Print Story Near Wild Heaven
Diary
By TheophileEscargot (Sun Jun 20, 2004 at 02:26:56 AM EST) (all tags)
What I'm Reading: "The Scar". EUia: long Sunday Times extract. Me. Need webcomics with proper storylines. Web.

Poll: UKia in EUia?



What I'm Reading
Finished The Scar by China Mieville. It's set in the same world as "Perdido Street Station", but I thought The Scar was an improvement all round. Some of the writing in PSS veered off from the entertainingly extravagant into the irritatingly purple: his prose in the Scar is more restrained. The big-baroque-decadent-city theme in PSS was also a bit over-familiar from Mervyn Peake, Michael Moorcock, Mary Gentle and too many others: The Scar takes us away from New Crobuzon into new waters.

Quite literally: on an ocean voyage from New Crobuzon, the emotionally repressed protagonist Bellis Coldwine is abducted with the rest of the passengers by the rogue pirate nation of Armada. Armada is a floating city of pirated ships linked by bridges and cables, slowly pulled across the world by its flotilla of tugboats. Like Armada itself, the plot is fascinatingly complex, but doesn't actually move very fast: even so, the political manoeuvrings and chains of manipulation keep you entertained as the book moves to its inevitable conclusion.

EUia
So, looks like there's a new constitution to think about. Some previous discussion on HuSi here. Will have a look through after the toilettage, but it looks like this one might be vote-uppable.

One thing that doesn't seem to have got much UK attention is that they're weakening the Growth and Stability pact even further: now EU finance ministers can prevent the European Commission from punishing countries that break it. Still, that's one for the Eurozone members and their kamikaze economics.

(Backstory: the weakness of the single currency is that taxes, spending and borrowing are controlled by the member states, not the EU. So, a member state can pursue economic policies that damage the currency (inflationary policies for instance) and only pay a fraction of the price. The Growth and Stability pact is supposed to restrain them from doing that, but it's been broken by France and Germany, and they've got away without being punished).

Can't see the constitution being ratified in the near future though: most of the UK press have come out with all scaremonger cannons blazing, and they'll keep up the bombardment indefinitely. Plus there are various other countries holding referendums, some of which will doubtless fail, leading to the usual keep-holding-referendums-until-we-get-the-right-answer business.

Other links: the BBC Euro press review seems to encounter some traces of hostility. And I quite liked the Sunday Times Focus article UK PLC is top dog - who needs Europe? [login cypherpunk/cypherpunk]. Extracts:

Euroscepticism has become the intelligent option. There is nothing irrational about it. For the first time in half a century, Britain is doing demonstrably better than the rest of Europe. It used to be that we feared missing out on prosperity by not integrating more closely with Europe.

Now the rational worry -- which applies to both the constitution and the euro -- is that we will risk prosperity by entangling ourselves more tightly with Europe.

Britain's unemployment rate, on a comparable basis, is 4.8%, against 9.4% in France and 9.8% in Germany. Unemployment stands at under half the EU average.

Per capita gross domestic product in Britain, according to a new report from Capital Economics, is higher at $30,200 (

< IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP | BBC White season: 'Rivers of Blood' >
Near Wild Heaven | 24 comments (24 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Oh yeah: TFiD is NSFW by TheophileEscargot (3.00 / 0) #1 Sun Jun 20, 2004 at 02:38:16 AM EST
Trucker Fags in Denial contains extremely explicit and unpleasant images and is not safe for work. Possibly not safe for home either.

Ought to take the link out of my sig really.
--
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

bleh by dr k (3.00 / 0) #21 Mon Jun 21, 2004 at 07:12:44 AM EST
You make it sound far more interesting than it really is.

:| :| :| :| :|

[ Parent ]
Web comic: have you tried The Spiders? by fritz the cat (6.00 / 1) #2 Sun Jun 20, 2004 at 07:47:23 AM EST
Don't have the link on me right now, but a google should do the job

[Ed.: currently a dormant account - posting on behalf of extremely tedious HuSer]
Aha by TheophileEscargot (3.00 / 0) #7 Sun Jun 20, 2004 at 08:23:47 AM EST
Looks interesting.
--
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
re: "Agree to common defence policy" by ti dave (5.00 / 1) #3 Sun Jun 20, 2004 at 07:59:11 AM EST
Hey, ever heard of "NATO"?

That option's already taken.

