Holland

XR now want to bankrupt Royal Dutch Shell

These pictures are of a Shell gasoline stand in Nijmegen, Holland.

Extinction Rebellion (XR) are now running a #ShellMustFall hashtag and campaign to trash Shell businesses with graffiti and bicycle locks on bowsers.

The sign reads, “Royal Dutch Shell, we will tax you, regulate you, split you up, socialize you, nationalize you, expropriate you, prosecute you and bankrupt you”

Has XR considered the livelihoods of the 82,000 employees at Shell?

No wonder the UK counter terrorism police wants to add these lunatics to the list.

XR claims to conduct non-violent civil disobedience but it’s actions are negatively impacting legitimate businesses from operating. Defacing private property is not peaceful. XR should be fined with the cost of policing and any lost revenues as a result of such selfish actions.

XR intends to disrupt the Shell shareholder meeting on May 19th.

This is not an expression of free speech but an intentional plan to intimidate. The longer governments let climate activists behave like this with little repercussions, the more emboldened they will become.

Dutch Supreme Court sets very dangerous precedent

No folks, this is not a joke. This is what happens when a judiciary drops impartiality and starts acting as an activist lawmaker instead of a law enforcer. The Dutch parliament is supposed to set legislation. Since when did the judiciary inherit such capabilities by a mandate from the people?

The Dutch Supreme Court has ruled the Dutch government must cut emissions by 25% by 2020 on 1990 levels on the grounds that not doing so is a violation of human rights.

To put that into context, on a per capita basis, Dutch GHG emissions have fallen 11.9% since 1990 to 9.5t per person. However, actual Dutch CO2 output in 1990 was 161,447kt CO2-e vs 162,290kt CO2e in 2017 based on. So a 25% cut vs. 1990 levels would mean the target would be 121,085kt CO2-e.

Let us not forget that the Dutch are responsible for 0.4% of global human-caused emissions. So to cut that by 25% on the latest numbers with growing emissions from China and India will mean the Dutch will be responsible for 0.3% of global emissions. Does the Dutch Supreme Court truly believe the lives of Dutch citizens will be remotely improved by knocking 0.1% off the global total?

Clearly, the Supreme Court didn’t need evidence. Which body did the Supreme Court base its verdict? On UN climate conventions. There is a problem in and of itself.

Never mind that the UN said this about the Netherlands in the past,

The WG2 IPCC climate bible noted, “The Netherlands is an example of a country highly susceptible to both sea-level rise and river flooding because 55% of its territory is below sea level”.

This sentence was provided by a Dutch government agency – the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, which published a correction stating that the sentence should have read “55 per cent of the Netherlands is at risk of flooding; 26 per cent of the country is below sea level, and 29 per cent is susceptible to river flooding.”

Never mind that the UN didn’t issue a retraction. Who needs to know correct facts?

It gets worse,

An IPCC report which investigated models showed 98% have overestimated warming.

The Twelfth Session of Working Group I (WGI-12) was held from 23 to 26 September 2013 in Stockholm, Sweden. At the Session, the Summary for Policymakers (SPM) of the Working Group I contribution to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (WGI AR5) was approved and the underlying scientific and technical assessment accepted.

Everything in the Working Group II report depends entirely on Working Group I and Working Group I depends solely on the climate data of which 98% have proven wrong.

Chapter Nine “Evaluation of Climate Models” in WGI-12 notes:

Most, though not all, models overestimate the observed warming trend in the tropical troposphere over the last 30 years and tend to underestimate the long-term lower stratospheric cooling trend. {9.4.1, Box 9.2, Figure 9.8}

“…In tropical regions, the models are too dry in the lower troposphere and too moist in the upper troposphere,” (p763)

Most climate model simulations show a larger warming in the tropical troposphere than is found in observational data sets(e.g., McKitrick et al., 2010; Santer et al., 2013).

Does the Dutch Supreme Court believe it knows better than the scientists the UN rely upon who openly admit the data is wrong? So climate change could affect food supply?

We all know the Dutch love chocolate.

