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Czech mates

Mark Mardell | 08:15 UK time, Monday, 18 May 2009

ODS campaign bus, Plzen

In the pretty central square of Plzen (Pilsen), the Czech town famous for its lager, the Civic Democrats are doing their best to pull in a crowd.

As the politicians wait under vast blue umbrellas, party workers hand out blue and white balloons and blue candy floss to the crowd. The kids are captivated and the occasional mum or dad is persuaded to take a leaflet on the European elections.

This party, known here by its initials ODS, until very recently was the Czech government. And they're Mr Cameron's new best chums.

After the Euro elections in the first week of June he wants to form a new group in the European Parliament, breaking away from the Christian Democrat, pro-European integration, European People's Party. He'll need MEPs from six other countries to do it. The Civic Democrats and the Polish Law and Justice party will be the mainstay.

I hoped to be at the launch of the Tory Euro campaign today, but no doubt it will be dominated by questions of moats and mortgages, so I thought I would have a look at their main new allies. ODS balloons, Plzen

There is more temptation for the crowd, who are being wooed by two musicians in folk costume playing a lively tune - one on an instrument that looks a bit like a bagpipe, if a bagpipe was in the shape of a sheep being sick into a golden horn.

But what is the temptation for the Civic Democrats, I ask the leader of the party's group of Euro MPs. Jan Zahradil tells me that it is bad for democracy that the European Parliament is dominated by two big groups of the left and right and that there is no real opposition. He wants a group that will be in favour of a looser relationship within the EU, less red tape and more reform of the Common Agricultural Policy.

But is the vision really the same?

It has been a torrid time for the Civic Democrats. They were ejected from government after losing a confidence vote because of the rebellion of two of their MPs, who were angry their party had signed and ratified the Lisbon Treaty. The current President Vaclav Klaus resigned from the party he founded over Lisbon. And now the Civic Democrats want to join up with a party whose main European policy is... opposition to Lisbon. David Cameron

I asked the former prime minister and party leader, Mirek Topolanek, what he really thought of the treaty he had backed at such a cost.

"This treaty is bad and we know it. We supported the treaty among other things because we were a party in government and because we signed it and because we agreed on a compromise at the level of the European Council.

"I have to point out that we're a much smaller country than Great Britain, and we only have a chance of promoting our national interests as part of a larger collective such as the European Union. We have no alternative.

"If we hadn't signed the Lisbon Treaty and had been pushed to the sidelines of the European Union we would have had no chance of promoting our national interests. That's the main reason. It was the lesser of two evils."

"Do you want it to fail? Do you want Ireland to vote 'No', Britain to vote 'No'?" I asked.

"It's a purely British matter, and I would not dare to get involved in it. I signed the treaty, and I put through ratification. The Czech Republic is simply a different country from Britain. If Britain had lived with communism for 40 years than they'd have less of a problem with the Lisbon Treaty."

I persisted: "But you're linking up with a party that says it wants it to fail, that says it's a bad thing".

"That doesn't really bother me."

"But you disagree on something fundamental."

"I don't think so. And once again I'll try and explain it in a positive way. Our co-operation is NOT based on what we DISAGREE on. Our co-operation is based on something that we want to build together. And what we want to build together has nothing to do with the Lisbon Treaty."

They are hardly on the same page on one of Mr Cameron's main international policies either. The Civic Democrats' old leader, the president, says climate change is a myth. Mr Topolanek is more circumspect.

"The Civic Democrats want people to live in a healthy natural environment. I don't think it's that different from the sort of policies that David Cameron is pushing for, the only difference is that we're not so intoxicated with the mantra of climate change."

Mr Cameron can live with that, although his opponents will make hay. His real aim is to avoid any linkage with homophobes, racists or others on the extremes, to say of the new group: "no nuts were used in the making of this product".

The Civic Democrats are not weird, if you exclude the sheep-shaped bagpipes. But their vision of the EU may turn out to be very different from that of many Conservatives.


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  • 1. At 08:56am on 18 May 2009, Mathiasen wrote:

    While some languages can make an adjective of Kafka I do not think English can, but then let us say that Czech politics is labyrinthine like a novel of Franz Kafka.

    It was Topolanek, who in the European parliament called the economic plans of Barack Obama for a road map to hell. As the recent PM of the Czech republic he was also leading the still ongoing Czech presidency of EU in the first half of this year, and as we all know, the Czech senate has very recently made green light for the Lisbon treaty. Now he is turning to an anti-Lisbon party.
    Reporting from politics can be complicated...

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  • 2. At 09:31am on 18 May 2009, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    I believe that the central tenant behind politics and government is that the chosen or selected individuals are there in order to serve their constituents (and not just themselves). This idea is generally more adhered to than not in most countries of the globe - even many of the dictatorships and military governments often grab power to protect the people from the existing politicians or regime. The issue of self interest within government is seen by outsiders as corruption.

    I am however unable to comprehend David Cameron's attitude towards Europe as being for the general benefit of the people whom he serves. He, I assum,e sees it as such buy I find the arguments he puts froward as tenuous and essential specious.

    I can only rationally explain David Cameron's (confused) positions as being required for the internal politics of his party. Further this is deeply worrying as it speaks of the unpublicised deep divisions with his party - the near cadaver of Thatcher being to the left and more Euro centric that the rump of his party!

    The Tories have a really unpleasant and rabid right wing, as they have always have had, and Mrs Thatcher kept this under control but with her departure the rabid right have taken control of he legacy and are using it for their more extreme reasons. Under this scenario David Cameron's actions become explicable.

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  • 3. At 10:10am on 18 May 2009, Johannestannes wrote:

    Perhaps the added sheeps head means that the instrument you described does not qualify as bagpipes under EU rules !
    I believe the playing of bagpipes outside of a building has been banned by new EU regulations.
    120,000 EU burocrats have got to do something with their time.
    Good luck to the ODS and any other party opposed to the despised Lisbon Treaty/Constitution.

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  • 4. At 10:27am on 18 May 2009, Freeborn John wrote:

    The Labour Party is not only aligned to a federalist grouping in the EU Parliament, but one that contains plenty of nuts. For example:

    Proinsias De Rossa MEP (Ireland)

    Proinsias De Rossa is PES MEP for Dublin and former member of the IRA. De Rossa was interned by the Irish government in the late 1950s for his involvement in the IRA border campaign a campaign which caused the deaths of six British policemen.

    Giulietto Chiesa MEP (Italy)

    Giulietto Chiesa is a former communist party official who has been a PES MEP since 2006. His activities in the EU Parliament have largely centered on screening his 9/11 conspiracy theory film "Zero" in Parliamentary buildings which alleges that the Pentagon was hit by a missile and that the Twin Towers were really detonated by explosives placed inside the towres.

    Self-Defence of the Republic (Poland)

    The leader of the Self-Defence of the Republic party is Andrzej Lepper, recipient of two honorary degrees from the anti-Semitic Interregional Academy of Personnel Management which counts, amongst others, American white supremacist David Duke as an honorary professor. According to the BBC, his party anthem once featured the line "this land is your land, this land is my land [and] we won't let anyone punch us in the face". The Party of the European Socialists welcomed a Self-Defence MEP into their grouping in December 2004.

    Labour lied to us in 2005 when making a manifesto commitment to hold a referendum on the Lisbon treaty. They are part of grouping in the EU Parliament that contains not only plenty of unsavory characters but also some of the very worst federalist MEPs. For example Richard Corbett MEP (whom Mark Mardell likes to quote when explaining away why turnout at EU elections is so low) is former president of the Young European Federalists.

    The so-called Liberal Democrats also lied to you in 2005, sit in a federalist grouping and contain among their ranks some of the worst federalists in Europe such as Andrew Duff MEP who has recently written a book in which he says "So the Treaty of Lisbon is not the last word The challenge is to manage this federalisation process with similar skill and boldness to that evinced in their time by Messrs Madison, Hamilton and Jefferson".

    A vote for Labour or the Liberal Democrats is a reward for politicians who said one thing to get elected in 2005 and then did the opposite after the election, for those who align themselves with extremists and whose ranks contain some of the most ardent supporters of an EU superstate.

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  • 5. At 10:53am on 18 May 2009, traducer wrote:

    Post No.1 Mathiasen. Topolanek's comments re Obama were made AFTER the ODS lost the confidence vote. With the extremely nutty right wing President Vaclav Klaus in charge of handing out the interim honour of running the country - his comments were motivated by internal politics. I believe most of the MEPS's listening to him would know this.

    Post No.3 Johanstannes. The two references to sheeps heads in the one post are typical of western press arrogance - nearly every single commentary in ALL British media towards Cent/East Europe reflects this type of attitude - it is depressing in its monotonous regularity. (I am British born and bred btw).

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  • 6. At 10:55am on 18 May 2009, traducer wrote:

    And i would like to add that the Czech republic has a lot to offer Europe in its attitudes to the workplace and womens rights, children and the general functioning of the EU. Cameron is not so crazy as first seems.

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  • 7. At 11:14am on 18 May 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #1 - Mathiasen

    Kafkaesque for future reference:-)

    #2 - John_from_Hendon

    I think Cameron has got himself stuck between a rock and a hard place. He identified a more EUsceptic position as a worthwhile political ploy in his domestic agenda which would appeal to the less EUenthusiast minded supporters of Labour and could also pursuade fewer Tories to defect to UKIP. Realistically, he could not have done this and, at the same time, have been seen to be in alliance with integrationists at Strasbourg/Brussels. I am sure that, had he foreseen how much mileage there was in lambasting Labour on their handling of the recession and could have anticipated the political windfall that would come his way courtesy of the expences trough scandal, he would have put the more strident aspects of his EU policy on the back burner.

    The EU elections, whether we like it or not, will now probably morph into a protest vote which has little to do with the EU - and I agree with your comment on yesterday's thread that the right and proper place to do that is on the local election ballot form, not the EU one. Nevertheless, it probably will lead to defections from the big three and one of the benficiaries could well be UKIP. The irony of that would be that, while he may find six European fringe parties who are looking for friends, they will not all be 'nut free products' and he also has to make up numbers and that could mean allying himself with UKIP in Europe.

    I would personally have taken the view that there were enough other things on rank and file Tory minds to ensure that he had reasonable support without pursuing a EUsceptic line. The large gains he is likely to make at the expense of Labour next year (or sooner) would outweigh by a considerable margin possible defections by single issue voters moving right. In other words, he did not have to do it at all.

    On the plus side, Topolanek may be a bit of a loose cannon in terms of tact but he is nowhere as close to the margins as their former leader, Klaus and the Czech alliance may not do him a lot of harm. The same cannot be said of other right wing parties in eastern Europe.

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  • 8. At 11:26am on 18 May 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    "I have to point out that we're a much smaller country than Great Britain, and we only have a chance of promoting our national interests as part of a larger collective such as the European Union. We have no alternative.

    "If we hadn't signed the Lisbon Treaty and had been pushed to the sidelines of the European Union we would have had no chance of promoting our national interests. That's the main reason. It was the lesser of two evils."

    Not the most ringing endorsement, I would have thought. Membership of the EU, for smaller players, seems to be the process of losing ones' skin in order to save ones' bones.

    In any case, the current farce whereby a private group of party wonks hold elections for their friends, and call the result "Europe and the law", I just cannot see the scheme ending well. Maybe 200 years ago they could have pulled it off, back when the majority of folks were illiterate and likely to die before the age of 60. But these days, what with the intraweb and so on, I am thinking "Surely not? Surely the scam is too poorly concealed to work?"

