Where did it go?
Being an active supporter of the concept of the European Union, I was shocked (almost!) to find that the “clear, informative and far-reaching, the Eurostat yearbook 2004” which “serves as a practical statistical guide to the major issues relating to the evolution of the European Union” has just been published with a front cover map illustration which OMITS WALES from the map! How ever did they manage to actually remove a whole country from a map on the cover of the publication that is regarded as the fact source for the whole of the EU? Amazing! It isn’t as though Wales is a minute little island some way off the coast of England. It is a country – about the same size as, say, Massachusetts. This is using the American method of relative size, of course, where England is about the size of Alabama and Scotland is about the size of South Carolina. I have wandered off the point again here, haven’t I. Maybe it is the still strong holiday spirit in me, but I’ve always enjoyed observing the way in which Americans try to understand how big another country is – by comparing it to one of their own States. For example, Italy is “slightly larger than Arizona”, France is “slightly less than twice the size of Colorado” and Germany is “slightly smaller than Montana”. I’m glad we got that cleared up. At least, we in Europe have actually heard of those US States – which is more than can be said for a great many US citizens, unfortunately.
Still, what of the vanishing country of Wales though? Looking at the illustration, it would seem that the vanishing act happened in the studio of the book publisher, not in the Irish sea at all. But, how did it vanish so easily? Doesn’t the publication dept of Eurostat have any checking systems built into the proofing stage of any of it’s publications? It is even more bizarre when one knows that the offices for Eurostat in the UK are in – wait for it - WALES! Yes, they even managed to delete their own UK office from the map at the same time.
Perhaps the question that has to be asked now is, is the rest of the information contained in the book of similar authenticity? What else has been left out – or simply wrong – in the publication? And, more importantly, does anyone actually care about it?