Half of the world’s chocolate is currently sourced from just two African countries: Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. According to the IPCC, rising temperatures and a relative reduction in rainfall could make it less suitable for cocoa production in the future.

The research highlighted in the IPCC Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability report indicate that, under a “business as usual” scenario, those countries will experience a 3.8°F (2.1°C) increase in temperature by 2050 which could seriously impact cocoa production.

Claims that changes to the climate are also pushing cocoa-growing regions to higher altitudes in some parts of the world, which can make some crops unsustainable…production has more than doubled in the past 3 decades.

Dutch PM Mark Rutte was absolutely right to say this was a matter for politicians, not courts. What has been proven by this landmark decision is that the court is acting as a lawmaker which is NOT its role.

While some could argue that the Green Left took 9.1% of the vote in the 2017 Dutch election – its best-ever result – the latest polls for 2021 see the party ceding seats. It is hardly a mandate of the people to drastically cut emissions in such a ridiculous space of time.

Has the Dutch Supreme Court understood that c.20% of the economy is driven by industry – electronics, metal production, engineering – and agriculture? Should PM Rutte demand that it all be shut down? Will air traffic controllers at Schipol Airport be arrested and jailed if they let commercial aeroplanes circle for too long in low visibility conditions?

Dutch electricity generation is 75% powered by fossil fuels (natural gas and coal). Does the Supreme Court believe that cutting emissions 25% by 2020 is even remotely achievable without trashing the economy? Will cars be banned from the roads on weekends? Flights suspended on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays? How about Dutch citizens who don’t have a windmill bolted to their home get electricity rationed?

In conclusion, how on earth can the Dutch hit a 25% reduction target inside 12 months? Who will be charged and jailed for failing to meet these obligations in a country where no party has a mandate?

FNF Media sincerely hopes the Dutch government acquiesces the Supreme Court and watches the economy implode as it pushes energy austerity to hit targets that will reduce global emissions by 0.1%, or a 0.00000124% impact to all the CO2 in the atmosphere. All that pain for absolutely no gain.

We need a test case guinea pig to show the world just how ridiculously stupid climate alarmism is. At least the Dutch can self-medicate inside marijuana cafes in Amsterdam.

In all seriousness, the landmark decision of a Supreme Court dictating terms to the very body that sets laws is one that sets a dangerous precedent. Activism is now part and parcel of the Dutch judiciary.

Add the Dutch to the $15.8tn pension shortfall

Negligence. No other word for it. Unrealistic assumptions coupled with a race to the bottom on interest products has meant the top 20 nations have a $15.8 trillion unfunded liability in pensions. CM wrote of the crisis awaiting US public pensions a while back.

It seems the Dutch are the latest bunch of pensioners to reach for the pitchforks at the prospect of having their retirement severely cut back. Shaktie Rambaran Mishre, chair of the Dutch pension federation (representing 197 pension funds and their members), said contributions might have to rise by up to 30% over the next few years to ward off the prospect of having to cut the pensions of 2 million retirees. That will go down a treat.

Zerohedge noted the lower Dutch risk-free rate is not low enough, and as a result about 70 employer-run pension funds with 12.1m members had funding ratios below the statutory minimum at the end of September, according to the Dutch central bank. And here lies the rub: if funds have ratios below the legal minimum for five consecutive years or have no prospect of recovering to a more healthy level, they must cut their payouts.

Can you imagine all of the Dutch who were looking forward to taking a round the world cruise to celebrate 40 years of hard work to face the reality that they’ll only be able to take a cruise down the Amsterdam canals.

This is an utter disgrace. You’d have to be asleep at the wheel as a regulator not to recognize expected returns on funds were so unrealistic as to beggar belief. Actuarial accounting lets you get away with it.

Yet the evil pensions funds will be the villains even though the supervisor left these children alone with a box of matches. Just watch them come home and act surprised that the house has burnt down.

We’re getting a taste of the remedy from the State of Illinois. It is issuing bonds specifically to help plug the gap. Rhode Island has gone the other way – take a 40% haircut or risk having nothing. Way to go!

It is worth factoring the longer term risk of the fall in consumption that this will ultimately have if even a slither or $16tn is no longer recycled into the economy.

