The Disintegrating Demos

I must say that I gaze on events in Syria and Egypt (and elsewhere) with something like dumb incomprehension. Some people say that Islam is incompatible with democracy. But an article by Dan Hannan offers a simpler explanation.

No, there a more local explanation, its roots stretching back a century. A couple of months ago, the London Review of Books carried a penetrating article on the Syrian insurrection by the veteran correspondent Patrick Cockburn entitled ‘Is it the end of Sykes-Picot?‘ The 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement was an accord between the British and French governments (with a minor role for their Tsarist Russian ally) on how to dismember the Ottoman Empire against which they were then at war. It is forgotten in the countries that authored it, but keenly remembered in those it created.

Sykes and Picot – representing, respectively, the British and French governments – carved up the eastern part of the Ottoman lands more or less arbitrarily. Ever wondered why the borders of Jordan, Iraq and Syria are made up of so many straight lines?…

The resulting states were wholly synthetic, lacking ethnic or religious identity…

The Sykes-Picot accord created governments where there were no nations. People were capriciously sundered from their co-religionists, and demographic maps resembled fruit salads (see image above). Lebanon, where no single group constituted a majority, has suffered a series of sectarian wars ever since…

After 1918, these synthetic states could be held together by British or French or other colonial administrations. But after WW2, one by one, all these colonies were granted independence. And if they continued to to be held together, it was very often by ‘strong men’ of one sort or other – e.g. Saddam Hussein, Muamar Gaddafi, etc -. But once these people were overthrown, the rival groups inside the synthetic states started fighting each other. As Hannan puts it:

To put it another way, democracy functions best within units where people feel that they have enough in common with one another to accept government from each other’s hands. Take the demos out of democracy, and you are left with the kratos: the power of a state that must compel what it cannot ask in the name of civil loyalty.

In the absence of nation-states, cross-border affinities magnify, which is why the Syrian conflict risks becoming a regional Sunni-Shia war.

It’s a beautifully simple explanation. And if all these synthetic states seem to have been falling apart at more or less the same time, it’s perhaps because the stresses induced by a global economic downturn simultaneously exacerbated existing strains within them. In good times, Sunni and Shia could just about get along. In bad times, they couldn’t.

But never mind the Middle East. Isn’t the EU another synthetic state into which dozens of different peoples and cultures are being arbitrarily boxed – simply because they happen to lie west of a straight line drawn from the Baltic to the Black Sea? And isn’t that setting up the conditions for something like a European civil war a few decades hence?

After all, this is pretty much what happened with the former Yugoslavia, also created in 1918, with Muslim and Catholic and Orthodox sectarian divisions built into it. Once the strong man that held it together – Marshal Tito – died in 1980, centrifugal forces began to tear it apart, resulting in civil war and the emergence of a number of smaller states.

But never mind even these various synthetic states. What happens in hitherto stable democratic states when people cease to feel that they have enough in common with one another to accept government from each other’s hands? What happens when commonality disappears?

For example, for myself, I no longer feel that I have anything whatsoever in common with the pushy new breed of ‘healthist’ antismoking zealots that has emerged in Western culture in recent decades. They may as well be invading aliens from outer space, as far as I’m concerned. There’s no way that I’m ever going to be able to ‘get along’ with them. I don’t want to have anything to do with them. Because they represent the complete antithesis of everything I am and everything I value – and I do not want to be governed by them.

And aren’t these straws in the wind for an entirely new and unforeseen division in Western culture? One that wasn’t there before, but which is gradually being prised open using junk science and vindictive, discriminatory legislation. And isn’t it a division that is only ever getting deeper and wider? After all, nobody is trying to heal the rift. And in the process, isn’t our Western demos – our shared culture (more or less wherever we may live) – slowly dissolving (or being demolished), and beginning to turn Western democracies into so many splintered new Iraqs and Syrias? We all used to get along pretty well, despite numerous political and religious and regional differences. But now we are becoming divided along lines unseen in any previous division.

