Tag Archives: Europe

The coffin of politics

I never thought this would happen. When it came down to it, I was convinced that the UK is a small ‘c’ conservative country and would vote to preserve the status quo. We’d vote to Remain, Nigel Farage would continue to bleat on about rigged votes and everything would carry on as normal.

But, oh, for fuck’s sake. It depresses me so much that a horrible, divisive campaign – so much like the one London comprehensively sent packing with the mayoral election – won over nearly 17.5m people. A campaign filled with outright lies, padded out with straight-up racism. A campaign that saw a woman get killed (a woman Farage seemed to forget about in his victory speech, saying his little independence movement succeeded without a single shot being fired. Oh, apart from those ones in Birstall, but never mind).

This wasn’t about Europe. This was about giving a bloody nose to them government poshos who never listen. There are Leave voters on the BBC today saying they didn’t mean it, they didn’t think Leave would win. On Facebook, there’s someone I used to hang out with – and no longer do because of bellendry like this – saying ‘oh crap, it was only a protest vote’. Yeah, well your little protest just wiped £1.5 trillion off the value of the world’s economy.

Project Fear my arse.

Continue reading The coffin of politics

Bloody immigrants

Bloody immigrants.

They come over here, can’t even be bothered to learn the language. You go in the banks and there they all are, queueing to speak to the one teller that speaks English. All the leaflets have had to be translated for them. It makes me sick.

They stick with their own. Always drinking in the English bars, run by the English and employing English staff. What’s wrong with giving some work to the natives? The Spanish would love the business opportunities but they’re undercut by the English and their network of friends and kids of friends, willing to work for cash in hand. What happens to the taxes, that’s what I’d like to know.

All the Spanish bars and restaurants, they’re going out of business. You feel like a stranger on your own high street, where you’ve lived all your life. Walk down the road, you can’t understand half the people you pass.

We’ve got some of them living next door. Can’t speak a word. It’s down to us, of course, we’re the ones who have to make the effort. I hear them talking about how well the neighbours speak English. Lazy bastards, how about you trying to speak some decent Spanish instead of shouting in your ridiculous dialect and waving your hands?

They’re all using dodgy TV connections. Eyesore satellite dishes stuck on the side of their houses by cowboys so they can watch Eastenders and the news that’s hardly local any more. Not a TV licence between them. They only read the English papers. They don’t vote. The ignorance is shocking.

They won’t integrate. Look at them, with the shops selling English food. What’s wrong with our shops and our food? Why do they need to shop at Iceland? Why do they still need to buy fish fingers? What’s wrong with eating the local produce and supporting local farmers?

And speaking of the food, have you seen some of the muck they eat? Especially for breakfast? Swimming in grease and my god, the smell. It sticks to them all day. I swear, I think most of them don’t even shower.

Then, when they have heart attacks or break a hip, they clog up the healthcare system. And of course they can’t speak the language so don’t get stuck behind one in the queue, you’ll be there forever. If you can even get seen, because of all the English pensioners on the waiting list.

And then they have the nerve to say they’re not immigrants, they’re ex-pats. They can fuck off back to where they came from, the lot of them.

Peston’s children

Between the stories of lunatic Islamists on the rampage all across the world and John Noakes going missing in Majorca – unrelated as far as I can tell – a significant news event has snuck quietly between the gaps with virtually no fanfare. A whole country, and a famous one at that, has been banned.

Greece is done, finished, no longer allowed to exist. If I were hilarious I’d make some reference to the Monty Python parrot sketch at this point, but I’m not hilarious. A country that has done a fair amount for the advancement of humanity has been told by a selection of economists that it must now shutter up its tavernas and quit that stupid bloody dancing, because they’re all now to be scattered to the four corners of Europe and their lands shared between Bulgaria, Turkey and, controversially, Chad.

The day they officially run out of cash, which is either yesterday, next weekend, some time in August or a date chosen at random by distracted suits in offices in Washington, heavies will be dispatched to recover debts using whatever menaces are necessary. Old women queueing in incredible heat for hours for tiny pensions will return home to find men with bats removing their furniture in order to send it directly to warehouses in Brussels, Luxembourg, Berlin and elsewhere, where it will be burned as a health hazard with the resulting CO2 emissions blamed on Greece. No more plates will be broken because there will be no plates left to break.

