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mike Meehan

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Everything posted by mike Meehan

  1. Andy, Some weeks ago that quotation arose and as a result I did make some research on it and as far as I was able to ascertain, the part of the quotation starting, 'Each disguised as having an economic purpose' to the end, was not said. There has never been any attempt made to disguise the ultimate aim of federation. Even prior to the Treaty of Rome a number were mindful of creating a 'United States of Europe': "Partly in the aim of creating a United States of Europe, two further Communities were proposed, again by the French. A European Defence Community (EDC) and a European Political Community (EPC). While the treaty for the latter was being drawn up by the Common Assembly, the ECSC parliamentary chamber, the EDC was rejected by the French Parliament. President Jean Monnet, a leading figure behind the Communities, resigned from the High Authority in protest and began work on alternative Communities, based on economic integration rather than political integration." There was a speech by Edward Heath in the House of Commons in which he referred to the EEC evolving into an ever closer political union. This was also mentioned in an 'IN' pamphlet prior to the '75 referendum. I have just spent a considerable of time trying to find these but it is like looking for a needle in a haystack. However, the idea of an ever closer union was in my mind when I voted in 1975 - at the time the economy of the UK was stagnating and it was quite clear to me that in the changing world, as it was, with the demise of the Empire, that we were no longer in a position to compete with supra national economies such as the USA and the USSR and needed to participate in conjunction with others. At the time, I considered the USA but the vast differences between our relative economies meant that we could never be an equal party and that we would always be subservient. On the other hand we could throw in our lot with the Common Market as an equal partner. I fully expected that with time that it would develop eventually into a political entity also but as Europeans we would also be able to share in the economies of scale which had enabled the USA to become the richest nation on Earth. Although we spoke different languages we did have an underlying European culture and history, which although with the Americans, we spoke broadly the same language, over the period of 200 years our different cultures had widened quite considerably. I agree that the EU did expand too fast but in this respect we were overtaken by the event of the fall of the Soviet Empire, so with former Soviet states also wishing to find a place for themselves in the world what were we supposed to do? I believe it was only right that the EU should help those who wished to join and this view was advocated by the UK. During the period of our membership I have always been impressed by the manner in which the EU as whole has respected the identities of individual regions, nations and peoples, though you may well throw up the Catalonian situation but that was primarily a Spanish domestic situation, as, had Scotland voted for independence in 2014 would have been for the UK. For myself federation did not hold any fears and with it there would be advantages. As in other free democratic countries consisting of federated states, such states have autonomy in their own right for their own domestic matters, such as the USA, for example, where domestic state law can vary quite considerably from state to state but all operating under the umbrella of federal law. I have very real fears that to leave the EU at this stage, especially with a hard brexit as proposed by the more right wing, that it will put us back to the situation of circa 1970 when we were known as 'The poor man of Europe' and they weren't joking. There must be reasons why our former antagonists, Germany and Japan, of WWII made a relative success of their post war economies and we did not - in effect, we won the war but lost the peace and part of that I would suggest is that we do have underlying issues which have held us back. I would suggest that a good part of the reason would be because they re-started completely afresh, which was enforced upon them, without the pre war hangovers, whereas there was no such forcing ourselves to start afresh and we continued along our merry way with attitudes which dated back to Victorian times, as depicted by Jacob Rees Mogg, when we were the head of the largest empire the world had ever known. Along with that went a certain amount of arrogance that we knew best under all circumstances, which since has been and still is our Achilles heel. A class war still exists and we still have the politics of confrontation rather than compromise. In addition we also need to revert back from this cynical post truth era where the result matters more than the methods used to the stage where ethics are of paramount importance. It all sounds very clever but what we really gain if we lose the trust, respect and esteem of the world, which is the road we are on? The Empire was lost piece meal in such a manner that it did not give us the incentive we needed to reform ourselves in a manner more fit for the 21st century. So as a result I believe the chances of the UK making a go of it on its own would be diminished without a real effort to address the underlying problems which hold us back. As it is the EU is also being forced to go through a period of reform with minds being concentrated by more recent history and some younger more adaptable minds will be replacing some of the current ones as early as the end of next year. We should be there with the rest to help steer this reform and at the same time look to how we can reform ourselves through learning off others. Eventually we will be far more likely to emerge on the sunlit plateaus, than whatever we would with brexit in any form and we owe that to our children and grandchildren. Somehow I suspect that at the age of 75 years I have already lived most of my life, so whatever happens it will not make that much difference to me personally but whilst I am here I do wish to try my utmost for those who follow.
