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    Happy Easter and Passover

    Posted by Helen on 5th April 2012 (All posts by )

    I seem to do very little apart from putting up good wishes for various holidays. Must. Do. Better. Anyway, in the meantime: Happy Easter and Happy Passover. Orthodox Easter next Sunday but let me wish everyone happiness for that as well.

    Posted in Holidays | 4 Comments »

    These are NOT voluntary organizations

    Posted by Helen on 9th March 2012 (All posts by )

    Two things have turned my attention to the whole question of “voluntary organizations” formerly known as “charities” that get their money from the state in its various forms to carry out activity that is outlined by the state on the basis of whatever political ideology is in place. Because they are called “voluntary organizations” though our financial participation in them is far from voluntary, they are seen as something separate from the crony state and superior to profit-making businesses.

    One is my reading of The Morality of Capitalism, edited by Tom Palmer and the other is the ongoing discussion, if I may call it that, though a hysterical row would be nearer the mark, about “voluntary organizations” that have to close down because grants from central and local government are being cut back. Apparently, they cannot envisage becoming a real charity and raising money from private donors though, very likely, they do not do anything that those donors would give money to.

    Here is my first rant on the subject on Your Freedom and Ours.

    Posted in Anglosphere, Big Government, Britain | Comments Off on These are NOT voluntary organizations

    Christmas wishes

    Posted by Helen on 24th December 2011 (All posts by )

    As we get to Christmas Eve over on this side of the Pond, let me wish everyone on Chicagoboyz a very merry Christmas.

    Posted in Holidays | 7 Comments »

    Vaclav Havel

    Posted by Helen on 19th December 2011 (All posts by )

    To me the Cold War is very real, perhaps because my family was involved in various ways and, towards the end, I was, too. The news of the great men and women of that fight dying comes with very special sadness and also with many conflicting thoughts. Vaclav Havel, for instance, was a great symbol of that struggle against Communism but as a politician he did not live up to that and so one see-saws between various opinions.

    I have tried to sum it all up on Your Freedom and Ours (though the posting starts with the death of Kim Jong-il). I may get beaten up (figuratively speaking).

    Posted in Europe, Obits, Politics | 4 Comments »

    Detective stories are essentially conservative

    Posted by Helen on 12th December 2011 (All posts by )

    This is a theme I have pursued over the years, being mostly conservative (with a small c, as one needs to add in Britain) and a great lover of detective stories.

    Consider what happens in a detective story, even a modern one that purports to have a leftward (or “enlightened”) leaning: A crime, probably murder, is committed, possibly followed by similar crimes. The world is turned upside-down as a result. Together with the detective, we cannot rest until the perpetrators are discovered and brought to justice. The perpetrator is at the very least prevented from repeating the crime. Human life is sacrosanct. Murder is wrong, no matter how you look at it. It is the ultimate crime. It destroys nature’s balance, which can be restored only by the culprit’s discovery and his or her punishment. In a century that saw the casual elimination of millions of people, this highly moral attitude became and remained attractive to many people. This has continued into the new century, which has not started off too well.

    I have written about it on the Conservative History Journal blog (here, here and here). Most recently I managed to get an article on the subject on to Taki’s Magazine. Enjoy.

    Posted in Arts & Letters, Conservatism, History | 7 Comments »

    Happy Thanksgiving

    Posted by Helen on 23rd November 2011 (All posts by )

    And all best wishes from this side of the Pond.

    Posted in Holidays | 5 Comments »

    Some interesting stuff

    Posted by Helen on 14th September 2011 (All posts by )

    This is on my Conservative History site where I am beginning to publish other people’s articles. First up was one by David Linden who is a Ph.D. student of history at King’s College, London with special interest in the modern Conservative Party. He had done an M.A. thesis on the Black Papers on education and extracted an article from that.

    As if to prove that we have problems with our education system, his article had an incredible number of grammatical and punctuation errors. In fact, it was not till I started editing the Conservative History Journal that I realized how many doctoral students and young academics could not write clear, coherent, correct English.

    The Black Papers on Education were a series of publications in the late sixties and early seventies that tried to battle with the prevalent political idea that large comprehensive schools were better for children from a social and educational point of view. Mr Linden over-rates their influence. The sad truth is that, though everything those papers predicted came true (and then some), the warnings and arguments were ignored and, subsequently, forgotten. While it is good to revive interest in them, especially now that some attempts are being made to sort out the mess, this only highlights the tragic developments in our state education system. (Declaration of interest: the Tibor Szamuely, mentioned in the article, who was one of the star contributors to the most widely read Black Paper, the second one, was my father. I am, as I proudly announce, a hereditary trouble-maker.)