Equal pay! Equal pay!

No longer is pride in representing a nation the core of a major sporting event. It is all about activism and grievance. The oppression obsession. The crowd joined in shaming the FIFA boss and the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) based off little or no true understanding of the facts at the women’s World Cup Final. The stadium would have made Kim Jong-un blush at the symbiotic coordination. It felt eerily similar to the crowd scene from 1984. It is unfortunately so telling of today’s society. Never have they had it so good, but act is if they’ve never had it so bad.

However isn’t the point of playing for one’s country about the “pride” in representing it? If Rapinoe hates Trump, that is one thing and her personal choice. She is not alone. Should her personal pet grievances outweigh the 330m other Americans she represents? Why not ask for the flag to be removed from her strip?

If she wants to kneel during the national anthem she is nothing more than a hypocrite who seeks to rub it in the face of those who have pride in their country. She is a conditional citizen. Much like those Hollywood celebrities who claimed they’d leave the country if Trump won. He did and they’re still all there.

If Rapinoe wants to truly protest, she should refuse to play. She should sit out and watch America flail and then witness the USSF panic as sponsors dry up and have them run to her. Yet the trappings are such that her principles take a back seat to the expediency of the luxuries afforded by her talent.

She can rant all she wants outside the field. Free speech. CM is all for that. She has a profile to do that. Yet when representing the country, why not respect her fellow citizens rather than throw the toys out of the pram using profanity against a democratically elected president? What she doesn’t realise is her wokeness is exactly the type of thing that will produce the same result in the 2020 election. People are sick and tired of the constant political correctness dragged into places it needn’t be. She is only going to retard the growth in the sport if she continues turning a beautiful game into a platform of white noise.

Rapinoe may tell the media that “we’re over it” with respect to equal pay. However has she considered that if she stopped being such a brat that even more sponsors might beat a path to her door? If she displayed the types of values that represent those of the sponsors and broader society rather than lower the level to the man she repudiates she might surprise herself? Set the standard, Megan! Don’t lower yourself to it. Is having a high number of LGBT players truly the secret sauce of the US team as you claim?

What if men identifying as women demand a place in the side? Physically they’ll dominate the women players as they are already doing in so many areas of sport. Don’t they deserve an equal opportunity? If they trial and outplay all the biological women, will you begrudge them? Or accept that “Science is science. Trans rule“? The Democratic Party has enshrined trans players in women’s sports as policy. Be careful what you wish for.

For the record, CM has always stated equal pay in sports is a farcical quest. It has never been equal. Nor should it be, because the talent pool would never be able to be developed in a way that is self sustaining for the audiences to watch it. Cristiano Ronaldo gets $100m per year because he is “that good”. He sells more strips each year than his fellow teammates. He scores lots of goals. He gets endorsements because he is so talented. Corporations see a return in the investment. Ronaldo has 78 million Twitter followers vs his Real Madrid captain, Sergio Ramos who has a pitiful 16m. Rapinoe has 725,000. Should she get paid the same as Ronaldo? US men’s soccer team player Landon Donovan has 1.3m followers. Does the USSF see that the box office is sadly still skewed to the men’s game?

If we truly want ‘equal pay‘, shouldn’t we demand that each player plays for exactly the same amount of time and limit the physical distance they run? After all it would be unfair for one player to do less or more work than another. If the goalie had to be included in the physical exercise equality argument then field players could only have a two minute stint at best. 10 players would need to be replaced every two minutes of the 90 played meaning a 450 player side. With GPS tracking, the rules of the game can be changed so that can be accommodated in theory.

We know that such a game would be boring to watch and cause audiences to abandon such spectacles because professionals sports require no participation medals. We cheer the player that has the extra stamina, skill and guile to win matches and pay to watch that privilege. Not watch a game where talent is castrated.

For starters, Rapinoe should address the inequality within women’s soccer, before targeting the broader gender pay gap. No doubt she gets paid a lot more than some of her lesser known teammates. No one discusses that factoid. Crowds consumed by propaganda based group think champion the causes of people who already earn probably way more than they’ll ever do. Were the crowd chants aimed at the Dutch women too? Or just the Americans who were the ones fighting this pay dispute.