  2. I read up about this because it had been raised before and it was my understanding that Jean Monnet was misquoted here and he did not say that final sentence and in any case it does appear to be out of character to what I have learned about him. So if that is the case, then there were no lies or deceit involved. What he did say was, '“There will be no peace in Europe if the States rebuild themselves on the basis of national sovereignty, with its implications of prestige politics and economic protection (...). The countries of Europe are not strong enough individually to be able to guarantee prosperity and social development for their peoples. The States of Europe must therefore form a federation or a European entity that would make them into a common economic unit.” Until even his last days, Jean Monnet was firm in his conviction that the European nations had to unite in order to survive. “Continue, continue, there is no future for the people of Europe other than in union,” he repeated constantly. Throughout his life, he had one objective: “Make men work together show them that beyond their differences and geographical boundaries there lies a common interest.” http://www.azquotes.com/author/36946-Jean_Monnet Above is a link to further quotes is listed above and there is no mention of the final part of that posted. It is something however which the leave brigade could dream up - I wouldn't put it past them.
  3. No, as far as we (remainers) are concerned it is looking at the available evidence, some of it which is direct evidence and some which is circumstantial evidence, which does allow for reasonable conclusions to be reached. Hearsay evidence is evidence of what another person and not the witness has said and generally speaking it is not considered to be reliable. To get the reliable evidence one should go to the original source. Supposition may be nothing more than wishful thinking. However, if you write things which consist of hearsay and supposition, that fact that you have written them becomes direct evidence of exactly that - that you have written, the content may be in dispute but the fact that you have written them is not in dispute. I.e. recent forecasts by the treasury, which would be circumstantial because they are based on opinion, derived from factual evidence, then factual accounts of the EU and how it works would be direct evidence, written in black and white, and tends to debunk many of the leave myths.
  4. Somehow Kent you remind me of Tariq Aziz, who when the Americans were at Bagdad's gate in 2003, kept insisting that the Iraqi forces would throw back the Americans, despite being out manoeuvred, out manned and out equipped with no more chance of winning than what an ice berg would have of not melting on the surface of Venus. Yes, every EU country has its share of anti EU people - we all have a kaleidoscope of different people. Funny you should mention Ireland, the second referendum on the Lisbon treaty included better terms which they accepted and strangely enough, despite that, a recent poll showed the Irish to be 90% in favour of EU membership. If you are determined and unscrupulous enough with a gift of the gab, it is relatively easy to rouse the rabble but remember you can only convince some of the people some of the time, even a majority for a short time but you can never convince of the people all of the time and as we speak at the moment it appears that brexit is running out of energy. The high priests did it when the mob bellowed for Jesus Christ to be pardoned and release Barabbas, a convicted criminal in his place and Adolf Hitler and his henchmen did it with the German people to allow Hitler to take power in 1933, after which the people no longer had a say in the matter, so their consent no longer mattered, and there are many more such examples in history. And our own government performs a pretty good imitation of Machiavelli to boot, though, as they are now finding out, not as good as the master, they try to emulate.
  5. It seems that our government and other public figures don't have the old school respect either, like what I was taught, so you can't altogether blame portions of the public for following the lead of those who should be setting an example to the rest of us.
  6. I dunno Kent - pretty well all your posts appear to be towards wanting to see the destruction of the EU - you never have a good word to say for it, yet you continue to praise our own corrupt government, which is setting about disenfranchising the 48% of the electorate who voted remain inasmuch as our views are hardly taken into consideration in respect of policy making. This is the same government which followed the dictat of a flawed mendacious referendum, then tried to pretend it was the people's will when only 37% of the total vote for it, pretended they had a mandate, both after the referendum, then again after the '17 election, when what little mandate the government had was taken away. They tried to by-pass our lawful legislative body called parliament to gain executive powers but were restrained by the supreme court. But that did not stop them, they variously whipped and bullied their own MPs into voting with them, bribed the DUP into conniving to give them a majority and to top it all, this so called brexit is turning out to be a proper spherical objects up without a unicorn in sight. Then after all that, you still have the audacity to infer that the EU is undemocratic and take every opportunity you can to try and underline that point. To read some of your leaver comments, the current government and brexit are the best things since sliced bread and they cannot possibly do any wrong. On the other hand I doubt that you would be able to find one remainer who would say that the EU is perfect - it is not, in fact no system is but it is the best we have and by remaining with it we can encourage and influence reform and at least we are honest enough to admit that. I really don't know why the leavers did not put the same energies into influencing EU reform as they have in throwing their toys out of the pram - if they had done so things would have been better, except that it is much easier to destroy than to construct and you didn't need a plan for that either.