For isn’t a sectarian division just something that happens when one bunch of people – a sect – starts to believe something, and another bunch of people doesn’t? Does it really matter whether the division centres upon whether there are three persons in one God (which was a hot topic about 2000 years ago), or whether environmental tobacco smoke is lethal and carbon dioxide is cooking us all (both of which are hot topics right now)? All that really matters is that there is irreconcilable division. What underlies the division is of secondary importance, and future generations will gaze back in dumb incomprehension anyway.

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36 Responses to The Disintegrating Demos

  1. lordsid says:

    To be short,both sides in Syria use terrorists.(many funded,in part at least,by high tobacco taxes.Much the same for Egypt.Even though the “Brotherhood” may have been democratically elected,one cannot feel sorry for them because of their past & present actions.They were supposed to rule for everyone-not to force their agenda on everyone.They had absolutely no qualms whatsoever in trying to gain power by assassination previously.(Sadat & Nasser).

  2. ladyraj says:

    Hmm…food for thought. My first reaction is based on the history of the USA. Many times the USA has been on the brink of disaster but managed to put it all back together despite contrary borders, contrary states, contrary religious sects, and contrary fundamental beliefs. America was once carved up by British, French, and Spanish interests who planted flags and declared the land their own (ty to Mr Izzard) despite the presence of indigenous people who possessed their own beliefs. We fought for autonomy or purchased foreign holdings without a strong man…our course included many strong men, weak ones as well, who have endeavored to ensure that democracy continues on.

    In my childhood the hippie generation created a divide between the old and the new….by sheer force of numbers the baby boomers overcame previously accepted concepts and changed the face of America. For the most part this was done peacefully. The motto became to live and let live. This is changing back again via the new health measures that are intolerant of individual choice/consequences. Society seems to change when extremes become the norm which triggers a backlash….and the pendulum swings back once more.

    So what is the difference between the USA and other countries faced with a population of differing views and/or culture/religion forced by arbitrary lines on a map to define themselves?

  3. XX the Syrian conflict risks becoming a regional Sunni-Shia war.XX

    Good. Let the bastards kill each other off. Then we do not have to bother.

  4. smokervoter says:

    As I read the last part of Walt’s comment yesterday regarding California college grants it induced a flashback to one my favorite blog posts of all time from one my favorite Brit bloggers, the always politely brash and socially blasphemous Uncle Marvo. The subject matter of much of his oft-time humorous reckonings is out of my particular ballpark, i.e., The World Across the Atlantic Ocean (make a right turn at San Diego, go about 5,000 miles and it’s right there – can’t miss it.) But he’s such a compelling and funny writer that I end up wikipedia-ing new terms quite a bit and learning a lot in the process. I now know who Boudica was.

    Anyway, long ago and far away (Feb 2010) he wrote a piece about the process by which third-hand smoke was “discovered”. It involved university grants and, in particular, grants that might sustain a down and out professional intellectual and rescue him/her from eviction and outright starvation.

    It also involves the Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program or the TRDRP of California (well, duh). I had a hunch that the funds come from the 25 cents/package tax that Glantz and company foisted upon us back in 1988 (Prop 99), a fact that I learned from Marvo’s piece.

    For reasons unknown, the advanced search mechanisms of two – count em’ – separate search engines weren’t able to track down this illusive posting. I was forced to manually find it by going back through his blog archives and reading and ploughing forward until – Bingo – there it was in all it’s glory. But the pleasure was all mine. Revisiting this guys stuff was a gas to say the very least.

    One, two, three, die – by Uncle Marvo

    This is one of the all time great blog posts. The buildup, the story, the links, the well-chosen graphics and the Perfect Ending. He even hat tips to Leg Iron, I’d forgot about that part.

    There are a grand total of 7 links to the original document. The first three are still functional and crucial to story continuity – click away. I’ve found, fixed and substituted for two of the last four links, including the critical, do-not-miss closer link labeled “This”.

    Don’t bother clicking the old links labeled “tax”, “document”, “This” and “Yes”.

    With a lot of hard work I’ve managed to update and fix those last two and they’re both crucial to Uncle Marvo’s whole enchilada schtick.

    This next to the last link answers Uncle Marvo’s question: “I wonder what this geek looks like?”

