... displays ropier wit


It could have been the start of something marvelous, a war of words traded in a bygone idiom, a return to sadly defunct imprecations and slurs like 'bounder' and 'cur', a spark of archaic verbal dueling in amongst the drab rhetoric of EU diplomacy.

Romanian Senator Sergiu Andon this week lashed out at a European Commission spokesman for his comments on Romania's failure to toe the line on nominating chief prosecutors (see article here).

In an antedeluvian flourish (which 'monster fears may have gained something in the translation, but is not going to let that ruin the germ of an adequate chortle) Andon said of Mark Gray: "This European Commission spokesman gets more and more impertinent."


The salon fell silent.

Ladies hid their blushes behind fluttering fans.

From somewhere an incredulous voice could be heard ejaculating a barely-suppressed "I say."

The gauntlet lay on the floor, Gray's face still smarting from the indecent impact.

How would he respond? Surely that stint as Barroso's wordsmith had keened Gray's articulation to rise to this challenge, surely a gentlemen - and an Englishman at that - would not let this aspersion pass. Perhaps that's how its done in Bucharest, but calumniate one of the Queen's subjects at your peril, the crowd thought, as Gray squared up to deliver the return blow:

"No comment."

The crowd went mild. Laitenberger reluctantly put away the dueling pistols, and the disappointed observers returned to their working groups.

It's too late now for Mr Gray to save face. The iron has cooled, the moment passed.

But in something of an esprit de l'escalier, here, belatedly, are a number of retorts for Mark to deploy the next time he feels the lash of Senator Andon's recherché invective:


  • "I demand satisfaction."

  • "You, sir, have neither the learning nor standing to pass judgement on a noble high servant of the European cause."


or more succinctly,

  • "Impertinent I may be, but at least I'm not a boss-eyed foreign c**t."



1 comments

  1. Daphne Wayne-Bough // 11:15 AM  

    Well that could was a missed bodice-ripping moment. Even Frenchmen look gauche next to the heel-clicking Eastern Europeans who can wear tight fitting uniforms with panache. Give me a greasy Pole over a boozy Brit glued to the footie in O'Farrell's any time.

    UKIP would win hands down in olde worlde banter, they talk like that anyway.