Europhrenia – Ryanair, masters of actually existing capitalism

May 29, 2010 § Leave a comment

The Irish Times has just reported that ex-Commissioner Charlie McCreevy has been appointed to the board of Ryanair. For a while the European Commission wrestled with its conscience as to whether this might be a conflict of interest, and won. McCreevy, with his oodles of insider knowledge of labyrinthine EU processes must surely not be without his uses to the low-cost airline much of whose profits are derived from EU regional funds. McCreevy is joining just as the Commish reopens seven inquiries into some of Ryanair’s allegedly dodgy contracts with European airports. His work, though, as a director is restricted “to avoid any perception of a conflict of interest.” All above board then, perceptions wise. To my utopian minded Central and Eastern European colleagues who are all devotees of the free market, I’m often compelled to draw their attention to such glowing examples of Actually Existing Capitalism.

Still on the subject of planes, over forty days after his death in the Katyn air disaster, French daily Libération reports that Kaczynski mère has been finally informed of her son Lech’s demise. This comes a week after Russian investigators confirmed that there were non-crew members in the cockpit at the time of the disaster. “The question of whether the crew were pressured to land remains unanswered,” an official said. Ouf, as they say in Paris. It’s still quite plausible, isn’t it, that the non-crew members were in the cockpit wondering whether it was a good idea to land. All that fog. The Libération headline for the above story runs “Goodbye Lenin with the Kaczynskis”. Ouf again.

The other side of Lisbon

October 1, 2009 § Leave a comment

The other side of Lisbon

My latest blog at Presseurop.eu
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In Catholic societies, bible study is discouraged as a species of Protestant intellectualism. It’s almost inevitable therefore that in holy Ireland the government of Brian Cowen and associated “business leaders” with their “assertive” campaign have not promoted any close readings of the Lisbon Treaty lest the electorate be led astray by their own minds. Failure to say yes shall lead the EU to break off into two lumps one faster than the other and the ECB shall rethink of financial aid to the struggling Irish economy. This is like unto the priests threatening perpetual darkness if the faith is not properly embraced.

Even when they tire of dark prophecies as how we shall be written out of the book of the EU, Lisbonites on a less apocalyptic note assert that 35 years of membership have been good for us. A fair point, but by doing so they are suggesting that on Friday we are being asked to accept or decline membership of the union. This either reflects that they have so internalised the systematic bullying and isolating manoeuvres enacted against Ireland, and now on the Czech Republic, that they believe this to be the case. Else they are just being manipulative. The vote, it must be remembered, is on the Treaty alone. To suggest otherwise, as a priest might say, is immoral.

The soberest defenders of the Lisbon faith say that it streamlines EU institutions, gives some powers to the Strasbourg parliament in exchange for concessions on national sovereignty, creates a single five year EU president and High Representative on Foreign Affairs. But it seems amazing to this ardent Euro-federalist that 269 pages of post-modern meta-text on a far longer EU constitution, are necessary to frame such simple and agreeable notions. Read full article…

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