Guardian Channel Thatcher on Europe 119

I have arrived back in the UK from Ghana, and catching up on an unforgivably tendentious series of articles on Europe and governance in the Guardian. They are predicated on a Eurobarometer poll that showed, according to the Guardian, that:

Public confidence in the European Union has fallen to historically low levels in the six biggest EU countries, raising fundamental questions about its democratic legitimacy more than three years into the union’s worst ever crisis, new data shows.

That is not an unfair characterisation. In the UK, for example, 69% of the population disagreed with the proposition that they trust the EU as am institution. What is totally and tendentiously unfair, given the construct the Guardian puts on this information in a whole series of articles. is that the same poll shows that in the UK, 77% of the population disagreed with the proposition that they trust the UK government as an institution.

So the Guardian would have been on even stronger ground to assert:

Public confidence in the Westminster government has fallen to historically low levels, raising fundamental questions about its democratic legitimacy more than three years into the coalition, new data shows.

But it didn’t assert that, because it seeks to reassure us that the answer to our woes is to bring in Ed Balls and the red neo-cons who bailed out the banks, introduced tuition fees in England and Wales and started privatising the NHS, rather than George Osborne and the blue neo-cons who continued the process. In fact Westminster is not the answer to any question, in the eyes of the public.

Simon Jenkins article on the subject appears directly to be channelling the spirit of Thatcher. I can’t see a phrase here which could not have been penned by Thatcher, especially where he gets all sonorous:

“Treaties are not for ever, but nation states are”

The modern concept of a nation state accepted as the worldwide standard unit of government is essentially a nineteenth century construct, and a great many states have fallen apart recently. Besides which, Mr Jenkins is not keen on Scotland, which arguably was the nation which first articulated many of the properties of the modern idea of a nation state in the Declaration of Arbroath. He doesn’t want Scotland to prove him right about nation states being forever and thus irrepressible. He actually doesn’t believe what he writes himself. But I divert.

Jenkins’ ultra-conservative view is best summed up by his assertion that a major problem of the European Parliament is that it has “no governing party discipline and reflects no identifiable interest”. In other words, it is not like Westminster.

But party discipline is precisely what is wrong with Westminster. MPs are “whipped” – a most appropriate word, into voting in favour of the commercial interests, which are overwhelmingly, in the UK, City of London financial interests with the only major competition being arms industry interests, which support their party structures and promote the leadership of their parties. It makes no difference at all which party gets elected. If a party leader emerges who might actually make any difference, Murdoch and the establishment can be relied on to destroy him, witness Michael Foot and Charlie Kennedy, the two most decent – and talented – men to lead parties in my lifetime.

Jenkins thinks the problem with the European Parliament is the lack of this systematic domination of darkness. In truth, the problem of the European Parliament is that it lacks the power to bring the European Union under democratic control, but that is a defect capable of remedy.

Here are some more details of the Eurobarometer poll the Guardian omitted in its total misrepresentation. 70% wish to see a stronger EU role in regulating the financial services industry (p.28) and on the same page, 76% want to see stronger EU coordination of economic policy.

Large majorities across Europe support:
the introduction of a tax on financial transactions (71%)
tighter rules for credit rating agencies (79%)
a tax on profits made by banks (83%)
tighter rules on tax avoidance and tax havens (61%)

These are all areas where the Tory government has been among those blocking effective EU action, against the will of the people of the EU.

85% agreed that the EU would have to work close together as a result of the economic crisis, and 53% agreed the EU would emerge from it stronger in the long run. (p. 40).

The European public are Keynesian. Tellingly only 39% of the population believe that reducing public deficits and debt are the answer to the economic crisis (p. 25). Which shows what kind of place a truly democratic Europe would be.

The final nail in the Rusbridger/Jenkins/Thatcher argument is that 23% believe the European Union is the most important body for dealing with the economic crisis, as opposed to 20% who thought their national government or 13% who thought the IMF (p.17).

