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Monday, 30 June 2014

Albania: The Albanian Riviera Opposite Corfu



How many of the international airport arrivals registered at Corfu are in fact for tourists en route to the Albanian Riviera?

Οι αυθημερόν εκδρομές από την Κέρκυρα ξεκινούν στις αρχές Μαΐου, ωστόσο φέτος, για πρώτη φορά, πολλοί τουρίστες, κυρίως Σκανδιναβοί, χρησιμοποιούν το ελληνικό νησί ως πέρασμα για πολυήμερες διακοπές στην Αλβανία. «Χιλιάδες τουρίστες φτάνουν στο αεροδρόμιό μας, από εκεί στο λιμάνι και περνούν απέναντι. Αυτοί εσφαλμένα καταγράφονται στις αφίξεις προς το νησί μας», λέει ο γενικός γραμματέας της Ενωσης Ξενοδόχων Κέρκυρας Γιώργος Ζούπας (Kathimerini).

Sunday, 29 June 2014

On The Annoying Word "Narrative"



I propose an immediate ban on the word "narrative".

On BBC World TV News this morning  (around 5.30-5.45 am) the interviewees must have used the "N" word at least six times in five minutes. Everyone's using it...the narrative of this, the narrative of that...

The politicians are just as bad as the journalists and the experts they interview.

Start counting!

My narrative for today: ban that word!

Corfu: Cello, with Legs




Corfu Koukla (Corfu Doll)




Saturday, 28 June 2014

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Sharks, Corfu Waters



Just heard a rumour that a shark has been seen at Barbati. Any truth in that?

It wouldn't be the first time a shark has been seen off Corfu.

See this newspaper report

Solomos wrote a poem about a young British soldier (19 year-old Private William Mills) eaten by a shark in Corfu harbour, when swimming at dusk on 19 July 1847.

Mon Repos is associated with another tragic, fatal shark attack on 17 August 1951 on a sixteen year old Corfiot girl called Vanda Pierri (29/12/1935-17/8/1951). The attack was witnessed by Naki Tsepeti, from Mon Repos Jetty.

Newspaper Report about Vanda

"Of fish not used as food, the sharks are, perhaps, the most remarkable. They are not very numerous ; but, from time to time, very large and fierce individuals make their way to these waters, following, probably, the large ships. On one occasion, a sailor swimming out a short distance from his ship was bitten in half before he could be saved by his companions, who saw the fish coming, and had thrown a rope over, too late for the poor victim to be lifted in time. occasion, a sailor swimming out a short distance from his ship was bitten in half before he could be saved by his companions, who saw the fish coming, and had thrown a rope over, too late for the poor victim to be lifted in time. On another occasion, a woman was washing clothes at the water's edge, and a large shark threw himself so far towards the shore as to be caught between two rocks and retained a prisoner, unable to retreat".

David Ansted, The Ionian Islands in the Year 1863.


A short history of shark attacks in Greece

NB SHARK ATTACKS ARE VERY RARE EVENTS IN THESE WATERS: ONCE EVERY CENTURY? The sharks probably follow the cruise ships.

General:

Humans and global warming to blame for sharp rise in shark attacks, study finds, The Independent


The shark attack on Vanda, Corfu History

NB I was NOT there at the time (as stated in the Corfu History posting). I heard the tragic story many years later, from a Corfiot who did witness the event.




World Cup: Greece-Costa Rica, 29 June


Will be watching this match - don't know where.


Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Dorset Healthcare Foundation Trust



From Dorset Echo

Weymouth, Dorset: Article Feedback and Comments (Local Councils and Tourist Offices Take Note!); New Proposals

Update: it seems that people have taken note, and are coming up with new proposals.

I've just read through all the 354 comments and feedback on Tracy McVeigh's controversial article in The Observer.

I've made a partial selection (and edited out all the source information, for ease of reading), as follows:

*Her characterization of Dorset is extremely one-sided and tinged with spite: it completely ignores the fascinating history and beautiful landscapes. It also ignores the fact that there are very good universities and interesting cultural centres all around the south west. But of course, young people aren't interested in things like that, are they? They just want to design apps in a crowded, polluted metropolis where accommodation costs half their wages. The issue of housing is right, though: like all pretty parts of Britain, property prices are inflated due to wealthy Londoners buying second homes, so locals can't afford to live in the town where they work. Second homes should be taxed so highly that the government can use the funds to build good quality, attractive housing for local people.

*I live in Weymouth and a lot of the negative comments are true. It is, on the popular side, a cultural desert, but so is most of the country. There's actually a lot going on here, much organised and run by locals. But it's not a 1950's drug ridden enclave, as grim as a northern post-industrial blot on the landscape. There are far more positives than negatives and it's a pity this writer couldn't be bothered to look for them

*This analysis could apply to many seaside towns, although the geographical isolation of Weymouth is up there with the worst.

*You know a town's in trouble when there's a Cash Convertors on the prom.

*No surprise to me. I grew up on the Isle of Wight a seasonal trap for the unambitious.

*It's not really news. Education professionals have been trying to highlight this problem for years. Some of the Kent coastal secondary moderns had a dreadful reputation a few years back. A fair number of coastal resorts seem to have pretty limited visions for themselves and for the visitors. There are a lot of places that don't seem to want to do much more than sell you a "kiss me quick" hat, ice cream, and some fish and chips then get you to put the rest of your money in the slot machines.
Sadly there are too many towns both coastal and inland bypassed by the wider economy.

*No caring, intelligent parent would live in area that has the 11+ like Kent or Torquay. Social apartheid at 10+ years old as many take at beginning of year 6. Backward and primitive no wonder it can not attract the aspirational classes. Meanwhile Cameron's economic devastation of the lower classes goes on in these seaside towns ( except wealthy Bournemouth)

*It will take a lot to move British holiday resorts away from their period of growth that was a result of greater opportunities for working classes to have holidays and their decline as result of cheap foreign holidays. British holiday resorts are generally a disgrace and require a vision that is includes residents for the whole year and visitors in the summer months. Weymouth could be a lovely place to visit if it wasn't so tatty.

*I always think that whenever I visit a British seaside resort. I have happy childhood memories of Weymouth and fairly recently I visited both Weston Super Mare and Torquay. They could be so lovely but businesses allow the buildings to become weathered or slap tacky looking plastic signs all over Victorian architecture. I guess they think it's what holiday makers there want but by staying in a 1950s time warp they are ignoring a new, possibly, more lucrative revenue stream that might improve the aspirations of the whole area. Step on the main promenade and the towns are so run down and people just seem to have given up. I found it quite upsetting.

