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Why 'Yes' is so hard for the Irish

news | 12:36 UK time, Thursday, 18 November 2010

Ajai Chopra (L), deputy director of the European Department of the IMF, and an unidentified colleague make their way to the Central Bank of Ireland in Dublin, 18 November

In a radio interview, the Governor of the Bank of Ireland Patrick Honohan confirmed what most people expected - that some kind of bail-out for Ireland seems to be on the way. They may dress it up as a loan for the banks but it will involve tens of billions of euros. Up until the governor's comments, the Irish government was sticking to its line that it did not need rescuing.

And indeed even after the governor had spoken, Irish Finance Minister Brian Lenihan said that his country was not yet at the point of taking a substantial international loan.

Europe's crisis managers, who have been a busy bunch this year, had not envisaged a situation where a country did not want to be bailed out. Quite the opposite. In setting up various rescue mechanisms they feared the profligate, or those who ran up bad debts, would beat a path to their door.

So when last weekend various officials - some close to the European Central Bank - began briefing that it was only a matter of time before Ireland was bailed out, they did not expect such stout resistance from Dublin.

So why did Ireland try and hold out?

The Irish government is fragile. It faces a difficult by-election. Its hold on power is slight. A bail-out, however dressed up, is a humiliation. It is a judgment on the way the government has run the country.

There is a stigma to being rescued. The image of the Celtic Tiger has long disappeared but the Irish still cherish the memory. For some years they had the fastest-growing country in Europe. To be bailed out would wound Irish pride.


Then there are conditions. One of the reasons that Ireland did so well was inward investment - particularly from the US. Large multinational companies were attracted to Ireland by a corporate tax rate of 12.5%. Others in Europe - including the French and Germans - dislike the tax. They believe it gives Ireland an unfair advantage.

Many government officials in Ireland fear that one condition of a rescue would be to give up their low corporate tax rate. A few days ago, Ireland's Europe Minister, Dick Roche, bridled at the very suggestion. "We are in charge of our own taxes," he said. We shall see what the terms of any loan are.

European Commissioner for the Economy Olli Rehn (archive image)

Then there is the not-so-little matter of sovereignty. Already Irish commentators have focused on the EU Economics Commissioner, Ollie Rehn. When they were not reporting on his visit to an expensive restaurant, they asked: "Is he the most important man in Ireland?" Is this unelected official essentially running the country, was the tone of some of the comment.

There are stirrings of unease here at what Ireland may be giving away. When it was announced that a team of experts from the EU, the IMF and the ECB were coming to Dublin, the opposition leader referred to them as "officials arriving to dictate terms of a bail-out to the government".

Ireland for a long period was enthusiastically European. Many smart people headed to Brussels. They embraced the European identity as a way of distancing themselves from their neighbour Britain. They took great satisfaction in seeing Irish companies buying up big hotels in London.

So there is foreboding as to what a bail-out would signify. One Irish commentator wrote today: "Having obtained our political independence from Britain to be the masters of our own affairs, we have now surrendered our sovereignty to the European Commission."

Brian Lenihan has defended the increasing influence of the officials from Brussels with references to European solidarity. "We share our sovereignty with Europe in relation to currency," he said. "We pool our sovereignty in this area, so if you're pooling your sovereignty, you have to act with your partners in whatever steps you take." Yesterday he spoke of a "very supportive reaction from the wider European family".

What the Irish government is hoping for - if the Bank governor is right - is a narrow deal to restore the liquidity of its banks so they can borrow more easily. That would be less of a humiliation.

Sinn Fein's Sean Crowe (L) and Gerry Adams canvas for a

It should not be forgotten that when Irish voters were first given a say on what became the Lisbon Treaty they voted "No". Irish independence is both young and keenly felt.

So if the country is forced to accept a full bail-out, questions will be asked about the future. Will Ireland ever regain control over its budget and its economy?

And that is a question being asked not just on the streets of Dublin but in Athens, Lisbon and Madrid.

Ian Martin, writing in the Wall Street Journal observed: "A new model of government without direct accountability to voters is being constructed."

That, of course, is the long-term implication of this crisis. Presuming that the eurozone does not fracture, its flaws are being used to give the European Commission much greater powers of scrutiny and economic management. And this may go further. While everyone focuses on Ireland, Greece and Portugal, the gap between these economies and Germany only widens. The price of saving the euro may be that the stronger countries bail out the weaker - precisely what German voters were told would never happen.

The "ever closer union" that some dream of may be delivered on the back of a battered currency.

Comments

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  • 1. At 2:11pm on 18 Nov 2010, Ellinas wrote:

    --✄-- Ireland for a long period was enthusiastically European. Many smart people headed to Brussels. --✄--

    They ought to continue doing so i.e. to be enthusiastically European...They are going to be bail out for their mess by them.

    Can't see anyone else willing to help them. Especially the "Murano glass-made" British tiger.

    --✄-- They embraced the European identity as a way of distancing themselves from their neighbour Britain. --✄--

    Especially the "Murano glass-made" British tiger is not willing to help them.

    --✄-- They took great satisfaction in seeing Irish companies buying up big hotels in London. --✄--

    I've said it in the previous thread i repeat it again: they proudly had the British and US "made in China" gleaming investments. It seems the defective lights of this "Christmas UK/US decorated evergreen coniferous artificial tree" shockingly hit Ireland.

    The culprit is to find among Europeans...How about Greece? It's so EU "Dolce & Gabbana" fashion way today :))))))

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  • 2. At 2:11pm on 18 Nov 2010, Wallonia wrote:


    This existentialist debate about the euro is contraproductive.

    The currency will probably outlive us all.

    This crisis is only making the EU and the eurozone more united, proving that its institutions, even the newly created ones, are working.

    Lets not forget too that Germany was not the only creditor of the bailout fund.

    In additiom, everyone in the market knows that bailouts makes creditors a lot of money.

    The taxpayer money will not be burned in this bailout, quite the contrary.

    What else is happening in Europe mr Hewitt, any good news?

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  • 3. At 2:33pm on 18 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #1

    I guess you havent been paying attention:

    http://www.cbc.ca/money/story/2010/11/17/ireland-debt-crisis-britain-pledge.html

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  • 4. At 2:57pm on 18 Nov 2010, EuroSider wrote:

    It is a shame that Ireland, so proud of its independence, is now run from Brussels.

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  • 5. At 3:10pm on 18 Nov 2010, Kit Green wrote:

    3. At 2:33pm on 18 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:
    #1
    I guess you havent been paying attention:

    http://www.cbc.ca/money/story/2010/11/17/ireland-debt-crisis-britain-pledge.html
    ------------------------------------------------

    The UK will be offering this direct funding so that (in my opinion) a back door method is found to further prop up UK banks that hold Irish sovereign and bank debt.

    Far easier to sell to the UK electorate a "stabilising helping hand" to Ireland and blame the Irish politicians rather than UK politicians being embarrassed by a UK bank bailout. After all we are told our own banks are doing so well!

    We should look again at the assumptions in the EU banking stress tests that some of us thought were laughable at the time.

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  • 6. At 3:11pm on 18 Nov 2010, kaybraes wrote:

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

  • 7. At 3:25pm on 18 Nov 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    At least Europe can pass the buck on to the EU when national governments and banks destroy their citizens livelihoods -- Americans don´t have that luxury !

    ´Never give suckers even breaks ´ as they laugh all the way to their banks !

    Jobs are more important than the sovereignty for any ruling or banking parasitic elite.

    --ask those on the Dole or food stamps !

    The blood, sweat and tears on those flags you are waving -- are NOT yours !



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  • 8. At 3:51pm on 18 Nov 2010, john wrote:

    EuroSider wrote
    It is shame that Ireland so proud of its independence is now run from Brussel.
    Let me clarify Ireland is a members of the EU as members as a voice as the EU is run is no loss of independence we are like or not all citizen of the EU.
    One example the UK foreign policy is run by the USA and we do not have a say is on the planning of it.
    This is a loss of independence.
    John

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  • 9. At 5:27pm on 18 Nov 2010, YorkshireKnight wrote:

    Blaming the EU is missing the point totally on this. I don't think it is in Ireland's interests to be in the euro but if Ireland wasn't in the EU it's banks would have sent it bankrupt like Iceland months ago.

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  • 10. At 5:30pm on 18 Nov 2010, one step beyond wrote:

    Re post 1, as has ben said the U.K. was one of the first to offer Ireland help. Just heard a member of the Irish Government on the BBC news being very complimentary about the U.K. and how they have reacted to the situation. He was not so complimentary about some others in Europe.
    Unfortunately for those who can see no good in the U.K. this will be put down as a dastardly plot (probably funded by the U.S.A.!) of some kind or another.
    Won't lose any sleep over this as some on this forum will never give the U.K. credit for anything

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  • 11. At 5:35pm on 18 Nov 2010, frenchderek wrote:

    If this is billed as a "bank bailout" then Germany will have trouble selling that message back home. Their Constitutional Court will be immediately called upon to rule - and will probably rule that it's illegal, is my guess.

    As far as the possibility of a UK contribution is concerned, if it is a bank bailout, then that' contribution is understandable: UK banks are said to be amongst the worst exposed to the Irish banking crisis.

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  • 12. At 5:37pm on 18 Nov 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    Strange !

    The Irish are blaming their government and their banks (on the BBC)

    -- and the Brits the EU ?????

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  • 13. At 5:40pm on 18 Nov 2010, Ellinas wrote:

    #3 champagne_charlie

    You had to go to Canadian news to find grotesque titles such as "Britain offers Ireland help above EU bailout" at the time Osborn only said that "Britain stands ready to support Ireland to bring stability"

    We will see if UK got the guts or if it was only a "nada talk" as at the end the British will bail out Ireland trough EU?

    This bail out British "telenovela" I'm sure it's going to be a mucho gusto fun :))))

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  • 14. At 6:01pm on 18 Nov 2010, margaret howard wrote:

    10 one step beyond writes:
    "Unfortunately for those who can see no good in the U.K. this will be put down as a dastardly plot (probably funded by the U.S.A.!) of some kind or another."

    You bet. Ever heard of perfidious Albion? A leopard doesn't change its spots. As Kit Green writes at 5:
    "The UK will be offering this direct funding so that (in my opinion) a back door method is found to further prop up UK banks that hold Irish sovereign and bank debt.Far easier to sell to the UK electorate a "stabilising helping hand" to Ireland and blame the Irish politicians rather than UK politicians being embarrassed by a UK bank bailout. After all we are told our own banks are doing so well!


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  • 15. At 6:04pm on 18 Nov 2010, Atomic_Mash wrote:

    Let's not kid ourselves. All countries in the Eurozone are strung together. When one falls into the abyss they all "help" to save their own skins.
    When a country such as Ireland is forced to accept the "help" of other countries, it has lost its independence. period.

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  • 16. At 6:07pm on 18 Nov 2010, sevenstargreen wrote:

    #12 quietoaktree

    So the Brits are blaming the EU are they? What,just the EU? I think not.

    Ireland is hardly blameless,couldnt wait to take advantage of all that
    lovely EU money could they?

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  • 17. At 6:28pm on 18 Nov 2010, lacerniagigante wrote:

    "They embraced the European identity as a way of distancing themselves from their neighbour Britain."

    What kind of nonsense are you now writing Hewitt?

    What is this "European identity" which exists in one your posts and doesn't exist in the next one?

    Britain is in the EU, so I don't see how embracing EU identity would distance a country from Britain?

    Do you resent that Ireland, despite its joining the Euro and facing a huge crisis, is still faring better than Britain (see GDP per capita charts)?

    Surely you can't blame this on the Irish.

    The will need to balance the books, and they may use a so-called bail-out. Mind you bail-out is the wrong term, I would say loans.

    Yes, loans, like those Britain built its growth on from 1992 until the spectacular crash in 2008, in trying to distance itself from its European nature, because that's where Britain lies, in Europe, whether you like it or not.

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  • 18. At 6:31pm on 18 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:

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

  • 19. At 7:03pm on 18 Nov 2010, Ellinas wrote:

    #18 champagne_charlie

    British!...HIC IRELAND HIC SALTA

    We will see!...until then the Irish wonder:

    To (UK) be or not to (UK) be...That's the EU question

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  • 20. At 7:58pm on 18 Nov 2010, Nik wrote:

    How many messages have I been revolving around the same yet once again the same question?

    A = Greek state = corrupted pseudosocialist state, overriden with tax evasion and fraud, with an underperforming public sector with double the needed civil servants, terror and horror of healthy investors, with a difficult for infrastructure terrain, speaking a unique language and having a unique alphabet, maintaining a huge military budget suffering geopolitical attacks as well as physical military attacks from neighbouring countries, positioned in the most unstable corner of Europe etc. etc.

    B = Irish state = small lean state of liberal approach, of very moderate state expenses, of relatively low corruption levels, being an attractive spot of healthy international investments, place of investement for top companies and high-tech leaders, with an almost non existing defense budget (relatively to the average), situated in a geopoliticall less sensitive corner of Europe, with an easy terrain to develop infrastructure, of english speaking & writing population etc. etc.

    Debt of A = Adt
    Debt of B = Bdt

    And we are given that:

    Adt = Bdt

    Which given the above details, it is an extremely shocking finding.

    There are 2 only explanations:

    1. that Greeks and Europeans together still lie about it and that in reality it is 10 times bigger than what declared this year. Which is not the case since the monitoring of the debt has been crystal clear all the way since the beginning and down in Greece pretty much all citizens knew about it - people knew how much their country owned. The whole question was merely EU permiting the Greek state to declare whatever fitted the situation so as to keep on going pushing the problem to the future. The idea was to push Greece silently and gradually solve it but Jeffrey came and thought otherwise!

    2. that Ireland is the most horribly successful liar of all Europeans having been able to hide a corruption level that is 10 times more than that of Greece. Which is not the case since the info that comes down to our perception has nothing to suggest any close to that, Ireland has certainly no more corruption than any other developed nation. In fact it might even be on the relatively less corrupted.

    However since our only explanation cannot work, we have to land down to reality and find out "why o why!".

    Because we have 2 radically different countries: one corrupt and one, what would just a few years back the financial specialists call a healthy and dynamic little country (a tiger! remember?) who... end up having the same amount of debt.

    What is going on? What is the reason? Is is the "state policies"? Is it the "EU policies"? What? How is this possible? That is where we have to concentrate. In my view there is nothing magic about it. Political circles were chosen by the local banking circles dependent on international banking circles to represent the interests of the latter putting their personal signature to get massive amounts of loans that they would spend to either feed the market by means of bribes and unecessary expenditures (in the corruption case) or by means of organising infrastructure so as to invite investors (in the case of a well functioning state), which in both cases did not work out and did not yield a situation in which the state would produce more to cover up the debt and make it to the break even. Now for the case of the corrupted state, that is normal, corruption cannot produce easily wealth production since the money will end up being wasted in conscumption (most of it unecessary). However for the case of the well functioning state, the question lies: why these loans were taken? On what kind of projects were they spent?

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  • 21. At 8:19pm on 18 Nov 2010, sayasay wrote:

    Don’t worry, Ireland. Just take the loans.

    Indonesia, Thailand and South Korea of the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis repaid their IMF Loans. So did Argentina and Brazil of the Latin American one. All of them did so before their each of their respective due dates.

    If they can, so, could you.

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  • 22. At 8:31pm on 18 Nov 2010, margaret howard wrote:

    21 sayasay writes:
    "Don’t worry, Ireland. Just take the loans."
    I agree. You would think the end of the world had arrived. I read only recently in an article on Argentina that the country is thriving. I'm sure Ireland will too. It deserves it after its troubled history. I think most Europeans have a soft spot for the Emerald Isles.

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  • 23. At 8:39pm on 18 Nov 2010, Freeborn John wrote:

    The most interesting aspect of this sorry tale is that the EU want the bail-out and the Irish government do not. This could be the first time in history where the would-be creditor has more or less pushed a reluctant debtor into default. By talking openly in public about private sector “haircuts” the EU elite have actually raised bond yields in Ireland and and precipitated a crisis that seemed unlikely to come to a head until next June. In doing so they have almost certainly ended the political career of Cowen, Roche and Co. I guess that since the Dublin underlings got Lisbon ratified they are expendable to their EU overlords. Never-the-less they seem unduly hasty to assume control of Ireland when they could easily have waited until next June.

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  • 24. At 9:13pm on 18 Nov 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #2. At 2:11pm on 18 Nov 2010, Wallonia

    "This crisis is only making the EU and the eurozone more united, proving that its institutions, even the newly created ones, are working."

    So this is what you believe, as someone who has a userid of Wallonia, and living in Wallonia myself I am surprised you still believe in the EU and Euro, yet alone a federal state, most Belg I know are to say the least very sceptic these days. Especially when it concerns the politicians of the three regions, and as for working, well the only work is into their pockets. You should listen to 'Le Journal' on the tv each evening at 7.00pm, especially when it concerns Charleroi.

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  • 25. At 9:15pm on 18 Nov 2010, sevenstargreen wrote:

    #23 Freeborn John

    Unduly hasty? Not really,why wait? As you said,Lisbon ratified,smug smirks all round,golden opportunity presents itself,no need to hang about
    is there? A plague on all their houses.

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  • 26. At 9:57pm on 18 Nov 2010, MaxSceptic wrote:

    If fiscal control of the Irish economy is ceded to the EU, how will the Irish ever 'vote out' their real government?

    Will the following need to be carved on a national tombstone?

    The free and independent Republic of Ireland, 1922-2010. RIP.

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  • 27. At 10:06pm on 18 Nov 2010, Atomic_Mash wrote:

    21. At 8:19pm on 18 Nov 2010, sayasay wrote:

    Don’t worry, Ireland. Just take the loans.
    Indonesia, Thailand and South Korea of the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis repaid their IMF Loans. So did Argentina and Brazil of the Latin American one. All of them did so before their each of their respective due dates.

    ---
    Yea, well all that sounds great, but guess what? None of them uses the Euro. Ireland is under the stranglehold of monetary policy it has no control over.

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  • 28. At 10:32pm on 18 Nov 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #27 Atomic_Mash

    You obviously never visited Ireland (in the early 80´s) when they had their own currency.

    ---so what is this nonsense you are spouting ?

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  • 29. At 11:07pm on 18 Nov 2010, WhiteHorses11 wrote:

    The 90's, even, come to that - *I've* been to Cork, Kerry, Limerick & Dublin. Have *you* ever visited Eire when they still had their own currency & not the mickeymouse monopoly money they have now?
    And now they don't even have control of their own country anymore. now owned by a bunch of dossers in Brussels who no-one can get shot of. Ever.

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  • 30. At 11:19pm on 18 Nov 2010, Atomic_Mash wrote:

    28. At 10:32pm on 18 Nov 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #27 Atomic_Mash

    You obviously never visited Ireland (in the early 80´s) when they had their own currency.

    ---
    I know first hand that the 'Celtic Tiger' was mostly powered by American companies that set up shop and hired many skilled Irish workers. The incentives that the Irish government used to lure all these high tech companies are going to be stripped, compliments of their German friends.

    The engine that powered their economy is being neutered by the same people that are providing 'help'. Talk about dooming a whole country's future.

    A stranglehold indeed.

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  • 31. At 11:41pm on 18 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    MHoward

    Re #14

    "You bet. Ever heard of perfidious Albion?"

    Well, You certainly hadn't until I corrected Your previous comment about 'perfidious England'!

    Usual dross.

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  • 32. At 11:51pm on 18 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    If I understand from the previous blog & this one then I fairly much got it right when I suggested to ThrenodioII the usual anti-English suspects would "..fill in the blanks":

    And, sure enough, each 1 of them has so far written suggesting: It is Sterling Currency England's fault longterm member of the EU's EUro-zone, Ireland is in trouble and even when the UK does step in to assist the Dublin Government that too is a fault by England!

    Apart from the technicality of it being the UK Government could any 1 of them even step back for a moment to acknowledge the Irish Finance Minister has complimented the UK Government & been critical of the supposed EU-zone partners!?

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  • 33. At 00:38am on 19 Nov 2010, ptsa wrote:

    23. At 8:39pm on 18 Nov 2010, Freeborn John wrote:
    The most interesting aspect of this sorry tale is that the EU want the bail-out and the Irish government do not.
    ---

    Greek government wasn't thrilled about it either. A few hours before declaring that they asked for it they, like Ireland, were very against getting it and believed they can make it work by themselves.


    20. At 7:58pm on 18 Nov 2010, Nik wrote:
    -----
    Nik, I see that you have been asking this question for a long time now. Nobody has yet come out to give you a straight-forward answer. To tell you the truth, I don't know. But, do not be fooled by the recent success story of Ireland, it was mostly based on its banking industry (we know how well that works!) and labour that all of a sudden became too expensive compared to E.European new entrants in the EU. Suddenly Ireland is starting to become irrelevant again unfortunately. If you think about it, before all the fuss about Ireland, you could say it was the Greece of the north...

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  • 34. At 03:53am on 19 Nov 2010, smroet wrote:

    #20 Nik

    What is common between Ireland and Greece ? Traditionally, the role of the Church, and the refusal of the individual to take care of himself. The 'spirit of capitalism' is to take responsibility for one's own actions, independent of social position. This sits easy with Protestant religion, as Max Weber has argued. It does not sit easy with nearly omnipotent churches, such as the Orthodox Church in Greece, and the Catholic Church in Ireland, who traditionally contributed much to the idea of 'Greekness' or 'Irishness'. Hence the mentality of the people is not to fend for themselves, but to wait for Providence.

    In both countries there is not much local industry of note, either. This is because the countries were not at the forefront of modernization. What does Greece produce, apart from feta and olive oil? Tobacco is a dying industry, and Greek shipping has traditionally not been part of Greek tax paying society. As for the Irish, they offered favourable taxes for multinational companies of American origin, which established their EU base there. But there is no 'native' powerhouse industry which structures the economic prosperity in either country.

    What both countries also have in common is the large distance to the 'centre' of Europe. This 'centre' stretches from greater London in an arch across the Benelux and the Rhineland to northern Italy. It is the area with the largest GDP per capita inside Europe, apart from some large cities such as Paris and Berlin. It also has the highest population density. This is really 'core Europe', the rest being 'periphery'. In a period of intense economic competition, things as the density of possible economic exchanges do matter.

    Yet another thing in common is the existence of a large diaspora: both countries are net exporters of some of their brightest people, who make it elsewhere. This leads to a relative poverty of new ideas back home, and slows down overall innovation. The 'fossil' structure of Greek politics (with the same names popping up again and again, as you described extensively) is a consequence of this. I don't know how this works in Ireland, having had relatively little interaction with Irish people and institutions.

    Lastly, both countries, in their present form, are relatively new, having had to struggle for independence, won it only recently (less than 200 years ago), and with the reluctant blessing of the 'Great Powers' of the day. 'Power' here is the capacity to determine one's own actions, independent of others. There is not much in either country, I'm afraid: both countries depend too much on the goodwill of others. Goodwill which is scarce nowadays.

    Anyway, I don't think all this is constitutes a water tight argument, but perhaps gives some food for thought...

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  • 35. At 04:56am on 19 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    the Republic's Central Bank Governor, Patrick Honohan said he expected a loan in the region of "tens of billions" of euros.

    "It'll be a large loan because the purpose of the amount to be advanced or to be made available to be borrowed is to show that Ireland has sufficient firepower to deal with any concerns of the market. That's the purpose of it," he told RTE.

    An EU handout could be seen as a big loss of face for the Republic - essentially meaning that its survival and solvency were reliant on Brussels. (BBC News)


    Now, what's not true in that final comment?

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  • 36. At 04:59am on 19 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    GH: "One of the reasons that Ireland did so well was inward investment - particularly from the US."


    Which would justify many anti-American comments here about "stupid Yanks".

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  • 37. At 05:01am on 19 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Is he the most important man in Ireland?" Is this unelected official [Ollie Rehn] essentially running the country"


    Yes, he is.

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  • 38. At 05:03am on 19 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    GH: "Ireland for a long period was enthusiastically European. Many smart people headed to Brussels. They embraced the European identity as a way of distancing themselves from their neighbour Britain. They took great satisfaction in seeing Irish companies buying up big hotels in London."


    How about that entusiasm now?

    Perhaps some Irish posters could tell us based on their direct observations?

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  • 39. At 05:06am on 19 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "We pool our sovereignty in this area, so if you're pooling your sovereignty, you have to act with your partners in whatever steps you take." (Lenihan)



    "Every step you take, every move you make...I'll be watching you!"

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  • 40. At 05:09am on 19 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    BTW. Gavin

    Whose this guy on the right in the lower photo?

    Looks familiar.

    Is he from the Republic of Ireland? :)

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  • 41. At 05:11am on 19 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    " Ian Martin, writing in the Wall Street Journal observed: "A new model of government without direct accountability to voters is being constructed."



    Gavin, what was it you wrote about an absence of a Tea Party in Europe?

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  • 42. At 05:12am on 19 Nov 2010, Huaimek wrote:

    The EUs concern for the solvency of individual states of the Eurozone , is that if a country defaults , it will so weaken the credibility of the Euro , as to cause it to colapse . AS Rumpy Pumpy says ," If the Euro fails , so too will the EU .
    Ireland owes banks €650Billion , about 220BL to British banks , 206BL to German banks , the rest to other banks . I dare say something will be worked out ; but I would advise Ireland to hold out against the EU taking control . Better to default than lose control to Brussels .

    Margaret Howard

    Argentina defaulted ; but is now doing well .

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  • 43. At 05:13am on 19 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #3

    Aren't you pleased? ;)

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  • 44. At 05:19am on 19 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #10 "Unfortunately for those who can see no good in the U.K. this will be put down as a dastardly plot (probably funded by the U.S.A.!)"





    But of course. We've been already told by at least one Greek poster that bombing attacks by Greek anarchists were steered by American nefarious secret services.

    Makes a lot of sense, doesn't it? :)

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  • 45. At 05:21am on 19 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Won't lose any sleep over this as some on this forum will never give the U.K. credit for anything"





    Relax, they would not give U.S. credit for anything either.

    Even for saving them from Red Army 'liberation' and for Marshall Plan.

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  • 46. At 05:27am on 19 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re "bail-out is the wrong term, I would say loans."




    Theft is a wrong word; I'd say 'misappropriation of funds'

    Killing is a wrong word; I'd say life denying.

    Etc.

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  • 47. At 05:31am on 19 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "I read only recently in an article on Argentina that the country is thriving. I'm sure Ireland will too."




    Have you been to Argentina lately, margaret howard?

    I don't think so.

    I have. Just like to Cuba: another country you praise in you comments.

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  • 48. At 05:39am on 19 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Smroet asks (in response to Niks's post):

    "What does Greece produce, apart from feta and olive oil?"





    You may just as well ask Nik what does a country which he claims is willing to bail out Greece produce apart from vodka and oil.


    [Although now we hear from another poster that it's a country which produces en mass led-painted toys and melamine containing baby formula which is eager to do so.]


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  • 49. At 05:44am on 19 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re # 30 Aotmic_Mash wrote:

    "I know first hand that the 'Celtic Tiger' was mostly powered by American companies that set up shop and hired many skilled Irish workers. The incentives that the Irish government used to lure all these high tech companies are going to be stripped, compliments of their German friends."



    And I know first hand several American CEOs who moved production of their high tech companies to Ireland for the very reason you've mentioned.


    "And what now, my love?"

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  • 50. At 06:02am on 19 Nov 2010, ciekiu1 wrote:

    I just want to mention that the name is not Ollie Rehn, but Olli Rehn...

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  • 51. At 06:14am on 19 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    CBW,

    You say 'dross'

    I say 'garbage'


    [common language divided by a Great Pond]

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  • 52. At 06:27am on 19 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    ciekiu1 wrote:
    I just want to mention that the name is not Ollie Rehn, but Olli Rehn...




    Thank you. I've been pummelled myself for spelling Barack Obama's middle name (Hussein) with one 's' only; with an implication that was intentionally disrespectful.

    BTW. Egyptian leader's name is Mubarak. Without a 'c'.

    Please, make note of it.

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  • 53. At 07:28am on 19 Nov 2010, one step beyond wrote:

    Margaret re post 14, not sure the relevance of a saying as old as that but for your education 'perfidious Albion' can and did refer both to Britain and England at various times. So that would include Scotland and Wales as well as England.
    For the record the United Kingdom has made many mistakes in the past but they have also done much good. All the countries that make up the United Kingdom can take credit in the successes but must also share the blame for when things were not done as we would have wished. In my opinion it is bordering on being 'perfidious' to argue otherwise.

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  • 54. At 07:28am on 19 Nov 2010, lacerniagigante wrote:

    # 3. At 2:33pm on 18 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:

    It looks like George Osborne hasn't paid attention to the people smashing windows at the Tories' offices last week.

    He should concentrate on Britain helping itself and let the Irish help be managed by the Eurocrats.

    If he wants to help more his neighbours, why don't he scrap the so-called rebate.

    (But, I guess it's the good old Tory paternalistic regurgitations towards an ex-member of the UK that gets this guy moving, rather than altruism ;-)

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  • 55. At 07:31am on 19 Nov 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    It would seem likely that not only will Ireland lose its competitive edge of cheap taxes but it will in future have to dance to the pipers tune. I don't see any further referendum's ever being permitted there now, that for sure will be one of the conditions (probably unsaid).

    Maybe this is the EU mandarins latest way to 'grabatise' Sovereign member states, pressurise them into taking a loan and as part of that put your own 'experts' in charge of the country. A new form of invasion by stealth.

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  • 56. At 07:58am on 19 Nov 2010, Alcuin wrote:

    Gavin,

    I am sure you are a decent sort of chap, and that your opinions are considered and knowledgable. But why is it a criminal offence for me not to pay for them? I don't want blogs on the BBC at all. It is bad enough that commercial sites have to compete with the BBC for News, but opinions?

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  • 57. At 08:14am on 19 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #54

    LG;

    I dont see what a handful of students in London has to do with anything. Nor is the rebate relevant, Britain is a huge net contributor to the EU, £200bn to date, and none of the rebate money would go to Ireland but go to Eastern Europe instead.

    Britain has made an offer, as it should, but if Ireland doesnt want it or wants to do something else then thats its business. I dont see Irish politicians or people rushing to slag the British off, quite the opposite. You're cynical about the British motive? Take a ticket, get in line behind the Greeks and the Germans. You know, one thing I've learned as a foreigner living in Britain, is that the country is damned whether it "does" or whether it "doesn't" and as such , it should do what it thinks is right, and in its national interest, and dont give a stuff what the rest think.

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  • 58. At 08:17am on 19 Nov 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    To Margaret,

    Judging by your recent posts specifically naming my userid I feel reassured that I have got under your skin, I have never liked people who pontificate, cozen, exaggerate, and misrepresent anything and everything. This is why I enjoy pointing out to other posters the failings and lack of quality of your posts, just as in the early 70's my friends and I took great pleasure in giving a certain Ken Livingstone a dose of his own medicine in public meetings and election campaigns.

    In your posts criticising the English government for being willing to help Ireland, you should bear in mind that it is largely the exposure of Scottish based banks to Ireland that risks the UK. Bearing in mind the strength of the Scottish Nationalists, if I was an English minister I would make any rescue of these banks conditional on their relocating to England (if they are not too damaged by the Scots). I would also cancel those two incredibly expensive and basically useless aircraft carriers, as even if the cancellation costs are high the savings in running costs will be enormous. Your countryman Gordon McClown and his buddies have stitched up the English for the last decade with various schemes designed by Scots for Scotland, now is the time to cut those 'done deals' to an ungrateful part of the UK.

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  • 59. At 08:28am on 19 Nov 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #57. At 08:14am on 19 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie

    I think one reason you won't see the Irish people slagging off the UK and their offer of help is that they trust the UK far more than the EU. With a British deal it is 'what you see is what you get' with no hidden twists or turns. With an EU deal then there will be hidden costs, small print (in 27 languages) and insistence on special terms and conditions that will benefit only countries like Germany and France.

    As for those that continually go on about the UK rebate, well the corrupt, mismanaged CAP is what needs to go and when that happens the UK rebate becomes unnecessary. But for certain the Wealthy large EU landowners will be against their nice little earner being stopped.

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  • 60. At 08:35am on 19 Nov 2010, Lorentz wrote:

    ' So there is foreboding as to what a bail-out would signify. One Irish commentator wrote today: "Having obtained our political independence from Britain to be the masters of our own affairs, we have now surrendered our sovereignty to the European Commission." '

    The commentator seems to have forgotten that Ireland effectively gave up its sovereignty in this area when it signed up to the Euro.

    We are told that the nation would already be insolvent if it was not for the funds being provided to the
    banks by the ECB. I hope Lenihan and Cowen are mindful of this in their manoeuvering to save their own backs. Perhaps Honohan could put them right on the matter.

    Even with the involvement of the EU Commission, the fundamental problems are not being address. How, in the long term, can Ireland avoid this happening again while remaining in the Eurozone along side Germany?

    One other thought: I hope the UK Government has its eyes on the properties held by NAMA in the UK as it decides on the terms of any loan package. They should cover the costs of the loan.

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  • 61. At 09:03am on 19 Nov 2010, Commodus wrote:

    Re 59 Buzet23

    'I think one reason you won't see the Irish people slagging off the UK and their offer of help is that they trust the UK far more than the EU. With a British deal it is 'what you see is what you get' with no hidden twists or turns.'

    What a load of nonsense, you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. Seems to me you have never talked to Irish people or been to Ireland. I know that first hand, my wife is Irish... The Irish trusting the brits more than the EU, that's really a good one mate!

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  • 62. At 09:04am on 19 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Buzet

    I'm pleased to see that Alice's charming neologism (grabatize) has become a permanent fixture.


    just like 'borking' somebody, in the U.S. :)

    [uninitiated may want to read on a treatment of a supremely qualified candidate for the US Supreme Court, Judge Robert Bork, by the Democrats.
    Particularly by sen., sen. Kennedy and Metzenbaum (RIP)]

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  • 63. At 09:12am on 19 Nov 2010, Commodus wrote:

    Re 57 champagne_charlie

    'You're cynical about the British motive? Take a ticket, get in line behind the Greeks and the Germans. You know, one thing I've learned as a foreigner living in Britain, is that the country is damned whether it "does" or whether it "doesn't" and as such , it should do what it thinks is right, and in its national interest, and dont give a stuff what the rest think.'

    Get off your high horses. First rule: no country provide help if it is not in its interest, especially Britain in regard of Ireland (lost love between the 2 countries? I think not). Now British banks are up to their neck in the Irish banking disaster. As the chancellor himself said, it is in Britain interest to have a stable banking system.

    So British politicians and bankers are sweating because of the Irish banking mess. They are running to the rescue to save their skin. Must be bad as well, cause it's not like money is bursting out of UKs coffers...

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  • 64. At 09:19am on 19 Nov 2010, Commodus wrote:

    Now back on topic: why is it hard for the Irish to say Yes

    Well that's not too hard.

    1. The government would admit it can't handle the situation on its own. Admission of failure, bad for re-election.

    2. The opposition is Ireland is stirring the pot, to get the government in trouble, so it can get elected next time. See #1 above.

    3. The Irish are proud, fiercely independent people who don't want to be rescued. (but sometimes there is no choice!)

    4. They are scared that the condition for a loan would be further cut back in spending (they are probably right).

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  • 65. At 09:28am on 19 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #63

    "Get off your high horses. "

    Even I can only ride one high horse at a time.

    "(lost love between the 2 countries? I think not)."

    Anglo-Irish relations are better than they have ever been, not my words, those of the Irish President. We even give each other "douze points" at Eurovision and if that isn't a symbol of a great relationship I dont know what is.

