Ella was born on the 31st March, in Germany. She shares her birthday with Henry II of France, Rene Descartes and Olli Rehn. She has a claim for citizenship of Australia, Austria, Germany, Ireland. She could live and work in over thirty countries, without impediment.

She has relatives in Germany, China, Australia, Austria, England, Ireland, Sweden, Switzerland, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Angola. She has close personal connections in another ten countries.

She will likely speak four or five languages, have friends and colleagues spread throughout the world. She can expect to travel widely and have the benefits of a liberal democratic upbringing. She will face the perils of social unrest, health issues, personal problems, and Acts of God, but she will be well equipped for these, having many personal, family and governmental resources to assist her.



Excepting war and plague, she will have a very good chance of living to the 22nd century, when her grandparent’s youth will have slipped from Modern to Ancient History. Her life will be measured, calibrated, photographed and recorded in every moment. Distance will not impede her communications, and location will not define her. Privacy and solitude will be art forms for her.

She already carries the heavy responsibility of the promise that we as a society vest in her. The promise of a brighter future and a better world.

The world ahead will be exciting, challenging ever-changing and totally unpredictable. The rapid and accelerating societal changes of the last twenty years will be multiplied exponentially. The society she will grow old in would be as strange to us, as New York would be to Amazonian Indians.

But there will be stability as well. While we cannot fathom the technological, medical or societal changes to come, we can see in retrospect that the spirit of humanity, personal values and the basis of personal relationships have not changed over the centuries, and are unlikely to in the future.

What we have to hope for and strive for is a society that bases it’s policies on human values, and not on material or totalitarian values. What she needs is a society that will allow her freedom, and the ability to achieve her potential. These are values held as self-evident in the American Constitution, but realised in their fullest in Europe today.

This is a Europe that strikes the balance between materialism and liberalism. A Europe that allows material entrepreneurship without oppressing personal freedoms. A Europe that declares high aspirations, and strives to achieve them. A Europe that defines itself in the 21st Century by aligning itself constantly with democratic ideals and rejecting oligarchic values, wherever they are found.

Ella is a child of Europe. She represents the best of what we are as a continent, and as a society. She represents pan-nationalism, tolerance, social justice and personal freedom. She represents that highest of emotions that the human spirit can aspire to – hope for the future.


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Someone’s on the phone for you, dear……

English: United States President Barack Obama ...

English: United States President Barack Obama and Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny participate in a bilateral meeting in the Dining Room at Farmleigh, an official Irish state guest house for visiting heads of state and dignitaries in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am sure that the NSA have good ways of weighing through the rubbish that they glean from  the millions of European and worldwide phones/data and emails that the syphon off into their data banks. At least I hope so. They have a very mixed record at actually stopping terrorist incidents to date, and one fears that they are a bit like old fashion stamp collectors, building up a large collection, without ever posting a letter!

And what damage they are doing ….!

In a world built on alliances and trust, here are these spooks undermining any trust, any sense of camaraderie that they have available to them, by listening into the phone calls of ordinary citizens of Europe and elsewhere, while  it is illegal to do the same to their own citizens! How bad is that for allies???

This is not to mention listening into the calls of the Chancellor of Germany, and saddest of all, possibly even our own Enda Kenny. What a threat to democracy he is likely to be! Not to be outdone, Enda sidestepped this embarrassing faux pas by saying diplomatically, that he just assumed that his phone was tapped, and never said anything of note! What a shock…!!

I might suggest that if he wants to get his message across, he need no longer rely on the diplomatic channels. It would be far better to ring up his wife, or a friend, and discuss his views over the phone. Surely the NSA will pick it up, and provide a hotline to Pennsylvania Avenue!

It really is time the US woke up to the fact that there are other people on this planet, and they need to start treating their allies as equals, or they will indeed end up on their own.

Security is one thing, ignorance is another.


On a lighter note – check out below!

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Back to populist politics again.

The spots are begining to show on the Tiger again, as populist politics take a hold once more.




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Beneath Contempt

The Cause Of all Our Problems - Anglo Irish Bank

The Cause Of all Our Problems – Anglo Irish Bank (Photo credit: infomatique)

I find it seldom that I appreciate Angela Merkel’s utterances, though I do have a certain admiration for her. She has too much of an eye on her own electorate to be an effective European Leader, and I think she has largely abandoned any ambition of being an Adenauer or a Kohl. Perhaps there is no longer an agenda of greatness attached to leading what has become a failed project, or at least, a difficult cul de sac.

However I did agree with her last week when she said she had nothing but contempt for the Irish bankers from the failed Anglo Irish Bank, recorded during the financial crisis, singing “Deutschland über ales” after persuading the Irish Government to underwrite the banks. Far more objectionable was their trite and scandalous treatment of the Irish tax payer. Their contempt for the Government and the Financial Regulator, neither of whom, to be fair, appeared to demonstrate anything resembling competence during the entire financial crisis, was manifest in these recordings.

