Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Display:
Migeru:
But last night we already established that campaigning for the UK to drop its "nuclear deterrent" during the early 80's was not sufficient to endear her to one of this site's most prominent anti-nuclear advocates because she's British.

I must be missing something. I think I've followed and scanned through again the discussions here. What are you referring to? And why all this pissy innuendo from you and Colman?

There are serious arguments against the UK holding high office in the EU. And the UK's official attitudes and communication may rub other Europeans up the wrong way. But where on ET has there been denigration of British citizens per se?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Nov 20th, 2009 at 10:29:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Crazy Horse:
what's positive about being for nuclear disarmament?  What are the alternatives, agnostic? Pro armament?


En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Nov 20th, 2009 at 10:34:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That is supposed to count as being against Ashton because she's British?

Doesn't do it for me (though I don't necessarily agree with CH's scepticism).

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Nov 20th, 2009 at 10:43:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes people are against Ashton for being British.

You could start by reading Jerome's own FP post

Looks like Blair's persistent lobbying did open the route for the UK to grab the most important of the two new jobs. The only silver lining is that the Commissioner in charge of banking reform in the next Commission will not be British...
and the top-level comments to it

Crazy Horse:

And echoing Fran, it will take much to convince me that the UK, outside of Schengen and the Euro, should have been given such a supposedly key position.
Jerome a Paris:
Why a Brit?
Cyrille:
How can the UK get ANYTHING?
Crazy Horse:
I feel robbed, or raped.
When I said
This is pretty unbecoming...
the answer was
This is disingenuous
But, truly, it is as unbecoming as
She looks only half female to me...
But this is just my personal opinion and oversensitivity, I guess. Or maybe not.

RogueTrooper:

Whilst this one ebbs and flows it has been a constant during the time I have been coming to ET. It's the reason I turned into a lurker.


En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Nov 20th, 2009 at 10:51:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And let me add, this was clearly the gut reaction. Then it has been rationalised in all ways. Because she's a life peer, because she has no experience, because she's from the Labour Party, because she's a token woman... But the first reaction of those who criticise Ashton was why a Brit? After some arguing they can be convinced to withhold judgement because nobody knew her before yesterday. As with van Rompuy, I guess.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Nov 20th, 2009 at 10:55:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
this was clearly the gut reaction. Then it has been rationalised in all ways

That is entirely your interpretation.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Nov 20th, 2009 at 11:05:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We'll leave it at that.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Nov 20th, 2009 at 11:13:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Disingenuous and skewed to add the last points.

As for the others, they are based on Ashton as an official representative of the United Kingdom in the EU. Not on her Britishness as a person.

And no, this is not about frames and narratives. You are plainly exaggerating the focus of these remarks. Given Colman's top comment, I'd say he is too.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Nov 20th, 2009 at 11:01:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I guess both Colman and I are in the minority here. But I'll add I didn't like this one bit.

Migeru:

Whenever I have spoken for the Stop Blair! campaign I was careful to stress that it was not an anti-British campaign but an anti-Blair campaign. Maybe I was wrong.
Jerome a Paris:
You were not wrong (none / 0) It was an anti-Blair campaign, and not an anti-Brit campaign.

But what do you think of the large scale campaign mounted by Britain to get one of the two jobs, and do you think that it's amongst the first countries we should look to for a candidate for these EU-wide jobs? Why did the "no one from the big countries" somehow did not apply to the UK?

And can you not admit that for some people, it was also legitimately about him being a anti-EU Brit, even if we agreed to downplay this?

Actually, I didn't like to see the amount of generic anti-British (not anti-Blair) animosity among the Stop Blair! signatories' comments. We basically got 20 thousand Eurosceptic little Englanders who hated Blair more than the EU, and 20 thousand anti-Brit people. It was not fun to read. As I put it,
It's not that he was an anti-EU Brit. It's that being a Brit he proved he was anti-EU by failing to make the case for the EU to his fellow citizens when he enjoyed an immense amount of political capital.


En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Nov 20th, 2009 at 11:09:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That may be, but I think it's going too far to impugn members of ET as xenophobic anti-Brits.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Nov 20th, 2009 at 11:19:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Impeach me.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Nov 20th, 2009 at 11:21:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Nov 20th, 2009 at 11:27:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"As for the others, they are based on Ashton as an official representative of the United Kingdom in the EU. Not on her Britishness as a person."

