Will all become brothers and sisters, still?

I met an ex-miner in Nottinghamshire who confided to me he never travelled out of Britain in his entire life (60 years old he was). He voted Brexit against the political elite, he said. I met a Punk singer in London who uttered “Fuck to Brexit!”, however, admitted, she never spoke to a leaver discussing points of opinion.

Will the people of this country please start speaking to each other? Pretending it is enough if one deal or the other gets voted through, even by a cliff hanger – that it would be sufficient – was never going to do the trick of calming this country (of Great Britain). For Brexit, you have heard this before, is not just about the EU. Behind the smokescreen lie crass, no, shocking levels of inequality and education, and the sell out of small communities in a changing world.

Brexit will sadly not heal these fissures of the divide, between those who have vast amounts of privileges and resources and those kept behind for generations, if not centuries, indirectly or more precisely, through indirect but deliberate oversight.

Some of the Brexit Gods are the same people who sold such people out, speak major investors , property and fund zars, like Rees Mogg or Richard Tice, or a Wetherspoon chain Tycon, or the vacuum-cleaner emperor Dyson, not that some of the top Remainers have any much more pity on the impoverished, say major multinational groups, more interested in profits than people having meaningful lives where at least some of their infrastructures and traditions are protected from the destructive interference of the likes of Amazon, Starbucks, Lidl, BMW, Tesco, Walmart and Co (note the Americans in the list, for those who worshipped Brexit, for less trade with the EU and more with the U.S. have it coming for them all the same).

Whatever form of Brexit parliament decides upon, if it can decide at all, the real issue is not Brexit. The real problem in Great Britain is the lack of social mobility and the lack of a more evened out society. My biggest fear is that the aim to tackle this will get forgotten in the process of any decision under the banner of Brexit, while the true status quo remains to be tackled.

And, second to that, is the crisis of identity of both Britain and Europe that is still resting on an unchallenged historical footing. Not just Britain’s self-understanding is ruled by empirical aftershocks. You can find echoes of that in Belgium, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Holland amongst others – and the overall assumption of the supremacy of the Christian civilisation -supposedly. Count (if you dare to) the human toll it caused and you know the price thereof.

For inequality and privilege is not just an internal national problem. Once you look globally, Europe becomes Small England. Europe too refuses to acknowledge that taking a stance for and foremost against all forms of exploitation is an absolute priority, with people around the globe as equal agents. It would reduce migration, reduce our global environmental challenges and would ensure the paying of fair wages by trading with poorer nations on an equal footing, and making health care standards and access to education for all an absolute.

In the end, You may say, Britain is selfish for trying to unlink itself from the EU, Trump-America for building a wall, but what is the EU or the US to the world, if not a self-centred border guarding place? And, it does not end there. Other supernations, China, India, America likewise want it all for themselves. This can not be the way forward.

In the spirit that was supposed to unite divided Europe, a violinist, member of an volunteers orchestra that performs in a “Concert for Europe” Beethoven’s 9th Symphony on the 28th of March (they thought this would have been the last day of the British membership of the EU), reminded me of the words of Schiller and perhaps we should take his invitation global.

“Joy, beautiful spark of divinity, Daughter from Elysium We enter, burning with fervour, heavenly being, your sanctuary! Your magic brings together what custom has sternly divided. All (wo*)men shall become brothers (and sisters), wherever your gentle wings hover.”

That is our only rescue, and we must act accordingly, beyond Britain, beyond Europe, all sisters, all brothers and all in between. One world to share for all on equal and fair terms.

Daniel Zylbersztajn’s 2013

2013 through the selection of some of my articles:

This year I typed over 40 mostly on the ground researched pieces.  Many were transforming and unique written for four media outlets, Taz, Jüdische Allgemeine, Open Democracy and Die Zeit.  On three occasions I published only on my blog.

I hope I continue to write challenging and original pieces in the next year.  I have some already forthcoming to do with urban culture, domestic violence, sustainability and on Jewish issues.  Perhaps I will also write again more in English, as I have done in the past.

To my all my readers, but especially my loyal ones and interviewees, a great thank you.  I could not do without you!  Special thanks to all the newspapers and editors, you know who are!

Daniel Zylbersztajn

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Only Autobahn with Autogas? Car manufacturers fail to run LPG in the UK, but in Germany amongst the greenest drives says environmental group.

2011 Volkswagen Eco up! (01)
2011 Volkswagen Eco up! (01) (Photo credit: Georg Sander (GS1311))

Only Autobahn with Autogas?

