The political science anorak in me has become increasingly fascinated by Washington DC’s civic architecture. A friend once told me about the symbolism of the positioning of the various federal institutions. This afternoon I went to see about some of that for myself, setting off in the afternoon heat up ‘the Hill’. The Senate is to one side of the Capitol, the Congress to the other. Thus, the twin arms of the legislative authority co-exist physically as well as constitutionally. ¬†Outside the Senate, on the entablature beneath the pediment on the First Street facade of the building, there is the following inscription¬†“THE SENATE IS THE LIVING SYMBOL OF OUR UNION OF STATES” (back in Brussels, the Council has ‘Justus Lipsius’ and ‘Consilium’ – you couldn’t imagine a similar declaration, even leaving aside the tricky language question that resulted in the use of a dead language – Latin – rather than any of Europe’s living languages). Facing the Senate is the Supreme Court (picture – another neo-classical temple-like building), with its stern injunction ‘EQUAL JUSTICE UNDER THE LAW’. Law and justice therefore face the Senate. Congress, on the other hand, has the Library of Congress. It is no accident that the architecture should be like this; the States may be armed with justice, Washington’s builders are saying, but the people are armed with knowledge. All of these buildings were built intentionally as symbolic unifiers but what they also have in common is the fact that they were built to last. Some might argue that if the European Union truly believes in its future then it should be building for hundreds of years and not just for twenty or thirty…