They discuss how Brexit, which Scotland did not vote for, is going to create difficulties.
The pods will be back very shortly, I have already recorded one this week and will also be recording two specials.
In the meantime, have a little think about what this says…
I think this should be a useful reminder before tomorrow of how well the Unionist parties have represented Scotland in Europe.
These are the populations and number of people in European parliament for some of the smaller countries in Europe.
Can you see which one appears to be different? If you can, can you work out why that might be?
Malta = 403,532 MEP’s = 5
Luxembourg = 486,006 MEP’s = 6
Cyprus = 792,604 MEP’s = 6
Estonia = 1,307,605 MEP’s = 6
Slovenia = 2,007,711 MEP’s = 7
Latvia = 2,245,423 MEP’s = 9
Lithuania = 3,700,000 MEP’s = 13
Ireland = 4,156,119 MEP’s 13
Scotland = 5,062,011 MEP’s = 6
Finland = 5,244,749 MEP’s = 14
Slovakia = 5,455,407 MEP’s = 14
Denmark = 5,484,723 MEP’s = 14
Before everything resolves into election chat today I just want to point out that there is a general strike in Greece.
Good luck Greek strikers, I hope you win.
“There are other things the [government] can do, before taking money from a pensioner who earns 500 euros (£430) a month,”
– Spyros Papaspyros
(Photo from older protest)
Cartoon by THE PLEB
My first reaction on seeing the gains made by the far right in Europe was to hope that the people of Africa and Asia will be kinder to us when we are banging their door for help than we have been to them.
My second reaction was to think I wouldn’t blame them if they weren’t.
The usual suspects can be blamed for all this. Low turnout is one thing but the media being generally to the right and the supposed left’s inability to inspire people because they simply water down the right’s policies are more important.
The Greens seem to have completely lost their way when they are needed most. This was another major cause for concern. I can only assume it is because voters have been buying into the other parties new green propaganda.
The fact that Scotland proved to be going in a different direction was a comfort, but not that big. The SNP [the party for independence] made huge gains in Scotland, despite being midterm. It also highlights again the differences between Scotland and England, furthering the independence cause.
The Greeks also ignored the general drift right so well done to them. Make mine an Ouzo.
Berlusconi is angry in Italy because his party didn’t do as well as expected so on balance that is a good thing.
Well done also to the Swedish pirate party who, I imagine against their own expectations, will be sending someone to the parliament.
I’ll leave you with these quotes from a certain Mr Orwell. Terminologies and times have changed but the messages still stand…
“We have got to admit that if Fascism is everywhere advancing, this is largely the fault of the Socialists themselves. Partly it is due to the mistaken communist tactic of sabotaging democracy, i.e. sawing off the branch you are sitting on; but still more to the fact that Socialists have, so to speak, presented their case wrong side foremost. They have never made it sufficiently clear that the essential aims of Socialism are justice and liberty.” (The Road to Wigan Pier, p.188).
“Hitler’s after us! Let’s all grab a spanner and get together, and perhaps if we smash in enough faces they won’t smash ours. Gang up, choose your Leader. Hitler’s black and Stalin’s white. But it might as well be the other way about, because in the little chap’s mind both Hitler and Stalin are the same. Both mean spanners and smashed faces.” (Coming Up for Air p. 149).
Well done Ireland for showing us the way against the odds again. As my friend Lonesome sparrow points out, the ‘No’ campaign was outspent 20 to 1.
Despite that, the people of Ireland have rejected the Lisbon Treaty by 53.4% to 46.6% meaning that the treaty in its current form cannot be adopted as EU policy.
He further says what I have been repeating for some time…these reforms that certain of the power and business people want keep coming up in different forms. I am sure they are already planning the next way to try and deceive the people of Europe into accepting these manifestly unpopular measures.
Whenever this has come up for a referendum, the people have said no. Long may it continue.
Thank you Ireland.
The result has put me in a good mood so here is some party time stuff for friday night…
When anyone discusses the EU it tends to bring images of dull men in grey suits and masses of bureacuracy to the front of the mind and there is a tendency to switch off. However, the amount of bureacrats employed by the EU commission [administering all of europe] for example, is considerably less than one of the larger ministries in some of the larger member states. They couldn’t do what they do without the tacit and/or active support of the politicians in the member states. The politicians tend to abuse the EU at home to score points with the electorate and then support when no one is looking.
Now dull they might be, but we live in times where dull unimaginative men in grey suits have a huge influence on how we live. Also, the fact that they are dull does not mean they can’t be callous or brutal – just think about what people thought of Stalin at first. I am not suggesting for a minute that the EU bureaucrats are akin to Stalin but I once heard an academic, who is best described as an unapologetic Stalinist, suggest that based on purely economic indicators Stalin was very succesful. That may well be true but in those terms so was slavery, the early years of Nazism and a million other abominations. A justification for something based solely on economic growth is no justification at all.
