Thursday, March 30, 2006

Burning cars and waving placards

I am not surprised that a few months ago large numbers of the French immigrant population were rioting in the streets. Unemployment amongst this area of society is currently 49%. Youth unemployment averages in France 23%, and total unemployment is desperately struggling to get down below 9%. This, in a Western European economy. It's no wonder economic growth for 2005 was only 1.9%.

Over half GDP in France comes from the public sector - private businesses are in the minority, and why? Because it's almost illegal to fire someone so there is no incentive for businesses to expand and new jobs to be created. With all the risks that come with starting up a new business, having the additional fear that you will be lumbered with wages for people who aren't making money for you isn't going to encourage you.

Unfortunately, this is an example of the European Social Model being thrust upon the unfortunate members of the European Union: A Union so blinded by its desire for a single state, it fails to see how chronically ill so many economies are, and how it's prescription will cause the vibrant economies to stutter to a halt in time.

Here is a little summary from the Guardian today about welfare systems and employment in some EU countries:

FRANCE: Job protections include generous vacation, pensions and maternity leave,
and subsidized meals and transport. It is extremely difficult to fire anyone
with a permanent contract, and layoffs can be blocked by courts. High youth
unemployment prompted a new law that would make it easier to fire young workers
to try to encourage hiring. The law has prompted protests and strikes.

BRITAIN: Most benefits are decided by the employer, not the state. Layoffs for
economic reasons are common. Mass protests are rare, though anger over a pension
dispute prompted public sector workers to stage a one-day strike Tuesday.

GERMANY: Workers enjoy several weeks of vacation and generous pensions, and most
work weeks run less than 40 hours. The two ruling parties agreed last year to
ease the regulation of the labor market to encourage firms to hire more staff,
but the move has met wide opposition.

ITALY: Job security is playing a key role in the campaign for April 9-10
elections. The government introduced temporary work contracts in 2002 after
protests forced them to water down deeper reforms. Like France, Italy has
generous protections and high youth unemployment.

NORWAY: With a booming oil economy, Norway has just 3 percent unemployment.
Norwegians have strong rights in the workplace, good unemployment and sick leave
benefits, legislated time off, holidays and working hours. Employers often
include a contract clause of a six-month trial period for new employees.

BALTIC STATES: Labour laws in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia favour employers, who
have few restrictions in hiring and firing. With many young people having moved
to Britain, Ireland and Sweden since 2004, employers are offering health plans
and career training to entice workers. Estonia's laws protect workers with
children younger than 3 and make it nearly impossible for employers to fire
pregnant women.

POLAND: The EU's highest jobless rate at 18 percent. Its rigid labor laws - in
part a legacy of the strong social safety net once guaranteed by communism -
make firings difficult.

SWEDEN: Strong worker protections and generous welfare benefits are hallmarks of
Sweden's cherished social model. To fire a worker, an employer must show it is
absolutely necessary because of cutbacks or the worker has severely failed to
live up to expectations. Offers a minimum of five weeks paid vacation or the
right to up to 480 days of paid parental leave.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

I prefer cats myself

Whilst trying to book a hotel for the boss in Brussels, which turned out to be nigh-on impossible due to the world and his wife descending on Brussels, I stumled across a rather pretentious hotel.

Comfort Art Hotel Siru - Brussels - 3*

A showcase of Contemporary Belgian Art, between 1989 and 1990, the Comfort Art Hotel Siru gave free rein to the imagination of 130 painters, sculptors and comic-strip draughtsmen to turn its 101 rooms into as many paintings and in the process turn this property into the first "museum-hotel" in the world. The imaginative and individual decor of each room makes for an enjoyable and refreshing visit.

I wondered if Todd might like a trip at some point, so I checked their pets policy:

Pets policy

Children welcome

ooh, that's a shame. If cats were allowed I might have paid them a visit, but children - no thanks!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

The truth about the Labour Party

The truth about the Labour Party

Our author takes no prisoners! A very interesting read.

It's easier to do it this way

My computer at 'work' doesn't let me attach pictures but some clever person has managed to do it for me!

In the spirit of solidarity I put these on my blog! I am not constrained by their religous laws, and until they start treating women a bit better, I'm not that bothered about them jumping up and down about their 'rights' and 'respecting them'.

Eastern Europe gets rubbish from EU

Literally, and not just via stupid, ill-thought-out regulations! Well, I'm afraid they can't have it all their way:
Czechs fear EU garbage plan could worsen dumping
08 Mar 2006 17:19:46 GMT
Source: Reuters

PRAGUE, March 8 (Reuters) - EU plans to relax rules on refuse disposal could see
poorer members swamped with rubbish from their richer neighbours, the Czech
Republic said on Wednesday.

