Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Pope invited to address EU Parliament

It is, at this stage, merely an invitation, but Cranmer would bet his right arm (if he still had it) that His Holiness will feel inclined to accept.

The invitation was extended by Hans-Gert Poettering, former chairman of the EPP and now President of the European Parliament, during a private audience with the Pope at the Vatican. In this 50th anniversary year, the subject is to be the Pope’s favourite – that of the dialogue between religions and cultures, including the role religions can play in dialogue based on truth and tolerance. It will doubtless include a reiteration of the demand to mention God and the Continent’s Christian roots in the EU Constitution - an objective still pursued by Chancellor Merkel. His Holiness has recently reiterated his view that without this acknowledgement of the divine, the EU will be ‘godless’, and sleepwalking into the twilight.

This will be the second time a pope has addressed the European Parliament; the first came in 1988, when John Paul II addressed all MEPs in Strasbourg. The occasion was interrupted by the Rev Dr Ian Paisley, who denounced the Pope as the Antichrist. In a bizarre replay of ages past, he was ushered out of the chamber by Otto von Habsburg, the self-appointed defender of papal authority.

Cranmer has just one observation at this point: The Pope is German, Chancellor Merkel is German, and Mr Poettering is German. Is it not all getting a little ‘clubby’?

43 Comments:

Anonymous bob said...

I have no concrete evidence, but I suspect that Pope Benedict's nationality had very little to do with his election as pontiff. I think it is merely a coincidence that all three are German, although I must admit I struggle to imagine what nationality the German Chancellor would be other than German...

I only today discovered a book written by Pope Benedict prior to his election as pontiff on the subject of Europe and the EU. It should make interesting reading.

3 April 2007 at 12:17  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Bob,

Under EU law, nations may no longer require that their leaders share their nationality. Any member of an EU member state may therefore stand for election to the national government of any member state. Indeed, the UK already has one German MP (who rose to be a minister).

His Grace looks forward to the first German prime minister of the United Kingdom. Although this may be about as unlikely as a French chancellor of Germany, the EU clearly has an agenda to weaken national affiliation in favour of a higher allegiance to 'Europe'.

The arrival of a German pope at this important time for the EU is about as coincidental as the election of Karol Wojtyla was on the eve of the reunification of East and West.

3 April 2007 at 12:41  
Blogger Topper said...

Is there anything really sinister about attempting to create a European identity?

I think of myself as Scottish rather than British, or European. However it really matters not, one human being is in opinion entitled to the same rights and respects as another.

I'm not religious but europe is large chrisitan, I would have thought plenty common ground could be found despite language barriers and other cultural differences?

I don't know how most Italians feel about being Italian, but I led to believe as a nation it didn't really exist until the 19th Century.

Surely we should be trying to reduce the barriers between all peoples, not at the expence of indivuality or replaced by some monoculture but I find that patriotism taken to far is far more worrying than even some of the EU's odder ideas.

3 April 2007 at 12:47  
Anonymous bob said...

While I agree that the election of Pope John Paul II was momentous and, in the light of the history of the 1980's and 1990's, and astute choice, it should not be forgotten that Pope John Paul II was elected in October 1978 after the month long reign of Pope John Paul I. For your proposal to have real historical weight it would be necessary, in my view, that Karol Wojtyla would have been elected at that first conclave in 1978.

I again would argue that Pope Benedict's nationality had little if anything to do with his election as pontiff. I think it had much more to do with his experience within the Roman Curia and his pre-eminence as a theologian. It is my own belief that his age had quite a lot to do with his election, given that Pope John Paul II had reigned for almost 27 years, the expectation is that Pope Benedict will have a much shorter reign. There would also be an argument for saying that Pope Benedict was elected to provide continuity as he worked closely with Pope John Paul II for 25 years.

However I also acknowledge that I am as lacking in hard evidence for any of my own theories as you are, since only the 120 or so Cardinals who were locked inside the Sistine Chapel know what happened and for what reason. I would consider your reading of these events as plausible, but not probable, but I am reading them from my own particular perspective and bias. Perhaps in God's kingdom, should I get there, we will join you. (I am, of course, assuming that you are already enjoying that celestial rest).

