ISSUES,INSIGHTS AND COLOURFUL MOMENTS-FROM THE DESK OF AN ENGLISH AUTHOR.
This month will see either a nativity or a funeral – the former somewhat appropriate for Christmas, the latter too awful to consider. The obsequies refer to a Labour triumph, which could well open one of the blackest chapters in modern British political history. In a sense you cannot blame the electorate for such disastrous consequences should they happen, for few citizens have the time to cross check, and navigate their way through the welter of information they would have to digest in order to form an intelligent opinion. To be sure it is out there in newspapers and the Internet, and sometimes one feels, that because every question begs an answer, in the density of information available, it is never answered.
I am of course referring to the wider role of a British government in particular because it is relatively easy to establish the disaster of the European Union in economic, political and moral terms, given the adverse consequences to nations on the European fringe. At the same time it is painfully obvious that the intricacies of managing an independent nation are Sisyphean in extreme. However, an undeniable truth has only recently begun to emerge in that the democratic nation is always beholden to the authority of its people, while the EU is not actually responsible to anyone. In this respect populist angst appears not as disparate expressions of such sentiment, but one that will eventually coalesce into various unified nationalist movements.
If you disagree, then consider precisely the role of the European Council, the European Commission and the European Parliament. The Commission creates, the Parliament debates, and the Council legislates. The Parliament is the only branch specifically elected by the combined people of Europe, and its members cannot propose, or enact legislation, so it is merely ornamental. It has no power to actually carry out the wishes of the people, or propose measures to their advantage. Democracy, therefore, does not enter into the argument. Yet every independent nation has this unifying factor, no matter how distorted it has become from its original Athenian conception. Eventually it will out.
Putting the problems of the EU aside for a moment, I am more interested at this point in the methods of gathering and assessing of information available to the people at large so they are well informed on the matters of some moment. In the modern world if you consider the BBC and a daily newspaper sufficient points of information on which to base an informed opinion, then I believe you are sadly disillusioned. We now have the proposed manifestos of the main political parties to ponder over, but they are brief in the extreme. For something more elaborate we need the analysis provided by independent assessors. Independent? I think we would be hard put to find such advocates. Nevertheless, a plethora of information has the advantage of motivating the grey cells into analysing the subjective mode, and considering alternatives.
In my own case, I read a great deal, cognisant that if people stop reading then the literacy level will drop, and the ability to understand complex texts and draw complicated inferences will decline. These days it is not newspapers in their material form because here in Italy the English press is always historical, and the cost of half a dozen to gather a relevant insight turns out not to be money well spent. The Internet, on the other hand, I find allows a degree of flexibility, though even there, for full coverage, you will have to put a hand in your pocket. Nevertheless, it’s surprising what you can discover from the gaps in their defences. Setting aside any preferences, and a great deal of research, I settled on gathering information from the Telegraph, (Ambrose Evans-Pritchard is a reliable economic journalist) Guardian, Express, The Washington Times, The Moscow Times and ANSA (Italian), along with that loose canon, Zero Hedge. To back all this up, snippets from the Spectator, Watts Up With That (A sensible academic source on Climate Change), and blogs by John Redwood and Gustavo Piga. These are all bookmarked, and some have the added advantage of having their reports regularly updated. Despite all this, I generally have to consult other sources to flesh out the parameters of what I come to believe represent plausible opinions. Though not perfect, it’s one step better than following your prejudices.
So let’s get to those. Back to the EU. Firstly, though the outcome of Brexit affects all British nationals, those permanently resident abroad, have no say in the matter, as we cannot vote. Mr Cameron promised to address this little problem, but true to his disingenuous character, made sure it was shelved. This was unnecessary, as most of the expat’s seem to lean towards Remain, and will be damned for it. Those who ARE NOT, and are older, have longer memories, and a wider historical perspective. Those who ARE, and can mostly be considered wealthy, should appreciate that control of money is an imperative of nations and individuals alike. ‘Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves,’ my Mother used to say. Trusting Mr Corbyn is obviously not the way to go. Sadly the EU has not the slightest idea either in the management of such things, and indeed may well be complicit in the misappropriation of those funds extracted from the hard earned efforts of their populous, and is where this blog lays its emphasis.
Though having considered the EU a less than admirable organization since the dissolute Edward Heath, I first began to consider that something was not as it should be a decade ago when I read that the organization had failed to balance its books. Specifically, the auditors had refused to give it a clean bill of health. We’re still waiting. This has consequently been repeated annually, and last year had a staggering 4 billion euro hole in its finances, which cannot be accounted for. That is, according to the Court of Auditors, about 2.6% of its entire budget. One might ask what have the European Council to say about this as they represent the member nations who are being duped. Apparently nothing. It appears they’re not asleep at the wheel; they’re not even in the vehicle! Believe me, that should matter to every responsible citizen.
