Tag Archive: Democracy

And so, on with the false meme

The Independent, in an article today authored by James Moore, reports on a new research paper about the ramifications of ‘Brexit’, this particular paper being one written by James Knightley for ING.

This paper is not intended, it appears, for general distribution and although I have managed to obtain a copy, it is under the strict instructions it cannot be reproduced in full although it is permissable for extracts to be quoted.

A great deal of this paper deals with the potential effects on GDP of ‘Brexit’, details of which I have not been able to verify due to time constraints imposed by my imminent home move. However I cannot let pass without comment one statement that is made in this paper – and which shows, yet again, that (a) the author knows not about that which he writes due to (b) a total lack of research.

On page 5 we read:

A second option is joining the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) along with
Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein, and sign up to the European Economic
Area (EEA), which would allow the UK to participate in the single market with zero tariffs.
At the same time it would free itself from obligations related to the Common Agriculture
Policy and the Common Fisheries Policy.

However, the UK would still have to make a financial contribution to the EU and adopt all
EU legislation relating to the single market without having a say on these laws. Being a
member of the EEA would also mean that workers from other EU member states would
continue to be able to live and work in the UK. Consequently, we doubt that the UK would
sign up to the EEA either.

Had Knightley done his homework, had he the faintest idea on that which he pontificates, he would know that Norway sits on over 200 committees within the EFTA/EEA; that under the terms stipulated in the EEA agreements the European Union is mandated to consult with EFTA/EEA members; that Norway has a seat of its own on United Nation’s bodies that set standards, said standards which are then handed down to governments and trade blocs (of which the EU is one) for implementation: that as of 2013 there were over 400 matters of EU law that Norway had not implemented; and that as a last resort Norway, as a member of the EEA has the final resort of a veto over the implementation of EU law.

What is missed is that if one discounts the above facts about membership of committees, coupled with the fact that EFTA members are mandated to be consulted; the fact remains that by sitting on the bodies which set standards, EFTA members do have a voice – and it beggars belief that this ‘meme’ about Norway is allowed to prevail; it beggars belief that those who present what are, in the event, misleading ‘research papers’ are allowed to continue without being questioned; and it beggars belief that the media continue to reproduce such examples of being economical with the actualité with themselves  guilty of not doing their own research prior to printing it.

In the hope that either Knightley or ING will issue a correction, this article has been brought to their attention.

Update: With reference to the last paragraph, the following email has been sent to Adrian Simpson of ING:


My belated thanks for forwarding the research paper by James Knightley.

I must, unfortunately, bring to his – and your – attention what I consider is a gross misrepresentation where membership of EFTA/EEA is concerned.

This is raised in the following article which appears on my blog, Witterings from Witney


Under the circumstances it is hoped that Knightley’s article will be amended and an acknowledgement appended that an error was made in the original version.

With kind regards,

David Phipps

Obviously any response from ING or James Knightley will be published.

Sadiq Khan(t) help himself

MP and parliamentary candidate for Tooting, Shadow Justice Secretary, Shadow Lord Chancellor and Shadow Minister for London is, it appears, unable to stop himself climbing aboard the latest Mili band wagon where the subject of increasing the electoral register is concerned with this article in the Huffington Post. Khan complains that fewer and fewer people are having a say in the future of our country; that he has no wish to make light of the task for elected politicians to show that politicians are in tune with people’s lives; that they get what issues concern us, and that they are able to do something about it, ending by pleading not to give political parties an excuse to ignore us, our family, friends and work colleagues.

Mr Khan, the people have never ‘had a say’ in the future of our country – and never will have while representative democracy is the norm; a system that can best be described as a form of democratised dictatorship. Neither, Mr.Khan, can you as a British politician do squat diddly about most matters while the United Kingdom is subsumed within the European Union and where the United Kingdom is denied its own seat on ‘standard-setting’ bodies within the United Nations.  Above all, the greatest sin that political parties have committed is that they have ignored us, still do – and refuse to acknowledge that fact.

In the somewhat vain attempt to ‘engage’ with Khan, this article has been brought to his notice via twitter (@SadiqKhan), although little hope is held that anything will result – hell, I’m still waiting for even an acknowledgement of my emails to his Leader, said emails being dated 30th November last year and 15th January this year.

The last thing politicians want to do is engage with the electorate – unless of course it is in carefully crafted (and thus controlled) sessions which are packed with tribalist voting fodder.

So much for democracy!

