Welcome to the Ministry of Love

Working inside the European Parliament in Brussels one is often confronted with all manner of ironies, be it the champagne reception for the homeless [link], or the enforcement of austerity while demanding a pay rise in the same breath [link]. Purposefully or not, the EU does irony superbly.

Today, having returned to the Parliament for the first time in a week. I was confronted with what is perhaps the all time greatest irony in the history of European political ironies.

That is, the enormous love heart sign that now adorns the front entrance to the parliament:


Why, you ask rightly, is this the greatest EU political irony of all time? Simply, the EU is now using the exact symbolism which George Orwell’s 1984 warned us of.

Orwell used the names for the government ministries of Oceania, his dystopian state, very carefully:

The Ministry of Truth, dealing in lying to the people.

The Ministry of Peace, dealing in overseeing endless war.

The Ministry of Plenty, which never produces enough to satisfy the populace.

And most importantly for this case, The Ministry of Love, whose purpose was to terrify the people into obedience. To quote from the book:

“The Ministry of Love was the really frightening one. There were no windows in it at all. Winston had never been inside the Ministry of Love, nor within half a kilometre of it. It was a place impossible to enter except on official business, and then only by penetrating through a maze of barbed-wire entanglements, steel doors, and hidden machine-gun nests. Even the streets leading up to its outer barriers were roamed by gorilla-faced guards in black uniforms, armed with jointed truncheons.”
This reminds me of something I wrote about not that long ago, EU Perestroika. This is the photo I took:


Recognise the building?

To sum up, we now have on the doorstep to what is supposed to be the home of democracy in Europe, the greatest symbolic political irony of our time. The EU has managed to juxtapose the use of barbed wire in the same space as an enormous neon love heart. And in placing the final delicious cherry of irony on the cake, the neon sign is supposed to be a commemoration of Vaclav Havel, a man who stood against everything that the EU is now coming to represent. Chilling.

Edmund Greaves is co-editor of The Libertarian Press. He also writes travel articles at the www.curiousenglishman.com


  1. […] Christmas I wrote an article [link] about the Orwellian way in which the EU presents itself to the European people. This permanent […]

%d bloggers like this: