[*satire typing mittens off - this one's for real, folks*]

Has the Lancashire lass from mining stock got 'erself all airs and graces now she's livin' it up in that-there Brussels as 'igh-rep? La-de-dah.

Flabbergasted staff in her EU 'external action service' are wondering if they've been suckered by some elaborate prank, after being invited to a farewell 'coffee' for the departing peer.

To start with the invite is in Comic Sans. Although that's the least awful thing about the email.

The choice passage is highlighted in shouty red letters with a stern underlining (tho still in cuddly Comic Sans).

"The Cabinet has indicated that HRVP Ashton will come with her own coffee/tea mug and is expecting us to do the same", the invite blurts helpfully.

"Please note that the HRVP does not usually sign autographs: kindly refrain also from taking selfies."

The invite isn't explicit as to whether a light touching of Her hem may be permissible, or if, as a goodbye treat, minions may leave their shoes on in Her presence.


(*hat-doff to the several people who brought this to BM's attention/inbox*)

Injured wildfowl are up in wings over a "frankly libelous" claim that their handicaps somehow liken them to the current outgoing European Commission.
"Let me go,
I have a quasi-governmental superstructure to run." 

A spokesduck for the CBE (Canards Boiteux d'Europe) said lame ducks were "incensed" at the suggestion that having "one slightly dodgy leg should somehow equate us with a shower of soon-to-be has-beens who wouldn't know a diaper from an elbow-pad."

"I mean, I can still FLY", said the spokesduck. "This shower of tired old penguins couldn't get a green paper off the ground, let alone themselves."

The lame-duck alliance insisted it was "infinitely" more capable of running the EU executive than the departing team.

The CBE arranged a fly-by over the European Commission car-park, where they held a coordinated protest on the fleet of shiny black Mercs out back. They then headed south for winter to go and swim around in circles somewhere warmer. The departing European Commission is expected to join them in late November to do exactly the same. Just less well.


Mandy candy comes in handy

Friday, October 03, 2014 | 0 comments »

Former Danish deputy PM Margrethe Vestager has clearly been taking tips from Darth Labour himself, Peter Mandelson.

Vestager appeared before MEPs this week in a confirmation hearing to become European commissioner for naughty companies. Or something.

A couple of hours into the questioning she reached for a piece of chocolate, and then blithely mentioned it in passing as a casual segue into a reply about dynamic tech markets. Or something.

So relaxed. So spontaneous.

So similar to UK candidate trade commissioner Peter Mandelson's hearing in 2004.

That moment, (reported at the time by the FT and Telegraph), was also recalled more recently by Brussels laughist Geoff Meade.

In a blog entry only last week, he reminisced how:

"When Peter Mandelson was quizzed about his designated trade dossier years ago, he casually but calculatedly produced a bar of chocolate during questioning and ate it. The point was to display the FAIR TRADE label on the wrapper. Genius!"

Could she really? Would she have? Did she heed the Meade? Did she hark the prince of Darkness?

Either way, it worked. Look at them lap it up.

"An actual serious politician! With actual chocolate! And a pertinent if forced reference to her field of expertise!"

Judge for yourself:


Juncker's chief of staff has form in leaving his mark on official European Commission documents.

This week it transpired Martin Selmayr had redacted submissions by candidate trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström to the European Parliament. A bad misquote he added (mistakenly, we presume?), put Malmström in an uncomfortable position before MEPs (see the FT's write-up complete with leaked doc).

Dutch MEP Marietje Schaake revealed that her version of the document showed the Selmayr edits by clicking on 'track changes.'

This rang a distant, gin-fogged bell.

And indeed, on checking ones archives, a Wirtschaftswoche article in September 2007 (now no longer, if ever, online, sadly), revealed that when Selmayr was spokesman for then telecom commissioner Vivian Reding:

"When the first draft for a European regulatory authority was doing the rounds as a word document, lobbyists were surprised to discover that Selmayr had been the most recent to work on the file."

"A right-click on the mouse brought it all to light."

Time for a Microsoft Office refresher course?