“We’re a sovereign nation, start respecting that fact…”

Over on Brassneck I’ve picked up on the Open Europe poll that came up with a 71% majority against a second poll on Lisbon. On Sunday morning Lorraine McNamara Mullaly of Open Europe went up against Minister of State for European Affairs Dick Roche on the Wide Angle programme on Newstalk. She ends up taking a roasting for being part of a British think tank interfering in Irish affairs. Roche has some legitimate questions about the framing of the pol questions, but the Minister also has some awkward questions about the Commission’s apparently deliberate misbriefing of the press ahead of the release of the Eurobarometer poll in June. You can hear the interview here.

  • Wilde Rover

    At what point do the other electorates find their voices? Is it to be the sole responsibility of an electorate that is, as has been repeated to the point of grinding teeth, insignificant in the grand scheme of things?

    If the more significant electorates of this great project in the furthering of human development are so concerned that the march of progress is being tripped up by a small group of malcontents then let it be shown on the streets of the great cities of Europe.

    Let them take to the streets in a grand carnival to show the Irish electorate that the people of Europe feel good about the direction in which we are all going.

    If they cannot vote in this project directly the least they should be permitted to do is engage in a little street theatre to show the Irish electorate that they are confused and misinformed.

  • Dave

    That’s a fine and fair article from you on Brassneck, Mick – subjecting the politicians to public scrutiny, particularly when the politicians are conspiring to undermine the democratic will of the public and to deliberately mislead the public.

    It doesn’t matter why the people voted the way they did in a democracy: it only matters that their vote is respected. Did the people understand the details of the polices that were in the manifestos of the respective political parties at the last general election; and, if not, should that be used as an excuse to re-run the election until Fine Gael are elected? Brian Cowen admitted that he did not read the Lisbon Treaty, so he could not have understood a document that he did not read. So should the results of the Yes voters such as Brian Cowen be discarded on the same basis? If you follow that logic, then you have to subject each voter to a detailed questionnaire and a lie detector test before their votes are deemed to be valid. Indeed, it was the deliberate strategy of the EU mandarins to make the document unintelligent to the public, using that unintelligibility as the excuse to deny the public the right to vote on a document that fundamentally alters their political, civil, economic, human, and national rights. Clearly this unintelligibility excuse is now being used as a sinister pretext to under the result of the only valid democratic process that the document was exactly subject to.

    Micheál Martin and the Irish government in conspiracy with the EU are trying to closedown the democratic process in Ireland by confining the debate to pro-EU voices. This is a perfect illustration of how the EU project has undermined democracy in Europe – a very dangerous process for states within the EU that are familiar with fascist systems of government. The EU is a serious threat to the civil liberties of the people who live within it.

    Micheál Martin claims that Ireland has nothing to learn from Open Europe, but he is badly mistaken. Many of Open Europe’s contributors are Irish (or Irish-based academics such as Dr. Constantin Gurdgiev) and have published some excellent analysis on the Irish economy and the EU’s detrimental effect on it. Does Micheál Martin, a humble schoolteacher, even grasp that Ireland’s economic success is predicated on deregulation and low taxation, not the high taxation and over-regulation that the EU bases its protectionist market on? Does he even know that the EU’s social model has failed its people with, for example, only 29% of EU ‘citizens’ having a university education compared with 39% in the US and 52% in Japan. Lorraine Mullally’s chapter in Open Europe’s book Beyond the European Social Model is well worth reading should Micheál Martin want to learn a little of the reality beyond the Europhile hype. The appeal of the EU project to little men like is that rather than solving the complex problems of government directly with clever solutions, they prefer to sign the sovereignty away to others and let others ham-fistedly deal with the problems.


    Cian of Where’s Me Country (on the politics.ie link) is right about there being a deliberate strategy of ‘non-debate’ about the issues of Europe. Europhiles see this as union by stealth. The only discussion must be about the alleged positive advantages of EU membership, with no mention whatsoever of its considerable disadvantages. The left in America uses a similar strategy to get PC measures based: not by making a big fuss about them and claiming that they are important, but by pretending that are unimportant – merely simple commonsense measures that no-one should be bothered objecting to. In this way, fundamental principles, concepts and rights such as the right to self-determination, democracy, sovereignty, the nation state, ect, but be removed by degrees with no mention of the removal other than to mention the ‘advantages’ of whatever the removal is alleged to be facilitating.

