What is happening to Europe?

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George Szaszvari
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What is happening to Europe?

Post by George Szaszvari » Tue May 17, 2011 4:45 pm

The Visegrad Group (a post Soviet bloc alliance of Poland, Czecho/Slovakia and Hungary) recently announced
the militarization of the alliance (apparently independent of, if still in cooperation with the existing NATO alliance).
After decades of clearly defined post WWII blocs the relative "stability" of Europe is seeing increasing changes
in the relationships of EU member states and surrounding countries... anyone here have some opinions or ideas
about how they see these changes affecting Europe in the foreseeable future?

Jonathan Bryant
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Re: What is happening to Europe?

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Fri May 20, 2011 7:53 pm

George Szaszvari wrote: anyone here have some opinions or ideas
about how they see these changes affecting Europe in the foreseeable future?
... it will be harder to get a decent plumber/builder in London.

George Szaszvari
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Re: What is happening to Europe?

Post by George Szaszvari » Fri May 20, 2011 11:12 pm

Jonathan Bryant wrote:
George Szaszvari wrote: anyone here have some opinions or ideas
about how they see these changes affecting Europe in the foreseeable future?
... it will be harder to get a decent plumber/builder in London.
Aha, a similar problem is happening here already! Since the economy dived and illegal border crossers became
a political hot potato, getting decent labor in the commercial landscaping business has been a bitch!

Jonathan Bryant
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Re: What is happening to Europe?

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Sat May 21, 2011 6:18 pm

George Szaszvari wrote:
Jonathan Bryant wrote:
George Szaszvari wrote: anyone here have some opinions or ideas
about how they see these changes affecting Europe in the foreseeable future?
... it will be harder to get a decent plumber/builder in London.
Aha, a similar problem is happening here already! Since the economy dived and illegal border crossers became
a political hot potato, getting decent labor in the commercial landscaping business has been a bitch!
Not quite the same problem I suspect. The East European folk who come to Britain - mostly or at least very many Polish (though I don't know why that should be) - aren't illegal immigrants. They have a right to come. To be honest I somehow doubt that Poland will be able to expand their armed forces too much for the foreseeable future. Judging from Streatham High Road, they must have about 5 men of enlistment age left in the country.

[For the record, just in case anybody assumes otherwise, I don't have the slightest problem with East European immigration into Britain.]

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: What is happening to Europe?

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Sat May 21, 2011 6:53 pm

Jonathan Bryant wrote:The East European folk who come to Britain - mostly or at least very many Polish (though I don't know why that should be)
It's probably a function of population. According to my Times Atlas Of The World, the former Eastern Bloc countries now in the EU had 2002 populations as follows (in millions):

Poland 38.605
Romania 22.438
Czech Republic 10.272
Hungary 9.968
Bulgaria 7.949
Slovakia 5.399
Lithuania 3.696
Latvia 2.421
Slovenia 1.988
Estonia 1.393

Arshad Ali
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Re: What is happening to Europe?

Post by Arshad Ali » Sat May 21, 2011 7:45 pm

IM Jack Rudd wrote:
Jonathan Bryant wrote:The East European folk who come to Britain - mostly or at least very many Polish (though I don't know why that should be)
It's probably a function of population.
It is. Though now with East European access to Germany and France, pressure on Britain may subside somewhat.

Jonathan Bryant
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Re: What is happening to Europe?

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Sat May 21, 2011 8:08 pm

I must admit I didn't know the population sizes were so different. That certainly seems to explain a lot. All of it though? The numbers would suggest that there as many non-Polish than Polish here. Slightly more so, in fact.

Is that actually true though? Doesn't seem to be. Perhaps it's a question of visibility. Once you get to a certain size you can start opening shops and expecting off licences to stock your national beer - and you look more visible? Could also be something about my particular part of London as well.

Mick Norris
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Re: What is happening to Europe?

Post by Mick Norris » Sat May 21, 2011 9:32 pm

Jonathan Bryant wrote:I must admit I didn't know the population sizes were so different. That certainly seems to explain a lot. All of it though? The numbers would suggest that there as many non-Polish than Polish here. Slightly more so, in fact.

