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Has the EU lost its mind? To fail a test as big as Covid has existential implications for Europe

An act of calamitous self harm. Credit: Xavi Torrent / Getty

An act of calamitous self harm. Credit: Xavi Torrent / Getty


March 17, 2021   6 mins

At the start of the month, things were starting to look up over on the Continent. The EU was rethinking its vaccine strategy — having seen the success of ours. In particular, it was realised (or so it seemed) that slagging off the AstraZeneca shot might not be a good way of persuading people to take it.

Furthermore, and following the acutely embarrassing Article 16 debacle, an effort was made to reclaim vaccine internationalism for the EU brand. The new line came from the President of the European Council, Charles Michel — whose sanctimonious missive on the matter is a masterpiece of Pecksniffery.

Unfortunately, the EU good guy act didn’t last. Indeed, our neighbours appear to have lost their minds.

Kicking off the March madness was a vaccine export ban to Australia — a pointless and counter-productive move given that the EU could potentially benefit from vaccine imports.

Next, came a completely avoidable diplomatic row with the UK. Ironically, the cause of it was the Michel missive, which in seeking to emphasise the EU’s internationalism accused the British of banning vaccine exports. Except that no such ban exists. Eventually, the EU was forced to admit the truth. There was no apology.

Perhaps we should try to understand the EU’s prickliness. In a Covid-ridden world where vaccines have become an instrument of great power rivalry, the EU is trying to defend a high-minded principle — that of equal access between EU member nations. This is how Monsieur Michel put it in his blogpost: “The goal was to avoid competition and bidding between countries, and to allow all countries to obtain the doses at the same time. Otherwise, the larger or richer Member States would have been the first in the queue and best served…”

Admirable. Except that the joint procurement programme isn’t quite as egalitarian as its billing would suggest. Some countries — including Germany, of course — have exploited its loopholes to serve themselves. Other countries aren’t happy. Last week, the Austrian Chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, led five EU countries — Austria, Czechia, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Latvia — in demanding an EU summit to address the unfairness:

“…the last few weeks have shown that deliveries are currently not being made according to population keys and that this is set to intensify in the coming months. This approach clearly contradicts the political goal of the European Union — the equal distribution of vaccine doses to all member states. If the distribution were to continue in this way, it would result in significant unequal treatment — which we must prevent.”

Kurz has been accused of seeking a distraction from his own government’s mediocre performance, but he makes a valid point. The EU’s vaccine procurement strategy prioritised fairness over timeliness, and has delivered neither.

Meanwhile, across Europe, governments are uniting in the face of an old enemy. Yes, the EU’s least favourite medicament is back on the blacklist: the AstraZeneca vaccine. This time the flimsy pretext is the report of blood clots in a small number of recently vaccinated individuals. Writing for UnHerd, Tom Chivers explains that it’s unreasonable to expect universal invulnerability to death and disease in a population of millions of older people. It’s also worth noting the assurances given by AstraZeneca itself, the UK government, the Scottish government, the World Health Organisation and indeed the European Medicines Agency.

Nevertheless, that hasn’t stopped several EU governments (including the Germans, the French and Italians) from slapping a temporary ban on the Oxford AZ vaccine. For its part, the Irish government claims to be acting upon the “precautionary principle”. But there is nothing precautionary about snatching away a life-saving vaccine from vulnerable people in the middle of deadly pandemic — not without overwhelming proof of a countervailing danger, which they clearly don’t have.

There’s never a good time to commit an act of calamitous self-harm, but this latest insanity comes at an especially critical juncture. Not much more than a month ago, Covid cases in the EU were at roughly the same level as in the UK and the US. Now, they’re roughly twice the American level, and between three and four times the British level. That’s not just because cases are coming down in the UK and US, but also because they’re heading up in several European countries — and across the EU overall.

Furthermore, new variants of the virus such as those first detected in Britain, Brazil and South Africa are now established and spreading in EU countries — underlining the urgency of getting the population vaccinated. And yet instead of ramping up vaccination — as the British are doing this week from an already high base — European governments are choosing this moment to sabotage their own vaccine supply.

And let’s not forget where we are in the course of this pandemic — and what we’ve sacrificed to contain it. In the West, we’re now 12 months on from the first round of lockdowns. As the UK begins to unlock stage by stage, millions of Europeans face a second spring of confinement. Italy — the first European country to lockdown a year ago — is locking down again as cases surge.

Whatever the medical justifications, one has to ask if lockdown is politically, socially or economically sustainable. If Europe doesn’t achieve herd immunity levels of vaccination by the summer, the pressure to unlock regardless will be immense. It will be argued that if enough of the Continent’s elderly and vulnerable people have been jabbed then that will constitute ‘focused protection’ — thereby allowing the less vulnerable population to take their chances with the virus. Wouldn’t it be an irony if something akin to the strategy set out in the Great Barrington Declaration were to be implemented by the Continentals instead of les Anglos?

Of course, that would provide the new variants of the virus with a vast pool of hosts to splash around in freely. Through the use of mass testing and genomic sequencing, the authorities might be able to monitor and manage the spread and evolution of the variants — but this assumes that sufficient capacity to do so is in place. It isn’t. According to evidence given to the European Parliament by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control most European countries are not where they need to be in order to do the necessary tracking.

How do they get away with it? The EU’s politicians, I mean. Well, it helps that in Europe there’s always somebody else to blame. It might be another country, another institution or one of the EU’s five presidents. The choice is never ending. It also helps that, in times of crisis, people rally behind their governments. Not unreasonably, they put their trust in those politicians with the greatest experience of governing — a tendency that benefits establishment politicians over their populist rivals.

Nevertheless, there are signs that voters are beginning to lose their patience. In Germany, the ruling CDU — until recently surfing on a wave of support for Angela Merkel — crashed to defeat in regional elections. In France, polls continue to show a disturbingly tight second round run-off between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen. In Italy, populists account for three of the four main parties — and the non-populist fourth party (the centre-left, pro-European Democrats) are losing ground. In Spain, support for the hard Right Vox party continues to grow — even to the extent of overtaking what had been the main opposition party.

I’d like to think that this week’s renewed attack on AstraZeneca is evidence of a political panic. “Let’s blame somebody else before the voters blame us” would be a logical, if cynical, motivation. However, I fear that it’s not cynicism at work here, but a much more dangerous force: self-righteousness.

When you read the words of Charles Michel, a disturbing thought hits you: the people actually believe their own rhetoric. Consider this passage, in which Michel favourably compares the EU to Russia and China: “Europe will not use vaccines for propaganda purposes. We promote our values.”

I wonder, where were these “values” when they tried to impose a hard border on the island of Ireland? Or, now, as they cause millions of people to fear a life-saving vaccine?

But then, for the European Union, self-righteousness is not a character flaw, it’s a necessity. The EU is an enterprise — the “European project”, in fact. As such, it is unlike a real country. A nation, like a family, isn’t defined by what it does and still less what it thinks. It has no need to state its purpose or justify its existence.

The phrase, “my country, right or wrong” is widely regarded as the classic statement of jingoistic nationalism. But properly understood, what it means is that you can admit that your country is wrong, because that won’t change the fact of its existence — or of your belonging to it.

Not so with an enterprise. If it doesn’t work anymore, then it shouldn’t continue — because it is no more or less than it what it does. To fail a test as big as Covid — and in particular the vaccination effort — has existential implications for the European Union.

It is therefore not a question of the EU asking itself whether it’s got this one fundamentally wrong. By its own internal logic, it cannot be fundamentally wrong — certainly not on a matter as important as this one. Rather, the question is how it reconciles this basic assumption with reality.

I really hope the gap between the two narrows, because I fear the next set of answers.


Peter Franklin is Associate Editor of UnHerd. He was previously a policy advisor and speechwriter on environmental and social issues.