*Good luck to Weymouth , I wish it well ! However, it is suffering the same, as many other seaside resorts, up and down Britain, from the same main ailment, lack of people coming in to spend money, because they are 'skint', because of unemployment. Don't worry though ! I see from the article, that Alan Milburn is on the job ! Yes the same Alan Milburn, that tossed in the towel, to spend more time with his family, rather than soldier on, with Tony and his friends. Many folk know the feeling Alan---spending time with the family !! Maybe had the Labour policies been more in touch with the needs of the people, rather than the needs of the Westminster gang, Weymouth would be in a better state, and Tracy McVeigh would be writing about something else.

*British seaside resort towns are, generally, tremendously naff. Great fun as a bit of a freak show though

*Shame she forgot to mention that the same weekend as the Tourism Students putting on their Charity Show, is in fact Weymouth at War weekend. 91% takeup rate of Hotels and Guest Houses. A fantastic celebration of World War II all over the town. Today it is the Remembrance Service and Parade which is always see thousands turn out to take part or watch. 30,000 are expected today. But yes Weymouth does have it's problem's that is without doubt and a lot of what is written is correct. But there is heck of a lot missing as well. http://www.whatsonweymouth.com/

*This is very sad ....
as an occasional tourist I think that some good development to get rid of the betting shops would do wonders. They look so depressing and give the area such an offputting aspect, obviously contribute to the poverty.
More diverse kinds of tourism could be developed - painting holidays, cycling holidays, craft centres. A bit of decent investment and this gorgeous area could be revitalized- however i will say that the train from London is appalling: so filthy.

*The council is stuck somewhere in the 1950s, has no imagination whatsoever.
All that free publicity when the Olympics came there, such a wasted opportunity.

*Well, that's a coincidence! I just got back from a sun blessed week in Weymouth. As a tourist with young kids I enjoyed it immensely, a beautiful spot with a gorgeous wide sweeping bay and kid friendly beach. But that is a definite diversion from the run down nature of the town centre itself. There has been cosmetic improvements on the promenades - swanky coffee shops and the like - but my first impressions of the high street was that it was utterly grim and hinted at something less cheerful behind the facade. There sure is wealth there, big glass fronted houses with glorious sea views - 2nd homes for some ill deserving city banker no doubt. You can see locals employed in the attractions and amusement parks, working anti-social hours while everyone else enjoys themselves. I live near Thanet which has very similar problems. I can't see it changing soon until we get less London centric governments.

*My ex's father has a home on the esplanade. Rents out a shop too. Spends almost the whole year in Cyprus. These problems have been affecting coastal towns for decades. I did a few months work in Weston Super Mare 20 years ago. I was shocked when I realised how bad heroin was then. Seaside towns now are either for 2nd homes or where you go to die.

*Clearly whoever this horrible article as never been to either place, particularly in the summer time when you can barely move for all the people that come to visit the wonderful antiques fair. I was born in Bridport and it was an idyllic place to grow up. My parents have lived there for nearly 40 years and run a very successful, thriving business, based on good old fashioned values and yes everything is computerised, with broadband. I have moved some 35 miles away into a town in Somerset and am desperate to move back. I can't afford to do this because people from London keep coming down and buying the houses for holiday homes pushing up the house prices, spending less than 20% of their time in said house, which means that I can't go home. What this person doesn't seem to realise is they don't care what others think. If you come they will welcome you.The people of Bridport and its businesses are doing very well by staying exactly as they are.

*The people and businesses of Bridport are doing very well by serving a large section of their community which is very well off middle class liberal and arty, but also benefits by not being close to a much bigger town to which people are prepared to travel to shop. There are probably more young people in Bridport than any similar sized town in Dorset. As you've moved to Somerset try taking a look at Yeovil or Minehead, both of which are very similar to Weymouth.

*What they should do is build a massive overpriced art gallery that will attract wealthy hipsters with expensive cameras, who will spend money in coffee shops which will push house prices higher, attracting wealthier stupider people to buy in the area, forcing the local people to go and live somewhere else, thus brightening the place up.

*Its called 'Cultural regeneration', and it is a model that seaside towns like Hastings, Margate the two you mentioned and many others have signed up for. It is a short term plan for social breakdown, and property developers, as ever, are the big winners.

*What a pompous outdated paper full of outdated opinions. I speak to holiday makers who come back to Weymouth year on year old and young. How dare you try and take away the money that comes into the town. We are suppose to be helping our country and using out natural assets to attract. We are a town that today welcomes veterans from everywhere to parade through the town with pride. To stage battle r enactments on the beach and show us what life was like. We welcomed the Olympics which was an absolutely awesome time and we were very honoured. Every town has its rich and poor side. But id rather this life than a life of crime and not being able to walk down the street without worrying someone's going to pull a knife or explode a bomb. Rent increases do not help our town and neither does continuing rising costs. But this town works hard on attracting people and it pulls together in times of need. It doesn't come to a stand still it works its way through things. That's the beauty of Dorset folk we pull together in times of need. Bridport is another part of our awesome Jurassic coast which we are extremely proud of. How about u go back to your sad city life with nothing else to do other than slag off a beautiful part of the country. You're certainly not going to help with your opinion

*I have lived in Weymouth for nine years and there is plenty to see, do and explore here. Having worked in several local schools I agree that a lack of aspiration is a problem that seems to be entrenched amongst a minority of people who live here. (This article certainly won't help that either) On the whole, the majority of young people I have taught and worked with are bright, well adjusted and want to get on in life! I have a young daughter who loves her school and loves to go to the beach and to go for cycle rides in the beautiful countryside. I feel that we are lucky to live in this area and I am happy to be bringing her up here!

*I'm from Weymouth but moved because of lack of jobs, like most of my friends we ended up in London. The town desperately needs to diversify and not just rely on low paid seasonal jobs. The council's budget has been slashed to the bare bones but a recent Labour proposal to double council tax on empty holiday homes to raise much needed funds was defeated by the Tories, why? The town has suffered from years of amateurish leadership who had no ideas on how to promote, diversify and grow but a recent change at the top with people who are progressive and forward thinking certainly bodes well for the future.

*For the record I mentioned schools closing, (and shops and garages and post offices) ok that isn't overblown (the decades describing these closures were inaccurate). I mentioned these developments in relation to second home ownership, the context of which wasn't covered at all in the article so the comment seems a bit daft.
I spoke to the journalist for a long period about the problems with housing mainly, none of which made it into the article.
Also the reference to heroin echoes a previous comment, I can't remember saying this, (I hope I didn't). There are drug and alcohol problems everywhere, so it isn't exactly 'news'. On the other hand, it isn't the image projected by the rural idyll idealists, so it does need to be pointed out that there are serious drug problems in the country. Anyone who doesn't acknowledge this is in some sort of denial.

