I love the notion of celebrity endorsement, don’t you? David Beckham packs himself into a pair of underpants and, at enormous expense, his image is hung (aptly enough) down the side of a building in Times Square. In response, thousands or maybe millions of males rush to the shops and buy said underwear, figuring if it’s good enough for David it must be good enough for them. And whatever you do, don’t point out to them that D Beckham is an expert on playing football, not on packing underpants.
But that’s just unthinking yobs, right? Numbskulls who worry about their manhood and wouldn’t know a rip-off from a referee’s elbow. Well I thought as much until I saw a column in today’s Guardian newspaper. In it Timothy Garton Ash applauds Seamus Heaney’s entry into the Lisbon 2 debate. Seamus, it seems, has declared Lisbon is a good thing. He recalls five years ago in Dublin’s Phoenix Park, when Ireland assumed the presidency of the EU. ‘Phoenix renewed itself, just as the Union was renewing itself and continues to need to renew itself’. And Seamus goes on to say that the EU is a good thing for Ireland (well actually he’s talking about the south of Ireland, but let that go) and that it’s in the state’s political and economic interests to identify with Europe. So vote Yes to Lisbon.
Good man Seamus. But I kind of wish he’d explained how arguing for a more democratic Europe in terms of workers’ rights and control of national defence means you’re anti-Europe. Or even that Timothy Garton Ash had explained same. Because I have this silly notion that making a case for a better Europe actually means you’re more pro-Europe than those who call for the signing of a document that refuses to integrate clauses dealing with workers’ rights, joint military participation by all member states and control over abortion legislation, and says they’ll give ‘guarantees’ instead. Couldn’t they just put it in the amended treaty, I ask myself. But then I also have the odd notion that footballers aren’t necessarily the best men to consult on what drawers to buy, and that asking a poet to advise you on political matters is like asking your butcher to advise you on stocks and shares.