CM is also on record for saying that female tennis players should be paid more than men for the higher audiences they attract. The reality is outside of the World Cup, women’s soccer does not attract the revenues of the men’s game (partly due to men’s game having decades more time to develop). That will take time. It is hard to find willing sponsors to even it up if the return on that endorsement is lower. Sponsors aren’t just rich benefactors.

In closing, shame on the crowds for dragging an international event into a twisted spectacle. What they don’t realise is that such actions will only work against them. Fans want to escape the stresses of daily life, not pay high ticket prices to have it directly served up. Maybe the #USWNT needs to look at what has happened to the NFL after political correctness engulfed it.

Megan, a bigger truism is that, “Economics is economics. The market rules!”

Sustainable air travel will require extra sick bags

Air France-KLM is looking to fund the Dutch Delft University of Technology to explore a flying wing design known as the Flying V, where passengers will sit.

Boeing dabbled with the idea in 2007 but scrapped it as it likely worked out passengers sitting out toward the wingtips would be thrown around like rag dolls in turbulent weather. Anyone who has tried to drink hot coffee during rough weather will know how even sitting toward the centre of the plane causes it to swish about, mostly in the saucer. A wing aisle seat would mean one would wear it.

Better to save shareholders’ funds Air France/KLM. Prototyping this “sustainable aircraft” might do wonders for its CSR signaling but has it considered that it must include the environmental footprint of extra sick bags and all those nasty chemicals required to clean up the mess of those who suffer motion sickness but didn’t make it in time?

Perhaps Mother Nature has given us all tips on air travel. There are many passenger jets shaped like birds. Yet no birds shaped like the Delft University of Technology design…

If Air France/KLM is so worried about the environment the best thing to do would be to close down operations.

The Virgin Group CEO Josh Bayliss said,

“It’s definitely true that right now every one of us should think hard about whether or not we need to take a flight.”

Close the airline if it means so much to save the planet.

Poverty, poverty on the wall, the French aren’t even the worst of all

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Why are we surprised at the yellow vest uprising across France? Poverty/risk of social exclusion across Europe has continued to spiral upwards since the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). There were 78mn living below the poverty line in 2007. At last count, Eurostat notes that number was 118mn  (23.5% of the European population). In the Europe 2020 strategy, the plan is to reduce that by 20 million.  37.5mn (7.5%) are living in severe material deprivation (SMD) , up from 32mn in 2007.

The SMD rate represents the proportion of people who cannot afford at least four of the nine following items:

  • having arrears on mortgage or rent payments, utility bills, hire purchase installments or other loan payments;
  • being able to afford one week’s annual holiday away from home;
  • being able to afford a meal with meat, chicken, fish (or vegetarian equivalent) every second day;
  • being able to face unexpected financial expenses;
  • being able to buy a telephone (including mobile phone);
  • being able to buy a colour television;
  • being able to buy a washing machine;
  • being able to buy a car;
  • being able to afford heating to keep the house warm.

The French are merely venting what is happening across the EU. The EU could argue that at 18% poverty, the French should be happy compared to other nation states. Europeans aren’t racist to want a halt to mass economic migration when they are the ones financially struggling as it is. Making economic or compassionate arguments aren’t resonating as they feel the problems first hand.

Is it a surprise that the UK, at 22.2% poverty, wanted out of the EU project to take back sovereign control? Project Fear might be forecasting Armageddon for a No Deal Brexit but being inside the EU has hardly helped lift Brits from under a rock. Why would anyone wish to push for a worse deal that turns the UK into a colony?

Why is anyone surprised that there has been a sustainable shift toward populist political parties across Europe? Austria, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, Hungary, Sweden, Germany…the list goes on. Even France should not forget that Front National’s Marine LePen got 35% of the vote, twice the level ever achieved. Is is a shock to see her polling above Macron?

