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Sunday 13 May 2012

Special Boat Scheme

There is a great item in today's Telegraph by Jasper Copping ( ). I urge you to read it otherwise, all that follows will be well-nigh meaningless; perusing the article will not, however, guarantee that the converse is true.

The story shows great restraint, as well as introducing us, or at least me, to the EU's Interreg scheme. This is an opportunity to fill in some of the gaps (if you've read the article, please pardon the pun).

The fact that a 26ft boat, having been built at a cost of £1.7 million fails to stay afloat should be viewed as a resounding success, and not a failure, as implied. It is a salutary lesson that anything involving the European Union (as a political entity, not as a trading zone) is doomed to failure. If the lesson is learned at a cost of only £1.7 million, it is the best investment ever authorised by the EU.

Checking the 'leakproofness' of a vessel would seem to be a fairly basic requirement. In fairness, the Titanic got some way before hitting an iceberg; it did not suffer the ignonimity of sinking in the harbour. On the other hand, it seems unlikely that Canterbury Christ Church University will receive many commissions for building boats.

Even the name of the vessel shows scant regard for convention. The sinker is celebrating a 3,500 year-old vessel, and is named 'Boat 1550 BC'. Try as I may to find justification, the name seems inappropriate. The nearest explanations that could be offered are that either:

The Italians were invited to participate and answered: "Boat? Is so busy". Meaning, of course, that they have other fish to fry.


The French, already collaborating (a not altogether non-pejorative reference), thanked their European allies for the invitation, declined politely, and gave a gallic suggestion that the project at least be named 'boat'. This would have the dual benefit of not only distancing their country from the project (bateau, yes; boat, no) and would give the rest of the world a clue as to what the unintentional submarine was meant to represent.

It could, of course, also simply be that the Brussels eurocrats cannot count.

The most likely explanation of why the project failed is more likely to have evolved from an error in translation: half-sized became half-baked.

Various institutions are pooling their resources to find the founder of this project.

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