Remember I told you I'd come across an opening for
I received notification that I've paid back my student loan in full. That only took me what? 10 years? Wow. I would have been happier if I hadn't received notification in the same post, that I still had a whopping great chunk of council tax outstanding. I thought I'd paid that already? Huh.
Last week, the postie brought my poll card for the referendum on the European Constitution, and I promptly lost it. I wouldn't mind -- if the whole European Union, European Parliament and European legislation-package would disappear tomorrow, it would hardly register with me. But although I can think of better ways of spending my time than to struggle through 400+ pages of legalese in an effort to form an informed opinion, I feel as if this time, I should make the effort; if only to avoid unpleasant surprises later. Though why they bother with a referendum is beyond me: there is no basis for one in our laws, and on those rare occasions that 'Europe' has allowed referenda to take place before, if the outcome didn't suit Brussels, they held another one again to turn the people's No into a Yes (remember Denmark and the euro?).
I'm getting steadily more wary of Europe. It seemed like a good idea in the 50s, 60s and 70s; and with the territory no bigger than the Benelux and later, Western Europe as a whole, it was also quite easy to comprehend and support. Now though, with the influx of poverty-stricken Eastern European countries where democracies are new and shaky, I'm not sure where this will lead us -- and it irks me that petty arguments between nations can keep a strategically important country like Turkey, which meets most of the criteria for joining out, while at the same time our borders are opened to all the flotsam and jetsam of the former Soviet Union and its satellites, that meet none of the criteria at present and will be bloody lucky if they'll do within the decade. Also, since Germany and France seem to make up the rules as they go along in most cases, the question remains whether there is any real validity to the ideal of a united Europe. Besides, who wants a Europe where we all march to the same beat, anyway? I think Tarantino said it best when he scripted (in Pulp Fiction):
VINCENT: But you know what the funniest thing about Europe is?
VINCENT: It's the little differences.
I'd hate for things to become the same all over.