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Putting pressure on Syria

Gavin Hewitt | 16:25 UK time, Thursday, 28 April 2011

A few weeks back French President Nicolas Sarkozy held a late-night press conference in Brussels. He was in expansive form. He claimed that because of military intervention thousands of lives had been saved in Benghazi in Libya.

One questioner asked the French president why it was right to intervene in Libya and not elsewhere. He replied that nowhere else in the Arab upheaval was the army turning its firepower on its own citizens.

I was reminded of this when I saw the picture of a T-72 tank heading into the Syrian town of Deraa. It could be that Bashar al-Assad will prove as brutal and ruthless as Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

Getting international agreement to squeeze the Syrian leader may well prove much harder than against the Libyan leader. There was a foretaste of that at the UN yesterday when Britain, France, Germany and Portugal failed to win support for a statement condemning the violence.

Tomorrow the EU's political and security committee will discuss further measures. The German government, for one, strongly supports sanctions. Washington is working on sanctions which will target Assad, his family and the inner circle that effectively runs the country.

Turkey is pivotal. It has forged a strong relationship with Syria. It has urged Damascus to back reform and has even offered economic assistance in sharp contrast to Europeans edging towards sanctions.

But applying pressure on the regime has proved a slow burn.

Firstly, the West had invested hope in President Assad. He was seen as a more flexible leader than his icily ruthless father. For a while Western governments had given him the benefit of the doubt that - in the face of protest - he would support reform. Up until a few days ago UK Foreign Secretary William Hague was saying: "It is not too late for him [Assad] to say he is really going to do these reforms.'

Secondly, there is debate as to the extent to which Assad himself is running the country or whether some of the security officials who served his father are still the power behind the throne.

Thirdly, military action is not seen as an option even by those who have been most robust over Libya. Senator John McCain, for example, sounded distinctly lukewarm about the military option.

The main reason is that Syria is pivotal in the Middle East. The allies of Damascus have the ability to destabilise the region. The Americans believe that Assad could appeal to Iran for assistance. And Hezbollah - another ally - could undermine the fragile peace in Lebanon or threaten Israel. Interestingly, at the UN Lebanon was one of the countries that refused to condemn Syria.

So the slow march towards sanctions. But Damascus has far more allies than Gaddafi. What European countries and others are watching most closely is whether splits are opening up within the ruling Baath party and within the military where the officers tend to be Alawites and the troops Sunni Muslims.

A few days ago President Sarkozy spoke about Syria. The tone was very different to Libya. "We are not going to intervene everywhere in the world," he said,
"and not all situations are necessarily the same." Over Syria outrage is tempered by caution and realpolitik.

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    Would Iran really help Syria?

    I mean Iran is Shi'ite and the Syrian soldiers are Sunni Muslims and these two groups do not like each other.

  • Comment number 2.

    Very elementary Gavin NO OIL IN Syria bat is the right decision the west must stop interfering in the affair of any independent country and spend more time to re wright the current capitalist system the new one must consider all the people no only the rich and famous.
    John

  • Comment number 3.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 4.

    Hi The Communist #1

    While Shi'ites and Sunnis do sometimes hate one another do the Iranian Shi'ites hate their Sunni bretheren more or less than they hate the West?

    Muslims of a certain political bent would describe any Western military intervention in Syria as an attack on Islam. The repercussions could reverberate wordwide.

    I'm thinking which muslim nations could help resolve this? Turkey, not a chance, their history in the region makes them unpopular. Indonesia? Pakistan? Does anyone have a good suggestion for a muslim nation that could take the lead in bringing about a resolution of this conflict?

  • Comment number 5.

    Sarkozy is a grandstander who flip-flopped on Libya and is only there for la glorie. For Anglo-Saxons with a moral compass there is obviously no difference from a moral perspective if despotic governments are killing their citizens in Libya, Syria or Tibet. But there are non-moral considerations, like the military power of the despot to prevent us stopping them killing their citizens (which is what stops us intervening to prevent China killing dissidents in occupied Tibet). Or our own national interests. And we don’t have unlimited military resources to intervene in more than a handful of cases.

    In my opinion, the only difference between the Libyan and Syrian cases is our national interests. Syria is further away, does not have oil and although the Syrian state has been accused of backing Hamas, I don’t think it has quite the awful track of Gaddafi in bringing down PanAm103 on Scotland, supplying the IRA with sextex, or bombing nightclubs and airports. However I don’t consider our national interest in Syria to be sufficiently different from that in Libya to turn a blind eye to the killings in either country. We should be intervening in Syria against a government that has killed several hundred of its own citizens in recent weeks. And if our military resources are too stretched then others countries with both a moral compass and military assets from Turkey to the Gulf states should be intervening instead.

    -------
    “So how do we decide when and whether to intervene? I think we need to bear in mind five major considerations:

    First, are we sure of our case? War is an imperfect instrument for righting humanitarian distress; but armed force is sometimes the only means of dealing with dictators.
    Second, have we exhausted all diplomatic options? We should always give peace every chance, as we have in the case of Kosovo.
    Third, on the basis of a practical assessment of the situation, are there military operations we can sensibly and prudently undertake?
    Fourth, are we prepared for the long term? In the past we talked too much of exit strategies. But having made a commitment we cannot simply walk away once the fight is over; better to stay with moderate numbers of troops than return for repeat performances with large numbers.
    And finally, do we have national interests involved?” – T. Blair, (‘Chicago Speech’, 1998)

  • Comment number 6.

    Just let these people fight it out on their own. These revolutions in the Middle East are excessively sensationalised by the media, and no one knows what they will end up becoming anyway. The West should stop wasting resources and money on these Arab nations -- especially Syria, which is neither very friendly to the West, nor possesses any oil.

  • Comment number 7.

    @6

    I completely agree with you. Having no importance to the West, Syria should be left alone to deal with it themselves.

    As you mentioned they are not very friendly to the West and do not possess any oil. This in turn shows that the West shouldn't waste any reasources in this "revolution" as well as any other uprisings in the Middle East.

  • Comment number 8.

    Gavin said "The German government, for one, strongly supports sanctions"

    The German government is as pathetic on Syria as on Libya, hiding behind ineffective sanctions while people are dying. They need to consider the negative consequences (dead people) of their refusal to intervene. There have been sanctions (a travel ban) of the Burmese generals (who never in their lives went abroad). Do Germans really think that this type of thing can stop dictators killing people? 

    Or do the German government try to soothe their guilty conscious by preferring ineffective action to no action at all? Merkel should be under no illusion: Those who could prevent mass murder but do nothing effective to stop it are guilty.

  • Comment number 9.

    "Over Syria outrage is tempered by caution and realpolitik."

    And by servile pandering in the press corps. You forgot that bit.

    The way I see it, when you describe the President of France, who has ordered ultra violence and claimed many lives in pursuit of his "principles", in this way, you implicitly excuse his behaviour. You imply he is being cautious and thinking about "realpolitik", when the far more likely reality is that Sarkozy has been caught out being ridiculous, and is now thinking about how he can lie his way out of a murderous mess.

    The thing is, NATO has become selectively trigger happy, and no regime in the world knows whether it might be next to suffer an "escalation of UN mandates".

    Remember how there was a resolution for a "no fly zone"? That took about a day to turn into ground strikes, and about a week more to turn into fishing expeditions against any remotely possible target. Now we are dropping ordinance on rebels, such is our haste to do good deeds.

    "Rebel" is a delightful word. I think it is rather like one of those common birds which show up all over the planet, and go by different names according to their geographic location.