The success and growth of EU-skeptic parties across Europe will only get bigger. The mob is unhappy. Macron may have won on a wave of euphoria as a fresh face but he has failed to deliver. He may have suspended the fuel tax hikes, but the people are still on the street in greater numbers. He has merely stirred the hornet’s nest. Perhaps UK PM Theresa May should take a look at the table above and realise that her deal will only cause the UK to rise up. At the moment sanity prevails, and when it comes in the shape of Jeremy Corbyn that is perhaps a sign in itself.

The power of last place at Invictus

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Here is a picture of Dutch Invictus athlete, Alina Zoet. She was in the Women’s Heavy Weightlifting today. She finished stone cold last. However she got the biggest cheers and dragged out what is so important at Invictus. She had to bench press 50kg.  She failed first go. When she failed the second time she burst into tears as a failure. Distraught wasn’t even close to capturing her emotions. The packed crowd applauded her none-the-less. She was giving her best

Third attempt. Bundle of nerves. Crowd going absolutely bonkers in support.  Then silence as she prepared her last attempt. The bar comes down.  Her left side was letting her down again. The crowd goes completely apeshit as she battled with the bar. Two whites and one red light. Alina has done it! While the Aussie lifters cleared the podium for medals everyone in that hall knew the biggest winner had been the last place. But a personal best and tears of being unconquered. An emotional moment.

We got to congratulate her afterwards and she was overwhelmed with tears of joy. It was powerful.

As a general observation just wandering around the games, the sheer number of prosthetic limbs boggles the mind. Yet those who have them aren’t moaning about all the garbage that clogs our social media feeds on how hard we think we have it. We’ve got it easy.

Deepest respect for those who serve.

Actions speak louder than laughs

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While the mainstream media has blown much hot air about the UN GA audience laughing at POTUS during his speech, where was the very same audience backing the poster boy of virtue signaling and globalist politics? Here is a picture of Canadian PM Trudeau addressing the UN General Assembly during the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit on Sep 24th. Worse, a whole section of them are on their mobile phones. As impolite as deleting/sending emails during the speech of any world leader (or anyone for that matter) is, at least being laughed at suggests the audience was paying attention to the content, as ridiculous as anyone may have made it out to be. As much as Trump’s boasting and glass jaw were on full display, it was standing room only, because love or hate him, his words have global ramifications.

While French President Macron might have sounded sensible castigating Trump’s America First view as fanning the flames of nationalism around the world, perhaps he might have reflected on the shift toward populist parties across Europe occurring well before either took office. Macron should remind himself that anti-EU leader of the far right Front National, Marine Le Pen, achieved twice the vote ever achieved by her party. 35%.

People may not have noticed but Sweden’s newly appointed PM Stefan Lofven has lost a no confidence motion yesterday. The right leaning Sweden Democrats achieved the fastest growth in the Sep 9 election, taking almost 18% of the vote from 12.9%, holding the balance of power despite the establishment is reluctant to wed . All the while,  3 weeks have passed and a no confidence motion has occurred.

Italy is now run by an anti-EU M5S & anti-immigrant League coalition. Austria voted in a EU-skeptic party led by a 32yo Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. The Brits voted for Brexit. The Dutch awarded the fastest growing share to platinum haired Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party. The Hungarians and Polish have openly told Juncker where to stick his views on forced migration. Even Chancellor Merkel had the worst showing of her party in 70 years as the anti-immigrant Alternative for Deutschland took 13% of the vote, achieving 94 seats in the Bundestag mostly at the expense of Merkel’s CDU & former European Parliament President Schulz’s SPD.

Poor old Justin Trudeau had a member of his own party, Leona Alleslev, defect to the Conservatives stating she was ‘concerned about the government’s handling of the economy.’ It is one thing for the opposition to berate the government for poor stewardship but it is deeply embarrassing to lose people from one’s own party due to a lack of confidence.

So yes, we can collectively laugh at Trump for his bluster, chest beating and itchy Twitter fingers, but one would hope the mockers at the UNGA would glance in the mirror and realise that their constituents are becoming ever more disillusioned with the establishment they represent. These are the same people that bashed the president for calling out their lack of commitment to NATO, with 23 nations well behind promises made of their own volition 12 years prior. Could it be that for however abhorrent they might find the current leader of the US, he is calling many out on their failure to hold up their end of the bargain?

