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Unpopularity and the EU

Gavin Hewitt | 12:45 UK time, Tuesday, 26 October 2010

I was at a recent dinner in Brussels. It was a gathering of insiders: commissioners, directors, ambassadors. The 150 people brought together in a Cinquantenaire museum were a fair smattering of Europe's elite.

What struck me in the speeches and interviews that interspersed our dinner courses was the vein of insecurity coursing through the comments. When the EU Commissioner Viviane Reding was pushed on the issue of the union's unpopularity she took comfort in her view that at least the EU was more popular than most national governments.


Anti-austerity march in Brussels, 29 Sep 10

It perhaps should not be surprising that beneath confident exteriors EU nerves are jangling. The former US Ambassador to Germany John Kornblum pointed out that this year the EU faced its first "existential crisis" in which the Union "saw the possibility of collapse".

I have spoken to a number of very senior officials who say that in May many did fear that the European project was in mortal danger. The President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, said that if the euro had collapsed so would the EU. I am not certain of that, but that was the thinking then and it still pervades the Brussels corridors.

In the midst of the crisis a poll by Eurobarometer found that in many countries the popularity of the EU was ebbing. Fewer than half of voters (49%) across Europe seemed to back the EU. The most pronounced change was in Germany, where voters forced to back the bail-out of Greece and to underwrite a larger bail-out mechanism began to lose enthusiasm for the EU project.

It is a change of mood reflected in the Netherlands. Increasingly voters are questioning whether EU spending is a good thing. Some Dutch officials feel that a line has been crossed; in the past EU projects had unswerving support. It is no longer automatic. The EU has to make a case and justify itself.

Outsiders have cast an even sharper eye on what is happening in Euroland.
Charles Kupchan, writing in the Washington Post, declared the "EU is dying".

It does not seem like that in Brussels, but Kupchan's wider observation was that "Europe is experiencing a renationalization of political life, with countries clawing back the sovereignty they once willingly sacrificed in pursuit of a collective deal". He concluded by saying that "many Europeans... wonder what the Union is delivering for them and they ask whether it is worth the trouble".

And that is the change. The idealism, the grand projects, the dreams of ever closer union have lost their appeal to a new generation. The memories of war have faded. The Cold War has been consigned to history. The great expansion of democracy to Eastern Europe is over. Increasingly Europeans approach the EU like any other institution and ask what is it delivering, what is it for?

The President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, says the recent crisis was "the biggest 'stress test' that Europe has faced for many decades. We have passed it."

That may be true, but a European official said to me that Brussels is struggling to find the language, the narrative to sell the Union in difficult times.

Across Europe the dominant concern is the lack of jobs and the insecurity that comes with cuts and austerity.

Recently Philip Stephens in the Financial Times said that politics was being shaped by two impulses: demand that governments shelter voters from insecurity; but also voters alienated by globalisation, who increasingly fear immigration and the changes it is bringing to their societies.

It is often the European way to focus on institutional change, on new services and committees.

But a senior diplomat said to me recently the challenge was not just to prevent another crisis with the euro, it was how to re-engage ordinary people with the European project. To a degree thus it has ever been, but this is a time when voters are focused on cuts, jobs, immigration. Institution-building may be out of step with the times.

Comments

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  • 1. At 12:56pm on 26 Oct 2010, Freeborn John wrote:

    Fee, fi, fo, fum; i smell the blood of euro-federalist ****

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  • 2. At 1:13pm on 26 Oct 2010, Freeborn John wrote:

    The problem for euro-federalists is that they cannot defend supra-nationalism which is an undemocratic-by-design decision-making method totally unsuitable for political decision-making in Western societies where we are used to deciding these matters via the ballot box. Anyone who tries to defend supran-nationalim is defending the indefensible.

    The following four changes would go a long way (not complete fix) to solving the EU democratic legitimacy problem by removing the worst of its supra-national features over time:
    1. Shut down EU parliament. Majoritorian institutions are undemocratic at the international level.
    2. Remove the EU Commission’s monopoly of legislative imitative. It is simply obscene that no changes or repeal of EU law – a law superior to any other for 500 million people – are possible without a proposal from an undemocratic-by-design institution sworn to ever closer union. This would reduce the Commission to a pure civil service which should be under the direct control of heads of government.
    3. Introduce national veto rights into EU Council of Ministers.
    4. Introduce ’sunset clauses’ (e.g. maximum 19 year lifetime) for all EU treaties and secondary EU law created under those treaties, which would automatical lapse unless re-enacted. This would put a limit on the one-way build-up of old ossified EU law (e.g. CAP, etc.) which is currently beyond the reach of the ballot-box, and whose one-way growth is suffocating representative national parliaments. Sunset clauses would compel national political parties to take a position on all existing EU treaties and legislation in national elections – the only true contested elections – as EU treaties and law come up for renewal.

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  • 3. At 1:14pm on 26 Oct 2010, Freeman wrote:

    It may not mean the end of the EU but I hope the message has been received by the EU Elite: if you take the proverbial there will be consequences.

    Then again perhaps I am too hopeful and they will continue to trough until the whole thing collapses around their ears (silver lining).

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  • 4. At 1:32pm on 26 Oct 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    Here we go again and again and again !

    ---Bring out the rags of flags --for the ancient Brits in the trenches --- dreaming about Paris !

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  • 5. At 2:24pm on 26 Oct 2010, kaybraes wrote:

    The self procreating EU elite will fight tooth and nail, aided by the left leaners to hang on to the gravy train. The only logical solution to the problems the EU has created for Europe, is to disband all the political institutions within it and return the organisation to what it was supposed to be at it's inception, a simple free trade area .

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  • 6. At 2:38pm on 26 Oct 2010, one step beyond wrote:

    Another good post.
    The way for the E.U. to regain it's popularity is firstly to recognise it's mistakes. There is no point in the establishment pushing through ever more legislation against the wishes of the people. They need to get people on board but not at the point of a gun. The Lisbon Treaty was a step too far and it would have been better to wait until people could see advantages for themselves
    Also in these times of austerity they will come to regret the latest budget increases, people are hurting all over Europe and it makes it appear that the E.U. employees do not need to share in that hurt. This will fester and instead of looking at increases they should have looked at ways of reducing costs. Pay, pensions, travel allowances all need to be addressed and reduced to bring them in line with what is happening in the individual countries.
    I do not think they will do this and it will ultimately cause their downfall

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  • 7. At 3:01pm on 26 Oct 2010, BluesBerry wrote:

    Let me start with a few well-known cliches:
    United we stand; divided we fall.
    Divide and conquer.
    These cliches could have been written for our times.
    DON'T WE KNOW THAT THE GREEDY CAPITALISTS AIM TO DIVIDE.
    The great continent of Africa is easily exploited because it has no union to protect its assets, make decisions for its people, and take advantage of its wealth for its own people. We see this in Nigeria; we see this in Sudan, in the Congo...Indeed all over Africa, and like it or not, I (as does Libya's Gaddafi) ardently hope that Africa becomes the "United States of Africa": A united Government for its people, by its people, no longer isolated countries, sitting ducks for foreign hunting season (which never ends).
    The EU is a good thing, though I know many people will disagree with me.
    "Existential crisis" is a good thing; it prompts self-analysis, improvement, taking nothing for granted.
    A Eurobarometer that stands at 49% is not all that bad; all it will take is one great idea coming to fruition, one good idea that will demonstrate to Europeans the benefits of union. I think this one great idea (among a few others) may well emerge from the G-20, and it will be FTT and/or FAT, most likely FAT (Financial Transaction Tax), and suddenly Europeans will see the propspect of money flowing, the lessening of their apparently endless economic pain, the refunding of some important social programs.
    The questioning will stop. The EU will be justified.
    The cold war may have ended, but there is a new war called "currency", called "debt", called capitalist greed. And it is in this new war that union, and only union can prevail. Do you believe that Portugal can stand alone? How about Spain, how about the UK?
    It is the European way to focus on institutional change, on new services and committees.
    Very recently, Commissioner for Taxation, Customs, Anti-fraud and Audit, Algirdas Šemeta submitted a revised draft for a Financial Activities Tax (FAT). FAT will bring cash-strapped governments up to 25 billion euros from the banking sector, and this seems so refreshing fair after what the huge investment banks – too big to fail – have done to the economies of the developed world.
    Algirdas Šemeta: "The Commission will present these ideas to the G20 summit in November.” The EU has drafted and redrafted; it expects a fight. The G-20 may balk, mainly due to the US hatred of any reform, and likely the UK (with its London-centered investment hub).
    The Financial Activities Tax is considered as an alternative capable of winning more support at global level than the FTT. Moreover, Europe could apply it unilaterally without losing its competitive edge in the financial sector.
    Algirdas Šemeta: “There are good reasons for taxing the financial sector, and feasible ways to do so. I believe that the ideas that the Commission has put forward are the right ones to ensure that the financial sector makes a fair contribution to the most pressing EU and global challenges.”
    I can only hope that FTT or FAT is approved and implemented, if not, the members of the EU must ask themselves: Why are we allowing the financial sector to get away without contributing its full share to recovery? The EU people, Europeans will have to hold their Governments accountable: They must stand united and ask: Why are we allowing the financial sector to get away without contributing its full share to recovery?

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  • 8. At 3:17pm on 26 Oct 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Just as an observation:

    Transparency International, the renowned independent agency that annually monitors & measures 'corruption' in every State in the World has brought out its list for 2010.

    Bad news for UK its ranking dropped from 15 to 20; Germany slid from 14 to 15; France down at 25.
    T.I. report the UK damage was done by the MP Expenses scandal!

    Great news for Denmark (equal 1st with Singapore & New Zealand; Australia 8th), Sweden & Finland joint 4th, & Netherlands ranked 7th figure as the LEAST corrupt in the World.

    On the whole the member States of the EU did very well: 14 Nations in the top30.

    Sadly, but no surprise to anyone with an iota of understanding & knowledge of the real World: Greece is ranked 78th, squeezed between drug-addled Columbia & blood-diamond Lesotho!
    Doubtless a severe blow to the egos of mad Greek & Ellinas, especially with Turkey ranked 22 places higher at 56!

    USA for the first time dropped out of the top20 to 22nd; whilst its northern neighbour Canada was at 6, but in contrast to the south, Mexico was 98th!

    Russia at 154 clearly still has a Third World allure not helped according to T.I. by the persecution & assassination of Journalists and the corruption in State trials of businessmen opposed to the Medvedev-Putin regime.

    Other European nations do well, e.g. Switzerland, Luxembourg, Austria, Ireland in top20.

    On the whole the Report reads: 'Very Well Done' EUrope. But for Greece, 'Must Try Much Harder'!

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  • 9. At 3:28pm on 26 Oct 2010, Beavervalley wrote:

    No. 6 one step beyond [I immediately have da da da da da da da daa daaa running around in my head! :-)]

    As you say, a bit of EU austerity would have helped in establishing how concerned the MEPs are about our welfare at this time of national belt-tightening! Instead, they vote that we must give them more money while they continue inflating their expenses and emjoying their monthly junkets to Strasbourg, that ridiculous and expensive sop to the French.

    In that context I'm a bit surprised that they're all feeling a tad insecure. If they are so out of touch with reality that they think that this is the appropriate time to ask for increased payments from the member countries then there's really little hope for them in my opinion!

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  • 10. At 3:49pm on 26 Oct 2010, Norman Conquest wrote:

    8 cool brush,

    It's about PERCEIVED corruption, you understand, and compiled by the corruptors themselves.

    So in Russia people are much aware of corruption and report their concerns whereas say in Britain corruption has long been part of government and people don't even notice it or are resigned to it. What about the massive MPs' expenses scandal? Is it reflected in the report?

    Also how can be Switzerland be in top 20 if it's main business is to provide tax free bank accounts -- isn't tax avoidance a form of corruption? -- it basically deals in corruption, it's whole way of living is corrupt, based on corruption and breeds corruption.

    This report is joke drawn up by a puppet NGO penetrated to distract Eweropeeons from their own troubles.

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  • 11. At 3:56pm on 26 Oct 2010, Lorentz wrote:

    If you wanted to write an article to rally the supporters of the EU by portraying the latter as being in mortal danger, this is the way to do it. Has another BBC reporter gone native?

    The EU is the watering hole of the proto Napoleons and Stalins of Europe; they have no need for armies and parmilitaries now that we have the EU.

    The EU may have taken a knock in the recent crisis, but I doubt that the europhiles have any intention of allowing anything or anyone interfering with their aims of building a European super state.

    I am also unsure that the citizens of the EU nations ever where fully in support of the construction of the EU. When economic conditions were good, and the financial hand outs had been freely available, the EU has been something that they may have been prepared to live with. Now that conditions are deteriorating a growing proportion of those citizens are expressing their opposition. However, that opposition existed before the financial crisis. In recent years, with the growing awareness of the EU's encroachment into their lives, citizens of member nations have voted against the EU's proposals when they have been given the option. The governments of those member nations that have been more accommodating to the EU have in general not consulted with the people that have elected them.

    So I think we have no need to feel pity for the EU. The beast is licking its wounds, and biding its time, waiting for the lambs to settle down again.

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  • 12. At 3:57pm on 26 Oct 2010, Lorentz wrote:

    > 1. At 12:56pm on 26 Oct 2010, Freeborn John wrote:
    Fee, fi, fo, fum; i smell the blood of euro-federalist ****

    Spot on!

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  • 13. At 4:04pm on 26 Oct 2010, Lorentz wrote:

    > 4. At 1:32pm on 26 Oct 2010, quietoaktree wrote:
    Here we go again and again and again !

    ---Bring out the rags of flags --for the ancient Brits in the trenches --- dreaming about Paris !

    The difference is that Brits will wake to the knowledge that they live in a functioning democracy - unlike Parisians that wake to the foul stench in their noses and to the knowledge that the Mod reigns supreme.

