Thursday, July 31, 2008

Will These Two Bury Lisbon?

Ireland has stood firm against the Lisbon Treaty, against the expectations of the EU. The battle is on to somehow obtain a 'solution' to the Irish problem, either a second referendum with a different result (unlikely), or an all-Party Parliamentary ratification (unlikely) or some kind of legal stitch-up (very possible). But that assumes that all the other 26 countries will ratify the Treaty.

Germany has yet to ratify. So too Italy and the Czech Republic. Britain though which has formally ratified might yet pull some surprises, and as far as the EU is concerned, make the Irish problem appear as a minor setback in comparison.

The EU's problem in Britain is the collapsing Gordon Brown regime. The EU and the media are trying to push the eurofanatical Foreign Secretary David Miliband to the fore, so that, should Brown be felled by his own MPs for prospective electoral failure, they can quickly slot in another euroclone in his place.

Behind Miliband is the Harman bandwagon which is also trying to roll, and she too would happily maintain Britain's Lisbon sell-out, and so she might yet be a useful possible option for an EU desperate to stop Britain slipping away from its grasp.

The question is, though, who will Labour MPs back for the leadership?

The media gives no space to any other options apart from Harman and Miliband but there is another faction within the Party, often referred to as the old left i.e. not part of the New Labour marketing effort which spawned Blair and Brown. If anyone from this wing of the Party were to get into the driving seat, there would be serious trouble for the EU in its efforts to close down opposition to their Treaty, which grants the EU the power of statehood over and above all the nations of Europe.

One pairing from this part of the Labour Party being mentioned is John Cruddas and John McDonnell. Cruddas and McDonnell both voted in favour of the Lisbon referendum, rebelling against Gordon Brown. If these two were to launch a successful bid amongst Labour MPs to be considered as possible leaders, the Lisbon Treaty would start to look very wobbly indeed.

See Cruddas' article written for Compass against the Lisbon Treaty HERE. Cruddas stood in the deputy leadership contest which Brown rigged to allow Harriet Harman to win, thinking she would present the least threat to his fragile leadership. She is now a threat to Brown, but no threat to the EU. It is McDonnell and Cruddas who would return the Labour Party to its origins and, in the process, change the course of history in Britain and in Europe.

Pictured - Cruddas above. McDonnell below. Cruddas would make the more likely leader, it has to be said.

EU Slush - Tip Of The Iceberg

From Open Europe - The Irish Times reports that "Some parties' MEPs had access to EU funds to support their campaigns" for the Lisbon Treaty. Figures from the Institute of Advertising Practitioners in Ireland show that Fine Gael's five MEPs spent 102,858 euros on print and outdoor advertising in June.

Other information also coming from Open Europe tells us that the EU Commission has access to 6.5 million euros in unaccounted-for cash for every day of the year. It would be most surprising if a significant proportion of this was not finding its way into Irish pockets in an attempt to secure the Lisbon Treaty ratification.

EU 'promotinal' funds are not measured in tens of thousands of euros, for heaven's sake, but in millions, if not billions. The Fine Gael MEPs contribution to publicity costs was undoubtedly the merest tip of an iceberg, of which the crispness and clarity had oozed to slush years ago.

If slush was available before the June vote, one can only imagine the amounts now on offer to bring Ireland securely into the EU Lisbon-ratified camp. Irish politicians and media operators need only name their price.

PICTURE - Irish eyes are smiling. Ahern and Cowen shake hands. They thought Lisbon was a done deal.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

UFOs Go Mainstream

Following on from scientist and NASA astronaut Ed Mitchell admitting on Kerrang Radio that he was convinced that aliens were regularly visiting Planet earth, the worldwide feeling is that governments are beginning to open their files, and admit what they know. The above video, for example shows the interview with another famous astronaut, Buzz Alldrin who claims he saw a UFO during Apollo 11's mission, but the story was suppressed at the time.

The reason the stories are being released now could be that over 70% of Americans are already convinced by reports from various sources that aliens do exist and that many UFO stories have credibility. Another unmentioned factor is that the use of the internet, with Youtube videos and other digital media, is accelerating the dissemination of information that was previously easy to keep secret. It is getting harder for governments to deceive their electorates.

The same influence could be having an impact on the attempt by the EU to deceive the whole of Europe about its intentions with the Lisbon Treaty. The Irish referendum might have gone to YES in the pre-internet age, for example. Governments could not long ago control all media and practise deceptions such as the pre-Iraq War intelligence on WMD. The UFO unfreezing of past government deceptions is another sign that the world is not the same any more.

In the last five years, information is open to all, and no one can hide much for long any more. Maybe in time, the standard of people working in government will rise to meet the expectations of the millions who have to suffer from their corruption and incompetence. The coming of the Little Green Men could herald in a new democratic age, where truth is at a premium over spin. I mean, what would Blair have done sharing the limelight with aliens? The old pre-internet world itself already seems quite alien.

British Media Obliges EU

People might be forgiven for imagining there is only one candidate to succeed Gordon Brown. Harriet Harman's ego has been allowed a little free rein to claim its place in the sun as leader of the Labour Party, but in reality, if Gordon falls, the media has created a narrative that there is only one possible successor, and that is the Foreign Secretary who steered the Lisbon Treaty through the House of Commons, David Miliband.

There are over 300 Labour MPs, many with illustrious miniterial careers behind them, and many with a wide range of differing views about Britain's future in the world. But the media selection of candidates is severely limited. There should be a clear instruction given out by the BBC, so that the people of Britain can understand what is going on.

Any leadership contest which occurs in the Labour Party will not be allowed to include even one eurosceptic or even moderate eurosceptic. All candidates will have to be full-on Europhiles with proven track record of EU sycophancy. Straw would make the grade, except he was Brown's campaign manager and surely is accordingly tainted with failure. Harman is more entertainment than serious contender. Only Miliband will be chosen, if the media are able to control the Parliamentary Labour Party.

The Guardian and the BBC have only one person in mind - the safest most certain of all to not threaten even one word of the Lisbon Treaty, the EU's next chosen golden boy - Miliband, Miliband, Miliband.

PICTURE - David Miliband receiving the accolades as the primary British EU traitor at Lisbon, where Brown felt unable to show his face.

UPDATE - See this video from 'We Are Change Ireland' about how the Lisbon Treaty was constructed and what it is all about - in reality - not in the way that Miliband has lied about it. HERE. The first three minutes is enough to get the picture...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Irish Opposition Parties Fear Loss Of Support Over Lisbon

Last week's Open Europe poll pointing out the growing euroscepticism in Ireland has met with a barrage of hostile comment from the Irish government. But this is not the only sign that political sentiment towards the EU is fundamentally changing in Ireland.

The Irish government's option of holding a second referendum is clearly a hopeless avenue to pursue. The other proposal, in the light of that, was that all Irish political Parties (bar Sinn Fein) should stand together and push for a 'way forward', code for a Parliamentary ratification, ignoring the referendum. This plan is now also looking less likely to succeed.

The Irish labour Party, which backed the YES side in the Lisbon vote has begun to take on board that the majority of its supporters voted NO. Likewise Fine Gael backed the YES vote, and yet over half of its members and supporters also voted NO in the referendum. As sentiment against Lisbon is strengthening, the Irish government seeking a Parliamentary ratification, would be asking both these two parties to back a policy directly opposed by most of their own supporters.

This runs the risk of pushing them into the arms of Sinn Fein, which is the only Party to campaign for a NO to Lisbon.

The fear of losing their supporters has been enough to make Labour and Fine Gael back off rom the attempted stitch-up of their own voters. As a result, the cross-party pro-EU alliance which has held sway in Ireland for the 35 years since Ireland joined the EU is starting to break down.

See this report from The Irish Times

Cross-party alliance on Lisbon Treaty breaking down in Ireland

The Irish Times reports that opposition parties Fine Gael and Labour are to oppose the formation of a special parliamentary committee to analyse the no vote and propose a way forward. The paper notes that "The development fractures the cross-party unity that has existed on European Union issues between the major parties, as both main Opposition parties adopt a slightly more distanced attitude towards the treaty...

The significance of the Fine Gael move is a strong signal that it is less likely to be as supportive to the Government on EU issues in future, particularly since half of its declared support voted No in June. The Labour Party leader, Eamon Gilmore, who has already said that he would oppose a second referendum, is faced with the reality that a strong majority of his party's support base voted No."

If Biffo Cowen is going to try to ram a ratification through the Irish Parliament, he will not be able to claim unanimity between all the main political parties, it seems.

He might in time be forced to start counting the political cost to his own party, maybe when it is too late.

The Labour Party in the UK is paying a price for denying democracy, and cheating voters out of the promised referendum. Ignoring the result of the Irish referndum is about the same in moral turpitude, as denying a promised referendum, and will no doubt create similar electoral effects, sending support for the Irish government crashing through the floor.

Democracy could yet prove the stronger force in both countries, as the wooden and unpopular EU finds it cannot overpower the genuinely held views of millions of British and Irish voters.

PICTURED - Kenny, the leader of Fine Gael as imagined by opponents of the Lisbon Treaty.

HAGUE ON IRELAND AND BRITAIN SOON STANDING TOGETHER - UK Shadow Foreign Minister William Hague had an article in the Irish Times over the weekend, arguing that "If Lisbon remains unratified by all EU member states, a Conservative government will put Britain's ratification of the treaty on ice and hold a referendum, recommending a No vote to a document we believe represents an outdated centralising approach to the EU. So the chances are growing that Ireland's voters will not be alone in saying No to Lisbon for long."

If my admitted ignorance about the plethora of Ireland's political parties, many with seemingly similar names has caused me to make errors, I am sure someone will help me out with an appropriate comment!

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Beginnings Of An Irish Stitch-Up

As news filters out of the Open Europe poll which indicates rapidly growing Irish euroscepticism, reported on Eureferendum Blog over the weekend, the countermeasures being taken by the Irish government to somehow obtain an Irish Lisbon ratification are taking shape.

Open Europe reports today -

The Irish government has initiated high-level contact with the two main opposition parties to discuss the formation of an all-party body on the Lisbon Treaty. AFP reports that Luxembourg's Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker said in an interview with Austrian newspaper Kurier that Irish voters might rethink their opposition to the EU Treaty if European leaders reassured them on key issues.

