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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
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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
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"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
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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
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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
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