Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The Strange Death of Green Germany

The dire plight of the Green movement, once a thriving specimen on the German political scene, is now erupting into a profusion of inconsistencies, inconsistencies far closer to doctrinal collapse than creative regeneration.

The Green's outgoing Environment Minister in Nordrhein-Westphalen, Bärbel Höhn, sallies out into the pouring rain, press photographers in tow, to signal her undying opposition to the transport of nuclear waste. She would much prefer it to remain where it is, the blog supposes, somewhere in the east, where there's very few Green voters. But this radioactive transport has been approved, inconveniently, by her Green party colleague Jürgen Trittin, warm and dry in his Environment Ministry in Berlin.

Similarly, many Green party members love to agitate against dictators and the oppression of innocent people. And yet their very own Joschka Fischer is the leading light of a government which wants to lift the arms embargo on China!

None of this matters much to the committed Green voter (although it may well reduce their number). The committed Green is more concerned with the totemic appearance of caring than with the reality. How many millions, after all, have been murdered by the fall-out of Green ideology, and the Greens' sometimes well-meaning, always self-regarding fetishisation of policy? Andrew Kenny, writing in the Spectator, puts the number at at least 50 million, as a result of the Green-driven banning of DDT in 1972, which allowed malaria to flourish in poor parts of the world, when it could have been eradicated, a measure which "in purely numerical terms ...(was) the worst crime of the twentieth century."

The discomfort always aroused by such numbers should not blind us to the fact that, at the very least, the Greens are no strangers to ideology-driven death. But now in Germany, in a welcome reversal, it is a merely political death, and for a change the Greens themselves are doing the dying.

It's become a party for those who have turned their backs on the 21st century. And, were its strictures not so deadly, this positioning might be attractive. The Greens prefer a conflict-free utopia that exists, fleetingly, in suburban compounds, in the shadows of the prosperous West, withdrawn within the mind. The Greens are wealthy solipists who wish to avoid contact with the outside world, solipists whose settled world-view is impervious to the findings of science (in the global warming debate) or the demands of economic reality (in their opposition to all things nuclear). When Greens are allowed to determine policy, as Joschka Fischer was, they let ideological convictions trample over common-sense and the warnings of concerned experts (in the decision to allow hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants into Germany through Kiev).

In Germany, the Greens have tasted power, and this has proved their undoing. Once in government, their adherence to ideology results either in serious mistakes, such as the Visa scandal, or in a general unravelling of their dearest principles (as with lifting the Chinese arms embargo).

Like other movements with big strategic inconsistencies, the Greens hate the society that enables them to exist. And they can survive only if they are not allowed anywhere near anything which may affect society.

Monday, May 30, 2005

EU Constitution: Non Means Oui, Says EU Chief

In the wake of France's firm rejection of the draft constitution, European politicians are drawing conclusions pretty much as they see fit. Very few and very quiet are the voices that conclude, simply, that the French rejected the consitution because they did not feel it was right for France.

Ludicrous extremes of wishful thinking and spin-doctor tomfoolery come from Jean-Claude Juncker, PM of Luxembourg and current holder of the revolving presidency.

"If we were to add up all the votes of those who wanted ‘more Europe’ as a yes then I think that we would have had a yes vote", said Juncker.

He is also saying that because opposition to the document was so widespread, and because it contains so many discrete criticisms, it is "impossible" to renegotiate the document.

"The Treaty is not dead. Although I have to admit it has not been able to show its full strength tonight", said Mr Juncker. "The process of ratification must continue in the other countries."

On the one hand, it is only right that other countries' voters should give their verdict on the document. But having done so, the most serious efforts should then be made to accommodate their views, in the way that EU institutions and system are evolved. "Ratification" of the rejected document as it stands is clearly not an approach that is going to fly, and Juncker is foolish to pretend that it might.

To say, as Juncker does, that the document cannot be rewritten because of the number and complexity of objections to it can never be a tenable position!

At the risk of sounding patronising, Jean-Claude Juncker has not really grasped this point, nor the wider point that voters should not be made to feel excluded from discussions about the future of the EU. Until Juncker, and the political class he adorns, do grasp that point, they will never gain the democratic support their plans require to be legitimised.


Friday, May 27, 2005

The Curse of Von Esens (IV): No More Moron

Edgar Moron, Chairman of the Nordrhein-Westphalen SPD party (leftist), has resigned in the wake of last Sunday's stunning election defeat.

He is the most tragic victim of the Curse of Von Esens, which was invoked on the socialist SPD party in light of their Blitzkrieg Against Capitalism - an election ploy which badly misfired.

Moron, a regular fixture on this blog, will be missed. Although he was a quintessential political hack, faithfully echoing the party line, he provided good light relief, a much underestimated quality in these woeful times.

What was his finest hour? For our money, it was when he said that criticism of Chancellor Schroeder's SPD government (for presiding over 5 million unemployed) was tantamount to undermining democracy.