If the government can recruit all the leading Irish political Parties and persuade them to enter into negotiations looking towards a Parliamentary ratification, that will undoubtedly be the chosen course. All the talk of a second referendum which would be lost are fanciful. The Irish are going to be well and truly stitched up - and soon.

The EU cannot run the risk of David Cameron winning power in Britain, or a eurosceptic labour leader breaking through if Brown were to fall, before Lisbon is secured. The signs are there that the Irish are going to be ratified in whatever way the EU can, regardless of any sense of decorum, of democratic nicety and of the recent referendum result.

Ireland will soon learn that it is no longer a democratic country, and that the recent referendum was merely attempted window-dressing. Irish citizens are slaves as surely as the citizens of all other European countries. If the EU wishes to send Irish boys to die in its coming wars of global intervention, rivalling the USA's efforts in Iraq, it will do some kind of miracle.

From The Irish Times today -

As part of the new EU battlegroup system, the Irish government is considering entering a military formation with the armies of Germany, the Czech Republic, Croatia and Austria. The EU battlegroups are a new system under which European armies commit troops to a common force or battlegroup. Irish Defence Minister Willie O'Dea has been holding talks with the other countries discussing the possibility of switching from the Nordic to the German-led battlegroup, although he has reportedly told his Austrian counterpart, Norbert Darabos, that it was still too early for Ireland to commit to the German-led battlegroup or to commit to continuing with the Nordic battlegroup.

It is quite clear that the Irish government is completely ignoring the referendum result already.

For a detailed look at which stitch the EU prefers in its choice of strait jacket, see Bruno Waterfield HERE.

Banks Must Come Clean About Their Losses

An article in a regional Australian newspaper this week provides information that the big banks around the world have yet to come clean about their full exposure to the US housing market. For the National Australia Bank, like many banks around the world, the Triple A status of US mortgage funds and the back-up of insurance seemed like a safe bet for getting some higher returns in total safety and security. We all now know different, of course but the small print of these deals has still yet to be fully taken on board and dealt with by many banks.

The NAB is the first bank in the world to make a realistic and fully open assessment of its losses to the US sub-prime market. It is writing down no less than 90% of the money it placed into American housing in its accounts. As the article says, this will shock Wall Street and will reverberate around the world.

Most other banks have taken writedowns on their investments into sub-prime but have valued them based on a possible return to higher values in the property market as it recovers. This might be a sensible approach but the recovery back to the higher levels of 2006/7 is clearly years away - maybe as much as ten years by some estimates.

The other factor not mentioned by banks is that they face exposure to loss not only of the money they deposited with American sub-prime instruments, but they also face longer term exposure if prices keep falling. The NAB points out that with the mortgages they have backed, 55% are not performing, which is a shocking figure. But they are writing down 90% of the $1.2 billion they invested, as they could also face further calls on their cash under the terms of the investment they made.

There is no way the insurers can carry the scale of losses which are occurring, and these will undoubtedly bounce back onto the banks around the world which are exposed. As prices in the US fall, and the sums recoverable from defaulting mortgages plummet, as so many properties come onto the market all at once, there could well be further cash calls made to bring the values back to level.

These potential losses are referred to in the article in financial jargon - conduit loans. What they imply is that the NBA guarantees the full value of the mortgage to the sub-prime instrument seller. The loss is all theirs, and as the losses climb, the full value of their investment in sub-prime will probably be wiped out, or possibly their losses could even exceed what they deposited.

The article estimates that the losses to be met from the sub-prime fiasco will climb past the optimistic estimates of Lehman Bros and others made last year - the $450 billion level - to over $1 trillion, possibly even reaching $1.2-1.3 billion.

The first tranche of losses has been borne by the world's bankers, with the US government doing all it can to boost up the economy with tax rebates, and interest rate cuts. The next tranche will be borne by the banks which have to face further losses, and by the US oand other governments which will have to act to ensure their banks are not dragged down as the world rushes around searching for the funds to keep the financial system from creaking or cracking.

The good thing is that if other banks follow suit and declare a more realistic figure for their losses as the NBA has done, it will actually help the situation towards its solution. By trying to deny the full losses in the pipeline, banks are not helping governments to stop a meltdown, and the fear of a major world banking crisis lingers on as people sense that there are more losses yet to be declared. It is healthier to state the full losses, and get the system back onto a more honest, sober, and less fearful footing.

In the US as prices fall, demand fcr housing is increasing, and US house-building shares are seeing a recovery. Life will go on, but only once the world has admitted the mess it is in. It has taken an Australian Bank to start the process, maybe because Australians have less fear for the future of their economy than the European banks that carry far larger amounts of this risk.

As the word deals with this situation, the shock of facing the awful losses, and the anger at the American mortgage-sellers' deceit will not be easily forgotten. But carrying on in semi-denial as to how bad the situation is, does not help. The world runs on confidence before it runs on cash, and being in denial yourself, is not the way to build confidence in others. The National Bank of Australia has shown courage in admitting the truth, which makes it easier for others now to follow suit.

The NAB is part of a banking group which includes the Clydesdale Bank, The Yorkshire Bank and a few others around the place.

Pictured - Chief Executive of the NBA (from google images).

UPDATE - On MSNBC, Foreclosures Up 121% In A Year.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Will The Labour Party Be Sacrificed To Save Lisbon?

The hot topic of the weekend is whether anyone in the Labour Party will take a crack at the Labour leadership. People are tending to look at the problem in a one-dimensional way - from the viewpoint that Labour's support is collapsing, and Labour MPs are likely to want to save their seats with a new leader. But other factors from other more lateral sources are just as likely to affect the outcome of the Labour Party's future.

The Sunday Irish Times has run a leader, for example pointing out how crucial the British Conservatives are in the story. I wrote this blog entry on Political Betting, which I've cut and pasted below, which gives the background. David Cameron and William Hague are promising to freeze Britain's Lisbon ratification, and hold a referendum, if they win power before Lisbon is enforced.

This is putting enormous pressure on the EU to accelerate the Irish ratification any way they can. It is in turn also putting them under pressure to keep Gordon Brown at the helm of the Labour Party as long as they can, at least until Lisbon is secure.

Didn't you know that the Irish Times reads my blog, Brian SJ? Neither did I.

Cameron's promise puts time pressure on the Lisbon Treaty. The EU has to get it in the bag before Cameron has a chance to carry out his promise. If the Irish won't vote for the Treaty in a referendum, it seems highly likely that the EU will push through an Irish Parliamentary ratification, without any more referenda, or at least ignoring their results.

While they are planning how they will close the door on any possible Cameron effect, they will keep Gordon Brown in place if they possibly can, to ensure Lisbon is not threatened by a sudden breakthrough in the Labour Party of the Bennites or Gisela Stuart, Graham Stringer, Frank Field, Kate Hoey etc. As far as the EU is concerned, an EU bird in the hand looks a lot safer than a couple in the bush.

If for example any of the above apart from the Bennites were to seize the Labour leadership, the Party's fortunes in the polls would improve dramatically, and Cameron's easy win with a majority of 160 and rising would not be quite so certain. This develpment must surely be attractive to Labour MPs.

The interests of the EU are in direct conflict with these interests and maybe also the beliefs of Labour MPs. These are the forces building in the background around the Brown premiership. The question is - will the Labour Party be sacrificed to save the Lisbon Treaty, or will Labour MPs decide in preference to save their own skins?

One thing is sure. If Labour MPs allow the EU to decide their future for them, as they did when they acceded to the Brown takeover, they will be as rare as rocking horse shit come 2010. It comes down to a decision of their part to take control of their own futures, and the future of Britain as regards the Lisbon Treaty, not to mention the future of Europe.

Iain Dale uncharacteristically has run a post on this today. See HERE.

UPDATE - Also from Iain Dale's blog, John Prescott is to the fore defending Gordon Brown's premiership, even going so far as to write a blog post on Labour Home.

And Richard North on Eureferendum reports rapidly growing anti-Lisbon sentiment in Ireland HERE.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Serb-Killer Dies Wearing NAZI Uniform

While Serbian Karadzic is hauled off to face trial at The Hague, accused of genocide, Croatians in turn are honouring Sakic, the World War 2 Ustase Concentration camp commander responsible for the deaths of a million Serbs. He died and was buried this week proudly wearing his full Nazi uniform, much approved by the Catholic Priest who conducted the burial.

The priest, named Lasic, seemed not to think his crimes worthy of any special mention while conducting his funeral. He is quoted as saying the following -

'God has forgiven Sakic all that was not in sync with God's law, if he did anything like that'

Lasic said that he was proud to have seen Sakic dressed in the WWII Ustasa uniform while in Dubrava hospital where he died.

More on this can be read at Serbianna.

Serbs were liquidated in vast numbers by Sakic, and also by the Moslem NAZI regiments based in Bosnia.

There seems to be an inequality in the various genocides. Serb Karadzic is regarded as guilty before being proven so, despite his denials, and has been paraded in front of the world's media as a monster of evil, second only to Saddam Hussein. While Sakic has been allowed to live in peace in Croatia, surviving to a great age and to be honoured by his people, despite what appear to be the foulest of crimes imaginable.

Other peoples' wars can be hard to understand, but if the West wishes to be seen as unbiassed and fair-minded in its condemnations, then surely the Croatian, Bosnian and Albanian perpetrators of genocide are getting an extremely light ride compared to the Serbs.

The Serbs have been by far the biggest victims of all the genocides in the Balkans, and are now also being cast as the greatest villains in 21st century media. I wonder if that is because they refused to buckle to NAZI power in the war, stood strong against NATO and now refuse to allow the EU to wrestle the province of Kosovo from their rightful ownership.

Something doesn't seem quite right in the allocation of moral blame to me, when people who kill Serbs and are proud of doing so, are publicly proclaimed as heroes with no discernible criticism by the Western media, but Serbs who are alleged to kill in return, but who are not yet proven to to have done so, are condemned as villains. The above video tells the story of Sakic's methods in bludgeoning Serbs, Jews and Gypsies to death in the hundreds of thousands.

It is worth remembering that the alleged Serb war criminal Mladic's father was a partisan murdered by the Ustase in WW2. It doesn't justify his actions at Srebrenica and elsewhere, but maybe it helps to explain how these actions came about.