    The other article that might interest people is a review I wrote of a delightful and elegantly written little tome by Alistair Cooke (now Lord Lexden), the official historian of the Conservative Party and author of several publications related to that subject, on the Primrose League. The League was the largest popular political organization in British history; it was the first organization that had members from all sections of society, getting enormous support from working class participants; it was the first organization in which many women, again from all sections of society, played an important part; it had special sections for children and young people; it had a highly developed welfare support system. All the things the left claim to have started were, in actual fact, begun by the Primrose League.

    It gives me no pleasure to say that the Conservative Party seems to have forgotten about the Primrose League and about the Black Papers on education in its rush to “modernize”.

    Posted in Anglosphere, Britain, Conservatism, Education | 2 Comments »

    My new toy

    Posted by Helen on 31st August 2011 (All posts by )

    Well, actually, it is not that new. For some years I edited the journal of the Conservative History Group, called (somewhat unimaginatively perhaps) Conservative History Journal. Soon after I took that over, I set up a blog that was dedicated, more or less, to conservative history as I always thought the small ‘c’ was more important than the big one. The same applied to the journal itself.

    For various reasons to do with changes in the Conservative History Group, editing of the printed journal has now been taken over by the new Director of the group and I have decided to concentrate on the blog. A friendly geek turned it into more of an online magazine (though a few tweaks are still needed) that will incorporate the old blog, written by Tory Historian and other articles, short and long, written by me and, I hope, other contributors.

    One of the first blog postings in the new format will be of special interest to CBz readers: an brief account of a very useful new pamphlet, published by the Adam Smith Institute, a condensed version of The Wealth of Nations. I shall be reviewing it for my blog and, I hope, the Salisbury Review but, in the meantime, this gives and indication of its quality and all the necessary links.

    Posted in Anglosphere, Blogging, Conservatism, History | 4 Comments »

    Satire and society change all the time

    Posted by Helen on 16th August 2011 (All posts by )

    There were two items of interest about the Victoria and Albert Museum in the press recently. (That’s the huge museum of all sorts in South Kensington and a very fine institution it is, too.) One was the news that they acquired forty newly discovered cartoons of extreme nastiness by that great artist and satirist, James Gillray, that had been suppressed in the mid-nineteenth century and have been mouldering ever since in the Home Office archives. It will be useful to be reminded, once more, that politics in this country used to be considerably nastier than it is supposed to be now.

    The second item is also to be welcomed but is also very funny. Private Eye, the first of the many satirical outlets of the sixties that are credited with changing British society … back to something like it was in the eighteenth century, will be fifty years old this autumn and there will be an exhibition of cartoons and covers from it in the V&A, as it is affectionately known. Ho-hum! I recall when it was not stocked in W.H.Smith’s, then a far bigger chain of newsagents and stationers because of fear of libel action; when it had to be asked for at small newsagents; when respectable people read it rather defiantly and students passed their copies round. And now? An exhibition in the V&A and an article in Vanity Fair.

    And, of course, a posting on the Conservative History blog. After all, Private Eye is rather a conservative institution.

    Posted in Arts & Letters, Britain, History, Media | Comments Off on Satire and society change all the time

    Getting away from politics

    Posted by Helen on 12th August 2011 (All posts by )

    Some people here know that I am a complete detective story addict. Not only do I read them, I read about them, I discuss and analyze them with several articles to my credit (if I may use that expression). What follows is a discussion of the latest Lord Peter Wimsey novel. In case this book has not hit the States yet, let me explain.

    When Dorothy L. Sayers abandoned the writing of detective fiction she had completed six chapters of a novel Thrones, Dominations about Lord Peter and Harriet, now married and back from their honeymoon. For various reasons, possibly because of the Abdication Crisis, the novel was not finished. There were a couple of amusing short stories, not of the first order, and a series of letters about the war in The Spectator, purportedly from the Wimsery – Delagardie family through late 1939 early 1940. Then nothing. Sayers went on to write literary and theological essays, religious plays and to translate Dante.

    In 1998 Jill Paton Walsh, herself a writer of detective and other novels, published a completed version of Thrones, Dominations. Four years later she wrote A Presumption of Death, which began with those letters and developed various themes in them to create an interesting novel with a much better plot than the previous one, of the Wimseys and others during the Battle of Britain and the Blitz. Last year Ms Paton Walsh went further and produced a completely new novel The Attenbury Emeralds about Sayers’s characters, using some references in the various novels and short stories but inventing her own plot.

