Friday, 29 May 2015

Referendum: Who Will Tell The Amazing Story?

What a tale to tell.  The intrigue, the diplomacy, the shuttling back and forth across the Channel and the channels; the rumours, the plots, the plot ...

Which of our famous political writers will take up their pens at the end of it all and give us the book?  All of them, probably.  But whose will be published, whose will sell?  Even if we know the outcome all along?

The characters.  Cameron, of Oxford.  Osborne, of Oxford.  Hammond, Johnson, May, Gove ...  Salmond and Sturgeon and Adams and Robinson.  Assorted 'businessmen' (or biznizmen as they say in Russia, it means something subtly different).  Celebrities, as they get enlisted for their endorsements before the vote.  Clerics too, in due course, we may be sure - they always try to be current, relevant.  

And the huge cast of shifty foreigners. 
French foreign minister Laurent Fabius warned that Paris would say no if the UK demanded a special status in the EU ...
(Did he, by God?   He might be reminded of how France adopted its 'special status' in NATO all those years, in but at the same time out.  How was this trick achieved?  Easy: NATO needed France - on its own terms - because Russia was a genuine threat.  Now, there's a thought ...)

The intrigue, the foreigners, the rumours, the plots, the plot (even if we know the outcome all along) ...  It has to be Hilary Mantel.

ND

21 comments:

dearieme said...

Could she resist dragging in her rather, shall we say, cold views on Roman Catholicism? Though, for all I know, they might be rather relevant to the issue.

roym said...

when do you suppose we will actually find out what it is they are negotiating for and what we will be voting to stay in for? 18 months of political capital for benefits that can probably be withheld under existing laws seems pretty weird

DJK said...

Dearime: At the time of the last referendum, my uncle told us he was voting No because the common market was all a Roman Catholic plot. As a serious teenager, I though this was risible. Now, I'm not so sure he wasn't onto something after all.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a job for The Comic Strip Presents like "The Strike" and "GLC: The Carnage Continues..."

"Referendum: Yes or No?"
Ian Richardson as Hugh Grant playing David Cameron
Dawn French as Judi Dench playing Angela Merkel
Ade Edmondson as Gérard Depardieu playing François Hollande

Blue Eyes said...

The posters displayed to the captive audiences of London Underground escalators have long interested me. Who are advertisers trying to reach? Are they cheaper than billboards or super-prime?

Forget the book, I want to know when EU Referendum - The Musical! is to reach the West End.

CityUnslicker said...

Cant wait to see who leads the Out compaign - maybe George Galloway?

john cheshire said...

EU membership, Just say No!

Nick Drew said...

dearieme, DJK - oh yes, the Catholic parallel is very apt: plucky England wishing to be master of its own destiny, sovereign in its own borders

James Higham said...

Theatre, Nick.

Sebastian Weetabix said...

Catholic plot? Rubbish.

As Nick Ridley once put it, its a German racket. A filthy Prussian racket. The continuation of world conquest by other means. And nearly all those nasty Prussians are prods, you know, just like the dreadful Luther, which is partly why we Celtic supporters call Rangers the Hun.

Bringing sectarian clarity is a public duty, I'm sure you would all agree.

DJK said...

SW: When Uncle Vernon told me that the Common Market was a Catholic plot, my reply was "But what about the Germans, they're protestant?" "But not in the South", he said. And herein lies the key to his insight.

The Prussian method of uniting Europe had proved unworkable in the first half of the twentieth century. But to southern German Catholic politicians like Konrad Adenauer, there was a romantic ideal in creating a new Holy Roman Empire, uniting Europe around the historical core of Christendom itself. (Incidentally, reason enough why Turkey will never be part of the EU.) What could be more noble than to unite France, Italy and Germany (led by Catholic Christian Democrats)?

Sebastian Weetabix said...

Believe me, if it were a catholic plot, the powers that be wouldn't be importing tens of millions of maniac muslims into Europe. The vatican's institutional memory is better than that.

DJK said...

Well, of course, there is no single plot as there are many competing visions of what Europe should be. But the Franco-German objection to Britain's position is embodied in Napoleon's crack about England being a nation of shopkeepers. They think that we settle all questions by how they affect the P&L statement; European integration is about much more than that. And maybe Napoleon was right, since most of the EU debate here seems to be about economics. WHO CARES. It's about who gets to govern Britain: us or foreigners.

Sebastian Weetabix said...

By the way, when I lived in northern Germany, the locals routinely used to half-jokingly (at least, I think they were joking - you can never really be sure with the Hermans) refer to Munich as "North Italy"; they regarded it as a foetid swamp of corruption. (It probably was when Franz Josef Strauss was running it.). Of course what they really hate is the fact they have stupid country bumpkin accents down there yet they have more money. I suppose a good equivalent in England would be if the denizens of Plymouth earned twice as much as Londoners per head and patronised accordingly while singing "I've got a brand new combine harvester" without a cultural cringe.

DJK said...

Last time I was in Munich, the locals referred to the northern Germans as Prussians.

Blue Eyes said...

When was that, about 1875?

Nick Drew said...

fifteen years ago I did a deal in Munich, under a German contract, subject to German law, with a Bavarian customer that was substantial, 'respectable', a household name, certainly no fly-by-night

a few months later the customer decided they no longer wanted our product, so they cancelled: under the contract, cancellation meant they owed us compensation but they told us that as far as they were concerned the contract never existed

we politely suggested otherwise: we had gone to some trouble and expense to hire a good German law firm, and we were pretty sure the contract was sound

oh yes, said the customer, the contract is technically sound, but - you versus a Bavarian company in a Munich court ? ... don't be silly: and if you give us any trouble, we will sue you for wasting our time or something else we will dream up

so we went back to the German law firm (in Frankfurt) who said, well, that's Bavaria for you

call me naive but I was not expecting that: you live and learn

(BTW, the product was heavy-duty software and already half-installed - so we knew their systems inside out, which gave us a bit of, *ahem*, leverage ... so we did get some compo after all. Big Boy's Rules)

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