Post-Referendum Ireland Turns Increasingly Eurosceptic

The EU still holds out the hope of winning a second Irish referendum. At least they are pretending that they do, as they must realise that the national mood is swinging against the likelihood of that outcome. If the Irish vote a second time, and give the wrong answer, the EU will no doubt demand a Parliamentary-only ratification from Ireland, and simply ignore the referendum results.

How that will play out with Irish loyalty to political parties, is anyone's guess. A surging tide of euroscepticism could even be enough to build a powerful rush for the exit from the EU. If the EU continues to ignore the democratically expressed wishes of the Irish, as Sarkozy is doing by calling for the Lisbon Treaty version of the European Parliamentary elections in June 2009, if past form is anything to go by, the Irish will start to get angry.

The evidence is that this is starting to happen. Open Europe's report from today is instructive -

Majority of Irish voters happy with Lisbon No vote result

The Irish Times reports on a poll released yesterday, conducted the day after the Irish Lisbon Treaty referendum, which has found that the majority of the Irish public are happy with the result of the Lisbon Treaty referendum, including one in 10 of those who voted Yes.

Fifty-four per cent of those polled said they were happy with the result, while 34 per cent were unhappy, and 11 per cent were undecided. The paper notes that the "poll holds some disturbing findings for the Government", including the fact that nine per cent of those who voted Yes in the referendum say they are now happy with the result. Behaviour Attitudes, the firm that conducted the poll, said that this suggests that the Yes voters' support "was rather 'soft' to begin with".

According to the Irish Independent, the Irish government is to set up a Lisbon committee, expected to have around nine members. The committee will hear from groups on both side of the Lisbon argument about how to proceed.

The Economist notes that "Mr Cowen is playing for time. But a deteriorating economy is making cuts in public spending unavoidable, so he seems sure to become more unpopular... would a second referendum held by the autumn of next year be any more winnable? So far Mr Cowen looks less of a political visionary who sees a way out of the Lisbon impasse, and more like Mr Micawber, desperately hoping for something to turn up."

With Irish anti-EU sentiment hardening, and support for the pro-Lisbon British Labour government collapsing to vanishing point, a unique and entirely new situation is arising where both Irish and British electorates are becoming predominantly and strongly eurosceptic at the same moment. It only needs another crack in one of the two country's relationships with the EU to appear, and that could have knock-on effects in the other - each movement in loosening of ties with Europe encouraging the other to hanker after greater freedom. The underlying weakness of the EU's position in the British Isles, that is Britain and ireland in combination, is getting critical.

If Gordon Brown were to stumble and Cameron to get into control in Britain, he might find himself in a very strong position to renegotiate, at a moment when Ireland is already asking the EU for special opt-outs from the Lisbon Treaty. The unravelling that has begun, is not looking likely to be respun. If the EU attempts to exercise authoritarian power to whip either country back into line, the electoral results would be catatstrophic to their interests. That said, it seems highly likely that that is exactly what the EU will attempt to do.

26th July 2008 UPDATE - William Hague writes in support of the Irish NO vote in The irish Times. See HERE. Titled 'No Outsider Has Any Right To Tell The Irish How To Handle Lisbon'.

Extract - it is looking increasingly likely that at the next British general election, now less than two years away, the British people will choose a new government. If Lisbon remains unratified by all EU member states, a Conservative government will put Britain's ratification of the treaty on ice and hold a referendum, recommending a No vote to a document we believe represents an outdated centralising approach to the EU. So the chances are growing that Ireland's voters will not be alone in saying No to Lisbon for long.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Are the Irish the only people able to stop the new Dark Age?

Yesterday Italy's Senate ratified the Lisbon Treaty without even one vote of dissent. The EU will call this a democratic decision, but when, you might ask, has there ever been a vote taken by 100% of all deputies in any democratic organisation? Sure in Iraq where dissent meant instant death, or in Soviet Russia, 'Parliaments' would invariably vote 100% as instructed. But in Italy, a supposed modern democracy where a large section of the population stands against the Lisbon Treat and further EU integration, to have a 100% vote in favour of Lisbon, should set the alarm bells ringing.

German ratification is delayed by the President alone who is withholding his signature while various legal challenges to Lisbon are made, and the Czech Republic is still yet to commit itself, with President Klaus Vaclav notably trying to prevent Lisbon ratification. Meanwhile Poland has fallen, and the Czech Republic will no doubt also fall victim to the combined effects of corruption and threat, which seem to so effective in knocking over so-called democratic representatives.

That leaves one country where the bully boys have yet to have their way - Ireland. Ireland is a country with long experience of corruption and violence in its political life, and as such, is uniquely qualified to see what the Lisbon Treaty signifies. The Irish have expereinced loss of freedom over centuries, and been willing to keep fighting religious wars long after the rest of Europe long forgot that enemy meant either Prorestant or Catholic.

Ireland is a country unique in Europe where people speak to each other (at length!) - even strangers are welcome to join in a chat - which is one reason why I love visiting Ireland. In Britain and much of the rest of Europe, a stranger who talks is regarded with deep suspicion, or dislike even. Continental countries, for the most part, have a culture of consensus where it is hard to express strong disapproval of the actions of government. These countries are natural slaves, ideal material to suffer corrupt, threatening and militaristic regimes as they have often done on the past. In Ireland, on the other hand, central power is regarded with the deepest suspicion - always.

Somewhere in the folds of the Irish tapestry of life, there lies hope that authoritarianism will not triumph, and that democracy will live in Europe once more. But that hope now lives only in Ireland, as the rest of Europe descends fast into a New Dark Age.

UPDATE - Anyone who doubts that the EU is offering money to achieve its political objectives, might take note of the allegations made by the EU Commission's former auditor - Mrs Andreason, as follows -

In her speech to the 250 attendees, Mrs Andreasen said that her sacking by Neil Kinnock (then the self-proclaimed ‘anti-fraud Tsar’ of the Commission) for trying to make European taxpayers aware of the massive levels of fraud and waste taking place, ‘demonstrated the level of accountability, transparency and integrity that can be expected from the EU institutions’. As Marta Andreasen pointed out, she was sacked by Baron Kinnock on grounds of ‘disloyalty’ to the EU while officials involved in the Eurostat (the body responsible for official EU figures) scandal have not been suspended, let alone dismissed. ‘This fraud consisted in the discovery of slush funds belonging to the European Commission that were being channelled to unofficial bank accounts and used for unauthorised purposes. Nobody was held responsible. The Commissioners claimed ignorance.’

She drew attention to the fact that the EU Constitution will confirm, under Protocol 7, immunities from legal proceedings for all officials, even after they have left office. Yet, Mrs Andreasen is now unemployed and having to fund her own legal action against the Commission for wrongful dismissal. She said she had been judged and removed from office by commissioners ‘who have been managing the EU funds on a system that they knew was open to fraud.’

This kind of thing makes you wonder whether every Italian senator received a nice little bung, for example, and how much pay-off is now being used to get Ireland sorted. If I am asked to believe that extensive bribery is not being used to push The Lisbon Treaty through the Parliaments of Europe, I don't.

UPDATE - Open Europe on the scale of corruption and the direct involvement of the Commission.

Commission report reveals EU loses 6.5 million euros a day to fraud and irregularities - serious problems in Commission's own accounts;

Commission freezes funds to Bulgaria over corruption

Agence Europe reveals that a new report from the European Commission has shown that the EU lost 1.4 billion euros in reported fraud and financial irregularities in 2007, compared with around 1.2 billion euros in 2006. This amounts to 6.5 million euros lost every working day.

The number of structural measures and Cohesion Fund irregularities reported rose by 19.2% (3,832 cases in 2007, compared with 3,216 in 2006). The estimated financial impact (828 million euros, or around 1.83% of commitment appropriations) was up by 17.7%.

The Commission report reveals that suspected fraud has also increased - 208.9 million euros in 2007, compared with 188.93 euros million in 2006.

The article notes that for the first time, the report contains statistics on expenditure directly managed by the Commission. The estimated number of irregularities in this area came to 411, with an estimated financial impact of 33 million euros, 18.1 million euros of which was accounted for by 136 reported cases of suspected fraud.

Many newspapers report on the European Commission's plan to suspend 486 million euros of EU funding to Bulgaria. The decision comes after a Commission report which said: "High-level corruption remains a serious problem. It has not yet been effectively tackled by the administration and the judiciary. The Bulgarian authorities have not applied the law in such a way to reduce corruption in state institutions".

Last night on BBC Newsnight, Neil O'Brien from Open Europe suggested that the actions of the European Commission were not strong enough. He said: "There are much stronger levers that the EU has to try and deal with [these problems of corruption]... this really isn't the strongest thing they could've done". He added: "I think it is time to start questioning whether it is actually helping these countries to fire-hose money at them in this way", when we know there is widespread corruption and that complex financing projects are particularly open to fraud.

When questioned on whether this is a reason to halt further enlargement Neil replied: "This will be seized on, unfortunately, by people who want to stop enlargement and don't want to let Croatia in; people like Nicolas Sarkozy, who are basically anti-enlargement altogether... what should happen is, we should carry on with enlargement but we should change the way we run the European Union".

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

JFK Was Inside Job

I've seen a whole host of footage over the years of the JFK assassination, as have most people. This one actually tells you the story.

From wikipedia's file of John Edgar Hoover, Head of the FBI -

Hoover personally directed the FBI investigation into the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The House Select Committee on Assassinations issued a report in 1979 critical of the performance by the FBI, the Warren Commission as well as other agencies. The report also criticized what it characterized as the FBI's reluctance to thoroughly investigate the possibility of a conspiracy to assassinate the president

Hague Cries Wolf Aaaaaaaaaaaaagen

William Hague, the Shadow Foreign Secretary has issued a few tasty morsels for eurosceptic ears (mixing metaphors this morning) in the Financial Times. Open Europe also report the interview, which sounds like tough talk on Hague's part. But as usual when you examine the detail, there is not quite as much meat on the bones as there first appears.

From Open Europe

In an interview with the FT, Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague has said a future Conservative government would seek to restore full British control over employment law and social policy while campaigning against the "the centralising ratchet" of the EU. Mr Hague added that a Cameron administration would look to scupper the Lisbon Treaty if it had not already been ratified by all other states: "We would withdraw ratification by Britain and subject it to a referendum, in which we would recommend a No vote".