    So in Libya, a rebel is a rebel. In Iraq, a terrorist. In Afghanistan, a jihadi terrorist. In Northern Ireland, a "dissident". In Iran, an oppressed freedom fighter. In america and europe, a banker.

  • Comment number 10.

    #8 Freeborn John

    ---the German constitution prevents such military adventures.

    Do you want Germany to re-arm in proportion to its industrial might ?

    ---let a sleeping dog lie and be thankful it has no warmongering leaders.

  • Comment number 11.

    "Interestingly, at the UN Lebanon was one of the countries that refused to condemn Syria."

    --- The Palestinians are safer for them to kill than Syrians ?

  • Comment number 12.

    8 freeborn writes:
    "They need to consider the negative consequences (dead people) of their refusal to intervene....."
    -----------------------------------
    No, what they have considered is the fact that more people will be killed if the west intervenes. This has nothing to go with Germany or anybody else. They had no colonial interests in the region and even is they had this is a new world order where the people of the countries involved will have to fight their own battles just as we Europeans had to fight for our own freedoms in past centuries. How many Iraqis and Afghans have died because of American interference (and indeed soldiers) and what good has it done? Remember the resentment when many Americans interfered in Ireland by raising money for the IRA? Remember also the Monroe doctrine: KEEP OUT!

  • Comment number 13.

    BTW, thank you for mentioning the fact that Obama is not the cause of all these problems.

    G. Bush (the little younger one) was the man who let Israel get away with ANYTHING during the war against Iraq...

    when our soldiers were doing their (dubious) job, Israel used the time as an excuse to kill with no hindrance whatsoever.

    I'm not even anti-Israel, like kneejerk Europeans (hmmmm didn't kill enough Jews soo "we hates Israel."

    Oops germany did it? Well hmm, it all happened mostly outside Germany,

    But anyway, Bush Jr., gave Israel carte blanche and the result was hatred for the West....before the Arabs only kind of hated us ..out of duty.

    But, Israel's actions against its minorities during the Iraq war to me is the reason Israel's stupid and malicious actions are seen as USA approved.

    No offense to people whom do dislike Israel for just reasons and not just out of frustration at not getting all the Jews killed during WW2.

  • Comment number 14.

    BTW, too, I'm thanking YOU

    Margaret Howard...You, thank you for mentioning the USA in a positive light as in "not as bad as Bush"

    lol

    love to ya:)

  • Comment number 15.

    France , Britain and the USA should not have interfered in Libya . Gadaffi and his people should have been left to fight it our among themselves . It is none of our business , further the end result may be worse than before and more lives lost .
    As long as it's not among your own people , war is good for population control .
    While the oil comes out , what else matters .

  • Comment number 16.

    Quietoaktree

    If you can't make friends , make enemies ! If you feel deprived of a friendly or civil conversation ; at least you can enjoy a good argument ?
    Perhaps you should go easy on the rum and coke .

  • Comment number 17.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 18.

    Middle east coutries are cutoff from rest of Asia .Middle east countries and North African Arab countries are very close to EUROPEAN UNION(EU) by the presence of OPEC in AUSTRIA.So EU has more responsiblity in these countries.As the UN security resolution is blocked by RUSSIA and CHINA ,the coming days are crucial for Syria.It is tough time of protesters as they dont have any backing of out side from either Europe or UN.All must remember that fewertimes either UN or EU or USA had failed in RWANDA in Africa and Sbreniska of KOSOVA in Europe

  • Comment number 19.

    Hi Buzet23 & JorgeG1

    The ongoing argument about the UK's border controls.

    Lets say that on this coming bank holiday weekend you take a trip to the Lake District to do a little walking. If you are sensible then before you go you will write down your route plan and leave it with a friend or relative. In this way should some mishap befall you, your chances of rescue would be significantly enhanced.

    If you travel to or from the UK your passage over the border and your destination will be noted. This is, in principal, no different from leaving your route plan with a friend when you go hiking. Nobody in authority is likely to take the slightest notice of your travel plans unless you are reported missing or there is a serious incident at your destination e.g. the earthquake in Japan. The foreign office can't help you if they don't know where you are.


  • Comment number 20.

    #17

    buzet;

    There's not a lot of point even getting started on the Guardia Civil or any other aspect of Spanish local governance or civil liberties. We'd be here all week and never run out of material. I think "law unto themselves" sums it all up quite nicely.

  • Comment number 21.

    19. At 07:36am 29th Apr 2011, Ulkomaalainen

    That is precisely the point I was making in post 17, the only addition is that it is a 'recommendation' for your safety if you are visiting areas considered to be potentially dangerous such as Africa and Asia. If someone is trekking through a jungle or visiting an area where there is conflict or kidnappings etc then it is most certainly advisable. It is bizarre that Jorge1 who lives in a country where the Guardia Civil can incarcerate you for days without charge or representation, sees travel plans as offensive.

  • Comment number 22.

    #17 Buzet23

    I think you may have found Jorge's problem in the last paragraph ; either he or his wife has the travel problem . I have travelled many times to and from Europe by car or train and not a question asked . Boarding a flight no question either .

  • Comment number 23.

    quietoaktree;

    (Places to avoid, depending on which country you are pretending to live in)

    "16 mulitplex cinemas in Germany are staging live screenings of the ceremony"

    I understand British forces Germany will be having street parties. Perhaps you could pop down and tell all 25,000 of them that their efforts and the tens of billions spent defending Germany for the past 65 years has been an utterly resented waste of time. Not to mention the 1.5 billion euros that is pumped into the German economy annually by the BFG. Tell me again about Britain not being a friend of Germany.

    Or, if you are in the US:

    1. Royal Wedding Viewing Party
    Lyric Theatre, Blacksburg, VA

    2. Royal Wedding Viewing Party
    Tres Mariposas, El Paso, TX

    3. “Women In Weddings” Royal Wedding Day Event
    Drexelbrook Catering, Drexel Hill, PA

    4. Royal Wedding Tea
    743 Broadway, Tacoma, WA

    5. Royal Wedding Breakfast Tea & Viewing Party
    North Hills Club, Raleigh, N.C.

    6. Royal Wedding
    Public House No.7, Falls Church, VA

    7. Royal Wedding of Prince William & Princess Kate & High Tea
    Coldwell Banker Vista Realty, Santa Clarita, CA

    8. Royal Wedding Reception
    Emerald Isle, Reno, NV

    9. Royal Wedding Viewing Party
    Premier Bride Wedding Center, Fresno, CA

    10. The Royal Wedding Viewing and Breakfast
    The Old Globe, Fresno, CA




  • Comment number 24.

    #22

    huaimek;

    "I think you may have found Jorge's problem in the last paragraph ; either he or his wife has the travel problem ."

    There is always, ALWAYS, a personal angle when you come across a poster who spams the boards with the same stuff over and over and over. It annoys the hell out of me when they try to hide it! In jorge's case, I seem to recall a Chinese wife. If they have to go regularly back and forth from the nation of EuroSchengen to the UK, then thats why he goes mental over border controls and Chinese tourist revenues....

  • Comment number 25.

    24. At 08:30am 29th Apr 2011, champagne_charlie

    Well I suppose they do defeat the Spanish and Italian habit of giving residence permits to illegal immigrants that they want to get rid of since the UK can bounce them back at the border. These countries really do shown solidarity with their fellow European countries.

    As for the 2 or 3 minutes it takes me to get through port security in Dover it is nothing, most times I am never even stopped, but then maybe Jorge1 looks suspicious i.e. has a beard and is driving a VW camper van with cannabis leaves painted on the outside. They do get stopped and searched as I have seen more than a few times, lol.

  • Comment number 26.

