Rod Liddle

Grexit's a good start, but can we also kick out France, Spain and Portugal too?

All southern European countries will be excluded from my new union

11 July 2015

9:00 AM

11 July 2015

9:00 AM

I think it is time to put into effect my plan for the re-shaping of the European Union. A somewhat scaled-down European Union: Greece wouldn’t be in it, for a start. Nor Portugal or Spain or France or indeed Italy south of a line which I have just drawn on my Times Atlas of the World in felt-tip pen, stretching east north east from Genoa to Trieste. And even that northern bit of Italy (Venice in, Bologna definitely out) is there on a sort of probation — and on the understanding that they take their orders from the German-speakers in the new capital Bolzano (or Bozen, as it will become once more).

The European Parliament will be abolished and Brussels (or Brussel, henceforth) stripped of its EU capital status. My new EU would employ a staff of about 18 people in total, costing each member state perhaps £10,000 per year in contributions. They would reside in a pleasant suite of offices situated in the Holstentor — the beautiful 15th-century gate to the city of Lubeck, located in northern Germany, on the Baltic coast. There would be, in addition, representative offices in Groningen, King’s Lynn, Gdansk, Bergen and Novgorod, but these are little more than tourist information centres, in all honesty. This new confederation would consist of 22 or perhaps 24 countries — I have not yet made my mind up about Hungary and Luxembourg. It would be primarily a trading bloc, although there might be a joint military presence to patrol the borders and keep undesirables (i.e. southern Europeans and jihadi Maghrebian migrants) out.


I originally envisaged that it would operate under the somewhat cumbersome acronym AHWTPLAPOONEP – the Alliance of Hard-Working, Tax-Paying, Largely Agreeable Protestant or Orthodox Northern European Peoples. But thinking about it now, I do wonder if something a little pithier might not be better. Such as ‘Hanseatic League’. Incidentally, regarding Luxembourg: if these somewhat questionable people are allowed in, then it is on the condition that they have no representation whatsoever in the Lubeck head office. Bad enough when the tail wags the dog, worse still when a flea on the tail does the wagging, as happens too often with the EU. Meanwhile, the peremptorily defenestrated countries can form their own trading bloc — and they may prosper, because we in the north will all need sardines from time to time, and perhaps feta cheese. They could call themselves ALCPWSFEUFITDBNEHWP — the Alliance of Largely Catholic People Who Sleep From Eleven Until Five In The Daytime But Nonetheless Enjoy Huge Welfare Payments. I accept that this is also a cumbersome acronym. An angry and pro-‘Lega Nord’ friend of mine from Milan has suggested an alternative name for these southern redoubts: ‘Africa.’ But there may be copyright problems here.

The Marxist dictum that the base (economics) determines the superstructure (everything else) never really did it for me. It always occurred that the local culture determined the economy of a country rather than the other way about. I would point you to Malaysia for evidence of this; despite 50 years of ‘progressive’ (or ‘punitive’, if you are Chinese) legislation, it is still the Chinese who occupy the top places in the Forbes 100 list and have a far larger average income than the ethnic Malays. It is the cultural differences which account for this remarkable imbalance, in a country where the Chinese are institutionally discriminated against under the Bumiputra system. The Malays are afforded every economic advantage by the government, but still finish up bottom of the pile, financially. So it is, to an only slightly less obvious degree, with Europe. My objections to our membership of the EU, back in the 1990s, were not predicated upon the fear that we would lose sovereignty and be forever at the behest of the Germans, but that an ever closer economic alliance between north and south simply would not work for primarily cultural reasons. I would maintain that we in the north of Europe have less in common culturally, and thus economically, with Thessaloniki, Palermo and Seville than we do with Singapore or, for that matter, Vladivostok. My argument is not that our culture is better — in many ways it is joyless and grasping — simply that one cannot have an economic synthesis of nations which have very little culturally in common with one another. Back then, in the early Nineties, I advocated that instead of joining the Exchange Rate Mechanism, preparatory to joining a single European currency, we should bail out of the EU altogether and instead join Nafta. But I overlooked the fact that Nafta has Mexico to deal with. That doesn’t work, either. Although at least there are not Mexican Nafta elected members telling the US and Canada how to run their economies: the USA is at the behest of nobody. But I think my more recent idea of a Hanseatic League is better.

The Greeks should not have been invited into the European Union and, having been so invited, their arcane financial practices should not have been tolerated by the economically dominant north of the continent. I think it is fair to say that there was a cultural misunderstanding between the two sides, occasioned by the hubris of a bureaucracy which wished rapidly to extend itself and deliberately looked the other way as the Greeks singularly failed to bear gifts. And the only slightly less southern Portuguese and Italians and Spanish are looking on, thinking: hell, with your levels of debt, just imagine what we can get away with if we decide that we too have had enough of austerity. Of course, it is not called austerity in the north of Europe — north of Trieste the thing is known as prudence: you work hard, you get paid, you submit your taxes, you go back to work and do it all again. A Gradgrindish and grim existence to be sure, you Greeks. You never really wanted that, did you?

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  • joe_publik

    Unlikely Rod, unlikely. The Hansa Staedte defended their advantages with a level of violence that would not be permissable nowadays. I take exception to your observation that the existence was grim. By the standards of the time it was luxurious – Venetian even. The Holstentor is a jewel and the city of Luebeck an appropriate setting. In fact all of the Hansa cities sretched along that coast are beauties despite the unfortunate attentions of the RAF and later the Soviets – demonstrating an ability to pick themselves up and dust themselves off sadly lacking further south.

    • Jambo25

      One of my favourite bits of Europe. Lubeck is lovely. Some very good restaurants as well. Travemunde is only about 15 minutes away by car or train. Lovely little beach resort. Schwerin is now coming back to its former glory as is Wismar. Great music festival as well.

    • GinoBartali

      Lübeck lies in one of the poorest parts of Germany – Schleswig-Holstein – which survives only thanks to the generous transfers of the mainly Catholic south.

      Typical British ignorance, I would say….

      • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

        Lübeck is really Danish. Rostock is a grim dump.

    • Diane_Miller

      Makes, $76 hourly on the computer…My Uncle Cooper recently got a fantastic silver Porsche Panamera just by parttime work from a macbook… navigate to this

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  • A real liberal

    Splendidly incisive; wonderfully cruel; deliciously uncorrect. Nobody does it better.

    • Marcus

      Cruel? Oh dear

    • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

      More drivel from the king of dribble ,with all food down his shirt. How ludicruous to suggest Italy is not a top ten economy that makes things people want to buy ( unlike the UK); Cars, motorbikes, wine, clothes, shoes, washing machines, cruise liners, planes….
      Even more daft to refer to the pathetic little consortium of German merchants that had no military power and were ruined when Sweden took over their sea

      • Grace Ironwood

        Isn’t that a great line about the food down the shirt?
        Worth repeating.
        Every post.

        • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

          He is a very messy eater, such that it detracts credibility from his arguments.

          • Grace Ironwood

            They used to say the same about Dr Johnson.

      • gelert

        Aren’t most of the things you mention made north of the line from Genoa to Trieste that Rod mentioned in his article would be included in his Hanseatic League ? The people of Northern Italy have been fed up for years with subsidizing the eternally indigent South.

        • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

          No. Most of the clothes for instance are in places like Pistoia and South of Florence.Wine is from Tuscany and Sicily.

          • gelert

            You’re wrong.

            Tuscany produces less high quality wine than Piedmont and Veneto. Otherwise, wine comes from all over Italy.

            Milan is the fashion capital of Italy.

          • UKSteve

            Advice: Don’t argue with an idiot. As Mark Twain observed, “….onlookers may be unable to tell the difference!”

            I learned my lesson long ago.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            Pistoia and environs have about 100,000 Chinese textile workers making high fashion.
            Tuscany is home to Chianti and the Super Tuscan wines. Piedmont is only the seventh largest wine region behind, Abruzzo, Sicily , Puglia and Toscano.

      • Robbydot1

        Not in the south, that’s why he made a distinction.

        • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

          Sicily is Europe’s fifth largest Wine producer. Italy has a massive tourist industry.

      • ARDNASSAC

        So ‘unlike the UK’ Italy makes things that people want like cars? You brainless twit, are you not aware that more cars are now made in Sunderland than in the whole of Italy?

        • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

          How very rude. Fiat /Chrysler produces 6 million cars a year. Including 800,000 in Italy, among them 8,000 Ferraris. Car production employs 300,000 Italians and accounts for 8% of their GDP.
          Italians also make electronics and white goods ……far more than the UK.
          Italy is Europe’s fourth economy. It is incorrect to classify it alongside Greece and Spain.
          Only the bit south of Naples and the island of Sicily are counted as areas of deprivation by the EU, whereas all of Greece, most of Spain, Portugal and Romania are. In fact so are Wales and Cornwall.

          • ARDNASSAC

            Look, you got a critical fact wrong in your statement. It destroys your credibility. UK car production is twice that of Italy and catching up France quickly. I did not challenge the other points so need need to repeat them. I happen to be a big fan of Italy but if you write like an idiot you will be called an idiot. Has the penny dropped yet?

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            No I didn’t. I never mentioned competitive car production. I said Italy is a big economy that makes things people want to buy. Italy is the World’s eigth biggest exporter. I contrasted this with Britain that does not build motorbikes, or washing machines, or wine or clothes. Yes it may make a few more cars under licence from a Japan, Fiat is still an Italian company.

          • ARDNASSAC

            You are actually contradicting what you said in your original second sentence. Are you a liar or a total moron; it has to be one or the other. You said the UK does not make things people want ‘like cars’. Also, who owns the companies is irrelevant. Why can’t you just fall on your sword instead of continuing to humiliate yourself.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            No I didn’t say that, however much you wish I had. Italy of course has the other major strength of low levels of consumer debt and corporate debt, something the UK can only aspire to.

          • ARDNASSAC

            It is pointless mentioning this other dross, I might even agree but I don’t care actually. I picked you up on a blatant inaccuracy and you have lied about writing it.
            You wrote ‘Italy……….makes things other people want to buy (much more than the UK); cars’. Or perhaps you don’t understand what you write.

          • Harry Pond

            Um, Triumph and Norton make bikes last time I looked. Triumph is doing quite well I think.
            http://auto.ndtv.com/news/triumph-motorcycles-records-its-highest-ever-sales-727724

          • Zalacain

            You are correct that you can’t classify Spain with Italy. Spain produced 2.4 million cars last year as against Italy 800,000. Spain population 46 million, Italy, 60 million. I imagine that Inditex (Zara, Massimo Dutti) plus Mango, alone produce more that the whole of the Italian textile industry. Is there an Italian bank to touch Banco Santander? or BBVA? I very much doubt that Telecom Italia has an income half that of Telefonica. Major infrastructure projects around the world that Spanish companies lead include the increase in the size of the Panama Canal, and the high speed train to Mecca. Can Italian companies compete? Speaking of high speed train lines: Italy has 1432 km, Spain 3100 km, over double, in other words.
            Two can play at this game. Italy is richer, but Spain is catching up. When somebody criticises Mediterranean countries, it might not be a good idea to join the chorus.

        • BK4USA_IsA_Lie

          Lucas.

    • dalai guevara

      I feel deep contentment knowing that a seed planted way back then has fallen onto fertile ground.

    • jean_emccullough
    • aspeckofboggart

      except, Bond, James Bond, 007.

  • BryanKStearns

    …….Last Few Days To Get Smart Deal with spectator < Find Here

  • beenzrgud

    The EU should probably only consist of six to eight countries, and without all the political BS. Southern and Eastern Europe can have their own blocs too. Under these conditions it may be possible to have a shared currency in each bloc but not desirable, sovereignty of each country trumping economic considerations.

    • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

      Ostrogoths and Visigoths then.

    • Grace Ironwood

      I completely understand the sentiment & economic argument behind your post but, given today’s geo-political conditions, don’t you see any military danger from an “Eastern bloc” and “Southern bloc” just sitting around waiting to be snaffled up ?

      We need to finalise the current tensions in Ukraine, not provide fuel for antagonisms between Russia and the West to last forever.

      I mean, creating a Western “UN” , comprising only decent democracies would be better than staying with the degenerate rabble in the current UN but if such a secession happened it would probably produce another cold war between democratic and undemocratic (largely Islamic )Nations.

      Hey – that’s a great idea! Eureka !

      Finally the west would make the decision to respond to it’s greatest threat!

  • misomiso

    The Eu would have done better if its ambitions for a state had been limited to the original 6 (plus maybe Austria, Czech and Slovenia).

    Then they could have had their United Kingdom of the Franks, and everyone else would be happy.

  • Sholto Douglas

    Methinks that Britain’s cultural attachment to northern Europe is somewhat questionable. Certainly her performance under past Labour governments (think Harold Wilson, Gordon Brown) was more southern than northern, and often not much better under the other lot. Maybe if England could hive off the attached Celtic Sicilies its claim to membership of the better club would be stronger.

  • Blindsideflanker

    Bumiputran means sons of the soil, which the Malay’s aren’t, for that honour goes to the Orang Asli who are the aboriginal peoples of the Malaysian peninsular. So the Malaysian’s are on pretty dodgy territory claiming indigenous rights.

    • rodliddle

      In fairness to the Malays, we dreamed up the bumiputra system, to stop the Malays massacring the Chinese. There aren’t many Asli left; just a few raggedy villages where blokes wearing Chelsea shirts demonstrate how to fire poison darts for the benefit of Jap tourists.

      • But the prejudice against non-Muslims remains.

        • Gilbert White

          Yes ok. if you really insist! Even the Malay Hell’s Angels who wear Nazi Helmets and dress like Keith Richard would address you and your wife as Sir and Madam in polite ritualistic greeting such is their natural courtesy. The now got at and often bolshie, muslims from the A Town Like Alice, areas will still give foreigners a fair hearing most of the time.

  • Fraser Bailey

    All perfectly rational proposals, albeit a little bit hard on the Mexicans, who do at least work very hard outside of Mexico.

  • Lawrence James

    A wonderful conceit, but it does go far enough. England must immediately reclaim Calais,fortify it and place bombards and archers on the ramparts to repel wandering Saracens. The Knights of Malta should be reinstated and given unlimited power to do the same in the Mediterranean. In the meantime, the restored Hanseatic League should get together with a revived Teutonic Order to defend the Baltic,

    • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

      You mean the Knights of St John in Malta.

      • Lawrence James

        Yes

      • Kaine

        They were in Rhodes originally. Could probably get it cheap off the Greeks.

        • BK4USA_IsA_Lie

          Beware of Greeks baring grifts.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Longbowmen.