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  • 14. At 4:16pm on 26 Oct 2010, BluesBerry wrote:

    Could the EU be unpopular because not enough is being done to promote all that the EU is trying to do for Europeans?
    Has the concentration been so much on Greece, Spain, Portugal, etc. to the detrement of the good ideas being generated in Brussels, the ideas that would definintely help Europeans?
    Let's have a go at: FAT - financial activities tax.
    The European Commission has thrown its weight behind the introduction of a financial activities tax. As the name suggests FAT would tax all financial activities.
    Officials in Brussels said that the alternative, FTT (financial transaction tax) was less suited because of a risk that business would simply move to other regions (one of the UK concerns).
    The EU Commission will support further exploration and development of the FAT and any potential variant at G20 (Soeul).
    Here is the argument:
    The financial sector has received large amounts of public money as a result of the financial bail-out; yet, the financial sector remains lightly taxed. The Financial sector needs to pay its fair share for recovery.
    Policy initiatives are expected early in 2011.
    Now tell me that the People of the EU do not believe that financial institutions having caused this mess, should help with recovery, and the proposition is FAIR.

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  • 15. At 4:20pm on 26 Oct 2010, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    The question is: Who does the EU represent? Banking/Financial Services, big business and political supporters. Governments no longer view the needs of the people of any country as an obligation. The mentality seems to be the old Ronald Reagan concept of "trickle down economics." That didn't work but seems to be the current philosophy at the EU. The further the government is away from the people the less responsive it becomes. The political elite deciding what is best for the wealthy.

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  • 16. At 4:49pm on 26 Oct 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Norman Conquest

    Re Your #10 & my #8

    "MP Expenses": Please read the 2 lines referring to the UK.

    I'm unsure on what grounds You imagine Russians to be a whole lot better at assessing 'corruption', or come to that Americans, Britons, Saudis, Chinese, Argentinians, Kenyans etc. would be more or less aware of "..perceived corruption.."?

    Maybe Russia is at 154 because it is so obviously a very corrupt nation according to the T.I. check-list and Russians have rightly 'perceieved' that reality of their Nation at this present time: Maybe Singapore is at No.1. with Sweden & Finland because they are obviously not 'perceived' as corrupt by their peoples or by the monitoring that the T.I. undertakes.

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  • 17. At 4:54pm on 26 Oct 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    BluesBerry

    Re #14

    Would 'FAT' therefore be a Tax applicable to the enormous 'Bail-out' Fund, arranged for saving the EUro-zone from extinction?

    I ask as it would seem that promoters of FAT may have another motive altogether: To have the Tax-payer pay the 'FAT' by increased Bank & Investment charges foisted on the Customer & thus the Banks etc. will continue to rake in the profits untouched by National or supra-National regulation!?

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  • 18. At 5:34pm on 26 Oct 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "I was at a recent dinner in Brussels. It was a gathering of insiders: commissioners, directors, ambassadors. The 150 people brought together in a Cinquantenaire museum were a fair smattering of Europe's elite."



    Was it at 200 euro a plate, or a freebie at EUSSR taxpayers' expense?


    [Inquiring minds want to know]

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  • 19. At 5:35pm on 26 Oct 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "When the EU Commissioner Viviane Reding was pushed on the issue of the union's unpopularity she took comfort in her view that at least the EU was more popular than most national governments."


    In Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa.

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  • 20. At 5:39pm on 26 Oct 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "he President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, says the recent crisis was "the biggest 'stress test' that Europe has faced for many decades. We have passed it."





    Just like many a European bank passed a phoney 'stress test'? :-))))))))

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  • 21. At 5:43pm on 26 Oct 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    GH: "It is often the European way to focus on institutional change, on new services and committees".


    The Russian word for committees and councils is ' soviets'.

    [Perhaps worth mentioning]

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  • 22. At 5:46pm on 26 Oct 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Doubtless a severe blow to the egos of mad Greek & Ellinas, especially with Turkey ranked 22 places higher at 56!"



    I don't think as severe as reports about Turkish economy's growth rate.

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  • 23. At 6:06pm on 26 Oct 2010, jeffersonw wrote:

    We are so far away from the EU vision in Britain that these comments do not touch us at all. Some time ago Britain was on its own challenging the march of Europeanisation but now everyone is at it. What does surprise me is how understanding our European allies have been with our 'take it or leave it'approach.

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  • 24. At 6:15pm on 26 Oct 2010, margaret howard wrote:

    21 powermeer says:

    "The Russian word for committees and councils is ' soviets'.
    [Perhaps worth mentioning"
    Is it the same in Polish?

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  • 25. At 7:06pm on 26 Oct 2010, john wrote:

    As a total committed to a EU central government i like to share my thought
    with all the European Citizen if the above will no materialize.
    All the state which are part of the EU will become a little dot in the world map with no voice in the world affair.
    Our tradition - history - food - wine and liberty will be disappear and replaced by the value of US - China and ect.
    Any decision will be dictated to us from the US - China - India and Brazil.
    WE will cease to exist as European continent.
    My suggestion to you if you love you Country let us back and support the EU
    Giovanni

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  • 26. At 7:06pm on 26 Oct 2010, one step beyond wrote:

    Re post 9, Beavervalley, I am showing my age with the name I use, one of the few songs I could dance to when young!
    Agree with your other sentiments as well.
    In addition it is or very well for others on this blog to point out what they are trying to do to curb the excesses of the 'city fat cats' but they need to lead by example and start closer to home. Until they do the words 'pot' and 'kettle' come to mind

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  • 27. At 7:08pm on 26 Oct 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:


    To: All on the Blog,

    For those wishing to read an upto-date, thoroughly researched and very informative piece of Journalism about the UK and how it is perceived by Europeans and the World-at-large may I commend the following:

    BBC Home Editor, Mark Easton's Blog article entitled, 'Do They Mean Us?' It's link is found on the BBC UK web-page.

    It turns some things on their head: It creates perspective & perceptions which do have value for the UK V EU debate we get into on this Blog.

    Cheers.

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  • 28. At 8:24pm on 26 Oct 2010, margaret howard wrote:

    25 John writes:

    "WE will cease to exist as European continent.
    My suggestion to you if you love you Country let us back and support the EU"
    Couldn't agree with you more. There is nothing like it anywhere else in the world. From those wonderful Greeks, the brilliant Italians and then later the northern countries which copied them and produced this wonderful flowering of humankind and a beacon for civilisation - nothing has ever equalled it and we must make the young aware of what it is they have inherited. For all our flaws this is the best man has ever been. Love it or lose it and defy the naysayers everywhere - it is only jealosy that drives them.

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  • 29. At 8:44pm on 26 Oct 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #28. At 8:24pm on 26 Oct 2010, margaret howard

    Yet more proof that you have absolutely no intelligence whatsoever, this time forget the kitchen and spend the night in a kennel.

    #10. At 3:49pm on 26 Oct 2010, Norman Conquest

    Don't forget it is tax evasion that is illegal, not avoidance.

    #14. At 4:16pm on 26 Oct 2010, BluesBerry

    See my comment to MH, your posts are no different to hers, totally without intelligence or substance. Just look for once at what the EU has destroyed. The change in support throughout the EU countries that supported it is not imaginary, the truth has outed now, the EU is worthless.

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  • 30. At 9:01pm on 26 Oct 2010, MaxSceptic wrote:

    "But a senior diplomat said to me recently the challenge was not just to prevent another crisis with the euro, it was how to re-engage ordinary people with the European project.

    How to re-engage? Simple: just ask us to vote on whether or not we wish to continue our EU membership.

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  • 31. At 9:20pm on 26 Oct 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    MaxS

    Re #30

    'Vote on membership'

    Spot on: Therefore an entirely a lost cause within the conniving, duplicitous 'ever closer union' of Pres. Barroso who declared the 4th consecutive low Voter participation of 43% Electoral Turnout in June 2009 for the EU Parliament "..positive.." and a "..success..".

    Whole squadrons of pigs are at this moment practising their fly-past of Brussels MEPs for their significant 're-engaging' with the Citizens by voting a 5.9% Budget Increase whilst all EUrope undergoes severe 'austerity' cuts!

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  • 32. At 9:29pm on 26 Oct 2010, Chris wrote:

    So the fact that the EU is more popular than most/many national governement as Gavin mentioned in his report got lost by everyone in their haste to predict the end of the EU :)

    Hating the EU does not solve problems at national level. Dreaming of turning the clock back to the 70's or the 60's or the 30's is not a solution.

    The EU is helping all its member states to progress and encouranges them to support eachother as the opposide would be to antagonise and fight eachother.

    So although Gavin takes a possitive news story and with skills turns it negative at read it :))

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  • 33. At 9:33pm on 26 Oct 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #31. At 9:20pm on 26 Oct 2010, cool_brush_work

    Has anybody yet published who the 92 MEP's that voted against the increase were, I guess Farage was one but it would be nice to know the list.

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  • 34. At 9:41pm on 26 Oct 2010, Chris wrote:

    #20

    How many banks go bust every week in America again? is it less then ten or still over ten?

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  • 35. At 9:43pm on 26 Oct 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #32. At 9:29pm on 26 Oct 2010, ChrisArta

    "The EU is helping all its member states to progress and encouranges them to support eachother as the opposide would be to antagonise and fight eachother."

    Just how does any intelligent person work that out, the concept of a federal EU will change or resolve exactly squat, by its Socialist leanings and meddling it can only make things worse. If there is to be fighting it will be because of the EU social engineering that the left leaning powers are implementing.

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  • 36. At 9:49pm on 26 Oct 2010, Chris wrote:

    #15

    That is exactly the problem with the EU too much concerned making sure that big business gets what it wants out of a common market of 500M people and leaving peoples concerns to national level governments to deal with. So, the EU is extremly good at what ir does, ensure big business get what they want.

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  • 37. At 10:06pm on 26 Oct 2010, Chris wrote:

    #35 - Buzet23,

    so far it has done exactly as I described above, companies and people from country A, can invest, buy, sell, etc. in country B!! it has not lead to war and it will not lead to war in the future. One does not need to be very inteligent to work that one out.

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  • 38. At 11:07pm on 26 Oct 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #32 ChrisArta

    I would have Gavin replaced.

    I agree with your #36 and #37 basically . The EU has however strengthened consumer rights in some areas where national governments failed. It is also attempting to keep in check the price fixing of the multinationals, where national governments are too weak acting alone.

    One thing the recent crises has shown is that most European national governments are incompetent in this globalized world. EU expansion was too rapid --but the Iron curtain fell and there was little choice. Germany ´bought´18 million new citizens, a run down infrastructure etc. --the eastern flank of the EU was a catastrophe.

    Incompetent national governments made things much worse than necessary.



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  • 39. At 11:55pm on 26 Oct 2010, yewlodge wrote:

    Engagement with EU citizens?

    Like the engagement we got over the Lisbon treaty?

    Don't listen to what the politicians and bureaucrats say but judge their real intentions by the way they behave!

    The only engagement they really want is to drive us into a common herd that is all the easier to milk!

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  • 40. At 01:28am on 27 Oct 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    The beauty of competing with the EU is that the ones that would have been successes on their own like Germany will be dragged down by the failures like Greece and the UK. How long before the UK joins the Euro so that Germany can bail it out too?

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  • 41. At 03:22am on 27 Oct 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:


    "But a senior diplomat said to me recently the challenge was not just to prevent another crisis with the euro, it was how to re-engage ordinary people with the European project. "

    They have treated the people of Britain and other parts of the "EU" with contempt by ramming the Lisbon Treaty down our throats.

    I suppose we ought to thank them for taking the camouflage off their fascist, megalomaniac minds and showing us the obscenity of the "European Idea."

    What are these people like at romance? Do they spit in someone's face and expect that person to love them?

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  • 42. At 03:27am on 27 Oct 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:


    "But a senior diplomat said to me recently the challenge was not just to prevent another crisis with the euro, it was how to re-engage ordinary people with the European project."


    "re-engage?" ???????????????????????????????????????

    They never did engage the British people. We have been lied to by supporters of European integration since the time of the traitor Edward Heath.

    I believe we need that we in the UK need to search for legal ways to avoid paying taxes so that the British government has less money to give to the "EU".

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  • 43. At 03:32am on 27 Oct 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:


    38. At 11:07pm on 26 Oct 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    "...

    I would have Gavin replaced."

    EUpris: German "EU"-lovers are a frightening bunch. They often try to silence those who disagree with them. They and their "EU" are a danger to the peoples of Britain and Europe and the world.

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  • 44. At 03:41am on 27 Oct 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:


    28. At 8:24pm on 26 Oct 2010, margaret howard wrote:

    " ... defy the naysayers everywhere ..."

    Like your nauseating "EU"-Dictatorship defied the 82% of Brits who wanted the referendum they were promised and the 70% who wanted to vote NO and the millions, maybe hundreds of millions throughout you "EU" who did not want the Lisbon Treaty and your Greater European Reich?

    Is that what the "European Army" and the "European Gendarmes" and the "EU"-spyforce are to be used for - to be "firmer" with people who demand their democratic rights - to guarantee "order" ?


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  • 45. At 03:44am on 27 Oct 2010, kevooo wrote:

    43. At 03:32am on 27 Oct 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:
    "EUpris: German "EU"-lovers are a frightening bunch. They often try to silence those who disagree with them. They and their "EU" are a danger to the peoples of Britain and Europe and the world."
    ---------------------------------
    Why?

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  • 46. At 03:48am on 27 Oct 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:


    28. At 8:24pm on 26 Oct 2010, margaret howard wrote:

    " ...defy the naysayers everywhere ..."

    Since anti-democratic "EU"-lovers are determined to deny us our democratic rights and have turned the ballot box into a joke box we will have to find new ways to protest other than by voting.

    Non-violent please!

    Although you should work on your martial arts in case the illegitimate "EU" sends fascist thugs posing as legitimate forces of law and order against you.


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  • 47. At 07:38am on 27 Oct 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    powermeerkat wrote:
    " "I was at a recent dinner in Brussels. It was a gathering of insiders: commissioners, directors, ambassadors. The 150 people brought together in a Cinquantenaire museum were a fair smattering of Europe's elite."
    Was it at 200 euro a plate, or a freebie at EUSSR taxpayers' expense?
    [Inquiring minds want to know]"

    No, they don't. Not in Europe. The entire concept of the taxpayer funding the political class is absent in Europe.

    In Europe, the elite are "entitled", in every sense of that word. They are born into positions of power. The church says they are entitled to power. The state has been fashioned to preserve their power. The people are indoctrinated so that they fawn and mew in front of those who are "born into a higher station in life".

    In this society, there are no inquiring minds who want to know. There are only subservient serfs who wish to serve.