    Here is what this geek looks like.

  5. nisakiman says:

    Here’s another one for the ‘caring’ smoke-free advocates archive, Frank.

    H/T @jredheadgirl on Twitter yesterday.

    Elderly Newington Couple Facing Eviction For Smoking

    http://connecticut.cbslocal.com/2013/08/23/elderly-newington-couple-facing-eviction-for-smoking/

    It really does beggar belief, the depths to which the antis will stoop in pursuit of their ideology.

  6. John Mallon says:

    An interesting article and in fact, you could look closer to home across the Irish Sea for a similar analogy.

    Historically, Ireland had four provinces, (Munster, Leinster, Uster and Connaught), with four kings, one in each. When the British invaded, (as one did in those days if you had the wherewithal), they attempted a new colonial system called “Planting” Basically, the idea was to plant loyal subjects locally and they experimented with the Plantation idea first in Munster, the Southern Provence. Here for example, they gave Sir Walter Raleigh an 80,000 acre estate around Youghal and the Blackwater River. The Plantation though failed miserably because the there were too few landlords with estates to huge to govern, surrounded as they were by a large hostile displaced population.

    So they tried it again in Ulster, though this time they invited staunch presbyterians in their hundreds of thousands from Scotland with the promise of small free plots of land in the North East of Ulster. The locals were simply thrown out onto the roads and could either work the lands for the new landlords or starve. This was intense planting and it succeeded right up to the modern day. Over the years, massive investment from London ensured a large industrial base also including ship building and other heavy industries providing education and employment for the children of the Planters. The plantation spread slowly from the North-East corner all through six of the nine counties of Ulster.

    The other three Ulster counties were still totally Irish though very poor. That is why when Irish Independence came, Britain insisted on retaining six of the nine counties of Ulster but had they retained all nine of the counties and maintained the Province in tact, the population split would have been 50/50 between the original Irish population and the planted Scottish and a democracy would have proved too difficult to administer. The retention of the six counties ensured a two to one majority rule from the outset.

    None of this is to apportion blame but rather to explain the roots of the troubles in the recent past. The Northern majority treated the indigenous Irish minority very badly, ensuring that they could not progress but this in turn led to a population explosion among the poor and uneducated Irish in the six counties. The poor have little else to do than make babies !! In the end, it was an explosion waiting to happen and when it began with the simple demonstrations for Civil Rights in 1968/69, it was ruthlessly put down as some kind of revolution. Out came the guns and cue street warfare.

    The Ulster Scots demanded to be “British,” declared a Protestant State for a protestant people and were loyal to King Billy, the Dutch Orange King. The Ulster Irish wanted to remain in Northern Ireland, referred to Republic dismissively as the “Free State” and were systematically burned out of their homes, street by street, many ending up in refugee camps on the Irish side of the Border in 1970 – 1973.

    For us in the “Deep South” it all was very perplexing. The Northern accents were hard to understand on the radio and television, bombs went off in Dublin to our great surprise and everyone was telling lies back then as well. But the ethnic cleansing became so bad in Northern Ireland that London, (out of international embarrassment), had to send in the Army. Here again, the weirdness of the Northern mind was hard to comprehend. The Army came to protect the minority Irish population and were warmly welcomed for it in all of the poor areas at first. The burning and looting stopped overnight. But the warped mind that was the IRA who had before this been trying to protect the people, turned their fire against the Army and it all took off in earnest.

    That Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern were able to find a peace among that debris is a testimony to the maturity of both countries and their combined influence at bringing Bill Clinton to the table. The IRA disbanded as did the host of other paramilitaries and the six counties has returned to some kind of uneasy progress. Identity is still a grey area up there, but at least they are not killing each other any more. The population split at their last census is about 50/50 and they appear to be getting on with it. I expect Frank that you are about as Protestant as I am Catholic but the people in the Six Counties )of nine) are still strongly one or the other.

    And guess what ? Some guys who did well out of the IRA and know nothing else, have set up an outfit called, “I-can’t-believe-it’s-not-the-fucking-IRA” and they are biggest smugglers of tobacco on the Ireland. How’s that for a history lesson???