    Re my 'referred' #3

    This is a remarkable piece of CENSORSHIP by the BBC Moderators!
    Assad & his cronies are persona non grata across the UK & EU; even the Royal Wedding invitation gets cancelled; Media from UK & around the world are prevented from entering Syria; there's UNO condemnation of Assad's regime.

    But the BBC is worried because of my little comment:

    BBC Moderators are shying away from mention of Assad's English in-laws etc. & his studying in the UK+

    Or, iModerators don't like a President whose orders have led to hundreds of deaths in recent weeks and thousands of deaths over the decade in terrorism etc.

    Then again, have the Moderators objected to my label of Assad as label 'psychotic'?

    Psychotic = meaning a person sufferring from a psychosis (OED)

    I mean, I find it impossible to believe the Moderators would have taken issue with my use of the term "murderer" as the UK Foreign Secretary has used it recently.

  • Comment number 27.

    23. At 08:26am 29th Apr 2011, champagne_charlie wrote:

    BRILLIANT!


    There's a few 'Royal Wedding' parties/functions over here in Finland and 1 TV Channel plus Radio is also following the event in detail.

    I've checked around and it seems there's also full media coverage in places as diverse as Australia, Italy, Nigeria, West Indies... and even a channel in Russia is providing all day progs!

    Poor old humbug QOT... Even a couple of UK establishment people getting married so as to give UK tourism a boost and Brits a day-off the usual gets up his anti-Brit nose!

    I'm wondering how Margaret Howard is marking the occasion?
    Can't imagine she's joining in any festivities as she hates the English with a passion few on here have ever displayed.
    Mind, the Royals do have multi-cultural EUropean bloodline, so perhaps she'll give them leeway on this occasion - - though it's never stopped her bile in any topic.
    I'll wager she's an isolated, elderly Scot's lady in her East Anglian community today: Republicanism and outright bigotry not being shared by many of her fellow 'English'.

    Well, tradition at this time is that my wife & I begin a series of Toasts to the Royal couple... and sometime around midnight tonight we'll start to pay the liverish price... At that point my constitution becomes one with the everyday ills of QOT!

  • Comment number 28.

    At 18:21pm 28th kwi 2011, TheCommunist wrote:
    Would Iran really help Syria?

    I mean Iran is Shi'ite and the Syrian soldiers are Sunni Muslims and these two groups do not like each other.






    Russian Communists didn't like German Nazis and vice versa.

    And yet they cooperated quite closely for quite a few years.

    Nay, they even started WWII together.

  • Comment number 29.

    19. At 07:36am 29th Apr 2011, Ulkomaalainen wrote:
    Hi Buzet23 & JorgeG1

    The ongoing argument about the UK's border controls....

    ....Nobody in authority is likely to take the slightest notice of your travel plans unless you are reported missing or there is a serious incident at your destination e.g. the earthquake in Japan. The foreign office can't help you if they don't know where you are."


    Steady now!

    That amount of downright comonsense about the foibles of the UK is likely to have JorgeG1 blow the last of his gaskets (i.e. Off Licenses "checking age" to sell alcohol! The bloke totally lost the plot!).
    You can't expect JorgeG1 to accept anything the British do is fair-play or even remotely on a par with whatever is the practise on the Continent.
    Reading JorgeG1, QOT, MH contributions over years this 'anti-England/English' cadre must all be dealt with in the same manner very English manner: A straight bat of factual reality to loft their sleights, innuendos & smears overtop the EU-Brussels outfield into the bog of unreality upon which hey base their ill-disguised bouncers!


    Hmm, reading that back I grasp I'm already celebrating ahead of schedule the joinging of Windosr 6 Middleton houses!

    Oh well, as Metallica sang, ''...nothing really matters.." and for sure that's an assessment of our jottings on here.

    Cheers everybody, off for a day of liquid rejuve...


  • Comment number 30.

    Re "Germany's best friend"...


    "The House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha is a German dynasty, the senior line of the Saxon House of Wettin that ruled the Ernestine duchies, including the duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. [...]Due to anti-German sentiment in the United Kingdom during World War I, George V of the United Kingdom changed the name of his branch from Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to Windsor in 1917." (Wikipedia)

  • Comment number 31.

    12. At 23:30pm 28th Apr 2011, margaret howard wrote:

    "..How many Iraqis and Afghans have died because of American interference (and indeed soldiers) and what good has it done? Remember the resentment when many Americans interfered in Ireland by raising money for the IRA? Remember also the Monroe doctrine: KEEP OUT!"


    The fragrant lady in full 'liberal' outrage mode.

    The same liberal outrage that circa 1994-2001 was demanding why isn't anything being done about the ignorantly brutal mysoginistic Taliban? Those 'tribal' Afghanis who made little girls marry & copulate with grown men, forced women to give birth unattended by any medic, smashed girls' schools, blew up centuries old Religious statues, beheaded & sliced the hands off men, women & children, stoned to death 12 year olds for stealing fruit...

    Oh yes, the fragrant Margaret was opposed to any intervention: So, she must have been glad when the US, UK etc. all refused to get involved in Afghanistan until the Taliban were proven to have provided the base for Al Quada and then it's 2002 and suddenly the fragrant one is appallled at the west's violence!

    Same with Iraq: MHoward berating from her liberal stance to the US-UK-UNO ineffectiveness with the tyrant Saddam slaughtering his own people, Kurds & Marsh Arabs. Her fragrant liberal beating heart appeals for 'why isn't more being done to help these people?' Abruptly switches to outraged anger when a 'reason' for intervention is found and something is done!

    Let us repeat for the umpteenth time: If the US-UK had followed the likes of Margaret Howard's attitude to these despotic regimes then the Taliban and Saddam Hussein would STILL be ruling their respective Nations with all the arbitrary cruelty STILL in place.
    Let us not continue to cheaply argue on the whys & wherefores of how the invasions by the 'west' came about - - that history is already laid bare - - let us perhaps consider what the history of Afghanistan & Iraq would have been if fragrant Margaret's oh-so liberal anxst had had its way upto today - - I cannot claim there would have been more, same or less deaths, injuries, outrages, but I do standby the claim MH & those who berated the 'west' for not doing enough on 'humanitarian' grounds have no right by hindsight judgement to pontificate on the 'wrongs' inflicted by the eventual interventions.
    MH cannot have it both ways: Either the Taliban are legitimate rulers of Afghanistan with all that entails or they are not; similarly with the Saddam regime, it was either the rightful government or it was not with the consequences of MH's liberal protests against both completely ineffectual to save the populations.

    IMO, MH's outrage is the cheap sort: It switches allegiance all the better to find fault with the 'west' & especially the USA-UK in all eventualities. She has an ocean of pity for the victims of cruelty from whatever side, but is unwilling to do anything except express her liberal outrage at such matters! A ridiculously enfeebled Humanitarian stance wherein nothing would ever change because do-nothing is all MH is capable of summoning up as a policy.

  • Comment number 32.

    27. At 09:21am 29th Apr 2011, can-bin-win

    You're right, it must be hell on earth for the likes of MH and QOT, why even the French are following the marriage on TF1, if ever a pair were out of step with the opinions of everyone else its MH and QOT. Lets wish them a happy street party with plenty of lovely British burgers, sausages and NZ lamb chops, either that or a miserable time gritting their teeth in their pits.

  • Comment number 33.