LPG is currently greener than petrol says a German environmental lobby group, but car manufacturers dumped the UK for this technology.Report by Daniel Zylbersztajn,
LPG, Liquid Petroleum Gas powered cars can save their owners a lot of costs on fuel, but they seem to have become rather rare in the UK. This is because vehicles that run on LPG are no longer sold directly through car manufacturers in the UK. The only alternative is to convert a petrol run car privately.
This differs from the situation in countries like Germany and Italy. Not only are new LPG-powered vehicles sold there straight from factory, but LPG has recently been praised by the German environmental think-tank VCD (Verkehrsclub Deutschland e.V. ) that lobbies on ecological transport policy.Every year VCD sets up a rank-table of the most environmentally sound cars. This year they elected three LPG-powered models by the Volkswagen Group as their shared 2013 /2014 annual winners, alongside another winner the hybrid Toyota Prius. This is because the models VW Eco Up!, Seat Mii Ecofuel, and Skoda Citigo Green tec – all not sold in the UK – have a CO2 rating of only 79mg /per kilometre. That is very low compared, to most other carbon fuelled vehicles, unless they are hybrids or electric.
The VW-Group states that the reason why they do not sell these cars in the U.K, is because of an insufficient fuelling infrastructure in Britain. But the government disagrees. The Department of Transport (DfT) issued a statement insisting that Britain has a core infrastructure in place to ensure motorists are within easy reach of a filling station that stocks LPG. They further highlight that LPG continues to enjoy favourable duty rates.

Mike Chapman a spokesperson and manager of the British LPG trade association UK-LPG agrees with the DfT. He says that as far as he knows, the amount of LPG fuelling stations per area are in fact higher than in other European countries. Instead Chapman reckons that the reasons for the VW-Group and others to keep LPG vehicles off Great Britain’s roads are due to the UK being a rather small market compared to other European countries, and crucially he adds because the reduced fuel duty on LPG is no longer fixed and guaranteed for longer periods. UK-LPG concludes that the net-effect of this is that car manufacturers see Britain as a country too risky for LPG-powered cars, because they would have to invest in the re-fitting of garages and training of staff in LPG-technology. “The situation is however absurd,!” complains Chapman.

“You have LPG powered cars, like a model by Ford manufactured in the UK, only to bypass the British market and to be directly exported to continental Europe.”
In ‘efficient Germany’ on the other hand LPG has become very popular, especially amongst those who rely heavily on cars or amongst businesses who own a fleet. The main factor for this popularity is not environmentally driven, but due to economics. LPG, which also enjoys a reduced fuel duty in Germany yields huge savings on fuel spending, compared to any of the conventional fuels available such as diesel or petrol.As to LPGs environmental credentials, which made the VW-Group’s three cars winners of the VCD’s league table, Anja Smetanin, the VCD spokeswoman explains, that what really turns it around for LPG in terms of its environmental impact, is, that “toxic small particle emissions are hardly an issue here”.VCD advises, that LPG is currently preferable to Benzine, because exhaust filter systems that will limit Benzine’s pollutants are only coming into place by September 2014, along with the forthcoming Euro 6 emission norm. Up until now, Benzine-powered cars did not require, unlike cars with Diesel engines, sophisticated exhaust filters that significantly reduce cancer causing air-borne pollutants.

With LPG, they say, there is always an approximate 10% percent reduction of C02 and a reduction of the highly carcinogenic Arene (aromatic hydrocarbon), compared to benzine driven cars. But at the same time VCD admits, that the benefits are not completely straightforward as the advantages only telly up against petrol driven cars. Compared with Diesel and CNG-powered (natural gas) cars, LPG actually yields higher CO2 emissions. However VW produces the same vehicles with any gas, be they LPG, or the stated cleaner CNG and Biogas (ethanol) engines, the later being regarded by some as environmentally deficient, because Biogas crops compete with food crops.

Still, even compared to most Diesel-powered engines the new VW-Group LPG engines are low in CO2 by any means, with their 79 mg / km emissions, except for London, where they fail the test of newer strict CO2 limits for any exemption on the congestion charge in London, set to a maximum level of 75mg/km, which would make less interesting to fleet owners there and keeps electric and hybrid engines ahead of the game.

But VCD say that in spite of the zero emission advantage electric cars have, they currently do not, and they emphasize the word ‘yet’, advise customers to go mad on electric cars. Says Anja Smetanin in Berlin:

Electric cars are still too expensive and their reach is still too limited. We also find the data given about them quite unreliable, as the energy consumption rises hugely in the cold months, with a much reduced reach as a consequence.”

So for the time being VCD give LPG the green light, and they add “ this counts as long as the production of LPG does not involve any fracking, which remains forbidden in Germany due to what they say is its negative environmental impact.”


