EUROBLOWN: My my, what odd children Mr Friedman had.

There was a crackerjack piece by enfant terrible Ed West in the Sarkograph this morning, pointing out with much insight that while the Irish fought with weapons to get rid of the British (and wouldn’t take 1% of the crap Brussels is giving them were the imperial power Britain) only a low turnout will deliver a No vote today. It’s a sort of ‘go figure’ piece, but makes enormous sense about how and why culture is central to the issue…and how Britain is the only true bastion of euroscepticism in Europe.

While absolutely on the money this new bit of Westiness, I will offer a dimension I think needs adding. In 1916, the Irish knew that freedom was more important than money. In 2012, they just don’t want the money turned off. It’s the same in Greece, and that’s both supported and reflected by something else I read today.

Pour encourager les voteurs, the international creditors and Troikanauts associated with (aka in pursuit of) Greece were laying it on with a trowel again yesterday – along with the National Bank of Greece. But as always, the threat was the same: ‘…the Troika putting up $325 billion in two bailouts to prop up the country’s essentially-dead economy, said the next Greek government must pursue budget cuts with “determination” to be eligible for emergency aid…’

Or put another way, don’t vote for that nasty Alexis Tsipras, or we’ll cut the munneeee off. (Tsipras wants to stay in the ezone, but to have the austerity rescheduled).

Picture the scene that misty morning in 1916 on O’Connell Street. As the Irish patriots exchange sporadic fire with the imperialist British either side of the main Post Office, Paddy comes down the street carrying a large white flag, and yells at Sean just as he’s about to launch a grenade, “Put de fecking ting down Sean, Downun Street’s gonna cut off de munneee.”

This is as much down to Reagan, Thatcher, Friedman, and their follower clowns who’ve been insisting on trickly wealth, decisive markets and the rest of the bollocks for the last thirty years. Neo-liberalist economics has but one criterion: de munneeeee.

How ironic it is, therefore, to see the values of the High Priest of Laissez-faire free markets propping up perhaps the most illiberal, protectionist, social-democratic crock in history.

41 thoughts on “EUROBLOWN: My my, what odd children Mr Friedman had.

  1. I’m living in Ireland but not eligible to vote (born and raised in England as I am) but if I could I’d be very much in 2 minds about voting at all, even though i’d vote no.

    Why vote either way for a treaty that is intended for a near-defunct union? It seems to me like asking people to decide on how to put the fire out after the building has burned to the ground.

    Democracy is a walking joke these days, the idea that “your vote” counts for anything has been proved again and again to be a fantasy. Gubmints across the EU now routinely promise the earth and then ignore the will of the electorate in exchange for a nice euro pension/cushy commission job.

    So why waste my time partaking in their pathetic beauty pageant when it means nothing. I think I prefer to ignore the elements I feel are unjust or plain stupid and make up my own rules.

    • absolutely agree. I posted yesterday saying democracy is the false god of our era. This ridiculous idea won’t see it till the end of the century. The problem is democracy inevitably leads to socialism and totalitarianism. The very idea that you should be able to vote on someone else’s life, liberty, property, is farcical and end of civilization stuff. People who live entirely off the states teet are seen as equals as the producers, the movers and shakers and risk takers; therefore these worthless shits (teachers, politicians, social engineers, public sector union representatives, welfare officers, welfare recipients etc etc) get to vote on your hard won labor, they get to vote the money away from you do to “public good” and “social responsibility”. They are enchanted by the idea of a self immolating society whereby everything good, strong, self sufficient, life giving is tapped, cornered, blinkered by a huge steaming heard of humanity demanding their “fair share”. Well take a look around you, take a look around europe; this is where you’re caring democracy has landed us…

      And before people go mad rejecting my common sense argument defending their false god. I ask, at what lengths would you go to protect this farcical liberal idea? Suppose two men and a woman were on an island – the two men decide to rape the woman. Is that their democratic right??

      And at what point will you realize the self evident truism: people are not equal.

