Tag Archives: Politics

Vassal State – Dienliches Land

The Government has published a Brexit white paper on the future relationship between the UK and the EU along with translations into other European languages.


I read the German translation, and it’s not just bad, it’s laughably humiliatingly bad.

Here is a sentence from the executive summary in English:

“The Government will have delivered on the result of the 2016 referendum – the biggest democratic exercise in this country’s history. And it will have reached a key milestone in its principal mission – to build a country that works for everyone.”

Here is the German translation published by the Government:

“Die Regierung wird das Ergebnis der Volksbefragung von 2016 umgesetzt haben, die größte demokratische Übung in der Geschichte dieses Landes. Und sie wird einen entscheidenden Meilenstein in ihrem wichtigsten Auftrag erreicht haben, den Aufbau eines Landes, das allen dienlich ist.”

And here’s what that German translation actually says:

The Government will have realised the result of the 2016 public consultation, the biggest democratic practice run in this country’s history. And it will have reached a decisive milestone in its most important mandate, the formation of a country that is subservient to everyone.

It makes Jacob Rees-Mogg’s ‘vassal state’ sound like the unintentional but inevitable consequence of a principal policy objective. Which, of course, it is.

But maybe if the first referendum was just a practice run, the second referendum will be the real thing, and everything will be OK.

European Election 2014 in the East of England

Here are my predictions for how the D’Hondt method will allocate seats in the European election in the East of England in 2014.

The number of seats allocated is the share of the vote divided by the D’Hondt quota rounded down to the nearest whole number.

Predicted D’Hondt quota 9.3%

Predicted Votes in 2014, Swing from 2009 and Seats

Party Votes in 2014
Swing from 2009 Seats
Conservative Less than 27.9% More -ve than -3.3% 2
UKIP More than 27.9% More +ve than +8.3% 3
Liberal Democrat Close to 9.3% Close to -4.5% 0 or 1
Labour Close to 18.6% Close to +8.1% 1 or 2
Green Less than 9.3% Less +ve than +0.5% 0

The 1st Liberal Democrat or 2nd Labour seat will set the D’Hondt quota.

Apparent Conservatives Rebuke Old Stateswoman Through Initial Countermessages

It was a childish and short-lived meme, but I think it bears curation for posterity. The hidden messages in these gushing tributes to Margaret Thatcher were not initially apparent to moderators but have since been removed.

I make no comment or judgement on the messages; I merely preserve them for the record as they have now been deleted from their original location. I am not the author of any of them.


Comment by Martin Williams on April 10, 2013 at 11:14 am

Saviour. Heroine. Inspiration. Thatcher.


Comment by Brian Jones on April 10, 2013 at 11:14 am

Britain has lost a true leader and a strong woman.
Unfortunately she has passed away, but fond memories live on.
Resolute in the face of opposition, she did not stray from her path.
No leader since has shown her courage, strength or wisdom.
I understand that she was a divisive figure, but she made the hard choices.
No matter what you thought of her politics, you can respect her resilience.
Her policies changes the lives of millions.
Entire generations lifted into places they did not think were possible.
Let’s not be sad she’s gone.
Let’s be happy we had the chance to know her at all.


Comment by Eleanor Johnson on April 10, 2013 at 11:18 am

A wonderful legacy.
Respectless leftists will not dim her memory.
She rescued this country from the unions.
Ever in our hearts.


Comment by Michael Wiggins on April 10, 2013 at 11:43 am

So saddened by this terrible news.
Could not have given more for this country in her time.
Under her leadership Britain rose again.
Miss you Iron Lady.


Comment by Cherr Mann on April 10, 2013 at 12:03 pm

Rarely has one person done so much for the world
Everyone alive today has been touched by her leadership.
An incredible strength of will and purpose:
Defied all those who tried to halt the march of progress.
Millions were lifted out of poverty,
And millions more given hope for the future.
Our sincere condolences.


Comment by Reginald Witherbottom on April 11, 2013 at 12:13 am

Did she surpass Churchill?
Is she our greatest?
No contest!

Do we capitulate to the Left?
Or do we rise to our station?
No question!
Grantham’s finest shows the way!

Thatcher, we will always miss you.
Her name will never be forgotten.
Eternally grateful, we must be.

Who else could have lead us out of darkness?
Inpossible to think of any other.
Thatcher was the one and only.
Cherished in our memories.
Her legacy lives on.

Insurmountable vision.
Such passion for our good.

Death cannot stop her project.
England’s finest.
All of Britain mourns.
Do not give up the Conservative fight!


Comment by Zizi Savoy on April 11, 2013 at 11:50 am




Comment by Francis fluteyfields on April 12, 2013 at 10:40 am


Your poetic musings do her a great honor.
I hope my own can come close.

Centuaries of oppression
ended when she crushed the
lying unions despite their
attacks, ensuring a
bright future for all.

Returning she may not be,
rlways in our hearts
thatcher remains our leader,
enduring till the end.

Failing pupils need a way forward, not holding back.

One of the latest crazy education policies to come from Tory MPs is the suggestion that pupils who fail to reach a minimum standard should be held back a year.




I’ve seen the effects of holding back in German schools and I don’t like it at all. The policy is, at best, controversial there and has been abolished in some parts of Germany such as Berlin and Hamburg.


John Hattie’s “Visible Learning” study showed that out of 138 factors analysed, holding back came 136th, with a clear negative effect on achievement. (Hat tip to Warwick Mansell for spotting that one).




But that’s not all. Holding back can have spectacularly disastrous outcomes for innocent bystanders too.


On 26 April 2002 at the Gutenberg Gymnasium in Erfurt, 19-year-old Robert Steinhauser shot twelve teachers, a secretary, two pupils and a policeman before committing suicide, after unsuccessfully repeating year 11.




On 26 May 2006 at Berlin Hauptbahnhof, 16-year-old Mike P stabbed 33 people, including one HIV positive, putting the other victims at risk of infection, in addition to their knife wounds. He had repeated two years at school.




On 20 November 2006 at the Geschwister Scholl Realschule in Emdetten, 18-year-old Sebastian Bosse shot and injured five people before committing suicide. Thirty-two others had to be treated for shock or smoke inhalation due to the smoke bombs he used. He posted on the Internet under the pseudonym ResistantX about being a failure at school, repeating two years and staging a massacre in revenge. In his suicide note, he repeated these themes.




On 23 July 2008 at a Realschule in Biberach, a 15-year-old pupil stabbed his headteacher in the chest with a kitchen knife after unsuccessfully repeating year 8.


When it came to revenge against the system they blamed for their failure, there was no holding back.


The problem for these pupils and many more like them who do not resort to such extreme behaviour is that the combination of Germany’s 3-tier selective school system and mandatory holding back with no clear planned outcome means that pupils can end up in a dead-end situation with no prospect of any useful qualifications when they leave school.


If a similar system is introduced in the UK, I fear it may lead to similarly disastrous and possibly fatal results. Holding back is not the answer. Failing pupils need a way forward.