Prague, worried by how much German rubbish has come into the country where
disposal is cheaper, has barred foreign waste for dumping and burning, allowing
it in only for recycling.

But under a proposed European Union directive, to be discussed by ministers in
Brussels on Thursday, a member state could no longer refuse to import waste for

Czech Environment Minister Libor Ambrozek said he would protest against the

"The directive does not reflect the difference in the economic conditions in the
new EU member states," he said in a statement.

"The different price levels in the waste treatment area create preconditions for
an undesirable cross-border transfer of waste ... to new member states, for

The Czech Republic, which borders much richer and larger Germany, has
experienced a rise in cases of often illegal waste imports -- "eco-dumping" --
as companies try to cut costs.

It fears the new plan could cause a massive rise in shipments, including illegal

There are about 20,000 tonnes of illegally dumped German waste in the country, a
ministry spokeswoman said.

Customs officials have tightened up border controls and have caught six trucks
this month trying to enter Czech territory with undeclared illegal waste, the
news agency CTK reported.

The Environment Ministry said Prague would try to widen opposition to the
planned directive, and discuss this with nearby Slovakia, Hungary and Poland.

They have received huge amounts of money from the EU budget - and if I recall then the UK paid £7bn into the slush fund, which was going out to the underground system in Warsaw and the sewers in Budapest: both of which represent huge, sensible investments to the British tax payer who wants to save for their pension or their childrens' university fees.

The comment about the different economic situations also angers me somewhat. We know here in the west that there are different economic situations: this is why we have had about 300,000 economic migrants from eastern europe since 2004. They can't have their cake and eat it, I'm afraid. Whilst the EU may seem to them a way to be a player on the international stage, a way of getting free money from hard working tax payers in other countries and new working destinations it's also about the eradication of laws based on what is best for individual countries and the erosions of national borders and customs until we are one fat, sinking, economically retarded federal state. Just ask Richard Corbett. Or the Communists.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Let's celebrate womens day

By talking about the rape laws in pakistan and the abortion laws in South Dakota.

Let's start wíth the rape first:

In 2002 six men were sentenced to death for the gang rape of a woman. Gang rape is hideous enough, but what makes this case even more so is that it was actually ordered as a punishment by a council. Mukhtar Mai was raped by four men on the instruction of tribal elders after she refused to marry a member of a clan whose relative buggered her 12 year old brother. What I cannot understand is how these people can think so little of women - that she is just a pawn and a bargaining tool so men can get what they want. She wanted justice for the crime committed on her brother and instead gets brutally raped, degraded and humiliated by people who are supposed to be the leaders of the village. Can someone explain that to me? Maybe when they do, can they also explain what is honourable about murdering a female member of your family for having an independent spirit and not wanting to live their lives for others? Why women jump on the funeral pyres of their dead husbands, so they aren't a 'burden' to anyone? Why are there so many people in this world who seem to think that women are inferior to men? Without women the human race would not exist. Without men, the human race would not exist. Surely it's logical that both sexes are equal and that such attitudes are just a way of control and power?

On that happy note, let's go to the South Dakota abortion laws. A marmalade-dropping moment if ever I heard, although I don't eat marmalade. From July it will be a crime in South Dakota to perform any abortion unless a pregnant woman's life was in danger.That means that pregnancy from rape or incest is not included! Danger from whom? Danger from what? From herself? From trying to self abort through sheer desperation, because when you make abortion illegal, the number of abortions do not fall, but the number of women who die rises. If you ban abortion, you end up with some very seriously injured women: back street abortions end up with severe bleeding, internal damage and hysterectomies. But presumably the "pro-lifers" (whose life, may I ask? Certainly not that of the pregnant woman - her wishes for her life are not even taken into consideration)consider this to be some kind of punishment for having the audacity to end an unwanted pregnancy.

A woman cannot be free until she has the right over her own body and her own future. This means access to contraception, to abortions, to education, healthcare, the same wage for the same job as men, to public positions and to legal personality. Not being able to decide what happens to your own body is an abuse of human rights. And no, I do not think that a foetus has the same rights as a human, because rights come with responsibilities. A foetus at ten weeks might look like a baby when magnified and stuck on the front cover of the Daily Outrage, but considering it's about the size of a walnut I can't see it surviving. And until it can survive outside the womb, the wishes of the pregnant woman must come first.

Happy Womens Day: I'm going shopping.