For many years now, the beleaguered Irish tax payer has accepted passively, the incompetence of our Government, and our bankers, but no-one could have reasonably guessed how odious they really were. Listening to these tapes exposes the cesspit of their attitudes and behaviour.

It is difficult to believe that these bankers are not in jail, or that not one of them has been put on trial five years after Bernie Madoff, for instance, went to jail in the US. It is even more difficult to believe, that this Anglo Irish Bank is the stable where NAMA (National Asset Management Agency – Ireland’s “bad bank) and the IRBC (Irish Banking Resolution Commission – the clean up operation for Anglo Irish Bank) recruited many of their own staff. The very staff who ran the country into the ground are tasked to clean up the mess.

But it gets worse. The Irish Government recently proudly announced the “creation of 800 new jobs” in Capita, whose “Financial management function” includes debt collection and restructuring. This new financial industry will involve the closure and receivership of many an Irish firm. Guess where the staff are being recruited from? Rumour has it that they will come from the recently closed IRBC.

So the very people who destroyed Ireland, are not just part of the solution, but are to be the agents of the tidal wave of misery and bankruptcy that is about to overtake the ordinary citizens of Ireland, as the remaining banks try to recapitalize. These are the new Jobs announced by the Irish Government.

Yes Angela, ‘contempt’ is a good word for what they deserve. In Ireland it is only a word however, and the reality is that ordinary citizens are under the cosh, and the very people who showed such contempt for the Irish people, are not in jail, as you would expect, but are being recruited to become the carpetbaggers sifting through the wreckage, to extract blood from the corpse!

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Goldmine discovered in Ireland

Seems like then politicians have all disappeared for the silly summer season. The background work for an European banking agreement has run into difficulties. Expectations have been dulled by the participants, that countries such as Ireland, which was bullied into guaranteeing the rogue banks, will be able to participate. Being the Golden Child of the European recovery, gets Enda Kenny lots of “pats on the back” from our European masters, but the hard dividend is a different matter!

While we wait for our masters to return from Playa del Rey, San Tropez, or Garmish Partenkirken, Paddyspiigs has discovered a Goldmine in Ireland to share :-

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See No Evil

Archduchess Maria Antonia of Austria, the late...

Archduchess Maria Antonia of Austria, the later Queen Marie Antoinette of France (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fed up with being hassled by courtiers in Versailles, Marie Antoinette built, safely within the grounds of the palace, a pastoral idyl, a farm called La Hameau de La Reine. Here she lived out a fashionable fantasy of the nobility of that time – to get back in touch with nature, and with simple things. She would dress in peasant clothing, and attend to peasant tasks, including milking the cows. However, this was far from a real farm. It was a tableau vivant. A contrived tapestry. A conjured scene where the real servants spent their time washing and cleaning the farmyard and the cows, so that there was a surgically sterile environment for Marie Antoinette to play out her fantasies. The cows would be walked up and down before she arrived, to clear them out of any bodily substances that would otherwise spoil the pleasures of the Queen, as she sat on her oak milkmaids stool, catching milk in the Manufacture Royale fine porcelain pot.

No doubt Marie Antoinette thought that she was communing with the peasants in one way or another, by doing this; but unfortunately for her, the peasants considered that her sterilised environment was a mockery of their lives, and they hated her even more for it. The addition of a Temple of Love did not help her cause, giving rise to wild rumours of orgies, and other derring-do! Whether or not the queen lost her head in the Hamleau, she certainly lost it on October 16th 1793, at the tender age of 37, ten years after the Hamleau was built.

The first moral of this story is that ten years is a long time in politics. The second moral of the story seems to be that if you have lost touch with the people, the last thing you should do is sanitise their misery!

I was reminded of Marie Antoinette this week when I found that the new aristocracy (in this case represented by the G8, meeting in Lough Erne) will not have to distress themselves looking at the squalor of recessionary buildings in Co. Fermanagh, as they whiz through on their way to the Five Star Resort and Golf Club. Thankfully they will not have to stop for a lamb chop or a rasher in the village of Belcoo, though they might be tempted to do so looking at the wonderous window display. But alas, like the Hamleau de la Reine, the village of Belcoo is a sham. The shop windows are false, the stocked shelves are a mere illusion, the prosperity and bon vivance is a fantasy. Thanks to the Northern Irish Government, the place has been covered in fake sticker-art, to make the village appear as happy as a fake French Hameau in the late 1780’s. The speeding nobility will probably have no more appreciation of the irony, than the ill-fated queen did.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

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Austerity fallout for Germany

It seems that the horrors of the European Economic collapse are being realised in Germany

Eurovision Song Contest (2)

Eurovision Song Contest (2) (Photo credit: geirarne)


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