Tag Archives: Europe

Who are these people?

Who are these crazies? Enslavers of minorities. Ham handed YouTube butchers. Mass murderers and killers. The ‘Islamic State’ or whatever. Where did they come from and who are they? Who gives, or gave them the them money to get started? Who has declared war on our way of life? Because war is where we are. We are at war, declared or not. We are at war with the miserablist philosophy of radical Islam. That which hates joy in the human heart. That which hates music and art. Specifically those who claim their brand of killjoy Islam should dominate the world. They picked this fight. Not the secular West. The Daesh (Arabic pejorative) chose to take their petty little tantrums out on civilians. Bunch of murderous shitheels that they are. A single Police dog is worth more than the whole damn crew of them.

Now we hear that two one of the organisers of the Paris attacks are still on the run and two more are dead. Others are under arrest. The Daesh (ISIL / ISIS, Al – thingummy wossname) are also going to be on the sharp end of shock and awe. From not just the French, but also the Russians. The UK is also going to pitch in against these murderous bastards. Even if it means keeping the unpopular and murderous Assad regime in power. Stuff the Yanks. Some of this is the current US administrations fault. They began airstrikes in support of the Syrian rebels and created a void for the Daesh to move in. I’m glad Trudeau has pulled Canadian forces out of that mess. We shouldn’t have been fighting Assad in the first place.

Yet from what I can see, the Daesh are simply one head of the Hydra. In order to destroy the threat the whole beast must be destroyed. It has to be burned out and cauterised at source. Root and branch. No quarter. No mercy. I think the French understand this. At the moment of writing they are going loaded for bear. It’s worth noting that France has Nuclear weapons and might just be tempted to test one on a Daesh stronghold. The Charles De Gaulle, currently deploying to the middle east in response to the Paris attacks, has just such a capability.

Well this is a bit steep Bill. My better self says. Aren’t you over reacting a bit? Mmmm. I don’t think so. A few short months ago I stood, sat, walked, and drank Cafe-au-lait on the very ground where some of the murders took place, admiring the culture, the architecture, the fashion sense and the agility of the local graffiti artists. We didn’t just do the main tourist spots, Mrs S and I took in what I call the ‘real’ Paris and tried our best to fit in and live like locals. Even if the proprietress of my favourite corner Boulangerie / Patisserie did take the piss out of my terrible accent and muffed French pronunciations. After I went back a few times for my morning baguette, I was always greeted with a happy smile. There was the kindness of neighbours when Mrs S broke her arm. Fortunately none of whom have flagged up as victims. Therefore I’m claiming an emotional connection to that area. We were, and still are planning a return trip as part of a larger European tour next year. London, Paris, Amsterdam Maybe Antwerp and Bruges. We weren’t put off by the Charlie Hebdo massacre. We won’t be put off now. Screw the Daesh. If they hadn’t got that bunch of losers to shoot up Paris, there would have been little excuse to implement the European passenger tracking system. Which I object to because I think it’s yet another nail in the coffin of civil liberties. Practically it means more bloody paperwork. More disclosure every time we fancy a nice holiday.

There is, however, a bright side. Parisian hotel and travel prices might go down a little if some people decide to call off their visits as a result of the attacks. I will need a new hat for sitting outside on sunny days. Speaking of which, some Parisians are choosing to sit outside cafe’s as an act of defiance. Which is very civilised. And very French. “You shoot down my countrymen? Pah! I drink Espresso at you, scum. Now go away before I order my afternoon cognac!”

Anyway, Mrs S and I are in Downtown Vancouver tomorrow. It’s work related, but we’ll be making this trip our main Christmas shopping visit as well. Bonne journee mes vieux. Have a nice day.

Routine shizzle

Not much happening chez Maison Sticker apart from hanging around for Mrs S’s appointment with an orthopaedic surgeon. She needs to talk to one to get a proper referral for rehab. Because she broke her arm out of country, she needs to follow procedure to get into the BC system. Which means a BC Orthopod has to give her busted wing the once over before she can get any physio. No matter our health insurance is paid up to date, and we’ve got cover coming out of her ears, the niceties must be observed. It’s a pain, but it’s slack season as far as work is concerned, so it’s not like we’re having to juggle two dozen other items at the same time. Just a case of hurry up and wait. So long as we can make our conference next week, we can easily shift arrangements. There’s also a little road trip dahn sarf to see how the folks across the border are faring and take a pootle along the Oregon and Washington scenic coastlines.