Mr Hague said that the party are, '"very positive about many aspects of the EU", including its commitment to tackling climate change and opening markets, particularly in the services area, and joint foreign policy action on issues such as Iran.

Britain has already ratified the Lisbon Treaty, so unless the EU finds itself unable to railroad Ireland into conceding ratification, which seems unlikely, the chances of the promise to scupper Lisbon being possible to put into effect, seem unlikely. Ireland will be made to vote again, and no doubt if the second vote is a NO, the Irish Parliament will choose to ratify the Treaty in the face of the lost referenda, bypassing any further referenda.

Only if the Czech Republic holds out against the tide, or the German President who is yet to ratify, stands firm, will the Treaty still be open for negotiation by 2010. The EU are not going to give Hague the chance to scupper the Treaty if they7 can help it.

The promise to reclaim employment law and social policy (does he mean effectively to unsign the Social Chapter?) from the EU, is the barest minimum that a government posturing as a future renegotiator with the EU could have on its menu. Let alone the prospect of success for such a renegotiation, when all 26 other countries will have to agree that Britain can be allowed to reduce its EU commitment.

Thanks, William for the flurry of excitement you give us all by talking tough. But that's all it is, I'm afraid - a bit of eurosceptic flirt - with no follow through even remotely likely.

But at least we now know what kind of posturing to expect from you for the next two years, before the General Election, and possibly after. We need not bother listening to anything you say on Europe in the meantime.

Your bark raised the hounds from the kennels just for a moment. But most of us are now asleep again waiting for the real day when we are allowed to hunt once more. We know from past experience that your cries of Wolf are designed merely to stop us drifting away. The wolves are, in reality, entirely welcome, dining at the Huntsman's table.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Only Thirteen Countries Persuaded To Recognise Kosovo

Picture - Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic, with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov in Moscow.

The EU/US attempt to create Kosovo as a separate state from Serbia is not meeting with the success anticipated. Of the 43 countries that currently recognise Kosovo, 30 were involved directly in the Independence process, and only thirteen others therefore were persuaded by American and EU diplomacy to support their plans. This is tanatmount to a diplomatic disaster.

From their current position of strength, Serbs are now returning their Ambassadors to the countries that have recognised Kosovo where they believe there is still a chance that they can be persuaded to reverse recognition, and fall into line with the majority of the 200 odd countries in the world, which despite repeated requests from the EU amd the US have refused to see the Kosovan independence venture as likely to succeed in the longterm.

Vuk Jeremic, the Serbian foreign minister, says that the list of countries to receive a returning Serbian Ambassador will not include the USA. There is little prospect of George Bush admitting he made (yet another) strategic error. Likewise it seems improbable that another prime instigator, Germany will be admitting fault any time soon.

But for many of the rest of the countries involved, the progress of Serbian moves towards EU membership, helped by the arrest of Karadzic today, and the diplomatic stopping in its tracks of the Kosovan Independence plan, mean that normal relations can be profitably resumed.

The UN is being invited by Serbia to operate as a neutral go-between helping Pristina and Belgrade to resolve the differences over Kosovo, which will no doubt be extrememly difficult. The US and the EU have opened a can of worms that needn't have been touched, but a determined diplomatic campaign by Serbia, backed strongly by Prime Minister Putin of Russia have stopped the problem from becoming completely intractable, allowing the most unsuitable people possible in the Balkans to achieve a victory, which could only have caused more trouble down the road.

The strength of will of the Serbs, and their disciplined response to the EU and George Bush's faux pax in Kosovo can only be admired.

They're Only Dumb Irish Anyway.

In news reports coming out of Ireland about Sarkozy's one day visit there on Monday this week,you might be forgiven for imagining that 'Irish democracy will be respected', and that the Irish rejection of the Lisbon Treaty will be accepted. The Irish Times for example leads with a large headline 'Sarkozy Accepts There Is No Quick Fix To Lisbon Crisis'. The problem is, according to the EU that, while Ireland's democratic decision must be 'respected', the democratic decisions of the other 26 countries that currently make up the EU must also be 'respected'.

Just as to how democratic the ratifications of the Lisbon Treaty are in the other 26 countries is a moot point. A majority in most countries wanted a referendum, but were denied one. In Britain a referendum was promised at the time of the elections which gave Labour five more years in power, but was not given once Lisbon was signed. It is a strange form of democracy that Sarkozy and others want to claim for their Lisbon Treaty - in truth a denial of democracy.

Sarkozy also claims that Italy is on the point of ratifying the Treaty in August, as the Northern League which demanded a referendum has dropped its objections. There are now only two countries left, he says which have yet to ratify according to Sarkozy. Presumably he means the Czech Republic and Germany, which are rightly pointing out that until Ireland reverses its rejection of the Treaty, it is not able to acquire legal force and be implemented.

In such cirumstances the Treaty-ramming and denial of democracy is unlikely to halt, and Ireland's voters are likely to be ignored in one way or another. The only question is how will the EU attempt to unravel the situation in Ireland and how the EU will ignore the voters, not whether.

Yesterday gave the latest expression of the EU's intentions. In today's Irish Times, can be found the following paragraph -

Although the Government is now keen to postpone a resolution until after the European Parliament elections next June, Mr Sarkozy proposed during private talks that a second poll should be held on the same day. Under the Sarkozy plan, which was made to Irish surprise, the strategy would be announced at the EU summit next December in Brussels.

One of the key dilemmas created by the Irish vote is whether the next Euro elections will be based on the Nice Treaty or the Lisbon Treaty, as regards numbers of MEPs. By holding the Irish referendum number 2 on the same day, the EU will no doubt say that the Irish will, of course be reversing their earlier rejection of the Treaty, and the EU will proceed with the new Lisbon Treaty version of the elections, on the basis of that assumption.

In other words, not only will the Irish be required to vote again under instruction from the EU. Their earlier vote is already being ignored. As Sarkozy says, there cannot be a 'quick fix', but he certainly will be attempting a slow one.

(PICTURE - Sarkozy chums it up with The Taoiseach. The 'boys' in the club know that Irish voters are going to be ignored, and judging by their huge grins, they expect to get away with it, and live to enjoy the pay-off.)

UPDATE - I've checked the BBC website The Times and The Telegraph (UK) and there is not even a mention of Sarkozy's attempts at stitching up the Irish. Very odd indeed. Are there any reports in the UK on this? Or is there a compulsory media blanket imposed on this by orders from on high?

REPORT FROM OPEN EUROPE - (you have to read between the lines)

Sarkozy denies "meddling" in Ireland but suggests second referendum be held on same day as EP elections;

Irish government confirms it is considering a second referendum in March

IN FACT - Cowen is pretending he's maintaining an independent position, one which could easily slide backwards to coincide with Sarkozy's request come March - delaying it to July -but conceniently wearing out opposition, wasting its fire on a March referenduym which will be pulled.

Following a meeting with Irish Taoiseach Brian Cowen in Dublin yesterday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy denied that he had last week suggested the Irish should be made to vote again on the Lisbon Treaty. He said: "I never said Ireland had to organise a new referendum. I said that at some stage or another the Irish had to be given the opportunity to give their opinion, they had to give their opinion. I never said there had to be a referendum. I didn't say on what question there would be a vote. I did not, in any way, meddle in Irish domestic affairs."

MMMMMMMMMMM - Outright lie.

However he then went on to say, "Coming to Ireland would be to meddle, not to come would be indifference. What would you prefer, meddling or indifference? To come here shows the spirit of friendship." Sarkozy told the Taoiseach: "I'm trying to help you. You're better off making a deal with me, because afterwards you'll get the Czechs [EU presidency], and that won't be easy."

TRANSLATES - Arbeit macht frei.

A joint statement issued by the leaders said Sarkozy respected the result of the Irish referendum but he was committed to the Treaty and that the ratification process was continuing in other member states. The Irish Times quotes Cowen saying, "The Irish Government for its part has made no decision in relation to a second referendum because the Irish Government have just begun a process of reflection, a process of assessment which is necessary now in the aftermath of the vote." However, Irish government officials told the Guardian that Dublin is considering going back to the electorate, possibly in March, for a second referendum.

WHICH MEANS - A period of reflection, for which the answer has already been decided, in accordance with instructions from the EU.

The Irish Times however reports that "Although the Government is now keen to postpone a resolution until after the European Parliament elections next June, Mr Sarkozy proposed during private talks that a second poll should be held on the same day. Under the Sarkozy plan, which was made to Irish surprise, the strategy would be announced at the EU summit next December in Brussels." Under the plan, each EU state would be guaranteed a European Commissioner, while Ireland would also get declarations on issues perceived to be concerning Irish voters.

MEANING? - Sarkozy: We'll pretend not to want all the things we want for short period in the hope that we can fool the Irish into voting YES. By holding the referendum on the same day as the Euro-elections, we can avoid the issue of how many MPs we whould be electing. It will be the Lisbon version, naturellement. The Irish NO will be ignored.

Despite this, the paper reports that "The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Micheál Martin, dismissed suggestions that Mr Sarkozy wanted a second referendum or was exerting political pressure on Ireland. 'I don't think he was looking for solutions by October,' he said.

The Coulisses de Bruxelles blog notes, "Ireland will vote again, but it's a secret." It quotes Sarkozy saying, "We don't have a miracle solution and above all we don't want to impose one, we want the Irish people to feel respected in their choice, but we must equally take account of the fact that with Italy soon, it will be 24 countries that have ratified the Lisbon Treaty." The blog notes, "Decoded, that means we are not telling you to vote again, but we don't see how you could do otherwise."

SUMMARY - Sarkozy doesn't believe the Irish will take their EU membership to the brink. So he's upping the anti. He feels he can put maximum pressure on the Irish, and they will eventually buckle to the will of the EU.

The Irish Times reports that Sarkozy confirmed he would meet the Taoiseach again in Paris in September, before the EU summit the following month. He also reiterated his claim that there could be no future enlargement of the EU without the Lisbon Treaty. He said: "For there to be any further enlargement we must have moved to Lisbon. It's either Nice or Lisbon."

This is simply untrue - and is just a ploy to build moral pressure.

