Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Could this be the answer?

Earlier today I was asked by the BBC Russian Service to be one of the "resident experts" on the Constitutional Reform Lisbon Treaty while various listeners and readers of the BBC Website took part in what was a discussion only in the way the Toy Parliament in Brussels/Strasbourg conducts debates. Different people made different points and the two "resident experts" were asked for their opinions from time to time.

Two things impressed me: the widespread interest in the subject both in Russia and Ukraine (possibly for the same reason that so many of us are more interested in American than British politics) and the reasonable level of knowledge and articulateness with which the various points were made.

One particular opinion and suggestion for a solution of the problems made my day. The problem is, explained Sasha from Kursk (yes, that's right, the place of the great tank battle), that all sorts of unimportant countries have the temerity to pretend that they are the equal of the only three great powers of the Continent: Britain, Germany and Russia. All others are simply peripheral and it is ridiculous for "us" to share power with them. The three should simply take over. The British Prime Minister could be the President, the German Chancellor the Foreign Minister and Putin could be the President of the European Parliament. Problem solved.

I was greatly taken by this idea, especially by the thought of putting Vladimir Putin in charge of the Toy Parliament, though it did occur to me that he might have meant Medvedev (Putin's mishka) but had forgotten who the Russian President was.

There is another problem. Would France take all that kindly to the idea of being just a peripheral country who should not presume to equality with the three great powers of Europe?

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