It was Moron who observed that a victory for the centrist opposition would see the unchecked rule of Kapital. We shall see whether his warning was accurate. An epidemic of homeless paupers, aggressively soliciting harridans, schnapps-sodden derelicts - their eyes cruelly put out by the spent cigar stubs of smooth-chopped capitalists - would certainly add some life to the leafy streets of Esens, where such scenes are remarkably rare.

But we're not counting on it any time soon.

Edgar Moron MdL

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Dr Sigismund Heuschrecke Flays EU Communications Supremo Wallström, Citing "Inept" Campaign for Constitution

Dr Sigismund Heuschrecke, the "capitalist locust" who serves as the blog's correspondent on communications questions, has lambasted the EU Commission's campaign to sell the proposed EU constitution to voters.

In the latest posting on her blog, the Commissioner had blamed resistance to the draft document (in Holland and France) on the complexity of the draft constitution, as well as on voter apathy and voters' interest in "local issues". Dr Heuschrecke, for his part, accuses the Commission of "a wild underestimation of the value of true democracy".

He writes:

"Margot, your take on voter apathy is the exact opposite of mine - when people feel truly involved in a debate, they will participate, they will object, sometimes understand new aspects, draw their own conclusions, and they will vote. When they feel the debate is taking place behind closed Chancellory or Commissionary doors, they will become apathetic.

"To sell your consitution to voters, the Commission needs to involve them in the process in this way. This has emphatically not happened in the current campaigns in France and Holland - where the attempts to sell the constituion have been inept, focussing on the wrong issues (such as the Holocaust) and emphasising technocratic complexities at the expense of showing a vision for a new and democratic Europe.

"The forthcoming rejection of the document is the result of the document's shortcomings, not the supposed shortcomings of voters, and I fear you have made another canard in making that claim!

"But the attitude your claim reveals is, I suspect, the very thing which makes it so hard for EU Commissioners and their allies to connect with their voters - an attitude compounded of arrogance, overconfidence in the worth of the consensus-based policies of most EU politicians, and a wild underestimation of the value of true democracy. "
Posted by Sigismund Heuschrecke on May 26, 2005 at 01:35 PM

Wise words from the sage doctor, no doubt. But this blog suspects he's on a hiding to nothing.

Attempts to warn the lovely and well-meaning Communications Commissioner of the perilous contradictions of her position have frequently been made - not least by this blog. We have often asked her how the EU can fund a TV station which foments the killing of Jews on the one hand, whilst claiming that its draft constitutional document is the only barrier between Europe and another holocaust on the other. This is dangerous policy, inconsistently formulated, and quite unacceptable to such voters aware of it, we have urged. But our warnings always tended to fall on deaf ears. Let's hope the inimitable Dr Heuschrecke has better luck.

EUROPA - Margot Wallstr?m, Vice-President of the European Commission: my blog

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

France: Non; Holland: Nee; Why? The EU Constitutional Referenda

Some commentators, looking at the prospect of a non and a nee in the French and Dutch referenda on the proposed EU Constitution, have argued that voters are expressing dissatisfaction with their own governments, rather than with the draft constitutional document.
This is quite untrue. Of course, in the sense that everything national governments do is bound up with EU institutions and legislation, voters will tend to see the EU through the prism of national concerns.

But French and Dutch voters are not deciding which way to vote purely on the basis of anti-government protest, and to say so is an insult to their intelligence and to the democratic process. This is particularly clear in Holland.

In Holland, the potential nee voters are emphatically not blinded by hatred of their own government. Dutch voters can see that the proposed EU constitution is designed to shore up existing EU institutions. These institutions, to put it mildly, aren't working particularly well. Certainly not when evaluated against the interests of Holland. Overall, it is clear that these institutions should be reformed, not perpetuated in their present form.

Overall, the Dutch have always felt much more warmth towards Britain and the USA than, say, to Germany and France. Holland, like Britain, has always been a mercantile seafaring nation which looks outwards across the oceans, rather than inwards within the continent. Holland has been occupied by a succession of Great European Powers in the past. She has had to fend off the Spanish Inquisition, the French in the shape of both Louis XIV and Napoleon , and the German Nazis. This has induced a certain cynicism about grands projets and master-plans emanating from some far-off European authority.

And it is more than coincidence that, in the struggle against these enemies, Holland has always fought alongside Britain, and, latterly, the USA.

This pattern continues in today's politics.

The mismanagement of the euro is just one example which has gone down badly in Holland. The Dutch guilder went in at a rate that undervalued it. Since then, to compound miscalculation with insult, big neighbours like Germany and France have repeatedly flouted the euro Stability Pact with impunity - so that the financial incontinence of other countries' finance ministers has had to be subsidised by the Dutch taxpayer.

The corruption that is endemic in Brussels is another factor that the financially proper Dutch resent, the more so as the EU institutions appear incapable of putting a stop to it. OLAF, the EU's anti-fraud office, is itself accused of fraud by the independent European ombudsman.