  • Zalacain

    Talk about being in the periphery. England wasn’t exactly at the centre of things in the Hanseatic League, which was completely dominated by German speakers.

    • Bonkim

      Absolutely – it was a trading group and England did well robbing the Spanish ships and establishing a worldwide Empire. Germany/Neatherlands and England were all on the same route and the industrial revolution benefited by close cooperation between England, Germany and Holland. All three have common history, language and cultural traditions – and most importantly the Protestant work ethic.

      • Zalacain

        That old canard, like in the Battle of the Rochelle in 1372? or the Battle of the Rochelle in 1419? There are more examples if you like. You seem to belong to the Jeremy Clarkson school of historical analysis.

        • Bonkim

          Those who make use of opportunities presented do better. I like Jeremy Clarkson.

    • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

      Plus Dutch, Danish and Swedes.

  • MikeF

    Now Rod I thought you might have had something to say on that incident when a man with a young girl in tow who was flying an Islamic State flag in Westminster was deemed to be acting within the law. You know you could have compared it with that incident a couple of years back now when a fellow carrying a Union Flag somewhere in the North had to put it away when a passing Asian decided the sight of it upset him. On the other hand it was possibly beyond satire.

    • Mongo

      councils have banned the flying of Union Jacks/England flags in many areas, especially in those multiculturally ‘enriched’ areas populated by our unwanted guests who insist they wish to integrate

      Maybe we should start flying the Stars and Stripes instead

      • Grace Ironwood

        “guests. who insist they want to integrate”
        Do they? Where?

      • Robbydot1

        They can’t actually ban it, wouldn’t stand up in court, people give up too easily.

      • greencoat

        No – let’s go for the Confederate Flag.

        • Icebow

          Sorry, didn’t notice.

      • Icebow

        Stars and Bars?

      • CouchSlob

        Is that true?? Go on, share a link.

      • UKSteve

        Proof please.

        • Neil Saunders

          Now I know you’re a leftist sock-puppet.

          • UKSteve

            I’ve known for a long time that you’re a clueless troll-r3t4rd.

          • Neil Saunders

            You’ve known nothing of the sort. All you can do is spew out cliched insults.

          • UKSteve

            Yeah , trust me. Had your measure from day 1.

          • Neil Saunders

            I’d sooner trust a convicted confidence trickster, and you couldn’t even get the measure of a six-inch straight line with a twelve-inch ruler.

          • UKSteve

            Even more infantile stupidity. .

          • Neil Saunders

            Yet more pointless abuse.

      • Abie Vee

        BULLSHJT. You lie like a bent watch.

        No council anywhere in the UK has ever been banned from flying the Union Flag or The Cross of St George. Ever! One or two councils have taken it upon themselves not to fly these flags: their decision. But in no sense of the word have they been “banned”.

        • Neil Saunders

          There is a principle in the philosophy of science that states that any empirical generalisation (e.g. “All swans are white”) can be refuted (i.e. shown to be false) by a single counterexample: http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/437673/Council-killjoys-ban-taxi-driver-from-having-St-George-s-Cross-on-cab-for-discrimination

          • Abie Vee

            Read again : “Councils have been banned…” the man said.

            To which I replied: “No council anywhere in the UK has ever been banned from flying the Union Flag or The Cross of St George. Ever! One or two councils have taken it upon themselves not to fly these flags: their decision. But in no sense of the word have they been “banned”.

            A sticker on a Licensed for hire vehicle is another matter, one which I have not addressed as yet. Would you like me to?

          • Neil Saunders

            No, Abie – YOU said that.

            In the comment to which you were supposedly responding, “Mongo” said “councils have banned the flying of Union Jacks/England flags in many areas…”

            If someone is paying you to write your drivel on this forum then they’re being robbed.

          • Abie Vee

            Reproved, he has edited his comment accordingly.

          • Neil Saunders

            But have you?

          • UKSteve

            ROTFPMSL. There is a Disqus post that proves that (as with everything else) you haven’t a clue about philosophy.

            Ah, the Daily Express! That fine organ of accuracy and journalistic integrity – must be true then!

          • Neil Saunders

            UK Steve – you’re a pretend right-winger (a Cameron loyalist – ho ho!). Are you prepared to offer proof that there is no substance in the story linked to?

            No – thought not. (Just as you run scared when asked to reveal your true identity.)

          • UKSteve

            “Cameron loyalist”? It’s true; you really can’t read.

            More imbecility, .

          • Neil Saunders

            Oh, I can read, “Steve”. Whoever you really are, you’re here to spread mischief and confusion.

          • UKSteve

            No. There is nothing confusing whatsoever about what I write.

            Whereas, you’re here to prove that clueless internet trolls really do exist. Sadly.

            Hint: my name is Stephen, and I live in the UK again, now.

          • Neil Saunders

            Hint – your Disqus profile is set to “private” and we only have your word that your name is “Stephen” and you live in the UK. You can deny being a mischief maker and sower of confusion until you’re blue in the face, but your posts tell a different story.

          • UKSteve

            We only have “your word” that your name is Neil Saunders, but if it is, hats off to you for posted such tedious juvenile imbecilities and destroying any “credibility” you may have had (PMSL!)

          • Neil Saunders

            That’s not true, and you know it. Anyone with basic computer skills can trace me via my Disqus profile (which, unlike yours, is not set to “private”). This links to other profiles of mine such as the one on Facebook.

            On the other hand, we still don’t know who you really are.

          • UKSteve

            I’m me.

            You’re here to spread imbecility, which you do with consummate professionalism, I may say.

          • Neil Saunders

            You’re you. How wonderfully informative.

          • UKSteve

            Yes. Here, performing socially important work (educating the uneducated, informing the ill or un-informed), engaging in civilised discourse with like-minded individuals for mutual enrichment, or just countering imbecility from people who should know (a lot) better.

            So you’ve spent all weekend hating gay people and typing puerile and infantile inanities into the internet. Some life you got there.

            Informed now? (rhetorical!)

          • Neil Saunders

            We only have your word for all the wonderful work you claim to do. You won’t even say who you really are.

            If I want to be genuinely informed I’ll make a particular point of ignoring the worthless tripe you write.

          • UKSteve

            Dear dear me! And all day Monday, you really are a poor, sad muppet, aren’t you?

          • Neil Saunders

            At least people know who I am. I don’t have to hide behind a monicker, with my profile set to “private”. Now that really is sad.

          • UKSteve

            People know who I am, where as you’re just a sad, self-loathing muppet.

            Your extremely unhealthy obsession with my identity is telling in itself, but I can’t help you. I’m not “of your persuasion”, being married with teenage daughters.

            But good luck. Communication ends; you have become a bit strange, and are tedious beyond measure.

          • Neil Saunders

            Which people know who you are? How did they find out? And what is unhealthy about wanting to know who somebody is?

            What are your qualifications for diagnosing the mental conditions of total strangers, by the way? I mean real ones, not just some you’ve made-up.

          • UKSteve
          • Neil Saunders

            Nice link. Now, what are your qualifications?

          • Grace Ironwood

            Neil Why would you ask anyone posting to reveal their identity ?

          • Neil Saunders

            In this case because “UK Steve” gets very personal and deals in abuse and provocation, makes all kinds of insinuations and assertions, but nevertheless hides behind a monicker and a Disqus profile set to “private”, Grace.

          • wjr123

            It’s called hypothesis testing.

          • Grace Ironwood

            🙂

            So if it’s not falsifiable it ain’t science,

          • Neil Saunders

            You must live in Australia, Grace.

            But, yes, you’ve understood what the principle involves.

        • Bertie

          Depends if you believe the rag that is the Mirror or not

          Fury as ‘offensive’ England flags banned by housing association

          http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/world-cup-fury-offensive-england-3355423

          Plenty of councils taking it upon themselves not to fly the Union jack or the English flag – which is pretty ridiculous given we live in England/UK.

          I guess you wont care when one of these councils raises the flag of ISIS at some point in the near future?

          Or there was this…

          “More than 1,200 housing association staff banned from flying England flags on their OWN cars”

          http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1285492/Council-workers-banned-flying-England-flags-OWN-cars.html

          All dated, but the political correctness behind such decisions has taken a firmer hold over our society since then.

          http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/cabbies-told-dont-fly-england-1111732

          http://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/255951/Fury-as-England-flag-is-banned

          “Council killjoys ban taxi driver from having St George’s Cross on cab for ‘discrimination'”

          http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/437673/Council-killjoys-ban-taxi-driver-from-having-St-George-s-Cross-on-cab-for-discrimination

          If a father and child can walk passed the HoP brandishing an ISIS flag(offensive in itself) why cant the indigenous population fly the flags that represent their nationhood???

          • Abie Vee

            Swat I’m sayin.

            Councils do what they want. BUT flying a flag is not against the law of this land.

          • Abie Vee

            Desperation stakes indeed. A “Housing Association”? Good grief.

            Of course people are free to take a view on how their business presents itself to the community. SO WHAT? It is they who are doing the banning, as is their right.

            It is not illegal, in itself, to fly or not fly a flag in this country.

            From a business point of view, if you allow one employee to display a flag, you would be obliged to allow them all to do so, since to do otherwise would potentially be discriminatory. Far simpler and tidier, in every sense of the word, to allow none.

            Are you people really so insecure that you need to wave coloured rags to confirm your identity? How sad.

          • Bertie

            Whats sad about being proud of the nation one was born in and wanting to fly its flag?

            Do you have no allegiance to the nation? Do you have no sense of pride in what this once great country has done in its time?

            Council, housing association, it’s all the same – an arm of the state that puts forward a politically correct lien whenever its anything to do with being patriotic of England,but turns a blind eye when its Scottish nationalism,or ISIS thuggery.

            This was the underlying point the poster was try to make – the lack of consistency, and how it is always detrimental to English patriotism, which you, as many of your limp wristed apologists do,jumped on immediately.

            You might ask for evidence of how I concluded you were a limp wristed apologist. I refer you to your previous:

            “Are you people really so insecure that you need to wave coloured rags to confirm your identity? How sad.”

            This clearly evidences you think patriotic behaviour by the indigenous population isnt acceptable, ergo aren’t one of us – the big question is, which group are you one of

            “However, if you’d followed the thread, I am arguing against an absurd comment which said Councils have been forced… etc,”

            Councils havent been forced to do anything – they have,however, enforced a policy of No English flags in some parts.As have many Housing associations..

            In the same way Christians are persecuted and not allowed to wear crosses and their ilk so to are patriotic Englanders as its against the politically correct doctrine of multi culturalism/ It’s okay for A Scottish Nationalist to fly their flag, or for ISIS to do similar, as it is merely them evidencing their own culture within the larger collective.

            “Which is nonsense and unsupported by any of your links.”

            Really?

            So how do you explain this link then – Council clearly banning display of English Cross of St George.

            “Council killjoys ban taxi driver from having St George’s Cross on cab for ‘discrimination'”
            http://www.express.co.uk/news/

          • Abie Vee

            Hmm… an open question. What do you mean, all of of it? No. Some of it, undoubtedly. You see, it isn’t that simple. Unfortunately. We have plenty to be ashamed about. Where would you like to start?

            The rest of your gibberish is unfathomable. Calm down dear. British culture, history, is just one of many.

          • Bertie

            The rest of my comment is perfectly legible to anyone with a brain.

            “Unfortunately. We have plenty to be ashamed about. Where would you like to start?”

            And in similar fashion so does every other nation on the planet – but they’re allowed to be proud of their traditions and history.Just not us English. How do you explain that?

            “Calm down dear. ”

            Tad patronising.

            “British culture, history, is just one of many.”

            True but it’s MY CULTURE, MY HISTORY and it’s the CULTURE/HISTORY of the country I LIVE IN!!!

            The fact you don’t like the culture/history of this once great country we both live in says it all – either you are not one of us, or you’re one of those limp wristed apologists who blames Britain for many of the world’s ills.

            Time has moved on – whatever Ills various countries have round the world are of their own making.They’re had plenty of time to undo the remnants of Colonial rule. Except they’ve chosen not to across the globe – whether it be Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, Canada,US etc etc the infrastructure/legal framework we left are still used to this day. As is our language! Cant all be bad therefore.

          • Abie Vee

            Did it really take you one whole week to think that up?

          • Bertie

            Unlike you, clearly, I have a life outside of deliberately annoying people on BB’s 🙂

            HTH

          • Abie Vee

            I do. But this is my hobby (er, one of them).

      • Robert S. Orr

        Nah.. the Stars and Bars.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Or the lady who had her Israeli flag torn from her table by passers-by, and ended up arrested and found guilty of behaviour likely to cause a breach of the peace!

      • BK4USA_IsA_Lie

        Just don’t try to lay no boogie-woogie on the King of Rock and Roll!

      • Damon

        Yes, but the people who did that (i.e. snatched her flag) were just as likely to have been from Hampstead as from Bangladesh. Preening anti-semites come in all colours.

    • Abie Vee

      Nonsense. Bladerdash and puffery. “A couple of years back” and “somewhere” and a “fellow” ? Yeah right.

      • fundamentallyflawed
        • Abie Vee

          Nope… not there. Wrong link, though 1/10 for effort.Try again, ref “A couple of years back” and and a “fellow” “up North” “somewhere”.

          (aka Urban Myth #159210/M)

          • fundamentallyflawed

            Wasn’t a link about the “urban myth” but is a link about the same sort of “can’t upset the ROP” the OP was relating too.
            Of course I imagine a lefty like yourself has the Daily Mail auto-blocked

          • Abie Vee

            Funnily enough you’d be wrong. I’m on there too, from time to time, as well as the Torygraph.

            I proved too much for the free-speech loving, left-leaning, “liberal” Guardian : they took offence at my likening the European Union with Corporal Schicklgruber’s notions of a “Jewish/Bolshevik conspiracy” ! Lifetime ban apparently.

          • BK4USA_IsA_Lie

            You likened the EU to Bolshevik… anything? A technocratic wad of hand-puppets desperate to avoid being stuffed into neo-liberal Schauble’s “nation shredder”? The Euro has probably taken more victims than The Plague by now and Schauble’s buddies are just rubbing their hands together at the opportunity to privatize all of those tasty public assets.

            And they didn’t have to fire a single V2 this time.

          • Abie Vee

            You choose your enemy and you give it a label… communism, fascism, neo-liberalism, neo-feudalism, corporatism… whatever. All are the same thing: Utopian fantasies.

            I won’t quibble over nomenclature.

          • MikeF

            Not an urban myth – I distinctly remember the incident being reported.

          • Harry Pond

            so do I

          • Abie Vee

            yeah right.