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  • 66. At 09:30am on 19 Nov 2010, Nik wrote:

    44. At 05:19am on 19 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:
    """Re #10 "Unfortunately for those who can see no good in the U.K. this will be put down as a dastardly plot (probably funded by the U.S.A.!)"
    But of course. We've been already told by at least one Greek poster that bombing attacks by Greek anarchists were steered by American nefarious secret services.
    Makes a lot of sense, doesn't it? :)"""

    Yes powermeerkat, it makes 100% sense apart in your own logic in which whatever we say you take it negative. I am constantly surprised by your naiveness.
    In the recent as-if terrorist action of the mail-bombs I asked you whether a genuine Greek left wing (or right wing or whatever) extermist would ever do a thing like that sending bombs to the embassies of Bulgaria, Perou, Mexico prior to sending to Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy... do really Greek extremists consider that it is the fault of irrelevant Latin countries or of Bulgarian and Romanian friends (currently our only decent neighbours in the Balkans?).
    If you want to believe this idiocy fine but if you want to listen to the voice of reason, then take my word - we will see more of these set-ups in Greece as well as the greater region. And stop being hurt by this, it is not about the US & the American people: this is how politics always have moved, anywhere, anytime. By set-ups, prefabricated events, provocation and back-stabbings. People can only stand spectators.


    48. At 05:39am on 19 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:
    Smroet asks (in response to Niks's post):
    "What does Greece produce, apart from feta and olive oil?"
    You may just as well ask Nik what does a country which he claims is willing to bail out Greece produce apart from vodka and oil.

    If it was like that, you would not have to bribe and threaten neutral countries to buy your military useless junk and not theirs and your astronauts would not have to take obligatory lessons in Russian to obtain permission to enter mankinds greatest technological achievement, the ISS.

    Referring to Greece, if we take out the basic agricultural sector and tourism that you only seem to be aware, it used to have a healthy food processing sector, it used to fabricate much of its needs in textiles and clothing, it had a huge construction industry and produced much of its construction materials, it used to produce the 100% of household appliances and furniture including the production of high quality fridges, ovens, (with the Izola & Pitsos brands being of legendary quality - you find the 70s and even 60s models still working impeccably), it used to produce ships including military ones, used to produce low tech weapons (however including a couple of relatively high-tech missiles), it used to assemble buses and trucks, low-quality Citroen based cars as well as assemble high quality Nissan cars (best Nissan assembly line in the world back then as Japanese themselves claimed) and so on, even 2 of its public sector companies, Telecommunications and Electricity had developed throughout the 50s, 60s and 70s one of the most impressive electricity and telecommunication networks, all that in a country of 1000 mountains and 3000 islands....
    ...the list used to be really large... then came PASOK in the 80s and bygone were most of these. PASOK fought every single of the working sectors - guess why a socialist government did not want all of the above "bad" things for Greece and preferred imports. Just make an educated guess. From the 90s onwards, Greece kept only a few working industries - the aluminium one is such (of the most important in Europe but not so known since it is more construction oriented).

    """[Although now we hear from another poster that it's a country which produces en mass led-painted toys and melamine containing baby formula which is eager to do so.]"""

    Here you mean China I guess. Do not worry on those. First sort out your house. Till recently in US, drugs were tested in mental institutions & soldiers on campaign. How many healthy soldiers remain of your 1st Iraq war shock & owe campaign? How are their families, their kids? I feel petty of those men - the US-state and US-military betrayal is shocking. I speak for American people mate. You don't. Are you proud of your people, do you ever care about their well-being? Well speak for them instead of searching the problems elsewhere. Why do you wait for such a horrible "anti-American" like me (as-if...) to speak in defense of the basic rights of your people, and by all means yours. You should be doing it yourself.

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  • 67. At 09:30am on 19 Nov 2010, one step beyond wrote:

    Undoubtedly the U.K. is looking at both the interests of Ireland and itself in offering this money.
    However what the U.K. does not appear to be doing is using this offer of help as leverage to get the Irish to reduce corporation tax, unlike others in Europe. The U.K recognises low corporation tax is useful to stimulate investment and the economy. It may well have been in their interest to pressure Ireland to raising corporation tax so making them less competitive compared to the U.K. However they appear to have decided not to do this, unlike others in the E.U. such as France and Germany. But little criticism is made of them compared to the U.K. Does this not seem just a little hypocritical to any one?

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  • 68. At 09:41am on 19 Nov 2010, Nik wrote:

    33. At 00:38am on 19 Nov 2010, ptsa wrote:

    20. At 7:58pm on 18 Nov 2010, Nik wrote:
    -----
    """Nik, I see that you have been asking this question for a long time now. Nobody has yet come out to give you a straight-forward answer."""

    Yes, only Smroet following your message ventured in trying to give such an answer.

    """To tell you the truth, I don't know."""

    I am not saying I know either. I just try to make educated deductions and take lessons out of it. Nobody seems to understand or make an effort to understand how important is the comparison of Greece and Ireland because we talk about two radically different approached - the one doing everything wrongly and the other everything right according to "finacial preachers" and yet they end up having pretty much the same amount of trouble - which for Ireland has 10 times worse connotation since normally it is a much more easy country to develop and maintain than Greece of 1000 mountains, 3000 islands all that in the "worst neighbourhood" of Europe. For me the case of Ireland is... unthinkable. There is something fundamentally wrong. We are at the core of what is going on right now around the world.

    """But, do not be fooled by the recent success story of Ireland, it was mostly based on its banking industry (we know how well that works!)"""

    I was never fooled by it. Even in the peak days I was 100% certain that all that investment would prove very volatile. However, the trouble is how to explain the debts. I mean, the investments come, they make you take loans to construct infrastructure to accomodate them, then investments flee and you are left with the debts. Ok alright, this happens, that is life. But in Irelands' case we are talking about Olympic-dimenions fooling around - what has happened is unthinkable. And it has to become a lesson to all those who sit below and listen to financial preachers swinging from the trees licking their lips with their double-edged tongues and who even today have not lost the slightest of nerve and still have the face to give "lessons".

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  • 69. At 09:41am on 19 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    56. 19 Nov 2010, Alcuin writes:
    "
    Gavin,
    I am sure you are a decent sort of chap, and that your opinions are considered and knowledgable. But why is it a criminal offence for me not to pay for them? I don't want blogs on the BBC at all. It is bad enough that commercial sites have to compete with the BBC for News, but opinions?"


    And, I'm thinking You're probably quite a decent fellow even though You haven't thought through the above statement.

    I'm cetainly no promoter or apologist for the BBC whose current level of 'British Broadcasting' service IMO falls woefully short of the superb standards of some decades ago (as I've remarked before: BBC has desceneded from Dimbleby at Belsen to 'Celebrity Chef'! Yuk!).

    The debate over funding of the BBC is a perennial one in the UK and across the media world (see last 2 years Murdoch Jnr v BBC): We'll certainly not resolve it on this Blog.

    As things stand the BBC is an entirely legally-based UK Media Service, supported by Parliamentary Statute. Its License Fee is negotiated with the whichever Government is in office at the time of renewal. So far I'm not aware of any ground-swell of British Public opinion putting the 'Fee' at the forefront of pressing matters MPs should be considering with a view to altering/removing. Just now, I believe its frozen.

    In the meantime BBC is fully entitled to offer an extensive range of services and with a distinguished historic Broadcasting record and as a modern day World leader in Media it takes all those roles very seriously.
    Broadcasting always involves 'opinion': It has to because though media personnel & the companies (Fox, CNN, Al Jazeera, France24, Sky, ITV, C9 etc.) are supposedly, implicitly 'objective' and their overall programming 'entertaining', they all by the nature of whence they came & whom they represent (Business-Nationality-Geography-Public-at-large) will present a view affected by that background.

    BBC's 'News & Current Affairs' programming is no different in this respect from any other international or national media business. Gavin Hewitt as its European Editor responsible for the in-put of stories to the BBC pool of information that informs its programmes on Europe inevitably provides others' 'opinion' on events.

    Via this Blog Mr Hewitt offers those interested a slightly more informed, broader view of those Europeans with the opinions on the events & suggests interpretations of them.
    In turn those of us interested can via this same Blog offer our Public-at-large opinions & interpretations of whatever he has reported & opined on.

    Afterall, that tedious explanation, I will ultimately settle for a term I'm sure You are familiar with: For a Democracy to work its Citizens must have the widest possible access to a range of information.

    IMO, Mr Hewitt is providing a small but important aspect of that Democratic process.

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  • 70. At 09:44am on 19 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    one step beyond

    Re #53 & 'perfidious Albion': "All the countries that make up the United Kingdom can take credit in the successes but must also share the blame for when things were not done as we would have wished. In my opinion it is bordering on being 'perfidious' to argue otherwise."

    Thoroughly accurate & very well put.

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  • 71. At 09:51am on 19 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #67

    "However they appear to have decided not to do this, unlike others in the E.U. such as France and Germany. But little criticism is made of them compared to the U.K. Does this not seem just a little hypocritical to any one? "

    Hell yes, especially when EU subsidies followed by low corporation tax has directly resulted in several giant US technology firms setting up in Ireland, taking away tens of thousands of jobs that would have undoubtedly been created in the UK, making Ireland richer per capita than the UK! Jaysus.

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  • 72. At 10:01am on 19 Nov 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #61. At 09:03am on 19 Nov 2010, Commodus

    Yes I have been to Ireland, and yes I most certainly have known a large number of Irish people as there was a very large Southern Irish population where I came from in South London. Any other sweepingly foolish generalisations come to your mind, as whilst there is a lot of history between Ireland and England there is also a lot of respect, both ways. Maybe your wife and her friends are old dyed in the wool Nationalists who still live in yesteryear, but that's your problem.

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  • 73. At 10:13am on 19 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #63. At 09:12am on 19 Nov 2010, Commodus writes: "Now British banks are up to their neck in the Irish banking disaster. As the chancellor himself said, it is in Britain interest to have a stable banking system.

    So British politicians and bankers are sweating because of the Irish banking mess. They are running to the rescue to save their skin. Must be bad as well, cause it's not like money is bursting out of UKs coffers..."


    I don't disagree in the broad sense with Your view of the UK's assistance to Ireland.
    I just cannot see any reason for Your cynicism about it taking place.
    Afterall, isn't the UK protecting its own vested interests precisely what the 15 EUro-zone did with their series of emergency meetings to cobble together the famed multi-Billions 'Bailout' package for Greece and other unfortunate PIIGS!?

    Why is it such a laudable Economic-Fiscal exercise for the 'Zone' to rescue a State whose foundering may well wreck the EUro-banking system, but when the UK acts in a similar manner to protect UK-banking there is something supposedly reprehensible and sinister about it?

    'Pro EU-Brussels' disliking the fact a non-EUro Nation is capable of standing on its own even when its Economy & Finances are supposed to be in disarray: More illogical anti-British bias by any chance?

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  • 74. At 10:39am on 19 Nov 2010, Commodus wrote:

    Re 73 cool_brush_work

    'Pro EU-Brussels' disliking the fact a non-EUro Nation is capable of standing on its own even when its Economy & Finances are supposed to be in disarray: More illogical anti-British bias by any chance?

    I can return the argument. When the EU offers help to Ireland - basically forcing the Irish government to stop bankers madness in the country - the UK anti-EU talk of sell-out, Ireland rules from brussel etc... While when the UK step in for its interest it is somehow more noble. Care to explain?

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  • 75. At 10:43am on 19 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #68

    "And it has to become a lesson to all those who sit below and listen to financial preachers swinging from the trees licking their lips with their double-edged tongues and who even today have not lost the slightest of nerve and still have the face to give "lessons"."

    Maybe, but it take "two to tango". You can offer someone a 125% mortgage and only take their word that they can afford it, and only secured against the gamble of rising property prices....but they dont have to take it. The Irish got carried away on the crest of the greed wave, the same as the British did. The only question is who can surf better.

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  • 76. At 10:45am on 19 Nov 2010, Commodus wrote:

    Re 72 Buzet23

    'Yes I have been to Ireland, and yes I most certainly have known a large number of Irish people as there was a very large Southern Irish population where I came from in South London. Any other sweepingly foolish generalisations come to your mind, as whilst there is a lot of history between Ireland and England there is also a lot of respect, both ways. Maybe your wife and her friends are old dyed in the wool Nationalists who still live in yesteryear, but that's your problem.'

    Maybe, maybe not. Having lived in the UK I saw first hand a lot of 'racism' against the 'paddies'. Maybe not as bad as it was before, however it was still there, lingering. Having stayed numerous time in Ireland and talked to many people there, I can't say the general feeling was trust for the brits... You don't erase centuries of abuse after some years of peace, even though the situation is improving between the two countries.

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  • 77. At 10:49am on 19 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #74

    "the UK anti-EU talk of sell-out, Ireland rules from brussel etc..."

    Its the Irish themselves that are saying that. Why would the UK care if about the sovereignty of another country? Its up to Ireland to decide what level of sovereignty its happy with.

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  • 78. At 11:04am on 19 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Commodus

    Re #74

    I acknowledge that 'reverse' argument.

    And, I 'care to explain' those of us who are 'anti-EU' see any diminution of the Brussels' authority & power as a positive gain for the whole of EUropean society.

    The 'political'-'judicial'-'financial' advance of Brussels post-Maastricht was in our view a very bad aspect of the Democratic evolution of Europe. Blanket EU centralisation policies being a direct threat to the longterm democratic & economic progression & prosperity of Europe.

    Post-Lisbon with Brussels exploiting the catastophe of the Economic collapse to push through far-reaching centralised Financial Oversight & the EP pressing demands for a EU-wide Tax Collection further reducing individual member States' & Citizens' sovereign Rights & Responsibilities any knock-back for the EU, however relatively small in 'political-economic-financial' terms is to be seized on and celebrated.

    All my sympathy lies with the unfortunate Irish at this dire economic episode. However, I cannot divorce from that an overall impression the EU failure to 'rescue' Ireland without significant & decisive UK support is a real blow to Brussels' preferred political image & future ambitions.

    EU-Brussels has been in the ascendancy for almost 20yrs: IMO the realisation a State may be able to survive & perhaps do better outside its strait-jacket control is welcome.
    The UK has led this independence strand of the supra-National debate. So, the fact G.B. is playing a large part in the Irish 'rescue' package has IMO an even wider impact for the future relations & policies of all EUrope.

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  • 79. At 11:18am on 19 Nov 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #76. At 10:45am on 19 Nov 2010, Commodus

    You still seem to have a bit to learn about the UK and Ireland, but maybe that's the fault of the politically correct culture that the Socialists have installed. Traditionally all the four nations and Southern Irish joked about both themselves and the others, it was give and take and nobody gave a monkeys about it, this has since been extended to include other Nations/Colours and I've seen recently in UK pubs how non-racist it is as joking is a tradition. It's sad that political activists have now made it almost a capital crime. A good coloured friend of mine is probably the worst one I know for telling coloured jokes, is he racist?

    Therefore when you talk about racism don't get sucked into the PC culture that see racism under every stone and believe paddy's, jock's, taffy's, Frog's and many others from round the world, are racist words, they are friendly nicknames that until the last few decades were used everywhere and were a part of the joke culture. I see the same here in Belgium as there are nicknames for all the ethnic groups. The point is that if you can't take being called say a Limey or Pom or roast beef (French for English) then you shouldn't call an Irish person paddy etc, and I've yet to meet an English person who doesn't accept as well as give this sort of joking.

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  • 80. At 11:29am on 19 Nov 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #74. At 10:39am on 19 Nov 2010, Commodus

    Just a thought, since there seem to be so many criticising the UK for being willing to help the Irish and questioning their motives it makes me wonder about the motives of those pro-EU complainers. After all they have wanted the UK to be totally within the EU and under total EU control; if that had been the case the bail-out would have been a total EU action. Now the EU can only say it was part of the action and cannot claim the rescue to be proof that the EU and ever closer union is both necessary and working. A loose Confederacy of Sovereign states could have done exactly the same for Ireland.

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  • 81. At 11:35am on 19 Nov 2010, Nik wrote:

    34. At 03:53am on 19 Nov 2010, smroet wrote:
    """#20 Nik
    What is common between Ireland and Greece ? Traditionally, the role of the Church, and the refusal of the individual to take care of himself. The 'spirit of capitalism' is to take responsibility for one's own actions, independent of social position. This sits easy with Protestant religion, as Max Weber has argued. It does not sit easy with nearly omnipotent churches, such as the Orthodox Church in Greece, and the Catholic Church in Ireland, who traditionally contributed much to the idea of 'Greekness' or 'Irishness'."""
    ----
    Smroet, first let me tell you I am no religious person and I have my very own views about the orthodox church and all that priesthood clan. Yet I have to remain fair and give Ceasar's thingies to Ceasar. Since I often here the above perception among westerners, I will take some space (so do not take it wrong, I am not mad at you mentioning so or something) to explain things better.

    What you mention above is simply the perceptions existing outside the society - and I will speak for the Greek one that I know best from inside and from the outside. Greeks traditionally have been one of the most independent and enterprenial cultures of Europe with the highest rate of self-employed people (in this taking out self-employed small-size landowning farmers and refferring to business and micro-businesses). This yesterday as well as today. Historically, in half of the previous millenia, the Orthodox church was controlled at high level by the Ottoman Empire to "sleep down" the christians and particularly the Greeks, yet "sleepy Orthodox Greeks" had done 30 rebelions and 5 major revolutions during the 400 years of occupation (how that compares with other Empires?) all while exploiting the "sleepy Orthodox Russia" that outlived the Mongol raids (which I sincirely doubt westerners, out of which no single ethnic group was able to outlive its conquerors, would be able to do!) then went on to trash the Ottomans on every occasion (stopped only by the British threat of world war, all the world against them). The sleep Russians then permitting the sleepy Greeks develop - still as a slave-nation - the biggest commercial fleet in the Mediterranean and so in the late 18th and early 19th century half of Italy and France were eating Ukrainian wheat. What exactly prohibitive is there in the orthodox tradition, I still cannot figure out. The fact that Russians moved on to take half the earth all while locally developing science at fields where no westerner had yet reached? The fact that Greeks even in the 19th century had one the highest educational standards in the world producing minds like the very orthodox Karatheodoris (man behind theory of relativity - Einstsein saying himself)? The fact that the world discovered the 20th century thanx to an orthodox, Tesla (who had actually proposed the 22nd century directly but western bankers rejected it...) and another orthodox, Chiolkofsky (the man who introduced us to space era)?

    What is it in the orthodox religion that brings stagnation is something that really escapes my logic. Yet, such remain the appearences - and I do not blaim you personally for reproducing them, far from that.

    It is just that there was never anything particular within the Orthodox church that prohibited people to take up initiatives & responsibilities. While Orthodox church has a particular culture of spirituality (and a parallel culture of intrigue, politics and corruption to name the other side to have all the spectrum) it had a relatively liberal structure in contast with the much less spiritual catholic and even less protestant churches that were based on more cosmic structures more close to muslim-like structures. On the overall it has always been a much more liberal and democratic church than the likes of the catholic and the protestant one (the latter one particularly at its onset was more close to the muslim fundamentalism in many ways). Church might had an overly present cultural influence felt in many aspects of life but that would be the appearence and it certainly had nothing to do with any impact on the industriousness of the nation given that Greeks outside Greece were even more collated to the orthodox church but excelled in business in comparison to the less collated to church Greeks inside Greece who were of course impaired by the malfunctioning of the state, foreign protectorate. Of the most religious Greeks were the Minor Asians who happened to be also the most industrious of us all! Today, be it with the malfunctioning state and with all those efforts of pseudosocialist governments to make the people dependent and with all those many public sector civil servants, Greece still has the highest number of businessmen and of self-employed people in Europe as well as having the highest rate of property-owners - and in terms of work ethics ... try beating the 2300 hours Greek workers work when your protestant northern countries cannot pass even the 1900 hours (Germany is around 1800 for example). The fact that Greeks do not boast about it due to the fact that there is nothing there to boast working from morning till night to base a subsistence (the case of many) or to ensure the same level of earnings that other Europeans ensure working 7 hours per day with 1 hour break. So instead of speaking so you should take some example from the Greek working ethic: work and not boast about it. Not to mention the cultural inclincation to education which in the orthodox ethic had been always strong as ever and much higher than the catholic or protestant ethics. Greek are by far the most educated Europeans right now no matter if their market had never pressed them to be so and it is sad that this mockery of a state fight off all that potential

    """Hence the mentality of the people is not to fend for themselves, but to wait for Providence."""

    When they go to fend themselves, then they are bad lazy people who strike all day and do no work. They go to fend themselves and their sovereignty as a country and their freedom as a culture and they are called nationalists. They go to fend for themselves as individuals and better their position and that of their families, then they are mafia-clans and corrupted. Well down to the basics you would be surprise who really waits for "providence" if not for the endless queues of European corporate private sector employees... but that is another story...

    """In both countries there is not much local industry of note, either. This is because the countries were not at the forefront of modernization. What does Greece produce, apart from feta and olive oil? Tobacco is a dying industry, and Greek shipping has traditionally not been part of Greek tax paying society."""

    Modern is something the Greek state never was. But there was some worth mentioning industry until the 80s when they pseudosocialist PASOK government killed to transform the nation into a massive importer (very socialist logic eh?). Shipping is a strictly internationalised business and cannot be counted easily. Greece to take some of that chunk it has to become a traderoute hub - . To become a traderoute hub it has to have at minimum the one and only most basic traderoute that traditionally made the country rich: the Black Sea - Aegean traderoute. Now you tell me, why throughout the 20th century this one was non-existing and why today this is a near casus belli between US and Russia... What is Greece's position and what its capacities of decision in that?

    The above starts making the link with the very important things you mention below:

    """What both countries also have in common is the large distance to the 'centre' of Europe. This 'centre' stretches from greater London in an arch across the Benelux and the Rhineland to northern Italy. It is the area with the largest GDP per capita inside Europe, apart from some large cities such as Paris and Berlin. It also has the highest population density. This is really 'core Europe', the rest being 'periphery'. In a period of intense economic competition, things as the density of possible economic exchanges do matter."""

    That is a very precise observation. Very very precise one. And I could open here 1000 examples extending to the management of Eastern Europe by this "core central/western Europe", the wars in Jugoslavia, the conflictual relationship with Russia, international traderoutes and so on.

    """Yet another thing in common is the existence of a large diaspora: both countries are net exporters of some of their brightest people, who make it elsewhere. This leads to a relative poverty of new ideas back home, and slows down overall innovation."""

    Partially true. But it is not so much a case of minds (as Greece exported not only businessmen, ship magnates and scientists but also a large part of its working class that could not be employed locally) - it is mostly a case of immigration relaxing pressure inside and as such permitting the continuation of a wrongly set system - a phenomenon that is present in pretty much most countries where population emmigrates. Eg. next door, Albania & Bulgaria present similar phenomena today. The stagnation occurs mainly due to the establishment of blocks that create a blockus to the opening of traderoutes & strategic businesses agreements. We were witnesses of that in the last 4 years: Greece signed the first major strategic business agreements since WWII and we saw what followed.

    """The 'fossil' structure of Greek politics (with the same names popping up again and again, as you described extensively) is a consequence of this."""

    Well not exactly, given that all of these political clans were mostly people coming from outside rather than being developed from the inside.

    """I don't know how this works in Ireland, having had relatively little interaction with Irish people and institutions."""

    Me too Smroet, thus my interest to comprehend how these two small and up to relatively recently 3world European countries which no matter the whatever parallels have radically different basic characteristics and followed radically different economico-political paths ... nontheless ending up in the same dire situation.

    """Lastly, both countries, in their present form, are relatively new, having had to struggle for independence, won it only recently (less than 200 years ago), and with the reluctant blessing of the 'Great Powers' of the day. 'Power' here is the capacity to determine one's own actions, independent of others. There is not much in either country, I'm afraid: both countries depend too much on the goodwill of others. Goodwill which is scarce nowadays."""

    Here, again you approach the core of the issue, and I have to push you more. It is not so much the "youngish" of the nations, and not so much the "good-old bad Ottomans/British" (you hear this CBW?) but what you mention then: "both countries depend too much on the goodwill of others". You said in one word what takes me paragraphs, bravo.

    """Anyway, I don't think all this is constitutes a water tight argument, but perhaps gives some food for thought..."""

    You most certainly did (and forget my critiscism on the orthodox-protestant issue).

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  • 82. At 12:29pm on 19 Nov 2010, Nik wrote:

    34. At 03:53am on 19 Nov 2010, smroet wrote:

    I continue your very interesting comment to go diretly to your topic (and sorry for loving resolving side issues on the sides, but it is also part of the overall picture!).

    """As for the Irish, they offered favourable taxes for multinational companies of American origin, which established their EU base there. But there is no 'native' powerhouse industry which structures the economic prosperity in either country."""

    Our issue here is Ireland and Greece is used in comparison to it to make comprehend what hapened to Ireland and why it ended like that. Now that is what we have to see to understand not just for Ireland but for just any other country. As a Greek I am much more intrigued to know since I still do find it irrational that this little, generally low corruption country of lightweight state and of people of few needs (living in a liberal society) ended up having similar debt levels as Greece.

    You are pointing in the right direction. But I will go even further:

    What did Ireland do? Exactly what all those financial preachers swinging on the tree branches sung all those years:

    1) Pray to the international monetary system
    2) Be liberal on all accounts
    3) Have faith in the free trade and circulation of goods and people
    4) Kill all local businesses you can find better outside your country
    5) Keep only your best businesses alive
    6) Lower your taxes
    7) Organise local infrastructure to attract foreign investments
    8) Organise legal framework to attract foreign investments
    9) Attract foreign investments with presents and facilitations
    10) Have faith in ability of foreign investments to upkeep your economy

    The above over-simplitically presented liberal views which Ireland more or less applied. So one would expect that if all the above had to give super results. If not then, certainly it would not be catastrophic since Ireland would had kept a lightweight state and as such even if it fell in the negative, it would not be terrible since the low upkeep costs of the state would not require any massive foreign loans. Yet what happaned was that Ireland ended up in a massive debt of astronomic size equal to the most corrupt and badly run state of Greece. Cos it is like that the situation. I mean... at least corrupt Greeks (those 20% of them) had had a good time with it (and still have since Jeffrey does not touches them, it is the people that rushed to vote last Sunday for him winning him cities when at big cities like Thessaloniki up to 75% of voters did not appear!!!). But how about Irish? Did they had a good time while it lasted? Did they go to Irish-folk clubs and break plates doing fiestas on EU money? Did they buy French Mirage aircraft receiving them without the radars while having paid double the price of them - the difference ending in private accounts? Did they have their marriage reception in George V of Paris with the states' money? At last, where did they spend all that money? If they did not spend it corruption, if they did not spend it in a burdening public sector, if they did not spend it in welfare, where is all that money gone. Are there Irish people with immense Swiss accounts like those in Greece?

    My hypothesis is not educated. I admit I do not know well Ireland so I need the views of Irish here if possible.
    But the whole case reminds me of that video of that funny man on Youtube, you know whom I mean.... the infamous "Economic Hitman"! Not that I do buy all his narrative word by word but much of what he explains really happens and really is going on. Countries are not attacked only militarily, they are also attacked geopolitically and fiancially. And the latter is a much more vicious kind of attack since you cannot calculate it easily. As the story goes, representatives of huge multinationals or diplomats - depending the situation - enter in contact with 3 world either corrupt-prone or weak countries and work on influencing first with soft-power governments into buying their strategic business proposals. If soft power does not work, then they will either financially aid a more corrupt party to rise to government or they might as well murder and push for a dictatorship. All means are employed.

    The business proposals start from pressures on countries to alter their legal frameworks, their state organisation, their financial policies and enter even in the socio-cultural sphere, so as to prepare the ground for the entry of multinationals who need a certain basis before doing so. The whole idea of course is sold as "development" for the country but the only thing that happens is that the country:

    1) Takes on immense loans from the multinationals themselves
    2) Loans are spent on infrastructure and services that only suit the multinationals with minimal impact on the locals and serving not their real needs of them and their real economy. Note that anyway most of these loans taken in the name of the local people will be spend on projects whose checks are going directly or indirectly back to the creditors!!! Most of the money of the loans actually will hardly ever enter the country!
    3) Multinationals enter and invest but not in long-term projects but mostly in short and medium term ones, then they toally divest, leaving the country naked.

    and after point 3 the country is left:
    4) with the upkeep of a costly and uneeded (since not appropriate for the local needs)infrastructure
    5) with huge loans to repay which it evidently cannot
    6) with masses of unemployed people

    It goes without saying that if the country refuses to pay, it will be faced with direct war (well... in most cases there will be a willing neighbour), if not it will be squeezed to near-famine levels so as to accept the solution:

    So the solution comes with the return of the foreign capital which:
    7) returns as saviour to bring a new era of redevelopment bringing again investments, i.e. foreign money
    8) buys up local property at fantastically cheap rates
    9) buys up local infrastructure and operates it at fantastically cheap rates
    10) buys up all local ressources virtually for free as exchange for the loans that already indirectly have been paid by the previous work of the country.

    As such, the local people are left with more "development" but with less private property which at the end of the day is the only basic measure of richness.

    That is the idea.

    And as such the fact that two radically different countries like Greece and Ireland ended up in the same situation converged somehow to the above. In the case of sage and quiet Ireland, soft power was used. In case of loud and noisy Greece, murder, dictatorship, party bribing and feeding of the local corruption on all levels of society was combined with guided pressure from the neighbourhood so as to guide the country accept the case. As such I am sad to say (it truly makes me no happy at all) that Irish actually fell much more easily to the "plan" than Greeks. So much better as it will be the exact reason they will suffer less. Ireland will be ok. It is Greece that will have to deal with much more difficult situations and I am not talking at all about finances right now.

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  • 83. At 12:49pm on 19 Nov 2010, Huaimek wrote:

    #74 Commodus

    British Banks are the biggest creditors of the Irish Banks , 220billion ; it is not inappropriate that Britain should offer help , which is likely to be free of the conditions the EU and the IMF are likely to seek . Germany is the next biggest creditor , 206billion and does not want to bailout Ireland .
    Without German financial support the EU isn't going to bail out anybody . The EU and IMF are likely to impose conditions that will not only be unacceptible to Ireland , but likely to make Ireland's ability to recover even more difficult .
    Britain is not pressuring Ireland to take help ; whereas the EU is , not in the kindly interests of helping out Ireland ; but because the EU fears an Irish default will diminish international faith in the Euro , causing its collapse and the possible demise of the EU .

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  • 84. At 1:05pm on 19 Nov 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    powermeer wrote
    "Buzet

    I'm pleased to see that Alice's charming neologism (grabatize) has become a permanent fixture."

    I am also pleased to see that Buzet writes it with "s" and you with "z", so all is good and proper, the verb got equipped with normal ? verb perks :o)))))) lives a life! so to say :o))))))) traditions minded and all :o))))


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  • 85. At 1:38pm on 19 Nov 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    powermeer wrote (poor one now nearly alone here :o( We all hope temporarily :o))))))))))))

    "You may just as well ask Nik what does a country which he claims is willing to bail out Greece produce apart from vodka and oil."

    powermeer-o-chka,
    oil and vodka would be half the trouble. we also happen to sell arms, standing 2nd in profits from it to the USA only :o))))

    Now, I forgot how much is that, after all 1/10th of the US revenues of arms' selling would be also "second to". But I think it's not 1/10 :o(
    Otherwise you wouldn't chase and annoy us with every "illegal" sales to "illegal" un-approved countries whenever you find an occasion or something that will pass for it :o)))) You don't worry that much ab a competitor in the category "one tenth of my revenue " :o))))))))

    So, it seems to be 30-35% (of the Russian annual revenue) comes from oil and gas, ? 15-20%? - of armament selling, 5-8%? on steel (another thing that makes the US nervous :o)))) and the rest is a bit of everything wide spectrum.
    Vodka though brings us nil :o)))))), due to USSR being thick with registering proper patents. So anyone sells what anyone pleases and none of vodka-s across the globe are Russian I am sure, with tiny percentage exception.


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  • 86. At 1:38pm on 19 Nov 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #79 Buzet 23

    ---royalist ?

    http://www.oldroyalists.org.uk/

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  • 87. At 1:53pm on 19 Nov 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #86. At 1:38pm on 19 Nov 2010, quietoaktree

    ---royalist ?

    Oh dear, it really is getting quite bad for you when you provide a link to an old boys (or girls?) association.

    e.g.

    ORAUK is perhaps the oldest alumni association of Royal College outside Sri Lanka. ORAUK promotes the advancement, progress and welfare of Royal College, our alma mater.

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  • 88. At 2:23pm on 19 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #87

    buzet23;

    If you think this is bananas, go read the most recent posts on the "fear and the euro" blog...I think he's finally gone over the edge.

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  • 89. At 3:20pm on 19 Nov 2010, MaudDib wrote:

    62. Meerkat

    As the Queen was noted "Who's Zoomin' Who"

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  • 90. At 4:03pm on 19 Nov 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    Buzet 23


    I once played snooker here---those were the days !

    http://www.srilanka.com/travel/traveldetail/TL00004

    As the British legacy was destroying them !

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  • 91. At 4:30pm on 19 Nov 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #88 - champagne_charlie

    OMG, I see what you mean! Absolutely barking mad.

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  • 92. At 4:57pm on 19 Nov 2010, BluesBerry wrote:

    What is passing between Dublin and Brussels has a feel of urgency and desperation.
    Why?
    Because another avenue makes far more sense, as much as it would irritate the UK, the US and some in the EU.
    China wants no more of American bonds - none.
    Where will China invest her $2.6 TRILLION in reserve funds.
    Why not Ireland, and other countries of the EU?
    In fact, except for the egos involved, it would make perfect sense for the EU to request Beijing to unvest some of that $2.6 TRILLION to keep European creditors paid.
    China wants a global role; this would give China a global role.
    The Chinese have already invested billions of dollars in Africa, Asia & Latin America - all to bolster China's natural resources and maintain her huge productivity.
    MOST RECENTLY CHINA OFFERED TO HELP GREECE WITH ITS SOVEREIGN DEBT.
    Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao committed/promised in Athens that China buy Greek government bonds whenEVER they are issued. China will also build Greek roads, Greek pipelines and Greek railway tracks, besides investing heavily in the Greek shipping industry & ports.
    To Greece, China is not a growing "threat". China is a friend.
    Theodoros Pangalos, Greece's deputy prime minister: The Chinese deal in objects, real things. They will help the real economy in Greece.
    Now to Ireland.
    Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen said earlier that Ireland could become the "gateway" for Chinese investment in Europe. Cowen remarked that Ireland had advantages in improving its relationship with China. Trade between Beijing and Dublin has increased about 6-fold in the last decade.
    The European Central Bank is pushing, pushing, pushing to pour more euros into the Irish economy, though opposition from the German taxpayers is mounting. Even Great Britain has offered $10B to Ireland.
    ECB-IMF aid will come with riders, while British aid would be a bitter pill for Ireland to swallow, having fought for Irish independence for so long.
    The Irish media have come out against plans seeking assistance from Germany or Britain. Ireland exudes fierce nationalism; the legacy of the PM's Fianna Fail party will resist an ECB and/or IMF aid package.
    BUT, given the growth of China's presence in Europe and China's history of being alert to investment opportunities, there is advantage in the Dragon lifting up the Celtic Tiger.
    China's investment portfolio in Europe is negligible, but things are changing, and the 'Chinese threat', as seen by the United States and some Europeans, will actualize into a helpful hand extended to any and all STUPID PIIGS, including Greece and Ireland. Chinese European investments can be expected to gain inroads.
    For all of these reasons, I think the EU, the US and the UK are running around trying desperately to limit Chinese investment, but if I were the Celtic Tiger, I'd be smiling at the Chinese Dragon.

