Intolerant And Selfish?

According to our dear leader; Van Rompuy, who was democratically and directly elected by the peoples of Europe, is not really interested in power, believes that he should be accountable to the people, isn’t paid £250,000 (more than the UK Prime Minister) and didn’t use EU official cars to take his family on holiday, has just decided that everyone else in Europe is not as altruistic as himself:

“This long march to freedom and justice. This is not then the time for us Europeans to become less open, less tolerant, more selfish or materialistic…”

If only we could all be like him.

CIA Warns Of Miltary Coup In Greece

Richard North at EUReferendum highlights a CIA report which warns of dire consequences in Greece if its austerity measures continue:

Letting the cat out of the bag, however, is the German popular daily Bild, which has got hold of a CIA report warning that the tough austerity measures and the dire situation in Greece could escalate and even lead to a military coup.

This in repeated in the Turkish press and you can bet your sweet life that Ankara is monitoring the situation very closely. A military junta on its doorstep, perhaps looking for foreign adventures to keep minds off domestic troubles, is not what is wanted at this juncture.

As Richard rightly points out that a Greek default is a matter of when, not if and the likely European consequences of a Greek default make for very sober reading economically and politically. There are no good options at this point, which is reflected in the fact that the British media and most UK MPs are all doing their hardest to pretend that it’s not too much to worry about (with the added exception now of an opportunistic Labour party who resides in opposition). And EU politicians are too busy panicking and bickering.

A bit like the brazen bull; there’s lots of noise and heat and the outcome is inevitable – can we just get it over and done with?

British Understatement

From Calling England:

It reminds me of the famous story from the Korean war where 600 British were under attack from 10,000 Chinese soldiers, and the British brigadier; Thomas Brodie reported to the American Commander that the situation was “a bit sticky, things are pretty sticky down there” i.e. hurry up with them reinforcements – now! Needless to say to the Americans the phrase; “a bit sticky” didn’t quite have the same urgency.

Ferrets And Sacks

In news not entirely unexpected, Sepp Blatter has been implicated in the latest corruption charges surrounding Fifa;

World football’s governing body has been plunged deeper into crisis after its ethics committee widened a bribery investigation to include Sepp Blatter.

The Fifa president will appear in front of the ethics committee on Sunday with Mohamed bin Hammam, his Qatari rival, who is accused of offering cash bribes, and Jack Warner, the Concacaf president who has clung to a pivotal role at Fifa for 28 years despite a string of alleged scandals.

…this battle of the Fifa presidential election is turning out to be very messy indeed and Jack “the clown” Warner (corrupter-in-chief) has had further allegations made against him. I suspect though despite it all Blatter will win the election on Wednesday unopposed- such is democracy within Fifa, (I wonder if Cameron regrets this).

Yet this leads me on to a wider point. Yes, Fifa is a wonderful example of how unelected international bureaucracies are corrupt precisely because there are no checks and balances, but also at fault is the compliance, or apathy, of those it represents; note the silence since from UEFA over the scandal of the world body of football (UEFA President Platini is rumoured to be in line to replace Blatter)

And then we come onto the FA – run by unelected buffoons since 1863. An organisation who thinks that the “fit and proper persons test” is really just a measure of the size of your cheque book, that it’s a good idea for England to play Germany in 1935 at White Hart Lane (home of ‘Jewish’ team Tottenham Hotspur) 2 months after the Nazis passed the Nuremberg laws, and who gave away control of our top diversion in 1993 to the Premier League to ‘get one over’ their political rivals; the Football league, and then could not control the monster it created. Added to this the FA has had a long and illustrious track record of applying different sanctions to clubs for the same crime depending on how rich that club is, for example recently; Luton and QPR were both found guilty of a breach of FA Football Agents Regulations, A1:

A. GENERAL
1 A Player or Club must not at any time use the services of, or seek to use the
services of, pay, or seek to pay, either directly or indirectly, an Unauthorised Agent
in relation to any Agency Activity.

Luton Town was bankrupt but admitted its guilt, QPR is owned by billionaires and lied to cover up its guilt, one was given a “smack on the wrist” fine and the other was deducted 10 points – no prizes for guessing which punishment went to which club.

The worst apathy though is the fans. We all know that the organisations of the FA, UEFA and FIFA stinks but the reaction that presides most of all is a shrug of the shoulders. If Blatter wins on Wednesday there will be some indignation but little else – ultimately he will be President because he can.