As the EU's biggest net per capita contributor, Holland has every right to demand a degree of financial propriety in how its taxes are spent. But there is no sign that EU insitutions are responsive to such concerns, and the proposed constitution will merely perpetuate the faulty institutions, not reform them.

Holland is broadly pro-Israel, unlike France and Germany, and the realisation that EU funds are being used to foment disgusting anti-semitic broadsides by Islamist preachers is profoundly shocking to them. Again, the lack of interest from the EU - in this case, the Communications Commissioner, Margot Wallström, who has ignored urgent requests for clarification - is seen as arrogant and detached.

The fact that the oui and ja campaigns are being funded by European taxpayers - whilst the non and nee campaigns receive no public money - is in itself a corruption of democratic practice that cries out to heaven to be rebuked. How dare the EU Commission feather-nest its own projects in this cosy, contemptuous, voter-excluding way!

The recent attempts by EU personnel and their governmental allies to paint rejection of their document as likely to lead to a new holocaust were so ham-fisted and inept, and have been so loudly lambasted, that the blog will pass over them in silence. But holocaust- and war-avoidance, desirable as they are, have absolutely nothing to do with this draft constitutional document, and it is deeply offensive to pretend that they do, or to imply that opponents of the document wish to destroy European civilisation.

The draft constitution has been seen for what it is - a dirigiste 1970s style statist construct which has the unique distinction of being equally unacceptable both to the leftist French socialists and the internationalist, market economy-minded Dutch, both of whom, rightly, see in it a diminution of their ability to govern themselves along democratic lines.

The only constitution that will be acceptable to these groups is one which is built on a far stronger basis of democracy and self-determination. It will probably need to limit, rather than extend, the competence of supranational institutions. Either way, it needs to built up from the bottom, not the top. That hasn't happened, and that is why so many people will be voting non and nee this coming week.

EU Commission President Barroso Faces Motion on Corruption Today

The president of the EU Commission, Barroso, faces critics of his acceptance of lavish hospitality this afternoon in Brussels.

The motion asks Barroso to explain "how he could receive a gift to the value of several thousand euros from a billionaire businessman who then, one month later, received the green light from the European Commission for a regional aid grant to a value of 10 million euro".

The originator of the motion, MEP Nigel Farage, will urge two main points in his opening remarks:

- that the Commission should not be left to police itself over the hospitality it accepts;

- that the EU Parliament should monitor the Commission more closely in this regard.

Perfectly reasonable, one should have thought. Nevertheless, the Commission has done everything it could to stop this motion from happening, and Mr Farage is to be congratulated on his persistence in bringing it off.

It will be interesting to see whether Barroso can fend off any damage to his position for having gone yachting with his old friend Spiros Latsis, the billionaire Greek shipping tycoon. In theory, Barroso is defending not just himself but his Commission as a whole, as it will be obliged to resign en masse, should the motion be carried by MP's and a majority of ministers. The Commission is taking no chances - it says "all available Commissioners" will appear with Barroso in a gesture of solidarity.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

France and Germany Squabble Over Galileo In Satellite Wars

The Galileo project - the EU's satellite navigation system, set up as a rival to America's GPS - has been described as "the Common Agricultural Policy in the sky" by critics sceptical of its economic and strategic validity.

Certainly it is one of those European projects designed to place the EU in competition with the USA. As President Chirac said, if the EU were to rely on the US GPS, it could be reduced to "vassal status".

In commercial terms, however, it is difficult to see how Galileo can make money: the US currently offers GPS free of charge to civilian users globally. Galileo's vaunted superiority to GPS may not be enough to motivate people to pay for an upgraded service. The picture is different at the political level. China, for example, is one of the countries, alongside South Korea and Israel, which are investing as partners in the project.

But now it is all souring, due to inter-European squabbling between the Germans and the French. Each champions a different consortium, as each wishes to retain control. The German government is threatening to stop funding the project, and today's Telegraph reports that it is considering all measures "short of warfare" to get its way.

This may not quite tally with the idea of a single Europe with a single European foreign and security policy - but, as voters in France and Holland seem to have recognised, that was always something of a specious myth anyway, one which will always fade into the background, like an embarrassed ghost, when national interests come into play.

Telegraph Money Germany declares satellite wars

Monday, May 23, 2005

EU May Act Over Uzbekhistan's Murder Of Its Own Citizens

When the Uzbekhistan authorities clamped down on protesters (protesting against the show-trial of 23 local businessmen on charges trumped up by the government) earlier this month, hundreds of civilians were killed.

As Uzbekhistan is a US ally in the war against terrorism, its government appears to have been given an overly easy ride on human rights.

Now the EU is threatening as yet unspecified action against the Uzbek administration, whose leader, Islam Karimov, recently extended his term of office until 2020, amid reports that his security forces boiled alive two prisoners, and many other abuses.