    The book takes place in 1951 and the main theme (the plot is rather silly) is the adjustment everyone has to make to post-war Britain. Lord Peter, Harriet, Bunter, the Parkers have now become Jill Paton Walsh’s characters as much as Sayers’s. Hmmm. This is my take on that development and the latest novel, posted on the Conservative History blog.

    Posted in Arts & Letters, Book Notes, Britain | 4 Comments »

    Happy Independence Day

    Posted by Helen on 2nd July 2011 (All posts by )

    As ever all best wishes to our friends on THAT side of the Pond from us on THIS side of the Pond.

    Posted in Holidays | 4 Comments »

    Elections and a referendum

    Posted by Helen on 8th May 2011 (All posts by )

    It would seem that my posting about the restoration of a very fine late-Victorian building in London did not go down as well as I had hoped. Time to go back to politics, I suppose.

    We have just had a set of local elections as well as devolved Assembly ones and a country-wide referendum on whether we want to change our electoral system from First Past the Post (FPTP) to Alternative Voting (AV), a system nobody liked particularly but one that was produced and put to the electorate as a compromise between the two Coalition parties who promptly fell out with each other during the campaign.

    Suffice it to say that in the various elections (with a slightly higher than usual for local elections turn-out because of the referendum) there was no great enthusiasm shown for either the Conservatives or Labour and the Liberal-Democrats got a severe drubbing.

    In the referendum, 69 per cent of those who turned out (around 45 per cent) voted NO and only 31 per cent YES. We can safely predict that the subject of electoral reform is now off the agenda for a while, as is the Liberal-Democrat revival.

    On my blog, Your Freedom and Ours, I wrote a longish piece on the whole subject with references to some wider issues.

    Posted in Britain, Elections | 2 Comments »

    St Pancras Renaissance Hotel

    Posted by Helen on 5th May 2011 (All posts by )

    This is the big news in London, not the referendum whose results we shall not know till tomorrow evening: the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, a gorgeous, late Victorian building, between St Pancras Station and the British Library, saved in the sixties through the tireless work of the great Sir John Betjeman, has officially reopened after many years of renovation and reconstruction. More on the Conservative History blog.

    Posted in Architecture, Britain | 11 Comments »

    Christmas wishes

    Posted by Helen on 24th December 2010 (All posts by )

    I am kind of old-fashioned and wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. It is Christmas Day here but not on the other side of the Pond yet. I hope all good things people hope for will come true next year. Well, most of them, anyway, since it is never a good idea to have everything you wish for.

    Posted in Holidays | 3 Comments »

    Why is Molly Hughes not better known?

    Posted by Helen on 20th December 2010 (All posts by )

    Molly_HughesWhen I was at school we were still given lists of suggested holiday reading (a habit that, I believe, most state schools in Britain have abolished) and M. V. Hughes’s trilogy about growing up and being educated in London figured on them repeatedly. Presumably, there was something wrong with the way these were presented to us because I recall deciding that they were not books I really cared to read. How wrong I was.

    A few months ago our co-blogger (and a considerably more active one than I am) Lexington Green e-mailed me about Molly Hughes, her books and how much he was enjoying them. Hmmm, I thought, I had better find out. I was in luck: on three separate visits to Oxford I found her books in the Oxfam second-hand bookshop. The most recent one I read was about her life between the wars in Cuffley, a village just outside London that was, in that period, steadily moving towards becoming a suburb, A London Family Between the Wars. Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Britain, Education, History | 2 Comments »

    Happy Thanksgiving

    Posted by Helen on 24th November 2010 (All posts by )

    Happy Thanksgiving to all from this side of the Pond.

    Posted in Holidays | 2 Comments »

    The real narrative

    Posted by Helen on 3rd September 2010 (All posts by )

    [A modified version of this article was published in the September issue of the British monthly magazine Standpoint. For reasons of space it had to be shortened. This is the original version.]

    Not so long ago I was taking part in one of those interminable discussions on a forum about the situation to do with Islam in Britain where people who have not set foot here or know anything about this country assure those of us who live here that we do not understand at all what is happening. At one point somebody asked me scornfully how many of the British Muslims’ ancestors had “come to England’s aid during the war”. After I finished explaining that it was the wrong way of phrasing the question and the country is Britain I added: “Quite a few, as it happens, especially from the Indian Empire. Have a look at the gravestones in British war cemeteries.”

