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Europe and the UK election

Gavin Hewitt | 09:24 UK time, Monday, 12 October 2009

cameron226afp.jpgIn politics it is often true that you are judged by your friends and associations. I was reminded of this when I read the British Foreign Secretary's attack on the Tories and their European allies. David Miliband's allegation is that the Conservatives have linked themselves to the far right in Europe, to neo-Nazis and anti-Semites.

This is not a new story. For several months it has spluttered into life and then died again. It has its origins in the decision by the Tories to form a new group in the European Parliament, the European Conservatives and Reformists.

Way back, the Conservative leader David Cameron had promised
to break away from the European People's Party because it was, in his view, too federalist. It was a popular decision with the Eurosceptic wing of his party, but the new grouping has questionable associations.

Its leader is Michael Kaminski from Poland. The allegation against him is that he opposed an unconditional apology for the massacre of 41 Jews by Poles in the village of Jebwadne during World War II. He says he has been mis-represented. His party is accused of being homophobic. Again there have been denials.

Another target has been Robert Zile of Latvia's Fatherland and Freedom Party. His party is accused of commemorating those
who served in the Waffen SS. The Tories have said that they would never do business with anyone who they thought glorified the SS.

After these allegations first appeared in the summer, the Tories believed they had weathered the storm and that the stories had not been substantiated. But the stories have not gone away. Some Jewish groups believe that Kaminski has a case to answer and some prominent entertainers, like Eddie Izzard and Stephen Fry, are disturbed by his party's links to homophobic groups. So opposition politicians in Britain have begun to see the issue of Europe as a potential weakness for the Tory leader.

They believe that his desire to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty puts him on a collision course with mainstream Europe. It will not be difficult to find voices in Berlin and Paris who will attack David Cameron's whole European strategy.

I have not investigated these allegations of far-right connections myself and I do not know their strength but I know that as the British election gets closer they will gain more attention not less; that it will be difficult to close down this story and that in the dog-fight of an election campaign you can be judged, fairly or not, by your friends and associations. David Miliband has fired a warning shot that he will try and link the Tories with the far right in Central and Eastern Europe.

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  • 1. At 10:27am on 12 Oct 2009, virtualstangeorge wrote:

    I supoose if you don't investigate the claims that you can continue Labour's line of repeating them when you can.

    Cameron's desire to have a referendum on Lisbon is a problem, but Labour having the same in their last manifesto isn't?

    Biased Biased Corporation.

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  • 2. At 10:36am on 12 Oct 2009, britishandeuropean wrote:

    It IS crazy: leaving Europe's mainstream centre-right parties (not all of whom are federalist, by the way) to join with some pretty small fry (whether or not they are extreme, which some of them seem to be, and some others which anyway support the Lisbon treaty) is just throwing influence away.

    Britain used to be very powerful in the European Parliament, with major components in both of the two big political groupings: Labour in the Socialist group and the Conservatives in the centre-right EPP. Throwing that away to sit on he fringes is plain silly.

    The only reason is to placate extreme eurosceptics in the Tory party. It certainly doesn't stand on its own merits, as the alleged disagreement with their fellow conservative parties in Europe, namely about further EU integration, is not settled in the European Parliament anyway, but is a matter for national governments, by unanimity. And by the way, in the EPP were several parties which agree with the Tories on that.

    As to Lisbon, it is time to stop obsessing about a treaty which is not so much an integrative one, as one which brings in checks and balances, so national parliaments can have a greater say, EU powers are more carefully limited, and the Council of Ministers forced to meet in public.

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  • 3. At 10:42am on 12 Oct 2009, JohaMe wrote:

    The enemies of your enemies might turn out to be your own enemies.
    Your former enemies might turn out to be your best friends.

    Who doesn't love the drama that comes with politics?
    Better than most soap series, real-life or not.

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  • 4. At 10:44am on 12 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    1. At 10:27am on 12 Oct 2009, virtualstangeorge wrote:

    "I supoose if you don't investigate the claims that you can continue Labour's line of repeating them when you can."

    Gavin actually used the word "himself", he doesn't need to investigate a documented fact, it would be like investigating "Watergate" afreash...

    "Cameron's desire to have a referendum on Lisbon is a problem, but Labour having the same in their last manifesto isn't?"

    Sorry but you really do have a problem with the English language, were did Labour state that they will hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty?

    "Biased Biased Corporation."

    But only when it's not being biased in your own direction no doubt.

