Archive for the ‘Brussels’ Tag

Th!nk About It: EU jargon, and the 73 pages that Mardell won’t blog about

In yet another desperate attempt to keep the EU light-hearted (and yet another successful – if I do say so myself – attempt to avoid “serious EU issues”), hereby follows my second Th!nk About It Post. As before, you can vote for me here.

Reading Mark Mardell’s Euroblog like a good Th!nker I today came across his most recent post entitled Learn EU-speak. My first thought was that the post was horrifically short at just 103 words – but then I realised it was less of a post and more of an advert for his Radio 4 appearance tomorrow:

What’s at the heart of the problem? Hear my answer on Radio 4 this Sunday 22 February at 10.45pm (2245 GMT) at the end of the Westminster Hour. It will be repeated on Wednesday 25 February at 8.45pm on Radio 4.

I appreciate that I have just copied his advert for more to see, but firstly, I wanted to demonstrate the blatantness of the advertisement-pretending-to-be-a-post, and secondly, because who can blame him?

(For non-Th!nkers, Mardell spoke to us in Brussels at the launch event and blogged about it here. I, for one, was slightly disappointed with his post. Most of the comments directed at him were about the lack of “official” bloggers’ links to “normal” (my term) bloggers and not only did he not mention this in the post, but neither did he link to any normaltons. Pah.)

Nevertheless, I am grateful for Mardell’s lack of words on the subject of, urm, words. For it means I can blog more about them here.

When I went to Brussels in December (independently of Th!nk About It, not independently of the EU) I was given the following:

73 pages of excitement

73 pages of excitement

This is, my friends, a book on EU Jargon entitled ‘E! Sharp Jargon Alert’. And it’s 73 pages long. A visitor, apparently, needs 73 pages just to understand what’s being said – I don’t even want to think about how many pages would be needed to understand what is actually going on.

Here’s a taster, from the ‘C’ section:

Cedefop, CEN,CENELEC,CEPOL,CIVITAS,COM Documents,CEC,COPA,COGECA,COREPER, CSR,COSAC

And that’s only about half of the ‘C’s. I’d be surprised if Barroso and Pöttering together would be able to explain them all.

As such, I think it’s clear to all that the EU has somewhat of un problemo with language. But I don’t think that warrants Mardell’s question: “Does the EU shroud itself in obscure language on purpose?”.

Surely we can forgive an institution has been developing since the Second World War and has 23 – yes, 23 – “official languages” a confusing lingo?

Let’s look at Mardell’s answer to his own question shall we? Oh no. I forgot. We’ll have to wait for his radio show tomorrow…

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Th!nk About It: changing the world one exclamation mark, blog post and dance at a time

Following in my BBC blogfellow’s footsteps (see below) I have just returned from an all-expenses-paid trip to Brussels. Incidentally, this was my second all-expenses-paid trip to Brussels in just over a month- I’m starting to think that the EU has too much money. But that’s a separate post altogether.

This time I was attending the launch of “the first ever pan-European blogging competition” – which although impressive isn’t surprising. What is surprising is that I am one of the UK’s three bloggers. Stop laughing, I know loads about the EU…

This exciting venture is known to few, but will soon to be known to many, as:

Th!nk About It. No, that wasn’t a slip of the finger, that’s an exclamation mark in the place of an I. Cooool.

Or that’s what I thought. Turns out the ! isn’t just to make the competition seem cool, Mandy-style (then again, an EU blogging competition by EU bloggers about the 2009 European Parliament elections needs all the cool-help it can get). It’s actually so that when blogs/photos/videos etc about the competition (of which there are a scary amount already) are tagged with ‘Th!nk 09’, they’ll pop up on Google quicker than you can say “but I couldn’t care less about the European elections”.

And that’s the most interesting thing about Th!nk About It. No, not the ! in the place of an I. And no, not the rather worrying video taken by my fellow UK blogger Etan before one of the lectures that I’ll “imbed” at the end of this post.

It’s that despite the free-food-and-wine-and-trip-to-Brussels fuelled enthusiasm of my 85 fellow Th!nkers (don’t ask), it will be interesting to see whether our desperate attempts to (learn about and) blog about the EU will have any effect at all.

Is an 18-year-0ld from, urm, Truro any more likely to vote in the European election because I wrote about the reasons bloggers give for sneakily swapping letters for punctuation? Or even if I blog about something with more resonance (which I quite clearly trying to avoid)?

Bloggers like to think they can change the world – this much was clear in Brussels. If nothing else, Th!nk About It is an impressive attempt at a first step.

And finally, thanks Etan:

Let’s get physical – I mean, serious – Tommy Reilly.

Firstly, apologies for the desperate lack of recent posts. I have been in Brussels. Oh how very jet-set.

Secondly, I am going to change my blog (when I get a minute that isn’t this minute). This is because I am becoming increasingly perturbed by the following. My ‘blog stats’ inform me that far and away the most popular search-engine phrases that lead people to click on my blog are:

“Breasts galore”

“Hollyoaks sex scenes”

“Sex in Holloyoaks”

“Hollyoaks Later”

“Swearing, violence, scenes of sexual nature”

“America’s Next Top Model”

Flipping heck is what I say to that. As previously stated, this blog is supposed to be a serious “showcase for employers” – and if the above is anything to go by I don’t think anyone will be employing me any time soon. That is unless they have a slightly scary penchant for cheap sex scenes.

The time has come, my friends, to get serious. Or at the very least to get slightly more serious and slightly less enthusiastic about shit TV. Oh no! But then how will I tell people to look at (and fall in love with) Tommy Reilly?

That’s how! Ignoring that minor blip, I have succeeded in making my blog look well more sophisticated and less like a Year 8 school project.

Actually, I should probably stop saying things like shit, flipping heck, and ‘well’ as an adverb (I think…) come to that. This is going to be harder than I (but probably no one else) thought.