, no offence, Al, say we’re hell-bent on creating a single European state, complete with its own laws, army, taxation, currency and German government… Un paquet of bloody mensonges, jeden single lying mot!”
“Hold on, Junk,” I said, trying to get a word in edgewise. “Haven’t you just reaffirmed your commitment to further European integration, including a single European army? You know, when that hack asked you if Poland would be the first country the Euro army would invade?”
“What does that have to do with the prix of bread in Chine, mein lieber Freund?” asked Junk, clearly perplexed.
“Well, you’ve been saying for decades you wouldn’t do any of those things, without meaning a single word…”
“Ta gueule, you Englisch Scheisse,” shouted Junk, making the barman pull out the baseball bat he kept under the bar. “You don’t comprend, do you?”
“So tell me what I don’t understand, Junk,” I said, gesturing at the barman to take it easy.
“What you don’t understand, with your Englisch-Russisch Gehirn, that Anglo-Russian half-cerveau of yours, is that everything said in favour of the EU is the truth, and everything said against it as a lie. By definition.”
“But Junk,” I protested, ignoring the insults with which Junk always masks the deep respect he has for your truly, “you lot did unveil plans to launch an EU army, something you said you’d never do, and you did say Brexit would throw the British economy into chaos, with Scotland heading for the door…”
“All God’s own vérités, every foutu one of them,” replied Junk, signalling for another bottle of Glenfarclas. “It’s just that you lot can’t get your têtes around the concept of dialectical, as opposed to wörtlich, literal, truth…”
At that point, Darren the barman approached our table and said “Sorry, Mr Juncker, can’t serve you another one. You’ve had enough, mate.”
So, I had to admit to myself with some mortification, had I.