FLAT EARTH

Disreputable Euro-hacks

The Eurocrats in Brussels, not to mention the EU leaders gathered in Dublin for their summit over the past two days, are worried. Somehow the great march forward to ever-closer union, monetary or otherwise, does not inspire ordinary citizens: in certain quarters, it seems, the whole concept is downright unpopular.

That was why the summiteers sought to lay stress on the everyday usefulness of the EU in such matters as fighting drugs and keeping unwelcome Third Worlders out. On Tuesday the EU's Culture Commissioner, Marcelino Oreja - oh, come on, surely you've heard of him - is going on the Internet for two hours to chat to all comers about what Europe can do for them. (http://europa.eu.int/chat.htm if you're interested.) But let's face it - pro-Europeans are never going to have the simple, emotive slogans their opponents use so effectively. "Subsidiarity is Good for You (or EU)"? Doesn't work.

Seasoned Euro-observers recall what was probably the most disastrous attempt by Brussels to promote the communal ideal. The report of the Expert Group on Information and Communications Policy managed to provoke a press walkout when it was unveiled. To persuade the media to present "the achievements, the benefits, the opportunities [of Europe] in a positive, optimistic way, and not delight in criticism and failure", it proposed setting up a new communications office with special powers, including the remit to seek "a change in the undisciplined behaviour of the transmitters".

"We're not living in the era of the Colonels," responded Constantin Verros, the Greek president of the International Press Association. He then stormed out.

Don't give me no lip

MY EYE was caught the other day by a report that Zimbabwe's Education Minister, Edmund Garwe, had resigned after admitting that his daughter leaked examination papers. He took them home after a meeting to discuss misprints, and young Miss Garwe snitched them from his briefcase.

Her father said the right thing to reporters - incident had brought "shame" to the government, resignation the "only honourable course", daughter "most remorseful" and so on, but the news agency report could not resist adding that it was rare for politicians to quit in Zimbabwe.

Calls for Garwe to go, it noted, were led by Lazarus Nzarayebani, an MP who had been fined 1,000 Zimbabwe dollars (pounds 66) after he bit off the lip of a political rival at a party meeting.

String 'em up, I say

THE "zero tolerance" policy adopted by the New York police - collaring litter louts and graffiti artists - is said to have helped clear up major crime by tackling the most minor offences. It is being widely studied by other forces, including some in Britain.

But the nitpicking may be going a little far. This year police have issued 31,000 summonses at the rate of three an hour, or 16 times more than in 1993, to subway train passengers accused of violating a regulation dating back to the 1940s. Each summons carries a $50 (pounds 33) fine. What is this offence? Occupying more than one seat at a time - even, it seems, when the train is virtually empty.

Zachary Schlee, a Brooklyn student, told a hearing there was only one other person in his carriage when he got a summons. The policeman gave him a second $50 ticket because he considered his temporary school ID card insufficient proof of identity. Both charges were dropped, partly because there is no law requiring people to carry identity papers, but perhaps the NYPD's answer to that would be: "Not yet."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Property Negotiator - OTE £20,000+

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'