Society

Video cringe: Chavez, Brown, Rath

Article published on Dec. 19, 2007
From the magazine
Article published on Dec. 19, 2007
Be it a Czech clip around the ear, a King telling a naughty Venezuelan socialist to zip it or a British prime minister playing it cool - we track Europe's chiefs losing it

Czech Republic: smacking politicians

In 2006, during a series of university conferences in the Czech Republic, we were witness to heated thrashings out of political ideals between David Rath, the minister for health (the blonde), and Miroslav Macek, an ex-member of parliament for the Czech Civic Movement. The coldness with which each man challenges the other and the aggression evident in each other's face is truly shocking

Spain: why don't you shut up

Unbelievable! On 12 November 2007, we saw King Juan Carlos I of Spain lose it during the 17th Ibero-American summit. The Spanish monarch usually acts as a fatherly figure, an intermediary between countries. Despite his reputation for being a natural joker, he couldn’t avoid being caught out by the Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, ultimately telling him to shut up, in public, during a discussion.

Chavez is by no-means a shining example of good behaviour, but the final image was that of a King - who is not elected democratically by the people - telling an elected government figure to be quiet; an act which has further fuelled arguments by those who complain about the neo-colonial attitudes of former European powers

EU: Barroso's 'empire' strikes back

Although nothing serious in itself, José Manuel Barroso, the president of the European commission, took it upon himself to label the EU an empire, 'an empire that achieves its targets, by both passive and constructive means.' But what are the objectives of every empire? When the anti-imperialists get tired of playing on the conscience of the USA, there is another battle ready and waiting, only this time, against the EU. Cheers Mr President!

France: Sarkozy 'the American'

Recently, during an interview with Nicolas Sarkozy, aired on an American television channel, the French president called his spokesperson David Martinon an 'idiot' ('imbecile') – literally – following a series of probing questions from his female presenter about his personal life. It is worth noting that the interview took place right in the middle of divorce proceedings from his now ex-wife, Cecilia. Could it be Sarkozy is suffering from an excess of testosterone?

Italy: Berlusconi pops out a tune

Between being fed-up and dealing with political blunders, why not take life and politics with a more humours and relaxed approach? Nobody does it better than the peculiar ex-Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. In this video, we see him showing his appreciation and support of European music; not only does he sing in French, but the song itself – a song he used to sing whilst studying at the Sorbonne in Paris, busking at night – becomes something truly ours – a real tower of babel!

UK: Brown keeps cool after 'cancelled' elections

Listen very carefully, we will say this only once: nobody can hold a discussion and still keep their tie perfect like the Brits can! Sit back and relax, and enjoy prime minister Gordon Brown in the House of Commons discussing progress with the elections. They say everything, but never lose their sense of humour or composure, nor the chorus of hooligans at the back

Photo homepage: (Brocco lee/ Flickr)