    There are many Muslim names among those 54,896 British and Commonwealth soldiers listed on the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing in Ypres and many Muslim names together with the Sickle on the gravestones; there are war graves of Muslim soldiers in many parts of the Far East, such as Hong Kong; the Brookwood Military cemetery contains two dozen graves of Muslim dead who died in Britain of their wounds, had been buried in the Muslim Burial Ground in Horsell and were transferred in 1968. One could go on and on with lists of British war cemeteries in Europe, in North Africa, in the Middle East and in the Far East. Everywhere there are fallen soldiers from the Indian Army in both world wars and many of them are Muslims.

    In World War I the volunteer Indian army played a huge part in Western Europe and the Middle East. It numbered 1.3 million and about 400,000 of them were Muslim. 74,187 Indian soldiers died in the war and tens of thousands were wounded. It is hard to distinguish exactly how many were Muslims except by the signs on the gravestones as Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims had all volunteered, all fought and all suffered casualties. We do know, however, that the first VC awarded to an Indian soldier was to a Muslim, Khudadad Khan from the Punjab district of present day Pakistan. He had distinguished himself at the First Battle of Ypres in October 1914.

    Between the two wars the Indian army was reduced in numbers and was down to 200,000 men in 1939. By August 1945 it numbered around 2.5 million, the largest volunteer army in history. It fought on all fronts but distinguished itself particularly in the Far East. Over 36,000 Indian servicemen were killed in the ferocious Burmese and other campaigns and 34,354 wounded; 67,340 were taken prisoner; 4,000 decorations were given to members of the Indian Army, including 38 VCs and GCs. A good many of these went to Muslim soldiers and NCOs.

    According to an article in the Defence Journal in September 1999 by Brigadier (Retired) Noor A. Husain the All India Muslim League’s sympathies from the very beginning of the war were clearly with the Allies against the Axis powers. (On the whole, this can be said for most political groupings in India. Despite later explanations, support for the pro-Japanese Indian National Army was considerably smaller than for the Allied war effort.)

    The Brigadier also points out that after 1942 the proportion of Muslim soldiers went down not because of any paucity of volunteers but because of the growing political demands for Pakistan and Indian government policy. But, of course, not all Muslim soldiers came from what is now Pakistan, whose own army after 1947 had a close working relationship with the British military establishment. Over 380,000 Punjabi Muslims joined during the war, which makes it the largest single group.

    The role of the British Indian Army in the two world wars, the fact that in both it constituted the largest volunteer forces to take part in the fighting, the soldiers’ bravery and the huge number of casualties tend to be forgotten at times. The role of the Muslim soldiers, while the equivalent to that of the Hindus, Sikhs and Gurkhas, needs to be emphasised for a very good reason: the real narrative of British Muslim history includes those glorious and courageous episodes. It is a narrative that cannot be disputed (unlike the rather dubious assertions of Mohammed being a feminist and conservationist); it is a narrative to be proud of.

    Posted in Anglosphere, History, India, Islam, Military Affairs | 7 Comments »

    Independence Day

    Posted by Helen on 2nd July 2010 (All posts by )

    A very happy Independence Day week-end from this side of the Pond. I still prefer to think of it as a great event in the history of the Anglosphere but I do get ticked off by various people. Have a great time guys and remember: the dark days do not last for ever. (Well, so we have been telling ourselves for some time.)

    Posted in Anglosphere, History, USA | 5 Comments »

    Nothing much to report

    Posted by Helen on 6th May 2010 (All posts by )

    It says something about the boringness of what feels like the longest election campaign in British history that this morning’s news of the light airplane crash that injured Nigel Farage, former leader of UKIP and now parliamentary candidate in Buckingham, standing against Mr Speaker Bercow, was its only interesting item. Apparently, both Mr Farage and the pilot are doing well in two separate hospitals, so the news is not as tragic as it could have been. Apart from that, there really is nothing of any interest one can say about the election campaigns as conducted by the three main parties. There are a few things to be said about the election itself and the political situation in which this country has found itself. Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Britain | 12 Comments »

    That was a fringe meeting not a tea party

    Posted by Helen on 27th February 2010 (All posts by )

    No, they did not serve tea; they did not serve cucumber sandwiches or buns or scones. No tea was dumped into the Channel. There were no hand-made cool signs, as an American correspondent put it; there were no signs or placards at all. In fact, it was, as the slightly amateurish pictures show, an extremely well attended fringe meeting with an enthusiastic audience, most of whom had come running from other meetings, main or fringe, that a party conference provides. Most of them were going on to other meetings or dinners.