Reuters AlertNet - EU threatens action unless Uzbeks allow inquiry

EU Budget 2007-2013 On Skids

The EU budget for 2007-2013 is hitting the skids on a number of fronts. Initial resistance to the Commission's proposals, from net contributors Germany and Holland, has been given extra durability by Chancellor Schroeder's decision to bring forward Germany's national elections to this autumn. This effectively stymies any further discussion involving Germany.

Now Italy's Foreign Minister, Gianfranco Fini, expresses his "concern" about the latest proposals, which, he says, "look even worse than the previous document." Fini also claims that "no attempts will be made to reach an agreement" at the next meeting of the EU Council on June 16-17 and that, as a result, "Italy's veto won't be needed" to block the budget.

The link is to Italy Online.Agenzia Giornalistica Italia - News In English

"Half of Zimbabwe Faces Starvation"

President Mugabe's corrupt measures - notably his land reform programme - have not only robbed thousands of farmers of their land, it has also led to the collapse of Zimbabwe's agriculture, to the extent that Zimdaily now claims half of the population is facing starvation.

The link is to Zimdaily:Zimbabwes Biggest Daily Online Newspaper - Hungry villagers arrested in Insiza

Socialist SPD Humiliated in Germany's Regional NRW Elections

After 39 years in power, the Nordrhein-Westphalen SPD party was decisively kicked out of power yesterday in a high turnout vote, and on the back of its lowest share of the vote since 1954. The CDU surged ahead to win a majority which would allow it, if it wished, to govern alone:

CDU (centrist): 44.8%
SPD (socialist): 37.1%
FDP (centre-right): 6.2%
Greens: 6.2%

Chancellor Schroeder immediately announced he would attempt to bring the national federal elections forward "as soon as possible". To do so, he must table (and lose) a vote of no confidence in the Bundestag, which would impel President Kohler to call for new national elections.

The result, if not the extent of the humiliation, was widely expected. It is payback time for 5 million German unemployed, more than one million of whom live in NRW.

The SPD's increasingly sordid and desperate actionism and scapegoating were seen for what they were. The ugly hard-left electioneering rhetoric of the SPD's thuggish Chairman Müntefering has not brought in the hoped-for votes of the dispossessed, nor deflected responsibility away from the government. Under the Müntefering Terror, as it is called in Germany, capitalists (especially American and Jewish ones) were regularly rebuked by high-level government officials for their supposed evil intents against the German economy, and blamed for its failures.

It is good to see that the German government's modern-day adaptation of Nazi "demonisation techniques" has not paid off.

It is also worth noting that the neo-Nazi share of the vote was so small that it is not even separately reported: the spectre of a neo-Nazi revival, on the back of acute unemployment, can be lain to rest.

In calling for an earlier national election, Chancellor Schroeder is doing two things - acknowledging a huge defeat for the SPD-Green coalition, which undermines any notion of a democratic mandate, as well as, more tactically, calculating that the putative CDU-FDP coalition will not have enough time to get its policy and personnel ducks in a row prior to the kick-off of the election. It is pretty desperate stuff, to be sure, but Chancellor Schroeder and his sleazy Green party sidekick, Joschka Fischer, should never be underestimated when it comes to low-down electioneering tactics. It should also be realised that Schroeder, by putting Germany into election mode, can neatly sidestep the delicate negotiations needed in Europe over the upcoming Commission budget (due to be set now for the next 6 years), a budget which countries like Germany and Holland want to restrain, and the Commission wants to increase. Progress on this issue will be hamstrung if Germany is in the middle of national elections - and let Scroeder off the hook of potentially unpopular concessions with far-reaching financial implications.

The centrist CDU, and its likely Chancellor candidate Angela Merkel - the first female candidate, and the first from the former East Germany - now have a golden opportunity to move the centre of German politics decisively to the right. What they need above all is to convince voters of the positive reasons for voting for that change, beyond the merely negative ones of getting rid of an arrogant, self-satisfied, under-achieving, morally-corrupt socialist government.

EU Supports Palestinian TV's Anti-Semitic Hate Sermons

The EU Commission has had a lot of bad publicity following claims by Communications Commissioner Margot Wallström that to reject ever-closer supranational cooperation is to follow "the old road" to another holocaust.

The Commissioner and other supporters of the EU's draft constitutional document blithely bandy about such unhistorical and inflammatory claims to support their case. They think they can "scare" voters into voting for the draft document. But the effect, certainly in Holland, appears to be counterproductive. Voters don't like being treated like idiots and will usually punish those who do so.

But there is another aspect to the Commission's work, in this context, which hasn't been commented on with anything like the same intensity, although it is far more shocking and has a far directer connection to a potential revival of the Holocaust.

EU taxpayers' money (about 7.5 million euros per month) is being used to support the Palestinian Authority, which, in turn, funds Palestinian Authority TV. On Friday 13th May 2005, as noted here, this station broadcast a "sermon" by Sheik Ibrahim Mudeiris, part of which said:

"... the Jews are a virus resembling AIDs... the day will come when everything will be relieved of the Jews."

