The French President is sitting in his office when his telephone rings.
‘Hallo, Mr. Hollande!’ a heavily accented voice said. ‘This is Paddy down at the Harp Pub in County Clare, Ireland. I am ringing to inform you that we are officially declaring war on you! We voted to reject the Lisbon treaty!’
‘Well Paddy’, Hollande replied. “How big is your army?’
‘Right now,’ says Paddy, after a moment’s calculation, ‘there is myself, me Cousin Sean, me next door neighbour Seamus, and the entire darts team from the pub. That makes eleven!’
Hollande paused. ‘I must tell you, Paddy, that I have 100,000 men in my army waiting to move on my command’.
‘Begorra!’ says Paddy, ‘I’ll have to ring you back’.
Sure enough, the next day, Paddy calls again.
‘Mr. Hollande, the war is still on. We have managed to get us some infantry equipment!’
‘And what equipment would that be Paddy?’ Hollande asks.
‘Well, we have two combines, a bulldozer, and Murphy’s farm tractor’.
Hollande sighs, amused. ‘I must tell you, Paddy, that I have 6,000 tanks and 5,000 armoured personnel carriers. Also, I have increased my army to 150,000 since we last spoke’.
‘Saints preserve us!’ says Paddy. ‘I’ll have to get back to you’.
Sure enough, Paddy rings again the next day, ‘Mr. Hollande, the war is still on! We have managed to get ourselves airborne! We have modified Jackie McLaughlin’s ultra-light with a couple of shotguns in the cockpit, and four boys from the Shamrock Bar have joined us as well!’
Hollande was silent for a minute and then cleared his throat. ‘I must tell you, Paddy, that I have 100 bombers and 200 fighter planes. My military bases are surrounded by laser-guided, surface-to-air missile sites. And since we last spoke, I have increased my army to 200,000!’
‘Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!’ says Paddy, ‘I will have to ring you back’.
Sure enough, Paddy calls again the next day. ‘Top o’ the mornin’, Mr. Hollande! I am sorry to inform you that we have had to call off the war’.
‘Really? I am sorry to hear that,’ says Hollande. ‘Why the sudden change of heart?’
‘Well,’ says Paddy, ‘we had a long chat over a few pints of Guinness and packets of crisps, and we decided there is no way we can feed 200,000 prisoners’.