  • Greenflag

    Well said Mr Roche – A well British Euroskeptic group based in Britain framing obviously skewed questions in a supposedly ‘neutral ‘ survey .

    Brassneck indeed . Felt sorry for the poor girl . Roche lambasted her good and proper . Message to British Europhobes and skeptics – By all means pursue your anti EU agenda in the UK but best not to interfere in the Republic- On the other hand a few more stunts like Open Europe’s should help to overturn the minority NO vote next time .

  • Dave

    A xenophobic Europhile – “Bloody foreigners interfering in our internal affairs”.

    I love it. 😉

  • Greenflag

    Dave ,

    Same old gumpf masquerading as high falutin ‘sovereignty speak ‘ . You’d have been a brilliant Brit salesman back in Empire days of yore selling ‘bibles’ in return for whole territorie.

    ‘Does he (Martin ) even know that the EU’s social model has failed its people with, for example, only 29% of EU ‘citizens’ having a university education compared with 39% in the US and 52% in Japan.’

    He knows that in the UN’s index for quality of life the USA is ranked 19th whereas EU countries including Ireland rank in the top five IIRC. As for the 39% USA graduates I’m delighted to hear it.Strange then that the USA comes near the bottom of the list in all cross cultural educational tests for elementary and second level students . He’s also aware that 6o million USA citizens don’t have Health Insurance and that of developed countries the USA has the highest figure for infant deaths apart altogether from havong the largest numbers of people in prison population pro size of population in the developed world . Also the highest murder rate more than 10 times the average for EU countries . As for the ‘triumph’ of ‘freemarket’ economics have you been keeping up with the adventures of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and the price of oil and the depreciating dollar and the hundreds of billions that have been squandered by a profligate Republican regime as they allowed Wall St financiers to sell the lie that ‘wealth ‘can be created by banks producing pieces of paper called derivatives ‘

    Japan now that’s another story . The Japanese people have the highest life expectancy of any developed country and they spend half what the USA spends on healthcare . Every citizen in Japan gets equal health treatment . And no you won’t see homeless veterans or poor people with no teeth digging for food from public waste bins in Japan but you will see them Stateside . I’m sure Dave would see this as just poor people in poor health expressing their eh oh yes ‘sovereignty’

    Whatever faults the EU has and it has many they are from a social , educational and health perspective nothing on the scale to what at least a quarter of American population have to deal with !

    There will be another referendum on Lisbon and I hope it will be on the same day as the European elections .

    I’ll be looking forward to seeing SF campaign for NO votes alongside the British Open Europe crowd Ganley’s American /Iraq based neo con Libertas , not forgetting the French and Austrian Fascists parties .

    You could’nt make it up !

  • BfB


    Get some sleep.

    Things are BAD in the real Japan. Read some non-fiction.
    Anti-US prat. And a bit of a liar to boot. What a surprise.

  • Greenflag

    Bonehead from Boston ,

    ‘A Pennsylvania woodworker said he found Jesus in a tree stump. Some are calling the find a piece of “divine pine,” reports CBS station KYW-TV in Philadelphia.

    So you now take the form of a wooden stump ?
    Brilliant . I’m glad they found you at last.

    As for lies here’s some ‘more’ to keep you entertained .

    ‘Japan experienced 1.3 robberies per 100,000 population, compared with 48.6 for West Germany, 65.8 for Great Britain, and 233.0 for the United States; and it experienced 1.1 murder per 100,000 population, compared with 3.9 for West Germany, 1.03 for England and Wales, and 8.7 for the United States . (1980’s )

    Since then the USA has advanced it’s lead in the Homicide World League a fact of which I’m sure you are proud and that’s with the excluding the Iraqi bloodbath .

    It would appear that you are over 200 times more likely to be the victim of thief and almost 8 times more likely to be the victim of a murderer if you are American rather than Japanese.

    BTW -Try and stick to the thread ! If you know nothing about the EU best to say nuttin !