*Heroin (& amphetamines too) were certainly easily obtainable in Bridport & Dorchester 30 years ago when I was still living & going to school there - no worse than large towns & cities per head of population, but probably no better either. Poverty & drunken violence were nothing unusual either.
I think what comes out of this is that smaller towns, rural & affluent areas find it easier to hide (not necessarily deliberately) their problems than the big industrial places do.
Portsmouth (where I've lived happily for 30 years) & Southampton are often condemned as dumps by those who don't live there (along with most of industrial Britain, although horrible post-war architecture hasn't helped), probably because their problems are more visible than say, Winchester or Salisbury, but you can still find those problems if you look a bit harder. Likewise, povery & prosperity can coexist in the same town, now matter how small.

*"British seaside all washed up."
"Britain may well be 'Europe's loneliness capital..."
"How Britain got so fat."
British people are racists... British people are worthless rubbish, etc.
Thanks Guardian for your scaremongering, negative, knocking headlines. The one about our seasides being washed up is completely misleading and gives the impression upon first reading that our seasides are finished. Of course that is not truly relevant to the story it leads to, but what the hell – it's a sensational headline that our wonderful Tracy was probably pleased with for her bit of page filler.
Keep knocking Britain and its people Guardian...More and more like the Daily Mail every day.

*I live in Weymouth. I'm OK. Comfortable, well-off, great job. I'm sitting now in my lounge. From my window the sea is literally a stone's throw away. But the article is a blisteringly accurate picture of my town. I was born here. Then there was a naval base with support dockyard, a major engineering works, two Admiralty research establishments, a nuclear research facility just up the road, two major army camps. The tourism was a plus. Everyone had jobs. From my year alone at Weymouth Grammar School 15 of us went on to obtain PhDs. Having dotted around various bits of the world, I came back to Weymouth because I love it here. But all that's left is exactly what the article describes. A shell of a town. A desperate ghost of what it was. I was lucky. As things stand, the youngsters here are screwed.

*There's some truth in the assertion, though, surely?
I'm a Yorkshireman and the county has some fine towns, but the seaside resorts are mostly living monuments to man's capacity for taking natural beauty and ruining it.
I live in Germany, and many of my Anglophile German friends ask me for recommendations for seaside resorts on the east and south coasts for their holidays but I struggle.
The Dorset coast is extremely beautiful but Bridport, West Bay, Charmouth, Weymouth are all, I'm sorry to say, awful.
At least the London-based second-home buyers will stop buying failry soon - then Weymouth will become another Blackpool or Bridlington.

*Good lord what a damning piece about Weymouth. The only thing the sad writer is right about is we are a seaside town, proud of our Victorian and Georgian heritage. Yes we do have failing services and the buses are bad and all this is because the politicians in London make the dire comparison for our wages and for our funding which have been slashed so our housing sector,our schools and other public sectors are struggling because the politicians in London want to privatise these sectors. We struggle to make these services work but we keep ongoing. Sadly yes we have lost other departments and we do have to travel afield, no different than travelling across the zones of London. My son came out of College and is now training to be an engineer something he's wanted to do since he was seven. We have surpass able grades just like everyone else. Weymouth is a lovely quiet 21st century seaside town. we do have broadband and plenty of mobile masts. I for one enjoy the fact that there is as you put it wasteland to walk about,we have space for our children, our crime is low,we do not have gang cultures or postcode stabbings and everywhere has a heroin issue. We are a community of people who can step out of our front door, feel safe and go sit on the beach with the two donkeys rather that than high rise blocks of flats and views of motorways and big estates full of drive through and impersonal dealings with overrated shopping malls in London. Our dog walkers know each other and wave as they pass you by, on the tube train people don't even make contact in the small uncomfy spaces to make your journey. Jobs are available as a lot will travel half hour on our dual carriageways to Poole and Bournemouth or to Yeovil. We have the sun sea and fresh air. London is crowded expensive overbearing and very hard to breath in when the weather is hot.

*A lot of people commenting here are either missing the point, or scraping the barrel in settling for a dispensary of mediocrity with the classic 'there's plenty to do here!' .. sure, there's enough to do if you don't strive for creative ambition, which Tracy notes. The Sutton Poyntz Arts & Craft Show 2014 isn't going to cut it.
A lot of it lies within the council. The botched attempts (or lack thereof) to install the town as England's premier seaside resort were a horrendously cringe worthy display, pre and post 2012 games. There are a ton of good ideas to regenerate aspects of the town in the WeyForward project (https://www.facebook.com/weypeninsula), and it's a shame that the council aren't showing too much interest.
Weymouth is a town that alienates itself and doesn't want to see change. Having lived there on and off for 25 years (now off indefinitely, unlolle), it's a shame to watch it continue a downward spiral.

*Yes, agree. I wish something could be done, seriously, about 2nd home ownership. I don't mind so much about holiday cottages, which are occupied for large parts of the year, and holidaymakers spend money locally, but the Down-from-Londoners, in their 4WD with the car loaded with food they brought with them....just don't get me started!

*This is the inevitable outcome when councils devote the bulk of their resources to servicing the tourist industry instead of the people who live in the area. Yes there are some spin-offs from tourism, but mainly the benefits are to local business owners. The employment tends to be of the minimum wage (or less if they can get away with it) variety, and completely seasonal.
In return, local people are expected to put up with the yearly occupation of their town, the mess, the noise, the drinking and pissing in the streets, the late night violence and the loss of amenity space to even more car parks (yes I live in one of these places).

*So right. I lived in Weymouth until 3 years ago and used to make this exact comment over and over again. Weymouth and Portland Borough Council has to be one of the worst performing councils in the country, in terms of actually providing services for local people. Every August they spend a fortune on massive firework displays for tourists over the bay on Monday evenings. They look great. But the town is a toilet. Thanks WPBC but I'd rather have no fireworks and a functioning local economy.

*I grew up and lived in Weymouth until recently. I got out after 18 months of utter despair after leaving full-time education. The article is an amazingly accurate summation of all that is wrong with the place. It's a shell of it's former self, with little or no ambition and opportunity for young people, far too insular and adverse to any form of change and far to focused on tourism and tourists (and the fear of upsetting or losing them); about the only thing left. The town and surrounding areas used to have a number of research establishments, a naval base, a nuclear research site among others and all of the industry that went with it so I'm told by those of my parent's generation. Hard to believe, all gone now.

