Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Shaming us all?

by Frank Schnittger Sat Oct 16th, 2021 at 09:09:35 AM EST

The Irish Times: Britain, the EU and the NI Protocol

A chara, - Newton Emerson writes that "the fact that Frost is tearing up his own deal is a redundant complaint" ("Irish fury over Frost seems aggravated by London taking unionism's side", Opinion & Analysis, ,October 14th).

And yet Dominic Cummings has tweeted that the UK never intended to implement the protocol and Ian Paisley jnr has confirmed that Boris Johnson told him in October 2019 that he would tear up the protocol after signing it.

What is the point of negotiating with a counterparty which cannot be trusted to implement any deal they sign? Why is the EU still negotiating with a government which has now rejected the EU proposals out of hand before they had even been published?

Fool us once, shame on us [should read "shame on you"]. Fool us twice and the shame is all ours. The EU is demeaning itself and us. - Is mise,

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Brexit for slow learners Part III

by Frank Schnittger Thu Oct 14th, 2021 at 11:03:52 AM EST

Newton Emerson, the most articulate unionist political commentator, has a good piece up articulating the unionist perspective on the current "negotiation" over the protocol. (Irish fury over Frost seems aggravated by London taking unionism's side).

In summary, he thinks Lord Frost is playing a blinder and has the EU on the back foot. Having declared it wouldn't renegotiate the protocol, the EU is now busily doing just that. For him its time to push the boat out a bit further and see what more concessions the UK can get.

As usual unionists live in a small world centred on their own tribal concerns to the exclusion of all else. I have tried to put the "renegotiation" in a larger context in a comment below his article:

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Brexit for slow learners part II

by Frank Schnittger Wed Oct 6th, 2021 at 10:38:12 AM EST

Lord Frost is reported to be concerned that the Northern Ireland Protocol has resulted in a massive expansion of intra-Ireland north south trade to the exclusion of British suppliers. Apparently supply chains have been rapidly re-ordered and trade between Britain and the rest of the European Union has "kind of collapsed" in the first nine months of the year. Who'd have thunk?

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Brexit for slow learners

by Frank Schnittger Fri Oct 1st, 2021 at 11:55:24 AM EST

Seamus Mallon, former deputy leader of the SDLP, once famously described the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement as Sunningdale for slow learners, in reference to an earlier power sharing agreement signed in Sunningdale in 1973, and which was allowed to collapse by the Labour British government of the time due to rioting and a general strike organised by loyalists.

Jeffrey Donaldson and Jim Allister, Leaders of the DUP and TUV respectively have now penned an Op Ed published in the Irish Times in which they raise the possibility of violence and state that the Northern Ireland Protocol of the Withdrawal Agreement must go. For those that have followed the "dreary steeples" of Northern Ireland politics for many years, it is like Déjà Vu all over again.

Nevertheless I felt constrained to write a letter to the Editor of the Irish Independent which is currently their most read article on the letters page and which has inspired a supportive letter in response.

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After Merkel: German Elections 2021

by Bernard Fri Sep 24th, 2021 at 08:46:08 PM EST

Next Sunday, September 26, German voters will renew their Federal parliament, the Bundestag.

Angela Merkel, aka Mutti, aka the Queen of Europe, is retiring after 16 years at the helm as Federal Chancellor, so this is a momentous event, not only for Germany but for the all or Europe.

There are (most likely) two possible names for her replacement: Olaf Scholz from the SPD or Armin Laschet from the CDU, Merkel's party.

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Manufactured outrage

by Frank Schnittger Fri Sep 17th, 2021 at 06:16:18 PM EST

The  President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, raised a storm of manufactured outrage yesterday when he decided not to attend a church ceremony in Armagh with Queen Elizabeth II to mark the centenary of partition and the creation of Northern Ireland. Chief among the outraged was DUP leader, Geoffrey Donaldson, who has recently pulled his party out of all north-south ministerial meetings as required by strand 2 of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement, in protest at the Northern Ireland protocol of the Withdrawal Agreement.

It is difficult to know whether Donaldson would have been even more outraged if the President had decided to attend the event, as he typically decries southern "interference" in northern affairs. However, his claim the the President's decision is a snub to Queen Elizabeth is just another attempt by him to draw attention away from the DUP's complicity in Brexit and the Protocol. In reality unionists are desperate to normalise the creation and status quo of Northern Ireland and extremely sensitive to any suggestion it doesn't have universal support.

My thought's on the matter have been published by The Irish Times (see below).