          • Abie Vee

            Links, Doris, links…

          • MikeF

            It was actually a woman sweetie:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r22npZe6508

          • Abie Vee

            Inconclusive. There is no law against carrying a flag. I’d suggest she was removed from the scene for her own safety and later released from custody.. Wouldn’t you?

    • Grace Ironwood

      Kidding!

  • misomiso

    Heed Dominic Cumming’s call Rod; take a sabbatical from the Spectator and come and work for the ‘Out’ campaign! We need your wry and sardonic journalistic expertise!

  • MichtyMe

    Using latitude and perhaps some other measure as the qualification for admittance to the League Ron, only the Scots pass, our southern Saxons friends will find their union with the Spaniards and Sicilians.

    • The_greyhound

      Given the state of its economy, and the SNP’s positively third world idea of conducting business, Scotland will be going into Union with Greece. It’ll certainly be using the drachma if it does vote for independence sometime in the next 307 years.

  • Tim Marschall Jones

    The best, and lasting, invention of the Hanseatic League was the Pound Esterling as a common currency

  • AJH1968

    What really
    floored me; and has escaped the attentions of the feminist left was the picture
    of the former finance minister of Greece riding a motorbike (He was wearing a
    helmet and he’s wife not). Kind of like he’s administration of the Greek
    economy (He being the heir to a considerable fortune thus insulated to some
    extent, where as the majority of Greeks are not). The picture is rich in irony;
    it is never a good idea to allow a textbook narcissist unfettered power.

    • Grace Ironwood

      It’s not the bike but the muscle-shirt that’s the diagnostic clincher.

    • Grace Ironwood

      Feminist Left are Leftists first, so – obviously…

  • Simkins25

    It must be summer!

  • madcosurbad

    A southern union would be one of grand standing and empty pledges, historicism and conspiracy theories.

    • Bonkim

      Plenty of Pasta, anti-pasta, vino and Siesta though.

      • madcosurbad

        These goods can be imported, as opposed to a well functioning society.

        • Brogan75

          in 5 years in London I haven’t found a decent coffee though

          • Gilbert White

            Try Broadcasting House Coffee say you are a friend of Greg Dyke and do not mention Starbucks.

    • Zalacain

      A northern European Union would be full of self satisfied pasty faced drunks working out how to fry a stake and kidney pie.

      • Lawrence James

        Oh dear ! Do I get a whiff of racial stereotypes and arrogance here ? Just the vices you attribute to the British Empire in your various remarks uttered above. Take care, or you’ll trip yourself up.

        • Zalacain

          Exactly that, more than a whiff of racial stereotypes and arrogance, just a mirror image of so many of the other comments here. Read them.

          • Colonel Mustard

            Stop pretending. You are subsumed with anti-white bigotry. Trying to conceal it with a bit of leftist inspired virtue signalling about the British Empire which doesn’t even exist any more.

          • Zalacain

            You are shooting the messenger because you don’t like the message and have no arguments.

          • Colonel Mustard

            I have just systematically rebutted your so-called “message”. You have presented your cowardly credentials yourself.

          • Zalacain

            Again name calling. I have not called anybody names here. It seems that when frustrated this is what you resort to. We have established that you make up things about me. You do not read the threads properly before answering them, and that you are not objective and therefore not interested in the truth. You are not a worthy opponent. Bye.

          • Colonel Mustard

            I haven’t called you names. I referred to your “cowardly credentials” in concealing your own nationality and country of residence whilst slagging off mine. They were cowardly.

      • madcosurbad

        We don’t have that over here. Still, better than this; http://i.imgur.com/D5LVXKk.jpg

  • William_Brown

    Hah! – Most amusing…

  • Bonkim

    Joking apart – that is the real Europe the world recognizes. Not one with skiving siesta-loving Catholic or Orthodox Mediterranians masquerading as Europeans.

    • Zalacain

      Cheap ignorant bigotry. Well done.

      • Bonkim

        Look up history. Protestant work ethic was the main driver of the last two centuries, industrial revolution and world trading and business systems whereas the southern/Catholic Mediterraneans created corrupt and submissive backward cultures all around the globe. Stark contrast between say the Lantin S America and the thriving and advanced economies and cultures of North America. Look at the refugees streaming from Africa and Middle East streaming towards Northern Europe and Britain – not to Italy, France and Spain.

        Look at all the successful economies in Europe and the contrast is quite obvious. So nothing to do with cheap, ignorant bigotry – and Greece and Italy are on par with India and Bangladesh in the corruption leagues. Syriza wants all the goodies of Europe without paying for it.

        It is the history and religion which drives social organisation and the Greeks and Italians not that far from the Arab Mid-East – in fact they have historic trading and cultural bonds.

        • Zalacain

          That’s no answer.

        • sidor

          Lecture in history. In the Middle Ages Bysantium was by far the richest and most advanced part of Europe. The best armor was produced in Constantinople. Renaissance that transformed the Western Europe from the Dark Ages started in Italy. Europe couldn’t count before Fibonacci brought arithmetics from the arabs 800 years ago.

          • Henry Turner

            Byzantium predates Protestantism, does it not?

          • sidor

            Yes. Savonarola, the first protestant in history, was definitely a result of Bysantium Iconoclasm. And the starting point of Renaissance was the fall of Constantinople and migration of the Greek scholars to Italy. Padua was the main centre of education for the protestants.

          • Clive

            John Wycliffe pre-dates Savonarola (who seems a bit more revolutionary than protestant) and John Wycliffe influenced Jan Hus who influenced lots of people, including Martin Luther

            John Wycliffe also has the distinction of having been burned as a heretic after his death.

            He wasn’t bothered, far as anyone could tell.

          • Bonkim

            Absolutely – and Northern Europe was a jungle of warring tribes when Byzantium and Rome inherited the remnants of the Roman Empire. Western history really took off following the separation with Rome and development of Northern European Protestantism. – Right time as new lands and resources were being discovered and Europeans wanted to escape from their tribal and ethnic warfare – any parallels with today’s Middle east and refugees running away from ethnic and sectarian conflicts to Europe?

          • Gregory Mason

            The same arguments used by the Protestants were used by the iconoclasts. There are a fair few similarities between them.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            Indeed.Plus being Greek was doomed to fail through lies, intrigue, back-stabbing and treachery.

          • Bonkim

            Byzantium and Asia Minor was really Greek – but they were destroyed by the Crusaders and then by the Central Asian Mongols who were the super-power of the times – and as you rightly say – Byzantium benefited by the trade, mathematics, chemical and physical sciences, technology and skills from the East by Arab traders and shippers.

          • FedUpIndian

            “Europe couldn’t count before Fibonacci brought arithmetics from the arabs 800 years ago.” Sidor

            They could count but in the cumbersome Roman numerals. “Arithmetics of the Arabs” were invented by Hindus in India, who taught it to the Arabs. The Arabs in turn taught it to the Europeans but calling them Arabic numbers is like saying the New York Times invented quantum mechanics because they carried article on that subject that you read.

          • Jambo25

            Actually, Latin Europe was already starting to move ahead of the Arab world in certain vital technological areas in the 13th century.

          • sidor

            Like what?

          • Zalacain

            Shipbuilding, steel, irrigation, architecture.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            The Aqueduct….

          • Jambo25

            Optics and some areas of metallurgy and mining. Something simple like the invention of lenses for spectacles was a major advance as it meant European scholars could now work much longer than their Arab and other counterparts. Metallurgy and other advances led directly into better weaponry. When the Muslim Turks wanted to use siege artillery in the 14th and 15th centuries they had to hire German and Hungarian gunners.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            Gunpowder.

          • sidor

            Gunpowder was invented in China and brought to Europe by the Mongols in the 13th century.

          • global city

            Ah…Northern Italy….em

            Bless me.

        • right1_left1

          Though it is necessary it’s a total waste of effort reponding with simple truths to those whose ‘knee jerk’ reactions are revealed by such as Zalcain.

          I’m not clear why…it just is.
          What is right in front of them or can be revealed with very little effort sees to be totaly invisible to them !

          Maybe..just maybe..they are dim ?

          • Zalacain

            Or maybe you have no idea of history, no arguments, therefore you prefer to just call people names? What have you added to the debate?

          • Bonkim

            Same reason everyone thinks his God is better than yours – or that God is a figment of man’s imagination.

        • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

          Rubbish. Italy is the tenth largest economy in the World, hence all the migrants.

          • Mongo

            or perhaps the boat people all land in Italy because it’s the nearest European place. Occam’s Razor

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            Greece, Spain ,Portugal, Cyprus and Malta are all nearer.

          • Bonkim

            I was comparing corruption – Italy and Greece feature high on par with some Asian countries.

            Otherwise Italy despite its hapless political system has been good for Italians – like Greece avoiding paying taxes and enjoying the good life. Yes Italian manufacture has been of high standards as also design and innovation. But compare the legacy left by Britain across the Globe compared with the Southern Europeans – you will also see Southern Europeans below the league tables in GDP/capita and measures of social organisation and development.

        • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

          Protestantism has been in massive decline for 125 of the last 200 years. The work ethic you refer to pertains more to the Puritans of the 17th Century.

          • Bonkim

            Yes it may have been in decline since the end of the Victorian era but was the dominant theme that drove Britain to the forefront of world trade, economic and military superiority. All civilizations follow their lifecycles. Change has been fast over the past two centuries.

    • sidor

      Bismarck didn’t feel like a European. He said: “Anyone discussing Europe is talking nonsense. It is just a geographic notion”.

      • More precisely, Bismarck said: “Anyone discussing Europe is trying to cheat us.” You see, he was not only right but correct, too.

      • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

        But Bismarck had a warped idea of german nationalism that led to two massive World Wars. A diplomatic pygmy.

        • sidor

          It wasn’t German nationalism that led to the two world wars: it was the European Imperialism. All the major wars in Europe within the last 2000 years were results of attempts to create a Euroempire. Bismarck was a patriot, Napoleon and Hitler were Europeans.

    • Brogan75

      “the world recognizes” – LOL yes no americans or brits in Italy or Spain.

  • Baron

    You’re a day too late with this brilliant suggestion of yours, Rod. The omnipotent one, the one of great insight and power, and the one and only messianic leader of the World Community has spoken yesterday, and said ‘listen up, children of Europe, embrace the Greeks, forgive them, give them some more of the same’.

    Would anyone dare disobey (H)im?

  • Mongo

    climatically hot parts of the world have usually produced lazy/backward societies and nations. Technologically and morally developed societies evolved from cooler climes – i.e Northern/Western Europe

    • Zalacain

      For most of the last 5000 years the Mediterranean has been more advanced than Northern Europe. To look at things from a Victorian looking glass is stupid to an amazing degree. If what you said was true, Singapore, Australia or Texas would be economic disasters.
      The difference was protestantism. When everybody was catholic (and before), the UK counted for very little.

      • Mongo

        Australia and USA were nations founded by Northern/Western Europeans. Sprang from cold climates

        • Zalacain

          By protestants. My point. But if the heat affected societies and made them lazy, they wouldn’t be as advanced as they are.
          You also haven’t answered why the UK was a comparative backwater for most of the last 5000 years.

          • The_greyhound

            The UK has only existed since 1707. Did you mean the British Isles?

            The assertion that the Mediterranean area was somehow in advance of northern Europe has to be challenged – it’s a belief founded on now discredited ideas of cultural diffusion, and dodgy dating.

            1. for most of the last five thousand years Europe generally looked much of a muchness. The emergence of a marginally literate bronze age culture in Greece in the second millennium BC hardly makes the case for Med-centred success.

            2. Excepting Egypt, the entirety of the Mediterranean coast of Africa was so much wasted space. It’s only cultural significance was as a colonial possession of the Phoenicians, the Romans, and latterly the Arabs.

            3. Which leaves the Turkish littoral and the Levant. Since the first evidence of urban living anywhere in the world comes from the Levant, its seniority is undeniable – but the Levant is hardly the Mediterranean.

            4. Stonehenge antedates the pyramids; agriculture in lowland Britain was more efficient than any in the Roman Empire in the first century AD. The majority of the largest structures anywhere in Europe stood in England in the thirteenth century. Britain has always been different, and better.

          • Zalacain

            England/Britain always better. Well done, a great summation of English historical teaching since the Victorians.

          • The_greyhound

            I realise that you are uncomfortable with the truth. Someone had to be top nation : that happened to be the British.

          • Zalacain

            In 200 years time, when the English talk of the Football World Cup, they will only mention 1966, conveniently “forgetting” all the defeats. That is how you see history.

          • Colonel Mustard

            So which team do you support then? Come on, clever clogs, let’s be having you.

          • Harry Pond

            Is that you Delia?

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            Britain was indeed dominant from about 1850 to 1925.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            Not heard of the Roman Empire, the Etruscans, Macedonians, Carthage, the Visigoths?

          • Harry Pond

            What about the Antikythera mechanism though?

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            No potatoes.

          • SocratesWept

            It’s the climate. Zones with harsh winters necessitate forward planning and cooperation with your neighbours. Also hard work and discipline re summer harvests.

          • Zalacain

            Imagine living in the desert, moving from water hole to water hole. Miss one and you are dead. How much planning does that require? I agree that the environment is a strong influence, but it is also easy to be simplistic about it.

          • SocratesWept

            Agreed. Harsh desert environments require similar discipline.

          • Zalacain

            Arnold Toynbee, “A Study of History” he might be a bit out of date, but he’s still the boss on this subject.

          • blandings

            he might be a bit out of date,
            More than a bit: I thought it was dodgy when i read it as a kid

          • Bonkim

            Was there a UK 5000 years back? Was there an India or Germany 5000 years back? Most of today’s nation states evolved in the last century, Tribal identities are evolving continuously and human organisation can develop and collapse.

            Get real – see how history evolves.

        • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

          Some 40 % of Aussies are ethnically Greek or Yugoslav. A great many more are Irish.
          As for the USA only about 25% are descended from Brits , more are German/Dutch or Spanish/Mexican.

          • Colonel Mustard

            Tripe. 36.1% of Aussies self-identify as English in origin and 35.4% as Australian.

            Only 10.4% identify as Irish and 1.9% as Greek.

            Of those Australians born outside Australia, 1.2 million are from the UK compared to 119k from Greece and 93k from Ireland.

            So none of your baloney. You must be another of those England haters from the Celtic fringe.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            Self identify is not genes. There are at least 750,000 second and third generation Greeks in Oz. Most quickly assume the “Australian” identity from preference. 250,000 Greeks arrived between 1947 and 1980 and 200,000 after the Ottoman purges in 1921 to 23. As for Croats, there are loads. The socceroos fielded 5 in the World cup .

