The Globalisation of Politics

I lost interest in US politics about 10 years ago. For example I’ve paid almost no attention at all to Barack Obama. But somehow or other it’s got more interesting again recently.

And I think that the main reason for this is that many of the hot button political issues are now the same on both sides of the Atlantic.

Part of the reason for this is that many of the issues are global in character. There are smoking bans almost everywhere in the world, so that’s a global problem for all smokers. And global warming alarmism is necessarily global in its scope. And there’s also something of a global economic slump.

But there are other things that aren’t quite global in character, but are shared problems in both America and Europe. For example illegal immigration, which is becoming a serious problem in both the USA and EU, and which has been picked up by Nigel Farage in the UK, and now Donald Trump in the USA.

There are other shared themes. Like a political class who say one thing and do another. And stifling political correctness (which may actually be another global pandemic).

One big difference is that in Europe we have the EU as a political issue which is absent from US politics. However, if the US federal government in Washington is regarded as the (more successful) US equivalent of the EU government in Brussels, then the same problems of big government and top-down control are shared.

And the net result is that Americans seem to have been taking much more interest in European politics than they used to, and vice versa. Americans and Brits and Europeans, and also Canadians and Australians and New Zealanders, are all wrestling with much the same problems.

Shared political issues may extend even more widely. I was surprised to discover a couple of months back that I was the favourite English blogger of Russian author Dmitry Kosyrev, and that he also held in high esteem the books of Michael McFadden (in Philadelphia). We both tried to make contact with him (me to ask him if he’d like to write a guest article about the Russian smoking ban), but neither of us got a response.

Politics seems to be becoming globalised and synchronised in ways it never used to be.

Add to that the local political issues in the USA that I’ve got engaged with in a small way, like California’s Proposition 29, New Orleans’ smoking ban, and Jariel’s trials in her Virginia home. But that’s because I now see smokers as one people, regardless of their nationality or colour or religion or sex or anything else. An attack on Russian or Chinese smokers is an attack on me (and on all other smokers everywhere). And so I think that the global war on smokers is now creating a shared identity for smokers that they never had before, much in the way that the persecution of the Jews created a new Jewish identity, and a Jewish state. I expect that smokers will become an increasingly vocal (and increasingly powerful and influential) global minority. In fact over the past 10 years quite a few smokers have been becoming vocal in ways they never used to be. And given that there are something like 1.5 billion smokers in the world, they may one day become a very loud voice in that world.

A final politically incorrect (and therefore refreshing) thought. Immigration hasn’t been one of my hot button issues, but I’m taking a lot more interest in it these days. It’s pretty much a global problem, with illegal immigrants pouring across the US border with Mexico, and crossing the Mediterranean in leaky boats, many of which sink.

Why are they all coming? They never used to. Doesn’t it suggest that there’s something gone very wrong in Africa (and perhaps also South and Central America)? And if there are things that are very wrong in those places, isn’t it in those places that the problems really need to be fixed? In Libya we now have, post-Gaddafi, a failed state racked by sectarian and tribal infighting. No wonder people want to escape.

So why not embark on a programme of re-colonisation? Instead of going in and taking out the Saddams and Gaddafis, and then leaving Iraq and Libya to implode into unstable, failed states, why not just go in and stay in, and make then into stable states whose citizens actually want to stay in rather than fleeing somewhere else? That’s horribly politically incorrect, I know, because everybody knows that colonialism was a Bad Thing. But maybe it wasn’t.

Advertisements

About Frank Davis

smoker
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to The Globalisation of Politics

  1. harleyrider1978 says:

    South America has to be empty by now,might be a good place to start………..I think their all in North America nowadays.

  2. waltc says:

    I agree with your thesis that the same problems are infecting or infesting all the western nations.

    I first disagree that Trump introduced the problem of illegal immigration. (get over him, please.) Not only was it featured largely in the 2012 presidential campaign but the issue and debate were alive in the Bush era when Bush initiated the first stab at a lenient “comprehensive immigration reform” backed strenuously by McCain (who called anyone opposed to amnesty a bigot). The proposal died when an undeniable onslaught of public opinion went against it and the pols chickened out. Nor did the issue stop being an issue. It’s been raised with positions on one side or the other by every candidate of both parties long before Trump blundered onto the stage.