    Well, we will see. What I find most offensive is the way the elections promote the legitimacy of a power sharing process that began decades before the elections, or the concept of a European parliament. Europeans are asked to vote for a parliament with massively curtailed powers. That is like being asked to share a pie, but when the dish is passed to you, there is only one slice left in the dish. And some rats have been at it. And the thing is, this is YOUR pie. Some guy went and got it out of the fridge, sat down with his mates, and brought you this rat eaten little morsel on an otherwise empty dish, and says "Hey, I got a neat idea, lets SHARE this pie."

    If there is to be an ever closure europe based on a genuine respect for human dignity, it is going to have to be restructured with a clear understanding of what is at stake. At stake is the entire spectrum of political and civil rights for citizens, under the guise of human rights law and the procedural processes that underpin the election of lawmakers such as parliamentarians and judges.

    Europe could become a federal entity that enshrines principles of direct democracy and strong, independent local governments. Alternatively, it could bloat into a centralized superstate, governed by the dominant parties for the sake of the members of the dominant parties.

    But you can't talk about having a choice, or even a sensible discussion, about the model of a new europe when the freaks from the party headquarters of corporate funded europe are holding out a tepid morsel of power and saying "Let's share!"

    First the parties have got to give back the authority they have taken under the guise of representative democracy. Then everybody can discuss a new democratic europe. Otherwise it is just more of the same old stuff. More taxes so party bosses can give out more contracts to corporate sponsors. Ad infinitum, ad nauseum.

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  • 9. At 11:36am on 18 May 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #6 - traducer

    Yes, looking at Jonny Dymonds route map while covering the EU elections, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Slovenia don't warrant attention - but then neither does Iberia. I am not sure about Mark's route. Central and Eastern Europe collectively has a lot of weight to throw around and western Europe ignores it at it's peril. I did notice when Hungary borrowed 250 bn from the IMF and ECB, someone popped on a train from Vienna for a quick look. Perhaps we should do it more often.

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  • 10. At 11:39am on 18 May 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #6 - traducer

    Come to think of it, we don't have any weather either. Have you noticed that on the World Service? They have gales in Britain, sunshine in Spain, ice storms in Russia but central Europe? Where's that?

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  • 11. At 12:53pm on 18 May 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Freeborn-John @4
    For once recognised a familiar name; Guilietto Chiesa Italian MEP that you've mentioned. He was on Rus. TV selling the explosives inside the towers' research or a book someone else had written. Must say nobody from the audience cared much, like, the idea gained zero interest. But overall he seemed a pleasant elderly man, not bossy, not slippery, may be more on the humanitarian or writers' side. I thought he is a journalist, more than a politician.

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  • 12. At 12:58pm on 18 May 2009, Wonthillian wrote:


    'I believe the playing of bagpipes outside of a building has been banned by new EU regulations.'

    I like collecting Euromyths and this is a good one, but complete rubbish of course. In which popular tabloid did you find it? I'm sure that there's European or, more likely, national legislation to protect employees from long term exposure to certain levels of noise, but banning bagpipes? Just wishful thinking.

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  • 13. At 1:06pm on 18 May 2009, CockedDice wrote:

    John from Hendon: 'I believe that the central tenant behind politics and government is that the chosen or selected individuals are there in order to serve their constituents (and not just themselves)....

    I am however unable to comprehend David Cameron's attitude towards Europe as being for the general benefit of the people whom he serves. He, I assum,e sees it as such buy I find the arguments he puts froward as tenuous and essential specious.'

    So you accept that as the majority of the UK want a referendum on the Lisobon treaty then all parties should support this line? Or do you take the view that The People are too stupid to know what is good for them on this matter?

    I don't find the Conservative line on Europe at all contradictory; yes, we should be part of Europe but without the overiding mission of EU being to enforce a one-size fits all approach to all matters. Part of Europe's strength is the cultural diversity yet the political mission seems to be try and remove this going forward.

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  • 14. At 1:39pm on 18 May 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #12 - Iantownhill

    Half truths as usual.

    " . . . the playing of bagpipes outside of a building has been banned by new EU regulations - unless you have only one leg, are a member of a racial or religious minority or are smoking a cigarette at the time. Vivat political correctness!

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  • 15. At 1:55pm on 18 May 2009, oulematu wrote:

    ODS as an EU ally of the Conservatives .. What I find disappointing about the ODS is that they are doing nothing to counter the rise of the Nazis and racist terrorists in the Czech Republic. Not a single weekend goes by without yet another Nazi demonstration. These demonstrations are officially approved and the policed is actively defending the Nazis against any expressions of criticism. Those who perpetrate or aid and abet terrorist attacks against Roma and other victims of Nazi violence are not being punished and there is no protection or support for the victims, including the two-year old toddler who has been on life support for several weeks after the most recent terrorist attack. Political parties who openly support Nazi policies are officially allowed to operate and to campaign in elections and are eligible for government funding. All of the above is not purely ODS's fault, but surely the ODS despite its power is not doing anything to improve the situation either.

    All of this hardly makes the ODS hardly an acceptable ally to any British party except for UKIP. But then it is true that most of the other Czech parties (except perhaps for the Greens and the Communists) are much the same as the ODS so it can be seen partly as an issue of country culture rather than political affiliation. After all, the EU itself does not really seem to care about the rise of Nazism and racist terrorism in its member states. It is still an issue though, because the British society seems to have a lower tolerance of Nazism and racist terrorism than continental EU, especially Central Europe.

    While ODS is not free of sleaze and corruption, at least the ODS - unlike Libertas - does not cooperate with people like Vladimir Zelezny, i.e., a convicted tax fraud criminal whose fraudulent activities in the management of CME, the largest foreign investor in the Czech TV business, led to an arbitration lawsuit which cost innocent Czech taxpayers USD 350 million while Zelezny did not pay a dime.

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  • 16. At 2:27pm on 18 May 2009, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    #7. threnodio wrote:

    "...benficiaries could well be UKIP"

    I have always been puzzled by UKIP. If you are a(the!) United Kingdom Independence Party why do you want to send people to the European Parliament? Logically they should not want anything to do with a 'foreign' parliament as they see it, should they? (Suffolk-Boy2 will doubtless explain at length!) The implication of my argument is that the whole basis of UKIP is not logical and ipso facto absurd!

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  • 17. At 2:27pm on 18 May 2009, Freeborn John wrote:

    WebAliceinwonderland (11): I wondered for a second if the broadcasting of Guilietto Chiesa's 9/11 conspiracy theory film in Russia might have some connection to his support for the Russian intervention in Georgia. But I guess I shouldn't jump to conspiracy theories like that. . .

    Mark Mardell: Mirak Topolanek is greatly mistaken if he thinks that national interest can be advanced by being part of a larger collective that can override Czech national interest. All of Czech history says otherwise.

    It seems Mr. Topolanek already feels the EU collective is powerful enough to compel him to ratify an international treaty that he admits himself to be bad. Yet the bad treaty would only increase the power of the EU collective all the more making it even more difficult for future Czech governments to pursue any national interest that conflicts with an EU interest that the Brussels institutions have always deliberately misinterpreted as more ever power for themselves. The freedom that Czechs have enjoyed for the last decade was not won by men with that kind of defeatist thinking.

    "An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last." W. Churchill.

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  • 18. At 2:38pm on 18 May 2009, Wonthillian wrote:

    #14 threnodio

    Of course, the wearing of a kilt does, to some extent, tick the box for genderneutrality.

    But getting back on topic, if I were a Tory, I would be worried about David Cameron's decision to move away from the mainstream. Has he asked his own MEP's about this? I sure there may be differences between the Tory party and the EPP over the long term direction, but by leaving the EPP the Tory party is sacrificing its ability to influence the day-to-day (often rather boring) European issues that actually matter, such as technical harmonisation and various environmental issues. Better to fight the anti-federalist battle from within, rather than exclude yourself completely.

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  • 19. At 3:26pm on 18 May 2009, oulematu wrote:

    Freeborn John, 17:

    You make the assumption that the Lisbon Treaty is bad because it provides the EU with too much power. But in fact the problem is that despite its considerable length it does not include the measures needed to make the EU more efficient. The comparison to appeasement is wrong. Lisbon is more a case of letting EU experts play in their sandbox. A waste of public resources, but nothing irreversible. Turn off the flow of subsidies, fire the EU staff, and that will be it, with or without the Lisbon Treaty.

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  • 20. At 3:46pm on 18 May 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #18 - Iantownhill

    I am not sure how far we can afford to go down this route without, on the one hand, making it overcomplicated but risking being overoptimistic.

    The Tories would undoubtedly take great exception to any suggestion that they were getting into bed with Fascist elements on the continent and rightly so. Whatever you may think of the politics of the right in the UK, racism, antisemitism and sectarianism have no part in the mainstream. In fact, the British political classes have had some success in dumping that particular burden on the BNP, many of whose supporters are not focused on that agenda at all.

    The same may not be said of central Europe and it is a terrible irony in my mind that the very values that we find in the ascendancy in some of these countries are precisely the ones that an earlier generation sought to defeat at great human and economic cost.

    The problem for the Tories is essentially this. If they hang their colours on the EUsceptic pole accepting that it is convenient in the short term to secure electoral advantage, they may find themselves in alliance with European political groups which have unacceptable and offensive policies in the area of social policy.

    If, on the other hand, they go with the European centre right mainstream, their EUsceptic credentials are blown out of the water. You are entirely right to post that it is ". . . better to fight the anti-federalist battle from within, rather than exclude yourself completely" - if you happen to oppose it. My personal view is that the UK is replete with 20th century political parties fighting on platforms of history and totally irrelevant to the modern age but that, I am sure, is far too radical for those that think that Satan is a cartoon character compared with the venal, corrupt and undemocratic institution we are discussing.

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  • 21. At 4:08pm on 18 May 2009, mikewarsaw wrote:

    What does the British Conservative Party have in common with some of its erstwhile continental allies?: Anti-European Unioness. But not much else!
    The Law and Justice Party in Poland, led by the Kaczynski twins is hyper anti-European and anti-Russian, populist, pro-State interventionist, heavily pro organised union labour, homo and other minorities phobe, pro-hanging, anti-foreigner and pro RC Church intervention in daily life (anti abortion and anti invitro). Therefore not much in common with Britain's Tories, other than the hanging and general dislike of foreigners.
    As to the Kafkaesque Czechs and Mr Topolanek and Klaus, they are fairly typically democratic conservative with an inbuilt fear of "German dominance". Klaus is anti EU but also pro Moscow! Strange for a democrat but I think he is simply a diehard European free trade zone person at heart.

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  • 22. At 4:24pm on 18 May 2009, threnodio wrote:

    Gorbals Mick has refused to go. Such is the volume of traffic on Robinson in response that the chances of being moderated on something as trivial as the future of Europe are non existent.

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  • 23. At 5:04pm on 18 May 2009, iongauge wrote:

    #8, democracythreat, it is a poor endorsement but it is true. For most of european countries the EU is like a group therapy that helps them copying with either a vanishing or a nonexistent influence in the world scene. France and Germany use it as a compensation mechanism, in the case of France to think they still matter, and in the case of Germany to try to gain influence over Europe without feeling guilty. Even more than France, Spain and Italy also belong to the has-been club. For many other countries, it is a way of gaining some influence and projection.

    In UK, however, people still think that they can have a say in world matters by themselves. This is something really positive taking into account that, besides the Beatles and probably James Bond, UK is perceived abroad more like the political sidekick of US (which is why many people really longed for a 'love actually' moment during the Bush years). I wonder if getting more involved in the EU or other kind of healing strategy is just a matter of time. Or maybe, like Holland in the 18th century, finance and commerce will eventually be good enough to let UK grab some substantial political leverage. It is funny to think that the City might be the only thing that separates UK from political oblivion.