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Vikram Sharma
Vikram Sharma
3 years ago

I have managed projects in several EU countries. They each have their strengths and foibles. Germans are efficient but the strict hierarchy means it takes much longer for youngster to flourish in academia. There is outright financial corruption and nepotism in the Mediterranean countries, but the have an endearing need to be liked, hence can be over accommodating. French are haughty and yet unable make anything happen.
But each country has a similar reaction to England- a grudging, slightly resentful, never publicly acknowledged admiration. It comes out after conference dinners in a one to one conversation when they can speak freely.
England does many things better than EU. that’s why in getting research grants,we get far more from EU funding than we put in. The quality of science in Britain is beyond doubt the best in Europe by several leagues. Our creative arts industry is the best in the world. This island is crammed full of highly innovative and freethinking people.
We should have faith in this extraordinary land and its people. Sure, we have problems, pessimism and Guardian reading as two prominent ones.
In the long run I would bet on England any time.

Joe Blow
Joe Blow
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

“Sure, we have problems…Guardian reading as two prominent ones.”
Very good 🙂
Soon, I hope that most of the few people who look at that silly paper will be doing so for reasons akin to mine – for amusement at the embittered and anachronistic thinking on display.
The best strategy for the Grauniad would surely to double-down on its propensity to self-satirize, and to become a deliberate, not accidental, competitor to The Onion.

mike otter
mike otter
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Blow

The Graun is great in some ways – shows the infantilism and paucity of leftist thinking and shows the perils of hubris as they continue to rant to a decreasing audience. This last point is also one the ways its not great – who funds it or the scott trust now they’ve sold AutoTrader? My guess is Putin and/or PRC with help from local useful idiots. Another big minus is their continuing incitement of racial conflict, mostly between black and white people but also on behalf of violent Islamists versus Everyone Else. If they were to be investigted and closed down it would create an opening for geniunely throughtful left wing activism which unlike race baiting or terrorism does have considerable public support.

Last edited 3 years ago by mike otter
Jonathan Weil
Jonathan Weil
3 years ago
Reply to  mike otter

The Scott Trust showed a healthy capital gain last year.

Still, the Guardian didn’t pay back the financial support they’d had from the government (unlike the other major papers, who did) — y’ know, to pay for all those schools and hospitals they’re so keen on…

See also, the entire staff agreeing to take a pay cut early in the pandemic, only for the upper management to quietly adjust their own salaries back up again.

Woo solidarity!

Dave M
Dave M
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Weil

The Scott Trust, which of course isn’t a trust but a limited company that uses tax shelters in the Caymans?

That Scott “Trust”?

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Weil

The ”Grauniad ”has declined since I read it in 1970-74 …It is Authotarian stalinist,Now ..Also why dont they Pay Reparations to Slaves ,they keep demanding uK,and USA do?..Founded in May 1821 by Cotton magnate& Slavery supporter John Edward Taylor..

Jill Armstead
Jill Armstead
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Blow

And why does its woke readership not take issue with the vile cartoons (so called)?

David Boulding
David Boulding
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Blow

I drop by at the Graun from time to time out of interest and often to see what they are NOT commenting on.
No wonder it’s free to read online I can’t imagine anyone paying for such silly nonsense. What does upset me are the readers’ comments… Talk about blinkered. Are there really so many people who believe the Grauniad nonsense?

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

Haha, pessimism and Guardian reading – yes, run for the hills! Those were very nice words, Vikram. As a Brit-at-large in Europe, I’ve also come to deeply appreciate Britain’s freethinking, creative culture. If GB could steal just a smidgen of that German precision and drive to fix things that aren’t working properly, it’d be fabulous.

Eleanor Barlow
Eleanor Barlow
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

‘As a Brit-at-large in Europe, I’ve also come to deeply appreciate Britain’s freethinking, creative culture.’

As a Brit who spent 45 years of working life in the UK – working for public and private sector – I don’t recognise this creative freethinking culture at all. Everywhere I’ve worked, those employees who are good at thinking outside the box are not valued because they are viewed as a risk to the predominantly hierarchical managerialist culture that exists in many workplaces.

Last edited 3 years ago by Eleanor Barlow
Duncan Hunter
Duncan Hunter
3 years ago
Reply to  Eleanor Barlow

And are firmly on HR’s watch list…

Robert Malcolm
Robert Malcolm
3 years ago
Reply to  Eleanor Barlow

I agree: its a very orthodox, ‘don’t rock the boat, be one of us, and avoid talking to the cleaners’ kind of culture, with most professions only connected by their mutual loathing of other professions. And that’s just the NHS and Local government. .

Antony Hirst
Antony Hirst
3 years ago
Reply to  Eleanor Barlow

Yup. But that is the same everywhere. And I mean everywhere, Asia, ME, Europe, and the UK.
Creative people have to start their own enterprises, but they then value people the most who do as they are told and don’t try and break the new mold. So the cycle continues. Human nature I’m afraid.

Peter Lockyer
Peter Lockyer
3 years ago
Reply to  Eleanor Barlow

Quite right with regards public sector. I had 11 mind numbingly awful years in the civil service.

Last edited 3 years ago by Peter Lockyer
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
3 years ago
Reply to  Eleanor Barlow

I think they key words might be public sector

David Simpson
David Simpson
3 years ago
Reply to  Eleanor Barlow

Which is why so many of us are self employed

Cathy Talbot
Cathy Talbot
3 years ago
Reply to  Eleanor Barlow

Yes and where is it now? Hiding out and obeying lockdown? Very creative.

Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

‘If GB could steal just a smidgen of that German precision and drive to fix things that aren’t working properly…’

Duly noted, though the following (anecdotal) point is slightly to the contrary of that. Namely a German manufacturer saying that his first choice for engineers would always be Germans, because of their excellent training and their efficiency … so long as everything was functioning as planned. But if things ‘went unforeseen’, he would want British engineers, because of their ability to devise and implement a rapid impromptu solution.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
3 years ago
Reply to  Wilfred Davis

That is also true in my experience. Anything going even slightly not to plan does send Germans into a bit of a tizzy..which brings us back to the vaccine rollout fiasco. The British deal better with situations that are untidy and a bit chaotic because (I think) we are less wedded to a certain structure or process. But the people who have commented above may disagree…

Katy Randle
Katy Randle
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

I agree completely with this. I was lucky enough to work in theatre, which is (was?) full of the oddballs that the rest of German society cannot tolerate.

Peter Dunn
Peter Dunn
3 years ago
Reply to  Wilfred Davis

The German auto-e gineers are excellently trained..in making false statements about the cleanliness of their engines…and covering them up.

Scott Carson
Scott Carson
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Dunn

They were only obeying orders…..

Matt Sutcliffe
Matt Sutcliffe
3 years ago
Reply to  Wilfred Davis

Absolutely. The old joke about Britain is that we fall at every hurdle except the last one. In other words we tend to get things right eventually. We also are extremely innovative and perform well when the pressure is on ie. mayhem has broken out. Your “rapid impromptu solution” is very apt. Kate Bingham and her team spring to mind.

Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
3 years ago
Reply to  Matt Sutcliffe

Matt, thank you. Another one is: ‘The British tend to lose every battle … except the last.’

David Boulding
David Boulding
3 years ago
Reply to  Wilfred Davis

Like that German airport? Or the bridge that didn’t meet in the middle?

David Bell
David Bell
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

German precision hasn’t fixed their vaccine crisis.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

Glad you recognise the difference between England, Wales, NI and Scotland. I guess you’ve given up on the UK.
While it might be your genuine interpretation of your experience (your truth, if you like) it is striking how your impressions mirror those well known tropes of the Germans being efficient and hierarchical, the haughty French and emotional but unreliable Latins.

Mark H
Mark H
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

So I think you’re saying that those tropes have a grain of truth in them?

nick harman
nick harman
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark H

Stereotypes don’t come out of nowhere, invariably there is more than a grain of truth

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark H

Not at all.

