Reuters reported increasing jitters on financial markets this week as euro leaders failed to reach agreement on which Titanic metaphor accurately summarised the UK's position. Having walked away from signing a deal agreed by all 26 other EU states, the UK was characterised as both standing on the deck of the titanic while everyone else rowed away, as well as rowing away while everyone else stood on the deck of the Titanic.
EU chairman, Jose Manuel Barroso, called for an emergency EU summit to resolve the matter. "Metaphorical uncertainty is bound to transmit itself to the markets." He continued. "Let me make this clear: 26 EU nations agree that wherever we stand on the titanic, it's the bit where everyone survived. It's only the UK that is trapped in a location where everyone drowns, or freezes to death attempting to swim away."
Some analysts believe that the conflicting nature of these metaphors could contribute to a run on the banks if enough investors start to imagine the UK as safely aboard a rowing boat, while the rest of the EU clings to a sinking ship.
To escalate matters Nicolas Sarkozy claimed, in a news conference on Monday, that he suspected Downing Street spin doctors of manipulating public opinion. "It is not helpful to this difficult and complex situation when popular politicians and their advisers resort to cheap nationalistic jibes and crass symbolism, especially when it involves a ship that would never have been so poorly constructed in France." This view has been broadly supported by the French media, who are now referring to the affair as "Titanicgate".
The president was speaking shortly after a ceremony held in the Bois de Boulogne where he symbolically arranged several ducks in a straight line. He later conducted a church service where an international congregation attempted to recite songs from a single hymn sheet.