    • XX it began with the simple demonstrations for Civil Rights in 1968/69, it was ruthlessly put down as some kind of revolution.XX

      And what is with the Easter uprising 1916?

      • John Mallon says:

        The 1916 Easter uprising was the original War of Independence in the South, leading to the partition settlement that set-up the Six Counties in the first place. It actually led directly to the Irish Civil War as one side (Michael Collins) accepted partition in Ireland that was the offer on the table from Britain and the other side, (Eamon DeValera) did not. When the British pulled out, the Civil War took place, similar to many new countries at the time, as Frank has pointed out.

    • Frank Davis says:

      Thanks for that.

      I expect Frank that you are about as Protestant as I am Catholic but the people in the Six Counties )of nine) are still strongly one or the other.

      My father came from Welsh Protestant stock. But my mother was descended from Irish Catholics (the Bog of Allen to be precise, since you ask). So I was raised as a Catholic, although I haven’t been to church for a very long time (the services were in Latin back then). Add up all the various connections, and my roots are spread all over these islands. Including even lighthouse keepers in the Scilly Isles.

      I rather think that for people to remain strongly Catholic, they need to have a Protestant living next door. Or a Catholic, if they’re Protestant. And that’s what you have in Ireland. There’s a process of mutual re-enforcement. But in England these divisions have been considerably muted even over my own lifetime, and most people aren’t churchgoers anyway. This is a relief in some ways, but it also means that they’re quite likely to suddenly become Buddhists or join some weird Eastern cult.

  7. cherie79 says:

    I used to do market research at one time and was in a very ‘orange’, Protestant, area in Scotland. When the door was answered I was asked what school I went to, I was admitted when I named a Protestant school to a house festooned with King Billy pictures. Since my family was mixed half and half I had never bothered about religion but remember being upset that my best friend had to go to a different school when we were 5. I still can’t understand how they can hate each other so much for simply having a different faith.

  8. garyk30 says:

    “I still can’t understand how they can hate each other so much for simply having a different faith.”

    It has been proven time and again that carefull propaganda and indocrination will do that quite nicely.

  9. beobrigitte says:

    There are many, many interesting points made today!! (I’ll try and keep my comment as short as I can)

    I must say that I gaze on events in Syria and Egypt (and elsewhere) with something like dumb incomprehension.

    You and me and probably a lot of people more……..
    In the Syrian conflict (?civil war) we appear to be on the side of the radical muslims, although both sides are using highly questionable weapons. (Saying that, which weapon isn’t highly questionable?; weapons are designed to kill, chiiiiiiildren and adults alike).
    Bearing in mind that the media has not had any qualms to bleat lies over and over again, I just can’t believe their reports any longer. The BBC may as well pull out it’s staff from these regions! (By the way, wasn’t it the BBC that so proudly announced THE SMOKING BAN in Syria?)

    Sykes and Picot – representing, respectively, the British and French governments – carved up the eastern part of the Ottoman lands more or less arbitrarily. Ever wondered why the borders of Jordan, Iraq and Syria are made up of so many straight lines?…

    I did wonder about these straight line many times but I never heard of Sykes and Picot. *Thanks*. This explains it!

    But never mind even these various synthetic states. What happens in hitherto stable democratic states when people cease to feel that they have enough in common with one another to accept government from each other’s hands? What happens when commonality disappears?

    In Europe the disintegration of commonality is not only encouraged, it is being dictated. Radical Muslims just cannot be sent out of this country without making the tax payer fork out a huge amount of cash first.
    In my view radical muslims should go to a country that SHARES their believes; we are a CHRISTIAN COUNTRY that clearly does not. I DO NOT WANT SHARIA LAW! For the obvious; as a CHRISTIAN (roman catholic; offspring of a PROTESTANT father and a roman catholic mother, growing up in a catholic area) I was able to to go to university when becoming a lone parent, thus provide for my offspring and live INDEPENDENT.
    Under Sharia law my children and I would have STARVED.
    Then there is the EQUAL RIGHT ISSUE. We are not quite there yet, as some women’s lib groups keep diluting what they believe they are “fighting” for. But then, this suits any government. Therefore I have kept things simple; you (male or female) annoy me and I let you know what I think of that. Quite loudly. (And remember, I was brought up to make sure that my enemy hurts more than I do!)

