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djgordy
676148.  Fri Feb 26, 2010 8:50 am Reply with quote

Whilst on "Question Time", Mr. Farage defended his assertion that Belgium is "pretty much a non-country" by saying that the Flemish and Walloons were at each others throats and that the country would soon be splitting into two.

I wonder what that makes the U.K. seeing as the non-English bits all have their own law making assemblies and that the Scottish bit has a number of its representatives agaitating for independance?

 
CB27
676168.  Fri Feb 26, 2010 9:33 am Reply with quote

I was glad someone pointed out something that was at the back of my mind, that by calling Belgium a non-country he's insulted the memories of thousands of soldiers who died in both world wars to help defend/liberate that country.

 
barbados
676241.  Fri Feb 26, 2010 11:55 am Reply with quote

djgordy wrote:
Whilst on "Question Time", Mr. Farage defended his assertion that Belgium is "pretty much a non-country" by saying that the Flemish and Walloons were at each others throats and that the country would soon be splitting into two.



Are they all getting along now then? because there has been a long history of turmoil in Belgium

 
suze
676248.  Fri Feb 26, 2010 12:04 pm Reply with quote

Neotenic wrote:
I think I would also put forward the choice of the particular seat that he has decided to campaign for is further evidence to support your position, too.


It was a slightly odd choice, certainly. For anyone who doesn't know, Mr Farage is seeking election as the MP for Buckingham. The current MP for that riding is the Speaker, John Bercow, who sat as a Conservative before becoming the Speaker.

It's a safe Conservative seat - last time around, Mr Bercow received 27,748 votes, and the Labour candidate who came second received 9,619.

Now then, it used to be a convention that the incumbent Speaker was returned unopposed at general elections. That convention is gradually going by the wayside - and quite rightly so if you ask me - so the people of Buckingham will go to the polls.

And there will be no one on the ballot paper shown as "the Conservative Party candidate" - Mr Speaker will be shown as "John Simon Bercow, The Speaker". Accordingly, there are probably a few not-too-bright people who will look at the ballot paper and think "Oh gosh, no Conservative candidate. I'd better vote for UKIP then." (And indeed, what advice is given to people who would prefer to vote Labour or LibDem, which parties will apparently not be contesting Buckingham?)

It's rather strange for a UKIP candidate to seek the votes of those whose preference is "anyone but the Tories", but I rather think that is what Mr Farage is doing. And since the turnout there will be desperately low (much as I don't really approve of not voting, I don't think I'd bother if I lived there), it could just work.

Cynical yes, an attempt to exploit a conventional loophole undoubtedly, but in its own way mildly clever. So he can't be a twat.

(Mind you, look what happened to the last MP for Buckingham who was not a Conservative ...)

 
Neotenic
676252.  Fri Feb 26, 2010 12:06 pm Reply with quote

I think it is entirely possible to be clever and be a twat.

For evidence, I only need look in a mirror.

 
barbados
676268.  Fri Feb 26, 2010 12:31 pm Reply with quote

One out of two ain't bad Neo ;-P

 
Zebra57
676420.  Fri Feb 26, 2010 8:38 pm Reply with quote

I hope even Nigel Farage would not see himself as a second Robert Maxwell (Labour MP Buckingham 1964-70).

Whether he is a twat or not is debatable, certainly his comments were very offensive. I can only assume that the stereotype of the "British Eccentric" was strenghtened in the European Parliament following his outburst.

While I can see that porportional representation is more democratic its downside is that crackpots like Nigel get elected.

 
bobwilson
676446.  Fri Feb 26, 2010 10:55 pm Reply with quote

Sorry - but I fail to see the problem here.

The essential point that Farage was making was that the concept of an EU presidency was sold on the idea that it was important because it would provide Europe with a world-statesman on a par with the US president. The fact the EU president would be an unelected beaureaucrat appointed by some shady deal would be irrelevant because at least Europe would have a voice in international affairs which would be respected.

Instead of which we've ended up with Mr Van Rumpy-pumpy who (as Mr Farage rightly points out) has all the stature of a wet-dishcloth and the appearance (both physically and otherwise) of being a failed bank manager who has been shoe-horned into the job because he hadn't offended anyone.

Quote:
Whilst on "Question Time", Mr. Farage defended his assertion that Belgium is "pretty much a non-country" by saying that the Flemish and Walloons were at each others throats and that the country would soon be splitting into two.


I don't agree with pretty well everything Mr F has to say on pretty well every subject - but it's fairly easy to manipulate an idiot like him into debating a non-subject (like the status of Belgium) to distract from the real issue - which is that Mr Rumpy-pumpy has no mandate from the European people; has no status in international affairs; and has clearly been chosen as the "John Major" option - no doubt wearing his underpants outside his trousers.

I didn't vote for Tony Blair (or any of his cronies) but at least they had the decency to give me the option. Mr Rumpy-pumpy has been shoe-horned into this position by some shady backroom deals (and no CB27 - I'm not agreeing with you) and on this one issue I am in total agreement with Mr F.

Quote:
Whether (Mr F) is a twat or not is debatable, certainly his comments were very offensive.


His comments may well have been offensive - but how much more offensive is it that we now have an unelected EU president with all the charisma of a bottle of bleach purely because he's not someone that we would have voted against?