      • Democracy can only work correctly with the checks and balances of the 3 forms of government all under and subservient to the rule of LAW. Where law is supreme.
        The 3 arms of government have been dismantled in the UK and the Law corrupted. This is the reason why our Democracy which worked well for several hundred years is failing. The checks on the commons were destroyed by the commons not liking their ‘power’ thwarted. Thus they act outside the law – and thus democracy is failing in the UK.
        It would take pages to explain (just what I know and understand) so I’ll leave it with the thought that ‘The Commons’ broke the law in order to take total power – in doing so they destroyed the best working democracy this planet had ever seen.

      • @ Morningstar:

        I’m sorry but that is complete hogwash. For a start while the first form of suffrage was introduced by Henry VI in 1433 it only extended the ‘vote’ to male landowners the value of whose property exceeded 40 shillings, in comparative terms about half a million £ today. Little changed until the 1832 Reform Act which extended the franchise to leaseholders as well as owners and encompassed about 14% of the again male population. The subsequent Reforms extended that to about 60% of males (all householders again) by 1884, still no women. It wasn’t until 1928 the UK had universal suffrage that included women and the poor.

        While the Westminster system was a ‘good’ system with limited corruption and equality under the law, again only really from the late 19th century, it was never democratic, nor is it now. Government was and is run in the interests of its stakeholders which have always been the people of influence in terms of power and money. That used to be the monarchy, the Guilds, the aristocracy, the industrialists and the bankers. Monarchy was finally pushed out of the equation, along with most of the aristocracy, after WW2. The Guilds were killed off by the industrialists in the 18th century. Since WW2 the political class has come into being on the coat tails of the bankers and the industrialists, more correctly big business now, The political class has birthed the grasping civil service, local authority CEOs on £200,000 a year doing a job equivalent to a factory manager, typically £50 – £60,000 a year, and all the Quango, Commission and God knows what else hangers on and cronies sucking on the Government teat. These are the people government is now run for, not you (at least I hope not) or me or probably any of the responders here.

        Prior to WW1 the system worked well because ordinary folk like us had little contact with government or its agents, nor did we pay much in the way of tax which left the stakeholders to arrange things to suit them. As long as there was little or no insurrection they were quite happy for the most part. The changes after WW2, brought about by the Establishment terror of a highly disciplined and generally healthy and skilled returning soldiery potentially turning to insurrection (a near thing after WW1 although largely air brushed from history) introduced us to the high tax, high welfare state we have now. On balance this suits the population, or did anyway, especially when disposable incomes and property values can be kept rising, and allows the government to largely forget you, me and the rest while they continue with their real work of serving the interests of the true stakeholders.

      • The key problem is that One-Man-One-Vote democracy has lost touch with the other principle of ‘he who pays the piper calls the tune’. We now have a situation where the ‘tune’ is called largely by those with no investment in, or commitment to, the piper’s service.

        Perhaps a variation should be that everyone is granted one basic vote, thus satisfying OMOV, but then each elector is granted an additional vote for every complete £1,000 paid in direct taxes in the previous tax-year.

        As well as ‘rewarding’ those who contribute the most, it may even encourage more of the seriously wealthy to stay domiciled (or at least pay taxes) in the UK for the perceived benefit of those multi-votes – they could get 1001 votes for paying £1m in taxes. (But the Parliamentary effect would be minimised, as they all reside in safe blue seats anyway).

        Overall, this would have the effect of limiting the electoral impact of ‘Brown’s Benefit Brigade’, possibly the largest example of gerrymandering ever seen in Britain.

      • Dearest maxi are you having a bad day today? Huh… I just want to take you to one side and whisper that not everyone in welfare, giving it or recieving it are evil, nor are all teachers,doctors etc..(Unions. well… maybe).

        And at what point will you realize the self evident truism: people are not equal.
        Answer: I don’t know who has been banding that saying about but… I’m sure it is a grammarical error. They perhaps meant to say all are to be treated equally in the eyes of the law..maybe? anyway, you are quite right not everyone is equal: some of us are sexy and gorgeous and some no so much, some very clever some not so much, but these things should never be taken into account when being persecuted by the law or snidey employers! Btw I am sexy, gorgeous and clever which one are you?….heehee j/k

      • @MMP: I agree with you entirely and especially this: “The problem is democracy inevitably leads to socialism and totalitarianism. The very idea that you should be able to vote on someone else’s life, liberty, property, is farcical…” All Very true.

