A hugely funny cartoon in today's Times.
In the first panel Tony Blair is confronted by a frog with the face of Jacques Chirac. "Ah well," he says, "Sometimes you have to kiss the frog".
In the second panel he grimaces as he kisses the frog.
In the third panel there are flashes and stars (including the EU circle of stars. Obviously magic is taking place.
In the fourth panel Tony Blair has been turned into a small frog.
My favorite version of the frog joke, which I told at the retirement party of Jacques-Louis Binet goes like this:
A frog hopped up to an elderly professor, "If you kiss me I will turn into a beautiful princess."
The professor ignores the frog and walks by. The frog hops faster to catch up. "If you kiss me I will turn into a beautiful princess and I'm all yours,"
The professor still ignores the frog and walks on. The frog redoubles its efforts and catches up again. "If you kiss me I will turn into a beautiful princess and I'm all yours to do what you like with."
At this the professor bends down, scoops up the frog and puts it in his pocket. From the pocket comes a mufled protest, "Hey! You're supposed to kiss me."
The professor pulls out the frog and says to it, "At my age, a talking frog is worth more."
To understand the EU you have to realise what happened after the first world war. At the Treaty of Versailles the French exacted such heavy war reparations from the Germans that they bankrupted them. This led directly to the rise of Hitler and the second world war. After this the European powers decided that they needed a treaty to prevent another Franco-German war. The Common Market was a means by which the French exacted war reparations from the Germans without precipitating a third world war. The financial arangements involved the German subsidising inefficient French farmers in perpetuity. But how were the Germans to pay? The simple answer is the Marshall plan. So after the Americans rescued France from the German oppressor they ended up paying the German war reparations to the French. In order to avoid Britain getting caught in the same trap Mrs Thatcher got her rebate.