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Saturday, August 28, 2021

Links - 28th August 2021 (2) (Brexit)

Chancellor Rishi Sunak steps in to save workers with historic rescue package - "It also emerged that the EU was attempting to ban a part of Mr Sunak’s bailout plan for businesses.He announced this week that all companies in the retail, leisure and hospitality sector would be given a 12-month business-rates holiday as part of a £20 billion package of relief. The European Commission has said, however, that ministers would be allowed to issue only “selective tax advantages” and grants worth £800,000 per company.This means that hotels, supermarkets and other nationwide retail chains, which pay hundreds of millions in business rates a year, could get relatively little benefit from the bailout."
Why Brexit happened

Andrew Sullivan: When the Ideologues Come for The Kids - "The Eurocrats are not doing themselves any favors either. At their party conference last week, the Liberal Democrats invited Guy Verhofstadt, the chief E.U. negotiator on Brexit, to speak of his European vision. Here it is:    
The world order of tomorrow is not a world order based on nation states or countries. It’s a world order that is based on empires. China is not a nation; it’s a civilization. India, you know it better than I do, is not a nation. There are 2,000 nations in India. There are 20 different languages that are used there … The U.S. is also an empire, more than a nation. Maybe tomorrow they will speak more Spanish than English; I don’t know what will happen. The world of tomorrow is a world of empires, in which we Europeans and you British can only defend your interests, your way of life, by doing it together in a European framework and a European Union.
So many people assume that the E.U. is about internationalism, openness, transcending the old power politics. It is, in fact, a would-be empire, big enough to compete for power in the world against the U.S., China, and the rest. It is an imperial project that sees no value in nation-states. Britain, on the other hand, has already had a real empire and now just wants to govern itself."

BBC Radio 4 - Moral Maze, Healing the Nation - "‘Jane Robbins… was now famously thrown out of North London Book Group for voting leave. And then with Julie Burchill cowrote a successful play called People Like Us.’...
‘It was quite shocking to me because I wasn't an intentional pariah. And, I thought that the people in the book group were my friends. And I thought that we shared common values. Around, you know, just general civility, and our play actually is really about friendship. And so when myself and a friend of mine were both asked to leave the book group as a matter of honuor, because quotes we weren't open to reason. And it really did quite shake my world. I, I  couldn't compute it, I found it very difficult. And the play is not about my book group at all. It, we wrote a play about a very different book group that fell apart over Brexit. But it certainly, I wanted to turn a bad thing into a good thing. And that's how it came about.’...
‘You and your friends got on perfectly well before the referendum loomed. And you do, indeed share lots of, lots of values. So this isn't a symptom of a great cultural division. It’s just that Brexit came along and broke you up?’
‘Well, I think it is a symptom of a great cultural division because I had never expected that that could happen. And when it did happen, and it made me realize that a lot of people in my current world really have a very dim view of people in the world I came from. So I have a very kind of working class background. My dad drove a lorry up and down the A2. And I kind of reshaped myself to fit into a North London intellectual world… [Even now] I've seen things on Twitter, saying that leavers should be put into concentration camps, that we’re all xenophobes and racists.’"

I'm tired of my friends bullying me for being Right-wing - "I was chatting with friends at the bar of my favourite club in Soho, when an old friend, came up to me wagging his finger. “Look,” he said, smirking, “it’s Nazi Kate.”I managed to lob back a few cutting comments and waited for my two acquaintances (a writer and an artist) to join me in a robust defence. Instead, they shuffled uneasily from foot to foot, looked down at the floor and sloped off. They later came up to me and individually apologised, both indicating that they didn’t agree with what was said, and felt awkward about it, but then admitting sheepishly they hadn’t the nerve to speak out, either. This depressing scenario has become all too familiar in my life nowadays. I am that unusual creature: a Right-wing, Brexit-voting professional who mixes with an arty and liberal crowd. As such, I have become a target of bullying by the so called open-minded progressive brigade, who also happen to be many of my friends. So it was with sad recognition that I read a report in Arts Professionals magazine that said 80 per cent of people working in the arts are too scared to voice “controversial” opinions for fear of being professionally ostracised. According to the Freedom of Expression survey, verboten topics of conversation in liberal company now include Brexit, transgender and viewpoints considered Right-wing... When one arts producer acquaintance called me a Right-wing sympathiser and racist simply because I put a cross beside leave the EU and champion Boris, I challenged him to having a grown-up conversation about it. You know, an old-fashioned debate. Yet he refused to enter into any open discussion whatsoever... Society is based on structures that are agreed upon by the majority of people, such as marriage, the sense of nationhood, biological gender differences. I really believe that these structures are now being torn down in the alleged name of freedom. “Gender is a construct”, “nationhood is inherently racist”… these new ideas are not based on a rational discourse, but a trend of feeling and groupthink among a minority with a huge influence... I was brought up in the free-speech Seventies. Back then, being interesting, having something to say, meant you were welcomed in artistic circles... It makes me angry that these people feel they have a greater claim to higher intellectual or moral knowledge... This kind of bullying has become a common occurrence at our universities. The erstwhile bastions of free speech and critical thinking, today’s campuses of “safe spaces, safe minds” have closed down any discussion by students and lecturers that they see as racist, homophobic or as having 'traditional' values.This was illustrated in a report out this week from the Policy Exchange think tank. Critically, it says “the nation is losing faith in our universities due to their sniggering attitude to patriotism and traditional values”... "if you question or ask them to explain their position, you just get more insults.""
Preference falsification strikes again
Of course, we will still be told it is a myth that liberals hate their countries
Morrisons: Customers divided over Union Jack 'unsettling' packaging - "MORRISONS products have caused a huge debate on Twitter as some shoppers have expressed their disgust at the items' "unpleasant" and "patriotic" packaging, which features images of the Union Jack... Accompanying a photo of Morrisons’ Organic Superfast Oats, they wrote: “Very upset by porridge I saw in Morrison’s. This flagging everything is very unpleasant and quite intimidating.” Another person said: “It's all got a lot worse since referendum I think. Horrible.” Some customers even claimed that they were going to boycott Morrisons products that featured Union Jack flags. One shopper wrote: “Retaliate. I'm no longer buying anything packaged as such. Hurt them through their bank accounts.”... One person wrote: “Lidl too. I've got a plain egg box which I transfer the ridiculously packaged eggs into. Why are companies packaging to the deluded Brexiters? The thinking majority of us realise the tackiness of the packaging. They won't brainwash us.” Another shopper said: “Union Jacks are on everything now. Everything and anything. Really unsettling.”... Surprisingly, even British celebrities got involved in the Twitter debate. Anne Hegerty, an English TV personality and chaser on ITV’s The Chase, wrote: “Is it the Irish porridge that's upsetting them, or does it only apply to the British one?” Another chaser, Darragh Ennis, commented too. He said: “Irish one needs more flags.”" This suggets that some Remoaners hate the UK

‘It’s an absolutely corrupt system’: How EU farm subsidies are abused by oligarchs and populists - "Every year, the 28-country bloc pays out $65bn (£50bn) in farm subsidies intended to support farmers around the continent and keep rural communities alive. But across Hungary and much of central and eastern Europe, the bulk goes to a connected and powerful few. The prime minister of the Czech Republic collected tens of millions of dollars in subsidies just last year. Subsidies have underwritten Mafia-style land grabs in Slovakia and Bulgaria. Europe’s farm programme, a system that was instrumental in forming the EU, is now being exploited by the same anti-democratic forces that threaten the bloc from within. This is because governments in central and eastern Europe, several led by populists, have wide latitude in how the subsidies, funded by taxpayers across Europe, are distributed – even as the entire system is shrouded in secrecy... Even as the EU champions the subsidy program as an essential safety net for hardworking farmers, studies have repeatedly shown that 80 per cent of the money goes to the biggest 20 per cent of recipients. And some of those at the top have used that money to amass political power... Farmers who criticise the government or the patronage system said they have been denied grants or faced surprise audits and unusual environmental inspections, in what amounts to a sophisticated intimidation campaign that harks back to the Communist era."
This article must be written by a racist

Thatcher Warned Us to Go Slow on European Integration. Too Bad We Didn’t Listen - "In a major speech about the future of Europe, delivered in Bruges on September 20th, 1988, she “began with a grand historical sweep, taking in the Romans, Magna Carta, the Glorious revolution and much more, all designed to show that Britain was part of European civilization.” Thatcher also made it clear that “Britain wanted no ‘cosy, isolated existence’ on the fringes: ‘Our destiny is in Europe, as part of the Community.’”What Thatcher did oppose was the project of “ever-closer union,” and the resulting weakening of the influence of nation states. She believed that Europe should not be a centralizing power that incubated supranational institutions—particularly as this model of centralization was just then in the throes of spectacular failure within the Soviet Union. Instead, as she outlined in a speech at The Hague on May 15th, 1992, she favored a looser form of European co-operation, by which states retained their sovereign freedoms—including control of their borders. This, she believed, would accommodate the political and cultural diversity of Europe, including the eastern European countries that, she hoped, would be offered full EC membership. As Moore notes, in fact, she was one of the few prominent European politicians of the 1980s who had recognized that cities such as Warsaw, Prague and Budapest were very much European cities that had been cut off from their historical and cultural roots. In her speech at The Hague, as Moore summarizes it, “she prophesied that large-scale immigration caused by free movement would cause ‘ethnic conflict,’ and bring about the rise of extremist parties, that there would be ‘national resentment’ because of one-size-fits-all financial and economic policies under a single currency, and that a more centralized EC would not be able to work with the influx of new member states from the former Eastern Bloc.”... her concerns about counterreaction—both within Russia, and among Europeans who did not want to lose their national cultures and political prerogatives—proved at least somewhat prophetic. The same goes for her warning of “the emergence of a whole new international political class,” ignoring people’s shared instincts and traditions"

Cambridge Analytica 'not involved' in Brexit referendum, says watchdog - "Cambridge Analytica was "not involved" in the EU referendum, says the Information Commissioner.A three-year probe into the misuse of personal data, centring around the activities of the firm, has now ended."
It's ok, just blame the Russians

Nissan has buried Project Fear for good - "Japanese carmaker Nissan has confirmed that its long-term future in Sunderland is secure. Its chief operating officer, Ashwani Gupta, said that ‘Brexit for Nissan is a positive. We’ll take this opportunity to redefine the auto industry in the UK. In certain conditions, our competitiveness is improved.’Nissan has even committed to bringing more jobs to Sunderland, by manufacturing batteries in Britain instead of importing them from Japan. New post-Brexit customs rules have been dismissed as ‘peanuts’. Nissan has exploded one of the key planks of ‘Project Fear’. From the referendum campaign onwards, Remainers have been issuing stark warnings about the Sunderland plant... Worse still, Nissan was treated by Remoaners as a cautionary tale against democracy. The voters in Sunderland who supported Brexit were mocked as turkeys voting for Christmas. Their supposedly quixotic concerns with sovereignty and democracy would cost them their jobs, the Remainers warned. Of course, Nissan did a fair bit of scaremongering itself. Like many large companies, it had grown comfortable with the protectionist environment created by the EU’s Customs Union. But even as the carmaker publicly stoked fears over Brexit – particularly No Deal Brexit – it was ploughing billions of pounds of investment into the plant. And its contingency planning for No Deal actually involved Nissan closing down its plants in France and Spain, while doubling down on the UK market."