    The division of our society is being media driven – I just read some article about some nitwit’s waste of cash for a “THIRD HAND SMOKE DAMAGE” study. – I guess the BBC will incorporate this into it’s news programme. Hell, yeah!!! THIS IS NEWS!!! Generations of people somehow managed to survive this “ultra-super-hyper-dangerous-THIRD-HAND-SMOKE”…………………………

    SCARING PEOPLE INTO COMPLIANCE. HEALTH is one thing people can be scared with the most; the promise of (almost) eternal life shuts down common sense, despite the FACT that BOMBS could rain down on ALL OF US. That includes THE CHIIIIIILDREN.

    • John Mallon says:

      At the risk of hogging too much space here, allow me to further develop my thoughts on this topic. I neither resent nor dislike the British for the part they played in Irish history, famine and all. It needs to be understood in Ireland that a British Nation who ruled a third of the planet might err on the side of expediency in its decisions regarding small local backwaters it cared little about. For those who feel, “Destined to rule” the needs and interests of their own kind will always prevail and whatever is left over can be shared among others. In this context, the British were often seen to be quite lenient by comparison with other European colonial masters who simply sought enslavement of non-nationals.

      The Irish on the other hand, were sustained by a belief in God and yet enslaved by those on earth that enforced it. The friendliness and strong community spirit was shared under the umbrella of an all seeing God who could damn you or offer eternal life, depending on how you behaved, (or seemed to behave). This presence of a “Catholic God” was enshrined in our written constitution when we gained Independence. Our loving God lived in heaven, the desired destination for the next life, while his bishops, priests and ministers lived in ‘heaven on earth’ with their ‘special place’ in Irish society.

      When news of their child molestation continued over ten years in the nineties, the Irish en-masse turned away from the Catholic Church in the South. Practised or organized religion now is the preserve of the immigrant communities here. By the mid-nineties a new religion emerged and it was based upon money and power. That was the true birth of the so-called Celtic Tiger. The vacuum left by the Catholic God was filled by the desire for riches and power and politically, the introduction of the first national smoking ban in the civilized world was a natural outcome. It was the need to direct and control the lives of others and affect their every day lives with a demonstration of personal power.

      The exponents all have things in common. They are all wealthy, educated and have a strong belief that they, and they only, are destined to rule in their own little hemispheres. To a man (or woman), they understand that left to our own devices we would implode. While nominally democratic, for these people the arrival of health fascism as one of the new Gods has presented them with a tool to fully vent their power-grabbing desires. In common with all of the very worst dictators, they have passionately convinced themselves that they are both right and entitled. They are the Taliban among us who have profited by a gap in our hope for the future. While assuming the freedom to impose their lifestyle upon all of us, they loathe the very idea of our freedoms enshrined in the very notion of democracy and our written constitution. We Irish were entitled to the right to vote on the Maastricht and Lisbon treaties by virtue of a constitutional challenge by a single brave Irishman. We rejected both of them and were forced by our Taliban Government to vote a second time on each, with dark threats as to what would happen to us all if we got it wrong a second time. That charade was the moment when the will of the people and the very constitution itself, became a thing of the past.

      I have no doubt that blood will flow yet again in our Country at some time in the future when the populace realizes that the hard won freedom from foreign occupation that our forefathers died for has been hi-jacked from under our noses by locally grown sociopaths and fascists intent on their own enrichment. Until then, expect this potato Republic to become the first Country in the first world to outlaw smoking sometime in the next ten years or so. It is after all, the new religion !!

      • Frank Davis says:

        When news of their child molestation continued over ten years in the nineties, the Irish en-masse turned away from the Catholic Church in the South.

        I didn’t know that.

        For what it’s worth, at my Catholic school there was no molestation that I ever encountered. I think that we would have noticed if there was.

        And the result is that I tend to disbelieve all these stories.