    Congratulations, Britain!
    Well done, you are the news and the light of the world today, with happy news and pleasant views. which is a rarity these days :o))))

    - I studied the dress in every detail:o))) (as far as it is possible :o)))))
    - Nice trees in Westminster
    - Bride's brother spoke like a priest very high morals' eh directions to the newly-weds how to behave :o))))))
    - Wilhelm/William V theoretically idea is being weighted by Russians now versus Charles/Karl III option :o))))
    - Cute 3 leaves on the prince's uniform collar
    - Is that a so-called Russian-styled tiara holding the veil of the 19th century or another one from the royal stocks
    - what is that with the ring did he decide to wear it after all
    - British composers of the music in Westminster I suppose?
    and other details in which the world is interested today :o)))
    (we are partial to tsar ideas in general so are a thankful audience :o))))
    Once again, congratulations with the happy day.

  • Comment number 34.

    23. champagne_charlie & the rest of you Brits

    The wife got up this morning at ungodly hour to watch the nuptials. Me, I got up in time for the kiss.

    Jolly good show ya'll.

  • Comment number 35.

    I had perfect coverage of the Royal Wedding here in Thailand , on television , with perfect picture and some spoken Thai , but not to spoil the filming . I also had another version with English comentary on Utube on my computer . Brilliant !!!

  • Comment number 36.

    While Western media go gaga over a British soap opera - in Libya, Northern Caucasus, Iran, North Korea, Syria, Tibet, Yemen,...

  • Comment number 37.

    powermeer youare again. "even started the world war together"
    On the other hand, continue.
    Couple of years more in this style, and the world :o)))))) (of this blog), will understand Stalin neighbouring a country consisting of 30 million powermeers.

  • Comment number 38.

    Meanwhile... back on planet BBC 'TECHNICAL FAULT'...

    For 5 hours today my sign-in was rejected!

    I know, I can hear the wailing off in the distance!

    That aside: As I've only had this new BBC-ID for approximately 5 days due to the BBC I.T.C. Dept lamentably FAILING time-and-time-again to resolve its alleged 'Technical Fault' with my previous sign-in, it is a bit much to suffer another TF so soon!

    The fragrant MHoward sees fit to remind those of us not paying the License Fee to be grateful for the access! It makes me ponder at what point does the BBC ever represent Britain's interests in this day & age if someone as absurdly 'anti-English' as the fragrant one can berate us for use of such an English original (with nod to Scot, Lord Reith)!?


    Meanwhile... the 'TF' did give me time for the tv & radio... back at Westminster...

    Absolutely superb coverage by both BBC & BBC24 of the magnificent Royal Wedding.
    A finer occasion I cannot imagine anywhere sur le continent (more of that later).

    IMhumbleO William & Kate were resplendently superior to any previous Royal couple throughout the ceremonies. The whole day organised down to a second with all the pomp, pageantry, slush & splendour such Historic episodes justify. UK at its best.
    A special mention goes out to Kate's slender, sensational sister as Lady-in-waiting! My goodness, what a graceful, considerate lady in that figure-hugging (& WHAT a figure!) look. If she hasn't a partner for every single dance throughout the afternoon & evening festivities then there's something wrong with the males of Britain!

    IMadmiringO the whole day summed up the pride, pleasure and persistent quality of the United Kingdom's Citizens.
    That so many millions from all ages, races, creeds & sexuality could be so clearly enraptured by the event and willingly inter-connecting speaks volumes for the great British public-at-large.
    Compliments also to the impeccably discrete 'policing' and military escorts etc. Great job.

    I'm quite sure MHoward, QOT, JorgeG1, Nik etc. will have been sickened by the wonderful spectacle and are even now preparing their usual bilious vitriol about the exploited serfs etc. of the UK.

    I merely ask:

    On Bastille Day will the French in their millions surge to applaud President & Madam Sarkozy?
    Is it likely the world media will descend on Berlin for Christian Wulff's offspring's nuptials? (Err, sorry, you didn't know, that's the German President)
    How likely is it Rome will be thronged by masses congratulating PM Berlusconi on another starlet conquest!?
    And as for Spain, Greece... oh dear me... Madrid & Athens gratefully took up the invite from Buckingham Palace, but its my understanding the crowds in those Capitals are more likely to string up the 'establishment' than cheer them to the rafters!

    Hey-ho... back to the 'Loyal Toasts': Our Finnish neighbours didn't know about them until this p.m. and now they're standing to attention at just the mention of QE11... apparently some are so enamoured (inebriated) they're close to composing a letter of appreciation to HM! Imagine! In a Republic as solid as Finland!
    Who knows what'll come next? Perhaps Finns will renounce the EU as Nokia etc. abandon their own Nation for cheaper areas courtesy of the Brussels' Directives.

    Well, in this hybrid climate anything is possible, wouldn't you say!?


    LOYAL cheers to Buzet23, Threnodio, Champagne_C, Huaimek, Freeborn John, EUPris (if you're out there) etc. on this special day.

  • Comment number 39.

    " in Libya, Northern Caucasus, Iran, North Korea, Syria, Tibet, Yemen,... "

    Northern Caucasus wants money same as is sent by Russians to Chechnya.
    Iran wants to be left alone I guess.
    Same with North Korea :o))))
    Syria is a hard nut, that's not Kaddafi for you :o)))))
    Tibet - are you planning to take on China great I mean who would mind.
    With Yemen really don't know. Sure it needs NATO?

    see I've sorted it for you, don't spoil the day.



  • Comment number 40.

    33. At 15:44pm 29th Apr 2011, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:
    Congratulations, Britain!
    Well done, you are the news and the light of the world today, with happy news and pleasant views. which is a rarity these days :o))))


    Many thanks AliceinW!

    In honour of the special occasion even my Finn friends are toasting another convert to Monarchial Constitutionalism across the border!
    I think with so few 'royals' now in position it is the UK Royals set the standard whereas Russia, Germany & even China used to make their mark at such events.


    BTW, there's a rumour Putin wants a Coat-of-Arms for his 'Family', but Medvedev is sticking to tradition and insisting a Romanov link is in-place first... Apparently at this very moment dozens of KGB etc. are scouring old documents to find the 'missing link' so Putin gets his 'nobiolity' wish alongside his billions of Roubles!

    Cheers.


  • Comment number 41.

    38. At 16:26pm 29th Apr 2011, can-bin-win

    I too had an afternoon without the blog, the low grade programmers who run the site managed to screw up signing into the blog, either that or whoever in charge is an anti-British anti-Royalty fanatic who didn't want us praising the UK and its pomp & ceremony so they censored the blog by crashing it.

  • Comment number 42.

    #34

    maudib;

    23. champagne_charlie & the rest of you Brits

    "The wife got up this morning at ungodly hour to watch the nuptials. Me, I got up in time for the kiss.

    Jolly good show ya'll."

    Pity the BBC has been boobs-up but hey. Absolutely bloody marvellous. I would be quite happy for 75% of them to have their heads stuck on pikes at the Tower(especially Beatrice and Eugenie wth?), or swinging from the ropes at Tyburn...but hey, credit where credit is due.

    Where are the Royal party-poopers? Hiding under a rock?

    powermeerkat - mate I know what you saying and you are right. Normal doom and gloom will be resumed soon.

  • Comment number 43.

    #33

    webalice;

    As is often the case, you are a diamond in a sea of detritus. Thanks.

  • Comment number 44.

    The point of "normal doom & gloom will be resumed soon" is exactly that: Nobody in the UK with an ounce of sense denies there are very real life issues demanding attention everyday, however, nobody with an ounce of sense (thus excludes MH, QOT etc.) would make the colossal leap to the Royal Family being at the core of those issues within the UK!

