Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Thoughts Of Timothy Garton Ash

(Author's note - as ever, I am not 'The Devil's Kitchen')
Today, the distinguished beardie, professional Europhile and homme serieux Timothy Garton Ash has a piece entitled 'We need a benign European hydra to advance the cause of democracy' up on 'Comment is Free'.
One is sure that Mr. Garton Ash is a perfectly civil and personable fellow when away from the barricades; however, the quality of his reasoning sometimes does seem to leave something to be desired.
He writes,
"...from Portugal to Croatia, the prospect and process of joining the EU have strengthened democracy in country after country."
That may be the case - yet the existence of the EU's own democratic deficit is an insurmountable objection to our own continued membership. For the new nations to democratise only to join the EU is like the SNP's policy of ending the British Union only to suck up to Brussels - what's the point of everyone 'democratising' just to throw it all away again?
Ash continues,
"...a great idea is stalking the corridors of Europe. It is that Europeans should resolve to promote a modern, liberal version of demokratia in countries beyond Europe's borders - in our own interest, and in theirs. This should become a central purpose of the European project for the next 50 years. Not imposing a single model of democracy by military means and not "exporting" democracy, but supporting it, by peaceful means. "Showing the way does not mean imposing the way," as European commission president José Manuel Barroso said earlier this week, at the launch of a new, non-governmental European Foundation for Democracy through Partnership."
As all those pounds mulcted from us and pis-frittered away on, inter alia, the Department for International Development show and have shown, this is not a specifically 'European' idea.
The rest of it - well, it doesn't really say much apart from the fact that having democracy is a jolly good idea, and as Europeans we should all be good chaps and enourage everyone to have as much of it as possible.
This is not the first time I've seen what might perhaps be described as lacunae in Mr. Garton Ash's writings. I'm reading his book 'Free World' at the moment; it's not quite a mortification, but it's certainly no walk in the park either.
On Page 62 of the paperback version he writes,
"The populations of Europe are ageing fast, so more immigrants will be needed to saupport the pensioners, and these will largely be Muslim immigrants. For this increasingly Muslim Europe to define itself against Islam would be ridiculous and suicidal".
Ash's analysis that opposing Islam is 'suicidal' is certainly open to several interpretations - if needed, can we not get non-Muslim workers from anywhere else? Like, say, Poles? Or should we all just roll over and convert? - but on top of the Ossa of fogginess he seems to mount the Pelion of inconsistency. On Page 80, he writes,
"Especially in the 'Mediterranean' societies, ('Social Europe') leaves more time for the other good things of life: family, friends, food, recreation, la dolce vita. However, that comes at a price; one that is paid most painfully by the long-term unemployed, including a disproportionately large number of young people from Europe's Muslim immigrant communities."
Why are so many Muslims in Europe unemployed when their labour is apparently so necessary? Does not compute.
I realised that this was a book that should be read with a pin of salt when, on Page 27, Ash wrote that,
"(a) former head of the CIA has said he thinks the CIA is much closer to ...MI6 than it is to the FBI"
The relevant footnote indicates that the remark was made to the BBC by 'Admiral James Woolsey' on 26 April 2000. Woolsey himself might be delighted with the attribution - particularly as he's never been an admiral.
Ash is certainly a morally serious man - but if his aim to persuade, rather than tell, people that engagement with Europe is somehow 'a good idea', he needs to do very much better than this.


Anonymous said...

Mr. Garton Ash what a fucking wanker, no wonder his rantings are in the Guardian...

Mark Wadsworth said...

Martin, if there's an award for "dry understatement and well-controlled contempt" of the year, I think you've just won it.

Peter J said...

I almost feel like completely giving up sometimes ... and starting a new life in a compound far far away...

There is nothing more irritating that being "sold down the river" by the powers that be i.e. leftie fuckers like this Garton Ash prick (how the hell did we get into this predicament?).

In countries with a low birthrate, they use the "pensions timebomb" argument, in countries without one, they talk about supposed moral responsibilities to help the less well off. I suspect there is a slightly different motivation...

I agree with a unified Europe - we probably need to manage our resources on a continental scale, to protect our interests as a common bloc rather than individually. Europe has shared interests and a common culture - I think our best chance of survival is to give expression to this.

Only problem, the EU is controlled by brainless leftie pricks (like Garton Ash) itching to get the power to "sell us down the river". Bollocks to the lot of it....

cassandra said...

I just cannot get my head around the fact that many socialist handwringers actualy want an Islamic state to be set up in the West!
WTF? They seem so willing to roll over and turn the other cheek and lay down before the barbarian invader not only BEFORE they are battering down the gates but before there is a real threat! You can always trust a socialist handwringer to appease, they did it with the Nazis and they did it with the evil USSR! just remember how many crawled over to the USSR and sent back glowing reports of a socialist paradise and how we should accomodate the peace loving socialists! All those world trade union jollies to East Germany, you know that place where the wonderful STASI had an ear in every wall and a CCTV in every living room and no free unions of its own!
You can always trust a socialist to sell you out, if you are struggling for freedom against tyranny then there will be a leftist ready to sell you down the river and betray you!


Remember the story of the Czech dissident who approached a British union commisar on a paid for jolly the dissident thought he could ask for help from a brit? Er no! The brave union man informed the secret police and the dissident went away for er, re education, for a long time! The Union man is now a lord and lives the life of one too!
Can you guess his name?

Jones said...

"Benign Hydra" Where the hell did he get that one? 'Oxymorons R Us'?

Peter J said...

Our taxes pay for all these Guardian twats - and their various "clients". That really winds me up... Not only are they fucking the country up, they are getting away with making us pay for it. Wonder if prick Garton Ash lunches with prick Ken Livingstone often?

David Davis (not that one) said...

I'm old, so I remember when TGA used to be "all right" (as we say in Lancashire.)

Look, he wrote all that stuff in 1989 about the Berlin Wall falling, and all rosy stuff about the new dawn in the "ex-Warsaw Pact" countries, and the "Spectator" was all over him for months. I've got his books on it in my library.

Semaj Mahgih said...

Benign European hydra?

roman said...

Seems to me the heaviest price for la dolce vita enjoyed by Westminster/EU politicians and bureaucrats, African Dictators and sponging migrants is paid by the tax-burdened, law-abiding, hard-working middle classes.

Thud said...

another illiterate screed from a leftist europhile parasite..plenty of them out there.Europe and the west in general carries so many of these drones that I have no idea how we are ever to compete in a global econmy.

defender said...

We need to sort out who gets hung and in what order.
Wembley could be the venue.
Wickes has the rope.
Lets get a list going.
Also a competition for selecting leverpullers.
Coop can do the carcase removal and lindfil will do the rest.

Robin said...


Arm them with knives and split them into groups to fight each other unto death.
Then hang the survivors.

defender said...

Yea robin, that will cut down on the costs. They could in on the land fill site. The winners go to Wembley for the finals. The Cut Finals.

Cyclefree said...

TGA was good at describing Communism in Eastern Europe but cannot recognise fascism when it comes garbed in a mullah's cloak. Just like the rest of the left, I'm afraid. Proves that you can be a Professor but totally lack common-sense.