City of the free lunch

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 09.05.24Dalrymple writes that he has

a sneaking regard

for Brussels. What appeals to him is

  • its down-at-heelness
  • its comfortable air of concentrated mediocrity
  • its excellence only in beer and food

It is the kind of place, he says, that

I could easily and happily fit into.

Dalrymple points out that the value that most prevails in Brussels, thanks to the European Parliament, the European Commission, and other institutions, is that of

the free lunch. I have met European politicians there who haven’t paid for so much as a single course of a meal for 40 years or more, and who develop as a consequence that gray, slablike or tombstone countenance that members of the Soviet Politburo used to have.

Dalrymple has

nothing against free lunches myself—indeed I have enjoyed many—but I have never made them the acme of my ambition, nor did it ever occur to me that, in seeking and eating them, I was defending, furthering, or expressing ‘our values’.

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