Simon Baggley
Simon Baggley
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

You might want to accurately address the points made in the article rather than continually avoid the creeping realisation that your beloved EU are not fit for purpose

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Baggley

I have done in an another comment.

Vikram Sharma
Vikram Sharma
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Mr Bridgeford
Stereotypes only work because they contain a grain of truth. Try a stereotype such as a modest Italian to see how well it works. You seem to have fallen for a jejune view that confuses patterns of collective human behaviour with dislike of others.
V

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

I don’t think they do work. I think they are a lazy way of making prejudicial racist or xenophobic statements about people.
By your reasoning the stereotypes about the Irish being thick, Jews being crafty, Scots being mean and the English being arrogant are true.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

It is a long time since Johnson coined the phrase “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.”
I think a different word might now be a better fit

Last edited 3 years ago by Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Jonathan Weil
Jonathan Weil
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

I remember the first time I ever had to pay for a plastic shopping bag. It was north of the border. They had obviously been doing it for years before we started. No judgement on that score: let’s allow for the sake of argument that it’s a good thing to charge for plastic bags. But the gimlet gleam in the eye of the elderly till-lady as she announced the impost, the triumph as she realised that yes, I was English and had never been charged for a plastic bag before and *was obviously feeling quite cross about it*, was…

Scottish.

John MacDonald
John MacDonald
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Weil

I’m Scottish and that made me laugh because it’s so true. Those sort of little victories used to be enough for us, along with the occasional win at Wembley or Murrayfield. Sadly no longer – we’ve lost the plot.

Arthur Holty
Arthur Holty
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

Vikram… trying to pass a logical fallacy as a rational argument is not a sound basis to get your point across. Admittedly it should work well with many in this crowd.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

What then are the differences between countries? Is it just geography?

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago

There are differences in culture, legal systems, language, economies, history, geography. My issue isn’t with the differences between countries it’s with applying a judgement of character to the people in those countries based only on their nationality.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

I have lived and worked in a number of European countries, and worked on projects in others. I don’t really recognise those stereotypes, or generalisations. All in all the Dutch are probably the easiest to work with because they are closer to our sense of humour, and. of course the Poles are great people

Vikram Sharma
Vikram Sharma
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Your stereotypes are truths, mine are generalisations.
Understood.

Mangle Tangle
Mangle Tangle
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

and the Dutch are famously blunt, unlike us (English)!

nick harman
nick harman
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Of course it depends where you meet Poles. Most of the ones here seem the country’s equivalent of Sun readers and are often drunk and rather racist.

hugh bennett
hugh bennett
3 years ago
Reply to  nick harman

Nick, I admire Poles. We owe Poland many debts, one we seem to have forgotten about, but one we should not have forgotten, is that during the summer of 1920 the people of Poland, men,women and children, stood against the Red Army and defeated it and at a huge cost. Lenin and his coven had seen an opportunity, in the turmoil of the times, to initiate an International Revolution, perhaps even to steam roll Poland, then Germany, then France and then GB and create a Communist Super State. So next time you come across a Pole in a pub, if they ever open again, buy them a drink! In addition i like the way Poland irritates the hell out of Brussels……

David Brown
David Brown
3 years ago
Reply to  hugh bennett

A Few Poles were pretty useful in the summer of 1940, too. And yes, that upper case “F” is deliberate.

Jon Read
Jon Read
3 years ago
Reply to  David Brown

…and we thanked them by going selectively deaf in the summer of 1944 when they needed us the most.

David Boulding
David Boulding
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Read

Over-ridden by the Americans I’m afraid

Simon Baggley
Simon Baggley
3 years ago
Reply to  hugh bennett

A ridiculous notion – buying someone a drink because of what their ancestors did – what about Poland now ?

Nick Wade
Nick Wade
3 years ago
Reply to  nick harman

Which sounds a bit racist…

David Bell
David Bell
3 years ago
Reply to  nick harman

Nick, it’s long past time to junk the R word. It has become meaningless.

Andy Yorks
Andy Yorks
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

As Maggie remarked the trouble with the Europeans is they hate us for liberating them from themselves.

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
3 years ago
Reply to  Andy Yorks

If the EU collapses, I have little doubt that the UK and Brexit will be blamed as a chief contributing factor
If the EU is finally reformed (unlikely but possible), Brexit will not be credited for anything.
The reality is of course that the EU is flawed with or without the UK and can survive or perish on its own merit – but the blame game will only go one way.

Rick Sharona
Rick Sharona
3 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

Blamed? UK should be lauded for precipitating the collapse of that sclerotic institution.

willy Daglish
willy Daglish
3 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

Possible? Never. It is inherently incapable of reform.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Andy Yorks

They “hate” the US even more, if that’s possible.

Andy Yorks
Andy Yorks
3 years ago

I should have added that Maggie also said that in the 20th Century all the problems in the world originated in Europe and all the solutions from without – that is to say the Anglosphere. No wonder the French and Germans hate us.

Peter Branagan
Peter Branagan
3 years ago
Reply to  Andy Yorks

Question: can you name the people of any country who like the English – in particular foaming at the mouth Brexiters? Check around the world. You’ll have a long fruitless search.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

You’ll find most Americans like the British and/or English if you prefer, with a few notable exceptions like Barack Obama.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago

Or Senile (Lets bomb Syria) Biden…I think most Americans I met like the Quirks of British Accents! I also visited USA in 2002,2003,2004..

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Robin Lambert
  • Biden just likes St Patrick’s day, he’s a paddy Irishman. On a good day when he can remember who he is and where he is.
Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago

New Information,March 26 (Today) says biden is less Irish,if at all .Why Do Americans like to claim Origins which are fantasies,as per Elizabeth warren ”Pochohontas”, she has No cherokee blood?….

John Nutkins
John Nutkins
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

How sweeping your assertion is about the English being disliked in every country. I note too your rabid description of those who voted to leave the EU. And your foregone ‘conclusion’ that any search would be fruitless sums up your ignorance, arrogance and utter stupidity. My own experience of working in Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand and Germany covering some 35 years has been a happy one completely countering your facile question. However, I did visit France once i.e. I passed through on the way to Calais, and I was unable to decide whether the attitude of the two Frenchmen I met was hostility or ignorance – both, I suspect. But then that’s France for you.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  John Nutkins

There seems to be some sort of moral value in claiming the English to be unliked. And in general, the English seem to be focused on disliking themselves more than most people. You won’t read the kind of “we are absolutely the worst” sort of stuff elsewhere.

David Bell
David Bell
3 years ago
Reply to  John Nutkins

Even the French are nice to Brit visitors, especially in the countryside. They are very pro-British in Normandy and the WW1 areas, remembering our sacrifices on their behalf.

David Boulding
David Boulding
3 years ago
Reply to  John Nutkins

I have spent around 15 years of my life working outside the UK – mostly in Europe (East and West). If you speak to the French in French they will love you. I have found the man in the street pleasant, helpful and welcoming. Less so bureaucrats. This is true over much of Europe where I found the most difficult and unpleasant to be Austrians and, in a different way, Russians. In Russia we are viewed with great mistrust.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

Give that man a pint of Black & Tan, and make it snappy!

Duncan Hunter
Duncan Hunter
3 years ago

Get the Black & Tans to pay him a visit.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

I think the English are most seriously loathed by other Englishmen who have narcissistic aspirations not to be English.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago

Don’t you mean the Scotch?

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
3 years ago

No I definitely mean the English. Those that cringe as the struggle to find the vocabulary to describe their countrymen

Chris Wilson
Chris Wilson
3 years ago

Scotch is a drink Charles

Duncan Hunter
Duncan Hunter
3 years ago

Scotch = whisky.