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Denmark: Solidarity and Trust to Beat the Pandemic

by Oui Wed Sep 15th, 2021 at 09:18:33 AM EST

The territorial impact of COVID-19: Managing the crisis across levels of government | OECD - Nov. 10, 2020 |

Frontpaged - Frank Schnittger

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The chattering Irish Europhile class

by Frank Schnittger Wed Sep 8th, 2021 at 03:58:41 AM EST

Eoin Drea, a researcher at the EPP affiliated Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies in Brussels, has a go at the "The chattering Irish Europhile class" in his piece entitled "Ireland is no longer viewed as a credible voice on key issues in Brussels"(Sadly, subscriber only). In it he castigates Ireland's failure to sign up to the nascent OECD corporate tax reform involving a minimum 15% tax rate but totally misreads the Irish Government's reason for doing so.

Almost everyone in Ireland regards global corporate tax reform as desirable and inevitable and the proposed 15% tax rate is hardly a precipitous increase on Ireland's current rate of 12.5%. But as always, in tax matters, the devil is in the detail, and that detail will be determined in large measure by Biden's slim majorities in Congress, all the more so as many Democrats are as sceptical as Republicans about anything that might displease their major donors.

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DUP decline continues

by Frank Schnittger Sun Aug 29th, 2021 at 09:35:01 PM EST

It is not my practice to write stories based on a single opinion poll, but polls in N. Ireland are few and far between and are currently of additional significance because they give a snapshot of the parties current standing ahead of Assembly elections which must take place by next May. The next assembly is due to vote on the continuance of the Northern Ireland Protocol in 2024, and so its significance extends to Ireland and the EU in general.

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Vaccine hesitancy and public trust

by Frank Schnittger Sat Aug 21st, 2021 at 01:08:10 PM EST

Professor Dolores Cahill of University College Dublin

Anyone perusing the internet will find it littered with anti-vaxers and conspiracy theorists many of them from the extreme far right of the libertarian fringe. Fragments of scientific research become hoisted to gospel truth without reference to what may be an overwhelming mountain of countervailing evidence. All sorts of conspiracy theories involving George Soros or Bill Gates are re-purposed to support the anti-vaxer cause. One such theorist is professor Dolores Cahill of University College Dublin  who has just had a warrant issued for her arrest in London for organising a protest gathering during lockdown.

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The dog that didn't bark

by Frank Schnittger Thu Aug 19th, 2021 at 10:44:56 PM EST

For most of the summer British Ministers Brandon Lewis (N. Ireland Secretary) and Lord Frost (Brexit Minister) have been hyping up the risk of violence in Northern Ireland if the Northern Ireland protocol isn't radically re-negotiated. But strangely their dog whistles have fallen on deaf ears. So far, the marching season has passed by without major incident.

The fiasco of the election of Edwin Poots as DUP Leader and his replacement after a few weeks by Jeffrey Donaldson has kept the political focus firmly on the DUP. Even the dogs in the street know that Brexit in N. Ireland is largely the creation of the DUP and their erstwhile ally, Boris Johnson. So, who are the rioters supposed to be rioting against?

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Afghan Transfer of Power to Taliban

by Oui Sun Aug 15th, 2021 at 10:31:56 AM EST

As smoke billows above US Embassy, diplomats and staff exit by CH-47 Chinook Helicopters ...


The Taliban has ordered its fighters to enter the Afghan capital Kabul to prevent looting after local police deserted their posts, a spokesman for the militant group said on Sunday.The statement by Zabihullah Mujahid came shortly after a leading Afghan peace envoy said President Ashraf Ghani had left the country for Tajikistan.

Ghani Resigns, Transfers Power to Taliban

Follow-up from earlier diary ...

Iraq War Crimes and  Impending Loss of Kabul

Frontpaged - Frank Schnittger

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Art for progress's sake [Updated]

by Frank Schnittger Sun Aug 1st, 2021 at 01:46:12 PM EST

The Irish Museum of Modern Art is putting on a four part programme of exhibitions to celebrate it's 30 years of existence. Funding for the arts in Ireland has always been minimal, and even more so for avant garde, innovative, or progressive modern art. And yet many Irish artists have contributed significantly to the social revolution that has happened in Ireland over the past 30 years. I must declare a personal interest as a close personal fiend, Pauline Cummins, is one such artist who will be featured in a later phase of the programme.

The Irish Times Arts and Culture Editor, Hugh Linehan, has seen fit to publish a hatchet job on the programme, having to date only seen some promotional material for the launch of the programme. Many people find the verbiage that accompanies much of modern art hard to take, but that is not a reason to condemn a whole generation of artists who have contributed so much to the development of Irish art and positive social change with very little official encouragement whatsoever.

I have sent the letter below to the Irish Times as my riposte to his vitriolic condemnation, although I doubt it will be published as the Irish Times has a track record of not publishing any letters critical of its journalism. [update 2] Letter Published 3/8/21 with a critical response published August 6th. and my riposte published August 10th. [End Update]

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Israel Cyber Mercenaries Become Assassins

by Oui Sun Jul 18th, 2021 at 07:17:07 PM EST

Throughout the years I've covered every aspect of Israel's Unit 8200 and the private corporations such as the NSO Group doing the dirty work for dictators and authoritarian regimes ... they do murder journalists, activists, opposition voices and eco-volunteers across the globe.