The FT notes that Sarkozy took part in a round-table discussion with leading proponents of the Yes and No camps, and quotes leading no campaigner Declan Ganley saying, "If there was a chink of light it was that he left himself with enough wiggle room to pronounce Lisbon dead in the future if he cannot revive it."

WHAT'S THIS? - Sarkozy only met the NO cmapigners to pretend that he would possibly comply with their wishes at some point. He won't.

The Irish Times reports that Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny and Labour's Eamon Gilmore have warned that a second referendum cannot be held before next June. Gilmore said: "I put it bluntly that a second referendum is being floated. A second referendum, if it were put this minute, I know it would be defeated again. There is not a great deal of point in that."

VERY CLEVER. Let's pretend we are delaying the Irish second referndum to June as part of strategy to win it. In fact it is a strategy to bypass the first vote and ignore the second, assuming it is also a NO. By June 2009, Lisbon will be fully implemented, so any Irish vote will only be a vote for Irish isolation. Lisbon will be secure, and a ratification could be subsequently obtained from the Irish Parliament against the wishes of the Irish people, as happened in Britain.

Former Green Party MEP Patricia McKenna said following the meeting: "We went through the motions. He is not getting the message. He wants the Irish people to put this treaty through by a referendum or by whatever means necessary."

Spot on, Patricia.

The Irish Times reports that when Sarkozy and Cowen finally joined waiting ambassadors, ministers and advisers in the dining room following their one-on-one talks, a dispute broke out between the French Foreign Minister, Bernard Kouchner, and the President. Dr Kouchner was saying to the Irish side: "We understand, we're listening. . ." when Mr Sarkozy broke in: "There are no journalists around, Bernard. You can be tough."

Sarkozy has at least two faces, it seems.

According to the paper, Kouchner, chastened by his pre-referendum experience (when he said the Irish would be the first victims of a No vote) told the paper that the visit was "a success because we are listening a lot and talking little". Sarkozy was nonetheless estimated to have talked at least two-thirds of the time.

'We're going to ignore you' doesn't require a lot of explanation.

According to the Guardian, Sarkozy was met with cries of "No means No" from hundreds of protesters including groups such as the Campaign Against the EU Constitution. According to the Telegraph, over two thousand demonstrators gathered outside the government offices where the talks were held.

Put 2,000,000 demonstraters in place. They would be ignored also. They're only dumb Irish after all.

Picture - Sarkozy with 'Biffo', Taoiseach Cowen.

Read Sinn Fein's statement referring to the Sarkozy visit to Dublin HERE,

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Ganley Launches Libertas Around The EU

Libertas has at last decided on its next steps after the Irish Referendum. Ganley is launching Libertas as a trans-EU single issue campaigning organisation, putting up 400 candidates across 26 EU countries, where voters can elect MEPs committed to rejecting the Lisbon Treaty in the European Parliament.

The choice facing voters in Britain will not be untypical of the situation in other EU countries. There are parties already committed to quitting the EU standing for election to the European Parliament, notably UKIP and the BNP, while Libertas states that it supports the continuation of the European Union. This could all be a little confusing.

Libertas should maybe take bolder steps, and declare more policies, as to what kind of EU it envisages will replace the 'superstate' vision of the Lisbon Treaty. Maybe that will come along as a result of operating on a wider scale across the EU.

Going trans-national seems to me like a high risk strategy, which could undermine the appeal of Libertas in Ireland, where the Treaty might yet founder. But then Libertas could easily be outmanoeuvred if it stood still, and be portrayed as a negative force of narrow-mindedness or backwardness for Irish politics. By launching onto the European stage, the self-assumed superiority of the EU elite can be more successfully challenged, and put in its place.

On balance, Ganley has got it right.


See Telegraph on Libertas' plans HERE

Also, Sinn Fein tells Sarkozy that Ireland will not vote again. See HERE. It seems that the race to lead the growing eurosceptic movement in Ireland is on. The Labour leader is also refusing to meet Sarkozy, although his motives are doubted on The Connolly Column.

26th July 2008 UPDATE - Declan Ganley interviewed by TOTAL POLITICS

Saturday, July 19, 2008

How Far Can The EU Push The Irish and The British?

There are few writers on European affairs as honest and open as Ralf Grahn the Finnish legal expert on matters EU. On his blog Granhlaw,he asks how the Irish can take part in a democratic future for Europe, if they refuse to ratify the Lisbon Treaty. My reply to him is that Europe does not have a democratic future, as the wishes of its people are being ignored.

The worry is that as the EU presses on without democratic accountability, they will push free people too far, and find a more determined reaction to preserve liberty, independence and democracy than they obviously expect, judging by Sarkozy's less guarded statements. I wrote to those who wish to propagate Europe's non-democratic future as follows -

Your aims are not shared by the people of Europe. What other options do you offer in your list of desirable futures?

Can you only imagine one future, as I suspect? Or would you permit the people of Europe to choose not to share in the single outcome that you desire?

If you will not permit them to freely choose, you have to refrain from calling the future for Europe that you advocate here and elsewhere, 'democratic'.

Britain was deceived. We were promised a referendum by Gordon Brown. He signed Lisbon and deposited the Treaty on the sly at Rome this week without a referendum being held. He is a political criminal, and traitor to his countrymen, 85% of whom wanted a referendum, and believed that they were going to be granted one.

The ratification is democratically invalid, and will not be regarded as complete by me and millions of others like me, who are now living in a non-democratic tyranny.

The re-obtaining of our democracy and our freedom justifies the taking of any action necessary including violent means, as we had to do to win the war.

Democracy cannot be crushed by theft and deception, any more than it can be crushed by warfare and militarism. It will not die.

Those who try to steal it, however, do face an uncertain future. They have abandoned the standards of civilization. They have forsaken the norms of democratic behaviour, whereby people will not resort to violence to pursue their political objectives. By lying and deceiving they are now endangering lives.

The Irish have demonstrated a willingness to murder to maintain their freedom and their dignity in their struggles with Britain in the past.

What is to say that the same outcome will not now result with the EU, which is not willing to listen, and wishes to treat Irish people like dumb second class citizens, too stupid to understand the superiority of their EU masters.

I suspect it is the EU masters who are too dumb to understand the ferocity and the determination of free peoples to remain free. They would be advised to learn respect for democracy, for people who vote or who wish to vote, before claiming democratic credibility for themselves and their arrogant increasingly dangerous one track minds.


The EU Relationship survey from Global Vision taken in May 2008 shows a striking similarity in the responses from the supporters of all the major parties. This question was posed to those surveyed -

Question 4 (to all): If a future British Government renegotiated Britain's relationship with the EU to a new one based on trade and cooperation, and then called a referendum on this new relationship, how would you vote in the referendum?

A total of 64%, made up of
71% of Conservatives
71% of Labour
71% of Lib Dems
and 55% of others

agreed with the following statement -

I would vote in favour of the new relationship

Thursday, July 17, 2008

See Suppressed Irish Anti-Lisbon Poster

The number of anti-Lisbon groups operating throughout Ireland is quite mind-boggling. Although Libertas' campaign got all the coverage, and had the largest amount of money to spend, the quality of some of the smaller campaigns has been overlooked.

The Group Coir, for example operating in Longford produced a great little poster depicting three monkeys giving their opinions about the EU. The Local Council had them all torn down, and sent Coir 300 Euros compensation. See HERE.

It seems a shame that such a good poster doesn't get wider coverage so I'm putting it on here so more people can see it. Nice work Coir.

I've been browsing a political forum in Ireland. It is quite striking how the majority of the views are so eurosceptic, openly discussing the merits of leaving the EU, and the Euro, and establishing a Norway kind of relationship. The NO side of the argument in Ireland seems remarkably buoyant given all the hostility coming their way from President Sarkozy and others desperate to push the LIsbon Treaty through.

The Irish Times tells that Sarkozy has cancelled his planned meeting with the NO side, in his whistle stop tour to Ireland on Monday. See HERE. Sarkozy recently demanded a second referendum take place, but is now retrenching, as Ireland's politicians are worried about such a suggestion being made and backed by an outsider. It seems to be antagonising local opinion. The YES side are all ears and eyes at the moment, and making right chimps of themselves!

See REPORT from Open Europe - below -

Sarkozy advisor: Irish should vote again, but on a slightly different text

Sarkozy pulls out of meeting with 'No' campaigners

Numerous papers report that the Irish government is "privately furious" following French President Nicolas Sarkozy's demand on Tuesday that Ireland will have to hold a second Lisbon Treaty referendum.

"It is far, far too early to be talking about a referendum or about some specific policy to go forward," the Irish European Affairs Minister, Dick Roche, told Newstalk radio. He said that "rash" proposals were "not helpful", adding, "That's not the way to formulate a policy in response to a referendum." Foreign Minister Micheál Martin said: "We have no intention of letting ourselves be intimidated by anyone. We are going to study it from the Irish point of view, according to what best serves Ireland's interests."

However, when asked if he favoured holding a second referendum, Taoiseach Brian Cowen did not exclude the possibility, telling the Irish Independent: "The Government haven't given any thought about where we go from here until we actually assess, examine and analyse the outcome of the referendum."

The Irish Times reports that plans for Sarkozy to meet in public with anti-Lisbon Treaty campaigners have been scrapped, "following last-minute nervousness" on the French side.

According to AFP, a key adviser to Sarkozy confirmed on French television yesterday that a second vote was a very real possibility. "One of the solutions would be indeed to eventually ask the Irish to re-vote, but probably not on a text that would be exactly the same," said Henri Guaino.

Le Figaro reports that "the idea of a new vote worries Ireland". On his blog, Libération journalist Jean Quatremer writes: "As the probability of Ireland's total political isolation becomes more likely every day, what is the solution to the crisis? In order for the Lisbon Treaty to be able to enter into force, a new referendum must inevitably be organised... As no-one wants to renegotiate a new treaty - with the risk of a new crisis - the idea is to offer Ireland the same text accompanied with declarations designed to respond to the Irish concerns." He says if the Irish vote no again, "the Lisbon Treaty would be definitively buried."

The Economist blog notes that "Mr Sarkozy had his work cut out for him in Ireland even before his latest remarks. By appearing to dictate a preferred course of action to the Irish, he has made his job that much harder."