        Much as I disbelieve the media show trial of Jimmy Savile and others.

        It seems to me to be a bit too easy to find a few people who will swear blind that something happened 30 or 40 years ago. But where’s the evidence?

        • John Mallon says:

          Frank,

          I am personally deeply saddened by the revelations of clerical abuse that have rocked Ireland over the last twenty years and still newer instances are coming to light. Several priests have already been jailed here and the Irish Catholic Church has been fined millions of Euros by the Government over the last several years in compensation to victims. These fines are the subject of a court case at the moment because the religious orders, (some of them) have pledged land instead of cash, only for the Government to discover that some of the lands are the subject of disputed ownership.

          In my journalistic capacity I have met survivors of this sexual abuse and their honest tales of childhood are harrowing. The Irish State was complicit in that is consigned children born out of holy wedlock into the hands of these celibate men and paid them to look after them. There are four men my own age living within a mile from me who cannot now hug their own children. One huge man who has a criminal record from his childhood but has been straight as a dye for thirty years, is truly crippled inside from what was done to him back then.

          Believe me Frank when I tell you, it was done and I took years to accept it myself. I was educated by the Irish Christian Brothers all my early life and apart from being violent, they never touched me. But I now know that I was one of the lucky ones. You would not believe the revulsion here at the sight of a roman collar now and it is endemic in every walk of life. The feeling of betrayal runs very deep in our society and priests are not safe walking outdoors at night in Ireland. In my day they used to patrol the streets looking for sinners.

          The pity is all the good men and women with true vocations and I do not have an answer for it all. But, just Goggle “Irish Clerical Sex Abuse” and you will discover nearly a million references. Try Fr Brendan Smith to have your stomach turned. A deep sickness in our society is being systematically rooted out but it has left a sharp vacuum, filed by weirdos with their own agendas.

        • beobrigitte says:

          For what it’s worth, at my Catholic school there was no molestation that I ever encountered.

          As far as I know (and a village community does gossip excessively!) there was no child molestation by the number of priests assigned to the village I grew up in.
          They might have been a bit ott when it came to ladle out some caning for not having learned some bible passages or not having been seen in church on Sundays – girls had to hold their hands out for caning; the lads were pulled over the bench, all in front of everyone.

          I think that we would have noticed if there was.
          These things usually don’t happen noticed.

          Much as I disbelieve the media show trial of Jimmy Savile and others.

          It seems to me to be a bit too easy to find a few people who will swear blind that something happened 30 or 40 years ago. But where’s the evidence?

          Which kind of evidence would you be looking for?

          Whilst I do believe Saville and others were not totally innocent, I do have problems with people who (in my opinion) for 5 minutes “fame” jump on any bandwagon. I fail to see the point of the “victims” (I am amazed HOW many people are happy in the “victim role”, which means they just “cannot help themselves”) speaking up when the person (as in Saville’s case) are already dead. A dead man cannot defend himself.

      • Fredrik Eich says:

        John, I am no fan of the EU but Éire did do well out of it for a while. I am pretty sure that I am right in saying that the Republic could offer low corporation tax rates compared to the UK due to rebates from the EU which encouraged businesses to locate there. I think what did it for the Éire was a property bubble bursting caused partly by the irresponsible lending by banks just as in the UK (Anglo Irish etc). But the UK has it’s own currency and therefore can set interest rates and print money unlike Éire where so called ‘bail outs’ only further drive people into more debt. I would not be surprised if the EU insists on a raid on bank savings in Éire sometime soon as happened in Cyprus.

        • John Mallon says:

          Fredrik,

          You are half right. The original vote to join the EEC was again sold to us by our local sociopaths as the next great thing. What we didn’t know at the time was that it included signing over our fishing rights in the 200-mile zone offshore to get in. The Irish fishing industry was killed overnight and now it is only a few small trawlers operating out of very few ports. The big fleets were mothballed and then broken up.

          The industrial fishing including factory ships that took place by France and Spain after that was the real deal. In return, our farmers were grant aided NOT to farm so that European prices could be made more stable and maintained. If the Irish raised one-third then Europe grant aided two-thirds for infra-structural projects such as roads. You must remember that back then, we were mainly an agricultural Nation whose main export was still educated people who spoke english fluently. This is again the case today.