  • Peat Blog

    Green flag,

    You’re scaring me.

    Are you human or a synthetic like yer “man” from Alien?

  • BfB


    Only commenting on your rainman like propensity to slam the US with misleading falsehoods and useful idiot rants. That whole tree stump thing is a bit scary, but makes my point.
    BTW I’ve forgotten more about the EU than you’ll ever know, really.

  • Greenflag

    bfb ,

    What was false about remarks re USA ?

  • Greenflag

    Peat Bog ,

    ‘You’re scaring me.’

    You should be 🙂
    If you’re not it means you are blissfully unaware of what’s about to come on the western economic front. BfB hardly knows what’s going on in his own country it would seem . He’ll know when he’s changing 10 dollars for a pond sterling or euro assuming he’s ever able to afford to leave Fortress America where I read some 3 million people who can afford to leave are planning to and 1.5 million have already .

  • Peat Blog


    I’m more than aware of what’s coming economically which is why I’m not up to my eyeballs in debt and am waiting patiently. I would also be perhaps a bit more concerned about what is going to happen on the eastern economic front.

    I just don’t get the relevance of some of your posts to the thread.

    BTW, as you are on economics, I see that the Doha round on world trade has failed. Mandy was just on C4 News.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    “We’re a sovereign nation, start respecting that fact…”

    who in god’s earth said that? Ireland is a state within Europe and Lisbon II will make it a province.

  • Liam

    Greenflag, you euro-weenie American hating pinko, go crawl back under your rock 🙂

  • Dave

    Greenie, 84% of all Americans have health insurance – whereas the French can’t afford it and have developed an innovative ‘health care’ solution of pretending that they don’t become ill. Germany has finally recognised that health care that is provided by the public sector and paid for by taxpayers is so bad that they’ve made it mandatory in 2008 for all citizens to have private health insurance, encouraging the private sector to become involved. Pro-Europeans are slow learners but they are beginning to grasp that the EU has failed them here too.

    The challenges of the new information economy are best met by a highly educated society, yet the EU has failed to promote education within its member states, resulting in 71% of its adult population failing to acquire a university degree, leaving it trailing far behind more progressive economies such as Japan and America. How has this unmitigated backwardness advanced the interests of the EU’s ‘citizens’? This is why, as Lorraine Mullally points out, “long term unemployment in the eurozone is six times the rate in the US.” Did nobody inform these jackasses that education matters in a service economy?

    Don’t be afraid to broaden your narrow Euromind to encompass facts that show why the European Model is a bureaucratic joke that is played out at the expense of its member states:


  • Dave

    Ulster, your homeland and your ‘mainland’ will be in that region of the EU too, so don’t be so cocky. Note that Irish is an official language of the EU but Ulster Scots isn’t, so when your new national government is the EU and not the UK, you’ll have official support the Irish language but you won’t have any support for Ulster Scots – and if they decide that you parades breach some EU law or other, too bad. All local interests are subservient to the ‘national’ interest of the EU – that’s what it means to surrender your sovereignty to it. 😉

    Now, back to Cian’s point about a deliberate strategy of ‘non-debate’ about the negative issues of Europe: how many British people know that the 118 directory inquiries fiasco was the direct result of an EU directive that mandated the UK to change its system? How many British people know that the decision to change from the 999 emergency number to 112 that resulted in 500,000 bogus emergency calls in the first year (before the UK reverted to the old number in defiance of EU law) was also the result of an EU directive? How many British people know that the much criticised and utterly disastrous decision to separate ownership of rail track from the companies operating the trains wasn’t a decision of the British government but was, rather, the result of an EU directive that forced the British government to comply with it? And why didn’t your government point out who was actually to blame for those disasters? Why? Because they’ll take the blame rather than take the risk of opening a public debate about the disadvantages of EU membership. The same deal with the Irish government: how many know what the annual commercial value of the stock that the EU takes from Irish territorial waters and that is thereby lost to the Irish economy is every year?

  • Harry Flashman

    Greenflag, I have to ask, have you ever actually been to the US? It’s just that you continually paint this appalling picture of a country and society that is somewhere between a 1970’s Soviet Union, Mad Max’s Thunderdome and a religious freak show that quite simply bears no relation to the real United States. Do you simply hoover up all the weirdest and most damning stuff from the internet?

