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Monday, 7 September 2009

Homeward Bound

The Vienna trip is coming to a close. Weather is lovely and warm, unlike the misery of last Friday, and today the city has been at work and therefore hectic. Tomorrow is home time, and one thing is certain: it won’t be via Zürich. Such is the wonder of Opodo.

One thing that links so many cities in the EU – from the Vienna Schnellbahn to the Metro do Porto – is the use of English as a de facto second language. So many now speak English to a reasonable standard that, in the city at least, few Brits need more than a few words of the local tongue. The French may be making a half hearted effort to resist the tide of Anglicisation, but they’re in a minority within the EU.

Yet, having got the EU to speak our language – check the EU’s own website and see what is the default for any publication – there are those like Dan, Dan the Oratory Man, who wants us to come out, and stand, presumably, in glorious isolation, with Murdoch the Interfering Foreigner egging him on.

The UK never has been as happy about the EU as many of the other member states: here in Vienna, public buildings fly both the Austrian and EU flags together. Not something we do much in the UK.

Perhaps those who, like me, hold a generally positive attitude to the EU should speak a little louder, have a little more confidence, and not shy away from the debate.

It’s sod all to do with Rupe anyway.

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