*Well I have grown up and lived in Bridport, Dorset and have always had work and have studied got on my chosen career path. I feel it is a thriving community and a great place for music and arts and there is plenty of life in the town. I feel incredibly blessed to live in such a beautiful part of the country with such an amazing community spirit. Who cares if you occasionally might not get a phone signal, there is more to life and when you live in such a beautiful place you should embrace it.

*Next time an article based on Weymouth is written then please get your facts correct.
Before I rant I will however confess that I have only skimmed through this as i got fairly bored so i'll leave comments sporadically about the bits I disagree with. I've lived here in weymouth almost all my life and have moved away and worked in cities such as Oxford and London. My time away from Weymouth showed me that Weymouth is actually a sweet place to live. The drug situation is far better than the filth I saw in London. The streets are cleaner, the people are a little more polite and there is far less stress. The fact Weymouth was importing drug dealers/users from London has helped no end. Apparently it was some kind of rehabilitation which ended up in new dealers supplying more vulnerable people. Ok yes, there is a huge problem with easy young women getting knocked up and for that I have no answer. I've never heard of collage being an issue because of busses. I'm fairly sure that part was just made up as a space filler. Yes the busses have got more expensive but not "I can't afford to go to collage" expensive. The ambition to go to uni and beyond is also far higher than this article makes out. I used to managed various bars in the town and they are often filled with collage/uni students. Many of them go on to be successful both in and out of Weymouth/Dorset. The pavilion is not only out of danger but is actually doing rather well now. It has been taken over by the community and Phil Say and his team are doing a great job of running it. Finally, yes the pay in Weymouth is horrendous and the living costs are ridiculously high which is why the young people here struggle but other than that it's really not that bad. There is plenty of opportunity here providing you pull your finger out and get it. I was laughed at when I said I would start my own business here and a year on my business is flourishing and I can now laugh. The council here are however stuck in the dark ages and very much afraid of change but that's a whole other story. Well that's my ten pence worth.

*I lived in Bridport for 15 years and it was a wrench to leave it. It's vibrant for music and the arts, and the people are fantastic but... the graveyard of ambition thing rings true. I brought my job with me and took it when I went, there was no way for me to earn very much in the town. Housing is incredibly expensive and the wages are low. It can take an hour to get to the nearest train station by bus from Bridport itself. Mobile signals are capricious at best and the broadband frustratingly slow if you are using it to work. Tourism is prioritised over everything, forgetting that people have to live there all year round and might need non-service industry jobs.

Holidayed in Weymouth a couple of years ago and this exactly chimed with my observations. Massive divide between the rich yachty quarter across the harbour and the rest of the town, parts of which look like what it is: a rough estate. Was horrified by the number of young people we saw stumbling around off their faces. They weren't on a some night time jolly but just getting through the day. The town, like most of the country, badly needs properly paid jobs.

*Having lived in both London and Weymouth, I can say, I'd far rather live in the latter. I cannot fathom a reason why I would ever move back to our capital.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

The UK's EU Policy; Attitudes from the 1950s to the Present day; The Federalist Agenda



What with all the fuss about the likely appointment of a federalist as President of the EU Commission, and about Britain's opposition to the appointment, and about other EU Policies (eg certain private conversations recorded in a Warsaw restaurant), I found it fascinating to read the views of a Dutch federalist, published in 1958.

J. H. Huizinga, in his book "Confessions of a European in England" (Heinemann, London, 1958), deals with British attitudes to Europe during the 1950s (in his final chapter, pp 292-296):

"Seven years ago, at the time of the Schuman plan, she had been outspokenly hostile to the revolutionaries on the Continent. She had not only refused to have anything to do with their plan to create a single market for Europe's coal and steel industries, but she had also made no secret of her active dislike of any and all such ideas. In a vitriolic policy-statement the National Executive of the Labour Party, which was then in power, had "fundamentally rejected" the idea of "an economic union based on dismantling all internal barriers to trade such as customs duties, exchange controls and quotas---which would throw Europe open to Communism". It had denounced the men who with the Schuman plan were taking a first step towards such a union, and who had made no secret of it that they championed supra-national methods and aimed at ultimate federation, as "among the most dangerous enemies of European unity"...

"Who would have believed then that six years later both parties would sing such a radically different tune? Confronted with the plan to create that all-embracing economic union which in 1950 had filled practically the whole of Britain with sentiments ranging all the way from polite or superior scepticism to outright aversion, there was now not a whisper of criticism to be heard...Stranger still, this time there was not only widespread sympathy, understanding and even enthusiasm for the bold plans of the architects of the new Europe. This time...Britain even appeared ready to along with them.

"True, she still refused to go more than part of the way. She still declined to subscribe to their ultimate aim, which remained European federation. "The idea of Britain going into a Federation of Europe", Mr Gaitskell said in January 1957, "was absolutely out of the question". She was prepared to join the Six for the immediate object of breaking down the trade barriers that kept Europe divided. To the Continental revolutionaries the pulling down of the walls was only an economic means to the political end of building Europe, a new approach to the unchanging aim which they had failed to achieve with the E.D.C. To Britain the means were the end beyond which she would not go. And even in the achievement of this intermediate aim of the Six she was not prepared to go as far as they. They wanted not only freedom of trade within Europe but also freedom of movement, freedom to work where one pleased and to live where one pleased and to invest one's money where one pleased. Freedom was the shining word that recurred throughout the Common Market Treaty: the freedom of the citizen who was at last to be progressively liberated from the tyrant, that insatiable Moloch of individual liberty, the heavy-handed sovereign nation-State of our days. But of such far-reaching liberties as the peoples of Europe now proposed to resume unto themselves, the British were still wary. Faced with the choice between the sovereign freedom of their liberty-devouring State and the freedom of the individual, they were still inclined to prefer the former....

How badly Britain is needed in the building of this new Europe of ours. How often we have prayed for her to take the leadership that was- and perhaps still is- hers for the asking. How we have longed for the moment when she would recognise that the glorious imperial chapter in her history was drawing to a close and that it was time to come back home to Europe, where a new, great chapter waits to be written by her".

Missed opportunities? After more than sixty years of indecision and uncertainty - alongside very reasonable and growing concerns about the democratic deficit in the EU systems and processes,  it is high time we were given the full facts and the chance to make up our minds, for once and for all.

It is hardly edifying or helpful to read the reports of the leaked private exchanges in that Warsaw restaurant (see The Spectator).

On "Ever Closer Union" (Kosmopolito)

After all these years

Monday, 23 June 2014

Weymouth, Dorset; Article Controversy; Sun, Sand and Inequality?