Last month London was hosting the World LPG Forum. The retailer Autogas (co-owned by Calor and Shell) was busy to attempt to promote the environmental credentials. But it remains to be seen if this had a favourable effect for the reintroduction of the technology in new cars in Britain. Fleet owners, curious to take on the advantage of promised savings, will be watching developments carefully.

Meeting Her Majesty The Queen (aired 2000)

Queen Feature for Cool

Originally broadcasted in 2000 – full transcript follows – all rights reserved

Listen Here

Do you have a King or a Queen in your country? If you are listening from an English speaking country, chances are that the royal family of Great Britain was once the head of your country, or that the Queen still is your country’s head. Queen Elizabeth the Second is not only the representative head of various Commonwealth countries but also of is the head of the Church of England. All this makes her sound like a very powerful woman. Daniel Zylbersztajn went to investigate what young people in England had to say about her:

[anthem music only god safe the queen 20’’ ]

Vox Pops:

VP1 “She is gorgeous”
VP2: “ I think she makes a fairly good head of state!”
VP3: “She rules!”
VP4: “She should get a job and stop taking the tax payers money!”
VP5: “Well she is not as beautiful as our president!”
VP6: Maybe she is old, but she is cool!

[Daniel] Many ways to describe this one person her majesty the Queen Elizabeth the second, who has been Queen now for almost fifty years assuming official duties when she was only 16 years old. The Queen doesn’t only own expensive crowns kept for her in the Tower of London, she may be the richest woman in the world, owning over five billion pounds sterling. She can summon and dissolve the British parliament and is also the supreme legal power in the country. Post-boxes and coins in Britain bear her emblem or picture. But not everyone gets the honour to meet her. It are mostly distinguished and honourable persons that get to meet her. Cynthia and Mathew from Cornwall in England are two persons who met her recently. Both of them study for their A-Levels at the moment. Both of them were winners of an essay competition on the Second World War, and their first price was to meet the Queen. What better people than them, to give you a first impression of what the Queen is like.

[Cynthia] “Good Afternoon your majesty! I had to courtesy when I met her, and refer to her as your majesty!
[Matthew] You have to shake hands and say Good Afternoon Ma.
[Cynthia] When we met her she wasn’t as scary really as we thought, I don’t think!
[Matthew]She is really nice and not what you’d expect. She was really normal. She is only small as well, she is only about five-foot tall.

[Daniel] Only five foot? I always though she must be of gigantic measures, judging her powers. I asked Cynthia and Mathew what they felt the Queen was all about:

[Cynthia] The royal family serve a big purpose. They stand for Britain, without standing for politics. And they, you know, even though , the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are really quite old now, they continue to work all the time, representing the country at some many things.
[Matthew] They are definitely a role model for everyone in England and the world really! Because everyone should aim to be like them!
[Cynthia] I don’t think that the royal family are role models for the rest of us. I think it is too much of a burden to be place on one family! But the mannerism and the behaviour of the Queen and of the Duke of Edinburgh, of the royal family, are different to em, for example leading politicians in the country.

So there you are. Well most politicians do not rule for 50 years, so of course the Queen would have a very distinguished and settled routine. For most people the Queen is still only something they see on their TV, or maybe on a post-card. Opposite Buckingham Palace, the large London residence of the Queen, there are many shops where you can buy items that de-picture the Queen Mr. Barzu is the store-owner of one these shops:

[Mr. Barzu]:
The most popular items that we sell, related to her majesty the Queen are:
Postcards, trays and mugs celebrating the golden wedding anniversary, also coronation, these items are very popular with people from abroad, especially the Germans, Australians and the Americans and the students from schools. We often see her majesty the queen driving past. Once I waved and I was greeted with a smile and I thought it was very encouraging!

Mr Barzu must have been on cloud nine for an entire week. I think he should always wear a sticker or T-shirt saying: I was smiled to by the Queen!

The Queen in Britain is still as popular as ever. In fact she has recently revamped her image and skills and even tried to understand how computers work, which is more than for many people over the age of seventy, although she is apparently not on e-mail as yet.

For Cool I am Daniel Zylbersztajn from London, leaving you with some more impressions of people on the streets of London when I asked them about the Queen:

[anthem music only god safe the queen 5’’ ]

accompanied by
Voice 1, male: God save our gracious Queen!
Voice 2, male, long live our noble Queen!
Voice 3, female: God Save the Queen

At 17” anthem Vox pops set in

VP1: She is a drag queen!
VP2: She is not the real Queen. They’re fake, they’re not the real kings and queens on this planet, she is just sitting on fortunes that are not hers
VP3: Ah, she is all right! Wears awful cloths though. She needs to get back to the sixties, when she used to wear shorter skirts, I think!

[Anthem finishes] male voice: God Save the Queen!