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  • 93. At 5:37pm on 19 Nov 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #92 - BluesBerry

    I agree but I feel sure the Americans would view a rush of Chinese investment into Europe as predatory, although there would not be much they could do about it. However, China is not the only candidate. Russia is awash with gas and petrodollars looking for somewhere to go. I recall the Russians also offered to help Greece. It's another possibility.

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  • 94. At 5:45pm on 19 Nov 2010, margaret howard wrote:

    57 champagne charlie writes:
    "You know, one thing I've learned as a foreigner living in Britain, is that the country is damned whether it "does" or whether it "doesn't"..."

    Ever wondered why this is? If not then you obviously haven't lived here long enough. Surely even you have heard of the phrase 'perfidous Albion'?
    As for your advice to Ireland to trust Britain more than Europe you obviously don't know much about Irish history either.

    No doubt Commodus at 61 clears up some of you misunderstanding:
    "What a load of nonsense, you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. Seems to me you have never talked to Irish people or been to Ireland. I know that first hand, my wife is Irish... The Irish trusting the brits more than the EU, that's really a good one mate!"

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  • 95. At 6:01pm on 19 Nov 2010, Wallonia wrote:

    @ 24

    Actually I've chosen Wallonia randomly, out of a BBC TV ad. I'm not European.

    As to to Belgium, blaming the EU, or anyone, will not solve the country's problems. Nationalism has fractioned it. The Belgians have to be united. No one will save the country but it's citizens.

    Other thing, the EU as a federal state only exists on lousy news.

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  • 96. At 6:11pm on 19 Nov 2010, margaret howard wrote:

    53 one step beyond writes:
    "Margaret re post 14, not sure the relevance of a saying as old as that but for your education 'perfidious Albion' can and did refer both to Britain and England at various times

    "Perfidious Albion" is a hostile epithet for Great Britain (or often just England): perfidious signifies one who does not keep his faith or word."
    It was first mentioned in the 13th century. I wonder why it retained its relevance for so long? Very few phrases survive for hundreds of years if they are considered to have lost their meaning. There is no smoke without fire. Incidentally I have never heard the phrase mentioned in relation to Wales, Ireland or Scotland. I wonder why?

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  • 97. At 6:23pm on 19 Nov 2010, margaret howard wrote:

    .58 Buzet writes:

    "....just as in the early 70's my friends and I took great pleasure in giving a certain Ken Livingstone a dose of his own medicine in public meetings and election campaigns."

    And that was of course some years before he went on to enjoy many happy years as mayor of London. Must have been one of your more successful campaigns! As for giving him a dose of his own medicine, what exactly was your achievement in later life compared to his? Do tell!

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  • 98. At 6:37pm on 19 Nov 2010, starofthesouth wrote:

    65. At 09:28am on 19 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:

    "Anglo-Irish relations are better than they have ever been, not my words, those of the Irish President. We even give each other "douze points" at Eurovision and if that isn't a symbol of a great relationship I dont know what is."


    Both ended rather far down the table, while a german schoolgirl won. Wow, Europe loves Germany. (just kidding)


    @Nik

    To your question about the similarities between Greece and Ireland.

    Well, I'd say, that both coutries are rather small in population and far away from the political and economical center of the EU, but otherwise: there are no relevant similarities.

    This, for me, is a proof, that it's not neccerseraly a defined weakness in the EU structures and regulations which is the reason for different faults in different countries. Within the same framework we have other small countries who do very well, while some big countries do bad.

    From my, a german, perspective, both countries were on one hand not powerful enough to be in the focus of our government or our people.

    Otherwise we saw them, in the beginning, as small countries that had economally much to catch up and therefore were allowed, with kind of a friendly generousity, to do the one or another tricky cheating around the common rules.

    While the german view on Greece, and I think as well from the other big EU countries, would have seen no big change until the recent Euro crisis, where Greece's trickery for the first time grew to a real problem for the whole European Union, Ireland, at least in Germany, got much earlier in our focus.

    Reasons for this attention: Ireland had big economical success, and the irish economical modell was used as an example for our country from the neo-lib parties and the big companies, while the political left and the unions made them accountable for destroying the welfare state by unfair competition with dumping methods.

    You can imagine: a german shows rather willingly some generousity to a small country on a green island, with wonderful beer drinking and singing people who love to mock the "Englanders" as much as we do sometimes.

    So seeing Ireland prosper to catch up to the middle european standards was seen very positiv in Germany. The tax dumping for companies and wealthy people was pardoned as kind of an aid package.

    The situation changed, when german unification got longer and more expensive as first imagined, forcing germany to some harsh cuts on the welfare state, and always Ireland, later also the new EU members in the east who tried to copy Ireland's tax dumping, were named as the competitioner for foreign investments.

    Every time the ordinary people asked, wether we couldn't let the rich or the big companies pay a bigger portion of the unification costs, the political Zeitgeist and the PR machinery of the neo-libs came with the same classiacal t.i.n.a. argument, that we couldn't rise the burden for these groups, as they otherwise would depart to... Ireland.

    The result was, that welfare in Germany was cut, the wages stagnated for more than ten years, but company tax was reduced from 35 to 15%.

    And after a while, the per capita income in Ireland was higher than in Germany. And while Germany, additional to the very big burden of the unification costs, always stayed the biggest contributor to the EU, Ireland still was one of the net receiving EU countries.

    And now, just as the irish got a little arrogant and tried to lecture us about economy, forgetting that it all was based on some tax dumping that harmed many people in Germany and Europe, just now, as Ireland should start to be net contributor and may be harmonise their tax system to an acceptable european level, they bust and again need billions from us.

    Not without acting coily and trying to force conditions like: our tax system is not negotiable.



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  • 99. At 6:41pm on 19 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #94

    margarethoward;

    At least have the decency and courtesy not to attribute to me,things that other people have said. It wasnt me who said Ireland should trust Britain more than the EU, it was buzet23. It wasnt me that Commodus was responding to in #61 it was buzet 23 again.

    Of course I've heard the long-dead expression of perfidious Albion, and I've lived in England for at least a decade longer than you have.

    And to think, on the last blog, you had the nerve to tell me how wrong I was about a post I made to you, and then you write this crap. I apologised to you, are you able to do the same?

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  • 100. At 6:53pm on 19 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #96

    There is no direct link between the 13th century and the expression 'perfidious albion.'

    'Albion' is possibly an ancient Gaul or Celtic name for the British Isles as similarities exist in some of their poetic verse.

    That said, the original expression was used in a mid-17th century Sermon by Boussuet, where the phrase is "la perfide Angleterre" and is used in reference to England's adoption of of 'Protestantism'. As such it is not connected to the later more condemnatory version.

    The antagonistic term is first found in a poem as late as 1793 by the Marquis de Ximenez - - "Attaquons dans ses eaux la perfide Albion" - - but didn't really attract any attention until its next appearance in another poem, in 1809 by Henri Simon. In essense it is an expression stemming from the Napoleonic era and indeed was documented as being used by Boneparte's Officers in a recruiting drive of 1813 across France and the Low Countries.

    Needless to say after Napoleon & his Armee Grande were roundly thrashed at Waterloo in 1815 and all the 'little Emperor's' ambitions sent-off to the British 'Protectorate' of St.Helena the French were apt to use the phrase throughout the remainder of the 19th century as France's fortunes declined and Imperial Britain's rose, often it seemed to France's cost.

    It's modern use has normally been restricted to History text and some social commentaries comparing the British Isles & mainland Europe, though there was a revival amongst Petainist supporters in WW2 Occupied France.

    It is of course entirely appropriate for MHoward to use the expression as her adverse comments on Britain/England & the English would find eager repetition in any Boneparte or Vichy France tract.
    Though it has to be said it is unlikely much of occupied France or any part of Nazi dominated mainland Europe would have joined in with the general aversion to Britain/England circa 1939-45: That generation of Europeans in the main knew & recognised the opposite trait in the Britons/English of the era: 'Loyalty'.

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  • 101. At 6:54pm on 19 Nov 2010, bbony wrote:

    "its flaws are being used to give the European Commission much greater powers"

    That is the essence. No matter how much one can be successfull / unsuccessfull individually, the participation to the whole is what has been measured. Any advent of dissonant tone is to be hoped by the conductor, who cravingly wishes the power. The principle of gravitation applied to society. A resemblance to the central and bureaucratic government of the former USSR. The participants are erroneous by their very existence. The same for Ireland and Greece.

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  • 102. At 7:07pm on 19 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Champagne_Charlie

    Re #99 & the anti-English troupe who are misunderstood at every comment!

    You may vaguely recall a mini-missive from me on a previous blog:

    'Give it time: You'll learn.'

    Cheers

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  • 103. At 7:34pm on 19 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #61. 19 Nov 2010, Commodus writes:

    "Re 59 Buzet23

    'I think one reason you won't see the Irish people slagging off the UK and their offer of help is that they trust the UK far more than the EU. With a British deal it is 'what you see is what you get' with no hidden twists or turns.'
    What a load of nonsense, you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. Seems to me you have never talked to Irish people or been to Ireland. I know that first hand, my wife is Irish... The Irish trusting the brits more than the EU, that's really a good one mate!"


    Commodus, Buzet23, C_C: My experience of 3 tours of Northern Ireland during the height of the 'Troubles' as a UK paratrooper is perhaps not best placed to give an impartial account of British/UK - Irish relations.

    I can confirm I can count on the figners of 1 hand Northern Iirsh who like the Brits. Strangely I have more friendships with Southern Irish - - though these developed after I had left the armed forces.
    However, I can also state unequivocally during the 'Troubles' the antipathy, animosity and downright brutality of inter-action between Irish communities was gruesomely spectacular to behold: Catholic v Protestant was 3 dreadfully long chapters of cruelty toward one another that made many of us think we were serving in a horrifying ignorant, superstition led Medieval time-warp. Then again, the viciousness of the punishment-retribution etc. each thug 'gang-side' meted out to those adjudged to have misbehaved/let-down their own was worse than anything else for its unbelievable, inflexible harshness.

    Yes, I know the British are largely responsible for all that internecine criminality: The UK interventions in Ireland are well documented and much of it is unpardonable. We, UK armed forces were in the wrong place, at the wrong time, expected to do an impossible peace-keeping task among a civilian community that hated each other and us!

    IMO, it still does not make it any easier to accept or explain such foul behaviour in the latter half of the 20th century among these neighbours using all the same services, shops, amenities etc. and who were supposedly a civilised people.

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  • 104. At 7:44pm on 19 Nov 2010, margaret howard wrote:

    100 CBW
    You must just have read the same page on google as I have.
    Incidentally re your observation:
    "Though it has to be said it is unlikely much of occupied France or any part of Nazi dominated mainland Europe would have joined in with the general aversion to Britain/England circa 1939-45: That generation of Europeans in the main knew & recognised the opposite trait in the Britons/English of the era: 'Loyalty'."
    Have you ever heard of Godwin's law? You might be interested in its meaning:

    "Godwin's law (also known as Godwin's Rule of Nazi Analogies or Godwin's Law of Nazi Analogies) is a humorous observation made by Mike Godwin in 1989 which has become an Internet adage. It states: "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches." In other words, Godwin put forth the sarcastic observation that, given enough time, all discussions—regardless of topic or scope—inevitably end up being about Hitler and the Nazis."

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  • 105. At 7:53pm on 19 Nov 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    I thought Perfidious Albion was a football team until I discovered Wikipedia. Lots of other people seem to have found it too.

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  • 106. At 8:01pm on 19 Nov 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #104 - margaret howard

    Don't forget Threnny's law.

    The wisdom and relevance of posts on blogs is inversely proportional to the length of the thread.

    But then, how long is a piece of string?

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  • 107. At 8:08pm on 19 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #104

    No, never looked at any google page.

    Research using books I find is always worthwhile.

    Unsure how many times and how many different contributors refer to Godwin's Law. Don't agree with the 'law'.
    More likely contributors to this or any debate/discussion are reflecting a form of anamnesis whereby the most catstophic episode exceeding living memory still shapes even imperceptibly the thought process.
    That, or people just get impatient!

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  • 108. At 9:16pm on 19 Nov 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #103 CBW

    ´IMO, it still does not make it any easier to accept or explain such foul behaviour in the latter half of the 20th century among these neighbours using all the same services, shops, amenities etc. and who were supposedly a civilised people.´

    ---then see my #90 !

    Your legacy is repeated around the world --- almost daily !

    http://allafrica.com/stories/200908240678.html

    --but of course they were never civilized ?

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  • 109. At 9:22pm on 19 Nov 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

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

  • 110. At 9:30pm on 19 Nov 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    For Ireland´s population, the money needed per capita is approximately 10 times the USA TARP!

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  • 111. At 9:31pm on 19 Nov 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #104. At 7:44pm on 19 Nov 2010, margaret howard

    Have you never heard of Murphy's law number one, if a Scot is involved it will go wrong.

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  • 112. At 9:35pm on 19 Nov 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #99. At 6:41pm on 19 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie

    Don't worry, she's so used to talking to herself in the mirror and believing that the mirror says she's right that she is now living in the world of Walter Mitty, poor thing, it needs a pat on the head and told to refrain from other more intelligent conversation.

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  • 113. At 9:39pm on 19 Nov 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #110. At 9:30pm on 19 Nov 2010, quietoaktree

    For an Oak tree the money needed per capita is simple an axe, timber!

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  • 114. At 9:55pm on 19 Nov 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #97. At 6:23pm on 19 Nov 2010, margaret howard

    Many happy years? For him and his mates yes, you evidently do not know squat about the GLC in county hall and his later life in the GLA. You poor sap, London (the whole) is still paying for his extravagances and he wants to regain his seat to milk the Olympic trough.

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  • 115. At 10:14pm on 19 Nov 2010, Nik wrote:

    92. At 4:57pm on 19 Nov 2010, BluesBerry wrote:

    """China wants no more of American bonds - none
    Where will China invest her $2.6 TRILLION in reserve funds.
    Why not Ireland, and other countries of the EU?"""

    P r e c i s e l y !

    """In fact, except for the egos involved, it would make perfect sense for the EU to request Beijing to unvest some of that $2.6 TRILLION to keep European creditors paid."""

    Egos elsewhere. For Greece that had to deal with the "stupidFranks" (old Byzantine saying), the idea of having to deal with an old culture like China is actually more exciting. Chinese are not threatening, and at least for the time being do not demand geopolitical concessions so what best? Only problem is the volatility of the US paragon, the rogue paragon I would say: it preaches globalisation but cannot accept Russia or China enter what they see as "their" waters.

    """China wants a global role; this would give China a global role.
    The Chinese have already invested billions of dollars in Africa, Asia & Latin America - all to bolster China's natural resources and maintain her huge productivity."""

    And this is the big game of our times. In a way China is like US prior to WWI.

    """MOST RECENTLY CHINA OFFERED TO HELP GREECE WITH ITS SOVEREIGN DEBT.
    Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao committed/promised in Athens that China buy Greek government bonds whenEVER they are issued. China will also build Greek roads, Greek pipelines and Greek railway tracks, besides investing heavily in the Greek shipping industry & ports.
    To Greece, China is not a growing "threat". China is a friend."""

    P r e c i s e l y. And whatever I said above, it is not just that China is an old civilisation and it makes the two of us - that is ok, poetic. The idea is that it is the Chinese and the Russians that only come to Greece to propose REAL projects, REAL deals. Europeans and Americans propose only financial products and spin doctor solutions while on the other hand have bet already on the other horses, leaving the Greek donkey behind - that did not happen today, it happened for decades now.

    """Theodoros Pangalos, Greece's deputy prime minister: The Chinese deal in objects, real things. They will help the real economy in Greece."""

    Even a broken clock can tell the time with precision 2 seconds per day per day. But please, when referring to Greece avoid referring to old fat Pangalos. He is the "deep PASOK" representing exactly what drove Greece where it is. In a healthy civlised country that respects common law and human rights he would had been executed briefly and without charges by stoning or any other slow and tormenting end - him and all his family. But Greece is the country where a family of ex-dictators and Nazi collaborators can reinvent themselves anti anglo-germans, progessive and socialists.

    To be noted that China had already signed major strategic accords with Greece with the previous government especially regarding ports leasing - wishing to make Greece a main point of entry of Chinese products. Wonderful knews as that could bring an important part of the good old huge Greek commercial fleet which all those years was nowhere to be seen around Greece (for the simple reason that the 100% of its business is eslewhere in the world). Yet PASOK fought like the devil these deals and placed in front the ports syndicalists it self had bred since the 1980s, illiterate workers that did not finish school who earn salaries above 10,000 euros per month... net, after tax... yes yes you heard well - oh now they are not directors or managers, they are forklifters and hand carriers... they do not there to work, they just sit and earn this money paying slave workers to do the actual work. Most of them they are the sons of those who where placed there in early 80s by PASOK. This is the state of PASOK dear. Welcome to Greece, do you like?
    Now, these people naturally mind the Chinese since that will mean the end of their dictatorship over the by now dead Greek ports.

    So PASOK did refuse, and last year it did try to annulate part of those deals - yet the Chinese were not stupid and had at least locked Greece into some contractual agreements, some basic ones. But PASOK delayed the whole affair. And when Jeffrey started the crisis, the Chinese proposed still to give loans at ridiculously low rates (even lower than before the crisis!!!!!), and Jeffrey refused because his initial plan was to employ the worst solution of combined IMF-ECB... Now that Greece is prisoner for good, now he starts talking with the Chinese for peanuts. We hear abotu strategic alliances but the only strategic so far that Jeffrey signed was the ridiculous pipeline from Greece to Bulgaria for the import of the ... Saoudi petroleum gas... as an as-if replacement of the delayed (by Jeffrey and equally Jeffeyist Borisov of the Russian natural gas pipeline.


    """Now to Ireland.
    Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen said earlier that Ireland could become the "gateway" for Chinese investment in Europe. Cowen remarked that Ireland had advantages in improving its relationship with China. Trade between Beijing and Dublin has increased about 6-fold in the last decade."""

    And good thing they will do.

    """"The Irish media have come out against plans seeking assistance from Germany or Britain. Ireland exudes fierce nationalism; the legacy of the PM's Fianna Fail party will resist an ECB and/or IMF aid package.
    BUT, given the growth of China's presence in Europe and China's history of being alert to investment opportunities, there is advantage in the Dragon lifting up the Celtic Tiger."""

    It is the best solution for all PIGS. It is not the money... it is the real projects that are the most handy in what Chinese propose.

    """For all of these reasons, I think the EU, the US and the UK are running around trying desperately to limit Chinese investment, but if I were the Celtic Tiger, I'd be smiling at the Chinese Dragon."""

    Me too. I would happily give more of my money if Europe could ever guarantee some basic geopolitical protection. Not that China can do so, but at least it has some real projects to negotiate, things that the EU so far was not interested to do.

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  • 116. At 10:26pm on 19 Nov 2010, smroet wrote:

    @Nik #81,82

    To sum up your posts, you agree with me that Greece and Ireland are far away from 'core Europe' and that as (perhaps small, perhaps 'new') countries they depend too much on the goodwill of others, which is in low supply these days. As for the other points I raised, I should point out that the first PASOK era coincided with the effective entry of Greece into the EEC, and therefore the internal Greek market was, by agreement, open for competition with the industry of other EEC members. Hence the 'local' industry, being not competitive, withered away, and Greece became too dependent on exporting high quality foodstuffs and attracting tourism.

    As for the 'cultural/religious' aspects, I have to point out that, while Greeks individually are indeed hard working and have an admiribly high degree of education, their capacity to work together in unison on large projects is quite another matter. The latter means to set aside, temporarily at least, one's personal pride, for the good of achieving a larger goal. Often Greeks quarrel, and this has been pointed out to me as a weakness by many a Greek friend (it is not something I make up, and I hope you do not get upset by me mentioning it). It is unclear to me where this comes from. I note, however, that the Greek city-states were each fiercely independent, and worked only together against the common enemy. The destruction of the ancient Greek city-state system, partly due to the disastrous Peloponesian war, is classical history.

    Now both the Irish and the Greeks were, in the past 400-500 years, ruled initially by others, the British and the Ottomans. Each country/people took ages to free themselves of the yoke imposed by these foreign cultures. Hence all the energy was channeled into the freedom fight, and not into the free-wheeling advancement of the arts and the sciences. Pointing out the past existence of a few very gifted individuals does not help in this respect, since the level of economic well-being depends on the bulk of the people and their sharable capacities (i.e. Tesla did nothing for the Krajina Serbs in the end, although they should/could be proud of him).

    As for the mechanism by which either people were forced into their present predicament, there are a lot of similarities, since the modus operandi of the 'international community' is rather the same in both cases. The great sharks look for local 'useful idiots', of which there are plenty, and the game is on. When the going gets tough, the bill is passed on to the trapped tax-payer (socializing the losses and the pain, as opposed to privatising the profits and the gain). So perhaps, despite strong cultural differences between Ireland and Greece, the end result is the same, since the way big capital operates is the same, and the forces they unleash are stronger than the indigenous cultures of the 'victim peoples'.

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  • 117. At 10:39pm on 19 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #108

    Ill-behoves a Stasi stooge to point to 'legacy' failures!

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  • 118. At 11:02pm on 19 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    smroet
    Re #116

    Slight correction just to keep thigs in perspective:

    The British defeated Napoleonic France and took over from them ruling the Ionian Islands; G.B. set up the Ionian Islands union and were there from 1815 to 1864 when rule was transferred to the newly formed Kingdom of Greece proper (Greece itself in 1832 having fought & won independence from the Ottoman Turks with the aid of Great Britain); the British kept a Naval Port at Corfu.
    Various other wars were lost & won during the period 1864 - 1940 as modern Greece took its shape. It's not a pretty nor inspiring tale as one Greek plot, conspiracy, insurgency, uprising, invasion, retreat, liberation etc. followed another over the decades until modern Greece took shape.

    However, at no time in that period was Greece proper ruled by G.B. which only retained control of the island of Cyprus (transfer to Greece 1960).
    Despite the countless anecdotal and allegatory 'histories' related on these blogs the British though often an interested party to Greek affairs were not the colonial rulers of Greece: That is a fiction.

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  • 119. At 11:31pm on 19 Nov 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    CBW

    ´The British though often an interested party to Greek affairs--´

    Tell that to Turkey when Britain ran with its tail between its legs !

    ---but of course the bases on Cyprus were at stake !

    ---a doublecross at its best !

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  • 120. At 11:32pm on 19 Nov 2010, margaret howard wrote:


    114 Buzet
    You have avoided my question which was:

    "As for giving him a dose of his own medicine, what exactly was your achievement in later life compared to his? Do tell!"

    As I understand it he stepped into the shoes of Dick Whittington while you ended up in Belgium.

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  • 121. At 11:44pm on 19 Nov 2010, Chris wrote:

    Hey Nik to get you even more stressed add to your list of countries Latvia & Lithuania they also followed all the right steps with the financial "experts" blessings the result is exactly the same as Greece, Ireland, UK, US, etc. Broke!! The only lesson we all learned out of this is, that you can not be a pround and independent nation by outsourcing everything under the sun to China & India and betting your prosperity will come only out of hairdressers, lawyers, bankers, real estate agents & retailers!!

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  • 122. At 01:41am on 20 Nov 2010, ptsa wrote:

    118. At 11:02pm on 19 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    However, at no time in that period was Greece proper ruled by G.B. which only retained control of the island of Cyprus (transfer to Greece 1960).

    ------
    Didn't know that control of Cyprus was given to Greece! I guess I learn something new every day!

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  • 123. At 01:51am on 20 Nov 2010, MaudDib wrote:

    Yo Alice
    I read all this stuff and it makes me think. You know I'm from the South and we have a good repoire and I love that you fly the bars and stars. I have a question for you.

    We have an author from the South who in one of his books rated the intelligence of animals. This is how it goes:: Number one is the rat because he lives off humans and gives nothing in return. He lives off what we have and gives a piddly squat what happens to us.

    Number two is the cat. They let us take care of them but they offer nothing in return. If we fail to do their bidding they go somewhere else.

    Number 3 is the horse and dog. They bust their gut to make us happy, even if it means they loose they life.

    When it comes to the Europeans, I got it figured out. The British are the horses. They try to do what they say they would do. It they sign a contract they go by the letter of the law.

    The French are the cats. If it suites their purpose and makes them feel good then they do what they say they will do.

    Now my question is who are the rats? Lets confine this to Europe.

    Ok. The smartest animal outside of the primates is a pig. What country is a pig. We don't have to confine that to Europe. Your opinions are appreciated.

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  • 124. At 02:42am on 20 Nov 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    From Open Europe:

    "1. Open Europe publishes another 50 examples of EU waste
    For the third year in a row, Open Europe has published a list of 50 examples of wasteful EU spending. This year's list includes: €411,000 of EU funds spent on a dog fitness centre in Hungary to "improve the lifestyle and living standard of dogs"; a €5.25 million bill for MEPs' limousines in Strasbourg; €5.1 million for an exclusive "culture club" for EU officials in Luxembourg; and a €16,000 project designed to increase Tyrolean farmers' "emotional connection with the landscapes they cultivate." (Newsnight FT Telegraph Times Sun, 11 November)
    Open Europe's list was published the day after the EU's auditing body, the European Court of Auditors, pointed to errors in how the EU budget is spent for the 16th consecutive year. The auditors found that five out of seven of the EU's spending areas were affected by an error rate above 2%, which the European Commission defines as the threshold for a "clean bill of health". (Mail, 10 November)
    Meanwhile, EU member states and the European Parliament failed to reach an agreement on next year's EU budget. Talks broke down as the UK, Sweden and the Netherlands refused to give in to MEPs' demands to open a serious debate on an EU tax. (BBC, 16 November)
    Negotiations must now be reopened with the Commission presenting another draft budget for 2011, but if no agreement is reached by 1 January, then the 2010 budget amounts will remain in place for the start of 2011. (European Voice, 18 November)"

    EUpriS;

    FREE EUROPE FROM "EUROPE" !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • 125. At 02:48am on 20 Nov 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    MaudDib, Yo!

    Unorthodox approach to sorting out Europe must confess :o)))))))) but why not a fresh angle is always .. refreshing :o))))))
    After all others have been tried ;o))))))))
    I don't have ready answers never thought of them those in these terms/parameters (no ready labels here ;o( but will think.
    (Start feeling damn lucky we are bears :o)))))) given the choice available ;o))))

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  • 126. At 02:50am on 20 Nov 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    From Open Europe:

    "Ireland on the verge of bailout as EU targets treasured corporate tax rate
    Ireland looks close to agreeing an EU/IMF bailout, with talks ongoing this weekend. After days of speculation and government denials, Irish Finance Minister Brian Lenihan has now said: "It's clear we will need some form of external assistance." (WSJ, 19 November)
    Controversially, French, German and EU officials are pressing Ireland to increase its low corporate tax rate in return for an aid package, with a French official saying: "They need lots of money and we note they have a corporation tax rate that is very low. Supply must follow demand." (FT, 19 November)
    David Cameron and George Osborne have said that the UK will contribute to an Irish bailout due to the close trading links between the two countries. However, in reality, the UK Government may have little choice. The €60 billion EU bail-out package, which Britain underwrites to the tune of £6-7 billion, is not protected by a UK veto. This means that the mechanism can be triggered by a majority vote amongst EU ministers, even if the UK were opposed. The alternative option of a bilateral loan, bypassing the EU, is also being considered."





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  • 127. At 02:55am on 20 Nov 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    From Open Europe:

    "EU officials running brothels have been allowed to keep their jobs. Internal disciplinary records of the European Commission show that three serving Commission officials have been allowed to keep their jobs after they were discovered to be profiting from prostitution. The documents also reveal that other EU officials accused of drink-driving and fighting within the Commission's buildings have been punished with no more than an official reprimand. (Sunday Times, 7 November)"

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  • 128. At 03:03am on 20 Nov 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    And I always thought Germany's favourite animal is piggy :o)))))))))) for that matter :o)))))))) stubborn. and healthy.
    Cats I also think you have mis-placed... just a tiny bit :o))))) wrong side of the water :o))))
    But right the British like the horses. OK, accepted.

    Russians, for that matter, often classify themselves as dogs. on two grounds
    "we understand all like as dogs do! - can't say any thing! :o)))(do any thing about it!) ":o))))))
    "if they were real learned rulers - they would have first experimented on dogs! not at once on us!" :o)))))))
    but OK. bears then bears. (a compliment, rather than the reality)

    wolves are Chechens, their totem how to say sign, serious, in the Chechen hymn, and they adore them, a model animal in the Chechen culture.

    birds seem un-popular around our geography as symbols?
    France used to have a cock-a-doodle-do I think, at some point?

    where are the rats is a mystery. well i surely can think of a hand-ful of ex :o))))) abandoning ship :o))) - but will be a compliment to them, rather, again.

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  • 129. At 04:13am on 20 Nov 2010, smroet wrote:

    CBW #118

    Well, I meant in #116 that Britain ruled Ireland and the Ottomans ruled Greece: I thought that that was clear from the context, anyway. As far as I know, Britain did NOT keep a naval port in Corfu after the transfer to Greece in 1864. It may have wanted to keep it, but did not manage.

    Britain intervened directly in Greek affairs in december 1944, when Scobie's troops occupied Athens, in order to shore up the Papandreou (grandfather of the current PM) regime by military means.

    However, as already noted, control over Cyprus was obtained by the British in 1878, and Cyprus was given a constrained independence in 1960, despite the wish of the majority to join Greece. The British retain full control over the Sovereign Base Areas located on the island, and are, theoretically, a guarantee power of the Republic of Cyprus, a task in which they failed miserably in 1974. Currently, a former British foreign minister is on record to have argued for a partition of Cyprus, so as to guarantee political equality for the minority of Turks on the island. I often wonder what would happen if the notion of political equality for a Turkish minority would be established in, say, parts of Germany, as soon as they make up 18% of the population somewhere. But that is another debate.

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  • 130. At 07:03am on 20 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Socialism may yet save Spain from Irelan'ds predicament and, moreover, give pleasure to those who vote for Socialists.


    "Spanish politicians have criticised a video by the Young Socialists in Catalonia in which a woman simulates an orgasm while casting her vote.

    In the video the young woman gets increasingly excited as she votes for the Socialist Party in this month's regional elections in Catalonia."
    (BBC News)

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  • 131. At 07:41am on 20 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "powermeer-o-chka,
    oil and vodka would be half the trouble. we also happen to sell arms, standing 2nd in profits from it to the USA only :o))))"




    Alice in Wonderland, 'powermeer-ochka' is even lovelier that to 'grabatize'. Thank ya!

    [btw. Americans also spell "oborona" differently than Britons: we spell it 'defence' they - 'defense'. :)]

    As for arms sale, you're absolutely correct, although I was referring to your commercial/civilian output rather than military one.


    However I'm slighly worried that Russia may loose its 2nd place in profits from arms sales, since Victor Bout (you can also spell it 'But') was grabatized to U.S.

    [not that we've ever needed his help to retain our leadership in that particular trade area.]



    P.S. Perhaps you could move to 1st place in arms sales if you simply increased their prices a bit? :)


    P.P.S. I have bought some smoked salmon from Kuril Islands recently.

    It was honestly better than many I ate so far.

    [washed it down with a couple of shots of ice-cold "Gorbatchev" only to discover, to may chagrin, it was not a Russian vodka, but... German.
    Why do you allow Germans to do that?! :-(]

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  • 132. At 07:47am on 20 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #70 Re #53 & 'perfidious Albion': "All the countries that make up the United Kingdom can take credit in the successes but must also share the blame for when things were not done as we would have wished.'



    CBW, I recall that in "Man who would be King" one of the hoeres is Scottish. [The other one sounds like EastEnder. ;)]

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  • 133. At 07:57am on 20 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #129 smroet

    I also recall that when the then UN secretary general Kofi Annan offered an equitable (and generally considered fair and balanced) plan for Cyprus' reunification, Turkish Cypriots accepted it, while Greek Cypriotes - rejected.

    Just a reminder.


    [not that Cyprus qualified for a membership in EU, since it's way much closer to Syria and Lebanon than to Europe]


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  • 134. At 08:18am on 20 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "5-8%? on steel (another thing that makes the US nervous :o))))"




    Not really, Alice.

    India (Mittal) would be much more formidable competitor in that area.

    BTW. It's not true that genuinely Russian vodka does not sell in the West.

    I don't know of any American bar, e.g., which wouldn't have at least "Stolichnaya" on its shelves.

    With many Americans preferring it to "Smirnoff" (which is no longer Russian, alas, for reasons I am sure you know only too well).

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  • 135. At 08:23am on 20 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    threnodio_II wrote (#105):
    "I thought Perfidious Albion was a football team until I discovered Wikipedia. Lots of other people seem to have found it too."




    Well, there were attempts by some PC folks to force a renowned Washington football team to change its non-PC name: Washington REDSKINS. ;)

    [btw. they've failed, so no 'Washington Native Americans']


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  • 136. At 08:25am on 20 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #100

    CBW.

    Can one still say "WHITE cliffs of Dover" or it's become a non-PC term?

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  • 137. At 08:29am on 20 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    MAuDib (#123)

    "The smartest animal outside of the primates is a pig. What country is a pig. We don't have to confine that to Europe. Your opinions are appreciated."





    For starters, please check PIGS membership. :)

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  • 138. At 08:45am on 20 Nov 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

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

  • 139. At 08:57am on 20 Nov 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #120. At 11:32pm on 19 Nov 2010, margaret howard

    It seems the mods do not like my reply to you #138, I simply told the truth, but then that's not allowed here.

    As for me 'an honest days work for an honest days pay' applies.

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  • 140. At 09:01am on 20 Nov 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #136. At 08:25am on 20 Nov 2010, powermeerkat

    SSSSHHHHH, don't get the PC terrorists excited about something else to ban, mind you I've often wondered why shops bearing the signs 'Black Music' are two a plenty in and near Brixton yet there are none saying 'White Music'.

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  • 141. At 09:19am on 20 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #137

    powermeerkat;

    The main reason a pig is clever is because it can roll around in its own poop all day, feed from the farmers trough and still think it smells of roses. I think that narrows it down to somewhere in the balkans.

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  • 142. At 09:20am on 20 Nov 2010, Mathiasen wrote:

    Interested in Italian politics should take a look at the front page of The Guardian. The unavoidable is now beeing disclosed....

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  • 143. At 09:39am on 20 Nov 2010, smroet wrote:

    #133 powermeerkat

    Yes, there were more Yes votes at the Greek Cypriot side than at the Turkish side (the Turkish settlers also voted, in contradiction to the 4th Geneva convention). To be precise, there were 99976 Yes votes at the Greek side, and 77646 Yes votes at the Turkish side. In democracy, there is the rule of one man, one vote (just a reminder ...).

    The Annan plan was rejected as unfair and unbalanced by a majority of people on the island (313704 No votes at the Greek side, and 41973 No votes at the Turkish side). I guess most people did not like the Supreme Court consisting out of 3 Greek Cypriots, 3 from the Turkish side, and 3 foreign outsiders. Are there any outsiders on the USA Supreme Court? What would you say if you have 3 Democrats, 3 Republicans, one eminent Albanian, one eminent Zimbabwean and one eminent Nepalese on that court? Should I be surprised if this is considered fair, balanced and equitable by our friends the Americans?

    I could lift out other nonsense from the Annan plan, which was arbitrated to satisfy Turkey, rather than the inhabitants of Cyprus. But maybe you bought the propaganda at the time that the plan was based on the 'Swiss model'? How many foreigners are there on the Supreme Court of Switzerland?

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  • 144. At 09:47am on 20 Nov 2010, smroet wrote:

    #142 Mathiasen

    Thanks for the hint, it makes amusing reading. Maria Carfagna, the 34-year-old former topless model turned equal opportunities minister, failed to deny the reports [about B and the mafia] after they began to circulate. Too bad she might resign now...

