"stiff necked, starchy and petty minded"
Karel De Gucht, Belgium's Foreign Minister had only shortly previous to that referred to Dutch Prime Minister Balkenende as "a mix of Harry Potter and stiff small-mindedness".
The whole thing sparked off a diplomatic row with the Dutch government desperately trying to look like it has a sense of humour. I am obviously partizan, but look at Freya:
Now look at Balkenende:
Now look at Harry Potter:
Who is the starchiest of the lot? Who looks most like Harry Potter? Who is trying to kill off Dutch health insurance?*
Well obviously Daniel Radcliffe looks most like Harry Potter, true, and strictly speaking his picture was not necessary in this post, but hell, after Balkenende you need a bit of an antidote.
But seriously, Balkenende depresses me, and the Belgian tendency to take the piss cheers me up. Therefore I declare 1-0 to the Belgian government for being quite right to do so, and for having a smart, young, funny, quick working mother as its voice, rather than yet another fortysomething economist in a suit.
Even if she did apologise. Politics will be politics.
*Not as gratuitous as claim as it seems, though obviously a bit overdramatic. The Netherlands are undergoing major changes in health insurance, and working in HR I have been at the receiving end of some of the comments - care is getting quite a bit more expensive for most people and is being put more completely in private hands. Not very good private hands either, if the angry people here are anthing to go by. Generally there is an increasingly big difference between the care provided to people with modest incomes, and that provided to wealthier people. Same taxes, only without the solidarity. *sigh*