Londoners got a surprise fireworks show for New Year's Eve including a surprise raised BLM fist, and a surprise tribute to the EU from which they just escaped. - "London Mayor Sadiq Khan teamed up with the BBC to produce a surprise fireworks and drone-enabled light show for New Year's Eve, so you know it was going to be designed to bring the country together in a spirit of unity, common purpose, and love of country. Just kidding!In reality, it was more like a $2,000,000 virtue-signalling yard sign... It all started out as so many government endeavors do, with a bald-faced lie.
'This New Year's Eve will be very different:
There will be no fireworks.'...
There was also a globalist environmental message as illustrated by a turtle with the continent of Africa outlined on its shell because... actually, I have no idea what that had to do with anything... While the show included both totally apolitical messages and clearly progressive ones, you know what was missing?Anything remotely pro-conservative. Nothing about Brexit other than non-subtle swipes at it, nothing.And the message intended, one paid for by all Londoners, was clearly received."

We must never forget the Remainer elite’s atrocious assault on democracy - "his confession that the Remainer elites did indeed spend four years trying to ‘reverse the referendum decision’ – that is, trying to void the votes of 17.4million citizens, including millions of working-class people and eight million women – has stuck in the craw of some Remoaners. These people still seem, hilariously, to be labouring under the illusion that they did not actually spend four years waging war on democracy, but rather were just trying to put a stop to an ‘advisory’ proposal from a section of the population that had been misled by lies, misinformation and Russia, yada yada. In this sense Mandelson’s frank confession of anti-democracy is useful. This is a Remainer stating out loud what us Leavers have always known – that the Remainer elites devoted themselves to the bigoted, reactionary project of crushing the votes of millions of their fellow citizens.Mandelson’s confession that his ‘pro-EU camp’ acted against democracy comes at a particularly bad time for the Remain-leaning liberal commentariat. Many of them are currently looking in horror at the Trump camp’s insistence that the presidential election was fraudulent; that Joe Biden didn’t really win; that foreign elements (Venezuela?) may have had a hand in this political atrocity. But of course they themselves have already done all of these things, and on a far grander scale than the ‘rednecks’ they love to mock. These polite, educated Guardian-reading Remainers looking down their noses at vulgar Trumpites for trying to void an election result make those Trumpites look like rank amateurs. They were Trump on steroids for four whole years. Mandelson has reminded them of that, and they do not like it... This lets off the hook the broader, supposedly more moderate establishment, which clearly wants to water down its own role in the bigoted crusade against our democratic rights over the past four years... https://twitter.comThey were fuelled less by love for the EU – no one loves the EU – than by hatred for the apparently ignorant British masses. Their classist contempt for certain voters, and by extension for the entire idea of democracy, was readily apparent in the hateful placards they waved on their demonstrations (accusing voters of being thick, of being brainwashed, etc) and in the warped pleasure they derived from every rumour of economic difficulty as a result of our leaving the EU (‘That’ll teach those stupid poor people!’). I’ve received emails from these kinds of people at 2 in the morning calling me a fascist. I was accosted by a group of them in central London telling me that stupid voters didn’t know what they were voting for. I’ve witnessed these people swarming around an elderly gentleman who was carrying a pro-Brexit banner near Westminster and calling him a cunt, a Nazi, scum. Remain zealots have been a pox on political life since 2016."

Brexit is like leaving a sinking ship - "the European Commission has threatened to sue the German government over a ruling in its constitutional court. Berlin and Paris have agreed to a bailout of southern Europe. But the amount offered is not nearly enough to save Italy and Spain from economic crisis. And at the same time, it is far more than many northern states are willing to give. Each day of conflict brings the EU one step closer to the precipice. Just as the Eurozone debt crisis did before, the Covid crisis has further exposed the power imbalances and fault lines between the various states within the union."

Take it from a trucker, Brexit is nothing to fear - "Watching the media reports on the transport situation at Dover on New Year’s Day was amusing. Reporters stood in the cold with nothing happening in the background. They then waffled on about how, once traffic picks up, the chaos would come eventually.It’s clear that these journalists know little about road transport. Personally, I doubt there will be significant delays. I’m a truck driver, and have recently done work on the continent to boot. I’m also qualified as a transport manager, and I have studied transport management and logistics, so I know a thing or two.The main potential problem from Brexit – the one which is animating the media – is that some drivers might turn up to the border with incorrect documents, which could cause delays. The main new document is a customs declaration. These are filled out by the exporter, although the driver will need to carry them, and operators have an incentive to work with customers to get these things right.Thankfully, there has been a lot of preparation to deal with this potential holdup. The British government has created 10 ‘Inland Border Facilities’ in England and Wales, where hauliers can pre-submit their paperwork before arriving at ports. The government has also made great strides in getting information out to hauliers. There are multiple information points at motorway services and truck stops throughout the country. And there is compendious, well-ordered information on the government website.Of course, any system can have its problems. But the transport industry is used to dealing with problems. There are already many problems hauliers have to face: traffic, road closures, extreme weather (which regularly delays channel crossings), punctures, breakdowns, and so on. It is also something of a myth that journeys across Europe were completely unimpeded before Brexit, and that a trip to Barcelona was the same as a trip to Birmingham. International hauliers in the EU have always needed extra paperwork – such as road consignment (CMR) notes and ‘green card’ insurance forms – for crossing borders. I have personally been stopped by French customs while we were still in the EU because I was in a foreign-registered lorry. But road transport is a mature and competitive industry and it is remarkably adept at preparing for and dealing with issues as they arise. Even a No Deal Brexit would have been less of a problem than many predicted. Any form of Brexit had the advantage of being predictable, unlike road closures, weather and other obstacles. It never ceases to amuse me how much anxiety there has been over potential delays at the Channel due to Brexit, while so few are concerned by the regular, severe delays at the Dartford Crossing or the interminable roadworks on the M6. These problems clearly have a cost to us all, yet they are never discussed. If anything, Brexit could be good for the British haulage industry... The business model of the EU is simply to leverage cheap labour to the fullest extent. Next time you see a foreign lorry, check the small letters at the start of the number plate. You will see that most will have markings like BG for Bulgaria, RO for Romania or PL for Poland. This is all down to driver pay... Overall, as far as I can see, there isn’t much change in the regulations in the Brexit deal from when we were in the EU.The reporting of the situation at Dover tells us more about the media than it does about the road-transport industry. One of these industries might think it runs the country, while the other actually keeps the show on the road."

Ham sandwiches: the first cruel casualty of Brexit? - "In the run-up to the EU referendum, the Remain campaign warned of fire and brimstone in the event of a Leave vote. The then prime minister, David Cameron, said Brexit could lead to a third world war and would be celebrated by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the (since deceased) leader of Islamic State.His chancellor, George Osborne, was even starker: leaving the EU might lead to house prices going down, he said.But even the most ardent Remainer or #FBPE fanatic could not have envisaged the horrors that have been unleashed since Brexit has become a reality.In a recent special report on Brexit, a Dutch TV network filmed border officials dealing with arrivals from the UK. And in a harrowing scene, a British driver is pulled over and border guards confiscate his ham sandwiches. ‘Welcome to the Brexit’, jokes one of the guards. ‘Sandwichgate’ is the result of EU rules banning imports of meat and dairy products from outside the bloc, which now apply to Brexit Britain.The consequences of this incredibly minor change in rules was covered in every outlet going. The BBC, Sky News, the Guardian, the Mirror, even international news networks like NBC, ran reports on the driver’s ham sandwich. The sandwich fiasco even caught the attention of high-profile politicians... the absurd significance given to one driver’s ham sandwich reflects a Remainer media and political class that is desperate to declare Brexit a disaster but brutally disappointed by the visible lack of chaos since the transition period ended. Project Fear gets sillier by the day."

I hate to admit it, but my Eurosceptic father was right about Brexit - "The 1,246-page Brexit trade agreement has been described as “needlessly long” and “turgid”, but it’s remarkable how it has achieved the twin results of regaining sovereignty [at least, legally] – “taking back control” – and keeping our “special relationship” with the EU... There are three ways in which the new agreement is good.First, it takes the UK back to its position before the Maastricht Treaty - an agreement that extended the EU’s power to influence UK law - was signed.Second, those negotiating the deal on behalf of the UK have added a clause allowing Britain to deviate from the agreement after talks with the EU. How this will be enforced is unclear.And third, it's a far cry from a no deal Brexit."

