Monthly Archives: February 2014
The above link shows an initiative by the UK government. However well-intentioned the aims might be, and however good it may do, and I hope it will, nevertheless whoever decided what to call it needs to be given a special edition framed gold-leaf P45 form (that’s a “pink slip”, by the way, for the benefit of my American readers, which my stats say are in the majority, and who are always welcome).
“Emerging Europe” and “Visehrad Four” was the term applied to these four countries way back in the end of the last century while these countries were the focus of attention, we didn’t know much about them other than that they were neighbours and that they emerged from behind the Iron Curtain at about the same time. In the mind of most Westerners Poland and its southern neighbours were expected to be quite similar and the major differences in culture between them which stretch back into the very different histories of these two areas over hundreds of years before the period of Soviet hegemony. Everyone had in their family people who knew life before, people were mentally prepared to spring back, and that is exactly what they did, with year after year of growth outstripping Western Europe and most of the rest of the world over a 20 year period, with legislative reforms and international consultation enabling unprecedented transfer of administrative know-how. These countries also had the advantage of computerising to a much more advanced level immediately than we had – their offices were not littered with massive green or amber screen monitors, most business people went straight onto Windows with its Word and Excel and cannot even remember the MS-DOS antecedents we struggled with and the hardware and software we clung too even when it was superseded in order not to waste the earlier IT investments.
The countries we are talking about avoided many of the errors made by a number of Western countries, problems now very apparent in the banking systems, education and health systems of western countries, problems with housing, transport, etc which are not so problematic in the more easterly countries.
On top of that these are countries which, apart from a very short period of forty years which is now 25 years over, were in the central current of European culture and thought, and had been for hundreds of years. When Luther nailed his 99 theses to the wall and they were being discussed days later in Oxford University, he did it in what was to become the German Democratic Republic, a country which, but for the existence of a larger brother constitutionally committed to reuniting with it, would also today be in the group you are calling ‘Emerging Europe”. If I mention the list of literary, musical, philosophical, artistic and other gems of this region the list (or should that be “liszt”?) would be very long indeed. These are not cultures which are only now emerging as Europe. You might call them rediscovered Europe, but emerging? Scarcely.
Furthermore, if we are going to continue to use the “Emerging Europe” label for successful, thriving European Union member states all fo which are in Schengen (unlike the UK) and one of which uses the Euro already (unlike the UK) and whose remaining currencies except for the HUF of late have proven to be just about as buoyant as the GBP for the last dozen or so years or better ( – take the Polish zloty for instance. 10 years ago precisely a pound would buy you 7.24 PLN. Today it will but you only 5.06 PLN. It has lost about 30% over those ten years against the zloty. Incomparison to the zloty, I’m afraid our currency looks like a soft currency against the zloty. Fact. Sorry, but fact) then what term are we going to use for countries which remain outside the EU, which continually have GDPs per head lower than 10,000 USD, which continually seem unable to introduce the reforms required in the Acquis Communautaire?
Let’s maybe have a poll as what what we can call those countries, if the likes of Poland or the Czech Republic is called “Emerging Europe”:
In summary, please for goodness sake stop referring to Central European EU members as “Emerging Europe”! The term is dated, was patronising even when it was current, and just makes the British look out of touch when it is used by us, and in my experience more often than not only serves to offend the people from the Region, although, being highly cultured and European, they are usually able not to show it.
So I thought I’d show it for them.
The problem in my view is that some white folk who learned about all the evil stuff that, for example, the British ruling class did around the world until we all gradually woke up to the fact that it was not sustainable, they think that the onus is on them to redress the balance in some way.
On that basis, I should be getting reparations from the Third World at the rate of one Mango a month in perpetuity plus the occasional sexual favour from one of those black ladies you see on all the music videos, which I will pass on anyway in the interests of my family and my soul. But anyway that’s nothing to what I’m owed by the Queen of Denmark for excesses perpetrated during the Viking invasions.
So in short, even though I can say that it was shameful it’s not MY shame that the British, for example, tried to make China a drug addicted slave colony and then smuggled out their tea plants to mass plantations in India and decided we didn’t need the Chinese so much any more, at least we gave back Hong Kong honorably. Certain others didn’t give back Vladivostok, ceded at the same Peking Convention, because they are not leveraged by the same soft conscience that seems to weigh us down. But it’s not MY shame that “we” had a past with China that isn’t glorious but it isn’t MY cost that “we” gave back Hong Kong (I didn’t own any of it anyway) and it isn’t MY pride that “we” gave it back – nobody asked for my opinion about it, they just did it on my behalf and on the behalves (?) of another 58 million entirely unconsulted British people.