3 April 2007 at 13:02  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Actually Pope Benedict is Bavarian which means he is not quite German and not completely Austrian. Frau Merkel is a Hamburger nee Kasner.

She is Protestant, The Pope we believe to be Roman Catholic; and Poettering is Roman Catholic.

May I remind Your Grace that your wife, Margarete, was also German ?

3 April 2007 at 13:08  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Voyager,

His Grace is not a Germanophobe (if there be such an affliction); he was merely making an observation.

Mr Bob,

His Grace is indeed already enjoying the celestial rest, confirming all his suspicions of the non-existence of purgatory.

3 April 2007 at 13:40  
Anonymous bob said...

I think, Cranmer, that purgutory is designed for more unworthy souls, such as my own, in dire need of purification before entry into the glory of the Beatific Vision. Yours was, doubtless, eminently more worthy than mine could ever be.

3 April 2007 at 14:02  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can anyone tell me what is the position of that sovereign state the Vatican within the EU?
Is it subject to the laws now being brought in in our name and against our wishes?
Does it stand alone and not part of the EU?

3 April 2007 at 16:47  
Blogger dearieme said...

"I struggle to imagine what nationality the German Chancellor would be other than German..."
There was an Austrian one, wasn't there? (Do I win the Godwin prize?)

3 April 2007 at 17:51  
Anonymous Nicholas Bennett said...

Gisla Stuart MP although born in Germany, was, I believe, a naturalised British citizen at the time of her election to Parliament in 1992.

3 April 2007 at 18:16  
Anonymous Voyager said...

was, I believe, a naturalised British citizen at the time of her election

Sine qua non

There was an Austrian one, wasn't there?

Austrians had the same status in Germany that Irishmen had in England - they could compete for high office. Even pre-EU the senior executives at Siemens in Munich were well-represented by Austrians

Even Citizens of the former-GDR had superior rights in Germany over any EU national

3 April 2007 at 21:45  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Can anyone tell me what is the position of that sovereign state the Vatican within the EU?

Same status as Jersey and Guernsey

3 April 2007 at 21:46  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Same status as Jersey and Guernsey"

Crown possessions?

3 April 2007 at 22:26  
Anonymous Colin said...

Topper,

" I find that patriotism taken to far is far more worrying than even some of the EU's odder ideas."

The power of the state (and the magnitude of its abuse) depends on the size of the state. Undoubtedly, the EU is bigger and will be more powerful than its member states. Its aim is to build another European empire which then will try to dominate the world as all empires have done in the past. The resources needed for wars and other adventures will be extracted by coercion from the European or Eurabian population. Hence, if you are in favour of a Fourth Reich, rejoice you are on the right boat, i.e. the Titanic of democratic liberties in Europe.

3 April 2007 at 23:27  
Anonymous bob said...

The Vatican City State is a sovereign and independent state which is not a member of the EU.

3 April 2007 at 23:57  
Blogger Topper said...

colin, you make some points that I certainly wouldn't dismiss out of hand.

The EU will presumably seek to further it's own interests, which if we are part of it will be our interests. Don't get me wrong the theory you outline is not something I think is in anyway a good thing. However lets look at the world today, the US is described as the only superpower and even just taking into account the number of countries it has a military presence in it clearly influences events on the global stage more than most.

The EU in it's current form for all it's flaws is part of a continent that is now no longer at war with itself and it's hard to imagine Britain and France or any other member states resuming hostilities ever again. The Balkans conflict was far from it's finest hour but there is certainly nothing wrong with European cooperation in basic principle.

All nations put their own interests first, surely there is a case that as a consolidated group we are in a stronger position globally. I'd say that the US is trying to dominate the world right now. The British Empire dominated large parts of the world for years, I can see logic behind your thinking.

I do find it hard to imagine a future where Europe is one nation, a United States of Europe. It might happen . I find it hard to imagine if we travelled so far down that road that some global conflict would be inevitable. If it's a resource war over dwindling oil supplies then I suppose there is the potential for more conflict through out those regions for access/control but that could be the case be Europe a more solid political entity or a looser collection of sovereign states.

It sounds as if you see the way forward as break up of larger nation states as a discouragement to empire building? What do you think of devolution in Britain?

