Slugger O’Toole tells the story of an Irish citizen who tried, and failed, to use the web site of the French national train company SNCF to pay for a ticket. The problem: Ireland is absent from the list of pre-defined country names on the address form of the payment site. Asked about this, the SNCF answers that Ireland is part of Great Britain…

To be fair, in my experience the French tend to be reasonably good at geography. Still…

Via Crooked Timber.

After last month’s dismal elections, the EU parliament’s (newly renamed) Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality is getting a new member from Britain, UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom. The Guardian tells us a little more about this champion of women’s rights. In his own words:

I want to deal with women’s issues because I just don’t think they clean behind the fridge enough. […]

I am going to promote men’s rights. […]

I am here to represent Yorkshire women, who always have dinner on the table when you get home. […]

No self-respecting small businessman with a brain in the right place would ever employ a lady of child-bearing age. […] I know, because I am a businessman.

The use of you in the third quotation is particularly interesting.

Paul Foot called UKIP “[the Tory party’s] new lunatic and xenophobic fringe”. (I’m not the first blogger to say this, but nevermind: I don’t always agree with Paul Foot, but I much enjoyed reading his Guardian columns and will miss him. He died four days ago, aged 66.) They got 16% of the vote in the UK and 12 seats, but already had to suspend one prospective MEP, who is accused of housing benefit fraud.

Mrs Bloom, the Guardian reports, “is better-known than he is — or at least she was until last night — as one of the country’s leading horse physiotherapists […].” I guess she delegates the cleaning behind the fridge to a maid. Mr Bloom already used the fact that his wife is “half-Polish” to head off accusations of xenophobia directed at his party. Careful, Mr Bloom, greater nationalists than you have been in a similar situation, and it hasn’t changed the course of history.