Rusbridger and Jenkins each accepts a salary many times that of the Prime Minister from the Guardian Trust, at the same time the Guardian is making strong cuts in staff numbers to reduce costs and reorienting its online content to the preferences and prejudices of a US audience to try and improve its online revenue stream. I presume they produce this UKIP friendly bilge because its popular with the very right wing audience that, judging by their comments sections, they have succeeded in attracting to click and boost those advertising counters.

It was once a good newspaper. As Rusbridger, war criminal cheerleader Michael White, super-rich Simon Jenkins and the others all seem determined to go on as long as Mugabe, I expect soon very few will remember the days when the Guardian was a good newspaper.

119 thoughts on “Guardian Channel Thatcher on Europe

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  • Magrat Tatcher

    Re “Oop and her”

    I will not post in haste
    I will not post in haste
    I will……………………

  • April Showers

    More on the subject of tax fraudsters and their enablers such as HSBC

    Lagarde list whistleblower faces nervous wait for extradition verdict

    Hervé Falciani awaits outcome of legal tussle between Spain and Switzerland over his role in exposing potential tax cheats

    When he appeared in a Madrid court, banking whistleblower Hervé Falciani was disguised with a wig and thick-framed glasses.

    Facing extradition, the man behind the “Lagarde list” of potential tax cheats said in a newspaper interview he had fled to Spain last year when the US authorities told him it was the only country in Europe where his life would not be in danger.

    Now Falciani, 41, whose spectacular theft of account data from a Swiss subsidiary of HSBC in 2006-7 has helped uncover thousands of wealthy tax fraudsters, is about to find out if he will be extradited to Switzerland, where he faces prosecution and up to seven years in jail.

    The man seen as the Bradley Manning of global tax fraud awaits a decision from Spanish judges, which may come this week. But the Spanish do not seem eager to hand him over.

  • nevermind

    Thanks for that reminder of the unspoken and little recognised annihilation of the Chagossian’s rights to visit their island and their ancestors graves, 5566h.

    To have your peaceful island turned into an attack base for Afghanistan’s occupying forces, guaranteed and signed by HMQ, is untenable.

    Usually the British are up for supporting the underdog and oppressed, but this issue has been used a foreign office football.

    Thanks for the update on Falciani, April showers, he’ has done us all a service to expose the Heroin Speed Bush and Cocaine dealers of this world. So looking forward to change my HSBC bank account come May, just as the little ol’ lady, April mentioned yesterday, said’ they are all a bunch of crooks and criminals’.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    @ Doug Scorgie (09h01)

    “Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)
    26 Apr, 2013 – 10:51 pm

    Please read referenced articles properly before commenting; дрочила

    “The ambitious AIM, Cameron said, was a commemoration, like the diamond jubilee CELEBRATIONS, that “captures our national spirit in every corner of the country…””


    Thank you for proving my point.

    The aim , therefore, is to COMMEMORATE WW1. (We are talking about the past.)

    The Diamond Jubilee was CELEBRATED . (The event was celebrated at the time)

    Your post, at 14h19 yesterday, asked :

    “Why celebrate the centenary of the outbreak of WW1,…”

    I was pointing out that you had (I assume deliberately) used the wrong word.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    Exexpat asks :

    “Please post the script again and maybe Mary might be tempted to come back?”


    Are you sure she hasn’t done so already?

    “Left” in April and returned in April?


  • doug scorgie

    Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    27 Apr, 2013 – 1:50 pm

    My thesaurus defines commemorate as (in this order): Celebrate, pay tribute to, pay homage……

    You are a nit-picking дрочила.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    @ Scorgie :

    I think you need to consult a good dictionary if you’re interested in the difference between to the two words, rather than looking in a thesaurus for near synonyms. I recommend the Shorter OED in 2 volumes. Invest!

  • nevermind

    Deprived of intuition, it asked

    ‘I was just wondering if there was any particular reason why you referred specifically to a Maori battalion, given that Maori troops were in a considerable minority among the NZ troops sent to fight?’

    No wondrous reason, just remembering those our Clegg’ish Cameron will not make much of, hence I will.