    If the US is the crazy, bankrupt, God bothering basket case that you endlessly describe can you tell me why it is the most powerful economic, intellectual and military nation on planet earth, bar none? Why is it the number one destination for aspiring emigrants from all over the world?

    It is having some economic problems at the moment, believe it or not the US like every other nation has cyclical economic problems, the EU is having them too you know, but for you to believe that hordes of toothless, leprous, jesus freaks are poring over mountains of garbage simply shows your absolute and total ignorance of the real state of the US economy and society.

    You really are as far out there as those Rapture people you keep droning on about (and whose existence is unknown to the vast majority of Americans).

  • Greenflag

    Peat Bog,

    I’ll reply later today in better detail re your eastern front et al . Apologies for


    Ditto ,

    Harry Flash ,

    Several times and NO it’s not my intention to paint an entirely ‘bleak ‘ picture of the USA . It’s still a ‘great country’ but the world in which it achieved it’s ‘greatness’ is rapidly changing and some of those changes are now impeding the USA’s ability to extricate itself from the mainly self inflicted economic and foreign policy ‘wounds ‘ it is now undergoing . And it’s not all I’m sure you’ll be delighted to hear not just the fault of Mr Bush and his Republican fellow gangsters on which note I read today that the leading Senate Republican a Mr Stevens of Alaska has now apparently been charged on seven counts for fraud , corruption and god knows what else . At this rate of hoovering up corrupt Republicans there may be none left to stand for re-election come November:( More later.

  • Harry Flashman

    Ah yes because no Democrat politicians ever get involved in scandals do they (where would you like me to start)? When you were in the US did you ever see any evidence of the societal collapse that you would have us believe is endemic? Have you seen nothing similar here in Europe?

  • Greenflag

    Pete Bog ,

    BTW, as you are on economics, I see that the Doha round on world trade has failed. Mandy was just on C4 News.’

    My apologies just not enough time to clarify . The Doha result actually shows why Ireland needs to be a full and active particpant in the EU .

    Here’s how I see it bear in mind that I’m not a ‘pinko ‘ nor anti American despite what a few half wits have deduced from some comparative numbers posted above :).

    Since the fall of communism the Anglosphere by which I include (USA, UK, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand , Australia together with some countries in the EU have generally pushed the ‘idea’ that a Free Market ( the basis of the EU ( minus agriculture) is the way to prosperity for all – sooner or later . There is of course substantial truth in this as we can see from developent in China and elewhere in the developing world . However it’s not the whole truth as we can see from rising inequality trends in many western and indeed even eastern (Japan ) developed societies . We now see some parts of the world beginning to suffer food shortages or more specifically ‘money shortages ‘ i.e unaffordable food . (think Ireland 1840’s ). Bear in mind that these societies were making tangible progress in feeding themselves until the oil price hike .The oil price hike was triggered by the Iraqi War initially as well as by rising demand from China , India etc. More on that later.

    Since the Gatt Rounds began there has been a worldwide growth of trade accompanied by the growth of regional ‘economic markets’ such as the EU , South America, NAFTA etc but another little know ‘result’ of the Iraqi invasion has been a growing ‘reaction’ against the ‘free market ‘ in it’s Anglo-American mode by many of the emerging countries -China being just one of them .

    The Doha round shows that the Chinese do not intend to see their basic food supply /staple ‘rice’ be supplied by cheaper producers e.g USA , South East Asia -same for sugar and cotton . Neither for that matter do the Japanese want to have to depend on other countries for their basic food supply – Likewise neither does the EU .

    At the same time as the above ‘log jam’ in free trade worldwide for poorer agricultural producer countries and indirectly related to it – most of the world oil supplies and reserves have now passed from Anglo American (private corporation control) into the hands of State owned and directed ‘nationalised’ concerns of Iran , Brazil, Russia , Saudi Arabia , China , Malaysia , Norway , etc etc . All of the latter now control the ‘world ‘ price of oil . IN addition there has been since the Iraqi invasion a phenomenal transfer of wealth (denominated in US dollars) to these countries. These ‘nationally ‘ owned corporations are not ‘cooperating ‘ with ‘free market ‘ principles . They control the production levels and output and decide to whom they will preferentially sell their oil . Given that the oil price is denominated in dollars and given the continuing devaluation of said dollar across the world many of these countries will (some have already started want to see the oil price fixed in a currency less subject to devaluation .

