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This article is most interesting. A well travelled Newoundlander's view on Europe.


A European Germany, Not a German Europe

By Gwynne Dyer ⋅ November 6, 2019

The fall of the Berlin Wall, 30 years ago on Saturday, was one of the best parties I ever went to, and certainly the longest. But when I finally sobered up, it was also quite frightening, because nobody knew what was coming out of the box next.

There had been scary moments in Germany during the Cold War, of course, with Soviet troops in the eastern part and troops from practically every Western country in the western part, but a divided Germany had become part of the landscape.

For many people on both sides, in fact, it was a quite satisfactory landscape. As François Mauriac once said: “I love Germany so much I’m glad there are two of them.”

For the older generation of Europeans, Germany had always been the problem (two world wars), and the post-1945 division of the country was a kind of solution, since it kept foreign troops in both parts of Germany. They weren’t formally occupation forces any more, but they served as a sort of guarantee nevertheless. And now, in November 1989, that solution was collapsing.

On a brief visit to Moscow just weeks before the Wall came down, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher told Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet leader: “We do not want the reunification of Germany. It would lead to changes in the (post-1945) borders that would undermine the stability of the entire international situation.”

Indeed, Thatcher added, Gorbachev should ignore any statements to the contrary by the West. The NATO alliance might have to make pro-reunification statements to keep its German partner happy, but the other members didn’t really want to abandon the post-war settlement and “de-communise” Eastern Europe. But she was wrong about that.

Most of the senior politicians in what was not yet called the European Union understood that German reunification was a risk that had to be accepted. There was a new German generation in charge, and you had to trust them.

Western Europe’s other leaders also understood that ‘de-communising’ eastern Europe might finally deliver the free and democratic Europe that should have followed the victory over Hitler in 1945, and they had the steady support of the senior President Bush in both those choices. But it really was a gamble, and it might all have gone wrong.

A reunited Germany could once again have used its wealth, numbers and central position to seek domination over Europe, as it had done under both the Kaisers and the Nazis. The countries of Eastern Europe, freed from Russian rule, might have ended up as a string of squabbling tinpot dictatorships, as most of them did when they first got their freedom after World War One.

The main reason it didn’t all end in tears was the European Union, a more comprehensive version of the existing European Economic Community that was negotiated in 1990-92 and declared in 1993.

Creating the EU (and giving it a common currency, the euro) provided a structure big and strong enough to contain a united Germany and not be dominated by it. It also saved the former ‘satellite’ countries of Eastern Europe from a potentially ugly fate.

The EU countries had all the things that Poles, Slovaks and Bulgarians longed for: prosperity, personal freedom and democracy. And although it is not a charitable institution, the EU decided to let the Eastern European countries join, provided that they also became law-abiding and relatively uncorrupt democracies. So that’s exactly what they did.

The fall of the Berlin Wall did not led automatically to the benign reunification of Germany. It created the opportunity for positive change, but making it happen took clear thinking and hard political work. The happy outcome in Eastern Europe was not some quirk of fate either. It was the product of social engineering on an international scale.

There is no ‘German question’ today. It has been solved. The economies of Eastern European countries are far bigger than they were 30 years ago (four times bigger for Romania, six times for Poland), and average incomes are catching up. In 1990 Poles earned only a quarter of what Germans did; now it’s almost two-thirds.

There are some problems with populist/nationalist regimes in Poland and Hungary at the moment, but it’s still far better there politically than it ever was before 1989. It’s better everywhere – so why is the United Kingdom, the second-biggest member of this organisation that has put an end to centuries of war and tyranny in Europe, now planning to leave the EU?

Because the English don’t get it. Britain is an island that hasn’t been successfully invaded for almost a millennium, so they don’t realise that the EU is primarily about preserving democracy and keeping the peace. They think it’s just an economic deal, and a lot of them believe (mistakenly) that they can get a better deal elsewhere.