Is that actually true though? Doesn't seem to be. Perhaps it's a question of visibility. Once you get to a certain size you can start opening shops and expecting off licences to stock your national beer - and you look more visible? Could also be something about my particular part of London as well.
I noticed that in Dublin a few years back - Polish shops very visible and it was rare to be served in a bar or restaurant by anyone Irish

We have a Polish shop here on the outskirts of Bolton

My daughter's catholic primary school has parents from Slovakia, Ukraine and Cameroon in her class alone

At Bury, we had a number of Polish chess players who came over to the paper mills after the war - we once had a tandem simul at the Polish club, and the club had a trip to Poland a few years before I joined it - our oldest member came from Hungary in 1956
Any postings on here represent my personal views and should not be taken as representative of the Manchester Chess Federation www.manchesterchess.co.uk

Alex Holowczak
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Re: What is happening to Europe?

Post by Alex Holowczak » Sat May 21, 2011 10:01 pm

Mick Norris wrote:At Bury, we had a number of Polish chess players who came over to the paper mills after the war - we once had a tandem simul at the Polish club, and the club had a trip to Poland a few years before I joined it
West Bromwich Chess Club, aside from having an IM on board 1, often have people called Maciol, Sygnowski and Lewicki in their team. Indeed, they will have Holowczak in their team on Monday evening!
Mick Norris wrote:our oldest member came from Hungary in 1956
Wow, he presumably got out just in time. :shock:

Arshad Ali
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Re: What is happening to Europe?

Post by Arshad Ali » Sat May 21, 2011 11:36 pm

Jonathan Bryant wrote:Once you get to a certain size you can start opening shops and expecting off licences to stock your national beer - and you look more visible? Could also be something about my particular part of London as well.
There's a Polish support structure of sorts in place. For example, look at the small ads in newsagents shops advertising rooms for rent or flats to share -- they're frequently in Polish. So if you're Polish you're at an advantage. If you're a Pole and arrive in London, you may know someone who knows someone, who'll get you your first job. So there may have initially been more Poles because Poland is a populous country, but then this process starts to snowball because of the support structure already built by prior arrivals. Nothing unusual in this logic -- Asians had something similar in place when they migrated to Britain decades ago.

George Szaszvari
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Re: What is happening to Europe?

Post by George Szaszvari » Sun May 22, 2011 5:50 am

Alex Holowczak wrote:
Mick Norris wrote:At Bury, we had a number of Polish chess players who came over to the paper mills after the war - we once had a tandem simul at the Polish club, and the club had a trip to Poland a few years before I joined it
West Bromwich Chess Club, aside from having an IM on board 1, often have people called Maciol, Sygnowski and Lewicki in their team. Indeed, they will have Holowczak in their team on Monday evening!
Brings back memories of some old Polish YMCA club members in London of the 70s and 80s. Forgotten all the names,
no IMs there at that time, but some solidly loyal regulars. They also absorbed one or two Yugoslavs after the Bayswater
club disappeared.

George Szaszvari
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Re: What is happening to Europe?

Post by George Szaszvari » Sun May 22, 2011 8:56 pm

Arshad Ali wrote:
Jonathan Bryant wrote:Once you get to a certain size you can start opening shops and expecting off licences to stock your national beer - and you look more visible? Could also be something about my particular part of London as well.
There's a Polish support structure of sorts in place. For example, look at the small ads in newsagents shops advertising rooms for rent or flats to share -- they're frequently in Polish. So if you're Polish you're at an advantage. If you're a Pole and arrive in London, you may know someone who knows someone, who'll get you your first job. So there may have initially been more Poles because Poland is a populous country, but then this process starts to snowball because of the support structure already built by prior arrivals. Nothing unusual in this logic -- Asians had something similar in place when they migrated to Britain decades ago.
Polish networking in Britain goes back to World War Two when the government in exile relocated to London and the
Allied armed forces incorporated Polish units (the language issue prevented general assimilation within English speaking
units keeping the majority of Poles together.) This "Free Polish" gov't in exile existed until the Soviets withdrew from
Eastern Europe in the 90s. Then there were the migrations of peoples from various countries overrun by the Soviets
in the last year of World War Two until the post war implementation of the Iron Curtain "slowed down" the westward
exodus. There were also Yugoslavs, Greeks, Italians, Turks, and others, spread throughout Europe. Some of those
migrants found their way to Britain, with an influx of Hungarians from the 1956 Uprising (my own parents were part
of the earlier exodus). Many of these East European emigres, with a common plight, cooperated with each other to
some extent to survive. Many social clubs centered around the ethnic church with services in the language of the
"old country" (or Latin for most Roman Catholics,) and amateur folk dance groups tended to include a mixture of East
European ethnicities, and they'd all dance anything from the Polish polka to the Ukrainian quadrille!

