A non-president from a non-country

Many years ago, while on a business trip to Brussels, Belgium, I realized that all the statues in that city were dedicated to foreigners.  Queen Victoria figured prominently, for example.  My traveling companions and I then invented a game:  name five famous Belgians.  I could think of only one, Hercule Poirot – and he was a fictional character.

You can probably see where I’m going.  It’s time to snicker at Europe again.

The last time I yielded to this unfortunate addiction, a strange little man called Herman Van Rompuy had just been appointed president of Europe (or, as Mark Steyn invariably puts it, “president” of “Europe”).  His name alone delighted me – his appearance was a snicker bonus.  Lastly, he happened to be a Belgian.

Well, not only does Europe have a “president,” it also has a “parliament.”  And in that parliament, paradoxically, there are anti-European members.  One of these is Nigel Farage, a Brit, who spoke to that august chamber in a manner that, if not Lincolnian in eloquence, at least was good enough to go viral on YouTube.

Farage turned to Herman Van Rompuy and addressed him thusly:

“I don’t want to be rude but, really, you have the charisma of a damp rag and the appearance of a low-grade bank clerk.

“The question I want to ask is: who are you? I’d never heard of you, nobody in Europe had ever heard of you.

“I can speak on behalf of the majority of British people in saying that we don’t know you, we don’t want you and the sooner you are put out to grass, the better.”

The best thing about the video is watching Herman Van Rompuy’s face.

Somewhere during his tirade, Farage called Belgium a “non-country.”  That is of course true, but never to be mentioned in the gathering-places of EU politicians, and least of all in Brussels.  For this disgraceful utterance of truth, Farage has been fined 3,000 euros.

The incorrigible Brit still had the last word, however.

“Free speech is an expensive business in the European Parliament,” he observed.


8 Responses to A non-president from a non-country

  1. setnaffa says:

    We are once again reminded why our ancestors left Europe and moved to America.

    We are pleased that Farage, at least, is willing to say publicly what many think.

    May he not be silenced.

    • Liof says:

      What Farage wanted was publicity … Being against Europe is popular in England? They always were a nation on it’s own …

      And what’s wrong with Herman van Rompuy?

      Yes he doesn’t have the charisma of George Clooney, but why is that a negative thing? Do we need someone louder then the “quiet grey mouse”?

      2 examples of people who were loud and had charisma… => Hitler and Bush (your ex glorious amarican leader)

      And about Belgium

      5 Famous Belgians ? (I’ll help you count)

      Father Damien(1), Peter Paul Rubens(2), Georges Lemaitre(3), René Magritte(4), Audrey Hepburn (5)

      That’s just a small list.

      And yeah it’s true politicians don’t get along (although it’s changing a bit) Most flemish people and Walloons get along. We’re a country with political problems but with a larger culture then you Americans…

      • I have encountered a patriotic Belgian. Good for you.

        I’ll respond to the Famous Belgians game, because it’s fun: (1) I have no idea who Father Damien or Georges Lemaitre are. Their fame has not yet reached these benighted shores. (2) There was no Belgium when Rubens painted. He was one of many famous Fleming painters (far less talented, in my opinion, than his Renaissance countryman Jan van Eyck). (3) Audrey Hepburn? Sorry: according to Wikipedia, she was a British citizen. (4) Rene Magritte: yes! I find his works, in a strange way, quite Belgian:


  2. Liof says:

    father damien … molokai … lepracy … rings a bell ?
    Lemaitre father of the big bang theory 😉

    Audrey hepburn (born in Brussels, grew up in Elsene.

    Margritte was a surealist what did you expect…

    (Ps: I’m from Antwerp (yup that’s in the flemish part) So I know where Rubens comes from.) But He still can be counted as belgian… Our history doesn’t start at 1830..

    • Nope. No bell.

      I have been to Antwerp more than once – beautiful city. Missed the Rubenshuis each time, though, probably because I’m not fond of large ladies. You are right: the history of the low countries, both political and cultural, is among the richest in Europe, and goes back practically to Charlemagne. The idea of Belgium – I insist – doesn’t do it justice.

      • Liof says:

        Sigh, I guess I can’t convince you about my point of view… but to have yr nationality denied by people get’s annoying at points.

  3. Thomas says:

    Anti-European? Its anti-EU you moron.

  4. Herman says:

    Adolphe Sax and Toots Thielemans come to mind.

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