John MacDonald
John MacDonald
3 years ago

The Black and Tans were Scottish, Charlie, not Scotch, as I’m sure you well know 😉

Tom Jennings
Tom Jennings
3 years ago

Do you think they aspire to be French?

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Jennings

French, German, Italian, Klingon … basically anything but English

David Froster
David Froster
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

The Albanians I met seemed to like the English. Not very fond of Germans though.

David Bell
David Bell
3 years ago
Reply to  David Froster

They love our cars, which is why they steal so many of them.

Tom Jennings
Tom Jennings
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

The USA. A lot of us are foaming a bit at the mouth these days.

Arthur Holty
Arthur Holty
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

Peter B… Us Aussies love the poms…especially if we beat them in the ashes… even if we lose its alright because those poor buggers have to return to old Blighty.

Nick Wade
Nick Wade
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

What a ridiculous comment. I was born and brought up in Asia, worked in Africa for a charity, trained in Australia, and now travel the world extensively as a pilot.

I’m sure politeness has much to do with it, but I can honestly say I’ve very rarely encountered all these haters of the English you allude to. Most people I’ve chatted to are interested, and have positive things to say about the UK and the British.

Funnily enough, I think the only place I’ve encountered outright rudeness is in Europe. Make of that what you will.

Last edited 3 years ago by Nick Wade
Katy Randle
Katy Randle
3 years ago
Reply to  Nick Wade

I don’t think Peter was talking from real-world experience, bless him! He despises himself for being British, it would seem, so projects that dislike onto the rest of the world.
I have never come across hostility to my being English; perhaps I’ve been lucky. Understandable confusion that I speak other languages fluently, haha, but hate? Nope.

Joff Brown
Joff Brown
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

I’ve lived abroad (Asia) and travelled extensively and found that most of the people I’ve encountered have a positive view of England.

David Bell
David Bell
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

I can name many. Greece, Japan, Portugal (Britain’s oldest ally), the U.S, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, the list goes on. Granted they have their beefs about us (particularly our antipodean cousins) but Britain isn’t as reviled as you like to make out, or would wish, judging from your posts.

David Boulding
David Boulding
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

I think most people around the world like the British (and thus the English). They term all of us as “English”. We are universally loathed in Ireland, that’s true Mr Branagan.

Mangle Tangle
Mangle Tangle
3 years ago
Reply to  Andy Yorks

I think the only overt dislike of the UK (actually, the English) is by French elites. The Germans have a problem with us too, but they do a much better job of hiding it.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Mangle Tangle

I once worked at an American subcontractor to Airbus with contracts with the Brits and the Germans (MBB at the time). It was a huge trip listening to them bash each other (and both wanted us to agree as to how awful the others were) but both hated the French even worse. It was an eye opener because you won’t find that sort of national bashing on a daily basis at an American company.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Mangle Tangle

What about the Scotch?

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

Make mine a double.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago

With soda?

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

Neat of course

David Radford
David Radford
3 years ago

I think you mean Scottish

Joff Brown
Joff Brown
3 years ago
Reply to  David Radford

I think he’s taking the piss.

Jayne Lago
Jayne Lago
3 years ago
Reply to  Mangle Tangle

No doubt all countries have some who dislike us, even when we are handing out money and supplying emergency response teams and the like. But what offends me is the fact that there seem to be enough people living here that hate everything about England/UK which makes me wonder why they are here in the first place. I think society in the UK seems to be really mean spirited and a good many would complain and criticise no matter what we achieve. Perhaps a few sabbaticals in other countries I could name, we do us all the world of good

Joff Brown
Joff Brown
3 years ago
Reply to  Mangle Tangle

Having spent a lot of time in Germany and working for a German company for nearly a decade, my experience is that the Germans tend to like us, but there you go.

David Boulding
David Boulding
3 years ago
Reply to  Joff Brown

I’d say the same having worked in both Germanys.

Valerie Killick
Valerie Killick
3 years ago
Reply to  Andy Yorks

For someone not renowned for her humour she certainly produced some pithy remarks.

Ernest DuBrul
Ernest DuBrul
3 years ago
Reply to  Andy Yorks

And they hate us Yanks for helping you do it and for helping you all get back on your feet in the aftermath.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Ernest DuBrul

Yes, indeed, and sometimes you must wonder why you bothered.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
3 years ago
Reply to  Ernest DuBrul

Well that was really unforgivable and your continued existence and success is merely a painful reminder

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

Very good. The UK, though, not just England.

Nigel Clarke
Nigel Clarke
3 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

No, just England I think.

David Boulding
David Boulding
3 years ago
Reply to  Nigel Clarke

England and Britain are synonymous to most foreigners.

D.C.S Turner
D.C.S Turner
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

except those research grants won;t exist anymore

Vikram Sharma
Vikram Sharma
3 years ago
Reply to  D.C.S Turner

Must you reveal both ignorance and prejudice? I am just applying for a European Horizon Grant with UK as lead.
https://www.ucl.ac.uk/brexit/support-ucl-community/eu-uk-deal-implications-research

Rybo Adders
Rybo Adders
3 years ago
Reply to  D.C.S Turner

Where I wonder did the UK grant money originate from?

Simon Baggley
Simon Baggley
3 years ago
Reply to  Rybo Adders

Errr

Last edited 3 years ago by Simon Baggley
David Boulding
David Boulding
3 years ago
Reply to  Rybo Adders

Staggers me that people can still say things like “those research grants won’t exist anymore” as if the EU somehow magicked up the money from nowhere?

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

I’ll mention a third problem; BBC employees seem to me to be overwhelmingly readers of the Guardian and nothing else, with a much bigger influence.

Vikram Sharma
Vikram Sharma
3 years ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

I don’t want to defund the BBC. All Tim Davie needs to do is to stop the incestuous relationship between the BBC and the Guardian. Nothing dramatic, just ensure open and transparent Conflict of Interest declarations on the BBC when reports/reporters are lifted from the Guardian. This single move will make the BBC less biased. There is no hope for the Guardian, so doesn’t apply to it.

Last edited 3 years ago by Vikram Sharma
Alfred Prufrock
Alfred Prufrock
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

The problem with that is it is never going to happen. It is either a case of defund the BBC or put up with it as it is.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

To redress the balance ensure that all BBC vacancies are advertised only in the Daily Mail or, if it is already too woke, the Sun

David Brown
David Brown
3 years ago

I cannot vouch for the truth of this, but I did once read that BBC vacancies are only advertised in The Guardian. I certainly never saw one in The Daily Telegraph, but it’s a long time since I was job hunting in the newspapers.

Andy Yorks
Andy Yorks
3 years ago
Reply to  David Brown

That’s true. But the Guardian has a tiny circulation, so they ought to have been in the Telegraph and Mail.

Andy Yorks
Andy Yorks
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

Sorry, don’t agree. The BBC is basically the broadcasting arm of the Guardian partly because the BBC buy more copies of it than any other newspaper even though it has the lowest circulation of any major title – they should buy reflection circulation.
But the major point is that the BBC is a monopoly as it controls nearly 70% of broadcast news within the UK. That is dangerous and we need a vastly more diverse scene, so the BBC needs to be reduced in scale and divested of a large amount of its current affairs broadcasting. There needs to be a UK FoxNews and there is no excuse for there not being one.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Andy Yorks

I DONT want news of” Right ”or” Left ”bias or brussels Just The news as per BBC in 1960s &1970s before ‘Woke era’ BWE .hopefully GB-news wont let uS down??

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

I think Subscription is inevitable..”The Serpent” on BBC recently was A Netflix production, with Now tv, BT Sport,Amazon Prime etc..the era of Auntie telling everyone how to think,Live iS Over?…

Last edited 3 years ago by Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

As I have said before bill Gates (Of hell) Foundation filters funds to support Small sales of The Guardian,The Observer and puts those news platforms on its Software .MSN=Microsoft news

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

Thank you for believing in the UK!

Mark Walker
Mark Walker
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

Peter Franklin, thank you for your insightful analysis which provoked Vikram Sharma’s excellent comment. My membership of Unherd is definitely great value for 75p a week.

Phil Bolton
Phil Bolton
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

Interesting that you refer to this country as ‘England’ rather than the UK. I assume that was deliberate but would be interested to know why ?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Phil Bolton

Isn’t that obvious. Nearly 90% of the UK’s population are either English or live in England, or WS put it :
“This precious stone set in the silver sea”

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago

This fractured Isle?

Terry Needham
Terry Needham
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

You really do have a chip on your shoulder don’t you?

Simon Baggley
Simon Baggley
3 years ago
Reply to  Terry Needham

Of course he does – he’s a self loathing Remainer

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Baggley

Not self loathing.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Terry Needham

Of course. I’m ‘Scotch’.

Vikram Sharma
Vikram Sharma
3 years ago
Reply to  Phil Bolton

I meant the English specifically. Explanations will divert from this otherwise excellent thread. Perhaps another time.

T J Putnam
T J Putnam
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

Sadly, that slightly grudging respect for the UK over here has been on the wane since 2010 and what’s left now consumed in a Boris bonfire. It’s been replaced by head shaking and doubts about whether ‘the Brits’ are mad or merely sad. Friend and relatives in the States now shaking their heads too, especially since Harry and Meghan’s story came out.

David Brown
David Brown
3 years ago
Reply to  T J Putnam

Because of course, as a writer pointed out only a few days ago (was it in Unherd? Might have been…), there is no racism in America, and Tinsel Town is noted for the complete absence of intrusive hacks.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  David Brown

Well, the Markles did choose the US over the UK but that’s totally irrelevant. This point had been made but this isn’t about racism, it’s about Meghan not wanting to be criticized. Nothing more. She believes that she should be able to control the media. She has produced not a single example of British media racism against her. Not one. Harry is tied up in the back seat along for the ride.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  T J Putnam

Yes during the Obama years, GB was persona non grata. Especially after it defied him and voted Brexit. But even before Brexit he did not like the British.
But that is long over. And please do not confuse Meghan Markle with Americans. She is not representative of us and we feel the same disgust at her behavior that others outside the US feel. Harry we just feel sorry for. He seems a bit trapped.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
3 years ago
Reply to  T J Putnam

Apart from history, what do we have? I have read in the past week on UnHerd:

We are frightened to go into our city centres at night.

We have corrupt/useless political system.

Our education system is run by wokes.

We only have time for celebs.

Our police do not work on crime, they just take the easy things, like harassing people..

Our media is bad and woke.

Politicians are evil.

Universities have been taken over by wokes.

Students no longer do anything important.

I have read these things here. What is there to be proud of?

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  T J Putnam

Harry & MeAgain Vacuous story was watched by 17m US 5% of population,most were bored with its Inaccuracies 1) of Many Archie Was stopped from a title because of his colour,when ONLY direct heirs are Prince &Princess as per 1917 reforms,2) Security is handled by Police Commissioners not HM Queen..

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  T J Putnam

Who isn’t shaking their heads over Harry and Meghan. Boris is very popular in the US. You must be in California.

Charlie Walker
Charlie Walker
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

Brilliant

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

United Kingdom Please…England yes is underplayed &Overtaxed in the Union, but anti-democrats in SnP, Plaid cymru want to smash the union

Giles Chance
Giles Chance
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

I’m the first person to praise good old Blighty, but let’s not get too carried away with our own wonderfulness. Against the many pluses, like summer pudding, steak and kidney pie and Les Dawson, really important areas where we lag European countries include: 1) in business, over-focus on short-term financial results at the cost of long-term strategic thinking. I’,m thinking not just of the Germans here, but also of the French (yes, the French) 2) obsession with rising house prices, because this is where most Brits make their money. We have now reached the point where a serious (and desirable) correction in house prices may have become politically impossible in GB 3) ridiculously expensive wine, to the extent that a bottle of generic Bordeaux plonk, to be bought for 2 Euros in a French supermarket, will cost 10 or more pounds in a UK supermarket 4) much snobbery. We are not perfect. (By the way, the Guardian does have one or two decent columns per week and I always flip quickly through the (free) online publication every day in case there is one.)

clem alford
clem alford
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

Is Britain really freethinking when these new hate crime laws are being passed? Discuss anything controversial and you are branded a fascist, racist, Islamophobe, xenophobe and any other name by those that hardly know what the words mean!! I tried discussing Islam with a Muslim and first words were ‘you are racist bigot’, not understanding that a religion is not a race and asking questions is not bigotry! Where is the ‘freethinking’ and there are thousands that talk like this, defended by the so called ‘Left’.

Marlene Anderson
Marlene Anderson
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

I presume you mean the UK when you talk about England?

Joe Blow
Joe Blow
3 years ago

“To fail a test as big as Covid has existential implications for Europe.”
No, it has existential implications for European Union. Please stop conflating the two. Europe is a geographic region.The EU is a political organisation that exists to accrue power to itself and to undermine the proper functioning of the democracies of Europe’s nation states.

Silvia Hansel
Silvia Hansel
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Blow

No, it has existential implications for European Union.”
Correct, thank you. By far not all European countries belong to the European Union.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Silvia Hansel

Plus Finland,Austria Vaccinated Continues as did others defying Ursula Van der Lying

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Blow

Good on you

This disingenuous wicked conflation must be called out and stamped on whenever it rears it ugly head.

David Brown
David Brown
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Blow

Quite so. I am a European. I am also a Briton, and an Englishman. I detest the European Union, but rather like its member states and their people.

Alexander Morrison
Alexander Morrison
3 years ago

My Italian parents-in-law live in Lombardy, and are in their late sixties. They have no idea of when they might be vaccinated, and are increasingly demoralised by a year spent in varying degrees of lockdown with no end in sight. My wife’s grandmother is 93 years old, and still doesn’t have an appointment to be vaccinated. Not only have they vaccinated relatively few people in Italy, to get the numbers up quicker they have focused on those who are easy to vaccinate – medical students, firefighters, teachers, now university lecturers – rather than the elderly who are actually most at risk of severe illness and death from the disease. Yesterday we heard indirectly from friends of the family who had literally been en route to a vaccination appointment when they got a text saying it was cancelled because of the suspension of the AZ jab. This is not all or only the fault of the EU’s procurement policy (Italian governments can always be relied upon to add a dollop of their own unique brand of incompetence), but these supposedly high-minded, principled political decisions have real consequences for real people – and they are not benign.

Kevin Newman
Kevin Newman
3 years ago

It is even worse than that, people who have had the AZ vaccine in European countries are now being told that the vaccine may be unsafe and may lead to a higher risk of blood clots, often fatal. Some will shrug this off but, for others, it will damage their mental health.
Of course the EU has been staggering incompetent but don’t let the European states off the hook. Statistics show that the Pfizer vaccine has slightly higher clotting risks than the AZ vaccine but both are low. But lets single out AZ, so this is clear demonstration of their rampant hypocrisy.

Jim le Messurier
Jim le Messurier
3 years ago

This puts the whole sorry beaurocratic debacle in it’s human context i.e. the potential fatal outcomes for many.
The lofty ideals of the EU project come to a juddering standstill in the face of these realities. And yet no glimmer of accountability, no apology or even acknowledgement of mistakes, is to be seen.
I feel sorry for the citizens of EU countries, especially those in Southern Europe. I like and admire the peoples of Europe very much and hope it doesn’t end badly, but it’s difficult to see a good outcome.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago

I fear Balkanasation of EU?..Germany,France,Italy,belgium V The rest ..it Wont end well,No velvet Czech,Slovak separation?.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

It’s the same with my in-laws in Germany. Only one has had the vaccine and she is a nurse. Others in their 60s and 70s don’t even have appointments.