    What you talk about at the end there is called “nation building” and we’ve proved it doesn’t work. Or not since the Marshall Plan when the countries in question were more or less rational entities. I could argue that if we hadn’t prematurely withdrawn from Iraq and Afghanistan or hit and run in Libya (which is not the same as saying we should have gone in to begin with) we might have kept a lid on, but for how long and at the cost of what? eternal occupation? Which spawns the kind of eternal radical terrorist backlash that can only be contained by the methods of the Shah’s Savek or Sadaam’s thugs.

    The Central and Latin American countries have no history except oligarchy and corrupt dictatorship, whether of right or left, and no building blocks–historically or within “hearts and minds”–on which to construct a free prosperous republic. American meddling in those countries in the past has yielded disaster and, not without reason, “”Yanqui Go Home.” Those countries are dirt poor, run by corrupt or hapless (or both) leaders, and overtaken by criminal gangs. The few semi-sane non-totalitarian governments they’ve had–once in Guatemala, once in Venezuela–have been quickly supplanted and dispatched. Unfortunately, I doubt it’s possible to impose a working government even through what would be widely decried s imperialist intervention. (Hey, we aren’t doing so well with our own governments over here.)

    I welcome counter arguments to my dour take

    • Frank Davis says:

      When George W invaded Iraq, I seem to remember quite distinctly that he said openly that he wasn’t ‘nation building’. There was no US plan for what was to happen after Saddam Hussein had been toppled. Maybe that changed later. But at the outset, the goal was to defeat the Iraqi army and overthrow the regime.

      Libya was pretty much the same. There were no troops on the ground. There was just air power used to topple Gaddafi. No attempt whatsoever was made to ‘build a nation’.

      Colonialism worked differently. The colonists arrived and stayed indefinitely, and brought with them their political culture and their laws (and very often their language and their religion). And that gave the colonies a chance of developing into functioning states.

      The British empire seems to have been the best at doing this (and I’m not just saying this because I’m a Brit), with the USA as the pre-eminent shining example of a post-colonial success story, along with Canada, Australia, and New Zealand (and very arguably India). And I think that that happened because Britain had a well-established, tried-and-tested parliamentary democracy to export to their colonies in ways that the Spanish and French didn’t.

      However the British empire did not always succeed in planting its parliamentary democracy wherever it went. Most of the the African colonies (and I’m thinking primarily of Rhodesia/Zimbabwe) began to disintegrate back into tribalism more or less as soon as the Brits left.

      But whether parliamentary democracy in the colonies was successfully established or not, the Brits were running colonies for hundreds of years. If democratic conventions and the rule of law can be seen as a seedling that has to be nurtured and raised into a full-sized tree over a long period (just like trees), then maybe the Brits simply weren’t present in Africa for long enough to do it successfully (I think we only arrived in Africa in the late 19th century, and even later in the Middle East, and we had no presence whatsoever in South America which were historically Portuguese and Spanish).

      Margo further down in the comments sees colonialism as just ‘interfering in other people’s countries’. But I’d argue that the British brought as much to their colonies (in the form of a political and legal culture) as they took from them (in sugar and coal and all the rest). Something that was illustrated in the Life of Brian when the question got asked: “What have the Romans ever done for us?” Furthermore, I’d add that any state is always going to necessarily be deeply interested in the stability of adjoining states (e.g. Britain with France).

      If I’ve got any criticism of the USA, it’s that they’ve never been colonists enough (perhaps because they once were a colony), and have never established a powerful US cultural presence in the way that Britain used to do i its colonies. They’ve not laid any building blocks. They’ve marched in, and then gone home. (One reason why “”Yanqui Go Home.” gets shouted in expectation?) And so of course when they left, the whole place would fall to bits.

  3. John Watson says:

    I think when it comes down to colonialism we in the “old” world, Spain France and the biggest colonialists of the lot Great Britain and many others certainly know what it is all about, When you look around the world today the influences of these countries are everywhere, Spanish influences throughout South and Central America, French in Canada, Algiers, Morocco parts of the United States, it would be easier to list countries that have not been influenced by us Brits with our “free trade and gunboat diplomacy” I sometimes wonder what did we really achieve through colonialism? Africa still struggling with her race issues ( although the Dutch hand a hand in that too) and India, Pakistan spend a lot of time bickering often on the verge of war.