    E kore ratou e koroheketia
    Penei i a tatou kua mahue nei
    E kore hoki ratou e ngoikore
    Ahakoa pehea i nga ahuatanga o te wa.
    I te hekenga atu o te ra
    Tae noa ki te aranga mai i te ata
    Ka maumahara tonu tatou ki a ratou.

    Ka maumahara tonu tatou ki a ratou.

  • April Showers

    For anyone interested

    Page 3 Profile: Alisher Usmanov, Britain’s richest man

    and on BBC Radio 4 Profile this evening

    Alisher Usmanov
    Duration: 13 minutes

    First broadcast:Saturday 27 April 2013
    Alisher Usmanov has just been named the richest man in Britain. Born in Uzbekistan, Usmanov made his fortune in the collapsing Soviet Union. His empire has stretched from plastic bags to minerals, telecoms, Facebook and Arsenal Football Club. But, as Mark Coles reports, Usmanov’s rise has not been straightforward, nor free of controversy.

    They can say that last sentence again. They had Myners on who was slightly admiring of the crook/criminal. Myners was an M&S director and was brought into Brown’s cabinet as a financial adviser and then ennobled. Also Chairman of the Guardian Media Group and on the boards of Land Securities and Powergen. All bases covered.

    I note Craig’s opinion was not sought by the BBC.

  • April Showers

    I should have said that Myners is very admiring of Usmanov, not slightly admiring.

    Coining it.

    Myner’s interests

    Myners is a director of Usmanov’s mobile phone company OJSC MegaFon and of RIT Capital Partners which is an investment trust headed by Lord Rothschild.

    James Leigh-Pemberton. an old Etonian and the son of the ex Bank of England Governor, now Lord Kingsdown, is also on the RIT board. He is Receiver General for the Duchy of Cornwall and CEO of Credit Suisse. His father was closely involved in Duchy affairs.,_Baron_Kingsdown

    It’s called ‘keeping it in the (royal) family’.

    Favourite cartoon of Usmanov here

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    26 April 2013:

    Bradley Manning will not be a grand marshal in this year’s San Francisco Pride celebration. His nomination was a mistake and should never have been allowed to happen. A staff person at SF Pride, acting under his own initiative, prematurely contacted Bradley Manning based on internal conversations within the SF Pride organization. That was an error and that person has been disciplined. He does not now, nor did he at that time, speak for SF Pride.

    Bradley Manning is facing the military justice system of this country. We all await the decision of that system. However, until that time, even the hint of support for actions which placed in harms way the lives of our men and women in uniform — and countless others, military and civilian alike — will not be tolerated by the leadership of San Francisco Pride. It is, and would be, an insult to every one, gay and straight, who has ever served in the military of this country. There are many, gay and straight, military and non-military, who believe Bradley Manning to be innocent. There are many who feel differently. Under the US Constitution, they have a first amendment right to show up, participate and voice their opinions at Pride this year.

    Specifically, what these events have revealed is a system whereby a less-than-handful of people may decide who represents the LGBT community’s highest aspirations as grand marshals for SF Pride. This is a systemic failure that now has become apparent and will be rectified. In point of fact, less than 15 people actually cast votes for Bradley Manning. These 15 people are part of what is called the SF Pride Electoral College, comprised of former SF Pride Grand Marshals. However, as an organization with a responsibility to serve the broader community, SF Pride repudiates this vote. The Board of Directors for SF Pride never voted to support this nomination. Bradley Manning will have his day in court, but will not serve as an official participant in the SF Pride Parade.…..d-marshal/

    Jesus H. Christ on rubber crutches. Fuck ‘em.

  • nevermind

    What do you reckon April showers? could we possibly construe that Alisher Usmanaov is a murderer of many Uzbek ambitions? that he is just another Oligarch bully who has amassed riches and is now hiding in a country that has for centuries been known for their fascist colonial ambitions (now neo colonialists) and their old boy banking?

  • Cryptonym

    Shocking Ben, I take it they’ve been knobbled. I hope they re-consider an honorary role for him, exceeding a mere grand master (whatever that is), in absentia, and they’ve no control over individual or group actions flouting these arbitrary prohibitions. And yet so many of those countless others, military and civilian, many millions in fact, had the same access to the same material and could just have easily found a conscience and spoke out about the errant machinations of the US war machine, but never, choosing instead a role as accessories after the fact to the starkest most deplorable double-dealing, practised malice and war crimes.