        On a point of clarification, when you say “people are not equal”, I think you mean that people have different levels of skill and intellectual ability etc and this prevents everybody from achieving the same levels in life. This is a truism that socialism has attempted to whitewash. It has failed but has destroyed society in the process.

      • I’m not sure UK democracy started as an ideal. It was really a method aimed at curbing the tendency to civil war. Rich landowners capable of raising large armies voted to show just how big a joint army they might be able to muster to support their argument (however wrong or immoral), and since this would likely mean winning the argument by force, there was really no need to actually commit to a war once a vote had been won.

        Marx realised that modern British democracy was likely to fail once the people realised they could effectively vote themselves more money. This is exactly what has happened in Greece. Greek people have been convinced by socialists that the rich can be made to pay lots of tax and this can then be given to everybody to make them all rich too. Politicians have been happy to go along with this untruth for decades until they broke the system. But ask yourself – if you took 1/60millionth of Richard Branson’s house would you be rich? If you took 1/60millionth of the food Richard Branson eats, would you be rich? Fact is the rich consume stuff the rest of us wouldn’t benefit from anyway. Socialism is based on a lie – you cannot distribute wealth from rich to poor because the rich have no wealth that is of use to the poor. Now the fact is that most British people grew up and understood the lie at the heart of socialism – they pulled themselves out of the gutter of personal corruption that claims you can get something for nothing back in the late 70s. We will all whinge but in the end we will work to dig ourselves out of the current mess we are in. The Greeks still haven’t learned this lesson and therefore they will be punished for it severely.

        If we want to progress as a nation then we must learn some lessons I feel. We must learn that Socialism is corrupting of the human soul. We must learn that without control there can be no responsibility and hence no liability – so if my neighbour falls on hard times and it is not my fault then I have no responsibility towards him. If I am expected to take responsibility for him then I must also have control. It follows from this that those that live from state benefits must be under the control of the state and can have no control over the state – that is they cannot have the vote.

    • I make a point of never ignoring any election, referendum whatever.
      I spoil my paper, write “none of the above”, write in the party or choice I was not offered. By doing this, I have registered my protest. Now if more people did this, and the ‘spoilt papers’ started to exceed the votes for the winning candidate, just think what message that would deliver. It may be a small gesture, but it is at least a peaceful protest.

      • I agree Bernard. The French turned out at 80% to vote between two globalist socialists – that sends out a message that the french are sheep. The brits only turned out at about 33% at the local elections; that says the people are rousing and not buying this shit. Can you imagine a general election turnout of sub 30%?? That would really show the population to be waking up.

        But of course they can always fudge the stats. I’m sure far less people already vote than what we’re asked to believe.

      • You’d be amazed how many folk vote in Bradford.
        OK, most of them don’t actually know they’ve voted, most of them never even get to see their postal ballot paper, many of them don’t actually live anywhere near or even in the same country, some of them aren’t even still alive but, by God (or more likely, by Allah) they make sure their vote gets counted again and again. Ain’t our democracy great ?

      • I suspect that, if you total up all the votes cast in a single series of X-Factor, it may already exceed the turnout in a parliamentary election. And that’s very sad.

      • A good point.
        More importantly, here in Germany spoiling your ballot hurts the party system financially. Explanation: The parties are reimbursed for their “campaign expenses” out of the taxpayers pocket, according to their share of the vote. The non-voters are split between the parties as well, the only thing that loses the parties a whooping 5 euro each are the spoilt votes. So writing in Count Chocula or I.C. Wiener costs them money…

  2. I don’t think it was that different then as it is now. British troops had to protect some of the arrested rebels from outraged Dublin residents & there was basically no public support for the uprising. It was only after the British executed 16 of the leaders at Kilmainham jail that public opinion changed enough to make the fighting of a guerilla war feasible. The flying columns could not have functioned without local community support.