    E.g:
    Only the most 'ill-informed' or bigoted could somehow transfer the issue of the EU CAP to the UK Monarchy.
    Only the most 'ill-informed' or bigoted could somehow transfer the issue of the UK role within the EU entity to the UK Monarchy.
    Only the most 'ill-informed' or bigoted or BOTH could somehow transfer the issue of the UK's Royal Wedding to any issue other than the ongoing provision of a Monarchial Constitution which is nobody's business except for the legitimate Citizens of the UK and the voluntary members of the Commonwealth of Nations.

    At this moment I am listening to Radio 4 Today with mini-selection of the worldwide coverage of the Royal Wedding: A selection includes the Middle East, North, Central & South Africa, North, Central & South America, the Far East, Australasia etc.

    Only the genetically moronic could find fault with what is just a very happy occasion in the UK.

    An Australian lady just said, "..Good-on you Britain for making it all possible... we loved the whole day... you do it so well.."

    Enough said.

  • Comment number 45.

    Can-bin-win (38): Thanks for the sentiments. Great to read so many echoes on here from around the world of the spirit on the streets of London today. And agree that while Kate was the undoubted superstar, Pippa (and the Aston Martin) were stars in their own right too.
    ----
    Vote YES for AV on May 5.

  • Comment number 46.

    #45

    FBJ;

    It takes a lot to get the old heart pumping these days, but the Aston Martin! Jeez, pass the oxygen.

  • Comment number 47.

    The fact that hereditary titles still have not been abolished is as big a disgrace as politicians propping up the EU and the Euro and bailing out their banker friends.

    Monarchy = discrimination. Differentiating between families based on birth is discrimination, it goes to the heart of the definition. It is not important that you might not want mr X or mrs Y as head of state, what is important is that all should have an equal (if theoretical) chance at being head of state. We in Netherlands have the same problem, with this 'lazy bum' (my classification) 'heir' who vacations 26 weeks a year and seems to think inheriting a title at birth makes him special.

  • Comment number 48.

    Cc (46): Just a shame it had the EU 'crown of thorns' logo on the back number plate. Otherwise it would have been the perfect car!

  • Comment number 49.

    Vive la republique!
    Nuff said!

  • Comment number 50.

    What a pleasant and amiable change from the normal misery and nastiness we're subjected to daily.

    A lovely couple. A nice day. Lots of happy people. It seems to me we need more days like this. And, it seems we here in the US are getting almost as much pleasure out of the wedding as you are. Almost feel guilty not helping to pay for it.

    A pleasant interlude.

    I thank Britain for that.


    --Champagne_Charlie: what does the expression 'boobs-up' mean?

  • Comment number 51.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 52.

    49. At 19:34pm 29th Apr 2011, Manneken wrote:
    Vive la republique!
    Nuff said!"


    In your case who could possibly argue!?

  • Comment number 53.

    Paging JorgeG1, message for JorgeG1, is there a JorgeG1 in the blog-house...?


    29 April 2011 - - BBC Headlines - - 'Spanish jobless level hits another record high'

    'Unemployment in Spain, already the highest in the European Union, has risen to a 14-year high, with 4.9 million people out of work.

    The rate in the first three months of the year was 21.3%, up from 20.3% in the previous quarter.

    The Spanish economy has been hit by depressed economic activity and high public deficits and debt.'


    Well, to be fair, maybe the Spanish griper is in a queue at the Border Controls for the Channel Tunnel waiting to enter the UK: Afterall, UK is where he seems to be so unhappy, but just can't stay away from the attractions of a fully functioning Nation!

  • Comment number 54.

    51. At 20:12pm 29th Apr 2011, can-bin-win wrote:

    MODERATORS!

    WHAT is the point of any Comment?

    You bring this BBC into DISREPUTE everytime you make these totally arbitrary and utterly beyond the House Rules referrals that have no foundation in the FACTS OF THE CONTENT!

  • Comment number 55.

    #50

    d-m;

    "--Champagne_Charlie: what does the expression 'boobs-up' mean?"

    Its my attempt to avoid the moderators. Its a somewhat more polite version of a British expression which is similar to belly-up/broken/kaput.

  • Comment number 56.

    "Only the genetically moronic could find fault with what is just a very happy occasion in the UK."

    Ergo: If you do not sympathize with my emotional state at this time, I declare you to be of low hereditary intelligence.

    What a delightfully concise articulation of everything that is disgusting and weak about the English culture. If it wasn't so wretchedly treacherous and insulting to any decent human being, the effortless way the sense of intellectual superiority is shamelessly combined with uncontrolled emotion would be awe inspiring.

    I can imagine an English serf chanting the same words at a public execution, a few short decades ago.

    The Royal wedding is an fiscal outrage, and a testament to the pervasive servility and cowardice of the British people.

    The British flatter themselves to think they were intelligent enough to retain their Royalty. The rest of the world, if they know the English culture, knows better. The brits have simply been incapable of sustaining the social trust and philosophical dialogue that allows the creation of a democratic republic. They have been too weak, in spirit and mind, to escape feudal ideas and feudal servitude.

    The royal wedding is a moron festival to rival even the most outrageous religious gathering. It takes the thinking persons superstition, nationalism, to its most ridiculous extremes. The concept of the divine right of kings kills thought itself, a sick and violent idea that was out of date in 1300.

    Having said that, it was a reasonably cheery puppet show. The younger sister was very popular with the american guys in my office. Her stock has risen enormously, no doubt.

    And i can't work out what it means that the Queen gave Kate the tiara, or crownlet, or whatever people who wear those ridiculous hats call them.

    Does that mean she thinks highly of Kate, or is it an admission that William is an idiot?

  • Comment number 57.

    can and been and win, and champaigne_charlie,
    you are very welcome.

    yes, happy days so rare, what to be picky about - with a very glidingly passed day in London and in Britain, overall. Imagine how difficult it is to run an event like that and keep everyone happy. I think it's one of the major duties :o)))))) of a royal family fulfilled to prefection today. If anything, a royal wedding ought to enlighten everything around, add shine, and give entertainment, and remind about history, and all that? jazz:o)))))) how to say, to tie history together, past and present, it's a time connector, like, a seal, of a kind, on times.

    We still vaguely remember the taste of those things :o)))))), old habits die hard :o)))), can assess an event like that with a ? connosseur :o))))) eye.

    ("whereas Russia, Germany & even China used to make their mark at such events.")
    :o))))
    Germany has never had a court, eh extravaganza:o))))) and traditions to speak about. Lots-of-tiny-courts' system, so, not really spoiled people:o))))) Chinese, of course, used to be masters of ceremonies.

  • Comment number 58.

    Congratulations to Britain for their nice day...im not into weddings or pageantry at 4am..

    But congrats to the couple :)))

  • Comment number 59.

    @ # 56

    "The rest of the world, if they know the English culture, knows better. The brits have simply been incapable of sustaining the social trust and philosophical dialogue that allows the creation of a democratic republic. They have been too weak, in spirit and mind, to escape feudal ideas and feudal servitude."

    You need to get out more. Did you miss the entire part about Britain having a parliament? Perhaps did you fail to see the servile attitudes closer to home?

    "The royal wedding is a moron festival to rival even the most outrageous religious gathering. It takes the thinking persons superstition, nationalism, to its most ridiculous extremes. The concept of the divine right of kings kills thought itself, a sick and violent idea that was out of date in 1300."

    Ergo: If you do not sympathize with my political leanings at this time, I declare you to be a backwards bloodthirsty barbarian.

  • Comment number 60.

    #56

    democracythreat;

    My, what a grumpy little sausage! Whats up? Not bill enough today? Try sending out a few more unnecessary letters at 150 euros a pop, that'll cheer you up.

  • Comment number 61.