Frankly, if Mr Rumpy-pumpy can't get it together to deliver a devastating critique of Mr F's barrage then he's shown himself to be exactly the caricature that he undoubtedly is. Not being Tony Blair is not an adequate qualification for any job (although I'm happy to concede that not being Tony Blair does give Mr Rumpy-dishcloth the advantage in that two horse race).

 
Curious Danny
676477.  Sat Feb 27, 2010 4:45 am Reply with quote

bobwilson wrote:
The essential point that Farage was making was that the concept of an EU presidency was sold on the idea that it was important because it would provide Europe with a world-statesman on a par with the US president.

Instead of which we've ended up with Mr Van Rumpy-pumpy who (as Mr Farage rightly points out) has all the stature of a wet-dishcloth and the appearance (both physically and otherwise) of being a failed bank manager who has been shoe-horned into the job because he hadn't offended anyone.


Firstly, I would point out that the idea that American government starts and stops with the president is naive - he is the executive and as such has to rely on the legislature to get things done.
Secondly, attacking someone on their appearance and demeanour is cheap and politically stupid. If all government positions had to be filled by people who just looked good and competent, roll on David Cameron as PM. We can then kiss goodbye to people such as FDR, who clearly did not look the part.

 
barbados
676478.  Sat Feb 27, 2010 4:59 am Reply with quote

I think you are missing what bobwilson is saying there.
The point was that the logic behind the EU presidency was to have a figurehead on the world stage. One that has some clout to say look at us, we're awesome. What the EU actually did was bring in the polar opposite. The citizens of Europe have had absolutely no say in who has the role of figurehead, and those that have decided who is to be the figurehead have sold the position using the mock auction techniques outlawed in most civilised countries. The box says 52inch Sony Plasma, but in reality the contents are a 14inc Matsui CRT in pieces.

 
djgordy
676495.  Sat Feb 27, 2010 6:48 am Reply with quote

bobwilson wrote:

The essential point that Farage was making was that the concept of an EU presidency was sold on the idea that it was important because it would provide Europe with a world-statesman on a par with the US president. The fact the EU president would be an unelected beaureaucrat appointed by some shady deal would be irrelevant because at least Europe would have a voice in international affairs which would be respected.


Well, no. There was already a post of President in Office of the European Council before prior to the ratification of the Lisbon treaty but this was held on a 6 monthly basis rotated between the heads of state or government of the member states. The post occupied by Mr. Van Rompuy is really just the continuation of that previously existing post but is now given to one individual rather than rotate.

Mr. Van Rumpoy is the President of the European Council. He isn't President of Europe. He also isn't a faceless bureaucrat as he was Prime Minister of Belgium and held other posts in the Belgian Government. I don't suppose most people could name many European politicians that serve outside of their own country with the exception of the PMs or Presidents of the big countries like the UK, France, German and Italy.

The post of President of the European Council is largely administrative. Yes there was some idea that it might throw up a "world leader" figure to rival the American president but this was rejected. Anyway, most international negotiations aren't done by presidents and prime ministers stepping off helicopters and disappearing into the White House or wherever. That is just for show, Most international negotiations are done by administrators and bureaucrats so really we want someone who is good as his job and respected for that, not someone like Blair or Berlusconi who is good at getting in the newspapers but nothing else.

 
Curious Danny
676549.  Sat Feb 27, 2010 8:42 am Reply with quote

As an aside, that reminded me of a quotation from Hitchhikers' guide -

Presidents don't actually have power. Their job is to draw attention away from it. - Ford Prefect

 
barbados
676623.  Sat Feb 27, 2010 12:42 pm Reply with quote

djgordy wrote:
bobwilson wrote:

The essential point that Farage was making was that the concept of an EU presidency was sold on the idea that it was important because it would provide Europe with a world-statesman on a par with the US president. The fact the EU president would be an unelected beaureaucrat appointed by some shady deal would be irrelevant because at least Europe would have a voice in international affairs which would be respected.


Well, no. There was already a post of President in Office of the European Council before prior to the ratification of the Lisbon treaty but this was held on a 6 monthly basis rotated between the heads of state or government of the member states. The post occupied by Mr. Van Rompuy is really just the continuation of that previously existing post but is now given to one individual rather than rotate.


So what role is José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero carrying out at the moment because he seems to think that he is the president of the European council until June this year, then in a years time the Poles think they will be doing it

 
CB27
676634.  Sat Feb 27, 2010 1:38 pm Reply with quote

Unfortunately battle lines seem to have been drawn up along whether you support the appointment of Van Rompuy or the method, or even the EU itself, but as I've now pointed out twice I don't care about this, I simply think that it's unacceptable for politicians to go around insulting one another, especially in public chambers.

Some people might say "I prefer they were honest and open", but what's open and honest about insulting? It takes everything away from debating issues, it undermines those that take part in these debates and serves only to create a greater distance between people.

 
barbados
676637.  Sat Feb 27, 2010 1:55 pm Reply with quote

Personally speaking I'm not really that concerned about who Van Rompuy is, I have exactly the same feelings about Nigel Farage. They are both politicians and deserve equal contempt.

Should one have insulted another in a public chamber? it doesn't really matter where it was, if you have to resort to personal snipes then you lose the argument as far as I'm concerned. It doesn't make you a twat. For the record I am against the EU, not because of some soppy nostalgia about how great our nation once was, but because it is being run by a lot of people that I had anything to do with electing, from nations that have no idea how another works.

 

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