    The British were put under intense pressure to make an example by the Irish business community, they particularly wanted the head of James Connolly a socialist trades union leader who with James Larkin had been heavily involved in the Dublin lockout strike. Connolly who was wounded & unable to stand was tied to a chair & shot, this act caused widespread outrage.

    De Valera was spared due to his American connections.

    • Well it’s all over now thanks to that other Irish peace maker Tony Bliar. There is no North and South just EU colonies now. Imagine the UK Having an Irish catholic Prime Minister with out us knowing it, well who’d a thunk it! Btw Bliar the ‘honest peace maker’ made sure non of his kids were ever going to be ‘called up’ for any war he started, as they became Irish citizens… nice one Tone! But the thing is…The terrorist’s ,the non Irish ones, do not recognise that the bliars family are now not part of the UK, AND MY GUESS IS: they are still targets from them err terrorist’s! or are we calling them freedom fighters?

      • There is neither an academic nor an international legal consensus regarding the definition of the term terrorism. It’s an elastic word. The use of violence & threats to coerce, especially for political purposes I suppose is fairly close. The term terrorist could subjectively be applied to Blair, Bush & others, freedom fighters they are definitely not, unless freedom is defined as being able with no restraints to screw the planet up, the term could also be used by bankers.

        I suppose the view is different on either end of the chosen weapons & it’s no wonder lawyers are always busy.

        Men who physically abuse their wives & children are definitely terrorists, but they are not political, so they are not classed as such, our dog would love to be a terrorist of rabbits but he is about as effective in this ambition, as was that lunatic shoe bomber & that other nutter wearing the exploding underpants.

        I will stop rambling now.

  3. The theme of the responses to this and previous posts is that democracy has been shown to be a fallacy. The behaviour of the EU fascists, cynical politicians of every shade, tactical voting, voting for the party that will continue one’s benefits handouts, can’t be arsed to vote, etc etc all demonstrate that “democracy” has been polluted and is dead.
    Neither anarchy nor dictatorship are attractive options for me, yet I can’t see a wider debate anywhere on a new socio-political paradigm.
    By the way I see The Guardian carries a report on the annual meeting of the Bilderberg annual convention 2012 and gives the address of the Bilderberg website. I always thought they were a secret society! Either way I’m not interested in their new order either. I guess we’re all f****d?

    • The Bilderburg group does intrigue me. I suppose now the cats out of the bag and everyone knows they exist its best (for them) to just pretend its all harmless (and perhaps for charity too)…

      All I can say is, there’s no smoke without fire…

  4. What ever denomination they claim to be (TPTB) they all worship at the altar of wealth, the great God, Money. Greed, isn’t that the root of all our evils?
    I believe it to be so.

    • Money represents the free interaction between humans; the alternative is the barrel of a gun. I worship money. And buy money I mean free market money. Not government currency units.

    • A little less, Lust,Gluttony,Greed,Sloth,Wrath,Envy & Pride and more,

      Valour: Pursuit of Knowledge
      Generosity: Pursuit of Charity
      Liberality: Pursuit of Will
      Diligence: Pursuit of Ethics
      Patience: Pursuit of Peace
      Kindness: Pursuit of Love
      Humility: Pursuit of Modesty

      What we need is an evolution step!
      Some say through genetic manipulation others through spiritual awareness.
      All I know is that circuses, smoke and mirrors rule and the masses don’t want to think about it.
      We don’t need big society.
      Know yourself is a start.

      • Well said.But I would add ‘only turn the other cheek once’, then give the b*****tards hell.

  5. Meanwghile they are already talking about giving Spain a break on their debt schedule… something they have refused to do in Greece since the beginning… in fact:

    ” Addressing a general assembly of the Federation of Hellenic Enterprises (SEB), Stournaras said the European Commission has asked for a halt of all payments under a development law following recent cases of corruption until the affair was fully cleared up.

    The Greek minister noted, however, that something like this could cause great problems, especially in the prevailing recession environment in the country. ”

    http://www.athensnews.gr/portal/8/55967

    so it’s literally… no public services whatsoever until you let the guilty finish investigating themselves for corruption… what a joke this whole farce of a “bail out” has been… a cheap PR trick, a politically correct way to force the small fries further to the ground when they are down, and make a few bucks, get some cheap land… however, when you are the fourth largest economy in the EU… well senor… no problemo!