The pettiness of the vindictive EU is a daily reminder of why Brexit was worth it - "As a youngster on the pop press, I coined the term “non-specific epic-ness” to sum up a certain sort of music which was all bombast and no bite, U2 being the best example.So it was a match made in heaven when their frontman Bono exhibited extreme BDS (Brexit Derangement Syndrome) on tour a few years ago... “Its values and aspirations make Europe so much more than just a geography. They go to the core of who we are as human beings, and who we want to be”. Then: “That idea of Europe deserves songs written about it, and big bright blue flags to be waved about”.But perhaps my favourite example of Bono’s wit and wisdom was: “Europe is a thought that needs to become a feeling.”What a joke! Europe – or rather the EU, which pulled off the con of all times in convincing a significant number of Europeans that they were one and the same thing – was only ever a feeling. A fantasy founded in order to make little men feel big – and for Germany to be the boss of Europe without risking a third bloody nose from Britain – where mediocrities with delusions of adequacy could rise swiftly through the ranks without ending up in an international court when it all went wrong. We Brexiteers are accused of nostalgia for an empire, but how the heck did that ever equate with the desire to break away from a monolith and re-assert ourselves as the small dynamic country we’ve been all our lives – from Magna Carta to the Swinging Sixties – except for a few mostly miserable decades? It’s the Remainers who always craved being part of an empire by another name.They say you never really know someone till you break up with them; their generosity or pettiness when it comes to dividing friends and possessions (in this case, who gets custody of the fish) can make you fall in love all over again or reinforce the reasons you wanted to get shot of them. Gaslighting us like an errant partner (“No one else will want you!”) didn’t work so, like many a rumbled narcissist, the EU is coming from a different direction and treating us like a naughty child – while revealing their own immaturity in the face of not getting what they wanted for Christmas... Such playground petty-mindedness of the EU reminds us every day why Brexit was worth it, as does Chancellor Merkel’s reference to “the British virus”. Is she going to start sniggering about French letters and Dutch ovens when other countries stand up for themselves? And if we’re so immature, how come we never felt the need to call our female leaders “Mutti” as do Merkel’s electorate? The danger of desiring leaders to boss them about often ends badly for nations; Alexander von Schoenburg, editor-at-large of Germany’s biggest-selling newspaper Bild, wrote recently: “The sclerotic and sluggish EU machine has botched the roll-out of the vaccines…delays, in-fighting, national self-interest and sheer bungling bureaucracy have combined to cripple the EU’s vaccine efforts.”"
Apparently Anglophobia is ok with "the British virus"

Yanis Varoufakis: Brexit will lead to 'disintegration' of the EU - "the immediate refusal to accept the referendum result had a major impact on British society: "Once the referendum was done, the hard remainers – people including Keir Starmer – shot themselves in the foot by continuing to back a second referendum.""

Hardcore Remainers are now going through the five stages of grief - "For most people, even Remainers, the EU vaccine tantrum has shaken their faith in the bloc to the core.Twitter over the weekend was littered with gratifying memos from former europhiles who have seen the light and now understand that bigger is not always better, that the EU isn’t quite as competent as it makes out, that an organisation which came into being 27 years ago is not the apex of civilisation - and that the bureaucrats who lead it aren’t all selfless saints whose only goal is world peace.From The Archbishop of Canterbury downwards, the country is almost entirely united in disgust.Perhaps more astonishingly, even a few EU players have realised the scale of the calamity. Carl Bildt, Co Chair of the European Council on Foreign Affairs tweeted last week “I had hoped not to see the EU leading the world down the destructive path of vaccine nationalism. Our continent’s entire history of success has been one of open, global value supply chains”. Meanwhile, erstwhile bogeyman Michel Barnier told a newspaper last week that he wants the EU to “step back” from the vaccine row with Britain. But there’s a fly in the ointment. Because incredibly, there is still a group of hardcore British Remainers who, having taken Brexit as a personal bereavement, simply can’t bring themselves to come to terms with what is going.Over the last few months, as the tweets below illustrate, they have been slowly - painstakingly - been going through the five stages of grief.First, when the Prime Minister decided that Britain would not join up to the EU’s vaccine scheme, there was denial that we were capable of going it alone... Then, when it emerged that Kate Bingham was a venture capitalist married to a Tory MP, we had anger... Next, they started bargaining - trashing the Brexiteer Government in the vain hope of finding some common ground with some old friends in the Remain camp and striking a deal... Now, we are reaching the depression stage. With no other card left to play, they downplay the EU’s catalogue of errors. The FT, which last month published an editorial urging its Remainer readers “not to gloat over Brexit’s failures” is now despondently referring to the events of last week as the “EU’s vaccine hiccough”"

The EU is behaving like a psychopath - "European Commision president Ursula von der Leyen threatened to block the exports of the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine, seize its factories and override its intellectual property. This was the EU’s ‘crisis of the century’, she said, and therefore extreme, war-time measures were needed to rectify it... the months-long smear campaign against the AstraZeneca jab has been far more successful than anyone intended. When it became clear in January that AstraZeneca would not be able to deliver sufficient doses to the EU because of supply-chain problems – problems the UK was able to solve by sorting its procurement several months before the EU – the EU disinformation machine cranked into gear... This fear has now spread to the UK, which until recently had extraordinarily low levels of vaccine hesitancy. There is also something very striking about the way EU leaders have singled out the AstraZeneca jab. It is the only jab which is produced at cost, for no profit – and therefore the only one which developing countries will be able to afford. The EU’s campaign of lies threatens to derail the global fight against Covid-19. The EU is behaving like a psychopathShareTopicsPoliticsScience & TechUKWorldThe finer details of the ever-evolving EU vaccine catastrophe can often blind us to the bigger picture. There is no polite way to say this but the EU is behaving like a psychopath.One of the most obscene interventions came this week, when European Commision president Ursula von der Leyen threatened to block the exports of the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine, seize its factories and override its intellectual property. This was the EU’s ‘crisis of the century’, she said, and therefore extreme, war-time measures were needed to rectify it.But we have to recall that as she said this, the AstraZeneca vaccine in question was no longer in use in dozens of EU countries. They had supplies of this vaccine but had banned them from being administered. A scare story about the vaccine causing blood clots started in Denmark, and by this week it had reached France, Germany, Italy and other major European countries. The European Medicines Agency and the World Health Organisation insisted the vaccine was safe. But, citing the precautionary principle (a long-standing constitutional principle of EU lawmaking), agency after agency took the vaccine out of circulation. An Italian health official admitted that, in his country at least, this was an explicitly political decision. The EMA has today confirmed that the jab is safe and effective… again.But even before the blood-clot scandal, AstraZeneca vaccines were languishing unused in European warehouses. While 77 per cent of the vaccine doses supplied to the EU have been handed out overall, less than half of the AstraZeneca jabs have been used. That’s 7.8million life-saving doses, doing nothing.The obvious reason for this is that the months-long smear campaign against the AstraZeneca jab has been far more successful than anyone intended. When it became clear in January that AstraZeneca would not be able to deliver sufficient doses to the EU because of supply-chain problems – problems the UK was able to solve by sorting its procurement several months before the EU – the EU disinformation machine cranked into gear.Calm down – climate change is not the end of the worldPodcastCalm down – climate change is not the end of the worldspikedA German government source briefed Handelsblatt – at the time a well-respected financial paper – that the AstraZeneca vaccines were just six per cent effective at preventing disease among the elderly (ie, the very cohort most in need of protection from Covid). This was nonsense. But it led French president Emmanuel Macron to claim that the jab was ‘quasi-ineffective’. Then, von der Leyen accused the UK of compromising safety by authorising the AstraZeneca vaccine too quickly – even though the EMA had also approved it days before. French, German and Italian regulators refused to allow the elderly to be given the jab – though this groundless decision has since been reversed. The effect of this has been to cast suspicion on the vaccine, leading Europeans to refuse it in large numbers.This fear has now spread to the UK, which until recently had extraordinarily low levels of vaccine hesitancy. There is also something very striking about the way EU leaders have singled out the AstraZeneca jab. It is the only jab which is produced at cost, for no profit – and therefore the only one which developing countries will be able to afford. The EU’s campaign of lies threatens to derail the global fight against Covid-19.It is of course the UK that is the real target of Europe’s ire. Despite Remainer warnings that leaving the EU’s vaccine scheme would be a death sentence, Britain has only succeeded because it broke free from Brussels. At present, Brexit Britain has vaccinated 40 per cent of its population; the EU just 12 per cent. This is not some sign of British genius or exceptionalism – the United States, Israel, many of the small Middle Eastern states and even Serbia (in Europe but thankfully not in the EU) are steaming ahead. Von der Leyen made explicit in her threats this week that vaccine exports would be cut off to ‘countries that have higher vaccination rates than us’. Aside from the threats, there has also been the gaslighting. Last week, European Council president Charles Michel claimed that the UK had enforced an ‘outright ban’ on vaccine exports. This was totally false. In the same week, the EU announced that it would ban vaccine exports to Australia. And this week the EU made its threats to ban the exports of vaccines and their components to Britain and the US. The EU’s vaccine programme is a disaster of its own making. It was bad enough when it seemed that only European citizens would pay for Brussels’ incompetence with their lives. Now the EU’s malicious lies and lashing out are going to get a lot more people killed."

The EU is in denial about its vaccine failures - "As a coping mechanism, European leaders have responded with spin, denial and obfuscation. Here are some of their most ludicrous efforts:
‘The EU is doing better than Africa’
‘Going slow is better, actually’
‘The EU hasn’t failed – Britain has’
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen today accused the UK of failing its ‘gigantic responsibility’ to ensure the vaccines are properly safe. She accused British regulators of ‘compromising’ safety for speed. ‘Yes, Europe left it later, but it was the right decision. I remind you that a vaccine is the injection of an active biological substance into a healthy body’, she told European journalists. Of course, the EU is currently using the same vaccines as the UK. In every case so far, the UK’s and EU’s regulators have reached the same conclusions on efficacy and safety, only the UK has done so much more quickly.
‘The vaccines don’t work anyway’
‘That Irish border thing was just an oversight’
‘The EU isn’t perfect’"

Why the EU has struggled with the vaccine - "As the German news magazine, Der Spiegel, reported recently, the EU’s approach to securing vaccine doses has been messy from the beginning, starting with its choice of suppliers. The EU’s ‘vaccine alliance’, made up of Germany, Italy, France and the Netherlands, concluded contracts with pharmaceutical giants Sanofi, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca early on, while strangely leaving out the companies that had demonstrated some of the most promising results at the time – BioNTech and Moderna. While many countries took advantage of some of these latter vaccines’ hopeful results by securing millions of doses as early as July, the EU did not get around to ordering these vaccines until November, delaying delivery by precious weeks... For all the talk of ‘international solidarity’ within the bloc, the EU’s handling of the pandemic has largely been a story of nation states reasserting themselves against the EU’s supra-nation state. Such was the case during the outbreak of the virus, with the unilateral restrictions on the movement of drugs within the EU and the failure of joint procurement and distribution of what PPE equipment was available. So it is again with vaccination stage: the German federal government is now trying to secure millions of doses to be used exclusively in Germany, separately from the vaccine alliance’s orders. This is likely to be a bone of contention in the bloc. For if this allows Germany to open up earlier, the Mediterranean countries whose economies have been the worst hit by the pandemic will ask why Germany should be able to use its economic clout to get out of the pandemic-induced lockdown restrictions faster than they can. Brexit, of course, has its trade-offs. But had we opted to join the EU’s vaccine alliance, its slow, immobile and bureaucratic decision-making process would have been a potential liability for the UK. Hopefully, the EU can learn from this and adapt itself to better handle future crises. However, as we begin our future outside the bloc, the UK will fortunately not have to rely on it doing so."