    We have Australia the original dumping ground of criminals and ne’er do wells that developed into a care free nation and has gone on to be repressive and puritan against smokers as much as they were repressed by us but unlike America’s revolution, their mutiny against Captain Bligh (of Bounty fame failed)), but has some of the tightest immigration laws anywhere.

    Then there is Canada who were also pretty laid back and Ironically shares the culture of two largest colonising countries and who shared so many years of enmity that I’m amazed we did not kill each other off, they too have developed a puritanical streak against smokers.

    The other major colony or rather colonies in North America were in part, also a dumping ground for criminals, in part a refuge for puritans who became persona non gratis over here and a refuge for all comers who were oppressed in their native lands or just wanted to follow the ‘American dream’, Since the American Revolution (Sorry Walt, its a cultural point of view) or the War of Independence depending on which side of the pond you are, created a nation with bright ideals and a lot of potential. While internally expansionist, externally she was isolationist with the odd excursion outside of her borders even into the early 20th century when she found herself entangled in the ‘Old Worlds’ European war and again later on in a global scale when the axis powers dragged her into another essentially European war. Since then America has become a sort of world policeman, a role I think thrust upon her, rather than sought, the really strange thing to me is that America appears to have forgotten why the original colonies rebelled against their lawful government (legally speaking) the conditions and taxes that sparked that war then are far more apparent especially when smokers are taxed and legislated against more harshly than we ever taxed tea or legislated those colonies. However that said the same is true for other countries,, particularly my own who also appears to have also forgotten why the American colonies went to war.

    Given the circumstances surrounding colonies and their colonial masters, I wonder, is your take on it really that dour Walt, or is it just realistic?

    • Frank Davis says:

      While internally expansionist, externally she was isolationist

      The USA started life on the east coast of America, and expanded westward (and southward). You could arguably say that the USA is an American empire – stretching “from sea to shining sea” – comparable to the Roman empire.

      On the north side of the USA there’s Canada, and if there’s zero friction between USA and Canada, it’s because they have a shared political and legal and ethical post-British-colonial culture. Nobody’s calling for a wall to be built between Canada and the USA.

      But on the south side there’s a Spanish culture which is different, and that’s where there’s friction (it wasn’t that long ago that Texas was part of Mexico).

      And I’m not sure that Australia was just a dumping ground for criminals. A lot of good, law-abiding people went there (noticeably after WW2)

  4. margo says:

    Why not colonisation?? Personally, I think that’s what caused a lot their problems in the first place! Don’t you think we’ve done enough interfering with other people’s countries? I think we’re now reaping what we sowed.

  5. jaxthefirst says:

    Totally, OT, Frank, but there’s an interesting article on the BBC website (http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/33713015/uk-nightclubs-closing-at-alarming-rate-industry-figures-suggest) about the massive closure of nightclubs in the UK “in the last 10 years.” This isn’t something that is discussed on here a great deal – I suspect probably because the majority of people who read/comment on your blog are of an age that we no longer go to nightclubs (I know I certainly don’t!), but it’s interesting that over half of all nightclubs in the country have closed so recently – percentage-wise, that’s even faster than the closures of pubs and traditional clubs. It would be interesting to see whether this drop-off accelerated in the same way since 2007 as did the number of pub closures, but needless to say there’s no breakdown for each year. Now, I wonder why that is? But, more positively (especially for the BBC), the influence of the smoking ban is actually cited as one of the reasons, albeit that (as is the way these days), it is, of course, couched within a list of other “reasons,” perhaps to make it less noticeable. Don’t want our “yoof” getting as steamed up about the effect of the ban on their leisure time as us old ‘uns, now, do we?

    Ironically, in a story on the same site, I doubt whether nightclub-going numbers will be helped by this latest plan for nightclubs in Birmingham: (http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/31163062/birmingham-pubs-and-clubs-will-be-breathalysing-people-on-entry). As always, the Prohibitionists’ reaction to falling customer numbers anywhere is – you guessed it – more, not fewer, restrictions and rules. Where do these people get their logic from?

