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EU Trade Commissioner Enjoyed MS Hospitality

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the questionable-company dept.

Microsoft 196

Brian Blessed writes "Today's edition of The Times contains a report that Peter Mandelson, the EU (European Union) Trade Commissioner, spent New Year's Eve as a guest of Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft, in the Carribean on Mr Allen's luxury yacht. The story mentions the conflict of interest that this causes because of the protracted legal battle between Microsoft and the European Commission. Perhaps the Trade Commissioner has also been in a position to influence the progress of European Software Patent legislation?"

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Perception vs reality. (4, Insightful)

winkydink (650484) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314464)

Although Mr Allen is no longer directly involved in the management of Microsoft, he remains its second biggest shareholder. There is no suggestion that Mr Mandelson has broken the Commission's code of conduct.

As a rule, rihc and powerful people tend to hang out with other rich and powerful people. I suspect this is more about giving the appearance of impropriety rather than any impropriety itself. Political opponents will try to make hay from this.

Re:Perception vs reality. (5, Insightful)

Zebadias (861722) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314495)

the appearance of impropriety Mr Mandelson's record is not exactly stirling. He has been sacked from the goverment 2 times!

Re:Perception vs reality. (4, Insightful)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314516)

Rich and powerful people rarely just "hang out", they talk business while "hanging out".

Re:Perception vs reality. (5, Funny)

k4_pacific (736911) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314567)

Yes, in fact my company arranged a round of golf between one of our more satisfied customers and a prospective customer with the hope they would discuss our product. Kind of reminded me of when zoos put two pandas in the same habitat to see if they mate.

Businessman: As you can see, our product...
Zookeeper: Look everybody! He's "presenting".

Re:Perception vs reality. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12314775)

Yes, in fact my company arranged a round of golf between one of our more satisfied customers and a prospective customer with the hope they would discuss our product.

Are you kidding? I have been on golf junkets. Comparing that to spending new years on a billionaire's yacht is silly.

Re:Perception vs reality. (4, Informative)

purple_cobra (848685) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314523)

If you knew anything about Mandelson's political history you might think this incident deserves a little investigation. Any search for him at the BBC's news site should turn up some useful information.

Re:Perception vs reality. (-1, Troll)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314763)

If you knew anything about Mandelson's political history you might think this incident deserves a little investigation. Any search for him at the BBC's news site should turn up some useful information.

Had you actually done the search and found any solid leads, your post would have actually been "insightful". As it is, your moderation is simply more Slashdot masturbation.

Re:Perception vs reality. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12314815)

Pull your head out of your ass will you, you knob-job

Re:Perception vs reality. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12314841)

Pull your head out of your ass will you, you knob-job

You are obviously educated in the United States.

Re:Perception vs reality. (1)

killtherat (177924) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314767)

Considering most of us here are lazy asses, you comment would have been more helpful if you had copied and pasted those search results for us.
I could go search the BBC, or I could just read aintitcool. Which do you think is more likely to happen ? ;-)

Re:Perception vs reality. (2, Funny)

Pollardito (781263) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314988)

RTFBBC

Re:Perception vs reality. (1)

computerme (655703) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314549)

>giving the appearance of impropriety yah. the appearance of allen's stock going up if the EU leaves microsoft alone...

Re:Perception vs reality. (2, Informative)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314568)

As a rule, rihc and powerful people tend to hang out with other rich and powerful people. I suspect this is more about giving the appearance of impropriety rather than any impropriety itself. Political opponents will try to make hay from this.

Then, as a rule, political persons shouldn't be putting themselves in positions that will allow their opponents such room to gripe.

The article stated that this guy has done this three times before to such a degree that he was asked to step down.

Looks valid to me.

Re:Perception vs reality. (2, Interesting)

stinerman (812158) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314578)

"People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices."

-- Adam Smith

I think it is relevant to this topic.

Re:Perception vs reality. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12314586)

Political opponents will try to make hay from this.

I'm not surprised! Peter Mandelson doesn't exactly have a clean track record with codes of conduct. He was forced to resign from the UK government twice since 1997!!