As for the Greek business, our investments aren’t going to be hit as we’ve no real exposure in the affected markets. The whole schemozzle, at least from this side of the pond and the FT’s pages, looks like it’s devolved into some kind of bizarre economic winking contest. No-one is actually dumb enough to take the last support from under their respective houses of cards, but it does look like the financial penny is dropping regarding the Euro. The ‘one-size-fits-all’ top down financial philosophy is showing a pair of Achilles heels which anyone with any real financial acumen could see a mile off. Real life economies are subject to the financial whims of populaces, politicians, banks and corporations, which tend, at least in Europe, to be a bit more locally focussed. The financial systems of the USA evolved from a roughly common culture with the same basic language. Europe can’t be like the USA, no matter how much the federalists would like it to be, because Europe doesn’t have the basis of that roughly common culture. It’s too, well, Balkan if you catch my drift. Not literally, but kind of. While the Common Market wasn’t a bad idea as far as promoting free trade was concerned, trying to shoehorn all the splendid diversities of mainland Europe into a centrally governed Federal republic was always a step too far. Various empire builders have had a go by assimilation and even military invasion, but in the end the locals always end up having their say.

And the centralisers wanted to bring Turkey and the Ukraine into their hegemony? Oh dearie me. Soo not a good idea.

What else? Various mini sagas over property etcetera grumble on. As far as that’s concerned I’m just biding my time. New neighbours downstairs. Some sociable, others not so much. Landlady is looking after a yappy little Yorkshire Terrier with a habit of shitting on doorsteps. Which can make walking through the back yard a very eyes down affair. Its owners will return next week, so by the time we come back from our conference and road trip, the little bastard will be gone. You can’t even make friends with the territorial little sod, it just runs away and yaps at you, as it it were his territory alone. Then when you turn away, tries to sneak after your ankles.

In my more evil moments, most of them between waking up and going to bed, I’m minded to remember a small rural adventure from my younger days regarding stupid dogs that have no off switch; a mate was shagging his girlfriend. Both of them a little shy of their sixteenth birthday, but this was in the 70’s and everyone involved but me is no longer around. No injury, no foul – right Officer? In the way of hormonally charged youth everywhere, he begged me as his best friend to keep his intrusive twelve year old brother out of the way. In my youthful lack of judgement I agreed, providing we could go rough shooting the following day with his Dads then-legal pump action shotgun. The lovers arranged their horizontal jogging, I baby sat younger brother downstairs and out of the lovers tryst. His and her lust was satisfied and all was well. Up until we were exiting the house. As we did, next doors Jack Russell broached the fence and began having a go at my friends ankles as we made our way out of said girlfriends back garden gate (That is not a euphemism BTW). I still have to work hard not to collapse in fits of giggles as I recall the rapidly dopplering ‘Yap-yap-yap-yap-yeellpppp!’ as my friend perfectly drop kicked the noisy little tyke back over the garden fence to where it belonged.

The temptation to do likewise to Landladies friends’ Yorkie is sometimes quite hard to resist.

Greek out?

Just saw this little snippet begin to spread across the Forex world;

Due to the possible exit of Greece from the European Union, we would like to inform you that from 29th June, 2015, instruments may be temporarily set to Close Only mode.

While I’m not exactly sure what ‘Close only’ mode entails, this does not bode well. Such measures are only put in place when there’s a sign saying “Crisis – this way up – do not bend” above the Foreign Exchange markets.

My own currency brokers are closed over the weekend, but I have a feeling there’s going to be a lot of fallout over the next 72 hours. Looks like it’s one of those financial ‘Hang tough’ moments. So that’s what I’ll do. Take a step back and let the markets oscillate a bit.

Greek ruins Parthenon and EuroFor most people, shifting money across borders is the province of those so-called ‘rich’ buggers. For me (I’m ‘modestly well off’ not ‘rich’) it’s a case of necessity. I have assets to buy, money to shift, taxes to pay, but if the landfill has hit the wind turbine, while the Greek tragedy plays itself out I shall put my Fedora on and go soak up some sunshine, stick me rod in my hand and go stand on some rocks to see if the fish are biting. We’ll see what doom and gloom, if any, that Monday brings.

Will the powers that be let Greece fail? We shall see who blinks first.