4 April 2007 at 00:56  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Crown possessions?

No. Jersey and Guernsey are exempt from EU legislation and retain a detachment which would be welcome here too

4 April 2007 at 07:35  
Anonymous william norton said...

Voyager: Jersey and Guernsey are exempt from EU legislation and retain a detachment which would be welcome here too

My preferred solution to the EU debacle has always been for the Channel Islands to invade and annex England.

4 April 2007 at 09:15  
Anonymous Voyager said...

My preferred solution to the EU debacle has always been for the Channel Islands to invade and annex England.

There aren't enough Portuguese there yet to form the New Armada

4 April 2007 at 09:30  
Anonymous Oiznop said...

""The Vatican City State is a sovereign and independent state which is not a member of the EU. "

Not quite. It issues and uses euros. Its relationship with Italy makes it a member, like Monaco with France.

4 April 2007 at 10:12  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Its relationship with Italy makes it a member, like Monaco with France.

Does the 1929 Lateran Treaty really allow Italian governments control over foreign relations ?

Italy is a member of The Council of Europe and the ECHR; The Vatican City is not

4 April 2007 at 10:36  
Anonymous oiznop said...

True, the Vatican has its own ambassadors, but it also has its own bank, and it issues euros. How could it do this if it wasn't a member of the EU? And whenever you see maps of the EU in shaded colours, Switzerland is always white - the Vatican is not. It is incorporated into Italy, like Monaco is with France. The Vatican may be 'sovereign', but it isn't 'independent'. And I can't see the EU parliament being lectured to on human rights by a leader who isn't even a member!

4 April 2007 at 10:44  
Anonymous bob said...

The Vatican is not a member of the EU. This was pointed out last year when Pope Benedict visited Turkey. Speaking to Anatolia news agency, Fr. Lombardi pointed out that the issue of Turkish membership in the EU is a political one and that it must be noted that the Vatican is not a member of the EU.

The terms of the Lateran Treaty confirm that the Vatican is sovereign and independent.

The currency of the Vatican is linked to the Italian currency. As the Vatican is so small and is surrounded by Italy, this is more common sense than anything else.

4 April 2007 at 11:27  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Oiznop,

If His Grace may intervene.

Mr Voyager and Mr Bob are both correct. The Vatican is a sovereign state and the Pope is its monarch. It is not a member of the European Union, and membership thereof would create greater constitutional complexities for itself than has been observed in Germany, France, or the UK.

On one level, while member states have signed up to 'human rights' (including the right, for example, to abortion), this would obviously be unacceptable to the Vatican. Yet, on another level, since 1992 the people (including the heads of state) of each member state are EU citizens, and thereby subject to EU law and EU court judgements. During the passage of the Maastricht Treaty, this was the basis of a debate in Parliament on the constitutional position of Her Majesty.

But according to Canon Law, no one has been permitted to judge the judgement of the apostolic see or to retract her pronouncements, and this is clear because of the primacy of the Roman church, divinely conferred, by virtue of Christ’s gift, on Peter the Apostle. Since the Pope can be subject to no one, Vatican membership of the EU would be a constitutional impossibility.

4 April 2007 at 11:52  
Anonymous Oiznop said...

So you're saying that the guy who's been pontificating about keeping Turkey out of the EU, who's been lecturing us all on the 'Christian' dimension of the culture, who's been teaching about the importance of European unity and co-operation, who's been demanding 'God' get a credit in the constitution, isn't even a paid-up member himself?

I am gobsmacked.

It says something when a 'superior' tells all the 'inferiors' to join a club and subscribe to its goals, but that 'superior' stays detached because joining in is somehow beneath it. I'm not just gobsmacked, I'm appalled at the hypocrisy. I was beginning to see a lot of sense in what Ratzinger was talking about. It's all just been destroyed. Thank you, Bob, Voyager and Cranmer, for opening my eyes.