Rotherham & other matters

The report by Louise Casey on ‘matters Rotherham’ has been cited by others (here and here), as being not the fault of political correctness; the first blaming it on ‘Government’ and the second on ‘racism’.

Hang on a minute: is not ‘political correctness’ the result of the imposition of ‘equality’, ‘diversity’ and ‘human rights’ for example, on our society? Is not ‘political correctness’ the result of the acceptance of the aforementioned three factors; and the overall results of various ‘groups’, who promoting and adhering to the requirements of said factors, that have developed the ethos of ‘political correctness’, so that it has become ‘accepted’ within our society today? Has not the desire ‘not to offend’ minority groups allowed such events, as has occurred in Rotherham, to flourish? Do we not have ‘wheels within wheels’ that have exacerbated the entire situation ‘á Rotherham’? Do we not have a situation where in the question of which came first, a ‘Chicken and Egg’ question?

Far be it for me to say, but methinks that those who blame ‘events Rotherham’ on ‘government’, whilst taking a ‘dig’ at a certain political party; and those who blame it on ‘racism’, need to take a second look at that which they write?

I note that the ‘Leaders Debate is being reported – and stating with some certainty – that the format will comprise just 4/5 questions, the replies of which will be limited to one minute. In this report we learn that the leaders will draw lots to decide who stands where on the stage and a firm of opinion pollsters will be called in to assemble a balanced audience of “politically interested” people, with at least a fifth calling themselves “undecided”. 

This raises some questions: (a) how do we know that the firm of opinion pollsters will be impartial; (b) who selects which firm; (c) what will be done to ‘weed out’ those in the audience who are fervent supporters of a political party, who to ensure they stand a better chance of attending, do not classify themselves as ‘undecided’? How will the television audience know that any questions posed will not have been previously prepared solely for the purpose of creating a political point, as some topics to be covered can easily be foreseen – such as the EU, the economy, immigration, the NHS – need I continue?

The ensuring debate, if held under the conditions  suggested, will be but a ‘side-show’ – as was that held in 2010 – and thus designed to be but the means by which the ‘unknowing/undecided/politically-ignorant may be ‘swayed’. Plus  ça chance, etc, etc?

I cannot let pass the latest faux-pas’ by Tristram Hunt on Question Time last night (see here and here). As one who spent his years 5-11 (before being sent home from abroad to attend boarding school) being taught by nuns, I can but echo the comments of Christine Odone. Not once, thinking back, was the subject of religion raised (least of all that of ‘Catholicism’); I was taught courtesy, respect for my elders, urged to question – and thus ‘reason’; and a thirst for knowledge – to name but a few.

As with those that care for the elderly (and as I witnessed in the care home where  my mother was blessed to live out her final years and where those entrusted with that duty had been there for between a minimum of 15 years and a maximum of 25 years)  so with teaching: both entail a ‘desire’ to do good and both recognise they do it with no thought other than the wish to care for those in their charge. Neither had a political motive and neither had a ‘hidden agenda’ – both should do that which they do purely with a motive of care for those in their charge. In both cases, either those who do it, do it for the right reasons or they are in the wrong job. Caring and teaching are not careers, they are vocations and perhaps the qualifications for both require a ‘review’ – and one not conducted by politicians, ‘charities’ and the like, consequently why not by those into whose care relatives are entrusted?

Should not the children of parents expect their parents to do – and wish for – the best for them? Should not the parents of parents not expect – nor wish – their children to do the best for them?

Just what has happened to society when society appears unable to understand what society owes to itself?

Just a few thought for a Friday night – and which, hopefully, may provoke discussion?





Something Stupid

In politics, stupidity is not a handicap

Napoléon Bonaparte

From Wikipedia we learn that Pandora’s box is an artifact in Greek mythology, taken from the myth of Pandora’s creation in Hesiod’s Works and Days.The “box” was actually a large jar given to Pandora which contained all the evils (or is that Evels) of the world. Today the phrase “to open Pandora’s box” means to perform an action that may seem small or innocent, but that turns out to have severely detrimental and far-reaching consequences.

When Tony Blair decided to offer Scotland devolution as part of his 1997 general election manifesto it may have appeared a small step, but it was by no means an innocent step in that it can be argued it was done for political gain: and it sure as hell turned out to have severe, detrimental and far-reaching consequences. When an ‘enslaved’ people are eventually granted one small freedom we know that they will never be satisfied until they have total freedom from those they consider their oppressor(s).

