Supine Scots, Dominant Deutschland
Varadarajan, Tunku, Newsweek
Byline: Tunku Varadarajan
Is Scotland replacing subservience to England with vassalage to China? That is certainly the impression created by the snubbing of the Dalai Lama by Alex Salmond. The Tibetan spiritual leader, in Scotland on a "pastoral" visit, had hoped to meet the Scottish first minister, only to be told that there was no time for him on Salmond's schedule. The Dalai Lama also found himself friendless in high places in Dundee, when the lord provost called off a speech he was due to give at a special event for the Tibetan. The BBC reported that the Chinese consul general to Scotland had paid a visit to city councilors in Dundee before the provost's cancellation, leading to speculation that the latter had, in effect, been gagged by Beijing.
Australia's acting prime minister, Wayne Swan, took aim at the world's richest woman last week, suggesting that her actions could have a harmful effect on Australian society. Gina Rinehart, an iron-ore heiress worth $18 billion, recently acquired nearly a fifth of all shares in Fairfax, Australia's largest media conglomerate, and is demanding the right to hire and fire editorial staff (in addition to three seats on the Fairfax board and the deputy chairman's position). She is also adamantly opposed to signing the company's charter of editorial independence. Swan called on Rinehart to "explain to the Australian people what her intentions are," adding that her position had "very big implications for our democracy." Rinehart, who had an uproarious public falling out with her late father in his last days--he called her a "devious baby elephant"--is sitting tight in her redoubt in Perth, refusing to take phone calls from the chairman of Fairfax unless he accedes to her demands.
The European Court of Justice has offered up an exquisite example of the sort of policy that many critics say is at the root of Europe's economic malaise. The Luxembourg-based tribunal, ruling on an appeal from a Spanish employers' association, held that an employee who falls sick while on vacation from work is legally entitled to take another vacation to make up for those furlough-days spoiled by sickness. …