September 01, 2005
Yes indeedy! Margot Wallstrom is back from her summer hols and blogging again! Joy be unconstrained! Euronihilism rides again!
While cleaning and painting a big old house in the north of Sweden me and my husband discussed...
(A gentle hint if your first language is not English. My husband and I, as HRH E II has been saying for decades.)
But, but! A large house? Think of the heating bills up there in the north! Global warming! Rampant consumption! Aieeeee!
Also, think of how high the taxes in Sweden must actually be. On a quarter million euros a year she can’t afford to get the workmen in! Even on 130 euros an hour, there’s not enough left to hire a painter. Scary system, eh?
...whether we belong to the last (?) generation having learnt to regard physical hard work as a virtue. I remember my parents attitude towards laziness: it was the worst of offences to call somebody lazy…
This is actually an extremely important point. There’s a line of thinking that the reason that the much more collective (socialist if you wish) society and economy of Sweden works is precisely because of this attitude. In the words of one native Swedish commentator, looking out the window at a winter’s day, those without that habit had frozen, frozen themselves right out of the gene pool many centuries ago.
...but we debated the mindset and agreed that it is probably much wiser to apply the principle of “work to live – not live to work”
And will the society continue to work with this change in attitude?
Then all the terrible pictures from forest fires in Portugal, floods in other parts of Europe and finally Katrina – the storm hitting the southern states in the USA . Unfortunately: with accelerating climate change we will see more of these extreme weather conditions and phenomena in the future.
For at least two of these three this comment is complete and total tosh. Rampant rubbish. Partisan propaganda (but then that is what Margot is hired for, isn’t it?).
The forst fires down here in Iberia are not, repeat not, anything at all to do with global warming or climate change. They are the result of a drought, one well within recorded natural variations. But here’s the killer point. The rain down here comes mainly in the winter (what is known as a Mediterranean climate, despite being on the Atlantic) and they were indeed very light last year. However, climate change is expected to bring warmer and wetter winters. That is, climate change will STOP the problems of summer fires in Portugal.
Hurricanes? There’s some supposition that increasing surface water temperatures will increase the violence of storms that do occur, but this is, at present, exactly that, supposition. The number (frequency, if you wish) of such storms follows a decades long pattern and certainly is still well within past recorded such patterns. A caegory 5 making landfall in the US? Horrendous, catastrophic, deadly, but not, in any way that anyone knows as yet, anything to do with climate change.
The rains in Central Europe? Sorry, don’t know. But two out of three of the examples given are nothing to do with climate change. Partisan propaganda.
Chinese clothes piled up in European ports has naturally been dominating the news reporting lately. The Commission is trying to find a practical way to deal with the problem and to unblock the goods as soon as possible seems like a sensible solution in the interest of European consumers as well.
I think the important point here is that they are not actually Chinese clothes. They belong to European companies. Quite why Mandelson (who is, as we know, a complete tit) wishes to bankrupt such is beyond me but Margot does seem to be getting the right idea here. Let the clothes in. As indeed, we should let in anything else that a European decides they might wish to purchase. You know, this centuries old idea of free trade.
Here’s an idea. Margot’s office is just down the corridor from Petey’s isn’t it? Why not pop down and have a word? You know, "looks like you’ve cocked up again, Old Boy. We won’t bother to tell you how to write a resignation letter, we’re sure you know how to do that already. You know, third time lucky and all that."
Aye, it’s grand to have the lady back, is it not?
June 30, 2005
Soon, all your Europe will belong to us.
Some months ago Richard North began to refer to Margot Wallstrom as the Fragrant One. I
stole borrowed the basic concept and expanded it into "The Ever Blessed and Fragrant" Margot, or TEBAF for short and then started using it here, at Techcentralstation and in the comments section at her blog.
Lo and behold, a speech by TEBAF yesterday:
But on my blog, which is open to anyone to comment on, some of the commentators call me other things.
….or with a changed tone of voice…. “the Ever Blessed and Fragrant Margot Wallström.” I would call that an example of the art of the subtle insult…
I think we’re all in rather more trouble than we realised. One of those who run Europe actually thinks that Tim Worstall is subtle?
Still, now that we’ve managed to open the communication channel, got the Commissioner listening, chanelling our words even, a few more phrases that we could ask her to use in future speeches, some suggestions for the scribes:
1) Yes, you’re right, the whole EU was a bad idea.
2) We evacuate Brussels in 15 minutes.
3) All quotas and tariffs on imports are hereby abolished (it is a Commission sole competence so we can do that).
4) We’ve finally hired an accountant who can do double entry book keeping.
5) We won’t fire that accountant when they do double entry book keeping.
6) CAP is abolished.
7) Eurocrats (both politicians and employees) will pay full tax in the countries where they are resident.
8) Free trade (of goods, labour, capital and services) between Stockholm and Siena is a good idea. We now understand that free trade between Stockholm, Siena and Shanghai (and San Francisco, Soweto, Santiago and Sydney) is the same idea and is thus also good. So we have abolished the Zollverein.
9) That Constitution thing. Well, yes.