What we are witnessing today, with the latest attempt to solve the West Lothian Question, is yet another decision taken by a politician, or group of politicians, with no apparent forethought, nor any attempt to think through what the consequences of their decision may be. When Blair promised devolution to Scotland and Wales, he did so, I believe, knowing full well the consequences of his action, but also that it mattered not as he would be long gone before the excrement hit the ceiling mounted air circulation device – and the current lot and their thinking are no different where excrement and air circulation devices are concerned.

The question of equality twixt England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland has now polarised into an argument twixt Conservatives and Labour: Hague’s proposals and Labour wanting a constitutional convention – and both are designed to maintain some element of central control by London and its political class, while at the same time ‘kicking the issue into the long grass’ and thereby postponing a decision that must logically be made in the long term. On the subject of polarisation of political views, one only has to watch the following:

If we look at anomalies that may arise, an example from Mark Wallace on ConHome:

To appreciate the problem, consider the following scenario. Labour, with a majority in the UK as a whole but not in England, propose a law to restrict bin collections to once a month. English MPs could block such a law from applying to England. But if the Conservatives, with a majority of English MPs, then tried to introduce a Bill guaranteeing weekly bin collections in England, Labour would be allowed to use its UK-wide majority, including Scottish and Welsh MPs, to vote the law down – even though it would not affect those MPs’ constituents. In short, England would still not be self-governing.

or this from Gordon Brown:

Can you imagine Scotland volunteering to send MPs to Westminster indefinitely if it becomes clear that the UK government of the day owes its survival to an English majority who could veto the government’s tax policies even when that government can command a majority in the UK?


Confused? Well you may be because those causing confusion are totally confused in their aims to solve what is presently an unsolvable problem while the present system of democracy and politics is allowed to continue.

In Hague’s speech (for a resumé see here) he said of his proposals:

 First, the control of the detail of legislation and an effective veto are essential to giving real effect to English Votes for English Laws. With such procedures in place any government will know it cannot impose legislation on England without taking full account of the views of a majority of MPs from England.

The second is that it is an option that maintains the integrity of the United Kingdom Parliament. Parliament would continue to function with Members deliberating and voting together. Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs would continue to participate and vote at Second Reading, Report and Third Reading. But they would not be able to pass a motion concerning only England without the support of English Members. So crucially, this option enhances the Union, as Westminster will clearly remain a UK Parliament.

Third, it is the option most easily employed to bring democracy and accountability to a wide range of issues. For example, we recognise that the level of spending on health or local government in England is a legitimate matter for all MPs, as there are consequential effects on spending in the rest of the UK. But it is unarguable that the distribution of spending within England is a matter that applies only to England. (source)

Integrity of Parliament? Any integrity that Parliament may have had was lost when Parliament agreed to subsume this country into what is now the European Union. Any integrity that may have remained was lost forever on the occasion of the skewed 1975 referendum. Hague’s statement that the option being proposed was the most easily employed to bring democracy and accountability to a wide range of issues is laughable; if only because true democracy does not exist in this country and there is no accountability of our politicians to the people – in that regard, is not Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and John Major (et all) still ‘at large’?

Astute readers will have spotted the one omission in all that has been said and written on this subject of equality twixt the nations that comprise the United Kingdom. That omission is the people – where is their voice in all this? If the distribution of spending within England is a matter that applies only to England, then should not those it will affect and who will be providing the funds for said distribution have a voice in both where and how it is spent; rather than it be left to ‘representatives’ who will no doubt argue the question along party lines for an interminable time?

Parliament can remain a ‘UK Parliament’, but only on those matters which affect the country as a whole. As I have maintained previously, this micro-management of our lives based on a one-size-fits-all is not a viable proposition as it will never produce what the respective political classes in each nation appear to want and, more importantly, that to which the people of each nation are entitled: their voice, their self-determination and thus self-rule or self-government, at those term’s most basic level.

If politicians truly believe they are servants of the people and not their masters, that they truly do wish to devolve power to the people, that they do believe in ‘democracy’, then a solution to their – and our – problems is available.

That at least would save us from this particular ‘faux opera’ (but one of many) which involves people attempting to solve problems within a problem – and which are unsolvable due to the self-imposed constraints within which they attempt to work.



Just asking………

Just noticed Monday evening (20:23) was this tweet from David Cameron (or probably someone in his ‘office’ in an attempt to earn a Brownie point or two):

Keely Hohmann is today’s #PointsofLight for founding & developing mental health support group @he4l_btg from her @NCS #SocialAction project.

