Freeloader not able to freeload

It was fascinating to give evidence to the Finance Committee of the Bundestag yesterday. As I have given evidence to House of Commons and House of Lords committees as well it was encouraging to note that in some ways we compare rather well.

We don’t charge those giving evidence for water, for a start.

Shame, eh?

As it happens this is part and parcel of the German virulence against any even seeming purchase of favours or influence. The German public sector simply does not offer, nor accept, anything at all. Say you’ve been trying to get a licence for something and you meet the bureaucrat in the pub later. Offer him a beer and they’ll actually get quite upset about your attempt to bribe them.

Perhaps we shouldn’t Remain with those quite so different from us?

52 thoughts on “Freeloader not able to freeload”

  1. Did Ritchie tell them that his research has Germany as one of the top “secrecy jurisdictions”?

    Given his whining, I assume he didn’t go down as well as he hoped. Back to the lefties in the EU and sympathetic MPs then.

  2. So which is the Little Englander?

    a) The chap that understands that things are done differently in other places, and just gets on with it.

    b) The one that expects everywhere else to do everything just as it is done back in Blighty.

  3. It’ll all change once he is appointed the Lord High Executioner of the EU Taxation Bureau.

    At that point, not offering him conspicuous gratitude for the endless sacrifices he makes (admittedly usually of other people) for the betterment of humanity and the furtherance of economic equality (admittedly by forcing everybody in to penury) will be grounds for execution after your public self-denouncement.

  4. Noel Scoper/ Tim

    What the devil was he doing in the Bundestag – I’d say it’s deeply worrying that he is even appearing in front of Select Committees here, let alone on an international stage….

  5. He shouted.

    I wonder if he called anyone a fascist; Germans don’t tend to take kindly to that.

  6. Beat me to it BiW. The guy who advocates country by country reporting doesn’t understand differences in the ways those countries work.

    However, the good news is he may go onto to Germany bashing for a while.

  7. Bloke in Wales,

    Most Remainers I know are far more “little Englander” than most Brexiters I know. Every SME owner I know, people trading globally, is in Brexit.

    The problem with the Remain camp is that most of them are just like AA Gill. People who maybe get in the car and go down to the Vendee, or for a weekend to Bruges. They enjoy some chorizo, maybe one of those Francois Ozon movies about upper class French people. They can name various great European scholars (most of which they’ve probably never read – just naming them shows sophistication).

    None of them have worked with them, traded with them, heard French people complaining about the tax and how many unemployed they’re paying for.

  8. Anon

    Is that the AA Gill piece that’s doing the rounds on Facebook? What an odious individual – the superciliousness drips out of every pore. The contempt for people who perhaps think some of the changes seen over the past 4 decades might not be an ‘unambiguous good’. The reverse racism, The baseless assumption of superiority, the conscription of the ‘Young’ to his cause, the sophistry, the Straw Men – it’s all there. Unambiguous, uncompromising, and is a powerful an incentive to vote ‘Brexit’ as you will see…

  9. A A Gill can be easily assessed by the fact he has an almost permanent spot in Private Eyes “Pseuds Corner”.

  10. If it hadn’t been for the bit about the pub I would have assumed that the chap responsible for water delivery just wanted Murphy to succumb to dehydration. At face value this seems like something we all should emulate.

  11. Van_Patten,

    Personally, I think the early days, maybe even the first couple of decades of the EEC were mostly a good thing. Lower trade barriers etc. Yes, some bad stuff too, but in general, I think it worked. And it was popular. 76% of the population wanted to remain in 1992. It’s now 50%, and that’s 20 years later, with generally, a more international-thinking population. It’s why this “old fuddy duddies looking back to Empire” makes no sense. Many of these people are kids who were raised by parents who thought the EEC was a great idea.

    Me, I’d hope that the kids could grasp that various technological changes are making government more and more redundant. At least when I was young, it was the early 80s. It’s 25 years since we found out that socialism doesn’t work. Everyone that tried it since has failed.