They are, as Napoleon allegedly remarked, “a nation of shopkeepers.” (Actually, it was Adam Smith who said it first.) A nation of shopkeepers who haven’t even noticed that their shops are closing down.
________________________________

Gwynne Dyer’s new book is ‘Growing Pains: The Future of Democracy (and Work)’.

© 2019 Gwynne Dyer. All Rights Reserved.
 

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The EU may be about preserving peace but the European Commission that dictates direction and policy of the EEC is not democratically accountable- no European Citizen actually gets to vote for the politicos sitting at the top.

The UK is leaving because it does not want ever closer union, it does not want to accept the direction of the European Commission, it does not want to lose its sovereignty and its peoples right for self determination.

Germany dominates the EEC s economy; German economic largesse helps other European countries (e.g. German car companies have operating units all over Europe) they are the dominant force in Europe and will continue to be. How the other major economies cope with the rebalancing following the UK’s exit will be interesting.
 

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Corbyn i'm 50/50 on, however he appears to be attached to that utter fucking lunatic Diane Abbot and whilst she still somehow clings on to a position that could do any real damage to the country he's severly damaging his card. She is a 24carat gold, four funnel ocean going nut job. My dogs tail has more understanding of the world at large than she does, christ on a bike she's mental.
Coincidentally, a utub clip of interviews with your woman came up on my phone. I obviously still don't have proper context, but she was hopeless to the extent that I would be surprised if she could got a job at a juniour level in the department she is shadow for.


I do like the word nationalise though, if for no other reason than the way it makes all the bosses scuttle about.
 

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Coincidentally, a utub clip of interviews with your woman came up on my phone. I obviously still don't have proper context, but she was hopeless to the extent that I would be surprised if she could got a job at a juniour level in the department she is shadow for.


I do like the word nationalise though, if for no other reason than the way it makes all the bosses scuttle about.



See told ya. Utter fucking idot. Absolutely all of the current crop of politicians need nuking from orbit and we start again. It really is starting to get beyond a joke.
 

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The EU may be about preserving peace but the European Commission that dictates direction and policy of the EEC is not democratically accountable- no European Citizen actually gets to vote for the politicos sitting at the top.

The UK is leaving because it does not want ever closer union, it does not want to accept the direction of the European Commission, it does not want to lose its sovereignty and its peoples right for self determination.

Germany dominates the EEC s economy; German economic largesse helps other European countries (e.g. German car companies have operating units all over Europe) they are the dominant force in Europe and will continue to be.

We've had 3 prime ministers in 3 years and still nothing is resolved. What exactly does this utopian landscape that leave followers appear to be so desperate to reach look like?


The entire leave and remain campaigns were founded on lies, poor research or just wishful thinking. Neither are immune and now we can all plainly see how difficult this process is maybe we should have another vote.


What sovereignty have we or are we going to lose? What peoples right of self determination has or is being lost?


I hear many soundbites of the EU taking everything from us and wasn't it great back in the 70's when we weren't in the EEC. Not sure i agree with that but then the UK still had scraps from it's empire providing trade routes or income streams, what does it have now?



How the other major economies cope with the rebalancing following the UK’s exit will be interesting.

Ah that's easy, they'll undercut any bid UK based business presents to an outside company looking to get access to the European market, Offer tax breaks and relocation deals to move large headquarters over seas and rub their hands in euros whilst post brexit uk sits there sulking like a whiny fucking child that for some reason all the business people won't stiay when we tell them they have to. Leaving the EEC/EU with the gateway we can provide into it for trading is absolutely fucking ludicrous.
 

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See told ya. Utter fucking idot. Absolutely all of the current crop of politicians need nuking from orbit and we start again. It really is starting to get beyond a joke.

A little friendly bird from Yorkshire told me Corbyn promised to nationalize BT and offer free Internet access to everyone in the UK.
Brilliant! This will do wonders for R&D among other things!


