You have probably never heard about this guy, Herman Van Rompuy, a Flemish Christian democrat, but he is now extremely likely to become (update: has become) the "permanent" (non-rotating) president of half a billion of somewhat civilized people, the citizens of the European Union:
Nothing against him - I have no idea who he is, what he thinks, and whether I would agree with anything he thinks (he is almost certain to be a colorless "consensus-builder", an opportunist who always goes with the wind and he may really be good at that) - but the method how it became certain that this particular Mr Nobody would suddenly become our confederate leader is just bizarre and has nothing to do with my ideas about democracy.
Catherine Ashton of the U.K. Labor Party is likely to join him (update: has joined him) as the minister of foreign affairs of the EU - I have forgotten how this term is said in the Eurospeak.
She used to be the EU trade commissioner who, surprisingly, opposed protectionism (BBC HardTalk). However, that didn't prevent her from supporting "protection" (different from "protectionism") and subsidies for local producers. ;-) For example, she believes that Sarkozy's policies to move the production of French cars from Czechia to France don't eliminate jobs in Czechia: what an entertaining crackpot.
If you have a problem to understand his English accent, here's the transcript:
"When saying him in party: we don't sudden taint the leather. And we have an enormous feelings whom you will. And if you inform me double, then we will insert in the hill a Bulgarian campaign. This is where Reagan felt and dared to sow a professional, not a marketing bureau. So the Soviets had an egg till the goose entered the hill."
His point is that the EU officials should find their inspiration in the Soviet Union where the government could steal things like eggs and get away with it, as long as other politicians - including the Bulgarian ones - were campaigning in the Gulag somewhere in the hills. These campaigns prevented the geese - the owners - from getting back to their assets too quickly. Following a similar recipe, the European Union may keep is leather clean, respect the emotions of all of its politicians, and feel as Ronald Reagan at the same moment.
Some of our politicians - e.g. ex-EU minister Mr Alexander Vondra - say that the Czechs should naturally prefer unknown candidates from middle-size countries like ours because they may be more tolerant towards interests of nations like ours and less imperially arrogant.
Well, that's probably a valid argument. Tony Blair would be much more visible in the world but he could behave as a bull in China.
But what bothers me is the question: shouldn't we (or at least a majority of Europe, counted according to a self-consistent rule) actually have some positive reasons to like the EU president? There are many reasons why I would prefer Tony Blair.
It seems to me that right now, almost no Czech citizen (not even a representative of ours in the EU, and similarly for other similar EU members) knows that Van Rompuy should be a candidate - or that he is almost certain to lead the EU. How did it happen? Who was actually choosing the guy? How is it guaranteed that the EU citizens won't lose all of their influence over the composition of the EU institutions? Haven't they already lost it? Does anyone besides your humble correspondent care?
I am simply baffled. At least, in this Russian roulette (or EUSSR Roulette, to be more accurate), we may feel lucky that they (whoever they are) didn't pick Herman's sister, Christine Van Rompuy, a communist politician.
Just a punch line. The English transcript under the video above was a joke. Let me admit that I almost exploded in laughter when I was constructing it because the Dutch language really does sound compatible with English, doesn't it? It's almost as funny as trying to understand another Slavic language.