Absolutely! I am a Frenchman who moved to the UK when it would be clear that I would not be getting any better career prospects from the move (quite the contrary in fact) and am about to go to the pub to meet a bunch of friends who, when I met them, had the reaction that I seemed British to them. I'll spend Christmas in Cheddar. I was, before moving to London, and ICC qualified cricket umpire. I have read more words in English than French since I turned 14. There is nothing in me against Brits per se -and I'm sure it's the same with the other people being quoted.

Maybe some signatures in the Stop Blair campaign came from people who genuinely hate the Brits (I'd guess it's actually directed more against the English btw), but we are not responsible for them.

Symbols and context do matter in politics. The campaign by the UK to have at all cost one of the two positions was ungainly. And as for the symbol, I may quote myself:

"For those who claim that this is being anti-Brit on sight, how do you think the UK would have reacted to seeing the command of operations in Irak given to a French general? Even a competent one mind you. Then, add to that that France would have demanded it be given the position."

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Fri Nov 20th, 2009 at 11:24:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cyrille:
Symbols and context do matter in politics. The campaign by the UK to have at all cost one of the two positions was ungainly.
As was the reaction to Ashton's appointment unbecoming of ET.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Nov 20th, 2009 at 11:28:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You haven't answered my questions to you upthread:


But what do you think of the large scale campaign mounted by Britain to get one of the two jobs, and do you think that it's amongst the first countries we should look to for a candidate for these EU-wide jobs? Why did the "no one from the big countries" somehow did not apply to the UK?



In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Nov 20th, 2009 at 11:45:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I guess we're all afraid of the Eurosceptics and their likely 2010-2014 tenure in the UK government.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Nov 20th, 2009 at 11:54:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why is the EU scared of the British eurosceptics, again? If they won't get in, they should get out. That shouldn't be the EU's problem.

And no, that's not about Britain. I take precisely the same line when I hear Danish eurosceptics piss and moan about the €, or hear the Danish government demand an a la carte opt out from judicial cooperation (which as it happens they only do because they want to be in Frontex but don't want to accept any of the refugees that Frontex picks up in the Mediterranean).

Although I'll grant that Britain has better reasons to not be in the € than Denmark, on account of not already being pegged to the D-mark.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Nov 20th, 2009 at 08:43:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And your quotes from these comments are cherry-picked and out of context.

Jerome asked the question Why a Brit? to answer it with the information that there was probably a trade-off for France involved:

Jerome a Paris:

It looks like the trade off is that Michel Barnier will be getting the Commissioner for the Internal Market and Financial Regulation

Crazy Horse continued his comment I feel robbed, or raped, with:

Crazy Horse:

What ever has Britain done to enhance operation of the European Union?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Nov 20th, 2009 at 11:16:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's okay, Jérôme himself said clearly it is legitimate to be anti-Brit even if you agree to downplay it. I'm clearly out of line here.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Nov 20th, 2009 at 11:20:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do I detect the smell of burning martyr?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Nov 20th, 2009 at 11:30:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I cannot reply to that without being rude.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Nov 20th, 2009 at 11:34:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Jérôme himself said clearly it is legitimate to be anti-Brit

I explained (in more than a little bit of detail) why it was legitimate to fight against a stronger representation of UK appointees in the top European posts, and you call that being "anti-Brit"?

And I hope you won't respond by quoting again my "anti-Brit" title because that's not an argument and you know it.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Nov 20th, 2009 at 11:50:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
afew:
why all this pissy innuendo from you and Colman?
What innuendo? The charge is pretty clear.

And, would you mind counting the number of unabashedly anti-Brit comments in the last 24 hours?

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Nov 20th, 2009 at 10:36:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's innuendo when you speak of another ET member without naming them and without a link. And no, I'm not counting anti-British comments. I've given my analysis of the reasons for being anti-British in an EU context. Now you back your own assertions up and show where British citizens have been denigrated as sucH.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Nov 20th, 2009 at 10:39:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ashton has been repeatedly and consistently denigrated for being a Brit.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Nov 20th, 2009 at 10:40:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nonsense. People have expressed disappointment that the UK got a top post. Not the same thing.