    Take Hewitt, and his opening lines, as a classic example of the European treatment of power. Hewitt wants us to know that was in attendance at a dinner for the "elite". He wants us to know that he was standing next to power and wealth, because in Europe that is the equivalent of an American who has made it for himself. Hewitt wants us to know he was "mixing in those circles".

    And note further that the issue of who paid for that extravagance was never once raised in his article. You see, Hewitt just doesn't think that way. Europe, by and large, just does not think that way. It is the same as when you travel to the remote jungles of New Guinea, and folks there just do not think in terms of ethical dilemmas about genetic engineering. They can't, they don't, they can't reasonably be expected to think that way. They simply do not have what it takes to think that way.

    This is not a small point. European society is backwards to a remarkable degree, in terms of intellectual emancipation. When Hewitt refers to "the elite", in such reverent tones, he is not using that term to describe "rich folks". Absolutely not at all. That would be what an american hears, but that is not how things are done in Europe. When Hewitt talks about an "elite", he is speaking of the ruling class of ancient families who have titles and whose families have had titles for a thousand years.

    You know how in India there is a caste system, and there is a class of folks at the bottom called the "untouchables"? Well, Western Europe has a similar system of mindless feudalistic class divisions. It never had the American reformation. It never had a period of liberty for the political rights of common people. Even after the second world war, the USA propped up puppet governments who would do its bidding without the inconvenience of popular sentiment getting in the way. I mean, the USA did that EVERYWHERE after the second world war. South America, Asia, Africa, the Middle east. And Europe. US foreign policy was to let feudalism reign because feudal societies are exceedingly easy to control and manipulate. You just give the crown prince a new shiny car and he calls out the police to do your bidding and keep your factories humming along. Welcome to Germany! And france. And italy.

    So this idea that we Europeans should care or know whether we are paying for these fat cat elites to wine and dine and discuss more ways to represent our interests without the slightest sacrifice towards democratic ideals..... this is misplaced entirely, meerkat. You forget who you are speaking to here. Hewitt and his kind, who abound on this blog, want nothing more in life than to be seen to be standing next to a titled gentleman, and for their neighbours to whisper quietly that they have become "favoured by the master".

    It is the most one can aspire to in Europe. It is how one "succeeds". Remember, you still can;t download a movie on iTunes in mainland Europe, some ten years or so after the service was established in the USA. Ten years, and you can't buy a movie online. Why? How can that be? It is because you need permission to d business in Europe, permission from the cartel. From the aristocracy.

    Now when I use words like "aristocracy" and the "titled elite", I know it sounds as though I am one of those uni-bomber weirdos who is arguing for eternal revolution, the worship of Mao, and the eating of lentils by everybody.

    But I'm not. These things are REAL in Europe. You really will hear from Baron von Buchs, and Lord Hoo Hah, in the political world. You really will be told that "Count de Money" is influential in France. People have these titles, and they use them.

    And if you want to know how important these titled aristocrats were to the formation of the European Union, I challenge you to find out the full name and title of every member of the first European Council, way back in the day, before it became an even remotely public affair. This information is not widely available, but it is out there, and it is fascinating. It shines a bright white light on what the EU is, and whom it serves.

    The original members of the European Council were a who's who or the most titled aristocracy of Europe. You had Barons from Prussia, Counts from France, Lords from England, Earls from Scotland and Prince's from Italy.

    And they all wanted to get together to establish a base of political power in the European market, and they set up a shop that would take money from the national governments they controlled through the parties they owned and sponsored. Then they distributed that money to themselves, in the form of farming subsidies. CAP, it is still called. It was and still is the vast majority of the money that goes through the EU.

    The bare fundamentals of the EU is that it was set up b a group of private gents and ladies in order to take money from taxpayers and gift it to themselves, because they were the land owning gentry. It has since become a growing base of power for this titled elite class, beyond the national governments these same people control via funding both sides of the two party system in the private media.

    That is why any talk about democracy and common people's rights in the EU must be carefully considered. It is not just foreign to the purpose of the EU. It is 180 degrees against the whole point of the EU. The rights of common people has always been the object to be frustrated and circumvented by the EU. That is exactly why it was created in the first place. After the second world war and the rise of socialism, the titled lords of Europe grew nervous. They feared for their privileges of birth. They feared for their entitlement to spend the public tax revenue of the state as they saw fit, on grand dinners and insane projects that tickled their whimsical fancies. So they created the EU to combat the rights of common people, and that is still the primary reason for its existence.

    It needs to be swept aside if Europe is to enter the modern age of rationality in political affairs. Until it becomes offensive and intolerable for a person to call themselves "Lord" or "Baron" or "Prince" in Europe, Europe will never join the community of enlightened people, and will remain a footnote to absurd superstitions and horrid medieval behaviour.

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  • 48. At 08:50am on 27 Oct 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #47. At 07:38am on 27 Oct 2010, democracythreat

    An interesting dissertation DT and possibly true in many respects although I think you have missed the way that the often Socialist politicians throughout the EU like to award themselves fancy titles. A Socialist is by nature riddled with greed and envy and the main part of their ambition is to 'make it', secondary is shouting long and hard about the workers, whom incidentally they just see as canon fodder, fit only to keep voting for them by being kept poor. Maybe there are a number of old titled representatives in the cloisters of power, but there are a lot more 'nouveau riche' showing off their self aggrandising titles e.g. Baroness Ashton. Just look at how Bliar and McClown rewarded their friends and supporters and wonder how much it cost for a gong or title that could then be flashed to all and sundry.

    Therefore in your post there is a lot to be commended but you concentrated on old rich rather than the serfs who have gained/taken titles and far more power than the old rich ever had. These are far more dangerous since they are driven by both political desire and money and care nothing for the serfs. The old rich largely cared for their serfs since they relied on them for their estates to be profitable and successful.

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  • 49. At 09:11am on 27 Oct 2010, Huaimek wrote:

    Viviane Redding may be right that national governments are more unpopular the the EU . That does not cast the EU in a more favourable light . The peoples of Europe can connect? to their national governments ; but much of their cause for discontent is the national government's incompetence and acceptance of very unpopular EU laws .
    The EU is very unpopular right across Europe , even if national governments are more so .

    I believe it is a myth that the general public enthusiasm is wayning , I don't believe the EU has ever been popular with the ordinary people .
    Ordinary people never have been engaged with the European project and they are not going to start now .

    The EU Commission , Bureaucrats and parliament have managed to isolate themselves from the people , they neither know nor care what the people think , even when there is a major crisis ; with practically every members state hugely in debt if not bankrupt , the Euro on the point of collapse , vast numbers of people unemployed , the parliament votes itself a substantial rise in salary .

    A Mega state of Europe is not something ordinary people want . All the so called " Infrastructure " that the EU prides itself on , is neither here nor there to ordinary people .

    I think " Rompy pumpy " was right to think that if the Euro collapsed , so would the EU ; maybe not immediately but within a little time .
    I have a feeling that many people think the worst is over . I am not so sure , I think there maybe worse to come , when Greece fails and either defaults or seeks a further large loan , that EU countries may not be willing to support .

    The EU dream is way down on the wrong track . I do not believe there is ever going to be a federal state of Europe . European peoples are not going to give up their national sovereignty . Forcing through the Lisbon Treaty was a grave mistake , a step too far for the EU .

    It is time for the member states to seek a complete change of direction , to form a much looser union of self governing sovereign states . The EU commission should be abolished , the European Parliament disolved and the bureaucracy vastly reduced or abolished .
    Any EU laws a country didn't like could be repealed or ammended .

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  • 50. At 09:33am on 27 Oct 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #49. At 09:11am on 27 Oct 2010, Huaimek

    "Any EU laws a country didn't like could be repealed or ammended "

    We could start with the so called 'human rights' legislation that has been abused by the legal experts so much that it's original purpose has been lost. Now every barrack-room lawyer uses it to stifle any law or change they don't want. I watched a BBC political programme on Sunday in the London assembly, where a single mother was quoting HR articles to justify why she should not move to a cheaper area but had the 'right' to an expensive welfare paid flat in an expensive area.

    PS. I think you're right that the next time Greece asks for more money there will be a far bigger rebellion as most seem to think the current bail-out was too little and the new 'fund' will only scratch the surface.

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  • 51. At 09:52am on 27 Oct 2010, Mte_ wrote:

    Buzet23, I'm curious, who exactly are those EU "socialists" that you keep talking about? At the present time, EU institutions are utterly and completely dominated by the right-wing. The conservative European People's Party holds a plurality of seats in the European Parliament (265 out of 736). Both Barosso and Van Rompuy are members of conservative parties affiliated with the EPP. Of the 27 EU member states, 22 are ruled by conservative parties (either alone or in coalition with other right-wing forces).

    So either your definition of a "socialist" includes all the mainstream right-wing parties of Europe (in which case it's ridiculous nonsense), or - more likely - you're just trying to smear the left.

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  • 52. At 09:59am on 27 Oct 2010, Andy wrote:

    Europeans love Europe, they just dislike politicians.

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  • 53. At 10:00am on 27 Oct 2010, Benefactor wrote:

    33. At 9:33pm on 26 Oct 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    "Has anybody yet published who the 92 MEP's that voted against the increase were, I guess Farage was one but it would be nice to know the list. "

    http://www.votewatch.eu/cx_vote_details.php?id_act=1038&euro_vot_valoare=&euro_vot_rol_euro_grup=&euro_vot_rol_euro_tara=&vers=2&order_by=euro_parlamentar_nume&order=ASC&last_order_by=euro_parlamentar_nume&limit=0&offset=0&nextorder=ASC&euro_tara_id=&euro_grup_id=&euro_vot_valoare=&euro_vot_rol_euro_grup=

    If that URL is broken, just try www.votewatch.eu and do a search for budget.
    I'm not sure if I've found a slightly later/earlier reading though (20.10.10), it has slightly different numbers for the MEP votes from what Gavin said.
    546 for, 86 against.

    Farage voted against, although his voting record isn't as negative as I would have thought. He voted for on a couple of draft budgets, and voted for health and safety regulation for pregnant workers. Not that I think thats bad, I just expected him to always vote against EU regulation. Thats his party line isn't it?

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  • 54. At 10:05am on 27 Oct 2010, Benefactor wrote:

    49. At 09:11am on 27 Oct 2010, Huaimek wrote:

    "I believe it is a myth that the general public enthusiasm is wayning , I don't believe the EU has ever been popular with the ordinary people .
    Ordinary people never have been engaged with the European project and they are not going to start now ."

    So... people lie to the Eurobarometer survey people, or they make it all up?

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  • 55. At 10:40am on 27 Oct 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #51. At 09:52am on 27 Oct 2010, MTE_0509

    So you think the EPP is conservative, you could not be more wrong, it is a mix match of centrist parties and totally federal in outlook which is why the UK conservatives withdrew from it. In Belgium the liberal parties are members of the EPP in the EP so you see calling the EPP conservative is incorrect, it is centrist and if anything liberal, but then to a committed Socialist anything to their right is conservative so I understand your mistake. The EP is in fact not dominated by the right wing as the various percentages of the group point to it being very much centre-left with very few percent (7.3 + 4.3 = 11.6%) being right-wing, what a domination.

    The exact groups and their percentages are :-
    * EPP : Group of the European People's Party (Christian Democrats)
    * S&D : Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament
    * ALDE : Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
    * GREENS/ EFA : Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance
    * ECR : European Conservatives and Reformists Group
    * GUE/ NGL : Confederal Group of the European United Left - Nordic Green Left
    * EFD : Europe of Freedom and Democracy Group
    * NA : Non-attached

    Political group Number of seats Score in %
    EPP 265 36
    S&D 184 25
    ALDE 84 11.4
    GREENS/EFA 55 7.5
    ECR 54 7.3
    GUE/ NGL 35 4.8
    EFD 32 4.3
    NA 27 3.7

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  • 56. At 10:45am on 27 Oct 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #38

    Quote, "..I would have Gavin replaced.."

    Ah! The true ill-liberal (Stasi throwback) voice at the core of the EU-Brussels entity.

    A representative of a WorLDwide Media organisation does not write articles considered condusive to the 'pro-EU'version of reality: This cannot be allowed to occur - - 'replace' him - - sometimes the crudity of the anti-Democratic EU proponents is amazingly clear & dangerous.

    E.g. "..the Eastern flank of the EU was a catastrophe.." followed by, "..incompetent National Governments made things much worse than neccessary.."

    So, there is an admission the EU-Brussels entity 'rushes' into Eastern Eruope without any consultation with the EU Citizens already in it, and it's a 'catastrophe': However, that is the fault of 'National governments' offered billions of EUros to sign-up even when neither their Economies nor Peoples were ready.

    At every level these comments reveal the breathtaking contempt of the 'pro-EU' for the Democratic process and ordinary Citizens' Rights & Responsibilities.

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  • 57. At 11:26am on 27 Oct 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Buzet23

    Re #55

    Well done: Spot on.

    It just takes the floor from under the 'pro-EU' everytime the Political Reality as opposed to the Brussels' image-machine version gets an airing.

    Thus the EP is according to Brussels led by the 'Right' when nothing of the sort is the reality.

    Equally, a 43% Voter turnout in 2009 is a "..success.." according to Pres Barroso which begs the question: What then is '57%' no-show?

    Or, the EU27 facing huge Public Spending 'cuts', increased Social Hardship, pressure on Pensionable age, but the EP voting a 5.9% Budget Increase for Brussels is according to its President Buzek, "..acting with a great sense of responsibility..".
    Naturally, what could be more obvious!?

    These dangerously un-Democratic, aggrandizing Leadership & EU apparatchiks are utterly out-of-touch with Political Reality: Most worrying of all - - I really think they just don't care in the least - - at least not so long as 'pro-EU' fall (#51) without thought or challenge for their Brussels' propaganda.

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  • 58. At 11:27am on 27 Oct 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #53. At 10:00am on 27 Oct 2010, Benefactor

    Thanks for the link, that is most interesting, only 35 of the 88 objectors were non-UK so I guess it shows how much mainland EU loves the trough. Of the UK's 53 objectors, most were Conservative (23) and UKIP (9) with an odd smattering of Liberal (9) and Labour (10), plus 2 unattached of whom Nick Griffin was one.