Re:Perception vs reality. (4, Insightful)

nganju (821034) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314658)


Even if Paul Allen is not involved in the management of Microsoft, as a large shareholder, he still gains a lot if Mr. Mandelson decides to go easy on Microsoft.

I don't see how Allen's lack of direct involvement in MS management makes this a non-conflict of interest. Allen still has every motive to make nice with Mandelson.

Re:Perception vs reality. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12314826)

I wonder if he'd show up and hang out with linus torvalds. Alas, LT wouldn't be able to compete with the bribes MS is offering.

Well, why not? (4, Funny)

FlyByPC (841016) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314466)

They buy everything else in sight -- how much can the EU possibly cost, anyway?

Re:Well, why not? (1)

x_codingmonkey_x (839141) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314598)

IMHO I think things like this are really sad. If your going to be in government your task is to be thinking of your people (be that citizens or businesses). And it is expected that when someone offers bribes (which this might not have been) that you will not accept it and call the authorities. But the sad truth is that people are people.

Re:Well, why not? (4, Funny)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314599)

Well if you can wait till Russia join then you can probably pick the whole lot up for 27 Euros and a case of vodka.

First Post? (-1, Offtopic)

_Hiro_ (151911) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314468)

There goes what karma I had....

Fist Sport! (1)

ringbarer (545020) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314475)

HELLO! I'M BRIAN BLESSED!

Days of old... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12314488)

What happened to cut-throat politics and business? "If you scratch my back, I still won't scratch yours, but thanks for the scratch."

Re:Days of old... (4, Funny)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314522)

If Peter Mandleson is behind you I dont think its to scratch your back.

Re:Days of old... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12314751)

um
those days never existed...

Proof Positive (3, Insightful)

Yanray (686150) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314497)

Well at least we have proof positive that U.S. polititians aren't the only dirty ones.

Re:Proof Positive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12314564)

Not that we should be happy or anything that the politicians are sinking into a dark pit of scum. "Everyone else did bad things too so its ok!"

Re:Proof Positive (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314594)

Nope. British politicians invented sleaze and corruption.

Re:Proof Positive (0)

dAzED1 (33635) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314700)

the Greeks were pretty good at it long before the Britian came to be ;)

Re:Proof Positive (1)

dtk13 (859114) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314664)

They frogot to invite me!
-Mike Jackson.

Eruope, our corporations thank EU.... (4, Insightful)

isotope23 (210590) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314503)

Ahhh the benefits of centralizing power. Now Microsoft only has to buy off a few flunkies in the EU as opposed to each former European country. Much better for business.

Re:Eruope, our corporations thank EU.... (4, Informative)

globalar (669767) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314691)

The business community of Europe was the driving force behind the EU, the currency change, and the new demands for change in corporate merging laws between member states. This influence was secured way back when the EU was only a coal/steel trade organization.

Make no mistake - economic interests have unified Europe, and political ones are only following suit.

Re:Eruope, our corporations thank EU.... (4, Insightful)

isotope23 (210590) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314818)

Sheeple are Sheeple regardless of which side of the Ocean you are on. Eventually IMO we will have one world government.

I find it both sad and amazing that groups like the greens (which I believe have SOME valid points) rail about the corruption and power of corporations, yet their solution is to give more power to government. If you start with the premise that people are corruptable and power corrupts, how can you then endorse as a solution a greater concentration of power?

The end result is those with power will make deals between themselves to keep the power they have or to gain more.

A stairway (-1, Redundant)

lathama (639499) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314507)

How convenient

Re:A stairway (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12314942)

Please go stand by the stairs.

So what else is new with politicians. (3, Funny)

cc-rider-Texas (877967) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314511)

During the party on the Octopus, Mr Mandelson and Mr Allen greeted each other, but his spokesman insisted that "there was no substantial conversation" and that the pair merely exchanged pleasantries. This was merely an introduction. The bribes come later.

Let me be the first to say (5, Insightful)

h. simpson (464174) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314527)

This tastes like tinfoil to me. Paul Allen may be the second largest shareholder at Microsoft, but he's long since moved on from the Redmond giant.

