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  • Writer's pictureBerlaymonster

Balls and drops

It can be hard sometimes to find an eloquent endorsement of European integration. The fervour that fires a sceptic can inspire a more inventive and alluring rhetoric more readily.

Trust, therefore, the consummate European and world citizen Peter Ustinov to be the one to utter effortlessly, more than forty years ago, this modest paean to what his interviewer calls “the whole thing.”

“We have to decide now whether we’re going to be one player or eight tennis balls,” he tells Michael Parkinson, in an interview from January 1972.

“If two raindrops are going to join on a train window they’re going to join, there’s no way of keeping them apart.”

Agree or disagree, having to follow the debate would be a far less stultifying experience if some of the proponents of “the whole thing” displayed a modicum of the imagination and eloquence necessary to get their message across.

The record doesn’t show what view of European integration was voiced by fellow guests footballer Jackie Charlton or trade unionist Jimmy Reid …

See – a bit – more of Ustinov’s politics here, 40m40s in. Or just watch the whole thing for – a lot – more of Ustinov’s words and the order in which he put them.


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