  7. Ooops, I posted this on the Scottish politics thread originally, I didn't mean it to go there: The Evolution of Society 1) Small tribal units of nomadic hunter gatherers – circa 10,000 BC 2) Settled farming existence developing city states – circa 8,000 BC 3) City states combining to form small countries – circa 460 AD 4) Some to combine via conquest into Empires, which grew and eventually fell – circa 2,000 BC to 20th century. 5) Small countries combining to make larger countries circa 800 AD to 19th century. 6) Countries combining to make continental blocs, mainly 19th and 20th century. Yes, tribal units of hunter gatherers still exist, city states still exist and small countries still exist but probably about half of the Earth’s population now live in continental blocs, each which consist of several states with varying degrees of autonomy. Some were formed by conquest and others by settlement. Along the way, some blocs sub divided into smaller units but these are still relatively large in their own right – e.g. Indian sub-continent. In the second half of the 20th century, there was a first, as far as I am aware and that was by a group of countries, volunteering to yield a small part of their sovereignty to form a bloc which worked in freedom and democracy for the common good of all. That was the European Union, which until then, the continent of Europe had been punctuated by a series of fairly frequent wars based on nationalist self-interest. Since then there have been none within the borders of the EU, whilst if we look at the rest of the world, particularly the Middle east, wars, caused through nationalistic and religious ideals still punctuate the everyday life of the people living there. Progress moves in fits and starts but generally speaking its overall direction is forward. Prolonged periods of peace have not been the natural state of man’s history but it is a precious commodity to be guarded. Our aim should be to extend on what we have already achieved and with hard work, understanding and respect of others, we may extend that further with time. The big danger is that with an ever-increasing global population and increasing desertification, pressures for instability will increase. It is therefore necessary that the democratic free blocs remain true to their principles and act as a beacon for the remainder of the world in order to encourage co-operation. It can be done but it requires this active co-operation, a broad perspective, universal respect and will of all to achieve it, otherwise we could end up with a regression back to the dark ages. We all have a responsibility towards the preservation of our planet and its peoples for subsequent generations.  I think it is something worth thinking about, don’t you?
  8. Just looked at radar and it looks pretty active. As it happened we were forecasted fine weather at Watford for most of the day with temps reaching the low to mid 20's, as it is it has been raining for nearly the past hour, the temperature is languishing at 14.6C, so it appears that things have moved further north than what was expected. In a few hours time we may well be sharing your current experience. However we are grateful for yesterday which allowed us a lovely family barbecue in the garden.
  9. mike Meehan

    Russia

    https://uk.yahoo.com/news/poland-says-russian-gas-pipeline-084006236.html The disadvantages of this system are obvious and it should add to the urgency of Europe to develop alternative sources of power. Until then Europe will continue to be exposed to Russian blackmail. It may well be that Mr Putin has no desire to bite the hand which feeds him in relation to earning foreign currency but can we depend on that? As far as I was concerned, when I had our house in southern France renovated some 8 to 9 years ago, I gave this situation some deep thought and as a result opted for 'all electric' and including solar water heating, an air to air heat pump and a wood burning stove, knowing that France did have a number of other sources for the generation of electricity.
  10. The Evolution of Society 1) Small tribal units of nomadic hunter gatherers – circa 10,000 BC 2) Settled farming existence developing city states – circa 8,000 BC 3) City states combining to form small countries – circa 460 AD 4) Some to combine via conquest into Empires, which grew and eventually fell – circa 2,000 BC to 20th century. 5) Small countries combining to make larger countries circa 800 AD to 19th century. 6) Countries combining to make continental blocs, mainly 19th and 20th century. Yes, tribal units of hunter gatherers still exist, city states still exist and small countries still exist but probably about half of the Earth’s population now live in continental blocs, each which consist of several states with varying degrees of autonomy. Some were formed by conquest and others by settlement. Along the way, some blocs sub divided into smaller units but these are still relatively large in their own right – e.g. Indian sub-continent. In the second half of the 20th century, there was a first, as far as I am aware and that was by a group of countries, volunteering to yield a small part of their sovereignty to form a bloc which worked in freedom and democracy for the common good of all. That was the European Union, which until then, the continent of Europe had been punctuated by a series of fairly frequent wars based on nationalist self-interest. Since then there have been none within the borders of the EU, whilst if we look at the rest of the world, particularly the Middle east, wars, caused through nationalistic and religious ideals still punctuate the everyday life of the people living there. Progress moves in fits and starts but generally speaking its overall direction is forward. Prolonged periods of peace have not been the natural state of man’s history but it is a precious commodity to be guarded. Our aim should be to extend on what we have already achieved and with hard work, understanding and respect of others, we may extend that further with time. The big danger is that with an ever-increasing global population and increasing desertification, pressures for instability will increase. It is therefore necessary that the democratic free blocs remain true to their principles and act as a beacon for the remainder of the world in order to encourage co-operation. It can be done but it requires this active co-operation, a broad perspective, universal respect and will of all to achieve it, otherwise we could end up with a regression back to the dark ages. We all have a responsibility towards the preservation of our planet and its peoples for subsequent generations. I think it is something worth thinking about, don’t you?