Greetings from a nice warm spot by the window with a blizzard going on outside, here in Moscow.
I had a comment squelched by the Daily Telegrumph Moderator today, but that’s fine. I saved it, and can reproduce it here, where there is freedom of speech.
It was all about the fate of the Danish giraffe, Marius, who got ethnically cleansed for not being good enough for the ScandinAryan giraffe gene pool and fed to lions in Copenhagen Zoo as shown below (photo taken from Tumblywhump as compensation for wasting my time – that’s after all what it amounts to when a moderator squelches one of my finely-crafted commentaaages).
This was sad because a billionaire in America had offered to take Marius to a retirement home for giraffes in Beverley Hills and given a load of money even for him to Copenhagen zoo, but the director of the zoo was adamant that Marius was for the chop. So unceremoniously they killed him and carved him up and fed him to lions in front of the parents an children visiting the zoo.
That’s the background.
My comment was as follows:
Where are the so-called “Islamic fundamentalists” when you need them? When the Danes draw some funny pictures of a bloke in a turban, they come out and make a terrific fuss, but now, when they really is something rotten in the state of Denmark, as in rotting giraffes being fed to lions, they keep as quiet as a mouse and have nothing to say? Haven’t they read the verse where it says “انت سوف لا اذبح خاصتك الثيران الأسير، بقرات، وغيرها من البهائم الطاهرة وتتغذى منه إلى الأسود، لم يكن أي من خاصتك حمار وحشي والزرافات والإبل والحمير وإلاند. ولا رئيس ولا ذيل ولا قدم ولا الأسلحة ولا أرجل ولا أجنحة ولا الجسم منهم انت سوف يسبب إلى أن تستهلك من قبل قط كبير “, “Thou shalt not slay thy captive oxen, kyne, and other clean beasts and feed thereof to lions, neither of thy zebras, camelopards, okapis, quaggas and elends. Neither the head nor the tail nor the feet nor the arms nor legs nor wings nor body of them shalt thou cause to be consumed by a large cat” (Sura 345.6)
Evidently there is little freedom of speech in the UK these days as I noted that this gem of mine was quickly removed even though the readers of the Tellygrump had managed to vote it up quite strongly in a short time and retweet it around the internet a bit. None of their readers disagreed or wanted to take issue with it, or vote it down, only to support it or vote it up. So how come their moderators are so out of synch with the tastes and opinions of their readership?
Junkalists are the first ones to weep and wail and gnash their smelly teeth when anyone curtails their freedom of the press (which they rarely take proper advantage of anyway) but they will happily curtail that of their own stakeholders the readership with never a care. Thankfully I have my own blog and can have my say anyhow without the by-your-leave of some wannabe Fleet Street hack who got confined to the backroom moderating the online version of the Tuffygroll.
I sometimes think that airport shops are simply there to prey on the captive audience which is standing around, bored, waiting for a plane. I always laugh when they ask me to show my boarding card – even if I tell them I’m not leaving the EU and therefore have to pay the VAT, not that it makes any difference most of the time if you are leaving the EU – it’s like you’re getting privileged treatment to be able to pay a few dozen percent more than you’d pay on the highstreet.
It works a bit like hotels. The posher they are, the more they rip you off with overpriced minibars, extra for internet, and nonsense like that. The same Cialdini-ism seems to be used in reverse by these airport shops, in that they think that if they treat you like rubbish and overcharge you, then you’ll feel like you are in a privileged setting and that it behoves you to shell out for things you probably didn’t even want or need in the first place.
Some places are worse than others, but the airports that will actually give you some kind of bargain seem to be in the minority, an increasing small minority.
One time in Prague airport I wanted to buy a deodorant as it was a hot day and I didn’t normally carry a toilet bag as I had a flat in Prague with that job. I was asked by the sullen saleswoman if Warsaw was my final destination. I quipped that I hoped not, as I hoped to go to heaven one day. At this her eyes clouded over, she just took the purchase out of the bag, placed it on a little shelf in her booth and refused to serve me.
Evidently I had offended against the culture of the Czech Republic. I knew they were the most atheistic country in the world, I just didn’t realise they were so religious about it.
What’s your experience with airport shops? Do you tend to use them or not?