    • roobeedoo2 says:

      They’re not working from point of logic; they’re working from a point of indoctrinated fear and hatred.

      I regularly chat with the smoking youngsters at work, in my break. They’ve never smoked inside on a night out. They smoke outside, now outside is threatened with bans… Oh this is so going to backfire on the prohibitionist spectacularly… these youngsters today are the GI Generation of the last Fourth Turning, the ones what won WW2 ;)

  6. petesquiz says:

    Re-colonisation – in theory it sounds a good idea to go out and impose our standards on an unruly world…BUT…it doesn’t work! It didn’t work last time and it won’t work now! People, whoever they are, wherever they are don’t like to be bullied and will eventually rise up and kick out the colonial powers. (YOU don’t like people telling you where and when you can smoke, yet you’d be willing to impose your/our/western philosophies/mores on other people!)

    The West doesn’t actually have the resources to ‘colonise’ the rest of the world by force, but these days cultural colonisation and economic colonisation are much better routes. However, they’re not without their pitfalls. Once people see how ‘wonderful’ life appears in the States and Europe and how they can never get that lifestyle at home, their only choice is to emigrate to get that better life.

    So, in the end, our ‘free society’ will become a series of ‘gated communities’ trying to keep out a hostile world.

    • Frank Davis says:

      What I’m actually suggesting isn’t really re-colonisation but re-stabilisation. Colonialisation brought political stability while the colonists remained in place. I’m really just using the colonial era (and perhaps the Roman empire) as an example of a kind of stability. I don’t want to impose my values on anyone else. I don’t want everybody to be exactly the same. But what I do think is that there have to be some core political and cultural framework within which cultural diversity can flourish.

  7. cherie79 says:

    I would be happy never to interfere in any other country if the people would just stay there, or if they come here to learn the language and try hard to integrate and accept the norms of the host country. Instead some import their own culture which is specially hard on local residents. Where I grew up is urecognisable now, a nice once respectable working class area is now home to large numbers of Roma who don’t seem to work and who are illiterate. The place is a mess now, slum landlords, ironically mostly earlier immigrants from Pakistan, do nothing about their properties. There are constant fights, burglaries and attacks almost every week. I thought people had to fins work but it seems not. I am very glad I left long ago but I still have friends there who are afraid to go out in some places, even in daylight. Just wish some immigrants appreciate the freedom and opportunity they have here.

    • margo says:

      I they would have just stayed there, Cherie, if the west hadn’t gone to nick their resources (which is always the prime motivation – that or evangelising people who previously were happy with their own religion, thank you very much) and messed up whatever systems and culture they had in place.

  8. Ed says:

    Are you acquainted with the Cloward-Piven strategy, Frank?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloward%E2%80%93Piven_strategy

  9. jaxthefirst says:

    Re: colonisation. This whole subject actually brings me back to something which I touched on some while ago in a previous comment. I can’t remember what the topic was then, but the principle remains the same, in that whenever any society is forced to change in any way, that change can only be maintained for as long as the force can be kept up and the pressure kept on. When that pressure eases – as inevitably it has to, eventually – there’s a “springback” effect as the seemingly-compliant people eagerly seek to return to the way they were before the pressure was applied, which is where they actually wanted to be all along (after all, that’s why they were there in the first place!).

    And very often, in fact – rather like a spring being released (which is why I use that analogy) – they’ll actually go back to a previous point in time to where they were when the pressure first started. Hence, in many of those middle eastern countries where the west went ploughing in to depose “dictatorial regimes” and “establish democracy,” far from nice, happy-clappy, egalitarian, stable and fair societies, we’ve seen a rise in some of the most gruesome and wicked uber-religious groups seizing control and doing their level to push their societies back to a primitive age where tribal warfare, casual bloodshed and medieval lifestyles are the order of the day. Times and lifestyles, in other words, that those very societies had actually left behind, all by themselves, many years before.