4 April 2007 at 12:52  
Anonymous The Recusant said...

Before you explode in high dungeon oiznop The Vatican State can no more be a member of, and consequently subject to the EU, than it could be the 51st State of the USA, a principality or protection of the UK and any other eco-politico organisation that would require allegiance to a sovereign prince, consular oligarchy or dictator, despot or democracy anywhere on earth. His Grace is quite correct in his earlier explanation as to the reasons but consider also the make up of the RCC. It is truly catholic; the faithful are world wide, citizens each of every county on the Planet. How could a Pope subject to the EU speak authoritatively on matters affecting say China, without appearing Partisan and possibly causing confusion as to who Catholics should give their allegiance to, Church or State. Catholics in the UK have a long history particularly in this regard, and still today occasionally deal with the calumny that they are loyal to Rome over Her Majesty. It is surprising at the reaction of people when they are reminded that more Catholics fought with Raleigh against the Spanish Amada than Protestants.

The Pope has to be free from all earthly allegiance, to speak freely on Theological, Christological, humanitarian and any number of topics and be seen to be free from adherence to anything that the might be perceived as politically partisan. The Pope therefore has every right remind Europe of its deficiencies in rejecting it Christian heritage and is in no way hypocritical. It was after all Christianity of the Romish persuasion that established modern Europe, defined its borders and defended it from successive waves of attach from Islamic hoards for over 1000 years. I think the Pope is very well placed to comment on Europe; the real hypocrisy is that Brussels will not listen.

4 April 2007 at 15:28  
Anonymous Dexey said...

Topper said...
However it really matters not, one human being is in opinion entitled to the same rights and respects as another.
12:47 PM

Why?

My father told me that the EU is about the Germans carrying on the Kaiser's and Hitler's work without having to fight a war. Is he wrong?

4 April 2007 at 18:02  
Blogger dearieme said...

Norton's got a wonderful idea. Let the Manxmen do the same job for Scotland.

4 April 2007 at 18:09  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

recusant

What rot. The popes have always interferred in politics. Look at Ulster where the church promoted the IRA/SF through it priests (Clonard).
Rome at the end of the day looks after its own interests. Its legion of followers will at the end of the day do as the church says - how else can they gain entry to heaven when the pope has the keys.
I know a man who was refused communion and forgiveness of sins by his priest for a time - he stayed in his home for fear he mnight be die.
The Vatican look forward to seeing the claims made by the papacy come to pass.

4 April 2007 at 18:47  
Anonymous Colin said...

Topper,

If I understand you correctly you wanted to discuss with me the EU and the future of Europe.

First, let me explain that I was an even more fervent believer in the positive role of the EU than you are. I was very happy when I received an EU passport. And I had the same feeling that now we are somebody similar to the US.

However, my view changed completely when I started to study the fundamentals of human behavior and its effect on politics.

Now, to your comments:

"The EU will presumably seek to further it's own interests, which if we are part of it will be our interests."

It's a common misconception that the people in power have the same interests as those submitted to their power, that WE are in the same boat. Nothing could be further from the truth. The drive for social domination is one of the strongest in animals and humans because those on top have the power to exploid the lower ranking animals and humans. Thus, a powerful EU is not necessarily in your interest if you do not belong to the ruling elite.

Why the European Conventional wisdom is a threat to freedom: "The European Conventional wisdom assumes that government in Europe ought to be centralised. But the centralisation of government is always a threat to freedom because it gives government more power over the citizen...

In the last 500 years, political decentralisation has been the secret of Europe's success as David Hume, Immanuel Kant, Edward Gibbon, Max Weber, Eric Jones and Douglas North have pointed out. Europe's fragmentation - the competition among rulers - explains why modern science and technology, the enlightenment and the industrial revolution have developed in Europe and not in China, India or the Ottoman Empire which, at about 1500, were still at a comparable level of civilisation."


Former Soviet Dissident Warns For EU Dictatorship. Interviewer: "You were a very famous Soviet dissident and now you are drawing a parallel between the European Union and the Soviet Union. Can you explain this?

Vladimir Bukovsky: I am referrring to structures, to certain ideologies being instilled, to the plans, the direction, the inevitable expansion, the obliteration of nations, which was the purpose of the Soviet Union. Most people do not understand this. They do not know it, but we do because we were raised in the Soviet Union where we had to study the Soviet ideology in school and at university. The ultimate purpose of the Soviet Union was to create a new historic entity, the Soviet people, all around the globe. The same is true in the EU today. They are trying to create a new people. They call this people “Europeans”, whatever that means."


Vaclav Klaus, the President of the Czech Republic has similar views, see Freedom and Democracy in Contemporary Europe: An Insider’s View.