UK leaving the EU and electing Corbyn afterwards......
You will all live forever happily thereafter...


www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzKYIh3jJt0


www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIH8PSg4yi8
 

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Not quite sure what point you're trying to make there? are you comparing corbyn to Kim Jong-il and the UK to North Korea if Labour win the next election? Sorry but you've lost me on that one ???
 

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not quite sure what point you're trying to make there? Are you comparing corbyn to kim jong-il and the uk to north korea if labour win the next election? Sorry but you've lost me on that one ???



la la la la la---la la la la---la la la---la la la la la la...
 

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Hey Pommies

The News Corp papers here in 'striya have been making a lot of fuss about Corbyn's recent TV interview & his 'refusal' to apologise to Britain's jews, & how anti-semitic the UK Labour Party is. (Murdoch doesn't have much else to do other than whinge about the Greens trying to ruin Xmas.) What is the story here, are they confusing anti-zionist with anti-semite? Surely the Conservatives, the home of the Church of England, are just as inclined?
 

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This is getting away from the topic of this thread but can someone from the USA explain what happens to a citizen if they have zero finance, no insurance and need medical assistance, i.e. they have cancer and need medical assistance

In UK we have NHS where all treatment is taken care of and no charge, what happens in the usa, could someone private message me or reply here and advise what happens in this instance.
 

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?

This is getting away from the topic of this thread but can someone from the USA explain what happens to a citizen if they have zero finance, no insurance and need medical assistance, i.e. they have cancer and need medical assistance

In UK we have NHS where all treatment is taken care of and no charge, what happens in the usa, could someone private message me or reply here and advise what happens in this instance.
The simple answer.......if you're indigent you walk into any hospital and you will be treated for free it's the law

European naivete about their healthcare being free is laughable
1st I lived in Europe 5 1/2 years

As a Veteran I pay zero at the VA hospital

Your free health care costs you tons in other places
Average price of a gallon of gasoline US $2.81 GB $5.79
Average price of a dozen eggs US $1.32 GB $3.40
There is NO National VAT in the US
My California sales tax is 8.25% GB is 20%
I pay NO IMPORT DUTIES .....Mitch sent my 10 of his hubs worth $6,000, I paid zero duty
A bottle of Guinness is cheaper here than in Ireland
Income tax your rate is 40% over 32,001£ you get 19,200£ you were taxed 12,800£
Here that income is $41,369 with ALL ARE TAXES we are left with $33,009 we are taxed $8,360 or 6,466.83£
See the difference? Just in income tax alone you're paying almost double what we pay

Still think your healthcare is free?
And the £ is in the toilet too
 

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Another interesting artice from Gwynne Dyer.

Fragmentation: The Tribalisation of Politics

By Gwynne Dyer ⋅ November 13, 2019


‘Homo economicus’ is dead. Long live ‘homo tribuarius’!

That’s not really something to celebrate, but it’s certainly true that in most democratic countries economic self-interest is no longer the most important factor in voters’ choices. Tribalism of various sorts is taking its place, and that is not an improvement.

Take three quite different countries that are all stalled in the middle of political transitions that would have been done and dusted in no time twenty years ago: Spain, Israel and the United Kingdom.

Spain has just had its fourth election in four years, and the stalemate is worse than ever. Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez went back to the polls in the hope of increasing his centre-left PSOE party’s seats in parliament enough to make the arithmetic work. He had no chance of winning an overall majority, of course, but maybe with a few more seats and a more willing coalition partner….

Not a chance. He went back to parliament with a few less seats, and so did his skittish intended coalition partner, Unidos Podemos. They have now swallowed their pride and agreed on a coalition, but they still need 21 seats from elsewhere for a majority, and it’s hard to see where that will come from.

This is not how things used to be. A couple of decades ago the PSOE and its centre-right rival, the People’s Party, used to sweep up 80% of the vote, leaving just scraps for the ‘minor’ parties. In last April’s election, the two historic ‘major’ parties only got 48% of the votes between them.