Sir James Dyson moves back to Britain after two years in Singapore
I remember how Remoaners were so excited when he moved to Singapore

How the left lost touch with voters, and reality - "The long-held view that economics matters more than culture in predicting voting preferences is under scrutiny. Research conducted after the first Brexit referendum showed that, for Brexiteers, self-determination was a major issue. Britons wanted to exit the EU to regain power over sovereign borders and control the decisions that affected them most. In the recent UK election, voters once again affirmed culture matters. In Lord Ashcroft polls, Tory voters ranked their top five priorities in order of importance as: Brexit; the National Health Service/hospitals; the economy and jobs; having the right leadership; and immigration. The contest for Boris Johnson’s seat was a miniature version of the cultural clash between Brexiteers and EU loyalists. As the conservative candidate, Johnson defended the values of the West, namely freedom of thought and speech; public reason; an apolitical and independent judiciary; and the right to self-determination made manifest by democratic nationalism. Johnson’s Labour opponent, Ali Milani, led a campaign of tiresome identity politics and xenophilia. In an interview with Left Foot Forward, Milani complained about racism and “Islamophobia”. He said that the first time he seriously considered standing for the seat was when “Boris Johnson made one of his racist comments”. Yet he could not remember the offending comment. Like many of the modern left, Milani appears so enchanted by identity politics that he resembles the second coming of Narcissus. Consider his stated reason for entering politics: “The reason I chose to stand is I think there is something deeply interesting and deeply attractive about someone who is an immigrant, who grew up on a council estate, who is a Muslim.”... The left is swift to denounce Brexiteers as uneducated, racist, xeno/homo/Islamophobes. Trump voters and conservatives in general receive the same treatment. But if leftists are so smart, why do they keep losing elections? The consensus opinion in green-left enclaves is that it’s “populism wot dunnit”. The losers’ lament is amusing. Although not hilarious in the style of Democrat voters’ Twitter tantrums following Trump’s election, the UK left is holding its own... The illusion that only stupid people vote conservative cocoons the left like a tearstained comforter. It makes the progs feel better but prevents them from growing up. While research suggests people with lower levels of formal education are swinging away from the traditional left, there is little robust data on the relative intelligence of voting groups by party preference."
Liberals will just mock them for "voting against their interests". Condecension is good if you're a liberal

The blundering EU cannot be trusted on the world stage - "Any lingering doubts about the European Union’s ability to tackle complex global issues will have been well and truly laid to rest by the crass incompetence of its handling of the Northern Ireland issue. It is but the latest example of how the EU’s ineffectual response whenever it is confronted with a major challenge always seems to end up making matters worse. From its conduct during the Syrian refugee crisis in the summer of 2015, to its hopeless response to the coronavirus pandemic, the EU seems incapable of providing satisfactory outcomes. While EU officials have publicly acknowledged that they made a serious error of judgment by attempting to block vaccine exports to Northern Ireland last week – admissions of wrongdoing are a rare event in Brussels – they hardly seem contrite that their behaviour has surely added to the already febrile situation in the province... From the start of the Brexit talks, the EU made a point of singling out the Northern Irish issue, claiming that its negotiating stance was essential to protecting the Good Friday Agreement, which ended decades of violence between the loyalist and nationalist communities. Many suspected, however, that the EU’s insistence on concentrating on the Irish border was motivated more by the belief that it would make life extremely difficult for British negotiators. Others wondered whether it reflected Brussels’ institutional bias in favour of a united Ireland. Now, in one outrageous move, the EU has proved its critics right. The fact that the invoking of Article 16 of the Northern Irish protocol was quickly reversed is hardly a convincing defence for Brussels."

The myth of Britain’s decline - "Robert Tombs: we are a European nation, but not the same kind of European nation as some others. Our connection with Europe has always been somewhat peripheral... geography has been getting less important for quite a long time now – 300 years or more. Our geography gives the context for our history, but it does not tell us what our history must be. Our geographical location is less important in the modern world than other kinds of connection – cultural, linguistic and economic...
O’Neill: for Britain’s leaders in the 1950s and 1960s in particular, entering the European Community was very much driven by geopolitical and post-Empire concerns. There was a feeling that the UK, a country that had once been the global equal of the US and the USSR, was no longer any such thing and was dwindling. The European project was seen as a means of Britain regaining some sense of global authority. How did that idea work itself out?
Tombs: It was a kind of rescue project... it was largely an illusion. The idea that we have declined in comparison with similar countries is clearly untrue. The fact that continental-size states like the US and China have grown does not mean we have declined. There has been a relative decline, but only in comparison with this kind of country. Compared with Germany, France and Russia, there has been no decline at all. Harold MacMillan and Harold Wilson’s generation thought the European states were overtaking us. What was really happening is they were having a period of postwar recovery. They were modernising their economies and had a one-off period of very rapid growth. But then it slowed down. And the consequence has been that since the 1990s, Britain has been outperforming the European economies – slightly but consistently. And yet, economic decline seems to still form a key part of the foundation of the Remainer or Rejoiner mindset – this sense of weakness, marginalisation, decline and failure, which means we must attach ourselves to the European project.
Brendan O’Neill: Your book raises the confusion at the heart of the postwar desire to offset a sense of decline... Why did people believe British declinism could be reversed by joining Europe, while at the same time recognising it would involve giving away a huge amount of British political power?
Tombs: In a way, it’s very odd. It was a feeling that the country was failing, but its elite was still cleverer than everybody else. It was the belief that Europeans may be doing very well economically, but their politicians were a pretty dim lot and did not have our experience of the world. Once we were in Europe, we would be leading it. There was exactly the same thing in France – the same feeling that the country was going to decline unless it could find a role as leader of a new Europe. It was this oddity of an elite that had not lost confidence in its own abilities, but had somehow lost confidence in its country...
Tombs: [The EU] was always political and it was always known to be so by those who were actually making the decisions. But it’s a complicated question, because they did not necessarily agree on how far it would go. There were a lot of British politicians who tended to think that when Europeans were talking about ever-closer union, it was just talk – it was never going to happen. In a sense, it wasn’t a stupid belief because the idea of European federation is so far-fetched in many ways. But diplomats, politicians and lawyers did realise that it meant giving sovereignty away. The argument has always been that sovereignty does not really mean much in the modern world. But people often confuse sovereignty with power, as if by pooling sovereignty we become more powerful and therefore more sovereign. But what really happens – and we see this very clearly in the EU – is that everybody loses sovereignty."

Michel Barnier vs the migrants - "Remember Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator? This week he made an astonishing intervention. He called for France to ban immigration from outside the EU for the next three to five years, and for the EU’s passport-free Schengen area to be renegotiated... It would be wrong to think Barnier has made some kind of Damascene conversion from EU apparatchik to populist firebrand. In fact, his comments are largely compatible with the EU’s philosophy. While fans of the EU celebrate its supposed ‘openness’ – whether it’s free trade or free movement – the EU is only really ‘open’ to other members. Yes, there are few barriers to migration between EU countries, but to the outside world it is Fortress Europe... So desperate is the EU to keep outsiders out that its leaders pay billions to autocrats like Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to host millions of Europe-bound migrants. Erdoğan is then able to blackmail the EU with the threat of releasing them to Greece and Bulgaria. Before Erdoğan (years even before anyone spoke of a ‘migrant crisis’), Colonel Gaddafi would regularly warn that he could make Europe ‘turn black’ if he was not paid to guard Libya’s coastline."
Weird how people think the EU is a haven for migration and if you're pro-Brexit you're anti-migrant, when the EU really is just pro-EU migration
The people were right - "We told you the European Union was not some hippyish, internationalist outfit but rather was a self-interested protectionist bloc. We told you it was a sclerotic bureaucracy whose centralisation of power made it more and more difficult for member states to behave as democratic nations and to respond sensitively and speedily to the needs of their own people. We told you the EU didn’t really give a damn about the Good Friday Agreement and was only using it as a weapon with which to beat Brexit Britain. We told you the EU was exploiting Ireland, cynically marshalling its concerns over a ‘hard border’ to try to further demonise Brexit, and that before long it would forget all about its concern for Ireland and relegate it once again to the status of a neo-colony. We told you all of this. And we were right. The EU’s increasingly unhinged behaviour over vaccines has shocked even many Remainers. But too much of the discussion is positing the idea that the EU has simply made some mistakes, a few rash, desperate judgements. In truth, the behaviour of the EU over the past week – its failings on the vaccination front, its acts of desperate protectionism, its lashing out at Brexit Britain, and its cavalier, sinister mistreatment of the Republic of Ireland – have not been glitches in the system; this is the system. This is how the centralised, self-interested, neo-colonial power that is the European Union operates. And it is why 17.4million of us voted against it in the referendum in 2016. Everything that is wrong with the EU has been on full and depressing display in recent weeks. Its bureaucratic, even byzantine nature, where regulation reigns supreme, meant it was slow to agree vaccine contracts and slow to approve vaccines. This has caused a shocking shortfall in vaccines on the continent, meaning member states have either had to roll out vaccines very slowly or halt vaccination altogether. The European Commission forbade member states from procuring their own stocks of vaccines. This wasn’t an ‘error of judgement’. This is how the centralised, sovereignty-diluting EU works. It requires member states to outsource their sovereign powers to Brussels and submit to rules and regulations that may or may not be in their national interest. The vaccines calamity is a consequence of the very idea of the European Union. Then came the EU oligarchy’s protectionist lashing-out. It has taken increasingly stiff action to try to compensate for its bureaucratic failures on the vaccination question. It has declared a war of words on AstraZeneca and has threatened to take action to force the UK to hand over some of its stocks of AstraZeneca vaccines. It has imposed controls on the export of vaccines. This unilateral act of vaccine imperialism could have a harsh impact not only on the UK but on other nations that had agreed vaccine deals with European producers, including Japan and Australia. Again, this isn’t a glitch; it’s what the EU does. It is 50 years since the legendary Labour Eurosceptic Barbara Castle warned of ‘Euro jingoism’ – here’s that jingoism, once again. We have also seen how ruthlessly the EU will protect its reputation and its power. One of the most alarming things in recent days has been the misinformation that Euro leaders have spread about the AstraZeneca vaccine... It lashes out against perceived enemies – whether it’s Brexit Britain or the producers of certain vaccines – because its overarching aim is the preservation of its own authority. That comes before everything else, even before the important task of generating public trust in vaccination. Then, to top it all off, we had the EU overriding the deal it agreed with the UK just a few weeks ago. As part of its vaccine protectionism the EU invoked Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol, meaning that Northern Ireland, in this instance, would be treated differently to the Republic of Ireland and would be subject to the EU’s export controls on vaccines. Why? In case Northern Ireland were to become a backdoor way for Britain – nasty non-EU member that we now are – to receive vaccines produced in Europe. Vaccines we had already ordered, by the way. This has exposed the cynicism and ruthlessness of the EU oligarchy. For years the EU and its cheerleaders said a ‘hard border’ in Ireland would be an outrage; now the EU has attempted to erect a hard border in Ireland on the vaccine front, so that the Republic would receive European vaccines but the north would not. The EU and its global backers said anyone who disrespected the Good Friday Agreement would essentially be inciting the return of terrorism in Northern Ireland; now the EU tramples over the Good Friday Agreement. The EU constantly claimed that it had Ireland’s best interests at heart; now it unilaterally backtracks on its commitment to Ireland, wilfully ignoring the concerns of the Irish government and Irish people and dividing the island up into those worthy of receiving vaccines (the south) and those not worthy of receiving vaccines (the north). This has shone an unforgiving light on the contempt of the Brussels oligarchy towards nation states... It didn’t even alert the Irish government to the fact that it was invoking Article 16 and dividing Ireland along Covid lines. It clearly views the island of Ireland as its territory, its little colony, a piece of land it can make major decisions about without even consulting its elected representatives. Again, we told you. We told you the EU views Ireland – and many other non-powerful European nations – as colonial outposts, as playthings of the new empire, as territories whose own interests are subordinate to the interests of the capitalist elites in Brussels."