  6. Democracy is a funny ole thing. It means so many things to so many people. what I want it to be is quite simplistic, but humans being humans it is costly. Take a small island with plent fresh water in great supply, plenty flower and faun, great meat in plentyfull supply, and fish stocks that never require man management or interference. So we the humans require four things for basic survival: shelter, food,water,and social interaction. everything else is just luxury of mind. Some people are great at fishing, some at building shelter, some at manageing the water system, and everyone having free reign as to who they choose to interact with. Absolute freedom. This community work together to build a community of sharing and giving food,shelter and water. no Gods,no kings- Queens, Emperors. No universities as no degrees are required because there is no paper system in place just everyone working towards the common goal. EACH person is responsible for their behaviour, unless they suffer mental illness. Everyone really in it together. There must be rules in place as there will always be bullies,gangstas and muscle flexers. A good understanding of behaviour is accepted. And punishment is decided by THE ACTUAL MAJORITY. Could it work in small communities, Yes, becasue it is easier to manage. On paper-in type it looks great, but then you have nepotism, favrotism, jealousy and lazy non compliant types…but you still don’t have a special homefor- or special treatment for anyone in particular. everyone has basic needs met EQUALLY.

    • @Miss BH. “small is beautiful” by E F Schumaker was much discussed in the 1960′s. Time for another look? Maybe it’s time for a smaller, more communal lifestyle to start up again. TPTB won’t take us there, but it might have to happen anyway as national economies collapse under their own weight.
      It’s quite heartening to read about “towns in transition” (Totnes and Kingston are two such) and LETS trading schemes. Home-spun and unglamorous certainly but that’s fine by me.

    • The only reason that this would work is because in a small community people can see where the food and water is coming from. This is why Socialism tends to thrive in cities but not in the country. In the country people can see with their own eyes that food comes from the hard work of the farmer, and that something is owed to the farmer when we expect to take food from him. In the city that truism is lost and bizarre political theories that have no basis in reality like socialism are able to thrive. Stalin knew that farming exposed the lie at the heart of socialism and therefore was eager to destroy the farmer.

  7. Democracy is run by people who assume virtual total power when elected into office. They believe they have the right & power to pass any law and introduce any regulation they want. All it needs is the acquiescence of Parliament but most MPs are either asleep or too dumb to know what’s going on or are there for much more important things (to them). When the political party only gets elected by ~40% the whole things becomes a farce.
    As @MMP says above “The very idea that you should be able to vote on someone else’s life, liberty, property, is farcical…” But that is how it happens in Britain.

    That is roughly where we are today in Britain.

    The current system has survived so long because successive governments have borrowed and borrowed to hand out largesse to buy votes, but as we now know, borrowing has reached ts limits. Once in power, they implement their hidden agendas and claim to have electoral support for it.

    I’ve been banging on about this for years; but the only solution to this crises of accountable democracy is to introduce a proper written constitution and a mechanism for its ongoing supervision. The latter is necessary because other countries who already have constitutions find them progressively trampled on by the political elites and compliance is often left to individuals who rarely have time & money to challenge them.

    A constitution should be the supreme law of the land and governments should be elected under it. IMO the powers of elected politicians need to be severely reigned back with an appropriate reduction in the share of the national cake the goverment consumes. If Britain does not move towards this arrangement, we will quickly find we are living under a totalitarian regime and our rights will increasingly be whatever the government says they are. We will become slaves to government.

    • @BT – we have a constitution – such a good one that most other countries have copied it. Though it is not codified into a single document does not mean it does not exist. The problem is that the rule of LAW has been corrupted by those who are supposed to protect it. The politicians have raised themselves above the LAW and those who should protect the people from this have failed in their duty to do so.
      We have many ‘unconstitutional’ statutes and those who should throw them down will not do so (or have been disempowered). The country needs a good old fashioned clean out of those who have failed under their oath’s of allegience to the crown (who is the embodiment of the people). Long time in lock up will be needed for those who have conspired against the people……….but I cannot see the people settling for this ‘reward’ when the time comes.

