Tuesday, 14th April 2015

by Joshua Gaskell

One of the problems with the EU is that it has so far proved unable to inspire the sense of love and loyalty (i.e. patriotism) that many Europeans feel for their individual member states. I would suggest that one cause and symptom of this is that, unlike countries, the EU is never referred to as she or her. The feminine third person pronoun is conventionally used for a whole range of things personified as female, such as a ship or boat, a conveyance, a cannon or gun, a tool or utensil; the moon, the planet Venus, a river, the sea; a city, the church, an army.

In the name of pan-European solidarity and continued peace in our time, may we not add to that feminal list, ‘a supranational and intergovernmental organisation, a free trade area, or economic association’?