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers – people who are making change in their community.

Never mind about communities – and that is not to denigrate the efforts of those who receive this award for the betterment of their fellow man.

How about the award going to those bloggers who, virtually day after day, strive to make change in their country by pointing out the lies about – and the deficiencies in – our political system, our system of democracy; and thus our membership of the European Union?

No? I thought not.

The Ukip problem

On the question of ‘Brexit’, only the other day it was put to me that I was ‘divisive’ in respect of Ukip when I knew very well what was at stake – which I thought a tad rich when I do not write about them as often – and as negatively – as others. Any criticisms I do make are not made from any personal animosity for Nigel Farage, nor his party; and invariably my criticism of Ukip is grouped with a similar dislike of any other political party.

One of the most repeated accusations that I make of Conservative, Labour, or Liberal Democrat politicians is one of ‘being economical with the actualité’; in other words being economical with the facts to the point whereby the electorate is misinformed, even lied to – and in this regard, where being ‘economical with the actualité thus leads to misinformation, Nigel Farage and Ukip are no less guilty than the other three parties.

A recent comment seen is that all this country needs is a free trade agreement so that we can make our own decisions; to which one response said that that is what Ukip proposes while expressing the wish that Ukip would untangle decades of laws. Another comment stated that a vote for Ukip meant Brexit and contained the wish that that party had an exit strategy and policy after withdrawal. After withdrawal? God forbid they go down that route as having withdrawn, what happens to trade, movement of capital, goods and people, while they negotiate a ‘bespoke’ trade agreement?

No-one would begrudge the fervour exhibited by any party’s activists in promoting the party they support, but Ukip MEPs and supporters seem to excel, especially on Twitter, with the inane, discourteous; and at times totally rude, comments; in particular on newspaper stories which are themselves incorrect – and in some cases, deliberately made so it seems.

One such recent illustration of what may be termed ‘Ukip hype’ concerns an article in the Daily Express which reported that the EU intended to impose road tolls; a story stating that European Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc wants a standardised driving tax across all EU member states. The Express story was factually incorrect as what Bulc said contained a caveat that the Express chose not to mention; that omission being:

There are many options – a fee could be obligatory but it’s also possible to make it optional i.e. that countries decide themselves whether and on which roads they want to levy a road use charge based on kilometres driven. (Emphasis mine)

In fact, subsequently, on 27th January Bulc tweeted:

My vision for EU #tolling system would be optional for Member States. A uniform system would be fairer + more efficient for EU citizens.

On the day of the Express story Twitter was ‘flooded’ with comments from Ukip MEPs and supporters all adversely passing comment on this intended EU law. It is obvious that comment was being made without any attempt to investigate/research the veracity of this newspaper story – is that a logical response from a party that wishes the electorate to take them seriously?

Let us consider Ukips ‘policies’ – as so far published – together with the most recent publication: 100 reasons to vote Ukip. As an aside on the latter, this was most eloquently ‘filleted‘ by a blogger whose ‘diminutive’ is, I understand, ‘The Bastard’ – however I digress.

On the Ukip website we read:

We would negotiate a bespoke trade agreement with the EU to enable our businesses to continue trading to mutual advantage.

I well remember a telephone conversation with a Ukip supporter, one who is a frequent user of Twitter, who when I tried to explain that trade agreements with the EU take time, blithely said that my view was rubbish and that it could be done within a week, if not days.

Really? Let us consult the EU Commission on how free trade agreements are reached:

Many months of careful preparation take place before a trade negotiation begins. This includes public consultation, assessment of an agreement’s potential impact on Europe’s companies and consumers and informal and formal talks between the Commission and the country or region concerned to determine the issues to be covered. After these comprehensive preparations, the Commission requests authorisation from the Council of Ministers (made up of representatives of EU governments) to open negotiations. They agree the objectives that the Commission should try to secure. During the negotiating process that usually lasts several years, the Commission regularly informs the Council and the European Parliament on the progress being made. Once an agreement is reached, its signature is formally authorised by the Council. The European Parliament, using its new Lisbon Treaty powers, may accept or reject, but not amend, the text. Individual EU countries may also need to ratify an agreement according to their own national procedures as well as the green light they give at international level. The agreement enters into force on a particular day, but may be provisionally applied beforehand. (Emphasis mine)

Ukip also state:

We would review all legislation and regulations from the EU (3,600 new laws since 2010) and remove those which hamper British prosperity and competitiveness.