    Yes, the Commonwealth is great and so, and UK's military power is still impressive too, but in the end the world pays attention to US, China and maybe Russia. The rest of EU countries are trying to cope with that the best they can.

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  • 24. At 5:23pm on 18 May 2009, MaxSceptic wrote:

    I wish I could take the credit for this.

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  • 25. At 5:53pm on 18 May 2009, FellowCuckoo wrote:


    You, and many other commentators, have been banging on about this for months. It really is a non-story. As other posters have pointed out, there are plenty of nuts in all the groupings.

    The right-leaning groups have b****r all influence anyway as the Commission is inherently socialist. The only things that matter are 1) that the Tories fulfil their promise to leave the EPP and 2) they manage to form another grouping in order to secure funding for their activities that would otherwise have to be funded by party supporters in the UK.

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  • 26. At 6:34pm on 18 May 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #24 - MaxSceptic

    "It certainly wasn't me that set off the fire at the Berlaymont," said David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, following a meeting in another EU building opposite the commission. (Telegraph).

    Well we know who isn't don't we?

    By the way, I have encountered a few fruitcakes on this blog but never one who regrets not being a fire-raiser.

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  • 27. At 7:39pm on 18 May 2009, MaxSceptic wrote:

    threnodio @26,

    I think arsonist is the word you were looking for.

    While I (and many a Brussellois) would love to see Berlaymont erased, it is important to recall that the last time a continental parliament was torched the anti-democrats in charge used the fire as a pretext to strengthen their dictatorial powers.

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  • 28. At 8:45pm on 18 May 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #27 - MaxSceptic

    "I think arsonist is the word you were looking for".

    Had I been looking for the word, I would most certainly have used it.

    In Scots Law, the term "fire raising" has always been used instead of "arson", but their meanings are the same.

    Or do you have a problem with my using Scottish terminology now?

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  • 29. At 9:46pm on 18 May 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Freeborn-John (@17) must be about right. If that Italian MEP supported Russia in Georgia, we aren't rich in such MEP acquaintance and then certainly he'd get as much air time in Russia as he would only wish. Haven't seen the film you mention though, but may be it was before or after. It was simply him sitting in a large audience and all were asking him questions. I remember smth like couldn't be the towers were built so unreliably that they tumble down, or may be one of them. somehow No 3? weren't it just 2? and that air control wouldn't, theoretically, allow any plane to fly so close to Pentagon building, civil aviation or whatever. All sounded very convincing and was no doubt planned to be "wow" by the 1st Rus. TV channel, and yes, in timing it was half a year past Georgia, must have been our "reply to Chamberlain". When you watch it it was very exciting, but later on it left zero interest in blogs discussions or whatever, no follow-up. I guess because Russians en masse are like, what's the diff. if Americans blow themselves up or others blow up them - Iraq we find un-justified in either case. For Europe one way or the other - makes a diff. Russians LOL won't wonder anything that Americans do. And even if they did blow themselves up - so what? As if someone would ever be able to agree such a scenario with them! It's their opinion world, 100 MEPs combined plus 2 Russia-s won't change a thing.
    Besides I think our TV was not consequitive giving air time to such revelations. Offended by Georgia feed-back etc., still.
    Putin said it's terrorists blew up Americans and we sympathise with them. So it is terrorists and we sympathise. Until the country received other Putin's directions :o) on the subject - what Italian MEPs?

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  • 30. At 10:53pm on 18 May 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Besides it's easy to offend people. That is, not people, but their secret services or whatever, but still.
    Russia for example enjoys on-going rumour for years that it's we exploded ourselves in Moscow to start war in Chechnya. One would think, who asks people before going to war, or needs "to explain" smth to them? (as min. in Moscow in 1992). While the level of country's preparedness against terrorist threat can always happen to be much lower than adverised. I've been in that Moscow during those houses' blow ups. And it was nopt one-off scare like Americans had, they even didn't have time to get scared. We had it a house after a house and hardly anyone slep nights. All those improvised sentries' by the house, one apartment on duty at nights, from the staircase, in shifts, wandering around the entrance to the house cellar. The first time our local police dpt went to check the cellars - Jesus Christ what only they had found not! Nobody ever looked into those cellars for ages - as to entry - from every staircase entry, no even locks. In case you need to go look for your cat slipped out of the door by mistake, or a plumber go down to the tubes. Basically - come anyone do whatever. And lots of explosives were found, in many house' cellars. Was a very nervous time.

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  • 31. At 11:01pm on 18 May 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Not 1992. Later I think.

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  • 32. At 11:04pm on 18 May 2009, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    #13. CockedDice wrote:

    So you(referring to me) accept that as the majority of the UK want a referendum on the Lisobon treaty then all parties should support this line? Or do you take the view that The People are too stupid to know what is good for them on this matter?

    Sorry I missed you question earlier.

    Alas the trouble with referenda, all referenda, is that those who write the question generally get the answer they want. I am well aware that this is not a direct answer to the question that you asked, but as I view referenda as undemocratic and essentially as a tool of the establishment I find it difficult to answer the question you ask. I do not share your view that it is possible by asking a question in a referendum to get an answer to the question asked - mostly people answer with a view to some other implied question of circumstance. Let us have the promised referendum by all means but don't expect the result to reflect the question asked!

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  • 33. At 11:19pm on 18 May 2009, MaxSceptic wrote:

    threnodio @28

    I speak English. If you want to use an arcane dialect, that's OK by me so long as you don't expect comprehension from the readers of this blog. ;-)

    (Sorry, not trying to pick a fight, but after today's fiasco from Speaker Martin I don't think I can handle any more lessons from Scots).

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  • 34. At 02:08am on 19 May 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    What would you rather be attacked by, 27 five pound Chihuahuas or a single 135 pound Rottweiler? Now I'm a dog lover and have two mixed breed Rottweilers myself but Chihuahuas can be nastly little things. They can be quite agressive. However, they are mostly harmless and generally nipping at your ankles is the worst damage they can inflict. Their squeakly little bark is worse than their bite. Sometimes you feel like kicking one or throwing it across the room when it gets too out of line. I understand how Russia feels Web Alice, we feel that way ourselves but there are animal abuse laws and it is considered bad form to have the SPCA at your front door if the neighbors complain to the police that you are abusing a dog.

    A school of 27 minnows can attempt to swim in formation and convince itself it looks like a shark...but it won't fool real sharks for one second. And these minnows don't even swim in formation. All they seem to have in common is that they all want to be sharks. Once upon a time when a goldfish bowl was their entire world they ruled the roost consuming tiny brine shrimp but today they are out in the wide ocean with lots of hungry predators around them.

    Sri Lankans are furious with Britian's government. Had they listened to David Miliband, the Tamil Tigers, the terrorists who invented suicide bombing might have slipped through their fingers. His meddling might have saved some Tamilese civilian lives now...and cost a lot more Sengalese lives later. But Sri Lanka didn't listen to that squeaking, didn't worry about Britain nipping at its ankles. Today the Tamil Tigers were defeated hopefully forever. Will Britain have the guts to do the same if it comes to that in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the guts the Sri Lankans had? Will they understand that sometimes large numbers of civilian casualties are the price you have to pay for freedom from terror? I don't know, some Chihuahuas are very unpredictable, others turn tail and run for their lives at the slightest bark of a terrier.

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  • 35. At 04:17am on 19 May 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Why does Europe think it runs the world...when it can't even run itself?

    At the rate things are going, one day the only people who will support the EU are those who have cushy jobs working for it and feed at will at its taxpayer funded trough.

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  • 36. At 08:45am on 19 May 2009, Gheryando wrote:


    Good point. I can't stand this hypocritical humanitarianism...

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  • 37. At 10:15am on 19 May 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    # 36 Gheryando & # 35 MAII

    It is true that the EU, and the UK in particular, have interferred in Sri Lanka to the detriment of the Sri Lankan state. This war could have been over years ago if the West had not convinced the Sri Lankan government to allow cease fires, which the Tamil Tiger terrorists used to re arm and re organise.
    The concern of civilians never stopped the Europeans mass murdering their own populations when they decided the needs of their countries outweighed the basic human right of life to the populations that they bombed. Dresden is a fine example of this.
    For the Europeans to try and lecture the rest of the world is sheer hypocracy, but the Europeans are 'braw' at this. (Just a wee Scottish word thrown in)

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  • 38. At 10:23am on 19 May 2009, lacerniagigante wrote:

    1. At 08:56am on 18 May 2009, Mathiasen wrote:

    "While some languages can make an adjective of Kafka I do not think English can, but then let us say that Czech politics is labyrinthine like a novel of Franz Kafka."

    In English Orwell works best ;-)

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  • 39. At 10:31am on 19 May 2009, lacerniagigante wrote:

    12. At 12:58pm on 18 May 2009, Iantownhill wrote:

    "#3 'I believe the playing of bagpipes outside of a building has been banned by new EU regulations.'"

    I think he meant it as a joke. Where "inside" was meant to be instead of "outside".

    Like "the EU is turning our lives inside out", etc.

    Anyway, I was in Edinburgh some days ago, they were playing the bagpipes outside buildings. In retrospect, I did see both St Andrews and Union Jack flying high on the buildings, but no traces of the 12 star circle (and no Beethoven, of course).

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  • 40. At 10:58am on 19 May 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    # 39 lacerniagigante

    'but no traces of the 12 star circle (and no Beethoven, of course)'

    I suppose it's difficult to play Beethoven on the bagpipes. Or maybe it isn't and that's why he went deaf.

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  • 41. At 11:00am on 19 May 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Cheryando, you are being ironic I hope? "displaing irony?" lol. Don't know how to say it in English.
    Who cancelled simply being human, without that hyper hypo.

    Unrecognised blogger @34. With small fluffies - you tell me! I mean, you've got my full understaning. For the first half of the post.

    We with Jolly Roger avoid small fluffies like plague, in our strolls in the boulevard. Constant attacks, lots of noise and not all of them are girls. And in terms of boys Ro-ro doesn't care, ab the size. Won't exactly chop a head of a small boy fluffy, no casualties or I'd say even disabled fluffies we leave behind, but would definitely have a bite.
    Not a good bite, I'd describe the damage we cause as "self-fixable" but, well. Limping fluffies for a couple of days after are not a rarity.

    And you missed one important point, on the issue. Namely "small fluffies" become danger when their master arrives to the scene.
    Which is exactly :o) our "issue" yours and mine, preventing universal peace and accord btw the countries LOL.

    Ab Tamil Tigers know nil (even that BBC informs me) they are not our immediate neighbours therefore deemed not our brains' business. :o)

    No. Oppose big human ruin "for the sake of"
    Can't explain why but goes against the digestion system.

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  • 42. At 11:10am on 19 May 2009, Wonthillian wrote:

    #39 Lacerniagigante

    It may have been a joke, or he may have actually believed it. Quick research shows that there was indeed a Euromyth circulating in some newspapers some months ago concerning the 'banning' of bagpipes. We can laugh, but it's the drip-drip of misinformation that sometimes affects public opinion. My mother complained to her greengrocer that Jersey new potatoes didn't taste like they used to, and was told that this was due to the fact that the 'EU' had banned the use of seaweed for use as fertiliser. A quite bit of research (in particular, on the Jersey Royals website) shows that this is complete nonsense and seaweed is indeed still used as potato fertiliser in Jersey. But it's easy for this misinformation to be spread, and it's unfortunate that peoples' perceptions of the EU can be distorted by such misinformation.