Or consider Israel, where two elections this year failed to any set of political parties – out of a total of nine – with enough common ground to build a coalition government that works. The two ‘major’ parties together got only 51% of the votes.

Binyamin Netayahu’s Likud party tried and failed to form a coalition government. Benny Ganz’s Blue and White Party is still trying, and there is talk of a power-sharing ‘grand coalition’ between the two biggest parties, but otherwise Israel is probably heading for a third election within months.

Even if there is a deal between Likud and the Blue and White Party, the resulting government would be prone to fall apart at the first bump in the road. As that perspicacious political observer Donald Trump said on Monday, “They keep having elections and nobody gets elected.”

And then there’s the United Kingdom, stuck in the Brexit swamp for over three years and still looking for the exit. The two big traditional parties, Labour and the Conservatives, managed to win 80% of the vote in the last election, but subsequent defections from both the big parties made a decision on what kind of Brexit it should be (if any) impossible. Why is this happening?

In Britain, the Labour-Conservative disagreement used to be basically economic. Labour sought to redistribute the wealth, the Conservatives tried to defend the existing order, and most people made their choices according to their position in the economic pyramid.

That was never entirely true, of course. Some intellectuals in posh houses voted for Labour, and the Conservatives always managed to attract some working-class votes by stressing racial, sectarian and ‘values’ issues. But most people did vote for their economic interests.

Not now. The Conservatives are the pro-Brexit party, but 42% of their traditional voters supported ‘Remain’ in the 2016 referendum on leaving the European Union. Similarly, one-third of traditional Labour voters backed ‘Leave’. Never mind the economy; the referendum was driven by English nationalism. Or tribalism, if you prefer.

You can find similarly indecisive outcomes all over the place. The two traditional ‘major’ parties in Germany got only 54% of the vote in the last election. In 2017, the Netherlands went 208 days without a government. In 2018 Sweden went four months ‘ungoverned’ before a coalition was finally formed.

You can’t blame these outcomes on ‘the internet’, although that certainly makes it easier to spread disinformation. You can’t just blame it on ‘proportional representation’ voting systems, either: the UK has a simple winner-takes-all (or ‘first-past-the-post’) system. You probably can blame it on a rising level of anger everywhere, but then you have to explain the anger.

The one common denominator that might explain it is the growing disparity of wealth – the gulf between the rich and the rest – in practically every democratic country.

Since the 1970s, income growth for households on the middle and lower rungs of the ladder has slowed sharply in almost every country, while incomes at the top have continued to grow strongly. The concentration of income at the very top is now at a level last seen 90 years ago during the ‘Roaring Twenties’ – just before the Great Depression.

We could fix this by politics, if we can get past the tribalisation. Or we could ‘fix’ it by wars, the way we did last time.

© 2019 Gwynne Dyer. All Rights Reserved.
 

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We are doomed.... and that was an excellent article explaining why. We will NOT back away from the precipice.
 

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We are doomed.... and that was an excellent article explaining why. We will NOT back away from the precipice.

That was an unbearably superficial, over-simplistic article full of ideological prejudice and blindness.
Common winter diarrhea by the author. Nothing to worry about, usual medicine will suffice.



But I like the last sentence! Bring on the wars!
Please drop the pseudo-democratic pretenses and bring on the war motherfuckers!


P.S.: How very ironic of the author(and Wallace!) to talk about tribalism! There are no mirrors left in the world...
 

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This from someone who thinks Clarkson is a doyen of philosophical insight. Have a cup of tea and a nice lie down.
 

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This from someone who thinks Clarkson is a doyen of philosophical insight. Have a cup of tea and a nice lie down.

Wallace.



You Sir, are a blithering idiot!


You slimy knob!


You spastic tits tickler!


You syphilitic foot wanker!


You sticky rough piper!


You apostolic arse sniffer!
 
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