      • @Morningstar: Nope. Britain’s so-called constitution that some people claim exists is a collection of historical protocols and common law. All of which can be overridden by a new statute law. And Blair went at it with hammer and tongs. A proper written constitution that I described above is not threatened by that as it is itself the supreme law of the land. The only caution is that is has to be independently supervised and enforced to avoid falling into the American trap.

    • What we need are Royal Commissions set up under the head of state to ensure that the elected government keeps to a balanced budget except during wartime. It should also ensure the proper functioning of an unbiased media that reports on the facts rather than continually offering up opinions. It should also replace the existing two party system run behind the scenes by the wealthy and the powerful with a PR system with parties representing all viewpoints. It should ensure that mass immigration is stopped as it is being used as yet another method of gerrymandering the political system. People on benefits are living on the charity of the nation and must not get the vote. The government must be regularly reminded that it is the servant of the people. Government expenditure should be devolved as much as possible to ensure that budgets do not become so large under one persons control that this in itself become corrupting. Citizen juries should be selected at random once per year to oversee government functioning and expenditure and the proper functioning of the civil service. The Ministry of Defence should be limited only to the defence of the UK and its protectorates and not be permitted to be drawn in to alliances with other nations or conflicts with nations that are not threatening the UK directly. Belief systems that conflict with the ideals of a libertarian state should be labelled as anti-liberty and outlawed. The courts will judge and sentence crimes according to the letter of the law – “excuses” will no longer be permitted and trials will be limited to one week duration with the prosecution given one day to present their case and the defence two days to respond. A life sentence will mean life. The planning system will be taken out of the hand of the state and the local councils and given to the people and in principle you will be permitted to build a house anywhere which isn’t a national park subject to satisfactory design. Environmentalists will be given the opportunity for defining a further 25% of the UK land surface as “unsuitable for development” and will be permitted no further say in planning matters. Listed building status will be removed from buildings that have no aesthetic appeal. The children of divorced couples should be placed by default with the father, not the mother. The state will not be permitted to conduct “marriages”, gay or hetero – the state will only be able to enact legal contracts between couples known as “civil partnerships”. Only religious entities should be permitted to conduct marriages. The women giving birth with no job, no partner and no other means of support will be taken away from them and given to other parents.

      This, at least, would be a start. If much of it looks a bit like where we were in the 50s you’d be right. God knows we’ve been on completely the wrong track since then.

  8. @Peter C – a long way above….
    I know the flaws and the issues – but the system itself was good to maintain ‘rule for the greater good of the demos’. Yes there is and was and will be some corruption of individuals and groups BUT the rule of law if enforced correctly should deal with these issues. That law was allowed to be corrupted – is what we get today. That the system itself in the UK is working under unlawful mandate (and no-one puts a stop to it) tells why it can no longer work. And why revolt or rebellion will come when the current unsustainable system crashes – the push being the current financial crisis.

  9. Oh dear what a lot of misunderstandings!! It is not we Monetarists and market economists who got it wrong it is the corporatist socialist statists who ran the UK and the EU into the ground. The intimate political and monetary connections between bankers and the money printing state and the failure of the fatuous Labour Government to carry out even the toytown basics of regulating liquidity and solvency in the banking industry destroyed the UK.

    What recovery we have from the potential Armageddon was entirely due to monetarists exceptionally promoting LOOSE monetary policy to counter the collapse of bank balance sheets.

    Governments print the product of the bankers – money. politicians print money to finance their profligacy by robbing savers and subsidising debtors. Most immorality starts in the State and it’s corporatist hangers-on where responsibility is disguised or diffused. That has absolutely nothing to do with entrepreneurial free Market capitalism which has been systematically wiped out in the UK since at least the second world war. All three “major” British political parties run the corporatist system where their failures are more easily disguised not least through the inflation which we monetarists have fought in the name of the savings and jobs of the common man.

    The ultimate expression of the socialist corporatist system is the EU where idealists and the “compassionate” supra-nationalists have brought the common man to his knees, destroying the currencies and nation states which are the pillars of free trading capitalism and wealth creation.

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