Jo-Jo-oh-no-José, you Dodo Nero, my tolerance has reached zero

EU President José Manuel Barroso’s awfulness has exceeded its limits

barrosophonesJosé listening to the call of the Duckbilled Platitude

Some of the world’s greatest footballers have had surnames ending in ‘o’: Di Stefano, Gento, Ronhaldo, and the Portuguese genius Eusebio. I understand that Eusebio’s compatriot, EU President Jose Manuel Barroso, played football quite seriously as a youngster, and who knows – with a little luck and some talent he might have joined this élite sporting group.

Alas, instead he became a Communist – and then by some quirk of inexplicably freakish process the joint President of an entire continent. Ask around the halls of Europe about this man (and believe me, I have) and nobody really has the remotest clue as to how he rose without the assistance of any ability whatsoever – a truly remarkable achievement. The nearest any official I met came to an answer was a German lady, who opined “He never made a mistake of any importance”. What a depressing thing that would be to have on one’s gravestone.

One could say that he’s out of his depth in the role that life accidentally awarded him, but Jose has no depth: to assume the existence of a third dimension in this man’s make-up is to forget that he is merely a cardboard folly who can turn sideways and disappear from view. In truth, this is the real secret of his ascendancy. He has probably been associated with dozens of mistakes, but his ability to become invisible in one movement ensures he is never photographed at the scene of the crime.

It would be fun to invent a conspiracy theory about the Pinhead’s Progress of Barroso – was he backed by obscure Portuguese Knights with a sworn mission to produce global banality? – but in truth this simply wouldn’t hold water. As with Inspector Clouseau of the Paris Sureté, nothing beyond bizarre serendipity could explain his promotion.

Rather, he resembles the sort of malevolent clown-official invented from time to time by Aleksander Solzhenytsin; you know – the Soviet apparatchik who turns up at a salmon farm and asks why they haven’t ordered any tractors.

We have, all of us, some serious dingbats in our national governments, but none I have yet encountered to equal the sheer dumbarsed Party-line conformity of this woefully uninspiring man. Only five words into him ‘explaining’ something, one’s main hope is that he might quit while he’s ahead. But Mano never does, and so we get stuff like this absolute cracker from last Monday, on the subject of eurozone austerity:

“While the policy is clearly 100% correct,” he asserted, “I think it has now exceeded its limits”.

It’s hard for the normal human brain to assign 100% correctitude to a policy that increases Sovereign costs, throttles growth and eradicates exports, but for loyalty to his masters in Brussels, the first half of the statement gets 13/10 for loyalty. That’s what I mean by José not quitting while he’s ahead. Unfortunately, nobody assassinated the bloke at that point, and so he went on to claim that something 100% correct (a) had limits and (b) they had been exceeded. In this manner did Mr Barroso manage to be cluelessly illogical in two entirely opposing ways at once.

If something is 100% correct, it has no limits unless it’s actually wrong. If it is wrong, it cannot have been 100% correct in the first place. But if it was and still is right, it has no limits, and you cannot exceed something of infinite correctness. That may seem like logistical pedantry, but put it into real life and it becomes anything but.

Wolfgang Schäuble and his Death’s Head accomplice Herman van Rompuy have decreed that ClubMed can only be saved by paying back every penny it borrowed; and that this in turn can only be achieved by borrowing still more money on even more unrepayable terms than the original unwisely entered loan agreements. That being the economic logic of the insane asylum, it is extremely unlikely to be 100% correct.

However, to compound the stupidity of calling it 100% correct by saying it has exceeded its limits conjures up a sci-fi bedtime story called Manuel the Muppet Goes Quark’s Nest Rummaging.

Exceeding the limits of infinite correctness may be the sort of concept that could have a physicist filling his blackboard, but it is not what I would call the outcome of a Brussels-am-Berlin austerity policy imposed on the unfortunate citizens of ClubMed these last three years. Were one to illogically exceed the limits of that one, Athens would by now have been razed to the ground as opposed to merely emptied of almost all economic activity.

The B-am-B austerity policy had no limits because from Day One it was 100% wrong. It has now been proved to be wrong so comprehensively, it is 100% vitally important to reverse it at the first opportunity – by writing off 100% of the debts incurred by 100% stupid political elites, and then replacing those elites with politicians and technocrats, 0% of whom had any truck with the 100% barking policies of borrowing and austerity in the first place.

So my advice this bright sunny Savoyard morning is that José Manuel Barroso should take his crypto-Soviet claptrap, and shove it up the one orifice in his pointless body that’s actually supposed to emit sh*t. And perhaps try in future to have a different substance emerge from his mouth.

Last night at The Slog: From Athens to Haut Savoie in one mighty leap