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  • 43. At 11:21am on 19 May 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #33 - MaxSceptic

    Take no notice. I was spoiling for a fight yesterday - largely thanks to Gorbals Mick. I am a bit calmer today. But I am not Scots. I simply nicked a bit of their language.

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  • 44. At 12:16pm on 19 May 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    jingo ferocious writes:

    "Will they understand that sometimes large numbers of civilian casualties are the price you have to pay for freedom from terror? "

    If Marcus did irony, this would be sublime. As it happens, it isn't. I mean, you could not write a more succinct, and worthless, justification for suicide bombing if you tried.

    But Marcus is oblivious to what his mind has become, and how precisely the US war policy has become the exact creed of the terrorists they fight. The USA today is a murderous society that is living out computer game fantasies by destroying innocent civilians and calling the process "war". The war on terror.

    What a farce. Marcus thinks the world fears the USA because the USA is all powerful and mighty. I suspect the truth is that the world fears the USA because the worldview of the American TV audience depicts a cultivated stupidity that defies understanding. Such people can believe anything at all, and multiple conflicting things at once.

    And this discussion of dogs is awful, too. Little dogs are fearful because, quite reasonably, they question societies commitment to their security in the face of hostile actions by larger dogs. Now America is supposed to be a big dog. A friendly dog. So why is it fearful? Why is everything such a massive threat to this big dog?

    Clearly Americans are not living up to their big dog status. They are running around the place, peeing on the floor with excitement, and yapping about terror. How is that big dog behaviour? Surely a big dog would simply cast a casual eye over the smaller dogs, and rest easy in the knowledge that it is a big dog?

    I didn't start with the analogy of the dogs, either, so I am not taking any blame for where it ended up.

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  • 45. At 1:32pm on 19 May 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    threat to democracy, had the British Government, the RAF, and the British nation shared your views, you'd be a slave of the Third Reich that would have lasted a thousand years and you'd be speaking German and Zeig Heiling to every German soldier and Gestapo that patrolled your streets. Fortunately for you, they didn't think twice about deciding to bomb German cities including the fire bombing of Dresden knowing full well that they would be killing hundreds of thousands of civilians. Did it demoralize Germans to see their cities reduced to piles of rubble and end the killing of British soldiers sooner with fewer casualites had Britain waged war by the Marquis of Queensbury rules as you would have had them do? I don't see how it couldn't have had. Your views really are a threat to democracy, one my country should ignore at all costs because unlike Britain and the other EU countries, the United States is a democracy in fact, not in name only. When crunch time comes in Pakistan, Iran, and maybe even North Korea, I don't expect the EU or UN will have any more of a veto over President Obama's decisions to defend America than it did over President Bush's. How lucky for big dogs that they don't have to depend on little dogs to protect them. Your nation will be free to hide under the bed if it's too scared. Yelping in protest will only add to a world filled with useless noise just as it always does.

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  • 46. At 2:43pm on 19 May 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    MarcusAureliusII wrote:
    "threat to democracy, had the British Government, the RAF, and the British nation shared your views, you'd be a slave of the Third Reich that would have lasted a thousand years and you'd be speaking German and Zeig Heiling to every German soldier and Gestapo that patrolled your streets."

    As it happens I speak german to rather a lot of folks. It happens when you live in a german speaking country. Full of Johnny foreigner, you understand. And given that everyone here does military service, I suppose I do say "Hi there!" to quite a lot of what you'd call german soldiers.

    Now whether or not I am a slave rather depends on the definition of that term. As I live under a system or real democracy, where ordinary people can influence the legislative process directly, I tend to think of myself as less of a slave than other folks who do not have this power.

    "Fortunately for you, they didn't think twice about deciding to bomb German cities including the fire bombing of Dresden knowing full well that they would be killing hundreds of thousands of civilians. "

    It had nothing to do with me, nor my good fortune. If there is one thing I cannot stand, it is violence being justified by the visions in people's amazing crystal balls. Go away with your faultless crystal ball that tells me which hero's of antiquity I ought to be thanking today for my "freedom". If you had a crystal ball, you'd use it to predict the horse races and get rich. The reason you're telling me how history would have been is because you haven't got a crystal ball. The whole thing is absurd.

    Dresden was bombed because it was made of wood and the mass murderers at bomber command wanted to see how well the incendiaries would burn. Dresden was a war crime by any sane definition, and it is only because there is no justice in war that the people who organized the raid were not hung.

    It is always the people who do violence who scream loudest that they do it for the benefit of other people. It is always the soldier who took the kings shilling who wants to tell children he did it for the honour of other folks, and not for his own sense of glory.

    You say the USA is a democracy "in fact, not in name only". Please, Marcus, remember who you are talking to. I live in Switzerland. You live in America. Don't embarrass yourself. If the USA simply must be the greatest nation that ever could be conceived by a mortal or immortal being, then so be it. But don't be absurd by claiming the USA is a real democracy whilst Switzerland is not. I am prepared to accept that god broke the mold when he made the USA, but I don't want to be ridiculous.

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  • 47. At 4:15pm on 19 May 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    threat to democracy, you think Switzerland is a democratic country? Just try starting a political movement to force disclosure of how much drug money, money belonging to dictators, to terrorists, booty stolen in wars like what the Nazis stole from the Jews in WWII, money stolen by Russian oligarchs and other mafias is hidden away in those vaults in Zurich. Just how long do you think they'd let you live there if you did? How long do you think they'd let you live at all? Of course most Swiss wouldn't give you the right time of day because they know that this is where their wealth and high standard of living really comes from. After all, what do they make of any value that the world wants to buy? Chocolate? Swiss Cheese? Cuckoo Clocks? Pocket knives? And wristwatches based on an antique mechanical technology that's bettered for accuracy by $1 electronic watches made in China? Who are you kidding?

    You don't need an amazing crystal ball to know that if you are at war, the one who kills the enemy before the enemy kill him wins. I learned that when I learned how to play chess when I was six years old. Violence and war go together, they are one and the same, even if the violence is being a co-conspirator in drug smuggling, wars of terror, dictatorships, and stealing the wealth of nations for one's own personal gain...the business Switzerland is in. There are competitors. Grand Cayman Island and Macao among others.

    And do Brits live under a system that is a real democracy, where ordinary people can influence the legislative process directly? Did you follow the referendum on the Lisbon treaty? How about the debate in King Gorgon the first's rubber stamp Parliament about it? Funny how in a democracy, one man acting by himself can sign away an entire nation's sovereignty with the stroke of a pen. How lucky for him he lives in a nation of sheep on a continent of sheep who are so easily shepherded to whatever their political masters order them to do there is hardly a mewling protest or two ever. Maybe that's one reason Europeans are so angry at Americans who don't live or think that way.

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  • 48. At 7:53pm on 19 May 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Drezden is a bad example of MAII case; he should have chosen smth else to back up his point. Don't know what. Even the two Japanese towns fit better, one can more or less reason this was done to save US soldier lives, as otherwise they'd have to fight in Japan, on the ground. But even there, one would think conventional war, I mean non-nuclear bombing would "do" just as well. Awful cynical what am I writing.
    I think US simply wanted to test the stuff, hands itching, while the war has nearly expired, they barely managed to catch the tail of it. Where else they'd test on humans and not become a moral outcast after. Plus the intention to finish off with a spectacular bang. Directed at USSR, in the first place, like, "Hi there". Who grew too strong by the end of the war, earth and sky difference to the pathetic state it all began. And at wider audiences as well, to show who is top er again! dog, for the post-war future. Overall I think to have come with such a thing and not to boast of it around USA simply could not.

    As to Drezden give me a break, no military gains or objectives in mind. This is not the case to illustrate MAII point "we destroy here to save lives there." A./ it's revenge for Hitler's list of British art and cultural objects to be bombed, various cathedrals and museums and estates. Forgot the name, was a popular pre-war tourist directory, and Hitler's list of targets for bombing the UK was following it carefully. B./ Drezden bombed but aimed at USSR, we took it as a personal offence, have no doubt. Timing is the key here. Again need to look up but as far as I remember Stalin was sitting either with Churchill it was in Moscow, or was it the prev. meeting of the big 3? and have just had it split who liberates in Europe what, the paths and routes of the armies, and Drezden was Russian zone to liberate.
    So Stalin had just agreed papers, all fine and wonderful, and the next morning British aviation bombs Drezden to small bits and pieces - against all "on paper". At which point the Red Army was already a hundred miles away if not less. Basically, a wonder we were not hit by the shell splinters, :o) so close we were, right in front of the Red Army nose. In Drezden the British destroyed absolutely all bridges in approach there were, by which Russians were to cross to the other side. This was done to hold us and delay the Red Army "way too fast" advance into Europe.
    Here was interpreted unequivocally on the same day - Brits bomb our way into Germany.
    Reason No 3 - to show off as well. To demonstrate to Stalin the might of the Allied aviation, like, advance, if you are so bent on it, but beware, we hold you in check from above.

    Stalin said openly, "they show us what they can do in the sky, we'll show them what we can do on the ground." The Berlin operation done in extreme haste was our reply to Chamberlain, resulting directly from Drezden. Stain interpreted the surprise attack on Drezden thus:
    If we won't hurry up - the Allies would not keep to their word on paper, they've just showed they care nil for what they signed.

    Now which of the 3 reasons for Drezden bombardmnent have anything with "kill here to save lives there" escapes me entirely.

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  • 49. At 8:14pm on 19 May 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Well, to step aside from narrow angle of "personal Russian offences" lists , from dear Allies, must say there was reason 4 - kind of a lesson to Germans that "you never do it again."
    Taking care of the future, so to say.
    Throughout the next 60 odd years we saw nil sense in it, "who would ever dream to start nazism again? what a weird idea." but now in 2009... looking at latest developments, must say - now I see the reason in "reason 4" if it wasn't No 1!

    Pity some other worthy places ...

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  • 50. At 8:21pm on 19 May 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Who can explain "reasons" why you bomb a city. Many "reasons".
    But back then I think , by 50%, Drezden fell the first victim of the "Cold" war, already in the air.
    It was our zone 100%, which not many know, and we needed zero "support" from Allied aviation from the sky, to say nothing a total out of the blue skies surprise.
    In Romania was done the same. A hundred requests to bomb out their oil facilities during the war, and when the Allied aviation bombed them finally - it was again in front of our very nose, in our zone, and Red Army strongly counted to get up fuel there. Romania had a nick-name throughout the war - "Hitler's gasoline station."

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  • 51. At 8:26pm on 19 May 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    One could say, that in that case - no "appeasing" of "crocodiles" LOL was the case. I mean, there were blocks put into the wheels of the Red Army by Britain and the US, in its advance into future "Eastern Europe".
    Not very orthodox measures, though.

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  • 52. At 8:56pm on 19 May 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #46 - democracythreat
    #47 - MarcusAureliusII
    #48 - WebAliceinwonderland

    I have no idea why anyone should find it necessary to resurrect the Dreseden raid after 64 years in order to influence a debate about the EU Parliamentary elections. I certainly have no idea why, in response to the story, I find myself addressing contributors from Switzerland, the US and Russia while there has not been a significant contribution from an EU citizen since the subject raised its ugly head. Maybe Europe has grown up.

