Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Where Ignorant Armies Clash By Night

The EU has a flag and a theme tune- and that's all. It's quite a good flag but it has never flown over a battlefield or marched in a victory parade and people have no emotional investment in it. The theme tune is as good as it gets- but it's not the EU's exclusive property; it's on loan from Beethoven's 9th Symphony.

For a wannabe superstate the EU has been very poor at branding itself. It has no character, no flavour. Proper states have figureheads, leaders, heroes, icons, uniforms, histories, traditions, mythologies- and the EU has none. It doesn't even have iconic buildings. The British State has the Houses of Parliament and various royal palaces, the USA has the Capitol building and the White House. Where does the EU hang out and conduct its business? Haven't the foggiest.

The coming wrangle over Britain's membership of the EU will be all about abstracts- about policies and budgets and quotas and political philosophies. Where names are invoked they will be faceless because the EU doesn't have easily identifiable chiefs or ideologues It's like the presiding authority in a Kafka novel; who's the King of the Castle? Nobody knows. For the average punter who thinks in terms of symbols and personalities (myself for instance) the debate is going to be very hard to follow. It'll be like watching a battle in the clouds between armies of ghosts.
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