Friday 30 March 2012

Pass the brain bleach

We live in dark and terrible times - that man Galloway is back in Parliament, hot sausage rolls are VATable, newsreaders wear horrid ties and so on. And now this:

Clearly spelling is no higher than, at best, his fourth priority.

Saturday 10 March 2012

Peace, love and understanding - DPRK-style

Judging from this article at the KCNA, brotherhood betwixt the two Koreas is along the lines of the brotherhood betwixt most small children:

"Meetings took place in North Hwanghae and Ryanggang Provinces on Friday at which servicepersons and people vowed to wipe out through a merciless sacred war the Lee Myung Bak group of traitors who hurt the dignity of the supreme leadership of the DPRK".

The servicepersons and people had their feelings dignity hurt by LMB and Co not allowing southerners to attend the funeral of the late and generally unlamented Kim Jong-Il.

And there's more, much, much more:

"The speakers branded the Lee group of traitors as human scum worse than rabid dogs, hordes of traitors bereft of elementary ethics and morality".


They called for uninterruptedly staging the DPRK-style sacred war in an indiscriminate and intensive way till the Lee group of traitors makes an apology for its high treason before the nation.

That dignity is not cheap it would seem.

The DPRK has the most powerful and merciless striking means and methods which are unknown to the world and beyond human imagination(My emphasis)

One does have to be rather impressed that the DPRK's scientists and the like are able to create means and methods without having imagined them first.


"The revolutionary armed forces of Mt. Paektu will shower fire deadlier than what was done on Yonphyong Island and thus blow up not only the dens of such human scum but Chongwadae and other bulwarks of the group of traitors".

Yonphyong was struck with artillery shells last year, which I find fairly easy to imagine.  Chongwadae is Seoul's No. 10 / White House.  

Maybe an awful lot of North Koreans had rather bad childhoods and that explains all this acting out.

Friday 9 March 2012

British and French in 'not arrogant' shocker

I am indebted to the lovely people at Pew Global for making their survey on 'the American-Western European Values Gap' available online, so I've picked the best bits and knocked up another couple of charts.

Asked this question - Our people are not perfect, but our culture is superior to others” - the polling results look like this:

Interesting, no?  The supposedly self-satisfied / exceptionalist French are the least confident / arrogant across all age ranges, while the supposedly cringing / perpetually apologetic Germans have the smuggest youngsters (well, under 30s).  Our American chums lead in self-belief in the two other age breaks.  Meanwhile, what is going on with Britons born between 1962 and 1981?  Most of that cohort would have known Thatcher, Major or Blair as the first prime minister of their adulthood, two of whom were not exactly shrinking violets.  

The breakdown by gender is not as dramatic, but is of interest nevertheless:

Taking a wild stab in the dark, I would imagine that women lead in most countries as there are more of them among the older.

Shame that Pew did not poll the Chinese....


Thursday 8 March 2012

And the Liberals will inherit the earth, or at least a lot of EU Commissions

For reasons too dull to divulge, I have been mulling on the EU's Commissars and noted that there are rather a lot of Liberals among them.  Commissioners take a vow of political celibacy -

"Having been appointed as a Member of the European Commission by the European Council, following the vote of consent by the European Parliament I solemnly undertake: to respect the Treaties and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union in the fulfilment of all my duties; to be completely independent in carrying out my responsibilities, in the general interest of the Union; in the performance of my tasks, neither to seek nor to take instructions from any Government or from any other institution, body, office or entity; to refrain from any action incompatible with my duties or the performance of my tasks.
I formally note the undertaking of each Member State to respect this principle and not to seek to influence Members of the Commission in the performance of their tasks. I further undertake to respect, both during and after my term of office, the obligation arising therefrom, and in particular the duty to behave with integrity and discretion as regards the acceptance, after I have ceased to hold office, of certain appointments or benefits". 

To which I would retort, go tell it to the marines....

Anyway, back at the plot, the current 27 break down thus - nine ALDE (Liberals to you and me) aligned at nomination, Six PES (Socialists), nine EPP (Christian Democrats) and three apparently unaffiliated.

A pie-chart of which looks like this:

That's a lot of Liberals, isn't it?

What would a Commission based on populations currently ruled by each party look like? 

Like this:

The PEL (blow-dried Bolsheviks) rule Cyprus, but the good people of Cyprus fail to reach 1/27th of  the population of the EU by, oh, about 17.8 million so no sinecure for the PEL.

The AECR is the Euro grouping cobbled together by our own dear PM, and those four Commissariats represent the population of these parts plus the Czech Republic.

The PES would get one seat - losing five - based on the populations of Austria, Denmark and Belgium all of which are currently groaning under the red wheel.

The ALDE slides from nine to two, courtesy of Romania, the Netherlands and Estonia.

The technocrat governments of Greece and Italy are taken to be neutral.

And the big, big winner is the European People's Party, which jumps from nine to 16, aided by France, Spain and Germany.