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  • 145. At 11:06am on 20 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "powermeerkat

    SSSSHHHHH, don't get the PC terrorists excited about something else to ban, mind you I've often wondered why shops bearing the signs 'Black Music' are two a plenty in and near Brixton yet there are none saying 'White Music'."





    If no such store and still interested in white music simply look for Notker Balbulus, Ockeghem, Obrecht, de Lassus, Bach, Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Chopin, Scriabin, Tchaikovsky, Mahler, Bruckner, Debussy, Ravel, Stravinsky, Bartok, Schoenberg, Webern, Boulez, Cage, Lutoslawski, Ligeti, Penderecki, Riley, etc.

    [no, it probably would not carry rap or reggae]

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  • 146. At 11:11am on 20 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    champagne_charlie wrote:
    #137

    powermeerkat;

    The main reason a pig is clever is because it can roll around in its own poop all day, feed from the farmers trough and still think it smells of roses. I think that narrows it down to somewhere in the balkans.

    NOw, now, charlie, as Buzet observed we're on a slippery slope.

    Hellas [or is it, alas?]

    Can we move to Chamonix, St. Anton, Val Gardena or Zermatt? :)

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  • 147. At 11:31am on 20 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #122. 20 Nov 2010, ptsa writes:

    "118. At 11:02pm on 19 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    However, at no time in that period was Greece proper ruled by G.B. which only retained control of the island of Cyprus (transfer to Greece 1960).
    ------
    Didn't know that control of Cyprus was given to Greece! I guess I learn something new every day!"


    Damn, it's what happens! My new resolve to keep things shorter I leave out clarifications. You're right, Cyprus didn't pass to Greek control in 1960, but was independent of G.B. with a constitution supposedly agreed by Greeks & Turks.

    Thanks for the nudge, ptsa.

    Re smroet & #129

    Again, intent on brevity & didn't pause for thought... not Corfu, meant Cyprus.

    I did understand Your comment, but keeping in mind You're responding to a Greek chap who imagines a British Secret Agent behind all Greek history I wanted clarity.
    Mind You, think Your reference to UK & Turk's Cyprus invasion a little harsh.
    G.B. was a guarantor for Cyprus, but it's clear Turkey had no intention of abiding by U.N. or NATO allies warnings etc. For G.B. to have risked a full-on military encounter with Turkey over Cyprus would have been tantamount to the 'imperial'/'gun-boat' diplomacy many on this blog find fault with UK over in previous eras. It's also unlikely G.B. had sufficient military in the area to do much & no likelihood (USA stood back) of other NATO forces supporting any engagment.
    Infact, reversing the above 'fault-finding', it is 1 of the things many Britons find fault with Europe & the laggardly EU EDF idea; they haven't risked a proper shooting match for generations (who can blame them? Me!). Look no further than the Balkans & Afghanistan for their ineffectivness & inappropriate lack of will to make a difference.

    So, old imperial nations are condemned (by some) if they do & (by some) if they don't 'intervene' with Cyprus etc.: Meanwhile post-WW2 Europe sits back and sees the whole Balkans go up in murderous, flaming slaughter while it wrings morally bound hands until the US steps-in to the fray!

    Be gentle: Remember, I'm going for brevity!


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  • 148. At 11:37am on 20 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Are there any outsiders on the USA Supreme Court?"



    Nope, but than US is not Cyprus, and neither UN nor EU can dictate anything to us. Not even Intl. Hague Tribunal.

    I guess it goes with a territory. :)

    [how many Cypruses can one put in Alaska]

    But on the other hand we have not experienced any ENOSIS.

    At least not since gen. Washington's times.

    ["Either we stick together, or will hang separately".

    A quote many in the EU seem not to be familiar with]

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  • 149. At 11:39am on 20 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    smroet to PM:

    How many foreigners are there on the Supreme Court of Switzerland?



    Probaly less than muezzins singing from Swiss minarets.

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  • 150. At 11:51am on 20 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #108. 19 Nov 2010, quietoaktree writes:

    #103 CBW
    ´IMO, it still does not make it any easier to accept or explain such foul behaviour in the latter half of the 20th century among these neighbours using all the same services, shops, amenities etc. and who were supposedly a civilised people.´

    "---then see my #90 !
    Your legacy is repeated around the world --- almost daily !
    http://allafrica.com/stories/200908240678.html

    --but of course they were never civilized ?"


    'Revisionist convenience' History at its most cringingly inept & prejudiced!

    Doubtless in former 'imperial' British colonies strife occurs.

    Of course nothing of the sort occurs in former German East Africa, former Belgian Congo, Former French Equatorial & Saharan Africa, former Dutch East Indies, former Portuguese southern Africa or Asia, former (& STILL!) Spanish N.West Africa!? And there's certainly no disruption in former USSR regions & enclaves! The Chinese Republic isn't having any difficulties in Tibet etc.!

    No, the only rumbles of discontent anywhere in the World all result from former G.B. colonies.

    Then again, just what is it those 'former East Germany' Citizens have organised to promote their claims for compensation etc.!?
    Keep Your head down QOT - - if they win their day in unified Court - - it could be You'll be 1 of those they'll be asking to see!



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  • 151. At 12:05pm on 20 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    CBW

    If you're concerned about NPD or neoStasis you can alway listen to Widerstands Radio to relax.

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  • 152. At 12:07pm on 20 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #136. 20 Nov 2010, powermeerkat writes:

    "Re #100
    CBW.
    Can one still say "WHITE cliffs of Dover" or it's become a non-PC term?"


    It is funny You should ask that!

    About 5 years ago on one of our drives back to England from Finland my wife & I decided to take the Dunkirk - Dover ferry: It was a fantastic gentle sea, bright, crisp, sun-filled spring morning and the Cliffs were seen clearly from 10 to 15 miles out. Everybody was on deck taking the breeze & spectacular views. Cameras were out & people swapped to get the full family pics with the Cliffs as backdrop. Great scene and people's spirits seemed lifted by the evocative nature of those historic, chalk luminaries.

    Without a word of exaggeration I tell You, an Indian-British family who'd been on holiday in southern France were telling us all (mainly 'white' faces but a smattering of Black & Chinese), "France was beautiful, but isn't it great to see the old country looking so lovely!"

    Nobody demurred: True, only a momentary sharing of common heritage, but it was there and the 'white' of the Cliffs meant nothing, only their presence mattered.

    Cue... jaundiced anti-Brit/English diatribes of bile... but, then they weren't there and nobody on that ferry would've wanted them to be.


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  • 153. At 1:28pm on 20 Nov 2010, margaret howard wrote:

    131 powermeer writes:
    [washed it down with a couple of shots of ice-cold "Gorbatchev" only to discover, to may chagrin, it was not a Russian vodka, but... German.
    Why do you allow Germans to do that?! :-(]

    Because they might not like the Germans much but feel they are infinitely preferable to the Americans.

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  • 154. At 1:32pm on 20 Nov 2010, margaret howard wrote:

    123 maudDip writes:
    "Ok. The smartest animal outside of the primates is a pig. What country is a pig. We don't have to confine that to Europe. Your opinions are appreciated."

    I suggest the American Bald Eagle for America. After all it is already your state symbol and very apt it is too - it lives on carrion!

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  • 155. At 2:10pm on 20 Nov 2010, one step beyond wrote:

    Margaret, re post 96
    '"Perfidious Albion" is a hostile epithet for Great Britain (or often just England): perfidious signifies one who does not keep his faith or word."
    ...Incidentally I have never heard the phrase mentioned in relation to Wales, Ireland or Scotland. I wonder why?'

    I don't know if you are doing 'irony',(If so I don't get it) or you were very bad a history/geography but Great Britain does refer to Scotland as well as Wales and England. Like it or not you are part of it, good and bad. To try and suggest otherwise would be akin to a person in Edinburgh argueing that when people refer to Scotland they do not mean Edinburgh as they do not mention it specifically.
    By the way since some one mentioned googling 'perfidious albion' I have also done this, there are links to Scotland including, apparently, the name of the medieval society of Edinburgh University. Perhaps you should write to them and say it does not apply in Scotland

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  • 156. At 2:15pm on 20 Nov 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    153. At 1:28pm on 20 Nov 2010, margaret howard wrote:

    "...
    Because they might not like the Germans much but feel they are infinitely preferable to the Americans. "

    EUpris: "EU"-lovers like to claim that Brits like me who hate the "EU" are xenophobic. I am not.

    I suggest that "EU" lovers hate at least one lot of foreigners - the Americans.

    And why do they hate the Americans? Because the USA is THE superpower (or has been) and they want their "EU" to be THE superpower so they can strut around the world stage feeling superior and powerful irrespective of the cost to the people inside the "EU" in terms of loss of jobs, money, honesty and decency in public life, democracy etc.

    FREE EUROPE FROM "EUROPE"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • 157. At 2:20pm on 20 Nov 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    148. At 11:37am on 20 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:


    " ...

    ["Either we stick together, or will hang separately".

    A quote many in the EU seem not to be familiar with]"

    EUpris: It doesn't apply to the "EU". If we stick with the "EU" we will ALL hang together.

    My preferred analogy is that we are chained to twenty-six others of whom the largest are trying to jump off a high bridge together.

    FREE US FROM THE "EU"!

    We have nothing to lose but our chains!


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  • 158. At 2:30pm on 20 Nov 2010, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/alexsingleton/100064384/the-eus-pants-are-well-and-truly-on-fire/

    "The EU's pants are well and truly on fire

    ...

    If you enjoy reading fantasy, you might like to check out this page on the European Commission’s website, which claims that the EU’s accounts have been given a “a clean bill of health from its external auditors” – and for “the third consecutive year”.
    This is the same set of accounts that, you might recall, the auditors actually attacked. This year, they said that 92 per cent of its budget was “materially affected” by irregularities and that £4 billion of contracts had been improperly awarded. Puzzled by the discrepency, I asked the Commission’s office in London, which tries to pursude us to be good Europeans, how they could justify making this obviously false claim. “Perhaps this is just the way things have been interpreted,” they explained.

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  • 159. At 2:55pm on 20 Nov 2010, Nik wrote:

    116. At 10:26pm on 19 Nov 2010, smroet wrote:
    @Nik #81,82

    """To sum up your posts, you agree with me that Greece and Ireland are far away from 'core Europe' and that as (perhaps small, perhaps 'new') countries they depend too much on the goodwill of others, which is in low supply these days."""

    I do, 100%.

    """...I have to point out that, while Greeks individually are indeed hard working and have an admiribly high degree of education, their capacity to work together in unison on large projects is quite another matter. Often Greeks quarrel, and this has been pointed out to me as a weakness by many a Greek friend (it is not something I make up, and I hope you do not get upset by me mentioning it). It is unclear to me where this comes from. I note, however, that the Greek city-states were each fiercely independent, and worked only together against the common enemy. The destruction of the ancient Greek city-state system, partly due to the disastrous Peloponesian war, is classical history."""

    Smroet, it is very difficult for me to get hurt if you say "negative" things about Greeks. What I do is only to pinpoint you the correct and the erroneous points. Here you are 1000% correct: there has never been a single phase of the long Greek history where Greek were ever united. From the Peloponesian war, the wars between the Hellenistic kingdoms, the Byzantine strife and even the civil wars inside the Greek national revolution and inside the Nazi occupations are prime examples of that. We often standing wondering where could we had been if we did not have that strife. But it is characteristic of Greeks and I accept it. I do not know where it comes from. Usually mountainous and islandic regions have a strong regional sense and tend to form such societal structures that push for the creation of strongly opinionated people. This has its ups and its downs. It pushes people to become better on the indivisual scale but pushes them also to be egocentric on the social scale. On its very basis, it is all about the egalitarian nature of the Greek ethnic consiousness, i.e. a Greek uncosciously cannot divide the world between inferior and superior. He sees all people as de facto equal who compete to get a better place. In contrast other nations' subconsciousness works differently: eg. our neighbour Turks (like most muslims) de facto accept that there is no equality in human relations and either you are inferior or superior. When you are inferior you bow your head down and lick the boots of your master, when you are superior you lose no chance and strike the head of the inferior. Mind you, Turks are a good example but western European nations lile UK also have a similar to Turks mentality (hence the excelent relations and their so often expressed aversion to Greeks on the personal level: Greeks do not treat them as superior, Turks do, so naturally they love them!).

    """Now both the Irish and the Greeks... Each country/people took ages to free themselves of the yoke imposed by these foreign cultures. Hence all the energy was channeled into the freedom fight, and not into the free-wheeling advancement of the arts and the sciences. Pointing out the past existence of a few very gifted individuals does not help in this respect, since the level of economic well-being depends on the bulk of the people and their sharable capacities (i.e. Tesla did nothing for the Krajina Serbs in the end, although they should/could be proud of him)."""

    I mentioned the examples in relation to the "orthodox tradition" which was mentioned in a way as... hmmm regressive. The existence of huge people (even huger than their actual fame internationally) like Kapodistrias, Karatheodoris or Tesla (for the Serbians and Russians) mean that orthodox were actually the only people that could produce people in the forefront of human civilisation out of such difficult situations. I am not informed of any other cultures that did so.

    From there on, the basis of your argument above is 100%. The situation of the populations was dire and indeed there were no proper social structures set to have a good beginning. Yet, please note that I am not the one that puts down all that to the Ottoman Empire. I mean, already when Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria had got their independence, they were all the three of them more populous and each of them 100 times more educated, more socially progresed and better placed for the future than the ex-masters Turks who after 500 years of (in)glorious Empire managed to have a population of 98% illiterate people immersed in an ignorance not known since neolithic times in that region - and I mean this, it is not to just say bad of Turks, it was the reality.

    So how do you explain that today Turkey - let alone passing in population all three of them (not even counting the 20 million Kurds inside it), as well as developing a bigger economy (though not so much as people think) and having certainly a by far bigger production machine. So what I say is that you have to see what has happened in the last 100 years in the Balkans to understand this.

    To picture this better, I will just tell you one thing. Today throughout the world there are 10 million Greeks and 5 to 6 million Greeks abroad though in that I count also the mixed ones of the 3rd generations but I do not count the mysterious 3 million of population lost in ex-USSR who still claim Greek ancestry (most of them had been forced-mixed with various other populations under Stalin since communists did not trust the Greeks of the region, descendants of a "capitalist" nation).
    Now just imagine Greece was able to start drilling its coastal oil (swallow waters) in the 1930s as well quietly keeping on exploiting its other natural ressources (bought post-WWII by international corporations but not exploited - rather kept on the sides). There would be plenty of jobs, and even if things worked at 30-40% of the maximum (due to the good old Greek strife!!! hehe!), only the 1/5th of Greeks would feel the need to emmigrate. So Greece today would be an oil producing relatively industrialised nation of 15 million people in the region. And that changes a lot the equilibriums there - especially if you think that all that would had dragged much of the biggest commercial fleet in the world which is owned by private Greek interests.

    Now in the above scenario we did not add WWII, and WWI. The countries with the biggest losses of population in WWII were Russia, Greece and Serbia (all of them orthodox accidentally but still it is shocking...). Greece - the only country in the world occupied by occupation powers - the barbaric German Nazis, the equally violent Italian fascists, the Greek-hating Bulgarians, the Greek-hating Albanians (with the latter 2 doing genocides in their respective regions) lost about 20% of its population and 80% of its anyway modest infrastructure and production facilities when uttely destroyed and bombarded Germany who fought the world had lost only about 10% as well as 5% of ts industrial capacity (do not argue the figures, I have written essays on that for students of history at (Unitedkingdomian universities graded A+80% and such...). The figures are absolutely shocking!!! Now add that to what happened in the WWI and prior to it with the minimum 1,5 million Greeks (the 15% of the Greek nation) genocided in Minor asia where more than 1 in 3 Greeks lived there and another 1,5 kicked out (another 15%) half of which was dispersed all around the world and then think of the most un-obvious thing that you would never sit down and think:
    Of the unborn ones. Of all those tragic events that had caused the ones who would be born and raised to adulthood into either not being born at all or being born and dying... Actually, things were so tragic that out of the Greeks of 1900 pretty much 1 in 3 did not produce any descendant.

    So... let us imagine that Greece had not passed all the above. Let us imagine that Greeks had the fate of Turks, Albanians, Bosnians and Croatians and not the fate of (surprisingly all orthodoc) Serbias, Russians (under Czar), Armenians etc. How many Greeks would there be in the region? Has anyone made ever the count? Well, there are people who have done it and the most moderate ones speak of above 30 million Greeks given that Greek birth rates would decline from the 1960s (i.e. following exactly the European trends) onwards which was not even so a necessity. However others raise the figure to above 40 million people given that large chunks of modern Turks hiding behind groups of Alevis and Bektashis still back 100 years ago where not at all conscious Turks but descended from cryptochristians (either Greeks or Armenians) and whom the nazi Kemalist state had reformed with its educatinal system (one has to note: this being the first educational system ever imposed among Turks). It is not accidental afterall that whenever you find a Turk friendly to Greeks is 80% of the times looking like a Greek and is very often an Alevi/Bektashi or... atheist communist (where non-turkish populations often found refuge). Hence they raise the figure to more than 40 million.

    But let me not take that figure. Just picture a minimum of 30 million Greeks living from Greece to Constantinople, Smyrna, Trapezon, Crimaia next to some 20 million Serbians and 15 million Bulgarians (having FUROM) all those bordering with an rather inland Turkey of not more than 30 million people squezed between all those Greeks as well as some 25 million Armenians and about 20 million Kurds (and other 20 of them in the rest of the middle east).

    Now do you get the idea? If you add all that being next to some 400 citizens of Russia out of which some 250 millions would be conscious as ethnic Russians... you have the full picture.

    Sounds a scenario. It is indeed a scenario. But people are so naif since they judge the world as it is today. They do not think of how it could be if decisions had not let to what had happened. If other decisions had ben taken. The above is a scenario. But it was the most probably scenario in the early 1900s!!!! I think that tells you a lot as to how decisions were taken there.

    So to come back to our orignal point (before my cynic friend CBW jumps to refuse any involvement of British!), not it is not so much the Ottoman Empire. It is what has happened in the last 100 years, i.e. the times of us, our parents and maximum our grandparents (mine born in 1898 in Ottoman ruled Macedonia - though I am not that old as you think, he married late, my father married late etc.).

    """As for the mechanism...The great sharks look for local 'useful idiots', of which there are plenty, and the game is on."""

    Precisely.

    """...since the way big capital operates is the same, and the forces they unleash are stronger than the indigenous cultures of the 'victim peoples'.

    Precisely. And that is why I had been for so long fighting to explain that the "personal and collective responsibility" is something completely vague in such situations.

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  • 160. At 3:24pm on 20 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #157


    My preferred analogy is that we are chained to twenty-six others of whom the largest are trying to jump off a high bridge together.

    FREE US FROM THE "EU"!

    We have nothing to lose but our chains!


    EUprisoner, then this old American song if for you:


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2XHYKWLGTg

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  • 161. At 4:20pm on 20 Nov 2010, cmulder003 wrote:

    All this does not explain the bigger issue; does the EU need Ireland?
    They should just be given a simple choice ; hand over all controll to the eu or suspend mebership.
    Once ireland leaves the EU all Irish nationals can be send back giving them a chance to sort out there own problems.


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  • 162. At 4:43pm on 20 Nov 2010, Mathiasen wrote:

    #144. At 09:47am on 20 Nov 2010, smroet
    Well I see that BBC has now taken the information from Italy, which has also occupied the Guardian, into their European page.
    We are lucky to have so many media to our disposal...

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  • 163. At 4:57pm on 20 Nov 2010, Nik wrote:

    98. At 6:37pm on 19 Nov 2010, starofthesouth wrote:

    Stareofthesouth, this is going to be long but please read and discuss it with your circle around you. It is time to get to the core of things mate! Let me present you (have done that months ago here) the reality, not just as Greeks or Irish see it, but really, the reality as it is.

    First let us clarify this:
    You said:
    """From my, a german, perspective, both countries were on one hand not powerful enough to be in the focus of our government or our people."""

    Hmmm, Greece is very small to have been an important % in Germany's business compared with the world BUT if we take its % in relation to Greece's size and internal market as compared to the world then you would be surpised to learn that Greece actually is one top-of-the-list client for German corporations and banks! I am still searching a sector in Greece where Germans have not enterred and taken (the well known way) things: electricity & energy, telecommunicatins, transports etc. etc. Remember? Germany's last vote for Athens 2004 which was thanked with the bulk of the business of the project? This is not to say I mind working with Germans: contrary to cultural differences somehow Greeks and Germans work well and I highly appreciate them. In general experience shows that Greeks work better with French (as pro-Greek and half mediterranean too) and Germans (well structured people combined with greeks' flair and flexibility gives good results on the professional terrain). The problem is the whole framework, the basis of that collaboration. Let us see. Let us take the whole cycle of how the Germany via the EU will give a loan, say to a country like little Greece:

    1) German corporations wish to invest for Greece - not just to gain money or to aid the local market or something BUT mostly to prevent others (you know whom) from investing there and endangering the German and in general western European interests in whole of Europe (eg. I do not think that half Greek ports leased to the Chinese and 2-3 Russian natural gas pipelines would be particularly helpfull nor would a subsequent railway linking Pireus to Belgrade, Budapest, Vienna and from there most of eastern and central and north Europe carrying up to 60 and even 80% of Chinese-EU commerce instead of letting the ships do the round of Mediterranean and Atlantic to reach Rotterdam or Hamburg (at a huge relative cost for importers)... - you have to make the full tracing here to understand that logic - and perhaps why Germans were so anxious to have Jugoslavia divided... but that is another story).

    2) So German corporations choose the project and they present it to the EU and the Greek government. Usually the project is superficially acceptable but in reality it serves no local Greek priority and its break-even point is really dubious. For achieving the "yes" thus German corporations employ "gifts", i.e. good old corruption which in the anglosaxonic established regime of Greece is nothing short of extremely easy.

    3) Now the EU receiving the German corporations - via the German state - proposals and the OK of Greece accepts to give a packet of money to Greece, the famous "EU packets", so as to move on with these business/service/infrastrcture projects BUT these packets are for the 60% of the value of the project while the 40% will be paid by the Greek state which obviously having not there the money will do what? You already guessed it, it was not so hard: borrow!

    4) Of course the procedure of calculating the cost of a a given EU-project involves the EU, Greece and the corporations - in our cases the German ones who were behind the initiative. Now, sit down and think how this is done: what Greeks can say about projects they can't express any opinion and in that I do not even put into picture the corruption that may call "development project" even the bombarding of a city kind of say.

    5) So the budget is calculated. Say it is a collection of projects of about 1 billion euros. EU thus will have to give the 600 million and Greek state will have to find some 400 million so it borrows, mostly from the EU banks in this case.

    6) Now out of the 600 million euros the German state since being the main contributor but also being the main instigator of this mobilisation it will have to contribute the largest share.... say about 400 million (but in reality it could be less since EU money is EU money, it is also France and Italy and even the UK to a lesser extend that give so).
    So German state tells you German citizens: "Hey guys, let us give some of your precious money to Greeks to help their developmenté".

    7) But in reality the money given to Greece never even enters Greece!!!!!!!! As the bulk of the project is given to large German corporations, the money from the EU goes directly in the pocket of German corporations. So German workers give out of their streched wallets to the German state's coffin, which gives it to the EU coffin which on paper gives it to the Greek state coffin but then money never arrives there since it will move directly in the coffic of the German corporations!
    Hence, "out of nowhere" German corporations .... trick - among others, primarily us Greeks - the German citizens into funding their commands lists!

    And there is more to it: CORRUPTION: to make Greeks decide, the corruption packets had already been defined under the table between German corporations, Greek local companies and politicians and bad tongues say that the Greek side are rather the peanuts (!), i.e; out of the money that finally arrives to Greece even so, some of it will again go up to Germans' swiss accounts sitting next to Greeks' swiss accounts..

    ... and that is not even the whole story... there is unfortunately much more to it:

    8) Not only the Greek state sees no such money but even out of its 400 millions part of the deal which it has to pay, at more than 50% of it will fly out to fill up the commands lists of German companies (in our German-example, or French in another etc. so as for you not to think that it s only you, but in Greece the lion's share is indeed German corporations). That happens since Greece has not the inner production and the capabilities to produce all what is needed to make such a project that down to the basics might not had been made anyway needed. I only remember an example - French-based this time (so that you don't think I only concentrate on Germans - of the bridge of Rio-Antirrio (google it) which is one of the most difficult and expensive-per-km bridges in the world that serves... a region habitated by no more than 200,000 people all while joining a road that has never been nor will it ever be any commercial route (as western port of Patra serves Athens and western port of Igoumenitsa in the north serves Thessaloniki)!!!! The need of such a project would be only in an area of more than 5 million people and at least 1 major traderoute!!! So what happens is that as in this French example, in the German examples... the German corporations have fantastically invented a clients' order out of thin air!

    9) Now go back to point 4. And guess what? 9 out of 10 times, the project was - oh! what a surprise! - undervalued. But - oh what a surprise! - EU refuses to accept mismanagement. So in our example, the project did not cost 1 billion but 1,5 billion euros (and trust me, in reality there were projects that passed the 200% increase, and I do not even talk about the Olympics here...). You will ask "how is this possible". Everything is possible, German corporations need only calculate a project on an example of say flat, quiet Danemark with local industry and make 1-2 ammendments and as-if calculate the cost in mountainous, eathquake-prone Greece of no local production. Anyway, what happens finally is that:
    Greece will either have to stop the project thus remaining with a half-finished thingie there, having spent 400 millions but also will have to pay more as damages of unfinished business and other such niceties

    10) So Greece will mathematically decide to take more loans (from EU, thus mostly German banks, or elsewhere, say Americans, as it is forbidden to take from Chinense or Russians....), and pay 400 + 500 million more to complete the project. Finally the project will have costed 1,5 billion out of which Germans gave 400 million, rest of EU gave 200 million and Greeks gave 900 million!

    11) You will say : naturall it is the Greeks profiting from the project so serves them right to pay. BUT Greeks did not even need that project!!!!!! Not only they wasted 900 millions building the wrong project but they will mostly need to give even more either as a state or as citizens (by means of indirect taxation), so as to maintain it. And they will get more indebted out of it.

    12) And there come the German corporations to say: "Look, you are in trouble, you cannot use it, let us buy it". But Germans will buy it not for 1,5 millions but for say 400 millions (with the usual good-old corruption between Germans and Greek responsibles behind the purchase...).

    So picture this: German corporations took money from the German people, a bit from other Europeans and mostly out of the Greeks' overstreched pockets to built a project that serves their interests and not the interests of Greeks and finally getting their hands on a project costing 1,5 billion with only 400 millions .... ALL WHILE.... they had pocketd at least some 600 out of the 900 millions that Greeks paid and 100 million out of the 200 millions tha tother Europeans paid....

    .... i.e. your masterminds there in Germany manage in the long run to buy a project costing 1,5 million for free and get a bonus for it of some 800-400=400 million!!!

    You will ask me... but this is crazy. This is impossible. No, it is 100% possible. It was not done in 1 or 2 or 3 years. It has been going for several decades and as such all the above info is mitigated and lost in the small letters of the deal! Well, that is what it is all about. Why do you think EU has a huge problem right now? Because all the above was logic? Because it was healthy and functioning? Why... do you think your own governments as all other EU officials did not know what was going on? They did not know what was the financial situation in Greece? Do you really buy all that about Greeks being so smart to be able to hide their debts? That is in the sphere of science finction mate! Wake up!

    So here we come back to the poor German workers:

    13) ... now that Greece's (and other countries') capacity to follow up the above crazy game has long past its limits... the whole game is falling apart. It is not falling apart for any other reason that in the whole process the US which has particular interests to contain the EU had mingled in the Greek case (as well as in the Irish etc.). In the case of Greece it had been US investing groups that had both loaned as well as offered their services of "debt-hiding" all that in full knowledge of Europeans and German companies of course who were so naif to think that this way Greeks could buy their time and little by little start paying back in the very long run (i.e. say in period of 30 and 40 years...). Well thy checked in the room without the hotel managers' approval... and the PASOK socialist party perceived by Germans as being pro-German one (under PM Simitis) was always clearly a pro-US one (despite its rhetorics for internal consumption) and as such it caught Germans by surprise in 2009 going out and accepting the "reality". Similarly dragging the other countries in the same direction.
    So the German state found itself in the cross-roads: leaving countries like Greece collapse, it might endanger its own interests. Afterall Greece owns a lot of money to Germany let alone using the same currency. But if it is to support them, Germany has to pay...

    ... so: German corporations who took the German peoples' money to induce immense corruption abroad, in Greece and push them do things so as to fill up their commands lists and then move on to buy them later for free, they now turn again to the German citizens and tell them: "Look, you have to give more money to support countries like Greece".

    You understand the scale of the fraud?

    - And that is why that in Germany the press throws smoke to your eyes speaking of lazy Greeks (when Greek workers 2200 hr/yr and German 1800hr/yr) and corrupt Greeks (when it is German corporations that fed and supported a huge part of that corruption in Greece - I am not exagerrating, in more than half scandals of last 30 years there are German names in) or they even attack culturally the Greeks.

    - And that is why in Greece the press throws smoke to our eyes speaking of the graceless Germans that forget their past deeds mingling the Germans' non-payment of war reparations with current issues - while this is catastrophic for Greece since the fact that Germany did not pay the full reparations to Greece is completely independent and not discussable in the current state of affairs... - note all those comments actually coming from fat Pangalos... top PASOK socialist member son and grandson of a dictator and a Nazi collaborator who was brought up with Gestapo milk and Wermacht soldier.

    And while we keep on speaking of lazy corrupted Greeks the ones, and of barbaric Germans the others, in reality what is going on is that both German and Greek citizens are tragically being robbed of their money and if you search deeply... it is not all about "the money" (money is paper...) but all about corporations getting their hands into peoples lands and ressources... But there we enter really at the core of the issue.

    I hope you took your time and read it carefully. You are free to check every single detail of what I said but trust me you will get lost, I have only since 2000 (commencing from the case of the Olympics) to understand what is going on. But the general outline is above in those 13 points - with the last being obvious: you and I are working harder to pay.

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  • 164. At 5:06pm on 20 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    one step beyond

    Re #155 & "..I don't know if you (Margaret Howard) are doing 'irony',(If so I don't get it) or you were very bad a history/geography but Great Britain does refer to Scotland as well as Wales and England. Like it or not you are part of it, good and bad..."


    Now, now, OSB, what do You think You're playing at!?
    Bringing all that factual reality into the debating technique of a member of the anti-Brit/English troupe.
    If anyone were to ask me I'd say it was a tad perfidious any enunciating citizen of Edwin's burgh would admit to kinship with 'braid scots'!

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  • 165. At 6:36pm on 20 Nov 2010, Ellinas wrote:

    #147 cool_brush_work

    --✄-- Be gentle: Remember, I'm going for brevity! --✄--

    Ok CBW! For once, you can go on for brevity on this Cyprus issue and i will do the same. I will actually say nothing! I, for once, will leave your parliament say the whole long truth: After all you will be happy to see that from time to time i do recognize some heroic stance of you to this subject.



                             ╔═════════════════════╗
                                  Westminster Hall debates,
                              16 November 2010, 11:00 am
                                       Cyprus part I

                             ╚═════════════════════╝


    Some quotes from the discussion:

    Jim Sheridan (Paisley and Renfrewshire North, Labour)

    Despite UN Security Council resolutions calling on Turkey to withdraw its forces from Northern Cyprus, Turkey has stubbornly refused to do so. In fact, Turkey has declared on more than one occasion that if it has to make a choice between Cyprus and its accession to the EU, it will choose Cyprus.

    Indeed, these very days remind us of Turkey's continuing intransigence over the years. Rather than working to implement the high-level agreements of Makarios-Denktash in 1977 and Kyprianou-Denktash in 1979, on 15 November 1983 Turkey instigated and supported separatist acts by the Turkish Cypriot leadership with an illegal unilateral declaration of independence of the northern part of Cyprus. That action prompted UN Security Council resolutions 541 of 1983 and 550 of 1984, which condemned the UDI, declared it illegal and called for its immediate withdrawal. As a result, no country in the world has recognised the illegal regime, except Turkey, which funds it and exercises virtual control over it.

    Sadly, to date the Turkish verbal support for the ongoing negotiations has not been met by their deeds-not a single step has been taken to that effect. Within the context of negotiations, Turkey has rejected all the proposals put forward by the President of the Republic of Cyprus. Turkey still maintains illegally a 40,000-strong occupation army in Cyprus, it has not implemented the Ankara protocol vis-à-vis the Republic of Cyprus, and it has repeatedly used the so-called "isolation" of the Turkish Cypriots as a pretext for the political upgrading of the non-recognized entity-the Turkish Northern Republic of Cyprus, or TNRC-in Cyprus.

    Having visited Cyprus, I saw at first hand, as others have done, that Turkish Cypriots are far from isolated. More than 60,000 Turkish Cypriots have passports and identity cards of the Republic of Cyprus and therefore of the European Union, allowing them to travel freely across Europe and to benefit from Cypriot health care and social security. In addition, more than 10,000 Turkish Cypriots cross the green line every day to work in the Republic of Cyprus. Moreover, Turkish Cypriots are able to trade their goods freely in the Republic of Cyprus and export them overseas, through the recognised ports and airports of the Republic of Cyprus. However, they are prevented from doing so by the Turkish Cypriot authorities.

    It is equally unfortunate that Turkey's intransigence has been rewarded with a seat on the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member and that both Europe and the US are prepared to turn a blind eye to Turkey's activities.

    The destruction of Cyprus's cultural heritage is equally unacceptable. In 1965, Turkey ratified the Hague convention of 1954 on the protection of cultural heritage in the event of armed conflict. Nevertheless, since Turkey's intervention and subsequent occupation of Cyprus in 1974, it has been responsible for the devastation, vandalism and looting of the island's cultural heritage on a scale unworthy of any civilised nation, let alone a prospective EU member. According to the Church of Cyprus, more than 500 churches and monasteries in the northern part of Cyprus have been destroyed, and some 15,000 small relics have been looted. Some colleagues and I recently visited the annual Morphou rally and saw for ourselves the graveyards and cemeteries that have been devastated. I am more than happy to pass the photographs to the Minister if he should require to see them.

    Colleagues will also be aware of the indefensible isolation of Famagusta, or Varosha as it is known in Cyprus. The city has been left to rot while the rest of the world has moved on. Many Cypriots can only look on with horror and dismay while their properties are occupied by strangers. Turkey's invasion of 1974 left 200,000 refugees homeless, many of whom fled their homes with few or no belongings. There is no doubt that if Turkey wished and had the political will to find a satisfactory conclusion to the problem, we could find a way to restore the properties to their rightful owners.

    Turkey has effectively created a so-called state in northern Cyprus, to the detriment not only of the Greek Cypriots whose property was confiscated by the self-styled Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus but of the Turkish Cypriots who have suffered under Turkish rule by becoming a minority in the northern part of Cyprus. According to the Turkish Cypriot press, Turkey has transferred 180,000 settlers into northern Cyprus, with the consequence that Turkey has imposed its ideology there. More mosques than schools have been built in northern Cyprus-181 mosques to 162 schools-and the crime rate has soared due to uncontrolled immigration from Turkey. Education and health services are becoming overburdened. The Turkish Cypriot media also report that in order to enshrine the ideological shift further, Turkey is now demanding that settlers account for more than 50% of new appointments in the civil service, police, education and health services.

    That is the backdrop to the relentless efforts by Turkey and those who blindly champion its membership of the European Union to push for outcomes that legitimise all the grave consequences of Turkey's illegal invasion and 36-year military occupation of the northern part of the island.