          • E.I.Cronin

            Too right Colonel. Thankfully the majority of our migrants up until the 80’s were English.

          • Bonkim

            It is the dominant theme of those that started the ball rolling that counts – the others were followers. The other Europeans generally changed their names to fit in with the Anglos. The Mexicans and African Americans did not count with civil rights a development of the 1960s and 70s, and still work in progress. The notion that all people are equal is a recent development and even without being a racist social organisations and development varied/still varies across the globe. Ultimately people have to assert/prove their equality or superiority by action not words. The Chinese appear to be getting there.

        • Tony

          And yet they continued developing despite the new warmer climate they inhabited. Funny that, according to your theory, they should have regressed.

      • Bonkim

        That is because the Med-countries were closer to the Arabs and Mongols/Persians who were the superpower of the Middle Ages and in control of the old world trade. Italian travellers and merchants, Greek mercenaries all had close contacts with the Mid-Eastern Empires and picked up sciences, arts, and mathematics of the East enriching Europe.

        But it was the Northern Europeans that detached themselves from the backward religion of Rome to unleash hard work and creativity helped by the Protestant work ethic that developed the new world and brought about the age of Worldwide Empires. The Med-culture and religion were a spent force by then – look at their legacy in Latin America, Phillippines, etc.

        • Zalacain

          It is nothing, but nothing to do with hard work. Northern Europe has functioned relatively well for about 10% of the last 5000 years. Coincidentally, from when a fat king of yours decided he wanted to get divorced.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            From when the potato arrived in Europe.

          • davidofkent

            He wasn’t always fat. As a young man he was tall and slim and extremely athletic. Unfortunately, he had a serious accident during a tournament which left him with severe disabilities that prevented him taking much exercise. Unfortunately, he still ate like a horse despite not exercising like one.

          • Zalacain

            I know, I know, I was just irritated by some of the comments.

          • blandings

            “Coincidentally, from when a fat king of yours”
            Wasn’t he yours as well?

        • Gregory Mason

          ‘Italian travellers and merchants, Greek mercenaries all had close contacts with the Mid-Eastern Empires and picked up sciences, arts, and mathematics of the East enriching Europe.’

          Of course it had nothing to do with the creators of those sciences, arts and mathematics. The Byzantines.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            The word Byzantine was never used in the time of the Byzantine Empire.It is a later construction.

          • davidofkent

            Except that Constantinople was built on the site of a previous isolated Greek township called Byzantion.

          • Bonkim

            Byzantium creating Mathematics and sciences – that is news to me – much of the fundamentals evolved in China and India. the Romans could not manage large numbers and the Indians invented the decimal system and many aspects of mathematics, the Chinese similarly many concepts in basic science and technology, gunpowder, metal working, etc, Byzantium was at the end of the silk road and part of old Asia Minor/Babylon also centres of various developments in pre-history. But all these philosophies were imported into modern-day Europe by Arab traders and mariners.

          • davidofkent

            You may not like me writing this, but we have the muslim Arabs during the first 300 years of Islam to thank for translating the previously lost ancient treatises on science, mathematics and medicine that they found hidden away during their conquering/expanding period.

          • greencoat

            That old chestnut! Tell me again, Mustapha.

          • David Booth.

            Not done much for the last 400 years have they?

          • Bonkim

            Credit where due. As traders and mariners the Arabs were the link between the different parts of the Old World. Also the Persians on land.Most of Europe was literally in the dark ages and in constant tribal battles – Christianity unified Europe under Charlemagne (not unlike Islam the Mid-East under their Caliphate) – The other civilizations in the East – China and India were preoccupied by their own tribulations and periodic invasions by the Mongols and Arabs (the main world power of the time)

            So yes post Roman the Arabs played an important role in keeping and passing on the wisdom of the previous generations which subsequently burst into the Italian Renaissance and subsequent age of enlightenment, adventure and conquests during the last three centuries.

            As is evident it was release from bigoted Christianity that released Western Europe and develop whereas the older civilizations moribund in blind religion or corrupt and unenterprising/deferential social organisation lost their earlier strength to be invaded and colonized by better organised people. Lifecycle of civilisations as everything in nature.

        • davidofkent

          The Renaissance, I believe.

        • greencoat

          ‘backward religion of Rome’ – yeah, those Romans never got round to much, did they?

      • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

        Some might say the difference was the potato.

        • Zalacain

          I don’t know why, the potato came to Europe from South America via Spain.

      • davidofkent

        Re your last sentence, although there is some truth in that (IMHO), don’t forget that in the first millennium AD, the British Isles attracted a lot of people who saw that it was a very rich land.

        • Zalacain

          One would have to have a map of people migration across Europe around then. I have no idea of the details.

      • Grace Ironwood

        I think you got that right.

      • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

        Protestantism took hold in the UK by 1560, but the UK remained largely irrelevant as a power until about 1750. Perhaps it was Methodism.

    • sidor

      Do you mean the Eskimo and Lapps are more technologically developed than the nations of Mediterranean, Middle East and China?

    • Faulkner Orkney

      I remember reading that long-term success depended on being in a thin-wide geographical area, rather than a long-thin one. Can’t remember why, but it was doubtlessly very wise.

      • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

        So Gambia better than Chile. Panama better than Norway.

      • Grace Ironwood

        You misread it, it was saying long-term success depends on being thin.

        Astute..

        • davidofkent

          Correct. ‘You can never be too thin or too rich’ – I won’t mention who said that.

          • Grace Ironwood

            🙂

      • rorysutherland

        Jared Diamond, I think. The idea is that you can move useful species of animals or plants east-west but not north-south. Or something.

    • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

      Oh yes. So California, Georgia, Arizona, Florida, the Bahamas, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Israel, Australia, Singapore, Monaco, Oman…..all lazy and backward.

      • Mongo

        way to completely miss the point….

      • Julian Slawson

        Very!! Where would any of them have been without the input from Northern Europe?

      • Tom Allalone

        The Saudis are fantastically lazy. The oil would still be in the ground if it had been left up to them. I think it was P J O’Rourke who once offered a prize to anyone who could photograph a Saudi carrying anything heavier than his wallet. Qatar subsists on slave labour, Oman’s not much better and since when did Monaco produce anything? All the others benefit from their culture having orignated somewhere cooler

        • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

          P J O Rourke thinks the UK had a babyboom in the 1950s!

    • Kaine

      Civilisation began in the Middle East and the peoples of the fertile crescent were mapping the heavens and writing in stone when Northern Europeans were still trying to work out how to cut down a tree.

      The main driver for European supremacy was finding a rather large landmass which disease swiftly emptied of its former inhabitants which could be harnessed for conquest.

  • We have been giving huge dolops of cash every year to an “organisation” (the EU) which for more than 20 years has not been able to present its accounts in a form fit for audit. No matter how far north we may be, that has not been prudent.
    If you look at Germany, Lübeck is indeed a beautiful town, and Hamburg and Bremen have their charming bits, but Hansestadt Bremen has been an economic basket case for decades, depending for their prosperity, like much of northern Germany, on transfers from the south, much of which, (eg Bavaria) is largely (at least proforma) Catholic.
    Otherwise, I agree entirely. Something that started with Italy as a founder member could not have worked out well.

    • Zalacain

      “Something that started with Italy as a founder member could not have worked out well.”
      What, like the Roman Empire?

      • blandings

        What does the Roman Empire have to do with modern Italy?

  • The_greyhound

    The other alternative, which Rod doesn’t discuss, is for the British to have an Empire again. Life was better then.

    • Zalacain

      Not for those in the Empire it wasn’t.

      • The_greyhound

        The subjects of the Empire was generally better off than they would be under corrupt “independent” governments. The British Empire was a beneficent and constructive force in world – we should be much more proud of it.

        • Zalacain

          Like Hong Kong being used as base to sell drugs to the Chinese, or the endless Indian famines? Or the Irish potato famine? The treatment of Australasian natives? Glad you are proud.

          • The_greyhound

            I am very proud. Dd you suppose that bad things only ever happened in the past because of the British? are you so ignorant that you have never heard what the Mongols did to their subjects? How the Belgians treated the Conglese? How the Japanese treated the Chinese?

            The world is a rough old place; overall the scoresheet for the British Empire shows a huge benefit to mankind.

          • Zalacain

            To claim other did bad things is no excuse for the bad things your country has done historically. The question is, are you proud of them? Or are you ashamed, as no doubt most Belgians are of the Belgian Congo, or Germans of Nazism.

          • Colonel Mustard

            What has YOUR country done historically then? And where do you live?

          • David Booth.

            The silence from Zalacain speaks volumes.

          • blandings

            “for the bad things your country has done historically.”

            What’s your country?
            Has it done bad things for which we can hold you responsible?

          • Zalacain

            You mention score sheet that shows a great benefit for mankind. Do you know, I would love to see it if you have a copy somewhere on you (and if it isn’t a figment of your imagination).

          • Grace Ironwood

            Are you aware of the king of that African country that applied to the Empress to join the Empire.
            She turned him down.

          • Lawrence James

            Indian famines were not ‘endless’, they were sporadic. Ireland at time of the 1845-1850 famine was part of Britain, sending MPs to Westminster. Land-hungry Australian immigrants did the killing, which the colonial authorities did their best to prevent and punish. As for the Canton-based opium trade, it was the free-market gone made.Of course, the Empire was not perfect, but it should not judged on mishaps or the stupidity and callousness of some of its rulers.They made a better fist of ruling justly than many of their successors.

          • Zalacain

            I count 15 different famines in India under British rule, not bad.
            Ireland might have been considered part of Britain, but the Irish (especially the catholic ones) were assuredly not considered in the same light as the English.
            Millions of people died under the British Rule, it is easy to look at it through rose tinted glasses, but it was a self-serving organisation (as are most).

          • General Maxwell Smart

            The one thing good about the Raj was their method of dealing with troublemakers: tie them to the mouths of cannons atop Delhi fort, then light the fuse.

            Would that we dealt with Greens, Commies, homegrown and immigrant terrorists the same way.

          • Grace Ironwood

            🙂

          • Lawrence James

            Not so: the best thing about the Raj was that it somehow laid the foundations for a great modern and thriving nation, India.

          • E.I.Cronin

            I’m tremendously proud of my nation’s Anglo-Celtic heritage. My father grew up celebrating Empire Day in a safe, happy and generally carefree society with a fascinating, unique heritage. The murderous brutalities and cruelties in our past are heavily outweighed by the abundant best. Even in the worst times there were many stories of co-operation and compassion. And do you think the other cultures who would have eventually, inevitably dispossesed the indigenous tribes of Australia would have been as generous and energetic as we have been in repairing the damage? Would they be paying 33 billion a year? And not out of guilt for historical crimes no one living today committed or condoned, but simply because there is suffering, violence and poverty. Would the Indonesians have passed the 67 referendum and the Land Rights Act of 76? Do you think any other culture would have spent 50 years allocating vast sums of taxpayer money on social programmes? Would any other culture have seen its sons and daughters devoting their careers and lives to helping Aboriginal Australians? I don’t think so. And that’s a cheap, misanthropic shot you made. For most early settlers, such as my family who arrived in 1803, they were simply unaware of the original inhabitants. One indigenous commentator mentioned he felt just as sorry for his convict ancestors who suffered extreme brutality and deprivation as well. They were harsh times. And we had our own struggles and concerns in what was up to the 1950’s a relatively poor colony. I grew up in Anglo Australia just before it changed irrevocably, and it was a marvellous country.

          • Zalacain

            I have no doubt that Australia is a marvellous country, but it has been built on the ruins of the civilisations that lived there before. Australians can afford to be generous, the original inhabitants make up only 3% of the population and the vast majority of resources are in the hands of descendants of Europeans. History is written by the victors.

            Imagine if a more advanced people (say the Chinese in a few decades) decide they want to take over your country. They invade, kill most of the locals, and in 100 years time when they consist of 97% of the population your Chinese equivalent wrote what you’ve written. Marvellous.

          • E.I.Cronin

            Look at China in Tibet. Is Beijing allocating 44k to each Tibetan citizen in comparison to 22k for each Han Chinese? Because that’s how much we spend. Is Beijing spending 10-15 million a year on Arts Grants to Tibetan Cultural programmes? Because that’s how much we spend. Is Beijing considering a 2017 referendum to recognise Tibetan culture in their Constitution? Because that’s what we are doing. Did Beijing apologise for crimes against humanity committed by Mao? Because that’s what we had the courage and the humility to do.
            Are they?? Tell me Mr Zalacain are they??
            Almost every nation is built on the ruins of the civilisations that lived there before. Picts / Celts / Romans / Saxons / Danes / Vikings / Normans… need I go on? Does that invalidate each of those civilisation? Does it?
            And you aren’t raising the issue of Indigenous Australians because you actually care. I bet you couldn’t give a damn really. You are raising it out of a typically jaundiced, misanthropic, multicultural, highly toxic, twisted world view that’s sickened by self-loathing.

          • Zalacain

            What China is doing to Tibet is horrible, but you are not comparing like with like. Captain Cook appeared late in the 18th Century. You’ve had 200 years of being pretty horrible to the original population, lots of guilt now. I’m sure that in 200 years or less the Chinese will be spending huge amounts of money on Tibet and feeling terribly guilty.
            As to almost every nation being built etc etc, it is absolutely true. Just that one should face the reality of what was done. I mean, aboriginal children were forced into adoption in living memory.
            Also, less of the the meaningless insults, I haven’t insulted you. Argue rationally or shut up.

          • E.I.Cronin

            You brought China up, and I know a lot more about it’s history in Tibet than you do. And I’m not insulting you… or not yet at any rate. Your viewpoint happens to be misanthropic; toxic; sickened by self-loathing etc. I didn’t state anything about you as a person as I have no idea who you are.

          • Zalacain

            “self-loathing etc”, yet you haven’t answered the main point of what I wrote.

          • E.I.Cronin

            Bah.

          • E.I.Cronin

            I don’t feel a shred of guilt. Never did, never will. Most Australians don’t and nor should we. Certain types feed off it and fetishise colonial crimes, but I’m not one of them. Feel free to take that comment personally. And that’s absurd – China will never fess up. Revisionism is in it’s totalitarian dna.

          • Zalacain

            You don’t feel guilt, the Chinese don’t feel guilt, Stalin didn’t feel guilt. All good.
            My first point, was that the British Empire wasn’t very nice for those invaded and I think I’ve made it. I know that for British descendants it is all terribly nice.
            Being a white man in Kenya, Uganda, Rhodesia, South Africa, India, Australia, New Zealand and a long etc, in the 19th and most of the 20th century was great fun. It’s just that the natives objected, a bit.