P.S. Watch this Twitter feed
Update: Also this breaking news feed on the Eurozone.
And just to throw more fuel on the fire, we hear the State Governor say that Puerto Rico can’t pay its debts.

While the rest of North America seems to be going to see Gay Pride parades, What’s that creaking noise?

Paris stinks!

Well yes and no. Possibly. Are we going for decisiveness today? Yes. No. Oh, I can’t make my mind up. Sorry. Ouch. Actually Paris does. Stink that is. Like an overflowing urinal. Despite gangs of green overalled workers hosing benches and various little corners down from the early hours to midday. On the corner of every street it catches you. Out of the apartment, down the road, and eeuuw! Take a trip through the Metro, turn a corner and biff! Right in the nostrils. Often multiple times in one station. And the stench is definitely human, not dog or any other animal. That ammoniac reek is quite male and very particular. London is positively aseptic by comparison.

Regardless of the smell, what did I think of Paris overall? Superb, merveilleux, astounding, and amazing innit, like; a tribute to the minds of great men, and packed with more historical content per cubic centimetre than a New York Reuben Sandwich is with Pastrami and Sauerkraut. More full of good and great little eateries than anywhere I’ve ever been, and we have traveled extensively throughout Europe, Africa, and North America. All of these bars and eateries vying to be at least as good as the best in the street.

Tiny little bars, cafe’s, brasseries, and bistro’s in a semi chaotic mess around every street corner and through every working marketplace. Great little Boulangeries, “Don’t forget the Nutella Crepes”, says Mrs S over my shoulder. Heavy sigh. Yes dear.

I know we can’t give you the sounds and smells, but here is a tiny sample of our resized holiday snaps, cut down to a meg and a half each to allow reasonably quick page loading. I can’t put them all up as we took something in the region of a thousand or so. And that’s just the ones we didn’t delete on the spot because a blurred someone got in the way of the shot, or the lens strap blew over the lens or the hundred other reasons a picture isn’t worth keeping.

A Parisian architectural incongruityI mean, take this one. Snapped from the top of one of those ‘hop on hop off’ tour buses. One of the old pre Haussman city gates. From the early 19th century when the city was simply a maze of alleys and noisome little streets, the remnants of which can be found off St Germain and the Marais, and a whole heap of other bits like Montmartre and Pigalle we didn’t spend much time around.

Notre Dame detail Oi Henri teas upWhen you’re not on one of those touristy tick box whistle stop ‘tours’ of Paris, you can take your time and discover some of the details and surprises that make it such a great place for an extended stay. This one I call “Oi! Henri! Come down, yer Teas ready.” It’s a life size bronze on the top of Notre Dame, Paris, and you can only really see it properly from a fifteen foot gap between buildings to the rear of the cathedral. Anywhere else and it’s practically invisible.

The Louvre at duskFor another example of the main tourist sites; this view of the Louvre at dusk. We never went in because, well, who wants to be caught in herds of untamed Japanese and Korean tour parties with their interminable cameras flashing all the time. Staring at priceless artworks from the back of the crowd with all that flickering isn’t much fun. You miss out on the detail from twenty feet away, and detail is what makes these things great works of art. Honestly, it’s enough to set off an Epileptic. Myself I rarely use flash unless I have to. You tend to capture more of the ambient mood of a shot in natural light. Besides, flash is no good over more than ten or twelve feet anyway and tends to flatten the image if you don’t get it right. It’s like those people who try to take pictures of an eclipse with the flash still on. No. It doesn’t work very well does it? My advice; try turning the flash off and see what your camera can really do.

Les Invalides the tomb of Marshal FochOn the topic of natural light; here’s the tomb of Marshal Foch in Les Invalides. That fabulous blue glow in the picture is natural. Using flash kills this lustrous Spielberg blue effect stone dead. Which gets annoying when someone sees what you’re up to and then uses their flash repeatedly over your shoulder, or in the case of tiny giggling Chinese and Japanese girls, sneaking in front of you, even when you’re right up to the barrier, and sticking the back of their head in front of your lens. I had to wait fifteen minutes for two garrulous tour parties to disappear before snapping that particular image.

Which makes me wonder about the nature of photographers. We were wandering out of St Germain across the Pont Neuf the following day after a visit to the Luxembourg Gardens. There’s a little triangular park on the western end of Ile Del la Cite which is a pleasant place to spend a lazy hour or two. Down below, a couple being driven upriver in one of those stylish Italian Riva speedboats were waving at someone or something. I couldn’t see anyone waving back. Down on the banks of the park were five or six guys with cameras who suddenly began running after the boat, tripping and gamboling over each other like circus monkeys on cocaine. They managed to stay upright for long enough to point their cameras at the waving couple before going into a little celebratory dance, high fiving each other, capering up and down like medieval lunatics. Mrs S and I watched this odd mini spectacle for a moment before shrugging to ourselves in a Gallic manner. No idea who the couple on the boat were, but the camera toting clowns seemed to be very excited about it. As far as taking pictures is concerned I try to emulate the careful people who take a few moments picking a good vantage place and let the zoom take the strain. The Sniper rather than the Snapper. Some might say you lose the spontaneity of a shot that way, but it depends what you’re looking for I suppose. Any old road up, that’s neither here nor there. I don’t make my living that way.

Notre dame we have ignitionBack on topic; here’s another one of the more interesting bits of Notre Dame at night. I particularly like this shot because there’s more than a little of the 3-2-1 we have liftoff to it. Those elegant flying buttresses, the high narrow windows. Who’d have thought the denizens of late medieval Paris were trying to build starships out of stone?

Sainte Chappelle a ceilingWhat else? Well, there was Sainte Chapelle, one time royal chapel at the back of the Palais De Justice. Incredible detail, towering painted ceilings, which one architectural critic thinks is not correct and a ‘crime’ against architecture in the case of Chartres Cathedral, but that’s one of those ‘judging late medieval art and architecture by 21st century standards’ things, and not something I want to get into in the comparative brevity of a blog post. Suffice it to say, the archaeology tells us the stonework was originally painted, so any critique of restoration work should take that into account.

Like I say, I took over a thousand decent pictures while I was enjoying la vie Parisienne, improved my French, patched up my relationship, discovered how to navigate the French emergency healthcare system and Parisian Metro. Had a lot of good, clean, old fashioned fun, ate and drank well, ending up back home in BC thoroughly culturally enriched. Despite the odd stroppy waiter, broken limb and greedy taxi driver, it was a great trip. I’d do it again in a heartbeat. But maybe, just maybe, I’d take a side trip to Amsterdam and Berlin first.

There goes the neighbourhood

Strolling round Les Invalides about sixish last night we were treated to the spectacle of ten Police vans scooting hurriedly past to points unknown, scattering traffic as they went. They hung a quick right south towards the river to be joined by another ten or fourteen with sirens honking away. “The Interior Ministers forgotten his baguettes, again.” I remarked to Mrs S before we ducked down into the Metro for the ride home.

We turned on the France24 English news to find that, oh bloody hell, David Cameron was briefly in town as part of a whistlestop tour of Europe, pretending he was going to renegotiate the UK’s standing within the EU. “Well he can whistle off.” Remarked Mrs S. We’re receiving guests this weekend, and don’t want all the best Brasseries bunged up by self important politicians and their coteries of bodyguards and hangers on. Hells bells, we’re got enough armed police and soldiery on almost every street corner as it is.

Heavy sigh. There goes the neighbourhood.

We’ve also been greeted by the news that ‘King’ Blair has stepped down from his position as Middle East Peace Envoy. Well, so long as he buggers off elsewhere, we don’t really care. He can stay out of France and Canada for starters, with a big ‘not wanted’ immigration stamp on his forehead. With the Middle East going up in smoke I hadn’t noticed much peace coming out of it. So someone was falling down on the job, weren’t they?

Not that he was any good as the UK’s Prime Minister. So that should have been an employment ‘red flag’, but then the UN isn’t exactly full of towering intellects. More outright venality and low animal cunning. Rather like FIFA. If real brains were explosive I doubt they’d be able to blow their collective noses.

Something remarkable

In Chartres yesterday, picking up a minor bout of food poisoning. Mrs S has been hors de combat since last night, but the worst of it has passed me by with a brief but minor bout of feverishness and minor gastric upset. Getting back to our apartment via the late night Metro was an adventure, but we made it back safely, and that’s sufficient. I just played guard dog and nurse to my stricken other half, planted a “Don’t screw with me” expression on my face and helped her down, through and up out of the Labyrinth from SNCF to apartment. But that is beside the point.

Now Chartres is a nice looking little town. We rode the TGV to visit its famous baroque Cathedral, which is probably more impressive than Notre Dame. What we hadn’t bargained for was running into the end of a three day pilgrimage. When we arrived, we thought they were taking the banners and external sound system down. So we decided to have a look inside. About fifteen minutes into our slack jawed examination of the buildings internal majesty there was an announcement from the tannoy, asking everyone to leave the building. So we left and planted ourselves in a little bistro opposite and returned to our Cafe au Laits suitably impressed by the original medieval workmanship and state of the renovation project.

I’m not religious myself. God isn’t either. But one can’t help but be impressed at the skill and devotion generations of craftsmen have invested to produce such a grandiose, intricately engineered statement of faith in stone. Overwhelming is such a poor adjective.

However, what really impressed me was the crowds that started to arrive around lunchtime, singing as they came, filling up the edifice and surrounding square with their devotions. Phalanxes of the prayerful from toddlers to pensioners, whole Scout troupes of husky young men and girls accompanied by mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles, priests and paupers, carrying banners and crosses representing their local church and nationality. All filling the streets with good natured noise. Not just French but British, Canadian, American, Swiss, German, Polish and even one Iraqi flag waved over the pilgrims heads. There were a lot of other national banners I couldn’t readily identify. All had taken a three day hike of 70 miles to get here. Their hiking shoes told the story.

Street confessionIn the square I saw priests taking confession from kneeling penitents, which to me at least, made a more powerful statement than the cathedral itself, because without the demonstrated faith, the building is just a pile of intricately carved rock. Incidentally yes, I took this picture myself and yes, have airbrushed out the identifying marks on the young ladies sweatshirt. Apart from image size reduction nothing else has been changed.

Then came the sermon. Which would have had radical lefties screaming ‘Islamophobiaaa!!!!’ at the top of their pathetically demented little lungs. Delivered in both French and English, the priest spoke of how a vacuum of faith has allowed radical Islam to thrive in the west and outlined strategies for combating its rise. I just sat and listened, ever more convinced that the ranting of morons like Choudhary and his ilk will get their wish of Religious war. Having seen the simple, quiet blue collar devotion of the Chartres pilgrims, I think the Jihadis will lose. Big time. All the radical Islamist gun and willy wavers have is murder and hatred, and while you might subdue faith with those tools for a while, it’ll always come back to bite you. Always.

Better spend my Euros then

As the creaking noises erupting from the financial corsets of the European Central Bank become ever more audible, the news that Greece cannot currently pay the IMF its June protection payment loan installment comes as no surprise. When Greece joined the Euro in 2001 it went into a public sector spend, spend, spend spiral. Now they will reap the fiscal whirlwind. As will all the other countries in the Eurozone. Well, that’ll piss off the EU. Especially Frau Merkinel.

Greek ruins Parthenon and EuroYet the Greeks want the Elgin Marbles returned? Well okay, so long as they fully reimburse the British Museum for storage, transportation, restoration, and associated costs backdated to 1816. At full commercial rates. Cash terms only. No credit. Gold preferred.

Which rather proves Margaret Thatchers assertion from a 1976 TV interview when she said “Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They always run out of other people’s money.”

At the time then leader of the opposition Thatcher was talking about the mess left, and being made by, the Wilson, Callaghan and Heath Governments. Brown and Balls did the same for the UK from 1997-2009. The same might be said of the current Greek administration, and no matter how many riots they have in Athens, it won’t pay any of the Greek Governments debts. Simple truth; riots don’t pay bills, they only create more. Voting for more taxes on the ‘rich’. Won’t work. The real rich of course will have melted away like the Cheshire Cat, leaving only the shark tooth smile of massive accountancy bills. Then the only poor buggers with anything left, like small landlords, business owners and the self employed will be left to shoulder the whole burden of state spending. And they will lose everything. Twas ever thus.

Any ancienne route jusqu’à, I’m in Europe for the next two weeks, so maybe I should spend most of my cash Euro’s before July when they might just become worthless. Just in case. Pass the Cognac.

Interesting stuff about Paris

As I’ve written before, Mrs S and I are going to Paris shortly for a well deserved jollyday where I will be avidly studying the art of Francophone sarcasm and irony as practiced and perfected by French service staff. C’est n’est pas votre dejeuner monsiuer, c’est la merde de ma tante. Et services vous droit pour ne pas apprendre le francais vous rosbif ignorant. So there.

On the topic of things Parisian I’ve recently come across this guy, Tom Scott, an entertaining fellow with his own channel on YouTube. As I will be spending some time in Paris this year, I thought I’d watch and post the following videos, which, quite frankly make a refreshing change from the touristy Rick Steves and Lonely Planet stuff relied upon by so many of our Southern cousins.

On ‘Paris Syndrome

But since I’m not Japanese or Chinese and have spent time (working) in Paris before, I’m not in the ‘at risk’ category.

Or Privacy In France: A Lot Of French People Might Be About To Sue Me

This may end up being a distinct possibility. If they can find me after I’ve gone home………

And ‘Point Zero’ outside Notre Dame.

Which isn’t that far from our apartment. Way cheaper than many hotels and with a little discrimination and early booking can land you in quite the little gem of a place. I may drop by one quiet Sunday morning when most other tourists are still tucked up in their little beddy-byes.

I’ll be posting my own misadventures and observations as time and Interweb connections allow.

Fortunately for me….

Invading ParisI shall be enjoying la vie Parisienne later this year. I will also be enjoying it at a time when a bunch of joyless nerks who love to tell all us plebs things like ‘the science is settled’ aren’t there. Which is complete codswallop, science is never settled about anything. Even the most cursory glance at the history of scientific research and endeavour will demonstrate how ill informed and stupid that oft-regurgitated claim is. But my reader knows this, and will forgive this minor sour note.

Essentially the Paris conference is yet another propaganda-fest designed to convince us that politicians have discovered the philosophers stone for controlling the weather (Hah!). Fortunately I won’t be in Paris when all the pseudo-green activists and their financial masters are out on the town, keeping the local prostitutes gainfully employed and drinking lots of Beaujolais Nouveau on the taxpayer dollar. To be honest, these climate conferences actually do some short term economic good, particularly if you’re a prostitute or purveyor of intoxicating substances. Apparently a lot of paid sex and drugs goes on at these events with so much raw money sloshing around. Mostly while the wide eyed useful idealists are busy knitting biodegradable clothing out of leftover linguine.

Anyway, my impending holiday (my first proper break in ten years) has had me practicing my French conversation which has become a little rusty of late. Like all vices and skills, a language needs constant practice to maintain its edge and it’s been a while since I passed the citizenship language test. However, to make up for this shortfall I have been practicing saying things like “Désolé monsieur” or “Désolée madame” and “Aww, mon pauvre petit.” in as insincere a voice as possible without giving the whole game away. My goal here is to become equally as sarcastic, ironic, patronising and dismissive in French as I can be in English. I’m told there are Parisian waiting staff who give masterclasses in the aforementioned. I will be studying them eagerly as they parade their expertise, feeling suitably humbled before the worlds formost experts in linguistic ledgerdemain. Even if it is not in my native tongue.

I’m quite giddy with anticipation.

No to Referendums

EU ball and chainSpotted via RT.com; ‘Cast iron Dave’ and any of the lamestream UK political parties will not be delivering on their referendum promises any time soon. Face it chums, whether or not the ‘source’ is kosher, the Germans don’t want to be left holding the baby as the EU’s other major cash cow goes AWOL, therefore they won’t let anyone else have the ball until 2020 at the earliest. Arch bureaucrat Claude Juncker has spoken. Allegedly. Democracy dahleengs? That’s not for you little people don’cha know.

Unless of course someone gets elected who doesn’t give a monkeys about a treaty which, incidentally, was privately ratified without parliamentary scrutiny by a whoreson who was parachuted into the UK Prime Ministers job without having to stand for election as such. There’s some legal wiggle room for starters. It’ll be enough to to keep the lawyers arguing for decades.

I’m due to pass through some of my old London stamping grounds in the next two to three weeks, so I’ll take a good first hand look at how the brave EU world is shaping up. With or without referenda or promises thereof.

Update: Hmm. According to Richard North’s EU Referendum either Juncker is backtracking heavily or he was misreported according to other sources. Both are possible because;
1. Juncker is a politician
2. The Lamestream have to sell advertising space
Or a mixture of both.

I’m still sceptical though. The Tories won’t allow the UK a referendum. Nor will Labour, the Limp Dems, the SNP or the Greens. A vote for any of them is still a vote for a Federal Europe.