10) It really all was a bad idea, sorry it took us so long to realise. We’re outta’ here and sorry for taking the entire Continent for a ride for the past 50 years.
Further thoughts in the comments for our weekend competition.
June 24, 2005
What’s Wrong With Europe.
I’ve cracked it. I now know what is wrong with the European Union.
As ever, it’s the little details that lead to the grand truth. At Margot’s blog she asks for help in getting her youngest to do his homework:
Now I know everything I need to know about molluscs. (No – I am NOT talking about colleagues …! ;–) ) I am talking about helping my youngest son with his Biology homework.
Do you have any good advice on how to convince an 11-year old that this is necessary knowledge and that he has to study until he understands what he is reading? (I have already heard about bribes, threats and violence!). And that speed is not the crucial element in learning. “Patience is not really my thing” is his motto and I recognize it only too well from my own school days…We both enjoy much more lying side by side reading an exciting novel each.
Now I realise that this is the fluffy bit, the "Ah, how cute" addition to make us realise quite how human and interesting the Vice-President’s life is. But really, evidence of the most astounding incompetence.
You live in the land of moules frites and you can’t get an 11 year old boy interested in molluscs?
What more evidence do we need? The problem of Europe, the problem within the European Union, stems from the fact that we are ruled by the obviously incompetent, fluffy though they may be.
May 17, 2005
Margot’s Worked it Out.
Margot’s worked out how to stop all of us annoying eurosceptic oiks from ruining her comments page.
Post in Swedish.
Update: Dennis sends over a translation:
Facts about a speech
A debate has come up in Sweden about my speech in Terezin in the Czech
Republic may 8th at a memorial ceremony on account of the liberation of
the concentration camp Terezienstadt. Since I am the one who held the
speech – and reasonably the one who can tell exactly what I wanted to
say and what was said – I can provide facts:
1. The Speech – including the sentences that have been discussed
the most – deals with what we can learn from history and that the EU
came up as a peace project after the Second World War.
2. The speech was being held in a certain context and with the
background that, as a matter of fact, Nazis and racists still march the
streets of Europe. That we still have those who deny the Holocaust, that
6000 cases of racist violence happens every year, that we have political
groups in Europe with extreme, nationalistic views.
3. THESE ARE THE GROUPS THAT I REFER TO and the speech is therefore
correct and entirely logical.
4. The speech did not even remotely deal with the Constitution. It
and/or its critics is not mentioned with even a word – which the one who
reads the speech will notice. I have many other occasions to the debate
the Constitution and as shown not the purpose of this speech.
Read the whole speech and make your own judgement.
May 11, 2005
Tsk, Tsk, Margot.
Chris Harper noted something on TEBAF Margot’s blog that he (and I) think worthy of more attention.
"I warmly welcome a debate on the
horrendous slave trade with women and children for sexual purposes that goes in
Europe and the world every day."
As Chris says via email:
He also sent in a comment which appears not to have made it onto her site yet:
Chris’ solution is of course illegal as capital punishment is not allowed. Indeed, depending upon how you read the new Constitution, even to agitate for its return is illegal as noted by EU Serf.
An interesting catch by Chris, don’t you think?
Update: Both Bunny in the comments and the Moderator at TEBAF’s site tell me to chill out. She is quite obviously talking about a debate on what to do about it, not a debate with those doing it. Mod also tells me to give her a break as English is not her first language. Both fair comments. Still think she should have phrased it better...if you’re going to write in English you do need to get it right. Othewise we’ll get all sorts of strange ideas, like that TEBAF thinks if the Constitution isn’t signed then the extermination camps will come back.
May 09, 2005
Margot’s speech as reported in the Telegraph seems very odd. Apparently if the Constitution isn’t signed then all the Jews, Gypsies, Homosexuals and Disabled get herded into the gas chambers. Anyone got a link to the full text of the speech? Similarly, a link to the Commissioners’ press release would be appreciated. It’s not up on the main EU site yet.
Update: From Margot’s Press Officer I have a full text of the speech.
"We also came to this terrible point in our history through nationalistic pride and greed, and through international rivalry for wealth and power. It was precisely to put an end to such rivalry that the European Union was born – the first ever supranational organisation in which sovereign nations voluntarily share their sovereignty.
European nations may well disagree over all kinds of issues – but instead of fighting we now sit round a table and discuss them until we reach an agreement. It means a lot of compromises, but it works!
Yet there are those today who want to scrap the supranational idea. They want the European Union to go back to the old purely inter-governmental way of doing things.
I say those people should come to Terezin and see where that old road leads.
We rejoice today at the ending of the Second World War and all its horrors.
We celebrate 60 years of peace – but we must never take peace for granted.
Each generation of Europeans must renew our collective resolve never again to allow war and enmity to come between us.
Nor must we allow intolerance, xenophobia and antisemitism to rear their ugly heads in our midst today."
So Margot was the victim of, shall we say. selective editing. She was also guilty of some pretty silly statements. As the European Union was born in 1992 the fact that there were no camps in the free and independent nation states for the previous 47 years and yet there were camps in those countries that were part of a supra-national entity.....well, it doesn’t really seem to support her contention. She also does seem to be making the general point that she is accused of, that only the EU, that sharing of sovereignty, can rid us of the horrors resultant from nationalism....that is, the very horrors of the camp that she is speaking on the site of.
