This blog has gone downhill and has pretty much died a death, this blog can reveal.

Once a talking point and frequent reference website for literally several people in the EU bubble, this blog's usage stats are now practically zero.

A graph, yesterday.
Fuelled by the dwindling popularity of the blog format and frankly infrequent and worsening-quality content, this blog is barely worth maintaining.

In a further sign that this blog has gone to the dogs, the link to the once kind-of-popular merch website doesn't work anymore.

Even the comment-bots have given up posting their wares here.

I mean, the last post was almost a year ago.

In part to blame for the collapse of this blog is Twitter, where half-arsed half-amusing ideas can be churned out with considerably less effort.

But above all, it's thought that the fundamental lack of funny things to say about the EU is behind the blog's demise.

After more than a decade, it's said that the three objects of pillory within the EU - ill-judged campaigns, what things cost, and vainglorious has-beens/never-will-bes - have now gone through every possible iteration of satire at least three times.

If you've read this far, congratulations. Have a t-shirt.

If you can get the link over there to work. ===========>


Idle Thumbs: a Tweetise

Thursday, October 19, 2017 | 3 comments »

[Some contribution I made to some book or something. Reproduced here to contribute to an event about "Digital Influencers" *beurk* in EU blurtery.]

Welcome to the fetid shallow pond of EU Twitter.

There's a handful of very (very) small big fish and a shoal of minnows, all gasping desperately for oxygen in this murky puddle.

There's a fug of smugger and self-servery rising from the slightly oily surface.

And a light acrid foam of ineptitude bobbing in the breeze.

But then, of course, I'm snarking away from my own particular algae-ridden crevice of the pool, like some kind of piscine bottom-feeding twypocrite.

Social media - we know this - can be incredibly self-regarding. It can foster a delusion that Your Things matter to everyone else as much as They do to you. Nowhere is that more exposed and amplified more than in politics - and further, I'd venture, in what is referred to as the EU Twittersphere.

From Brussels beltway expat gripes to live-tweets from dreadful events to the dad-dancing display that is top eurocrats trying to engage with the citizens, the experience can be unedifying.

So why do so many of us have a constant Tweetdeck ticker scrolling away next to the day-job stuff we do (or don't do)?

It can't all be to service a self-indulgent contemporary reflex to share online.

Or to tick a vocational box to do something - anything - on social media to make a semblance of promoting whatever impenetrable niche of eurogeekery you happen to work in.

Or indeed simply to absorb our goldfish attention spans, to punctuate the daily drudge of our respective existences with bad memes, worse puns, and cheap shots.

No, its all of the above.

But its also - *serious face* - a fabric of community of sorts. A very broad one, frayed at the edges and in parts in the middle too, but a community nonetheless.

And in amongst the fluff, it informs and shares news and insights.

And yes, I hear you mutter derisorily, thats the point, duh. But for the EU Twittersphere, it provides that forum where there wasnt really one before.

National politics features in every domestic newspaper and news broadcast of that country, and fuels discussions across the land at dinner tables, in pubs, and during lulls in swingers bars and niche-interest massage parlours.

Not so EU affairs. They are inward-looking and unsexy. As lively as the conversation was that you had with your peers on Thursday at the Grapevine before losing count of how many bottles of insipid rosé youd had, its only with those peers youre able to have that discussion, and it only really happens within the beltway.

Big-picture important issues such as Brexit and International Handshake Protocol raise the water level of EU politics and they spill over beyond the beltway. The EU Twittersphere as an amorphous but vaguely identifiable corpus of social media users is clearly part of the international blurtings on such issues. But remember the pond analogy from earlier? The water level rising means the europuddle is then a diluted part of a much bigger, wetter thing, with more and bigger fish.

However, when the water level falls again, maybe just maybe the europuddle has grown a bit. EU-themed discussions and references become that little bit broader longer term. I mean, if UK tabloids are bickering over the compatibility of FTA negotiations with customs-union membership, then maybe comitology reform will, too, someday no longer be a taboo for conversation at my local club échangiste.

Bréf: The EU Twittersphere serves its various purposes to varying degrees of success depending on what you want to get out of it. Dont expect it to deliver online fame and be the silver bullet for unlocking your networked comms potential. As with traditional human social contact (remember that?), social-media takes time and effort. Particularly if all you have to talk about is swan preservation or inland waterways policy. But through judicious account following it can be an incredibly powerful information tool, and through judicious engagement on the EU matters that matter to you, a way to communicate that simply wasnt there before.

So come on in. The water's lovely and tepid. And not too deep.


9 degrees deference

Friday, January 29, 2016 | 3 comments »

It's one for David Cameron's career scrapbook: that time when the German chief of staff for European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker bowed to him.

Here's the vid.

And here's the snapshot moment.

Eurovillageois may remember that the topcrat in question, Martin Selmayr, has greeted EU leaders like this before, notably Selmayr's ultimate boss, Mutti Merkel herself.

Cameron will doubtless take extra satisfaction from the trigonometrical undeniable fact that Selmayr bowed lower to the British PM than he did to Mutti.

By BM's calculation, a full 9 degrees.

Here's the proof: superimposed on each other, the freeze-frame moment when the German official's bow to each leader was at its nadir.

So why did Martin bow so low to Cameron?

A show of deference for the cameras?

A true sign of respect?

Or perhaps he was just back from the barbers, and wanted to show off his new hairdo...