    It was noticeable that for the UK there were 7 who voted for the budget, 5 greens and 2 independents, nuff said I think.

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  • 59. At 11:54am on 27 Oct 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    The German bailout of Greece at German taxpayer expense bought time. But time for what? Time to restructure, to cut government costs, to put European economies on a sound footing? The smallest most insignificant measure like raising the retirement age in France from 60 to 62 has had millions up in arms over it. Nothing will happen. Nothing can happen. Europeans refuse to accept that the bubble they enjoyed has burst.

    So where does this miracle growth in Germany come from? Probably where it came from all along, export to other EU countries with money German banks lend out that the borrrowers can't pay back. And this is seen as a sign of economic health, well being, growth. What a joke Europe is.

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  • 60. At 12:06pm on 27 Oct 2010, one step beyond wrote:

    Re

    'When the EU Commissioner Viviane Reding was pushed on the issue of the union's unpopularity she took comfort in her view that at least the EU was more popular than most national governments'

    This is not the correct comparison, people do have issues with National Governments, of course they do, but a much smaller number have issues with how their own country is constituted. With the E.U. on the other hand people have real issues with the fundamentals of it and whether it should exist at all

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  • 61. At 12:13pm on 27 Oct 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #59. At 11:54am on 27 Oct 2010, MarcusAureliusII

    Your last paragraph has a lot of truth in it since the Greek crisis was largely caused by German exports to Greece paid for by German loans, which was one main reason why they had to fund the bail-out. The French however managed to get the ECB to buy back their useless Greek bonds by a typical bit of French subterfuge, made easier by the ECB being run by a Frenchman. This however does not mean that Europe is a joke, just in many areas, badly run, but then I'm sure you can inform us just how large the US debt has grown to and how it is funded by borrowing, exports and purchases. If they collapse, the US will make Greece look like chicken feed, so just remember the axiom 'those who live in glass houses should not throw stones'.

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  • 62. At 12:37pm on 27 Oct 2010, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    Let us please have some more democracy in Europe?

    Every voter registered in any EU country needs to be able to vote for not only the Parliament, but the Executive that runs the state - the presidency and the heads of the executive departments. We need a vote on a one voter one vote basis for the President of Europe. It is not longer acceptable in this day and age of mass media and digital communications to have just 27 voters (one per member country) when every registered voter should have a vote!!!

    If one voter one vote is the right way to do things in the subsidiary assemblies and the EU Parliament then why is it wrong for the Presidency and Executive?

    [I fully well realise that this would deprive the prime minsters and president of the member states of a lot of their power - and to my mind that will be all well and good!]

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  • 63. At 1:04pm on 27 Oct 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #62. At 12:37pm on 27 Oct 2010, John_from_Hendon

    I tend to agree but think that it will put the cat amongst the pigeons, there will an immediate outcry from the politicians of small countries claiming that their voter numbers will prevent them ever getting their snouts in the trough. Good suggestion though even if it would probably result in a German president all the time.

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  • 64. At 1:11pm on 27 Oct 2010, Benefactor wrote:

    58. At 11:27am on 27 Oct 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    --"Thanks for the link, that is most interesting, only 35 of the 88 objectors were non-UK so I guess it shows how much mainland EU loves the trough. Of the UK's 53 objectors, most were Conservative (23) and UKIP (9) with an odd smattering of Liberal (9) and Labour (10), plus 2 unattached of whom Nick Griffin was one.

    It was noticeable that for the UK there were 7 who voted for the budget, 5 greens and 2 independents, nuff said I think."--

    It's a good site, I only discovered it today. I do get a tad annoyed when people act as if its all a big secret what goes off in Brussels (not talking about yourself Buzet.) You might disagree with what the EU does, or even the EU itself, but its there online.

    As a smarter man than me said: Your entitled to your own opinions, your not entitled to your own facts. (he was on about that three vaccines in one fiasco, but the point is the same.)

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  • 65. At 1:15pm on 27 Oct 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    21 powermeer says:

    "The Russian word for committees and councils is ' soviets'.
    [Perhaps worth mentioning"
    Is it the same in Polish?




    If not sure, ask any Polish policeman or bus driver in Scotland.

    capisce? :)

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  • 66. At 1:19pm on 27 Oct 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    John_from_Hendon

    Re #62

    Excellent proposals.

    The sort of Political Democratisation clarion call many of us 'anti-EU' have repeatedly made.

    Though why You, as a 'pro-EU' should now imagine the EU-Brussels entity has the least interest or concern with its 500,000,000+ Citizens' Rights & Responsibilities after all the evidence to the contrary post-Maastricht, I leave for You to in all conscience explain for yourself?

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  • 67. At 1:20pm on 27 Oct 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #38

    Quote, "..I would have Gavin replaced.."]






    Why?

    Because some of us might no like his reports/comments?

    That's a Bolshevik/Nazi concept in case some of you have forgot.

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  • 68. At 1:24pm on 27 Oct 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Buzet.#59. At 11:54am on 27 Oct 2010, MarcusAureliusII

    Your last paragraph has a lot of truth in it since the Greek crisis was largely caused by German exports to Greece paid for by German loans, which was one main reason why they had to fund the bail-out.








    Just watched the other day a report about massive corruption at VW, Siemens and MAN .

    With a reporters' comment that it was merely a tip of an iceberg.

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  • 69. At 1:40pm on 27 Oct 2010, Norman Conquest wrote:

    68. At 1:24pm on 27 Oct 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Just watched the other day a report about massive corruption at VW, Siemens and MAN .

    With a reporters' comment that it was merely a tip of an iceberg.


    +++++++

    I think you will find it's THE tip of an iceberg (Grammar lesson # 1 for the underprivileged).

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  • 70. At 1:46pm on 27 Oct 2010, Huaimek wrote:

    #54 Benefactor

    Surveys are notoriously inacurate . A Eurobarometer survey speaks for itself . The questions asked are carefully weighted to give a favourable impression of EU popularity ; where if they had asked straight questions , asking people directly what they thought of the EU , they might have got a different result . The EU is big on favourable propaganda , a great deal of money is spent to cast the EU in a good light and win over the European people , but even they lament , to little effect .

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  • 71. At 1:52pm on 27 Oct 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re 68


    You really want to be returned to .ru portals for good, do you?

    DO YOU???!

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  • 72. At 2:13pm on 27 Oct 2010, Norman Conquest wrote:

    71. At 1:52pm on 27 Oct 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    You really want to be returned to .ru portals for good, do you?

    DO YOU???!

    ++++++

    You talkin' to me?

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  • 73. At 2:19pm on 27 Oct 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #69. At 1:40pm on 27 Oct 2010, Norman Conquest

    Personally I would have thought 'the tip of the iceberg' to be more grammatically correct, bearing in mind the subject matter and context.

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  • 74. At 2:23pm on 27 Oct 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Since I've sent many years in trash removal business I was referring to trash. Obviously.

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  • 75. At 2:38pm on 27 Oct 2010, Norman Conquest wrote:

    @ 73

    Buzet23,

    Maybe... I think there will be no grammar lesson # 2. Not from me anyway.

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  • 76. At 2:54pm on 27 Oct 2010, Betty_B wrote:

    Having worked for the EU, I think what they tend to aim for is popularity without accountability. The Brussesl eurocrats (we used to call them a eurostacracy) are very averse to criticism. They enjoy a lot of privileges that they are also averse to losing. They don't want average Europeans questioning what they do or what they have - they want complete trust and acceptance without too many controversial questions, like some kind of European church. One wonders if they haven't lost the focus of the European Union themselves, and one wonders if they can really get it back given what providing real accountability may cost them.

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  • 77. At 3:03pm on 27 Oct 2010, resistance35 wrote:

    14.BluesBerry wrote:
    Could the EU be unpopular because not enough is being done to promote all that the EU is trying to do for Europeans?


    The EU does nothing that couldn't also have been done via intergovernmental treaties. Therefore its added value is zero.

    Has the concentration been so much on Greece, Spain, Portugal, etc. to the detrement of the good ideas being generated in Brussels, the ideas that would definintely help Europeans?
    Let's have a go at: FAT - financial activities tax.


    Don't you ever tire of peddling that banker scheme?

    Are you a banker by any chance?

    The proposal is this: tax financial activities. The inevitable result will be that banks and investors will pass costs on to consumers.

    Or that some of the business leaves the EU altogether and goes where there is no such tax.

    In my opinion, only someone devoid of braincells could support this idea. Generate billions? It will do nothing of the kind.

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  • 78. At 3:12pm on 27 Oct 2010, resistance35 wrote:

    Gavin wrote:
    What struck me in the speeches and interviews that interspersed our dinner courses was the vein of insecurity coursing through the comments. When the EU Commissioner Viviane Reding was pushed on the issue of the union's unpopularity she took comfort in her view that at least the EU was more popular than most national governments.


    She would be wrong in that opinion. More and more people, especially in net contributor countries, are realizing the EU itself is a drain on our wealth and one of the causes rather than the solution to the 'crisis'.

    the midst of the crisis a poll by Eurobarometer found that in many countries the popularity of the EU was ebbing. Fewer than half of voters (49%) across Europe seemed to back the EU.

    And remember, the Eurobarometer is notoriously unreliable and rigged towards the EU. If even that cannot produce a majority anymore... just wonder if it was an honest poll and the respondents knew how the EU worked. I guesstimate the figure would be around 20-25% Just add up all the pro EU types: politicians, bureaucrats, bankers and lobbyists.

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  • 79. At 3:15pm on 27 Oct 2010, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To John_from_Hendon (62):

    I would really question the need for a strong executive that is elected by a popular vote.

    In the USA the system has advanced into a state where A) hundreds of millions of dollars are used by leading candidates, largely financed by corporations, and B) the President in some situations can and has acted more like an King that is beyond the law. For example the US President has power to assassinate US citizens without any judicial or legislative oversight.

    I usually don't want to play the history card, but in this continent we have had more than enough of our share of strong leaders. We really don't need a strong executive, a strong executive can be a great leader and take a state and nation into a right direction, but they can also make terrible plunders.

    I myself at this point of time am more inclined to have a EU that works via institutions and via representation. Council of the European Union more or less functions like the US senate and the European Parliament fills the role of the Congress. Maybe what we could change is that member states have to nominate a Senator to the EU Council, that is the spoke person and negotiator of that said state, guided and authorised by both the parliamentary committee and the cabinet. Member states then would be free to elect their Senator what ever way they want, either having the parliament to elect or having a popular vote.

    Either way, I don't want to go to the same direction as the US Federal government has gone after the American civil war.

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  • 80. At 3:38pm on 27 Oct 2010, Freeman wrote:

    "For example the US President has power to assassinate US citizens without any judicial or legislative oversight."

    Sure of that are we JR? oO

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  • 81. At 3:47pm on 27 Oct 2010, resistance35 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 82. At 3:52pm on 27 Oct 2010, Benefactor wrote:

    70. At 1:46pm on 27 Oct 2010, Huaimek wrote:

    --"Surveys are notoriously inacurate. A Eurobarometer survey speaks for itself. The questions asked are carefully weighted to give a favourable impression of EU popularity; where if they had asked straight questions, asking people directly what they thought of the EU, they might have got a different result. The EU is big on favourable propaganda, a great deal of money is spent to cast the EU in a good light and win over the European people, but even they lament, to little effect."--

    Not big on examples? All the Eurobarometer surveys and conclusions are published online. There will be hundreds of questions to pick from (although I'm not unreasonable, just a couple would do. If there all as skewed as you say it should only take a couple of minutes.)

    Also, Surveys are not notoriously inaccurate. It depends on sample sizes, questions, etc.

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  • 83. At 3:53pm on 27 Oct 2010, resistance35 wrote:

    79.Jukka Rohila wrote:
    I would really question the need for a strong executive that is elected by a popular vote.


    Of course you would.

    The President in some situations can and has acted more like an King that is beyond the law. For example the US President has power to assassinate US citizens without any judicial or legislative oversight.

    Really? Did you just make that up? The US president is far more controlled by Congress than the unelected EU Commission by the phony EU 'parliament'.

    Council of the European Union more or less functions like the US senate and the European Parliament fills the role of the Congress.

    Apples, meet oranges.

    Either way, I don't want to go to the same direction as the US Federal government has gone after the American civil war.

    That direction would be: more federalism. Yet, US states have more powers left than EU member states do. The federal government and the congress have nowhere near the control over legislation that the EU commission and council do. And the US supreme court isn't stuffed with apparatchik judges committed to and screened for commitment to federalism.

    So lets abolish undemocratic EU and do only economic cooperation.

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  • 84. At 3:57pm on 27 Oct 2010, resistance35 wrote:

    So, its against the house rules to say that the EU barometer is rigged? It is against the rules to say that the EU court of justice is also rigged because of being stuffed with apparatchik judges screened for commitment to federalism?

    And also, it seems to be against the house rules to suggest that the EU is a Franco-German 'Reich' in which nothing happens that France and Germany don't approve of?

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  • 85. At 4:07pm on 27 Oct 2010, Benefactor wrote:

    80. At 3:38pm on 27 Oct 2010, Freeman wrote:

    --"For example the US President has power to assassinate US citizens without any judicial or legislative oversight."

    Sure of that are we JR? oO"--

    There was a bit of uproar about it, Obama apparently authorized the detention or "targetted killing of extremist Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki."
    The man in question wasn't in America at the time, I assume if he was he would have been arrested and tried as is traditional.

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  • 86. At 4:09pm on 27 Oct 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Jukka_R

    Your USA President empowered to murder US Citizens is the sort of outlandish excess that undermines Your otherwise sound points.

    President Nixon was basically kicked out simply for paying a bunch of fools to burgle a room in a hotel.

    All Democratically elected Governments have additional powers for times of crisis.

    The worry with the ever encroaching EU & ECJ is that there is no Democratic Representation or Accountability as this wretched entity moves towards accessing such enormous powers over the Citizens.

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  • 87. At 4:10pm on 27 Oct 2010, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To Freeman (80):

    The US President has power to assassinate US citizens without any judicial or legislative oversight, for references you can read for example these articles...