  • crab

    Backlash Ben! 750+ comments tearing the warboners to shreds!

    uuurgh finished Usmanov’s shmoozing R4 profile, small mercy it was only 13 minutes of villainous PR.

    Habercakes.. you must have a grown up friend reading these threads with you – you do? Excellent stuff 😀

  • April Showers

    Who knows Nevermind? The programme ended with a suggestion to his seeking political power in Uzbekistan which has been denied. His genetic inheritance gave him a desire to acquire, whether riches, assets, objects and houses so why not a shoe in after Karimov, Gulnara permitting.

    The charges of fraud and conspiracy which led to his imprisonment in Uzbekistan were brought when Uzbekistan was under Soviet control in 1980 when Brezhnev was leader. His conviction was squashed in 1986 under Gorbachev. Karimov has ruled since 1989, becoming president of Uzbekistan in 1991.

    More lines on maps.

    £13billion is an unimaginable sum. Mrs Irina Usmanov does not look capable of performing any gymnastics these days.

  • April Showers

    I see the Westons in that rich list. Shame on them for their investment in Primark, supplied by the sweatshops in Bangladesh one of which has just collapsed and where over 300 are dead. Imagine over 2000 people working in this building where two floors had recently been added illegally.

    Wittington Investments Limited is an unquoted British investment company. It is 79.2% owned by the Garfield Weston Foundation, which is one of the UK’s largest grant-making trusts, and 20.8% owned by members of the Weston family.

    Wittington Investments owns 54.5% of Associated British Foods, which is one of the largest food companies in the world, and is itself the parent company of Primark, the largest discount clothing chain in the UK and Ireland. Wittington Investments also owns London department store Fortnum & Mason and Heal’s, a UK chain of homeware and furnishing department stores, It also owns De Bijenkorf an upscale department store in Holland. Associated British Foods also own British Sugar processor of all of the UK beet crop and producer of half the UK consumption of sugar.

    At 5 April 2008, the trustees of the Garfield Weston Foundation valued their 79.2% stake in Wittington Investments at £3.62 billion.

    On 26 March 2011 Wittington Investments was targeted by UK Uncut during anti-cuts protests for tax avoidance by its subsidiary company Associated British Foods.[1] The tax avoidance involved loans between ABF/Primark and their affiliate ABF European Holdings & Co SNC, a Luxembourg-based partnership.[2] The protest took the form of a mass sit-in in Fortnum & Mason.[3]

    Shame on all those who cart the junk away in those brown paper carrier bags, the latter being so ecologically friendly! Never a thought for the wage slaves and the sweatshops that lie behind the operation.

  • Sophie Habercake

    Aril Showers. WoW! You must never sleep…a bit like dad in just that one detail.

    Dad’s still down the garden in the shed you know. Mum says it’s better leaving trays of food on the step than having him appear late for meals and rant on about “….that nest of halfwits that I have to patrol….” between mouthfuls before scurrying back and shouting at Mrs Forthby’s cat.

    Tiddles had her revenge though cos dad left his tray out on the step too long and didn’t get his kippers or milk, and even got his cup of tea knocked over.

    And Crab. Does Gary’s big sister Anna count as a grownup? She says dad should get a medal for his contribution to great literature….NOT! Anyway aren’t grownups the real problem, swanning around as though they owned the planet. You would’n’t get anyone in my class, not even Edwina Braintree selling white fophorous to the IDF.

    And I’ve got a message for Mr Klever-Klogs Komodo. Just because you post all that brilliant stuff and think Palestinians are people too doesn’t mean you can toy around with the emotions of all the girls then forget about them every time you see a nubile young iguana in a wet t-shirt.

  • Tiddles

    Thanks for the kippers Habba! Pruuuurp!

    Human grown-ups definitely the main problem. Cats wouldn’t use white phosphorous, not even on Mrs Woodhouse’s “Dog Etiquette” class at Surbiton Community Centre.

