Tag Archives: opinion

The EU and the Big Hate

Yeah, the EU and Britain. This small island, which thinks it is off the coast of North America is vehemently anti-European, and will do almost everything in its power to leave the grand idea of Europe. The Conservatives, two thirds of the current ruling coalition love to fight themselves into a tizzy about the EU idea. While the other political parties are smart enough to keep shtum about their differences over Europe (and other bits of infighting), the Conservatives have not learned from the 1990’s that while the EU is unpopular in the UK, it really does not matter with regards to my daily life.

So this week, Cameron, yet again, went to an EU summit looking like a spoilt child swinging his mummy’s handbag all over the shop. Embarrassing, even though I really agree with what the PM actually had to say. But he does come across really badly whenever it comes to the EU. And the French, who are really just snivelling self serving imbeciles always come across as slick. Damn those cunning French!

Believe it or not, after all that, I am fairly Pro-European. ‘Fairly’ is the good term to use. To be honest, it does not makes a difference to me whether Brussels, London or Washington is making laws, my taxes are not dropping anytime soon. As a floating voter (and we are dangerous bastards) it is the money in my pocket, not the hue of a flag that swings my vote, if I bother to vote at all. And while I have an opinion on Europe, it will not make my mind up when I go to the polls in 2015. In 2010, I am glad we got a coalition, and despite the cock and bull in the press, I think most of the people who voted then believe it was the right choice for that election. Going into a recession meant that no political party came out with any good ideas to get the UK moving. And it is still the case two years later…

Back to the EU. So, I like it? Yes, but…that is it, the ‘but’ bit. I do appreciate and take advantage of the free trade, travel and movement of people part of the EU. In fact, it is one of the best ideals implemented in modern politics over the past two generations. A lot of Brits (except retirees to Spain) really have not taken advantage of this. Lazy language skills can be blamed for this. But I have. In terms of my personal life, cultural activities and business projects, I take advantage of the EU’s free movement of goods, services and people like crazy. You may have noticed all those visits to Poland over the past couple of years, tak?

That part of me would not have been possible if the EU did not exist. It opened my life in so many ways, probably not envisioned by the grandees who thought up the project in the first place. For that, I am eternally grateful, and if Britain was to withdraw from Europe, it would peeve me off. While my personal life would remain intact (although become more tricky), my working side would become an absolute nightmare, well, I will be blunt, impossible.

And I love my films, get it! (Don’t ask about the rewrite…)

But yes, there are things I do not like about the EU. It is undemocratic, there are a lot of institutions and conventions that the UK never voted to join but were shoehorned into and the corruption levels make duck houses seem like…well, mere duck houses…

The EU will probably never face a proper reformation of its financial order as long as the nations resort to petty squabbling. It is sad, because the big EU contributors are probably more aligned then it seems when it comes to reigning in corruption and budgets. But David Cameron’s wibbly wobbly attitude does not help . The last shameful embarrassment in the EU last year looked like a small man playing to some Middle Englanders rather than a Prime Minister actually leading.

From my own opinion I think it is good for Britain to be a net contributor to the EU. The fact that we have peaceful borders and benign neighbours who are unlikely to attack Britain in the near future is something that cannot be measured by the financial contribution we make (in addition to the extremely successful NATO). So, I would rather see a stable Greece sorting out its tax collection system rather than see a Greece mired in strikes and uncertainty.

In the end, Britain is not going to leave the EU anytime soon. And good. But I do worry about the long term political relationship that the UK is building for itself. I do not want to leave the EU, I want to see a strong, democratic institution that does allow for good business and trade and that keeps the peace on the continent. Both from a personal and professional point of view, I have taken advantage of Europe, and it is something that personally benefits me. I believe if more people in the UK had the attachment via people to the continent that I have, the tide of euroscepticism would be a lot less.


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Filed under britain, europe, news, political

Great, Britain

(The pic has nothing to do with the blog post, but I think it is a pretty picture from London, so there)

I am not often patriotic. Patriotism makes me sickly. Uncomfortable. After all, being the child of two immigrants, patriotism is one step away from racism. That’s a fact. And I do not often mention so on my blog, the fact that I really do love the UK. But like anything (or anyone) you love, you can also be critical. Sometimes I think that I am very critical of the UK. The weather, mostly, gets to me. I must admit, my patriotic fervour does not extend to our current climate.

I am also a deeply opinionated person, especially when it comes to politics, and I can hold what may seem contradictionary (is that a real word?) positions. For example, I believe in republicanism, but I would not want the current system of constitutional monarchy in the UK replaced. That’s because while the system of monarchy is inherently unfair (the top position of the country is automatically reserved), the actual system of monarchy in the UK is remarkably good in fitting into the political system as a whole. It works.

But I am not here to talk about the politics. Except in one angle. Human rights. We have a lot of them in the UK. We often take the concept for granted, but really, we have fundamental freedoms. The ability to think and communicate freely with other people. It is a precious right, that many people around the world do not have. And we have been relatively lucky that this right has been maintained, despite the best will of governments past and present.

We are also a liberal society. One thing I am really love about the UK is that despite the rise of the far right, society as a whole is far more at ease with itself. Yes, we hear in the press this and that, but to be honest, the country is a lot less racist than when I was younger. Sexuality is open and the position of society on mixed race marriages, chronic diseases and disability is revolutionary compared to the 1980’s. One thing that has been worrying in recent years is the rise in religious intolerance, from people espousing religion and from those who do not share their beliefs. We in the UK are generally quite private about worship, but the rise in overt displays of religion (or anti-religion) is something that has seen a worrying rise in recent years.

We are a country more at peace within. Northern Ireland, despite the difficulties, is no way near as volatile as at the beginning of the 1990’s. And we are happy in Europe and NATO, despite what is often popularly spoken. Unfortunately, we have brought more terror to the world, thanks to Uncle Tony Blair. To the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, please forgive us. Not all of us want to destroy your country, but when it is our tax funding those bombs, it feels hard to be sincere.

I do not want to end on a sad note, so I will be more positive. More patriotic. Look around you. Look at the person next to you. He or she, you don’t know their history. You don’t know their background, their hopes and fears, their dreams and their goals. But here in the UK, we are free. To do whatever we want. And we know that what we do with our lives, is ultimately down to us, not down to caste, creed or governance. But our own selves. It is an incredible amount of responsibility to bear. But it can also be exciting…

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Filed under life, london, political

My last article for a while

I have decided to round off my Citizen Journalism for a while to concentrate more on the filming, especially as the next few months will be critical. I am one of the most distracted film makers out there and so I am hanging up my pens for a while to really go all out on the filming side. It is again, one of the reasons why I am also giving up internet bumpf, but not yet blogging.

However, the article is a good one and over the past year, I am proud to have written some great articles for OhmyNews covering a wide variety of subjects, many of which would hav never been covered in the mainstream media, such is the power and breadth of Citizen Journalism.

My interview of Lara Farrar about the future of the media – click to read!

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Vlog’s Up?

This is quite simply the most talebted piece of youtubing and vlogging since sliced bread. The opinions of the masses ad more importantly, the wackiness of Caution Wet Paint mixed in with some very talented people…

Our first Vlog’s Up Video

The Vlog’s Up Channel

Check it out and enjoy the fun…

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Filed under life