European elections

If only… the EU were the dream we could still believe in!

d'Lëtzebuerger Land vom 09.05.2014

The shocking lack of democracy, the North/South divide, the messy stance on Ukraine, the numerous design faults of the Eurozone… If only all candidates had the guts to denounce what is wrong! There’s also the gravy train and the perks granted to MEPs. Most candidates’ silence about what one English Tory MP recently called ‘the grotesque self-serving extravagance of the EU’ adds to the general unease of voters. Strangely enough, in lovely Luxembourg only déi Lénk and the Communist Party seem to share Philip Davies’s views. It all leaves a bitter aftertaste, especially when you see the Front National and Ukip continue to almost effortlessly rise in the polls.

Meanwhile, the billboards are up wherever you look. You are bound to notice a striking uniformity about the posters, with smiles all round. Only the DP portraits look sleeker in an almost art-house way. Though it wasn’t Annie Leibovitz, they definitely had the better photographer! But then, why do they want us to be on first-name terms? Why the cosying-up to the voter? After all, we’re not about to join a social club or a therapy session.

Most CSV candidates take up a defensive position on list 3. Arms folded, refusing to let any of us get too close. Desmond Morris would have a field-day! Oh, and where’s the octogenarian that would have added a whiff of fresh air, a splash of colour and flower power to this stiff and rather anonymous grouping?

As to the LSAP; there seems to be a lot of writing in tiny print and smallish photos, as if each of the candidates were trapped within their own little box. No team spirit in sight! Perhaps not the best choice when you are trying to appeal to stressed-out voters used to grand visual effects.

With the Greens you definitely had to be a bit older and wear glasses to hit the top row.

Elsewhere, the adr poster suggests that they like order and discipline. Gruppenbild mit Dame: the smart ties of the five middle-aged gentlemen are firmly in place, while the youngish female candidate is softly draped in different shades of red. Strangely enough though, there’s less red – white – blue here than I expected, but then opinion polls do not predict the dream result they announce for Farage & co.

In the end, you are bound to wonder: ‘What about Juncker in all this?’ Well, our former PM seems to hover over the process like a deus ex machina or a saviour from outer space. He has swiftly metamorphosed into the invisible international star who hits the road and is ferried from meeting to meeting, while at home religion is about to be toppled from its pedestal and World War I has just been dumped on the scrapheap of history. As an experienced Luxembourg MEP once said: ‘Den Avenir läit an der Zukunft.’

And now, since gadgets are rare in these times of austerity, let me offer you a final little treat. Here are four quiz questions sponsored by Marshall McLuhan:

– Which candidate is wearing too much jewellery?– Where are the new-season scarves?– Who has the funkiest glasses?– Which party has come up with the blandest slogan?

Janine Goedert
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