Ireland is also the only country where the people will be allowed to vote on the treaty because it is in their constitution that they must be allowed to do so. The rest of Europe had their referendums on the forerunner to the treaty [the EU constitution] cancelled when it became clear that the people were going to go against the wishes of those in power when the French and the Dutch voted ‘Non’/’Neen’.
So the constitution was slightly modified, reworded and redressed as a treaty, which meant that many countries wouldn’t have to give their people the opportunity to say what they thought about it in a referendum.
In case it still isn’t clear to you…yes…this was a massive ‘Fuck you’ from the leaders of the European Nations (not merely the people who work in Brussels) to their own people .
Ireland experienced a massive increase in wealth in the last 30 years, and the EU played a large part in that success. That is not a justification for the endorsement of this treaty.
If the Irish people want to vote purely from self-interest then they they should vote ‘no’ because the kind of EU money that was going to them before the expansion of the EU will be going elsewhere. If the predicted problems in the European economy materialise then Ireland will be locked into the cycle with Europe if it ratifies the treaty. Without it they have more of a chance of pulling themselves out of trouble.
If they want to think more internationally then they should also vote ‘no’ because this treaty is going to cause more problems for people in the poorer parts of the world based as a lot of it based on the (ahem) ‘free’ market principles that have got us into this god-awful mess of environmental degradation and poverty we are in now.
I made a new picture to go with all of this. The original picture is by the artist Louise Bourgeois so I might have to delete it.
Please check my friends take on this at Lonesome Sparrows blog.
There are a few more articles by myself on the subject.
There is also the intriguing possibility that Scotland might have its own referendum even if England is denied the right.
SONG FOR THE DAY – Click the link below to listen (its good).
Welcome to the European Union
by David Rovics
I landed in Denmark and there was Burger King
And a red and white sign saying “Coke´s the real thing”
The Titanic was sinking at the local cineplex
And the kids were chomping on corn chex
In the city center the stores were closing down
Things just haven´t been the same since the Wal-Mart came to town
In the growing suburbs folks were driving minivans
And it´s all gone according to the best-laid plans
Welcome to the European Union
It´s evolving every day
Getting more and more like the USA
Well I thumbed a ride to Hamburg, saw the homeless in the street
The mayor had to build more houses to make room for the elite
The cops were rounding up the immigrants, sending them to other places
It was plain to see the desperation on their faces
When I got to Brussels you could feel the scheming in the air
Corporate executives in suits were everywhere
And they were very happy for all the plans they made
And you could hear them chanting, “free trade free trade free trade!”
And in London men were saying, “We need more fighter planes
And we need more motorways with some exra lanes
We need Washington to teach us how an economy runs
And spend lots more money on cars and bombs and guns
When Euro-Interests are threatened we must be prepared
To invade some backward country if the United States is scared
Africa may shake and the peaceniks will glower
But what the world plainly needs is another superpower”
Once we were so proud of social democracy
Welfare for all and long vacations by the sea
But now we have seen the errors of our ways
There is no alternative, no way back to the old days
If you want a living wage, we´ll tell you where to go
As we welcome China into the WTO
Yes if you want an honest job your prospects might not look sunny
But there´s never been a better time if you´ve got lots of money
Yes in the halls of power from Athens to Par-ee
You can hear the rulers shouting “no more subsidy
So fuck off all you workers, farmers, greens and all
It´s time to turn the world into a giant shopping mall”
From Rasmussen to Shroeder, Blair to Berlusconi
It´s all the same old show, same old dog and pony
If you need me to spell it out, what´s the matter with them
It´s called C-A-P-I-T-A-L-I-S-M
Don’t you realise that your poor leaders are tired? Every time they try to lead you a step closer to full on World War or complete the ecocide project you keep getting in their way and make them have to go through long drawn out mind control and propaganda campaigns. After that, when some of you still don’t believe them, they have to increase policing and clamp down on protest and dissent of any sort so you don’t step too far out of line. You might not be too effective at stopping them yet, but you certainly make them up their marketing and police bills.
Can’t you just leave them alone so they can get on with their project? Stop being so damn unreasonable!
Because of the obstinacy of the people of Europe, the new(ish) EU Treaty has been relatively quietly prepared. There has been a great deal less hullaballoo than when the EU constitution, in a sudden and unforeseen outbreak of democracy, was defeated by the people in the French and Dutch referendums.
Other referendums were cancelled against the wishes of public opinion in other EU countries, which was in favour of national referendums going ahead so they could register their disapproval – even though the constitution was already effectively dead.
Or was it?
When Chirac said in his national address “You have rejected the European constitution by a majority. It is your sovereign decision and I take note of it” I was slightly taken aback. ‘Take NOTE of it’ he said, not ‘act in accordance with it’ which would be the response if there was any semblance of democracy left in the upper echelons of government. Other politicians in Holland, France and around Europe more or less said that their fault was in not explaining themselves well enough rather than drafting horrendous policies that nobody wanted – even after an enormous campaign to convince them it was good for them.
