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Irony is not dead; well, not in Norway

13/10/2012

A hat-tip to Channel 4 News for this screen-print of the EU’s website on the day before it (absurdly) was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. It was not the EU that ensured peace in Europe for the last 60 years; it was, if anything, NATO.

Some people think that the Nordic nations are populated by dour people with no sense of humour. They are so wrong. Look at the latest manifestation of Norwegian humour.

The 2007 Peace Prize was awarded jointly to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Al Gore, whose  messianic ‘work’ was founded on frequently bogus and distorted data and is increasingly widely discredited. I’m not a denier, but the laureates’ scientific ‘certainties’ have been proven – one by one – to be anything but, their numbers to be wrong, their assumptions to be groundless and their apocalyptic predictions to be risible.

In 2009, they gave the Peace Prize to Barack Obama “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and co-operation between peoples”. It should be remembered that the Nobel Prize rules dictate that nominations must be received by 31 January, to give the committee ample time to consider them before announcing the laureates in mid-October.

Now, Barack Obama has spent his life on “extraordinary efforts to strengthen” his political power-base “and co-operation between” the voters and himself. He spent 2006 to 2008 on a single-minded mission for election to the presidency, and was inaugurated as President on 20 January 2009. Thus, in just 11 days he did enough to convince the Prize Committee that he was a worthy winner.  Other nominations that year included:
Dr. Denis Mukwege, who has treated 21,000 victims of rape in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He returned home after studying and practising in France, and has been doing this work since the mid-1990s.
Sina Samar. In 1984 her husband was permanently ‘disappeared’ by Afghanistan’s then Communist regime. By 1987, she had opened a hospital for women, and went on to set up 10 clinics, four hospitals and schools for 17,000.
Prince Ghazi bin Muhammed of Jordan, a philosopher who has been working with Muslim scholars since 2005 to formulate a ‘theological counter-attack’ to terrorism.
Piedad Córdoba, Colombia’s “woman of peace”. She has braved kidnap and assassination attempts, including negotiating with the guerilla group Farc since the mid-1990s and securing the release of 16 hostages in 2007.

Of course Obama’s achievements in those 11 clearly magnificent days – as he decided where to place his coffee-cup and pencils on the Oval Office desk – are greater than any of them. And now the Nobel Committee has proudly gone for the hat-trick of absurdity with the award of the 2012 prize to the EU. It rates a bloated, inefficient, unaccountable, profligate, sanctimonious, overpaid, self-righteous, self-perpetuating, tentacular bureaucracy – the individual members of whose inner-core will each see the prize as an entirely personal accolade and to which the money will make no difference whatsoever – above the countless individual nominees who would have worn the honour lightly and modestly, and whose selfless work would have been immeasurably assisted by the prize fund. Here’s the sublime Daniel Hannan’s view.

As Greece heads towards civil war, because of the mad strictures of the Euro, Helmut Kohl’s vanity project; as Ireland drags itself back from the humiliation of having its lop-sided and kleptocratic financial system ‘saved’; as Portugal and Spain confront economic chaos and massive unemployment; as Cyprus remains divided; as French scallop-fishermen encircle and throw rocks at their British counterparts in mid-Manche/Channel; as Italy’s EU-imposed prime minister contemplates a second unelected term of office; as the whole bombastic edifice is shown to be as fatuous as the Wizard of Oz, we have clear proof that the Norwegians do have a sense of humour – of a sort.

So, good joke, chaps. Can you hear the sound of one hand clapping?

Here’s a Nordic joke:

In a survey of social attitudes across the Nordic nations, they asked: If you had not been born in your own country, in which Nordic nation would you like to have been born?

Well, we love Norway. We love our fjords and mountains, our hardy spirit, our fishing industry, our social democracy and our oil wealth. We suppose, though, that if we couldn’t be born Norwegian, out of all the others we’d like to be … Danish.

Well, we love Sweden. We love our relaxed liberalism, the Stockholm archipelago, our lakes and forests and our steadfast neutrality. We suppose, though, that if we couldn’t be born Swedish, out of all the others we’d like to be … Danish.

Well, we love Finland. We love our language, our folklore, our indomitable courage, our technological inventiveness and our quarter-million lakes. We suppose, though, that if we couldn’t be born Finnish, out of all the others we’d like to be … Danish.

Well, we love Denmark. We love our monarchy, our maritime history, our enlightened sexual equality, our political system and our agriculture. We suppose, though, that if we couldn’t be born Danish, we’d really like to be … well … Danish, really.

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