    Confirmed: Obama authorizes assassination of U.S. citizen
    http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/04/07/assassinations

    U.S. Approves Targeted Killing of American Cleric
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/07/world/middleeast/07yemen.html

    ‘Dozens’ of US citizens on assassination list, White House adviser hints
    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/06/white-house-adviser-dozens-citizens-assassination-targets/


    To resistance35 (83):

    You seem to not have learned anything from...

    the Yellow cake case...
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellowcake_forgery

    or from

    George W. Bush...
    "We know that Iraq and the al-Qaeda terrorist network share a common enemy — the United States of America. We know that Iraq and al-Qaeda have had high-level contacts that go back a decade" and "we've learned that Iraq has trained al-Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases."
    http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2004-06-16-al-qaeda-comments-by-bush_x.htm

    Kings reign beyond the law, US presidents can reign so too.

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  • 88. At 4:18pm on 27 Oct 2010, Benefactor wrote:

    84. At 3:57pm on 27 Oct 2010, resistance35 wrote:

    --"So, its against the house rules to say that the EU barometer is rigged? It is against the rules to say that the EU court of justice is also rigged because of being stuffed with apparatchik judges screened for commitment to federalism?

    And also, it seems to be against the house rules to suggest that the EU is a Franco-German 'Reich' in which nothing happens that France and Germany don't approve of?"--

    The BBC moderators are probably secretly paid off by Brussels, the conspiracy is everywhere and involves everyone but you (and EUPrisoner.)


    No, in all seriousness, mentioning those things is obviously not against the rules because you've just done it. Countless others before you have also done it. DT mentions those things all the time.

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  • 89. At 4:56pm on 27 Oct 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Jukka_R

    Re #87

    Look, You are not viewing these things in the light of the 'war on terror'.

    To put another way: In WW2 the British Government authorised the killing of any British Citizen found to be committing treason on behalf of Nazi Germany or the Japanese.

    Closer to home: If You care to check the 'Winter' & 'Continuation' War Record, Finland authorised the execution, if capture were impossible, of any Finn who worked/served for the USSR.

    During all 'wars' each side takes extreme measures to preserve their control of the strategy: Thus, in WW1 the Germans executed British Nurse Edith Cavell and the British executed Germany's Mata Hari, and so it went on.

    If You seriously believe the 'war' currently being waged on Islamic Fundamentalist terror groups should not include execution/murder of the enemy then kindly tell that to the relatives of beheaded US Journalist Daniel Pearl or the Western isles family of recently Taliban kidnapped & tragically killed Aid Worker Linda Norgrave etc.

    'War' isn't in the rule book much as all the do-good, liberals would try to make out it is supposed to be:
    E.g. When I was serving in Northern Ireland during the *Troubles' we UK Armed Forces had 'Rules of Engagement' for when we were supposed to use our weapons. The 'rules' were clear as daylight and we all had a day's training on their intent as well as regular reminders from the Officers.
    Now Jukka_R, do You suppose when 'Paddy' fired without any warning on my unit's foot patrol from the top of the Divis Flats with women & children in the same street we soldiers all referred to our 'card' stating the rules of engagement?

    Yes, of course we did!

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  • 90. At 5:16pm on 27 Oct 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    CBW wrote:
    "'War' isn't in the rule book much as all the do-good, liberals would try to make out it is supposed to be:.."

    Doesn't he sound just exactly like Osama bin Laden justifying the slaughter of innocents?

    All phoney heros like CBW and bin Laden are bullies and cowards at heart. They preach and they prance around thinking everyone is fooled by their tough guy act, and when their casual brutality and shallow ideology of slaughter is exposed they sneer and preach the truth of the horror of war as though it is some kind of defense for their own actions, as if they are somehow wise because they have perceived their own worthless barbarity.

    It is the trademark of the bully, this delusion that through the persecution of innocents comes a reputation for strength.

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  • 91. At 5:42pm on 27 Oct 2010, democracythreat wrote:

    Buzet, the point about socialists with titles is exactly what I was talking about when I spoke of the European mindset being utterly servile and backwards in an intellectual sense.

    I mean, can you imagine how idiotic a person would seem in the USA if they went around addressing herself as "Baroness", and then told folks she was a SOCIALIST???? She would look stupid enough calling herself a Baroness. But to call yourself by an archaic title that owes its origins to a feudal society, and then in the next breath to consider yourself a socialist....... this is beyond foolishness. It is utter delusion. It is truly doublethink, the Orwellian ability to believe two completely opposite things at the one time.

    But of course, we ought not be surprised, because it is the traditional hallmark of the socialist to be utterly deluded and feel completely self important at the same time.

    The thing to remember is that a socialist is not far from a religious zealot. Indeed, if you study your Russian and European history, in both cases the former evolved quite naturally from the latter.

    Consider Marx, the father of socialist doctrine. His father was a preach, as was his grandfather. Marx was an academic precisely because his family were entitled to state funding for the fine living habits. And the idea Marx had to "save the world from money", is this really so far away from Jesus christ saving the world of sinners from greed and pride? Marx had a classic Jesus Christ delusion, if anyone ever did. He honestly believed he was ordained to save the world. Now he also rejected the church, but note the delusions of grandeur and the core beliefs did not change. Marx thought he was a saviour, and he believed it was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. He didn't invent that plot in his story, Buzzet. He just wrote the same old story in a modern context.

    Or take Lenin in Russia, as another example of the titled gentry being incredibly inflated in their own opinion of themselves. Lenin was a nobleman, and he was not shy of living the privileged life of a nobleman. He lectured peasants, he did not learn from them. He lived, like marx, the entitled life of one born into the academic class. And like marx, he really believed he was ordained as the saviour of his fellow man. And, like marx, he believed money was sinful and that his own church of communism was the one true church.

    But the real proof of how Lenin thought of himself, and just how deluded he was, is found in his experiences in Switzerland. When he was living in Switzerland, he signed his room bills "Hereditary Nobleman Ulyanov". And when he addressed a socialist workers convention, he was so upset at being questioned by the workers there that he stormed out and never went back. He had attended to lecture the swiss workers, and not to discuss matters. When they poked holes in his theories and suggested that their direct democracy was preferable to his quasi religious demagoguery, he took his intellectual ball and ran home.

    In short, both Marx and Lenin were red priests who were born believing they were entitled to tell others how to live. Given that history of the socialist movement, how can we be surprised that the socialist party is owned and run by people who prefer to call themselves by their hereditary titles?

    Socialism, like fascism, is just one more racket run buy the children of the titled classes of Europe. Hence socialists and fascist both fear democracy. In a democracy they might have to work for a living, and they might have to answer questions from the people. that is not how titled people roll, buzzet. that is why the institutions are the way they are. These institutions protect the quality titled folks from the rudeness and insubordination of the lower orders of humanity. Just like the church, and just like every other institution set up by titled aristocrats for titled aristocrats.

    And you have to stop and think about what they think of you, too. I mean, rich people are just poor people with money. They are not super stupid, just as they are not super brave, or super smart.

    So why would they prance around with their titles, do you suppose?

    Why would Baroness Ashton accept that title? Why would a labour Lord adopt the title of "Lord"?

    What is it that you suppose they are achieving by this most incredible patronizing of their fellows?

    Of course the answer must be that they wish to feel superior, and here we come to understand exactly how the class system perpetuates itself in modern Europe. The titled aristocracy own the system of politics, meaning they own both sides of the two party system. As an aristocrat, you can play on either team. What those team stand for doesn't matter. Of course they both stand for exactly the same thing: your own political hegemony and property rights.

    What matters is to be picked in one of the teams, and to prove that you are superior to others of your class.

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  • 92. At 7:09pm on 27 Oct 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Pontificating sage of the Swiss

    Re #90

    Must say, I think much of #90 is based on a misreading rather than just the usual pathetically sub-standard quality of DemocThreat's debating technique.

    E.g. "..doesn't he (cbw) sound like bin Laden..": Don't know I've only ever heard his arabic cassettes & videos.

    Of course, if by some remote chance You were insinuating I was encouraging the wholesale slaughter of innocent peoples, the deliberate murder of people without charge or trial then I would have to refute that ludicrous assumption based upon the most spectacularly preposterous stretch of the content at #89.

    I mean, when I wrote, "..'war' isn't in the rule book.." it's clearly not endorsing 'war' and I am pointing out how very bloody & outside the Law such conflicts over centuries have proven to be.

    I mean, when someone writes accounts of how time-and-again Nations at 'war' have deliberately contravened every normal standard of civilised life, e.g. "..Germans executed British Nurse Edith Cavell and the British executed Germany's Mata Hari.." only a clot would see that as endorsing criminally unjust & cruel treatment of opponents in 'war'. It is pointing out how difficult it is to maintain civilised controls of presumed civilised Nations in a time of 'war'.

    As for "..Phoney heros like CBW.. are bullies and cowards at heart.." I'm more than a little confused as to the basis for that harsh assessment?
    I again assume it is based on a set of prejudicial inferences which are in essence a total misreading of the content of #89 by the sage (perhaps that should be 'poor sap' in future).

    I mean, when CBW writes from personal experience how incredibly difficult it was to maintain codes of discipline when under fire, "..Do You suppose when Paddy fired without warning... we soldiers all referred to our 'card' stating the rules of engagement?
    Yes, of course we did!"
    Is not the fact he & other soldiers referred to their 'rules of engagement' whilst the Irish terrorist equivalent of bin Laden fired indiscriminately into a street of women & children some sort of vindication for the attempt by higher authority to apply rules in 'war'?

    Did I not also point up for the benefit of the likes of the 'do-gooder, liberals' and those sadly scornful such as DemocThreat that it is as patently obvious as is humanly possible to be, "..'War'.." REALLY, "..isn't in the rule book.." referred to by the Terrorist.

    If my explanation of the intensely difficult application of 'rules' in a 'war' is in DemocThreat's eyes "..the trademark of the bully..." then I will readily plead guilty.
    Particularly as DemocThreat was unable in #90 to offer any sort of example of how the 'rules' are negotiated & enacted in 'war' despite his vast sense of his personal Humanitarian experience.

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  • 93. At 7:21pm on 27 Oct 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Oh sage of the Swiss (I resisted 'poor ***') You are on much safer ground in Your #91.

    The egregious absurdity of the 'Enobled Socialist'!

    Now that is an area of the modern political-social scenario in which it appears You do have some expertise as opposed to wilfull bluster & blind bias.

    A well written piece containing all the pertinent viewpoints as to the personal tyrannical corruption at the core of any would-be messianic philosopher-political pundit, e.g. Marx: And their would-be followers who will only see, hear, accept their own perspective and then betray those proclaimed principles the moment advancement or advantage is open to them.

    Ashton of course had the fine example of the Kinnocks to follow from: A pair who are an absolute laughing stock example of this 'champagne socialism'.

    My advice is stick to what You know DemocThreat: You'll get by a lot better on these Blogs if You show a good deal more of the caution & humility You are so fond of recommending to others.

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  • 94. At 9:31pm on 27 Oct 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    CBW and DT

    How do Philby, Burgess, Maclean and the others fit into your theories ?

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  • 95. At 9:47pm on 27 Oct 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #92. At 7:09pm on 27 Oct 2010, cool_brush_work ,

    Quite so, rule books are irrelevant when being attacked, when someone searches the misery they get it, enough said.

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  • 96. At 02:02am on 28 Oct 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    BEIJING (Reuters) – Two Chinese nationals have been arrested in Hungary and are awaiting extradition to the United States, where they face charges of seeking to buy microchips banned from export to China, state media said on Wednesday.


    At least Hungarians start doing something right in those tough times. :)

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  • 97. At 04:22am on 28 Oct 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    #96; Waterboard them to find out who in the Chinese military wants them and for what purpose.

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  • 98. At 05:11am on 28 Oct 2010, Mte_ wrote:

    #55. Buzet23:

    So you think that the vast majority of political parties in Europe - and, in some countries, ALL political parties - are left-wing or centre-left? That is the implication of your claim that only members of the ECR and EFD count as conservatives. Most EU member states don't have any party in the ECR or EFD.

    And you have the gall to say that I'm the one misrepresenting the political situation in Europe! You're the one who is saying that anyone to the left of you is a socialist (including Merkel, Sarkozy and Berlusconi, apparently). My definitions of right-wing and left-wing are very simple: the centre is defined by average popular opinion. Whatever is to the right of average opinion counts as right-wing. So the EPP is right-wing.

    You seem to want to use yourself and your own opinion as the yardstick to measure right and left. That is not how it works.

    And for the record, I am very strongly opposed to the EU.

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  • 99. At 06:38am on 28 Oct 2010, Huaimek wrote:

    #82 Benefactor

    As you say , it depends on sample sizes and questions asked . I would also add , where the sample for the survey takes place . The EU does not hold surveys that do not produce a positive answer , Brussels could be a good place for a survey on EU popularity . It is fairly common knowledge that the EU is not an open and honest institution , but some people try to pretend that it is .

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  • 100. At 07:51am on 28 Oct 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #98. At 05:11am on 28 Oct 2010, MTE_0509

    It is clear that you do not understand either politics in Europe or what the word conservative means in a political sense. The EPP was originally the European union of Christian Democrats which if you know anything about Christian Democrats it's that they are centrist and Liberal in UK political terms. In Europe because there is so much Socialism they claim to be centre-right in order to gain some clear blue water from the centre-left parties, but when you look at their policies they are almost the same as the Socialist grouping :-
    * Creation of new jobs. Continuing reforms and investment in education, lifelong learning and employment in order to create opportunities for everyone.
    * Protectionism must be averted. Fiscal and monetary policies must be coordinated.
    * Increasing transparency and surveillance on financial markets.
    * Making Europe the market leader in green technology.
    * Increasing the share of renewable energy to at least 20% of the energy mix by 2020.
    * Family-friendly flexibility for working parents. Better childcare and housing must be provided, family-friendly fiscal policies introduced, and parental leave should be encouraged.
    * Europe should find a strategy to attract skilled workers from the rest of the world to make Europe’s economy more competitive, more dynamic and more knowledge driven.


    Would you like to identify here just what traditional conservative policies were included in the above 2009 election manifesto?

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  • 101. At 08:04am on 28 Oct 2010, Huaimek wrote:

    #82 Benefactor

    Have you ever read the Eurobarometer Surveys , or only seen the given result ? I suspect the latter . I have chanced upon the surveys , looking up something else for curiosity . The subjects and questions asked could give NO clear indication of comprehensive European citizens opinion of the EU as an institution , for better or worse . The surveys are presented in such a lengthy and long winded way as to test ones patience and perseverence to plow through it .