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  • 5. At 10:47am on 12 Oct 2009, britishandeuropean wrote:

    Britain has never ever ratified an international treaty by means of a referendum. Nor do we have referenda on major national issues such as the NHS. Why start with a treaty that does things like change the term of office of the President of the European Council of Prime Ministers from 6 months to 30 months? Especially as we have already ratified it by our normal means of detailed parliamentary scrutiny and approval by both Commons and Lords.

    The only government promise of a referendum was NOT on Lisbon, but on the now abandoned idea of repealing all the EU treaties and replacing them with a new Constitution, thereby setting up a new legal entity. That, arguably, warrnted a referendum. A normal international treaty, especially one far less significant than previous European treaties, does not.

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  • 6. At 10:58am on 12 Oct 2009, Bx4 wrote:



    'I have not investigated these allegations of far-right connections myself and I do not know their strength.'

    Perhaps it time you did.

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  • 7. At 11:05am on 12 Oct 2009, Maria Ashot wrote:

    In their eagerness to make the way smooth for rapid European integration, interested parties would simply like to pretend there are no bumps on the autobahn to unity -- that the bumps are illusions, trivialities, quirks of a personality (as in the Czech instance).

    But double standards inevitably emerge. Yes, everyone is tired of that phrase: "double standards." Yet they are everywhere!

    Some Europeans were, fortunately, appalled when Party A (Bush-Cheney) insisted that Party B (the leading European powers) unilaterally proclaim that some property belonging to Party C ought now to belong to Party D, "just because we say so, this suits us, it is more convenient and it makes a better map for Europe." That was what happened in the imbroglio over Kosovo, now a permanent stalemate, unlikely ever to advance a millimetre further in either direction.

    Today, we have the concern about whether "all right-wingers" (or just some specific ones in Poland) have adequately recognised complicity in the slaughter of innocent Jews during World War Two.

    Meanwhile, just yesterday, we have the fantastical gloss in the matter of Turkey's "reconciliation" with Armenia -- rather, the acquiescence of a few spineless mammon-worshipping Armenian leaders in plans to smooth over yet another "bump" that at least symbolically is viewed as impeding Turkey's swift integration into Europe...

    My message to my European friends and spiritual compatriots: slow down, please. Don't gloss over history. Don't belittle people's qualms. It is an insult to Jews to make light of their suffering. It is an insult to Armenians to make light of their suffering, also.

    My husband is Armenian, though not a fan of his countryfolk for all kinds of good reasons (as in knowing them well). undeniably, the wealth amassed by many Armenian families under the Ottomans was not all amassed nicely, honestly or nobly. Many Armenian notables were servile helpers, sycophants of the Sultans, complicit in the slave trade, in the suffering of the mostly Christian girls and boys who were dragged kicking and screaming into harems, treated as disposable entertainment, savaged, brutalised, then discarded.

    However, the genocide is not a secret, nor an invention, nor an exaggeration. It was evil; it was a harrowing atrocity in which the gentlest, most innocent and most vulnerable were specifically targeted: young girls, pregnant women, children, infants. And there was an excess of brutality such as has been rarely seen, a foretaste of the worst bloodbaths of the Bolshevik-led Russian Revolution, and of the Nazi-led Holocaust that was to come: forced marches, torture killings, vivisection, mutilation, disembowelment, exceptionally vicious kinds of rapes and human beings burned alive en masse, deliberately, purposefully for extermination.

    To disavow these horrors as some kind of "civil war collateral damage" (as 'reasonable" Turks have sought to do) is beyond dishonest: it is contemptible, and I would say even beneath contempt. It is actually Evil.

    Maybe Europe wants such Evil to be simply "glossed over" as another "inconvenient bump" along the autobahn, in the overriding interest of integrating smoothly, swiftly?

    It won't work. For one thing, millions of young Americans and Europeans of Armenian descent, who live & work amongst you, and are your friends, will not have the historical facts papered over, no matter how many corrupt politicians come along to sign however many documents while Hillary looks on, beaming.

    That banal stage-managed photo-op will never match the anguished faces of the young Armenian women who were ripped apart, alive, by Turks hell-bent on wiping their bloodlines from their ancestral land after seizing their assets.

    There is no statute of limitations on genocide. There is no expiration date. One genocide is not "more important" while another is "less severe". Deliberate, purposeful campaigns to exterminate First Nations in North America, for example, so as to take unconstrained possessions of lands and wealth, are not to be glossed over in the new, pro-peace 21st century.

    Peace does not come from glossing over history: only from finally plumbing its deaths, facing its horrors, from fathoming it.