Roger Cole of the Peace and Neutrality Alliance argues in the Irish Times that the No vote struck a blow against Sarkozy's "militarist" vision of the EU.

UPDATE - New Irish Anti-Lisbon Poster

Print copy available HERE.

UPDATE - The Group COIR's 2nd Lisbon campaign is far more professional than the 1st one was, and very impressive. Worth a look at .

See a series of angry Irish anti-Lisbon posters HERE including the second in the series 'European Democracy'.

Knife Carriers Should Visit Morgues

The father of an unprovoked knife attack victim has got the right idea about murderers, and how to drill into their brains. Gordon Brown thought knife-carriers should be made to visit their victims in hospital. How naive is that? The place to visit them is not hospital as that assumes that they are still alive. It's the morgue they should be sent to, to spend hours taking in how serious and final a thing death is.

See the father talking through his sad eyes on the 14th July 2008HERE.

Picture - the 27 year old John Jenkins, victim of the unprovoked knife attack.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

EU Balkan Mess Just Got Messier

The EU has got its way in Belgrade, kind of, in that a government has finally emerged from coalition negotiations, which is pressing on with Serbia's application to join the EU. The pro-EU alliance has won the day, it appears on the surface. What is rarely mentioned, however, is that this outcome was achieved at a fairly serious cost, in that, in order to get the Socialists on board with Tadic's Party, the EU had to drop its previous insistence that Serbia would have to recognise Kosovo, as part of its accession deal to the EU.

This climbdown came as the Irish voted against Lisbon in their referendum, as the use of Qualified Majority Voting to advance the EU's programme in Serbia was no longer going to be even retrospectively legal. There is a significant minority of European countries that are dead against recognising Kosovo, of which Spain is the most vocal and active in rallying opposition, notably using her influence in South America to block recognition moves.

As a result, the EU now has two governments in Serbia, but each with a different view as to where national boundaries begin and end. What a muddle. Serbia will not recognise Kosovo full stop, and now that Kosovo is issuing passports, Serbia is making it clear that these will not be recognised.

Communication links from Kosovo travel predominantly through Serbia, so Kosovans are going to be trapped inside their new 'country' and only able to move to other places in the world using their new passport through complicated travelling arrangements. Even then they will only be able to travel to the 40 out of 200 possible countries that have recognised Kosovo.

Is it any wonder that more politicians are speaking out across the EU to say that the recognition of Kosovo was bad mistake, including Monica Knoche from the German Parliament last week?

The instability now created between the Serbs and the Moslems in Kosovo is having knock-on effects, with the Bosnian Moslem leader demanding that a new war against the Serbs be commenced. See HERE. The region will no doubt have a very different look to it, if troubles break out again. The EU has not helped the situation one bit, by taking sides against the Serbs, who should really be the EU's and America's natural allies. If this is the kind of thing to be expected from EU foreign initiatives, then the Irish would do well to repeat their vote which felled the Lisbon Treaty, and prevent the EU from creating any more muddles in dangerous parts of the world.

UPDATE - Serbian Foreign Minister says that the Serbia/Kosovo talks broke down because of Western bias. Now the situation is not approved by either side to the dispute over Kosovo. See HERE.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Will Ireland Dump The Euro?

The Irish Times runs a story today 15th July which explains that Irish Banks are no longer able to offer tracker mortgages. The banks no longer regard the ECB's official lending rates as fair and realistic estimates of the cost of raising interbank money, at least for Irish banks that is. This is another way of saying that the Euro, supposedly a single currency, has increasingly different values in different countries.

In Germany there is no risk premium over ECB rates, while in Ireland and in other notorious locations, such as Italy, lending rates are widening, reflecting the increased risk that lenders are being required to face. The risk being priced in by lenders, cannot be the ability of the borrowers to repay, as the loans are all secured on property. The risk is the possibility that Ireland, Italy and others may individually face a crisis with their own banking systems, and as a result, decide to, or have to quit the Euro.

As the battle rages over Lisbon, and Sarkozy threatens the Irish with various negative outcomes if they don't ratify the Treaty, financial markets inevitably take note, and see that the chances that the Euro area could unravel, without a coherent political basis, are growing. The abandonment of tracker mortgages following ECB lending rates,are just one sign of the growing collapse of confidence in the European economy, and the ECB.

The Irish electorate might start to feel the heat from such moves, and be persuaded to vote in favour of Lisbon next time they are asked. No doubt the pro-campaign will argue that Ireland has undermined the EU, and the Irish are now paying dearly for having done so with higher rates of interest.

The anti-campaign might point out that the same interest rate effects were being felt elsewhere, even before the Irish vote. The problem is that the ECB is not a Central Bank with powers to underwrite the risk being run by commercial banks in the different countries. Each country has to support its own banking systems, but without the power to control their own rates of interest, or exchange rate policy.

Each country carries the financial risks alone, without the power to act if action is required to forestall a crisis, making the individual countries of the EU's banking systems especially vulnerable. The Euro is, in this sense a facade, and not a real currency at all.

In facing down a financial crisis, this is the worst of all possible worlds. The Irish will do best to retake control of their own currency, maintain or even improve the competitive taxation rates that are attracting foreign investors, and look to a better future outside Lisbon, and the Euro. Only through retaking control of their own affairs can stability be restored, along with access to more attractive rates of interest, and the joys of tracker mortgages.

See The Irish Times article HERE.

EXTRACT - TWO MORTGAGE lenders have raised interest rates by a margin greater than the quarter point increase from the European Central Bank (ECB) earlier this month, passing on to customers higher funding costs due to the international financial crisis.

Permanent TSB, the State's largest mortgage lender, raised interest rates on some of its mortgage products by a greater margin than the 0.25 percentage point ECB rise. A spokesman for the bank said this was to take account of the higher bank funding costs.

Halifax, the retail operation of Bank of Scotland (Ireland), increased its standard variable rate by 0.35 of a percentage point.

The argument about the EU in Ireland could soon be moving to include thoughts about currencies. Maybe Libertas, the successful NO campaigner should move on and bring forward a campaign to abandon the Euro, and bring back the Punt. It would keep the momentum going, that's for sure!

UPDATE - The day after I wrote this post an article appeared in The Irish Times written by david MacWilliams called if all else fails then maybe it's time to ditch the euro. Probably a coincidence except I had a good few hits on this from Dublin yesterday!

Extract from david McWilliams' article - If a Martian economist landed in Ireland, he'd see straight away that Ireland is caught in a currency arrangement which will make our recession much deeper than necessary. This is an economic fact, not a political slogan. The euro is now part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Libertas - are you listening?

Declan Ganley is readying himself to fight the next Lisbon referendum as demanded by Sarkozy. But why not fight to ditch the Euro at the same time? Otherwise Sarkozy is being allowed to take all the initiatives and Ireland is made to play a weak hand, always defending and never attacking. Sarkozy must be placed on the defensive as soon as possible. This is surely the best way to do that.

Libertas Must Keep Fighting.

I've been following a comment thread on Finn Ralf Grahn's pro-EU blog Grahnlaw, in which the pro-side are discussing the Lisbon Treaty amongst themselves. They are in particular attacking Libertas for not coming up with an alternative vision for Ireland's future, claiming that Libertas arguments are all merely destructive. Also that Libertas has yet to update its website since the vote.

OK, this is not headline-making news, but arguing with europhiles in such blogs as Grahnlaw assists the development of anti-Lisbon arguments, arguments which could be essential for winning the next democratic battle over Europe's future, coming presumably in Ireland in Spring 2009. This was my input on Grahnlaw from this morning, for what it is worth -

Political pressure or legal structures? - who cares? The end result is the same - you yield power.

Lisbon is about power, about who rules, not only whether the EU, having taken power from the nations, has the right vision or not about how to use it.

So far people have tended to use the word - sovereignty, or the phrase the 'pooling of sovereignty' to describe what the EU is all about. The phrase is not easily understandable by most people, and it disguises the real process, which is of power moving away from the nations, somewhere into a hugely complex organisation, which excels in the art of denial.

First the EU has to admit what its game is, and to justify it, to convince people that they must hand over the power to rule them. So far the EU has not done so, judging by its performance in the referenda that have taken place.

First you, the europhiles must admit that the EU is taking power, or your arguments about nice little details are just that, the minutiae. Say these words, please. 'The EU wants to assume the power to rule'. Then we will all be a lot clearer about this is really all about. This is not the Eurovision Song Contest. It is about who will declare war against whom, and whose sons, brothers and fathers will be sent to die on the EU's behalf.

Opponents to the Treaty, as in Ireland, can only resist in terms that mean something to the Irish people. If the EU does not even admit that it has military ambitions, and the desire to be all-powerful in Europe, if not the world, then how can Libertas start campaigning against the European Army, that will inevitably come into being as part of the new European Empire? (Of course Ireland will not be required to contribute initially.)

As the EU has not admitted what the over-arching gameplan consists of, opponents can hardly be expected to fight on that plane. Europe's population is deliberately being kept in ignorance by the EU, as all peoples would vote against losing their identities and countries were they told that that is what this is really all about.

The message to ordinary voters from the likes of Libertas therefore has to be pitched at a more mundane level - 'If you don't like parts of the Lisbon deal, don't buy into it'. They cannot fight the overview, as the overview is not provided. It is always simply denied.

If the EU was honest to the Irish and asked them openly to be community-spirited and give away their country, then the fightback from the likes of Libertas (there were many other organisations by the way) could directly address the key issue of nationhood versus EU membership. But that is not possible.

As it is, Libertas has to wait and see how the EU presents itself, before constructing counter-arguments. It is not possible to create a counter-argument to a subterfuge, against an organisation that says little or nothing about what it is really about.

And it is not Libertas after all that wishes to chnage the status quo, but the EU.

The Irish are right to be cautious. In my opinion they would be crazy to sign into Lisbon, as would Britain. We will have far better government outside the EU, where we can re-establish what have become, apart from Ireland (so far), sham national democracies.

The EU destroys national democracies, and replaces them with raw bureaucratic power. Peoples' lives are greatly deteriorated by the EU as it has no connection to people.

It is a disaster, and needs bringing to an end just like the USSR which is the only parallel organisation you can find which pretended to be democratic, while destroying all real democracy and dictating to ordinary people as to how they must live, while accumulating military and all other power.