On insane IT password policies

Bitdefender: "It goes without saying: don't do this. 85% of employees who have received security training in the workplace continue to reuse their passwords."

Comments:

"Despite security training, the majority of systems engineers continue to use password protection as the default security model."

"Some people have enough trouble remembering one password let alone 10"

"You MUST have 10 unique passwords 🤦🏼‍♂️, 6 characters with upper lower case AND symbols… how can you expect people to remember them…"
"but some of the passwords require special characters, and others forbid special characters, so you can’t make it easy for yourself."

"Because when we're forced to use 20 different non-memorable passwords, we forget them. And all the password reset emails get routed into our inbox, so there's a single point of vulnerability - which is exactly what the strategy is *supposed* to prevent."

"If it weren’t for obnoxious password requirements, IT people wouldn’t have a job at all. The only thing they exist for is to reset forgotten passwords. The business would do just fine if we simplified passwords and downsized IT departments - after all, without 9 million password reset emails, they’d have less work to do."

"The combination of password complexity + making people change passwords every 90 days makes this inevitable."

"Must include a number, capital letter, and special character (but only from a limited set), AND it can’t be more than x characters long? How’s anyone supposed to remember made-up nonsense meeting all those criteria at once? Just get rid of the character cap and encourage people to use sentences instead of “words”. They’re easier for humans to remember and harder for computers to guess even if no additional characters are added. Something like “this is my yahoo password, yeehaw” is nigh unhackable by brute force (more so than xkYn23?d while being far more memorable), and you can have a personal formula for how you set up different sites that makes sense to you while still giving different passwords on each. "

"There was actually a government study that showed that these complex password rules were LESS secure. Either for re-use, or people writing them down on sticky notes and setting them by the computer."

"Doesn't help when employers prohibit the installation and use of password managers."

"Because only a computer could remember a different password for everything that requires one."

"I sent a complaint to IT and managers once when I received a password reset email days after a password security training session that said a secure password should be a series of words, not an arbitrary series of characters, digits and what not. They didn’t change the password policy, they instead took the training material off the list of recurring training sessions… 🤦‍♂️"

"So you want people writing these down on paper? That is the most insecure of all."

"you just dont look very professional when you are on field and you have to email a file to your customer: "could you print this for me please? I dont have the password to install the driver for the printer you use on my computer and this is not on our IT todo list to help me soon..." Because the first thing the new IT guy had done upon arrival is demoting all users to "restricted users" and making everyone wait for him every time you need to tweak your computers. In these cases I call it "Password Protected Job Security""

"its a conspiracy theory of mine, * chuckles* That we will all get SO tired of multiple passwords and changing them often, that we submit our thumbprints Happily~~."

Links - 28th August 2021 (1)

Robert Pattinson took fan to dinner - "Twilight actor Robert Pattinson invited a fan who had waited outside his apartment for three weeks to have dinner with him because he was bored.The 25-year-old was filming Little Ashes in Spain and after being followed by a female admirer for several weeks, he asked her to spend the evening with him... "Her parents had a restaurant, she took me there. I complained about everything in my life for about two hours, then she gave me the bill to pay and was never back outside my apartment ever again"... The actor also said he attempts to disguise himself when he goes out, but doesn't do it very well."I attempt to disguise myself - it doesn't particularly work ever. I started off just trying to make strange expressions, but that's not a particularly good tactic.""

National Indian Gaming Association - Wikipedia - "The National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1985 made up of 184 Indian Nations"

Syed on Twitter - Sunny Singh @ProfSunnySingh: "I get regular invites to debate on various platforms. I always say no.Because debate is an imperialist capitalist white supremacist cis heteropatriarchal technique that transforms a potential exchange of knowledge into a tool of exclusion & oppression."
"How can an actual professor say “debate is an imperialist capitalist white supremacist cis heteropatriarchal technique” when our history is filled with debates in palaces & academies -from China to Athens & Baghdad? 🤷🏽‍♂️ Debates in Abbasid courts triggered intellectual renaissance."

The SANDWICH ALIGNMENT CHART - "INGREDIENT PURIST: Must Have Classic Sandwich Toppings. Meat Cheese Lettuce Condiments Etc
INGREDIENT NEUTRAL: Can Contain a Broader Scope of Savoury Ingredients
INGREDIENT REBEL: Can Contain Literally Any Food Products Sandwiched Together
STRUCTURE PURIST: a Sandwich Must Have a Classic Sandwich Shape: Two Pieces of Bread/baked Product With Toppings in Between
STRUCTURE NEUTRAL: the Container Must Be on Either Side of the Toppings but Not Necessarily Two Separate Pieces
STRUCTURE REBEL: Can Contain Any Food Enveloped in Any Way by a Containing Food
HARDLINE TRADITIONALISTS: a BLT Is a Sandwich
STRUCTURAL PURIST, INGREDIENT NEUTRAL: a Chip butty Is a Sandwich
STRUCTURAL PURIST INGREDIENT REBEL: Ice Cream Between Waffles Is a Sandwich
STRUCTURAL NEUTRAL, INGREDIENT PURIST: a Sub Is a Sandwich
TRUE NEUTRAL: a Hot Dog Is a Sandwich
STRUCTURAL NEUTRAL, INGREDIENT REBEL: an Ice Cream Taco Is a Sandwich
STRUCTURAL REBEL INGREDIENT PURIST: a Chicken Wrap Is a Sandwich
STRUCTURAL REBEL INGREDIENT NEUTRAL: a Burrito Is a Sandwich
RADICAL SANDWICH ANARCHY: a Pop-Tart Is a Sandwich"

Hotel in Thailand That Jailed American Gets New Tripadvisor Label - The New York Times - "The resort hotel in Thailand got its public apology. The unhappy American guest who spent two nights in jail for criticizing the hotel online got his criminal charges dropped. But it was Tripadvisor, the giant online travel review platform, that got the last word.Wesley Barnes, the American traveler who was arrested after being charged with criminal defamation for posting critical reviews of the Sea View resort on the island of Koh Chang, quietly left Thailand this week.With Mr. Barnes safely out of the country, Tripadvisor took punitive action on Wednesday against the resort, posting a one-of-a-kind notice on the Sea View’s page warning travelers that the hotel was behind the jailing of a guest for his harsh reviews.“This hotel or individuals associated with this hotel filed criminal charges against a Tripadvisor user in relation to the traveler writing and posting online reviews,” the warning reads. “The reviewer spent time in jail as a result.” The dispute between the resort and its guest began over a $15 corkage fee, but turned into a clash between American principles of free speech and Thailand’s far-reaching laws that limit expression and are used to stifle criticism of businesses, the government and the monarchy... “Thailand’s use of criminal defamation is really off the charts,” said Phil Robertson, the deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch. “It seems like the Asian notion of ‘saving face’ has really been taken to heart by Thais who don’t hesitate to head to court over the smallest perceived slight or insult. If Thailand would simply decriminalize defamation, making it a purely civil law matter, this would create a major change in Thai society overnight.”... The Sea View, located in the Gulf of Thailand, an hour’s flight from Bangkok, said it tried unsuccessfully to persuade him to delete his posts and had no choice but to file a police complaint. Mr. Barnes was arrested in September and spent two nights in jail as he tried to make bail. He faced two years in prison.Tripadvisor began paying his legal fees and helped bring the parties together to negotiate. Eventually, the Sea View agreed to drop its complaint if Mr. Barnes made a “sincere apology” for his reviews, which they said included “xenophobic comments against hotel staff.”Mr. Barnes accepted the offer, and in a statement that resembled a forced confession, he apologized and thanked the hotel for forgiving him... The fine print of the settlement also required Mr. Barnes to obtain an agreement from Tripadvisor, and he asked the company for a commitment that it would not post a “red badge” warning — Tripadvisor’s most dreaded notice — on the hotel’s page.Tripadvisor posts various warnings to alert travelers to safety issues, and such notices can result in a significant drop in business. Agreeing to the hotel’s demand meant going against the company’s own practice of informing travelers.“That was problematic for us,” Mr. Young said. “The settlement agreement basically required Mr. Barnes to convince Tripadvisor to stop acting like Tripadvisor.”The company has been criticized in the past for not doing enough to warn travelers of specific dangers, especially cases of rape.In the end, Tripadvisor gave Mr. Barnes a letter that he hand delivered to the hotel, promising the company would not post a “red badge” on the hotel’s page... Tripadvisor began drafting a new type of warning that it posted on Wednesday, after Mr. Barnes had reached his destination outside Thailand. The warning comes with a penalty: a substantial drop in the hotel’s ranking on the website."

