Meet the new Europe

  • 2004-10-20
In case you haven't noticed, the world has changed rather a lot in recent years. It's an altogether shinier sort of place, with lots of white teeth and impressive-sounding job titles. But politics lags way behind reality. National borders still demarcate 19th century thinking. And national stereotypes are burdened by old, redundant historical associations.

So I've decided to do my bit for my fellow Europeans by proposing a radical renaming of nations that is a little bit more in harmony with present day realities, or, rather, the woeful lack of them. But I nonetheless hope my newly renamed Europe will be an altogether happier and homelier sort of a place to live in for our little family of 450 million people.

To start off with, I propose that Lithuania be renamed Pithyania. Why? Well, I think the country needs a pithier name, basically. Likewise, Estonia should become Westonia, and so do away with all those abject associations of the old Eastern bloc that its name still conjures up for many. And Latvia should be renamed Vialat, because it sounds very businesslike.

Russia should become Wusher, so that everybody who can't pronounce their Rs properly needn't feel anxious when discussing the pwoblems of Putin and democwacy in Russia. And Belarus should be Bel Air for a while, to reflect the true aspirations of its president.

The Czech Republic should be named the Check It Oot Republic, to appeal to the lucrative Canadian and Scottish tourist markets. Georgia should be renamed Georgina, because frankly its male inhabitants are too macho for their own good. Hungary should become Esurient, to avoid any more stupid jokes, and Turkey should become Thanksgiving, to symbolize its especially close ties with the U.S.A.

France should be renamed Le Big One, to sum up its confused sense of self-importance, and Germany should be called Frank, because it's just such a lovely name.

Ireland should become Eyeland, because I can't bear to hear another foreigner refer to it as Earland, and England should be The Country Formerly Referred to as England, until it can figure out what the hell it actually is.

Spain can be "S2," since it's at the forefront of the avant-garde in Europe, and Portugal can be Portalugal, because, um, a lot of people use the Internet there. Poland can be Poledancingland, because - and I'm really struggling now - the last time I went through the country I was amazed by how many strip joints I saw there.

Finland should be Funland, what with all those tanked up Tallinn-bound Finns, and Sweden should be Eden, because it has such an impressive welfare state system. But no one should lay a linguistic finger on Liechtenstein. So there it is. The new Europe. Hope you enjoy it.