October 16, 2011

Euro-Parliament opens its own propaganda centre: and you're paying for it


Parlamentarium eu siteToday was the first open day of the new 'Parlamentarium' at the European Parliament here in Brussels.  The thing is billed as a visitors' centre, but in fact it is a propaganda centre, a multi-million pound way for the MEPs to stroke their own egos.

So, how many multi-millions of taxpayers' money has gone into this thing? The parliament's press people admit £18m has been spent on it, but with the book-keeping standards in EU institutions, the real amount is any body's guess.

Besides being a vanity project for MEPs, the thing is also is a way for the EU institutions to brainwash school children, who are invited to come in groups to join a 'multi-modal role play game' in which they can take on the role of an MEP and go through all the steps need to approve a new European law.

Yes, laws come from Europe, not from Westminster anymore, but I'd hardly take a British child on a holiday to Brussels to celebrate that disaster. Take him instead to the House of Commons and let him lay a wreath.
But it's worse than that: consider what kind of exhibitions the children will be herded past on their way to the '360 degree digital projection' of the parliament's plenary chamber.

Most revolting is a long dark corridor with a line of illuminated pictures which are part of a 'journey through time.' Run an 8-year old child past those and he will come out at the end imagining -- and that appears to be the purpose --that before the European institutions set up shop, the countries of the European continent could be nothing but a rubble-strewn wasteland.

Examples: just one picture illustrates Italy in the early 20th century, and that shows Mussolini's march on Rome. The Netherlands in 1949: a grim border post, with nearby propaganda insisting that 'transport across Europe was very complicated and had to overcome various bureaucratic obstacles.'

Amazing: this is an EU institution tut-tutting bureaucratic obstacles. Go ask the first small businessman you kind find about just what sort of bureaucratic obstacles the EU now puts up to him getting on and doing is business anywhere, much less across borders.

Then Poland gets two pictures to illustrate its history. First picture, 1939, Nazis. Second picture, 1943, more Nazis. Spain, 1939, gets a picture of Republican forces who were defeated by Franco. But the parliament spares the Republican forces any mention of their Soviet communist backing.

The United Kingdom finally gets a mention on this history wall, and this ought to frighten the wits out of any 8-year old you might be foolish enough to take to this place: London, 1941, shows children at Cosway School sitting in class wearing gas masks while a recording repeats over and over again: 'What in concrete and practical terms does the independence of nations mean in the world of today, a world of the closest economic and political interdepenence, which means the destiny of all mankind is indivisible.'

Berlin, 1948: a picture showing 'poverty and hunger.' Then -- hallelujah, which is the response we are supposed to have since what we are dealing with here is a temple dedicated to the cult of Europe -- a picture of a European Movement gathering in Brussels in 1949, 'a mass gathering in support of European unification.'

I looked pretty close but I couldn't see any acknowledgement that through the 1950s and into the 1960s, the European Movement was secretly financed by the CIA as part of its Cold War strategy against the Soviet bloc (hat tip as ever to Booker and North's The Great Deception for that research).

Nor, for example, was there any mention that the 'poverty and hunger' in Berlin in that 1948 Berlin airlift wikipicture was caused, not by 'not enough Europe,' but by too much Soviet aggression. The Soviet communists blockaded Berlin, and the only thing that kept the people of Berlin alive was the Berlin Airlift, led by the Royal Air Force and the US Air Force and other allied forces -- all of them from countries which the 'Europeans' of today dismiss as 'Anglo-Saxon.'

Nor indeed was there any mention that I could find, because the Stuttgart firm that designed this exhibition -- or rather, designed at your expense, 'a dynamic sequence of individual environments,' likes spotlights coming out of the darkness, resulting in some of the most unpleasant and hard-too-see 'individual environments' you could imagine. Sorry, I started to say, there was no mention that I could find of the way the Marshall Plan money from the United States taxpayers turned that rubble of Germany into the industrial giant of the 1960s.

Airlift, Marshall Plan, and on and on: you'd think the MEPs would at least find a spot in the 'dynamic sequence of individual environments' to put up a poster saying, 'Thank you, Uncle Sam.'

And on it goes, but I will end with just one more example of the way the EU institutions such as the European Parliament try to twist everything good in any of the dozens of countries scattered across the European continent into a product of 'Europe.'

One room in the exhibition has a floor with a 200 sq m  map of Europe -- for you Anglo-Saxons who are actually paying for a big chunk of this thing, that is 240 sq yds. The visitor pushes around a big battery-powered toy that is the size of a dustbin. He stops the dustbin on any one of a number of cities, and the screen in the top of the dustbin tells him what 'Europe' has done for that city.

Brace yourself, Edinburgh.

For a start, the city is called 'Edinburgh in the United Kingdom' which will be a bit startling for any Scots visitors. Then the voice -- choose any one of 23 languages -- tells you that Edinburgh 'is where JK Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter books. Harry Potter is one of Europe's best known and well-loved stories. The stories belong to all of us.'

Then the voice asks the visitor to think of 'the stories you loved' as a child, and asks 'do you know where they were written? Chances are they were written in another European language you didn't understand.' Then the voice assures you the EU 'is getting more and more wonderful books translated.'

Okay, I'll play that game: the Old Mother Westwind Stories, Mistress Masham's Repose, Nancy Drew mystery stories, Sherlock Holmes, Winnie the Pooh, Dr Seuss, Lamb's Tales from Shakespeare, Ivanhoe, anything by Mark Twain, (confession: not Alice in Wonderland, it was weird), Edgar Allan Poe, Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities...so, now you mention it, Fritz or whoever it is who put his voice in that dustbin, I can't think of a single story I liked as a child that had to be translated from a European language.

Oh, and if you really think JK Rowlings stories belong 'to all of us,' you just try infringing the Harry Potter copyright and see how fast you end up in an Anglo-Saxon law court. 


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