          • E.I.Cronin

            Save the creepy, immature and transparent guilt-tripping tactics for Guardian readers. It doesn’t work here. I’m going to reply for casual readers, not you. 1) No one living today is responsible for colonialism 2) there is no outstanding debt.
            And you are completely wrong. Australia was a penal colony. Our convicts endured terrible conditions including loss of freedom, family and homeland. They were chained, starved and beaten like animals. Many were executed for the most trivial crimes. Early settlers fled the grim poverty of 19thC Britain and Europe to make a better life for their families. They struggled ferociously every day of their often short lives. You don’t know anything about our lives and history at all. But go ahead and relish your simplistic, deluded gloating. We can see what you’re up to.

          • Zalacain

            The point that I am making and I have to repeat because you are insisting in not understanding it, is that British colonialism wasn’t very nice for the natives and not something to be proud of. You are just talking about Australia, seeing the world from a very narrow angle.
            As to the horrible treatment of of the prisoners sent there, is this supposed to make the original Aboriginals feel better?
            No gloating.

          • E.I.Cronin

            No one is arguing that point at all. Australians and the British have documented the worst aspects of Empire and faced it. My point has been colonial history has also seen immense effort and funds directed to native populations. And I would argue because of our Christian and Humanist heritage. As far as I know Turkey has never looked back and admitted the Armenian genocide or made any effort to own it’s colonial past. You glibly used my nation as an example without knowing anything about our history and lives. No the suffering, determination and back breaking labour of our Convicts and Early Settlers wouldn’t make that generation of Aboriginals feel better. But neither does the damage inflicted on native populations invalidate the goodness, decency and bravery of our Anglo-Celtic population in struggling for their families and communities. Both existed and need recognition.

          • Zalacain

            “You glibly used my nation as an example”, nope, you brought up Australia, I didn’t. Look back at the thread. All empires were built on the back of hard working, brave people.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            But not on a living wage, plus modest tax credits for two kids.

          • E.I.Cronin

            ”Like Hong Kong being used as base to sell drugs to the Chinese, or the endless Indian famines? Or the Irish potato famine? The treatment of Australasian natives? Glad you are proud.” Zalacain.

            What interests me about this thread is how advocates of the bogus anti-racism movement & multiculturalism use simplistic, one-eyed sound-bites about colonialism in debate as public shaming techniques and virtue-signalling. Labor and Greens politicians employ it all the time. A young British traitoress converted to Islam… now what’s her name… Miriam something or other. She uses it shamelessly. You can’t see her baghead on TV without hearing it. It’s a device to deflect serious criticism of issues involving immigration etc.

          • Grace Ironwood

            It seemsI can’t find any British show without her on it so these day’s am loath to look.

            I notice she has now adopted a new form of less Islamic- looking but still scarf-ridden headgear.

            Could we be witnessing another step on her spiritual journey towards Animism, Orthodox Judiasm or Voodoo??

            What is she signifying here semioticians ??

          • E.I.Cronin

            Isnt she toxic? I only tune in occasionally but it must be dispiriting to see these people injecting their cultural neurotoxin into public discourse almost every day. But we just need the right spokespeople… I wish I could resurrect my old English & History teacher. An amazing woman – one of the first to attend University in Australia. Incredibly charming, cultured, a living encyclopedia of Western culture and a mind like a steel trap. She’d vaporise Miriam.The only thing left would be the hijab. It would be great to see old school people like that who have the cultural confidence and experience to provide an inspiring vision as an alternative to the negativity Miriam, Richard Z etc are peddling.

          • Grace Ironwood

            She’s usually teamed up with Douglas Murray who doesn’t do badly as he’s not ashamed of being an English white man but she interrupts and talks over the top of him to the extent allowed (often a great extent) by the moderator.
            Hello fellow Aussie!

          • E.I.Cronin

            Maaaaaate!! 🙂 Hi Grace! Yes ive seen Murray verbally sparring her and she does talk straight over him. And I think he is a little too chivalrous. Wish we had him over here for Q&A – I stopped watching it long ago, but guess you know about the recent low it hit. Am hoping some young Libs charge through the ranks and take up the challenge.

          • Jim2

            He’s Scottish.

          • Grace Ironwood

            Half n half ?

          • Grace Ironwood

            Miriam is simply a virtuoso exponent of Western girlish prattle.

          • EHGombrich

            On the ruins of the civilisations. Had these “civilisations” invented the wheel before the British arrived?

          • Grace Ironwood

            Even worse, you can’t tell the natives from the interlopers in many areas.

          • Colonel Mustard

            Your analogy of Empire with China’s invasion of Tibet is deeply flawed. The Empire was not built primarily by invasion but by trade. And native populations were not slaughtered but more often engaged to mutual advantage or exploited in misguided paternalism. The deployment of state violence was more often to establish stability and trade in the face either of rivalry from other European powers or against anarchic and despotic native regimes.

            Generally native peoples flocked to Empire to live under its stable rule of law, justice and prosperity.

            And there is a shocking misconception amongst modern lefty academics that the places colonised were somehow sovereign nation states in their own right when they were not.

          • Zalacain

            Notice that that, wasn’t my analogy, it was somebody else’s.

            I used the Chinese (but it could have been anybody else) as an example of how the Australians would feel if they were invaded. Please read the thread before answering.

          • blandings

            “I have no doubt that Australia is a marvellous country, but it has been
            built on the ruins of the civilisations that lived there before.”

            Whose ruins was yours built on?

          • Bonkim

            Not sure the Aborigines had much of a legacy – they evolved from people similar to the tribals of India and other parts of Asia and being isolated from the main-stream of the old world left very little heritage that can be called developed unlike those in South America who had fairly advanced social organisation and building techniques..

          • greencoat

            Yes, that is the plain truth.

          • E.I.Cronin

            Thanks greencoat. Am like a broken record on this subject, but that manipulative p.c shaming tactic has to be refuted no matter how many times we repeat ourselves.

          • Colonel Mustard

            Imperial China’s officials and merchants were implicit in the opium trade and only a fool would believe otherwise.

            You are just an England hater trying to disguise your nasty racism by peddling subjective historical baggage. Do you whinge as much about the Islamic slave trade and the deprecations of the Barbary corsairs? I bet not.

          • Zalacain

            My word. When people start making assumptions about what I think to make their argument it means they don’t have ammunition and therefore have to make it up. So yes, I do complain about Islamic (or any other slave trade). Just not in this thread. In this thread I complain about a certain type of pompous Englishman who thinks that the natives of many places were lucky to be invaded/killed/enslaved by them.
            As to the sale of opium. Some Chinese were complicit but you have to ask yourself what the opium wars were about. Forced drug sales. Not even the Colombian cartels thought of that one.

          • Colonel Mustard

            Forced drug sales? Rubbish. It was a two way trade of supply and demand where the officers of Imperial China adopted their usual two-faced approach and hypocrisy.

            “In this thread I complain about a certain type of pompous Englishman who thinks that the natives of many places were lucky to be invaded/killed/enslaved by them.”

            That is a ridiculous statement made by an Anglophobe bigot. For a start the Empire was British not English and a majority of its most successful proponents were Scots. Britain abolished the slave trade long before the USA, the Ottoman Empire and many other countries and its Royal Navy was active in suppressing it.

            You know nothing about the reality of Empire beyond the ridiculous left wing tripe you have swallowed. The world might be a much safer place today had Pax Britannica succeeded. And strange how SO MANY of those poor put upon native peoples clamouring for independence and their own governments now want to live in the UK.

          • Zalacain

            They want to live in the UK, France, Finland, USA, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, anywhere that is relatively civilised. You have to have a very narrow mind to think that they only want to live in the UK or to give this argument. Also notice that not a single country has asked to be ruled by the UK again.

            The UK did do a lot to stop the slave trade, and quite frankly that is to the country’s eternal credit. But don’t forget that British ships did over 10,000 trips across the Atlantic carrying slaves. So, good ending, but not so good before.
            Remember that history is long, and you are just looking at it from a very particular perspective.
            English/Scottish; go further, you forget the Welsh and Irish. It still misses the point.

          • Colonel Mustard

            But you haven’t been slagging off France, Finland, USA, Canada, Sweden, Norway or Switzerland! You have been slagging off the UK.

            The perspective I am looking at is the perspective of you slagging off the British Empire using left-wing inspired twaddle. I am responding to your slagging off.

            And I bet you don’t pop up on any Middle Eastern blogs to slag off the Islamic slave trade.

          • Zalacain

            Really? Have you not noticed the context of this thread? If this was a thread about France, her wonderful empire and how superior they were to everybody else, believe me, I would be criticising it.

          • Colonel Mustard

            You were the one who began slagging off the British in a thread about the Hanseatic League. Don’t whine about the response you got.

          • Zalacain

            I criticised the pompous superior comments of other people.

          • Colonel Mustard

            Really? Here are some of yours which look pretty pompous:-

            “The difference was protestantism. When everybody was catholic (and before), the UK counted for very little.”

            The UK didn’t exist until after 1707, centuries after the aggression of Philip of Spain was defeated.

            “Coincidentally, from when a fat king of yours decided he wanted to get divorced.”

            A “fat king”? No pompous superiority there.

            “You also haven’t answered why the UK was a comparative backwater for most of the last 5000 years.”

            The UK hasn’t existed for 5,000 years. You think it has been a “backwater” from 3,000BC until now, when you are whining about the iniquities of the British Empire? How quaint.

            “In 200 years time, when the English talk of the Football World Cup, they will only mention 1966, conveniently “forgetting” all the defeats. That is how you see history.”

            You don’t know what the English will be talking about in 200 years, if they still exist. Only someone with a pompous sense of superiority would attempt to use a silly prediction to slag off another country.

            Maybe you should take a long hard look at the savagery and cruelty of Spain’s South American Empire before “criticising” Britain’s.

      • rodliddle

        yes it bloody well was. In the most part. Not Egypt, I grant you.

      • Colonel Mustard

        Both Singapore and Hong Kong grew in size as a result of immigration by people who preferred to live under British rule and the British rule of law than under their own native rulers.

        You are just another silly Anglophobe displaying his anachronistic bigotry and race hatred.

        • Zalacain

          Not an Anglophobe. Not full or race hatred (didn’t know that British, was a race). Just deeply irritated by the feeling of superiority of a certain type of English bigot.
          Many things about Britain to be admired. But read some of comments here, they are amazingly rude about others. Are you objective enough to see them for what they are?

          • Colonel Mustard

            Your comments are full of Anglophobe hatred and the sort of white guilt bilge about Empire peddled by left wing academics and politicians.

            There is no feeling of superiority. Don’t confuse defence of the objective truth when it comes under attack from bigots like you with any feeling of superiority. It is too easy, and dishonest, to scorn those who attempt objectivity as “Imperialists hankering for the past” simply because their detractors are so full of bile, hatred and vengeance.

          • Zalacain

            Read the comments below that I’ve copied and pasted from this thread. You telling me there is no feeling of superiority? No bigotry or racism? I don’t see you arguing with these people. Maybe a dose of objectivity?

            Mongo
            a day ago
            climatically hot parts of the world have usually produced
            lazy/backward societies and nations. Technologically and morally developed societies evolved from cooler climes – i.e Northern/Western
            Europe

            The_greyhound
            a day ago
            I realise that you are uncomfortable with the truth. Someone had to be top nation : that happened to be the British.

            Bonkim
            a day ago
            Joking apart – that is the real Europe the world recognizes. Not one with skiving siesta-loving Catholic or Orthodox Mediterranians masquerading as Europeans.

          • Colonel Mustard

            I’m not interested in their bigotry. I’m interested in yours.

          • Zalacain

            Exactly, you are incapable of objectiveness. Also I have not said that anybody, is superior to anybody else. They have.

          • Colonel Mustard

            I’m absolutely objective about your misrepresentations of the British Empire. You don’t have a clue about it.

          • Zalacain

            Well done.

          • Colonel Mustard

            Weak. And you still haven’t told us which team you support and whether you live in the country you hate so much. That would be instructive.

          • Zalacain

            The truth or otherwise of what I say is not changed by where I came from. If I told you, you would just criticise that country you wouldn’t make any constructive argument.

          • Colonel Mustard

            Well, your prejudices are certainly influenced by it. And you have enjoyed the privilege of “criticising” my country whilst concealing your own. Which is fairly typical.

  • CaseyAAvera

    High Quality performance spectator…. <…. Find Here

    • Clive

      Is that the new Hanseatic language ?

      I’d assumed German.

      • AJH1968

        Do not reply to them (I did much to my regret) they tend stick to these threads like sh*t to an army blanket.

        • Game Bird

          There appears to be zero moderation on these threads so that’s presumably what attracts these multiple spammers.

      • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

        37% of Yanks are descended from the hun.

        • Lawrence James

          I didn’t know that Attila and his hordes got that far.

  • Clive

    instead of joining the Exchange Rate Mechanism, preparatory to joining a single European currency, we should bail out of the EU altogether and instead join Nafta. But I overlooked the fact that Nafta has Mexico to deal with. That doesn’t work, either.

    What we should do is belong to all of these clubs.

    What are they for anyway ? If it’s trade, there’s the WTO. If it’s politics, there’s the UN. If it’s banking there’s the World Bank or the IMF and so on.

    If we belong to all of them we can prefigure the future nation state which is open to the world for trade and international standards (there’s ISO for that) and not much else.

    Oh and cultural exchanges. I like those.

    …and exchanging people – you get duds born locally

  • GenJackRipper

    You rename Bolzano but not Gdansk?
    Hm…

    • post_x_it

      With the whole of Poland admitted, it doesn’t matter so much whether a particular city has a Polish or German name.
      His point about Italy is that only the part that is culturally/historically Austrian deserves to be admitted.

      • ClausewitzTheMunificent

        What, culturally Austrian? Don’t be ridiculous. The only part that is culturally Austrian is Sudtirol, and the Austrians can have it. Moreover, most of adjacent Trentino is Italian. The rest of Northern Italy was occupied and fought over by the French, Spanish and Austrians but was never “historically/culturally” Austrian, particularly since Austrian is short hand for Habsburg and there was never really a unified Habsburg “culture”.

      • Brogan75

        You have no idea of what you are talking about.

  • right1_left1

    Since the Hanseatic league sounds German I’m in favour.

    Lets ditch any UK public schoolboy who has any influence over anything and replace them with some German civil servants and an unter and uber stormbahnfuhrer here and there.

    Judging by the results at Land Rover/Jaguar maybe some Indian captains of industry would be advantageous.

    Bring back rigorous disciplined educationally streamed (If you cant read or do maths you are NOT ill) COMPREHENSIVES for everybody and the UK will rise again.

