The BBC reports that the anniversary of the Magna Carta was the preferred day on which to celebrate Britishness in a poll of BBC History Magazine. It is hard to say if this is indicative of anything, but it seems to confirm my prejudice that the British may be the last people in Europe to have a healthy distrust of government as well as respect for a tradition that places limits on the exercise of power.
Archive for May, 2006
Posted by rantingkraut on May 30, 2006
Posted in Civil Liberties | Comments Off on Some good news
Posted by rantingkraut on May 15, 2006
Germany’s pathetic imitation of the BBC world service, the Deutsche Welle (“German Wave”), has come up with a book of the 250 best things about Germany. The online anthology of the contents reminds me why I never thought of going back. Some of the things are fair enough (Berlin Philharmonic, Bavarian Beer etc.), others are out of place but unremarkable (German Churches, museums, TV programmes …) these exist, but there is nothing special about them really.
Then, there are some real howlers. Germans are told to be proud of, inter alia:
1. Nena (as in: “99 red balloons”)
2. Their PM, Angela Merkel
3. Recycling schemes
4. Laws compelling citizens to clean the pavement in front of their door.
5. A run down coal mining area which can be considered a “Mecca for fans of concrete all over the world”.
7. The Pope.
Fuck! At least there are two things we all can learn from this: 1. the Deutsche Welle should have settled for the top three: Kloster Au Dunkel, Erdinger and Weihenstephaner. 2. No matter how bad things are in the UK, they are bound to be worse in Germany.
Posted in Crazy Krauts | Comments Off on Those krauts are nucking futs!!!!
Posted by rantingkraut on May 2, 2006
Back in March I commented on the German state prosecuting anti-fascist protestors using the swastika in a clearly recognisable anti-fascist message. What looked like an amusing if dodgy one-off occurrence then has now been shown to be part of a systematic policy.
Several anti-fascists have been prosecuted for similar reasons and one activist running a mail order company selling anti-fascist paraphernalia had his office and flat raided by police as well as having €10,000 (approx. £6,000) worth of stock confiscated.
The German weekly der Spiegel also reported, that the prosecutor in charge openly stated that he knew that he was punishing innocent victims, but hoped to get a useful legal precedent by doing so. Another alleged motive is that people could get too used to that symbol. This is an interesting motive: the state is not concerned about the swastika helping diehard Nazis to re-group, it is concerned about weak German minds getting confronted with a logo they can’t handle!
If anything, this shows the consequences of having a politicised judiciary –even in a democracy: the prosecutor obviously doesn’t mind driving small businesses to the brink of bankruptcy if only their political objective is achieved. There is no concern that punishment should –at least in theory—be reserved for actual offenders whenever possible. It also shows that once the state takes it upon itself to authorize some worldviews and proscribe others, statements of opinion will eventually need prior authorization –if only in the form of a ‘clarifying precedent’.
If these were only strange tales from some continental European Hinterland there might be no reason to worry back here in the UK. Those aware of recent Blairite efforts at passing various types of ‘thought crime’ legislation should by now be seeing which way things are going in Britain. As they say in Germany: wehret den Anfängen -it is never to early to fight back.
(Source: Roland Maier-Leliveldt “Wir wissen, dass wir die Falschen bestrafen” Der Spiegel-Online, 28 April 2006)
Posted by rantingkraut on May 2, 2006
Mark Steyn on O. Fallaci and Multiculturalism:
“… contemporary multiculturalism absolves one from knowing anything about other cultures as long as one feels warm and fluffy toward them. After all, if it’s grossly judgmental to say one culture’s better than another, why bother learning about the differences? “Celebrate diversity” with a uniformity of ignorance.”
Posted by rantingkraut on May 1, 2006
The Blairite think tank Institute for Public Policy Research has come out in favour of conscripting citizens to vote and mentions some approving comments by politicians. The implications in civil liberties terms should be obvious and according to the BBC have been highlighted by the Tories .
If such a measure serves a useful purpose, it must be that of highlighting the arrogance of the ruling elites: if people don’t bother voting, it can’t possibly be because there are only different flavours of shite to pick from. Surely those voters are just too dumb to realise how important elections are, although paradoxically they then appear to be bright enough to decide who should rule the country. One should think that if there was a genuine choice to be made then anyone who doesn’t recognize its importance would be ill placed to make that choice in the first place.
As so often, the language used is also quite entertaining. The IPPR discusses voter conscription under the heading of “voting inequality”. This makes it clear that inequality is not seen as a problem because opportunities where denied to some: the right to vote, by definition, is available to the entire electorate. What concerns the likes of the IPPR is the mere existence of unequal outcomes whatever their reason.
A good idea?
Among all the authoritarian hubris, the IPPR has managed to suggest one interesting option: “Compulsory turnout is not compulsory voting. Ballot papers can be spoiled or can contain options to vote for ‘none of the above’” If ‘none of the above’ is a candidate then surely he should be able to win an election and be represented by an empty seat in the commons. Surely the taxpayers in his constituency should receive a rebate to reflect the savings in MP’s pay and expenses. And finally, if the ‘nones of the above’ receive the largest share of the vote, the Queen should follow tradition and appoint the prime minister from the largest party, leaving the UK without a government for a full term. I don’t know what the IPPR’s ultimate intentions are, but they may have inadvertently created a blueprint for Europe’s first anarchist monarchy.
Posted in Civil Liberties | Comments Off on Conscripting Voters