The economist Hans Hoppe explains that Centralisation Leads to Poverty. "It is assumed that larger political units – and ultimately a single world government – imply wider markets and hence increased wealth. However, this is untrue. The larger the territories the lower a government’s incentive to continue its domestic liberalism will be because people will lose the possibility of voting with their feet. Throughout the entire period of European and, indeed, global unification we have witnessed a steady and dramatic growth of government power, taxation and regulatory expropriation...

there is no direct relationship between territorial size and economic prosperity. Switzerland and Albania are both small countries, while the U.S. and the former Soviet Union are large. However, there is a highly important indirect relationship. Smallness contributes to moderation. In principle, all governments are counterproductive in taxing and regulating private property owners and market income earners. A small government, however, has many close neighbours. If it taxes and regulates its own subjects visibly more than its neighbours it is bound to suffer because people will “vote with their feet”: they will leave to live and work elsewhere. And they need not go far to do so...

Contrary to the political orthodoxy of the contemporary Eurocrats, precisely the fact that Europe posessed a highly decentralised power structure of countless independent political units explains the origin of capitalism – the expansion of market participation and of economic growth – in the Western world. It is not by accident that freedom and prosperity first flourished under conditions of extreme political decentralisation: in the northern Italian city states, in southern Germany, and in the secessionist Low Countries...

In general, the smaller a country and its internal markets the more likely it is that it will opt for free trade.
I think that a world consisting of tens of thousands of distinct countries, regions and cantons, and hundreds of thousands of independent free cities such as the present-day “oddities” of Monaco, Andorra, San Marino, Liechtenstein, Hong Kong, and Singapore, would be a world of unprecedented prosperity, economic growth, and cultural advancement."
Here a link to his talk.

The former German president, Roman Herzog, warned that the EU is a threat to democracy because 80% of national laws are made in Brussels by unelected bureaucrats.

”The history of civilization is the record of a ceaseless struggle for liberty.” (Ludwig von Mises)


”What do you think of devolution in Britain?”

In the past, Britain was more decentralised than it is now after Margret Thatcher’s centralisation of political power. Following the Magna Charta, Britain has enjoyed more liberty than any other country, has invented the scientific method, developed science and industrialisation, produced the highest number of Nobel Prize winners per capita and was until WW-I the country with the highest living standard. Clearly, there is nothing wrong with Britain except that the old freedoms which brought glory and wealth are successively taken away. The EU is likely to make the UK the province of the three most influential countries within the EU, i.e. France, Germany and Turkey.

But maybe I am wrong and the EU will be the first non-aggressive empire in world history.

5 April 2007 at 02:03  
Anonymous Observer said...

But maybe I am wrong and the EU will be the first non-aggressive empire in world history.

Austria-Hungary wasn't much of one really....a good role model for the EU - a nice land-locked empire marrying its way into European power

5 April 2007 at 08:25  
Anonymous Observer said...

"Let others make wars," so the saying went, "thou, happy Austria, marry!"

Austria

5 April 2007 at 08:28  
Anonymous The Recusant said...

Anonymous,

It is clear that anything resembling a lucid argument regarding the Papacy will be alien to a mind (and I use the term loosely) like yours. Cogent, logical and coherent prepositions are dismissed in your fantasy world of make believe, fairy tales and ‘I know a bloke’ stories. Your illogical rant totally ignores and is consequently sterile in refuting my position, I am quite happy for you to continue in this vein as it shows you to be the narrow-minded ignoramus that you clearly are.

The shame is that by attempting to join in the adult’s conversation you devalue the great contribution Protestant driven industry, commerce and faith have given the world. I have argued previously on this Blog and had my points beaten by better men than you and respected them for it because they have used intellectual and consistent argument, but you desperately need to come out of your trench and emerge into the sunlight. I can and do respect the intellectual effort behind a position well argued, but in your case nothing, a complete desert in which nothing green or fruitful grows.

5 April 2007 at 09:33  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Recusant,

His Grace does not encourage responses to anonymice. Anyone without the creativity of mind to post under a recognisable moniker falls short of His Grace's conditions for dialoge.

Let them post, but limit them to soliloquy.

