Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Happy Birthday

Just a few days after Osama Bin Laden turned 50, the EU is marking the same anniversary. Beyond tonight's pointless football game at Old Trafford, the birthday's passing with a pleasing lack of the self-satisfied ceremony we've come to expect from the union.

Not that the EU hasn't got a lot to be satisfied about. Leaving aside all the bickering that's made it so unpopular in many countries, including Britain, it has been a spectacular success in achieving the main reason it was set up in the first place: to make sure there won't ever be another massive war involving the whole continent. Bitter debates over fishing quotas are a lot better than fighting real battles over chunks of central Europe.

With the EU probably the greatest force for peace in the modern world, Bin Laden is arguably the greatest force for war. Although his powers seem to be on the wane (it's nearly two and a half years since we last saw new pictures of him), he and his Al Qaeda mates will have a big influence on our lives for a while yet. But I think the EU will endure a lot longer, and that's something we should all be pretty pleased about.

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