Sciatica unites Europe

Junk. on one of his better days

European leaders have finally joined forces to achieve an elusive yet unquestionably worthy goal: keeping Jean-Claude Juncker upright.

The occasion for that show of unity was the gala dinner at the NATO conference in Brussels. It was there that Juncker – or Junk, as he likes to be called by his friends, among whom I proudly count myself – rallied the assorted presidents and prime ministers to a common cause.

When Junk turned up for the event, it became instantly clear to the august assembly that he was none too firm on his feet. Junk was walking in zigzags, stumbling, tottering and losing his balance.

When he got to the steps leading up to the podium, Junk provided a vivid illustration to Lenin’s brochure One Step Forward, Two Steps Back, which he considers essential reading. “Read your Lenin, Al, you old bugger,” he often tells me. “You’ll learn all you need to know.”

It was then that the European Rapid Reaction Force went into action. Presidents of Finland and the Ukraine, along with several prime ministers led by Mark Rutte of Holland, propped Junk up, gently pushing and pulling him in the right direction.

An unbiased observer wouldn’t have failed to notice that none of the men would have been able to do the job by himself. It took the combined efforts of most European leaders to propel Junk around. If there ever was a powerful argument for pan-European unity, that was certainly it.

As Junk explained later, his irregular locomotion pattern was caused by an attack of sciatica. He thereby made an invaluable contribution to both the aetiology and symptomatology of the condition.

In the former, he made a breakthrough discovery that sciatica is caused by the toxic substances added to Glenfarclas malt whisky, his favourite tipple. As with all such additives, the toxic effect is directly proportional to the amount consumed and the rate of consumption.

When taken slowly and in moderate quantities, Glenfarclas has no immediate deleterious effects. In fact, it may even confer some cardiovascular benefits. In that sense it’s like arsenic that, depending on how it’s used, may either kill or deaden the pain of root canal work.

However, drinking a full bottle of Glenfarclas after lunch at which two bottles of wine were consumed may indeed cause any number of undesirable side effects, such as indeed sciatica. As a lifelong champion of ‘elf and safety, I demand that Glenfarclas should henceforth carry a government health warning to that effect.

As to Junk’s contribution to the symptomatology of sciatica, medical science will be grateful to him for showing that the condition may cause zigzagging, stumbling, losing one’s balance, trying to topple over backwards, laughing uncontrollably and for no good reason, kissing everything that moves and babbling “Where’s that busty Croatian president? Boy, would I like her to preside over my face…”

As a side benefit, Junk has shown that costly medical research on multiple subjects is a waste of money and time. A properly conducted, rigidly controlled trial on a single volunteer can often suffice.

This provides a telling response to all those naysayers who claim that the EU is useless. True, its benefits aren’t instantly apparent. But that doesn’t mean they are non-existent.

Hence we must all be grateful to Junk for making this seminal, if inadvertent, contribution to medicine on behalf of the EU.

And speaking of the EU, another news item caught my eye. On his visit to Britain (against which all the decent people of the world, along with Messrs Corbyn and Sadiq, are protesting vigorously and vociferously), President Trump has seen fit to deliver himself of totally unfounded statements that will forever compromise the special relationship.

It pains me to have to repeat them, but I must. Trump has uttered words to the effect that:

a) soft Brexit is no Brexit, b) it’s not what the British people voted for, c) Theresa May has destroyed Brexit and ignored the will of the people, d) Britain is in turmoil as a result, e) by exiting the EU without really leaving it, Britain is killing stone-dead her chances of getting trade deals with non-EU members, specifically the US, f) Britain is losing her culture because of mass immigration.

Like all decent and other people who protest against Trump’s visit to Britain (yet saw nothing wrong with visits by such worthy luminaries as Ceaușescu, Xi, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia et al), I find Trump’s statements deplorable, unwarranted and unhelpful.

And, what makes them even worse is that every one of them is true.

When my friend Junk dries out… sorry, I mean recovers from his painful condition, I’ll seek his counsel on this matter. I tried to do so this morning, but all I got from him was “Call that Croatian chick for me, Al. You know, the one with the big…”

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