CEO Secrets: 'We tried paying everyone the same salary. It failed' - "When Calvin Benton started his psychotherapy company Spill, he had the idea of paying everyone the same amount of money. He thought it would bring harmony to the team. Instead, he was forced to abandon the scheme within a year because of the rancour it created and pay people according to their seniority and expertise."We realised that we had to pay attention to market forces," says Calvin. "Sometimes, traditional practices are there for a reason."... Initially, the measure worked well and fostered a lot of goodwill within the team."Let's say we were going out for drinks," says Calvin. "There wasn't a problem of who pays, or whether this person doesn't get paid as much as this person so maybe the manager has to pay. Everyone got paid the same, so it was much easier in those social situations."As Spill took off, Calvin recruited new staff such as a software developer, a salesperson and clerical workers - and decided to offer them all the same £36,000 salary. This is when the problems started."Software developers are typically very in demand, and they usually take a higher salary than £36,000," says Calvin. "Salespeople are typically paid on commission. So it was not a model which particularly suited either of those two industries."We really struggled to attract senior talent for the software role. And it got to about three months in when the salesperson started asking to be paid according to sales targets they'd achieved, saying the fixed salary wasn't working for them."At the same time, Calvin was getting overwhelmed with applications for the £36,000-a-year clerical jobs he was advertising."We were offering a lot more than other clerical jobs paid and a lot of people were applying to the roles because they really wanted this high salary, rather than wanting to work at Spill because they believed in the mission behind the company."... Among the newly expanded workforce, the equal pay system was starting to cause grumbling."When we grew the team, we started to have some people who contributed more than others. You had some people who worked longer hours than others. The question started to arise: should this person be paid the same amount as me?"

Thai national park sends rubbish back to tourists - "Authorities in the popular Khao Yai National Park near Bangkok will start sending rubbish back to litterers, Thailand's environment minister said.Offenders will also be registered with the police.Visitors to the park have to register with their addresses, making it easy for rangers to track them down if they leave rubbish behind."

Hilarious Photos Of Walmart’s Greatest Customers - "Walking VLC Player
This woman has a clear message for anyone who even thinks about violating social distancing guidelines. She is masked, but boy is she orange! Hard to miss, stay away!"

Police: Man arrested for driving through pro-police rally in Eaton - "The driver, identified as 21-year-old Isaiah Cordova, was later located by police and arrested on suspicion of attempted first degree assault, felony menacing and reckless driving, according to police."

Toa Payoh Becomes Bubble Tea City With Bubble Tea Shops Every 500m - "In Toa Payoh Central alone, there is a whopping number of bubble tea shops within a 500-metre radius of each other around the train station"

ITALIANS HERE AND OVER THERE FIGHT IT OUT OVER PASTA IMPORTS - Chicago Tribune - "Italians and Italian-Americans are one in their taste for the national dish: pasta in all its forms--spaghetti, macaroni, tagliatelle, lasagna, et al. But the harmony dissolves when it comes to making and selling the product... They don`t see eye to eye at all, including how to prepare the product in its various manifestations... the dish is bastardized, the Italian exporters claim, and many residents of the ''little Italys'' found in every American city of any size seem to agree with them, preferring the foreign variety.The contrast was epitomized 40 years ago when, after World War II, Marshall Plan shipments to an Italy suffering from food shortages included such items as canned spaghetti with meat balls, for which the recipients had no taste."

Meme - "boys? you mean sex toys that are rude and don't even vibrate?"
"Whatever, Fleshlight that cries."

Salt chip on Twitter - "For anyone curious about the deleted/hidden Bali thread"
"If they think we're hating because they're black:Tell them back in June 2020 we also have a national outrage because some white people have the audacity to arranged a mass yoga event in the middle of pandemicWe managed to deport the organizer too"

Shitposting in Asia Ironically™ | Facebook - "Somehow sjw especially in USA try to live in Bali without paying taxes at all and then they can try discrimination only we are brown when we're not all brown. It's really tempting for people to have lived in their own country for so long."
"Imagine having more earnings and opportunities than 90% of the people here, yet claiming themselves as “the most oppressed people in the world”"
"It's like, damn bro we all want to get out of this shitty country, you're not special because you realize American Life is a scam.Just move somewhere and shut the fuck up, integrate, pay your fucking taxes. Don't be an instagram colonizer.Not that Bali isn't already completely ruined by people like her anyway."
"“Buy my book!” Is all I got from that. Hilarious blowback from flexing."
"Did they actually tried pulling the race card in Asia?"
"yes, idk what they're thinking"
"#BALINESELIVEMATTER"
"Westerners are something huh. No wonder aliens starts invading their country first for a reason."
"'to foreigners, from localsplease stop glorifying and moving to Bali, Indonesian economy are worse now with covid around. You will gentrified Bali more and make it worse for locals. If you like Bali, please just visit and have a great vacation.'
'Help, Im being bullied by Indonesians. They are anti queer black americans.'"

(PDF) Suicide and Ambient Temperature: A Multi-Country Multi-City Study - "Previous literature suggests that higher ambient temperature may play a role in increasing the risk of suicide... Higher ambient temperature was associated with an increased risk of suicide in general, and we observed a nonlinear association (inverted J-shaped curve) with the highest risk at 27°C. The relative risk (RR) for the highest risk was 1.33 (95% CI: 1.30, 1.36) compared with the risk at the first percentile. Country-specific results showed that the nonlinear associations were more obvious in northeast Asia (Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan). The temperature with the highest risk of suicide ranged from the 87th to 88th percentiles in the northeast Asian countries, whereas this value was the 99th percentile in Western countries (Canada, Spain, Switzerland, the UK, and the United States) and South Africa, where nearly linear associations were estimated... Our findings showed that the risk of suicide increased with increasing ambient temperature in many countries, but to varying extents and not necessarily linearly"

Friday, August 27, 2021

Links - 27th August 2021 (2)

Boy, 16, was given estrogen at L.A. juvenile hall, suit says - Los Angeles Times - "A 16-year-old boy being held at a Los Angeles County juvenile hall developed enlarged breasts after he was prescribed estrogen to treat a behavioral disorder, a move that baffled doctors who said the treatment defied medical logic"

Larinzo on Twitter/a> - "Idolizing a politician is like believing the stripper really likes you."

Cruel twist of fate for single woman who froze her eggs in her 30s to ‘free her career’ - "In an age when egg freezing has become so popular that hip employers such as Apple and Facebook cover it as a perk and grandparents help finance the procedure as they might a down payment for a house, there’s surprisingly little discussion about what happens years later when women try to use them. Fertility companies tend to advertise egg freezing — “oocyte cryopreservation” — in scientific terms, as something that can “stop time.” And many women believe they are investing in an insurance policy for future babies.But the math doesn’t always hold up. On average, a woman freezing 10 eggs at age 36 has a 30 to 60 percent chance of having a baby with them, according to published studies. The odds are higher for younger women, but they drop precipitously for older women. They also go up with the number of eggs stored (as does the cost). But the chance of success varies so wildly by individual that reproductive specialists say it’s nearly impossible to predict the outcome based on aggregate data... The four women’s experiences underscore the incredible uncertainty involved in egg freezing. James Grifo, a fertility specialist at NYU Langone Health who is one of the pioneers of the procedure, calls the whole notion of being able to “control” your fertility — perpetuated by the media and embraced by feminists — destructive.“It’s total fiction. It’s incorrect,” Grifo said. “Your whole life it’s beaten into your head that you’re in control and if you can’t have a baby, you blame yourself. There has to be more dialogue about what women can be responsible for and what they are not responsible for.”"
One reason why Singapore regulates egg freezing

BraveHeart on Twitter - "Only in America do you find a kid wearing $150 tennis shoes, drinking a $5 cup of coffee, typing on his $1,000 cell phone complaining on social media that he is oppressed and that capitalism has failed him."

Matt Taibbi on Twitter - "Former CIA Director John Brennan says "I'm increasingly embarrassed to be a white male these days," which prompts MSNBC's Nicole Wallace to laugh"
"The ultimate example of woke-washing. Man who oversaw torture, surveillance, and drone assassination programs says what embarrasses him is... this?"

Matt Walsh on Twitter - "White kids are taught to hate their whiteness. Boys are taught to hate their masculinity. Girls to hate their femininity. Children of all races and both sexes are taught to hate their country. We push self-loathing onto our kids and then wonder why they are depressed and suicidal"
"I also think non-white kids are being taught to hate themselves by being told an insurmountable evil system is stacked against them, and that no matter how hard they try, they’ll never be good enough or accepted."

Meme -
"You are"
CUTIE PIE!"
"NARROW SCALDING AND IRRATIONAL"

White author won't translate Amanda Gorman's works after criticism it was inappropriate - "A Dutch poet will not translate Amanda Gorman's work after criticism that it would be inappropriate for a white person to do so.Marieke Lucas Rijneveld announced on Wednesday that they would be translating the works on Twitter which Gorman had retweeted.However, Rijneveld, the youngest author ever to win the International Booker Prize for the novel, 'The Discomfort of Evening,' decided to step down from the role on Friday."
Who thought SWs were going to stop at "whitewashing"?

Pigeon arrested in India suspected of being spy for Pakistan

Confused Pigeon Nests A Box Of Cadbury Chocolate Eggs In Tesco

4 travellers in China ate 30kg of oranges in under 30 minutes to avoid excess baggage fee

New bus trip will take you from Delhi to London - "Described as the "first-ever hop-on/hop-off bus service" between the two destinations, Bus to London will ferry 20 passengers on a modified luxury bus, inspired in part by the Hippie Trail buses that crisscrossed the world in the 1950s and 1960s. The bus will cross 18 countries over a period of 70 days, with passengers hopping off to marvel at the pagodas of Myanmar, hike the Great Wall of China and wander historic cities including Moscow and Prague."

Police Bust Condom Recycling Facility In Southern Vietnam"

Someone tell Bill Gates. Even people desperate for food won't touch the fake meat. - "Shelves are empty, people are starving, but plenty of Beyond Beef and Impossible Burgers to be had."

Bill Gates wants you to "shift entirely to synthetic beef." He's also now the biggest owner of farmland in America. Ain't that a coinkydink? - "Gates – who coincidentally is a primary investor in a synthetic meat company called Memphis Meats and has financial ties with other plant-based companies – wants the U.S. and other "rich nations" to eat only lab-grown meat."
Conflict of interest is only an issue if you disagree with someone

UN Watch on Twitter - "No joke: Ahead of U.N. review of U.S. rights record, China—which herded 1 million Muslims into camps to kill their religion & culture—asks: “What measures has U.S. taken to eliminate systematic racism, racial discrimination, white supremacy, religious intolerance and xenophobia?“" "Happening now: We are live tweeting as 🇺🇸 the U.S. record on human rights is now being reviewed at the U.N.'s Human Rights Council by Cuba, Belarus, North Korea, Syria, Iran, China & other champions of human rights."