          The low Corporation tax was a misnomer and still is. Basically a radical bloke in Revenue made the case that if we lowered our Corporation tax rate from 30% to 10% we would actually attract more industry in and end up with more in actual tax money as a result. It was a temporary experiment that stuck and if it had failed, it would have reverted to the original pretty quickly. But It coincided with the whole Silicon Valley revolution and it was different in one major respect. In France for example, a Corporation can qualify for as little as 3% Corporation tax if you are eligible for all of the exemptions. In Ireland it was always a flat rate regardless of who you are. The amount of Corporation tax is small even by Irish standards but the huge levels of employment it created in new and exciting industries spawned our first Industrial Revolution here ever in the eighties. The encouragement for business, mainly American to site themselves here was the tax rates, cheap english educated speakers and access to Euro markets, simple as that.

          Later, through the intervention of our Prime Minister Charles Haughey, the Financial Services Centre was set up in Dublin and it is that that became an International offshore clearing house for trillions of US dollars that avoided tax back home. That was the perversion of the Corporation taxes in Ireland, benefitting a few. The property tax was just greed on steroids. The new Industrial Revolution coupled with the highest birth rates in Europe created demand for housing. I bought my own house in 1990, pre the boom, for €40,000. In 2005 when I had it valued, it was, I was told, worth €300,00. This was always nonsense !!!

          And you right about currencies too. The Euro is created for a German style economy and Germany has prospered wildly because of it. While we are in it, we can make no corrections as England can. That is why we have handed over our destiny to the Troika who have recently claimed €220M in expenses on top of our debt for telling us what to do. Europe is a racket, nothing else and our so-called leaders are eyeing it up as their retirement package. Our Prime Minister here is the highest paid one in Europe. We are per capita the most indebted Nation in the World and that has been quantified in detail. My sons children will still be paying this debt in seventy years time unless we do an Iceland on it.

  10. Fredrik Eich says:

    John thanks for that. The Republic should do an Iceland I reckon. I think that if Greece had defaulted on their debts five years ago and printed drachma they would be in a helluva better state than they are now.

  11. harleyrider1978 says:

    Smoke stays – Jamaica Cancer Society warns against third-hand smoke in vehicles
    http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130825/auto/auto1.html

  12. Pingback: Slow Motion Coup d’Etat | Frank Davis

  13. chris says:

    Yugoslavia was very much “helped” to disintegrate: In 1990 or 1991, the US Congress voted to withhold World Bank loans from that country. At the same time, calls were made for elections in each of the six Yugoslav republics (not the country as a whole) and support offered only to “democratic”, i.e. separatist parties. Before the wars and dissolution, there were high rates of intermarriage amongst Yugoslavia’s ethnic groups.

    • beobrigitte says:

      Yugoslavia was very much “helped” to disintegrate: In 1990 or 1991, the US Congress voted to withhold World Bank loans from that country.

      I didn’t know that.

      In late 79 there were speculations that Tito was already brain dead, his body being kept “alive” for the reason that there was no-one to replace Tito and that without him, Yugoslavia would fall apart.

      • chris says:

        Possibly, but from what I’ve read there was a high rate of intermarriage among the former Yugoslavia’s various ethnic groups. I also cannot recall hearing of any sort of tensions among these groups before Tito’s death. Of course, something must have been there if it could eventually have been worked into the sort of civil war we saw, but then again, maybe it was a campaign like the one against smokers, where one day a certain group of people were just other, slightly different people and then, after some well-funded propaganda, they were suddenly evil incarnate and had to be eliminated.

        • beobrigitte says:

          Possibly, but from what I’ve read there was a high rate of intermarriage among the former Yugoslavia’s various ethnic groups.
          True; one of such couple built a house near where I grew up.

          I also cannot recall hearing of any sort of tensions among these groups before Tito’s death.
          Also true.
          It seemed surprising at the time that only one man could hold these various ethnic groups together.

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