Ian Ogden
Ian Ogden
3 years ago

Annette, I am not sure which you like the most, Germany with free trade or the EU with all the rules and regulations. Myself, I prefer free trade(self responsibility) and co-operation in friendship and not multi nations with many different ideas. Regards, Ian O.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Ogden

I’m American and what Germany does it really up to the German people. Germany benefits from the EU, other members, not so much, but I can tell you that we would never join something like the EU where we were dependent on Mexico or Canada.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
3 years ago

One of the most frustrating things about the EU is its fixation on what’s written on paper – values, the rules of the Northern Ireland Protocol, solidarity – and not the real-world impact. As Mr. Franklin writes, the belief in the veracity of what’s gone down on paper in a treaty, directive, etc. is so great – those documents somehow attain the status of scripture. When the real-world feedback loop clearly says “THIS IS NOT WORKING, YOU ARE WRONG”, it’s not merely a bit of a nuisance because you have to go back to the drawing board. It’s like a whole belief system shattering.
Am quite flabberghasted by the AstraZeneca drama. And the effect in terms of confidence among the population is real. Several people I know don’t want to take the vaccine because they think it is a shoddy, second-class product. Nothing is being reported about the numbers of thrombosis cases associated with the BionTech jab. Careless statements like those made by Macron some months ago have caused huge damage.

Last edited 3 years ago by Katharine Eyre
Lee Floyd
Lee Floyd
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

The uncertainty you report was the point, or at least, a major intended spin off….it is Mutually Assured Destruction actually in operation. The pandemic has ripped the facade away, the mask is off the Beast.

Caroline Galwey
Caroline Galwey
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Haha, that reminds me of the old cartoon of the two enarques – products of the French Ecole Nationale d’Administration – walking the corridors of power. One of them is saying to the other: ‘That’s all very well in practice, but how will it work in theory?’

Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
3 years ago

And in an article in the FT some years ago, the author (British, working with many nationalities) had a French staff member actually ask him this theory/practice question at the end of a meeting to solve a problem. (From recollection, something like: ‘I can see that the solution will obviously work in practice, but … what’s the theory?’)

You couldn’t make it up. But then, you don’t need to.

Duncan Hunter
Duncan Hunter
3 years ago

That is the mantra of contemporary management consultants, not least those so beloved of our free spending government.

Silvia Hansel
Silvia Hansel
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Katharine Eyre, what you describe is of necessity for a group of 27 diverse nations and for the burocratic behemoth such as the EU has become. I would add that there is no single position of responsibility, only scapegoats. It is downright frightening; and it’s difficult to imagine how it could improve. Scratch a burocracy and spite flows out.

Stanley Beardshall
Stanley Beardshall
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Having lived now for thirty years in France, I completely understand your point about belief in what is on the paper – just try to tell a French fonctionaire that the paper is wrong; total mental breakdown and end of discussion.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
3 years ago

I’ve been living in Austria for 16 years and still can’t quite get my head around the inability/lack of willingness to think beyond the existing rules/instructions which have been given. I don’t know if it’s like this in France, but here, there is this obsession with competence (“ZustĂ€ndigkeit”) – i.e. the little patch of authority that is allocated to each person within the system. When you ring up an authority, you’d better be aiming at the right person because if they aren’t the right one for your particular problem they will simply say “not my problem” (or words to that effect) and that’s it. It’s a bit more customer-oriented now but when I first arrived, getting anything done was like a game of snakes and ladders where you could slide back down to square 1 at any second if you took a wrong step.

Last edited 3 years ago by Katharine Eyre
David Brown
David Brown
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Over many years the EU has shown itself remarkably willing to bend and break its own rules where to do so advances le projet européenne.
Germany wants to do X? No problem. France wants to do X? Hmmm… OK. Italy wants to do X? That’s a hefty fine.
Greece wants to join the single currency, when we all know it’s cooked the books to meet the criteria? Hush! The more the merrier, and nothing can go wrong.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

I think the fact that the UK PM is the proven liar he is might go a way to explaining the EU reliance on writing things down.

Simon Baggley
Simon Baggley
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

I pity you – is there no known cure

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Baggley

You don’t think he’s a liar?

Richard Lord
Richard Lord
3 years ago

The EU has always been run by useless nonentities because the large EU nations will never allow a person of character and ability to run the EU, in fear of being challenged and losing control. Five presidents ….. really !!!

The empire will fall, thank goodness the British people had the sense to jump first.

Valerie Killick
Valerie Killick
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard Lord

Yes, you only have to look at useless Ursula and the previous incompetents in that position to know that is true. Ursula and her ilk are only there for the euro-elite to hide behind, they are puppets who do as they are told and take the blame when stuff goes wrong.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard Lord

I think you mean; ENOUGH of the British people had the sense.

D.C.S Turner
D.C.S Turner
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard Lord

How is brexit coming along by the way? When does your student son or daughter start that year abroad meeting people from other countries and learning about a new culture?

Stanley Beardshall
Stanley Beardshall
3 years ago
Reply to  D.C.S Turner

How is Brexit coming along? Well, here are yesterday’s official figures:

France: 29000 new cases
400 deaths
25000 in hospital
5.3 million first vaccinations

UK: 5300 new cases
110 deaths
7200 in hospital
24.8 million first vaccinations

Duncan Hunter
Duncan Hunter
3 years ago
Reply to  D.C.S Turner

Are you serious? Look at the shambolic events, pathetic posturing and rampant case rises in the EU and you can rapidly conclude that, an EU vaccine passport scheme notwithstanding, there won’t be much travel of any sort on the Continent unless things change radically and rapidly. Whose fault would that be?

How is reconciling yourself to the result of the Brexit vote coming along? You approve of the way the EU is behaving? Must be a hard rain a’falling in Qislington.

J C Wood
J C Wood
3 years ago
Reply to  D.C.S Turner

Two of mine went to Australia via Thailand, one interrailed round Europe, and another went to N.America. One now lives and works in HK and another in the States. I don’t think there is much of a problem.

Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
3 years ago
Reply to  D.C.S Turner

You may care to look at the UK’s new Turing scheme for student exchanges. Rather like Erasmus, but it applies to the whole world, not just the EU.

Alfred Prufrock
Alfred Prufrock
3 years ago
Reply to  D.C.S Turner

I would think every major university in the EU will be closed for the foreseeable future.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
3 years ago

Fancy coming out for a fish supper ce soir?

Guy Johnson
Guy Johnson
3 years ago
Reply to  D.C.S Turner

They can meet lots of people from many different countries all at the same time at pretty much any British University.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  D.C.S Turner

Is it a year abroad only if it’s in the EU?

Jonathan West
Jonathan West
3 years ago
Reply to  D.C.S Turner

No need to, more cultures in a square mile of London

Jayne Lago
Jayne Lago
3 years ago
Reply to  D.C.S Turner

Oh dear…must be a REMAINER!

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago
Reply to  D.C.S Turner

Brexit is coming along wonderfully. Thanks for asking.

Simon Baggley
Simon Baggley
3 years ago
Reply to  D.C.S Turner

Desperate – young people can still travel

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  D.C.S Turner

Twerp ..Exchange of Students existed in 1950s long b4 Heath illegally took uK in 1973…I myself Lived in Finland 1975/76 before they made the mistake of joining and losing 70 years of neutrality.

David Brown
David Brown
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard Lord

The Brussels corridors of power might be short on persons of character, but being a bit of a character was never a bar to promotion. Just look at Frau von der Leyen’s predecessor.

Ailsa Roddie
Ailsa Roddie
3 years ago

None of this comes as a surprise to anyone who was paying attention to the EU handling of the financial crisis, particularly with regards to Greece. Or the handling of the proposed Brexit referendum actually. Or the migrant crisis.

It gives me no pleasure to watch however.