I don't think it's a great idea for people like this to be enjoying the luxuries of other rich influential people at all, but I doubt this is a Microsoft specific thing.

This looks more improper than it truly is.

Re:Let me be the first to say (2, Insightful)

downward dog (634625) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314631)

You may be right that...

This looks more improper than it truly is.

...but your premise is wrong. Paul Allen may no longer be on Microsoft's payroll, but as their second largest shareholder, he is thoroughly invested in all of their business matters. Troubles with the EU? Paul Allen loses money. Happy times with the EU? Paul Allen makes money.

Re:Let me be the first to say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12314677)

Uh, sure, granted.

But what do you think would happen to the value of Mr. Allen's second largest holding if MS's European business is impacted?

He may be removed from Redmond from an operations point of view, but I think it's safe to say that he still has a vested interest in the health of the company.

Re:Let me be the first to say (1)

iamwahoo2 (594922) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314789)

Paul Allen may be the second largest shareholder at Microsoft, but he's long since moved on from the Redmond giant.

Do you think that perhaps he would be interested in increasing the value of those shares?

Not a great track record. (5, Informative)

ShaniaTwain (197446) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314531)

Conservative leaders say that Mr Mandelson, who was twice forced to resign from the Cabinet over allegations of sleaze, should learn the lessons of the past, demanding that he should be "totally open" and branding him "naive".

TWICE?! he was twice forced to resign over allegations of sleaze?! Wow, he either has vicious enemies or he's not so much on the up and up.

Re:Not a great track record. (2, Informative)

BrittanyGites (871668) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314614)

Peter Mandelson lost his job over a dodgy house sale [bbc.co.uk] and was repremanded by Parliament [parliament.uk] over the affair, so it comes as no great suprise given his past history.

Re:Not a great track record. (3, Informative)

T-Kir (597145) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314615)

Mandy (Mr Mandelsons nickname iirc) was one of the main spin doctors along with Alastair Campbell and Charlie Wheelan who made the Labour party what it is today (i.e. got Blair into power). So he was a pretty powerful politician for a while, although the double resignations made it too difficult for Blair to let him have a cabinet position again.

Note, this is AFAIK and I may have missed out some salient points... but will answer your question to some degree.

Re: Not a great track record. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12314633)

Vicious and powerful enemies. Gordon Brown (our chancellor and master pulling Blairs' strings) was behind his ousting on both occassions.

Re:Not a great track record. (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314650)

he was twice forced to resign over allegations of sleaze?

Whatever you think of his politics, he's a very shrewd operator. He's long been a close friend of [UK Prime Minister] Tony Blair, and despite the bad press (justified or otherwise) that some of his actions have drawn, he's continued a high-flying political career. His resignations have avoided a lot of the amateurish fall-out that some of his peers (David Blunkett and Clare Short, for two examples) incurred by messing up the PR, by taking him out of the limelight just long enough for the public to forget any transgressions he might have committed. Of course, they also get him nicely spoofed on the political satire shows, but such is the price of celebrity. ;-)

Re:Not a great track record. (2, Interesting)

tyroneking (258793) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314675)

He is sometimes an idiot (getting people to co-sign mortgages) AND he's gay (which earns him enemies for sadly obvious reasons) AND he is a friend of Tony Blair (which earns him enemies from his own side).
Nonetheless he did help to architect Labour's first election win for many years and I think he had a good reputation within his local constituency (Hartlepool - where they hung a monkey because they thought he was invading Frenchman- a long time ago of course but still very funny).
He has been forced to resign a couple of times but usually for incidents blown-out-of-proportion by his enemies, but unfortunately for incidents just like this one.
if he's doing anything wrong this will surely be the end for him.

I like him 'cause he's as stupid as I am.

From the Guardian profile:
- Neil Kinncok: "He's not half as good as he thinks he is and not half as bad as everyone else thinks he is."

Re:Not a great track record. (1)

wankledot (712148) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314737)

"Hartlepool - where they hung a monkey because they thought he was invading Frenchman-"

I have no idea what you just said, but my head hurts now. Hung a monkey?