    Reconciliation requires sincere, profound expressions of regret for evil perpetrated by brutal forefathers. That is a standard a liberated Germany exemplified, and the basis for its own security, freedom & future peace.

    There can be no "opt-out" clauses for fundamental moral imperatives. There can be no "opt-out" from the truth. The grand viziers who first dreamt of a united Europe erred fatally if they imagined the suffering of others -- persons less cocooned than they had been -- could be simply glossed over, put away by packing enough verbal tissue paper around fragile human memories, dismissing legitimate grievances with a wave of the conjurer's hand.

    It is quite awful to subject an entire population to atrocities for political reasons. It is far, far worse to then pretend no such thing happened: there was no crime, the victim exaggerates, the victim is to blame here, the victim is delusional or seeks personal gain.

    The matter of Turkey's integration (if such is even to be contemplated) into the European superstate cannot happen at the behest of Washington, DC, or on some artificial timeline devised by theorists, events planners, numerologists, the calendar-obsessed, demographers or social engineering experts.

    It is a serious matter, one that calls for profound reflection -- by the Turks themselves above all. This reflection they are resistant to engage in, thereby proving how non-European they ultimately are. For if being European means anything at all, it means being capable of, and enamored with, deep reflection, probing thought, soul-searching.

    Turks who balk at facing the truth about their past, about their mixed DNA, about the abuse of women and children and "infidels" by their immediate forebears are demonstrating they are not ready for anything remotely resembling political maturity.

    Capitalist bean-counters who care only for "bottom lines" here and there ought to take a deep breath and eat another portion of humble pie. Their haste and sloppiness has caused us all great harm in years past. Politics, social causes, social science and public policy cannot operate according to the principles, bad habits & preferences of stock traders, insurance underwriters or derivatives-designers.

    Human lives are infinitely more complex than money, widgets, signed papers, photo-ops.

    It will take time to make every bump smooth. No effort may be spared, no detail overlooked. The truth is absolutely the gold standard of all statutory architecture.

    You cannot have different rules, statutes, laws for different entities. All must be equal, or the whole premise of "european unity" -- much less international law -- becomes an utter sham.

    And Europeans also need to challenge themselves to re-examine, yet again, the dream dreamt for them by the grand viziers, none of whom could foresee exactly what it would be like for a single human being to dwell in the world as it is today.

    Pretty soon, Europe will be absorbing more and more land, deeper into Africa perhaps -- perhaps even well beyond the reach of the old Roman and European empires? Can anyone deny that most of South America has also been profoundly shaped by Europeans and European culture? Shouldn't South America also follow Turkey into the European union, then? Might not one argue they actually have a bigger claim on membership? Aren't Brazil or Argentina or Chile more European even than modern Turkey?

    Where exactly does this go? How, if ever, does it end?

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  • 8. At 11:06am on 12 Oct 2009, nickcica wrote:

    I despair of BBC journalism that you can write a piece like this and say "I haven't bothered to investigate it myself." That is what you are paid to do, it is an ethical obligation on your part!

    All I can say is that I read an eloquent piece by the editor of the Jewish Chronicle, himself a one time Labour advisor, who gives Kaminski a very positive appraisal. The whole thing seems a nasty smear.

    As most people in the UK are not particularly in favour of the EU, I don't think an alliance with other parties, however much Guardian readers might disapprove, is going to make any difference to the Conservatives' election chances. And frankly, I would be ashamed to see the Conservatives sitting alongside a party like the Hungarian Fidesz party (members of the EPP, but neo-Kadarist in spirit, anti-semitic and anti-Gypsy, a party who failed to condemn a series of assassinations on Gypsy villagers ...)

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  • 9. At 11:15am on 12 Oct 2009, Freeman wrote:

    #2 It would be a foolish matter to give up the Tory power position in the main right block of the EU unless he means it. If he does, splendid. I doubt I am the only Eurosceptic is going to be happy with just this move. His chances of reforming the EU are zero. It is beyond help. So unless Dave calls a referendum, the Eurosceptics will not be happy and he will have alienated the main power blocks for no reason.

    ..and people can repeat the lie that the Constitution and Treaty are different until the cows come home, but even its supporters know that to be complete bull.

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  • 10. At 11:17am on 12 Oct 2009, Gthecelt wrote:

    I've not investigated personally what these so called far right parties have said or done. All I have heard is what Miliband is making speeches about and also the fact that the Latvian party celebrates the fact the Nazis helped them overthrow Stalin. Bit of a tricky one that. Stalin was a great guy by all accounts so no wonder this is such a major issue.