    David Burrowes (Enfield, Southgate, Conservative)

    There is talk of two peoples and two states, but that does not fit with the reality, the ethics, the law or the practice. One example is the Maronite community, whom I have mentioned in previous debates, who have not had free access to three of their four villages. On 17 July, the army allowed Maronite inhabitants to attend a church service in one of those villages, Ayia Marina, for the first time as a one-off. That is progress, but it was just a one-off. The Maronite community would like to know why they cannot have continued freedom of access and the basic freedom to worship. They have that freedom in Kormakitis, but why not in Asomatos and Karpasha?

    Alan Meale (Mansfield, Labour)

    In this week before the talks commence, we have had a deliberate provocation by my right hon. Friend Mr Straw-a colleague from this side of the House, in this place-which was an attempt not only to influence the talks in New York, but to set in motion a political dialogue in Europe that would call for partition. No one with whom I have discussed the issue of Cyprus has argued such a case. I trust those of my colleagues who say that the announcement by that individual two weeks earlier that he would take the opportunity to speak freely around the world, and possibly be paid for doing so, was not one of the reasons that he tip-toed in such a sordid manner into that area of political discussion-I hope not. I met him last night in this place and left him with no shadow of a doubt about what I thought of his position. I fervently countered each of his arguments, and we accepted that we would continue to disagree

    Let us look at why there needs to be a conclusion to the sordid affair of Turkey's involvement in the independent country of Cyprus. Turkey has no right whatever to be there. Anyone who has any doubt about that should look back only 100 years in history. They will find that the Turkish state sold the island to Britain for 110 pieces of gold-that is the reality. Turkey sold it many years ago and gave up its interest in it.


                             ╔═════════════════════╗
                              Westminster Hall debates,
                             16 November 2010, 11:00 am
                                       Cyprus part II

                             ╚═════════════════════╝


    Go read what the others said to this intersting subject:

    Andrew Love (Edmonton, Labour)

    Mike Freer (Finchley and Golders Green, Conservative)


    Matthew Offord (Hendon, Conservative)

    Wayne David (Caerphilly, Labour)

    David Lidington (Minister of State (Europe and NATO), Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Aylesbury, Conservative)

    Ian Lavery (Wansbeck, Labour)

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  • 166. At 6:52pm on 20 Nov 2010, Ellinas wrote:

    #133 BolekILokek

    Forgot to mention that the above debate is for you also BolekILokek ...

    ...in order to keep your Polska brain in good shape

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  • 167. At 7:03pm on 20 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #165

    Ellinas;

    All very fascinating, but what exactly do you and the other Greeks want Britain and/or the EU to DO? Britain isn't going to give up its bases and Turkey isnt going to withdraw from Northern Cyprus. So what do you want to DO, other than rant on the internet to a bunch of people who couldnt give a damn nor can do anything about it? CBW isnt in charge of British, Turkish or EU policy on Cyprus last time I looked.

    Paradoxically, Turkish intransigence over Cyprus is going to be THE major reason for them not to achieve accession to the EU.

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  • 168. At 7:17pm on 20 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #165

    I also think its an absolutely disgusting slur to suggest that Britain didn't take its WW2 responsibilities towards Greece very, very seriously.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwNQf08Kxsw&feature=related

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  • 169. At 7:29pm on 20 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Ellinas

    re #165

    Well, together with the mad greek's contributions & his monumental Nos 1 to 13 comment (#20, 66, 82, 115, 159, 163) they add up as undoubtedly in my 3yrs on here the longest, most tiresome bout of non-stop, often silly, frequently unverified, regularly prejudicial complaint I've yet to read on any subject/s.

    I really do NOT have much to say in reply. My only observation is 'My God, Don't You Greeks Go Off the Deep-end!'
    And if by some remote chance it has also been Greece's politicians' response to their fellow political leaderships then NO WONDER AT ALL GREECE CAN'T GET ITS WAY ON ANYTHING!
    Do You lot ever consider the fault for anything may lay a little closer to Athens!?

    NB. A final point: Ellinas, the MPs in the UK Parliament are debating such issues. It is called 'democracy' and even in Your short life surely You have come across it before? In a 'Democracy' people may express their opinions whether one agrees with them or not. That debate & the opinions expressed is a contribution to how Government policy is arrived at. You quote MPs ageeing Turkey is in the wrong: So what!? What is it You expect G.B., USA, Germany, Russia, whoever to do about it?
    Frankly, if the way You 2 bleat is représentative of Greeks' attitude in general, why would any fellow EUropean feel inclined to do much of anything on Greece's behalf!?

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  • 170. At 7:56pm on 20 Nov 2010, margaret howard wrote:

    164 CBW writes yet again:
    "a member of the anti-Brit/English troupe.
    On the 19: more illogical anti-British bias
    This anti-English stuff
    your anti-English drivel and so forth.

    Compare this to his own opinions about other contributors to this blog:

    'Flip' says the ex-Stasi fellow-traveller who flops at every topic as his bigotry & bias cannot be contained- 18 nov qot

    There are countless others who have open-minds to the possibility America isn't the start, middle & finish version of the World! Allen T2 18 nov

    I know Greece is in really dire times, but surely their Health Service still provides assistance to the really serious cases? 17 Nov nic

    Now, I must get back to this fascinatingly accurate article on the 'Lancaster bomber' on the moon 17 nov
    Oooh look, the 'Lancaster bomber' squadron on the moon has been joined by a flight of Luftwaffe Dorniers!18 nov

    The droning poor sap of the Alpine slopes is amongst us again 13 nov

    The former Stasi stooge & frustrated goopse-stepper continues to write piffle & balderdash on the UK political scene of which he plainly has as little knowledge as his trifling 'aristocracy-CAP' meandering contributions.12 nov
    Just because the SchutzStaffel are no longer recruiting doesn't give You any excuse for stamping Your little feet in irritation at everyone else. 12nov
    How many more years is this drivel going to be churned out before the average Irish person wakes up to the Fact that protestant planting was 200 to 300 years ago, the famine was 160+ years ago and the language ban a law disappeared the late 19th Century!?Any chance the average Irish could stop complaining about the past and make an effort to join the rest of us in the present & future? 10 nov

    And all that in just a week!

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  • 171. At 8:04pm on 20 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Champagne_Charlie

    Re the 'Sketches'

    They're great, aren't they!

    Nobody but the Brits can take so much seriousness and produce First Class comedy entertainment: 'Miller' sketches are enormous hits with the young just as 'Dads Army', 'Ello, Ello', 'It Aint half Hot' etc. were for an older generation.

    I'm unsure of your age, but fairly certain ThrenodioII will recall the monochrome 'Army Game' with "Bootsie & Snudge" characters enacting post-WW2 National Service experiences. Taken alongside Radio's 'Navy Lark' they ribbed every facet of post-WW2 UK Military & the establishment. Great fun was had by all.

    UK is very fortunate to have this range of personality in its Citizen make-up: Broad, sweeping, at times whooly cynical, sardonic humour and at others the 'WhiteHall' farces' technique.

    In my many trips to far flung places in the World I never came across another Nation with the potential to laugh (& take the p### out of) at itself so much as the British (the nearest were IMO the Russians & the Aussies).

    I was recently re-listening to a 'Goons' radio prog.:

    The announcer - ('The scene is the Unemployment Exchange, Kensington. A group of ex-Field Marshals are queuing to claim their Benefit cheques with others').

    Field Marshal Under-Pass Tattler - 'Excuse me, I want to get to the front!' (Classic upper-class twit accent with moustache)

    Ex-Private Milligan - 'Why, you never did in the war!' (Classic out-door khasi accent)

    Boom-boom.

    Cheers.

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  • 172. At 8:15pm on 20 Nov 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #165 - Ellinas

    As a web developer myself, I am hugely impressed with the consummate skill with which you dump html into your posts but it really is getting a bit tedious. Have you considered being clever with your content rather than your graphics and simply using a keyboard like the rest of us? If I see those scissors stuck between the hyphen again, I am going to send a rescue party.

    You quote extensively from Jim Sheridan (Paisley and Renfrewshire North, Labour). Might be a plan to send it to MHoward for translation just in case it is of interest to English speakers.

    Can we now be sensible?

    As regards Cyprus, it seems to me that the constant revisiting of history, interesting though it may be, is not getting us anywhere. It is what it is. The British military presence is also something of a red herring. It has not been a bone of contention for many years and NATO will continue to require the facility. The fact that Cyprus is not a NATO member has far more to do with the impasse between them and Turkey (which is) than any strategic considerations. It should also be understood that the British presence, while perhaps less than popular, is of local economic value. This situation is only susceptible of a solution when the prime players - Cyprus, Greece and Turkey, can find it in themselves to sit down and constructively discuss it. Britain's role remains significant but proliferal and playing the 'blame game' helps only the buck passers.

    Back on topic, the Brit bashers are ignoring one important element - the timing. The logic would suggest that, before either government confirmed anything, the British offer had been leaked to the media on Wednesday. You will recall that, on Wednesday, the Irish government position was that it would not be seeking a bail out in respect of sovereign debt. This has since changed but a ten billion bailout from the UK would certainly have been sufficient to cover the exposure of the Irish banks, which was the big issue at the time. No one - least of all me - would reasonably pretend that this is purely altruistic. Of course the British banking sector is seriously exposed to possible default and much of that is currently a potential Treasury liability. However, to simply dress this up as a cynical attempt to take advantage of the situation is unfair. It would have been a perfectly sensible business arrangement.

    Why is the offer still on the table? Grow up. Because the IMF always impose strict conditions to loans (which is precisely why they are involved), the ECB is mainly concerned with Euro stability and certain key players in the EU are determined to use this as an opportunity to force a change in Irish corporation tax. If the 'troika' announces that it is willing to help in the matter of sovereign debt but is not in the business of bailing out banks, the offer could still be useful.

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  • 173. At 8:27pm on 20 Nov 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #170 - margaret howard

    " - but surely their Health Service still provides assistance to the really serious cases?"

    Somebody very close to me died as a direct consequence of Greek national health treatment. I don't thing this has tempted me to indulge in posting racist claptrap. I prefer reason to prejudice and it has been known to work for me.

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  • 174. At 8:37pm on 20 Nov 2010, Nik wrote:

    170. At 7:56pm on 20 Nov 2010, margaret howard wrote:

    Margaret... top class message. But the case is hopeless. CBW is a byproduct of both his background and his times. Of course the same could theoretically CBW claim for myself...

    ... only that I (like other contrbutors here irrespecive if our views converge or not) speak specifically with well known examples that everybody can verify while himself tells us absolutely nothing.

    I have rested this case long ago but I keep commenting because I find him amusing.

    171. At 8:04pm on 20 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:
    """Champagne_Charlie
    Re the 'Sketches'
    They're great, aren't they!
    Nobody but the Brits can take so much seriousness and produce First Class comedy entertainment: 'Miller' sketches are enormous hits with the young just as 'Dads Army', 'Ello, Ello', 'It Aint half Hot' etc. were for an older generation.""""

    Indeed an excellent example of static humour. British excel in it. Others like Greeks for example might not have so much humour as the British but that might be because 2 genocides (in which the British had put their hand) they received in only the very recent history might have reduced their understanding of that kind of static ironic humour.

    Perhaps if a foreign force enters in Britain and kills the equivalent, i.e. some 15 million British out of the 60 million, then they might lose some of that static humour of theirs.
    Till that time they can boast all the best humour they can.*

    ....

    * Though that won't happen for the simple reason that history tell us that whenever a foreigner enterred in Britain he did not have to do anything: the British changed language, culture and consciousness.**

    ** Greek humour.

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  • 175. At 8:38pm on 20 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #170

    Margaret, You have me at a disadvantage: I've no intention to nominate You yet again for any impolite sobriquet, richly though You deserve such accolade with nearly every contribution You make.

    Suffice to say: Your 'anti-English troupe' includes a Germany Citizen who has not once complimented nor even conceded Britain never mind England has ever had a day's decent breath: I must admit to taking particular pride in "..frustrated goose-stepper.." (don't You think it has a certain originality juxtaposed with timeless image!?). Come now, the fellow is beyond any approach on any topic.

    I've dealt with the 'mad greek' many times and that You have written in his support only exposes You to further ridicule - - how else could You expect to be dealt with having agreed such things as British soldiers murdered the Greek Dictator or Britain, not Nazi Germany is responsible for 200,000 dead greeks in WW2 - - I'm afraid no one can help You if You won't help Yourself.

    Now, I know Margaret, You were dreadfully stung and embarrassed by my proven Quotations from Your comments (which You had denied a number of times) about Your 'attitude' to certain key elements of UK activities related to the military. Therefore, that You have taken many hours and gone back and thoroughly researched some 'Quotes' from my comments to fling at me is all to Your credit.

    I compliment You: Now, Margaret, if You could only bring Yourself to do this level of research with Your own Comments. Instead of just dashing in to back-up the most ridiculously one-sided, crude, brazenly prejudicial and bigoted 'anti-English' contributions of several others on this Blog, why then You'd have finally matured into a reasonable Commentator.

    It's not so much to ask, now is it!?

    Do try.

    Cheers.

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  • 176. At 8:43pm on 20 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #174

    Though that won't happen for the simple reason that history tell us that whenever a foreigner enterred in Britain he did not have to do anything: the British changed language, culture and consciousness.**

    Hilarious..dont give up the day job

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  • 177. At 9:06pm on 20 Nov 2010, Nik wrote:

    173. At 8:27pm on 20 Nov 2010, threnodio_II wrote:
    """Somebody very close to me died as a direct consequence of Greek national health treatment. I don't thing this has tempted me to indulge in posting racist claptrap. I prefer reason to prejudice and it has been known to work for me."""

    Threnodio yes, I do not doubt that. But in turn count the millions of Greeks that died so recently because western Europeans wanted to buy petrol from Saoudi Arabia via Suez and not from anywhere else.

    If we start like that, Indians will go out asking the British to count how many million Indians died because British wanted to buy cheaper tea and rice. And Russians would ask the British and Americans and Germans how many Russians died because all these western countries collaborated to install communism in Russia.

    If we go on like that we do not end.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    So once and for all - and that goes for the likes of CBW who won't anyway understand:

    When we do not refer to Britain we do not want you to say sorry or whatever - you are the last people on earth that would something like that. We do not demand anything at all. What - theoretically - we would wish is not to see the British and American geopolitics around our neighbourhood. You are far away and your presence here is absolutely 100% for creating troubles not providing solutions because the last thing you would ever want is to see the region finding solutions.

    So when we refer to British geopolitics is to answer back to the whatever idiocies we hear about the region (in particular E. Mediterranean) which particularly in our times is at the heart of the current European crisis in ways that you are far from imagining.

    If I ask you what happened this week... what important talks took place, most of you would not even know, you would search in the financial newspapers to find out about this or that when the game is much bigger and it is all about the geopolitical reshuffling of the planet not just local economies.

    And Britain comes again into that for being one of the factors (and of the most important ones) for which EU is still far from raising its presence on the geopolitical map of the world. In the same way our German friend above cannot comprehend or has at best some vague understanding of how the German corporations have been fooling him and his cocitizens not to mention completely frauding the citizens of other little countries, in that same way, people are far from comprehending that the issue is about a small minority of nontheless important EU corporations who are still much indebted in many different ways to american ones are fooling European states and citizens into trapping them in a policies that not only in the long but also in the medium and short run are fighting against the very basic interests of EU, EU states and their citizens.

    The recent signature of the British-French deal in arms is just an example. 40 years ago it would be good news, extremely good news, 30 years it would be logical, but 20 and 10 years, guess how much more today, is sour grapes. What Britain and France signed should had been done on the pan-European scale. Instead we have had the deal a couple of weeks or so ago and this week we have the US enterring and discussing where it will install the anti-Russian missile defense systems thus reconverting Europe to a renewed cold war whose borders this time will be more to the east.

    And EU instead of kicking out US telling it to mind its own business sits and talks in discussions where the issue is the "anti-missile protection of European states by a possible attack from Iran" a title of discussion that stands as a direct offense to the intelligence of every single European that accepts or is forced to sit down and discuss on something like that. But when you have the... perfidious Albion (I still laugh with the title) and the anxious Germans on the other to maintain their corporate growth, then you have France - the only country in Europe with geopolitical power along with Britain - raising their hands and standing on the side and watching. EU failed to call Britain bind its interests with the rest of Europe (and Britain was never supposed to do so afterall, why would they do something that is against the interests of their ruling oligarchy), then it failed to kick out Britain for not conforming, and finally it let Germany, a geopolitically non-existing country be it 2nd exporter in the world, to define European politics.
    Absolute catastrophy. In my view, it could be just better to call it void, break it out and then let the individual countries chose their way choosing their "protector" according to their interests.

    If anything we cannot complain. The world was getting a bit dull the last 20 years, now it gets again exciting.

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  • 178. At 9:11pm on 20 Nov 2010, Nik wrote:

    176. At 8:43pm on 20 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:
    #174
    Though that won't happen for the simple reason that history tell us that whenever a foreigner enterred in Britain he did not have to do anything: the British changed language, culture and consciousness.**

    """Hilarious..dont give up the day job""""

    ... hmmm... is this the confirmation of my above aforementioned phrase?

    """...then they might lose some of that static humour of theirs.""""

    Do not be obliged to verify me all the time. I do not pretend be humourous, I do not pretend either to be a prophet.

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  • 179. At 9:16pm on 20 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #174

    Quote from mad greek, "... only that I (like other contrbutors here irrespecive if our views converge or not) speak specifically with well known examples that everybody can verify while himself tells us absolutely nothing..."


    That's funny!

    I looked up the on-line reference for Greece and sure enough, there it was.
    I've looked up over 100 on-line reference since then and apart from the ones confirming the name Greece & the various rulers of Greece the other 90 didn't "..verify.." anything at all!
    I'd find a reference and then I re-read the mad greek's interpretation of what he alleged it meant: It is something he has yet to understand despite copious explanations from "..contributors here irrespecive if our views.." - - his opinion of what a 'link' says is his opinion and nothing more.


    Quote from mad greek, "..'Ello, Ello', 'It Aint half Hot' etc. were for an older generation.""""

    Indeed an excellent example of static humour. British excel in it. Others like Greeks for example might not have so much humour as the British but that might be because 2 genocides (in which the British had put their hand) they received in only the very recent history might have reduced their understanding of that kind of static ironic humour..."


    And there it is again! The mad greek in full flow, utterly oblivious of the factual reality, totally unaware of his scenario, but full of his own self-rightousness about the British/English!

    Thus for the mad greek we have British 'static' humour along the lines of 'That Was The Week That Was', 'Not The 9 o'clock News', 'Monty Pyton', through to stand-up comedians Bernie Manning, Stanley Baxter, Dick Emrie etc., ... all the way to 'Spitting Image' and in another realm entirely, 'Morecambe & Wise', '2 Ronnies', 'Gavin & Stacey'!!!!!

    Is the Greek on the same planet earth as anyone else: I ask because how could any sane person attempt to write in that manner about a part of another Nation's culture from such limited, quarter-baked knowledge of it!?

    MargaretH, if You really are serious at Your #170, well then of course You'll find with the greek and condemn all that British comedic culture as the iniquitous utterings of a Britain that "..put its hand in.. 2 genocides of Greeks..".

    To repeat: Margaret, You become known by the friends You keep.

    I'm so pleased You are no friend of mine!



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  • 180. At 9:30pm on 20 Nov 2010, Nik wrote:

    179. At 9:16pm on 20 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    """...And there it is again! The mad greek in full flow, utterly oblivious of the factual reality, totally unaware of his scenario, but full of his own self-rightousness about the British/English!"""

    ... told you already, when you have been the object of 2 genocides and see in the not very distant future a 3rd one in the making then you can get all the self-righteousness.

    Call it a conflict of interest. Why does it bother you if "some things" are discussed (I give a random example: the implicit collaboration of British with Nazis in certain fronts, with communists in other...). Does it hurt you or something? Why do you care? Will you lose money or something? Or will you lose face?

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  • 181. At 9:34pm on 20 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #178

    Nik;

    "... hmmm... is this the confirmation of my above aforementioned phrase?"

    Was the "joke" some kind of veiled insult about England being the most diverse country in Europe vs Greek parochial homegeneity?

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  • 182. At 9:38pm on 20 Nov 2010, Nik wrote:

    """Is the Greek on the same planet earth as anyone else: I ask because how could any sane person attempt to write in that manner about a part of another Nation's culture from such limited, quarter-baked knowledge of it!?"""

    Your country is directly supporting an artificial little state, part of ancient Bulgarian lands that has a state propaganda supporting that myself as a Macedonian either I am not Greek or I am a Greek that stole the lands of the locals who are supposed to be themselves who live north of my land!

    So spare me the lessons on culture and history. If your PM DeCameron does not have the sufficient education to read what is there written on Macedonian graves from Pella down to western India and China and if for you everything is relative if it serves your interest, then I can also go out and say whatever:

    However in the above sentence of mine I did not mention anything offensive to you unless your own history is offensive to you. I do remain by the standards of history which teaches us that:

    Britain each time it was invaded and conquered it changed its language, culture and consciousness. Good or bad, like it or not that is what your proper history tells us. If you do not like it, I do not care, just live with it.

    So, make it or break it.

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  • 183. At 9:44pm on 20 Nov 2010, Nik wrote:

    181. At 9:34pm on 20 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:
    Nik;
    "... hmmm... is this the confirmation of my above aforementioned phrase?"
    """Was the "joke" some kind of veiled insult about England being the most diverse country in Europe vs Greek parochial homegeneity?"""

    I do not insult on the first person. But if I want to insult I do it directly, I do not veil it.

    Above the comedy sketch as placed in the discussion is absolutely insulting of the memory of nearly 1 million Greeks that died in WWII only because Britain had wanted it to be part of that war.

    I do value the lifes of 1 million people, just any people, more than the whatever linguistic changes happened in a nation that today happens to fight against the very basic existence of my group of people.

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  • 184. At 9:52pm on 20 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #183

    Nik;

    Get a life and a sense of humour. That's the differences between the Irish and the Greeks? THE CRAIC.

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  • 185. At 9:54pm on 20 Nov 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #177 - Nik

    That was precisely my point - that no one should use past events whether personal or historical as an excuse for prejudice. I don't. Why should anyone else do it. Are people deliberately misunderstanding me?

    CBW

    Have you notice a particular Scots person who so loathes the English has suddenly taken to referring to the British sense of humour? I thought this appropriate.

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  • 186. At 9:54pm on 20 Nov 2010, Nik wrote:

    """I do value the lifes of 1 million people, just any people, more than the whatever linguistic changes happened in a nation that today happens to fight against the very basic existence of my group of people."""

    And to clarify this once again - the things about British culture and language are things that do not interest me more than those of the Norwegian or the Polish culture. When I do refer to Britain I concentrate on its geopolitics and its unjustified presence in the region as well as being a vehicle for the presence of the US around the European states of affairs. Britain is not the only in that but it has been and still is a major parameter.

    If British find insulting such observations but do not find insulting the fact that their fathers landed in Normandy and gave their lifes to beat the Germans only to have their own leaders and diplomats discussing about how to make the future Germany more rich and more productive than Britain itself. Them, they returned and most of them were content of having a miserable worker's life. My comments are insulting? Why? Because the truth is insulting maybe?

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  • 187. At 9:58pm on 20 Nov 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    CBW

    By the way, there was only ever one of me. I think the _II came from Marcus.
    Initially you should consider yourself but maybe that is not a capital idea either.

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  • 188. At 10:04pm on 20 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #186

    "If British find insulting such observations but do not find insulting the fact that their fathers landed in Normandy and gave their lifes to beat the Germans only to have their own leaders and diplomats discussing about how to make the future Germany more rich and more productive than Britain itself."

    You may recall that after WW1 that the Allies decided to impoverish Germany and look what happened 20 years later! I for one, dont resent Germany its success.

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  • 189. At 10:07pm on 20 Nov 2010, smroet wrote:

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

  • 190. At 10:11pm on 20 Nov 2010, Stevenson wrote:

    Nik, at least your comments have SOME context. But other people's comments that are anti-British seem to be all blah blah blah--as in knee jerk comments--

    Wait till America goes down (farther) there will be all these "knowledgeable" people insulting America--what will we be able to do about it? Hmmmm...

    Sounds kind of mean to me.

    If I wanted to be anti-empire, I could be anti-many many nations,

    if I wanted to dwell on the negative

    which is usually quite limited (in quantity--compared to the positive.)

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  • 191. At 10:15pm on 20 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #186

    Nik;

    When I do refer to Britain I concentrate on its geopolitics and its unjustified presence in the region as well as being a vehicle for the presence of the US around the European states of affairs. Britain is not the only in that but it has been and still is a major parameter.

    Thats great Nik, truly great. When you find out how that entitles you to hijack every blog and turn the topic into Greece, when the relevant topic of today is Ireland, let us know. Ok? Thanks.

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  • 192. At 10:19pm on 20 Nov 2010, Nik wrote:

    185. At 9:54pm on 20 Nov 2010, threnodio_II wrote:
    #177 - Nik
    """That was precisely my point - that no one should use past events whether personal or historical as an excuse for prejudice. I don't. Why should anyone else do it. Are people deliberately misunderstanding me?"""

    Threnodio, you are absolutely right. But see in internet blogs we can only write and so things we say are taken "however" by our interlocutors and for the most of it our writings are taken as meaner and more offensive than we would really wish them to be taken. If we had that discussion with CBW in an Irish pub we would not be "shouting" but we would talk for 5-10 minutes and then turn the discussion to football or women...

    From there on, prejudice is something that runs deeply in each of us I personally live with it, I acknoledge it, I do not hide in front of it. I just marvel as how some people (no, not so much here in these forums) can go out and claim that themselves have no prejudices reminding me those unforgetable first christians who claimed to love all the world when they would refuse to love their own parents if they did not abide to their religion.

    Back in my uni. days in the UK, I used to write essays for students of history or European studies etc. my studies being rather a technological sector - yes I studied in UK, south England to be precise (and I loved my time there, CBW would be glad to learn of my contribution to the local economy...). Anyway, I did this work presumably for money , students payed be 100 to 200 pounds per essay, but I really did love doing that work. So I used to have discussions with English guys and while my views were a kind of strange (eg. who in Britain ever heard of British implictly aiding the Nazis in the Balkans, who of the British ever realised what British politics had done in Cyprus...), none of them ever considered me as anti-British. I am not. I am anti-Britishgeopolitics. If that is my prejudice, then it is but that is all.

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  • 193. At 10:21pm on 20 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #190

    "If I wanted to be anti-empire, I could be anti-many many nations,"

    You could indeed, including Greece. Recency is a problem for many.

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  • 194. At 10:24pm on 20 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #177. At 9:06pm on 20 Nov 2010, Nik writes: "..But in turn count the millions of Greeks that died so recently because western Europeans wanted to buy petrol from Saoudi Arabia via Suez and not from anywhere else..."


    My reply: But "..millions of Greeks.." didn't die recently! Millions of Greeks didn't die 50, 60, 75, 100, 150 years ago! At least not in any conflict about Middle East oil and not for any other reason either! In the 19th Century bitter conflict with the Ottomans led to mass slaughter, but that was the scenario across the entire crumbling 'sick man of Europe - Turkish Empire'. In the post-WW1 era the worst Greek losses were as a result of the Nazi Occupation and deliberate starvation policies during WW2.

    AND,

    "..So when we refer to British geopolitics is to answer back to the whatever idiocies we hear about the region (in particular E. Mediterranean) which particularly in our times is at the heart of the current European crisis in ways that you are far from imagining..."


    My reply: These are the "..idiocies.." of ww2 & posdt-WW2 Greece which suffered invasion, conquest & was brutally treated in WW2 before ultimately being liberated, then years of civil war, and the years of military junta, the years of democracy leading to the years of union with the EU...
    So many 'idiocies' in the Timeline of a Nation: Oh wait, it seems the rest of the European mainland went through much the same sort of experiences (some far grimmer & some more fortunate)!

    AND then,

    Re #180. At 9:30pm on 20 Nov 2010, Nik writes: "... told you already, when you have been the object of 2 genocides and see in the not very distant future a 3rd one in the making then you can get all the self-righteousness.

    Call it a conflict of interest. Why does it bother you if "some things" are discussed (I give a random example: the implicit collaboration of British with Nazis in certain fronts, with communists in other...)."


    My reply: It matters because it isn't factually accurate. It is a distorted version of History You have latched onto, but it is not supported by verified, substantiated documentation, nor any other valid Historical method of research.

    It matters because Your sense of the Geo-political core is completely out-of-touch with that of most of the rest of clear-thinking Citizens. A Greece as important as You insist would never have been allowed to fall intothe Economic-Fiscal minefield it presently endures! A Greece & Aegean region as vital to the World as You try to demonstrate would have the Chinese, Russians, Americans, EU in every port creating the most thrusting, dynamic Nation it is possible to conceive of for the 21st Century: Instead, it's a back-water nation that borrows Billions just to stay afloat!

    It matters because as You write & allude to the curent EU/UK/USA negotiations,
    "... And EU instead of kicking out US telling it to mind its own business sits and talks in discussions where the issue is the "anti-missile protection of European states by a possible attack from Iran" a title of discussion that stands as a direct offense to the intelligence of every single European that accepts or is forced to sit down and discuss on something like that...",
    You incredibly try to imply it somehow justifies Your concentration on Greece & the Aegean as the centre of the World geo-political strategy, completely ignoring the factual reality staring You in the face in Your own writing! Truly remarkable when the negotiations' main & sub-text is Iran, North Korea, Mid-East & Indian sub-continent 'Nuclear Powers' and not about Greece!

    If Greece & the East Mediterranean were as important as You proclaim then the negotiations would have been all about how to put a 'missile shield' in-place there: Even Suez isn't on the negotiating agenda (& that I could have understood)!

    Nothing You write makes much sense and unfortunately for You an awful lot of it makes no sense at all. Especially when You provide examples of Your own that undermine Your perspective!

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  • 195. At 10:24pm on 20 Nov 2010, Nik wrote:

    191. At 10:15pm on 20 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:
    """Thats great Nik, truly great. When you find out how that entitles you to hijack every blog and turn the topic into Greece, when the relevant topic of today is Ireland, let us know. Ok? Thanks."""

    Your complain is logical at this point.

    BUT....

    How many times did I try to open a real discussion on HOW Ireland came to be in this dire situation and have such debt levels, very few replies came. Perpahs we do not have as many Irish here. Greeks be it a small country due to their location are naturally more interested in politics and in world affairs and the fact that out of 150,000 Greek university graduates, the 60,000 of them have passed from UK either for undergraduate or postgraduate studies ensure both of them the presence of more than 1 Greek in these channels. What can we do? If we studied in Russia or in China we would be bothering them.

    Look, we gave so many million pounds so that this inconvenience is a small price to pay:)

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  • 196. At 10:33pm on 20 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #182

    I'm unsure who You were actually directing that comment-reply to a as it came with a quote from my contributions & a comment addressed to something I had not written.

    I never get offended by You: I get irritated and annoyed that Y9ou are incapable of any thought outside the parameters of Your marxist-leninist teachings, but hey, it could happento anyone!

    All the same, just on the #182: I take Your point about the Britons changing their language several times upto the early Medieval Age. But, are You by chance hinting the language of the Hellenes of antiquity or more recent eons back the writings of Plutarch were the same as modern Greek language - if You are - - could You have another look in Your museums/libraries because I think You will find modern Greek is much like English, about 1,000 years max in age! Granted, and not to argue, it is (Greek) a distinct and fine language in every aspect.

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  • 197. At 10:34pm on 20 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #195

    "Look, we gave so many million pounds so that this inconvenience is a small price to pay:)"

    I havent seen a penny of that money!

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  • 198. At 10:37pm on 20 Nov 2010, smroet wrote:

    #189 (and #172)

    Ah yes, I was just trying out the secret of Ellinas's scissors, and by accident pressed the wrong button... Anyway, here is a possible source of entertainment. You can even find the HTML symbol for the Drachma (&#x20AF), just in case we'll need it again in future. The symbol for the Irish pound, main topic of this discussion (although many people seem engaged in ad hominem bickering about past English behaviour) is IR&#xA3.

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  • 199. At 10:47pm on 20 Nov 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #188 - champagne_charlie

    Quite right.

    I, for one, continue to congratulate the Germans for facing up to and dealing with their history and evolving into a modern democratic nation. This thread is coming together (albeit off topic). There are historical and personal reasons why I might have reason to dislike particular nations or people but I absolutely refuse to give in to that temptation. I am occasionally tempted to poke fun and, if that is offensive, I will apolgise. But there is absolutely no excuse for prejudice. If such people cannot get past their hatred, they have foregone all right to describe themselves as civilised human beings and that is their problem, not mine.

    But . . I see Nik's point in a way. If you were outside the EU and NATO, you might well spy a conspiracy to rebuild the economy of a broken nation and become the vassal of a distant power. But he is not. He hails from a NATO member country and and EU country. He understands perfectly well that you could not possibly contemplate a European entity without first acknowledging the defeated powers of 1949 as equals and partners and secondly embracing those that were lost to the project until 1989.

    As someone who was born in the first half of the last century, my one regret is that I will probably be outlived by people who are still stuck in the 20th century. Now that is sad.

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  • 200. At 10:55pm on 20 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #192. At 10:19pm on 20 Nov 2010, Nik writes:

    ".. Back in my uni. days in the UK, yes I studied in UK, south England to be precise (and I loved my time there, CBW would be glad to learn of my contribution to the local economy...)..."

    Wait a minute!

    Now I know where I've heard all this stuff before!

    The Chequers Pub & Hotel, on the roundabout, near Gatwick! You were that swarthy, ringly haired bloke, ear-ring before it was fashionable behind the bar for 6 months served poor measures until closing time & then if 1 of we regulars mentioned 'politics' You'd start off regaling everyone with Karl said this, Friedrich said that, Vladimir said quite too much...

    Yes, yes I remember You now! Boring as a Dutch barn door (some things don't change), but keeping You bleating away we got to drink for an extra 2 hours & full pints too! Your nickname was 'Gyp' short for Egyptian, Your accent & us being Britons none of us could be bothered where You really came from!

    Ah, those were the days: Circa 1968-69!

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  • 201. At 10:59pm on 20 Nov 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #198 - smroet

    I am very grateful - especially for the hint about the Irish pound which has been history for a number of years. When I first started blogging here, posting html was strictly a non starter. These days, we have moved on to css but there is life in the old dogs yet.

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  • 202. At 11:05pm on 20 Nov 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #200 - cool_brush_work

    Not the Chequers at Horley? Fallen off many a bar stool there in my time. Wonder if you ever caught me.

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  • 203. At 11:11pm on 20 Nov 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    #200 - cool_brush_work

    Did 185 and 187 make any sense?

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  • 204. At 11:36pm on 20 Nov 2010, threnodio_II wrote:

    I notice that QOT got in first on the next thread with the customary garbage.

    Anyone fancy a boycott?

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  • 205. At 11:54pm on 20 Nov 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #199 Threnodio


    ´As someone who was born in the first half of the last century, my one regret is that I will probably be outlived by people who are still stuck in the 20th century.´

    --- or centuries earlier !

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  • 206. At 00:01am on 21 Nov 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    Threnodio

    I thought your cot was made for a boy ?

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  • 207. At 00:17am on 21 Nov 2010, Stevenson wrote:

    Its ok to say..anything.. nasty about other nations, but that doesn't mean I have to read it.

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  • 208. At 00:24am on 21 Nov 2010, Commodus wrote:

    Re 103 cool_brush_work

    The thing is it's not only the trouble that a lot of irish still have in mind. It's all what was before the independance... The conquest, savage repression, deportation, starvation, Cromwell and all... Then the war of independance. Then Northen Ireland. The Irish got over it (mostly). They might forgive, but probably won't forget.

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  • 209. At 00:34am on 21 Nov 2010, margaret howard wrote:

    173 threnodio writes:
    #170 - margaret howard
    " - but surely their Health Service still provides assistance to the really serious cases?"

