Saturday, February 17, 2007

An interesting possibility noted by Israellycool here

Do you recognise this face from anywhere?

"The Italian language is the language of song, German is good for philosophy and English for poetry. French is best at precision, it has a rigour to it. It is the safest language for legal purposes...The language of Montesquieu is unbeatable." - CPLDE leader Maurice Druon

The above quote comes from the latest salvo in a campaign to make French the sole language of law in the EU. (via Language Log)

I doubt very much that this is a good idea.

For one thing French was the language of diplomacy in part because its vagueness allowed for all those fudging compromises which glued together the fissiparous European peace (for a while).

For another, the extreme receptiveness of English has absorbed and adopted both French and Latin legalisms and created a virtual language within a language for use in legal contexts. It's made to measure, so to speak.

The problem could be that it's not made to measure for the EU- which is basically another of those relatively frequent admissions that the EU is a kind of greater France, a fulfillment of the Napoleonic fantasy. British English adapted a form specifically to cope with the realm of Common Law, and the Froggies think they've finally found a less sticky wicket to play on where they can promote their language without looking like nutcases (more or less).

Regarding the quote from M. Druon, "English for poetry"- I can't quite believe he means this, and not just because he's French. The man is certainly betraying his ignorance; there are approximately nine words to rhyme with that most central of poetry's abstract nouns, "love"

I suppose M. Druon would make us really the unacknowledged legislators of the EU, which would, no doubt, put us at the heart of Europe as well- metaphorically speaking.

To end on a serious note, in case it seems that this political fixing is just a joke, it's good to remember that the European Court of Justice already uses French as its working language, for no apparent reason other than its location in Luxembourg. From this irrational toe-hold, the French are apparently trying to get their whole foot in the door.

Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Breaking news from the BBC:

LATEST: Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov wins Turkmenistan presidential election. More soon. (ie. they'll tell us the rest of his name).

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Interviewing Mr Klaus

The Czech President, Vaclav Klaus, is one of the few decent politicians on this planet:

"Q: Don't you believe that we're ruining our planet?•

A: I will pretend that I haven't heard you. Perhaps only Mr Al Gore may be saying something along these lines: a sane person can't."

Proof here

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Wow- this is a fantastic way to start an article:

"The more I think about “global warming”, in light of the most recent United Nations report, the more confident I become in averring that it is a fraud, a political stunt, a criminal imposture, that every intelligent journalist should be helping to expose."

From the great David Warren- continue reading here. Think I'll go and read the rest now... [update: immensely well worth the time]

The Wise Consensus:

The DT's Farndale mulls Cameron's Eurostance via the fancies of Brian Walden:

"Tories who talk about withdrawal from Europe are wasting their energy and ensuring that their party will never be re-elected. They should accept that we are in Europe to stay. The deed is done. But he added this: if you don't like the idea of the EU, simply bide your time. Eventually its own internal contradictions and absurdities will make it implode."

That's a good example of how the British "thinking" classes are so completely letting down their nation. Do they really imagine that implosion of the EU would be painless for us, while we were inside? Is it in any way sensible to tie our medium term policies to an entity whose guarantees are likely to be acrimoniously voided? If this is in fact not the real view of the "thinkers", what kind of a unified Europe can be expected to emerge? More importantly, what kind of Britain would shape up to be a part of it (I think we already have part of the answer with increased- indirect especially- taxation, ID cards, surveillance cameras etc)?

The BBC and truth agree at last:

"Back to cold war?
By Rob Watson
BBC defence and security correspondent, Munich

The Munich security conference was born in the 1960s - the height of the Cold War. Forty years on, there been talk of a new chill"

Meanwhile, back in darkest Russia:

"The real news from Saint Petersburg -- demonstrated by cooling that is occurring on the upper layers of the world's oceans -- is that Earth has hit its temperature ceiling. Solar irradiance has begun to fall, ushering in a protracted cooling period beginning in 2012 to 2015. The depth of the decline in solar irradiance reaching Earth will occur around 2040, and "will inevitably lead to a deep freeze around 2055-60" lasting some 50 years, after which temperatures will go up again."

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