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  • 11. At 11:22am on 12 Oct 2009, Michael Dawkes wrote:

    Two cliches but true, nevertheless: 'there is no smoke without fire': 'you are judged by the company you keep'. The Tories are still the same old Euro-phobic, sleazy, 'nasty' party of xenophobic Little Englanders, despised and distrusted by everyone located outside our territorial waters (and many within them including the fish).

    New Labour will have to pay the price for incompetence, perceived or otherwise, but woe betide a Britain where an anti-Europe government has been elected by those who think that social democracy and justice are diseases; by those whose creed is 'greed is good'. We may as well elect Bankers.

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  • 12. At 11:28am on 12 Oct 2009, Freeman wrote:

    Apparently the entire EU commission eat babies....must be true as it is written online.

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  • 13. At 11:31am on 12 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    8. At 11:06am on 12 Oct 2009, nickcica wrote:

    "As most people in the UK are not particularly in favour of the EU,

    ...and your citation for that comment is were, exactly, especially when you start your comment with the following - "I despair of BBC journalism that you can write a piece like this and say "I haven't bothered to investigate it myself." That is what you are paid to do, it is an ethical obligation on your part!"...

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  • 14. At 11:32am on 12 Oct 2009, Freeborn John wrote:

    The Labour party is not only prepared to sit in a federalist group in the EU Parliament (the PES), but to sit alongside some real crank-pots, e.g.

    Proinsias De Rossa MEP (Ireland)

    Proinsias De Rossa is PES MEP for the Dublin constituency and former member of the IRA. De Rossa was interned by the Irish government in the 1950s for his involvement in the IRA border campaign, which caused the deaths of six British policemen.

    Self-Defence of the Republic (Poland)

    The leader of the Self-Defence of the Republic party is Andrzej Lepper, the recipient of two honorary degrees from the anti-Semitic Interregional Academy of Personnel Management which counts, amongst others, American white supremacist David Duke as an honorary professor. According to the BBC, his party anthem once featured the line "this land is your land, this land is my land [and] we won't let anyone punch us in the face" which is ironic given Lepper's multiple criminal convictions for assault. The Party of the European Socialists welcomed a Self-Defence MEP into their grouping in December 2004.

    Giulietto Chiesa MEP (Italy) is a former communist party official who has sat with British Labour MEPS in the Party of European Socialists since 2006, during which time his parliamentary activities have largely focussed around organising screenings in Parliamentary buildings of his 9/11 conspiracy theory film "Zero" which alleges that the Pentagon was actually hit by a missile and the Twin Towers were brought down by explosives detonated inside the building.

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  • 15. At 11:34am on 12 Oct 2009, boabycat wrote:

    Gavin, could you give us a run down on who all our parties sit beside in their respective groupings in the European parliament and then we can decide for ourselves. I am sure there are less desireable people in each of the groupings. Otherwise this just looks like the Tories are being singled out for their associations and the other parties are being let off scot free.

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  • 16. At 11:38am on 12 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #9. At 11:15am on 12 Oct 2009, Freeman wrote:

    "..and people can repeat the lie that the Constitution and Treaty are different until the cows come home, but even its supporters know that to be complete bull."

    ...and the euroscetics can repeat their own set of lies (such as the above) until the cows come home.

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  • 17. At 11:42am on 12 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #10. At 11:17am on 12 Oct 2009, gthebounceranddavincimaster wrote:

    "the fact the Nazis helped them overthrow Stalin. Bit of a tricky one that. Stalin was a great guy by all accounts so no wonder this is such a major issue."

    Are you trying to imply that two wrongs do in fact make a right?...

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  • 18. At 11:44am on 12 Oct 2009, phoenix wrote:

    "For if being European means anything at all, it means being capable of, and enamored with, deep reflection, probing thought, soul-searching"

    I agree, but it also means not chewing over old history and let by-gones be by-gones.

    The EU would never work if people kept bringing up history and never burying the hatchet. The emotional hurt from the second world war was still raw in the 1950's and yet six countrys had the courage to let it all go and forge a common path and destiny toghether, to put aside emotional differences. Its at the heart I think of what one should accept when entering the Union. The problem over turkish membership has to do with this essentially. Each time a decision goes against them they cry out in the defence of 'national honour'. Those days are over.
    Each time the British europhobic press has a go at the continentals, there are non too subtle comparisons with WWII and those nasty germans and cowardly french. Those days are over. Now Klaus wants a footnote to the Treaty. What really sticks in the throat is not that he should ask for it in the name of his people-he has a right to, but are that he makes appeals to old grieviences that should have by now been set aside. THOSE DAYS ARE OVER.