Nick Whitehouse
Nick Whitehouse
3 years ago

Is the EU’s reaction not just old fashioned Socialism?
The principle being that, if everybody cannot have something, then it is better that nobody has that something.

Walter Lantz
Walter Lantz
3 years ago

Too true.
I would add to that line of thinking by saying the current political ideology fashion trend of adopting the lyrics of Imagine as an actual blueprint for government policy has been fatally exposed by the nationalistic realities of Covid.
It’s obvious in the EU and it’s certainly apparent in Canada.
The ‘ideology first’ neo-socialists are struggling mightily with the reality that the UK isn’t suffering without the EU’s protection and that the corporate pharmaceuticals are saving the day.
Governments like the UK and Israel for example, that recognized their job wasn’t to do vaccine but rather to get vaccine done are now miles ahead.

Last edited 3 years ago by Walter Lantz
David Brown
David Brown
3 years ago

‘The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.’
As Churchill apparently said in the Commons on 22 October 1945. I haven’t checked Hansard, though.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

‘I really hope the gap between the two narrows, because I fear the next set of answers.’
Perhaps the ‘next set of answers’ will dismantle the whole thing, which is nothing to fear. I am currently reading Yanis Varoufakis’ ‘And The Weak Suffer What They Must?’ He is broadly pro-EU, yet even he seems to think that the entire racket now exists largely to keep the bureaucrats and technocrats in cushy jobs in Brussels.

Joe Blow
Joe Blow
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

“…dismantle the whole thing, which is nothing to fear.”
Nothing to fear? It is what we should be working towards!

Mark Wilson
Mark Wilson
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Yes, Yanis is often worth listening to. He was against Brexit, because it would remove any British influence over what he sees as a likely EU collapse. He has opined that the Union will not collapse because Italy leaves, but because Germany does. And the Germans are most unimpressed by the current debacle…

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Wilson

I agree, he is worth listening to, first, because he has been forced to confront the workings of the EU at its worst, and second, because he appears to be unusually unafraid to think what he thinks, and then say what he thinks, even if it is against the flow of his peers.

Last edited 3 years ago by Colin Elliott
Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

yes Like Former UkiP mEP & EU Top Accountant Marta Andreasen..EU tries to destroy its ‘Whistleblowers’ and Bernard Connolly et al..

Valerie Killick
Valerie Killick
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Wilson

Germany is just fine when influence and riches come their way but when they are needed to finance countries whose economies they have helped destroy they always fail to see the funny side.

Andy Yorks
Andy Yorks
3 years ago

Yes, but. . . The Germans have gained a vastly undervalued currency which is paying off for them, but there is a fly in the ointment: Target2. Dragii kept the Euro going by breaking the EU Treaties – no bailouts – and allowing the Target2 balances to explode. The Germans are owed about a trillion Euros. That represents German savings and I think it is safe to assume that the vast majority of it is lost – they wont see a cent of it. So the German elite are desperate to keep the game going, or it might be more of a case of they don’t want it to go pear shaped on their watch.

Silvia Hansel
Silvia Hansel
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Nothing to fear? You might be a tad overoptimistic there. The EU is the epitome of the “too big to fail” concept. I hope for you that you don’t hold Greek or Italian bonds if or when it does fail.

Andy Yorks
Andy Yorks
3 years ago
Reply to  Silvia Hansel

Fortunately most Greek bonds are owned by the ECB and other European Governments. The few written under English Law should be ok.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Isn’t most of his ire aimed at bankers and capitalism and the way the EU is run for the benefit of bankers and capitalists?

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

And Socialist unions and stalinism the Left runs Social policy &Woke propaganda, right finance &business rather like Orwells ”Animal Farm”

David Bell
David Bell
3 years ago

The concentrated attack on the AZ vaccine is all about BRexit and nothing to do with safety. The Eu is desperate for evidence that leaving the Eu is bad for the UK and the AZ vaccine and the success of the UK vaccine program is a massive fly in that ointment.
The EU have followed a strategy of accusing the UK of double dealing (Article 16 threat and lying about an export ban) and a long term strategy of claiming the UK vaccine program and the AZ vaccine are “risky” to patients. They are working on the old principle that “a lie is half way round the world before the truth is out of bed”. The scary thing is they do not care how many people die as a result of this anti vax sentiment, all they want to do is damage the UK’s reputation.

Ellie Gladiataurus
Ellie Gladiataurus
3 years ago
Reply to  David Bell

Yes, yes, and yes.

David Boulding
David Boulding
3 years ago
Reply to  David Bell

Mostly that’s correct but the French and Germans wanted to divide the profits of vaccine sales between themselves. Sadly the French vaccine failed to materialise which left the AZ vaccine as a last resort which was being sold at cost. To save face the EU (France & Germany) couldn’t allow a British product to succeed.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
3 years ago

The key phrase in that Charles Michel post is: “…The goal was to avoid competition…”. I have heard variations of this sentiment from EU enthusiasts over and over.

In the past, it was the very fact of cutthroat competition between European nations, for trade, resources, wealth, colonies, empires, that drove mind-blowing innovation and advancement in every conceivable field, scientific, military, industrial, economic, political and humanitarian that left the rest of the world trailing in it’s wake.

Note that the most exceptional brains that enriched the US through the core of the last century were the very best out of Europe – von Neumann, von Braun, ‘The Martians’ and the Vienna Circle diaspora, the list is endless – because Europe, with random precision, drove them away. There was of course this small matter of Europe impoverishing itself a couple of times over in the last century, on the back of wanting to hack each other to pieces.

But the Europeans got tired of bashing each other around the head. So now, there is the EU, where competition continues – but in a much less destructive form. Much less creative too, but hey. In the words of Rainer Rilke, “If my devils are to leave me, I am afraid my angels will take flight as well…”

Last edited 3 years ago by Prashant Kotak
Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

It seems clear that the mathematicians also took flight from the EU some time ago.
If nothing else, the EU seem to have provided a home for the term “Covidiots” and rejuvenated the wider use of the informal English term “clots”.

Last edited 3 years ago by Ian Barton
Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Well, there certainly seems to be a serious lack of statisticians – at least, ones willing to put their heads above the parapet. I’m only seeing the odd scientist from the EU shouting that the EU stance is scientific nonsense.

Andy Yorks
Andy Yorks
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

The problem with Europe (Old Europe if you will) was you had two powers – namely France and Germany – who wanted to rule the whole thing. The French usually lost, but what they don’t seem to realise is that the European Union is a continuation of German Foreign Policy since 1871 by other means. It is basically the Fourth Reich and the sooner the EU is destroyed the better for Europe and the wider world.

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago

I’m pro vaccine, but the assertion ‘needs overwhelming evidence to stop its (AZ) usage’ is crazy. How about ‘needs statistically meaningful evidence of a correlation between the vaccine and severe side effects to stop its use’. Nothing I’ve seen so far suggests that this is the case btw, but we don’t need the hyperbole and fanaticism.

The idea that the unvaccinated EU will become a breeding ground for new variants is plausible, but also so is the idea that highly vaccinated countries will also produce vaccine dodging variants. In highly vaccinated countries there will be a far higher benefit to vaccine dodging variants. It’s also not a surprise that the UK with some of the harshest restrictions managed to evolve a more infectious variant – precisely because of those controls.

We either follow the dystopian logic of zero Covid zealots – the route to freedom and health is decades of no freedom and destroying people’s lives. Or we except that the virus is endemic, like lots of things it will kill people, and like lots of other medical issues we have some good medical preventative and treatment options.

Last edited 3 years ago by LUKE LOZE
Mark H
Mark H
3 years ago
Reply to  LUKE LOZE

Highly vaccinated countries will have much less virus in circulation. Since mutations are random & occur when the virus multiplies, the more infected people there are, the greater the number of variants & the higher the chance of one of them being more infectious or dangerous.
So vaccination does have the effect of reducing variants & this is why worldwide vaccination must be the ultimate goal.

