The poor old EU takes a lot of stick, and surely it can’t all be deserved? Only last week, the government faced a major revolt as some of its members wanted a referendum to reclaim some powers from Brussels. I fear they may have rather misunderstood the importance of the EU to any UK government – it is a rather handy scapegoat for anything unpopular (just ask Jim Hacker). If you have all the power, then you also accumulate all the blame – as the other “half” of the coalition has discovered after years of safety in political obscurity (and this has occurred even with a rather modest share of only some of the power).
I’m also not terribly convinced that leaving the EU would do much to protect us from the economic woes afflicting our main trading partner and a continent which lies little more than 20 miles away. Let’s face it, they seem to be looking for money from China – and they’re neither part of the EU nor physically close. But, what do I know?
The word “eu” of course, comes to us from the Greeks – a little ironic given the current trouble they seem to be causing the EU. Eu (or eus) means well, pleasant or good. So, euphony (eu + phone) is a pleasing sound – which rather fails to explain the euphonium (surely other more deserving instruments could have been blessed with this particular appellation).
Euthanasia – rather frowned upon today – comes from the concept of a good death (and it was this derivation which inspired this post via a recent episode of “In Our Time”) while euphemism comes from good speech and eulogy from good word(s). In fact, it is from the “art” of eulogy that this blog springs: so clearly one can take direct translation from the Greek too far. Back in the last millenium, when people left whereso’er I was working I would write a brief eulogy to mark their departure (not for everyone, obviously, just for those I knew well). These eulogies would all be based on the truth – but wilfully mis- or over-interpreted to produce a soi-disant amusing result (so, not much has changed). It was my attempt to re-capture the “glories” of these juvenilia that has led to so much suffering (or at least being reminded of them acted as one of the proximate causes of GofaDM).
Not all words starting with the letters “eu” have this etymology. The word “euro” does not come from the Greek at all – but instead from an aboriginal Australian word for a type of kangaroo. If you’re going to name your currency after a kangaroo, I think you’ve got to expect a few ups and downs – and, probably a pouch.
Whilst vaguely on the topic of the the current Euro crisis, am I the only one to feel that Ben Stiller must be a shoo-in to play Nicolas Sarkozy when the film is made?
The title you say? I thought it rather an apt description of the style of GofaDM (which very much follows in the footsteps of John Lyly).