International: April 2009 Archives

Democracy Bulgarian style.

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zelenite.jpgJust over two years ago Bulgaria joined the EU, and a year later ЗЕЛЕНИТЕ (Zelenite) was founded, part of the global spread of Greens which brings such cheer to my heart. They're well organised, and now have an impressive 7000 members. 

A deposit of €7,500 (already one of the highest in Europe) to participate was bumped up in March to €25,000, more than twice the level anywhere else in the EU. Bear in mind Bulgaria is Europe's poorest country, with an income little more than a third of the Union average, and the differential is even higher.

The Bulgarian government's track record on corruption is pretty poor, and it now looks like their commitment to democracy is also limited. Our Bulgarian colleagues already have to gather 15,000 signatures to vouch for their legitimacy: that should be more than sufficient in a democracy.

Update: anyone wishing to help who is permitted to do so under Bulgarian electoral law, please donate here.

A Specter is haunting Congress.

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arlenspecter.jpgThose of you still missing the drama of the US election season, head back over to your favourite sources and follow the switch of Arlen Specter to the Democrats

What difference might his new party affiliation make? Nate Silver at 538 does what he does best - numbercrunching, while Wonkette has the top headline (plus the pic).

Politico on the demise of the Republicans is also recommended if you like that sort of thing, and there's Metafilter for smart discussion.

Remember, it's just 552 days to those crucial mid-terms. Going back to 538, there's definitely a gap in the UK market for some good statistical wonkery (aside, of course, from betting analysis, which is definitely covered). Anyone?

No bloody use.

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We've long said Trident was utterly useless, a weapon we can't afford, and one we certainly can't afford to fire. I'm sure retired general Sir Hugh Beach doesn't see eye-to-eye with the Greens on some other stuff, but we can't argue with:

It's not just that he's against buying a new one: he thinks we should decommission the existing system right now too.

The classic argument against nukes as a deterrent is made here:

teaparty.JPGToday's G20 has been built up by the Prime Minister into the most important event of the decade, the point at which the world's most important political leaders come together and fix the world economy.

It's starting to look like a sequel to the 2005 G8 summit, where we were told that debt across the developing world would be lifted and a new era of international equity would dawn. 

Hundreds of thousands marched, bands played, while the churches and the NGOs got us all wearing white. Of the $375bn to $2,900bn in bad debt, just $88bn has been cancelled, $43.5bn through the G8 process.

These big events get Gordon as giddy as a three-year-old about to host a really big tea party. He's the centre of attention, and that weird half-smile plays over his lips as he thinks about how important he'll look. He'll have the big plastic teapot in his hand, and he'll be able to say who gets more trifle and who doesn't. It's brilliant, even if some tantrums look inevitable from the usual suspects.

At the end, all his guests will stand up and say what a wonderful time they had, whether it's true or not, and how they're going to be good boys and girls over the coming year. You can call it a communique, but in real life it's just a longer press release, devoid of any actual commitments, leaving nothing but disappointment.

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the International category from April 2009.

International: March 2009 is the previous archive.

International: May 2009 is the next archive.