  12. Bloke in Costa Rica

    The entire Encyclopaedia Britannica entry for ‘oleaginous faux-sophisticated git’ is a picture of A A Gill.

  13. Indeed, Anon. Someone who ascribes the prevalence of eurosceptic opinion to fuddy duddies nostalgic for the empire is almost always either someone who made up his mind on the virtues of the EU when such people were still alive and hasn’t spent another thought on the question since, or else a child of such a person who has imbibed that belief in childhood and never questioned it.

  14. One thing that gets me about the apologists for Remain is that they stress the risks of leaving the EU, but they cannot understand the risks from the EU to our nation-state and its institutions – the Monarchy, Parliamentary democracy and the Common Law.

    By the way, the key to understanding A A Gill is to remember he is a Scot.

  15. Alan Peakall – I also think many of these people are remote from it. I mean, my neighbours in our nice middle class neighbourhood don’t have lots of Poles around. They had government jobs, so weren’t worrying about someone from abroad coming over taking it. And I do think the problems for the working classes are more about globalisation and automation in general (along with stupidity like the min wage). AA Gill didn’t find himself fired with his job outsourced to Bangladesh.

    I’ve generally worked freelance, private sector and the stuff I do is more highly skilled, middle class, but sometimes I’ve done things where I sit in the canteen with operatives, or get to have socials with on the road engineers. These people are nervous about immigration, and maybe they see the problem as bigger than it is, but they are dismissed by people who will not be affected. If you had an immigrant lottery where anyone, rich or poor would leave the country to allow an immigrant in, you can bet your arse the upper classes would start getting shirty about immigration.

  16. “I am delighted that you invited me here today to the Reichstag, and I will spend several hours telling you what to do.”

  17. “By the way, the key to understanding A A Gill is to remember he is a Scot.”

    By the way, the key to understanding A A Gill is to remember he is a cunt.

  18. As an aside, did anyone see this?

    “https://www.politicshome.com/news/europe/eu-policy-agenda/brexit/news/76394/david-cameron-hints-post-referendum-push-reform-free”

    Cam is honestly trying to scam people that he’s going to get changes to free movement after the vote. It’s more likely that Angela Merkel gets a centrefold in Hustler.

  19. Anon: I agree about Hustler but there’s probably a mag (or website these days) that caters to particular tastes that would pay good money for that.

  20. Anon, there will be changes to free movement of people once similar restrictions apply to goods and capital – i.e., never.

    It never ceases to amaze that capitalists think they can get away with promoting the free movement of capital but not of labour and sell this to the rest of us as anything other than grubby arbitrage.

    In the event of a non-Brexit, Cam will be able to get some other real, and meaningful reforms done. Germany, Poland, Netherlands and so on want the UK in as a liberal conterweight to the more socialist-inclined states. He will get a far better hearing in than out.

  21. Anon>

    I think you may be getting a false impression of why people will vote ‘Remain’. It’s not that we think the EU is any better than you do, we’re just not so touchingly naive as to think our homegrown politicians are an improvement given the endless evidence to the contrary.

    It really doesn’t make any difference which bunch of cunts have power over us, we all agree some kind of union of Europeans would be nice, end of story.

  22. A Remain vote is a vote for getting utterly shafted. There will be no leverage at all. The cunts will hold all the cards and we’ll be fucked over. And deserve it.

    A bit early perhaps (there could be further murders) but I’m predicting a comfortable Leave victory. “Comfortable” doesn’t mean big, just not subject to endless recounts and legal bollocks.

    I called the last General correctly (clear Tory majority) but that seemed obvious. This is a bit more murky, but since voting to stay in the EU is clearly as stupid as voting for Ed Milliband, I’m going with most people getting it too.