In fact, if you start probing the background there is quite a lot that is shady about the EU, and you don’t have to go further than looking at the Management, God help us! Tusk it appears was warned by the Polish Internal Security Agency that his son was involved in the Amber Gold Pozzi scheme that swindled thousands of Polish citizens out of their hard earned cash, and which he, perhaps criminally, stubbornly chose to ignore. Still, I’m not sure that’s as shady as his pal Juncker, who during his spell at the helm of Luxembourg, helped hundreds of international corporations to illegally channel their profits through subsidiaries in the country at an ultra low rate of 1%, and often less, until it was exposed in the Luxleaks Scandal. Oh well, he did apologise, so that’s all right!
Well, won’t those old lags soon be gone, allowing the EU to clean up its act? You’ll be lucky. We now have Von der Leyen issues. The German Bundestag is investigating financial irregularities during her time in charge of the Federal Ministry probably related to financial transfers of millions of euros to the McKinsky consultancy with the help of a relative. You can wager it will come to nothing as the EU hierarchy closes ranks. On top of this, the less than sagacious EU Council, like a ‘Daniel come to judgement’ in Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, have seen fit to nominate Lagarde to be the next president of the Central European Bank. If you’re wondering if this is the same Lagarde who further sullied the dithering IMF, and earlier was found guilty of negligence in approving a massive payment of French tax payers money to French business man Bernard Tapie, you wouldn’t be wrong.
But you can find plenty of other horror stories if you’re diligent enough to look. One in The New York Times is particularly damning, but if you’re a “Me Too” Remainer, you may choose to skip this paragraph. They found that the EU conceals data on where their billions of subsidies go, so following their noses as all good journalist do, they went looking, and discovered that though the agricultural recipients must be listed, the identity of the farmland is not. This allows ‘farmers’ to hide behind numerous shell companies enabling the system to be used as a form of patronage by ministers who may also have had fingers in the till. The EU’s excuse for this criminal mismanagement was that they only funded the country with these subsidies; they weren’t responsible for policing it! Personally, I think that makes them accessories.
You might ask what Italy thinks of all this? If the citizen has backed Lega then they’ve probably woken up to why Italy is in a hole and digging itself deeper. Everyone else seems to have rolled over and gone back to sleep. They’re in a crisis damn it! Well, what more can you expect? Their flip-flopping EU Council member, Giuseppe Conte, hardly inspires the nation towards a new tomorrow. He also seems to be mixing in dubious company, along with Renzy’s reborn PD, under new management. All those EU jamborees Conte appears to be engaged in apparently engendered some bad habits as well. Having provided the Vatican investment fund with advice, he now finds himself at the centre of a corruption investigation seemingly related to the purchase of a £129 million pad in Chelsea. Well I never. Meanwhile, Salvini must be laughing as he can hardly be accused of helping the country on the way to economic ruin having dumped the coalition in August amidst universal acrimony and dire reports that he was finished. He then went on to win local elections in Sardinia and Umbria, leaving the other parties with a lot of egg on their face, and the journals scribbling a lot of excuses. One imagines it wouldn’t have happened in Benito’s day! All to play for, as they say. Perhaps he can convince his countrymen that Italexit would be a good thing, but even he is sending mixed signals which annoys my other half who considered him something of a blessing amidst the vacillating popinjays who make up the Italian political class. No, Italy will struggle on buying Audi and Porsche motorcars on money borrowed from Germany and think tomorrow is decades down the road when it isn’t. With Germany in a nose-dive she’ll be looking to get her cash back quicker than some time soon, and Conte’s babble on the security of the ESM bail out fund is going to be pie-in-the-sky. He should have listened to Salvini.
Thus the Italians I fear will miss the bus. Exiting should have been fashionable years ago when French and Dutch referendums gave the EU thumbs down on the European Constitution. They were just ignored, while the untrustworthy EU went ahead and did as they wished. Only Salvini has a retrospective knot in his handkerchief while his peers apparently suffer from amnesia, denying they fiddled their way into the Euro currency that became the Gordian knot of their economy and their present ills.
Back in dear old Blighty. As you’ve probably concluded, I’m expecting those who voted Remain will be arrested for aiding and abetting!
there no one who manufactures ballpoint pens in the EU? Of course there is
silly. There’s Schneider, Vivapen, ICO,
Lamy, Senator et al. I haven’t
checked if there’s any outsourcing, but
If there isn't, this just about sums up the perfidious nature of the EU. What you see is not what you get!
HAPPY FESTIVE SEASON TO YOU ALL.