    That’s a recent example, clearly, but similar events took place as western European powers gradually de-colonised their far-flung outposts. The remaining native populations didn’t just go back to exactly how they had been before colonisation – many of them reverted back to an earlier time, with civil wars, unrest and bloodshed, and old, previously long-forgotten divisions re-opening and causing terrible human tragedies and suffering, often on a large and horrifying scale. Societies, therefore, far from benefitting from being hauled unceremoniously-quickly into “the modern age” of the time, actually suffered from a kind of un-progress whereby they reverted back to a society which, again all by themselves, they had actually moved beyond, prior to their colonisation. And, just for the record, and to emphasise the historical pattern, a similar thing happened in Britain after the withdrawal of the Roman Empire. Did we hang onto all those sophisticated systems – efficient administration, literacy, good communications, surprisingly-advanced medical techniques, running water, central heating, sewage disposal systems, civic services? Did we heck! Absolutely not. We were, within very short space of time, right back to the not-far-short-of-Stone-Age society that the Romans had first encountered!

    So, should we “re-colonise” or “re-stabilise?” No, we shouldn’t. What we should do, hard as it is, is to leave well alone. We should only intervene if those societies, and their associated conflicts, directly threaten our own. Which is, after all, pretty much that the people of this, and I guess other western, nations, want from our military forces. Provided our own society isn’t threatened (which, despite all the hyped-up rhetoric in the papers, it often isn’t), we should allow those societies to find their own “right” way of living, even if we in the west don’t believe that it’s the best way of living, because it isn’t like ours. Vive la différence, and all that. Of course it’s hard to sit back and do nothing when civilian populations, who only really want to get on with their lives, are being harmed by their own people for the sake of a power grab or a religious ideology (which are often the same thing). Of course it’s tempting for powerful, weapon-rich countries in the west to want to rush in and help the “little guy,” and to be the big civilian-saving heroes. Of course we want to see these countries safe, stable and sensible, not just for humanitarian reasons, but for our own economic self-interest, too – trade and industry flourishes between peaceful, stable nations; where one is in a state of chaos and disarray, trade and industry suffers or ceases altogether.

    But it’s arrogant, too, to believe that the only way to progress forward to a fair and stable nation is via the route which we ourselves took. Ours was just one way. Theirs may be another. And by hurrying them too quickly onto the point in our path where we have reached, no matter how noble our motives, (bearing in mind that it took us several hundred years to reach that spot), there’s every likelihood that in the fullness of time we’d find that all we’d done is lead them back to a point on their path that they had, in fact, already left many years ago.

    • margo says:

      Well said, jaxthefirst. And have you noticed that the only ‘little guys’ we ever help are the ones with something we want (usually oil, these days)?

    • Frank Davis says:

      rather like a spring being released

      Well, I look at societies in the same way, with Hooke’s law being applied to these ‘springs’. I think it’s very interesting that a lot of people think of societies in this way. So I entirely accept the analogy.

      Societies, therefore, far from benefitting from being hauled unceremoniously-quickly into “the modern age” of the time, actually suffered from a kind of un-progress whereby they reverted back to a society which, again all by themselves, they had actually moved beyond, prior to their colonisation

      I don’t think that central African tribes had actually ‘moved beyond’ anything much at all. I don’t think they’d really changed at all for a very long time. They traded very little with the outside world, selling ivory and slaves and the like. It was about 1870 before the likes of the missionary David Livingstone made perilous journeys into central Africa, about which almost nothing was known. It was only by about 1900 that white settlers started arriving (in Southern Rhodesia, for example) to begin exporting African minerals and timber, and also to create the first farms. What it was like:

      Today’s readers may need to be reminded that what became Rhodesia was an almost trackless wilderness where the relatively few inhabitants lived a wretched and primitive existence. They had not even advanced to the stage of having discovered the wheel. The most recent conquerors, the Matabele (an offshoot of the Zulus) had arrived just a few decades earlier and rapidly created a state of fear and tyranny over the more numerous but pastoral Shonas – who in their turn had ousted the original San / Bushman dwellers some centuries earlier. Never the less when the pioneers started to arrive in the 1890s there were only a few hundred thousand people living in an area three times the size of England!..

