Thursday, 13 October 2011

Thomas More and the European Union?

Reading - as I should have done many years ago, having bought it in August 1980 - Paul Johnson's absorbing history of Britain, The Offshore Islanders (Penguin, 1972), this sentence strikes me:
But equally he [More] can be seen as upholding an ancient and ramshackle structure, whose reality had never corresponded to its ideals, and which was now breaking up under the stress of nationalism ...
The next three words are, of course, "the Catholic Church", but it does sound remarkably like the European Union, of which  the Catholic Church (and before it the Roman Empire) was a precursor in the limited sense that it created a union of a sort among the nations of Europe. I particularly like the "reality never corresponding to ideals" bit, which to me seems especially apposite as a description of trade mark law in the European Union. To that perhaps one should add designs, and prospectively patents too.

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