Re:Not a great track record. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12314927)

I have no idea what you just said, but my head hurts now. Hung a monkey?

"Hung" is the past tense of "hang". Hanging someone means subjecting them to a particular form of execution that involves suspending them by a rope around the neck.

"A" is the indefinite article.

"Monkey" refers to a species of simian primate.

The people of Hartlepool hung a monkey [thisishartlepool.co.uk] thinking it was a Frenchman. The money was, of course, given a trial and a chance to defend itself.

If you still don't understand then I don't think I can be of any more assistance.

Re:Not a great track record. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12314764)

(Hartlepool - where they hung a monkey because they thought he was invading Frenchman- a long time ago of course but still very funny)

Didn't they elect one as mayor a little while ago? (Well, the football club mascot, anyway.)

Re:Not a great track record. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12314718)

Hey Americans!

Are you sick of reading about sleazy U.S. politicians scoffing at the public trough while really serving their corporate paymasters? Feel like a change?

Yes... just across the Atlantic Ocean is a poltical system that has had centuries more to develop all kind of juicy and sordid sleaze and corruption. Yes... in lovely rainy London you can find all the grift and payola you are used to at home, plus many *many* new tricks.

Want to see our star players? Number one on the roster of reptilian sleazoids is Peter Mandelson (or Mandy as he is known). Famed for his secretive trips to Brazil to have sex with bronzed Beach-boys, and *twice* fired from a job as cabinet minister for blatant corruption and rank dishonesty, Peter still manages to rise from the dead like a Romero zombie and fall into a cushy unelected unaccountable yet enormously powerful position on the European commission. So come, Americans, learn from the best. Mandelson is available for speeches and lecture tours.

invitation (3, Funny)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314532)

I'll extend an invitation to the TC for a hiking/camping trip any time he wants to discuss FOSS. If everything goes well, I'll even break out the marshmallows.

WHINE WHINE WHINE (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12314533)

so a rich guy got on a boat dont you anti MS zelots have anything smart to cry about?? what a bunch of morones!

A night to remember. (5, Funny)

millennial (830897) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314535)

It all started at the party. Peter noticed Paul staring at him the whole time, and knew that he had to do something about it. He walked over to Paul and waited for him to say something.
Mandleson and Allen gazed longingly into each other's eyes. They knew that the moment was right, and if everything was perfect, there would be magic tonight.
"Whatever shall we do, Paul?" Peter said with a coy smile.
Paul just grinned and patted his hand. "How about we go into the bedroom and ... talk about those patents?"
Seriously. Homoeroticism abounds in this article. Two men spending New Year's Eve on the Caribbean in a private yacht? Whoa.
Anyways, to continue the story...
It was a night to remember. The two were up all night long, engaging in passionate discourse about patent restrictions on software in Europe. They say that private bargaining is like eating at a Chinese restaurant - it's not over until everyone gets their cookies. Paul got his patent cookies, and Mandelson got his legal jibblies off.
They knew that they could tell no one, so they told their spokespeople that "there was no substantial conversation" and that they had merely exchanged pleasantries.

I like my version better.

Re:A night to remember. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12314686)

You thought it'd be funny but....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Mandelson

foot -> mouth? :)

Re:A night to remember. (1)

millennial (830897) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314772)

I already knew that he worked with patents. That's no secret, although he tried to hide it for many years.

Re:A night to remember. (-1, Redundant)

johansalk (818687) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314765)

Mandelson is famously gay. He also famously befriends the rich. I really don't think he's sleazy, and of all the gay people, he's one of those who earn my highest respect, along with Michael Stipes of REM. This is not meant to sound as anti-gay, but there are too many gay men who give the gay community a bad reputation for being bitchy and immature. I think the likes of Mandelson and Stipes are very positive role models even for hetersexual men.

Apologies in advance... (0, Redundant)

nganju (821034) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314783)

If only microsoft hadn't dropped its support for gay rights yesterday [slashdot.org] .