I missed this article

Read it here, The Guardian (article published in The Observer on Sunday)


Sun, sand and inequality: why the British seaside towns are losing out

Holiday resorts - and not inner cities - were identified last week as centres of low ambition and limited opportunity. Beyond the beach, Weymouth is a place beset by low wages, lack of transport, isolation and poverty of aspiration

Tracy McVeigh, 22 June 2014

Some extracts:

"On a sunny June day, Weymouth's esplanade is in full British seaside resort swing.... But immediately behind the seafront the gift shops and cafes are interspersed with betting and pawn shops and overhung with To Let signs. Deeper into the town and the Littlemoor housing estate is among the most deprived in Europe, directly butted up against the more affluent Preston.

Office for National Statistics figures released on Friday show schoolchildren in coastal towns falling dramatically behind their counterparts in the inner cities in terms of GCSE results...

"Enter this part of Dorset and you leave the 21st century behind. If you are interested in culture or remotely artistic, this is a wasteland," says Charlotte Storey, former actress and teacher, who runs Aspire, a successful small charity helping young people find their way into further education and employment.

"It's a generation behind. A prison of passion, a graveyard of ambition. My advice to young people would be go east, get out. People think 'oh, wealthy Dorset', and parts of it are, but behind that, behind the honey-coloured cottages that are the second homes of the Londoners, there is mass deprivation.

"Weymouth has the highest rates of teenage pregnancies in the country. Drug use is rife. If you're a young person, you leave school and you can maybe get work from June to September, but that's it. The average income around here is £12,000 to £15,000."

Unemployment is at less than 3%, but half of those in work have part-time jobs and previous UK-wide studies suggest many people in part-time work would like to get full-time jobs.

Just over 21% of Weymouth's adult population need benefits to help with housing costs. Almost a quarter of households have no car and locals complain the bus services have been cut to the bone. "Young people who want to go to college can't get there because of the buses. They drop out," says Storey. "They don't sign on the dole because you have to get into the dole office in the major towns and they use up all their jobseekers' allowance on the bus fares and if you're late you get your payment suspended for six months. So what is the point? They are off the radar.

"The rural isolation and low wages mean schools can't get the great teachers, the expectations of parents are so low, or non-existent. There is no motorway, the train to London is expensive and take three hours; many of the young people I've worked with have never been. This part of Dorset is locked in on itself."




Dorset: Dorchester Parking Fines Hotspots



Be warned

Tolpuddle Martys Trial Venue (Dorchester, Dorset)



Plans for Shire Hall  BBC

Plans approved Dorset Echo

BBC item

BBC News (update)

Dorset: The Impact of the TV Series Broadchurch on Tourism Businesses in West Dorset



Read the January 2014 report here

Dorset: Milton Abbey Choral Society Concert, Beethoven Symphony No. 9; Russell Pascoe, Secular Requiem



An outstanding concert at Milton Abbey, Dorset: The Milton Abbey Choral Society directed by David Mckee.

Beethoven's Symphony No. 9- Coral, and Russell Pascoe's Secular Requiem.

The libretto of poems assembled by Anthony Pinching for Pascoe's Secular Requiem included poems by Donne, Owen, Hardy, Stevenson, Tagore, Moore, Stephen Anderton, Hitomaro (tr K. Rexroth), Walt Whitman, Dylan Thomas (not performed) and by Anthony Pinching himself.

A secular requiem with a deeply spiritual resonance, especially in the setting of the Abbey. Not that I am opposed to the setting of Latin texts, but it's good to hear thrilling new settings of (mostly) familiar poems about death, grief and renewal, all woven into a work with a deep sense of emotional and musical continuity. It ends on a triumphant and transcendent note.

The performance of Beethoven's 9th Symphony was received throughout with a rapt feeling of appreciation and joy by the Abbey audience. Brilliant orchestra, choir and soloists.

What a privilege. It's a pity that the concert cannot be heard again in this part of Dorset, performed for a much wider audience, perhaps at the Weymouth Pavilion. This is great music, for everyone.

What a shame it wasn't recorded at the Abbey. I already want to hear it again, and to give copies of a recording of the work to friends who would appreciate it and find it consoling.

From Russell Pascoe's website:

"March 2013 - the first performance of Pascoe's Secular Requiem, commissioned by The Three Spires Singers, conductor Christopher Gray with soloists Catherine Wyn-Rogers and Stephen Roberts. The work is a contemporary response to loss and is structured around the key phases of grief through poems that do not require any specific faith, but does not exclude it. The text was assembled by Professor Anthony Pinching and draws on the poetry of John Donne, Thomas Hardy, Rabindranath Tagore, Dylan Thomas, Hitomaro, Stephen Anderton, Walt Whitman and Anthony Pinching"

See also Cadogan Hall review

"... a work that received a thunderous standing ovation at its recent premiere in Truro. A Secular Requiem deals with the subject of death, through a magnificent libretto compiled from the words of some of our greatest poets, in music that is by turns searching, anguished, haunting, frenzied, funny and heart breaking, but concludes in a blaze of optimism.

‘Russell Pascoe’s Requiem was outstandingly beautiful and I wish it could be heard in concert halls and churches up and down the land.’ (Daily Mail)

Milton Abbey School Video

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Corfu: Danila Village, James Bond Film Location



How many people remember Danila Village?


On Travel and Tourism: For What Good End? Weymouth Poet, Spirit-Rapper


From "For What Good End?", a poem by Thomas Love Peacock:

Spirit-Rapper: 

'Men are become as birds', and skim like swallows
The surface of the world.

Gryllus: For what good end?

Spirit-Rapper:

The end is in itself - the end of skimming
The surface of the world.

******

Note: I thought for a moment that Weymouth-born Thomas Love Peacock (1785–1866), a friend of Shelley, was well ahead of his time with his "spirit-rapper".

Then I found out that a "Spirit-Rapper" referred to a medium who “conversed” with spirits who replied by knocking on a table. The spirit-rappers were apparently easily exposed as the ones doing the knocking...

Dorset Bicycle Route: Traffic Free from Dorchester to Portland



The final section is now open (BBC)

Weymouth to Dorchester Routes

Interactive cycle maps, Dorset

More (Dorchester to Portland route)

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Lyme Regis, Dorset: Guitars on the Beach



News about the 2014 event

See my posting on the 2013 event:  Buddy Holly Lives - Rave On in Lyme Regis

Elvis Presley, The Pogues and the Somerset Barrister/Songwriter, Frederic Weatherly



How many people know that the lyrics to the ballad "Danny Boy" were written by Frederic Edward Weatherly,  a Somerset man? He won a scholarship to Brasenose College, Oxford.