AOC says she might quit politics because the Democrat Party is not guano-crazy enough for her

Facebook - "AOC took her district by twenty points less than Biden took it.
But the far left would have you believe she's the future of American politics"

Female protester arrested in NYC for spitting in cop's face once interned for U.S Rep Jerry Nadler - "The foul-mouthed female protester who was arrested Wednesday for spitting in the face of an NYPD officer once interned for a high-ranking House Democrat.Devina Singh, 24, spent about a month in 2018 working as a social work intern for U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee... Singh, of Brooklyn, was among the 57 people arrested in New York City on Wednesday night after she was filmed in Manhattan's West Village neighborhood screaming 'f**k you fascist' at an NYPD officer before spitting in his face."

Internal Google document reveals campaign against EU lawmakers | Financial Times - "Google is planning an aggressive campaign targeted against French commissioner Thierry Breton and other regulators in Brussels over their plans to introduce new laws to curb the power of big tech, according to a leaked internal document... The leak of the internal document lays bare the tactics that big tech companies employ behind the scenes to manipulate public discourse and influence lawmakers. The presentation is watermarked as “privileged and need-to-know” and “confidential and proprietary”."

McDonald's ice cream makers are broken because... RACISM!! - "'a programmer has reverse-engineered the McDonald's app to track inoperable ice cream machines across all 14,000 locations in the U.S.... McDonald's locations were overrepresented in white areas while locations with broken ice cream machines skewed Black and low-income.' Wait a second... You're telling me that low-income areas aren't as likely to have the most well-maintained, efficient ice cream machines in all the land? Golly, I bet you'll tell me they're more likely to have car parts on their front lawns and Rottweilers behind chain-link fences, too!"
Liberals claim income is the real factor when they want to make minorities look good, but they claim race is the real factor when they want to cry racism

A Bot Tracking McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines Finds Troubling Racial Disparities - "most of these machines probably aren’t “broken” per se, but rather temporarily turned off because they need to be cleaned."

Former McDonald's worker reveals ice cream machine appears broken as staff do not want to clean it - "Will Doyle claimed that the soft-serve machines take hours to clean and this makes staff reluctant to serve ice-cream... Another former worker said it was 'always working' but just 'took too long to clean' so they told people it was broken... 'Unless you work for the company you don’t understand. It seems dumb but it’s genuinely easier to lie to avoid having the same conversation 10000 times a day.'   Former employee Megan Wojcik said: 'Or someone would accidentally press the weird heat button which spoiled the ice cream/shakes so it had to be cleaned.'"
Looks like Vice is the one being racist, given the staff in minority neighbourhoods!

Parrots removed from UK wildlife park after they started swearing at customers - "A group of parrots at a zoo had to be put back into isolation when they all started swearing at customers after coming out of quarantine.The five African grey parrots were adopted by Lincolnshire Wildlife Park on August 15 and put into a room together.But it appears they used their time in isolation teaching each other foul language, which left park staff in hysterics - but swift action had to be taken when they started using obscenities with guests.Steve Nichols, CEO at the Friskney park, said the birds were put into a 'time out', but admitted over the last 25 years he's taken in many parrots "that have sometimes had a bit of blue language"... The park has also made headlines around the world after a video of Chico, a parrot at the park, singing Beyonce ’s ‘If I were a boy’ went viral. Mr Nichols said people have come to see Chico and then heard about the fouled-mouthed parrots, meaning both have been good for business."It is quite an unusual place where you are walking around and people are swearing at aviaries trying to get a parrot to swear back at them."He joked the site has become an "adult theme park"."

Islamists Block Construction of First Hindu Temple in Islamabad - The New York Times - "A Hindu temple planned for Islamabad, the city’s first, was supposed to be a symbol of tolerance. Instead, violence and controversy have turned it into an emblem of Pakistan’s troubled relationship with its religious minorities.When Pakistan’s former government allotted land for the Shri Krishna Mandir, or Krishna temple, in 2018, Muslim demonstrators quickly camped out on the plot, refusing to allow a Hindu structure to be built in their nation’s capital. But the temple’s Hindu advocates seemed to prevail, and when the temple’s first foundation stones were laid last month, government officials proclaimed it marked the start of a new, tolerant chapter for Pakistan. Days later, Prime Minister Imran Khan ordered the government to provide about $1.3 million for the temple’s construction, roughly a fifth of what is needed... Muslim clerics stepped in again, and things started changing.Several clerics ruled that no Hindu temple should be built, because Pakistan is a Muslim country. Citizens denounced the government for using their taxes to provide funding for the temple. And media outlets openly campaigned to shut the project down. Under mounting pressure, the government on Friday backtracked from its initial pledge to donate money to the temple’s construction, instead asking for guidance from the Council of Islamic Ideology on whether to give the grant... The fever pitch around the temple finally erupted on Sunday when a group of men destroyed the partially constructed wall around the temple’s land, claiming it was their Islamic duty to do so. They gleefully filmed their exploits and posted it on social media. None of the vandals have been arrested. In a matter of two weeks, the hope surrounding Islamabad’s first Hindu temple was derailed, as were any aspirations that the government of Mr. Khan would deliver on the religious coexistence he had promised when he won elections in 2018."
Another Islamophobic story!

The French Revolution: Everything You Wanted To Know

The French Revolution: Everything You Wanted To Know | HistoryExtra Podcast - HistoryExtra

"‘Was the revolution inevitable? And I guess you can kind of broaden that out to what are the chief causes of the French Revolution.’...

‘I would not say that the French Revolution was inevitable, because very few people in France before the Revolution was anticipating that this would happen. In fact, France seemed like a very strong and powerful regime. It was the most powerful regime in Western Europe, it was wealthy, or so it appeared. It had a big army, it was very stable, it seemed, France had had an autocratic monarchy for centuries. Really, no one was anticipating what, what would happen in France, and yet there were underlying problems and these problems brought about the Revolution. 

So one of the biggest difficulties was political, that all power was in the hands of, of one man, the king. And when you have power in one person's hands, if there's any problem with that person, then the whole regime is weakened considerably. So that autocratic system in itself was difficult. It was a regime where a certain group of people had a great deal of power. And these were the nobility, who were the, the second estate in France, France is divided up into estates. Nobles, were the wealthiest section of society. They had many privileges, both honorific and financial privileges. nobles didn't pay the principal taxes on the grounds that they were noble and they'd fought for their, their country, they had a great deal of power, and they were very venal. Though, corruption was an institutionalized part of the old regime. So that power blockage was a really difficult one for France. 

But France might have continued as an autocratic monarchy for many years to come if it hadn't been for a financial crisis. And it's the financial crisis that really is the thing that brings down the old regime in just a space of a few years. That financial crisis has its origins partly in the endemic system that they have in France, where, as I said, the nobles pay very little in the way of taxes, the clergy, the first estate pay little in the way of taxes. Many of the bourgeoisie pay relatively little in the way of taxes. And it's very hard for the monarchy to raise enough money to continue. Then added to that are the problems of France, helping out the Americans in their war of independence. So large sums were borrowed to finance that war. And then there are the problems of the court and the royal court and excessive expenditure of the court. It just becomes very, very hard for monarchies to manage in the late 18th century. And in 1786, it becomes evident to the King’s Finance Minister Calonne that France, the French state is on the point of a bankruptcy and it's that bankruptcy that brings about the Revolution, it brings about the collapse of the old regime.’...

‘What happened in the French Revolution?’...

‘Short answer to your question what happens in the French Revolution: a lot. A lot happens very quickly. So it's quite hard to keep up because so much changes. 

As I said there was bankruptcy, it becomes known that the state is on the verge of bankruptcy from 1786. And attempts are made to ward that off. The King attempts to reform the financial system to make above all, the nobility pay a fair and equitable share of the tax burden to raise money and the nobles, most of the nobles oppose that vehemently, vehemently. They don't trust the king. They don't trust the Kings finance minister Calonne. The King tries to go through a special assembly, he calls the assembly of notables. That's called in 1786. It was the great and the good of the old regime. All higher nobles are part of it. You would think that they would support this financial reform, but of course, they don't know revolution is brewing. They do not support it, they oppose it. They think that the king somehow is, is fooling them. And the crisis isn't as bad as he and Calonne say that it is. That assembly is dismissed, then the king approaches the or has his ministers approach the, the chief law court at the time, that's the Paris parlement and tries to get reform through them. The Parliament, also made up entirely of nobles who bought their posts, also block this attempt to reform and they say that the only body that has the sufficient credit to, to authorize the necessary reform of the tax system is the Estates General. This is a body that has not met since 1614. And the king does not wish to call it because it's, it's like it's summoning something that might have a bit more representation. And that's not how the autocratic monarchy has functioned. 

But eventually the king has to give way and the Estates General meet in May 1789. There are many commoner deputies there, the so called third estate deputies. And these men when they meet, they don't just want to vote through reforms. They want to give France a constitution and they want to form themselves into a National Assembly. So a political revolution begins. And the king vacillates and does nothing. So the assembly decrees itself to be a National Assembly, the third estate deputies decree themselves alone to be a National Assembly. Eventually they are joined by members of the lower clergy who support them. And the king gives way, eventually to this and so they constitute themselves into a National Assembly. 

But the king starts bringing up troops around Paris and Versailles. And there is a fear that he intends to act to arrest the deputies of the National Assembly and to move against Paris where Parisians have been supporting this new revolution. So what you then have is 14th of July 1789, the storming of the Bastille, where the people of Paris launch themselves onto the stage of history, in defense of the revolution, in defense of the National Assembly, and they overthrow this, this prison in the heart of Paris, the Bastille, and this is seen as the the founding moment of the Revolution. The King again seems to have capitulated, seems to have accepted things. 