    As it happens, I am a veteran of packed fringe meetings. There were the early European Foundation meetings, at one of which every fire regulation was broken and the Head of the Commission’s London office, having unwisely left the room, could not be allowed back in as there was quite literally not a square inch of space. “Health and safety” we told him with big grins on our faces and delegates who also could not get in laughed. The Conservatives have always seen themselves as somewhat rebellious as far as the EU is concerned – they laugh at the discomfiture of officials.

    Then there were all the Save Britain’s Fish meetings at both Labour and Conservative conferences where the full horror of the Common Fisheries Policy was carefully analyzed and dissected to packed rooms. And what good came of it all? We still have the CFP with successive governments whining about the reform that they are working on. The only sensible policy the Conservatives ever had, was discarded by the Boy-King as soon as he became the leader.

    Today’s event proved something unexpected, however. It seems my history teachers who were told to slant everything towards a Marxist interpretation were actually right: the British establishment does have an uncanny ability to mould and remould itself, to include anybody who might challenge them and to co-opt potential oppositions. We have seen this with the blogosphere, that has been converted into the clogosphere plus a few supporting players with those of us who do not want to be inside the tent ever diminishing in importance. Now we see it with a potential tea party movement. Before it could even start, it was pre-empted by a fringe meeting at a Conservative Party conference, addressed by a Conservative politician and presided over by another Conservative politician, Roger Helmer MEP.

    The rest is posted on Your Freedom and Ours with a couple of pictures I took.

    Posted in Anglosphere, Britain | 3 Comments »

    Humming and ha-ing

    Posted by Helen on 27th February 2010 (All posts by )

    There will be another, more serious attempt to launch a British tea party movement in Brighton today. Not only, being British, tea will be served (and cucumber sandwiches, I hope) but the whole event is promising to be rather tame and controlled unlike that anarchic, grass-roots colonial movement.

    The tea party is being imported into Brighton by The Freedom Association, a national organization, first set up by the McWhirter twins back in the seventies to fight trade union power. It is a fringe event at the Conservatives’ Spring Conference and will be addressed by the ubiquitous Daniel Hannan MEP. Almost certainly, most of the attendees will be Conservatives who are in Brighton for the conference.

    All of which makes me hum and ha but I shall go anyway. There has to be somebody there who has not been co-opted by the political establishment. More on this on Your Freedom and Ours.

    Posted in Britain | 1 Comment »

    There is no such thing as Europe

    Posted by Helen on 14th February 2010 (All posts by )

    How many times does one have to keep repeating that? All right, let me clarify that statement. Of course, there is a Europe as a geographical concept – it is a subcontinent of the huge Eurasian continent. There is also such a concept, though it is hard to define, as European culture, which melds into European history and European thought. One gets into serious difficulties with it as European culture and European thought are so varied in themselves.

    What there is not and never has been is a Europe as a political concept. There is no such thing as European politics, though there is, obviously EU politics, a completely different concept, often alien to European history and traditions. Therefore, there can be no such thing as a European Tea Party Movement. Not if ever so many people join the group on Facebook; not if Real Clear Politics or Glenn Reynolds write about it.

    It would be pointless to talk about tea parties as a political concept in Europe even if such a thing as Europe existed politically speaking. No-one would understand it. In Britain tea party (as in vicarage, for instance) means something quite different; on the Continent it means nothing at all. In fact, history tells us that on the Continent tax or bread riots tend to have further reaching consequences than the American tea parties have done so far.

    The biggest problem, however, more or less understood by David Ignatius on Real Clear Politics is that each country’s problems are separate and different, even though they all share the understanding that the government’s role is to spend, spend, spend, an understanding they share with most other countries in the world. One suspects that, like Henry Kissinger, David Ignatius would feel happier if there were one European fiscal authority – easier to draw parallels.

    What would a European tea party movement oppose? The European Union? Maybe, but it is hardly the biggest spender; its role in the destruction of the economies of European countries is a little more subtle: it used control and regulation to further integration.

    Individual governments? Why would a European movement care about individual European governments? I see no point in going on a demonstration that would demand fiscal conservatism from the French or Greek governments. Let the people of those countries worry about that, as long as we do not have to pay.

    All this talk of European this, that and the other or European elites, as Glenn Reynolds writes, comes to the same conclusion: we need some kind of a European political entity, a concept many of us radically disagree with. But the truth is that we cannot have a European tea party movement unless we have a European state, a European government and a European polity. People who support or call for a European tea party go along with the notion of a European state.