    Remember that historically ‘free trade’ was always pushed by the leading global power of the time whether it was the British Empire in the late 1800’s or the USA . The reason for this is obvious . These countries have/had the accumulated capital, technical advantages and market distribution , production efficiences etc to compete . They also had/have the advantage of military, industrial and financial ‘power’ which they use /used to their advantage . So what has all the above got to do with Ireland /Lisbon and the EU future ?

    to be continued .

  • Greenflag

    Peat Bog ,

    Dave (primarily) among others has been making the point that Ireland would be better off outside the EU . He makes the usual criticisms of the EU re it’s overly cumbersome bureucratic and statist direction . There is much in his criticism with which I agree and I believe radical reform of the institution will be absolutely necessary if there is to be further progress to a more ‘perfect ‘ Union . In fact the present economic and credit crunch crisis in the developed world emanating from ‘free marketeer ‘ excess seems to be leading to a reevaluation of some of the principles underlying the operation of ‘free markets ‘ certainly in respect to some goods and services .

    As I said above I’m not anti free market or global free trade per se . However many people in the developed countries have seen since the seventies possibly earlier ‘well paying jobs ‘ being off shored to lower wage cost economies in what Thomas Friedman calls a long term ‘flattening ‘ of worldwide income disparities’ . However what we see in the short term is greater disparities within developed democratic countries where large sections of the older manufacturing workforce and now many of the white collar middle class are seeing their jobs disappear overseas and these are not being replaced by ‘equal pay’ jobs . New computer technology /rapid knowledge transfer etc has also of course contributed to the overall trend .

    So what you may say that’s globalisation and nobody can fight it . True up to a point . But when the Russians point a gun to Ukrainian heads and say this is what you will pay for natural gas or you get none -or when Kuwait says to Ireland you will pay 200 dollars a barrel for oil or do without then we see that what euphemistically is called ‘free market’ economics is nothing of the sort -well not in all ‘exchanges’ across international frontiers . Another reason for being in the EU .

    In the present world economic climate which is more uncertain as to short and medium term outlook than at any time since the 1930’s there is a ‘juxtaposition’ probably the wrong word developing between the Free Marketeer ‘extremists’ and the emerging larger fast developing nations such as China , Brazil, India , Russia , South East Asia , Argentine , Bolivia etc who are now pursuing a more mercantilist national approach to economic development by making use of their natural resources which have and are becoming increasingly scarce in a world wide context .

    When we look at Ireland (the Republic) in the above scenario Dave makes the point that we have low corporate taxes- a highly educated workforce – we’re english speaking – high tech adapted etc etc – entrepreneurial etc etc and that these ‘qualities ‘ will ensure our longer term future success. They will of course but we are no Norway . We do not have any scarce oil or other natural or mineral resources which would give us an edge in trade with say China or India etc . We can’t foresee future economic developments resulting from the present economic downturn in the Anglosphere worldwide .

  • Greenflag

    peat bog ,

    When we look internally within developed countries at how the free market economics has impacted the supply of public services such as health and education to citizens we see a sharp divide between the USA and the older EU member States . In the USA ‘healthcare ‘ is a business where the supply of services is predicated almost entirely on what people can afford . The main winners in the USA are the drug companies, the private health insurance companies , the medical profession in particular specialists and of course the legal fraternity . In short corporate America . In EU countries such as the UK , Netherlands ,Germany and France there is more state control of the provision of services which people are prepared to pay for through higher taxes . And yet the total cost of Health Care in the USA is almost double the EU average per capita ?

    Likewise the provison of educational services . Dave above mentions a 39% figure for USA college graduates as compard to a lower EU average . However the EU average is probably lower due to the accession of many of the poorer countries of eastern europe in the past 15 years . In addition many USA so called ‘colleges ‘ /’universities’ might be considered suspect in terms of their ‘degrees’ and the ‘entry level’ required to enter some of these institutions .