    I am, I confess, seriously angry about this, firstly because it is totally irrelevant to the business in hand but secondly because certain people have chosen to contribute whose opinions clearly outweigh the importance of the facts and whose prejudice can only cause harm. I begin by dealing with the Russian perspective. According to Wikipedia ". . .on 4 February, the Deputy Chief of the Soviet General Staff, General Aleksei Antonov, raised the issue of hampering the reinforcement of German troops from the western front by paralysing the junctions of Berlin and Leipzig with aerial bombardment. In response, Portal, who was in Yalta, asked Bottomley to send him a list of objectives to be discussed with the Soviets. Bottomley's list included oil plants, tank and aircraft factories, and the cities of Berlin and Dresden". It was subsequently alleged that at Yalta, Stalin specifically identified Dresden as a requested target although this has never been verified. However, the idea that the western allies used Dresden as a mechanism to slow down the Soviet advance is so absurd as to be laughable. The Soviets were undoubtedly aware that Dresden had been identified as a target and quite possibly were party to its selection.

    It happens that a very close member of my family was in the operations room on the night of 13/14 February 1945. The information I have has never, as far as I know, been made public and to go into detail now would be to unnecessarily open old wounds and to breach a confidence to no useful end. The fire bombing which occurred during the second wave on the first night possibly as a result of an error of judgment rather than as a matter of deliberate policy. I will go no further than that because I cannot be specific and the evidence upon which I would rely on has long since vanished.

    Of one thing, I am absolutely certain. This election is about events which have occurred since 1945 and will be conducted in an environment in which precious few shots have been fired in anger since. It would be sad if people who are entitled to vote found it necessary to drag up such memories. For people who do not have that right, it is unforgivable.

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  • 53. At 10:35pm on 19 May 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    # 52 threnodio

    I'm afraid that I was the one who brought up the subject of 'Dresden'. I was using the Dresden incident to highlight European hypocracy over Sri Lanka's final push against the terrorist organisation, the Tamal Tigers. I should have realised that, on this blog, it would end up taking on a life of its own. Mea Culpa.

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  • 54. At 10:50pm on 19 May 2009, MaxSceptic wrote:

    threnodio @43,

    Gorbals Mick is off to spend time with his inflated pension.

    Blood pressure down a bit.

    (Now to get shot of the other 645.... ;-)

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  • 55. At 03:04am on 20 May 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    threnodio, you are ridiculous. You think you can strut around, name dropping a relative who took part in something to do with an historical event, and then you claim ownership over it. You start telling people who has the right, and who does not, to talk about the event itself.

    I repeat, you are ridiculous. Who do you think you are? The Queen?

    You don't want to talk about Dresden because Dresden was a horrible war crime committed by horray henries. You don't want to talk about England committing horrible war crimes because that destroys the good feelings you get when someone waves a flag and talks about the jolly good time that was had by all during world war two.

    In essence, you are just like Marcus. Your nationalism makes you hysterical. You get emotional and shameless. You start justifying anything in the name of your own country, and somehow you don't feel obliged to question whether you own emotions (anger, notably) betray a lack of reason.

    More people died in dresden than in Hiroshima, and the vast majority of them were civilians who lived in a city with no war production. Everyone knew it at the time, everyone has known it since. The only reason the men who butchered Dresden did so was because they were full of revenge fantasies and full of the military bravery that allow one to be large and tough from many hundreds of miles away. Large and tough with other peoples lives, from the safety of their carefully constructed careers in government uniforms.

    A war crime is a war crime is a war crime, and until you can look at human behaviour without reference to the uniforms and the official history published by the government, you are always going to wave your flag at our war crimes, whilst screaming your anger at the war crimes committed by other people.

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  • 56. At 03:37am on 20 May 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

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

  • 57. At 09:12am on 20 May 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    # 55 democracythreat

    'You don't want to talk about England committing horrible war crimes because that destroys the good feelings you get when someone waves a flag and talks about the jolly good time that was had by all during world war two.'

    Much as it grieves me to come to the aid of my southern neighbours but I have to point out to you that it wasn't England who destroyed Dresden; it was the British and the Americans, along with Australians, New Zealanders, Poles, Czechs, South Africans and all the other nations who aided Britain and the RAF during the war. It was a terrible 'war crime' but would never have been taken to court as the victors never take themselves (nationally) to task for the atrocities that they commit.

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  • 58. At 11:31am on 20 May 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #55 - democracythreat

    You are quite clearly too busy failing to control your temper and setting out to be gratuitously offensive to be bothered to read the post. If I wanted to drop names, trust me, I would. At no point did I suggest that Dresden was not a war crime. I did suggest that the reasons it happened have not been fully understood and I stand by that. I also pointed to a factual inaccuracy.

    But my underlying point was that it was utterly irrelevant to the debate about the future of Europe in the 21st century. I now go further. Few of our EU friends have seen fit to comment on it and I can only assume that the reason for raising it was to muddy the waters from outside the EU.

    You state "Your nationalism makes you hysterical. You get emotional and shameless. You start justifying anything in the name of your own country, and somehow you don't feel obliged to question whether you own emotions (anger, notably) betray a lack of reason". If I was hysterically nationalistic, I would hardly have made my home in one of the former Axis powers. If I was blindly waving the flag, I would hardly give regular voice to my sometimes brutal criticism of the UK.

    You are right about only one thing. I do get angry. I get angry with ignorance and distortion. I get particularly angry when this spills over into gratuitous offensiveness. You will therefore be unsurprised that I get angry with you.

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  • 59. At 2:58pm on 20 May 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Angry threnodio a rare view; I took time to think. (Unusual activity for me, won't end well.)
    On appropriatness I trust threnodio's judgement and surrender at once. No "outsiders" vicious plotting. Simply didn't think there is time and place for all. Now the time is the month of Mark's travel, Europe plans its future, the blog will collectively discuss how to vote and arrange themselves. Certainly wrong time for dismal past separating issues, I apologise for bringing it up. Forthcoming month Europe family time, I'd declare it :o) "a nuclear free zone".

    Whether I accept threnodio as my borders of delimitations in this blog is another issue. Would be quite allowing but still.

    Uniforms; allies without double bottom. I can leave it as it is, idealism is not a bad mindset for the future. threnodio has principles, somebody ought to have principles. Beauty will save the world, as said Dostoevsky.


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  • 60. At 5:29pm on 20 May 2009, Arthur Brede wrote:

    Democracythreat, you are wallowing about in the Nazi and Soviet party lines over Dresden. Get your facts straight. Even the Germans don't count more than 30,000 dead in the raid. The city was a legitimate war target, containing radio factories, most of the optics production for the Nazi war machine, munitions factories, and other war-based resources. It was a major city involved in a major war and therefore a target. There were no 'opt-out zones' in Nazi Germany - which planet are you from? Whether or not Bomber Command policies were correct is another matter, but a bit late to argue now. Or are you joining tyhe daft skinheads who've started demonstrating in Dresden, trying to equate the bombing with the holocaust (which didn't really happen, of course, but if it did, the Allied bombing was worse....[This Mr/Ms moderator, is irony]).

    Thanks to our Russian contributor for the point of view - interesting.

    Back to the thread - the most interesting point raised is about the recrudescent loony right finding a home under the wing of the Czech Republic - police cheifs have trained and sheltered the neo-fascist shock troops, city mayors find loopholes to let the scum demonstrate, and the mmost horrific crimes against racial minorities go unpunished. All of them, Klaus the Russian puppet, Topolanek the bumbling charmer, Havel the aristo-philosopher and the rest of the whole vain, greedy, pusilanimous crew, have no moral ground on which to stand, but croak on round their pond about 'freedom'. They don't know the meaning of the word. And Cameron's sucking up to them.

    Well, generally speaking, if a pop singer or rock artist is all washed up, s/he pops over to Prague to perform for cheap speed, cheaper whores and a few quick pennies. We're not expecting Gordie - he's got Edinburgh for all that - but Vitmae Vas Davide - Have a good Time.

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  • 61. At 8:26pm on 20 May 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #59 - WebAliceinwonderland

    "Beauty will save the world, as said Dostoevsky".

    Now wouldn't that be wonderful.

    Thank you, Alice.

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  • 62. At 10:31pm on 20 May 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Chinese blog has entries awaiting moderation since 13 May.

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  • 63. At 10:53pm on 20 May 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Tut-tut. Threnodious, threat to democracy let's suspend your usual British reserve you are so famous for. Let go both of you, let it all hang out. Tell us what you really think of each other. I've only begun to say what I think of each of you but when I turned up the heat just a little, the moderators blew their safety valve. What I said is just between me and them. If they aren't telling, then neither will I.

    "This comment is awaiting moderation." It will be waiting until hell freezes over, it isn't going to get any more moderate. If it breaks their rules, well that's too bad, you don't get the benefit of my wit and insight.

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  • 64. At 00:23am on 21 May 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #63 - MarcusAureliusII

    Marcus - as you never tire of telling us, 5000 years of European civilisation stems almost entirely from the pleasure we derive from beating six bells of hell out of each other. We are hardly going to stop now for the benefit of one that is less 500 years old are we?

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  • 65. At 00:59am on 21 May 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    MAII clearly you won't save the world.
    though Dostovsky changed his mind later.
    But by that time it was too late; the idea took a life of its own and posesses the masses since.

    democracythreat I love you. don't get scared.

    even that you think too well of Russian leadership intentions (they differ from what you think you think, to put it softly) and too bad of landed gentry. and that everywhere you see classes.
    never met landed gentry. didn't know they are so dangerous. will do a critical survey of my acquaintance what if some hidden cases. :o)))

    but I like your human approach, what sets you thinking. the responsibility for drones, the case you began is very worthy. nobody got interested. I am. Russia plans to buy these from Israel. We'll discuss another time, when these elections are over.

    threnodio isn't a "nationalist" - LOL! bizarre. he is motivated by other, things.

    on resistance in disguise. after elections, as well, will be time to think over. On one thing I definitely agree with you - civillians of the attacked country have no less "right" to fight enemy than their "elected reps" - their army. a country attacked - everyone's in that country business, a matter of common concern. the reverse side of the coin when civillians start to fight they should accept being killed for that. fair enough.

    enough for now, will go think more.

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  • 66. At 01:37am on 21 May 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    I have looked deep within myself to gauge whether I can continue the intellectual struggle, given that Marcus has had his comments referred to the moderator. I find that i can, somehow, continue onwards, regardless of the pressing weight of my ignorance.

    Threnodio, I don't buy the "secret chaps know secret things but can't talk" line. No way.

    Dresden was bombed by a bunch of folks who found that making a humane argument was bad politics in a highly charged social dialogue with their german neighbours. So they made a war argument. And when a critical mass of folks make a war argument, war happens. The most recent example is the US congress going to war in Iraq. Everyone and his dog was talking war, and weapons of mass destruction, and all that rubbish. And so congress went with that and started a ridiculous war. It was congress, not Bush or the neo cons, who gave the big OK for the war. More or less the same congress that now condemns the war as folly.

    The lesson to be learned, I believe, is that war, and therefore war crime, cannot be the result of individuals doing evil things. This is the opposite of what the media would have us believe about history: that exceptionally evil individuals have exceptionally evil stories to tell. Evil individuals have interesting stories to SELL, is the point. Nobody wants to read about how congress was all hooked up on false intelligence and acted emotionally due to a frenzy of nationalism. Nobody is going to pay to hear that story.

    We want to read about devils and saviours, heros and psychopaths. So that is the history we buy. But war is not like that. It is no conspiracy. It is just what happens when the wind is blowing the right way in congress. The fuel for the fire of war is always there, waiting for a spark. That would be the hawks on both sides of the house, the ex military men and wannbes, all with revolving door contracts as advisors to pentagon contract companies. Those war happy types are always prowling around congress, flashing their medals and trying to promote more contracts for their sponsors. So those guys, the fuel of war, the guys who are always talking about who we need to smash up right now, to save the babies from being eaten, and so on, those guys are always there.