The EU taxpayer is thus paying this station which denounces Jews and foments their destruction. This blog, and millions of decent European taxpayers, will never accept this abuse of our money, and we immediately call on Margot Wallström to answer the following questions:

1. What is her/the Commission's position regarding this misuse of European taxpayers' money?

2. What steps will she/the Commission take to ensure that this abuse stops?

It is insupportable that the EU wants to augment its power when its existing institutions, within the model it wishes to perpetuate, are in such a mess. This horrible anti-semitic angle is not the only scandal: the EU budget has not been passed for ten years, and its anti-fraud office (OLAF) is itself being accused of fraud by the European ombudsman! Added to which, the EU wants to lift the arms embargo on China, another move with no obvious rationale and certainly no popular support. The system, in short, is rotten to the core.

Far from this being the right time to approve the draft constitutional document, this is the time to reconsider precisely which tasks the EU's institutions should be set, and how they should be monitored so that these endless scandals come to an end.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

RIP: Alastair Forbes

News reaches Esens of the death of Ali Forbes, the social mountaineer and writer, who affected a prolix prose style in which to parade his social connections.

Ali was the scion of two so-called Boston brahmin families - his legal father was a Forbes and a lawyer; his mother a Winthrop who beat her children with a bamboo cane. Through his father he was a cousin of President Roosevelt and his sister was John Kerry's mother.

These days, Ali is best known for his remarks about Margaret, Duchess of Argyle: "Her father may have been able to give her some beautiful earrings, but nothing to put between them" and, deflating the Aga Khan's reputation as a great lover, saying that in fact he reminded him of Father Christmas: "He came but once a year."

Although of American blood, Ali had British citizenship and was born in Surrey. Very English in accent and mannerisms, he nevertheless spent most of his life in tax exile at Chateau d'Oex in Switzerland. His social world, as a "namedropper who knew the names he dropped" contained, amongst others, such luminaries as Lady Colefax, Lady Diana Cooper, Lord Rothermere, the Mitfords (he was a regular at Chatworth) and Winston Churchill, a world all but vanished, leaving aside in literature and memoirs.

He went to Winchester, and once confessed to having received help from William Whitelaw there. "Poor Ali!" remarked Quintin Hogg. "He was so stupid at school he had to crib from Willie."

Whether because or despite of his connections, he could be bumptious and impertinent. On one occasion in 1938 he told Winston Churchill to take over and lead Britain. A year later, aged 21, he urged his cousin President Roosevelt "to fire across Hitler's bows the great neutral's warning."

Lung and throat troubles kept Ali out of the forces for the war, apart from a temporary commission in the Marines. During the war, at Chequers, he saw Averell Harriman, President Roosevelt's special envoy, slipping off to Pamela Churchill's room. "Hey ho, he's taking his presidential envoy duties very seriously", he said.

James Lees-Milne the "waspish" diarist, met him at a lunch party given by Emerald Cunard in the Dorchester during the war. He wrote that Forbes was a deb's delight of classic beauty, with fair, unblemished skin. Very young and a little portentous... ambitious for a Parliamentary career, witty, mischievous, censorious and bright.

Ali was attractive to women, and caddish about his conquests. Reviewing a book about Jackie Kennedy-Onassis, Ali claimed that "her much prettier sister Lee" had once importuned him. He turned her down, needless to say. "I even telephoned her husband for advice on how to escape from a locked bedroom, her sexual ultimatum."

Ali found few fans amongst English literary contemporaries. Anthony Powell refers to Ali caustically in his 1988 Journal: "the once supposed essence of male attraction and intellectual brilliance." Evelyn Waugh mentions "pretty little Ali Forbes" en passant a handful of times, usually in association with another bete-noir, Peter Quennel: "London is infested with Quennel and Alistair Forbes" and Waugh refers to "the Quennel-Forbes axis". Some say the character of "the Loot" in Put Out More Flags owes something to Ali, although there is a more obvious model for the character.

Ali Forbes was "rediscovered" by the Spectator, which, under Alexander Chancellor's editorship, gave him considerable leeway to offend in his entertaining and scurrilous book reviews. When the magazine published a profile of him in 1985, he wrote a 20 page letter pointing out its inaccuracies (the Spectator printed the letter, its longest ever).

Ali Forbes, for all his occasional portentousness and silliness, was a relic from a time when the world of high society, finance, and global politics contained broad measures of irreverence and wit; it seems this world has long predeceased him, replaced with a kind of ubiquitous corporate correctness.

In fact, Ali's affectations and prolixity were entirely misleading: his voice is far less stuffy, far less affected, and far more original than those who consort with power and greatness today.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Actionism in Britain: The Hanging Baskets of Salford

Tony Blair's new government announces a flurry of actionism sponsored by the Minister for Policing, Security and Community Safety, Hazel Blears.