  11. What a difference between President Macron and Mrs May - the only thing they have in common that their last names start with an 'M'. Macron is right in recognising the selfless action of the man from Mali, who risked his own life to save the life of a 4 year old child and by doing so he is also sending a message to France and the world. Smart move. On the other hand Theresa May's government has deported hundreds who genuinely believed they had a right to stay in the UK but were unable to find a landing slip they were handed some 50 or 60 years ago. She is also sending a message to the UK, the EU and the world. Dumb move. What about he Ghurkhas, who faithfully serve in our army, for our Queen and country have found difficulty getting leave to remain after they have completed their service and then only get a pension the fraction of that as own squaddies? I find it shameful that our leaders should have lowered our standards so much.
  12. Not forgetting Leadsom's dodgy CV either Nick.
  13. It is not a rootless value to allow people choice about how they live their lives, and they should not be forced to order to follow what amounts to outdated religious edicts brought in in a different age and a different society. Don't get me wrong, I am not against religion per se, if you look at all the basics of great world's religions, they provide a moral code for us to live by but so often that moral code has been subverted for political means right through history as a means of controlling the people for political gain. There are probably more people been killed in the name of different religions than anything else and it is still happening. If you want to look for any organisation with rootless values, I suggest you look at certain members of our own government and certain of the opposition. In fact the raison d'etre of the EU runs very deep and it has been forged through the blood letting of the 20th century and times prior to that. Yes, it makes mistakes, what large organisation does not - it is still developing and evolving and we should be helping it on that path instead of throwing our toys out of the pram.
  14. Kent doesn't this really show that all the countries within the EU are in fact sovereign states, despite the leave clarion cry of, ' Let's take back control'? Many of the leavers appear to have such a warped view of the EU, and its raison d'etre, The only reason I can think of why this should be the case is because of the orgy of anti EU propaganda churned out by the right wing press, who's real interest is safeguarding their own vested interests and as a result the spleen they have poured out becomes embedded in our own urban myth and many simply have taken this all at face value without delving into it more deeply. You may well dispute what I have said but it becomes abundantly clear when reading the views of some of the leavers, who refer to the USSREU, references to being governed by Germany, reference to storm troopers, which are in fact figments of fevered imaginations.
  15. Personally I would not discount this article - the authors of the article may be looking at it from a perspective on the other side of the pond but that also means that they are in a position to take an overall objective view whereas our own people are so caught up in the situations, one way or another that they cannot see the wood for the trees. The other point which occurs to me is that whilst this 'austerity' is continuing matters are going from bad to worse and the big danger is that a point of no return will be reached with the young, the old and those in between being affected, whilst this is occurring necessary skills need for a recovery will be lost the exchequer will be getting less money into the coffers and this will be less to finance recovery and with time the hill will become harder to climb. There is an old saying which is quite apt and that is that 'a stitch in time saves nine.' If you own a house and the roof starts to leak, you don't just leave it because with time the leak will get worse, the rafters will rot and in the house the house will become derelict. You try to repair it at the earliest opportunity - it may well mean spending money you could ill afford but in the longer term it would be much cheaper. A lot of these people tried to draw the government's attention to their plight in the referendum by voting leave (that has been well documented) but rather than take notice, the government continues to ignore them, instead spending large amounts of money and time with their delusory brexit policy in the belief that by pandering to populace opinions they will cement their position as the leaders of the country. If anything it looks like the opposite is in the course of what is happening - the obscenely rich (the only ones whom the government appears to take notice of) are obscenely getting richer, whilst the poor are getting poorer. With limited resources we cannot fight a battle on two fronts, one or the other has to take priority and in this case I would suggest most strongly that it should be attending to our own domestic issues and that means investment and regeneration back in these impoverished areas. By staying with the EU we would be able to attract more inward investment and EU grants towards this end and with time, hard work and sensible empathetic policies, we should be able to arrest the rot and make our way back up again.
