Friday, September 26, 2014

Vaclav Klaus: 'Europe needs systemic change'. My interview with the ex-Czech PM and President

Václav Klaus has made a habit of saying things others shy away from saying, but it doesn’t seem to have done him much harm in the popularity stakes.

You can read the whole of my interview for The Spectator with the former Prime Minister & President of the Czech Republic, here.


Ian said...

I was genuinely looking forward to this after seeing the headline. You have gone up in my estimation a bit recently and here was your chance to really win me over.

So when confronted by the ideological and functionary driving force behind the uber-Thatcherite asset stripping of the Czechoslovak state at the end of Communism you erm.... gave him a platform to forward views against same sex marriage and environmental controls.

Speaking the truth to power ehy Neil.

Oh well, I'm sure you will get another chance.

Neil Clark said...

Hi Ian,
The piece was about the views of Vaclav Klaus on topical issues.
He was expressing his opinion on what the Conservative party in Britain needs to do.

Ian said...

Well off course, I understand what it was about, I did read it. My main question is what are YOU doing writing it?

The co-founder of the Campaign for Public Ownership has a meeting with one of the most hardcore privatisers of public infrastructure in contemporary Europe, and uses it as an opportunity too... erm.. well.. promote Mr Klaus' regressive views on homosexuality and climate change denial suggesting they should be put forward in the UK. Wonderful!

Did you get him to provide advice to Mr Cameroon such as "why not an give amnesty to all your friends undergoing corruption investigations for their role in asset stripping the state?" I mean he was only impeached for treason, but some very wealthy people got off scot-free and who isn't in support of that?

The less said about his role in the generation of mega wealth for Semion Mogilevich the better I guess.

So having known your writing for a little while, I am still baffled by why you wrote this piece.

Perhaps, as pointed out by a commenter on the article over at the Spectator the answer lies in your throw away line about a hearty Serbian meal. Vaclav Klaus was in Belgrade to talk at an event funded by Vladimir Yakunin. Klaus is rather renowned for his links to a vast number of Russian, Czech and assorted other billionaires, so it isn't surprising seeing him stumble in there to promote their agenda. The thing that is a little odd is where do you come into this process. And why are you providing a near total uncritical platform for someone who has spent their life asset stripping countries and defending the interests of the uber wealthy, seemingly the complete complete opposite of what you purport to hold dearest.

It is hard to think of answers that don't throw your own prominence on outlets supporting the elites of Russia into a new light. I hope that isn't the link, I have a higher regard for you, but not much else makes sense. Could you tell me what your role is in this because I am struggling to think of answers.

Ian said...

That wasn't really a rhetorical question Neil, I was genuinely interested in why you published this piece.

Especially as you just published an article on the requirement for urgent action on Global Warming, directly after wishing well the view of a man that talks be wary of the mass delusion of climate change.

Neil Clark said...

Hi Ian,
Just because I interviewed Vaclav Klaus doesn't mean I endorse every position he takes- you know that I have quite different views on privatisation and what could be called 'green' issues- to him. But I did and do admire and respect his support for free speech and his belief that we should not try to censor or shout down 'unfashionable' views. There's nothing McCarthyite about him, which I liked. I also agree with him re the EU and how it is destroying democracy in Europe. I wished him well in his new publishing venture- that doesn't of course mean I endorse all his other positions.
Best wishes,

Ian said...

Hi Neil,

I will give you the benefit of the doubt that perhaps my question wasn't clear enough.

I don't think I have suggested you share the views of Vaclav Klaus, in fact I feel I pointed out that they are markedly at odds with your deeply held beliefs. What I was trying to get at is why you published such a piece as this?

I just can not fathom what your thought process was.

So you were sat in Oxford and get asked to speak at a conference in Belgrade, you notice Vaclav Klaus is there as well. What is your decision process that leads you to publish an article aimed at "providing advice for David Cameron and the British Conservative party" in the Spectator?

Sure you may share his views on Russian foreign policy, but that doesn't mean you have to you have to just promote everything else he says.

I just don't see why after all the options you went for an uncritical platform to promote Climate Change denial and regressive views of same sex relationships.

You could for example publish a piece on RT about a recent European head of state not falling in line with the rest of the continent in regards to "Neo-con" foreign policies. I mean perhaps he believes that, and isn't just looking out for his corporate backers like he has in pretty much everything else he did in Czech politics.

Or writing a piece for the Morning Star about how he was tried for treason after giving an amnesty to his business pals after his near total privatisation of the material assets of the Czech state.

So again I will ask why did you publish this specific piece?

I really just don't understand your reasoning.

Perhaps it is just whatever pays the bills? fair enough we all have to make a living. It seems at odds with how you like to portray yourself but I guess everyone in the media has a facade to maintain, and perhaps those that you feel in tune with are the ones to be most wary of.

Or maybe I should just let it be, and come back and congratulate you if the Conservatives are re-elected on a more homophobic, anti-green platform after all you were the one that gave them the much needed advice.

Ian said...

Fairplay for kicking this into the long grass. I wouldn't want to answer the awkward questions either tbf.

Keep up the good work I guess