    Europe has a long and varied history, but too much of it is littered with blood and catastrophe bourne out of our political differences. In order to leave them behind we should gaze to the future horizon togherther and learn from mistakes which were rooted in our past political/national divisions. Mere free trade will not do. Neither will bringing up past hurts.

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  • 19. At 11:44am on 12 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    12. At 11:28am on 12 Oct 2009, Freeman wrote:

    "Apparently the entire EU commission eat babies....must be true as it is written online."

    It would be if there was video tape of the said acts, which is the case with some of the events Gavin has written about...

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  • 20. At 11:57am on 12 Oct 2009, JanisB1 wrote:

    Sir,

    The US Displaced Persons Commission in September 1950 declared that:
    "(..) the Baltic Waffen SS Units (Baltic Legions) are to be considered as separate and distinct in purpose, ideology, activities, and qualifications for membership from the German SS, and therefore the Commission holds them not to be a movement hostile to the Government of the United States." (source: http://tinyurl.com/m64b4c )

    Each of those distinctions is there for a good reason. Every time someone in British media makes it look like no meaningful distinction can be made between Latvian soldiers and German SS, it omits information material to the whole controversy. The service in Waffen SS, over which they were not given choice that can be called free, is not the reason they are commemorated - that they were our compatriots who fought Soviets is.

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  • 21. At 11:57am on 12 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    15. At 11:34am on 12 Oct 2009, boabycat wrote:

    "Gavin, could you give us a run down on who all our parties sit beside in their respective groupings in the European parliament and then we can decide for ourselves."

    A good jumping off point for that information, from there it's not difficult to follow your own nose;

    http://www.votewatch.eu/cx_national_parties.php

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  • 22. At 11:59am on 12 Oct 2009, CComment wrote:

    David Miliband firing warning shots about Conservative anti-semitism might have more credibility if his own Foreign Office wasn't supporting anti-semitic groups like Hamas. Caledonian Comment

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  • 23. At 12:05pm on 12 Oct 2009, Jim Currie wrote:

    This is part of what's wrong with poilitical perception of what will 'do good' or 'harm'.
    The subjects of homophobia and the rise of fascism in Europe are dear to the hearts of a very small group of activists. Times are changing rapidly. Any form of extremist, elitist behaviour can only grow if it obtains enough people to vote for it or money to buy people to vote for it. The internet has put an end to all that. The biggest threat to a fair life is lethargy. You will note that the concerned citizens who are mentioned in this blog are not poor, deprived or are conducting a crusade on behalf of such people. The words 'vested interest' come to mind.

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  • 24. At 12:10pm on 12 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    20. At 11:57am on 12 Oct 2009, JanisB1 wrote:

    The US Displaced Persons Commission in September 1950 declared that:..//.."

    It's irrelevant what the USA thought back then - or now, for that matter, after all the USA allowed IRA activists into their country (knowing some were wanted for terrorist acts, oh how times change...), it's what the people in the countries concerned think that matter surely, if the people of the countries concerned are ready to forgive (if not forget) then progress is made, if they are not then the issue(s) carry on festering...

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  • 25. At 12:31pm on 12 Oct 2009, Freeman wrote:

    Wow Boilerplated. A third of the posts are yours. No job to go to?

    Don't believe the Constitution/Treaty are the same? Go look at what your very Pro-EU politicians have to say on the subject. Or you could have paid attention the multiple previous times their quotes have gone up here by various posters.

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  • 26. At 12:40pm on 12 Oct 2009, Freeborn John wrote:

    The Latvian government has called in the British Ambassador to complain about the falsehoods being spread by David Miliband. It seems that the British foreign minister is getting so desperate about Labour's impending election defeat that he is even prepared to damage UK-Latvia relations to attack the Conservative party. His claims that the Latvian allies of the Conservative party in the EU Parliament "attend commemorations of Waffen SS veterans" but in that case this is a claim that could be applied to all Latvian politicians (with the exception of the Russian parties) because Latvia holds an annual ceremony to honour all those who died fighting the Soviet Union and every party in Latvia (including Greens and the Christian Democrats who are aligned to the federalist EPP party) attends. Many of the Latvian soldiers (on either side) being commemorated had little choice in the matter, being conscripted into the conflict no matter what they thought about it. Miliband could have made the same allegation when the Conservatives were sitting with the federalist EPP, so why only make it now that they have split from the federalists?