The usual gestures rain down, such as making offenders in Salford put up hanging baskets, and more anti-smoking rules. It is all designed "to foster a culture of respect," the government bleats. Tony Blair, meanwhile, wring his hands and says there's nothing much politics can achieve in this area and that frankly, it is the parents who are to blame.

Political impotence is a pose that is catching. In Germany, the so-called Müntefering Terror was kicked off by the SPD's Chairman, the eponymous Franz, who blames all his country's economic troubles on capitalism, especially American, Jewish capitalists, and says that there is nothing his government can do about their evil plots. It is left to German citizens to draw their own conclusions, something Müntefering aids by publicising lists of "guilty" companies (which happen to be American and Jewish) and his government abets by suggesting that a boycott of such companies would be in order.

Now Tony blames Britain's social breakdown on the parents of criminals, rather than on the governments which have succeeded in destroying the institution of marriage, so that 42% of British kids, these days, are born out of wedlock. And yet simple changes to the tax regime would do far more to encourage a stable family life than any number of hanging baskets in Salford.

The link is to Fredinand Mount's article in today's Telegraph.Telegraph Opinion How can you blame the parents without encouraging marriage?

EU Appeasement of Cuba (II)

If anyone needed any more proof that appeasement of dictatorships backfires, Fidel Castro gave it to the European Union yesterday night.

Although the EU ended its so-called "cocktail wars" with Cuba last February (a disgustingly supine move which banned anyone opposed to Castro's regime from attending EU embassy parties) this has not secured it even the minimum of respect for its European delegates.

Last night, two Polish MEP's were frogmarched to Havana airport for daring to associate with opposition figures there, and sent unceremoniously home.

The EU's de haut en bas contempt for democracy is plain in all it does, so it is unlikely to feel at all strongly about Cuba's insult on that score. But it does possess a fearsomely strong sense of amour propre - which may lead it to react to this provocation. Cocktail swizzle-sticks at dawn, then, and not a moment before time.


Müntefering Terror Continues

As the regional elections in Nordrhein-Westphalen come to their climax (voting is this Sunday), the Chairman of Germany's ruling SPD party, Chairman Müntefering, continues to flail out at his perceived class enemies.

The Müntefering Terror, as it is called in Germany, has already seen Americans, Jews and capitalists painted into corners as the secret destroyers of Germany's prosperity. Never once has Chairman Müntefering shown any regret for his scandalous and inflammatory allegations. Instead, he revels in thuggery, continually increasing the rhetorical heat.

Yesterday, after a debate between the SPD and CDU candidates, Müntefering entered the fray again. After the opposition CDU candidate had emerged a winner on 3 out of 5 key issues, Chairman Müntefering reduced the debate - and the upcoming vote - to a simple question of personality, or rather, brute power.

He dissed the CDU man, Rüttgers, the strongest way he could: "Nordrhein-Westphalen kann nicht vom Weichei regiert werden," he said. ("NRW cannot be governed by a sissy").

Good old Chairman Müntefering - he may not have anything much in the way of intelligence or a moral sense, but he's ever so handy when the level of debate needs to be torpedoed down to the lowest level, that of the political gutter.

The link is to the (German-only) Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.Wahl in NRW: M?ntefering: R?ttgers ist ein ?Weichei? - FAZ.NET - Politik

European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) Accused of Fraud by European Ombudsman

From the Ombudsman's report:

"... OLAF submitted misleading information to the EU's institutional watchdog between March 2002 and March 2003, twisting the facts on allegations that the German journalist (H-M Tillack) had bribed the commission staff."

For the moment, OLAF is denying the ombudsman's charges. It knows that, should they stick, the EU's reputation (such as it is) for fraud-fighting will be a bust flush, all credibility gone.


Tuesday, May 17, 2005

EU Communications Commissioner Posts in Swedish Only

Margot Wallström, the EU's Communication Commissioner - has come the most frightful cropper with her speech saying that the EU's draft constitutional document is the only thing standing between Europe and another holocaust.

And now her last posting (last Sunday's) in which she addresses the controversy her cheap and self-serving remarks have caused, is written in Swedish only, thus preventing her many English-speaking fans from understanding what can have got into her.

Clearly, her first priority, in this matter, is to protect her reputation in Sweden in the first instance.

Like all Commissioners, she attaches far more importance to success "at home" than success in Brussels. It is one of the many reasons to be deeply wary of the draft constitutional document, which proposes to increase the power wielded by these embittered people, political rejects at home. Commissioner Wallström's latest posting is an interesting example of this mindset in action. EUROPA - Margot Wallstr?m, Vice-President of the European Commission: my blog

Geert Wilders Starts Campaign Against Draft EU Constitution in Holland

Geert Wilders, although under threat of an Islamist fatwa, kicked off his campaign in Venlo yesterday.

