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2009-01-09 19:38

If it hadn't been for the three(3) ahead of him he'd've won...

It is the glorious triumph of Martin Schmitt, who managed a majestic collective-fourth in the Four(4) Hopp Tourne:

Als sich Wolfgang Loitzl mit einer traumhaften Vorstellung zum neuen "Knig der Lfte" krnte und nach dem grten Triumph seiner Karriere den Schnee von Bischofshofen ksste, jubelte Martin Schmitt ber sein bestes Ergebnis bei der Vierschanzentournee seit acht Jahren. Whrend Loitzl mit seinem dritten Tagessieg im Finale in Bischofshofen die Nachfolge des zurckgetretenen Rekordsiegers Janne Ahonen antrat und bei der Siegerehrung eine Trne der Rhrung verdrckte, rundete Schmitt als Fnfter im Finale sein sensationelles Comeback ab und freute sich ber den vierten Gesamt-Platz.

Blah blah blah oh alright technically Loitzl actually won but Martin Schmitt rejoiced in his best result in the Four(4) Hoppnings for eight(8) years. Blah blah blubbing Ostriches who needs to read about that, Schmitt rounded off his sensational comeback and celebrated his collective-fourth place.

We picked the mighty ARD's hoppning coverage simply because it was the only one we saw with a hoppning-only RSS feed, but it does seem to suffer the general sport-journalisme problem of militant partisanship. (Our Varied Reader will surely not be astonished to learn that it is a Cherman source.)

Loitzl is a very stylish hoppniste, for sure - stable in the air and fastidiously telemarking his landings - we learned to spectate the event cheering on Janne "The Manne" Ahonen, whose expressionless sang-froid and two-footed clomp-downs made a big impression on us, and we admire Loitzl's hoppning more than we relish it.

Still, a worthy winner and a good contest, and as always fine television.

2009-01-02 17:50

Burgering about

The Intergalactic brings news of the Dutch Labour Party (PvdA to us), and in particular its chairperson's recent comments on double nationality:

She asserted, "the grip of the homeland has to disappear" for these immigrants who, news reports indicate, also retain their original nationality at a rate of about 80 percent once becoming Dutch citizens.

And there are plenty more new-rightiste talking points where that came from, if you like that sort of thing.

The local Dagblad voor het Noorden has a more nuanced version, in which Ms Ploumen - for it is she! - is quoted as saying that dual nationalities are "undesirable", but adds that "it would be going too far to pre-judge persons on that account".

It also adds the important counterpoint that the Moroccan state does not acknowledge renouncals of citizenship, and that the Turkish state's treatment of inheritance rights makes it inconvenient.

But our perspective on this matter is not primarily informed by the need to be seen to be being unpleasant to allegedly recalcitrant groups of brown persons, but by our own experience and that of EU transnationals in general.

Intra-EU immigrants pay taxes in their country of residence, they drive on the roads there, they are treated by the doctors and hospitals there, their children are (in the Netherlands at least) required to attend schools there. In short, their politic agenda - our politic agenda - is the national political agenda of their country of residence.

And yet the only way to get a vote in national elections is to take the local citizenship, which can be a slow process, and can require renouncing previous citizenships. (We get fast-tracked and indulged in keeping British citizenship since we are married to a Dutchperson, and very glad we are too.)

We do not consider this arrangement at all satisfactory: if we were ever to move to Chermany or France or Zweden we would immediately be back to square one. (We are glad of our rights to participate in European and local elections, for sure, but we hardly find these to be the most salient that are held.)

What we'd like to see instead is a much more flexible system, where the national franchises were extended to at least EU citizens persons in another EU country, if they could demonstrate that they had a reasonable grip of the language and current affairs of their host nation.

We're only too well aware of just how likely something like that is, of course. While we're busy not holding our breath, we'd also enjoy quite a lot less post-left populisme about the evils of double nationalities. (Which of course we also do not expect to get - with the economy the way it is, we actually expect rather more anti-immigrant rhetoric and not being much given to optimisme we only hope that it stops at rhetoric.)

Luckily the next national elections, if parliament runs out its term, will occur after we have qualified to apply for Dutch citizenship, and we do not actually have any plans to move to another country, within or without the EU. And if the PvdA thinks it is in any danger of getting such votes as we hope to become entitled to, it's got another think coming.

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