But then in October of that year, October 1789, hordes of women from Paris who are hungry, who are desperate, who do not trust the king, march on Versailles, where the king is based, it’s about 12 miles outside Paris, they go in this, in the pouring rain and they demand the king, supply them with bread so that people can eat, and return with them to Paris where he can be under the eye of the people. That night, there is an attack on the Palace of Versailles. People from the populace get into the palace, they have, they have quite a go at murdering the Queen but she manages to escape. And the next day the king capitulates, he goes back to Paris, October 1789. It seems that the Revolution is over. A constitutional monarchy is set up. And it seems that France will have something that looks a little bit like the the British system of government across the channel. Things seem to be settled after then. 

And for some time, the assembly busies itself with making new laws and setting up this format of the constitutional monarchy, but the king is never really in favor of a constitutional monarchy. It's an anathema to him. He's been brought up to be autocratic, he doesn't accept it. Many nobles, including the king’s own brothers flee France, they become emigre, they become openly opposed to the Revolution, to prepare, even to fight against it. And in June 1791, the king and the queen attempt to flee France in what has become known as the Flight to Varenne. They're intercepted, they're brought back, but this is devastating for the monarchy, people see that the king was not really in support of the Revolution all along. And after that really, support for the monarchy really crumbles. In April 1792, a fateful decision is made for France to go to war with leading powers in Western Europe.

First of all, Austria and Prussia, and against the French emigre there, this is a really crucial moment of war, everything that happens subsequently has to be understood in the context of that war that takes place. The king and the queen have anticipated that that war would go badly for the revolutionaries, and result in a restoration of the old regime, under the aegis of Austrian and Prussian troops. But that does not happen. 

And in August of 1792, there's a second revolution. The monarchy is overthrown in a pitched battle in Paris at the Tuileries Palace, the king is imprisoned, a new regime is instated, the National Convention, which is pretty much democratic in principle in the way that it's voted for. So every every man has a right to vote, not women, of course, because this is considered nonsensical. At the time. Lots of people don't vote because they're monarchist, and they don't. They feel alienated by the regime. But in principle, this convention is a very democratic body. And yet, it is immediately faced by the problem of what to do with the king, what to do with the continuing war. 

The Convention decides to put the king himself on trial for treason, and he's executed in January 1793. And this is the first time that that new invention, the guillotine is used for a political execution with, with Louis XVI himself. So this, again, is a decisive moment. The execution of the king also brings Britain into the war against France. Spain also has joined the war, the Dutch have also joined the war. So France is confronting all these Western powers reined against it. And it's under that under that duress, that the deputies of the convention decide on a policy of terror, which is again to be a fateful thing. 

Now that policy of terror, it's spearheaded by a group called the Jacobins, who are radical deputies. And this is the most radical phase of the revolution and from the autumn of 1792, to the summer of 1794. In the summer of 1794, on the 28th of July of that year, Robespierre, a leading figure with the Jacobins is overthrown and his group with him by other Jacobins, and he is executed. And this leads to really a cutting down on that radical phase of the revolution. After this, the terror also begins to be wound down. 

A fateful decision is also made to continue the war. Up until June 1794 that war had been defensive, with foreign troops fighting on French soil, but from the summer of 1794, it becomes an offensive war. And war in itself becomes one of the things in which the revolutionaries are deeply involved. A new regime has set up the Directory, and this, that's in November 1795. And this is more of a compromise regime. They don't want to go back to the frightening democracy and terror of the the Jacobins. But they don't want the royalists to get back in power either. So it's a compromise regime. It's also a corrupt, very financially corrupt regime. And it also increasingly rests on its support from the army. 

And it's that which really sets the basis for Napoleon Bonaparte to mount a coup, which he does in November of 1799. So called coup brumaire, where he overthrows the directorial regime and establishes himself as First Consul. Most people would say the French Revolution stops there. Obviously, things still happen, but they're slightly different things...

There's no Karl Marx kind of beavering away, plotting a revolution before the French Revolution breaks out. As I said, they didn't know this would happen. And there's no blueprint for revolution. It happens, it happens first, and then the revolutionaries look for, for what it is that they want to do with this situation that has come to them. So the Enlightenment shapes many assumptions about liberty and equality, but it certainly doesn't cause, cause a revolution. Even Rousseau, who is sometimes credited. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the Geneva philosopher, is sometimes credited with inciting the revolution through his ideas. He said, revolution is not worth a single life, he would not have approved it. I mean, he was dead by, then they could not ask his opinion, but I think, I don't think he would have improved, certainly would not have approved of the guillotine…

Could the revolution have been prevented by a stronger King? Very possibly, yes. That brings me back to my first point. Because it's such an autocratic regime, because one man holds power in his hands, if he has a weakness, then this is going to affect everything. Because of the nature of the regime. Louis XVI had inherited a financial and political system that was badly in need of reform. This was not his fault. This was, I mean, partly an invention of his ancestor of Louis XIV. But Louis XIV was a much stronger man. He was also much more ruthless man. 

And Louis XVI was not like that. He was temperamentally not inclined to be a good autocratic ruler. He wasn't nearly ruthless enough. He wasn't nearly decisive enough. He became king at the age of 19. He said, God help us, for we reign too young and he was very aware of his own inadequacy. There's, there's an assumption often made about Louis XVI that he was thick, you know, he was sort of just stupid. This is really far from the truth. He was, in his way, he was an intelligent man. He was a hard working man. He tried hard to understand the finances and the way that the old regime worked. We know that from notes and annotations that he wrote on financial documents and things like that. So yeah, he did work hard. He did try and do his duty as he saw it, but he was the kind of man who could not think outside the box. So when the old regime starts to crumble, he has no clue what to do. He really has no clue. He also, he was shy. He vacillated in courtiers to whom he gave favor and patronage and this was not a good situation because he needed strong backup. 

An autocrat needs people whom he trusts to be his henchmen, to do what he wants, and Louis, vacillated about that. So he didn't give full support to his finance ministers. He was much too inclined to dismiss them when they proved unpopular. So he was, he was changing his policies, changing his ideas. This is not good for an autocrat. And it looks like from about the time of the failure of the assembly of notables at 1786. It looks as though he had something like a breakdown… He withdrew from a lot of decision making. And this is the king. He took refuge in overeating, he ate massively, he drank a lot. And hunting as well, which was a traditional pastime of kings and sort of, you know, not listening, not listening, that will go away. And this was really, really bad, bad policy on his part. If he'd been more decisive, if he’d arrested the deputies of the Third Estate, when, I mean, it would have been incredibly unpopular. But for people to fight against the King, they would have had to have taken on his army. That's, that's what autocrats stand or fall by in the end, and he was uncertain of using the army. And, yeah, that was, that played very badly against him. He also listened too much to his wife. She didn't give him very good advice.’

‘What impact did his death have on public, public opinion in France, and outside of France?’

‘The death of Louis XVI, it was like a gauntlet that the revolutionaries threw down against the monarchists, against the crowned heads of Europe, it was a supremely important gesture that they made. They could have done other things with him. They weren't going to reinstate him as King because that would have made the whole convention, that would have made them an illegal body. So they were definitely going to find him guilty of treason... 

Some revolutionaries say that the decision to execute the king should be put to, like a referendum, a public referendum. But we all know they can backfire. And I think it pretty certain that if they'd asked the wider public, the peasantry of France, what the peasants wanted to be done with the King, they would not have said to kill him. This was quite a strong political position. But within Paris itself, there was huge hostility to the king, huge hostility, so many people quite indifferent to his fate, as one revolutionary said of Louis XVI, you know, we loved him, we trusted him, but he never loved us. He never cared for us. They really felt betrayed after the Flight to Varennes. So Louis helps seal his own fate with that. 

But the execution of the king also has huge repercussions outside France, as I said, it brings the British into the war, because they don't like this example of crowned heads being lopped off and it greatly radicalizes the position of opponents of the war. But then the King's own brothers had done, who were emigre by this time, have done nothing to save him. He was really sort of hung out to dry.’...

Louis himself took no mistresses. And you might say, well, what's wrong with that? But a French King was expected to take mistresses. And people found it suspicious that he cleaved only to her, to his wife and they thought he was uxorious. Good word. It means you love your wife too much. Charles the First and Tsar Nicholas were also accused of the same thing. You know, listening too much to a woman… certainly towards the end, the last years, from about 1786 onwards, he listened too much to Marie Antoinette. 

And she wasn't the brightest button in the box. She really, really wasn't. She was very politically reactionary in her views. She advocated some very bad political appointments. And she, it was she who planned the Flight to Varennes, with the man she loved first… she was actually sending the Austrians the French battle plans in secret. So in that sense, she was, yes, you could say she was a traitor to France, which is what the French Revolutionaries said. But when she was finally put on trial, she wasn't accused of that. They didn't have the letters, the proof that she was sending the battle plans to the Austrians because they'd gone in secret...

‘The revolution has many legacies, both within France and outside France. It still has a legacy, it still has an important legacy. It changes, it changes history, and historians divide historical periods into the early modern period and the modern period. And the turning point is the French Revolution that, yeah, so it's huge in its impact. Nobody can see politics in the same way again, after the revolution. And one of the things that's most important is the idea of the possibility of a successful revolution. It could happen, this could happen, this could be made to, to work, possibly, if we do it right. If we get it right. 

I'd said that there was no blueprint for revolution before the French Revolution. But in the 19th century, there are many blueprints for revolution, not least from Karl Marx, and they, they look at the French Revolution. And they say, but this is how it failed, this is what they did wrong. And this is how we should do things in the future. So it has an amazing impact. If it weren't for the French Revolution, we wouldn't have seen in the same way, the rise of so many things, political concepts that are fundamental. So the rise of liberalism, of socialism, of nationalism, of conservatism, of opposition to revolution, all these come about, in the way that they do as a direct result of the impact of the French Revolution. 

Within France itself, there is a division of opinion, the French Revolution divides opinion. And certainly people in France felt very strongly both for and against. So you see a series of revolts in France in the 19th century. So 1830 there's another revolution, this time to overthrow the younger brother of Louis the 16th. That's Charles X. Then, and that results in Louis Phillipe becoming King. Then 1848, another revolution, he is overthrown, a Republic is briefly set up, this is brought to an end by Napoleon, Louis Napoleon, the nephew of the first Napoleon. So a Second Empire and this is brought to an end by the the Franco Prussian war, the French collapse, but also at that point, you have an attempt at a revolution in Paris, the Paris Commune of 1871. 

So it's as though the French having done this once, they turn to this idea, some of them, the ones who are the radical ones, and see this as a model to emulate. But also in France and outside France, you have many people who vehemently oppose the revolution, and have done ever since and everything that it stands for. It's been a very divisive legacy, but a very important one.’"

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