5 April 2007 at 11:10  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last word from me on this.
I am of average intelligence and not of the standing of the recusant.
A few kind words of encouragement to greater discourse should have been the way forward. Going for the man is called in any other game a foul.You can't take the intellectual bully out of the high minded

I was making a few points as I saw them.
I take your Graces point and will no more post under anonymous.
It was there for use on your
blog and I thought it ok to use.

5 April 2007 at 11:28  
Anonymous The Recusant said...

As Your Grace decrees, without order there is chaos.

5 April 2007 at 11:39  
Blogger Topper said...

I not sure I would describe myself as a fervant believer in the EU. What I see now doesn't seem to bad but it very far from perfect, I suppose I believe in the basic idea of european cooperation. At what point we should reign in the evolution of the EU as it's currently devloping I could say I have a set position on.

Colin, your first point re interests of ruling elite and populations often diverging I absolutely 100% agree. How we find and maintain a balance where our elected officials act in our interest and obviously the population outside of the ruling elite isn't one neat group either and peoples interests and wants wildly divergeis something I don't think we've quite discovered yet. Britain to me seems a largely free and tolerant society, although I think you can see some erosion of our freedoms in last so many years. I do use my vote but I find myself quite disillusioned with our elcectoral process.

2nd point, I not about to start arguing with Weber, Kant and others but for competition see conflict also. I can see the danger in over centralised power and a more decentralised europe acting in cooperation would seem to be a better solution. Where to find that balance, is a single currency already to far?

Your Hans Hope economics I'll have to look at more closely but I think I get the basic gist of it. My only concern about our obession with economic growth is partly environmental. Very basicaly we're not a very large planet, population of 6 billion or so now. Economic growth I think is maybe not the be all and end all. Obviously we need to provide or allow people i should say to attain a good quality of life. But again i think the gap between very very rich and the poorest in society is still increasing.

Unelected buereacrats, is there a phrase that deserves more scorn in the english language? I shall try and do a but more research into the mechanics of the EU, that is really a rather high number, people might ignore it but there is an EU parliament they don't get paid surely to pass only 20% of the laws ?

I wasn't aware that Turkey was in the EU yet, in fact I know they aren't. I presume you are seeing the potential further down the road there.

Last point, well who can say but I not overly keen on Britain in Iraq et al the now, albeit on US coat tails.

5 April 2007 at 13:53  
Blogger Topper said...

couldn't say. re my first paragraph in post above. Bit hurried today. Excuse other typos also, sure there are a few.

5 April 2007 at 13:54  
Anonymous Colin said...

Observer,

"But maybe I am wrong and the EU will be the first non-aggressive empire in world history.

Austria-Hungary wasn't much of one really.."


In principle, Austria-Hungary was more benign than others. Nevertheless, they occupied part of Italy and the Balkans. Czechs, Hungarians, Serbs and others complained about oppression and fought for independence. The expansion of Austria-Hungary was limited by their position in the middle of Europe in the neighborhood of powerful states such as Prussia, France, the Ottoman Empire and Russia.

After WW-I, Austria-Hungary disintegrated into its ethnic parts. With regard to the latter, the oppression of the new ethnic minorities led to new problems and wars.

Indeed, Austria-Hungary - with its Byzantine politics needed to balance the demands of its ethnicities, its ethnic wars for independence (e.g. assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo leading to WW-I), and its break-up into ethnically more homogeneous states which now oppressed its minorities - seems to be a good model for the problems of the EU. And so is the former Sovjet Union.

Add to this the expansionism of the EU and the EU's elite EU-nationalism directed against its competitors in the form of anti-Americanism and anti-Globalism (i.e. anti-Chinese), compare it with the alliances of the German Empire before WW-I, i.e. allicances with the enemies of their competitors (Turkey and Arabs) and against the friends of their competitors (e.g. Israel) and we see what the future will bring:

Proxy wars (e.g. funding of Palestinian government by the EU), if necessary direct military involvements (e.g. Lebanon), less freedom and more power for the state (e.g. anti-terrorism laws), and higher taxes to pay for the coming wars.

There is absolutely nothing new in what the EU does, only the same old power games of states all over again, this time on a larger scale.

5 April 2007 at 13:59  
Anonymous Colin said...

Topper,

"our obession with economic growth is partly environmental."