Make no mistake. Lisbon is not merely about fish, or farm prices, or about taxation, but about power. That is what needs to be explained to the Irish and all others in Europe, but so far has not been. This is about who will rule you. Is it sensible to grant power to anyone, when you can never get rid of them again?

Libertas should keep fighting, and broadcasting their message, and not allow the EU to manipulate the Irish people. The first referendum is over. Now they should be preparing for the second one.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Street Journalism Exposes Britain's Social Collapse

Imagine a country without effective police, teachers, parents, employers and politicians - all so hampered by regulations and rules that they no longer function as they should. The result is exactly as you would expect, uneducated, lawless, lonely, aggressive, unemployable, unruly people.

Once that becomes the norm, as it has, then crime spills out onto the streets, and ordinary life becomes hazardous. Welcome to Britain in 2008, where schools can hardly function, police drive round in cars (but rarely), parents are silenced, jobs are vanishing and politicians count their money.

If there was ever a good argument to be made for re-establishing the Sovereignty of Parliament, and kicking out the bureaucracies that have ruined our lives, the above film is about as good as you will get. The poor kid has been denied all he needed to create a decent life for himself, and now he's a walking breathing time bomb - citizen of the EU, where kids die every day from lack of care by adults. And where those adults that want to help are prevented from doing what needs to be done to put the situation right.

I guess many find this funny. That makes it even more tragic, in my view.

David Cameron is alone in offering to change the approach taken by government, which lost sight of Right and Wrong, in the 1960s and 1970s. See HERE

EXTRACT - We as a society have been far too sensitive. In order to avoid injury to people’s feelings, in order to avoid appearing judgemental, we have failed to say what needs to be said. We have seen a decades-long erosion of responsibility, of social virtue, of self-discipline, respect for others, deferring gratification instead of instant gratification.

“Instead we prefer moral neutrality, a refusal to make judgments about what is good and bad behaviour, right and wrong behaviour. Bad. Good. Right. Wrong. These are words that our political system and our public sector scarcely dare use any more"

These words are crucially important in the fightback from the desperate state that Britain has fallen into. It was a previous Conservative leader who made social collapse his primary concern, or Social Justice as he called it - Iain Duncan Smith. He had this to say in today's Telegraph - HERE

EXTRACT - "Her son had been a heroin addict in his teens and remained addicted after he left school. Six months before, he had been convicted of drugs-related offences and given six months in jail.

Ironically, because he didn't have enough money he was unable to buy drugs in prison and as a result he "de-toxed". This raised her hopes that she might get him on to a rehab course when he left.

However when the prison authorities discharged him, seemingly oblivious to the references to his addiction on his file, and without consulting Janice, they gave him some money.

Forty-eight hours later Janice was asked to identify her dead son, who had been found curled up with a syringe and some heroin beside him. His body was simply not used to the amount of heroin he injected after he had "de-toxed" and he died alone."

FILM from Fatpie

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The EU Vision For The 21st Century

Many writers from the pro-EU-side of the argument such as Ralf Grahn are complaining that the NO vote campaigners such as Libertas have gone quiet and in effect, having defeated the Lisbon Treaty, have nothing further to say on the matter. This is not true. As these two pieces of writing from Indymedia of Ireland demonstrate, the arguments for the rejection of Lisbon are getting stronger by the day, as Sarkozy admits what his true ambitions are for the EU.

The first piece is written by Liz C (interstingly not revealing her name as if she holds some public position which requires her to maintain anonymity). She writes as follows -

The EU Vision For The 21st Century

Now in the aftermath of a No vote the real reasons for the treaty are increasingly being made public despite the difficulty in getting these topics on the agenda even now as the Irish government 'reflects'. The rejection of the treaty has caused a headache for those politicians who favour EU unification, a unified EU military and further free trade liberalization. The French presidency is attempting to push through as much as possible on militarisation without full ratification. Apparently it was true that french white papers on defence were held over until after our referendum. Little good it did them.

One of Sarkozy's problems is that military action undertaken by sub-groups of EU states without the need of agreement from all states has been scuppered by the Irish No as 'Structured co-operation' in Article 48 would have allowed for this and an EU military budget but Nice does not.

Sarkozy also wants closer NATO links and has offered to re-integrate France into NATO structures after a 40 year absence. Massive budget increases for military spending EU wide and a loosening of controls on arms imports are also planned for the French presidency over the next 6 months. He'll be here on July 21st no dount explaining all of this to us.

The reasons for such militarization in response to 'global challenges' including mass migration and climate change gives a useful insight into what kind of 21st century EU our 'representatives' are plannning.

According to recent EU documents and memos, there are links below, these are the most obvious way to protect EU interests. ( I'm paraphrasing of course. It's put much more diplomatically.)

1. seal the borders from to immigrants fleeing the effects of climate change, rising food and energy prices and conflict.
a large and autonomous EU wide military will be necessary for this task.

2. aggressively push for the opening up of developing countries' economies, including in health, education and financial services .(leaving them even more vulnerable to currency speculation and financial shocks, without allowing any level of protections. Arguably, the 'liberalization' of financial services caused the East Asian financial crisis in the 1990s as well as the collapse of Argentina's economy, as without strong regulations there was no protection against currency speculation and no barriers to money flowing into or out of the countries.)

3. In exchange for the opening up of developing economies the EU would finally honour promises from the WTO Doha 'development' round to cut agricultural tariffs. If necessary, as a bargaining chip, open up health and education in the EU to market competition. Forced 'free trade' in services would also continue the trend of dismantling welfare states in Europe by removing the expensive idea of health and education as rights, rather than services to be paid for.

4. Continue to lower wages and expensive workers' rights protections in the name of 'competitiveness' , using high oil prices and threats of imminent recession. (despite the fact the the only winners would be trans-national corporations which can move to wherever the labour is cheapest and most regulation-free).

5. Prioritise economic growth over combatting climate change and reducing oil dependency. Refuse to radically cut emissions unless emerging economies do the same.

Some of these plans are being slowed by the rejection of the Lisbon Treaty, however.

As well as slowing down military co-operation,
the EU has not yet become a 'legal personality' able to negotiate international treaties and trade deals with one voice and does not have an EU president or Foreign minister with a common foreign policy position. ( though the EU already takes a common position on trade deals that position has to be negotiated internally.)

The veto on trade in services has not been given away, Article 188, which means one country can veto, in its entirety, any trade deal that contains services.So if a trade deal negotiated by Mandelsn would destroy small farmers in Ireland and threaten food security, ( yes the tariffs and subsidies are unfair to developing countries and need to go but alternative specialties have to be found or thousands of jobs in farming and the food industry would go overnight) the deal can be vetoed currently not with an agricultural veto, given away in a prior treaty, but with a veto on trade in services.

These are just some parts of the neo-liberal vision that Ireland's No has slowed. There's an article below by a German MEP from Die Linke, the German Left coalition on what Ireland's No is doing along with some links. It's long but well wort a read. He's been in touch with CAEUC a lot hence the reference.

The above written by Liz C 'in her personal capacity' as published on But who is she in her public capacity?

Her piece is followed by this from Tobias Pfluger MEP....PICTURED AT TOP. And do enjoy his spellchecker mistakes!

Militarism, Neoliberalism, Elitism: The Agenda of the French EU Council Presidency
by Tobias Pflüger, MEP

An E-Mail by a senior Irish official has been leaked to the press recently. According to this Mail, the government originally preferred to hold the referendum about the Treaty of Lisbon in the autumn of 2008: "But the risk of unhelpful developments during the French presidency - particularly related to EU defence - were just too great", the official is quoted.[1] The French population already noticed that their president Nicolas Sarkozy is good for many bad surprises, not the least because of his dismantling of the welfare state, his approval ratings are on a historical low. Nevertheless, the French President now intends to act on the European level, too. The chances for this are good as France took over the EU-Council Presidency on the 1st of July for the next six months. Especially in the realm of the "European Security and Defence Policy" (ESDP) Sarkozy has ambitious plans.

As is well known, the postponing of the Irish referendum was in vain. On the 12th of June, the Irish population rejected the Treaty of Lisbon. With this "No", the ambitions of the European governments to transform the EU into a military union, has been reined in. But as advancing the EU's military policy is a central project of the Union's elites, they want to proceed without a new treaty, too: "We want to advance the European defence, whatever the future of the Treaty of Lisbon is" Sarkozy said to the online magazine Europolitan on the 18th of June. The French Council Presidency, Sarkozy continued, will "be the first step for the rejuvenation of the European defence in the years to come." The plans of the French Council Presidency are encompassing a significant intensification of the relationship between the European Union and NATO as well as concrete armaments projects. Furthermore, under the term "Global Europe", it intends to start a major offensive in the military and economic realm. Last but not least, the French Presidency will also try to implement the Treaty of Lisbon.

France is besides Germany the major proponent of the "keep-it-up" approach. The ratification process shall go on, regardless of the Irish referendum. Respecting the sovereign – the population – has never been a matter near to the heart of the EU-elites. Originally, it was – and still is - planned that during the French Presidency, parts of the still not ratified treaty will be realized, especially in the area of military policy. In a document, published at the beginning of June, the French Presidency still intended to "bring forward the necessary preparations in order to implement the treaty timely and smoothly and to assure that the treaty can be fully used from the time it is entering into force."[2]

Due to the Irish population and the superb work of CAEUC (Campaign Against the EU Constitution) , the French government is now forced to cope with this situation in order to get the treaty into force by one way or the other. For this purpose, various proposals are currently in the discussion – they reach from building a core Europe until throwing the Irish out of the EU. But currently, the most probable option is to let the Irish population simply vote ones again, either with some cosmetic changes or in combination with the question of weather Ireland intends to stay in the European Union. A final decision about how to proceed will be prepared until the next EU summit in October.

Ones again, the EU elites' understanding of democracy is revealing. Instead of respecting the decision of the Irish population they want to let them vote until the results seem to fit the governors of the member states, the EU Commission, the EU Council and the majority in the European Parliament. This procedure has already been practiced at the end of 2002 after the Irish "No" to the Treaty of Nice.

