Project Anan Chapter 10
The French Purchase (Pre-Edit)
With the exception of the United Kingdom, The Benelux countries, some of the Nordic countries and Spain – by the early part of the twentieth century – mainland European countries had dispensed with their royal families and embraced a republican model. This change in governance was encouraged by the final fall of the French monarchy in 1848. Seventy years later, at the end of the First World War, Europe experienced the end of two major dynasties with the demise of both the German Kaiser Wilhelm II and Charles I of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. At the end of the Second World War, the Italian House of Savoy’s last monarch was deposed. The demise of these royal households included the fall from grace and privilege of the many minor royals and hangers on who benefited from title, patronage, friendship, nepotism or other nefarious connection to the ruling house.
By the middle of the twentieth century a new bourgeois class emerged from within the governing framework of the European Economic Community. These quickly replaced the privileged minor royals and hangers-on of the preceding feudal systems. The gathering momentum of the privileged “Eurocrats” steadily advanced. By the arrival of the twenty first century, the bloated governing bodies of the European Community employed nearly fifty thousand people. The Eurocrats, unelected officials, now directed the EC. With enormous salaries and pensions that would dwarf the income generated by a “Lottery” win they were the new royals of Europe. Placements or “jobs for the boys” were gifted by nepotism, gratuity, political favour and by “who knows whom”. Fine dining and quaffing fine wines was the order of the day. Before and after pictures in the press of some representatives demonstrated their gluttonous weight gain after joining the privileged classes of the EC. To add injury to insult, this privileged and perfumed class paid less income tax than the rest of the European peasants, or “coping classes” as they were now referred to, engulfed under the burden of austerity. Those peasants could only dream of the retribution the resurrection of Madame la Guillotine might inflict on the new ruling perfumed classes and their political cronies!
Bubbling to the top of this cesspit of inequality floated John Claude’s boss, The Director-General for Research and Innovation. The man was gifted this position after his long illustrious – or as some would maintain infamous – political career in France. It all ended as he fell from grace due to some unjust and unproven allegation of corruption. With his French ministerial pension and the generous salary promised with this EU position he was happy to go quietly into the night of political obscurity! In fact, he was seen dancing out of the Palais Bourbon on his last day at the National Assembly.
Seated in the temporary offices in Strasburg of the European Commission for Research, Innovation and Science, The Director-General for Research and Innovation was troubled at the call he had just taken. It was from his niece who worked as a designer on the Fusion Reactor Project in Lyon. She was a good girl, he thought, unfortunately her grades were not so good. He had intervened gently to get her a position on the reactor site. It had paid him dividends as she always kept him in the loop on the goings on there.
‘Uncle,’ she said, ‘you must put a stop to it; they’re moving all our parts out of the warehouse. Everything is going. We will have nothing left to work with. I’m sure it’s the Drunk. You know I bet he sold it all. Yes Uncle, he did’.
‘I’ll take care of it, don’t worry, I’ll call him now,’ he told her. Jean Claude, what are you up to? He thought, as he stroked the fabric of his new designer suit. He had purchased it that weekend in Milan with the new shoes and silk shirt he was wearing for fifteen hundred euro, it was on sale and a bargain. His new garments were all “styled” in Italy and made in a sweat shop in the Far East by children. A sweat shop with deplorable conditions banned in the EU, but whose products the Eurocrats were happy to import and wear. Looking at his diamond encrusted watch he realised Jean Claude would be indisposed, so he dialled the number of Jean Claude’s unlucky Secretary…