Fact is the environment is getting better and not worse. Rich countries invest more into environmental protection than poor countries. Hence, those how want to protect the environment should be in favour of economic development. But they are not. Why? Because the anxiety business is profitable providing income, funds, status, and position for its priests. The latest trick is the global warming swindle promoted by Al Gore, a manager of a Hedge fund company specializing in trading in CO2-certificates, a multi-billion dollar business. Who cares about the facts disproving the CO2-hypothesis of global warming, if so much money is to be made.

"Very basicaly we're not a very large planet, population of 6 billion or so now. Economic growth I think is maybe not the be all and end all."

People in India, China and Africa see this completely different. They want to have a nice life like you do and they will not accept anything less. What can we do about it, bomb factories in the developing world to maintain our Western hegemony?

"Obviously we need to provide or allow people i should say to attain a good quality of life." Who should have the power to judge when it is good enough. Those people constantly flying around for free in state-owned airplanes? The people in China, India, Africa will not listen to them, they just will buy what they can afford to improve their own life.

"But again i think the gap between very very rich and the poorest in society is still increasing." It depends on the definition of poverty. In absolute terms, the poor a living much better than before as UN statistics show. However, some clever people whose income depend on the never-ending fight against poverty have developed another method to define poverty, i.e. a certain percentage below the median income is defined as poverty. This has the effect that poverty will never cease to exist even if everybody is at least 10x as rich as 100 years ago. The statistics of the latter deceiving method are always mentionned in the media when those in power want more money by taxation or more power by regulation.

"the mechanics of the EU"

Is rather simple. The EU commission is the only body in the EU with the right to introduce legislation. The EU parliament is practically a powerless but extremely well-paied debating club in order to maintain the illusion of democracy.

"I wasn't aware that Turkey was in the EU yet, in fact I know they aren't. I presume you are seeing the potential further down the road there."

Considering the mechanics of EU politics, nothing is going to stop it. All the major players, i.e. the politicians in Germany, France and the UK, are in favour. They have decided that Turkey will become a member. The population in the EU will not be asked as they have not been asked with regard to other important topics. Or have you been asked whether you agreed with Romania's and Bulgaria's accession?

"I not overly keen on Britain in Iraq et al the now, albeit on US coat tails."

I am absolutely against the robbery of other people's property, i.e. oil. But what would be the difference between an US and an EU empire in this regard? Maybe in the latter, Iraq would first have been bombed in to submission and then the oil rich regions would be invited to become a member of the EU (model: Yugoslavia), the elite of these regions would be bribed and the oil profits would be shared among the members of the EU elite. Do you really think that they care about you and me?

If you need links to back up the comments, please let me know.

5 April 2007 at 14:49  
Blogger Jeremy Jacobs said...

"Under EU law, nations may no longer require that their leaders share their nationality".

Well we do have a German queen and a Greek king don't we?

5 April 2007 at 22:01  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Well we do have a German queen and a Greek king don't we?

No we do not, though we did have French-speaking kings and queens of Scotland and England at one time.

We have not had a King since George VI, and like Prince Albert the Duke of Edinburgh is not King but Consort.

The Queen is less German than Oliver Letwin is Ukrainian or Michael Howard Romanian....your point being Jeremy Jacobs ?

6 April 2007 at 07:18  
Blogger Topper said...

“Fact is the environment is getting better and not worse. Rich countries invest more into environmental protection than poor countries. Hence, those how want to protect the environment should be in favour of economic development. But they are not. Why? Because the anxiety business is profitable providing income, funds, status, and position for its priests. The latest trick is the global warming swindle promoted by Al Gore, a manager of a Hedge fund company specializing in trading in CO2-certificates, a multi-billion dollar business. Who cares about the facts disproving the CO2-hypothesis of global warming, if so much money is to be made.”

I'm in favour of economic development, you can't not be as it needs to happen for billions of people still live in poverty and poorer countries that haven't had the benefit of what we have in the developed world have just as much right to benefits we've had. I don't take Al Gores word for anything but if you have links to back up facts disproving CO2- hypothesis of global warming I'd take a look. Preferably nothing sponsored by oil companies or car manufacturers please :-) Only alternative theory I'm aware of is solar variation and I'm not a scientist but from what I've read I'm less than convinced. As for trading in CO2 certificates and carbon offsetting schemes, think that is something of an con trick swindle.