  16. Boo'iful sunshine now, mostly blue sky if slightly hazy - temp 22.8C - humidity 71% - Barbe set up
  17. 16.5C - 83% humidity - still cloudy but teasing slightly because getting slightly brighter. Think it will shift - got our family over for a barbe this afternoon and have put in a specific request to the weather gods. In the time I have written this, temp now up to 17.1C - humidity 81%, so going the right way. Happy Bank Holiday All
  18. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/brexit-eu-second-referendum-vote-leave-remain-swing-poll-a8371451.html I wrote on this subject a couple of days or so ago, and have now found a copy of the original article reproduced by The Independent. I explores the situation in some depth and is worth reading.
  19. www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5775673/Moggs-Moscow-Millions-Brexiteers-firm-poured-fortune-Russian-companies.html Makes you wonder doesn't it? It just seems to be adding to the murkiness of it all.
  20. With that Kent, I do agree with you - I'm all for foreign aid provided we can ensure it goes where we want it to go. It is a form of investment to the extent that if we assist development in another country, the theory is that once it has got to a certain stage, that country could then become a customer for our products. In any case it is far better to give somebody who is lying on the ground a hand up rather than another kick. But, and that is a very big but, it is not properly supervised at all - your example is one of many where foreign aid is supplied with good intent only for it to be intercepted by the bad guys with next to nothing for the people on the ground. I am a member of Rotary International and we do our bit to help overseas but we ensure that what help we send goes from club to club, missing out the corrupt governments and middlemen, so it can be spent exactly on the purpose we intend. The other matter I believe which should be stressed is that by far the best type of aid when can be sent is that which enables the recipient to fend more for himself. i.e. like the old advert there used to be -'If you give a man a fish, you fed him for a day, but if you teach him how to fish, he can feed himself and his family for a life time'. As far as the African continent is concerned, we are pushing sand dams. It is an excellent way of storing water from the rainy seasons to last through the dry seasons, they raise the water table and enable to the planting of crops and trees, in fact to make a micro climate which helps further with sustainability and as such has transformed the communities where they are situated. With increased anthropogenic global warming, there is increased desertification. Water supplies could be further increased by the use of carbon membrane: https://phys.org/news/2018-04-scientists-carbon-nanotube-technology-robust.html Then Earth is the only planet we have, so it up to us to look after it for future generations and technically it is perfectly feasible, the big thorn in the side being politics. Might this be some food for thought?
  21. My thermometer is showing 33.5 C - but I sited it on a north facing fence but at this time of the day it starts to catch the sun, so it can't be an accurate reading. Not that much showing on the radar too close to us but there is quite some height in those cus, so I expect some rain in next few hours.
  22. I can understand that but one goes with the other. I get fascinated myself and don't ever recall being frightened even though on one occasion had to cycle 5 miles home in a bad storm. Apart from getting wet, I reasoned that with the rubber tyres making contact with the road I was relatively safe from anything other than a direct hit, which would have been unlikely. Much safer than stopping and sheltering under a tree. Like everybody else I do get worried about lightning hitting the house and if I think it is getting too close I start disconnecting things like the TV from the aerial socket and the telephones.
  23. The army has been shrunk quite considerable - there must be some redundant barracks around, together with squaddies leaving the army desirous of employment. This sounds like an ideal opportunity for the establishment of 'boot camps', where through a mixture of discipline together with meaningful work and further education, morning to night, initially with no free time, this would have to be earned, these tearaways could be encouraged to learn the error of their ways. They would not be locked up for 23 hours a day brooding on how unfair life is to them blocking out any constructive thought. With only a barbed wire fence around the complex, security would not be so good but I am sure means could be devised to discourage most wannabe escapers, together with a reward system for showing progress towards becoming a good citizen. I'm sure it would be much cheaper than a purpose built young offenders institution - the ex squaddies would be well versed in the rough facts of life and also, strangely enough, empathetic because of their own experiences, thereby creating an atmosphere of 'tough love', which I think many of the inmates would respond to.
  24. I've never really been scared by lightning, though many years ago there were a number of us at a house party in Tonneins in France - this is situated at a point midway between Bordeaux and Toulouse. The house had a swimming pool, quite a large one, it was a hot evening, so I asked the owner for permission to go for a swim, I went in the water to be followed by a number of other people. There was some lightning which was getting closer with time, so it did get to a point where I thought it would be prudent to get out of the water. That was quite a good storm with some heavy rain. The following evening, the mosquitoes had taken advantage and by the river in the town you could see swarms of them like a cloud in the lights of the square. It does bring me back to the original point I wanted to make about being scared. We had a dog, who in appearance looked like a small German shepherd but in fact he was a 'street crossing'. Every time there was a storm he would get absolutely petrified and try and hide in the corner behind the TV - no amount of telling would convince him that he was in more danger there with the wires and the TV itself than the lighting outside. He did it every time and had to be physically pulled away from what he thought was his safe haven.
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