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Colman:
Turns out I don't care if it gives some of the British establishment a testosterone boost.

The British establishment couldn't care less and will continue with EU disruption tactics on a business as usual basis.  Her appointment is an attempt at appeasing British Euroscepticism which will simply react by treating the EU with even greater contempt.  They hate the EU, and now, thanks to their efforts, the best the EU can come up with is some obscure Belgian and some even more obscure Brit.  Life just couldn't be better if you are an anti-EU British establishmentarian.

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Nov 20th, 2009 at 07:07:30 AM EST
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Spot on! Can we dismiss her now or is it still too early?
by vladimir on Fri Nov 20th, 2009 at 07:10:11 AM EST
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I'm still not convinced that obscurity is a problem here. I'm not convinced of the need for a traffic-stopper.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Nov 20th, 2009 at 07:10:12 AM EST
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notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Nov 20th, 2009 at 07:15:38 AM EST
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No, I don't understand.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Nov 20th, 2009 at 07:22:35 AM EST
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The traffic stopper is needed - allegedly - because it's impossible to think of a state, or a superstate, without a charismatic newsworthy figurehead.

The figurehead isn't there to write policy notes and have meetings, but to embody a political narrative, so that people know what they're a part of - giving them a chance to feel they can at least agree or disagree, in that traditionally powerless democratic way.

If there are no figureheads, the process becomes remote to the point of disinterest.

The EU does a lot of this already, so picking Van Rompuy and Ashton is in character - more so than picking Blair would have been.

That doesn't mean 'The best we could have expected, considering' is really all that admirable, or the ideal template for the future.

The EU is good at functional politics, but very bad at narrative politics, with theatre and pageantry. Theatre and pageantry are stupid and annoying, but very necessary.

Brussels doesn't want to believe this, but I think it's a mistake to ignore it.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Nov 20th, 2009 at 08:04:48 AM EST
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Some of the most inept campaigns I have seen was aimed at strengthening european identity. Like one were the EU sponsored some campaign about giving flowers to your loved ones with big billboard posters. It was embarrassingly bad. I have wondered why - with all those resources at command - it was so horribly badly performed. I could - and have - done better political campaigns on a shoestring budget.

ThatBritGuy:

Brussels doesn't want to believe this

This sounds like a plausible explanation. If you do not believe something, you might develop a structural incompetence in the area, because you prioritize wrong and give promotions to the wrong people.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Nov 20th, 2009 at 09:44:21 AM EST
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Perhaps on ET too, we have a bias toward rational policy analysis and "administrative competence" and a disdain for the emotional, imaginative, identity, and need for belongingness that popular politics is also partially about.  I sometimes feel that that the debates we have here are intra-elite or aspiring elite and that we have an inability or unwillingness to comprehend or engage with non-believers in the European ideal.

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Nov 20th, 2009 at 10:05:44 AM EST
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The EU is good at functional politics, but very bad at narrative politics, with theatre and pageantry. Theatre and pageantry are stupid and annoying, but very necessary.

Brussels doesn't want to believe this, but I think it's a mistake to ignore it.

There is also the fact that every time the EU tries to build a pan-European demos - with EU flag days or whatever - you get all kinds of nationalist neanderthals up in arms about the Evil International Jewish/Communist conspiracy "undemocratic, unelected Bruxelles bureaucrats seeking to subvert people's national identity."

And those nationalist neanderthals quite often have a strong say over the federal purse strings...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Nov 20th, 2009 at 07:38:02 PM EST
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Who are "They" that hate the EU here?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Nov 20th, 2009 at 07:12:56 AM EST
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I'm trying to articulate the British Establishment position (which is largely Eurosceptic and surprisingly cohesive for such a large and diverse group on that issue).

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Nov 20th, 2009 at 07:17:47 AM EST
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You have a history of pretending to articulate positions that are not yours without making it explicit that that's what you're doing. Could you stop?

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Nov 20th, 2009 at 07:20:16 AM EST
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The "They" came in the same paragraph as British Establishment, so I would have thought it was obvious which "they" I was referring to.  And if I am not allowed to attempt to articulate or understand views I don't agree with, I have no further interest in being here.  I have no interest in being part of a chorus line parroting the perceived wisdom here.

Jerome has written a good story articulating the case for the status quo post Lisbon and the Council appointments.  I think it is possible to argue a coherent contrary case - that the competence of the appointees is not proven, that it is an attempt to appease British Euroscepticism and will fail, and ultimately, that the EU might have been better served by appointees with greater electoral standing, proven track records of articulating EU interests, developing new EU policies or mandates, and influencing their adoption on a global scale.

The jury is out, I don't know which view will ultimately turn out to be right, and I am open to persuasion, but I am interested in participating here only if I am allowed to articulate views which are not necessarily mine or which I am not sure about.

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Nov 20th, 2009 at 07:47:01 AM EST
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Frank Schnittger:
I am interested in participating here only if I am allowed to articulate views which are not necessarily mine or which I am not sure about.
That's not what I'm saying. What I'm saying is that when I think you're arguing a certain point, suddenly it turns out you're actually paraphrasing what you imagine to be someone else's position.

You could make this clear for dumb people such as myself.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Nov 20th, 2009 at 08:53:43 AM EST
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