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..There's a little Samuel Pepys in all of us..

Friday, September 21, 2007

Let's start with the 'Reform Treaty' that now sits on the desks of EU politicians..
This treaty is the effective replacement for the EU Constitution.. rejected by the majority of the member countries two years ago..
Belgium of overwhelmingly behind an agreement which would form an United Europe, with 89% of it's population in favour of a deal which would remove even more of their national prerogatives..the environment..migration.. social matters..
France's Sarkovski has managed to have some objectionable clauses removed.. so "free and undistorted competition" has been erased from a list of EU objectives.
This allows France to control the subsidies it commits to it's agricultural sector.. and impose it's own trade restrictions.. Odds are that while the French rejected the Constitution two years ago, this ammended text might get a pass by their government..
The Irish.. while surprisingly voting down the Nice Treaty.. will follow the economic facts of a more collective agreement..
The Dutch were others who voted down the Constitution two years ago.. and they're leery of abrogating some of their national rights.. justice.. social services.. home affairs..
The majority of the Dutch are still Eurosceptics.. But, the Dutch Cabinet is considering tossing the issue in the ring one more time..
It would be more than likely, they would lose, again..
Now.. in Poland.. it's the government which is against a closer relationship with a consolidated Europe.. The public seems to overwhelmingly Europhile.. It remains to be seen whether this Treaty will be accepted, to appease the people, while allowing the government to better prepare itself to offer the Polish people an economy which can stand on it's own..
Here on this island.. it's always good for a pub discussion.. with some surprising insight spoken over a pint.. It's the "Cast In Stone Promise" we've been given, that any move towards forging closer ties with the EU, be put before us all, in a referendum. That no decision will be made unilaterally, by any government is power.
The debate is, how close is this Treaty to a Constitution in sheep's clothing?
What are the odds, of exchanging the £Sterling, for the Euro?
How will an aging population deal with the inevidable influx of those from countries once thought 'foreign'..?
Equally, how would a Glaswegian shipwright be welcomed at a yard on the Baltic..?
It's going to be an interesting trend to watch develop.. the social changes that will take place, not only here in Britain, but in the new EU member countries..
But regardless, it's not a move Gordon's likely to take.. not a question that he'd want to put to the public.. Not just yet.

Now, here on the home front.. Labour is starting it's annual convention in a couple of days, and there are two camps.. of course.. each betting on a date for Gordon to call a National Election..
Most are in agreement, that Gordon will hold off until likely May pf next year, depending on the polls of course..
But there are a significant few, who would not be surprised if the dour Scot will strike before his honeymoon is over, and issue a call to the polls by the end of October.
A firmly established government, with what could develop into a worthy Opposition, could be just what our economy could do with at the moment.. and with the latest injections of cash into the money market by the Bank of England, and looming investigations into why this crisis wasn't anticipated.. A solid government with a new mandate would be a definate advantage..
It would also put Gordon into a slight position of pre-eminence with dealings with the US.. and the EU..
Listen to the rhetoric of the next week from Labour.. If possible, watch the body language.. the response from the delegates..
By the way, just in passing.. think on Tony Blair for the Nobel Peace Prize, and the possible future in the United Nations..

By the way, our Defence Secretary Des Brown, has agreed with a report compiled by the Royal Legion.. that indicated veterans returning from the Gulf were not being recognised for their time over there.. That, something akin to those who returned to the US from VietNam, the Armed Forces, and the public.. don't have an appreciation of what their service entails..
That even those brought home to their families on their shields, so to speak, are not leaving the legacy they thought their life would be worth to their countries, to support the families they left at home..
Des also mentioned that 500 troops would be home by Christmas..
He also had an interesting comment to make about the other 'allies' in this conflict..
"Our international allies, particularly some of our European allies and Nato, simply have not been stepping up to the plate in an international operation of this nature. It seems that some countries are very good when in the conference room to signing up to resolutions, but not very good when it comes to the fighting."
We'll allow that statement, to stand alone.
As it is, an article in the Washington Post seems to indicate that the American war machine is beginning to wind down.. although senior officials did not use the term 'exit strategy' the outlines of one emerged from the various statements and speeches they made last week. Petraeus plans to begin redefining his mission in December from leading combat operations to partnering with Iraqi security units and eventually to supporting them. At least 21,700 troops, and perhaps more from the buildup, will be pulled out by July..
Here we go..

One more point of interest..
It would appear, that Britain has stockpiled, over these past few years, some 100 tonnes of enriched uranium.. enough to build 17 thousand nuclear bombs. The Royal Sicoety's working group chairman Professor Geoffrey Boulton said: "The stockpile has grown whilst international nuclear proliferation and terrorist threats have increased..Just over 6kg of plutonium was used in the bomb which devastated Nagasaki and the UK has many thousands of times that amount.We must take measures to ensure that this very dangerous material does not fall into the wrong hands."
Now, it's doubtfull the stuff is in a losely locked storage shed somewhere in rural Yorkshire.. But the fact we have it, is somewhat disturbing in the first place..
One can imagine Ahmadenejad drooling at the thought.. no doubt he'd find a use for it.

Ahh. One more point.
Interesting that the President of Mattel Corporation went himself to China, to apologise to manufacturers in that country, who had been blamed for using sub-standard parts in some of the toys..
This caused quite a stir in China. Reports are, that one company Director committed suicide over the shame he thought he had brought on Chinese workmanship in general.
All for nothing, it appears.
But, it has shown that one.. the Americans are determined to keep in the favour of the Chinese government, to manufacture and distribute their wares there.. and two.. the Chinese take their responsibility to turn the epithethic slogan 'Made In China' into something to be taken seriously.
Suicide, no less. Puts the penalty imposed on the officials at Enron, in a somewhat different perspective..

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