For François Fillon, Notes From A Former Province

Many well-placed observers expected François Fillon, the French centre-right presidential candidate to finally pull the plug on his beleaguered campaign as news of him being put under formal investigation finally broke. After all, that was what he promised to do.


Janez Janša and François Fillon being all statesman-like and shit (source)

But it appears the ties betwixt France and Slovenia, the proud observer in La Francophonie, the former Ilyrian province of the French Empire and one of the few European countries other than France to have fond memories of a certain Corsican corporal,  are more than just historic and/or cultural. In particular, they seem to include a former French prime minister heavily copying the playbook of a former Slovenian prime minister.

Continue reading For François Fillon, Notes From A Former Province

The Alternative President

It’s been 72 hours since The Donald was sworn in as the 45th US president and it is already clear that the next three-to-four years are going to be. So. Much. Fun.

I mean, yes, it will not be pleasant, to say the least. But the US will recover. Let’s not forget just how indignant the same crowd (more or less) was when Dubya was appointed president in 2000. Many people were freely using the term coup d’etat at that point. And indeed, this has brought at least two wars, human suffering beyond belief and an economic catastrophe of biblical proportions. True, it wasn’t all George W.’s responsibility and when shit hit the fan economically, it was the black man left holding the bag, but there you go.

Continue reading The Alternative President

Theresa May Day

The much-anticipated Brexit Speech by British PM Theresa May yesterday was dubbed the biggest speech of her career. But if there ever was an overhyped media event, this was it. In fact, even the annual State of the European Union addresses by Jean-Claude Juncker have more zest (especially when he goes off-script). But the fact that she basically reiterated that Brexit means Brexit, only in longer sentences, should surprise nobody.

PM Theresa May using longer sentences to say that Brexit still means Brexit (source)

To be fair, May did try and put some meat onto the shaky English skeleton flipping the bird to Europe. She has, for all intents and purposes, outlined the UK’s opening positions when and if Article 50 is triggered. The meat being so-called Clean Brexit.

OT: Did you notice how the narrative has changed? It’s no longer Hard Brexit versus Soft Brexit (with soft being instinctively preferable) but rather Clean Brexit versus… Muddy (Dirty? Unclean?) Brexit. The name alone is designed to make it instantly more appealing to the masses. So, expect this Clean Brexit narrative to be pushed, well, hard, for the next couple of weeks until the March/April deadline for triggering Article 50 (or will that be rebranded as “launching Article 50”?) starts to loom large.

Continue reading Theresa May Day

Respite Van Der Bellen

The fact that Norbert Hofer of the Austrian Freedom Party came within a whisker of winning the country’s presidency speaks volumes. Indeed, it is a sign of times that a Neo-Nazi candidate winning “only” forty-six percent of the vote is considered a success for the democratic order. The sad reality is that the election of Alexander van der Bellen for Austrian president is merely a respite from the onslaught of forces of destruction and division that have engulfed much of Europe and the Western world in general. A welcome respite, to be sure, but a respite nevertheless. The shit has not yet stopped hitting the fan.


The Most Interesting van der Bellen In The World (source)

That van der Bellen defeated Hofer twice and with a larger margin on the second go is a silver lining and perhaps strengthens the rationale for a second Brexit referendum. But one should not count on the far-right tide ebbing across Europe. Not with the Dutch, French and German elections still in play and with their own Neo-Nazis well positioned to make substantial gains and sow further discord and hatred. This, of course, was made possible (not solely but in substantial part) by several critical failures of both the European project as well as of the underlying concept of post-war liberal democratic order.

Continue reading Respite Van Der Bellen

Safespacing AF (thoughts on Jonathan Pie)

Dear Mr. Pie. I realise that in writing this I’m addressing a fictional character or at the very least an on-stage persona, but since this is the post-truth era, what difference does it make, right?

20161115_pie
Angry Jonathan Pie is Angry (source)

In your post-US elections video (below) you want the audience (in this case, me) to engage you. So I am. And while I enjoyed your delivery I should probably start by calling it what – in my opinion at least – it is. A very clickable load of bullshit. Well, not all of it, you make some very good points but on the whole it’s not unlike the Hillary Clinton campaign. Well-produced, highly compressed hot air. Not unlike this blog, which is why I’d like to think I can relate. Swear words included. So here goes.

First of all – Bernie Sanders? Why wasn’t he on the ticket? Because he lost the fucking primary, that’s why. I mean for all the fire of the Sandernistas and all the talk of the revolution the guy lost the vote by every measure. And if Hillary is such a shit candidate (and you’re right, she should have done better) and can still get more votes than Bernie…. well, you do the math.

Continue reading Safespacing AF (thoughts on Jonathan Pie)