Your club run by crooks? Run by more crooks? And by even more crooks? Managed by fascists? As long as the team keeps winning, and you get your tickets for the World Cup in Brazil in 2018 then no-one cares. That’s how they get away with it. And on a bigger scale that’s how the EU gets away with it – apathy.

Not A Smart Cookie

From midnight tonight, the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) (Amendment) Regulations 2011 comes into force. This amends the 2003 Regulation and enhances the powers of the Information Commissioner particularly regarding internet cookies.

The amendments require companies and website owners to gain explicit permission before setting a cookie on an internet user’s computer. Failure to abide by this Directive could lead to a fine of up to £500,000 for a serious breach.

This amendment has been controversial for a number of reasons. Firstly there’s the catch-22 situation. When visiting a site a message will appear; “do you consent to cookies from this site”. If you click ‘no’ the website cannot leave a cookie to remember your response so when clicking on a second page on the site, another pop-up window will appear requesting your consent again – and this will happen continually until you consent. Shopping online with EU websites, as a consequence, will become an unpleasant and intrusive experience, which leads onto the second point. These rules will not apply to non-EU sites, making them more of an attractive experience and putting EU sites at a commercial disadvantage, not least also because of the additional over-heads of complying with the rules.

My Europhile Tory MP; Ed Vaizey (Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries) has previously expressed his concerns, regarding this directive:

“…a good example of a well-meaning regulation that will be very difficult to make work in practice.”

Concerns that also included traditional Tory friendly words like:

“I am not a big fan of regulation.”

“…it is so important for us to adopt a flexible approach”

“…a one size fits all solution will not cover everything”

But as Mr Vaizey’s open letter this week makes clear, he has every intention of complying:

DCMS looks forward to continuing its close collaboration with the ICO and other stakeholders on the development of appropriate technical solutions to this challenging and difficult provision. We remain firmly convinced that the UK implementation is correct that it is good for business, good for consumers and addresses in a proportionate and pragmatic way the concerns of citizens with regard their personal data online.

And:

“…there will be no immediate changes to how UK websites operate as a result of new EU rules”.

There will be no immediate changes, which only means that we will comply eventually, and we must because the Information Commissioner has told us so:

British businesses have one year to make sure their websites comply with updated rules governing the use of cookies, the UK’s data protection authority has warned.

…the cookie consent laws will not be enforced immediately, information commissioner Christopher Graham said on Wednesday.

“We’re giving businesses and organisations up to one year to get their house in order,” Graham said in a statement. “This does not let everyone off the hook. Those who choose to do nothing will have their lack of action taken into account when we begin formal enforcement of the rules.”

We therefore only have a year’s respite before the EU Directive is implemented, and in many cases it will be implemented earlier.

So an unelected bureaucracy issues laws that are then implement by an unelected quango in the UK regardless of the wishes or concerns of the elected representative, to the detriment of British business. Therein lies the state of British democracy.

"I’ll Do Anything To Survive"

For 11 years Sepp Blatter has been President of FIFA and he has not achieved that without dubious practices – his tenure has consistently been dogged by allegations of corruption. For almost a decade, in order to hold on to power at FIFA, Blatter has without question relied on Jack Warner to provide 35 votes that he controls in the Caribbean and North and Central America. In return Blatter has turned a blind eye to Warner being able to make himself, and his family, millionaires; plundering football in his region and FIFA itself.

However, Warner’s controlled bloc of votes (including the USA) has come at an increasingly high price, which has lead to less than opaque corruption:

One of Fifa’s most senior executives could profit by more than £10m from World Cup ticket sales in a scandal that will horrify supporters and raise fears that some senior officials ­ and individuals within sponsor companies ­ are exploiting their positions to milk the tournament for personal gain.

In a move that has caused outrage in Trinidad & Tobago, who face England in the group stage, the Caribbean nation’s entire ticket allocation has been allocated to a travel agency owned by Jack Warner, a Fifa vice-president who is also the president of CONCACAF and a special advisor to the Trinidad & Tobago FA.

Now it seems that with an impeding FIFA Presidential election, and with further evidence of corruption swirling around FIFA, Blatter is dropping his ally, and also his Presidential opponent, in the smelly stuff in a very naked attempt at self preservation:

Fifa presidential candidate Mohamed Bin Hammam and vice president Jack Warner have denied wrongdoing after Fifa opened disciplinary proceedings against them following bribery allegations.

Blatter is up to his eyeballs in this stuff and I don’t believe that Jack Warner will let this go without a fight. Cue the popcorn.