One or two things seem to have happened while I was off-line. Firstly, of course, there is the story of the appointed Prime Minister of Italy, Mario Monti, deciding to go earlier and pave the way to Italian politics as usual. It would appear that Silvio Berlusconi, whose understanding of economics does not extend beyond the lining of his own pockets, has already started ranting about the "Germano-centric" Monti and his austerity measures. Having been found guilty of various malfeasance, obviously, does not prevent a man from standing in elections or, possibly, even winning and becoming Prime Minister again, though I do rather like the idea of Berlusconi losing votes to the professional comedian Beppe Grillo. Let us not forget that whoever wins this election becomes a member of the UK's real government.
Moving on to the UN, the fount of all tranzi thinking and organization we find a press release from UN Watch, an admirable organization that persists in the righteous fight. Yesterday, let me remind people, was International Human Rights Day as it was the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (stop laughing at the back), adopted on December 10, 1948.
The UN has its own way of celebrating such matters. This year they did so by electing Mauritania, "a country that allows 800,000 of its citizens to live as slaves", to be Vice-President of the Human Rights Council. Poland was elected as President with Maldives, Switzerland and Ecuador (a country of shabby human rights record) also becoming Vice Presidents. It could have been worse, I suppose. They could have elected Syria to be President. As it was pointed out to me just a few hours ago, you cannot spell unethical without UN.
To end this rambling posting, I can report another argument I had with a well-meaning journalist who cannot quite get his head round the idea that some people do really think that the world would be a better place without the EU. When he reported that in Slovakia "extremists", undoubtedly rather a nasty bunch, are getting more sophisticated, I made a sarcastic comment about EU membership working so well. Was this not the main argument used against those of us who said it would not be a good idea for the East Europeans to join the EU and we should stop pressurizing them but sign free trade agreements, that within the EU their nasty old habits would die? It would seem that the extremists are utilizing people's frustration with the system and political activities. A success, undoubtedly. My journalist friend professed himself to be baffled. Did I mean that I did not think that the 10 East European countries should have joined?
Slovakia is not alone to prove those predictions wrong. Right wing extremism (yes, I know that Nazism was not right-wing but that is how Der Spiegel, inevitably, refers to it and its successor ideologies) is becoming more widespread in Germany, especially and unsurprisingly, in the East, where they had not had years of denazification.
All a huge success.