    Read it again threnodio, the above is a quote from CBW in another one of his aggressive, tasteless replies to Nic whom he constantly labels as 'the mad greek'.
    Now I know he boasts that he is the scion of a very funny nation (179) but personally I find his humour very heavy going and about as funny as the proverbial toothache.
    You also said: "Somebody very close to me died as a direct consequence of Greek national health treatment." I am sorry to hear that as I myself recently had to go to our local NHS hospital to have a minor operation on my foot and caught MRSA there as a direct result of the unhygienic conditions there and which took months to get rid of. I would have to be at death's door before going near any one of those places again.

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  • 210. At 00:49am on 21 Nov 2010, Commodus wrote:

    Re 100 cool_brush_work wrote

    'Though it has to be said it is unlikely much of occupied France or any part of Nazi dominated mainland Europe would have joined in with the general aversion to Britain/England circa 1939-45: That generation of Europeans in the main knew & recognised the opposite trait in the Britons/English of the era: 'Loyalty'. '

    Maybe, maybe not. Generally the french considered that the british could not be trusted for a number of reasons. Of course the two countries had been at war for centuries, however some examples of british 'perfidy' help understanding why the term was coined:
    - 1415, Azincourt : british commoners slay fallen french knights instead of asking for ransom as was the custom at the time
    - 1755, E. Houk seized 300 french merchant ships and 6000 sailors, prior to any declaration of war
    - 1801, Nelson (yes, Horatio himself) attack and destroy the danish fleet in copenhagen, without any declaration of war
    - 1878, English navy prevent Russia from seizing Instanbul during the russian-Ottoman war, even though the UK had previously garanteed neutrality

    There are dozens more exemple of word not kept, betrayal and other sneaky backstabbing, quite a lot of them in fact towards the Welsh, the Irish and the Scots. But that's mostly ancient history, I acknowledge that.

    Hang on! That explains why Margaret agrees with me ;)

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  • 211. At 00:53am on 21 Nov 2010, margaret howard wrote:

    208 Commodus writes:
    "The Irish got over it (mostly). They might forgive, but probably won't forget."
    You are right, and neither will many of the other nations who suffered so cruelly from english exploitation in the past two centuries. I see that only last week during Cameron's visit the Chinese protested against him and his entourage wearing poppies as they claimed it was a tasteless reference to the bitter Opium Wars of the 19th century when they were forced to trade opium for tea by the english and which turned a whole generation into drug addicts.

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  • 212. At 01:26am on 21 Nov 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #211 MH

    ---lest we forget ?

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  • 213. At 01:43am on 21 Nov 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Alice in Wonderland, 'powermeer-ochka' is even lovelier that to 'grabatize'. Thank ya!

    You are very welcome. In the unlikely event you continue to behave like powermeer-ochka :o) in the time remaining ;o)))) (OK, with deviations of course) - I might even award you with my photo in the Red Square. In red shoes :o)))) and in a red dress :o))))))))))))) say, for Christmas :o))))))

    _______
    And I thought it's the other way around - defenSe in the US, and Defence in the UK. Must visit some site, or something :o)




    "However I'm slighly worried that Russia may loose its 2nd place in profits from arms sales, since Victor Bout (you can also spell it 'But') was grabatized to U.S."
    No worries; :o))))) all say if he had something to say - there was time enough, I mean two years in that prizon, more than enough for happenings and occasions :o))))))

    [not that we've ever needed his help to retain our leadership in that particular trade area.]
    - He ran planes delivering weapons to Iraq, was your supplier or Britain's supplier and business partner :o))))) - honestly forgot which one's of you - but granted, he did.



    P.S. Perhaps you could move to 1st place in arms sales if you simply increased their prices a bit? :)
    They don't have a marketing manager. I am always inclined to defend a higher price rather than the other way around. Don't remember an occasion in work when I found it's time to decrease the tariffs or prices - ever.


    ________
    P.P.S. I have bought some smoked salmon from Kuril Islands recently.

    It was honestly better than many I ate so far."

    Those fishes ramble free and differ from artificially grown Norwegian ones.

    [washed it down with a couple of shots of ice-cold "Gorbatchev" only to discover, to may chagrin, it was not a Russian vodka, but... German.
    Why do you allow Germans to do that?! :-(]

    Thick, re patents, as I said ;o)))))

    By the way this reminds me the "surely German" (British :o))) (American :o)) Quiet- oaktree - I only know he is not Russian :o))))) at least 1/5 -1/6 of the globe out of consideration :o))))
    In our quarters an oak is a symbol of things diametrically opposite to the English culture. In England I saw BBC4 TV programmes and very good ones, various educative things - with a symbol of an oak tree eh growing in knowledge, by minute, in direct view.

    Here it's the other way around :o))), because when you knock on your head - there is a sound of emptiness :o)))))) more or less (complete or slightly better :o)))) But when you knock on wood which is oak now, it's a very dense condensed thing, and the sound is nil. It's muffled muffed? There is none, basically. Which I guess stands in contrast somehow to an empty head sound ;o))))) Russians, correspondingly, arrived to the opinion that nothing is eh, nothing compares to it :o)
    and the expression in short is "thick as an oak" sorry Oaktree :o)))))
    But I guess nobody suspected you are Russian :o))))) - I simply rule you out of these quarters just by the name, and onto another side - which respects oaktrees - another culture mould.
    _______

    Powermeer, if, instead of buying "Gorbachyov" vodka you will keep to "Putin-ka" :o)))))) - I assure you you will never get wrong as regards the production origin :o)))))) - that brand no one yet dared to replicate even the Chinese :o)))))))

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  • 214. At 01:52am on 21 Nov 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    With Stolichnaya I agree, reliable. I always buy only that one for presents abroad. Traditions and all. Matryoshka dolls, Stoli :o))), I mean , everyone expects. But I check the label, turn it around and all, and buy only if I see the maker is Moscow's factory Krystall (Crystal?)
    that, transparent stone? for it is their thing, and many Russian factories more are making Stolichnaya these days, but it depends on local water used, and ? details? I think. Normally, one doesn't want to poison foreign friends :o)))))) or carry it across half the world and have surprises. That old factory, in short.

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  • 215. At 04:32am on 21 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #210

    Commodus;

    At least try to get your facts straight if you're going to allow that chip on your shoulder to influence your posts.

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  • 216. At 08:11am on 21 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Threnodio!!

    Re #202

    'Horley'! Precisely!

    'Charlwood' regular stabling & watering - longest road in the known world - from the Half Moon to the Rising Sun (all of 350 metres).

    Small world aye, small world!

    Regret 185 & 187 only half understood.

    Cheers.

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  • 217. At 08:56am on 21 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #205, 208, 209, 210, 211, 212

    3 of the 'anti-English troupe' renew their parade of tarnished virtue.

    Apparently this time its France, Ireland, China, Turkey, Denmark, Russia who all had such virtuous Histories & suffered base English connivance!


    Even 'Agincourt' gets a mention!
    Woe, woe, thrice woe that men, women & children now abed shall think themselves accursed they are waking in an English plot!

    Would that they could be from that immutable, ethical foreign stock:

    E.g. France's role in facilitating the Rwandan genocide 1994,
    E.g. Dublin's cosy relations with fascist, genocidal Nazi Germany throughout 1939-45,
    E.g. China's sparkling human rights in Tibet & aid to the Myanmar junta,
    E.g. Turkey's distinctive social cohesion policies to Armenians & Kurds,
    E.g. Danish Government public admission of "morally unjustifiable" 'collaboration' & 'profiting' in Nazi Occupation 1940-43,
    E.g. Russia's unending Government-inspired mass Jewish Pogroms...

    For sure, in a long, long History, England & the English have so much that is reprehensible to be accountable for. However, it would seem out in the World anyone picking up a morality-stone would find they're living amongst too many glasshouses to cast it far!

    Oh, and for dear Margaret's sake - - 'Lest We Forget' - - from Robert Bruce's betrayal of William Wallace to the English all the way to the Jacobites conspiring with France to invade England and on to the Scottish-Protestant bigot 'transplant' into Ireland... let us rejoice at the magnificent probity, honour & sanctimoniously hypocritical Scot-at-large!

    This ganging-up on England & the English is as winnable as the proverbial one-legged man in a rear-kicking contest!

    Come on Lady & Gentlemen: Do attempt, however small, a bout of realism to enter Your dreary contributions.

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  • 218. At 09:29am on 21 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #208 #211

    "The Irish got over it (mostly). They might forgive, but probably won't forget."

    Same goes for the people of Enniskillen,Omagh, Brighton, London, Warrington, Manchester, Guildford, Birmingham and others.

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  • 219. At 10:42am on 21 Nov 2010, Mathiasen wrote:

    #210. At 00:49am on 21 Nov 2010, Commodus
    Actually, the worst British act of war in Denmark was the civil bombardment of Copenhagen 1807 during the fourth Napoleonic war, which had a severe effect on the city and its people. It is, as far as I know, the first bombardment of civilians in the history of war.
    The Danish fleet was not destroyed in 1801. After the 1807 bombardment a large number of vessels were seized.
    Despite these events in 1824 the Danes assisted the Englishmen in Africa during another armed conflict.

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  • 220. At 11:01am on 21 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    WebAlice

    Re #213

    Another gentle & positive contribution from You. I've said before, You put all us 'Europeans' to shame with Your humanity.

    Reverting to my 'type': The 'Oak' Tree is a great representative of a byegone age of Britain - - most 'oaks' had been cut down by the 17th Century in England (Royal & Mercantile Fleet demands) - - e.g. Robin Hood's ghost in Sherwood Forest will be confined to one-tenth of his former predatory grounds!
    'Nature Conservation' regrettably not being a highlight of British sensibilities until the creation of the 1920s Forestry Commission.

    Thus, the 'quietoaktree' has even less in common with modern Britain and for sure if root & branch knowledge of the realm is the measure of worth then the poor fellow must be a transplanted Dutch Elm (with diseased bark) in disguise.

    I will tell You and trust that Threnodio will recall from times gone by of the giant Oak that stood outside the 'Chequers' hostelry from my earliest memory and that my late grandfather recalled watering teams of plough horse under around 1900. Travelling in to school by bus I saw the massive, gnarled, mostly leafless timber every morning & evening from my earliest childhood until I went to University & the Army. In a foreboding sense its evident decline and ultimate fall was symbolic of the path G.B. was undergoing in that 1950s-60s era. The Oak of my grandfather had been so full of reaching boughs & huddled leafiness it could take 10 climbing children into it and none would be spotted. And yet, by my time, that Oak was plainly at its end, threadbare, cracking and gaunt remnant of its former glory.

    'Nature Conservation' being what it was by the very early 1970s in England, they made much of the 'Preservation' orders for ancient monuments & indeed surviving natural growths: All the same, despite protest & demonstration by Citizens the Environmental Health department paid some 'Tree Surgeons' to cut-down the Oak as it was 'endangering' the Chequers' customers. That I returned within a year of the Oak's felling to find a brand new, much wider, dual lane roundabout & carriageway was built using part of its ancient place is, I am sure, just Planning Dept. coincidence!

    I gather much the same is underway with the giant forests between Moscow & St.Peterburg: Unlike in modern day Russia, at least in G.B. when the Chequers' 'Oak' was being considered as surplus to requirements there were no cracked heads or lengthy hospital treatments for Tree-lover journalists!
    Mind You, in Robin Hood's day and through to the 19th Century as 'common land' was cleared, enclosed and whole Woods cut to Ship shapes there were plenty of ordinary heads knocked about by those with powerful interest in seeing an altogether different commercial aspect of Britain, much like Russia is enduring at this time.

    Cheers.

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  • 221. At 11:23am on 21 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #219

    "It is, as far as I know, the first bombardment of civilians in the history of war"

    Do you mean the first NAVAL bombardment? If thats what you mean you are 200 years late anyway. If you're trying to pin 1807 as being the first date that civilians were deliberately targetted by militaries then you are several millenia too late and should join Commodus in being a lot more careful about the references you use.

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  • 222. At 11:55am on 21 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Mathiasen

    Re #219

    I am very surprised at You!

    An item You & I had already amply discussed on a blog a year ago and wherein You conceded nothing was quite as You had thought from Your history lessons.
    In fact, if memory serves me right, You actually referred to an entirely different episode of bombardment at one stage of our debate.

    For sure in 1807 Britain's Navy engaged in a pre-emptive bombardment & mini-siege of Copenhagen.
    However, 'lest we forget' (where've I heard that?), this was the Denmark that was the dominant 'Political' ruler of Iceland, Greenland, Norway, Faroe Islands, Schleswig-Holstein and had a very powerful Navy in its own right. So, let us not shrink from also recalling it was the unwelcome occupier of 'foreign' lands (known as colonies - - they don't have to be in Africa & Asia): Furthermore, this was the Denmark tempted into alliance with Napoleon for his 'Continental Trade' system aimed (ironically by modern EU system) at stifling G.B. 'trade' with mainland Europe.
    For G.B.'s economic & military survival a powerful Maritime Nation such as Denmark could not possibly have been ignored in alliance with France.
    Denmark put itself in the firing line and duly got segments burnt to the ground.

    Mathiasen! In alliance with the 'anti-English troupe'! What on earth were You thinking!?

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  • 223. At 12:36pm on 21 Nov 2010, Commodus wrote:

    Re 215 champagne_charlie

    'At least try to get your facts straight if you're going to allow that chip on your shoulder to influence your posts.'

    I might have stated something incorrect, but what is it then? If you don't point it out, what's the point of your post?

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  • 224. At 12:42pm on 21 Nov 2010, Commodus wrote:

    Re cool_brush_work

    'E.g. France's role in facilitating the Rwandan genocide 1994,
    E.g. Dublin's cosy relations with fascist, genocidal Nazi Germany throughout 1939-45,
    E.g. China's sparkling human rights in Tibet & aid to the Myanmar junta,
    E.g. Turkey's distinctive social cohesion policies to Armenians & Kurds,
    E.g. Danish Government public admission of "morally unjustifiable" 'collaboration' & 'profiting' in Nazi Occupation 1940-43,
    E.g. Russia's unending Government-inspired mass Jewish Pogroms...'

    You are mistaken in my intentions. I did not talk of English/Uk wrongdoings/evil acts (not enough space in this blog - come on I'm joking ;) just a list of facts that explain why england in not seen as trustworthy by a lot of countries. So it's agreement that have not been respected, word given and broken, betrayal after garanteeing something.

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  • 225. At 12:45pm on 21 Nov 2010, Commodus wrote:

    Re 219 Mathiasen

    'The Danish fleet was not destroyed in 1801. After the 1807 bombardment a large number of vessels were seized.'

    It was 2 different battles. In 1801 the danes lost 15 ships, including 7 ships of the line.

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  • 226. At 12:47pm on 21 Nov 2010, Mathiasen wrote:

    #222. At 11:55am on 21 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work
    1) You are reading my message approximately the same way as the devil reads the bible. I recommend you to read it again.
    When you have done that you should consider, what the factual contents of my message is and what your interpretation of it is.
    Your first strike did not hit anything at all, and how can the facts be anti-anything? An interesting question.

    2) Your memory of what I "conceded" is wrong. I conceded nothing but told you then what the number of the English occupation soldiers was in the conflict in 1807. You didn't believe it before you had consulted your handbooks. Then you conceded that the number I had written were correct.

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  • 227. At 1:07pm on 21 Nov 2010, Mathiasen wrote:

    #225. At 12:45pm on 21 Nov 2010, Commodus
    Correct, nonetheless it was not destroyed. Had it been that it would not had been possible for the Englishmen to seize 67 vessels in 1807 of which 15 were commanding ships (in the line), 15 were frigates and 8 were brigs. A booty Danish historians are calling "the pride of the Danish-Norwegian kingdom".

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  • 228. At 1:41pm on 21 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #223

    Commodus;

    Aside from the factual inaccuracies, you are attempting to link each event to some notion of English/British untrustworthyness, which is just plain wrong unless you really understand each situation in context AND get the basic facts correct.

    The factual inaccuracies are:

    a) the English did spare knights worth ransoming when they decided to kill the prisoners- and contemporary records show that the French understood why the English did it, however barbaric. The number of French prisoners was actually greater than the number of English troops, but the French reserve was about to attack again. Clearly the English could not have defended their position and guard that many prisoners, so they took the only option available .
    b) the British did issue an ultimatum to the Danish at Copenhagen in 1801. "In February 1801, under the Addington administration, Vansittart was selected to conduct the special mission to Copenhagen; his instructions from Lord Hawkesbury were to make clear the position of England, and to detach the court of Denmark from the northern alliance. The Danes rejected this, called for Swedish aid which never came and the British attacked 2 months later. It was NOT an undeclared war.
    c) the British did issue an ultimatum and asked for a surrender prior to and during to the 1807 siege
    d) the British naval movement to Constantinople was AFTER a truce had been signed, which the Russians seemed intent on breaking. Not a shot was fired. How this could be considered duplicitous when it prevented a further war is anyones guess.

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  • 229. At 2:50pm on 21 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Mathiasen

    Re #226

    You joined in at #219 to assert an imagined wrong done to Denmark; You joined in to back Commodus & others who have asserted there is a thread of 'perfidity'/'duplicity' etc. in all British & principally England's history; You joined in knowing full well that Your facts were inaccurate at best and deliberately misleading of Denmark's true situation. Contrary to Your assertion I never agreed all Your points at a previous blog (care to look back: Your numbers referred to a previous conflict - - we found each of us had made valid & invalid statements for the period in question).

    My #222 was merely commenting from my perpective Your #219 was a misguided intervention: The Copenhagen bombardment was an entirely proper action and in no way could be claimed as the "..first bombardment on civilians" - - this is the sort of ridiculous allegation only the anti-English make - - that You have reasserted Your version of the 1807 episode and now write of "..your first strike.." as though it was my role to attack You & Denmark!

    It just surprises and disappoints me all the more.
    Intellectually, I had thought much better of You than the likes of OQT, MH etc. who lambast England & the English across the whole spectrum of history as though no other Nation were ever at fault.

    Fine by me: We know where we stand. At least now the 'anti-English troupe' will be able to boast a member living in another nation (Dane in Germany).

    Bible reading is an interesting pass-time for some: Were I a Christian I might consider it a useful Sunday occupation - - as it is - - the Book of Common Prayer, 1662 has these lines in its august pages:

    'O most powerful and glorious Lord God..
    We make our address to thy divine Majesty,
    In this our necessity,
    That thou wouldest take the cause into thine own hand,
    And judge between us and our enemies,
    Stir up thy strength, O Lord,
    And come and help us,
    For thou givest not always the battle to the strong,
    But canst save by many or by few.

    (From 'The Prayer to be said before a Fight at Sea against an Enemy')

    Horatio & many a successful British Admiral was to use it (inc. at Copenhagen).

    Half-Cheers.

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  • 230. At 2:58pm on 21 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Commodus

    Re #210 & #224

    "..There are dozens more exemple of word not kept, betrayal and other sneaky backstabbing, quite a lot of them in fact towards the Welsh, the Irish and the Scots. But that's mostly ancient history, I acknowledge that.

    Hang on! That explains why Margaret agrees with me ;)"

    "..I did not talk of English/Uk wrongdoings/evil acts.."



    Commodus, I'm wondering if there is anyone reading the above paragraph would conclude/interpret anything other than You are having a go at the England & the English.

    Not to be too blunt: Pull anyone You like, but not that one!


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  • 231. At 3:28pm on 21 Nov 2010, MaudDib wrote:

    220. cool_brush_work

    CBW, I must say I'm very fond of oak trees and for that matter the British as well. Well mostly the English, the Scotts always seem to have a bee uder ther bonnets. At least the ones you find posting on the various blogs on the BBC. Also a big fan of the Irish.

    I recently planted 6000 Saw-Tooth oaks around the house to be enjoyed by my children. When one refers to English oak, are they refereing to one particular species or just oaks in general. Are there still Yew trees around. As you know in olden times Yew wood was the material for the then weapons of mass destruction. "The English Long Bow"

    I wonder do they still have cedars in Lebanon?

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  • 232. At 3:31pm on 21 Nov 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    cool-brush-work, personally I like oak trees, and Russians, across, value them high, and cherish. It's a rare thing here, they like drier and warmer paces.
    (Just not for their excessive learning and computing abilities ;o))))))) - like England, mysteriously, does :o))))))))) - but for other qualities.)

    I've got 2 in the dacha but they are very miserabe and slim ;o). Well, one is doing alright more or less, but the other fellow, on the edge of the pond :o)))))) - not so well.


    I've got my cruel plans for the better-fairing and straight one;o)))), another 50-70 years :o))))))), and he'll be fit for the base how to say, those thick oak wooden ? boards? tree trunk forming the basement of the house. The whole foundation of bricks and crap has rotten away under the dacha house, it literally holds in air only on 2 thick oak trees running across under the floor. Everywhere else the house had sank. into the swamp :o)))))

    For a house basement two things are key here, if one can get hold of either or both - granite rocks from the Gulf of Finland shore (you pull them, trolley, from the beach and home) and oak trees.

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  • 233. At 3:52pm on 21 Nov 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    With regards to my human and civilised approach to other countries ;o)))))), thank you for the compliments, sincerely.

    (For the reasons of objectivity might just add ;o)))), that it may be in good share due to that I/we are feeling that Russia is so infinitely better than any thing else :o))))))))))) that it gives us a relaxed, how to say ;o)))))) good-humoured attitude to less fortunate others ;o)))))))

    sorry, joking.
    But seriously. for every piece of critics directed at Russia we've got internal springs of good things to rely upon, like, in reserve, and while positive things out-weigh the negative ones, I mean, it is more or less OK.

    at that, bad things courtesy of cold war - are known across the world, while good things - much less so. So our munitions stocks are virgin un-touched and still rich ;o)))))) which very thought gives one a certain confidence in disputes ;o).

    I guess shall also add that to appreciate a civilisation, like the British is, it takes a civilisation - for starters.

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  • 234. At 3:52pm on 21 Nov 2010, Mathiasen wrote:

    #229. At 2:50pm on 21 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work
    Well, I can say so much: I am not impressed by your skills of interpretation, and your theories have such a character that I shall no go further into it. It will take 50 messages and a week before we get this mess sorted out. You are not anywhere near in guessing what my interpretation is.

    Message #219 was not directed or addressed to you. It corrected something Commodus had written, and I had to correct his account once again since he confused the result of the 1801 and the 1807 clash.

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  • 235. At 4:05pm on 21 Nov 2010, margaret howard wrote:

    233 webalice writes:
    "I guess shall also add that to appreciate a civilisation, like the British is, it takes a civilisation - for starters."

    It takes one to know one.

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  • 236. At 4:11pm on 21 Nov 2010, Mathiasen wrote:

    cool_brush_work
    You are welcome to put me into the Anti-English category, however I think you will have to expand from Anti-English only to Anti-English A and B.

    I have family in the UK. I have a preference for English clothes in cold periods and for the hunting-like activities. I drink a lot of tea, and I have always found English humour quite funny. I am absolutely thrilled with Monty Pythons, The Muppets, and Mr. Bean. Therefore I think I belong to the B category.
    Voilá!

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  • 237. At 4:33pm on 21 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Champagne_Charlie

    Re Agincourt, 'perfidity', chivalry etc.

    I've warned You before about confusing the 'anti-English troupe' with factual reality: It leaves them sore losers and even more grumpy!

    Still, You're right it is good sport, so let us dash into the fray and present an alternative portion of Commodus' aforementioned Battle of Agincourt -
    Re #210 & he wrote, "..1415, Azincourt : british commoners slay fallen french knights instead of asking for ransom as was the custom at the time"
    - and in that portion wherein quite the reverse of alleged British "..perfidity.." was displayed, but of which no surprise at all Commodus neglected any mention:

    At Agincourt the English 'baggage train' was made up entirely of a motley bunch of non-combatant royal servants, clerics and youths too young & untutored for battle plus a few 'ladies'-of-the-camp.

    This defenceless group, well displayed by their carts, luggage & utensils of camp-life were remote from the actual Battle front: Nevertheless, there followed, in one of those impressive moments for which French forces are renowned a brutal attack and slaughter of the innocents at the baggage train.
    What is more this callous attack on 'the varlets and their carts' and subsequent plundering of the train was led and accomplished by 3 of the Burgundian Knights who had escaped the slaughter on the field of battle. And, this cowardly attack had been a part of the official French Battle plan as envisaged by its chief strategist Marshal Boucicaut.

    There is evidence to suggest when King Henry's English Longbow Men their blood-lust already high from battle heard of the massacre of unarmed relatives & clergy there was little the King might do immediately to prevent a bloody retribution upon the French Knights strewn about the field of Agincourt.

    When France's official 'senior herald' Montjoie acknowledged before Henry V the field was a victory for the English he included even at that early stage an apologia for what he knew had gone behind-the-field of battle.

    Now of course, Commodus presented one view: It is the one whereby the English are shown to be unscrupulous & breaking the rules of engagement.

    I leave it to others far wiser & steeped in protocol to draw conclusions as to the chivalrous & honorary intent of French waiting until the English enemy is fully committed on the battlefield before attacking totally defenceless camp followers.

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  • 238. At 4:55pm on 21 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Mathiasen

    Re 3236

    You were doing so well, making all the right gestures, touching all sentiments, my heart was over-ruling my head and then... and then...

    "voila!"

    Blimey! Mein gott! Herra jestus!

    You blew it old chap!

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  • 239. At 4:59pm on 21 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    WebAlice

    Re Margaret's #235 & "..takes one to know one.."

    In English a common retort would be, 'Miaow!' I.e. the characteristic cry of a cat.

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  • 240. At 5:36pm on 21 Nov 2010, Mathiasen wrote:

    #238
    Oh my God, I realise. What can I do? I stay in the B category.

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  • 241. At 5:46pm on 21 Nov 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Exactly miaow, cool-brush. what is it with state-approved neverending pogroms.

    State-approved for 120 approx years' limiting access of Jewish to top positions - would be a more exact definition.

    Began when the Jewish were first noted in the Russian Empire (end of the 19th century) - ended in Perestroyka. Surely the Jewish were here before, the full history of Jewish in Russia is "200 years", but until the end of the 19th century no one worried, and after Perestroyka nobody worries either :o)))))))))))

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  • 242. At 6:10pm on 21 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Mathiasen

    Re #240

    No, considering Your long and in almost all topics honourable contribution I'll grant You refreshed 'neutrality' status: Afterall, we 'English' must display our perfidious sangfroid!

    Welcome back.

    Cheers.

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  • 243. At 6:33pm on 21 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    WebAlice

    Re #241

    Yes, I mentioned the 'pogroms' (#217) only as a part of the defence to the awful 'anti-English' and then one gets Margaret completely out-of-her-depth, again (!) and so wildly missing the point it borders on comedic-tragedy.

    Factually, as I'm sure You're aware it's Tsar Ivan Vasilievich unfortunately better known as 'Ivan the Terrible' gets the bad press coverage, again (!): In another of his strikingly harsh rulings he ordered those Jews who refused to embrace Christianity to be drowned, and Jews were officially excluded from Russian territory until the partition of Poland in the late 18th Century.

    Something the perfidious English had insisted on much earlier (King Edward I, 1290 - - a ban that more-or-less remained on the Statute book for many centuries though was much relaxed post-Cromwell's era) than the 'terrible': As they say, it never rains but it pours!

    It would be pleasing to conclude all that racial stereotyping and bigoted nonsense has been left behind by modern 'civilised' society: Then Margaret, DemocThreat, mad greek, QOT etc. write and we soon realise 'civilisation' is a very long way from a completed agenda.

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  • 244. At 7:02pm on 21 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    MaudDib

    Re #231

    Pleased to read Your sentiments regarding Oaks & Britons.

    In ancient times the Oak was sacred to the God of Thunder because legend has it they are more likely to be struck by lightning & remain standing than any other.
    Druids also held the Oak in great veneration.
    The William the Conqueror 'Oak' in Windsor Great Park beneath which legend has it he sheltered from a storm without a drop dampening his brow is supposedly the oldest still in existence.
    In 1282 King Edward I held his Parliament beneath an 'Oak' in Sherwood Forest.
    Over centuries Oak Trees became popularly known as the 'Monarch of the Forest'.
    Though not observed in modern days 'Oak Apple Day' (May 29th) or King Charles II birthday actually celebrates his Restoration when people wore sprigs of Oak with gilded oak-apples.

    All-in-all it was a mighty Oak for grand occasions & great personages.

    I've already mentioned their decimation to enable the British Royal & Commercial Navies, but this short poem reflects the significance of the Oak's place in common UK livelihood:

    The Old Oak Tree

    'I sit beneath your leaves, old oak,
    You mighty one of all the trees;
    Within whose hollow trunk a man
    Could stable his big horse with ease.'

    By W.H. Davies

    Cheers.

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  • 245. At 7:11pm on 21 Nov 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    Oh you guys (and Alice, good as always) have been busy, the anti-English brigade have been reinventing history as usual, the Scot thinks, well, Scots are super intelligent and to be fair I've met many who were normal unlike MH who has a chip on its shoulder larger than OAT's oak tree. Commode, well has a mixed bag of posts, sQAT, well we have long experience of how little you contribute and that your oak tree is suffering from some unmentionable disease.

    CBW and C_C, I didn't know you knew the Horley area, I still recall many lovely curries eaten in a restaurants there when I lived not so far from there just inside Sussex. CBW, nice to hear some good and accurate reposts to the middle age garbage invented today.

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  • 246. At 7:25pm on 21 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Buzet23

    Re #245

    Do You think it maybe 'something in the curry houes' of the Horley area!?

    You, me, Threnodio, C_C all defending the admittedly far from virginal honour of the English!

    Now if You were just south of the Surrey-Sussex border that puts You in Crawley 'old' or 'new' Town, then there's Copthorne, Edenbridge, Rusper, Faygate, Pound Hill & slightly further afield Felbridge, East Grinstead & Haywards Heath.

    Of course if You're right on the border then the abandoned Lowfield Heath village (now a Gatwick Airport runway, hotel area - - Church & Cemetery all that remains) where my great & grandparents are buried is a possibility or even Povey Cross & Hookwood.

    Deepest Surrey: The last bastion of 'tell-it-how it-is'!

    And not how 'Politically Correctly speaking there's a possibility, given the variety of views, and when all things are considered, depending on the alternatives available, should that arise and in that eventuality there may be.....' AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • 247. At 7:27pm on 21 Nov 2010, margaret howard wrote:

    243 CBW writes:
    "It would be pleasing to conclude all that racial stereotyping and bigoted nonsense has been left behind by modern 'civilised' society: Then Margaret, DemocThreat, mad greek, QOT etc. write and we soon realise 'civilisation' is a very long way from a completed agenda."

    Some extracts from CBW's sophisticated ramblings in previous contributions:
    'Flip' says the ex-Stasi fellow-traveller who flops at every topic as his bigotry & bias cannot be contained.

    There are countless others who have open-minds to the possibility America isn't the start, middle & finish version of the World!

    I know Greece is in really dire times, but surely their Health Service still provides assistance to the really serious cases?

    Now, I must get back to this fascinatingly accurate article on the 'Lancaster bomber' on the moon
    Oooh look, the 'Lancaster bomber' squadron on the moon has been joined by a flight of Luftwaffe Dorniers!

    The droning poor sap of the Alpine slopes is amongst us again

    The former Stasi stooge & frustrated goopse-stepper continues to write piffle & balderdash on the UK political scene of which he plainly has as little knowledge as his trifling 'aristocracy-CAP' meandering contributions.

    Just because the SchutzStaffel are no longer recruiting doesn't give You any excuse for stamping Your little feet in irritation at everyone else.

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  • 248. At 7:29pm on 21 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #245

    "CBW and C_C, I didn't know you knew the Horley area"

    No, not me, I think that was threnodio. Furthest south I ever lived was Croydon, the only thing I remember Horley for was watching it go flying by on the way to Brighton, scalding myself for falling asleep whilst on a fast train from Victoria after one or two too many. Then, 3 hours later, feeling the urge to cry when finding myself back in London.

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  • 249. At 7:35pm on 21 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #248

    *scolding :)

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  • 250. At 7:49pm on 21 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #247

    All very pertinent if it were only a One Way street of epithets & labelling as You Margaret would like us all to accept.

    REPETITION is a disloyal form of flattery, but I suspect in Your case all that can be expected!

    Unfortunately, You and the rest of the troupe have been hoist on Your own diatribes of bilious innuendo and bigotry.

    For so long as we all held back and You & the others dished it out about the English everything was just perfect for You, but we got fed up with waiting for an element of neutrality, a smidgeon of balance, a breath of what in common parlance is known as 'fair-play'. Quite simply, never once did it enter any of Your's or QOT, DemocThreat, the greek etc. Comments on England/Britain.

    In some sense You are worst of the lot! You're a Briton who writes as though the Atlantic separated Your native Scotland from England! You enjoy ladling out the cold porridge on anything connected to the English and then You have the colossal nerve to complain when You get salt & pepper added in return.

    Margaret, let me remind, You are the one accused some of us of suffering overdose of 'Testosterone' when we took You up on Your febrile accusations against the English... And then, then You wrote how affronted You were we might allege PMT was at the core of Your problems!

    Margaret: Lay off and I'll lay off: Carry on and You'll get nothing but like-for-like.

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  • 251. At 8:21pm on 21 Nov 2010, margaret howard wrote:

    250 CBW
    "For so long as we all held back and You & the others dished it out about the English everything was just perfect for You, but we got fed up with waiting for an element of neutrality, a smidgeon of balance, a breath of what in common parlance is known as 'fair-play'. Quite simply, never once did it enter any of Your's or QOT, DemocThreat, the greek etc. Comments on England/Britain."

    Still waiting with bated breath.

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  • 252. At 8:29pm on 21 Nov 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #246. At 7:25pm on 21 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work

    You came close but I was in Crawley Down for a while which as you know is next to Felbridge and Copthorne, nice village and I even knew a few (drunken) Scots when I was there and enjoyed New Years eve with them (hic).

    #248. At 7:29pm on 21 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie

    I know exactly what you mean, imagine coming back to Lambeth from Surrey or Sussex.

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  • 253. At 8:34pm on 21 Nov 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #247. At 7:27pm on 21 Nov 2010, margaret howard

    Damm, those dastardly English have transported the 'City of Lincoln' to the moon, after all it has to be the English since who else could it be, aliens masquerading as Scots.

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  • 254. At 9:23pm on 21 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #251

    Just for you Mags;

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5H34kP-he88

    Enjoy.

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  • 255. At 9:35pm on 21 Nov 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #251 Magaret Howard and other English criticizers´

    I really cannot understand that ´British fair play´ has degenerated on this blog to an ´Inalienable Right´of some Brits to criticize others and their societies under ´ Democratic Free Speech´ (by any derogatory methods available) --and yet deny those Rights and derogatory methods to others.

    --and all because we are not prepared to worship their society or country ?





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  • 256. At 9:45pm on 21 Nov 2010, Nik wrote:

    196. At 10:33pm on 20 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:
    """I never get offended by You:"""

    Good man. I do not want you to be so. Sincirely and this said not at all ironically. You might have a background behind you which I may respect. What finds me vertically opposed is your idea of how British geopolitics are really positioned in the world. And I do admit I do not aid with my ironic comments which feed your constant paranoia that I (and some others here) are English-hating and such. I have nothing to divide with English and in general British people. What finds me totally opposed is Britain's politics in my region. I would care so much what Britain does in Asia or in Africa but when they come here, I do mind. As said, if I came in your neighbourhood played you and you ended up losing 20,000,000 of your people, then pretending "I was out of that, I was your friend, you did it by yourselfs", trust me you would mind it too.