The foreign language adverts in the shop windows were not that usual in past decades, unless the shop was owned by
someone of that ethnicity. Foreigners tended to be more circumspect in former times, aware that being too culturally
exclusive of the indigenous culture they resided in would incur suspicion and resentment. The 50s and 60s London
I grew up in saw commonplace shop window "room to let" adverts containing "no Blacks or Irish neeed apply", something
subsequently outlawed, but that didn't necessarily change attitudes overnight. Another point is that if a migrant had only
broken English then that person was at a big disadvantage, if not completely helpless, without old country connections
or a sympathetic neighbor or employer to help out. Let us not forget that such people are also frequently exploited without
mercy by the unscrupulous. We could go into the possible limits of "multiculturalism", but I'm gonna leave that to someone
else. :wink:

More recent turmoil in the Middle East led to an influx of Arabic speakers into both Western and Eastern Europe.
Lebanese, for instance, moved into certain areas of London, and it was mighty interesting to see a variety of Arabic
communities on either side of the Iron Curtain during the 80s (e.g., a significant Iraqi community was establishing itself
in Budapest.) Then there were the movements of peoples to and fro due to the British colonial legacy, some going back
to the 19th Century, with Hong Kong Chinese, Malaysians, Burmese, Indians (and later on Pakistanis, Bangladeshis,
Sinhalese, etc,) West Indians, Africans, Cypriots (both Greeks and Turks), Maltese, etc. Australasia had most migration
going to Oz and KiwiLand until the 70s, when that reversed somewhat; recall the trickle of Australians visiting Britain
becoming a tsunami by the 90s (and poor Ken Livingstone, among others, couldn't get a decent night's sleep because
of their constant all night partying) their networking greatly expediting those movements.

This subject of migrations and demographics is vast, far reaching, and most interesting, yet the most interesting migrants
to Britain are, perhaps, the Irish. Sláinte !

EDIT: the Australasian migration mentioned was meant in the context of colonial Britain and British migrants southwards,
I understand that the vast majority of migrants to Oz in the last two or three decades have been from Asia.

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John Clarke
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Re: What is happening to Europe?

Post by John Clarke » Sat May 28, 2011 12:41 pm

George Szaszvari wrote:Brings back memories of some old Polish YMCA club members in London of the 70s and 80s. Forgotten all the names,
no IMs there at that time, but some solidly loyal regulars.
During the 60s Ferguson Thorn, one of the clubs in my local league (the North Circular), was notable for the number of East Europeans in its ranks. I can recall Joe Martin, who usually took board 1 (the surname might have been anglicised; the man himself was most definitely from Poland or thereabouts), also J Krawiec, S Jalinski and D Andruicz.

I've a vague recollection of Martin claiming to have played in the British Championship, but after all this time I'm just as likely to be misremembering.
"The chess-board is the world ..... the player on the other side is hidden from us ..... he never overlooks a mistake, or makes the smallest allowance for ignorance."
(He doesn't let you resign and start again, either.)

PeterTurland
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Re: What is happening to Europe?

Post by PeterTurland » Fri Dec 09, 2011 8:10 pm

The problem with international affairs is, that many people prioritize in the following order.

First me, then the colour of my skin, then my family, then my tribe, then my religion/football team, then my nation, then my species and last of all the planet.

These priorities need to be reversed.

Another big problem is caused by people taking context for granted. We learn context at our mothers knee. Unquestioned context is the reason that the majority of Americans do not except evolution as being the process by which our species was created.

What many people fail to realize is that context is just another concept.

Once we realize the context of evolution, we realize how alike we all are. Genes are hardware and culture is software.

John McKenna
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Re: What is happening to Europe?

Post by John McKenna » Tue Dec 13, 2011 1:55 pm

Peter Turland >Genes are hardware and culture is software.<
And, money is electricity. Some put money above all else so we get 'meerkats' (migrants) and 'markets' (plutocrats).
Europe has been under attack by both for some time but the attack of the 'markets' is now sustained and deadly. If, as a result, Europe ends up divided it will be at the mercy of the American, Russian and Chinese 'republics'.
That's why some form of pan-European 'republic' must emerge. Otherwise it will be back to 1945.
'Simples'
To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)

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