"He was made a King's Counsel, a senior barrister, in 1926. In the same year he published an autobiography, Piano and Gown. He died at his home, Bathwick Lodge, Bath, after a short illness on 7 September 1929, at the age of 80. At his funeral in Bath Abbey, the Londonderry Air, to which he had written the well-known words, was played as a voluntary" (Wikipedia).

Danny Boy, Johnny Cash

Danny Boy, Elvis Presley

Danny Boy, Jerry Lee Lewis

Danny Boy, Conway Twitty

More from Conway Twitty

Danny Boy, Gracie Fields

Danny Boy, The Pogues

Quite a variety of interpretations!

Global Alcohol Consumption and Abuse, WHO Report 2014



WHO Reports here

Status Report (without country profiles)

Individual country profiles

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Ancient Greek Writers: Chronology/Timeline


A useful reference list by N.S. Gill

Greece: Implementation first...



Kathimerini, English article

"The message from the top European official is clear: The Greek government must focus on the implementation of its obligations and stick to the agreed framework".

Greek article

Other topics:

Sailing in  tax-free sea? (EnetEnglish)

State can seize deposits from bank accounts to pay off debts (EnetEnglish)

Is Greece really back? Kathimerini/Bloomberg

Greek Response (Kathimerini):

"Greece on Thursday vowed to carry on with reforms in order to help economic growth and boost job creation. 'The government is committed to stay the course on reforms. Carrying on with reforms is the only way for Greece to pull itself out of the crisis,' newly-appointed Development Minister Nikos Dendias said during a meeting with EU Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn in Athens".

Prior Actions

Thomas Hardy and the Wessex Landscape, A Lecture, 26 June



Dorset County Museum Lecture

"The Remote and the Familiar: Hardy’s Uses of Landscape"

Professor William Greenslade, Thursday, 26th June.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Greece: On Claiming a Beach as a "Private Area"



From Keep Talking Greece

More, in Greek

Raul Scacchi: A Personal Tribute




My great friend Raul Scacchi died in Pisa, Italy on the evening of June 9th, 2014.

It is already a week since his untimely death. Many people of different nationalities will be sharing Gioia's grief, grieving at her tragic loss - and their own sense of loss- in their own ways. That is what we have been doing in England.

I first met Raul and Gioia on Corfu in November 2005, although it seems that I have known them for much longer than that. I am dating our first encounter to a Christmas arts and craft fair in Dassia, where Raul had copies of his CD "Emails to Emily" available.

Raul and Gioia moved to Corfu soon after the beginning of the new millennium, full of optimism and creative energy.  I collaborated closely with Raul on the album "Neuromantics", contributing some of the lyrics or ideas for lyrics. We had some tremendous laughs and discussions in the process of working on the songs. I continued to give modest editorial and linguistic assistance on many of his English song lyrics for later projects. Raul also did me the honour of arranging a number of my own songs, and setting my lyrics to some much more ambitious, imaginative and adventurous music (entechno or durchkomponiert Rock), rather than to my own simple and repetitive guitar backings.

We frequently went to their home in Sinarades, and I often took my guitar up the stairs to Raul's recording studio for rehearsals and demo recordings. Raul also played with me at a number of jams and gigs on Corfu.

How to describe Raul?

He was a talented artist, a painter, an innovative composer (he could create all the sounds of an orchestra on his computer), an arranger, a lyric-writer, a multi-skilled and versatile musician, guitarist (bass and Fender six-string), an ideas-man, a philosopher, ecologist, an animal- and nature-lover, a cook and generous host, a humorist and joker, a radical thinker and social egalitarian, a handyman, a perfectionist, above all a tolerant, patient, optimistic, warm-hearted and inspiring friend.

From Homer and Petrarch to Emily Dickinson, he wore his learning lightly; from Verdi to The Beatles, he loved all kinds of music, and he even put up with my own basic three chord blues, my dodgy sense of timing and harmony, my unreliable musical metrics. Raul, originally from Milan, had classical training and for ten years played professionally in many rock and pop music line ups.

In spite of all that, we collaborated often and effectively. I'm just glad he never asked me to write a libretto for an opera. For me, the words come first, then the music; for Raul, the music came first...and the rights of animals.

He once recorded a special CD for some of his musical friends. He included three tracks, arrangements of songs I had written: he called it "Cooking Friends".

I have spent much of this last week (and over the last, difficult months) listening to his wonderful music and songs. Every time I listen to his songs, I feel I am more closely in touch with him. I wish the whole world could get to know his profound, compassionate and inspiring compositions.

Raul had much, much more to offer the world, in the fields of visual arts as well as in music.

For many of us, Corfu will never be the same. 

Dalaras-Moustaki


Not in Corfu...1996 Paris Concert

In the Mediterranean (En Méditerranée)

O Metoikos (Le Métèque)

Original French Moustaki version

See May 2013 posting

Sunday, 15 June 2014

800th Anniversary of the Magna Carta in 2015; British Values; King's School, Bruton copy of the Magna Carta sold to the Australian Government; Kazantzakis on British values.




1297 Magna Carta Text and Translation

Australia's Magna Carta Committee

The King's School, Bruton Magna Carta on its way to Australia, The Courier-Mail (Brisbane), 1 November,1952

""The Charter is reported to be clearly legible and in fine condition except for two small holes, effecting four or five words, and three stains".

The UK's Magna Carta Committee

"Promoting British Values" (ITV)

"The Prime Minister David Cameron said every child in the UK should be taught about the charter as part of a drive to promote British values".

Churchill's plan to give Magna Carta to USA

The Independent

"Mr Cameron said he wanted to use the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, a year from today, as an opportunity for every child to learn about 'the foundation of all our laws and principles' ".

The Prime Minister, Mail on Sunday

"I want to use this upcoming 800th anniversary as an opportunity for every child to learn about the Magna Carta, for towns to commemorate it, for events to celebrate it".

******

In 1952 (the year I entered King's School Bruton Junior School), the priceless 1297 inspeximus Magna Carta illustrated above was sold to the Australian Government by King's School Bruton, Somerset, for the sum of £12,500 . It was discovered by Tom Tremlett, a historical scholar, who "kept it in a box under his bed" for many months ("King''s School, Bruton Rembered", edited by Basil Wright, Castle Cary Press, p. 89).

"As Head of History he was the self-appointed custodian during the Second World War of the School's priceless copy of the Magna Carta. He was reputed to keep it under his bed for safety and to take it out and read it occasionally before going to sleep. On one of these occasions he absent-mindedly stood his cocoa mug on the document leaving an unmistakable 'ring'" (p 103).