    When the public feeling is dried to a tinder by a media that brokers sensationalism and rampant nationalism, all the nation needs is a spark, and the war will take hold. When some outrage occurs, the war shouters prowling the halls of congress begin to get taken seriously. Their ever present schemes for war become popular policy options, and the wheels of the great industrial machine begin to grind out a tune made up of human screams in far away places, and the soft pitter patter of banknotes being counted by a robot.

    There are no secret chaps who know secret things, threnodio. Congress and the house of lords move with the winds of popular will and popular fantasy, far more than they move in accordance with private conspiracies.

    It is events, dear boy, events. they happen, and the political and industrial order follow them closely, always keen to make a profit, and sell their stories. That is why I am so in favour of direct democracy, and the power of public veto of parliament. The general public think twice before they commit themselves to wars. They have to fight them, and rarely see an opportunity for profit by rushing into the fray.

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  • 67. At 02:59am on 21 May 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    threat to democracy;

    "I have looked deep within myself to gauge whether I can continue the intellectual struggle, given that Marcus has had his comments referred to the moderator. I find that i can, somehow, continue onwards, regardless of the pressing weight of my ignorance."

    I warn you, you proceed at your own risk.

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  • 68. At 03:09am on 21 May 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:


    "Marcus - as you never tire of telling us, 5000 years of European civilisation stems almost entirely from the pleasure we derive from beating six bells of hell out of each other. We are hardly going to stop now for the benefit of one that is less 500 years old are we?"

    This is one very good reason why the US should pull out of NATO, get its troops out of Europe, out of harm's way. Nobody can save Europe from itself. It is truly a fools mission to try. WWI almost started up again in 1999. That was the only justification for the US going into Kosovo and Serbia. Just think Web Alice, Greece and Turkey would have used the military hardware the US thoughtfully provided for them to fight WWIII together against the USSR to re-fight WWI against each other. And a mission where the US command had to clear each and every target with all the other NATO governments before they were bombed. What kind of command and control and what kind of war planning was that? If we'd had any sense at all, we'd just have said we do it our way or we leave...and then left.

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  • 69. At 12:03pm on 21 May 2009, oulematu wrote:

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

  • 70. At 1:25pm on 21 May 2009, Arthur Brede wrote:

    DemThreat wrote:

    "Dresden was bombed by a bunch of folks who found that making a humane argument was bad politics in a highly charged social dialogue with their german neighbours. So they made a war argument."

    Was that the result of your 'deep inside' introspection or just more of the logorrhoea that we have all learned to expect from you - off-topic, off-message, and off-planet? Do we have to go over the whole rationale for WWII yet again? Must we review the dodgy, tedious, tendentious relativism of the modern lexical swamp surrounding 'war crime', 'act of war', 'conventions on the conduct of war' for the umpteenth time to satisfy your 'chase-the-red-herring' version of logic?

    Please stop with the rhetorical cliches (e.g. tagging emotive 'Dresden' to undefined 'war crime' to discuss [what was it?] Czech politics). The thread was potentially interesting until you turned up. I live in the Czech Republic, have done since the Velvet Russian Ripoff, and I am interested in what the international contributors have to say about Middle Europe, the EU, and the new kleptocracies of post-Soviet Russia.

    We are not interested in revelations about the contents of your troubled psyche - a shrink might be, if you have the loot, otherwise there are lots of organisations specialising in post-conflict disorders. I'm sure one of them could help, even if you've never been near a shot fired in anger.

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  • 71. At 2:50pm on 21 May 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #70 - MercThrasher

    The relevance of Dresden in 1945 to the EU election of 2009 is totally non-existent - a point I have been trying to make from the beginning.

    It is kind of curious though that if William Tell had fired his shot in anger, he would have probably have missed, Switzerland would have been in France and the Swiss perspective on this election - unlike Dresden - relevant.

    #66 - democracythreat

    Until you have some idea of my gender and my scale of charges, please refrain from calling me 'dear boy'.

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  • 72. At 3:44pm on 21 May 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    MercThrasher, @70 what a polite way to tell another blogger "please stay on topic, will you?"

    you have come "to expect" - and what is it "we", in these blogs, have "learned to expect" - from you?
    A page of superlatives.
    Oh, you are interested what "the international contributors have got to say of the new cleptocracies of the post-Soviet Russia". Speaking of post-traumatic disorders!

    Overall I think must be something in the water. That all are suddenly so friendly to each other. Dear Mark Mardell, I rarely ask you for something, please consider this time to add a shoot-em-ups game supplement to the blog, where relations can be sorted separately from the discussion.

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  • 73. At 3:53pm on 21 May 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Or even better, every 3rd thread on weather, in where Mark currently is. I'm no better than the ones I blame. Something cooling, rainbows over capitals, and how these strategically differ from the ones in the suburbs...

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  • 74. At 4:35pm on 21 May 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #70 - MercThrasher

    Back on topic, I was interested and disturbed to see THIS on the BBC News web site. We are no strangers to these attitudes in Hungary but it does raise an interesting question regarding freedom of expression as against promoting racial hatred. There are certainly elements in the British BNP who would not hesitate to use racist tactics on the hustings, even if they cannot do so in the media. Given the current disenchantment with the political mainstream, one can see some voters being tempted to the extremes and I wonder what you thoughts are.

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  • 75. At 5:29pm on 21 May 2009, oulematu wrote:

    Speaking about the bombardment of Dresden (as discussed in the posts above), neo-Nazi demonstrations are being held almost every week in the Czech Republic, many of them under the pretext of commemorating innocent victims of US war crimes and example of which would be, as these neo-Nazis claim, the unjust bombardment of the North Bohemian town of Usti nad Labem by US troops in 1945. While some of these demonstrations have been banned by municipal authorities, courts have overruled each such ban alleging that such demonstrations are legal under Czech law. (Therefore, it appears that Czech law as applied by Czech courts protects the freedom of neo-Nazi speech). In line with those judgments, the Czech security forces appear to use force in order to defend neo-Nazis against public expressions of criticism, e.g. by groups of people that feel threatened by the neo-Nazis. In addition, the Czech-government controlled TV station, as part of the EP election campaign, has aired campaign documents of the Czech National Party calling for the final solution to the Gypsy question (as bad as this sounds, this is a quote). The station's CEO allegedly stated that such campaign is legal under Czech law, which protects the right of all political parties (including those that may appear to espouse the neo-Nazi ideology), to engage in pre-election campaigning. A government application to dissolve a political party which is according to the Czech media engaged in many of the above activities has recently been rejected by the Czech Supreme Administrative Court on the ground that the plaintiff Czech Republic has failed to prove that such activities are illegal pursuant to Czech law.

    All of this at a time when terrorist attacks are being conducted by groups of neo-Nazi terrorists against innocent victims, most recently a two-year girl burned on 80% of her body and still at the intensive care unit. It appears that Czech authorities are not doing almost anything to protect or support such victims, to prevent such acts or to public the members of such terrorist organizations. When a public collection of money was launched to help the victims, Czech authorities have concluded that the family's social benefits will be taken away since the family now has income from the public collection. The above is happening under the indifferent watch of the EU and is not receiving almost any coverage in the international media.

    Questions should be raised about the nature of the regime prevailing in the Czech Republic and, if applicable, appropriate steps should be taken against such regime (e.g., suspension of subsidies and rights in the EU, infraction proceedings against the Czech Republic or international measures to protect potential victims of the neo-Nazis where Czech authorities fail to do so, and measures to punish the terrorists or those organizations or members of public authorities that tolerate their activities). If the EU does not take such steps, questions should be raised about the nature of the EU, and, if applicable, non-EU countries should take appropriate steps against the EU.

    This post is almost identical with my previous post which got removed from this site. However, I deleted some of the proposed measures that should be taken and added a few qualifiers here and there. It will be interesting to see if the revised post is now acceptable for the BBC.

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  • 76. At 8:45pm on 21 May 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #75 - oulematu

    You are in danger of making the same mistake as some British contributors.

    "The above is happening under the indifferent watch of the EU and is not receiving almost any coverage in the international media".

    No it isn't! The EU has absolutely no authority or power to interfere. It is up to Praha to make its own security and constitutional arrangements unless or until the Czech Republic should ever reach the point where it fails to meet the EU definition of a representative democracy. Presumably then it would be suspended or expelled.

    As to media coverage, certainly it deserves more but the article that prompted my earlier post did appear on the BBC web site so that is not entirely fair.

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  • 77. At 07:55am on 22 May 2009, oulematu wrote:

    threnodio, 76:

    It is interesting that the EU issues 80% of the member states' legislation, yet it does not wish to accept any responsibility for the protection of fundamental rights and safety of EU citizens or even for the conduct of the European elections. That is a very cushy position to take. This illustrates the lack of efficiency of the existing EU arrangements and the illusory nature of most legal "rights" within the EU. One might think that since the EU has decided to create the status of "EU citizenship", an EU citizen would have a guaranteed right to be protected against terrorist attacks perpetrated in the EU, but to think that would be a mistake, as threnodio points out.

    Also one might think that the EU would bear some responsibility for the manner in which the EP election campaign is conducted, but no, it is up to the member states to forbid or permit any neo-Nazi campaigning. And we can see what is the position taken by the Czech Republlic. There are at least three (!!) political parties running in the EP elections that openly endorse racist and terrorist ideas and promises. I am referring to the Workers Party, the National Party and the Republican Party, all of which have in the past campaigned in favor of forced expulsion of the Roma from the Czech Republic or even employment of gas chambers against them. No wonder the Czech Roma are emigrating such that Czechs now constitute one of the largest countries of origin for refugees in Canada. However, Canada is rejecting most of these applications on the grounds that (subject to extremely rare exceptions) the entire EU as a whole is safe. Presumably Canada should listen to threnodio and they should determine these refugee applications on the basis of reality rather than the EU's virtual image. So this is the situation we are in, and you are telling me that all of this is none of the EU's business. Very interesting, so can you tell me what is the point of having the EU? Maybe it would be preferable to stop pretending, simply fire all EU staff, and leave things up to member states, which is the case anyway.

    NB: I do not want to heap dirt purely on the Czech Republic, similar problems have come up also in many other states such as Hungary, Slovakia, Germany, Austria and Italy and others. It is ironic that Austria was formally punished simply for democratically complying with the result of its election (I am referring the Haider's participation in Austria's cabinet), whereas other countries are left unpunished despite clear violations of fundamental human rights.

    In order for the state authorities to be held responsible, it does not have to actually carry out terrorist attacks, it should be enough that the authorities permit them to occur and does not take steps against them.

    This is the big difference between the EU and the US. The US employed the army to protect civil rights. The EU cannot do anything, it issues 10,000s pages of prescriptions each year, but does not have the power to enforce anything in reality. That is a big part of why the US essentially works, whereas the EU is basically a failure.

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  • 78. At 08:14am on 22 May 2009, Oblivion wrote:

    I live in the CZ. Cameron is going to get eaten alive. The culture that brought the likes of Topolanek et al to power is very different than that of the UK. These people are ALL corrupt. On the other hand, if Cameron actuall intends to make friends with the elite representatives of large businesses and criminal groups, then perhaps it makes sense.

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  • 79. At 08:22am on 22 May 2009, Oblivion wrote:


    Kleptocracy. Bang on. The word sums it up beautifully.

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  • 80. At 11:54am on 22 May 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #77 - oulematu

    In a way, you have hit the nail on the head.

    Yes, you can have an EU which establishes and manages the law relating to individual personal freedom, what does or does not count as legitimate politics and all the other constitutional issues you refer to but then what is the point of the nation state? You are playing straight into the hands of those who argue about the 'European Superstate'.