    The geriatric department has really gone overboard today-- what with all that marching and the serfs bowing to a German immigrant family.

    " Members of the royal family belong to, either by birth or marriage, the House of Windsor, since 1917, when George V changed the name of the royal house from Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. This decision was primarily taken because Britain and her Empire were at war with Germany and given the British Royal Family's strong German ancestry, it was felt that its public image could be improved by choosing a more British house name.
    The new name chosen, Windsor, had absolutely no connection other than as the name of the castle--" (Wikipedia)

    ---- Germans (I am sure) were very touched by those heartwarming scenes of respect and would offer more of the sort (at a cheaper rate) --if only asked.

    http://www.sachsen-coburg-gotha.de/en/

    --I sometimes wonder --where would Britain be without German support ?????









  • Comment number 62.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 63.

    RE#62 Mods

    --I thought it wouldn´t pass --no hard feelings !

  • Comment number 64.

    democracythreat,
    the tiara is "something borrowed", I guess that's all it means. I mean, if you have to borrow something (something borrowed something blue), why not a tiara :o)
    And no:o(, it seems to be George V thing, not George III's one, styled a-la-russe.

    Heads of state of meaningful countries :o))))))) (USA, France, Germany, Russia) were not invited, which means that's not a heir to the throne wedding. Old protocol here speaks louder than tiara-s :o).

    Though, of course, the today's royal bride - may become a queen eventually, therefore tiara-s are appropriate.
    While Queen's son spouse, Camilla - will not become a queen eventually never, because she is divorced in the past, so you can't. Kate was never divorced or anything - she will be a queen if/when her husband becomes a ruling monarch.
    That's the scientific difference ;o) between the two ladies - one can become a queen, the other can't.
    Neither of the two, though, can ever become a ruling monarch, even if God forbid staying alone. Monarchies are not yet democratic enough for that :o)))))

  • Comment number 65.

    #59 TBKSA

    "Did you miss the entire part about Britain having a parliament?"

    -- I believe he did not miss `Her Majesties Government ´ etc, etc. --you did !

  • Comment number 66.

    Oh QOT,

    ----youre just jealous

    ----lolololol

    ----you wish you had a royal family to fawn over, poor you

    ----see me tribute to you :))

  • Comment number 67.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 68.

    "BTW, there's a rumour Putin wants a Coat-of-Arms for his 'Family', but Medvedev is ..sticking to tradition and insisting a Romanov link is in-place first... Apparently at this very moment dozens of KGB etc. are scouring old documents to find the 'missing link' so Putin gets his 'nobiolity' wish alongside his billions of Roubles!"

    :o))))) this can not be, that's distorted telephone game with the journalists on your side. You know, whenyou say something to another person, by phone, thn he says it to the next, the next to the next, and in 4 people you don't recognise own news :o))))))) there is a children's game of this name in Russia, "spoiled/distorted? broken telephone". you can check it yourself in any room, by using 4 people around, tell something complex 2-3 phrases, and see what works out as a result :o))))

    Putin is a street hooligan, how to say, a naughty boy from a poor family. Well. Used to be :o)))))) All those aspirations are not in his style :o))))))), he's a practical man :o))))))
    Besides, I was filling up once a KGB questionnaire, taking the first job, with a foreign company, in perestroyka. 44 questions. Maiden surname of 2 grandmothers :o)))))), social class of both, have any one up to 4th cousins ever lived in Germany occupied territories, what not. And that was for taking a job between me and a copany, one would think none of KGB business :o)))))
    Now, imagine what questionnaires Putin was filling up in his time, taking his job.
    Now origins but proletarian up to grandfathers and grandothers would be acceptable. Peasants and workers in the background exclusively.
    Well, in 1920-s :o)))))))0 I guess, they were accepting all :o))))))) because didn't have much choice, but later on it became strictly by being of a proper class.
    No nothing even close to Russian nobility would be ever acceptable.
    So, I guess, Putin's non-nobility origins were researched and stamped long time ago :o)))))))

    The rumour of coat of arms may be because there is a fuss about it lately here, head of Russian muslims desired a half-moon :o)))))))) added like a halo to one of the two heads of the Russian (two-headed) eagle. Instead of the cross.
    There are three crosses in our state symbol, one on each eagle's heads and one hanging in the air in the middle :o)))))))

    Now, naturally, a wide discussion goes how about one cross, one Jewish David's star and one semi-moon :o))))))) over our eagles. Plus Russian Buddhists should also get something, say, below.
    The most popular

  • Comment number 69.

    #66 Stevenson

    ---- The usual bloggers are in bed exhausted --with their dentures still marching time in the glass !

  • Comment number 70.

    The most popular spoken design now is with one eagle head wearing a fur hat with ears :o)))))), one a turban :o)))))) and one that little black round Jewish hat.
    What a company!
    Add to this all oil and gas options re what the eagle holds in his paws :o)))),
    and you get it :o))))))))

    Besides, we would need then to upgrade the eagle to dragons :o)))), so that it has 3 heads for all the major confessions. With Buddhists - 4. But we usually drink up a bottle of vodka for 3, so 4 is a bit odd amount.
    A rich field :o)))))))

    Honest, head Muftij of the Federation wrote a written complaint to the heraldic office. Why Muslims aren't represented in the state logo :o))))) but crosses and crosses only.
    Heraldic office got cataleptical at once :o)))))))))

  • Comment number 71.

    The_Black_Knight_Strikes_Again wrote:
    "The concept of the divine right of kings kills thought itself, a sick and violent idea that was out of date in 1300."

    Ergo: If you do not sympathize with my political leanings at this time, I declare you to be a backwards bloodthirsty barbarian."

    I made no such insinuation. If your logic were honest, ergo: "People who were bloodthirsty savages in 1300 practiced politics according to the divine right of kings."

    I made no sweeping accusation against everyone who does not share my argument here. My sweeping accusations are reserved for the British political culture, which I perceive as degenerate, disgraceful, dishonest, weak, cowardly and so on and so forth.

    Kings and princesses. Good grief. Why not have some wizards and a dragon, as well?

    If we are going to pretend that the great sky fairy came down to earth with its magic star dust wand and blessed young William's grand sire many years hence, such that this person should offer us some inevitable quality by virtue of his bloodline, then why stop there?

    I put it to the assembled host on this fine blog that the great sky fairy also ordained that lawyers are excellent people of inevitably fine character and judgement.

    That is not nearly as ridiculous as the divine right of kings.
    .

  • Comment number 72.

    champagne_charlie wrote:
    "#56
    democracythreat;
    My, what a grumpy little sausage! Whats up? Not bill enough today? Try sending out a few more unnecessary letters at 150 euros a pop, that'll cheer you up."

    My unnecessary letters cost a good deal more than that, sir. They cost so much these days that people have to read them, which I regret sincerely.

    It has been creating all sorts of awkward situations, and I wish folks would stop it. It is bad enough having to write such things as I write, without having people read them as well. I ought to be paid twice, once for writing and once more when people read. That way people would think twice about arguing, on account of the sheer cost, and would be more inclined to believe in the divine right of lawyers.

    I wish I worked in government, or for a big "Magic Circle" firm with government audit contracts. Then a fellow could get some peace, writing things that are certain never to be read by anyone.

    Commerce is a sweatshop, by comparison.

  • Comment number 73.

    68 webalice writes:
    "You know, whenyou say something to another person, by phone, thn he says it to the next, the next to the next, and in 4 people you don't recognise own news :o))))))) there is a children's game of this name in Russia, "spoiled/distorted? broken telephone..."
    -----------------------------------
    The game is called chinese whispers here. My husband's favourite version stems from his days in the army which goes as follows:

    During World War I a message was being sent down the trench line which said:
    "Send reinforcements, we're going to advance."
    and which eventually became:
    "Send three and fourpence, we're going to a dance."

