Michael D and his surprising symmetries

So much depends on timing and clarity. If your house is under siege from a gang of bowler-hatted supremacists, it mightn’t be the best time to remind your spouse that s/he should clear out some of the junk that’s been accumulated over the years. And if you must mention this true but uncomfortable fact, you’d be better saying ‘This house is stuffed with rubbish that needs dumping’ rather than ‘The superfluity of  futile memorabilia and bric-a-brac is an impediment to the full flowering of our relationship and the felicity of our mutual domesticity.”

I mention these matters because last night, President Michael D Higgins made a speech at the opening of the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence in UCD.  You remember Jean Monnet. Sometimes known as the Father of Europe, he was central to the establishment of the European Coal and Steel Community in 1951, which was the beginnings of what grew to become our present EU.

So you’d have expected President Higgins to be ladelling out the soup of praise for the EU and all it has achieved, not just because he was opening the Monnet Centre of Excellence but because in these dark difficult days of Brexit, the president would surely want to highlight the importance of the EU, whatever its warts, to the development of the Irish economy north and south.

It seems not. Instead, the president chose to give out about the state of the place:

 “A new mind for Europe is required, which requires a casting aside of failing assumptions within inadequate models. It requires new symmetries between the social, the economic, the cultural and the ethical. These symmetries, if they are to be achieved, will require changes in the institutional architecture of the union.”

Maybe like me your eyes glazed over by the time you got to the end of that last sentence. Or maybe you wondered if Michael D had a bet with someone about how many abstract polysyllabic words he could fit into three sentences. Either way, when you chisel out what he’s getting at, it appears he sees the EU as made up of poor member states and rich member states, and it really should stop.

Michael D, you do know there’s a war on? A war between on the one hand, precious-union DUPers and a considerable number of ERG Tory crazies, people who on principle  think that sticking an economic dagger in your own chest is a great idea, and on the other those of us who value the EU and would rather remain in it.   Yes, the EU has things that are in need of change. But right now it’s confronted with gammon-faced fury from Westminster and orange-faced fury from Washington DC and more Orange-faced fury from our festered nest.  This is not the time to raise the inequality that the EU does indeed suffer from. Now is the time to rally round an institution that has done so much for peace and prosperity over the last 50+ years against a delusional bunch of uber-Brits.

And here, Michael D. I won’t mention the €250,000 a year you get,  which is more than Putin, Macron or Xi Jimping gets, not to mention the €30 million it costs to keep you in Aras An Uachtarain for ONE term, if you promise to go  into the bathroom and get rid of that dictionary you’ve got lodged in your innards.  Big words don’t actually mean a big brain.

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