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark H

In highly vaccinated countries there will be huge reward to any variant that evolves to infect vaccinated people more easily (it already can infect them), the same applies to people naturally infected. We’ve all caught the other 4 coronviruses multiple times, and some other viruses that also mutate. Coronviruses can also cross species boundaries, potentially mutating more in that process.
Measle jabs are still shunned in parts of the world (including the UK), despite it being far more serious than Sars-Cov-2 to children and having a well proven, very effective, lifelong vaccine – which produces much more successful herd immunity. The measles virus is very slow at mutating so is a far better candidate for erradication that Sars-Cov-2.
I wouldn’t hold out much hope for a particularly successful worldwide vaccination program with any dreams of eradication.

Last edited 3 years ago by LUKE LOZE
Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  LUKE LOZE

Measles Mumps &Rubella Innoculation,is rejected as its too much for Immune system.Parents also worriesd about autism effects on some.

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago
Reply to  Robin Lambert

Maybe some parents are worried because they care deeply for their children and misleading scare stories prey on them.

Patrick.Corless
Patrick.Corless
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark H

Hi Mark. No problem with your post, in principal, but there is one fatal flaw. You along with many others are taken in by use of language, and what you understand by that language. Once you notice it you’ll scrutinise everything that is said!
In this case, “vaccination” is not what you obviously understand by the word, namely “sterilising vaccination”, where the vaccinated will not get infected, progress to developing the disease, and thus not transmit the virus. This is some “other type of vaccine” (think up some suitably impressive name), if you contact the virus you are very likely to be infected, develop disease and transmit the virus ( but not be so ill you go to hospital). The “amount of virus” produced could be reduced, but of that load produced more and more will be variants that can evade, to an increasing extent, the original vaccine. There is a great potential to produce a horde of asymptomatic carriers, Typhoid Marys, capable, in a couple of months, of passing on vaccine escaping virus. The more people who are vaccinated the more efficient will be this process, and ultimately the truly vulnerable will be at serious risk again.
Out of interest; AZ/Oxford vaccine.Would that be Oxford University? Well the the research started there, but the individuals leading spun off their own company, Vaccitech, financial capital supplied by amongst others, Google Venture Capital (GV).

Michael Dawson
Michael Dawson
3 years ago

I’d be interested to see some references to back up the claim here. Whether the vaccine prevents infection or (only) ameliorates the symptoms of infection – without making the vaccinated person notably less infectious – is clearly an important question. There were various stories a few weeks ago saying this aspect of the vaccines is something that will need to be established, but I’ve not seen any real evidence one way or the other since then. Am I missing something?

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
3 years ago
Reply to  Michael Dawson

Read up or listen to Geert van den Bossche’s assertions about immune escape.

Patrick.Corless
Patrick.Corless
3 years ago
Reply to  Michael Dawson

Have a look out for Byram Bridle, a Canadian academic. He’s easier to follow than the Belgian, a little calmer, but still has the same concerns.

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
3 years ago

Vaccine escape. Potentially even more nuanced than you indicate here. See the following (with nice explanatory diagrams) : Epidemiological and evolutionary considerations of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine dosing regimes Saad Roy February 2021
As for whether vaccines reduce transmission – maybe a ray of sunshine on the horizon with a recent paper looking at 144,525 Scottish HCW and 194,362 of their close household contacts. A preprint on github. Relative risk reductions reported. They compared household contacts of vaccinated and unvaccinated HCW : “Effect of transmission on of Covid 19: an observational study in healthcare workers and their households.” Shah.

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago

Vaccination is just a term used to describe inoculations. It was named in honour of Cowpox used originally, Vacca meaning Cow in latin.

Andy Yorks
Andy Yorks
3 years ago
Reply to  LUKE LOZE

How about ‘needs statistically meaningful evidence of a correlation between the vaccine and severe side effects to stop its use’.”
Indeed, so looking at the statistics up to the end of February there were more incidents of suspected blood clots associated with the Pfizer vaccine than the AZ, although statistically the difference was within the margin of error. So why hasn’t the EU applied its famous caution to the Pfizer vaccine ? Thus it is within fair comment to suggest there are other reasons for its actions which are of course political.
As to Lockdowns – which I vigorously oppose as an affront to Liberty – the UKs has not seen the ‘harshest restrictions’: my friends in Greece can’t even go to the supermarket without a ‘code’ from the Police. Welcome to tyranny.

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago
Reply to  Andy Yorks

I saw the same reports of the Pfizer vaccine, I think both were still producing less than the expected number of clots – based on population profile and historical trends in the unvaccinated.

I said the UK had faced ‘some’ of the harshest lockdown restrictions, based on an international comparison report that put the UK at number 3. I think this is based on both the (ever changing) rules and length of enforcement.

Don’t forget whilst we don’t need a code from the police, we do need a ‘good reason’ to be off our property – based on an approved list, and the police are allowed to judge if they think you’ve travelled too far for exercise. Also some of our enforcement has been based of ministerial edicts, rather than passed laws – this is the definition of a police state. Not to mention the muzzling of the media.

Janice Mermikli
Janice Mermikli
3 years ago
Reply to  Andy Yorks

Re: your point about Greece: This is true. We are Anglo-Greeks in my family and have many relatives and friends back in Greece, mostly in Thrace and in Athens. The restrictions there are barely tolerable. Not only do you need a “code” from the Police to go out and shop for food (as you point out) but you are also given a strictly limited time in which to complete the task and ther a fine is imposed for over-running.
My elder son needs to go back to Athens this autumn to attend to some paperwork for our property. He is not looking forward to it.
So much for a people who love liberty and who invented democracy!
ΑλÎčÎŒÎżÎœÎż Όας! (I can’t get the accents on my keyboard.)

Gordon Black
Gordon Black
3 years ago
Reply to  LUKE LOZE

Yes, we were willing to sacrifice millions of young healthy productive lives to protect our freedoms (world wars I & II): now we are willing to surrender our freedoms to protect thousands of elderly unproductive lives.

Janice Mermikli
Janice Mermikli
3 years ago
Reply to  Gordon Black

Goodness! Euthanasia beckons…

Gordon Black
Gordon Black
3 years ago

No … non sequitur.

Ellie Gladiataurus
Ellie Gladiataurus
3 years ago
Reply to  Gordon Black

Elderly lives that have been productive in earlier years. Should we just chuck them on the scrapheap?

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
3 years ago

As one of the ‘elderly’, I can honestly say that the best you can do is to isolate the elderly and stop destroying the lives and futures of every one – including the elderly. There is no other viable way.

Gordon Black
Gordon Black
3 years ago

No … non sequitur.

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago
Reply to  Gordon Black

It didn’t need to be like that, we should have protected the vulnerable, by focusing on them. Locking up 5 year olds is an extremely cruel and inefficent method of protecting older people, young children ended up facing less risk of catching Covid than anyone else, despite being safe. Mean while older people carried on shopping etc. Madness.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Gordon Black

A Crass comment…Obese Young or people with Undiagnosed Conditions like Asthma, Heart,Lung,Cancers,leukaemia,also at risk Not necessary over 70s although they are or have mostly weaker immune systems

Silvia Hansel
Silvia Hansel
3 years ago
Reply to  LUKE LOZE

The so-called UK variant manifested itself just before (or just as) vaccination efforts got underway, so please don’t use this to underscore your point. And I agree entirely with Mark H that widespread herd immunity, achieved either through vaccines or spontaneous spreading, will reduce the likeliness of new variants. This is common virological evidence.

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago
Reply to  Silvia Hansel

Try reading my post again,
Do you ever wonder how many other things you’re misreading and misunderstanding?

Andrew Best
Andrew Best
3 years ago

Good luck to the people of Europe,
You will need it