  • Comment number 74.

    "I put it to the assembled host on this fine blog that the great sky fairy also ordained that lawyers are excellent people of inevitably fine character and judgement."

    :o)
    "A question on the site of the Strasbourg court (written by a Russian):

    - My lawyer paid 5,000 Euro fees for the application of my case to the Strasbourg court, but my claim was not accepted for court hearing. What am I to do?

    - Answer: Strasbourg court does NOT charge fees for accepting cases."

    :o))))))))))

  • Comment number 75.

    71 demothreat writes:
    "I put it to the assembled host on this fine blog that the great sky fairy also ordained that lawyers are excellent people of inevitably fine character and judgements:'
    -----------------------------------
    You could have added bankers!

  • Comment number 76.

    Margaret, :o)

    "Any intendant (a man in charge of army train supplies and provisions)
    can be hanged up after 5 years without a court."
    (Fieldmarshal Suvorov, 1740)

    "No President can be elected for the third term."
    (Modern days)

    :o)))))

  • Comment number 77.

    #38 Can-bin-win

    Thank You for your " Loyal Cheers ". I reciprocate the complement to you !
    I am a staunch royalist . One of my forebears was named for the knighthood of the royal oak , proposed by Charles II after the civil war , but never instituted .
    I think it shameful the way the house of lords has been messed about under Blair .
    I believe that the stability of the British Constitution and democracy is due to our having a Queen or King as a figurehead , not directly involved in politics , whom we the people can appeal to directly . The house of lords has always been a steadying hand on government . In my view the house of lords is more impartial than people think , even though they were aligned with Conservatives or Labour .

    I am sorry you had difficulty signing in ; they seem to have reverted to our having to click on comments again .

    I applaud you on your excellent post !!!

    I shared your enjoyment of the Royal Wedding ; every detail beautiful , with restrained good taste and simplicity .
    The brides dress was simple and stunningly beautiful . My eyes too , were rivetted on Kate's sister the chief bridesmaid . What a beautiful dress and what an amazing beautiful slender figure inside !!! To Die For !!!

  • Comment number 78.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 79.

    53. At 20:26pm 29th Apr 2011, can-bin-win wrote:
    Paging JorgeG1, message for JorgeG1, is there a JorgeG1 in the blog-house...?


    29 April 2011 - - BBC Headlines - - 'Spanish jobless level hits another record high'



    Oh dearie me!

    No sign of the EU's Spanish correspondent as yet!

    Do you suppose there's been a breakdown in fraternal relations between JorgeG1 and the rest of his Iberian countrymen as they inform him his constant harping against the UK isn't helping matters on the Peninsular!?


  • Comment number 80.

    Police in Glasgow moved in to clear Kelvingrove Park after a "street party" to coincide with the royal wedding resulted in "completely unacceptable levels" of drunkenness.

    Strathclyde Police said 21 people had been arrested.

    Police moved in to the park to break up the party
    They said officers came under attack and one was taken to hospital.

    Eyewitnesses described "chaotic" scenes and sporadic fighting." (BBC)



    Perhaps some Scottish poster could supply more details?

  • Comment number 81.

    Re #68

    Alice reports fom the Wonderland:

    " I was filling up once a KGB questionnaire, taking the first job, with a foreign company, in perestroyka. 44 questions. Maiden surname of 2 grandmothers :o)))))), social class of both, have any one up to 4th cousins ever lived in Germany occupied territories, what not. And that was for taking a job between me and a copany, one would think none of KGB business :o)))))
    Now, imagine what questionnaires Putin was filling up in his time, taking his job."






    Doubt it. Putin was working in occupied German territories himself, for quite a few years.

    And he was not questioned about his activities. Or those of his grandpa.

    On the contrary: his job was to question other people. ;-)

  • Comment number 82.

    #78. At 06:09am 30th Apr 2011, can-bin-win wrote:
    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

    YES, MODERATORS, I do await the explanation with a view to complaining to the BBC Governors.

    Afterall, if DemocThreat is PERMITTED to write the following scandalously abusive stuff directed at the English/British and yet my stating he is "a pontificating sage of the Swiss alps" IS CENSORED then there is NO SENSE WHATSOEVER IN House Rules!


    #56. At 20:45pm 29th Apr 2011, democracythreat wrote:

    "I can imagine an English serf chanting the same words at a public execution, a few short decades ago....

    ...The Royal wedding is an fiscal outrage, and a testament to the pervasive servility and cowardice of the British people...

    ...They have been too weak, in spirit and mind, to escape feudal ideas and feudal servitude..."


    PLUS,


    #71. At 23:26pm 29th Apr 2011, democracythreat wrote:

    "...My sweeping accusations are reserved for the British political culture, which I perceive as degenerate, disgraceful, dishonest, weak, cowardly and so on and so forth..."


    OH YES, the even-handed MODERATION PROCESS in full glare of the public. WHAT A JOKE!

  • Comment number 83.

    #51. At 20:12pm 29th Apr 2011, can-bin-win wrote:

    BTW Mods!

    Nothing has changed in the last 24 hours concerning the accuracy of the content in my #51.


    Pres. Assad is still married to an English woman.

    Pres. Assad's in-laws are still English.

    Pres. Assad still did study dentistry in England.

    Pres. Assad's Syria was created by an agreement between France's Picot and UK's Sykes.

    Pres. Assad is still murdering fellow Syrians.

    Therefore it is still a certainty MH & QOT will blame England!

  • Comment number 84.

    80. At 06:30am 30th Apr 2011, powermeerkat

    Now you know why Hadrian built a wall to keep the barbarians out and why many English will be very happy indeed to see Scotland vote for independence. My great amusement is that for those living in England, they should be required to prove their commitment to England and English ways after Independence in order to gain nationality, and those that refuse be considered as an alien, especially if they live in Norfolk.

  • Comment number 85.

    45. At 17:47pm 29th Apr 2011, Freeborn John,

    You truly surprise me by supporting AV, of all the posters here I would have thought you the least likely to want that expensive, over complicated form of hashing up a result. After the PR mess that exists on the mainland with permanent coalitions and fudges that ensure nothing is ever resolved, and that elections mean simply that politicians have their snouts in the trough in-perpetuity you would be unwilling to accept any form of PR.

    Are you a secret lover of the EU?

  • Comment number 86.

    49. At 19:34pm 29th Apr 2011, Manneken wrote:

    "Vive la republique!
    Nuff said!"

    How quaint, you prefer Sarkozy to the Queen of England, still there is one comparison to Yesterday as Carla, like Kate, has a very stunning younger sister. I have seen a joke from France that says Sarko couldn't even get the choice of sister right.

    Personally I could not imagine anyone in England being enthralled at the prospect of a president Bliar or president McClown or even president CallMeDave. Whether royalist or not all I know in UK prefer the Royals to a politician.

  • Comment number 87.

    "And he was not questioned about his activities. Or those of his grandpa. On the contrary: his job was to question other people. ;-)

    powermeersky,
    where Germans question own people - Russians have nothing to add to the process:o))))), we are not such, how to say, perfectionists :o))

    Besides, you must be mixing things. I don't picture spies going around with interrogative questionnaires :o)))))

    Like, read one sweetie-sweetie memoir yesterday at Echo, a former Soviet correspondent was invited to the studio to enlighten the audiences on all things Prince William-related. The man was in reality a retired colonel of intelligence service :o))))))) He was full of "au wow, I remember the child out of the hospital when born, and all his nursery school years, he practically grew up in my eyes:o)))))) and now is a grown up man, marrying himself - long years to the happy newly weds! how years run!"
    :o))))))))))

  • Comment number 88.