The reason for this upholding of the Lisbon Treaty is the fact that several crucial aspects, especially in the military area, cannot be realized without the treaty. But also the intention to change the distribution of power in the EU's most relevant institution, the Council, dramatically in favour of the biggest member states depends on the treaty. Only after the treaty is ratified, the German voting count would skyrocket from currently 8,4 percent to 16,72 percent (but France would also heavily benefit).

Furthermore, currently it is forbidden to build "avant-garde- groups" in the area of military policy which can exclusively decide over policies in this area without having to consider the opinions of other states not taking part. The "Permanent Structured Cooperation" of the Lisbon Treaty will make this possible for the first time thereby annulling the consensus principle currently holding in the area of military policy. The goal of such Permanent Structured Cooperations was revealed when Sarkozy proposed to use this instrument to build a "directorate" in the area of military policy consisting of France , Great Britain , Germany , Italy , Spain and Poland .[3] Without a new treaty such proposals simply do not have the necessary legal ground to materialize.

Additionally, the Treaty of Nice explicitly prohibits the establishment of a European military budget (in addition to the budgets of the member states). Therefore ESDP missions have to be funded via other ways – for example by using funds from the European Development Funds or by the juridicially questionable ATHENA mechanism. Hereby, the EU member states are paying into an extra budget which is not part of the European Union. In order to improve this problematic financial situation, the Lisbon Treaty intends to establish an official European military budget, called "start-up fund". That's why the French Council Presidency originally intended to integrate the ATHENA funds into the European Union in order to be able to pursue its militarization projects in a formally correct manner. Finally, the deployment of military troops within the member states will also be prohibited without a new treaty, too.

Notwithstanding these serious difficulties, the French Council Presidency faces due to the Irish referendum, it nevertheless intends to pave the way for ground-breaking novelties in the area of military policy, especially regarding the relationship between the European Union and NATO.

The French return to NATO

Shortly after he took office, Sarkozy announced that France will fully re-integrate itself into NATO's military structures after being absent for more than 40 years. In 1966, then President Charles de Gaulles justified the French withdrawal with his discontent over America 's domination of the alliance. Since then, the French military policy aimed to strengthen autonomous European capacities and thereby implicitly and sometimes explicitly tried to weaken the United States and NATO.

In this context, a paradigm shift seems to be in the making: "France had long championed the EU over NATO but President Nicolas Sarkozy changed that. He has ordered his diplomats to stop obstructing NATO’s work and offered to return France to NATO’s military structures."[4] During its Council Presidency, France intends to fully return into NATO's Defence Committee (whether it will also return to the Nuclear Planning Group is unclear, yet). Sarkozy sees this as an important confidence-building measure vis-à-vis the United States which is necessary in order to bring the EU and NATO closer together. This goal is one of the main projects of the French Council Presidency: "Strengthening EU/NATO cooperation, including increasing transparency, will be a priority, both at the strategic and tactical levels. […] Generally, the transatlantic relations will be intensified regarding political, economic and military questions."[5] Whether France 's NATO rapprochement will cause an institutional reorganization of the alliance is not decided, yet. For this purpose a far-reaching proposal has been put forward recently which could change the relationship between the European Union and NATO dramatically.

Not surprisingly, these considerations are made in a time, when NATO is in one of its most difficult phases in its history. The missions in Kosovo and Afghanistan are underscoring that the alliance has transformed itself into a globally acting organization not only waging war around the globe but also engaging into quasi colonial occupations. In light of the bloody escalation in Afghanistan und NATO's huge difficulties to "pacify" this country, the alliance is working on concepts in order to improve their capacities for such occupations. As soldiers are not well suited for the administration of quasi colonies like Afghanistan , more civil capacities (jurists, engineers, humanitarian workers, etc.) are necessary which shall help the military in its mission. Thereby, civil capacities are de facto subordinated under the military. This Civil Military Cooperation (CIMIC), called by NATO the "comprehensive approach", shall be massively expanded in the years to come.

But concerning the civil capacities, neither the United States nor NATO have enough capacities. As France also wants to be rewarded for its full return into NATO's military structures with important posts, the "Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik" a German think tank with very close ties to the government, recently made the following proposal: "France [should] use its EU Presidency for a masterstroke: connecting NATO and the EU by creating an operational civil-military EU planning and conduct capability closely linked to NATO's capacities at SHAPE. […] This would lead to a situation where the EU and NATO were closely connected. [U]under the motto of 'Berlin Plus Reversed' NATO could be granted the opportunity to draw on the EU's civilian capacities."[6] While the Berlin Plus Agreement of March 2003 assures that NATO's military capacities can be used for EU missions, the new arrangement shall go the other way round by providing "civilian" EU occupiers for NATO missions.

Major neoliberal offensive

With the Lisbon strategy issued in 2000, the European Union formulated the ambitious goal to be the world's premium economic power in the year 2010. For this purpose, the neoliberal remodelling within the member states has been forced. In Germany , for example, this resulted in the "Agenda 2010" and the accompanying dismantling of the welfare state.

But it was soon realized that this high-flying goal also requires the aggressive opening of new markets all over the world. Therefore the EU-Commission began under the title "Global Europe" to work on an external dimension of the Lisbon strategy. The result has been published in October 2007 under the title "The European Interest: Succeeding in the age of globalisation". The paper intends to provide the backbone for a European approach to globalisation. " In fact, European economic interests have scarcely been expressed in a similar and more aggressive way: "Externally, the EU is prospering from its openness to the rest of the world – in economic terms, but also in terms of cultural and knowledge exchange, and in terms of the recognition given to European values worldwide. As the world's largest exporter of goods and services and its largest importer of goods, the largest importer of energy, the second largest source and the second largest destination of foreign direct investment, the EU is a major beneficiary of an open world economic system. […] It has an obvious stake in defining the rules of global governance in a way that reflects its interests and values. […] Whilst the EU needs to protect its citizens, its interests and its values, protectionism cannot be the solution. As the world's leading trader and investor, our openness allows lower cost inputs for industry, lower prices for consumers, a competitive stimulus for business, and new investment. At the same time, it is important for the EU to use its influence in international negotiations to seek openness from others: the political case for openness can only be sustained if others reciprocate in a positive manner. The EU needs to ensure that third countries offer proportionate levels of openness to EU exporters and investors and to have ground rules which do not impinge on our capacity to protect our interests."[7] The egalitarian terms like "openness" or "equal opportunities" are masquerading naked economic interests as free trade always benefits the stronger actor. So the Commission in fact argues like someone who would claim a car race between a bus and a Ferrari would be fair only because both are using the same road.

Nevertheless, the French Presidency regards the Global Europe approach as the blueprint for its foreign economic policy. It intends to "work on the implementation of the Commission Communication on Global Europe [and to] renew the EU's commitment to Global Europe by asking the Commission for an up-date as a formal and integral part of the Lisbon Strategy."[8] In April 2008, the French government already published a document called "Euroworld 2015". Its core element is also to complement the Lisbon strategy with an aggressive external dimension, a step it regards as ground-breaking: "In effect, the weight given to the external dimension is not insignificant: it signals the fact that European unification is entering a new phase in its history, centred no longer on Europe itself but on its relationship with the rest of the world. This new phase represents a genuine paradigm shift, the implications of which we have attempted to explore. It is now up to the French EU presidency to start carrying through this new strategic vision."[9]
With this strategy, the further impoverishment of the so called Third World is knowingly accepted and even forced. The results are catastrophic; no wonder that the military "pacification" of hunger revolts is growing in importance in military circles. French Defence Minister Hervé Morin hit the nail on the head when he said: "Our military tools have to adapt to globalisation and the new threats."[10]

Expanding the European Army

When the new French military White Book was published in June[11], Sarkozy announced at the same time his intention to heavily expand the European army. In the future, up to 60.000 soldiers should be deployable in the field. Although this army has already been decided in 1999 and declared operational four years later, it mainly existed on paper. The French government also wants to improve the maritime and air support for this army, capacities which had also demanded by the Kuhne-report of the European Parliament.[12]
French secretary of state for European affairs, Jean Pierre Jouyet even envisions "concrete goals" for the next ten years. "He named among others a common air and sea combat troop and a commonly used transport fleet consisting of Airbus A400M."[13] Furthermore, currently the maneuver MILX 09 is being prepared which will be held in the year 2009. In this exercise, the deployment of a maritime component will be trained for the first time without recourse to NATO assets. This also fits in neatly. Notwithstanding his rapprochement towards NATO, Sarkozy always emphasised that he also wants to strengthen the EU's autonomous military structures. Therefore he advocates expanding the existing planning cell for military operations into a full European headquarter. Furthermore, the French military White Book wants to double the funds for the country's military space assets up to 700 million euro per year. This is fully in line with the Wogau-report of the European Parliament on the "contribution of space assets to ESDP" who also pleads for a massive budget increase on the European level.[14]

A further priority of the French Council Presidency is the adoption of a directive prepared by the Commission formally aimed at the "harmonization" of the European armaments sector. In reality, the directive will de facto end export controls for armaments sales within the European Union. As the directive has virtually no control mechanisms whether those arms will be re-exported outside the European Union, this offers the possibility to undermine national export controls and to foster arms trade with problematic conflict ridden regions.[15]

A final but very important point that shall be tackled during the French Council Presidency will be the update of the European Security Strategy from December 2003 which is scheduled for the end of this year. Especially energy security and climate change shall be given a higher priority in the updated version. In April, Javier Solana already published a European climate change strategy which advocated increasing Europe 's crises management capacities in order to (militarily) cope with the consequences of climate change.[16]
Thanks to the Irish population, the militarization of the European Union is temporarily slowed down. Although the European elites are currently massively trying to get the Lisbon Treaty passed one way or the other, the Irish example shows that opposition against the undemocratic, neoliberal and militaristic policies of the European Union is not only necessary but that it can also be successful.

Tobias Pflüger ist member of European Parliament for DIE LINKE in the GUE/NGL-Group and member of the board of the Information Center Militarization (IMI).

Sarkozy visited the EU Parliament this week, and he made it quite clear that the situation in IReland will have to be 'solved'. Nigel Farage MEP UKIP asked him if that solution might include obtaining Irish ratification by denying the Irish people another referendum, by getting the Irish Parliament to ratify, ignoring the Constitutional requirements of a second referendum. From Sarkozy, there was no reply. See the 'debate' on YouTube below. (Turn down volume as music is too loud)