At the end of the day, no matter what one’s personal feelings for Trump may be, we have to live with his decisions. He is far from perfect. Yet instead of the predictable constant drone of noise following his speech, perhaps countries would be better off putting aside personal differences. Rather than crossing fingers in hope he maybe impeached so they can go back to the status quo and live the very lies he has exposed in his almost 2 years in office. Now that type of hypocrisy is truly laughable. Indeed the very fact that out of touch politicians can mock in such a manner shows just how badly they stink at relaying the very messages they think resonate with the public.

EU – 1.3m abortions, 5m births p.a.

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Eurostat statistics on abortion reveal that Germany, France, UK, Spain and Italy alone terminate a combined 760,000 fetuses per annum. Across the EU-28 there are 1.25mn terminations. Without getting into a debate on abortion rights, the pure statistical number points to 20.4% of fetuses never make it out of the womb alive. Every. Single. Year. At that rate over 10 years that is 12.5 mn children that could have added to EU population sustainability do not occur but the EU seems to think embarking on mass migration is the only solution to plug the gap. Is it? Ironically child support is one area the EU is happy to cede control to individual Member States.

The fertility rate across the EU-28 is now 1.58 children per woman, flat for the last decade and down from 2.9 in 1964. Demographers suggest that a fertility rate of 2.1 is required in developed world economies to maintain a constant population (in the absence of any migration). The number of live births in the EU-28 peaked in 1964 at 7.8 million. In 2017 this had fallen to 5 million. There was a brief period (2003-2008) when live births in the EU-28 started to rise again, returning to 5.5 million by 2008 but the GFC sent it down again – as economic hardship tends to cause a decrease in births. So are economic incentives too low to cause a rebound?

France has the best incentives for children and the highest birth rate inside the EU at 2.0 up from 1.7 in the 1990s. Germany is around 1.4 drifting from 1.6 in the 1990s. The lives for child rearing French are eased by cheap health care, inexpensive preschools – for infants as young as 6 months old – subsidized at-home care and generous maternity leave. Mothers with three children can take a year off of work – and receive a monthly paycheck of up to €1,000 from the government to stay home. Families get subsidized public transportation and rail travel and holiday vouchers.

In order to stop the declining working population over time, imagine if Europe hypothetically put the onus back on consenting couples to take responsibility for their actions and makes abortions harder to access without compulsory consultation over options? Why not graphically show the entire process to get some sense of reality for both parties? You can gross yourself on this link.

Perhaps, in today’s electronic world, automatically deducting child support from fathers that run from responsibility might make sense? Why should the state pay for others’ lack of accountability? Even if the child is placed in foster care, why not wire child support to foster parents indirectly via the Ministry in charge of its administration? The population crisis is not going away in Europe. Why not provide more incentives to married/same-household couples?

Mathematically speaking the numbers are huge. Imagine if the million-plus fetuses every year had a vote to be raised with foster parents as opposed to being terminated, what they would choose? Consider the €23bn Merkel has spent on mainly economic migrants in the last 2 years being put toward preventing 200,000 abortions in Germany over that period? €115,000 to avert each one might have been better spent. That is a huge sum of money period.

CM is not advocating control over the womb but surely transparency in policy over individual responsibility is not a bad thing with respect to many issues, not just abortion. What level of economic incentives are required to prevent some couples/women choosing to terminate? Surely that plays a part in deciding to terminate. Consultation services with respect to the subject don’t seem too commonplace or at least structured in such a way as to prevent them.

According to Eurostat, since 1964 the divorce rate in EU-28 equivalents has doubled and the marriage rate has halved. For every eight marriages in 1964 there was one divorce, now there is one divorce for every two marriages.

The proportion of births outside of marriage now stands at 40%, from 27% in 2000 to less than 7% in 1964. 8.8 % of the EU-28 population aged 20+ lived in a consensual union (de-facto). In Japan the number of births out of wedlock is 25% according to the MHLW. The dynamics of the traditional nuclear family are fading.

51% of the Swedish population is now single household. 51%! While some is attributed to an aging population, 19 of the EU-28 members has a single household ratio of over 30%. 12 over 35%. By way of comparison, Japan’s single household ratio stands at 34.6% from 27.6% in 2000.