  23. Dave

    “It really doesn’t make any difference which bunch of cunts have power over us”

    I prefer the bunch I can vote to remove. The cunts at Westminster are our bunch of cunts – unlike the apparatchiks of the EU.

  24. Bloke in Germany,

    “It never ceases to amaze that capitalists think they can get away with promoting the free movement of capital but not of labour and sell this to the rest of us as anything other than grubby arbitrage.”

    My point is more that it’s a bare-faced lie, a promise he won’t deliver on and has no intention to deliver on.

    And no, there won’t be reforms. Not much anyway. If there was, we’d have got them at the renegotiation as maybe some of those countries could have backed us. Either a) Cameron didn’t ask for reforms or b) they told him where to stick them. Either way, voting yes isn’t going to change that.

    I’m not going to get into an argument over the rest of remain/brexit. I still might have a last-minute switch, but it certainly won’t be over reform, because it isn’t happening.

  25. PJF

    I predict victory for remain by about 53% to 47%. I hope I am wrong, and you are right, though.

  26. Theosphrastus, your assessment, being more specific, is almost certainly based on better info than mine. Mine is just a gut feeling. But so was my General call, and it went against better minds too. Probably just wishful thinking – but, colours nailed.

  27. Dave,

    “It really doesn’t make any difference which bunch of cunts have power over us, we all agree some kind of union of Europeans would be nice, end of story.”

    I want less cunts ruling over us, and ruling us less. The start of that is getting out of the EU. Now, that’s going to transfer a lot of power back to Westminster. And then, we go after that power.

    You’ll still have cunts and they’ll still spectacularly fuck things up. I’ve yet to see government anywhere that isn’t full of balls-ups. But at least if you can narrow them down to the core stuff, they piss less money away.

  28. It never ceases to amaze that capitalists think they can get away with promoting the free movement of capital but not of labour and sell this to the rest of us as anything other than grubby arbitrage.

    I am always puzzled that people think free trade of goods and free movement of populations are equivalent. In what way are they even remotely the same?

    If you buy a sofa from DFS does that mean the Managing Director’s son has the right to move into your spare room?

  29. BiG

    Freedom of capital can raise living standards for those where capital is routed (as a natural precursor to “future” freedom of labour); whereas freedom of labour within regions without similar GDP/capita numbers is a bugger’s muddle (to put it politely) and yes we do have the evidence for that.

    Dave,

    Seriously, of all the utter shite over the last few weeks I’ve heard in favour of voting in, actually that is one of the best arguments yet – honestly.

    It’s not great, but then the Inners’ arguments generally aren’t, but it is one of the best.

    Personally, and rightly or wrongly, I still strongly believe in the underlying concept of demos.

  30. Theo / PJF

    Intuition says Remain (people are cautious and how can the polls be wrong), and yet anecdata, from a variety of different sources – offices, working and middle classes, and including regional differences, says Leave?

    I’m not betting on it – although at 3-1 (or so), it is very tempting…

  31. Theo

    Listening to Heseltine, on your Guido link, comparing the acceptance of “litres” with the adoption of a single currency, how on earth can anyone still take him seriously?

  32. BiG
    “It never ceases to amaze that capitalists think they can get away with promoting the free movement of capital but not of labour and sell this to the rest of us as anything other than grubby arbitrage.”

    Because they’re fundamentally different. One is the free movement of goods & services. The other is the free movement of the consumers of goods & services.With the former there is full & equitable choice. We’re not obliged to buy G’s & S’s. The providers are not obliged to sell them to us. A market is operating.. With the latter, we get no choice. The decision is soley being made by the incomer. No market is operating.

  33. Still waiting for an explanation as to why non-EU territories that for practical purposes accept free movement for work are shitholes on average.
    Examples such as Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and a handful of others.
    It can only be the EU membership part of the deal that drags countries down, compulsory rather than optional farm subsidies, higher regulatory burden, compulsory rather than optional contribution to badly designed convergence programmes to make everybody equal, that sort of thing. Imv, of course.