"This document was found among the School's papers before the war. Its importance was recognised by Tom Tremlett, the history master...a Government licence had to be obtained before such a document could be sold abroad...it was only possible to persuade the authorities to grant the export licence for its purchase by the Australian National Museum" (p.110).

"The Chairman of the Finance Committee peered at it and at the label and said, "Absolute rubbish. If that document is what the label says, it would be worth a fortune". That was the last we saw of it. It was taken to Sotheby's that week...Now the cat was out of the bag. Sotheby's wanted the outrageous sum of £60 a month to insure it while they kept it. Speed became important. There was a mistaken belief that such an historic document could be exported only to the Commonweath; but even after it transpired that the world markets were open, the Governors felt honour bound to proceed with their negotiations within the Commonwealth and Australia relieved us of the document, and the very considerable burden of £60 a month, and paid us £12,500. They were riches indeed in those days" (pp 263-264).

Lyon House was one of the new buildings which was made possible as a result of the sale.

So indirectly I could claim that I owe significant elements of my own secondary education - and perhaps my sense of  "British values" - to the sale and export of the school's priceless Magna Carta inspeximus
(current value US$20 million to 30 million, even allowing for Tom Tremlett's cocoa-mug ring stain?)


See also, posting on John Steinbeck in Bruton. Perhaps a Steinbeck novel should remain in the UK literature curriculum! Steinbeck obviously appreciated some traditional British values.

For a rather different view of British history and values, see Owen Jones in The Guardian (16 June, 2014) , and a response from Daniel Hannan in The Telegraph:

"I've described Magna Carta before as the Torah of the English-speaking peoples – the text that sets us apart while, at the same time, speaking universal truths to the human race. In placing the law above the government, it established, in a written, contractual form, the precept that was to lift us above the run of nations. In creating an enforcement mechanism – a council that would, within 50 years, become the Parliament that still meets in Westminster – it ensured that representative government was not a mechanism for the majority to override the minority, but a guarantor of freedom".

Tools for Defining and Teaching "British Values"?

A good start could be made by suggesting that schools should be provided with a reader such as "Democracy in Britain", edited by Jack and Adam Lively.


This book project was the eventual outcome of a proposal put to The British Council by Polish Deputy Minister of Education, Ing. Wiktor Kulerski, in Warsaw on 15th November, 1989. He expressed to me the need for books on democracy, saying that he would like to get Polish students interested in the British democratric tradition and the writings of authors such as Mill and Milton. In my English Language and English Studies in East Europe Sectoral Report (9 February 1990) I wrote, "An anthology might be the ideal solution". The plan was that copies would go into all libraries of schools and other educational institutions. The final anthology, which took some years in commissioning, researching and publication, also included important extracts from the Magna Carta. Jack and Adam Lively did a very good job.

Sounds ideal! Time for an updated new edition? This is a broad and balanced presentation of what might be meant by "British Values".

Nikos Kazantzakis also had something to say about British values and virtues, in the 1940 prologue to his travel book, "England" (English translation, 1965):

"I loved these people, admired their virtues, so fundamental for man: pride, dignity, determination, power of resistance, discipline- few words, many deeds, great humanity...Here too even the most insignificant victory was heavily paid for.

But after centuries, over the rocks and green hills and harbours of England, three great English monuments were erected: Magna Carta, the Gentleman, and Shakespeare. These are the three great triumphs of man made in England. And all three of these triumphs constitute great stages in the ascent of freedom."

Kazantzakis was not being ironical, writing at the outbreak of World War II.

Ian Whitwham holds a different opinion...

He is being ironical.

Photography: An Interview with Brett Rogers, OBE; Thirty Years of Curating



The interview, written by Manik Katyal, EMAHO Magazine (May, 2013)

Brett Rogers, OBE, Director of The Photographers' Gallery, London

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Social dimension of the Economic and Monetary Union: what lessons to draw from the European elections? László Andor




Speech by László Andor, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion


Dorchester, Dorset: Damers First School, Poundbury Relocation Plans: Parking and Traffic Flow Issues; Vehicular Routes



Plans are on view today, next door to Little Waitrose, Poundbury.



The main concern of people looking at the plans this morning (the few to whom I spoke seemed broadly supportive of the school relocation project) was the diagram of the Vehicular and Pedestrian Routes. With up to 600 children at the school, and no school buses planned, the implication is that there could be up to 600 cars (more likely up to 400) dropping off and collecting schoolchildren (even if children are supposed to walk if living within 800 meters of the school), especially on rainy, wintry days.

There is no parking provision for the parents' cars. The chaos and double-parking can only be imagined, and the amount of traffic using side streets (follow the yellow line, the secondary vehicle route, which will lead drivers to turn left at three points on the yellow route- note arrows- and to use residential side streets to re-enter Peverell Avenue). More planning needed?

Comments are being invited and collated at the display next to Little Waitrose today.

Traffic Chaos? (Dorset Echo)

Update: Plans submitted

Update: September 11, Council concerns

Friday, 13 June 2014

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Dorset: Dorchester Carnival, 2014










The Carnival Procession: more American than Dorset/West Country, with majorettes, Hollywood and the Wild West? OK, that was the theme.

The Comic Book/Graphic Novel; FROSCHMAUS KRIEG, by Klaus-Konrad Knopp and Stefanie Von Uslar





Tribute (in Greek) to Klaus-Konrad Knopp

The Monk -A song lyric by Klaus, music by Raul Scacchi


“If bonds weren’t broken while you were still living,
Don’t hope for deliverance the moment you die.
Whatever you find here, is what you’ve found there.
Or else, you’re bound to dwell in the city of Death.”

“So how on earth can we find our redemption,
 Our place in God’s design?”
“There’s no other way but to give up presumption: 
 Your endless “me”, your selfish “mine”.                           

And though your heart weeps as it loses false pleasures
Your spirit rejoices in newly found treasures.

A Corfu Love Song



Had never heard this song before.

Prozzäk - Mediterranean Lady

From Hot Show

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Greece: IMF Fifth Review, June 2014


The IMF Fifth Country Report (pdf)

FIFTH REVIEW UNDER THE EXTENDED ARRANGEMENT UNDER
THE EXTENDED FUND FACILITY, AND REQUEST FOR WAIVER OF
NONOBSERVANCE OF PERFORMANCE CRITERION AND
REPHASING OF ACCESS; STAFF REPORT; PRESS RELEASE; AND
STATEMENT BY THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FOR GREECE

From EnetEnglish

"In its fifth review of Greece's bailout programme, IMF says 'additional measures are needed to close projected gaps in 2015–16, reflecting the ambitious medium-term targets to restore debt sustainability'".