    If one can read anything from this story it is that David Miliband, and his backers in the media, are getting desperate. Labour will have to fight an election in 200 days, with the prospect of a clear difference on European policy between the two main parties, something which they always tried to minimise in the past. This line of attack is going to be completely ineffective when compared to the referendum lie that Labour told in their 2005 manifesto. Politicians who lie to get elected deserve to suffer not just one election defeat, but to be rejected by the nation for all of time to come. That should be the fate of Miliband, Blair, Mandelson and Brown.

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  • 27. At 12:54pm on 12 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    25. At 12:31pm on 12 Oct 2009, Freeman wrote:

    Wow Boilerplated. A third of the posts are yours. No job to go to?

    What's it to you, and should we assume that you are sciving off your work to post here...

    Just a very quite morning, perhaps you're having simular?

    Back to the EU:
    "Don't believe the Constitution/Treaty are the same? Go look at what your very Pro-EU politicians have to say on the subject."

    Why bother doing that when anyone can go and read the said documents for themselves?!

    As for content, it's obvious, due to the fact that the EU is a continuing and evolving group of member countries that elements of previous treaties/documents will carry-over to the next, and as such one could equable claim that the abandoned 'Constitution' is nothing more than the old Rome Treaty... It's not what individual words are used that matter but how they form sentences, paragraphs and thus the entire treaty, the words can be the same, their meaning can be quite different.

    Anyway, I'm now off for some lunch, hoping for a less boring afternoon!

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  • 28. At 1:01pm on 12 Oct 2009, extremesense wrote:

    #8 Nickcica

    For your information, one pro-Cameron source (Stephen Pollard) doth not maketh a fact even though the British public seem to want to believe anything that comes out of the Cameron machine.

    The facts are simple:

    - Michal Kaminski believes that the Poles of Jedwabne should only apologise for their 1941 pogrom if the Jews apologise for their part in Bolshevic oppression. He also doesn't think it's so bad, so bad as say the Nazis (let's remember 300 Jewish men, women and children were rounded, marched through the town and locked in a barn and burnt alive). Why he makes that point puzzles me, is he suggesting that if you're not as bad as the Nazis you're ok, you don't have to say sorry?

    - The Tory claims that the Latvian Waffen SS unit (the Lettish legion) did not commit war crimes and that they were ALL conscripts is wrong. Approximately one third were volunteers who swore an oath to Hitler, and prior to the Lettish Legion being formed, they formed part of Einsatzgruppen A (Reinhard Heydrich's northen area death squad).

    - The particular parade that Robert Zile and his For Fatherland and Freedom party use to commemorate the Latvian SS is actually banned in Latvia because of it's Nazi past.

    What seems clear is that the Conservatives are happy to call these far right even neo-fascist parties their friends, according to William Hague's letter, yet claim they themselves are compassionate; progressive; modern.

    Well I would be tempted to say that they are none of these and have, assuming they form the next government, ruined and stained our standing in Europe.

    Regarding Gavin Hewitt's claim that he hasn't looked into these allegations, I don't believe him, he's a good journalist with investigative pedigree and much of this is in the public domain and can be easily checked.... history books are an easy place to look-up the Lettish Legion and the right-wing Polish press for Kaminski (he's given interviews, etc). I completely understand him not wanting to get too involved - it's a no win situation if he does.

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  • 29. At 1:05pm on 12 Oct 2009, chriss-w wrote:


    This post was, originally, about the fact that David Milliband has signalled an intention to challenge the tories about the extreme right-wing views apparently expressed by some of their partners in the european Parliament.

    I doubt whether it is possible to know precisely what views a politician from somewhere like Latvia or Poland actually holds; unless they seek to make a virtue of them and spout them in public. However, at the extreme end of "nationalism" there is an unpleasant mix of xenophobia, intolerance and tribal aggression which, particularly when sanctioned by a totalitarian state, has lead to attrocities such as those described above.

    In a slightly less extreme form, those same attitudes formed the basis of a society in which every generation, in every country, was called upon to fight wars against other countries as if this were the norm. It still is the norm in parts of europe and much of the World: as if War was the purpose of existence.

    The point is that people haven't changed all that much; and the debate could all too easily turn back to a conflict model. The EU is meant to offer another way of managing our affairs. To set a norm of peaceful collaboration between coutries and tolerance of differences that I can but support; however imperfect its implementation.

