11 September, 2010

Get your shoes off

It is reported that a man has thrown a shoe at George Papandreou, Prime Minister of Greece. In this case it was apparently for allowing Greek sovereignty to be pooled into Europe, a little ironic since the Greeks (Mr Papandreou's uncle, I think) lied over their economic performance in order to get in, and the rest of us have been paying the price ever since.

But it was the busniess of shoe throwing I wanted to air. Long a practice in the Middle East, you will remember that a chap threw his shoe at George Bush not so long ago; and just the other day someone threw a shoe at Tony Blair. I am greatly in favour of it, and believe it should be encouraged among right-thinking people. I like it for its sheer symbolism, saying 'you are the sort of thing I tread in', and I like it for its wide opportunity for expression. Someone might throw a wooden clog in protest at unemployment (the French for clog, sabot, is the origin of the word 'saboteur'). Imagine protesters against George Osborne's withdrawal of middle class benefits throwing their Manolo Blahniks in his direction; protesters against cuts in the military throwing their Wellingtons.

What would you throw at Gordon Brown? I don't think it would be a clean shoe, and would perhaps have a hole in it. And at José Manuel Barroso, after his bogus 'State of the Union' speech? A brightly coloured Mandarin's slipper.

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