    Some time about 2115 I should think.
    Islam permitting of course!

    ALL potential actors/actresses in state subsidised enterprises to be required to spend equal time cleaning the streets.

    • right1_left1

      The ‘Bumiputra system’ sounds interesting but possibly we already have it since consideration of gay rights appear to supercede all other geo political considerations.

      If at location x two men cant get married or even potentially copulate in a small business premise then we shouldnt sell fertiliser to that place. or the business owners should be fined.

      Islam was suspicially silent on the latter oddity or injustice depending on your point of view.

    • Zalacain

      The Romanians did some of this in the 19th Century. They prohibited any Romanian from being King of Romania, imported Prince Karl of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen in 1866, it all went swimmingly until WWII.
      Actually, didn’t Britain do something similar?

      • The_greyhound

        No. Parliament simply vested the succession in the Dutchess (sic) Sophy and her heirs, being protestant. There was no requirement for the monarch not to be a hun; Prince William is only a quarter square-head.

        • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

          Not quite. They excluded any Catholic from the throne thereby passing over about 60 Europeans with a better claim to our throne than the current interlopers.

    • Colonel Mustard

      I simply don’t know how you manage to balance so many different chips on your shoulders. From the way you were treated by your parents, to school and then the city. So many hang ups and prejudices. Maybe the problem was not them but you.

      • right1_left1

        The chips I carry on my shoulders have developed because I have lived rather a long time and experienced first hand how starting in the late 60’s the UK has been wrecked.

        i live in an unfashionable but reasonably pleasant midlands city which USED TO PRODUCE huge amounts of real wealth .
        We had mass immigration long before the excesses of Blair’s regime were implemented.
        The immigrants were not alien but came from all over the UK and at least Poland.
        If it was capable of being manufactured it was probably done here.

        Now what ?
        Primark B & Q
        Two univerisities one of which judging from its name is ashamed of associating with the city.
        Large scale manufacture ……GONE

        Comprehensives WERE diminished by trendy lefty thinking
        So reintroducing them, properly run for ALL, could produce massive improvements.
        Certainly not worse than the social-cultural system of apartheid we have in the UK today.

        During the UK decline the products of public schools ran the country while at the same time Germany rebuilt to ultimately run rings around us in the manufacture of quality technological products.

        I am probably considered sound on the dangers of Islam and not so on my attitude to the behaviour of Israel
        All in all I think my chips are quite well balanced.

        Paradoxically I am quite well off but this is because i , along with many where I live , had the opportunity to work in value added techno industry that it was thought by Thatcher we could live without.
        She was wrong with the result that if money could not be ‘created’ at a stroke the standard of living of the masses would fall quickly to the level to which it is inexorably declining.

  • Jambo25

    There used to be an Italian saying that Naples was the only Oriental city without a European quarter.

  • Augustus

    Ich habe einen Mann gekannt aus der Lübeck Hauptbahnhof. Er war ein (wait for it): Eisenbahnknotenpunkthinundhershieber (signalman).

  • GinoBartali

    Typical British arrogance mixed with typical British ignorance… The most productive and affluent parts of Continental Europe (Bavaria, Hessen, Austria…) are mainly Catholic, while Protestant North and East Germany are demographically and economically dead.

    Satire is funnier when at least superficially based on real facts!

    • Mongo

      Rubbish and nonsense!!

      Italy, Greece, Portugal, Spain, the Balkan states and the Eastern Europe states are endemically corrupt, incompetent near-failed states. The sheen of ‘democracy’ disguises absolute rottenness to their corrupt cores.

      They aren’t fit to be mentioned in the same breath as the exemplary uncorrupted true European nations – Britain, Ireland, Germany, Netherlands and the Scandinavian nations – these nations invented civilisation as we know it, and should never have been forced together in a disastrous political and economic union with Third World Europe.

      Divided we stand! Vote NO in 2017!

      • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

        The idea that Italy is corrupt on the scale off Greece or Spain is risible.As for saying Ireland is exemplary and invented civilisation.Ridiculous.

        • Mongo

          Yvon and Barry, do you two post together, or do you take it in turns?

          • EHGombrich

            Since they share a brain cell they must be taking turns.

      • TNT

        Britain, Ireland, Germany invented civilisation?

        The countries you slate had civilisations while the Brits, Ireland and Germans were living in trees.

        • Bonkim

          Italians a pale reflection of the mighty Romans. All civilizations rise and fall – life-cycle theory.

      • jim

        As an Irish man I’m flattered you would namecheck us as having “invented ” civilization but I’m afraid I can’t quite believe that.The only difference between Ireland and Greece is that we are ashamed of and angry about our corrupt semi failed state. This deep shame might be our only hope. Some of us want to do better.The Greeks have only prideful delusion.. They blame everyone else for their condition. We used to blame the Brits and then the Krauts. Thankfully,you hear a lot less of that around here these days. Ireland has been shocked into taking responsibility..A bit late in the day I grant you…

        • Bonkim

          Give credit where due – close proximity to Britain helped.

      • Tony

        But the Irish are Catholics. There are as many Germany Catholics as there are German Protestants. There are more than twice as many Catholics as there Protestants in the Netherlands (55% are Atheists).

        Oh dear!

    • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

      You forgot France, Belgium and Lombardy.

    • rodliddle

      It’s not just about religion, Gino. It’s as much about geographical determinism – that was the point, which, willingly, you entirely missed.

    • Bonkim

      Bavarians and Austrians don’t take religion all that seriously. The Germans progressed from a collection of warring tribes to unite and become top-dog in industry, design, and exports. Austria – an Imperial Power had the innovative/Protestant Czechs do all the brain-work and much of Austro-hungarian dominance after Napoleon Bonaparte’s influence on Europe. The French, Italians, Austrians , and Bavarians don’t take their religion all hat seriously. The main issue is the legacy of France, Italy, Spain and other Southern Europeans/Catholics that choose to submit without question – most had to retreat from their Empires – french from Indo-China and North Africa, Italians from Abyssinia, Spanish from their American colonies, etc. Compare that with the legacy of Britain, Netherlands and the Northern Europeans.

    • sidor

      Bismarck said: “A Bavarian is a transitional stage of evolution from an Austrian to a Human”.

  • global city

    but, but, Liverpool would still be ‘on the wrong side of the country’!

  • stag

    love the acronyms!

  • Grace Ironwood

    I’ll mention your great idea to Dave when I go to scrub the floors of No. 10 today.
    Could you send a scan of your atlas/felt pen efforts?

  • Scradje

    Britain just does not have a European culture. Why not campaign to form a trade bloc of culturally connected, foul weather friends such as US/Can/Aus/NZ/UK? Once established, other like-minded nations with a similar Protestant-type work ethic could apply.

    • Grace Ironwood

      India? Democratic principles & systems not just ethnic ties may comprise the Anglosphere.

      This is an idea with some merit & the Anglosphere of democracies has been proposed as an alternative to UN & EU.

      See my comments on your point in reply to “beenzrgood” re the geo-strategic implications of such a body.

      • Scradje

        Grace: It would be great to have India on board for such a project, but unfortunately I think it very unlikely indeed. Since independence, successive Indian governments have been at worst hostile and at best indifferent to Britain. The current incumbent, Modi, is veering toward the former by cosying up with the world’s vilest regimes, Iran and Russia. Re the latter, you seem to think it has the right to invade, occupy and commit mass murder on a former vassal state. Well I do not. It has no more right to behave like fascist thugs than Britain has with its former imperial subjects. Imperial Russia invaded, occupied and committed genocide in Ukraine; whereas the British were invited into India. Quite a difference.

        • Grace Ironwood

          I’m not comparing Britain & India with Russia and Ukraine.

          What are the West’s core geo-political interests today ?

          Just pointing out the West’s medium & long term interests don’t lie in a new long term fight with Russia that the EU & Obama had some hand in starting.

          Putin is not nice- he will never be nice – but we are not in a position to teach him about how to act like a nice post-realpolitik 21st century power.
          Better to cease trrying to assimilate mendicant buffer states into the EU. And raise the eyes to the real ball.

          • Scradje

            We don’t need to keep Ukraine solvent. It can take care of itself once it is free. We just need to get Putler’s fascist regime to understand it has no business there; it has more than enough land of its own. Ditto Georgia and Moldova. Ukraine is an ancient Christian culture that has had to bear terrible suffering and genocide from its horrible neighbour. It is up to Britain and America; co-signatories of the Budapest Memorandum, to ensure that the enemy does not advance even one more centimeter further onto sovereign Ukraine territory.

          • Grace Ironwood

            I don’t think we have the resources or the fundamental national interests at stake to expend the resources we have.
            Let’s be clear- Ukraine needs a daddy & will do so into the foreseeable future .
            Ukraine has already been “free” and it has the distinction of being the first failed state in a demographic death spiral.

          • Scradje

            No it has not been free since Putler’s fascist regime came to power. Kremlin puppet Yanukovich was running the place on the Putin business model; ie theft of state assets, rampant corruption, cronyism, nepotism, routine imprisonment of opponents etc. That is why he had to go and why the Kremlin murder gang decided to invade. Just because Russia does not respect international agreements or neighbours’ territories doesn’t mean we should do the same. Ukraine will recover very quickly once the occupier has gone. We must help because it is the right thing to do.

        • Grace Ironwood

          I understand & what with the “Non-Aligned” third wordlist communists there- but this is the past generation not India’s future if its middle class keeps growing.

          • Scradje

            The Hindus are people we can do business with. If they can get rid of their corrupt, crypto-Marxist politicians, then there could be good possibilities in the future.

          • Grace Ironwood

            Exactly.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            Until then they remain Hindon’ts.

        • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

          Not the British. The East India Company.

        • UKSteve

          Hence their insatiable appetite for Russian arms and ordnance – since the 1960’s to my certain knowledge.

      • Bonkim

        Have you experienced Indian democracy?

        • Grace Ironwood

          The future.

          • Bonkim

            the future is bleak – with 1.3+billion people and deep-seated class, caste, ethnic, linguistic, and sectarian divisions. India is an artificial creation by a departing Imperial power and whilst the legal, governance, economic and infrastructure are there the people do not have a common history or social organisation – unlike China or Russia and most importantly the people did not have to shed blood to get their country – it was given as a done thing by the British and the British educated political/upper political classes that negotiated with Britain – the vast majority of Indians were/still have a servile mindset towards their upper/ruling classes, and united more by their multitudes of Gods and religious leaders or class/caste allegiances rather than by any common values or ideals. The prevailing ethos is to make money by hook or crook and money is the main determinant of ones place in Indian society.

          • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

            I totally agree.

          • Grace Ironwood

            I think you are right about the variegated nature & population-of India. Social cohesian is only seriously threatened by one group. and their population will still be young when China’s has grown old.

            Populations are not evenly distributed.

            Nor are they interchangeable as the west has discovered to its increasing dread.

            It is a tragedy, not a cause for celebration that the social revolution has caused death-spiral birthrates in every advanced country except Israel.

            I know your special cause is world overpopulation.

            I think you are quite likely wrong about this, it is a historical attitude that is now not supported – I urge you to look again at this – using a wide range of reputable sources, with an awareness of the normal human confirmation bias which affects us all.

            In general, if you haven’t changed your mind on ANY issue for years then you’re not really thinking!

          • Bonkim

            Thinking since I was 9 or 10 and look at how many cows or sheep you can maintain in say 10 acres of land.

            Population explosion follows the square law and the cry is for more consumption to increase the economy and provide jobs for an ever exploding population. Human societies have shown that they only change when hit hard – and even then live in hope that the end will never come. The relative affluence in the West came about as their social organisation was superior that allowed more resources to be exploited following the discovery of the New World and that process over the past two or three centuries have now matured and in decline – and the have nots over the past few decades have increased because of international aid and medical/technical advances and the wealth bubble created since WW2 – Low birth-rates in the advanced economies have helped the process – but in the process the society has grown dependent on ever inflating economic bubble. Man’s consumption today equates to thae resources of two or three earths.

            You don’t need book knowledge to understand cause and effect – basic concepts and ability to link historic observations with present trends. Don’t forget the bulk of the earth’s population is not in its wealthier regions but their expectations are increasingly influenced by the media and fast communications – The people that get into leaky boats to cross the Mediterranean is simply an advance party. More where they came from and looking at Western economies despite the temporary glut of hydrocarbon fuels because of exploitation of fracking oil and gas – the resources available to keep the bubble inflating is finite.

          • Grace Ironwood

            Well Bonkim, I’m sorry you think you don’t need “booklearning” to update commitments you made when you were 9 years old.
            You obviously feel strongly about it.

            I have changed my mind on a couple of big issues over the last few years as a result of investigating my initial view further, and as the facts have unfolded.

            I was shocked to see and have to admit that my earlier views were so wrong but It’s good to know I’m capable of changing my mind in response to facts and reason.

            Honest recommendation.

          • Bonkim

            Hello Grace – I also say if you don’t learn something new every day you are dead – and I am still alive and kicking. Book knowledge – what level would past muster? Having been there and done that and acquired all sorts of book knowledge and practical experience in complex technical and environmental matters, economic and business systems, human behaviour, geography and history of the world, and other philosophies, I have come to the conclusion that one can read and read but understand little – conversely there are some that have observed and link cause and effect and come to informed view on most issues around.

            Now regards reading – it all depends on how you select what to read, and also knit different things together to get the bigger picture. Travelling around and having first hand knowledge and understanding of the world also helps.

          • Grace Ironwood

            Avoiding the issue by cliche?

            Most of us don’t change fundamental philosophical commitments every day. Tends to be a risk, an upheaval and new territory.

          • Bonkim

            you lose track if you bring your beliefs/prejudices in a discussion. One has to be open and accept valid logic if presented and learn – otherwise will not adapt and change. Adaptation and change is the key to survival and Britain has been good at it for over four centuries. The more you learn the more you realize how little book knowledge helps with real reasoning – conversely those that can link cause and effect know where to get the raw data from reliable sources to link into their thinking. There is a limit to human brain to store data even if you read from diverse sources every day.

          • Grace Ironwood

            Bonkim, if the US Supreme Court Justices can’t do that with the whole country watching then neither can you!

            Furthermore, we need categories ( and thus we have judgements and principles) We literally cannot think about the world without them.

            No blank slates. One may admit ones commitments and nevertheless be sincerely trying to get at the truth.

          • Bonkim

            Truth differs between belief systems. Most truths are subjective.

          • Grace Ironwood

            Whaaat ?

            Pretty thin.

          • Bonkim

            If you sit inside a train the ground outside is moving away from you. Is it the earth moving or the train? What is truth depends on the observer and his/her beliefs. If you stretch the point time also moves in relation to the observer’s perception.