    Buzet21 (85): AV isn't PR (which I would be against). Under AV you rank candidates 1,2,3,.. and one candidate wins per constituency. Under PR you put an X against one party and multiple party aparatchits  are returned per constituency. Coalitions (and therefore unaccountable governments formed in back-room stich-ups) are far more likely under PR than AV. AV is not used on the Continent and the political class there would be against changing to it from PR which allows them to promise one thing before an election and do another afterwards. 

    Most of all AV allows people to vote for who they want and candidly rank them their preferences 1,2,3... in a very simple way. That is far better than the current FPTP which leads so many to put their one X against party Y they don't really like to keep out party Z they like even less, which ultimately obscures the real views of the electorate. 

    And although short-term party interest should not influence votes on constitutional matters, it is good for EU-sceptics who can vote UKIP first and then maximise pressure on cast-iron Cameron by ranking him last (which hopefully will contribute to him being replaced as party leader following the next election).
    -----
    Vote YES for AV on May 5.

  • Comment number 89.

    Re #83

    "Pres. Assad still did study dentistry in England."






    Bashar thought he was studying ophtalmology, but perhaps he's had a problem with "that vision thing" (as GHW Bush would have put it), which, btw., would explain why he can't see the writing on the wall (Mane Tekel Fares).

  • Comment number 90.

    Alice wrote: "No President can be elected for the third term.
    (Modern days)"






    No, not after Yalta disaster.

  • Comment number 91.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 92.

    #47. At 18:58pm 29th Apr 2011, mvr_512 wrote:

    "The fact that hereditary titles still have not been abolished is as big a disgrace as politicians propping up the EU and the Euro and bailing out their banker friends."


    It is your opinion and you are entitled to it.

    You may think & opine what you like of the Netherland's monarchy. However, your summation of the UK Monarchy is entirely conjecture on your part: According to UK polls 4 in 5 Britons do not agree with you and they have the right & responsibility to decide their Constitutional arrangements.

    Perhaps you could explain what is so "..big disgrace.." about 'hereditary titles': Which title has made your life more difficult, reduced your circumstance, prevented you being whatever it is you want to be?
    In this modern world are you seriously claiming it is someone's 'title' from ancient tradition has deliberately kept you from attaining, achieving your potential!?

    Personally, I'd have imprisoned several top UK Bankers and given my own preference it would've been with severe hard labour over many years - - due to the suffering their greed-driven policies have brought to so many thousands of decent Britons.
    However, in the UK there may be some Royal bankers, but the public can distinguish between a good Banker and a City of London utter stinker!

  • Comment number 93.

    88. At 09:46am 30th Apr 2011, Freeborn John

    I know the theory of PR from my YC days when I used to invite the electoral reform society to give talks and I was, to be fair, attracted to it in principle, now having lived in Belgium and Germany and knowing France I consider it to be a disaster. I have to say I think AV is considered by the Liberals to be a step towards PR. Remember the vote in 1975, I voted yes because I thought the common market was a good idea, and I still think it is, however there was an ulterior motive we were not told about and I was even an activist, and as you know we now have the EU slithered in, aaagh.

    I seriously think once we allow any change to FPTP it will not be long before the next change comes in as it suits our useless politicians to fudge things perpetually. The excuse that AV improves matters is therefore flawed in my opinion as strategic voting can happen in both FPTP and AV. The best way of showing disgust in FPTP is either voting for the monster loony party or not voting at all. I'm sure the machinations of AV vote shifting will not be published in detail and will be far too mired in detail as to convey a picture of distaste for a candidate.

    Vote no to AV!

  • Comment number 94.

    89. At 10:11am 30th Apr 2011, powermeerkat

    I guess dentistry was part of his B.Sc degree in interrogation methods.

  • Comment number 95.

    Yalta disaster?
    ?
    I have a vague feeling you aren't worried for Russians having to keep "the socialistic campus" :o))))))) financially for 40 years after as a result. But that you are critical of someone else, from the trio :o))))))

  • Comment number 96.

    Web Alice reveals: :" I don't picture spies going around with interrogative questionnaires :o)))))






    Oh, really?

    So spies don't ask people:

    "Where do you work?

    What do you do there?

    What equippent are you using there?

    What documents you have access to?

    What kind of security is in your lab/department/factory?

    Could you smuggle some docs/software/plans/chips out of there?

    Would you prefer to be paid for them in US$$$, euros, or diamonds?"

    [Ames preferred diamonds]

    And dozens of other very specific earlier prepared questions?


    Silly me. And I thought.... ;-(((




    P.S. Since you claimed at some point that Berezovsky is Putin's enemy...

    It seems it was not always the case.


    "On 15 June 2000, The Times reported that Spanish police discovered that Putin had secretly visited a villa in Spain belonging to the oligarch Boris Berezovsky on up to five different occasions in 1999." (Wikipedia). :-)







    Oh really? :-)))))))))))))

    So spies don't ask:

    "Where do you work?

    What equipment are you using there?

    What kind of documents you have access to?

    What kind of security is in your lab/department?

    Do you think you could smuggle some documents/software/chips out?

    Would you prefer to be paid for them in US$$$, euros or diamonds?"

    [Ames preferred the diamonds]


    Amazing! I I always thought.

  • Comment number 97.

    I was seeing yesterday two British in St. Petersburg, friends of friends, they spent here last week as tourists(very lucky with the weather), and were leaving yesterday. They were very sorry they will be in the airport right when the wedding starts, local time, and will miss the direct broadcast in big screens, only via mobile.

    ;o) I met them only on the last day of their staying, down-town, and they impressed me knew cafes i didn't know :o)))) and shops i didn't know :o))))), and were setting rendezvous place, like, "on the corner of this and that, by the subway station this, between the shops this and that, opposite the cathedral you know, that, the dome shaped this colour that :o)))))0 names, names, became professionals :o)

  • Comment number 98.

    @47 mvr_512

    "The fact that hereditary titles still have not been abolished is as big a disgrace as politicians propping up the EU and the Euro and bailing out their banker friends.

    Monarchy = discrimination. Differentiating between families based on birth is discrimination, it goes to the heart of the definition. It is not important that you might not want mr X or mrs Y as head of state, what is important is that all should have an equal (if theoretical) chance at being head of state. We in Netherlands have the same problem, with this 'lazy bum' (my classification) 'heir' who vacations 26 weeks a year and seems to think inheriting a title at birth makes him special."

    I tend to disagree. German rating figures for the wedding of Prince William show quite well that constitutional royalty provides plenty of entertainment for millions.
    In absence of a German monarchy, the boulevard is looking at monarchs all over Europe.
    Now I know that nobody ever reads the boulevard and that those magazines still sell in the millions without an audience... :)

  • Comment number 99.

    Re #94 Buzet....


    Only know I understood what Hadrian FireWall was for.

  • Comment number 100.

    Re #95. Alice.

    I was referring to FDR duped by Uncle Joe at Yalta because of his illness, wekaness and growing senility.


    That fiasco had a major impact on the decision to limit a number of U.S. presidential terms to two. Although nobody said it out loud then.


    But if you were referring to Vladimir Vladimirovich possibly running again for the president of Russia I can offer you that in addition to a number of terms:



    "In a 2007 interview with newspaper journalists from G8 countries, Putin spoke out in favor of a longer presidential term in Russia, saying "a term of five, six or seven years in office would be entirely acceptable".[88] " (Wikipedia)

 

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