      …the virgin bush was cleared, dams were built all over the country and hopeless looking parched bush land was irrigated and made available to both white and African farmers. Rhodesia set about becoming the breadbasket of Africa and regularly exported food to less well managed African countries.

      I don’t think that after the departure of many of its white farmers, Zimbabwe continued to be the breadbasket of Africa for very long. I don’t think it’s reverted to being a trackless wilderness either.

      • jaxthefirst says:

        I take your point, Frank. But what I was trying to say was that in many ways a society will “regress” once the pressure is off, not because they can’t manage their own affairs (as many colonist-supporters argued before decolonisation), but because they simply haven’t learned to manage their affairs in a modern world in their own way and their own time. So, of course, with all the structures (and strictures) of colonisation pulled away like a rug from underneath them, there’s going to be a bit of confused re-adjustment as the people try to work out exactly how they want their country to be and how they want to live. What they certainly won’t do is just continue on their merry way, continuing to live exactly as they were obliged to under pressure from outside influences, because they now “like it” or “have got used to it,” no matter how long (e.g. 400 years, in the case of Britain under the Romans) that “new” way of living has been in place.

        And of course you’re right – Zimbabwe hasn’t gone back to being a “trackless wilderness.” But it’s certainly taken a few significant steps back in that direction – steps which maybe it might have overcome and moved on from, had it been left to its own devices and allowed to make its own progress. So, OK, maybe the “springback” reaction I described doesn’t always happen as totally as I described it. Maybe sometimes the “spring” is less compressed in some circumstances than in others and the effect won’t be such drastic regression. Or maybe the advent of a dictator like Mugabe simply keeps the spring a little bit compressed so that the “springback” isn’t quite so strong. Maybe we’ll only find out when Mugabe dies/retires/gets ousted, or whatever.

        But anyway, I certainly don’t see any reason why countries in Africa (or anywhere else, for that matter) shouldn’t be perfectly able to find stability and a reasonable way of operating in the modern world which works well for its people in just the same way as western countries have. It may not be pretty and it may not make for cuddly-friendly news items, but that’s probably as much part of the process for them as it was for us. Regardless of how much we in the west don’t like to see people fighting and arguing and, sadly, sometimes dying for their freedoms and their rights, I don’t think it’s a process that can ever be “artificially induced” in order to try and make it “painless,” any more than ours was. And it’s certainly not one which should be so induced in the unrealistic expectation it will be universally-accepted as a Good Thing By Everyone In That Country. Because it won’t be. And it won’t last.

    • nisakiman says:

      Yes Jax, I’d tend to agree there. Removing Saddam and Gaddafi created far more problems for the local populace (and indeed globally) than it solved. Odious though their respective regimes were, there was a balance being maintained and life, for the most part, carried on normally. The direct result of the west marching in to remove those dictators has been bloody chaos which has spread throughout the Middle East. The whole region has been destabilised and we shall be paying the price for those interventions for years to come.

    • Frank Davis says:

      a similar thing happened in Britain after the withdrawal of the Roman Empire. Did we hang onto all those sophisticated systems – efficient administration, literacy, good communications, surprisingly-advanced medical techniques, running water, central heating, sewage disposal systems, civic services? Did we heck! Absolutely not. We were, within very short space of time, right back to the not-far-short-of-Stone-Age society that the Romans had first encountered!

      If that had happened, the hill forts that the Romans found Britons inside would have been re-occupied. But I don’t think they ever were. While most Roman villas ceased to be occupied, and many Roman towns fell into ruin, many other Roman towns remained, like London (londinium), York (Iboracum) and more less every town with “caster” in its name. Also much of the Roman road network remained in use, and is still in use to this day. And also a great deal of the English language is composed of Latin words. And there are places like Bath where the Roman baths are still in working order. And Britannia is a Roman name. The river Severn near me was called Sabrina in Roman times.

      So I don’t think Britain did revert to a near-stone-age existence after the Romans left. The Romans had brought all sorts of new technologies and methods and plants and animals which remained in use and in cultivation. The 400 years of the Roman occupation had a lasting influence, particularly as the British upper class had become Rpmanised.

      This period – the Dark Ages – isn’t particularly well documented. And it’s also one in which Britain was successively invaded by Saxons and Danes who came from areas outside the Roman empire.

