Magazine article The Spectator

What a Waste

Magazine article The Spectator

What a Waste

Article excerpt

Help! I'm in terrible disgrace. It's Monday morning and I've just had a call from my lovely editor Elisabeth saying (in that cut-glass voice she has), `Are you filing today?' And I said, `We-eelll. I wasn't planning to.' And she (very nearly but not quite losing her cool) said, `But you must do! It's copy day. Didn't you get that letter I sent you?' And I said, `Yeah, but I thought it was for some other Christmassy early deadline not this one.' And she said, `You're in disgrace.'

Not that you really needed to know any of that. But I thought I'd get my excuse in early, in case my column is even more drivelly and rambling than it is usually. It's also my excuse for not having reviewed that new game-show series with Nasty Nick Bateman out of Big Brother. I was going to watch it tonight but I can't now.

Anyway, to compound my disgrace, I'm going to review something that was on about two weeks ago. The reason for this is because I've only just got hold of the tape and I want to annoy the BBC, who buried it in their schedules at 5.30 on a Saturday evening so that absolutely no one would watch it, let alone write about it.

The programme was called RUEU (BBC 2) and was presented in a tricksy, Jonathan Meades-y style by an astonishingly louche Anglo-French journalist called Nick Fraser. He looked like the sort of person whose father arranged for him to lose his virginity to a high-class whore at the age of 12 (which is more than mine ever did, unfortunately) and I liked the cut of his jib, especially the way he coolly barged his way with his camera crew into high-level EU meetings simply by acting as if it was his Godgiven right.

Now the reason the BBC didn't want anyone to see this programme was because it set out to be an objective examination of the state of the EU (which is the only way it got commissioned, I suppose) but instead went on to demonstrate that the whole thing is a monstrous idiocy which wastes spectacular amounts of our money to no useful purpose whatsoever. Quel surprise, as they don't say in Brussels.

I wish my half-brother Charlie had seen it. Charlie, I was quite horrified to discover over a curry the other night, is violently pro EU. When I tried getting him to explain why (not very hard I admit: I was too busy telling him he was an ignorant prat and a disgrace to the family name), he trotted out all the stuff they tell you on the Today programme and in the Guardian. …

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