Kathimerini

"Praise and warnings in IMF report. Fund concerned about reform fatigue, insists on extending measures, puts unpopular issues on the table".

Keep Talking Greece blog

"How the IMF’s 5th progress report shocked the new Greek government".

"The IMF lives in its own economic world" EnetEnglish

New Measures As Necessary (IMF)


EU Commission President Election Process; Jean-Claude Juncker; Cameron's Bid Set To Fail; The Vote and Aftermath



From Svenska Dagbladet

Reinfeldt försvårar för Juncker

"Statsminister Fredrik Reinfeldt ifrågasätter processen hur EU-kommissionens näste ordförande ska utses. Därmed bidrar han till att försvåra för Luxemburgs Jean-Claude Juncker att få jobbet, skriver Financial Times".

Swedes hit Juncker’s hopes for top EU job

By Richard Milne in Oslo and George Parker in London

Jean-Claude Juncker’s ambitions to be the next European Commission president have been dealt a further blow after Sweden’s prime minister raised questions about the credibility of the process for filling the top job in Brussels.

Bloomberg article

Guardian article

Trichet backs Juncker (Kathimerini)

Businessweek

Bloomberg

Related: Open Democracy, The Modest Camp v. The Federalist Austerians

Cameron's Open Letter (German)

Cameron's Open Letter (English): Presidency of the European Commission: article by David Cameron

"For many European citizens the most interesting issue right now is who will win the World Cup. Only a small minority will be following the debate about the Presidency of European Commission. But this is important because it goes to the heart of the way the EU takes decisions, the need to respect its rules, and the appropriate relationship between the nations of Europe and the EU institutions.

Voters sent a clear message at last month’s European elections. They are disillusioned with the way Europe is working. They are demanding change so it focuses on what they care about: growth and jobs. And they want the EU to help them, not dictate to them. This was clear through the rise of anti-EU parties; the fall in turnout in the majority of countries and the decline in support for the European Parliament’s largest political groups.

The question now for Europe’s leaders is: how do we respond to this message?

The results should be a wake-up call for leaders across Europe. The future of the European Union is at stake. It must either change or accept further decline.

Britain’s position is clear: we want the EU to succeed. To uphold liberty, peace and democracy across our continent and to spur prosperity. That is the central task of the European Union today. And that requires a more open, outward-looking, flexible and competitive EU. It also requires bold leadership – people ready to heed voters’ concerns and to confront the challenges that Europe faces.

The first test is the appointment of the next President of the European Commission.

Under the EU Treaties, ratified by national parliaments, it is for EU heads of government to propose the candidate to head the European Commission – albeit leaders should “take account” of the European elections. Then MEPs vote on this candidate in a secret ballot. That is the clear process, enshrined in the Lisbon Treaty, after a tortuous negotiation about the balance between nation states and the European Parliament.

But certain MEPs have invented a new process whereby they are trying to both choose and elect the candidate. Each of the main political groups ran “lead candidates” – so called Spitzenkandidaten – during the elections and did a back-room deal to join forces after the elections in support of the lead candidate of the party that won the most seats. This concept was never agreed by the European Council. It was not negotiated between the European institutions. And it was never ratified by national parliaments.

Yet, supporters of Spitzenkandidaten argue that the elections have happened, the people of Europe have chosen Jean-Claude Juncker as Commission President and that it would be undemocratic for elected national leaders to choose anyone else. It is not an attack on Mr Juncker, an experienced European politician, to say this is nonsense. Most Europeans did not vote in the European Parliament elections. Turnout declined in the majority of member states. Nowhere was Mr Juncker on the ballot paper. Even in Germany, where the concept of ‘Spitzenkandidaten’ got the most airtime, only 15% of voters even knew he was a candidate. He did not visit some member states. Those who voted did so to choose their MEP not the Commission President. Mr Juncker did not stand anywhere and was not elected by anyone.

To accept such a claim would be deeply damaging for Europe and would undermine, rather than strengthen, the EU’s democratic legitimacy.

It would shift power from national governments to the European Parliament without voters’ approval. It would, in reality, prevent a serving Prime Minister or President from ever leading the European Commission - artificially restricting the pool of talent precisely when the EU needs to find the very best.

It would politicise the European Commission - a risk that Giscard d’Estaing warned of when the suggestion that MEPs should select the President of the Commission was rejected over a decade ago. He cautioned that it would make it difficult for the Commission “to embody impartiality and the common good of the Union”. It would imperil the Commission’s credibility in the exercise of its regulatory and dispute-resolution powers. And, most importantly, it would be a green light for those who want to breach the EU’s rules by the backdoor. Rules that have been ratified by our national parliaments and laid down in international law. Whether you want more direct democracy in Europe or not, we should all be able to agree that first we must uphold the basic law.

Many people have deep misgivings about this whole approach, about a power grab through the backdoor. And we should not concede this issue when we know it will set a dangerous precedent for the future.

We must focus on finding the best candidate for Commission President. Someone who can deliver reform; driving growth and creating jobs; and accepting that Europe’s needs may best be served by action at the national level. An honest and trusted broker able to re-engage Europe’s voters.

Britain has a reputation for standing up for democracy and for fighting for our national interest. But this is about fighting for the European interest. And the 3 major UK political parties are united on this issue.

Now is the time for Europe’s national leaders to have the courage of their convictions by standing up for their place in the EU and what is right for Europe’s future. Now is the time to propose a candidate who will convince Europe’s voters we are acting upon their concerns.

Recent events remind us of the price European nations have paid in the struggle for our freedom and democracy. We have come a long way in the intervening decades, respecting our differences, following the rules, patiently charting our way forward together, in the European spirit. And at this important moment for Europe, it is the way we must continue to work".

"The Die is Cast" (Telegraph Update)

 'Die is cast' for Jean-Claude Juncker to take the EU's top job as defeat looms for David Cameron

The "die is cast" for Jean-Claude Juncker's appointment as European Commission president after Angela Merkel turns on David Cameron amid British warnings of a looming political "train crash".

Another Telegraph update

And a point of view

Britain's Bogeyman, The Guardian, 20 June

Bid Set To Fail (BBC)

"Consequences"

Cameron 'Unapologetic'

The vote

The aftermath

The exit door?

Huffington Post, Sir Christopher Meyer

The Real Juncker

See also later posting on Britain's attitudes to Federalism in the 1950's