One final point:
"but it works!"
April 25, 2005
Our Committed Vice President.
TEBAF (The Ever Blessed and Fragrant) Magot’s blog has a ringing declaration of her love for the EU (despite some squabbles) and explains that she has zero desire to go back into Swedish domestic politics:
BUT I AM SERIOUS! I am committed and enthusiastic to fulfil my task as Vice-President of the European Commission. The task before me is not an easy one. I am responsible for Commission‘s actions to advocate and inform about the European Constitution. I have a full agenda of visits in Member States, meetings, speeches etc. I am preparing a new Communication Strategy for the Commission and actively working with national parliaments.
Now as you know I am not a cynic at all, I always believe that people act from the purest of motives, that there is never a dark side nor an underlying cause. So it is slightly surprising for me to find this report from a Swedish newspaper:
The Swedish people’s favourite as Göran Persson’s successor, Margot Wallström, has now been drawn into the SSU scandal. An investigation for Expressen shows that the SSU district in Värmland received more than a million kronor in contributions from the county council during the years when Wallström was chair. But almost half of the members accounted for had not paid their membership fee. Hundreds of thousands of kronor too much may therefore have been paid in contributions, according to Expressen’s calculations.
As I point out above, I’m not a cynic in any way, shape or form.
But don’t Commissioners enjoy immunity from prosecution while they retain their jobs?
March 29, 2005
News From the Belly of the Beast.
Apparently David Monkcom is slightly worried about the commenters at TEBAF (The Ever Blessed And Fragrant) Margot Wallstrom’s blog. That would be people like me, Christopher Booker, Richard North, James Archer, The Toffee Womble, Elaib, and well, the rest of us raucous oiks with the temerity to hurl abuse and invective at Le Grand Project. Not at Margot herself you understand, but at the project.
Now David actually works for Margot, and has been one of the pro-European Union commenters at the site. It’s fair enough that a man defends the system that provides him with a living but it would have been nice to know where his income came from before he started posting, rather than after someone had checked the staff register. Anyway, all this leads to a nugget dug up by England Expects:
Margot's blog: get involved!
Did you know that Vice-President Wallström is writing a twice-weekly "web log" (or "blog")? Please check it out on her page of Europa, and join in the very lively debates going on there!
Hundreds or even thousands of people visit this site every day, apparently, but so far most of the comments posted there are from anti-EU individuals, some of them legal experts or journalists. So far, very few of us pro-EU people seem to be willing to face the sceptics, reply to their arguments or answer their very probing questions.
So, dear colleagues, especially you economists and lawyers out there, please take a look at this "blog" and respond to our critics!
David Monkcom / DG PRESS (23/3/2005)
March 19, 2005
Margot Wallstrom Speaks Out!
A quick run through the comments section of the Blessed and Ever Fragrant Margot Wallstrom’s blog (She’s the Vice President of the European Commission you know, very important person.) reveals two fascinating little snippets , two wonderful little factoids that add to our knowledge of how the EU is run, plus one blindingly obvious national sterotype, so absurdly obvious that it must be a fake.
There are also the usual jibes and pointed remarks from the awkward squad which are, as always, highly amusing. The full set of comments is here.
Fun fact 1.
One of the most pro-EU commenters (and defenders of TEBAF [The Ever Blessed and Fragrant] Margot) turns out to be one of Margot’s employees. Well I never! In these days of fragile industrial relations it is so good to see the workforce and management standing together, is it not?
Fun fact 2.
The blog takes three people to run it, TEBAF Margot, the moderator and a techie. About 5% of their time each it is thought. At TEBAF’s pay rate of 225,000 euros a year (before expenses and allowances) some 11,250 a year for the posts and some similar sum for the back up (while there are two of them, they are not on quite such generous packages). At a post a week (roughly her output) some 216 euros a post (with another such sum for the infrastructure) . Now, I am, in other locations, paid to write, including one place where I am paid to write on a blog. The going rate for such is some 10% of what we are paying the Commissioner, TEBAF. Just a simple confirmation of what we already know, that the EU is 10 times more expensive than any other way of doing something.
quel dommage de ne pas avoir des versions de ce blog en d'autres langues que l'anglais!
Yes, it’s a Frog, complaining that all of this blogging stuff is being done in English. Simply beyond any form of parody really, such a stunning example of the stereotype Les Anglais whining that it cannot possibly actually be real. Further proof that it is not by an actual Frenchman is that he goes and does something about it himself, rather than leading a street demonstration to make the government do it.
Now, given that us bloggers are now liable to the libel laws (and we must therefore assume to all of the other laws, on such things as xenophobia, holocaust denial, not insulting the President and all those other wonderful little laws thought up by the lovers of freedom in other lands)of every country in which our posts can be read, not the ones we write them in, as Martin Stabe has pointed out to us, that would appear to make me guilty of xenophobia (the ancient and noble art of frog bashing) and lese majeste which is fortunately not a real crime anymore.
I wonder how many more laws I can break before lunchtime?