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  • 102. At 08:13am on 28 Oct 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #94. At 9:31pm on 27 Oct 2010, quietoaktree

    As DT said "The thing to remember is that a socialist is not far from a religious zealot.". In the case of the spies you mentioned who were supposedly intellectuals and intelligent yet political zealots, that fits perfectly with what DT said. Their cause was the only thing important, risking the lives of their friends, colleagues, countrymen was irrelevant to the cause.

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  • 103. At 08:36am on 28 Oct 2010, Mte_ wrote:

    #100. Buzet23:

    Again, you basically claim that all major political forces in Europe are left-wing. Presumably they are left-wing compared to you. Fair enough. But why should your opinions be the benchmark? The EPP - and, for that matter, the Liberal group, the Greens, and the PES - are right-wing compared to me. But I don't try to say that, therefore, all major political forces in Europe are right-wing. I understand that my own opinions are not the proper yardstick here.

    It's funny that you point to the EPP election manifesto and at the same time claim that "their policies are almost the same as the Socialist grouping", when, in fact, the EPP manifesto itself repeatedly attacks socialists! Here, I will let the EPP speak for itself:

    > "Facing the new challenges of 2009, we are well aware of what others are proposing. Socialists see the financial and economic crisis as a chance to push their age-old agenda of nationalisation, protectionism and permanent deficit spending. We, on the other hand, are acting in order to preserve a competitive Social Market Economy and make it more sustainable."
    > "We don’t want to move to Socialism — we want better and smarter regulation, not regulation for its own sake."

    As for your request that I identify some conservative policies in the EPP manifesto, I will be happy to oblige:

    > "The EU’s first security priority is counter-terrorism." [left-wingers generally don't think terrorism is our biggest threat]

    > "The fight against illegal immigration and human trafficking requires more coordinated action." [opposition to immigration is a longstanding conservative policy; and see Merkel's recent comments and Sarkozy's expulsion of the Roma]

    > "Market mechanisms can and should be used to reduce emissions." [socialists do not support market mechanisms]

    > "A functioning system of emissions trading as a market-based incentive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions needs to be put in place." [this is to the left of those who think we should do nothing about emissions, but to the right of socialists; because, again, socialists try to avoid market-based policies]

    > "The EPP sees families as the centre of our society and the guardian of our values and therefore special incentives have to be provided for them." [obviously conservative]

    > "Pension reforms in Europe must be undertaken so that the effective retirement age adapts to demographic developments. Private pension schemes should also be enhanced." [right-wing attack on public pensions; see Sarkozy's policies in France]

    > "Life-long learning is essential in order to meet the new challenges
    posed by technological advancement and globalisation and as public sector costs increase, advantageous cooperation with the private sector should be explored." [right-wing attack on public education]

    > "Stronger cooperation in defence is necessary, including a strategic agreement with the US and other allies, better pooling of resources in military structures as well as financing and research, and a common defence force with standardised conditions for intervention and rules of engagement for international missions." [left-wingers don't think getting lots of shiny new guns is a priority right now]

    But more important than anything in the EPP manifesto is the fact that EPP member parties have been at the forefront of pushing austerity measures in Europe - the exact same kind of economic policy adopted by the Tories in the UK.

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  • 104. At 08:37am on 28 Oct 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    MAII Re#96; Waterboard them to find out who in the Chinese military wants them and for what purpose"


    I don't think that would be necessary.

    The Chinese need American microprocessors for the same reasons Soviets/Russians have always needed them: to improve performance of their ICBMs' navigational systems, radiolocation and satellite capabilities and to quiet their subs.


    Oh, and of course to finally get to the Moon. For helium-3. :)

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  • 105. At 08:45am on 28 Oct 2010, Mte_ wrote:

    Also, in terms of the federalist vs. eurosceptic issue, I'd like to point out that the most federalist group in the European Parliament are the Liberals (ALDE) - who are arguably also the most enthusiastic supporters of free markets and capitalism. Euroscepticism tends to increase as you move further from the liberals, either towards the right or the left.

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  • 106. At 08:46am on 28 Oct 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    " Their cause was the only thing important, risking the lives of their friends, colleagues, countrymen was irrelevant to the cause."



    Well Buzet, at least Black, Burgess, McLean, Philby, etc., were more effective than, say, the pathetic "Dirty Dozen" recently expelled from the US back to Russia.

    They believed in something (at least initially), as many other Western intellectuals cum "fellow travellers" of the era, unlike present day traitors (on the order of Ames, Howard, Walkers Gang) who were simply after $$$$$.


    [that B,B,H,McL,P died in Moscow as unhappy embittered alcoholics is a horse of another colour]

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  • 107. At 08:48am on 28 Oct 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Socialists see the financial and economic crisis as a chance to push their age-old agenda of nationalisation, protectionism and permanent deficit spending."




    Capitalists can at least create capital; Socialists - only "Das Kapital".

    [besides untold human misery]

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  • 108. At 08:54am on 28 Oct 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    A 'spy' in one nation is a traitor or enemy of the State and in another he/she is the nation's loyal servant & a hero.
    Such people have always existed and as long as there are international competition of any sort they will continue to exist.

    West Germany's poor old Chancellor Brandt found that out with his pet 'secretary' Gunter Guillaume, didn't he!?
    It's been estimated 30% of former East Germans who served in the united Germany Parliament had formerly been members or helpers of the East Germany Stasi.
    It is well known 1 in 9 East Germans spied on their neighbours for the Stasi.

    How they & their off-spring feel aboput it now? Well, perhaps a prominent German-based contributor on this Blog could give his reasons?

    Nowadays, it seems celebrity has reached the 'undercover' scene: A glamarous Russian female 'spy' is now the very exotic face & body on some Russian magazines.

    Times change.

    Somehow, Philby's ugly mug on the Izvestia front-cover having fled all those years ago didn't have quite the same appeal: Despite his horrendous deeds that resulted in hundreds of deaths he always insisted he never regretted for a moment betraying the UK, USA & 'West' in war & peace time because he was all along a dedicated Communist.

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  • 109. At 10:07am on 28 Oct 2010, Norman Conquest wrote:

    @ 108

    Cool brush work,


    easy there, hold your wild horses m8. Kim Philby happens to be a hero of mine. He's the greatest Briton that has ever lived, saved Britain from its evilish self, IMO (also he mainly concentrated on anti-American activities, wouldn't be involved in anything aimed at Britain).

    "His ugly mug"? Even though you English don't score highly on the perfection of facial features in general (long noses & jaws, prunish looks etc., etc.), Him I don't find ugly, he had a good kind face (almost an un-English face).

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  • 110. At 11:34am on 28 Oct 2010, Benefactor wrote:

    101. At 08:04am on 28 Oct 2010, Huaimek wrote:

    --"Have you ever read the Eurobarometer Surveys, or only seen the given result? I suspect the latter."--

    You suspect wrong then.

    --"I have chanced upon the surveys, looking up something else for curiosity. The subjects and questions asked could give NO clear indication of comprehensive European citizens opinion of the EU as an institution, for better or worse."--

    http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/eb/eb73/eb73_first_en.pdf

    p11. Do you think your countries membership of the EU is:
    1. a good thing
    2. a bad thing
    3. dont know
    I suppose it could be worded differently, maybe "do you think the EU is: a good thing, etc etc." but do you really think it would change the result?

    --"The surveys are presented in such a lengthy and long winded way as to test ones patience and perseverence to plow through it."--

    The reports on the web are quite lengthy yes, they are reports...
    They take the survey results and draw conclusions from the data.

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  • 111. At 11:49am on 28 Oct 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Powermeerkat;

    "The Chinese need American microprocessors for the same reasons Soviets/Russians have always needed them: to improve performance of their ICBMs' navigational systems,"

    It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to blow up your best customers who also happen to owe you a lot of money. Inscrutable.

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  • 112. At 12:33pm on 28 Oct 2010, Gareth wrote:

    What exactly does the EU do for us? Yesterday i went to a international job fair and was told by 13 out of the 18 EU countries including France and Germany no work for you. We should have set up a Commonwealth trade agreement, it would have worked out so much better.

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  • 113. At 1:12pm on 28 Oct 2010, Andy wrote:

    112. At 12:33pm on 28 Oct 2010, Gareth wrote:

    "What exactly does the EU do for us? Yesterday i went to a international job fair and was told by 13 out of the 18 EU countries including France and Germany no work for you."

    What, they would not let you work if you found a job in 13 out of the 18 EU countries? Name and shame if that is the case.

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  • 114. At 3:22pm on 28 Oct 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    CBW: " It is well known 1 in 9 East Germans spied on their neighbours for the Stasi."


    Not only be any means.


    After Guck Commission opened Stasi files many East Germans found out that that their wives/husbands/sons spied on them as well.

    Sometimes for years.

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  • 115. At 3:27pm on 28 Oct 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    CBW: " Philby's ugly mug on the Izvestia front-cover having fled all those years ago didn't have quite the same appeal"


    On the Soviet commemorative stamp (after all he managed to have quite a few Britons dropped in Albania killed -Kim did not look much better.

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  • 116. At 3:34pm on 28 Oct 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Powermeerkat;

    "The Chinese need American microprocessors for the same reasons Soviets/Russians have always needed them: to improve performance of their ICBMs' navigational systems,"

    It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to blow up your best customers who also happen to owe you a lot of money. Inscrutable.






    MAII: The Chinese tried to acquire decent ICBMs and improve them ever since Ussuri clashes (1969).

    Wars between PRC and India over some border territories gave them additional incentives.

    Beijing has known for many years that U.S. is not its most dangerous enemy.

    Its massive spying in the U.S. is simply dictated by the same motivation Dillinger revealed when asked by a judge why did he robbed banks.

    "Becasue that where the money is"

    In case of U.S.: because that's where you can find (and steal) all state-of-the art technologies.

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  • 117. At 3:42pm on 28 Oct 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    NormanC

    Re #109

    This the 3rd time.

    Are You intending to give me a good belly laugh on a regular basis, e.g. "..Philby.. good, kind face.."?
    Anyway, also guffaws for that line about 'Kim' being Your "..hero": Do You by chance share his sexual persuasion because as they so rightly say, it would be the 'cherry' on the Blog!

    Now, on the serious stuff: Kim Philby confessed in January 1961 to having been a Communist and Soviet spy since 1934.
    Among his many 'achievements' for his KGB spymasters was the betrayal of the names of British secret agents during the WW2 period 1939-41 when the USSR was Nazi Germany's partner; almost all those agents' identities were passed on to the Nazis & most were liquidated. Philby went further post-WW2 betraying the identity of 'Volkov' the Russian agent defecting to the UK and his death, ordered by Beria, was particularly brutal after a long incarceration & torture. It was also Your 'hero' who betrayed the identities to the Communists of over 300 agents & their contacts in Albania: The entire group were rounded-up & eliminated. To round-off his career of calumny & treachery Philby lied about Blunt being a spy for the Soviets and this protection enabled Blunt to continue spying on behalf of the Kremlin in the UK Secret Service for another half dozen years.

    There had been many suspicions of Philby, but in the end he was fittingly betrayed by a 'defecting spy' from the USSR, Anatoli Golitsyn, doing in reverse what 'Kim' had done to so many unfortunate other colleagues. Of course, unlike the vindictive cruelty of the Soviets, the British never intended to execute this miserably treasonous scum. Nevertheless, typical of his ego-driven, conniving criminal's entire life, rather than face any kind of retribution Philby ran away to be a guest of his Russian comrades.

    As Powermeerkat has already stated: The only satisfaction for the British is that Philby along with Burgess & Maclean (3 of the ring of 5) all became alcoholics and died miserably unhappy in squalid little Russian tenements. It was not their 'just desserts', but doubtless in their exile it dawned on all '3' there was a distinct lack of amenities & opportunities in their supposed 'workers paradise' compared to those they had enjoyed in the UK/West.

    Cheers.

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  • 118. At 4:32pm on 28 Oct 2010, Andy wrote:

    116. At 3:34pm on 28 Oct 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Its [China] massive spying in the U.S. is simply dictated by the same motivation Dillinger revealed when asked by a judge why did he robbed banks.

    "Becasue that where the money is"

    In case of U.S.: because that's where you can find (and steal) all state-of-the art technologies.
    "

    I don't have much time for US squeals about industrial espionage committed by other states upon it as it's the kettle calling the pot black.

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  • 119. At 5:03pm on 28 Oct 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #117 CBW

    You are again correct -- they were from `the privileged class´who made the mistake of considering the poverty of ´the British working class´.

    Traitors ?

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  • 120. At 6:40pm on 28 Oct 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #103. At 08:36am on 28 Oct 2010, MTE_0509

    What utter rubbish "But more important than anything in the EPP manifesto is the fact that EPP member parties have been at the forefront of pushing austerity measures in Europe - the exact same kind of economic policy adopted by the Tories in the UK." you seem not to have read the voting figures for the EP's decision to approve a budget increase. Let me know just who from the EPP voted against and supported austerity measures, a very difficult question for you as there were none. The EPP voted with the Socialists, do you now understand the politics of Europe or is it a bit too difficult.

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  • 121. At 6:43pm on 28 Oct 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #105. At 08:45am on 28 Oct 2010, MTE_0509

    The Liberals are by nature swimming in a sea of politics, they don't know what they are or where they should be or what's best, but at least some voted against the budget increase.

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  • 122. At 6:46pm on 28 Oct 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #109. At 10:07am on 28 Oct 2010, Norman Conquest

    Thank you for letting any friends you once had know just what you're capable off, I wouldn't trust you to order a beer.

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  • 123. At 6:49pm on 28 Oct 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #113. At 1:12pm on 28 Oct 2010, Andy

    You were lucky, just look into the lovely open market of the EU and see where you will stand if you lose your job in a foreign country. I'll give you a clue, all EU citizens are treated equally, therefore you are just another immigrant wishing to return to your home country.

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  • 124. At 7:07pm on 28 Oct 2010, Andy wrote:

    #112. At 12:33pm on 28 Oct 2010, Gareth wrote:
    "What exactly does the EU do for us? Yesterday i went to a international job fair and was told by 13 out of the 18 EU countries including France and Germany no work for you."