    It should be possible for the nations to manage their domestic political affairs in an orderly and democratic way. If they can't, then they have no place in the EU. That is the Union's bottom line and their ultimate sanction. But it also poses a problem. You cite the example of Haider and I seem to remember that the Benelux countries in particular got very hot under the collar about a right wing party being in the Austrian coalition. But - and it is a very big but - how can you tell people they live in a democracy and can vote for whoever they like then tell them you don't like the result and to think again? It is bad enough when they think they can do it with treaty referenda. Imagine doing it for parliamentary elections.

    No - I am afraid that you have a straight choice here. Either you surrender all control to a federal union or you take local regulation seriously and deal with it responsibly. In most EU countries these days, incitement to racial hatred is a criminal offence, it is an offence for the media to carry advertising material from organisations which do it and the political mainstream rarely misses an opportunity to hold those at the margins up to ridicule and shame. If we can't do the same in eastern Europe, that's our problem, not Brussels.

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  • 81. At 1:00pm on 22 May 2009, oulematu wrote:

    Ok, so you are saying that if a Gypsy or Turkish family is killed by a bunch of neo-Nazis in a night-time terrorist attack in CZ or Germany and the local authorities do nothing against it, then it is the victims' problem not the EU's problem. But that shows very well what is the use of the EU to an average person. Zilch. The EU is a parasite which issues lofty declarations (we all are EU citizens with guaranteed human rights) and thick books (Lisbon Treaty, Human Rights Charter and x number of directives and regulations on discrimination) but at the end of the day your safety is your own problem. Can you explain to me what are the EU people paid for and why they are allowed to produce all these prescriptions that member states must pretend to implement although ultimately it is at to the member states to enforce or not enforce anything they please?! And so long as the member states pretend to be a functional representative democracy anything goes for the EU?

    As someone else put it: "The EU is a bad multi-language opera that has gone on too long. Nobody except those with cushy pseudo-jobs at risk understand nor care about the plot, which can be a tragedy, a comedy or most probably a farce and mean anything to anybody depending on who sang the last aria: the German tenor or the fat Italian lady."

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  • 82. At 1:03pm on 22 May 2009, oulematu wrote:

    Another illustrative example: I hear that the city of Prague is now spending money to cancel zebra crossings around town. This is done pursuant to a state regulation which was adopted based on EU rules calling for a reduction in the number of accidents occurring on zebra crossings. Presumably by doing this, it is possible to reduce the number of such accidents (although accidents away from zebra crossings may go up, but that is not the issue at stake). You will claim that this is bad local policy. But do you really think that the authorities would have the audacity to think up something as stupid if they could not refer to the EU? So whose responsibility is it, EU or local?

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  • 83. At 1:58pm on 22 May 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    oulematu, I think the current layout is this:
    They simply can't get at Russians; the Jewish are better protected since Holocaust awareness; so what's left? the Roma.

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  • 84. At 3:52pm on 22 May 2009, oulematu wrote:

    WebAlice: Yes, maybe that's how the neo-Nazis see it. They get at the Roma and anyone else who's somehow different from the neo-Nazis, but they leave the Jews alone.

    What's not clear to me is why the EU tolerates this and why these potential victims should have ruined lives simply because their local government is racist and/or incompetent. Surely the EU can do better than this and if it can't then surely the EU doesn't have a right to exist.

    Anyway, to revert to the initial topic, it is hardly acceptable for any British party except for BNP to team up with ODS, which includes as its member Rapkova, the most racist mayor in CZ. The mayor has announced that she will not permit any further anti-Nazi demos in her town, but she is still a mayor and ODS member. So doesn't that mean ODS is shameful and so is anyone who cooperates with ODS? The Conservatives should beware.

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  • 85. At 4:07pm on 22 May 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #81 - oulematu

    "Ok, so you are saying that if a Gypsy or Turkish family is killed by a bunch of neo-Nazis in a night-time terrorist attack in CZ or Germany and the local authorities do nothing against it, then it is the victims' problem not the EU's problem".

    Of course not. It is the responsibility of the appropriate law enforcement agency. In your example, the Czech or German judicial and police authorities.

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  • 86. At 6:55pm on 22 May 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    oulematu, a bird's eye view (to me) on this brown development, in terms of order of happenings, seems to be this:

    1. EU / Old Europe expanded. Newcomers to the EU were all? mostly? the countries of the old Warsaw block. Most of who 20 yrs ago chose not to forget old scores with the USSR and start kind of from tabula rasa, but transferred their feelings towards USSR onto Russia. At that, with years, their antipathy paradoxically increases, the more distant in time the USSR iceberg drifts away, LOL, the higher the passions towards Russia.

    (reasons for that I'll leave apart for the moment; but the overall trend I guess all'd agree is a fact.)

    2. Historical yeast, the anti-Russian platform in these countries are times WW2 "freedom-fighters". That's when, under German umbrella and temporarily protection, these thrived. They thrived in one format only - SS troops. No other shapes and moulds to pour own feelings in they know of. Height of achievements, smth to look back at with pride "those were the days when we were temporarily strong." Consequently, when certain bunches? or whole layers of society feel anti-Russian these days, they automatically take the only shape known to them - fascism. From the lack of imagination. In this - grandparents join up forces with brown youngsters, hopping over a generation.
    Now - warning - this is a view from our Russian side, heavily biased by our own concerns with new-old neighbours "why brown again?" In reality nazism is not necessarily anti-Russian, objectively - we are not the centre of the universe.

    But the modern EU tolerates it, it's a fact. In the Baltic states for sure. Because nazism blends there with anti-Russian-ism, the EU can't tell where is which, and is it more of what.

    (Why the EU tolerates "anti-Russian-ism" is also another story; let's leave it apart for the moment as well. But again - it's a fact. Nobody saying smth anti-Russian will be cut short by the EU officials, it's these days, not may be "en vogue", but, say, is seen as a pardonable weakness among the new EU members. Kind of, "their dismal past, they have the right to complain".)

    Thus you've got the situation when both are tolerated, "in one flask". Only future will show where is which.
    I think if anti-Russian streams will separate away, or (let's be optimistic for a sec) - will fade out - but nazi sympathies and acts still stay - then it is nazism true and for real. The real beast, that will find itself a prey - allocating a category of people into 2nd sort.

    If nazism exists in only anti-Russian format - one questions whether it is the real beast or simply anti-Russian-ism.

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  • 87. At 8:32pm on 22 May 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    A lesson in an Odessa school (Crimea), XXI century:

    - Children, what I will tell you today should stay a strict secret.
    You'd tell to nobody and nothing! If THEY will find out what we were talking about today, your teacher may be fired and the school closed. Do you understand me?

    Children squeeze closer to each other and nod in agreement.

    - So, the greatest poet of the XIX century was A.S.Pushkin, he was born...


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  • 88. At 2:14pm on 23 May 2009, oulematu wrote:

    threnodio: I understand what you are saying but I do not agree with this system. So you say the EU has defined the division of tasks in a way that the EU adopts all these directives and regulations in all these areas and proclaims the "EU citizenship" and the rights associated with it, but the states are responsible for the result of implementing them. When that is not good enough is it? So either the EU will give up some of its powers/ambitions or it will accept some responsability and law enforcement. The third alternative is that I (and many other Europeans I'm sure) will support only anti-EU parties.

    It is a joke. The EU cannot even control the conduct of the EP campaign. Ridiculous

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  • 89. At 3:16pm on 27 May 2009, honza12 wrote:

    What is so weird about the bagpipe? I don't think it is an extreme PC not to call other's people culture "weird". How about "different" or "unusual" or something like that?

    BTW I think it looked as a goat not as a sheep. And the Czech bagpipe has one advantage over the weird Scottish bagpipe - you can sing while playing. Well, maybe it is not such an advantage ...

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  • 90. At 9:05pm on 27 May 2009, oulematu wrote:

    to webalice: I agree that it is not right if people in the Baltic states offend Russians or engage in ethnic or language discrimination against them. But I do not know the details. I am not sure if the situation is really comparably bad to the kind of racist terrorist activity conducted by the Nazis in Central Europe against the Roma or "non-white" people. I think the authorities and many people have got their priorities wrong. Number one priority should be the protection of people's physical safety. There is no excuse under any circumstances to night-time firebomb attacks against civilian homes. Never ever. Hate speech and discrimination of all forms is also undesirable and in most cases should not be allowed, but the degree to which it should be suppressed, and the methods of suppression, may be subject to discussion. Not so for attacks.

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  • 91. At 08:54am on 28 May 2009, oulematu wrote:

    The media have reported that another terrorist firebomb attack was committed on Sunday night against a civilian dwelling near Prague. Like in the previous cases, the police cannot confirm or reject any racist motive. No one has been punished for these terrorist attacks and potential victims are not getting any protection.

    I hereby appeal to Mr. David Cameron to urgently raise this issue with ODS, the largest political party in the Czech Republic. The satisfactory resolution of this emergency situation must be a condition precedent to any cooperation with ODS. Nazi terrorism must immediately stop. All terrorists and their abettors must be immediately incarcerated and their organizations must have all assets confiscated and desist in their activities. If the authorities do not want to or are not capable of protecting the civilian population against terrorist attacks of militarized Nazi units operating in the Czech Republic, the Czech state does not perform its most basic function and someone else should protect the civilian population.

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  • 92. At 3:54pm on 28 May 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    oulematu, what's "fire-bomb", is it like Molotov cocktail, to start a fire?
    Physical safety, as the prime concern, you must be right.

    What you wrote that you don't know about, the Russian accusations of nazism in nearby countries, it's a different thing. We object anti-Russian-ism being in-built on government level, through country laws.

    It's also kind of sadistic, but then it becomes perfectly legal, is institutionalised. If there is a country law setting ethnic Russians as 2nd sort, various "non-citizens", or when a country law to prohibit learning in Russian (schooling), or newspapers to be printed in Russian, plus a million small other laws, that you can't vote otr whatever.
    Then you can be anti-a-nationality, in chosing who to emply for a job, etc., and it is legal.
    The twist and the beauty of being a rasist legally.
    The other thing the source of Russia's indignation, the open Nazi memorabilia on display, various uniformed parades, swastika-s, nazi soldiers' calendars for sale, on picture times 2ndWW per month, etc.

    On the other hand we have rasism in Russia at home as well, in the past 10 years there were innumerous attacks of skin-heads on people of dark skin, either Tajik gasterbeiters, or some African students on study here. Skin colour attacks, nationality seemingly irrelevant to these home-grown nazi youngsters. In 2/3 cases in court hearings, because physical attack is a physical offence, injured or murdered - it ends up by police arresting and then the criminal court hearing. But in two thirds of the cases the judge would search high and low to avoid applying the "provoking racial hatred" or "crime on the base of racism" criminal law article, but would sentence on ordinary criminal articles,
    like "organised pre-planned attack of the gang", or "deliberate harm to health" or "juvenile smth? gangs clashes" or "result of property dispute related conflict" (when there are fights incurred for the stalls in the flea markets) or smth. This is improving now, they call the experts to the law sessions, who can write a proffessional conclusion , kind of "from the evidence of these things said during the attack", "from the evidence given by evidence, the slogans they shouted" can be classified as racial hatred and nothing else. But it seems that Russia is ashamed of pin-pointing racial un-rest crimes, and judges had an underground direction to apply "provoking racial hatred" article as minimum as possible. Very sad and very wrong.

    Anyway the only thing that unites, say, Baltic states governments and the Czech case, is the strong dislike for "anti-fasists" organisations.
    Baltics simply don't let in, without explaining the reasons, antifa group members. Not Russians, from anywhere. Finnish antifa was regularly turned down to enter. Estonia explains it, for eaxmple - we are going to have an old veterans nazi parade, antifa groups will clash with old and young LOL, "fa" groups alike - there will be public un-rest and turmoil. So for the sake of public peace and quiet Nazi marches are protected by the Estonian police. From anti-fasists.
    Peace and quiet.