Where are the big bad creep-crawlies you (and apparently Colman) see?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Nov 20th, 2009 at 10:44:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]


"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Fri Nov 20th, 2009 at 10:52:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ie an official representative of the UK government, embodying the policies of the UK government.

If you can't see the difference, I can't help you.

And saying that other countries also send people that embody their governments and their policies is not an acceptable retort, given how different the consistent UK government's approach to the EU is to pretty much every other government's.

If Brown had been pushing for a UK citizen with a track record of working or spending political capital for the EU (say, to take vaguely plausible exemples, Chris Patten or Kenneth Clarke), then theinr nationality would have been less of an issue.

But if you can't see how the European Council giving in and placating the most anti-EU country in the union at this point in time can be perceived by me and others as grating and unpleasant, I'll just say, "bah."

(you'll answer with your stock answer that no rational dialogue is possible when narratives are clashing, and I'll answer that you can't possibly be serious....)(then you'll say I'm putting words in your mouth, to which I answer "duh")

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Nov 20th, 2009 at 11:29:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The only personalised anti-Brit comments I have seen have been Vladimir's on Ashton's appearance - a poor attempt at a joke - and Migs' comment on Blair's teeth.  All other comments have been couched in terms of "why allocate one of the top posts to a nominee from the UK given their history of opposing the European Project" or queries as to whether Ashton's lack of high level electoral, foreign policy, or indeed European experience qualified her for the job when there seemed to be other more qualified candidates or potential candidates around.

As Jerome has stated, the brief was to find a female, at least nominally left wing candidate to complement the appointment of Van Rompuy and two other centre right men to key European posts.  In the end she had to be British as well to get Brown to ditch Blair.

To criticise her appointment or query her qualifications is not to be sexist, extreme leftwing, or anti- British.  It is to query why the price of not appointing Blair had to be the appointment of another British candidate (there are 25 other member states in the EU all with legitimate claims to push their nominees).  

If she turns out to be a nuLabour Atlanticist are we to be labelled anti-Brit, sexist, extreme socialists for criticising her?  If she turns out to be not very good at developing and projecting a coherent EU foreign policy around the world or achieving public support for same, are we to be debarred from pointing out that well, actually, she never had senior prior foreign policy experience, never did more than inherit an already well developed trade negotiating brief, and never led a public election campaign to achieve popular endorsement for any particular policy agenda?

Is it not elitist and contemptuous of democratic politics and absurdly racist to discount the claims of 25 other member states to the post on the grounds that it has to be a Brit who is not particularly well qualified for the post and who has never seen fit to seek a popular mandate for anything?  This is politics we are talking about here, not administration, and ultimately what the citizens of Europe think and feel and believe and perceive IS important even if some intellectuals want to tell them they are all ignorant and wrong and have no right to disagree with their expert analysis.

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Nov 20th, 2009 at 12:50:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank Schnittger:
the price of not appointing Blair

This turn of phrase got me thinking. This thread strikes me as having less assumption of good faith and more tiredness then usually on ET. Could it be that we did win - we got our stated goal of stopping Blair - but not much more. We did not get Robinson, or any other really good one. We got what the political machinery delivers - a rightist and a NuLabor - given where the political power rests. And then faultlines in our own not to stable coalition (and the perceived coalition formed with others around the petition) becomes easy targets for frustration over the general situation (and pies, though we have failed to drag the americans into it for once).

To be clear I am not trying to analyse any of the posters, just describing how I see the threads climate and trying to understand it. If I am right, what we need is a new concrete goal. Blair defeated, what is next on the agenda?

Or to quote the immortal poet:
The battle's done and we kind of won
So we sound our victory cheer
Where do we go from here?


Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sat Nov 21st, 2009 at 03:15:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The kossacks have a lovely pipe dream about having a 3-4 people "bench list" of progressive candidates that are prepared and vetted in advance - so that whenever a Republican-in-Democratic-clothing shows his true colours, they have a guy ready and waiting in the wings for the next primary.

That's probably inapplicable in a European context, due to the differences in our political traditions (except perhaps in England, where they do FPTP?). But it gives a nice meter-stick to measure ambitions against.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Nov 21st, 2009 at 10:51:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Display:

Occasional Series