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To further analyse the new ways of living together and to complement the legal aspect, statistics on consensual unions, which take into account those with a ‘marriage-like’ relationship with each other, and are not married to or in a registered partnership with each other, can also be analysed.  Sweden (18.3 %) has the highest rate followed by Estonia (16.4 %), France (14.3 %) and the lowest in Greece (1.7 %), Poland (2.1 %), Malta (2.5 %) and Croatia (2.9 %).

Is employment a factor?  It is mixed. Eurostat reported in Germany, the fertility of non-employed women has increased and that of employed women decreased, while in Spain, the opposite occurred; in Greece, the total fertility rate (TFR) of non employed women fell below that of employed women, changing from a positive differential of about 0.2 average live births.

Is education a factor? Apart from Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland and Norway), Portugal and Malta, in general, women with lower education had higher TFR between 2007 and 2011. Eurostat state the fertility of women across the EU over the same period with a medium level of education dropped by about 9%, while the decrease for women with high or low education was less significant.

Eurostat argues that economic recessions have correlation to falling child birth rates. Apart from the direct impact of economic crises at an individual level, the economic uncertainty that spreads during periods of hardship seem to influence fertility. From this point of view Eurostat believes the duration of a crisis may play an important role and, the duration and the depth of the current recession are unprecedented in some countries. The agency states,

The expected relationship is that negative changes in GDP correspond to negative changes in the TFR, possibly with some delay, thus showing a high positive correlation at particular lags. The correlation with the TFR is relevant in Spain and Latvia without any lag; in Bulgaria, Poland and Romania with one year of lag; and in the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, Iceland, Norway and Croatia with two years of lag. Taking the overall average across countries, a change in GDP is mostly positively correlated with a change in the TFR within about 19 months.”

Do we cynically argue that stagnant child birth rates aren’t just a factor of societal changes? Perhaps a truer reflection on the higher levels of poverty in the EU since GFC and the harsh realities for a growing number of people behind the growing levels of populism who are suffering greater economic hardship than statisticians are presenting to the political class? Hard decisions must be made before they are made by external factors.

Slovenia slaps the EU too

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Slovenia has joined the list of populist movements. In 2000, there were 4 countries in the EU that had populist coalitions/majorities (Lithuania, Latvia, Switzerland & Austria). Scroll forward to today we have 15 (the previous 4 countries + Poland, Norway, Czech Rep, Italy, Slovenia, Hungary, Greece, Slovakia, Crete, Bulgaria, Romania). Neighboring Bosnia and Serbia are also populist led. We shouldn’t forget the in the populist/nationalist party surges in The Netherlands, Germany and France . Perhaps more amazing is that the EU still isn’t getting the message, most highlighted by the push to get the President of Italy to put in charge a non-eurosceptic former IMF employee as PM. That’ll work.

So to Slovenia’s election. The Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) topped Sunday’s election on 25%, handing the anti-immigrant party 25 seats in the parliament. Center-left LMŠ, led by comedian and political satirist Marjan Šarec, came in second on 12.7% (13 seats), and the Social Democrats third on just under 10% (10 seats). SDS leader Janez Janša acknowledged forming a governing coalition will be difficult.

Juncker typified all of the arrogance that has propelled so many anti-establishment parties to power. He said, “Italians have to take care of the poor regions of Italy. That means more work, less corruption, seriousness.” Stereotyping rarely helps. Juncker also made clear that Italy’s problems are not the EU’s fault.

Time and time again, when studying poverty within the EU, the overwhelming number of countries inside the bloc remain worse off than in 2008. Growth rates remain anemic. If you were to look at a map of the floodgates of illegal immigration (which Deutsche Bank published) it isn’t a surprise that the local populations are voting for those governments that will seek to look after the citizens first. So before casting aspersions on a growing number of EU citizens’ assessment of the human rights of asylum seekers, the reality is that the socialists within the EU are clearly utterly dreadful at messaging and even poorer in execution. Then again Baroness Thatcher warned them of that in 1990.