I can see the headlines already:
"Peter, Paul, Married"

Re:Apologies in advance... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12314839)

Yeah, that way they can puff on the magic dragon all they want.

Foul play (2, Funny)

Before The End Chaos (876820) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314539)

Political enemies don't have to be personal enemies too, even as fun as it'd be if they were all out for each others blood off of work hours.

Re:Foul play (1)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314577)

No they dont , but political figures cant take bribes from political loby groups if it causes an obvious conflict of intrests

Godbye Ethics , Hello luxuary cruise (4, Informative)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314544)

How in the hell he thought it , Either A: acceptable , or B: a good idea , is simply beyond me .
Here is a man of immense power and persuasion taking what ammounts to a large bribe from microsoft and i have no doubts he was having a good drink enjoying ways to amicably let microsoft off on the fine , the opening up thing , oh and the Patent issue.

Tonight i am going to write a letter to my MEP and urge that they raise a question as to whether he should be thrown out of this position imediatly , and at the very lest that he get some awnsers as to why he thought this behaviour beffiting of a politican.

I do not want large lobby groups and private industry to have a strangle hold over the european commision , and if people like this are in office then i am begining to lose hope .

This will not stop me kicking up a fuss , and if you agree with me i urge you to do the same .A letter is sometimes all it takes (oh and while you at it , make sure to bug you MEP again about the patents issue)

Re:Godbye Ethics , Hello luxuary cruise (2, Interesting)

bmalek (855094) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314695)

Tonight i am going to write a letter to my MEP and urge that they raise a question as to whether he should be thrown out of this position imediatly , and at the very lest that he get some awnsers as to why he thought this behaviour beffiting of a politican.

The fact is that no matter where one lives this type of behaviour is exactly how politicians act. While we the people may not like it, this type of behaviour is seen as "normal" and practically "accepted" by today's society. The fact is that most people don't care whose pocket politicians are in as long as they follow the N.I.M.B.Y. (look up George Carlin) approach to the area they represent.

While writing letters and protesting people online may make one feel better, the only real way to eforce change is to act. The problem is that because the politicians have all the money already, your voice is often removed from the public view.

Re:Godbye Ethics , Hello luxuary cruise (1)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314769)

Letter writting is acting ;) , problem is that is all most of us can do is write letters , Myself i do intend on standing for a seat as an MEP ..Unfortunatly i am a bit to young to really consider it ( 30 seems to be a good age to start).
I still strongly belive in the power people have , and letter writting campaign do work if you make it clear that this can make or break a vote.

If you recive 20k letters saying "we as your constituants , wish you to do blah or else we vote for the other guy " then politicans do listen (if your not in office , then its hard to get your bribes)
this method has been missused by people before to push views on the general public , and whilst i shudder at that hapening i think this is the only way to realy get the publics opinions to stand up against the cash bribes .

The key is to write one letter , not a stream of them(under diffrent names) as some groups do . Then we have done the right thing (mass mailing under difrent names to force an issues makes us no better than the Lobyists).

Re:Godbye Ethics , Hello luxuary cruise (1)

Taladar (717494) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314903)

While writing letters and protesting people online may make one feel better, the only real way to eforce change is to act
If the former does not help do you mean a revolution by 'act' in the second part of the sentence?

Re:Godbye Ethics , Hello luxuary cruise (2, Insightful)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314926)

Would we have had all this fuss if he'd had a nice lunch with Linus? A guy as powerful as this isn't going to be "bought" by the experience of staying on a nice boat for the weekend, or by the experience of Paul Allen's (no doubt stimulating - I'd like to meet him myself) company. The question is, can you point to the means by which the company in which Allen owns a lot of stock is going to have a "strangle hold" over the commission? In actual, practical, detailed, terms, what strangling mechanism is at play here? How does socializing among rich people induce force, etc., into the picture? If the guy's taking money from Allen or via Allen, don't you think that would stick out like a sore thumb?