I don't care if people hate my guts; I assume most of them do.
The important question is whether they are in a position to do anything about it. --W.S. Burroughs

Indeed by TheophileEscargot (3.00 / 0) #5 Sun Jun 20, 2004 at 08:13:20 AM EST
It's hard to see the existence of a Euro-army not weakening NATO at least.
--
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
What is the motive for forming such a force? by ti dave (3.00 / 0) #6 Sun Jun 20, 2004 at 08:23:18 AM EST
If it's a protest against America, then they should simply withdraw from NATO.
The important thing being, France and Germany must continue to integrate their Armies.

I don't care if people hate my guts; I assume most of them do.
The important question is whether they are in a position to do anything about it. --W.S. Burroughs

[ Parent ]
That's the question really by TheophileEscargot (3.00 / 0) #8 Sun Jun 20, 2004 at 08:29:55 AM EST
Is the European Defence Force just for humanitarian or peacekeeping use? What about all the rhetoric about a European superpower "balancing" the US?

Of course, you could also ask what the purpose of NATO really is, given that defending against the Soviet bloc isn't really the hugest priority for the 21st century.

What was that line recently about US troops still deployed in Europe "defending allies who are no longer allies against an enemy who no longer exists..."
--
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
At the present, Russia is sleeping. by ti dave (3.00 / 0) #10 Sun Jun 20, 2004 at 08:32:27 AM EST
When she wakes up, she's a cranky bitch.

I don't care if people hate my guts; I assume most of them do.
The important question is whether they are in a position to do anything about it. --W.S. Burroughs

[ Parent ]
The US needs to invent enemies by Dr H0ffm4n (3.00 / 0) #18 Sun Jun 20, 2004 at 09:57:11 PM EST
I can't remember who famously predicted in the 80s that when Eastern Bloc communism fell USia would have to find a new enemy to justify its military and that the most likely choice would be Islamic states in the Middle East rather than China.

[ Parent ]
As if that was a bad thing... by fritz the cat (3.00 / 0) #9 Sun Jun 20, 2004 at 08:30:52 AM EST
USSR is dead, what do we need NATO for? Why do we, the UK taxpayer, pay $veryLargePercentage of our tax money to run military bases in the Falklands, Cyprus, the Indian Ocean, etc, for the benefit of the US?
Just a thought.

[Ed.: currently a dormant account - posting on behalf of extremely tedious HuSer]
[ Parent ]
Well, you got 1 of 3 right. by ti dave (3.00 / 0) #11 Sun Jun 20, 2004 at 09:03:21 AM EST
Yeah, we do use Diego Garcia.

Nice try, though!

I don't care if people hate my guts; I assume most of them do.
The important question is whether they are in a position to do anything about it. --W.S. Burroughs

[ Parent ]
As you do the others by fritz the cat (3.00 / 0) #13 Sun Jun 20, 2004 at 12:17:24 PM EST
Where do US Navy ships go to when they are the Mediterranean?

And what are UK troops in those basis working on, if not undercover missions for the US? Somehow I fail to see what use a military base in the south of the Atlantic could be to the British public.

[Ed.: currently a dormant account - posting on behalf of extremely tedious HuSer]

[ Parent ]
Gosh, the spellcheck box's gone by fritz the cat (3.00 / 0) #14 Sun Jun 20, 2004 at 12:20:37 PM EST


[Ed.: currently a dormant account - posting on behalf of extremely tedious HuSer]
[ Parent ]
I stand corrected. by ti dave (3.00 / 0) #16 Sun Jun 20, 2004 at 02:31:49 PM EST
It would appear that we conduct SIGINT operations at the UKian bases on Cyprus.

Then again, who really cares?

I don't care if people hate my guts; I assume most of them do.
The important question is whether they are in a position to do anything about it. --W.S. Burroughs

[ Parent ]
The people who pay for it by fritz the cat (3.00 / 0) #19 Mon Jun 21, 2004 at 01:34:37 AM EST


[Ed.: currently a dormant account - posting on behalf of extremely tedious HuSer]
[ Parent ]
I'm sure the Brits pay the Cypriots... by ti dave (3.00 / 0) #20 Mon Jun 21, 2004 at 03:45:11 AM EST
So that would be British money spent, Americans present or not.