The inference of that statement is that all the legislation and regulation coming from Brussels is ‘EU Law’ – it is not. Where the setting of ‘standards’ is concerned, this is done within bodies under the aegis of the United Nations; for example: Codex (food standards); the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) based in Rome; the United Nations Economic Council (UNECE) based in Geneva; the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) based in Paris; the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) based in Montreal; the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) based in Basel; and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) based in Bonn; the World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations – known as WP.29 and held under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Council Europe (UNECE); the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission, which jointly manages the fisheries in the region. 

‘Standards’ are then handed down to members of these various UN bodies in the form of dual international quasi-legislation, or ‘diqules’, for implementation by governments and trade blocs. In fact the majority of the bulk of the Single Market regulation originates from these UN bodies, making the EU no more than an intermediary player, processing standards agreed elsewhere, way above the EU and over which the EU has no direct control. So the EU does not make law, consequently law does not come from Brussels. In any event the point has to be made that ‘EU Law’ is no doubt law that the UK would have applied anyway, had it had its own seat on the aforementioned bodies.

Where the statement:

We would reoccupy the UK’s vacant seat at the World Trade Organisation, ensuring that we continue to enjoy ‘most favoured nation’ status in trade with the EU, as is required under WTO rules.

is concerned, I am not going to waste my time pointing out that ‘most favoured nation’ would mean that the UK would still be liable to tariffs; suffice to say that in effect a horse and cart has been driven through WTO ‘most favoured nation’ rules by trade blocs, such as the European Union, which have lowered or eliminated tariffs among their members while maintaining tariff walls between member nations and the rest of the world.

Neither will I waste time with Ukip’s statement:

UKIP would not seek to remain in the European Free Trade Area (EFTA) or European Economic Area (EEA) while those treaties maintain a principle of free movement of labour, which prevents the UK managing its own borders.

If Ukip wishes to negotiate a ‘bespoke’ trade agreement, then what would be simpler than a sideways move to EFTA/EEA while it did just that? That course of action would have no negative effect on the ability of UK business to trade with the EU, neither would it affect the other ‘three pillars’ involving services, capital or the movement of people. What it would do is allow any future government time to negotiate a ‘bespoke’ trade agreement.

The foregoing can but illustrate that, in common with the other three main parties, Ukip, too, is ‘economical with the actualité’ – or, in common with the other three, has no real idea on that which it pontificates.

There is an irony involved in the dissemination of political messages; in that parties spend an inordinate amount of time refuting statements from their opponents in order to negate adverse public perception of their policies – should not political parties also pay attention to what can only be described as the ‘crap’ put out by their supporters – ‘crap’ which also does the respective party no good whatsoever.

And on such ‘shallow’ ignorance, the electorate is prepared to hand over our lives, our future and be ‘ruled’ by any of them?


The innocence of youth

David Kirkby, who is a Researcher at Bright Blue, has an article in the Independent in which he echos David Cameron’s comments about our politicians being a ‘pretty decent bunch’; in the process making his own point that he considers MPs more responsive to – and reflective of – their constituent’s views, ending with the statement that the prevailing extreme negativity about Westminster is not justified.

Bright Blue is an independent think tank and pressure group for liberal conservatism, one of whose principles is ‘evidence not ideology’. Unfortunately it sees that young Kirkby, in writing his article, has forgotten the evidence bit and based his argument on the ideology bit.

This blog is by no means ‘belittling’ the efforts or wishes of anyone in the early years of their life from taking an interest in the political scene, but surely someone considered vetting this piece of propaganda – for that is what it is – to counter any attempt to ‘pull it to pieces’?

Considerbut three immediate points:

  • Politicians may well be more responsive and reflective of their constituents wishes, but that does not stop them going through the voting lobbies on the instructions of their party whips;
  • Is it any wonder that constituency casework takes up the greatest share of MPs’ time, followed by constituency meetings and events when there is little for them to do where the governance of this country is concerned;
  • To write about ‘democratic governance’ first it is necessary to understand what that is because we sure as hell don’t have it – and Kirkby obviously does not understand that.

If Kirkby is an example of the 17-22 age group, is it any wonder that 62% of those surveyed in that group believe that membership of the EU is a good thing? Neither is it odd that a majority will tend to vote for left-of-centre parties – you work it out.

