thumping the tub
Tub-Thumper - 1. A speaker or preacher who for emphasis thumps the pulpit; a violent or declamatory preacher or orator; a ranter. (from This blog will be a combination of reasoned posting somedays and an occasional rant.
Friday, February 17, 2006
Some useful info for a time when you may be debating a neocon...


The EU subsidises its farmers to the tune of $62 billion per year, the Japanese $31 billion and the United States around $19 billion. A couple of years back some estimates said that the figures were artificially low and that total western farm subsidies were $350 billion. This is more than the GNP from all sub-Saharan Africa.

The nations of the EU as a combined total of bilateral aid from their own individual initiatives and EU aid transfer just 0.51 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to developing countries per annum. This is done under Official Development Assistance programmes and bilateral programmes between individual nations from within the EU and in bilateral programmes between the EU and other developing nations. This is to be contrasted with a figure of 0.32 percent for Japan and 0.18 percent for the United States.

It is also worth noting that it is not purely from humanitarian feelings or needs that this aid is given, the EU recoups $48 of every $100 given in aid through purchases of goods and services from EU members

Food aid is also not entirely a goodwill gesture. It is mainly a product of Common agricultural policy overproduction.

The world's major industrial nations have in fact increased their level of protectionism in recent years by more than 20% according to the United Nations (UN). Even the director of development policy at the WB, Ian Goldin "Poor people cannot escape their level of poverty because of subsidies in the developed world"

In the late 80's and early 90's aid to Eastern Europe rose from 4% to 32.6% of the total budget. For the poorest countries it fell from 68.7% to 43.6%. This was mainly in order to stop an influx of refugees from the East coming into the EU.

The EU is a money trap and politicians LIKE it, nevertheless, there are votes to be won by pretending to defy the EU - this happens in all the EU countries. Politicians will make deals together and then return home and abuse the EU.

Around 60 firms of US and Japanese parentage have set up inside the EU to avoid the difficulties of trading with the EU from outside its confines.

Also, the public are grossly misinformed about the EU as a whole - sometimes deliberately so. In the 1990s a reservoir of jingoistic bile that hadn't been tapped in years was unleashed when the EU apparently tried to enforce a regulation that would only allow the sale of straight bananas. This simply wasn't true. There is no level of bureaucratic nitpicking that would come up with such a policy - there is absolutely no reason for such a policy. The fact of the matter was that the EU wished to buy more of its bananas from the former colonies of the UK and France in the Caribbean. This was to fend off a possible upsurge in unemployment in these areas. The Caribbean bananas are slightly different in size to the Latin American bananas that were being replaced and the anti-EU sections of the media took this story and came up with the 'straight banana theory' as a means of discrediting the EU. And it worked. Most people believed it.

posted by michael the tubthumper @ 1:43 pm  
  • At 10:54 am, Blogger a rose is a rose said…

    i continue to grow more and more impressed with your mind mr the tub.

  • At 5:38 pm, Blogger Amelopsis said…

    Great post, Michael.

    The last para. reference to the jingoistic '90's struck a chord. I remember another couple from that time about strawberries & cucumbers but never knew their validity either.

  • At 7:17 pm, Blogger Delescluze said…

    Good post. See Orwell's encapsulation of the 1936 Spanish anarchist view of capitalism as 'a centralized swindling machine', a view that you do not have to be a 1936 Spanish anarchist to hold.

  • At 9:56 pm, Blogger mikevotes said…

    That US number seems a little low to me. I would bet that there are other paybacks hidden in other programs, like the $500 mil to farmers for all that ethanol production we do.


  • At 1:57 am, Blogger Left of Center said…

    Love the new banner cartoon.

  • At 2:56 am, Blogger That Damned Jezebel said…

    Its not for purely humanitarian reasons? I'm shocked.

  • At 7:01 pm, Blogger michael the tubthumper said…

    i should point out that the farm subsidy figures are 2 years old.

  • At 2:24 am, Blogger Fiona said…

    "The EU is a money trap and politicians LIKE it."

    You got that right, Michael. Farm groups could have potentially blocked European integration so the EU- wide system of agricultural subsidies effectively defused the threat.

    Also, you mention in the post that the EU wished to buy more of its bananas from the former colonies of the UK and France in the Caribbean because this was to fend off a possible upsurge in unemployment in these areas. I had the impression that the issue from the EU perspective was more about issues of sovereignty and self-determination. The WTO ruled twice in the 1990’s that the EU was illegally restraining imports of Latin American bananas. The thinking goes if they can’t keep out bananas then how can they keep out other imports such as hormonally modified beef- a very important issue to Europeans. First bananas, then hormonally-modified beef, then what?

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What is Tubthumping and who is doing it?

Name: michael the tubthumper
Home: Glasgow, Scotland
About Me: Tub-Thumper - 1. A speaker or preacher who for emphasis thumps the pulpit; a violent or declamatory preacher or orator; a ranter. This blog will be a combination of reasoned posting somedays and an occasional rant. 28 years old, I write and research for a couple of websites and also do my own stuff.
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Thumping The Tub Video

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I have made a few short movies. Here are links to free downloads for them all in the order that I made them (as far as I can remember). Please feel free to use, distribute, disagree with, shout at etc etc

  • Praise The Lord and Pass The Ammunition
  • This was a REAL song from World War 2. I was so stunned by it I had to make a movie

  • How Far Is It From Here to Nuremberg
  • This is my attempt at a video for the excellent, if worrying, David Rovics (see links) song

  • What You Like
  • I believe the word for this is "splenetic". Only 20 seconds long.

  • Imperial Measures
  • What is going on in Iraq? Some things you knew, some you didn't. A couple of bits of info are out of date now.

  • Wish You Were Here
  • Wish You Were Here is a 6 minute film about the unprecendted rate of animal extinction we are currently experiencing

  • Gorillas and us
  • I don't like creationism, neither did Douglas Adams

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    some of the blogs I look at
    Arse of the month

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    The inaugural 'Arse of the month' award goes to our very own Scottish First Minister Jack (Joke) McConnell. He seems to spend a lot of his time sucking up to english politicians and yet it appears they don't even know his name. Follow the link to see..

    It's All Gone Scottish

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    A list of some other Scottish sites and blogs most of which, if not all, are pro-independence. I don't agree with content on all of them obviously. Some are Scots at home, others abroad.

  • The Scottish Patient
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    If you like this site and think it is time to start getting informed here are a few real favourites of mine that will help you blow away the corporate and government propaganda you are constantly bombarded with. It is added to every so often.

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  • a war crime within a war crime...
  • the menace of liberal scholarship
  • the modern era of law
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