That seems to be the result of the doom-laden reports plastered all over every press outlet because, yes, I was being sarcastic. The news is taking on the story of Greece’s financial woes with the vigour of a teenage boy offered the chance to mount his fit 20-something geography teacher before blaming her for grooming.

There is one single group of people who give a half-hearted toss about the situation in Greece: economic journalists. Their topic, as they themselves must admit, is as exciting as the tea cup ride at Lithuania’s top theme park, Stalin World. Even the Greeks themselves are done with it all, given they’re about to confirm in a referendum that their creditors can come and get it if they think they’re hard enough.

But economic journalists are wet with excitement that their news is the news, and that they get to tell us the most important details of the day rather than that boring ‘Muslim correspondent’ in France banging on about Herve Cornora’s disembodied head in a selfie. Chief among their number is Robert Peston, a man with a voice that sounds like he alternates breaths between nitrous oxide and opium. It’s virtually impossible to understand a single thing the man says as he drawls slowly along 14 words a minute before evidently being told by a producer to get on with it and speeding off on an unlistenable tangent, as thousands stare confusedly at radios with milk and cornflakes dripping from their open mouths.

The jist of Peston’s bonobo-like babbling seems to be that Greece must be blamed for getting itself involved with one of the world’s most despicable mafia-style organisations, known as the IMF. This is a group that helped to create the system in which countries are left to flounder unless they follow a very specific set of rules designed to propagate that system, the system which causes money to flow from poor people to rich people, because that’s how things are now, just deal with it. Take a look at the IMF’s Wikipedia page – their current list of ‘Executive Directors’ names 24 people, and all but two of them have a red link to their name, demonstrating no-one knows a fucking thing about them. The exceptions are Hazem Al Beblawi, a former Prime Minister of Egypt, and Rakesh Mohan, an Indian economist who probably wrote his own page.

While our economic journalists wheeze and whine that Greece are causing the world’s markets all manner of bother with their prevarication, perhaps they might turn an eye to the system that’s caused this. Bankers get slated for causing the calamity that’s affected every country in the world for the last seven years, but bankers didn’t create the system, they just broke it. We live in a world where the idea that the richest countries might let the poorest countries off a wee bit of debt, that they’ve absolutely no need to be repaid, is seen as a bad thing. Do we hear Peston, Hugh Pym, Richard Edgar or whichever scaly fuck Sky have doing their economics reporting explaining why the IMF, World Bank, OECD and the rest have turned the world into one massive market to be exploited by bastards for their own ends?

One of the main problems in Greece is their over-generosity when it comes to society’s chief unwanted burden: old people. Peston’s children will tell you that no country in the EU spends as high a proportion of their funds on pensions. This makes other countries look bad as they allow their old people to freeze and rot having outlived their use to capitalism. These other countries therefore demand Greece reduce their pensions spending, which currently amounts to less than 700 euros a month. That’s below the poverty line. Bad, bad Greece.

Just because economic journalists periodically demand their time in the spotlight doesn’t mean a whole country should pay the penalty. Greece spent when they could, suffered the same crisis not of their making as everyone else, went to the wrong loan sharks to sort it out and are now about to get their fingers broken for their troubles. None of that is fair, and little of it is their fault given the system they have to work within. It can hardly be a surprise that they’ve had enough, just like the rest of us have had enough hearing about it.

People just want to get on with their lives and the majority couldn’t give a shit about markets, currency fluctuations, debt defaulting, GDP or whether Angela Merkel herself is on her way right now to knee them in the balls. The story of Greece’s financial difficulties is meaningless to almost everyone on this planet who simply want to do a job with some purpose, spend their leisure time how they wish, enjoy friends and family and die with the minimum number of regrets.

At least when the repo men come to take away everything Greece owns, having no radios, TVs or houses to listen to them in will spare Greeks having to hear heartless ‘Executive Directors’ chuckling in amazement that there’s no uprising to put a stop to all this, or indeed the simpering economic journalists who make hay while the world cracks and crumbles. Perhaps Greece will be declared bankrupt, debts will be cancelled and they’ll be kicked out of the Eurozone, only to proceed to live on their means with the things they produce from the land within their borders, like normal countries used to do back when the world wasn’t run by wankers.

Maybe they’ll end up showing us how it was meant to be done all along. It’s the only way I can think of we might be able to handle Peston’s ear-splitting vocal somersaults and the pointless prattle of his kin.