  • April Showers

    The Guardian censoring free speech, again. From Medialens.

    Another article unceremoniously shut down by the Guardian.
    Posted by zemblan on April 28, 2013, 10:56 am

    Two comments lie below it, yet the article went live yesterday at 20.30pm. Seems like some severe moderating has gone on. One wonders whether Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Primark, and the other companies using this ramshackle factory, lobbied the Guardian to close the comments section; fearing, as they should, that the death of 352 people is bad publicity for their brand. How would one be able to find out whether the Guardian deliberately shut down the comments section under pressure from such groups?

    There is something very eerie about this:

    Also, the Guardian has form when it comes to closing down comments that are unsympathetic to the view it is promoting. Consider the recent article by Norman Warner as a notable example:

    Thread –

  • doug scorgie

    28 Apr, 2013 – 11:40 am

    “A more accurate turn of phrase would be: рукоблудник”

    Yes, thanks Fedup

  • Komodo

    Sophie, how can I atone? I have been digesting a buffalo for the last two days, and I didn’t see your posts. You may be sure that my love for you is even stronger than my breath, and I am immune to the conventional and superficial charms of iguanettes whether clad in damp Primark or even wholly unclothed, with their abundant assets provocatively on display

    Your father is a very unhappy man, Sophie, and I am sure he appreciates everything you do for him here. So please stay, and forgive me.

  • April Showers

    This was in the Times today, behind their paywall here. As much of it as I can copy.

    A property company co-owned by David Mellor, the former Conservative minister, “acted dishonestly” in a fraud on a Russian investor, the Appeal Court has ruled.

    Mr Mellor, who was known as the Minister for Fun, was paid £587,000 for his role in recruiting investors for a massive property development on the outskirts of Reading, Berkshire, the court was told. But while the former MP and his business partners made fortunes from

    Company linked to Mellor ‘acted dishonestly’ in investment fraud

    A property company co-owned by David Mellor, the former Conservative minister, “acted dishonestly” in a fraud on a Russian investor, the Appeal Court has ruled.

    Mr Mellor, who was known as the Minister for Fun, was paid £587,000 for his role in recruiting investors for a massive property development on the outskirts of Reading, Berkshire, the court was told. But while the former MP and his business partners made fortunes from the scheme, the Russian investor Parvel Lisitsin lost £2million…

    It does not appear to be ‘news’ as the same information was contained in this Telegraph article dated July 2012. Why is being repeated?

  • April Showers

    Just a little of Thatcher’s legacy.

    Npower have been rumbled! Over the past few days a top tax expert has been investigating their accounts. Today the results of that investigation – paid for by donations from 38 Degrees members – are splashed across the Sun newspaper. [1]

    The investigation reveals the likely explanation for why Npower aren’t paying any corporation tax – and surprise surprise, it’s not something you’ll see mentioned in any of their publicity. It seems they’re funneling profits made in the UK through a shell company in Malta. Why, you ask? Well, it looks like it helped them dodge a whopping £60 million in tax over the last four years! [2]

    We’ve got them. Other tax dodging companies have backed down under the glare of publicity. Today’s newspaper coverage is a great start. Can you add to the pressure by helping prove to Npower that the public expect them to pay their fair share of tax?

    Let’s make the petition huge. Please sign here:

    With a popular petition and strong press coverage, we’ve got them just where we want them. Every signature on the petition sends Npower a more powerful signal: that tax dodging is a PR disaster, and if they don’t want to lose customers they need to change their ways.

    This is more sinister than just a spot of clever accounting. Every time a company like Npower avoids paying their fair share, it means one of two things for the rest of us: more cuts or tax rises.

    People power has won where the government has, so far, failed to act. Last year 38 Degrees members forced London Olympics sponsors to drop plans to take special tax dodges. Then our public outcry finally forced Starbucks to give some of those frappuccino profits back to the community that’s supported them. [3]

    We’ve won before – and if we can keep the heat on Npower now, we’ll win again.

    From 38 Degrees

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