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Ice Broken

Well done to Scotland tonight for bouncing back from the disappointment of Macedonia by defeating Iceland 2-1. I listened to rather than watched the game and at 2-1 with 10 men after the dismissal of captain Steve McManus it was a nervous final 15 minutes.

Kirk Broadfoot celebrates his opening goal.

England’s result in Croatia was remarkable. Almost as remarkable as Luxembourg’s victory in Switzerland.


Great Advert

I’ve commented on the great advertising campaigns by Irn Bru before. I’ve been trying to get a photo of this one for a while and finally managed to capture it on my phone in traffic this morning.


Blogs. The Enemy Within the EU Apparently.

The EU doesn’t like blogs you know. Blogs in particular and the internet in general is held at least partly responsible for the recent ‘no’ vote in the Republic of Ireland referendum on the European Constitution Lisbon Treaty. They are also pissed off at the role played in the referendums on the Lisbon Treaty European Constitution in France and Holland.

This is why the European Parliament is making moves to control the internet in general and blogs in particular.

In June Bruno Waterfield reported in the Telegraph thus:

Euro-MPs want action: blogs with “malicious intentions or hidden agendas pose a danger”. Marianne Mikko, an Estonian centre-left MEP, is calling for something to be done in a report.

“Blogs are publicly available web pages, with personal views and links expressing the opinions and observations of a particular person, usually on a specific topic or theme and are usually updated regularly reflecting the personality of the author,” so says the Parliament’s website.

How terrible. Just imagine, anybody can think what they like or say what they like, and all by themselves too. People can (easily, what’s worse) publicly write what they think online. And, what is really worrying is that other people might read it.

Ms Mikko: “The blogosphere has so far been a haven of good intentions and relatively honest dealing. However, with blogs becoming commonplace, less principled people will want to use them.”

“I think the public is still very trusting towards blogs, it is still seen as sincere. And it should remain sincere. For that we need a quality mark, a disclosure of who is really writing and why.”

“Hidden agenda” is code here for not trusting people to be able to judge for themselves over arguments put forward by others. It also tends to be the cry from those who are less than sure about being to carry the debate themselves. They think we are stupid and that those who disagree with their world view are malicious and dangerous.

Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, a German MEP who claims to be a Liberal, said: “Bloggers cannot automatically be considered a threat, but imagine pressure groups, professional interests or any other groups using blogs to pass on their message. Blogs are powerful tools; they can represent an advance form of lobbyism, which in turn can be seen as a threat”.

“Lobbyists” are those people whose interests are not identical with the state or officialdom or the EU. The state, officialdom and the EU is automatically suspicious of any public sphere, including the blogosphere, where interests can clash. From the clash of interests and ideas comes independent politics.

Mr Chatzimarkakis says: “Any blogger representing or expressing more than their personal view should be affected by this report.” What he means is anyone with an audience, outside an officially approved institution or designated responsible grouping, should be treated with suspicion.

Ever wondered why you are not getting a referendum on the EU Treaty? Same mentality. It is because the debate would be public. All public debates, like the “blogosphere”, have a life of their own. Our rulers don’t like that because they mistrust us. We can not have a referendum because we can not be trusted to say Yes.

The European Parliament Report is HERE and the blog stuff is on page 7.

It is dismissed by Europhiles as a benign report with no teeth. Really? what was the fucking point then? One of the ways the EU works is that trustys raise issues, issue reports and get things on the agenda.

Thank goodness this blog is hosted in the USA and can keep criticising the bastards.

Jacques Brel

This is Brel at his lunatic best. He was a famous Belgian and there aren’t too many of those! His songs were recorded by Alex Harvey, Scott Walker and Judy Collins. Others who have sung his work in English include Marc Almond, Dave Van Ronk, David Bowie (this song in fact), Dusty Springfield, The Dresden Dolls, Frank Sinatra, Terry Jacks, Nina Simone, Rod McKuen, The Kingston Trio, Gavin Friday, Jack Lukeman and Dax Riggs.

This is Amsterdam.