    #113. At 1:12pm on 28 Oct 2010, Andy
    "What, they would not let you work if you found a job in 13 out of the 18 EU countries? Name and shame if that is the case."

    #123. At 6:49pm on 28 Oct 2010, Buzet23 wrote:
    "You were lucky, just look into the lovely open market of the EU and see where you will stand if you lose your job in a foreign country. I'll give you a clue, all EU citizens are treated equally, therefore you are just another immigrant wishing to return to your home country."

    As you can see, you have not answered the question.

    If I loose my job in a foreign country, I personally come back to Blighty and look for another job, either in Blighty or in the EU.

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  • 125. At 7:16pm on 28 Oct 2010, Andy wrote:

    lose, bah!

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  • 126. At 7:32pm on 28 Oct 2010, Norman Conquest wrote:

    @ 117

    Cool brush work,

    Well, here's his portrait below, can you say in all honesty that it's not a "good kind face"? Of course, it is.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:1990_CPA_6266.jpg

    What does "sexual persuasion" have to do with anything? It's not like this kind of thing is completely unheard of in Britain you know. And I don't recall asking you what your sexual persuasion is or was at one time or other. You were in the British paras, and they do get up (down) to all kinds of things on those long winter nights in the barracks. You are not in the British Army recruitment office and am not volunteering for you to ask questions like that, m8.

    And now, those British agents whose identities were allegedly revealed to the Nazis, i think we can safely discard it as a patent lie. I've never heard anybody else claiming that. See, we can all write anything we want on this blog in the knowledge that no-one will bother to check it out, just don't expect everybody to believe it.

    As for Albania and other places, why did Britain have to send agents there in the first place? Did Albania send agents to Britain? Did the Soviet Union ever send covert armed groups to Britain to help, say, in the Welsh, Scottish, Irish, Cornish, Northern English separatist movements? Never. Then why did Britain think that she had the right to send what essentially were armed bandits to other countries?

    Those who sent, who recruited those people are at fault in the final analysis, not Kim Philby; also those people themselves were not shrinking violets remember, they were sent there to do their work -- to sabotage, to blow up infrastructure, to assassinate, to kill, etc.

    But enough of that -- anyway in the end it all evened out and worked out for the better. Can't we agree Philby is not at all the worst character that Britain ever produced -- in round-about way he did more for the workers' rights, for understanding between peoples, for Britain and for peace than most other Britons, more than you even.


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  • 127. At 7:55pm on 28 Oct 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #124. At 7:07pm on 28 Oct 2010, Andy

    And if you cannot find a job, just what would you be able to claim in the mean time, question answered.

    PS. you would have to find work before being entitled to any support.

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  • 128. At 7:59pm on 28 Oct 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #126. At 7:32pm on 28 Oct 2010, Norman Conquest

    Brain dead! I just hope wherever it is you live in your workers paradise you get the midnight knock on the door because you were shopped by a comrade who was equally as stupid and thinking that the Socialist revolution is all important.

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  • 129. At 8:06pm on 28 Oct 2010, Andy wrote:

    #112. At 12:33pm on 28 Oct 2010, Gareth wrote:
    "What exactly does the EU do for us? Yesterday i went to a international job fair and was told by 13 out of the 18 EU countries including France and Germany no work for you."

    #113. At 1:12pm on 28 Oct 2010, Andy
    "What, they would not let you work if you found a job in 13 out of the 18 EU countries? Name and shame if that is the case."

    #123. At 6:49pm on 28 Oct 2010, Buzet23 wrote:
    "You were lucky, just look into the lovely open market of the EU and see where you will stand if you lose your job in a foreign country. I'll give you a clue, all EU citizens are treated equally, therefore you are just another immigrant wishing to return to your home country."

    124. At 7:07pm on 28 Oct 2010, Andy wrote:
    "As you can see, you have not answered the question.

    If I lose my job in a foreign country, I personally come back to Blighty and look for another job, either in Blighty or in the EU.
    "


    127. At 7:55pm on 28 Oct 2010, Buzet23 wrote:
    "And if you cannot find a job, just what would you be able to claim in the mean time, question answered.

    PS. you would have to find work before being entitled to any support.
    "


    Ah, so you meant in 13 out of the 18 you cannot just pitch up there and claim unemployment benefits?

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  • 130. At 8:43pm on 28 Oct 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #129. At 8:06pm on 28 Oct 2010, Andy

    I guess I have to spell it out a bit better, if you work in your home country for many years you pay into its social security system, for instance you could have worked twenty odd years without benefit claims and are then made redundant. Being a responsible sort of person you find a job in another country which lasts for some years and you are entitled to benefits in that country, BUT, if you want to return to old blighty you have to earn the right to benefits as you are just another migrant, and your previous contributions count for nought. The upshot is that unless you can earn the right to benefits by finding another job you have to stay the other side of Europe (maybe), ad finitum, or sleep in the gutters or scrounge off family.

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  • 131. At 9:15pm on 28 Oct 2010, Andy wrote:

    130. At 8:43pm on 28 Oct 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    "I guess I have to spell it out a bit better, if you work in your home country for many years you pay into its social security system, for instance you could have worked twenty odd years without benefit claims and are then made redundant. Being a responsible sort of person you find a job in another country which lasts for some years and you are entitled to benefits in that country, BUT, if you want to return to old blighty you have to earn the right to benefits as you are just another migrant, and your previous contributions count for nought. The upshot is that unless you can earn the right to benefits by finding another job you have to stay the other side of Europe (maybe), ad finitum, or sleep in the gutters or scrounge off family."

    I read something about buying back into NI contribution which hits on your point I think.

    As you can read in that and further Googlings, after 20 years you of contributing, you would be eligible for a portion of a pension - that's not "nought" imv.

    Personally, I save an emergency nest egg which I will break into if circumstances require it, ie, I lose my job abroad and need to return to Blighty. It's part of something called planning, and something to consider before you take off for foreign shores.

    We're not a federal EU yet, until we are and until we can the same benefits regardless of where we live in Europe, we need to plan for such things.

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  • 132. At 9:33pm on 28 Oct 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #131. At 9:15pm on 28 Oct 2010, Andy

    I was not referring to pension rights as they are protected and covered by various EU directives, it's simply that even if you have put something aside, that will not last for ever. The current concept of EU freedom of movement is that your social welfare needs are catered for by the country of your domicile, therefore if you came back to the UK, true you could buy pension rights, but you will be in the same situation as any other migrant and you would have to earn any social rights.

    The conclusion of my warning here is that as always, well intended laws etc that have been brought in by political ideology often have unforeseen drawbacks. This is simply one such case as making all EU citizens equal means you lost the right to belong to your home country.

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  • 133. At 9:34pm on 28 Oct 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    NormanC

    Re #126 & "..we can all make it up.."

    Then I suggest You get hold of a copy of Chapman Pincher's 'Their Trade Is Treachery' - - it's available on amazaon.

    Go on, educate Yourself!

    Many apologies if You were upset by the 'sexual persuasdion' reference - - I was intending it as a mild joke not a personal attack on You.

    However, the 'gay' & 'bi' predelictions of 4 of the 'ring of 5' was quite a factor at the time of their recruitment in the elitist 1930s Oxbridge student circle: It is well documented that each of them had this 'personal' foible to keep hidden alongside their 'poitical' leanings and it contributed to their overall susceptibility to pressure persuasion by Soviet agents.

    No we cannot agree: IMO, Kim Philby was a traitor of the worst sort to his Nation; he passed on numerous secrets of UK 'security & defence', actively recruited or exploited like-minded 'fellow travellers', undermined the safety of his fellow Citizens and was a willing partner in the abduction, torture & murder of many of his colleagues as well as nationals of other countries.
    That Philby did it out of personal commitment to the 'cause' rather than for financial gain makes no difference to the ultimate results of his personal deliberate, chosen actions. His name is synonomous with gross betrayal & treachery. Petty it maybe, but if in the supposed after-life he's turning on-a-spit it's still too good for him!

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  • 134. At 9:47pm on 28 Oct 2010, Andy wrote:

    132. At 9:33pm on 28 Oct 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    "I was not referring to pension rights as they are protected and covered by various EU directives, it's simply that even if you have put something aside, that will not last for ever. The current concept of EU freedom of movement is that your social welfare needs are catered for by the country of your domicile, therefore if you came back to the UK, true you could buy pension rights, but you will be in the same situation as any other migrant and you would have to earn any social rights."

    I view some contributions I pay as insurance, insurance against losing my job for instance (unemployment benefit). While I'm in the UK paying my taxes (insurance), I am covered if I should lose my job (I'll get benefits).

    Should I pay in for 20 years and never lose my job then leave the country, then I've been protected (had the insurance) for 20 years. I would not expect to be able to claim on the insurance once I'd decided to leave the country though.

    So, because I'm going to lose my insurance because I chose to leave the country, I need to plan for myself which could include building a nest egg or making sure the country I'm thinking of going to will pay me if I pay into their insurance scheme, which many will.

    You seem to want you cake and eat it - by living abroad but benefiting from previous years insurance payments should the poop hit the fan. I think that is wrongheaded.

    I think one should have to earn back ones social rights if one has chosen to bugger off to another country and let those social rights lapse - you've not been paying the insurance therefore should not benefit from a payout.

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  • 135. At 04:07am on 29 Oct 2010, Mte_ wrote:

    #120. Buzet23:

    I was talking about national governments run by EPP member parties. Practically all of them are implementing austerity right now.

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  • 136. At 08:00am on 29 Oct 2010, David wrote:

    Gays mis-characterized (mis-catagorized)...hmmm..

    "We" can take THAT, CBW...

    dont ever stop writing here as your contributions Would be missed Sorely by ME.

    ...see, I read according to known quality, (not SOME assumed meaning:)))

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  • 137. At 08:09am on 29 Oct 2010, David wrote:

    And whomever, if you are trying to insult CBW on the basis of ..."persuasion," and innuendo,

    at least,

    Try Harder:)))

    Do you get the ol' drift-aroo???

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  • 138. At 08:29am on 29 Oct 2010, David wrote:

    Hi Web Alice,

    Would you like to hear a *self-censored tale* of my beauracratically [sic] inclined US govt. job? I won't be depressing and I will try to make it relevant to the discussion. :)

    David

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  • 139. At 09:25am on 29 Oct 2010, David wrote:

    the ol'..meaning..why did you even bother with such weak arguing?

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  • 140. At 09:30am on 29 Oct 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #135. At 04:07am on 29 Oct 2010, MTE_0509

    Virtually all member states use the PR system of voting which means it's hard to find any government that is not a coalition. This means it is not possible to say the EPP runs most governments, the party affiliated to the EPP in each member state may have a part in the government but how big depends on the member state and who their partners are.

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  • 141. At 09:33am on 29 Oct 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    David

    Re #136-7 & NormanC

    Thank You.

    As it happens I do know of 2 'gays' that served in the Paras alongside myself: In such a macho-environment though obviously not an easily done thing they were obliged to keep that part of their lives entirely off-barracks and so far as I'm aware they managed.
    '1' I knew in the paras and the other 'came out' at a regimental get-together after we'd all quit the service. These were both fine men who served their comrades and the nation with dignity & courage (the 1 I knew about was in the Falklands campaign). So far as I'm aware apart from the ribald jokes which accompany all 'get-togethers' irrespective any 'predelictions' nobody batted an eye when their lifestyles/sexual persuasion eventually became common knowledge.

    It is another indication of NormanC having not been 'in-action' or any serious 'service': When Your life is on the line You don't start asking Yourself or Your buddy if they enjoy page 3 models, but You do ask Yourself will 'I' be good enough & can my buddy rely on ME!?

    Always a pleasure to read Your often pithy comments David.

    Cheers & luck.

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  • 142. At 09:41am on 29 Oct 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #134. At 9:47pm on 28 Oct 2010, Andy

    You seem to be thinking socially rather than as a job hunter, if you wish to swan off to Spain and laze it around in the sun then you are right, BUT, if you are a job seeker then you are totally wrong. The EU encourages freedom of movement of workers and the social systems specifically encourage job seekers in one country to seek work across the whole of the EU. Special rights are in place for the first three months you seek work in another member state, but if you stay and work then you become part of that countries social system which is fine. But, if you don't want to spend the rest of your working life in that country you are in a quandary, as maybe it's a cold wet windswept hole (like Scotland). In such a situation to gain any sort of welfare in the UK you have to regain your previous status by working a brief time.

    I don't think you fully understand my point as I was not referring to those jollying off for a it of fun, but rather those job seekers who do what the EU wants them to do and can then be let down and made to stay in a foreign country in order to receive welfare benefits. True they can look for work whilst waiting but if the work has dried up, what then, especially if your family is back in old blighty.

    PS. I'm not talking about myself, but this is a topic that cropped up during research for a friend of mine.

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  • 143. At 10:54am on 29 Oct 2010, Andy wrote:

    Buzet23,

    I think it's fine that someone who has chosen to leave Blighty, stopped paying their insurance in Blighty, that they should work a brief time on returning to Blighty before they are yet again, insured.

    I'd quite like to see benefits & taxes harmonised across Europe, but we're not there yet and until we are, the current rules re. insurance are fair imv.

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  • 144. At 11:17am on 29 Oct 2010, David wrote:

    Its nice to get the vitriol out of My system..after my work is over for the nite...have to watch myself..hmmmm:)

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  • 145. At 11:30am on 29 Oct 2010, resistance35 wrote:

    143.Andy wrote:I'd quite like to see benefits & taxes harmonised across Europe, but we're not there yet and until we are, the current rules re. insurance are fair imv.

    Say hello to the sky high French and German taxes, then. And get ready to fund Romanian and Bulgarian benefits and pay for their healthcare too.

    I say: over my dead body. No EU taxes, ever. No EU benefits or welfare. No no no! The undemocratic EU must be destroyed and those that actively supported it tried for treason against democracy.

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  • 146. At 11:32am on 29 Oct 2010, resistance35 wrote:

    131.Andy wrote:We're not a federal EU yet

    And we never will be becuase the people are against it.

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  • 147. At 11:43am on 29 Oct 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #143. At 10:54am on 29 Oct 2010, Andy,

    "that they should work a brief time on returning to Blighty before they are yet again, insured."