    You have repeatedly seen that my idea is to speak of the future and not so much of the past but to go to the first we have to pass from the last. If you do not understand what has happened in the past, you can do no calculations for the future. I have told you one thing here and if you want to keep it in mind you keep it...: the earths shape does not change very often. So basic geopolitical choices do not change as often as people think, there are things that follow a certain pattern.

    """I get irritated and annoyed that Y9ou are incapable of any thought outside the parameters of Your marxist-leninist teachings, but hey, it could happento anyone!"""

    Why me marxist? In what sense are you saying so. If in the traditional sense, then I find it extremely comical since myself for so much time here have made it clear that I am the last who would abide to anything remotedly close to marxism. If you are saying this in the sense I as-if do not accept other peoples' views, then I saw nobody else complaining. I like discussion, I like strong opinions and I like to test my ideas too and that is what I would like you to do.

    """All the same, just on the #182: I take Your point about the Britons changing their language several times upto the early Medieval Age."""

    It is not me that said so. It is official history as taught in Britain. So if there was ever anything offensive you should start there. That reminds me a bit our dear neighbours, Turks, who call themselves descendants of Mongols and they are proud of guys like Attila and Jenkis Han no matter how questionable is their link to them (certaiinly not cultural, that is certain!), but then they get mad when we call them Mongols and say we call them names!!! So when the state calls them names they are proud of it, when others call them the same names they get offended. Are you so ambitious here to start the same paradigm? I hope not. If really you think otherwise, then please start from the British educational system and the academics - and truly, I will back you up with all the support you'll need.

    """But, are You by chance hinting the language of the Hellenes of antiquity or more recent eons back the writings of Plutarch were the same as modern Greek language - if You are - - could You have another look in Your museums/libraries because I think You will find modern Greek is much like English, about 1,000 years max in age! Granted, and not to argue, it is (Greek) a distinct and fine language in every aspect."""

    Correct, my remark on the British was a direct allusion to us Greeks who were conquered but never subdued. We resisted changing culture language consciousness to adopt to some new leader just because he happened to have more guns & troops than us. In the long run, we are still here and that alone is a success. I do not know if it worths the millions of slaughtered and all that misery that our people underwent but speaking as a group, that is a success. Someone else might find the British approach more smart. It is up to anyone's taste.

    If your question was on the Greek language, then your example of Plutarch (ok, you gave it as an example) as compared to modern Greek, is very vague. I will not play the smart one on you because I do not expect from you to be knowledgeable but then hey, that is why you are here talking with me, you learn something after all at the end:

    Plutarch was a Roman citizen, Greek of 1st century A.D. born at Chaeronia, thus a Boetian and as such of a given political inclination (i.e. by then pro-Attic, pro-Roman, anti-Dorian, anti-Macedonian, anti-Corinthian, anti-Dorian etc.) who was of Koini Greek laguage (i.e. common Greek of 1st century B.C.) but who as an educated aristocrat preferred to write in a language imitation (not a perfect one though...) of the 5th and 4th century B.C. texts of Plato and Aristotle. In fact what people think of "ancient Greek" is nothing else than the Greek of Plato and Aristotle. Yet, even them they did write in a form of literate language that was not the spoken language of their times which was much more simple and down to the basics more close to what lead to the formation of the Koini Greek that Plutarch spoke. Said this, there were other writers like Xenophon who wrote in a rather more archaic form of Greek (eg. Xenophon writes SYN as XYN a pronounciation void since 200-250 years prior to him!!!!). Then, what to say about Homer. Not even Attic but a combination of archaic Ionian of Ionia and Aeolic. The likes of educated people like Plato and Aristotle did need lessons in... ancient Greek to read Homer (and they did take lessons, for your info, they learnt poems rather by heart since the language for them was difficult). And all that given that the 60-70% of Greeks were not even speakers of Attic or Ionian or Aeolian but of what is called by modern linguistic experts as the "western Greek family" which is Macedonian-Epirot and its offsprings Aetolic and the more well known to us Dorian (note that Aeolia, also is a pidkin offspring of Macedonian - see the history of the Magnetes - but that occured in really ancient times much prior to Dorian descent so Aelian is on its own in a separate family along with Boetian).

    I do not know. So if you are telling me to compare ancient Greek with modern Greek you have to pick something out of the above. If you do not pick the whole, then you cannot speak of "ancient Greek". If you pick one, I will put you aside the other 99 and there you will see that modern Greek is not really that different to what differences lie between the Attic imitation dialect of Plutarch and Homer's language. Let alone tracing back the first texts that go back to 1600 and 1700 B.C. where I can still read a recognasable language. Given that, the Greek language has a continuity which is depicted in the most massive archive of written texts continuously and without interruption down to our times, a feat that no other language - including very ancient languages like Chinese and Sanskrit are able to present.

    Now, if your argumentation is that we should call modern Greek as different language to the much beloved Attic Greek, I have absolutely no problem only that we will have to take out the word "Greek" from Attic and Athenians and call them uniquely as "Athenians" of "Attic ethnic" background who were conquered by the Greek Spartiates and the Greek Macedonians and saved by the non-Greek/half-Greek Romans (half Greek because of the partial ancestry of many Roman aristocrat families deriving of Dorian Greek who colonised south of Rome and united with them...). I am not so sure though that Athenians would like to have their ethnic description changed from Greek to non-Greek as they had fought really hard to get accepted under the term Greek which primarily was a Dorian denomination in the early archaic times (just like the term "Graechhos" from which "Greek" comes) - let us not forget that it had taken more than 100 years for Athenians to participate in the Olympics (back then a Dorian event, reminder of their Olympic - i.e. from Olympus - traditions and the worship of Zeus or Deus-Dias-Theos it is the same word etc...)

    So yes, call it different languages if you want, but you have then to call everything different languages, the language of the bible, the language of the Roman Law (written under the Isaurians in Greek and translated in Latin...)...

    ... in that way I will end up being able to boast speaking some 15-20 languages and have more to boast in my CV - true that with 2 foreign languages and scratching 2 other I am not considering themself as particularly educated (I would need to be fluent in 3, minimum)*.

    ** Since you know I play openly and to satisfy your curiosity - so you can use that info on other discussions - myself, a very moderately educated in linguistics (took sciences as a direction) and having done minimal to no "ancient Greek" (i.e. ancient Attic...) at school (I was PASOK's child so every negative you find on me you know whom to blame), I can read with ease all texts written in the language of their times down to the New Testament whose original texts were written in the 1st A.D. century (it is another thing if there was a chance to had been... ghhmmm... modified later...). So out of the 4, Matthew and Marcus were the more litterate and of classical education and they do try to immitate an Attic-like Greek so it gets more fuzzy for me but Paul (who was also literate) is more close to the language of his days and I read it a bit more easy, however John who wrote in the common language of his days I can read almost like a book without losing much. If I move more backwards in time gradually it gets more difficult but I still do understand the meaning of the text without losing much.

    Below (if it will be visible here in BBC), there is a rare tablet found in Macedonia entombed in the back side of the ruins of some ancient house, rare because such clay tablets if not protected have little possibility to be saved to our days. Such were the curse tablets, i.e. tablets written by "low class people" calling the Gods to do them a favour, usually a bad one, i.e. to harm some enemy of theirs. A kind of black magic. The text is rare though because it is not only written by a low class person but that person is also a... woman. So you have the language of the women of the time. The tablet dates around the last decade of the 5th century B.C. or the first decade of the 4th century B.C. and was found at Pella, not far from my place of birth.

    ΘΕΤΙΜΑΣ ΚΑΙ ΔΙΟΝΥΣΟΦΩΝΤΟΣ ΤΟ ΤΕΛΟΣ ΚΑΙ ΤΟΝ ΓΑΜΟΝ ΚΑΤΑΓΡΑΦΩ ΚΑΙ ΤΑΝ ΑΛΛΑΝ ΠΑΣΑΝ ΓΥ[ΝΑΙΚΩΝ ΚΑΙ ΧΗΡΑΝ ΚΑΙ ΠΑΡΘΕΝΩΝ ΜΑΛΙΣΤΑ ΔΕ ΘΕΤΙΜΑΣ ΚΑΙ ΠΑΡΚΑΤΤΙΘΕΜΑΙ ΜΑΚΡΩΝΙ ΚΑΙ ΤΟΙΣ ΔΑΙΜΟΣΙ ΚΑΙ ΟΠΟΚΑ ΕΓΟ ΤΑΥΤΑ ΔΙΕΛΕΞΑΙΜΙ ΚΑΙ ΑΝΑΓΝΟΙΗΝ ΠΑΛLΙΝ ΑΝΟΡΟΞΑΣΑ ΤΟΚΑ ΓΑΜΑΙ ΔΙΟΝΥΣΟΦΩΝΤΑ ΠΡΟΤΕΡΟΝ ΔΕ ΜΗ ΜΗ ΓΑΡ ΛΑΒΟΙ ΑΛΛΑΝ ΓΥΝΑΙΚΑ ΑΛΛΗ ΕΜΕ ΔΕ ΣΥΝΚΑΤΑΓΗΡΑΣΑΙ ΔΙΟΝΥΣΟΦΩΝΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΜΗΔΕΜΙΑΝ ΑΛΛΑΝ ΙΚΕΤΙΣ ΥΜΩΝ ΓΙΝΟΜΑΙ ΦΙΛΑΝ ΟΙΚΤΙΡΕΤΕ ΔΑΙΜΟΝΕΣ ΦΙΛΟΙ ΔΑΓΙΝΑΓΑΡΙΜΕ ΦΙΛΩΝ ΠΑΝΤΩΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΡΗΜΑ ΑΛΛΑ ΝΑ ΦΥΛΑΣΣΕΤΕ ΕΜΙΝ ΟΠΩΣ ΜΗ ΓΙΝΕΤΑΙ ΤΑΥΤΑ ΚΑΙ ΚΑΚΑ ΚΑΚΩΣ ΘΕΤΙΜΑ ΑΠΟΛΗΤΑΙ ΑΛ[-].ΥΝΜ .. ΕΣΠΛΗΝ ΕΜΟΣ ΕΜΕ ΔΕ ΕΥΔΑΙΜΟΝΑ ΚΑΙ ΜΑΚΑΡΙΑΝ ΓΕΝΕΣΤΑΙ

    Well, trust me I get the meaning very well. Extremely easily. Give this text to any Greek you might know and test him if you like - just be certain he finished primary school and that he is not a Marxist-Leninist as you say.

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  • 257. At 9:50pm on 21 Nov 2010, smroet wrote:

    #187 Threnodio

    If anything goes wrong, read the manual or blame Marcus. Maybe he left us because of our excessive America bashing? Now most posts are about bashing (right or wrong, my country) the English. Meanwhile, the bankers (the guys who take the money for keeps) have a free ride.

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  • 258. At 9:52pm on 21 Nov 2010, Nik wrote:

    255. At 9:35pm on 21 Nov 2010, quietoaktree wrote:
    """#251 Magaret Howard and other English criticizers´
    I really cannot understand that ´British fair play´ has degenerated on this blog to an ´Inalienable Right´of some Brits to criticize others and their societies under ´ Democratic Free Speech´ (by any derogatory methods available) --and yet deny those Rights and derogatory methods to others.

    --and all because we are not prepared to worship their society or country ? """

    Given though that this point of discussion is hosted by a british media, BBC, that inherently puts British guys like CBW to the defensive.

    However, CBW cannot realise that not me not anyone else here bashes British on the basis of their culture (relative to issue of the language, I explained well in the above message in 256), nor their achievements in the global civilisational scene. He cannot realise that the disagreements of some of us (for various reasons of course since we come from different points of view), are mostly in terms of the recent and current affairs and not for anything else. My main critiscism is not for the past but for the future. I do disagree with the British geopolitics that are stuck to the past and cannot accomodate for the future. And the likes of CBW cannot grasp that.

    If CBW for example is against Britain being in the EU then so am I and much more than him so it makes the two of us in the same lot. Funny as it is, agreement can come from completely different angles.

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  • 259. At 10:07pm on 21 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #255

    quietoaktree;

    I really cannot understand that ´British fair play´ has degenerated on this blog to an ´Inalienable Right´of some Brits to criticize others and their societies under ´ Democratic Free Speech´ (by any derogatory methods available) --and yet deny those Rights and derogatory methods to others.

    --and all because we are not prepared to worship their society or country ?


    LOL! You total hypocrite. I'd be amazed if you were keeping a straight face whilst writing that.

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  • 260. At 10:18pm on 21 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #258

    Nik;

    "However, CBW cannot realise that not me not anyone else here bashes British on the basis of their culture (relative to issue of the language, I explained well in the above message in 256), nor their achievements in the global civilisational scene."

    I'm sorry Nik, but you are kidding yourself. You may not feel animosity towards the British people, nor bash their culture or achievements but there are plenty here that do just that. Have you not been paying attention to anything that quietoaktree and marcusaurelius have been posting over the past 12 months? Slur after slur after slur, about any single thing, no matter how minor or trivial they can dig up to attack the British with. And quietoaktree has the nerve to challenge British "fair play". Words cannot describe it.

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  • 261. At 10:32pm on 21 Nov 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #258. At 9:52pm on 21 Nov 2010, Nik

    "My main critiscism is not for the past but for the future. I do disagree with the British geopolitics that are stuck to the past and cannot accomodate for the future."

    You misrepresent political beliefs as being stuck in the past, not believing in a federal supra-National EU does not mean being stuck in the past. As I and many others have often pointed out there are many alternative futures, the difference between the English (and some others) here and yourself is that we are not stuck in only one vision of the future. I personally believe too close a union to be self destructive and inherently dangerous for Europe, but I do believe the European Nations need to cooperate in a close way, one such way being a confederation of Sovereign states. How that could work is for honest and open debate and not for 'closed' minds.

    Therefore by all means debate with us our political vision of the future of both the UK and EU, but don't make the mistake of saying that we are stuck in the past because we don't share your own political vision of the future, that is intolerance of the views of others and a dangerous path to tread. After all have not all dictators gone down the path of intolerance of other views with name calling, insulting etc to try and ridicule those views.

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  • 262. At 10:58pm on 21 Nov 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #259 Champagne_charlie

    I have never expressed nationalism for any society or country --for the simple reason I have seen many --and have attempted to analyze them at every opportunity.

    -- as I said, Brits have no ´Inalienable Rights´in this direction -- which you again claim !

    --With you too thrashing around to give me a nationality -- what did you prove (that is about yourself) ?



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  • 263. At 11:26pm on 21 Nov 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    That pride of nationality is an obvious trait on this blog which detracts from any aim to discuss word affairs.

    It is curious that some Americans and most of the British contributors see nationality as the first and foremost to defend --Mr.Hewitt assists this and for that reason I would not be sorry if he realizes the damage done.

    The center of the world has long moved from Britain --is that so difficult to put into perspective when considering World or European affairs ?

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  • 264. At 11:40pm on 21 Nov 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #261 Buzet 23

    Myself and others have shown ´ beyond any reasonable doubt´ the British pre-occupation with the past.

    The best responses we receive ´its old news´ -- and ´ has nothing to do with our centuries old traditions´ which are not discussable --with ignorant Anti-Brits !

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  • 265. At 00:05am on 22 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #263

    "The center of the world has long moved from Britain --is that so difficult to put into perspective when considering World or European affairs ? "

    Whoever said any different? Show me a post from any Briton who thinks that Britain is the centre of the world and I'll willingly challenge that poster with you.

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  • 266. At 00:28am on 22 Nov 2010, margaret howard wrote:

    260 champagne writes:
    "Have you not been paying attention to anything that quietoaktree and marcusaurelius have been posting over the past 12 months? Slur after slur after slur, about any single thing, no matter how minor or trivial they can dig up to attack the British with."

    Oh come on charlie, surely you don't take our Marcus serious? I call him Homer Simpson with good reason - he is a clown and keeps most of us thoroughly amused. I love having a spat with him - he is so predictable and entertaining and I hope he hasn't disappeared for good - I miss him already.
    As for QOT he is perfectly entitled to have his opinions and they are as valid as anybody else's. Nic contributes some very interesting items concerning his part of the world with which I am not very familiar and like to read. The trouble with CBW and his ilk is that he lauds everyone who agrees with him and calls those who don't tasteless names as I mentioned in 247, referring to Nic as the 'mad greek', QOT the 'Stasi stooge', the Alpine sage etc. I am amazed by the gentle grace whith which Nic takes it all and hasn't retaliated once as far as I am aware by calling him insulting names in return.
    If you dish it out, you must learn to take it I'm afraid. Quite frankly it is CBW's pomposity that gets my goat.

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  • 267. At 00:46am on 22 Nov 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Nik, does she eh say let him love me and only me and in case he bloody doesn't let this and that happen to poor chap? ;o)))))))))))
    looks like a list of threats to me.
    I wish I knew which letters stand for which sounds - I'd figure out by the sound! ;o)))))))))

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  • 268. At 01:54am on 22 Nov 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    It's a typical "privorot" (onto-turn), a ritual to turn someone's heart onto you, a love spell.
    Heaps of ads for effective "privorot"-s in modern Russian newspapers ;o)))
    Old art, eh?

    I never tried; imagine you chose a wrong person on an impulse ;o), and he doges doggies? ? follows you, as a result ;o)))))))))) like magneted :o)))0 and you can't get rid of him unless you pay more money to the "experts" ;o))))))), for "otvorot" (out-turn, turn-away from you!) ;o))))))))

    Though must say my brother last spring visited one such an "expert", who immediately diagnosed in him "a crown of un-weddingness" 9type of a halo hanging over one's forehead;o))))))) a forehead of an expensive young lawyer :o)))))), in his case - and took their magi's measures ;o))))), and there - what do you think? there in 2 months 'time appeared an absolutely nasty woman accompanying my brother , saw her once (so far. that's just the beg. me thinks. of many happy returns of the day!) The dame weighs approximately a ton; wears shinshilla furs (that grey small animal) in 40 C degree summer heat, and pushed aside Jolly Roger from the way with a grimace "He will dirty me this dog".
    By leg width an elephant.

    those magi-s!

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  • 269. At 06:15am on 22 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    A comment found in HYS:

    'Mr Lenihan said 'the total would "not be three figures"'. No wonder they are in a mess. Did he mean not in 12 figures?'

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  • 270. At 06:23am on 22 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Nik the Greek: "Instead we have had the deal a couple of weeks or so ago and this week we have the US enterring and discussing where it will install the anti-Russian missile defense systems thus reconverting Europe to a renewed cold war whose borders this time will be more to the east."







    Not US versus Europeans but a joint NATO decison.


    And a anti-missile defense plan pres. Medvedev supported and wants Russia to participate in.

    [and I though that such news wire services as AFP, AP, DPA, Itar-Tass, Reuters, etc., were easily available on the Net. :(]


    P.S. Don't like NATO's decisions? Get out of NATO! Pronto!

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  • 271. At 06:30am on 22 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Alice in Wonderland primises:

    if you continue to behave like powermeer-ochka :o) in the time remaining ;o)))) (OK, with deviations of course) - I might even award you with my photo in the Red Square. In red shoes :o)))) and in a red dress"




    I don't have a photo taken in front of Lenin's Mausoleum. Alas.

    Evn in my blue suede shoes.

    But I could reciprocate with a rare (in Russia) photo of Mathias Rust landing his old rented Cessna at the Red Square. How 'bout that? :-)))

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  • 272. At 06:33am on 22 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    champagne_charlie wrote:
    #195

    "Look, we gave so many million pounds so that this inconvenience is a small price to pay:)"

    I havent seen a penny of that money.





    Charlie, perhaps it was inadvertently sent to Ireland?

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  • 273. At 06:46am on 22 Nov 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #264. At 11:40pm on 21 Nov 2010, quietoaktree

    "Myself and others have shown ´ beyond any reasonable doubt´ the British pre-occupation with the past.

    The best responses we receive ´its old news´ -- and ´ has nothing to do with our centuries old traditions´ which are not discussable --with ignorant Anti-Brits ! "

    We could never expect anything else from you, you hate the Royal family, landed gentry and everything similar in the UK and claim that the British are stuck in the past because they don't want a Soviet style revolution that dispossesses the 'aristocracy' and gives their land to the 'people' i.e the party. You paid no attention when it was pointed out that most of the EU is riddled with far larger numbers of old traditional land owning aristocracy especially where there is no Royal family left.

    You should read my post to Nik #261, because it equally applies to you, it is you that are stuck in a time warp and are incapable of grasping and understanding new concepts and alternative futures. The future is never fixed, it can be varied in an infinite number of directions and a federal Supra-National EU is just one possibility. It is its supporters who are stuck in the past as is being shown by the Euro, despite it being obvious from the start the Euro should have only had a very few members that all DID meet the convergence criteria. Now we have had two bail-outs, both coming after a few weeks of the governments claiming they did not need one, likewise the other PIIGS claim to be not needing a bail-out, until they ask for one. Who is stuck in the past here, it is 'beyond reasonable doubt' that it is the Euro at all costs brigade. When a system is broke, fix it, if it is not broke leave it alone, the system of the Euro is broke as long as many of the EU member states are members of the Eurozone.

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  • 274. At 07:13am on 22 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Alice: "He [GRU major Victot B(o)ut] ran planes delivering weapons to Iraq, was your supplier or Britain's supplier and business partner :o))))) - honestly forgot which one's of you - but granted, he did.




    As well as supplying arms to Taliban and all sides in Yugoslav conflict.

    Not to mention many tribal wars in sub-Saharan Africa.

    As well as to Columbia's Communist FARC.


    BTW., Alice, how did you like Nicolas Cage's portrayal of this Merchant of Death in a movie?

    [I'm sure it was shown in Russia's movie theaters and is available there in rental stores. Including Peter.]

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  • 275. At 07:17am on 22 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #153 margaret howard wrote:
    131 powermeer writes:
    [washed it down with a couple of shots of ice-cold "Gorbatchev" only to discover, to may chagrin, it was not a Russian vodka, but... German.
    Why do you allow Germans to do that?! :-(]



    Because they might not like the Germans much but feel they are infinitely preferable to the Americans.




    Might be. Just like Moscow preferred III Reich to US/UK till 1941.

    Can a free citizen of free Scotland still find some info on Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, inluding its then secret map?

    Before they embarrass themselve even more?


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  • 276. At 07:25am on 22 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    PMwashed it [Kuril wild salmon] down with a couple of shots of ice-cold "Gorbatchev" only to discover, to may chagrin, it was not a Russian vodka, but... German.
    Why do you allow Germans to do that?! :-(]

    Thick, re patents, as I said ;o)))))





    Not, really; Mr. Gorbatchev was (is) not a German patent.

    Moreover, he never promoted vodka drinking; nay, if memory severs, Mikhail was very much against it.

    Just like Mr. Medvedev, who may yet end his political career prematurely just like Gorby for the same reason.

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  • 277. At 07:27am on 22 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "a forehead of an expensive young lawyer :o)))))),"



    Watch out, Alice.

    He may end up like Sergey Magnitsky. :(

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  • 278. At 07:30am on 22 Nov 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    #265 Champagne_charlie

    1. Cameron´s Lord Mayors speech.

    2.I'm sorry Nik, but you are kidding yourself. You may not feel animosity towards the British people, nor bash their culture or achievements but there are plenty here that do just that. Have you not been paying attention to anything that quietoaktree and marcusaurelius have been posting over the past 12 months? Slur after slur after slur, about any single thing, no matter how minor or trivial they can dig up to attack the British with. And quietoaktree has the nerve to challenge British "fair play". Words cannot describe it.

    ---and countless others.

    -- And if anything is bad -- it´s NEVER as bad as the OTHERS.

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  • 279. At 07:43am on 22 Nov 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    Buzet 23

    ´We could never expect anything else from you, you hate the Royal family, landed gentry and everything similar in the UK and claim that the British are stuck in the past because they don't want a Soviet style revolution that dispossesses the 'aristocracy' and gives their land to the 'people' i.e the party. You paid no attention when it was pointed out that most of the EU is riddled with far larger numbers of old traditional land owning aristocracy especially where there is no Royal family left.´


    ´As I and many others have often pointed out there are many alternative futures, the difference between the English (and some others) here and yourself is that we are not stuck in only one vision of the future.´

    ---Then start telling us non-Brits something about the British alternatives.

    --with Britain on the periphery of European and World affairs !

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  • 280. At 07:58am on 22 Nov 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #279. At 07:43am on 22 Nov 2010, quietoaktree

    "---Then start telling us non-Brits something about the British alternatives.

    --with Britain on the periphery of European and World affairs !"

    British alternatives, just who do you listen to these days, there are many ordinary people out there throughout the EU whose voice is being ignored, judging by the low voting figures for the EP there is a majority of Europeans who are disenchanted by the direction of the current EU. So why talk about just the British alternative, it is simply that it is mostly only the Brits that have the gumption to speak up with our preferred modus operandi of 'what you see is what you get'. Whether Britain is on the periphery of the EU is irrelevant, the current EU direction is an ever increasing failure and it is abysmal management that the politicians refuse to consider alternatives. What Mr Average in Britain prefers I don't know, but I know I would prefer a loose confederation of Sovereign states without the excessive Socialist nanny state bureaucracy.

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  • 281. At 08:01am on 22 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    251. At 8:21pm on 21 Nov 2010, margaret howard wrote:Still waiting with bated breath.

    266. At 00:28am on 22 Nov 2010, margaret howard wrote: The trouble with CBW and his ilk is that he lauds everyone who agrees with him and calls those who don't tasteless names as I mentioned in 247, referring to Nic as the 'mad greek', QOT the 'Stasi stooge', the Alpine sage etc. I am amazed by the gentle grace whith which Nic takes it all and hasn't retaliated once as far as I am aware by calling him insulting names in return.
    If you dish it out, you must learn to take it I'm afraid. Quite frankly it is CBW's pomposity that gets my goat.



    AND, thus it continues.

    "..bated breath..": Yes, let's all wait for Margaret's friend QOT to write a sentence in which England/Britain isn't jeered at and derided as 'living in the past', 'wanting its empire', 'obsessed with Royalty', 'slave of aristocrats', 'island of the uninformed on... the EU, the Parliament, the CAP, the land ownership, the starving pensioners, the prices in shops, the history of...'

    "..trouble with CBW and his ilk..": Yes, cbw has an 'ilk' whereas Margaret, QOT, the greek are only stating the facts and have never coloured their opinions with 'tasteless' accusations and bigotry...

    AND, the we get to the heart of it, "..frankly it is CBW's pomposity that gets my goat."

    So, if the Englishman could just learn to ignore his nation and therefore his nationality being stereotypically labelled in comment after comment, if he could tone down his writing & keep his opinions to himself everything would be alright.
    However, if meanwhile the Scots woman continues to write either alleging or supporting every cruelty, every sin, every evil under-the-sun known to humans is entirely the fault of the English that would be alright.

    Margaret writes agreeing with QOT & adds her own peculiar twist wherein the good folk of Scotland, Wales & Ireland inhabit some parallel United Kingdom & any wrong-doing is utterly at England's door, e.g. "..perfidious.. I've never heard it about Scotland... Now I wonder why that is?"
    Remarkable: "..and calls those that don't tasteless names.."! Then she complains about unfairness!?

    As has been said, ***..bated breath..***!

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  • 282. At 08:37am on 22 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #256

    The stuff on the 'language' is fascinating. I take Your point on the link between antiquity Greek & Your modern language, but we're not comparing like-with-like. My point was the last thousand years is where the standardised formulation comes in that 20-21st century Greeks or English-speakers recognise.

    English is derived from a dozen 'ancient' languages such as greek, roman, norse, german, gaelic, french: Meaning how those languages were used in antiquity can be associated with, but is not how they are used in the modern idiom of the National language today -- thus, as with Greek there are dialects, colloquial usages etc. as well as the accepted standardised form of the language -- English is slightly different from most mainland inc. Greek, in that it is an island language which has adapted/adopted numerous 'foreign' linguistic pointers due to the British expansion across (Empire) the entire World in previous centuries and the rise of another much more recent Great Power that speaks/writes a form of that same English (USA).
    So, we have 'car' which is from the Laton carrum & Old Celt carrus, to modernity with 'bungalow' from India in the 18th century alongside 'rendezvous' from Charlemagne's France, plus 'meet' from Dane-Viking invasions, 'Schadenfreude' from Germany in the late 19th/early 20th century, 'Bonzai' from Japan circa 19th century, 'Sauna' from Russo-Karelian-Finland as early as the 16th century. Add the derivatives from Greco-Roman-Latin and the influence of Hebrew and we easily grasp English is a hotch-potch (in itself an agglomeration of languages!).

    Obviously Greek's original form dates way back to pre-formal English, but it is the same for Greek as English: I wrote a 'thousand years' for the formation of the modern language and give-or-take a few hundred that it has taken for modern Greek has become standardised. Greek doesn't have the modern in-put of English, but then it started earlier and has all the ancient/antiquity in-put more clearly delineated than English.

    NB: On another matter.

    Margaret is right, I've been incredibly harsh on You: I don't apologise because I find it impossible to take seriously much of what You've written - - it just doesn't stack up as coming from anyone in-touch with the real World - - that she leaps in to congratulate You on another totally unfeasible allegation of British wrong-doing in the Aegean histories is upto her. She never verifies her own comments so why should I expect her to bother to research Your outlandish stuff.

    All the same, as with Margaret, I'm resolved to avoid the name-calling in future & my condescending giggles at Your contributions will stop as I'm going to just ignore the worst of them.

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  • 283. At 08:54am on 22 Nov 2010, Mathiasen wrote:

    Before this discussion dissolves completely into Anti-English sentiments dog walking and many other irrelevant themes it would be wise to turn the attention to the subject: the bail-out of Ireland, which the government of the country has tried to avoid. In itself a quite remarkable thing.

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  • 284. At 08:58am on 22 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #278

    quietoaktree;

    I dont understand what on earth you are trying to say -Camerons speech? What i wrote to Nik? Countless others? Anything is bad its never as bad as the others?

    Why not post less, but make a better attempt to explain the posts you do make? I appreciate English isnt your first language, as it isnt for me, but you must try harder if you want to be understood. Take your time before you push "post comment", it will make things easier.

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  • 285. At 08:59am on 22 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #281

    CBW

    "So, if the Englishman could just learn to ignore his nation and therefore his nationality being stereotypically labelled in comment after comment, if he could tone down his writing & keep his opinions to himself everything would be alright"

    Thats exactly what they want.

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  • 286. At 09:38am on 22 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #278

    1. Cameron´s Lord Mayors speech.

    ---and countless others.

    -- And if anything is bad -- it´s NEVER as bad as the OTHERS.



    Query: What has the Prime Minister of the UK addressing the leading figures of UK 'City', 'Business' & 'political establishment' to make a speech about if not the role of the Country he is leading and the present Economic-Political-Social Cconditions within the UK?

    Query: What at this present time would have been better for the UK if it were in the EUro-zone?
    Especially, how would that have helped the 'EUro' currency to have another seriously Economically-Fiscally challenged nation in the 'zone?
    How might Ireland have done better if the UK did not have a flexible Pound currency to assist, but a EUro?

    As for British 'alternatives':

    1) Reform the EU to halt the move to Federal Political centralised government.
    2) Reform the EU to move back to a freer Trading organisation, leading ultimately to..(3)
    3) Reform the EU into a proper 'Single Market' & not the over-blown 'one-size-fits-all' straitjacket version presently being shaped that benefits only the hegemony of Paris-Berlin.
    4) Reform the EU and do away with CAP (& hear the French scream as its uneconomic Agriculture faces a real competitive market-place)
    5) Reform the EU and enforce the 'No Subsidy' rules & regs (& hear the French scream & scream as its uneconomic Industry & Social systems face the realistic prospect of having to 'pay-for-themselves' in a 'stand-alone' entrepreneurial market-place).
    6) Reform the EU EUropean Court of Justice to deny it the creeping encroachment into Judicial authority that is the natural & Democratic preserve of 'sovereign' States' Governments & Citizens.
    7) Reform the EU to ensure the Citizens of every member Nation are consulted via Referendum on 'new Treaties' (NOT Lisbon - - it's done & dusted - - time to move on): Set-up the EU EP so that in the event of less than 50% Voter participation in this supra-National Parliament the Elections MUST be held again within a 12 month (maybe make it COMPULSORY to vote in every Nation - - or is that too draconian?).
    8) Reform the EUro Currency by removing several of its weakest members to allow them the flexibility to re-develop their Fiscal capability (& thus leaving the strongest 'zone' members to not be drained of valuable resources propping up those that falter).

    Re, "..-- And if anything is bad --": Now, if You could oblige by suggesting just HOW the present EU can be considered a success in Political - Economic - Fiscal - Social - Judicial terms PLEASE do go ahead.
    Don't give us the usual nonsense about keeping the peace -- that was accomplished by NATO & the EEC - - not post-Maastricht EU which is a 'political-construct' for France to hang-on unified Germany's Economic-Political coat-tails!

    It seems You are very strong on the fault-finding for Britain, but looking back I can't find ONE Contribution by You that indicates any advantage to the EU existence?

    Your stuff is all about alleged GB 'imperial' past: It's drivel & irrelevant, but it seems to be all You have to contribute on any topic!

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  • 287. At 10:07am on 22 Nov 2010, Nik wrote:

    282. At 08:37am on 22 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Accepted. I am not in any crusade to attack the roots of the English language which I also myself highly esteem as a very good vehicle for international communication. My comments on the evolution of English is not any different to "cheese eating surrender monkeys" pronounced by British so easily on the French, only that my comments are bit more bitter since the initial incentive for that comment was the comic video presented above referring to the WWII war and the invasion of Greece by Nazis which I find completely inappropriate, at least in such discussions here (on tv I do not mind), when it had been Britain that got Greece into this war (either some want to understand or not), a war in which nearly 1 million Greeks died (among them, some 1/3 of both sides of my family). As such I am bound to be bitter.

    285. At 08:59am on 22 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:
    #281
    CBW
    "So, if the Englishman could just learn to ignore his nation and therefore his nationality being stereotypically labelled in comment after comment, if he could tone down his writing & keep his opinions to himself everything would be alright"

    """Thats exactly what they want."""

    Not me champagne_charlie. Certainly not me. Unless you consider that a modification of geopolitical interests means that English people have to ignore their nation. You might of course argue that if English have a certain geopolitical approach, that might be the best - which is always discussable - but then why would such one be connected to any basic civilisational questions as the ones we keep on referring above (and I am also responsible for it). Also on the other side, if past British geopolitics had certain direct and indirect results, why does it have to be so complicated to speak on them. Do Germans keep silent on WWII? Or should we all do like the Japanese and the Turks who not only refusing internationally but internally are actually proud of their Nanking and Minor Asian genocides? But let us move from there, I am far from wishing to attribute penalties for past deeds here - my aim is always to explain on the basis of the past, the today and the future. See below.

    261. At 10:32pm on 21 Nov 2010, Buzet23 wrote:
    #258. At 9:52pm on 21 Nov 2010, Nik
    "My main critiscism is not for the past but for the future. I do disagree with the British geopolitics that are stuck to the past and cannot accomodate for the future."

    """You misrepresent political beliefs as being stuck in the past, not believing in a federal supra-National EU does not mean being stuck in the past. As I and many others have often pointed out there are many alternative futures, the difference between the English (and some others) here and yourself is that we are not stuck in only one vision of the future. I personally believe too close a union to be self destructive and inherently dangerous for Europe, but I do believe the European Nations need to cooperate in a close way, one such way being a confederation of Sovereign states. How that could work is for honest and open debate and not for 'closed' minds."""

    Hmmm I have never ever linked my comment of "Britain stuck in the past" with any British refusal to move on a "deeper EU". In fact my views about "deeper EU" speak of a double-edged knife. I am myself pretty much as much a critic of the evolution of EU as many of you, only that I come from a different perspective (referring to the larger political & military positioning of European countries in the world).