In the promised forthcoming referendum on EU membership the young, who seemingly know nothing about UK  politics, let alone democracy and sovereignty – which are priceless – begs the question of just how will they even begin to understand any debate on the cost/benefit of EU membership?

I foresee a bright future for David Kirkby as a politician as he is already exhibiting that one characteristic of same – knowing squat diddly on that which he pontificates.

Belarus does what the UK cannot

On 3rd March this year Belarus will become a Contracting Party to the 1998 Agreement on Global Vehicle Regulations, an agreement which is the legal framework for the development of global technical regulations for vehicles and their components, with the aim of increasing their active and passive safety, reducing emissions and improving security (anti-theft) performance.


It is well-known by now that the UK does not have a seat on the World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations (WP.29) as the EU speaks for all member states, transport (in all its forms) now being an EU competence.

While on the subject of WP.29, it is noticed that their ‘reach’ into vehicle standards is to be ‘enlarged’ as they are now going to investigate the area covering vehicle interior air quality.

Interestingly it is noted that this study is due for completion by June 2017 – just in time for our promised referendum on EU membership – but then again the ability to have a direct voice in vehicle standards, as it will in various other areas, will pass all and sundry by.

Intent – or bluster?

With the election of Alexis Tsipras and Syriza in Greece, a little noticed news report from Reuters (at least from what I have seen) informs us that Tsipras rubbed a few noses in the dirt on his first day as prime minister

Apparently his first act was to visit the war memorial in Kaisariani where 200 Greek resistance fighters were slaughtered by the Nazis in 1944. Next, he ‘received’ the Russian ambassador before meeting any other foreign official; followed by the announcement that radical academic Yanis Varoufakis, who once likened German austerity policies to “fiscal waterboarding”, would be taking over as Greek finance minister. A short while later, Tsipras delivered another blow, criticising an EU statement that warned Moscow of new sanctions.

When one adds into the mix that just days before polling day Tsipras informed a crowd that: On Monday, our national humiliation will be over. We will finish with orders from abroad, while in the background  loudspeakers blared lyrics from the Leonard Cohen song First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin; and it is logical to assume the European Union is in for a rocky ride.

When it is realised that the Greek people are averse to leaving the euro zone and Tsipras wishes to remain in the EU, he gives the impression of bluster – or is it?

He will be attending the EU Council Heads of State meeting on 12th/13th February and whether Tsipras is all buster or not should become apparent when the Heads of State post-meeting press conferences take place.

There are those in the blogosphere who believe that Tsipras is but indulging in what they term ‘ritual chest-beating’ prior to ‘knuckling under’. While one can but agree with the view that the EU will not let the euro or their project be damaged in any way, it should be remembered that no-one can predict the actions of a maverick – and mavericks tend to have a card up their sleeve.

It may be there is trouble – or even a rouble – that has yet to appear over the horizon? We can but watch and wait.

Down the Greece(y) pole?


Following the results of the Greek general election, there is speculation that Alexis Tsipras, leader of Syriza, could herald the break-up of the European Union, by threatening not to pay his debts and exiting the eurozone, with his hard-line approach to negate austerity.

The idea that Greece with but a miniscule GDP, under $250 billion and not even one percent of the eurozone, is able to ‘out-gun’ the EU must be considered far-fetched indeed. That Tsipras, for all his rhetoric, could ‘bring down’ what must be ‘the’ policy of the EU, namely that of having a single currency, can but be laughable.

As Bruno Waterfield (Telegraph) reports, Angela Merkel echoes the fear that is obvious to the EU; namely that if voters in Spain and Italy, both countries where elections are expected this year, see that Syriza is able to win major concessions then Europe’s growing populist revolt will become unstoppable – and that just ain’t gonna happen. Waterfield’s article contains quotes by some of the ‘great and good’ within the EU; and Open Europe has others – all of which leads one to believe that Tsipras, instead of getting the haircut he seeks, now has a headache.

Today has seen the ‘Ukip faithful’ taking to the twittersphere proclaiming a similarity twixt Syriza and Ukip in that what Syriza has done in Greece, Ukip can do in the United Kingdom. When considering any similarity twixt Syriza and Ukip, unfortunately one can only come to one conclusion.

The electorates in Greece and the United Kingdom are each being duped by two men who have not thought through that which they propose, consequently having no idea how to bring about that which they seek.

In summary: both have committed the cardinal sin of having no credible exit plan.

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