Euro vs UK
With respect to the UK, have they considered that there are, essentially, two options:
Because David Cameron is from a traditionally eurosceptic party and it seems that this sentiment was in the forefront. It's a bizarre mix of suggestions in this new "plan" (which may or may not require treaty change - even the EU guys are'nt quite sure yet), and it is almost certain not to pass in its current form. However everybody, even the non-Eurozone countries, recognise that things are bad and they have to band together to do something about it. The proposal is the first step in doing this, something which is sure to be rejected and reformed numerous times before the final version arrives.
- The Euro fails. Everybody is in the caca.
- The Euro doesn't fail. The UK is in danger of finding itself becoming more and more marginalised.
There's a nice quote in some British newspapers saying that the UK just turned up late for the departure of the Titanic.
Europe, on the other hand, doesn't see this as 17 (Eurozone countries) plus
, it sees it as 26 (everybody) minus one. Guess who.
Something that is likely to be a sticking point is the automatic sanctions. While it makes sense to punish countries who can't balance a budget, I can't imagine countries in, or near, difficulty (Greece, Italy, Ireland, etc) signing up to something that is likely to turn around and bite them. That'd be like going to the playground bully and saying "hit me".
Speaking of the playground bully, Germany needs to get its house in order. It can either crusade to be the ones to run Europe, at which it will need to simply accept that the weaker countries will require financial assistance, or it will need to recognise that despite its power and stature, decisions regarding Eurozone finance (interest rates and such) need to be taken with a view of being good for the Eurozone as a whole, and not just what would benefit the German economy.
With all of this in mind, and accepting that I am nobody, I wish to make the suggestion that within this new plan, the following changes should be a part of the amendment:
- Financial decisions should be the responsiblity of an oversight committee comprised of nominated delegates from each country that is a part of the agreement (sorry, UK, but...). As such, each delegate carries EQUAL weight. It should probably work on the principle of a two-thirds majority otherwise it runs the danger of nothing ever happening.
- The appointees of the European Parliament (MEPs) should always be elected. Not as a side effect of a national election, but specifically for the EU.
- The President should be chosen by Europe-wide election, with election open to every legal EU citizen (point, specifically, as a non-French person living long-term in France, I cannot vote in national elections).
- It's all well and good to look to safeguarding to try to get countries to better balance their budgets, but...
- What are you going to do about the current problem?
There was a Swedish finance minister on Radio Four last night explaining why Sweden has done so well in the crisis. They took their hard decisions back in 2006, and they concentrate a lot of time and effort in education and R&D. This, ironically, following a report in which two people (of many) both employed in schools, have just lost their jobs. It is known that councils are having to make drastic cutbacks, and in numerous cases, it is education that gets a kicking. The British standard of education has been declining steadily until the country runs the risk of being the dunces of Europe. Certainly, the general populace believe an awful lot of anti-Europe crap. It passed the Thatcher years - do you really believe that if it was a one-way flow of cash, she'd have put up with it? But no, we see n being paid to EU coffers, but we never see exactly what comes back. We never see the support given to communities like in far-flung Wales, public transport infrastructure given EU assistance, etc etc. The British whinge about their "rebate" because they see money going and they want an equal (or greater) amount of money coming back. As nice manageable lump sums. Because anything else is too much like thinking...
And don't get me started on the British attitude to R&D. Let's just say that most people who have a good idea need to walk their idea overseas to have it seen through. That doesn't mean there aren't some really good British inventions, the ARM processor being one. But the deep irony here is that the ARM processor's design was a mixture of "keep it simple" and being constrained with ancient, then outdated, tools which probably weren't up to designing a modern processor. Perhaps the budget contraints helped greatly to make a better, tighter, design? There are plenty of examples to the opposite, however, of people and companies with an idea taking it abroad as nobody was interested in pursuing it in the UK. Maybe they're just more conservative and less likely to be rickrolled by an idea with neon lights blinking around it. I'm not convinced that the Dyson is that revelutionary, but it has done well for itself (patronisingly cheesy adverts excepted!), so why shouldn't it be considered on its own merits...in the UK?
Merkozy not your thing? You might enjoy this photo.
It's been a while since NHK World has been available on Freesat, or the 28.2°E platform. This is because it has evolved into NHK World HD. It must be nice to watch in glorious HD, but for the many of us with SD equipment... it's a shame to lose it.
I can still receive NHK World (in SD) from Astra 19.2°E. For now.
That said, I've been watching it less than before. The current lineup of programmes don't seem to be as interesting to me as those from the beginning of the year.
I see Tomohiro's Railway Tour of China and wonder why there isn't one of Japan. As tourists, we can obtain the JR Railcard. What sort of things could we do with it? Where could we explore by landing in Narita and taking the train? There are some impressive things (Gentle Journeys, frequently), so why not feature these more?
I sometimes watch Tokyo Eye and while it is vary varied, it does make me wonder what other cities have to offer. Kyoto, for instance. If Kyoto turns up on TV, it'll probably be about the temple. You know the one - even the Yuri-Yuri girls went there!
It is, essentially, an animé about a pushy girl who is obsessed beyond reason about a card game known as karuta. The game involves the reading of historic poems (there's a hundred of them) and being the first to match the card to its poem. Essentially it sounds nerdy and boring, yet Chihayafuru hasn't yet managed a boring episode. It is well drawn, interesting, and reminds me once again that if this is the sort of stuff Japanese kids get up to in high school... well... I can't imagine it would ever be a hit in any of the schools I ever went to.
Other current animé I'm watching:
- Guilty Crown - the girl with pink hair is kinda cute, but this magical-boy/Lelouch reboot is... passable. Just.
There's a girl that runs the tech stuff with Hina-hair and fake cat ears. I can sort of imagine Abby Sciuto (NCIS) done up like that. Mmmm...?
- Mirai Nikki (Future Diary) - a God called Deus Ex Machina (seriously) sets up a game with twelve (unknown) participants each having a diary that can, in one way or other, predict the future. The tagline might as well read There can be only one and I think you can get an idea of the direction we're going in. It is deliciously loopy, and while it can get close to Higurashi, it isn't a full-on Mind Screw. It is in love with lens flare, done to artistic excess in the first few episodes.
Just be careful of the girl, she likes sharp objects.
I'm not really a lover of Facebook, I only really have it as some of the guys at work expected me to. However, I think this status update doing the rounds is worth mentioning...
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Last read at 01:12 on 2019/01/18.
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