    What I’m getting at in the above is not anti USA per se but more anti the operation ‘extreme free market’ theory in practice in the provision of public health and public education

    If we are to have viable ‘democracies ‘ then it’s essential that all the people have equal access to proper health care and to the highest educational standard people can attain. That IMO is the bulwark on which our relative freedom and democratic rights rest. A society in which the rich grow ever richer and an increasing number are left to fend for themselves is one in which societal conflict and violence will be endemic and one in which prison building will be the only long term growth industry .

    We have and are seeing where ‘extreme free marketing a.k.a deregulation has led the financial services sector over the past year or so in the USA and now in the UK , Ireland , New Zealand etc . Projecting the same ‘extreme free market’ concepts onto the fields of public health service and public education would in my view lead to similar disastrous results for most ordinary citizens be they in Ireland , the UK or anywhere else in the EU – We already see the ‘implosion’ coming in Health Care in the USA .

  • Greenflag

    Dave ,

    Here is a brief report from an American radio station npr.org /health /science . You can research all the comparisons as regards health care in the USA as compared to France , Netherlands , UK, Germany and Switzerland.

    Here’s a brief excerpt to prove to you how the ‘free market’ has Americans paying double what everyone one else pays and somehow manage to get a lot less !

    The United States is the only developed nation without a universal health care system that provides care for all.

    The result is that 47 million people in the United States lack health coverage. It’s one reason the U.S. ranks 29th in the world in terms of life expectancy and at or near the bottom of most international health care comparisons.

    What you might not know is that many of the universal health care systems in Europe provide high-quality health care to all residents, at a much lower cost than what people in the United States spend on health care.

    Waiting times for care aren’t all that different from the United States, and Europeans use the same high-tech medicine, only more sparingly.

    Indeed, the countries of Western Europe rank higher on most measures of good health.

    The cost to achieve better overall health in those countries is far less than you’d expect. Spending per person is about half what’s spent in America, which in 2007 was around $7,000 a year.

    High costs and the lack of access to health care are likely to be big issues in the U.S. presidential election this fall. A key part of the discussion will be whether the country should establish universal health care or go in a different direction.

    To provide context for these upcoming debates, NPR is presenting a special monthlong series, Health Care for All, which examines five countries that have the most successful health care systems in the world: Germany, France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Switzerland.

    Radio and online reports will look at major aspects of health delivery in these five countries. Things like how quickly patients get needed care. How much they have to pay in taxes and copayments (not as much you might think). And the problems they face as their populations get older.

    Each Friday, you can hear a podcast of that week’s radio stories. Just download NPR: On Health to your computer or your MP3 player

    Each of the five countries has a different structure for financing and delivering health care. But all have one thing in common: Health insurance is mandatory for all residents.

    Our reporters and producers said nearly every person they talked to was astonished to learn that in the United States, health care isn’t automatic — or required — and that medical bills are the most common reason for bankruptcy.

    “We have in Britain, as in most of Europe actually, health care systems that are based on the principle of social solidarity,” Sir Michael Rawlins told NPR. He runs the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, which determines which drugs and treatments will be paid for by the government.

    “We look after each other when we’re sick, and that’s very precious to us in Britain and other parts of Europe, too,” he said. “And that’s what we find so difficult to understand about your system — you don’t have that.”

    Solidarity is often equated with socialism, though only the U.K. has nationalized health care. The others have built their systems around privately owned insurance companies, doctors in private practice and hospitals that are in large part owned by religious or other private institutions.

    You can compare the differences by looking at the set of interactive charts on this Web site and decide for yourself whether universal care is where our country should be headed.

    One thing that emerges from our reporting is that Americans are paying more for health care than Europeans, and getting less overall.

    Greenflag comment ,

    And the above is from Americans who have done the research and looked at the numbers !

  • Greenflag

    Harry Flash

    ‘When you were in the US did you ever see any evidence of the societal collapse that you would have us believe is endemic? ‘

    Who said anything about societal collapse ?
    What the USA is going through now is not just another ‘cycle ‘ in the long running boom bust series . It’s more serious than that .

    ‘Have you seen nothing similar here in Europe?’