          • Grace Ironwood

            Sorry, when I got those kinds of question in maths exams I used to write “No one cares”

          • Bonkim

            Maths is the ultimate in logic and rationality and even there you need basic axioms that cannot be challenged such as the line drawn between two points is a straight line but as we all know space is curved and if you start waling straight – ultimately you come back under where you started from.

            Infinite space must have some limits as everything is expanding within that space, etc.

            Seriously man’s reason is always based on the world one is brought up in and values moulded by what is around. That is the truth – an ISIS Patriot believes as much in his cause and considers it the ultimate truth same as a KKK activist believes in his/her. Under US Constitution everyone has a right to belief only comes into conflict if that degenerates into violence against similar rights of other/s.

    • Liberanos

      Geography certainly has nothing to do with it. We have infinitely more in common with New Zealand than France.

      • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

        Utter rubbish.

    • Icebow

      Anglophone Alliance, perhaps plus India. US needs sorting out, though.

      • Scradje

        India is no friend of Britain unfortunately. At best indifferent, at worse hostile. Modi is more interested in cosying up with vile regimes like Iran and Russia.

        • Harry Pond

          Yes, I can’t stand the way they charge 130 quid for a visa just to cross their threshold nowadays. Not very friendly.

    • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

      Nonsense. Canada is French. The US is German. Australia is Greek/ Irish.

      • Scradje

        I suppose that makes sense to people who dance on 1970’s sitcoms.

      • Mary Ann

        My husband was brought up in the Italian quarter of Melbourne and went to school with mainly Europeans. He was bullied for having an English accent and the half Aboriginie boy was bullied for being an Abo.

        • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

          Melbourne is the second largest Greek city in the World since the Turks expelled the Greeks of Smyrna in 1922.

          • Mary Ann

            He did have some contact with Greeks, but he mainly talks about the Italian ice cream shops who would give him bigger portions because he took the trouble to learn a little Italian.

          • E.I.Cronin

            You’re evoking the Australia of my youth Mary Ann. Milk Bars and Delicatessens were always run by Wogs. And I haven’t heard the word Abo for years. Thats old Aussie slang, Abo, Dago… we ‘o’ everything or slap an ‘ie’ on the end. ‘Westie’, ‘Surfie’. And they weren’t always perjorative either. Btw we did have a large influx of Mediteraneans post WW2 but a few decades later many Greeks went back when conditions had improved. I wonder if many will return now? Its interesting, being half Anglo and half Wog myself Ive experienced both worlds. And many Australians have no idea how much migrants despise them. Colonial Australians were very happy with their society, they never wanted Multiculturalism. And I heard just as much contempt and arrogance in migrant communities towards Aussies – they could be very arrogant. Hopefully we’re learning our lesson and immigration policy can proceed from the fact a predominately monocultural society with a small percentage of compatible ethnicities is the best guarantee of a stable, genuinely cohesive and workable democracy.

          • Mary Ann

            I disagree, tolerance and respect and an understanding that we all want the same things under the surface, food, shelter and a safe place to bring our children up are the best things for a good society. I find it interesting that you refer to yourself using a derogatory term. My husband returned to Britain when he grew up, he couldn’t stand the racism, and when he sees racism in Britain it makes him angry, but then he has been on the receiving end.

          • E.I.Cronin

            Wog or Dago can be a jocular term and we often apply it to ourselves in a playful way. I don’t see it as an insult at all. There used to be a saying about Aussies and Kiwis that if they call you a b @. s T. A r.d you know they really dislike you. If they call you a c-bomb, then you’re classified as a best friend. Australian working class culture was a rough and ready one.

            Of course it can be highly derogatory too but that depends on tone, context and intent. I was blonde and blue eyed like many Aussies but was still mildly teased for being half Wog. The current pc hypersensitivity and paranoia was alien to us. That isn’t excusing the nastiness or insults. But there are many sides to the migrant story and the Anglo-Celtic experience has been consistently sidelined, disrespected and ignored.

            Above food, shelter, safety, etc there is religion, language, cultural mythology and traditions etc and the powerful, completely natural feeling of ethnic kinship which is now as taboo a subject as sex was in the Victorian era. And we ignore it at our peril.

            You are conflating Racism and Xenophobia. Racism is simply the belief that other races are biologically inferior. Xenophobia is a dislike or fear of other cultures. Or contempt for one’s own as we have seen in the last 40 years. earlier you made a deeply insulting generalisation about my country which is a direct descendant of your own.

            And the flip-side of Xenophobia is Xenophilia. The deeply rooted sense of belonging and affection for one’s ethnic and cultural heritage.

            If wanting to preserve one’s ethnic heritage is ‘racist’ – then seeking to destroy an existing ethnic and cultural group is far more racist.

          • Mary Ann

            Banter or bullying, it depends on the attitude of the person who is using it, if “you’re a POM” is followed by a fist to the face it is bullying not banter.

        • Harry Pond

          A friend of mine’s great grandfather used to go ‘Abo shooting’ apparently.

      • UKSteve

        Wow. A new benchmark for you.

    • Mary Ann

      Think how the USA, Canada and Australia treated their native populations, do you really want to be in a party with them.

      • Scradje

        A very odd argument. Please name one country that is without sin. Our present partners include former fascist states Germany, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Portugal.

        • Mary Ann

          Now that would be difficult, certainly not us, Aren’t humans nasty people.

          • Scradje

            Yes they are. But the anglophone nations have on the whole much more to be proud of than most.

          • Mary Ann

            So you choose to ignore the slave trade, the slaughter of native Americans and Australians, it’s OK because other European counties were doing the same.

          • Scradje

            The slave trade was started by the Arabs and enthusiastically participated in by African tribal leaders. It was the British who were the first to outlaw this evil practice, well ahead of everyone else. As stated, there is no nation on earth without sin, but Britain is better than most if not all, since it created the blueprint for a free market democracy that most of the world’s most successful nations emulated and thus created more wealth more quickly than any time in the history of the world.

          • E.I.Cronin

            West Africa Squadron! It’s a great point Mr Scradje.

          • Scradje

            Thank you E.I.

          • Mary Ann

            Well I am glad that Britain put an end to its own slave trade, it would have been something to be proud of though if we had never got involved in it in the first place.

          • E.I.Cronin

            Your viewpoint is continually negative. Go ahead, live in a swamp of self-recrimination and embittered resentment for the past. We aren’t joining you. Life’s too short.

          • E.I.Cronin

            Hi Mary Ann,

            ‘’Think how the USA, Canada and Australia treated their native populations, do you really want to be in a party with them.’’

            Let’s say your great-great-grandfather’s brother committed murder and rape.

            You are still responsible for those crimes.

            The virtue, decency, hard work, kindness and achievements of the rest of your family mean nothing. Every public institution, library, hospital, church, school, every splendid piece of architecture, infrastructure; literature; music; public and private philanthropy that they were responsible for means nothing.

            From now on, you will only be known by that historical crime.

            Every time you assert your identity or experience, we will dismiss you as a descendant of a Murderer and Rapist. Your very existence is tainted. Your family is inauthentic and based on criminality. Your identity should be erased and your history revised.

            Now are you picking up what I’m putting down…?

          • Mary Ann

            What ever may be going on now it is still not a history to be proud of as Scradje wishes. I don’t feel proud that a lot of people in Britain got rich on the backs of slaves.

          • E.I.Cronin

            Scradje isn’t celebrating the worst at all. I haven’t seen a single comment from him suggesting the crimes of colonialism were something to be proud of.

            You are the one relishing and luxuriating in historical abuse. It’s a ghoulish staple of the Leftist diet and a quite deliberate tactic that simply doesn’t work anymore.

            He, and most of us here, focus on the abundant best and greatest elements of our societies and look forward to doing better.

        • Yvon & Barry Stuart-Hargreaves

          You forgot Austria, Hungary, Croatia and Romania and collaborators like Sweden.

          • Scradje

            Yep, loads of ’em.

  • MathMan

    Why does Ireland remain in? They are in the same economic league as Greece ect.

  • rtj1211

    Actually most of London is about trashing those that work smarter than you. If thick thugs become semi-alcoholic grunters working 80hrs+ a week, they cannot allow those who work 50hrs a week using their brains to survive. They do not believe those people can choose where to work, which football team to support, who to watch them with and where to ski. They must be crushed.

    I paid my taxes, paid for adult education, sold savings to tide me through and that’s what London did to me. Trashed me, stole from me, treated me like a black in Alabama.

    Oh, and they weren’t declaring their £100k of subsidised luxury housing to the taxman whilst earning six figure sums.

    Masters in tax evasion, electronic theft and bigotry, London is. And as of yesterday, eulogising theft as the primary trait of a PM.

  • red2black

    Festung Europa?

  • sidor

    Hansa included Novgorod as a major trade center with the East. I wonder if the newly proposed Hansean Union should also include Russia?

  • рабо́табо́т

    The problem Rob is that the EU is the new Hanseatic League in the eyes of the Hanseats.

  • JeromeCRuffner

    High Quality performance spectator…. <…. Find Here

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Experimenting with irony, Rod?

  • Carlos Delgado

    Wow! Just take look at these “hanseatic hard-working, tax-paying, largely agreeable protestant Northern European peoples”, in UK! Or in Germany… or in Sweden… or in The Netherlands… or in Belgium…
    Thank God they are not a bunch of catholic lazy southern european people who enjoy huge welfare payments!!
    http://i.telegraph.co.uk/…/01809/britmuslims_1809608c.jpg

  • Liberanos

    With you, Mr Liddle. I’ve always believed that the EU should leave the UK.

    • blandings

      It will have to hurry up

  • Carlos Delgado

    Wow! Just take a look at these “hanseatic hard-working, tax-paying, largely agreeable protestant Northern European peoples”, in UK! Or in Germany… or in Sweden… or in The Netherlands… or in Belgium…
    Thank God they are not a bunch of catholic lazy southern european people who enjoy huge welfare payments!!
    http://www.biyokulule.com/sawiro/sawirada_waaweyn/UK%20Muslims2.jpg

  • Abie Vee

    Does he actually get PAID for this? Old rope and money springs to mind.

    • blandings

      Then don’t read Abie – You’re not sophisitcated enough to appreciate him.

      • Abie Vee

        You don’t have to be too sophisticated to know bullshjt when you smell it.

        • blandings

          he’s winding you up.
          How old are you Abie?

  • Tony

    What a decidedly nasty little man.

    I mean, I enjoyed reading your pieces about deporting Islamic nut-jobs etc. but this is utter tripe.

    Lazy Catholics & hard working Protestants, pfff. Without giving you a much needed history lesson, let’s focus on the last 50-60 odd years. Would you describe as lazy the Catholic Irish who came to the UK post-WW2 to rebuild the country or the Catholic Polish who are today doing the work that the English Protestants don’t want to do.

    • rob232

      Not only that but the north of Europe is full of Catholics. Austria, Bavaria, Lithuania, Belgium ….. This guy is full of a lot of crap.

    • sidor

      The popular discussion of “protestant ethics” as a driving force of economic progress is thoroughly idiotic. The economic growth doesn’t have anything to do with “hard work”. Our ancestors 200 years ago worked much harder, and lived in misery. The only reason that we live so comfortably and work so little is the progress of science. Feynman mentioned that the most important event of the 19th century in terms of its impact on our life were Maxwell’s equations. The role of Reformation is in that it provided a social and ideological ground for developing science. The era of Enlightenment would have been impossible without huge butchery of the 17th century’s religious wars. The Catholics would have burned Newton in the fire of Inquisition.

  • Zed largo

    Wonderful send-up. And what makes it wonderful is that so much of it is true. Nice one!

  • ClausewitzTheMunificent

    Why don’t we kick out the city of Berlin? Too indebted!

  • paulus

    Finally some one with a plan. I thought no one was taking this situation seriously…

  • Ron

    Our EU masters have even more Eastern countries queuing up for membership before Cameron gives away all the money he can borrow.

  • Noa

    “My objections to our membership of the EU, back in the 1990s, were not predicated upon the fear that we would lose sovereignty and be forever at the behest of the Germans…”

    Why not Rod? Would your view be different now?

  • John Andrews

    I’ll vote for you Rod. Have you decided on a name for your party? If Sandi Toksvig can start a party, you can start a better one.

  • carpetburn

    1500 years after the last days of Rome and the descendants of the Barbarians and the countries that they live in have the upper hand over the countries that have descended from Rome and the Roman culture.

    No Roman citizen living in the Roman empire in its heyday would have imagined it possible.

    • Bonkim

      Today’s Italians are a dim shadow of the mighty Romans.

      • Mary Ann

        The real problem for Rome was the Christians promising life after death, it killed of the Roman gods.

        • sidor

          The Roman paganism is still alive: we celebrate it as Christmas, the longest night when Mithra was born.

          • Bonkim

            That I agree – Christmas, Easter, and the various man-made rituals have nothing to do with true Christianity. The Roman brand of Christianity is a far cry from the Nicene Creed and Apostolic Christianity.

          • Mary Ann

            I am amused that the supposed birthday of Jesus is fixed yet his death is a moveable feast tied to the first Sunday after the first full moon after the equinox, how pagan.

          • Bonkim

            No that was the lunar calendar they followed – as the Muslims do today – a year of 13 months.

            Christian Kings interfered with the natural cycles to fix festival days – you will find many Christian festivals such as Easter also follow the Lunar cycles. But then Easter is a Pagan festival.

          • Mary Ann

            So’s Christmas. Actually the lunar cycle makes more sense, 365 divides better by 13 than it does with 12, I wonder why 12 was chosen.

          • Bonkim

            Because the solar year with adjustment for a leap day every 4 years is more in sync with the natural seasons.

            ” Because the length of the lunar month is not an even fraction of the length of the tropical year, a purely lunar calendar quickly drifts against the seasons, which don’t vary much near the equator.” Wikipaedia and other references to history of Calendars.

          • Mary Ann

            Thanks.

          • Mary Ann

            Pity Christmas slipped away from the solstice.

        • Bonkim

          Everlasting Life on Earth though. But Christianity simply replaced the earlier military Empire following conversion. The early Popes played their political and military roles quite well and Charlemagne was crowned as the Holy Roman Emperor.

      • sidor

        Today’s Italians are working and feeding themselves. Rome of the Imperial period was a gigantic parasite, with crowds hanging around in its streets requiring free bread, wine and entertainment. Colosseum is a material evidence of the scale of parasitism of the Roman population. Greeks left us a great science and philosophy. Romans left us nothing. A dead end of evolution.

