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Thursday, 15 November 2012

... That is the Question.


Well, the Monk is much more of an international guru than I and I agree with many of the points in the To be; or not to be post, particularly the Commission as a sink for failed domestic politicians, also the attitude of Whitehall that the Monk terms “gold plating” which has been an issue for years.

If some Whitehall plonker had not raised the question of the possibility of CFC contamination of blown insulation in fridges and freezers we would have had a simple and effective recycling regime twenty years ago. I applaud the attitude of those councils who simply take such appliances at no cost pro bono, as those who do not risk fly tipping, but, it is only a problem because someone asked a question to which there could only be one response.

I recall the first civil servant in a skirt ruling the roost in a former place of employment doing the same thing: the site, for it was not simply one building, cost a fortune to run if there were no customers on-site and between Christmas and New Year there never were, so for some years, the organisation simply closed the site from Christmas Eve until the 2nd or 3rd of January and granted de-facto leave of absence to the staff, they were “locked out” on full pay. Net savings ~£15,000. However this el-supremo (el suprema?) felt so exposed in her leadership that she would not ratify this process on her watch, but asked Whitehall if it could be allowed... you can guess the answer... overall result, £15,000+ of wasted funds, additional overtime, because if you run even a skeleton staff, there is overtime to pay, loss of morale, because the extra “free” day or two days leave was a truly valued Christmas bonus and overall an undermining of any respect as a leader for the Chief Executive. Would the Master of a Royal Naval vessel signal the Admiral, or worse, the First Sea Lord, to legitimise the issue of a Christmas tot for the officers and men? I think not.

Josephus has for long considered that if the emerging British Empire in the Seventeenth century had not been so keen to wage war with the Netherlands, who we one generation later invited to supply a Protestant Monarch, then Europe today would most probably have a Protestant North and a Roman South, France would most likely have been partitioned after the Peninsular wars, and we might even still have had Trafalgar, possibly even Waterloo. Today, the EU is trying hard to come to terms with the Catholic or Coptic South of Europe bleeding the Protestant North, but it is not quite so simple as that... my money suggests it would have been that simple 300 years ago. Oh, and the 1914 war probably would not have happened as Germany would have been “North” and Austria-Hungary “South”. However, as to the UK not having the army, navy or air-force to wage war, nor did we in 1914 ( stand fast Royal Navy.) or in 1939. We lost the BEF on both occasions, we started the 1939 conflict with HMS Hood as the pride of the RN, although that didn't last long and our air-force was all bi-planes apart from a handful of fighters such as the Hurricane. What we “won” the war with was all built during the conflict; what I do agree with is that we no longer have the industrial capacity.

Now then, dates of wars and conflicts are always a touchy subject, my generation knows full well that WW1 was '14-'18 and WW2 was '39-'45. However, for the US WW1 was '17-'18 and WW2 '42-'45. For much of South East Asia, that conflict could be anywhere from 1936 to 1972. however, what we can look at here is our “special Relationship” with the (dis... see previous blogs...) United States of America. Give me the United States of Europe any time, despite the fact that I am firmly mono-glot and believe that Johnny foreigner aught to speak English. The pre-condition, however, would be hinted at in the name “UNITED”, which currently they are not. The politics of the EU is reminiscent of a 1950s girl's public school where the Head Girl and the Captain of Lacrosse are forming support teams that in the latter case resemble Ernst Roehm's Sturm Abteilung, which gives us potential for an interesting if distasteful sub-plot as I seem to remember one lacrosse captain whose sexual desires were distinctly a single-gender issue as we are led to believe Roehm's were. The Head Girl, by contrast, will be forming a team that will tend towards the left as the less physical and more bookish often do, strength in solidarity, not in might; the sorority itself becoming the political drive to force the bully-girl opposition to see sense. I think I have the imagination to work this into a novel to rival “Fifty Shades of Grey”, I'm thinking “100 shades of politics”, but it doesn't have the ring, perhaps “The Pink Cardies” would work.

The post-war political socialist opportunism, mentioned by the Monk does have the origin of the EU within it, in fact, it is possibly Weimar Germany that spawned it, The great empires, or the vacuum in their wake spawned Lenin, Hitler, unfortunately Stalin, Sun Yat-sen, Chiang Kai-shek, Mao Tze-Dong and others just as a brutally strict Headmistress sticking firmly to post-war values as the world emerged blinking from social revolution into the 1970s spawned the “Pink Cardies”. That does not mean that everyone must become communist. Communism is an ideal, it appears not to be a viable system of governance.

So, to the Monk's conclusions; broadly I agree, however, the following are my jaded observations;
  1. Less dictat, agreed, but the English Legal System is now so out of tune with the rest of the UK as well as the rest of the world that it needs changing... no-one will want that, but then, no-one wanted decimal coinage... have you tried adding 17/6¾d to £5/16/4½d in your head lately?
  2. NO! not more election, but YES! More direct appointments, government by committee will always fail, it always did, let us not use the Melchett Approach here. ( And that is what is so brilliant about it! It will catch the watchful Hun totally off guard. Doing precisely what we've done 18 times before is exactly the last thing they'll expect us to do this time! )
  3. The solution is socialism, the concept of working together, it is the leadership and the vision, not the name that matters; Didactic leadership will always founder in the modern world where the “plebs” can read, write and use social media. Democratic Socialism seeks to establish socialism through democratic processes and propagate its ideals within the context of a democratic system, that seems to fit the bill. One definition is as a system “that follow(s) an electoral, reformist or evolutionary path to socialism, rather than a revolutionary one.” The words of Anthony Crossland quoted in Chris Pierson, "Lost property: What the Third Way lacks," Journal of Political Ideologies (June 2005)
  4. This one can be simplified by doing what the USA fought so hard to stop, but that still exists there today, accept that those who live in lands of cold winters and cool summers will forever think differently and more frugally than those in the lands of hot sun and warm winters, January food would be sun-dried ham with sun-dried tomatoes, not the same as the turnip and chimney smoked sausage of the northern lands. In our pre-modern times, the north had to lay supply for winter, such an ethos in the Mediterranean never developed simply because it was never needed. Perhaps a new post of “Dictator South” is needed, let us appoint some cardinal or other for the job...
The term "United States of Europe" was used by Winston Churchill in his speech delivered on 9 September 1946 at the University of Zürich, Switzerland, however, it is clear that Churchill envisioned a United State of Europe without the participation of Britain, which together with the British Commonwealth would coexist with other powers such as "mighty America, and I trust Soviet Russia". Fact: Britain may have a Commonwealth in name, but it no longer has an empire, grow up and get over it, we had huge ties with Continental Europe two-hundred years ago. Wellington would have been, in fact was, in deep do-dah until Blücher arrived! Again, let us quote General Melchett's staff officer, Darling and Captain Blackadder;

Captain Darling: I'm as British as Queen Victoria! Captain Blackadder: So your father's German, you're half German, and you married a German!

PS, much as it pains me to refer to anything Association Football related, but it's 2 World Wars and 1 World Cup as the chant goes!

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