I don't seem to recall the same reaction, say, in the US, when 99% of the entertainment industry's rich people invite elected officials to their yachts/homes/islands/etc for a week away. Or when European heads of state or key politicians are sitting down to extravagent meals together with the rich and famous throughout Europe. Let's face it: the only reason this is being shouted about as shocking here on slashdot is because the rich person in question has ties to Microsoft. If it was someone who owned a pile of stock in DaimlerChrysler, or Software AG, or BP, or Honda, no one would even have said a word.

Oh, and why exactly would you want a trade commissioner who doesn't have the ear, and doesn't hear from the people who back the largest companies, move around the biggest piles of money, and who are involved personally in the very trading activities that you're supposed to be understanding? A commissioner with no industry connections, or who only hangs out with the people running, say, labor unions, is going to be seriously naive, only have half the story, and definately be at odds with industry. Without those industries, there would be no point in talking about trade at all, let alone convening a commission to deal with it.

Very nice.. (3, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314553)

There are those born with no shame. The rest of us suffer with our consciences.

Reminds me of former Detroit Mayor Coleman Young, who had quite the large collection of priceless gems, for someone who got by on a mayor's salary. There was a reason Detroit kept getting worse and worse and it couldn't all be blamed on Ford, GM and Chrysler.

Isn't Paul Allen away from Microsoft? I thought he left the company and took his billions of $ to pursue his own dreams.

Mandelson has only one priority (3, Interesting)

l-ascorbic (200822) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314573)

..his own power.
For those who are not familiar with him, Peter Mandelson is one of the most skilled, cynical and cunning politicians in recent British history. A true heir to Macchiavelli's crown, he has shown himself unparelleled in his ability to attain and retain power. The guy has been sacked from the British cabinet on two occasions, but still managed to emerge with his acreer intact. His trick is to make himself invaluable as the right hand man of the guy with the power. First Blair, now Barrosso. He is not the sort to be bought by Microsoft. He will stay close to them just as long as they are useful to him and no longer. I think this a case where the cynical MS lobbyists have met their match.

Re:Mandelson has only one priority (1)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314654)

He will stay close to them just as long as they are useful to him and no longer. I think this a case where the cynical MS lobbyists have met their match.

Have you ever heard of Achilles from the Enders Game universe by Orson Scott Card?

Re:Mandelson has only one priority (1)

l-ascorbic (200822) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314683)

In a word: no.

Re:Mandelson has only one priority (3, Funny)

sepluv (641107) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314761)

Alternatively, maybe Mandelson and Allen (and, therefore, the €C and M$) are working as allies to milk the most out of the European people for their own ends.

This is, of course, a totally crazy conspiracy theory and would in no way be representative of the normal behavour of European commisioners (especially the stain-free* Mandelson) or founders and shareholders of Microsoft.

* talking of stains, how much do you bet they weren't just talking on this yacht on new year's eve. Mandelson is defintely gay (and known for his homosexual affairs with others in power). No idea about Allen--but maybe it was a you-give-me-a-blowjob-and-we'll-drop-charges-again st-Microsoft sort of deal.

Re:Mandelson has only one priority (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12314939)

Quite. It's well known that the only reason gay men ever spend time with other men is to have sex with them.

Wait a minute... (0, Redundant)

skarps (688370) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314574)

Everyone is assuming this was a business trip.

Good old Mandy (5, Informative)

rleyton (14248) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314610)

Hoho, Mandelson never learns. So much for third time lucky. For the non-Brits that might be around, Peter Mandelson is something of a Blair loyalist, who is actually now in his third senior political incarnation.

First up, he was in the cabinet culminating in Trade Secretary, but had to resign after it was discovered he had taken a loan of £373,000 (about $700,000) from another minister and not declared it in the public records.

A few years later, long enough for Blair but not the rest of the population to forget, he was back "resurrected" as it were (apt, as he's also known as the Prince of Darkness) to be the Northern Ireland secretary. Guess what, not that long after it transpired he was involved with a dodgy claim by some rather wealthy businessmen to gain British passports.

He got the Trade Commissioner job by merit Blair being blind to his foibles. So, now we discover that he's been taking benefits in kind, presumably rather on the sly, from a co-founder of Microsoft that just happens to have been landed with a hefty fine by the EU.