    "Jaw Jaw is better than War War".

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  • 30. At 1:12pm on 12 Oct 2009, extremesense wrote:

    #26 Freeborn-John

    You are wrong.

    David Miliband was not called in by the Latvian Ambassador and our good relations with their mainstream government have not been damaged.

    The ceremony commemorating the Lettish Legion (Latvian Waffen SS) is actually banned and has been since 1997 because a third of it's members were volunteers who swore an oath of allegiance to Hitler. Many of them transfered over from Einsatzgruppen A (the Heydrich's northern death squad).

    I'm staggered at just how misinformed you are - where did you get your information? I would suggest not from WWII history books.

    Perhaps you would also like to now suggest that the 2001 Michal Kaminski interview in Nasza Polska in Poland is all fiction?

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  • 31. At 1:21pm on 12 Oct 2009, Zydeco wrote:

    16. At 11:38am on 12 Oct 2009, Boilerplated wrote:
    #9. At 11:15am on 12 Oct 2009, Freeman wrote:

    "..and people can repeat the lie that the Constitution and Treaty are different until the cows come home, but even its supporters know that to be complete bull."

    ...and the euroscetics can repeat their own set of lies (such as the above) until the cows come home.
    ***************************

    In which case 26 out of 27 European leaders must be lying!!

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  • 32. At 1:21pm on 12 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    9. Freeman wrote:

    "…people can repeat the lie that the Constitution and Treaty are different until the cows come home…"

    They are both Treaties. The Lisbon Treaty contains much of the Constitutional Treaty verbatim. I don't recall the manifesto referendum commitments made by Labour and the Liberal Democrats in 2005 being restricted only to certain parts of the Constitutional Treaty.

    It was common knowledge that the Tories were no longer to be in the EPP post 2009. Yet they came first in the European Parliamentary election and Labour, with their smear tactics, came third.

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  • 33. At 1:26pm on 12 Oct 2009, Freeborn John wrote:

    extremesense: I check what i write before i post it, and would encourage you to do the same.

    On October 6, The Guardian reported that "The Latvian foreign ministry summoned the acting British ambassador, Anthony Stokes, complaints were lodged in London, and on Saturday Miliband phoned the Latvian foreign minister to say he was not attacking the Latvian government".

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/oct/06/freedom-party-refute-miliband-claims

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  • 34. At 1:36pm on 12 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    31. Zydeco wrote

    "…In which case 26 out of 27 European leaders must be lying!.."

    Pragmatism decreed that if the French and Dutch said No to the Constitutional Treaty then The Lisbon Treaty was going to be a hard sell. The UK Government, in the shape of Labour, is too frightened even to ask the electorate for support.

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  • 35. At 1:37pm on 12 Oct 2009, john-In-Dublin wrote:

    # 14 Freeborn-John wrote:

    "The Labour party is not only prepared to sit in a federalist group in the EU Parliament (the PES), but to sit alongside some real crank-pots, e.g.

    Proinsias De Rossa MEP (Ireland)

    Proinsias De Rossa is PES MEP for the Dublin constituency and former member of the IRA. De Rossa was interned by the Irish government in the 1950s for his involvement in the IRA border campaign, which caused the deaths of six British policemen."

    De Rossa's career is summed up quite well here - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proinsias_De_Rossa.

    He is a member of the Irish Labour Party, which has existed since the foundation of the State, and taken part in several governments. I am not a member nor even particularly a supporter of Labour, but I dislike people twisting the truth. He is a former party leader [of a smaller party that merged with Labour] and a former Government Minister. He was apparently a member of a junior IRA organisation, Na Fianna, in his teens, and interned from the ages of 16-19, from 1956-59.

    Since both Tory and Labour governments have engaged in a peace process with Sinn Fein, and former IRA leader McGuinness is now Deputy First Minister in NI, and has visited the White House in said capacity, presumably we can label, say, John Major and/or GW Bush as IRA supporters?

    Whether Freeborn-John's other data is equally accurate I have no way of knowing. [Although criticising UK Labour for belonging to the Socialist grouping in the Euro Parliament - AFAIK it is either the largest or the second largest grouping - seems pretty feeble.]