The serious business of blame

The corpse of a west London schoolgirl has turned up in the River Brent. Plainly this is grim news for the people who knew her, and the sympathies of the country are with them at this difficult time.

It’s important to get that out of the way, like the condolences handed out to the families of dead soldiers at the start of Prime Minister’s Questions, just before MPs start baying hateful abuse at each other and making noises that sound like a goat’s vinegar strokes. Now we’ve said that we feel distinctly sorry for the family of the dead girl, we can move on to the serious business of blame.

It appears the police think some Latvian did it. There’s a good chance he’s pissed off back to Latvia since the crime was committed – the very country in which a few years ago he murdered his wife in a forest. The word ‘lure’ is used when that tale is told. He sounds a bit of a git does Arnis Zalkalns.

If he did indeed kill the British schoolgirl, that makes the blame game nice and easy. We blame Zalkalns. I’m no criminologist but the world will be a saner place for all of us if the man who did the murder is the man blamed for the murder. But we can’t confirm that he did it yet, not least because nobody knows where he is except perhaps for a load of Latvians, and that’s where the art of blaming takes a fun turn.

He killed his wife and served seven years in prison for it. Not long enough, with hindsight, but he served his time, was released and as far as the Latvian authorities were concerned he was free to hot-foot it to Britain to mess with schoolgirls because of the EU’s rules on freedom of movement. He comes here, he’s arrested on suspicion of assaulting a different schoolgirl in 2009 and released without charge, and even has the gall to take a British builder’s job while he’s here, the bastard.

Something has to be done. The Latvians have let him go, not monitored him at all, he’s free to go where he wants in Europe and now he’s over here touching up and murdering our schoolgirls. Something is rotten at the heart of the European project when a man can come here from somewhere they speak a funny language and kill one of US, and piss off back east to blend in with the very people who’ve allowed this to happen.

That ‘something rotten’ is the way this story will highlight how we view ‘other people’. The implication is that, had Arnis Zalkalns stayed in Latvia and killed a Latvian schoolgirl, it would matter far less. Is that really where we’ve ended up?

We all know the media will latch onto a good child murder, particularly if it’s of a girl, ideally a white one, and if there’s a dodgy homemade video of her appearing in some shocking school play, all the better. It’s possibly a stretch to say the News of the World may have considered topping one or two nativity play Marys themselves when the phone hacking lost its lustre, but you get the point.

But if this young, pretty, white girl is foreign in some way, or killed somewhere else, that’s really not our concern. There’ll be a devastated family somewhere, but not here, so never mind. We like TV news shots of dull British streets with yellow police tape and small white tents like on Silent Witness, not mysterious overseas cities of dark rains and police uniforms we don’t recognise. If Latvians want to kill Latvians that’s their business. How dare they come here and kill US?

People frequently define themselves by where they’re ‘from’. I could lay claim to the area of London where I live, or claim to be a Londoner, or an Englishman, or British. Anything wider than that makes you out as a freak in 2014. Nonetheless, I’m a citizen of the EU, an inhabitant of the continent of Europe, an Earth-dweller and a member of the human race and why the bloody hell would I choose one of the mid-range classifications, British say, to decide whether I care about someone being murdered?

I never met Alice Gross and I don’t doubt she’s a huge loss for her family, but if she’d been Latvian, Albanian, Peruvian or someone on the International Space Station I’d care as much or as little. Now her body’s been found we’re about to embark on weeks of moaning about why the suspect was allowed to come to Britain to commit this crime, utterly ignoring that he could have gone to any other country and we probably wouldn’t have heard about it. But he came to Britain because ‘they’ all come to Britain, and if we can use the death of a schoolgirl to reduce the number of immigrants ‘coming over here, taking our jobs’, we’d be fools to miss the opportunity.

There’s just as much chance that a British fiend will travel to another European country and kill one of their schoolgirls, unencumbered by any form of monitoring by British authorities. Next time this happens, let’s see if there’s an outcry here about it. He could have stayed in Britain and killed someone here, but thanks to the freedom of movement he could happily head off to Banská Bystrica and commit the type of atrocity that makes Hostel look like The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

So as the shouting commences and lasts a full eight months to the election, consider taking a breath and defining yourself first and foremost as a human being who hates the nasty shit we do to each other, regardless of how close to home the victim might be. Alice Gross is a dead schoolgirl, and that’s awful. She’s not an excuse for xenophobia.