        • Bonkim

          Rome started as a City-State and its strength was in its Empire. Roman politics were often brutal – not unlike how the Mid-Eastern Despots came into power and were subsequently overthrown. And the might of Rome as its military organisation with material resources and fighting men drawn from all over the Empire – the sum total was greater than the individual components that made up the Empire – same with the British Empire. Greek Science and philosophy was mainly based on what they learnt from the East after Alexander’s invasion and from the land trade with China. Greece was not a unified tribal group but many warring factions – wars and revolutions make people innovative, help organisation.

          • sidor

            So, you don’t disagree that Rome was a gigantic parasite, in contrast to the modern Italy.

          • Bonkim

            Rome was a mighty Empire that controlled vast stretches of territory spanning many ethnicities, languages and cultures – its heritage was later copied by later generations – and much of its building and technical prowess used as the basis of renaissance Europe. Many principles developed by Roman engineers for pumping water from deep mines, transporting water across vast stretches of territory, harbour and bridge building were innovations forgotten when the Empire collapsed and resurrected by later engineers in Britain, Germany, etc.

            I see Rome (Pagan) as one of the great contributor to man’s history and civilization. Parasite – No!

  • Innit Bruv

    I see Mister Piggy is at it again:pandering to the lowest common denominator.
    What would such a philistine know about culture?

    • blandings

      “What would such a philistine know about culture?”

      And what do you know?

      Remember, there is always someone who knows more than you – me for instance.

      • Mary Ann

        such modesty.

        • blandings

          Yeah, but who started it?

  • bengeo

    What?
    Can I have half of what Rod just had, please? 🙂

    • blandings

      “Can I have half of what Rod just had, please? :-)”
      If you pay for it.

  • has suggested an alternative name for these southern redoubts: ‘Africa.’
    You, Mr Liddle sir, are a very naughty boy.

    I’ve been to Luxembourg. It was lovely and my experience a bit weird. We went into a deep forest on coaches and were entertained as if at a medieval castle. Some got back on the coach to go to a disco afterwards. I like dancing so considered it, though tired; hubby is good at walking and not much else physically, so we didn’t. I didn’t see much of Luxembourg proper — such is a business trip from the wife’s point of view. But I’ll never forget it.

    • Zalacain

      Man has a soul? Really? Any evidence?

      • ‘Soul’ is self-evident, like love. There’s no scientific formula or test for it but we all know it exists. ‘Soul’ can be defined as the collection of thoughts, feelings, impulses, desires and aversions that characterize and animate any one individual. In that sense higher animals may also be said to possess a soul, though it may be of a lower order than that of a highly reflective human being. The soul may be improved — which is to say, refined or made more generous or wisely comprehending — by virtue and by a study of human life. At the same time, a good soul itself elevates and makes humane the virtues. Where there are no decent human souls, there is no decent civilization.

        • Mary Ann

          Never mind, you can’t help it, brainwashed at school.

        • Zalacain

          I like your answer even if I don’t totally agree with it. What then is the difference between ‘soul’ and ‘mind’?

        • Zalacain

          Not everybody knows that the soul exists. I suspect many know it exists in the same way a 4 year old knows Father Christmas exists.
          To me, what you have described, is ‘the mind’.

          • But the soul is a way of understanding the mind that is more than, for instance, the chemistry of the brain. It is more than instinct. It has qualities that science can’t detect.

          • Zalacain

            If it cannot be detected it may not exist. Like a ghost.

          • “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.” (Sign hanging in Einstein’s office at Princeton)

          • Zalacain

            Einstein was an atheist who didn’t believe in souls.

          • This isn’t about religion, as I’ve already made clear — and anyway, who are you to say what Einstein did or did not believe, in the sense of understand? I have already said that the soul is a concept or summation of observable characteristics and behaviour, for which there is no more convenient and elastic term. Only a literalist thinks that everything ‘real’ in life can be put on a graph and measured (or would want to). Even the phenomenon of affection is something that must be felt to be understood: medical science can say that your heart rate slows and your blood pressure drops when stroking your dog, but it can’t gauge your affection or chart your love. Logic is a tool, not the boundary of experience. The idea that everything must be quantifiable in order to exist is nonsense.

          • Zalacain

            Actually you’ve not made clear that this isn’t about religion before this, you’ve just not mentioned it. You brought Einstein into the conversation, and I believe I’m able to interpret what he says as well as anybody else.
            Affection can be measured to some extent, at least it results in observable physical reactions as you have said. I have no idea if a neurologist can also detect affection in a a brain scan but imagine it’s possible. Even if not now, sometime in the future.
            But the soul has no effects (that I know off) that cannot be attributed to the mind or brain.
            The reason I mention atheism is because the soul is traditionally what is said to survive after the body (and brain) dies.

          • Since I did not mention religion, religion was outside my definition and so yes, it should have been clear. And I think you’re wrong about ‘detecting’ affection, in that science has no capacity to recognize what it is even looking for: as natural philosophy it can discern causes and effects but not inquire into motives, which do not for its purposes really exist; it can observe tribes and cities but it cannot ‘know’ what politics is. Only political philosophy (‘political science’ in contemporary, somewhat skewed parlance) can inquire into what politics is. There are whole aspects of human life in which science doesn’t have the answers because it doesn’t even have the questions. This is not a limitation of science (‘natural science’) in our time but a limitation of natural science, full stop.

          • Zalacain

            The fact that you don’t mention something doesn’t mean that you don’t want to talk about. Also, the soul and definitions of the soul tend to have a religious aspect, such as it’s immortality. Do you believe that the soul is immortal? Is the soul a separate entity to the brain? Is it in a different part of the body? If so, where?
            You also don’t answer my main point which is and I repeat I don’t know of any characteristic that can be attributed to the soul that can’t be attributed to the mind. Do you?

          • All my answers are embedded in what I’ve already stated. And no one is obliged to exclude from her definition any and all possible features — otherwise we’d be here all day, week, month…. So obviously, the soul is no more immortal than the body is. But it is more than the body. Cheerio!

  • artemis in france

    Oh dear, a bit ahead of the game , Rod. As I write Greece is still within the Euro group and its premier is acting contrary to the wishes of most of its people, claiming to be willing to do anything necessary rather than actually run the country himself. Plainly he’s a child and more fool the Greeks for voting for him! Ah well, one of these days it may be booted out of the EU but don’t hold your breath.

  • alfredo

    ALCPWSFEUFITDBNEHWP couldn’t include the Greeks then, Rod, because they’re emphatically not Catholic and they enjoy scarcely any welfare benefits at all, let alone huge ones. Apart from that …

    • Maureen Fisher

      If they got the levels of payouts Brits get in any of those countries, they’d think they’d died and gone to heaven!

  • blandings

    “All southern European countries will be excluded from my new union”

    Rod, you don’t really want a union at all do you?
    “Most likely you go your way and I’ll go mine”

  • Callan

    I think we have “less in common culturally” with Somalia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Jamaica and Romania, at least we have at present while we are still in the majority, but that doesn’t stop our leaders allowing them to flood into the country, indeed with members of Cameron’s government, Soubry and Gove to name but two, publicly encouraging the uncontrolled influx. Our leaders have actually implemented laws, The race Relations Act to name but one, to punish any of the indigenous population foolish enough to protest over this race replacement progrom. So we can assume that Cameron and his chums welcome the subsuming of our once proud country into an ever expanding EUSSR melting pot. I’m afraid there is little chance of the scenario you propose sir coming to fruition , much as it would be welcome.

    • Mary Ann

      Rather an emotive name for closer union in Europe.

    • Zalacain

      What do you know about Romania? And why do list it with non-European countries?

      • Callan

        1. There seem to be rather a lot of them begging , sleeping rough, robbing people at cashpoints often assisted by children and occupying too many places in the country’s prisons.
        2. There is a common thread, criminality and living off the taxpayer.

        • Zalacain

          I suspect you will find that most of them are gypsies. I Have spent a lot of time in Romania and find them to be hard working and intelligent but with a very corrupt government.

          • Bonkim

            What have got against the Romanies?

  • sidor

    A most natural division of Europe is the one that was observed in the 30-years wars, and other religious wars of the 17th century. The problem is that his division line will go across some countries, like Germany. Probably, Bismarck made a mistake by joining Prussia with Bavaria. Bismarck hated the essentially Catholic idea of United Europe, made war with France, and regarded Russia as a strategic ally.

    • Mary Ann

      Good thing that we have moved on from there.

      • sidor

        Revision of the results of the wars of Reformation that we are currently observing isn’t good. It implies return to the Dark Ages. Some indications of that are clear in the apparent decline of education and interest to science. The era of enlightenment seems to be over. Germany is a clear example: 100 years ago its education and science were envy of the world, now they have to import mathematicians, programmers and engineers. EU is another signal of counterreformation.

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  • Martin James Keatings

    Yep! Confirmed – Defo a whack job!

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  • Sten vs Bren

    “you work hard, you get paid, you submit your taxes, you go back to work and do it all again. A Gradgrindish and grim existence to be sure

    Why are f£$%ing journalists parroting this Government ‘work hard’ line? What the f£$%’s it got to do with them? If the journalists worked a bit harder it wouldn’t take forty years to find anything out about this country.

    “you Greeks. You never really wanted that, did you?”

    Yes, that’s a sufficiently facetious comment about a country that is suffering mass unemployment. Most inspiring.

  • greggf

    If there’s one thing I like about recessions, and even better are depressions, is that all chickens that were given flight by do-gooders over the last half century or so come home to roost and cr*p all over everybody.

    The machinations of the European Union have had their future consigned to history probably because the Gods inspired Tsipras’s referendum.
    The Pope’s Green encyclical has appeared just as the Maunder Minimum is about to rubbish his efforts.
    And ISIS can hardly be a worse anti-muslim advert for the Religion of Peace if the Devil incarnate had invented them.

    Don’t you think that God prefers economic downturns Rod?
    His invisible hand works in some strange ways to clear out man’s arrogant and ineffable creations every now and again….!

  • The Great Satan™

    Greece should be shown the door. They’re an albatross arounds Europe’s neck.

  • Sue Smith

    France, the socialist paradise. A friend has just returned from the winegrowing area of France after a decade living there with his French partner. He developed severe stress (due to domestic disharmony and a failing business) and went on anti-anxiety medication. Apparently the French won’t allow you to drive whilst taking these types of drugs so a taxi was paid for from the public purse for my friend for any trips that he needed to make where he would use his own car!!! Now, that’s a very very generous and wealthy nation right there!!!! That, or………..

  • Mahound

    Isn’t noticing that there are different cultures classed as “wayyysism” nowadays?

  • mrsjosephinehydehartley

    Well the bass certainly determines the superstructure in modern music…and when it hits, you feel no pain, as the song goes.

  • Apaliteno

    Impeccable timing, Rod, bringing Malaysia into this piece as a mini race war erupted yesterday at Low Yat plaza, a popular IT mall in Kuala Lumpur! (One small correction-Indians are bottom of the pile, financially, here, not Malays)

  • invention13

    Why don’t we just rename Germany the European Union and kick out all the other countries?

  • Maureen Fisher

    Rod, we have unsustainable levels of personal debt in this country and also “People

    Who Sleep From Eleven Until Five In The Daytime But Nonetheless Enjoy Huge Welfare Payments.” But you’re the one who voted Labour which encouraged welfare and debt dependency.

  • John Lea

    Face it, Rod, you’re just a bitter Millwall fan who can’t stand the fact that we taigs have all the best football teams (i.e. Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus, Man Utd, and, of couse, the mighty bhoys).

  • Beaumont7

    I am 100% sure Rod does not read these comments so I s will keep it short in the hope he might notice.

    1 Brussels is already called Brussel in, well, Brussels. In Brussels, which, surprise to the former editor of the Today programme, is the English word for the city, it is called. Bruxelles or Brussel depending on whether you are French speaking or Dutch (Flemish, same thing) speaking. So if you live in a Dutch speaking commune (suburb) like Anderlecht, it is Brussel. If in Francophone Uccle it is is Bruxelles. But not Brussels. Firenze/Florence. Please Rod go to see Anderlecht play before they quit their GREAT football stadium for some nondescript Wembley like thing in 3/4 years.

    2. Rod said a while ago that Belgium is a flat boring country. Tell that to the Tour de France riders who had their first king of the mountains stage in the Ardennes last week and spectacular crash. It may not be the Alps but it sure ain’t flat. Maybe you thought it was the Netherlands Rod? Easy mistake for an ex editor of the Today programme. Battle of the BULGE may have been a clue.

    3. Belgium is 85% Catholic. Mr Schauble, a Protestant, has written a book on the importance of Religious faith in those who govern us. Look it up.

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  • The PrangWizard of England

    Pardon me, maybe you do not wish me to be serious, but would it not be much better if we left?

  • The UK is not longer a largely Protestant country. In terms of church attendance the Catholics and Protestants are about equal.

    • Harry Pond

      Give it fifty years, we’ll be a largely Islamic country I fear.

    • barney

      Silly woman. Of course it is a Protestant country. No way is it culturally Catholic. You are getting your categories mixed up.

  • tolpuddle1

    If only everyone was as honest, hard-working, productive and godly as you, Rod !

    Then Britain would be in an even deeper hole than it is.

  • tolpuddle1

    North European prejudice against South Europeans – the acceptable face of racial prejudice.

    Criticise black people and a million indignant brollies will (rightly) thump your head. But insult Greeks or Italians and that’s perfectly O.K ?

    And yes, Rod, such prejudice and bigotry ARE very Protestant – what else did Protestantism ever comprise ?

  • tolpuddle1

    Rod Liddle – the Voice of the Saloon Bar.

    Though rather less wise, informed and sensible.

  • MathMan

    Everything Nigel Farage said about the EU is demonstrated to be true in the Grexit fiasco. And yet, he was and continues to be derided on every front. Why?

  • Corbus

    Two tier system. Do well (keep your house in order) and move up to the premier division. Do badly and down you go. No need to kick’em out.

  • How about kick out Ireland and the UK?

  • Crayven

    The Onion?

    • Scrupulous.Geographer

      Worse. British politics. From piggate to a politician who in right wingers opinion didn’t bow low enough, so he should be shot. Oh, wait! I keep confusing it with another country 🙂

  • Scrupulous.Geographer

    Why do all that? Just kick the UK out. Its contribution is no longer constructive. It’s non-concrete list of ‘demands’ to appease bigots (yes, bigots) and people who naively think that leaving the EU will make the UK a proper superpower again. No. You have to send China, the US and India to Mars. Also, ironically, the EU, ad then… maybe you can start competing with Japan, Brazil and Mexico. Either way, please contribute or leave.

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