Why am I not surprised?

More here on the esteemed gentlemans career [bbc.co.uk] if you don't like bitter and twisted British political mumblings.

Allow me to make a correction. (1, Interesting)

kahei (466208) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314830)

Hoho, Mandelson never learns.

That is _so_ cute! Cute but annoying.

Pull up a pouffe, son, and allow me to explain. He has learned that he can get away with anything -- because who's going to demand honesty? You? The Labor Party?? He knows you'll vote for whatever keeps the Evil Capitalists away. He's adapted well to the environment you have created for him. A+ for learning, Mr. Mandelson!

You, like the rest of the British public, have failed to learn, preferring the 'bluebottle trying to fly through a closed window' model. This is because as a community you have the self-preservation instincts of a kamikaze plane full of lemmings.

All clear? Recap: he and his freinds are exploiting you and your peers to a degree quite unprecedented in the last 100 years in the UK -- and you are tutting fondly because 'he never learns'. The next phase of this process is extinction.

Re:Good old Mandy (2, Insightful)

isotope23 (210590) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314870)

"Hoho, Mandelson never learns."
"who is actually now in his third senior political incarnation"

As exemplified in your own post I'd say the guy has learned quite well.

Slashdot article brief is incorrect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12314611)

It should say twiced disgraced Peter Mandelson:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/1134868.stm [bbc.co.uk]

Peter Mandelson a very despised person in the UK who much suspicion surrounds (even by his own fellow Labourites). He is associated with New Labour's spin and deceit. Anything new he has his dirty fingers in comes as no suprise.

Like a zombie Mandelson is hard to kill, and keeps coming back in new forms everytime he is gibed.

Word is... (4, Funny)

dbleoslow (650429) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314638)

Linus invited this guy on the same day to hang out, discuss kernal optimization and play some D&D but was turned down in favor of Allen.

The Octopus (4, Informative)

Jon Abbott (723) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314641)

Peter Mandleson, the EU (European Union) Trade Commissioner, spent New Year's Eve as a guest of Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft, in the Carribean on Mr Allen's luxury yacht.
Ah, yes, the Octopus [monogon.org] ... What a hulking beast of a ship!

American Flag? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12314645)

Why is there an american flag heading a story about the EU?
We're not the 50-somethingth state (yet).

Re:American Flag? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12314834)

Give us time. We're working out the invasion plans. France will be the easy part since they'll surrender when we start airdropping deodorant on Paris.

Re:American Flag? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12315016)

Right after you're finished with that 3rd world country called Iraq, huh? LOL.

Virgin Galactic the real reason? (2, Interesting)

StacyWebb (780561) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314653)

Does it not make more sense that the meeting, would involve Allen's role in Virgin Galactic (owned by Richard Branson you remember him, british guy)not his ties with Microsoft and their role in the EU.

Doesnt matter who he spends his time with (1, Troll)

rjdohnert (772699) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314676)

Paul Allen is no longer an employee, partner or shareholder at Microsoft anymore. He gave up everything. The European Council put on Microsoft one of the largest fines EVER imposed by the EU so I doubt very much he was influenced. As for Software patents, I cant wait until they pass, Im a huge supporter.

Re:Doesnt matter who he spends his time with (1)

Thanatopsis (29786) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314947)

Paul Allen is the second largest shareholder [forbes.com] of Microsoft. He own roughly 9% of the company. Additionally he still sits on the board of Microsoft. But he doesn't have anything to do with MS as he stopped working there. He stopped working there because he doesn't have to work. That frigging ship of his is right out of a fucking Bond movie.

Re:Doesnt matter who he spends his time with (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12315008)

According to TFA he is the second largest shareholder of Microsoft.

The Prince of darkness (2, Funny)

dhopton (252883) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314711)

This suprises you because...? It's peter mandleson, the prince of darkness, the arch overlord of the bad-things.

Fraud in government? (0, Redundant)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314712)

Gasp! Who would have ever thought.