      The same is true elsewhere. France fell under Roman rule about 100 years before Britain, and the French language is much more Latin than English is. And in Spain, where Roman rule began even earlier, the Spanish language is almost word-for-word Latin.

      The places in the British Isles that the Romans didn’t conquer – Scotland and Ireland – retained their own pre-Roman languages and cultures, the differences from England have been retained to this day.

      It’s been some 1500 years since the fall of the Western Roman Empire, but it arguably remains enormously influential, with the Roman Catholic Church continuing to use Latin up until very recently, and periodic attempts being made to revive it (e.g. the Holy Roman Empire). The Renaissance was the rebirth of the art and architecture of classical Rome and Greece. Even the EU, with its founding Treaty of Rome, harks back to the Roman empire. And of course until recently a classical education meant learning Latin and Greek (I was taught both for a few years), so that when Isaac Newton wrote Principia Mathematica, he wrote it in Latin. And one of Boris Johnson’s books (which his secretary Melissa kindly sent me a copy of) is called the Dream of Rome.

  10. Joe L. says:

    O/T:

    Coca-Cola funds scientists who shift blame for obesity away from bad diets

    Looks like Big Sugar is fighting fire with fire. I’m sure they’ll be lambasted by the hypocritical healthists for this move, just as the tobacco companies were when they did the same.

  11. smokingscot says:

    I know many citizens in corrupt third world countries would love to see a clean, democratically elected government. You may have seen the outrage in Burundi when their president stated he’d stand for a third term (which is illegal under the constitution). Others have mentioned the ingrained position of President Mugabe and his “party”.

    I’d venture to suggest that the sense of political hopelessness is widespread and examples of excesses too numerous to go into detail. That said many of the people trying to get to Lampedusa are from Eritrea where I’ve spent time and there it’s a virtual dictatorship.

    I believe these sentiments are just as real in places like Ukraine and most certainly in Belarus – and they’d very much like to join the EU.

    (As an aside, you my be interested to learn that Israel has been sniffing around seeking a way to join the EU and Nato.

    http://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-should-more-aggressively-seek-nato-eu-memberships-says-former-bulgarian-fm/ )

    Before doing that a whole bunch of laws and systems need to be changed. Many are there to favour the few (usually connected with the Popinjay at the top).

    But mistakes have been made in the past, most notably with Greece. Hence the massive list of things that need doing and glacial rate of progress to “qualify” for membership.

    The way I see it the EU is, certainly with respect to politics, no different to a Colonial Power. Having lived under British Colonial Rule, it’s having your people controlling the levers of power that matters. That includes the legal system – and of course making darned fine certain they favour your goods and services. And that they in turn do their bit by exporting to the mother country, preferably at below market rates.

    Britain couldn’t hope to finance anything worthwhile (though I do believe the Commonwealth, now the Commonwealth of Nations, could become very much more proactive) but the EU may well have to consider some sort of distant associate type system, if for no other reason than to ensure our aid is used correctly.

    As you say, it’s a great deal cheaper and less politically fraught than having thousands a week landing on isolated islands in Italy and Greece.

    But don’t please lose sight of the bigger picture with the EU illegal immigrants. Am I the only one to see that the EU has a de facto navy operating under some form of central command dashing off to every sinking boat that’s reported. Now if you want to be a respected colonial power you gotta have a military. But that’s a whole different ramble.

    • roobeedoo2 says:

      That’s very interesting. The EU was pro bombing Libya and Syria, too at the time Ed Miliband scuppered it, I think.

      Cause a humanitarian crisis to install a EU Navy… they wouldn’t!!! That would be some sort of Order Out Of Chaos thingy…

      • smokingscot says:

        Again it’s only my take on things. I saw them taking advantage of a situation in Ukraine (though the jury’s still out on whether it’ll work for the EU) and if my recollection’s correct they floated the idea of an EU army. But they do seem to be doing something along those lines in Iraqi Kurdistan. I believe they’re called “advisers”.

  12. Pingback: Odd Coincidences | Frank Davis

  13. Ariel says:

    Individuals shouldnt be taking out personal loans
    willy-nilly.

No need to log in

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s