Saturday, July 03, 2004

Oh hang on, that's not right is it? Saturday 30/6/04. Spot who started a post and then finished it later. Oh well.

Just feeling tired at the moment, and lacking anything to write about (excepting the big London adventures that I still haven't written up: but which I've just spent ages boring my brother with. So long in fact, that my arm hurts).

So it's going to have to be a Super Saturday Special [this means I've got to find 6 or 7 things now, doesn't it?], otherwise known as "some other people have written some stuff".

Neil at GfB makes no mention of any betting action on the Czech-Greece game. Which given he'd juts lost on the Portugal-Holland game, isn't that surprising (how did I manage to pick both winners? Bet this foresight doesn't last: though Portugal will probably win overall). Instead he focuses on the ethics of Capital Punishment [note the big scary Capital Letters], in particular for Saddam Hussein. Personally I'm not sure. I think the state should always strive to be above the actions of its citizens, and so should not kill [or otherwise excessively impede the right to life of any human]. But then there are always exceptions... Admittedly a large part of my capital-punishment-is-wrong stance is based on the thought "how can there never be mistakes?", which in this instance probably doesn't apply. Fortunately it's not my decision.

Or maybe it was just the BBC Radio 2 Live Stream that brought his mind to executing people.

How bizarre, I've got two thematic links to the next site. Now which one to use. Killing SH would make him a martyr (who apparently sing alleluia: according to the comments on AFOE). Or do I go for the football linking into AFOE's analysis of why small countries do well at tournaments. Or perhaps merely the rather weak Neil is in Germany, Germany is in the EU, Doug Merrill predicts the future members of the EU, over at AFOE [yes I know that should be a Euro symbol, but I don't know how to type on of those. Bodes well for the referendum then. Looked it up Ctrl+Alt+4 = €{euro}. So on this keyboard it's version of the $ {dollar}. Do keyboards reflect reality?].

Anyway a fistful of EMUs discusses who is likely to join the EU, and when it will happen. Fortunately I've got 15 years to remember where some of these places are [don't say "Europe"]. Moldova: that was in a Tintin book right? One of those made-up places that turn out not to be [Timbuktu, Outer Mongolia]. Has the distinction of being "slightly larger than Maryland" and having towns called Bender [I don't know what you're thinking, but I'm thinking Futurama] and Balti [which presumably is smaller than either of the Baltimore's].

[Sidenote type thing: Is the acronym for a blog discussing all matters EU intentionally "a foe"? But by the same reasoning Friends of the Earth is usually abbreviated to FOE: One wonders whose].

So where will the EU end? The Mediterranean? The Sahara? The nearer bits of the Middle East? The Black Sea or the Caspian Sea? Or the Pacific? I think the latter is unlikely, not least because China and Japan are economically divvying up that end of Russia. Russia itself also doesn't seem very likely to be allowed in [even if they thought it was an option]. It's too big and unwieldy, too uncontrollable. The scattered remains of the Russian Empire [the former USSR states] have already started creeping in, and the rest will follow, with economies and policies on the rebound from communism. The arguments concerning the EU being a contiguous mass have been harder to put forward since Greece became a member, but Turkey would connect the Armenian cluster.

Sweeping Southeast, most of the Arabian states will be in their own form of union, with some of the smallest and nearest being potential candidates. Lebanon probably will [having been a prosperous, cosmopolitan, strongly European state], Jordan possibly. Syria I'm not to sure about: I think it'll couple itself to the Gulf States. Israel I can't see joining. Many of its population might want to, but a very active and vocal many won't. I think it would try to place too many demands to accompany joining the EU for it to be practical. Unless of course Palestine is sorted out before then and the entire place calms down.

Going westward, Egypt will waiver between the European cluster and the Gulf cluster. It doesn't quite fit into either, and probably doesn't wish to feel itself sinking into a notion of Eastern Europe. There rest of the Mediterranean coastline probably will join if it's allowed to. Once Turkey sets a precedent by being a noticeable exception to the Judaeo-Christian heritage dominated group, I don't think the North African states will fear the EU. Which as the EU already invests in them, is probably a good thing.

Running northwards, there's Switzerland. Which I doubt will ever join the EU. It'll probably work hard to maintain good relations, but anything which would change the banking and taxation processes would be immediately disregarded. The same applies to the Channel Islands. Then there's Norway. Which has carefully invested its oil and gas revenues to pay for its social security and healthcare for very long time to come. If Norway thinks it can gain without being plundered, it'll join, if not, it'll linger queitly at the edge.

Further out is Iceland, which also would join, despite being isolated from the rest of the members. Westward still is Greenland, which is a legislatively curious Danish state. Self-governing and with a small population, it's probably likely to stay that way. If it needs funding, it can seek to slink into the EU or possibly work it's way towards Canada.

Can Canada join the EU? It's in NAFTA. It probably shares a lot with Europe, but logistically, and so economically, it's tied to America. So unless the Commonwealth en-masse joins, it's unlikely. And the prosperous members of the Commonwealth are too busy being independently prosperous [excepting the gradual merger of Australia and New Zealand] to what to pay attention to events elsewhere. And the less prosperous ones would break the EU if they were allowed to join it soon.

And I've got distracted, and am missing something I meant to be watching [It's Saturday night and I watch an art programme...]. I'll add the other 4 or 5 later.


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