FYI (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12314719)

In the UK Peter Mandleson was referred to in some sections of the British Media as 'The Prince of Darkness'. I'll leave it up to /. readers to guess why. He could also be called the 'Comeback King.' He has had to resign twice from high ranking British government positions due to misdemeanors yet has rebounded on both occasions. See http://www.answers.com/topic/peter-mandelson for details. He is a man to watch closely.

Mandy's at it again (3, Informative)

davidoff404 (764733) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314724)

Peter Mandelson has a long and sordid history [wikipedia.org] , including being forced to resign twice from cabinet positions in the UK for allegations of corruption and taking bribes. While the article is scant on details of what happened aboard Allen's yacht, noone should be surprised if Mandy was up to no good.

Then again, what with Mandelson being gay and Paul Allen never having married, perhaps they were up to something altogether more innocuous.

Re:Mandy's at it again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12314909)

This is old sh1t. Try a similar comparison with SELECT [MEMBER] & [PARTY]_[FROM]_[COUNTRY] & [BACKHANDERS]

From a Politico/al group of your choice - they are all Wealthy|Corrupt|Slippery.

The only difference is that 'some' political systems are a 'little' less twisted+rich (& likely to be lawyers) outside the Rulers Of The World.

The name is "Peter Mandelson", not Mandleson. (2, Informative)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314755)


Slashdot editors can be so disgusting sometimes. The name is "Peter Mandelson", not Mandleson. BBC News Online's Nick Assinder looks at the turbulent career of Peter Mandelson [bbc.co.uk] . His "career had twice been dashed on the rocks of sleaze, ..."

Peter Mandelson is apparently the go-to guy in the EU when someone wants something illegal done: "Mr Mandelson had come under pressure to explain his involvment in the passport application of Srichand Hinduja [i-resign.com] , an Indian billionaire who, along with his brother Gopichand, appeared in court in connection with a 1986 arms dealing scandal."

Conflict of interest is extremely destructive of good government even when it is only the appearance of conflict of interest.

The U.S. government has become a conflict of interest machine: Unprecedented Corruption: A guide to conflict of interest in the U.S. government [futurepower.org] .

Paul Allen is not part of MS (1, Informative)

Barlo_Mung_42 (411228) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314758)

He left MS in 1983.

A crooked politician (1)

deaddrunk (443038) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314821)

Well I never. But then Mandelson is famous for doing this sort of thing.

Asshole (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12314860)

Peter Mandelson is an asssshollle anyway, he's been sacked from UK gov 2 times, dont trust him an inch, oops micromillimetre and as usual all shite uk politians end up in the EU . FUCK HIM !!!!!!!

I hope Paul Allen (4, Funny)

Insipid Trunculance (526362) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314868)

served some Guacamole.

Welcome to reality (2, Informative)

c0ldfusi0n (736058) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314954)

If you think that there's no corruption, lobbyism or influence in these spheres, you need a reality check. It is quite possible that Mandleson was influenced by Allen, and it's quite possible that it's exactly why he accepted to go on that yacht. I mean, come on. If OSS developers could afford the same things, you think they wouldn't show off how lucrative their endeavours are? In this particular case, i think the goal was more to share this lucrativity and showing it off just to send the message "What if..".

Or they could just be friends, you know. Those things happen.

EU better than US? (0, Troll)

sac13 (870194) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314997)

I admit that the powers that be in the US are corrupt. There are many people that claim we have a monopoly on that. It's nice to actually see some evidence on Slashdot that the holier-than-thou Europeans are just as greedy... that subject tends to get ignored by a lot of people around here.

Now mod me flamebait...

...or ramen noodles with Linus? (1)

mojoNYC (595906) | more than 9 years ago | (#12314999)

if you were a politician, which would you rather do, given the choice?

In other news.... (1)

AviLazar (741826) | more than 9 years ago | (#12315048)

....EU lifted all penalties, sanctions and restrictions from Microsoft. Quoted from the commissioner "After long hard thinking through the New Year, we decided to turn over a new leaf. Those MicroSoft guys work really hard to provide us with an extravegant holiday season...I mean well written software."
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