In fact, because of this traitorous malevolence on the part of the people the European Council and the Council of Ministers decided not to explain themselves at all and get the civil servants to draft it and sneak it through, giving the document to member states only 48 hours before it was due to be signed. After this it can all be blamed on the European Commission and business can carry on with even more terrible leeway than usual.
This neatly sidesteps all that tedious business about democracy.
Indeed Valery Giscard d’Estaing, one of the main authors of the constitution said…
“All the earlier proposals will be in the new text, but will be hidden and disguised in some way.”
Former Italian Prime Minister Giuliano Amato…
“They decided that the document should be unreadable. If it is unreadable, it is not constitutional, that was the sort of perception… Should you succeed in understanding it at first sight there might be some reason for a referendum, because it would mean that there is something new.”
Belgian Foreign Minister Karel de Gucht….
“The aim of the Constitutional treaty was to be more readable; the aim of this treaty is to be unreadable… The Constitution aimed to be clear, whereas this treaty had to be unclear. It is a success.”
But never fear, our new Prime Sinister says that the UK will retain important opt-outs. Even the BBC are reporting this. What they don’t say (properly) in this article is that some of those opt-outs include opting-out of human rights legislation that would impede the war on the abstract noun.
It is unusual for me to agree with the Conservatives but they are calling for a referendum on the treaty as they believe it is about 90% the same as the aborted constitution.
A comparitive text with the two documents side by side can be viewed here. I suggest you look at it to see just how similar the two documents are. It might serve as a useful reminder that our supposed representatives have nothing but comtempt for us.
Joe Carpenter said…
I’ve never understood the idea of speaking truth to power. The truth, surely, is that in almost all countries of the world, political and economic systems are designed to benefit only the rich and powerful, at the expense of those with less money and power. This is how the world works, and I see no reason to think that the powerful don’t already understand that. After all, they designed it; they maintain it.
Three quotes from http://www.openeurope.org.uk/media-centre/pressrelease.aspx?pressreleaseid=53
According to the Scotsman Alasdair Darling has warned us that the break up of the UK would risk Scotland’s place in a ‘New World Order’.
Now, for a moment lets put aside the Alex Jones type of new world order where we are all marched back and forth to work by jackbooted nazis whilst Henry Kissinger and the Bush family, robed and hooded, whip a naked Tony Blair round some country club and sacrifice a goat to top off the evening.
Leaving that aside, what he is actually talking about?
Well first it is good old-fashioned scaremongering in the finest tradition.
He said we have to stop ‘constitutional wrangling’ and look to India and China and see how much their economies are improving.
I believe the implication is that larger economic units (I won’t refer the the UK as a country) will fare much better in the ‘new’ economy than smaller ones…
Mr Darling argued that the interconnected nature of economics means Scotland is stronger as part of the UK.
Well he would of course – his job depends on it.
The veiled thing here is that Scotland would miss out on its opportunity to be part of the new imperialism…
“I believe Scotland and England are far better off together than apart – especially when, all over the world, new opportunities are arising which we can seize if we have the will to.”
The obvious answer the SNP might give to that would be to say that that is the purpose of the European Union.
There has been a subtle shift in the propaganda coming from London lately. They have lost the battle with regard to convincing people that Scotland would not be economically viable if it was independent so they have switched the emphasis to talking about how difficult disagreeing with London will make it for us in the future.
“I believe it would be a profound mistake to spend the next four years in constitutional conflict north and south of the Border, when we need to meet the economic challenges we face.”
“The rest of the world is doing just that. So must we by meeting the challenges and seeking the opportunities that come from globalisation. We’ve got a choice: four years of constitutional wrangling, blaming someone else; or making sure we act now and seize the opportunities for Scotland’s future.”
No one I know is blaming the English people. In fact, recent polls show that 60% of the English public are in favour of Scottish Independence. Who we are blaming is people like Alasdair Darling and the rest of the political class in London that continue to try to scare us in this manner.
Jack Straw admitted the real reason for it…
“historically England called the shots to achieve a union because the union was seen as a way, among other things, of amplifying England’s power worldwide.
A broken-up United Kingdom would not be in the interest of Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, but especially not England.
Our [England’s] voting power in the European Union would diminish. We’d slip down the world’s GDP tables.
Our case for staying in the G8 would diminish and there could easily be an assault on our permanent seat in the UN.”
Scotland would actually go up in the tables for most things and I don’t believe most Scots want to be part of the new imperialism anyway so that negates his arguments.
It again comes back to the old famous quote [here adapted]..
It is better to have our politicians here in Edinburgh where we can throw stones at them because not even the strongest arm can throw as far as London.
THE GREAT DECEPTION – If you haven’t read this already I URGE you to.
 Some of the other purposes of the EU were in the BBCs ‘Yes Minister’…