    Just what happens if they are unable to find work in order to qualify, they are in effect ostracised from their home country and have to beg or hope family help them. Some reward for maybe decades of contributing towards the unemployment benefit of their home country.

    "I'd quite like to see benefits & taxes harmonised across Europe"

    You have got to be joking, R35 has it right when they say that Germany would love that and often demands that, after all it makes all countries equally uncompetitive since their costs will be identical to Germany's. The German mentality is that we are the best, we make the best quality products but they are expensive - solution - make everyone else as expensive so that quality is the only measure. Also, who would pay for the huge enormous increase in benefit costs as they are harmonised to the highest denominator, or will the masses have to revert to the lowest denominator of poor former eastern European countries, ah, the benefits of the new EUSSR.

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  • 148. At 11:55am on 29 Oct 2010, Andy wrote:

    147. At 11:43am on 29 Oct 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    "You have got to be joking, R35 has it right when they say that Germany would love that and often demands that, after all it makes all countries equally uncompetitive since their costs will be identical to Germany's. The German mentality is that we are the best, we make the best quality products but they are expensive - solution - make everyone else as expensive so that quality is the only measure. Also, who would pay for the huge enormous increase in benefit costs as they are harmonised to the highest denominator, or will the masses have to revert to the lowest denominator of poor former eastern European countries, ah, the benefits of the new EUSSR."

    I think it glass-half-empty to assume that taxes would be harmonised at German rates, indeed, that whole statement is dregs-at-the-bottom-of-the-glass.

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  • 149. At 12:05pm on 29 Oct 2010, resistance35 wrote:

    If not at German rates, then taxes would be lower, thus meaning that Germany will have to reduce expenditure, where would you think Germany has to cut costs to make up for the loss of revenue? Welfare to be lowered? Because that often is what will happen.

    Germany and France, considering pension 'commitments' simply cannot afford to lower taxes to any other country's level. When they suggest 'harmonizing taxes' they mean 'everyone must increase them to our level'. France is looking at a € 60-80bn deficit in the pension system if nothing is done, lowering taxes would make that worse.

    Therefore, it is imperative that the undemocratic EU doesn't get its dirty hands on the tax rate levers.

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  • 150. At 12:15pm on 29 Oct 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #148. At 11:55am on 29 Oct 2010, Andy

    I bet you believe in fairies at the bottom of the garden as well, yet another misguided idealist who has not yet read the writing on the wall about the EU and the nature and structure of its member states. I trust you'll be first in line to receive the pittance the social (Socialist) EU will agree on, but then if the old USSR is anything to go by it'll be a very long queue.

    As can be said by the old axiom, "you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink", in your case no matter how much evidence to the contrary there is you still think harmonising is a desirable end result, unbelievable.

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  • 151. At 12:38pm on 29 Oct 2010, Andy wrote:

    150. At 12:15pm on 29 Oct 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    "I bet you believe in fairies at the bottom of the garden as well"

    Lol, likewise do you seem to see Beasts at the bottom of yours?

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  • 152. At 12:40pm on 29 Oct 2010, Andy wrote:

    150. At 12:15pm on 29 Oct 2010, Buzet23 wrote:
    "As can be said by the old axiom, "you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink", in your case no matter how much evidence to the contrary there is you still think harmonising is a desirable end result, unbelievable."

    I think harmonising in many cases is FANTASTIC, indeed, it's one of the positives that the EU has provided.

    I wish they'd get on with harmonizing benefits, taxes, electricity, driving on roads, all standards in fact.

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  • 153. At 1:01pm on 29 Oct 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #152. At 12:40pm on 29 Oct 2010, Andy

    Like they've harmonised educational qualifications, like not. Like for instance an electrician can(not) work in any country, or a gas fitter can(not) work in any country, or even a road sweeper can(not) work in any country. Your fantastic harmonisation is a farce and the spun version put out by the EU publicity (spin) department bears little resemblance with reality. If they [member states] can't even agree to accept qualifications across the EU without invoking various 'busting' methods then just why do you still think it will work with even more critical affairs.

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  • 154. At 1:21pm on 29 Oct 2010, Andy wrote:

    153. At 1:01pm on 29 Oct 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    "Like they've harmonised educational qualifications, like not. Like for instance an electrician can(not) work in any country, or a gas fitter can(not) work in any country, or even a road sweeper can(not) work in any country. Your fantastic harmonisation is a farce and the spun version put out by the EU publicity (spin) department bears little resemblance with reality. If they [member states] can't even agree to accept qualifications across the EU without invoking various 'busting' methods then just why do you still think it will work with even more critical affairs."

    They've not harmonized everything yet by a long way, I hope they will so that, to use your analogies, an electrician can work in any country, or a gas fitter can work in any country, or even a road sweeper can work in any country. You seem against that.

    At least the member states are trying to harmonized, to find common ground, you want isolationism which is a thing of the past and could lead to a North Korea type scenario.

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  • 155. At 1:47pm on 29 Oct 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    David, if you are concerned that it's Americans who are targeted for offensive abuse be aware that even being Swiss will not protect you from it:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-11648399

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  • 156. At 2:02pm on 29 Oct 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Of course, unlike the vindictive cruelty of the Soviets, the British never intended to execute this miserably treasonous scum."



    QBW, the British were co civilized, that they didn't kill, let alone tortured, a leading Soviet atomic spy in Los Alamos, Klaus Fuchs, but rather allowed him, after some years of imprisonment, to move to East Germany where he died peacefully in his own bed.


    [Did you know that when already in Moscow Kim seduced a fellow spy's (Mclean's) wife? :)]


    [Just like Gunter Guillaume. :)]

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  • 157. At 2:05pm on 29 Oct 2010, resistance35 wrote:

    @154 Andy

    interesting you mention North Korea (DPRK). It too has an elected parliament. But is it a democratic parliament?

    Harmonization isn't something good at all, diversity is better. What the EU wants is to stamp out diversity and turn countries into carbon copies of eachother.

    Harmonization (the word chosen because 'gleichschaltung' -ie the same thing- would have sent alarm bells ringing) is the problem rather than the solution. Usually the compromise measure is not stern enough for half, and too stern for the rest. Take the Euro interest rate for example. No one is happy with it, they all think its too high or too low.

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  • 158. At 2:21pm on 29 Oct 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "His K.Ph.'s name is synonomous with gross betrayal & treachery."



    CBW, if it makes you feel any better we've got our own equivalent:

    ALDRICH AMES.

    Who also got quite a few people killed, or actually murdered after tortures.


    Excepts that he was paid by the Russians for his treachery: in DIAMONDS.

    [life without parole: that's what Ames has finally got. Just like Walker sr.]

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  • 159. At 2:41pm on 29 Oct 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #154. At 1:21pm on 29 Oct 2010, Andy

    Wrong again, there are some things that should be harmonised and many that should not, and if the much lauded freedom of movement of workers is to work qualifications are one that should, at the moment it is nothing more than a slightly worthwhile bit of paper. My point was that harmonising qualifications should be easy and the EU says it has achieved that which is pure spin, it has not. There are many ways in which the member states block harmonisation of qualifications, i.e insisting all course matter is available and translated into their language, claiming their diploma is superior to another, you name it they do it. As for electricians, I am not joking when I say Belgian Wallon electrician cannot work in Belgian Flanders unless he undergoes a language test, he is agreed for the whole of Belgium but the regional government of Flanders won't accept him. If harmonisation doesn't work even within a small federation how do you expect it to work across a whole continent.

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  • 160. At 2:47pm on 29 Oct 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re 149 Resistance35:


    "France is looking at a € 60-80bn deficit in the pension system if nothing is done, lowering taxes would make that worse."




    Watched France24 the other night.

    Protesters quizzed 'bout their dwindling numbers explained they were in it for a long term aming at removing Sarkozy in the next election.

    Here's wondering what will French Socialists (particularly one called nomen omen Royal] do then if they come to power?

    Reverse Sarkozy's reforms and lower the retirement age back?
    Especially that fiscal situation then will be probably not better, if not worse than it is now?

    [Cf. unavoidable decisions made very grudginly and after a long delay by Spanish Socialist Zapatero.]

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  • 161. At 2:51pm on 29 Oct 2010, Andy wrote:

    157. At 2:05pm on 29 Oct 2010, resistance35 wrote:

    "interesting you mention North Korea (DPRK). It too has an elected parliament. But is it a democratic parliament?"

    I don't think it is and I don't think any parliament is truly democratic, there are varying degrees of how democratic they are.



    "Harmonization isn't something good at all, diversity is better."

    OK, you can drive down the wrong side of the road in the name of diversity if you like, perhaps you can ask powermeerkat to join you on the road coming in the other direction.

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  • 162. At 2:59pm on 29 Oct 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #157



    Anyone who watched thosands goose-stepping Chinese soliders of both sexes during the massive PRC anniversary military parade would agree that harmony in China is alive and well. ;)


    "Harmonization (the word chosen because 'gleichschaltung' -ie the same thing- would have sent alarm bells ringing)"


    I recall some 40 years ago Germans from BRD wanted to issue some kind of medal: after an internal debate they replace a word 'Fuehrer' on it with a word 'leader'. :)

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  • 163. At 3:11pm on 29 Oct 2010, Andy wrote:

    159. At 2:41pm on 29 Oct 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    "As for electricians, I am not joking when I say Belgian Wallon electrician cannot work in Belgian Flanders unless he undergoes a language test, he is agreed for the whole of Belgium but the regional government of Flanders won't accept him. If harmonisation doesn't work even within a small federation how do you expect it to work across a whole continent."

    Your example does not show a harmonization working, your example shows the lack of harmonization not working.

    Check your logic circuits, correction, get someone evidentially better qualified to check them.

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  • 164. At 7:39pm on 29 Oct 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #163. At 3:11pm on 29 Oct 2010, Andy

    It's sad when someone here continually misses the point, your own logic gate seems to be closed, maybe a short circuit?

    For you in primitive caveman language, harmonisation does not work because no member state wants it too, they pay lip service to it but nothing more. Now is that simple enough for you?

    PS. Harmonisation is spelt with an 'S' not a 'Z', at least change your spell checker to Oxford English.

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  • 165. At 7:55pm on 29 Oct 2010, Andy wrote:

    Buzet23,
    "For you in primitive caveman language, harmonisation does not work because no member state wants it too, they pay lip service to it but nothing more. Now is that simple enough for you?"

    Harmonization has no chance of working when people don't want it too. People like you.

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  • 166. At 8:23pm on 29 Oct 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    165. At 7:55pm on 29 Oct 2010, Andy

    And MOST others in the EU commissariat it seems, plus their politicians both elected and appointed, there are truly none so blind as those who can see.

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  • 167. At 8:37pm on 29 Oct 2010, Andy wrote:

    "there are truly none so blind as those who can see"

    Amen brudda.

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  • 168. At 01:07am on 30 Oct 2010, Nik wrote:

    CBW... keep amusing us!

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  • 169. At 3:12pm on 31 Oct 2010, Norman Conquest wrote:

    "141. At 09:33am on 29 Oct 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    ...

    As it happens I do know of 2 'gays' that served in the Paras alongside myself...

    It is another indication of NormanC having not been 'in-action' or any serious 'service': When Your life is on the line You don't start asking Yourself or Your buddy if they enjoy page 3 models, but You do ask Yourself will 'I' be good enough & can my buddy rely on ME!?

    +++++


    Cool brush work,

    But would you really want a gay British para, ahem, covering your Back? Even when your life is on the line?


    Talk about being between the rock (the enemy) and the hard thing.

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  • 170. At 8:30pm on 31 Oct 2010, David wrote:

    Norman Conquest,

    At least now all people of "any, I repeat, any diversity whatsoever" know now to stay away from YOU

    :)

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  • 171. At 1:36pm on 03 Nov 2010, torpare wrote:

    @93.cool_brush_work wrote:

    "Oh sage of the Swiss.."

    I'm sorely tempted after this to adopt as my username "'n'onions".

    "A well written piece..."

    You surprise me CBW. For instance:-

    "Consider Marx, the father of socialist doctrine. His father was a preach, as was his grandfather. Marx was an academic precisely because his family were entitled to state funding for the fine living habits."

    In fact, Marx's father was a lawyer. (His grandfather was, though, a rabbi - so 50% right). Marx never occupied any post in any academic institution. He was for a time a freelance journalist; he also received substantial financial support from Engels, to enable him to devote most of his time to his writing. Later, the Marx family inherited money and property (mainly from his wife's family) and - after that, but not before - were able to live in modest middle-class comfort.

    DT's posts seem to me to have but one, unvarying, aim:- to emulate the outpourings of his compatriot J-J. Rousseau. We are treated periodically to his philosophical musings, from which (if I've nothing better to do) I sometimes try to tease out some meaning.

    One gathers that for DT (as I've pointed out before) all clocks stopped at some point prior to the First World War and European society has ever since remained frozen in the attitudes that were then prevalent. I think of DT as being another Rip van Winkle, just awakened from a very long slumber and still reflecting the world as he knew it before he fell asleep.

    Apart from that, I'm still trying and failing to discern what message DT is seeking to transmit (leaving aside all questions of his posts' relevance to any given topic, but that's another story). It's clear that he disapproves comprehensively of modern life and in particular of the class system as he sees it (which as it happens was also the lynch-pin of Marx's analysis). What's less clear is what he's proposing instead. Mere disapproval - even if justified - doesn't take one very far.

    DT is long on analysis (of a rather peculiar kind) and short on specifics. Rousseau's specifics, along with others' among the "Philosophes", led to the French Revolution. So both Marx's and Rousseau's ideas resulted in bloodbaths.

    Perhaps we should be thankful that DT is short on specifics.

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  • 172. At 1:46pm on 11 Nov 2010, moore1957 wrote:

    Questioning of the relevance of ever-closer union should be welcomed, as should a genuine restatement of the goal of the project. As numerous recent articles have noted the glue holding the Union together and propelled at least a majority of members toward union is not what it was due as much as anything to generational change and expansion. If you restate the goal, then some of the institutional changes follow from that, probably at the EU's usual glacial speed.

    If the current round of belt-tightening at national level actually leads to real demands for improvements at EU level and an engaged discussion about how the EU does its job, it would be a good thing. It would show that member state governments still care about the famously-tiny share of revenue which goes to Brussels. Don't count on it though,



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