David Calling

Leading Europe

They take things seriously in Sweden where a politician by the name of Jens Orback is attaining immortality for the things he says and does. A socialist, he has been minister for Gender Equality, and Minister for Democracy. Quotations from this chap are already part of the European heritage. In one splendid example, he has said, “We must be open and tolerant towards Islam and Muslims because when we become a minority they will be so towards us.”
The spirit of our Jens is evident in what has just happened to the heraldic badge of the Nordic Battlegroup, a force of 2,400 soldiers from Scandinavia with Ireland and Estonia thrown in for no very clear reason. Its badge used to show a lion rampant, the genitalia visible. Now this has been modified to cut off the offending parts.  Writing up this fascinating illustration of where we are today, The Times of London quotes an American military blogger, “A castrated lion – the perfect symbol for European defence policy.” 
Swedes last fought in 1809, so perhaps the Battlegroup has the task of cutting its way through to Gender Equality. And maybe the immortal Jens has nothing to do with this great cut, but only encapsulates its approach. This week, a Treaty was signed by the twenty seven countries of the European Union, to give them a new and overriding legal and political entity. Europe is now to have a real president. Our Jens must be in the running for this distinguished job.


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