Friday, June 17, 2005

Biff! Bamm! Wallop!

That might just as well be the headline on the latest despatches from the Brussels front, as the hacks get down to reporting in between their endless cups of café latte and the odd beer.

Certainly, that was the tenor of the most recent Press Association report which, in true Beano style, proclaims: "French Throw Down Gauntlet in EU Rebate Row".

You could do the report in breathless Estuary English, in the style of a Fleet Street hack of yore, dictating his priceless words to the copy desk, except they don't do it like that any more. But it sounds just the same:

The EU summit was plunged into a new crisis this afternoon as simmering Anglo-French tensions over Britain's rebate finally erupted into open warfare… French President Jacques Chirac threw down the gauntlet in a hard-hitting and bitter address to fellow leaders on the summit's second day…
Oh, p-leeze. At least the Beano has pictures.

In any event, the finalé is pre-ordained. The "colleagues" are not going to agree. There is no need to agree, and over the next few months the deal will be stitched up au couloirs. We will be told about it afterwards. The rest is theatre.

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