Silence in Joe Biden's White House ...

Frontpaged - Frank Schnittger

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No need to cheer for England

by Frank Schnittger Fri Jul 16th, 2021 at 09:33:09 AM EST

It's becoming tiresome reading all that guff about Ireland really being closer to England than the EU, and that therefore anyone who supports anyone but England is being hypocritical or an extreme nationalist. And yes, this is coming from an Irish columnist living in England who voted Tory last time out.

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UK plans amnesty for war criminals

by IdiotSavant Thu Jul 15th, 2021 at 12:45:40 AM EST

England's massacres in Northern Ireland during "the Troubles" are just another in its long list of colonial crimes. And like their other colonial crimes, they plan to sweep them under the carpet, with an effective amnesty for their colonial criminals:

All criminal prosecutions relating to the Troubles and future attempts to take civil actions would be blocked under UK government plans that have united Northern Ireland's parties in opposition.

The proposals, which are also opposed by the Irish government, were announced by Brandon Lewis, the Northern Ireland secretary, who told MPs it was a "painful truth" that criminal investigations were unlikely to deliver successful outcomes.

Instead, the plan envisages the establishment of a new independent body, likened to South Africa's truth and reconciliation commission and intended to help families find the truth about what happened to their loved ones.

Frontpaged - Frank Schnittger

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LQD - Long Term Covid: The Brain

by ATinNM Tue Jul 13th, 2021 at 03:10:19 PM EST

We are finally getting some information regarding the affects of Covid-19 on the brain.

The news is horrible.

How COVID-19 Affects the Brain

COVID-19 has resulted in more than 120 million cases and 2.6 million deaths to date. Respiratory and gastrointestinal symptoms are accompanied by short- and long-term neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPs) and long-term brain sequelae.

Some patients present with anosmia, cognitive and attention deficits (ie, brain fog), new-onset anxiety, depression, psychosis, seizures, and even suicidal behavior. These present before, during, and after respiratory symptoms and are unrelated to respiratory insufficiency, suggesting independent brain damage. Follow-ups conducted in Germany and the United Kingdom found post-COVID-19 NPs in 20% to 70% of patients, even in young adults, and lasting months after respiratory symptoms resolved, suggesting brain involvement persists.

Entering through angiotensin-converting enzyme receptors, SARS-CoV-2 can damage endothelial cells leading to inflammation, thrombi, and brain damage. Moreover, systemic inflammation leads to decreased monoamines and trophic factors and activation of microglia, resulting in increased glutamate and N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) and excitotoxicity. These insults induce new-onset or re-exacerbation of preexisting NPs.

[emphasis added]

Frontpaged - Frank Schnittger

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Say No to Racism

by Oui Mon Jul 12th, 2021 at 12:51:57 PM EST

Euro's, COVID and political footballs: Diplomacy on and off the pitch

Boris Johnson refuses to condemn fans booing England taking the knee

Backtracks a few days later FWIW

Frontpaged - Frank Schnittger

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England surrenders to Covid

by IdiotSavant Fri Jul 9th, 2021 at 02:54:25 AM EST

Boris Johnson is officially surrendering England to Covid:

Boris Johnson will revoke hundreds of Covid regulations and make England the most unrestricted society in Europe from 19 July despite saying new cases could soar to 50,000 a day before masks and social distancing are ditched.

In a sign the government may reimpose restrictions this autumn, the prime minister warned the public against going "de-mob happy", however. He said opening up - including the lifting of all limits on sports events and nightclubs - would be safest during the school summer holidays and did not say the changes would be irreversible.

Johnson told a Downing Street press conference: "We must be honest with ourselves that if we can't reopen our society in the next few weeks, when we will be helped by the arrival of summer and by the school holidays, we must ask ourselves: when will we be able to return to normal?"

And apparently, you get to "normal", when no-one died of Covid, by having masses and masses of people die of Covid. The sociopathic toffocracy in action!

Frontpaged - Bernard

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UK Menaces Ireland

by Frank Schnittger Wed Jul 7th, 2021 at 12:13:56 PM EST

Draft letter to the Editor:

A Chara, - The article by [former Irish Taoiseach and EU ambassador to Washington] John Briton in response to UK EU negotiator Lord Frost and NI Secretary of State Brandon Lewis is well argued and well put. (John Bruton, UK ministers need to read the NI protocol they signed, Opinion, 7th. July). The subtitle sums it up nicely "No hint of contrition or constructiveness in article by Lord Frost and Brandon Lewis . . . just menace."

(continued below the fold)

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News and Views

 October 2021

by Bernard - Oct 1, 127 comments

Your take on this month's news

 September 2021

by Bernard - Sep 1, 242 comments

Your take on this month's news

 Back to school 2021 Open Thread

by Bernard - Sep 2, 25 comments

A COVID Autumn, season 2.

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