The latest Dutch polls (published Friday) gave opponents of the draft constitutional document 40%, supporters 39%, with 80% of voters saying they would vote in the referendum.

de Volkskrant - Wilders? tourNEE is circus voor lijfwachten en media

North Korea Flails Japan

North Korea detects the revival of the Japanese "Yamato Spirit", which it defines as an East Asian form of fascism and militarist revival.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Nothing But Bad News: Week In Review

Nothing but bad news has been coming out of Europe the past week or so. No sooner is Blair re-elected in Britain than Glenda Jackson, the Labour MP for Hampstead and Highgate, demands that he resign. He meekly agrees to an "orderly transfer" of power to his successor, whom everyone assumes will be the granite-faced socialist Gordon Brown.

In Germany, the Müntefering Terror continues, with capitalists being spat at and reviled by leftist oafs on the public airwaves as a matter of daily routine. The German Bundestag, with a Stalin-like near-unanimity of 569 out of 594, approves the draft EU constitution, ushering in the end of Germany's short-lived democratic experiment.

Then Edith ("Lea") Rosh, having dug up part of a corpse at Belzec concentration camp, agitates for it to be incorporated into the brand-new Jewish Memorial in Berlin. As a lapsed protestant, she is perhaps unaware that Jews and other civilised people are horrified by such grisly and impious acts. But her personal convictions give primacy to publicity at the expense of a dead person's mortal remains.

And so it goes, on and on.

In Moscow, President Putin allows the German Chancellor, Schröder, to participate in a celebration of the USSR's victory over Germany. Schröder enjoys himself with an enthusiasm that is nauseating, not to say highly suspicious, giving out great bear-like shouts of joy and laughter as the festivities proceed.

The EU, shamed by the blog's successful "Arms to China? Not In Our Name!" campaign, ventures to suggest to China that if Europeans are to lift the arms sanctions, it might be helpful if Beijing could at least play along in the matter of human rights. The Chinese angrily reply that linking the two is "an insult".

More misappropriation of the remembrance of the dead comes from Margot Wallström, the EU's hypnotically attractive Swedish Communications Commissioner. She says that it was the EU which brought down communism. No-one dares to correct her elementary blunder. Encouraged, she goes on to say that the EU's draft constitution is the only thing that stands between Europe and a renewed Nazi onslaught. The constitution, she promises us, will stop the "greed" that caused World War II.

By now, no-one is in any mood to object, united in our hatred of greed, and blinded as we all are by her intense Nordic beauty.

The Voice of Hate: Sheik Ibrahim Mudeiris

Extract from a "sermon" preached by Sheik Ibrahim Mudeiris on Palestinian Authority TV on Friday 13th May 2005:

"...the Jews are a virus resembling AIDS... the day will come when everything will be relieved of the Jews."

Palestinian Authority TV is part-funded by money given it by the EU. One wonders what Margot Wallström, the European Commissioner for Communications, will make of Mudeiris' prophecy. Margot, after all, is keen to encourage the notion that Europe is on the threshold of another holocaust.

How appropriate that her own budget is being used to foment precisely that outcome!

The link gives a fuller text of the "sermon."MEMRI TV

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

"Tony Blair's time is over": Polly Toynbee

Polly Toynbee, a hard-left writer on the left-wing Guardian in London, says she will "happily" vote for Tony Blair's Labour Party tomorrow, although he is "yesterday's man" and, even if he wins, the only question everyone will ask is "When will he go?". She's already looking forward to the time Gordon Brown, Labour's Chancellor and a man much more palatable to the left than Blair ever was, will succeed him. Everyone assumes Brown will be a shoe-in for the premiership once Blair goes - and both these assumptions are scarcely questioned, which seems a bit worrying, given that the UK, as well as the Labour party, are supposed to be organised along democratic lines.

Looking at it from abroad, it has been a curious election. On the Conservative side, Michael Howard was at one stage being disowned by members of his own party, when he unwisely made heavy weather of the immigration question. He has since moved to more positive issues but if he has struck a chord, it hasn't yet registered with the pollsters. Howard too is seen as a yesterday's man - he served with Margaret Thatcher, for one, and his potential successors are already manoeuvring for his job if he loses.

Tony Blair has lost all trust, partly as a result of his much-publicised fratricidal antics with Brown, partly because he thought himself obliged to lie about the reasons to go to war in Iraq.

The Labour campaign has attacked the Conservatives with posters that verged on the anti-Semitic in their imagery. The voters' distrust of politicians spilled over in loud invective on live TV.

There's bound to be a big protest vote, which will at minimum reduce Labour's lead, but will probably not be enough to result in a hung Parliament or even a Conservative victory.Guardian Unlimited Politics Special Reports Tony Blair's time is over

German Government's Nazi Techniques Isolate Jews and Capitalists

When the historian Michael Wolffsohn entered Germany's laughably-named Kapitalismusdebatte yesterday, setting out some considered historical analogies in the Rheinische Post, the blog breathed a sigh of relief.