    """...Therefore by all means debate with us our political vision of the future of both the UK and EU, but don't make the mistake of saying that we are stuck in the past because we don't share your own political vision of the future, that is intolerance of the views of others and a dangerous path to tread. After all have not all dictators gone down the path of intolerance of other views with name calling, insulting etc to try and ridicule those views."""

    No Buzet, when did I do all the above?

    Let me clarify this:
    the "stuck in the past" refers to the fact that Britain is more or less continuing the same geopolitics it has had for the past 300 years. While that is certainly linked to British distance from the rest of the EU, I do not do that link here: I refer strictly to the geopolitical monotony of Britain.

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  • 288. At 10:34am on 22 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #287

    """Thats exactly what they want."""

    Not me champagne_charlie. Certainly not me.

    I wasn't referring to you Nik, its the likes of quietoaktree who clearly want the Brits who dont agree with him,to just shut up and go away whilst he has his anonymous rants on the BBC.

    I dont subscribe to your theories on British/Greek history, the distinct lack of references in support of your posts makes me deeply suspicious that they are purely ideological buck-passing with scant regard for the facts.

    BUT, you clearly manage to avoid targetting contemporary British life, people and culture, and you have clearly stated you enjoyed your time in Britain. So, I genuinely believe you dont have a particular issue with Brits per say.

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  • 289. At 11:45am on 22 Nov 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #287. At 10:07am on 22 Nov 2010, Nik

    "Let me clarify this:
    the "stuck in the past" refers to the fact that Britain is more or less continuing the same geopolitics it has had for the past 300 years. While that is certainly linked to British distance from the rest of the EU, I do not do that link here: I refer strictly to the geopolitical monotony of Britain."

    It is statements like this that show you have not analysed the British governments attitudes and motivations over the last decade or so. They are not and never have been the same as when there was an empire decades ago. The modern Geopolitics is in effect an ideological difference between the mandarins who control the EU and see its future as a federal Supra-National state, and the people and government of the UK, plus a fair proportion of the people of the EU, who do not see the current EU policy of ever closer union working. There is also a fundamental ideological difference in the approaches of the British and EU politicians, we prefer the 'what you see is what you get', there are endless exposures of any form of corruption, almost all information is freely available to the public. Contrast that to the EU which has built its empire on a web of deceit and corruption, where data is manipulated, information is rarely available that is dangerous, and exposures are rare.

    These differences have nothing to do with the UK's colonial past, it's simply a different way of governance, the UK is not perfect, as was witnessed by the scandal about MP's expenses, but it was exposed and England's government are exposed to public scrutiny. The MEP's in the EP refuse to disclose their expenses, as do the unelected commissars and council, and there is no effective public scrutiny as to anything they do, whether it be perks, expenses, policies or anything else. That, Nik, is why the UK is not liked by those with their snouts in the trough.

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  • 290. At 12:51pm on 22 Nov 2010, margaret howard wrote:

    289 Buzet writes:
    "These differences have nothing to do with the UK's colonial past, it's simply a different way of governance, the UK is not perfect, as was witnessed by the scandal about MP's expenses, but it was exposed and England's government are exposed to public scrutiny. The MEP's in the EP refuse to disclose their expenses, as do the unelected commissars and council, and there is no effective public scrutiny as to anything they do, whether it be perks, expenses, policies or anything else. That, Nik, is why the UK is not liked by those with their snouts in the trough."

    The MPs expenses scandal was exposed by an American journalist under the Freedom of Information Act I believe, and vehemently opposed by Parliament which tried every trick in the book to obstruct her, according to a recent TV play on the subject. The politicians here liked their snouts in the trough as much as their European collegues(and many still do according to various recent exposees in the press)! Not quite the holier than though picture you like to portray.

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  • 291. At 1:19pm on 22 Nov 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Nik, what you have written on the mixtures of tongues and you know them all by names is absolutely wonderful. and has makings of a disseration. elsewhere not at you home where these things are taken for granted that is ;o)

    For myself, I marked this:

    "Plutarch was a Roman citizen, Greek of 1st century A.D. born at Chaeronia, thus a Boetian and as such of a given political inclination (i.e. by then pro-Attic, pro-Roman, anti-Dorian, anti-Macedonian, anti-Corinthian, anti-Dorian etc.) who was of Koini Greek laguage (i.e. common Greek of 1st century B.C.) but who as an educated aristocrat preferred to write in a language imitation (not a perfect one though...) of the 5th and 4th century B.C. texts of Plato and Aristotle."

    whole Nik is here - see the lay-out: "pro-Attic, pro-Roman, anti-Dorian, anti-Macedonian, anti-Corinthian, anti-Dorian :o))))))
    "etc." :o)))))) - that's what I call acute geopolitical tuning and alertness level! the approach seemingly kept indeed throughout the centuries!
    I wish we knew our components so well who is for who and ever been. but by Russian approach we gave up on it long time ago :o))))) How very careless.:o(

    "Plutarch preferred to write in a lanaguage imitation (not a perfect one though...) ;o)))))))
    cool-brush, what do you expect after that; leave your hopes ;o))))
    Nik allows himself to (softly) criticise even Plutarch, and I dare think in his world arrangement whole UK past present and future is not worthy one Plutarch's page :o))))))) Honest. So he is being soft on you, by his parameters, just a friendly brush-up on the go, passing remarks, un-obliging ;o))))))

    "I am not so sure though that Athenians would like to have their ethnic description changed from Greek to non-Greek as they had fought really hard to get accepted under the term Greek which primarily was a Dorian denomination in the early archaic times - let us not forget that it had taken more than 100 years for Athenians to participate in the Olympics!!"

    Nik, I promise, I will never forget.
    I think it will become one of my favourite phrases, that I will say as a trivial common-place whenever I will need to look clever ;o)))))

    "...and we do remember don't we that it took Athenians more than a hundred years to start taking part in the Olympics!"

    Right. Once again - wondeful.

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  • 292. At 1:49pm on 22 Nov 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    "Watch out, Alice.

    He may end up like Sergey Magnitsky. :( "
    This? Him? :o)))))) More likely, the other way around.
    (have to add that's half-brother, and only acute shortage of better relatives ....:o))))))))

    Magnitsky case is awful without doubt. Still I think it's not him personally directed, or the US company behind him that he was protecting, it simply takes a couple of days for any one with chronic ailment to die off in a Russian prizon. It may be you use medications that help, buying them yourself, prescibed to you by paid medical clinics, private. And what they will serve you in prizon is only state medical system (short) list of stuff, at that - they might not allow you to have in your own medications. If one is , say , on insulin of a particular type, or, whatever, - this will end up very badly before any court session approaches.
    It is simply that state medical help is often not enough to live even when you are at freedom. When locked in you have no access to private clinics.

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  • 293. At 1:57pm on 22 Nov 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    By the way, if that American company "Hermitage" is the same I had in the list of company clients' database still back in about? 1992, in St. Petersburg - I remember I couldn't classify that no doubt very rich and good client :o)))))) in either industry category. You know, a simple pie-chart. Total mystery what they were busy with, rented offices in the Palace Embankment, 32, real Hermitage's side, bought 5-star hotel accommodation from us a lot, what they did - stayed an enigma ;o))))))

    But may be the modern one is not them, after all, it was long time ago.
    But could be them, and those were their early beginnings ;o)))))))

    Do you know what this American "Hermitage' is about? I don't ;o)))))

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  • 294. At 2:02pm on 22 Nov 2010, lacerniagigante wrote:

    # 57. At 08:14am on 19 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:

    I see, so when Greek or French students take to the streets, it's all that EU membership and Euro one-size-fits-all and Brussels lack of democracy that's behind all those evils.

    But when English students protest, it's just a handful of wirdoes. Never mind the fact that it was the 2nd biggest demo Britain has seen in years, and the fact that the Condems are butchering public spending like never before in peacetime Britain.

    As for the British, I'm sure many would love to help more, not only their Irish neighbours.

    But it's George Osborne, not the British who I was talking about: he talks about helping the Irish as if he was at the head of the German economy.

    If Britain was not risking to fall behind Italy next year (in terms of annual GDP) it would be endearing to hear the Chancellor talk about helping others.

    But at this point, it's outrageous, even for those who voted the Tories in that don't have a couple of millions stashed away in some Caribbean fiscal paradise.

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  • 295. At 2:15pm on 22 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #290

    MH writes, "..The politicians here (UK) liked their snouts in the trough as much as their European collegues.."

    It just beggars belief! It is beyond all understanding!

    MH comes on this blog claiming total innocence and to be unbiased when comparing the UK Parliament Expenses & the EU MEPs etc. Expenses declarations.

    1) There is a UK Freedom of Information Act.

    2) The FOI Act is used to access UK MPs expenses.

    3) Despite MP protests (& no wonder) the FOI functions perfectly in a Democratic manner and their Expenses are revealed.

    4) UK Parliamentary 'democracy' in action as Speaker is removed, 100+ MPs (rightly or wrongly) choose not to stand for re-election, a few are taken to court, the entire Parliamentary Expenses' system is overhauled to produce transparency & accountability.


    In complete contrast: The EU MEPs REFUSE to reveal their Expenses as do the Commission & Council members.

    MH's summing up of this: "..Not quite the holier than though picture you like to portray."

    Thank goodness for her neutral stance or who knows what the heck would have come from this paragon of unbiased opinion!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!?


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  • 296. At 2:27pm on 22 Nov 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #290. At 12:51pm on 22 Nov 2010, margaret howard

    It sums up your idea of credibility when you base your comments on a tv show, at least do some real research first as tv shows, newspaper exposures are notoriously inaccurate and customised for their audience.

    As for the MP's expenses it says more that despite the reticence of MP's to come clean the Daily Telegraph, via a leak (not a journalist), exposed details in a series of articles before a freedom of information request was delivered.

    I will be interested to hear you say how and which newspaper will publish as exposure of MEP's expenses, always assuming some courages person is prepared to risk imprisonment and/or persecution by leaking them.

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  • 297. At 2:33pm on 22 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #287 & "..cheese eating surrender monkeys..#

    Britain/England, yet again, Not Guilty - - and, yet again, exposing Your lack of verified research even in these sorts of trivia - - it was/is an American expression that emerged in 2003 when France's President Chirac in US' view betrayed the greatest ally France had had in the last 100 years.

    Likewise Your allegation G.B. got Greece into WW2 - - not guilty - - again even the most basic research will reveal it was Mussolini & Fascist Italy's invasion of Greece that subsequently led to "..Nazis which I find completely inappropriate, at least in such discussions here (on tv I do not mind), when it had been Britain that got Greece into this war.." - - it is simply demonstrably untrue. Britain would never have sent Armed Forces to Greece unless the Fascist nations were involved.

    You really cannot have it both ways: There was a war going on - - Greece like so many nations fell victim to the conflict - - to pretend Italy & Germany would never have thought of Greece until Churchill put it in their minds is ludicrously wide of the factual reality of the era!

    "..on the other side, if past British geopolitics had certain direct and indirect results, why does it have to be so complicated to speak on them..."

    And, it is at this point MHoward usually writes in to support these astounding accusations that bear no relation to the turn of events other than in Your mind!

    My answer to why is it 'so complicated' is that it is impossible to argue over things that simply did not happen: I will not give credence Your version of WW2 in which G.B. sided with the 'Nazis' & the 'Communists' according to some utterly spurious 'British geo-politics' no one other than Margaret in her rage against the 'perfidious English' and You seem to find any evidence of in any substantive account of the Second World War.

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  • 298. At 2:38pm on 22 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #284 & #285 enquiring of the other proclaimer of 'neutral' observation of all-things British/English:

    The lack of realistic response, infact, the total SILENCE from the unknown blog warrior is deafening & revealing!

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  • 299. At 3:30pm on 22 Nov 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    cool-brush, don't trouble oak-trees until oak-trees ;o))))))0

    may be he is haviing dinner.

    I'm much more worried because of the disappearance of you know.
    Cannot be he became imprisoned say in Russia for love to Europe ;o)))
    for one thing. other reasons.

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  • 300. At 4:56pm on 22 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    lacerniagigante

    Re #294 and, "..But when English students protest, it's just a handful of wirdoes. Never mind the fact that it was the 2nd biggest demo Britain has seen in years, and the fact that the Condems are butchering public spending like never before in peacetime Britain.."

    First off, think You'll find there is a demonstration of some sort every weekend in the UK's capital and a good many are as large or larger than the Student Fees' march.

    Second, the 'handful of students' was referring to those that totally misbehaved and risked serious injury to the innocent by their criminal actions.

    Third, whether it was Labour, Conservative or Lib-Dems pre-General Election all predicated their Economic-Fiscal policy on the need to reduce Public Spending due to the effects of the recession. The only debate was over when to start & the pace of the 'cuts' - - the UK Electorate knew full well what lay ahead - - something clearly the French, Greeks, Spanish, Irish etc. had obviously not had explained to them in any depth at all.

    Fourth, do write in again when Italy takes UK's place in GDP table: That's the sort of desparate claim by a 'pro-EU' brings it all into even more disrepute. If that is possible considering the EUro-zone debacle and the failure of EU entity to make a blind bit of difference to the members's economic-fiscal battering during the World recession - - despite its non-stop propaganda of 'strength through unity' & indeed, 'one-size-fits-all' etc.!

    While we're on the topic let us wait to see the joint effectiveness of the 'bail-outs' to Greece & Ireland: Will they actually work or will more Billions be required for these stalwarts of EUropean unity!?
    Then there's the incredibly hastily created EU Financial Oversight department: Now there IS an interesting development of Brussels' ever encroaching authority - - what will be the excuse when the EUropean Financial Servcies sector loses masses of business to far more flexible American, Asian & even African centres? Or, who will Brussels blame when a EUropean Bank or Financial Company goes bankrupt in the future?

    I have no idea who or what Brussels will blame, but I'd bet good money its response will be, 'EU needs more regulation and more power!'

    Yeah right: If they say so it must be true; I mean, look how well organised & managed the EUro-zone has been for a decade!?

    I really do wonder: Just what cataclysmic event will it take for a 'pro-EU' to one day come on these blogs to admit the EU got something wrong?

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  • 301. At 5:11pm on 22 Nov 2010, quietoaktree wrote:

    C-C

    --- Anonymous ?

    --the only things you do not know about me is my nationality and where I live ?

    --Shut up ?????

    Go to Mr. Hewitt´s new blog topic -- and see my reply. Do you agree With Mr. Hewitt or me ???

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  • 302. At 6:03pm on 22 Nov 2010, champagne_charlie wrote:

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

  • 303. At 6:46pm on 22 Nov 2010, margaret howard wrote:

    296 Buzet writes:
    "It sums up your idea of credibility when you base your comments on a tv show, at least do some real research first as tv shows, newspaper exposures are notoriously inaccurate and customised for their audience."

    On 23 February 2010 BBC Four showed a dramatised account about Heather Brooke's campaign for disclosure of MPs' expenses, titled On Expenses. The role of Heather Brooke was played by Anna Maxwell Martin. Brooke still serves as a visiting fellow in the journalism department of City University London and has done since before the expenses scandal.
    But of course according to you both TV and journalists who exposed these scandals are notoriously unreliable. Tell me who do you suggest the general pulic rely on to get their information? And indeed who should try to dig up the murky secrets of those in power? Any suggestions - like self-regulation?
    ---------------------------------------------------
    You go on to say:
    "As for the MP's expenses it says more that despite the reticence of MP's to come clean the Daily Telegraph, via a leak (not a journalist), exposed details in a series of articles before a freedom of information request was delivered."

    In January 2005, the Freedom of Information Act 2000 came into force, allowing members of the public to request disclosure of information from public bodies. Two early requests came from the journalists Ben Leapman and Jon Ungoed-Thomas. Another request came from journalist and freedom of information campaigner Heather Brooke. All three asked for details of the expenses claimed by certain MPs to be released. The requests were subsequently passed over to the Information Commissioner, who joined the three journalists' cases together and ordered the release of some information on 15 June 2007.[House of Commons authorities objected to this order in June 2007 and MPs had, in May 2007, voted in favour of the Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill which sought to exempt MPs from the 2000 act. The House of Commons voted 96 to 25 in favour of the Exemption of the House of Commons amendment but the bill was ultimately withdrawn prior to second reading in the House of Lords because peers were unwilling to sponsor the bill. In February 2008, after referral to an Information Tribunal, it was held that Commons authorities would release information on 14 MPs. This decision was subsequently appealed against, delaying the release of information.
    -------------------------------------------------
    And finally you write:
    "I will be interested to hear you say how and which newspaper will publish as exposure of MEP's expenses, always assuming some courages person is prepared to risk imprisonment and/or persecution by leaking them."

    In January 2009, Harriet Harman, Leader of the House of Commons, tabled a motion which would exempt MPs' expenses from being disclosed under a Freedom of Information request, in order to prevent any further disclosure of information. Labour MPs were placed under a three line whip in order to force the motion through the Commons. However, opposition parties stated they would vote against the proposals, and large scale public opposition emerged. The proposals were ultimately dropped on 21 January 2009. The Commons authorities announced that full disclosure of all MPs’ expenses would be published on 1 July 2009.

    They weren't very keen were they - snouts in trough seems to be a universal habit. Seeing that this new clean-up campaign in the House of Commons only happened last year and hasn't yet really spread to the upper house, maybe you can suggest a way for that to be applied to Brussels as in your opinion journalists and indeed the media cannot be trusted to do this.


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  • 304. At 7:09pm on 22 Nov 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #303. At 6:46pm on 22 Nov 2010, margaret howard

    A leak by civil servants is not attributable to a journalist showing investigative powers but for some strange unaccountable reason you have failed to see that. As for the rest of your attempt to implicate the MP's, well a large part of Labour are of Scottish origin and especially those who were ministers in McClown's government. As for Harlet hairperson well enough said if you look at her history.

    The role of journalists in decades has been to report on leaks mostly, if an American 'fellow' claims that she was the only person in the Daily Telegraph team that ran the stories then why do you think I'm dubious, especially if she made a film about it, you poor sap MH.

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  • 305. At 7:33pm on 22 Nov 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    ##303. At 6:46pm on 22 Nov 2010, margaret howard

    In addition, would you kindly elucidate what the exposure of expenses for the members of the Scottish parliament revealed, if there was one that is. Or are the Scots like the EU in being exempt from exposure?

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  • 306. At 7:41pm on 22 Nov 2010, margaret howard wrote:

    304 Buzet

    In other words, you haven't got a clue and can't reply intelligently to any of it and rely on innuendo and on blackening a few characters.Talk about the last refuge.

    Incidentally, the American 'fellow' goes by the name of Heather Brooke and the film was made by BBC Four. Obviously some right sheisty characters in your opinion.

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  • 307. At 8:16pm on 22 Nov 2010, Buzet23 wrote:

    #306. At 7:41pm on 22 Nov 2010, margaret howard

    As I thought, I hit the nail on the head and you can't answer the question, but instead carry on talking about a person who has profited from making a film whilst other freedom of information campaigners have not. Yes she did campaign for some years but then so did others, and as I've already said it was the Daily Telegraph and their inside whistle blower who ran and disclosed the details. Just what is it about you that can't accept the reality?

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  • 308. At 10:00pm on 22 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #290, 303 & 306

    Thank goodness for fair-play.

    The UK Parliament's Expenses are revealed by whatever means.

    The EU Expenses remain a total mystery with blanket refusal by Brussels' MEPs etc to countenance revealing how they spend Citizens money.

    The 'cause celebre' of the unbiased, unprejudiced Margaret Howard: Well, it's obvious, she writes 3 lengthy pieces on the revealed Expenses and nothing on the secret ones!

    'Now, I wonder why that is?'

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  • 309. At 08:58am on 23 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Alice in Wonderland,

    Sergey Magnitsky was told that he would get all necessary medical help he had been asking for along time if he signed a ststement that his claims were unsubstatiated and his statements about FSB nefarious involvement were a slander.

    He refused.

    So Sergey did not day die due to negligance or Russian bureaucracy.

    His death was caused by bona fide state malice/perfidy.

    Just like in Stalin/Beria days. :(

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  • 310. At 2:34pm on 23 Nov 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    In Stalin/Beria days - you will write - I will not.
    In "Stalin/Beria days" financial issues and gains, money games, was the last reason on earth for which a person would be arrested.
    Excuse me this reminds me more of capitalism in its inhuman first stages' times, for this is power and money games in sheer dis-respect of human life.

    I think it's more like when gangs sort their grazing fields' issues, and a side man puts his nose in and falls down dead.

    The "Hermitage" fund must have chosen the name associated with richness not for nothing, I've read up things on it internet available now that you write; they've entered the business in 1996 (internet says were an investment fund, advising on shares' purchase of top 6 Russian oil and gas companies); by 2004 have not only promised to investors but made it true! steadily demonstrated 990% annual income on every share bought on their advice. I think had wide contacts and acquaintances' base in their business field because one thing is to promise something, and another - make it true, that the top 6 actually pay these dividends. And they paid.
    Internet says "Hermitage fund" became famous for the protection of minority share-holders' rights.

    What one sees in this sorry me is a richie rich company :o)))) (3 billion profit officially registered in 2004), annoying mighty Russian oil and gas sector let's say "a bit".

    Then there was an in-raid on them, done via a tax inspectorate, a "control" check of papers in their office, during which as Hermitage said, important papapers were grabatised and simply stolen, which allowed the people - known to the Hermitage somehow, mind it, later on re-register three of their "daughter" companies onto themselves, basically part of their business was stolen from them, and a very selected part, the companies which were due to receive huge returns from the state in the immediately soon how to say near time, some financial matters don't comprehend which but sometimes you pay extra to the state and then justify it later that it was too much, so the state returns you the tax or whatever.

    So the tax return was grabatised by the new business owners.

    Hermitage went to law, and applied to the Prosecution (an organisation above the police and various those can't explain again;o), who's got the controlling function of what police and various power eh state structures do, and named them the fact and the new owners' of the business names.

    After which Hermitage problems really began :o)))) as apparently one there was covering another, in the system, and those new owners of ex-Hermitage business also had theirt "acquaintance". Magnitsky was a side lawyer hired by Hermitage to go to law and get their three businesses back, together with the state returns paid to these businesses - it appears if to trust internet.

    Naturally (to me :o), a law case was initiated against Magnitsky himself, an affair pulled out of his past working record, and reaaly past, as Magnitsky was representing Hermitage interests still in 2008 - and the case from his life was found for the year 2002 - when he in far away Kalmykia region hired a bit of disabled people around for nominal wages, and presented a company's (another company, not Hermitage) tax report as one of an organisation that has over 50% of disabled people among the employees, and therefore has right to report half the profit.
    (internet says)(well, it is the formal law case as it was against Magnitsky - until his death in prizon).

    In 2008 Magnitsky was detained, complained at once about his health not allowing him to be in prizon, of awful prizon conditions - no normal toilet, no hot water, no windows in the cell - got no response, kept complaining for a year, was kept a year in prizon awaiting the court session (normal thing in Russia; usually people get straight to freedom found guilty in a law case - so long they have spent in prizon the first thing - awaiting the very dear judge and court to collect and hear their case) - and died there in prizon because of no health support he needed.

    After he died there began a huge scandal (only because there were people to stand up for him - his law firm management in Russia and the Hermitage (his client) company management)(the latter from abroad and they all got evacuated back in 2005 and quarreled with Russia from a state distance afar :o)))) - otherwise surely it would have passed un-noticed. The scandal started very sharp, given Medvedev called in the head of Internal Affairs ministry to his Kremlin carpet 2 days after Magnisky death and told him off on "medieval approaches to ? solutions' finding? prizon inmates' keeping? and since that there goes slowly as usual investigation into lower level circle of this case - the judge to who Magnitsky appealed several times, asking to let him free and wait in freedom for the court session to be, prizon management, their doctors to who Magnitsky appealed, and local how to say interior affairs ministry ranks of the region who were to supervise that prizon and in-mates complaints and all. May be something else, I don't know how Hermitage now tries to get back their three companies as well, or if they gave up on it and focused on the death case of their lawyer first.

    I am sorry I wasn't very aware of the case, while Russian internet holds a lot on it, even theatre plays! staged by now, various prizon scenes and how would Magnitsky ask the judge and talk to the "doctors" - his case is theatre play now very popular.

    The conclsion I think is when the state melts together with business, you can protect your business addressing the state for help, but only in areas in which state does not have shares already, because otherwise you compete with the state. And when you get into such a fix, some state officials let's say put their private interests above their work that they are theoretically for there, and deal with you as with a business competitor.

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  • 311. At 2:58pm on 23 Nov 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    If Magnitsky was indeed approached in prizon with offer to change his pre-trial status, from "can run away. to be kept in prizon before the court" to "can not run away. will be at home before the court session", in exchange for writing a confession "all claims and reports I did against certain people this one and that one etc, on behalf of my client, are not true, I was bought to do so and I regret it" - imagine his dillemma.

    The people who approached him might not keep the promise. Get the paper from him and that's all. Who knows. Well, suppose they needed him later on to help fight off away later company's claims, as someone who would repeatedly say "all false". But who knows.

    His client is all foreign and safely abroad and far away. While he is in prizon. What are their abilities to help him?

    I think he would have spent many a sleepless night thinking on who to put his stakes and how to save himself. I think he was young and didn't plan to die in that prizon, just 37 after all, it still seemed to him he will survive and in that case, eventually, will go to the West, and will need the foreign company support there, good friends, and put his stakes on survival and further immigration.

    Hermitage hired 3 local law firms to try to get their businesses back.
    All Russian lawyers of these firms are now in Britain - Russian internet says. When Magnitsky was called to the police he had his pasport with open British visa with him, and that was one of the reasons they contained him , put it as a justification for "to be kept in prizon before the trial, can run away."

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  • 312. At 1:36pm on 24 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "In "Stalin/Beria days" financial issues and gains, money games, was the last reason on earth for which a person would be arrested."




    Alice, you're trying to defend indefensible.

    Sergey Magnitsky was arrested or killed killed not because he was involved in some shady financial deals, but becasue, as a lawyer, he refused to lie, sign falshoods and rectract what was amply documented: that high rank Russian officials (including police ones) were involved.


    And one would think you would appreciate the fact that Magnitsky, knowing he did no wrong did not go to UK, believing instead his native country's justice system would eventually exonarate him.

    Just like Mr. Khodorkovsky did (refusing to go abroad).

    Unlike Mr. Abramovich about whom you haven't said a single bad word so far.

    I wonder why.


    P.S. Hermitage's chairman did not stay safely abroad; he wanted to go back to Russia, but was refused an entry visa. Repeatedly.

    I thought you'd know that having free media and all that.

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  • 313. At 8:25pm on 24 Nov 2010, ptsa wrote:

    133. At 07:57am on 20 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:
    Re #129 smroet

    I also recall that when the then UN secretary general Kofi Annan offered an equitable (and generally considered fair and balanced) plan for Cyprus' reunification, Turkish Cypriots accepted it, while Greek Cypriotes - rejected.

    Just a reminder.


    [not that Cyprus qualified for a membership in EU, since it's way much closer to Syria and Lebanon than to Europe]

    -----

    We have been through this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cypriot_Annan_Plan_referendum,_2004

    Look at the reasons for rejection by the GCs and tell me, if you were a Greek Cypriot (part of the 80% of the population before the ILLEGAL movement of settlers), would you accept such a plan? It is so biased towards Turkey (the minority and agressor) that I still don't see why you keep bringing this up? Please comment, I am really curious.

    Also, note the 35,1% of NO on the Turkish side. Many say this represents the original Turkish Cypriot population which is not very fond of Turkey and the settlers that moved on their island. Most of the YESs from the Turkish side actually were Turkish settlers that are on the island illegaly (according to the Geneva convention) and have nothing to do with the island.

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  • 314. At 08:38am on 25 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    What's muchy more important these days is that Turkish economy experiences 9% growth, while Greek...:(

    Perhaps then, rather than relieving the past you would try and learn to live in the future?

    Even from you alleged enemies?

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  • 315. At 09:43am on 25 Nov 2010, Nik wrote:

    314. At 08:38am on 25 Nov 2010, powermeerkat wrote:
    """What's muchy more important these days is that Turkish economy experiences 9% growth, while Greek...:(
    Perhaps then, rather than relieving the past you would try and learn to live in the future?
    Even from you alleged enemies?"""

    Powermeerkat:

    Between 1910 and 1923 Turkey genocided 1,5 Greeks and ethnically cleansed another 1,5. Numbers are in the millions, not in the thousands.

    In 1955 it pongromed the last remaining Greek minority in Constantinople, there was almost none left.

    In late 1960s it transformed its only 2 Aegean islands into open prisons thus effectively pongroming the Greek villagers living there. In a matter of a year, nobody was left there.

    In 1974 it invaded Cyprus, killed 1000s of civilians and POWs and ethnically cleansed half the island, pushing into 100,000s of colonists who took the Greek lands and installed themselves cosily in the Greeks peoples' houses.

    Since the 1980s Turkey invades the Aegean (EU space... eh?), on a daily basis and provoked repeatedly military incidents with the cumination the war incident of 1996 where Turkey invaded with troops a Greek rock and even shot down a Greek (unarmed) helicopter.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Turks are fine with all the above and are 100% proud and sworn to come and do more.

    So my question for you is what else do you need to be added in the above list to describe an "alledged enemy" as a real enemy?

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  • 316. At 10:10am on 25 Nov 2010, Nik wrote:

    297. At 2:33pm on 22 Nov 2010, cool_brush_work wrote:
    """My answer to why is it 'so complicated' is that it is impossible to argue over things that simply did not happen: I will not give credence Your version of WW2 in which G.B. sided with the 'Nazis' & the 'Communists' according to some utterly spurious 'British geo-politics' no one other than Margaret in her rage against the 'perfidious English' and You seem to find any evidence of in any substantive account of the Second World War."""

    CBW, I never said that I was so ambitious as to be able to find lots of Brits that would accept the realities of WWII as they are. Here, I have even lots of my compatriots (especially the left wing ones who cannot accept - but cannot refute either! - that it was the Brits paying them all the way to create the civil war). I understand that in this case I speak with "religion" not with logic. The question is to your side: "Do you ever wished to approach a bit more close to the reality or not?". You know that people do not want to do so unless they have an interest. Why would you have an interest in searching such Britain's past deeds? It won't empower your position nor would it make you feel better.

    """Likewise Your allegation G.B. got Greece into WW2 - - not guilty - - again even the most basic research will reveal it was Mussolini & Fascist Italy's invasion of Greece that subsequently led to "..Nazis which I find completely inappropriate, at least in such discussions here (on tv I do not mind), when it had been Britain that got Greece into this war.." - - it is simply demonstrably untrue."""

    Have you ever read the complete Mussolini's ultimatum to Greece? Read it. It does not mention Greece but only through the mentioning of Britain. But if Greece practiced a strict neutrality, how on earth did Mussolini have this imbedded idea that Britain was lurking around when even Germans did not worry back then about Greece's neutrality? Oh yes, I forgot, Mussolini was a crazy megalomaniac, he just wanted to invade Greece to play the Roman Emperor... well no CBW, things do not move like that in history. There was a whole process for that Italian decision to attack and in that Britain provided the motive.

    """Britain would never have sent Armed Forces to Greece unless the Fascist nations were involved."""

    BUT nobody asked Britain to send an army in Greece!!! Not the political, nor did the military leadership! Greece was doing excellent all alone. It was the Brtish that invited themselves a mere couple of days after Metaxas assasination. What else there you do not comprehend?

    """You really cannot have it both ways: There was a war going on - -"""

    Not Greece's war.

    """Greece like so many nations fell victim to the conflict - - """

    No. Greece had not fallen victim to the conflict. It fell victim to British geostrategic machinations.

    """to pretend Italy & Germany would never have thought of Greece until Churchill put it in their minds is ludicrously wide of the factual reality of the era!"""

    Germans would had not attacked Greece since their neutrality protected their plans in central Europe and they were right to be reluctant to that since their attack costed them dearly. One has to search one geostrategic reason why Italy would attack Greece - Italians however mentioned only 1 motive, the mingling of Britain in Greece. So why Italians did refer to Britain if British had nothign to do with it? I guess they were also into British bashing eh? Crazy Mussoloni and such. And to imagine that some 20 years back Mussoloni was rising in Italian politics with hidden British money... (not me saying so, check last years' BBC articles!). You are naturally far from comprehending the complicated game that British played in the greater Mediterranean region but at some point you should open your eyes a bit - just out of curiosity, because it is in the human nature to want to learn.

    In geopolitics friends are not friends and enemies are not enemies. Everything is relative and everything is bent and used to produce the wanted result, i.e. geopolitical control. Britain used the pretext of the war with Germany and its ally Italy to ensure the continuation of its grip in the Eastern Mediterranean affairs. As such, the expansion of war was in the direct British interest and that is what the British tried to do. It is also eye-blinding the fact that they continued to mingle in the resistance of local people (i.e. Greek and Serbs) and in both cases they supported mainly the communist forces and in both cases it ended up in civil wars and in the great reduction of the capacity of people to resist to Germans. Not to mention that when the war ended and Germans were anyway quitting, they rushed inside and sent their colonial army to occupy Greece as if it was some random colony, thus starting the civil war - if you do not understand all the rest, then tell me what was that CBW, explain to me? Protection from the communists? Whom? The ones that up to a year before British were sending money and weapons? How much more eye-bliding details you want to get mobilised and search a bit better (or just admit you know nothing and that you want to continue knowing nothing).

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  • 317. At 01:52am on 26 Nov 2010, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    "Alice, you're trying to defend indefensible."
    I see no suitable for acquaintance people in this story - am not in the habit of stealing someone's businessesLOL, I think I am against torture of prizon in-mates as well o)))) - who would I be "defending"?


    "Sergey Magnitsky was arrested or killed killed not because he was involved in some shady financial deals, but becasue, as a lawyer, he refused to lie, sign falshoods and rectract what was amply documented: that high rank Russian officials (including police ones) were involved."

    Possibly, with a detail - he refused to retract what he, first, reported.
    "amply documented" ? why would anyone want his statements, and with such a persistance, that it was all false then?
    Anyway, I haven't traced it up and am not an expert on that tragedy, how it came to be, so I don't insist on the scenario I put above. It is based just on my brief internet scan and how I understand the arrangement of things here.

    "And one would think you would appreciate the fact that Magnitsky, knowing he did no wrong did not go to UK, believing instead his native country's justice system would eventually exonarate him."

    ? No, I think UK is better than Russian prizon :o))))) and surely it's a pity he stayed behind when the rest have flown away, especially so - given the outcome. I think the place for people suspected in financial and economic crimes is not a prizon cell, given the conditions in prizons here. Not a murderer not dangerous to people to the degree to be detained. I heard lately of way too many cases how people from this category were detained pre-trial, deputy Central Bank or something - got after just half a year in prizon watch the list: tuberculosis. Aids. became blind. Before the first court hearing occured.
    You don't exactly need any verdicts to anybody, it seems, after such "pre-trial" time in prizon.

    Am not sure Britain needs more lawyers but it is very unfortunate they got him at home.

    Clearly he took very heavy risk getting involved into oil and gas sector disputes.


    "Just like Mr. Khodorkovsky did (refusing to go abroad).
    Unlike Mr. Abramovich about whom you haven't said a single bad word so far. I wonder why."
    Why? I don't think of either of them habitually. Not the Moon and the Sun how to say. what's Gertrude to him, what's he to Gertrude


    P.S. Hermitage's chairman did not stay safely abroad; he wanted to go back to Russia, but was refused an entry visa. Repeatedly.

    Yes, read, for unknown reason it says was refused, in 2005, and hasn't been here since after.
    Can be someone thought it's easier to skin the business without the top manager on site. Given the further "developments" it lucky he was kept away. Still, his lawyer was arrested in the fall 2008, which means he continued to fight for his business and from abroad, by using locals.

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