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  • 93. At 5:08pm on 28 May 2009, democracythreat wrote:

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

  • 94. At 5:23pm on 28 May 2009, democracythreat wrote:


    #66 - democracythreat

    "Until you have some idea of my gender and my scale of charges, please refrain from calling me 'dear boy'."

    I wasn't. It is a famous english quote, attributed to Harold MacMillan, when asked by a journalist what it was that blew governments of track.

    Who is this MercThrasher? Friend of yours?

    Nasty type. Very tough for an internet personality, too.

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  • 95. At 01:00am on 29 May 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    can't even write the word correct. "fascism", wiki says. And don't want to.
    "Freedom - it's when you forget the tyrant name"

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  • 96. At 10:34am on 30 May 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    Alice wrote:
    "If nazism exists in only anti-Russian format - one questions whether it is the real beast or simply anti-Russian-ism. "

    That is a good question. I would ask another question: What is the most useful role for Russia to play, in order to support western governments in their objectives?

    I think you would agree, the most useful thing Russia can do for western governments.... is to be evil. Not REAL evil. We don't want to get nuked. And we want the gas.

    But politics is politics, Alice. Our governments NEED enemies who are evil. If people are not frightened, they question governments. If people are not fightened by monsters, they start saying things like "HEY! That is MY money! What are you doing with MY money?"

    So for government to function and achieve its objectives, it needs an enemy. Not a dangerous enemy that could destroy the government, but a "theorectical" enemy, like some country that is very far away, and has a different language system, and which does not want to fight.

    So you see, Russia is the perfect enemy. It is far away, has a different alphabet, and is really no threat at all. Russian are not crazy. they don;t want nuclear war. Perfect! So our government can scare the people like crazy. What could be more perfect?

    Maybe only the Islamo terrorist. That is VERY scary. Those people are not even white skinned. And the war on terror is wonderful, because you can have a never ending war against an enemy that can never be defeated, and you have total control over the propaganda, because in fact it does not exist, so you can say whatever you want about it.

    So Alice, our military men NEED your military men to be evil, and your military men NEED our military men to be evil. Otherwise, these military men are just little boys who dream up fantasies of power, wear colourful uniforms and play with toys. Then they cry about it when they get hurt.

    But mother loves her little soldier, and the young ladies love a man in uniform, so I blame the women!

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  • 97. At 08:21am on 31 May 2009, oulematu wrote:

    to webalice: yes, one can use euphemisms, but if a group of people throws a number of home-made containers with burning chemicals on fire into an inhabited civilian dwelling at night, then it is really a terrorist attack, isn't it? After all, it is an intentional and organized plot to attack an undefined group of people with willful disregard to what will happen to them and to whom it will happen. I hear similar terrorist techniques have also been used in Hungary and Germany. It is scandalous that the EU tolerates these terrorist activities, while at the same time restricting civil liberties under the pretext of fighting against a more abstract/perhaps imaginary terrorist enemy in the "War on Terror". The above also undermines the credibility of the EU in the eyes of the world's population (both the EU as a whole and the states which either tolerate such activities or let other states tolerate such activities in their territory). I am puzzled why a British party would want to smear its reputation by politically endorsing its colleagues in other states which are several decades behind the UK and the US when it comes to ethnic diversity.

    Personally I have split feelings towards Russia. I am against anti-Russian discrimination in the Baltic countries. Ukrainian immigrants in the Czech Republic are also not treated well. I also do not approve the EU-ordered imposition of visas on the Russians which was one of the conditions for the admission of new countries to the EU. At the same time, there is no escaping from the fact that the government regime in Moscow is authoritarian and is guilty of fundamental liberty infringements committed against the Russian population. The EU needs to have a clear and united policy aimed at forcing this regime to change. As part of this policy, the large EU states should stop their policy of sucking up to Russia and its money/resources.

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  • 98. At 10:04am on 31 May 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    oulematu, you will have to excuse us. people have such governments as they deserve. there isn't much call from the population to kick our government to upgrade things here and there. we are very very tired population very very exhausted by troubles in the past century. nobody had as much as we did, in these quarters, and we are not made of iron, but in fact, as I heard, top world's dying age statistics. over whole Africa, over any un-liveable place in the planet. we are so glad it's now peace and quiet and the government is responsible, and how to say, not mad, a short break finally after all the nightmares, that nobody asks them for more.
    In fact I read an article recently some place, that said one of the major Russians' weaknesses and strong points simultaneously is that we are un-demanding. And the first man who spotted the trend was Bismark who said Russia is un-defeatable for 3 reasons: size climate and that they are un-demanding. All remember size-snow nobody remembers the third point. Which means you can't charm us by any life standards of invaders or make life so unbearable that Russians would revolt. The back side of the coin is when you see a road in holes you complain "what is the government thinking about" and when you see - whatever - you want to fix it and demand action and by by by wheels start rolling. And we don't wink an eye. (a simplified example).
    Now, surely we are not so much different from the rest of humanity, and things aren't so hopeless, but there is something in it, making it all slow. You won't deny the role of traditions in societies nd things like "national mind-set", what is proper what is un-proper behaviour.

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  • 99. At 10:19am on 31 May 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    I'll give you a short example, LOL. My friend had a birthday party, she is a quite successful lady, basically, I mean, all well. Health and looks and husband, and two good parents, nobody quarrels, they live comfortably, with cars, their apartment close to parents but still they live separately, but if anything help needed can quickly come over, just a block distance btw the houses. She works, has just got another degree, scientific, their exterprise is state but with the right to take private companies' orders on the side, so they make good money. Basically, one of the best "life arrangements" or how to call it, of my acquaintance. Nothing more to desire for.
    Well, it was her birthday party, and her proud happy mum says: (attention) (addressing to my mum, and raising a champaign glass, richly laid table , all festive dressed, nice party and all):

    Let's drink to our children. THANK GOD, NOT BY PRIZONS NOT BY EXILES, ...
    meaning not beating around the prizon buildings one after anotherm changing the place where you serve the sentence, not in exiles (when you are prohobited to live in big Russian cities but are ordered "only province", as dangerous to society in big cities where you can influence a lot of people with your wrong ideas), normally Siberia or having to run abroad. She said it seriously!

    Now, I assure you there was nothing ever, LOL, to suspect that mine and my friends' place is "in prizons and exiles" but how to say, this is the threshold, from which you start counting still. All above - is a god granted happiness and wonder. :o)))

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  • 100. At 10:26am on 31 May 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    so oulematu, I think it's hopeless to press on Kremlin from outside. you simply have to understand that there is a country nearby, who lived very very bad. they have other standards and expectations. far from yours, because you count on another level, many things and comforts and freedoms you take for granted. that it will be a loooong time before perceptions here change.
    as is said here "when there will be first un-flogged generation".
    Meanwhile, any outside pressure is interpreted here unequivocally "they offend our darling Kremlin. teddy bear Medvedev and all."

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  • 101. At 12:54pm on 31 May 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    "I am against anti-Russian discrimination in the Baltic countries. Ukrainian immigrants in the Czech Republic are also not treated well. I also do not approve the EU-ordered imposition of visas on the Russians which was one of the conditions for the admission of new countries to the EU. At the same time, there is no escaping from the fact that the government regime in Moscow is authoritarian and is guilty of fundamental liberty infringements committed against the Russian population. The EU needs to have a clear and united policy aimed at forcing this regime to change. "

    Strange logic here. You are against the mistreatment of Russians by the EU. And you are against the mistreatment of russians by Russia. Now you think the EU should have a policy to "force" the russian regime to change.

    That is extremely odd. What about a more responsible policy, as an alternative? For example:

    The EU should sort out its own problems with the rule of law and the mistreatment of Russians BEFORE it tries to influence the russian government....... BECAUSE... otherwise it will be seen as 100% hypocritical and phoney?

    Consider what you have suggested. The EU should "force" change in Russia. For the sake of the welfare of Russians.

    Should Russia have a policy of "forcing" change in the EU, for the sake of the people of the EU?

    Now you claim that Russians do not have perfect liberties. But neither do the English! Or the Polish. Or the French. Or the Germans. None of them has a perfect democracy. They are all told lies by their politicians, and the scandals surrounding the corruption in the UK parliament suggest that this monarchy is a complete fraud against democratic practice.

    Therefore, according to your logic and standards, Russia should try to "force" change in the UK, and across the EU generally.

    I find your eagerness to have an opinion about what the EU should do with Russia is absolutely perverse. I mean, who the hell do you think you are? Secondly, even if you are someone who was born to tell Russian's how to live, you know, god gave you that mission... even if that is the case.... don;t you feel just a little bit hypocritical?

    How can you stand inside the EU and point your finger so hard at Russia? Sure, the Russians are horrible and all that. But do you really think that the EU is so perfect that you can suggest who should use "force" against whom?

    This sort of sick hypocrisy, and violent ("force" is violence: I know that in retrospect you would like to have meant something less extreme, but these words you use, they betray how you really think) inclinations, it is extremely dangerous. You speak of using force against Russia.

    God help the EU if Russia starts talking about using force against your beloved little EU.

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  • 102. At 1:09pm on 31 May 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    And, oulematu, the EU should not "have a clear policy aimed at forcing this regime to change."
    By all these policies you only block our wheels. Any kick from outside makes Russians immediately forgive and forget Kremlin all their faults, and , instead of pestering them and demanding chamge on this and that internally - drop it and unite as a wall behind, backing Kremlin up.
    You drag the time, and steal our time, by this idiocy, sorry.

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  • 103. At 1:15pm on 31 May 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Would you stand, oulematu, someone from Russia press your country whichever it is, to direct you internally, what is to be done?
    Same here. Outside pressure equals resistance, Archimedes' law, force of action equaks force of anti-action.
    You take it for granted we should be enchanted by outsiders' life. We are not. On morals we aren't impressed, to put it softly. On comfortable life arrangement - yes, we are impressed. But we aren't for money born, by mould, well-living is not considered by Russians tops of achievements. So what are you going to impress us with, to copy foreign practices one-to-one of whatever country? Take care to hold on for a sec, and think what's your selling point.

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  • 104. At 1:30pm on 31 May 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    democracythreat, "I blame women". LOL!

    "Here someone goes down the path from the hill,
    this must be my sweetheart (oj)
    He's got a high-collared khaki tunic,
    It is going to drive me mad. :o)))

    He's got golden epaulettes,
    And a bright medal on his breast
    Oh why I only met him, such a ruinous disaster for girls
    In my life's path?!!!"


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  • 105. At 2:03pm on 31 May 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    thank you, democracythreat. I wrote to oulematu before your post "opened up", @101. But I see you understand the problem.

    Technically speaking, what am I doing here? Losing time in trying to convince oulematu not to attack us, economically, by imposing trade restrictions, or putting NATO at our border - instead of pestering Kremlin to re-direct money flows from whenever does not matter to medical care! (oulematu no hard feelings, you name just as an example.)

    To be more exact - either I am busy writing to Jukka Rohila why nuclear bombs are no good even for killing communists or to Medvedev's live journal blog. Can't do both at once! :o))))))
    (Note to myself; must grow up an additional pair of hands).

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  • 106. At 02:20am on 01 Jun 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    oulematu. I stand corrected. I would accept outside help, I mean, we would. You genuine intention to help Russians is very ? touching. I am sincerely thankful.
    But how that external influence on us should look like - is a big question for me.

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