    Not strictly comparable dspite the downturn in the housing market and the credit crunch . The difference between the two is the USA role in the world economy and the part played by the dollar in the pricing of oil -also the now apparent transfer of control of 80% of the worlds available oil reserves to ‘nationally ‘ owned corporations across the world and away from the Seven Sisters . This is affecting and will in future have an even greater impact on the USA’s ability to pursue it foreign policy objectives.

    The current crisis is not 1929 nor 1987 nor the 2000 Nasdaq meltdown . The crisis will in time be overcome -what is in question will be what the cost of putting it right will do to American standing in the world and more specifically to the ‘dollar’

    It’s not waste paper – yet . Another few years of 10 billion dollars a month going into a hole in the ground in Iraq and it will be 🙁

  • Harry Flashman

    GF, I almost hesitate to intervene here as you appear to be having a conversation with yourself, a pity really as you make some interesting points that are worthy of debate but unfortunately we seem to have ended up in the fag end of a dead debate.

    One thing you said however which did strike me very much and helps clear my mind about where you are coming from;

    “I’m not a ‘pinko ‘ nor anti American”

    No you aren’t, but what is often overlooked in the left/right bipolar analysis of the latter half of the 20th Century which is viewed as a struggle between free market capitalism and soviet style communism is that a large chunk of the world, including allies of the United States, ticked the “neither of the above” box. This would include most of western Europe and much of Latin America.

    Whilst nominally allied to the US these nations pursued a ‘corporatist’ approach to economics and society. I hesitate to use the word “fascist” due to the inane way that word is bandied about today but its origins are in the original Mussolini style of government. Good firm government with elections and so on but don’t look to closely at the democratic deficit because at the end of the day the state is fundamentally benign and will look after your interests. There would be economic freedom but tempered by state intervention when necessary and state direction in co-operation with management and unions. It distrusts Anglo-American liberalism because it leads to too much freedom for the individual and that can cause problems for the good running of an ordered state.

    It appears to me that this approach appeals to you (I don’t believe it is in and of itself inherently wrong and in many ways it is quite beneficial but I just don’t fancy it much). You like the smack of firm government provided by the EU, you distrust your fellow citizens because they might do crazy things like electing people who don’t share your cosy well ordered view of society, much better to let the bureaucrats run things as they have gone to fancy schools in Paris and know better how these things should be done.

    Like I say when one examines the unfortunate history of continental Europe you would have to say that this is probably the best option, me I just happen to like the messy individual freedom provided by the Anglosphere, ‘chacun a son gout’ as those terribly clever Enarques would say.

  • Greenflag

    Harry Flashman ,

    Good post but you are still ‘misreading ‘ my view . In this format (blog) it’s easy to be misinterpreted :).

    As you say we are at the fag end of this one, so all I will say is that individuals messy or not need to be just as scared of rule by the corporate state ( the neo fascist variety) as of rule by ‘unrestrained ‘ global private sector corporations be they in the financial services sector or in oil supplies.

    I would have used the word ‘statist’ rather than ‘corporate’ re the difference in emphasis between the EU and the USA . When you look at the numbers, the public sector contribution to both economies is not all that different.

    I’m sure the Washington DC bureaucrats are no different from their EU counterparts and by some reports probably much worse as the USA Federal Gov has a reputation for financial profligacy.

    What we are seeing in the USA over the past few decades is the rise of the ‘financial services sector ‘ to a position of unrivalled influence over federal policy making more so than at any time in it’s economic history . This is what is behind the present ‘mess’ which is impacting worldwide and which is pushing american voters to the left next November .

    The USA needs the ‘smack ‘ of firm government to restore a more ‘democratic’ balance in the USA and by ‘democratic ‘ I don’t mean in the party political sense .

    The idea that somehow the ‘free market’ in financial services would somehow rectify itself if left alone is now discredited not just by Democrats but by many Republicans . It will only be a matter of time before the same ‘thought’ process is directed at both the Health and Educational sectors in the USA .

    As to wider world issues such as control over oil reserves and it’s future price most slugger readers would rather not think too much about it especially at the same time as their home equity is declining:( The connection between the two may not yet have dawned .