I don't care if people hate my guts; I assume most of them do.
The important question is whether they are in a position to do anything about it. --W.S. Burroughs

[ Parent ]
Benefit of the US by ucblockhead (3.00 / 0) #15 Sun Jun 20, 2004 at 01:37:19 PM EST
Believe me, the US military presence in Europe not only costs us Americans lots of tax dollars, but it costs you Europeans a lot less than a similarly sized native force would.

It would benefit the US to bring every damn soldier stationed in Europe home.
---
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

[ Parent ]
Then.... by Tonatiuh (3.00 / 0) #22 Tue Jun 22, 2004 at 10:51:19 AM EST
.... what are guys waiting for ????

[ Parent ]
Two items (webcomics) by Patriclus (6.00 / 1) #4 Sun Jun 20, 2004 at 08:09:52 AM EST
(1.) Calvin & Hobbes. Not a webcomic. But it does have a storyline so so much of the time; and it is timeless and endlessly rererunnable!

(2.) There's a really great webcomic in a RPG style. Fairies or wizards or whatnot. Really hilarious. Don't have the name. The word 'magic' comes, dubiously, to mind. If you find it do let me know! If not, better luck elsewhere.

Later...

EU by sien (5.50 / 2) #12 Sun Jun 20, 2004 at 11:17:10 AM EST
Good to see that you seem to be better than you were last diary.


The EU is fascinating. Working in Brussels would be a great job, altering the way governments work. Actually it's the EU's hidden strength. EU opponents are largely blowhards with no base. Even the politicians elected who oppose the EU pail in significance to the Eurocrats who believe in Europe and spend all day every day dealing with it.


People get really excited over economics figures. Remember the 80s when it was a matter of time before the Japanese ruled the world? For the last 10 or so years its been about how we will all have to become like the US. Who knows whats next. But once you've seen it for a while it becomes clear that the different takes on capitalism and government have their different strengths and weaknesses.


It's unfair how everyone is saying how weak Germany is. Demographics are important, as is the fact that no-one expected incorporating the East to take so long and work so badly.


Is there really an alternative to the EU though? Should it really be ripped to pieces?


It certainly needs change. The CAP is a disaster, EU financing of R&D is insufficient and the voting system needs to be changed. The Euro's stability pact also needs revision, France and Germany breaking the pact has to be dealt with. But, the EU has probably been a success, contributing to GDP and also having helped Europe have no major wars in 60 years which may be record in European history.


Nobody knows anything - William Goldman.
Do you read by TPD (6.00 / 1) #17 Sun Jun 20, 2004 at 09:29:45 PM EST
megatokyo? if not give it a go, it's excellent!

why sit, when you can sit and swivel with The Ab-SwivellerTM
All is relative. by Tonatiuh (6.00 / 2) #23 Tue Jun 22, 2004 at 11:10:24 AM EST
The per capita GDP measure is all well and good, but the level and quality of life is far superior in Germany or France with the averages quoted. Houses are immensely cheaper, as are cars and many other goods and services, so a higher per capita GDP frankly sounds like a pirric victory for the UK.

Not only that, but as bad as the German economy is suppossedely doing, they were the second biggest exporter in the world last year. And France and Germany constantly perfom better in productivity measures (they are working less hours than UKians, have more hollidays and are more productive...).

Certainly the UK is far better in unemployment figures and its labour market is immensiley more flexible, but sometimes some sectors of the UK press overcook how great the UK is. The UK certainly has many pluses but so do as well most other European countries.

The question for the UK is very simple:
do they want to play second fiddle to the US or do they want to play a leading role in the EU?

Some people in the  UK may dream  to play a leading international role without associating themselves to anybody, but I frankly fail to see how that would be possible: China and India will take the place they deserve in international affairs, ASEAN (with almost as many people as the EU) may have a huge role to play if they put to rest their undemocratic and dictatorial regimes s, the US is a power on its own (and may be strenghtened by links with other countries in the rest of America).

The UK sees this and what does it want? To become a bit more like Norway.

To each one its own, but influence for small nations in the future will not be in isolationism.   


Errant Story by emissary (3.00 / 0) #24 Thu Jun 24, 2004 at 09:02:10 AM EST
If the anime style humor of Unicorn Jelly didn't bother you, you might enjoy Errant Story. It's alright. I don't follow it regularly anymore though.

"Were I not married and practicing my religion, I would be a rabid sex maniac." - nathan
Near Wild Heaven | 24 comments (24 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback