Quiet Storm
About the elections 

Descendants of a gang of pirates
In defence of monarchy 

Mere Anarchy
Find out more about Estonia's young anarchists. 

Cut it Out 
About immigration. Frankly I am getting tired of the issue.

Thatcher's Legacy 
Celebrating Thatcher

The Conservative Solution
 The big issue in Estonia tight now is cohabitation rights for same-sex couple. This is an opinion pieces on this subject.

Britain and Referenda 
Why Cameron will lose the next election and we will have a government more favourable to Europe and Estonia...

The Second Sex 
We are are told that we live in a male dominated society, that men have it easier than women; there are people who make a living by telling us this.I think that men have it tough and the situation is getting worse. I believe that feminism., or at least the radical form of it that has come to dominate, is wrong., and the effects of feminism that are causing great harm in my own country and in the rest of the Anglo-sphere are beginning to crop up here 

Chartist versus the World
It was just perfect timing, I write a book discussing amongst other things, whether Estonian political culture is failing on not, and a month later, some of the country's leading minds, let's call them the chartists, get together and say categorical that failing it IS! ..

 A Black President for a Small White Nation II
An opinion piece. The title is self-explanatory.About the 2009 local elections in Estonia.Four years ago I outraged the nation when I suggested in my first Postimees article what Michelle Obama the president's wife might be thinking if Estonia got into trouble.Ah yes Estonia that small-minded little white nation....to hell with them.”.......

Intellectual Casino
Tallinn is the global headquarters for a venerable institution, a giraffe, which for legal purposes we will call Giraffe Forex company. It is all part of the retail forex market which in Estonia is controlled by Russian-speaking Estonian who started out in the 90s. They allied with Russian from the mother land in the early 2000s and set up shop here in Tallinn. Giraffe Forex has plush offices down town. It billboards can be seen in advertising hoarding in the city centre. With offices in over 27 country and growing, its ehhh..... tentacles are spreading out across the world. Giraffe Forex remains an excellent way for suckers to lose all their money. Don't take my word for it.

The Great Migration If you haven't spotted it already, the great Facebook migration means that Estonia has gone from being as leader to follower.Whereas five years ago Estonia was ahead of the curve now it is behind it. Instead of inventing stuff that others are using, Estonians are now using stuff invented elsewhere.

 Two Tribes 
The story of Estonians in Britain is an interesting narrative not only on how communities develop but a reflection on Estonia itself. Its shows us that some of the assumptions that we make about modern Estonia are wrong.

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The invisible beautiful Estonian film
The Austrian Factor On Austrian economics
Galojan won't be coming home soon.
On Veerpalu
Survival of the fitness
The view from London On the Euro
White Riots More on London Riots
City under siege London Riots
The end of Newspapers 
China Rising
Why the world is silent about the Estonian election
Playing around with higher education
Response from Education Minister (ed note: in Estonian, will translate into English when I have time)
Right is Right ?
Why I write in EstoniaSotsid are not freaks Why are the Social Democrats still failing?
Room 101 A comparison between British kids and Estonian kids
Go West Where is Estonia exactly? Venture Capitalist Allan Martinson view Follow up story to Go West Musician Jaan Tätte view Follow up story to Go West
The greatest speech of all time A review of United Estonia a very successful political play held 8 May at Saku Suurhall.
For Europe's sake: Stop the Tories How the British elections will influence Estonia.
The libertarian tradition Why Estonian Health care is better than the USA
Brave new Estonia Estonian Independence day
Cancel the debt Haitian crisis
Who's in charge here How the leader of the opposition in Estonia can bully the PM.
The man who annoys Estonians: Q and A with Priit Pullerits Postimees did this in depth interview.
Black men, Estonian women the truth
Pyrrhic Victory
The Sexiest man in Estonia Guess who?
The Playboy bunny and foreign policy
Laar's Dilemma About the former PM of Estonia.
Cult of Youth Why Estonia is run by kids
Quiet genius who brought East to the West How the Koran came to be published in Estonia.
Bigotry and denial Race relations in the Baltics in particular Lithuania
A hard landing indeed About the economic crisis
Let's eat potato peels and again
Fighting to preserve a Nation's heritage Lithuania's Jewish community

Descendants of a gang of pirates.
Published Postimees 5 August  2013 

Monarchy is in the news in Belgium, in Britain it's always in the news. Let's tell it how it is in the Estonian republic.

A few hundred years ago, a gang of vicious pirates, led by a power-crazed psychopath, invaded my country.

Like the knights of Teutonic Order in this part of the World, they spread destruction before them. They pillaged and raped and slaughtered vast numbers of people leaving much of the country as wasteland and enslaved the survivors. Like the Soviets they killed off anybody who had money or drove them into exile.

For hundreds of years the British Isles, like Estonia was oppressed by the descendants of this band of thugs, who spoke a different language and had different customs. The pirates were known as the Normans. Their leader was known as William the Conqueror.

In Estonia you finally got rid of the Baltic Germans, in England we never got rid of the Normans.

Like every other ethnic group that has settled Britain before and since, the Normans assimilated and became English. They assimilated so completely that everybody has forgotten how the aristocracy, and the monarchy, got started.

Thus when the most recent direct descendant of the power hungry psychopath, the next person to rule us all in about 50 years time, was born, we all stand around cheering for the little prince.

But cheer we should.

As a Briton living in Estonia I am aware the monarchy, comes in for criticism. Some in Estonia seem to believe it is antiquated institution. I will explain why we still need the monarchy and why this system works.

In Britain's constitutional monarchy, the Queen doesn't have any legislative or judicial power she only has executive power. She does not make laws, she only signs them. Her powers are similar to President Ilves.

The Queen does has a veto but since no monarch has used it in two centuries, it has become constitutional precedence that no monarch can use it. It could be argued what is wrong with the monarchy is that it has too little power, the Queen can't stand as a last resort against some outrageous law, as presidents in other countries can do.

In Britain; parliament rules. This issue was settled over three centuries ago. Charles I paid for it with his head. The question was finally settled when James II was thrown out of power and out of the country in 1689.

The Queen's position is almost like she hired by the parliament to do a job, just like any other head of state. The difference is the monarch is picked from one family, Parliament could fire her if she was making a mess of things. This has happened in the last century, as I will talk about latter.
If we didn't have a queen, we would have to have a president, a respected elder statesperson,  somebody to serve as focal point for national identity, someone who sign bills into law, attends functions, opens schools and hospitals, entertain foreign dignitaries.

The Queen does her job superbly. She is the best diplomat on the planet, in 61 years she has never been criticised for anything she has said or any decision she has made, ever.

It been that way for so long people don't even notice it. Cynics will say there is media conspiracy not to criticise her. It just isn't true. The Queen is just that good. Other members of the royal family have been criticised and even vilified. Previous monarchs had a really bad time. George IV was so unpopular he had to wear a disguise when he went about because people would throw rotten food at him.

The monarch plays a key political role especially times of crisis. When we were losing the Second World in 1940 it became clear that the prime minister Neville Chamberlain had to go.

The King, George VI, decided to ask for Churchill to become Prime Minister after he took advice from Chamberlain. Many in Churchill's own party were afraid of Churchill, they thought he was a loose canon.

Think about that for a second, One of the most famous statesman of the last century had no mandate to run a country, or fight a war of any kind other than King's endorsement.

The Queen is good PR for the country. Even if you go to a country that has a queen and you say the word “Queen” people know immediately who you mean. Monarchs in other countries are also well known but the president of Germany anybody?

Our monarch, our Queen, is also good value of money, She is the biggest landowner in the country, but under a system worked out centuries ago she gets no income from her land. Instead the government pays her a salary and pockets the income from the land. Since the income from the royal land is vastly more than her salary, it's a bargain.

You could say the Queen's power hungry ancestor stole the land in the first place, but for the government to steal it back is just communism, and we all know where that leads.

We all have bosses. Human societies are hierarchical but with a monarchy, you have at least some chance of being ruled by somebody who is not an ****hole.

Some people go into politics because of their strong beliefs, some people go into politics because they are approached, this is the way America's founding father thought the system should work, but some people go in politics for power, money or fame. Politics like show business attracts narcissistic personalities, even psychopaths. And since politicians are actors it is always difficult for voters to tell who is genuine

Our monarchy doesn't work like that, George VI, the king who appointed Churchill, was a shy man, afraid of public speaking. If you have seen “the king's speech” you will know he had a stammer. He didn't want to be king, it was his duty to his people. Somebody has to do that job. At a time when the rest of Europe was being ruled by bad men, some of whom were elected, at a time when in democracy had collapsed across the continent, Britain, the last hold out, was ruled by a hereditary head of state, and by an ordinary decent man.

I believe George VI was one of our best kings, because he did a difficult job which was against his nature. He wife believed the stress of being King shortened his life.

Prince William is by all accounts a modest man. That's the best thing about him and his wife. Apart from the fact that they are richer and better looking than most of us, they are just ordinary people.

What if we have a bad monarchy, parliament will replace them.

George VI became king when his brother was forced to abdicate. The official story at the time was he could not marry a divorcee as head of the Church of England and stay king. Prince Charles has married a divorcee and is divorced himself, no-one is saying he shouldn't be king.

The real reason why Edward VIII had to go, as has transpired from declassified US secret service files, was because he was a Nazi sympathiser whose wife allegedly had an affair with Von Ribbentrop. Yes that's right that Von Ribbentrop!

Parliament acted and Edward VIII abdicated. There are checks and balances in place to make sure that the right person is in the job. It is a difficult job but somebody has to do it.

They may have started out as brutal conquerors but they are all right now, the monarchy is in pretty good shape.

I for one will continue to celebrate descendants of the gang of pirates.

Mere Anarchy
Published Postimees  4 July 2013 

Fed up with reading with all the stuff that has been happening at the centre of Estonian politics, lets take a look at the stuff that is happening on the fringes.

Estonia's young left-wing community, the anarchists had a problem. They couldn't seem to get away from the opposite numbers, the Neo-Nazis and Fascist types. The Neo-Nazis would attacked them in Tartu's bars, in the grim housing estates where some of them lived, in the seaside town of Pärnu and outside gay clubs.

Eventually a group of Anarchists got together and came up with the solution. They would set up their own centre. It would be a place to gather, share ideas, hold concerts, do social evenings, have language courses to help to improve relations between Ethnic Estonians and Russian speakers. It would be a place to organise and spread the message of building a civil society and best of all it would be far away from the Neo-Nazis.

They found a place to rent near Kristiine, the Ülase centre. Andres K, a young activist takes up the story: “We signed the contract after a month we did an opening event and we went there to put up posters and the first morning we saw the most famous Neo-Nazi in Tallinn barbecuing across the yard.”
It turned out that the main focal point for Neo-Nazi activity was in the motor club in the same vicinity.

Worse, there was a Black Metal club in the same hall as the Anarchist centre, which attracted some National Socialists rockers.

The Anarchists had no idea they were there, but they refuse to be moved on.

That the far left can exist at all and the ying yang relationship between the two group is an indication of the Westernisation and modernisation of Estonia.

There is almost symbiosis between Fascists and Anarchists. There was a Nazi skinhead who turned into a anti-racist skinhead or SHARP, he then reverted to being a Neo-Nazi and tried to arrange the beating of old friends. There are punks who wear anarchist badges and then go drinking with Neo-Nazis.

There are more Neo-Nazis than Anarchists, over a 100 can show up for Neo-Nazi rock gigs in Tartu and Tallinn. But strangely the Anarchists are better organised and have therefore gotten more media.

The Anarchist centre looks like it should. It is dark, dingy and punk, second hand furniture, stained walls and at odds with the Estonian taste for bourgeois living. There are drawings of Andrus Ansip and Mary Olsen from Little House of the Prairie on the wall, two notorious bullies, they think, one fictitious the other real. There is a boxing bag in the centre of the room. The Anarchists are non-violent but with the Nazis living a stone throw away, many of them have taken up self-defence.

Kristina Mering explains the history of the centre.

“It was put together by a group of people who had been active before. And all of the people were part of a squat project. We were thinking we really need a place of our own,” she said.

“We are celebrating our two year birthday. We opened on the 8 May two years ago,”

As an Anarchist, Mering doesn't like the title leader, but she definitely has a leadership position.

“We make decisions based on censuses, we divide roles based on the skills that people have. Since I am a huge talker I am more in the picture. It doesn't mean I am more important. Among ourselves we know that no-one is more important.

“The purpose of the centre is to attract young people to find out more about left wing beliefs.

“We also have very many non-political events for chess evening. concerts, language groups. There is a necessity for a centre like this. It gives me motivation when I see people coming to events.”

The far left in Estonia has evolved into a mishmash of beliefs with several different focal points much of it based on identity politics; LTBG activists, animal rights activists and radical feminists. They are mostly Anarchist rather than Communists. Important influences are Saul Newman, and Naom Chomsky, It is easier to work out what they are against than what they are for.

They fight capitalism, exploitation of people and animals, sexism and discrimination and most of they are against fascism. Some of them describe themselves as Antifa, a German term that means Antifascist.

Mering's own interest is in Animal rights activism.

“ Everybody should find a topic which is really the voice of their heart. In my philosophy all these questions are really important. My roots are in punk, that were I got all these ideas. Most of us have some connection with the punk scene but it is not a must.”

The new young Anarchists are completely different to what people think of as Anarchism in Estonia. It is part of a Western pan-European movement. Estonian Punk and Anarchism in 80s was really a reaction to the repressive Soviet regime, it was never a Western movement, it primary focus was Anti-Sovietism.

Andres K doesn't think much ot Trubetsky.

“Trubetsky wrote this book which is practically copied and pasted from wikipedia. The media call him father of anarchism but his theoretical knowledge is not that good and he is not really active,” he said.

Estonian Anarchists still have a long way to go.

“The movement is a lot stronger Spain and Greece. It is a dream from every Estonian Anarchist to take their stuff and move to Greece,” Andres K said.

Ying Yang

The far right and the far left always had a kenetic relationship in the West.

The skinhead movement begun in England in the 60s simply as a working class movement. They liked black people and black culture and were the only white kids going to clubs where young Jamaicans immigrants would hang out. Being young and rowdy they would cause trouble. People started to assume they were racist, so anybody who was racist would be a skinhead, and the whole thing snowballed from there.

Don't be surprise to find skinheads at the Anarchist centre.

In Estonia today, there all many different types of skinheads; traditional skinhead also known as Trojans or spirit of 68 who hark back to its origins a working class pride movement, there are SHARP skins (Skinhead Heads Against Racist Prejudice) easily recognisable from their black and white clothing, Then there are Nazi skinheads also known as boneheads who other skins say are not real skins. There are even Red skins, communist skinheads, notorious for their violence towards boneheads.

“We have skinheads who claim to be apolitical but they are really left. If a skinhead is about working people's pride then they are welcome,” Mering said.

The Neo-Nazis are a dangerous bunch. Whereas Russian-speaking and ethnic Estonian Anarchists get along with each other and co-operate, Russian-speaking and ethnic Estonians skinheads and neo-Nazis hate each other and fight. They carry knives and train in martial arts.

In Tallinn  they go to the- ironically named- Woodstock bar on a Friday night. It is next to a gay bar. One activist was almost stabbed one night outside Woodstock, it was all peace and love.One thing saved this person. The fact that she had breasts. She is a lesbian who dresses and acts like a boy. Once the Neo-Nazis realised that they about to stab a girl they put away their fists and their knives away. Even the Neo-Nazis have limits to what they are prepared to do.

Mering has been pushed around but she admits a lot of the violence is based on gender.

“I'm a woman, they will probably not kick my ass.”

Anarchists and Neo-Nazis are cut from the same cloth. They come from socially deprived backgrounds.

“Anarchists often come from broken homes, dysfunctional families, growing up in poverty,” said Andres K.

He is a good example, he grew up in the sprawling estates of Lasnamäe where he still lives. He said he could just as easily have turned into a Nazi.

“Because of my low education I don't have any chance to make a career. I didn't finish high school because I was bad at maths. I was 17 when I quit school.”

“I am pretty bad financial place, even a janitor job I can't get,” he said.

Young Anarchists are conviction politicians. They are in involved in activism because they feel  they have to do it, not because the enjoy doing it. And they don't get paid to do it. With all the cynicism about corrupt politicians they are the kind of politicians Estonia actually needs. It is a shame their beliefs are too radical for most Estonians.

Estonian anarchist see their greatest success to be the growth of the civil society even with issues that they may not necessarily agree with. But just as Estonian people are cynical about politicians anarchists are cynical about Estonians.

“For most Estonians the only right they care about is the right to offend other people.

“Why can't you tolerate my intolerance,” said Andres K
“The most important thing is, to let the public know that violent bald guys exist,”  he said.