  34. Theo>

    If we could actually vote in something other than the usual Westminster lot, you’d have more of a point. The EU is somewhat democratic, the system here as it is at the moment is slightly more so. Either way we’re neck deep in manure, even if cowshit is marginally preferable to pigshit. I mean, seriously, our Prime Minister had his penis in a dead pig’s mouth – and he’s the _more_ acceptable one on offer.

    Anon>

    The only hope I see for an end to the cuntocracy is a federal European government with no other units of political organisation bigger than a commune of a few thousand people.

    But, hey, actually representative democracy was comical when Yes Minister covered it, and hasn’t got less so since. It’s the one topic that unites everyone in politics: they don’t want it.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_to_the_People_(Yes,_Prime_Minister)

  35. “It really doesn’t make any difference which bunch of cunts have power over us, we all agree some kind of union of Europeans would be nice, end of story.”

    Fantastic argument. Would have saved all that messing about in 1939.

    FFS

  36. BIS>

    I disagree with BIG about the reason we have to have some semblance of freedom of movement. It’s really very simple: if we’ve stopped allowing countries to gain territory by conquest, the only alternative is to allow people to move from one country to another.

    Frankly, it’s all just an argument about money at the moment. No-one has any real problem with free movement between economically fairly-equal nations. So with any luck it’ll be a problem that goes away in a few decades when pretty much everyone on the planet is rich.

  37. To clarify: There isn’t any distinction between Gs & Ss here & capital. It’s still a matter of choice. The holder of capital should have the freedom of choice to move it. But that doesn’t impose on the receivers of capital any obligation to accept it.

  38. “The only hope I see for an end to the cuntocracy is a federal European government with no other units of political organisation bigger than a commune of a few thousand people.

    Dave, your statement of hope shows you simply have no idea of how cuntocracies occur. Can you really not see a problem with that proportion of powers?

  39. @ PJF and Dave
    I went to a lecture fairly recently about WWII, turned out that the thesis of the lecturer (a Cambridge history don so quite knowledgeable) was that every country in Europe had people (in more than half-a-dozen cases a majority) willing to fight for Hitler just because he was against Uncle Joe – they knew that Uncle Joe was even worse.
    It really, really does matter which bunch of cunts have power and if you don’t believe me ask any Cambodian.

  40. As well as the interesting balance-of-power, Dave’s Great Plan involves a federation of 127000+ polities. What could go wrong?

  41. “Freeloader not able to freeload”

    Oh dear, Timothy, you are,

    “Irrelevant blogger is not able to be relevant”

    Simply jealous.

    s

  42. So Much For Subtlety

    Dave – “It’s really very simple: if we’ve stopped allowing countries to gain territory by conquest, the only alternative is to allow people to move from one country to another.”

    TW is in the Czech lands. Or as I like to think of them, south-eastern Germany. Which after World War Two expelled its German population and never allowed them to move back.

    Tell me how bad relations between Germany and the Czech protectorate are these days?

    Or if you do not like that example, Ireland has been engaging in some quiet ethnic cleansing as the Upper Class protestant community has been encouraged to move elsewhere. Back in the days when anyone could move between the two big islands, how much fighting was there? How much is there now?

  43. Surely Cameron is finished whichever way the vote goes.

    Say what you like about Clement Freud but at least he loved his dog and wasn’t a quisling traitor.

  44. It says much about the judgement of government minister prominent “in” campaigner Amber Rudd that she was once married to AA Gill. He fathered a couple of sprogs on her and buggered off with someone else in fairly short order.

    Incidentally, his restaurant reviews tell you bugger all about the wine list.

  45. The Meissen Bison

    wat dabney: Say what you like about Clement Freud but at least he loved his dog

    Remember Rinka and take warning. Liberals are a bunch of wrong ‘uns and absolutely not to be trusted around dogs.

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