For over three weeks we have been writing about the matter and we were beginning to tire. The government's chief demagogue, Chairman Müntefering of the SPD, continued his capitalist-baiting with almost daily eructations of bile. Here is a brief summary of the German government's techniques as used over the past month:

1. Identify a group to blame for society's ills (ie. capitalists);

2. Say that they are part of an international movement which undermines Germany for profit;

3. Compare them to unpleasant animals (eg. " a plague of locusts")

4. Encourage citizens to boycott them;

5. Draw up a blacklist of names of the "guilty" capitalists;

6. When the capitalist victims of this treatment protest, demand that they apologise (see today's papers and this blog).

That is a dispassionate description of what the German government, primarily in the form of Chairman Müntefering, has been up to these last weeks. Now it doesn't take a professor of history to spot a few elementary parallels with the techniques used by the Nazi's to isolate their Jewish "enemies".

Professor Wolffsohn's calm, quietly despairing comments, the blog thought, would show Germans their government's true face, shame their politicians to some semblance of decency, and finally bring the matter to an end, not a moment before time.

But this is not what has happened. Fascinatingly, Germans, instead of turning their backs on the demagoguery of Chairman Müntefering, are rushing to attack Michael Wolffsohn! A senior SPD functionary called Herr Schartau has actually demanded that Wolffsohn apologise for his remarks. An SPD "economic expert", Herr Wend, says "Der Mann hat sie nicht alle" ("That man isn't all there"). Even the opposition FDP leader, to his undying discredit, defends Chairman Müntefering against Wolffsohn's remarks, which he claims are "as unhistorical as hurtful."

On the one hand, a lot of these weird people are bien-pensants who abhor each and every comparison with the Nazis as "lowering the tone of the debate." For them, Nazis are strictly off-limit, and the only time a comparison might be made is when you are dealing with actual neo-Nazis - pasty, unpopular postmodern shadows of the real thing, who represent no serious political threat. But any cool historical comparison, such as that made by Michael Wolffsohn, dealing with mainstream politics and the powerful politicians and political techniques of today, is beyond the political pale. In this way the validity of a living engagement with the past is denied.

On the other hand, even if one can respect the sqeamishness of bien pensant opinion leaders, one has to say they lack imagination in a way that is in itself dangerous. For if one rushes to condemn Prince Harry for wearing Nazi-like fancy dress, but cannot point out that the lethal techniques used by the Nazis to isolate and demonise groups within society are still alive and kicking today, and are being used by the biggest party of government in Germany, then one's political antennae are receiving and responding to a fatally filtered segment of reality.

And the six techniques listed above, as used by the ruling SPD party, have horrified the blog over the past few weeks. What is even worse is that voices who condemn them are attacked for "lowering the tone of the debate" - as if Chairman Müntefering's remarks about "capitalist locusts" truly constituted a debate, as opposed to desperate election polemics.

The German government, and the "debate" it has chosen to start, may not quite have descended to explicit Jew-baiting or pogroms yet, but it is quite happy to condone continued capitalist-baiting. The blog thus recommends that all Jews and capitalists keep a careful eye on the flight and train schedules to Holland and Switzerland, in case we need to go somewhere more civilised, where we're welcome, and don't have to put up with this kind of soul-sapping demagoguery disguised as "debate."

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Moron Warns Against "Radical Tendencies" of Capitalism

The Chairman of Nordrhein-Westphalen's ruling SPD party, Herr Edgar Moron, warns us against the "radical tendencies" of the opposition parties.

Herr Moron suggests a "massive resistance" against the FDP's mild plans to add a smidgeon of free market reform in to the sclerotic German state.

Moron also warns that, should the opposition succeed in evicting his bankrupt government of hacks and lickspittles, it will mean that "capital" will be the only power ruling in the land ("dem Kapital alleinige Macht überlassen").

This may be a tenable position to take, although the blog suspects that Brussels will have a thing or two to say about it. But no-one in Germany is in the slightest bit interested in Brussels, so Moron's soundbites may well persuade us that there is truly no alternative to government by Moron.

The link is to Herr Moron's site (German only)<a href="http://www.edgar-moron.de/.net/QTPPDPGVZPQQTZDGDVPVP/meldungen/3007/24450.html">Edgar Moron MdL>a

Monday, May 02, 2005

Chairman Müntefering Pelted With Eggs In Kapitalismusdebatte

Chairman Müntefering, of Germany's ruling SPD party, was pelted with eggs as he addressed supporters in Duisburg over the weekend.

It was all part of the exciting "Kapitalismusdebatte" initiated by the Chairman three weeks ago, in which he has been busily branding capitalists as "locusts" who are to blame for Germany's unemployment. The blog has devoted enough space to this sad exercise in political desperation. And now that the latest polls show that the Chairman's ploy has not raked in any more votes for his declining party, it seems the Kapitalismusdebatte has run its course.

Much excitement is generated in Esens when we hear that the Chairman has been bandying about a blacklist containing the names of the guilty capitalists. We scan the list to see if we have been denounced. Alas no, it's a false alarm. The names are all those of American companies. The blog remains free to spawn its capitalist filth for another day.Die Zeit - Politik : Eier gegen M?ntefering