“People in India, China and Africa see this completely different. They want to have a nice life like you do and they will not accept anything less. What can we do about it, bomb factories in the developing world to maintain our Western hegemony?”

No that is a problem we have absolutely no moral authority to say you can't have what we've had because we've just realised our lifestyle is bad. But I'm not sure we can afford the power output required for us all to have plasma tv's. Having read The Party's Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies by Richard Heinberg I can't see how the whole population of this planet can life a westernised lifestlye, assuming of course they want one.

“ Who should have the power to judge when it is good enough. Those people constantly flying around for free in state-owned airplanes? The people in China, India, Africa will not listen to them, they just will buy what they can afford to improve their own life.”

Good question, as individuals we all want things. I admit I bought a 40 inch HD telly, for playing of games watching movies on. We live in a consumer lifestyle led society where you are deemed second class or odd if you don't want to have a big car, a big house and holidays abroad etc. Is it all sustainable though, I don't think so. At the moment I'll not fly short haul and try and I don't drive a car but as a society we're not geared to anything other than personal gratification and not worrying about the consequences.

“ It depends on the definition of poverty. In absolute terms, the poor a living much better than before as UN statistics show. However, some clever people whose income depend on the never-ending fight against poverty have developed another method to define poverty, i.e. a certain percentage below the median income is defined as poverty. This has the effect that poverty will never cease to exist even if everybody is at least 10x as rich as 100 years ago. The statistics of the latter deceiving method are always mentionned in the media when those in power want more money by taxation or more power by regulation.”

Would that be the poor in the UK, Europe, USA or the poor in Africa, Asia and the Middle East or general figures? I know the saying about lies, damn lies and statistics but poverty certainly isn't banished even in this country and even if some stats are misleading then fine show me some figures that show otherwise. Figures I could quickly find did show some reduction of extreme poverty, people living on less than $1 per day, however 2.7 billion people live on less than $2 a day and we see the fantastic wealth hoarded by so few. A study by Bouchard & Mezard estimate that 90% of "total wealth" is owned by 5% of the population in many rich countries.


“Is rather simple. The EU commission is the only body in the EU with the right to introduce legislation. The EU parliament is practically a powerless but extremely well-paied debating club in order to maintain the illusion of democracy.”

I still need to do my reading there, I'll take your word on it. You know the historical development of this system well?


“Considering the mechanics of EU politics, nothing is going to stop it. All the major players, i.e. the politicians in Germany, France and the UK, are in favour. They have decided that Turkey will become a member. The population in the EU will not be asked as they have not been asked with regard to other important topics. Or have you been asked whether you agreed with Romania's and Bulgaria's accession?”

“I am absolutely against the robbery of other people's property, i.e. oil. But what would be the difference between an US and an EU empire in this regard? Maybe in the latter, Iraq would first have been bombed in to submission and then the oil rich regions would be invited to become a member of the EU (model: Yugoslavia), the elite of these regions would be bribed and the oil profits would be shared among the members of the EU elite. Do you really think that they care about you and me?”


“If you need links to back up the comments, please let me know.”


No, other than basic idea of democracy and people having a right to have their governments answerable to them is there a good reason to deny Turkey, or Romania or Bulgaria entry? Aside from your belief in the potential consequences of empire building. Certainly I don't think the world has yet settled down from the break up of Ottoman empire. In case of Turkey there should be recognition of Armenian genocide, issues with it's Kurdish population and human rights issues, the role of the military in it's society. Looking at your last point I think your thoughts on the EU probably tell me enough. If the maxim about power corrupting and absolute power corrupting absolutely hold true then you are probably right in regards to point above re what EU might have down in Iraq and my hopes of an idealistic European Union are probably faintly ridiculous. Then again the world is globalised now, and to say any political construct beyond a certain size is doomed to be oppressive or plundering weaker states is to my mind writing us off as a species. You seem to say the problem is a certain elite whose interests things are run in favour of, this suggests an intractable problem or a need to drastically alter our society to somehow control the super wealthy, political elite who tend to to have their hands on the tiller?

11 April 2007 at 13:17  

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