    Cross-posted from Your Freedom and Ours

    Posted in Britain, Europe | 13 Comments »

    Happy New Year

    Posted by Helen on 31st December 2009 (All posts by )

    I missed out on the Christmas and Hannukah wishes but ought to be in time with the new year ones. It will be our turn to have an election next year (May, I am still saying despite the media hoopla around the word March). It is likely to be an interesting one: we have a government that is more disliked than any I can recall and yet we also have an opposition that just cannot get the support. We also have an electorate that has been seriously angered by all main-stream politicians and has realized, if somewhat hazily, that as long as we are in the EU it makes precious little difference who one wants for. In the last three elections turn-out was extremely low. We do not know what will happen next year. Another low turn-out? Rising vote for the smaller parties like UKIP? It can happen.

    The Conservatives are still likely to come back with more seats than any other party but not necessarily with an overall majority. And so what if they do get into government. Remember what Hilaire Belloc wrote about another election?

    The accursed power which stands on Privilege
    (And goes with Women, and Champagne, and Bridge)
    Broke – and Democracy resumed her reign:
    (Which goes with Bridge, and Women and Champagne).

    Happy New Year to all.

    Posted in Britain, Elections, Quotations | 6 Comments »

    Happy Thanksgiving

    Posted by Helen on 25th November 2009 (All posts by )

    Happy Thanksgiving to all from this side of the Pond. We are having a Thanksgiving Teaparty by Lincoln’s statue in Parliament Square tomorrow afternoon. Any reader of this posting who will be in or near London is welcome. It will start at 4 and go on till 8 so there will be plenty of time to go on to other events though there will be food.

    Posted in Anglosphere, Britain | 5 Comments »

    That Irish referendum

    Posted by Helen on 2nd October 2009 (All posts by )

    It occurred to me that what with one thing and another the significance of today’s referendum in Ireland may be lost on many readers of Chicagoboyz. Somehow Ireland, both North and South, have become less important on the other side of the Pond, now that Sinn Fein has been safely installed in the Ulster Assembly. There are, however, other issues at stake.

    Let me recap. The Lisbon Treaty is a regurgitated version of the Constitution for Europe, the previous treaty agreed on by the previous Inter-Governmental Conference (IGC) of the European Union. The Constitution, a whacking document of several hundred pages that laid down rules for just about everything though, to be fair, many of them had already existed in other treaties, was rejected in two referendums in 2005. The two were in core members of the European Union: France and Netherlands.

    There followed a period of flurried activity, led by the Commission, specifically by the ditzy Margot Wallstrom, who is in charge of communications, that is, propaganda. She even set up a blog, which was so dull that even the eurosceptics who kept posting responses to her fluffy pieces, gave up after a while.

    The idea was that the EUrocracy would have a dialogue with the people of Europe and find out their opinion. The fact that the opinion had already been given in two countries seemed to be irrelevant. In the fullness of time there was another IGC and another treaty, the Lisbon one, which was, apart from a few unimportant details, exactly the same as the Constitution. Because it was laid out differently, all EU member states were told that this was different and, therefore, there will be no referendums, even though serious constitutional changes were being proposed.

    The Irish Supreme Court decided that, according to the Irish constitution, there will have to be a referendum and one duly took place. Well, blow me down. The people voted the wrong way and were told to vote again. The second referendum is taking place today and, naturally, we are all hoping that the Irish will prove to be as recalcitrant as they have been throughout their history.

    In the meantime, all but two other member states have ratified. In Germany the parliament had to pass a number of laws to bring the German Constitution in line with the Lisbon Treaty as instructed by the country’s Constitutional Court. In the Czech Republic the treaty has been returned to the Constitutional Court by a number of Senators and the President is waiting for the decision. He is reluctant to sign but will probably have to if the legal decision goes the wrong way. Following that Poland will sign. This, of course, depends on an yes vote today in Ireland. If, on the other hand, the Irish vote no again, we shall have an interesting situation. Will the EU demand a third referendum or will they, as is much more likely, take this treaty off the table, push through as much of it as possible on the quiet and call another IGC to produce another document in a couple of years’ time.

    Either way, the whole process has been incredibly painful for the European Union, its bureaucracy and supporters. The gloss has gone completely, the process is no longer inevitable and the nasty bits – lies, bullying and cheating to get their way – are showing.

    For any glutton for punishment, I have more on Your Freedom and Ours.

    Posted in Europe, Politics | 7 Comments »