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  • 36. At 1:42pm on 12 Oct 2009, joehoch wrote:

    Letter to David Cameron
    Subject: Appeal to your conscience
    Dear David Cameron,
    After several attempts to find someone to talk to at your party, that might wish to listen, I am writing to you these lines.
    We shall be forever grateful for the great sacrifices the British people made to put an end to Nazi Germany. Sadly many of us ended up on the wrong side of the world divide without our being able to do anything about it. Cause and effect over the years has produced a very precarious democracy in the Czech Republic of today. It does not require a John le Carre to find out about it. Yet you, David Cameron, with your party, have joined the antidemocratic forces of this country by forming a joint grouping in the European Parliament, thereby enhancing their credibility.

    THIS PUTS YOU AS A LEADER CLOSER TO NEVILLE CHAMBERLAIN THAN WINSTON CHURCHILL WITH REGARD TO DEMOCRACY IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC!

    It is high time that you relented and started to give more thought to finding a way to further democracy in the Czech Republic rather than being on the side of those that disrespect it day after day after day. Your party has always been proud to promote itself as a law and order party. If you are becoming anti law and order, than do tell the British people about it, laud and clear.

    Yours faithfully,

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  • 37. At 1:45pm on 12 Oct 2009, forgottenukcitizen wrote:

    7. maria-ashot wrote:

    The matter of Turkey's integration (if such is even to be contemplated) into the European superstate cannot happen at the behest of Washington, DC, or on some artificial timeline devised by theorists, events planners, numerologists, the calendar-obsessed, demographers or social engineering experts.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Unfortunately, I fear the integration of Turkey into the EU will happen eventually whether we like it or not.
    It would be nice if a referendum was held to see if the Citizens of the EU actually wanted this to happen, but the EU dictatorship won’t let this happen (it's all about what's right for THEM).

    And people wonder why so many people in the UK want to get out of the EU?

    As for Cameron; he’s slipping on cow pats already & isn’t even in number 10 yet.

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  • 38. At 2:04pm on 12 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #26. At 12:40pm on 12 Oct 2009, Freeborn-John wrote:

    "This line of attack is going to be completely ineffective when compared to the referendum lie that Labour told in their 2005 manifesto.

    Care to point our exactly were in the 2005 Labour Manifesto it states that they will hold a referendum on the Treaty of Lisbon, if you can you will do nothing but prove that it is you who is peddling the lies...

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  • 39. At 2:08pm on 12 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #32. At 1:21pm on 12 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    "They are both Treaties. The Lisbon Treaty contains much of the Constitutional Treaty verbatim.

    ...and as the constitution contanted much from the Rome treaty (and all in between), what does that make the Contituional treaty?...

    I don't recall the manifesto referendum commitments made by Labour and the Liberal Democrats in 2005 being restricted only to certain parts of the Constitutional Treaty."

    Of course you do, it referred to the Constitutional treaty, how could it refer to a treaty that no one knew would exist, thus it's day facto that it related only to the EU Constitutional treaty.

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  • 40. At 2:09pm on 12 Oct 2009, ronreagan wrote:

    Well done Gavin - taking over from biased Nick r u ???? - 1st poster on this HYS was dead right. Anyway, keep the Labour trolls happy - they will be extinct in 2010 and the country will be true blue, which will make a change from the sea of red covering our economy and Clown`s efforts to sell of the UK piece by piece.

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  • 41. At 2:10pm on 12 Oct 2009, forgottenukcitizen wrote:

    36. joehoch wrote:

    THIS PUTS YOU AS A LEADER CLOSER TO NEVILLE CHAMBERLAIN THAN WINSTON CHURCHILL WITH REGARD TO DEMOCRACY IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC!

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    I think you will find that David Cameron is hoping to become the next Prime Minister of Great Britain rather than President of the EU.

    These allegations are hardly news & have been in the public domain for a while now, so I doubt that they will affect his present popularity in the UK polls.

    All political parties harbour a few loonies on their fringes.

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  • 42. At 2:15pm on 12 Oct 2009, JanisB1 wrote:

    @extremesense

    There is no one sole ceremony commemorating legionaries in Latvia. On occasion the March 16th procession in Riga has been refused permit or restricted. The reasons, however, are none of what you suggest, but rather the security and public order concerns (like the bomb threat last year).

    All legionaries swore allegiance "in the struggle against the Bolshevism" (i.e - the Soviet Union), to Hitler as supreme commander of German armed forces. That is another distinction - they did not and could not swear SS oath of allegiance.

    Finally, the fact that Germans did transfer to the legion personnel from disbanded SD unit (the infamous Sonderkommando Arajs) towards the end of war alone cannot make all serving in the legion responsible for crimes committed by Einsatzkommando A. No person in their right mind commemorates Arajs men, and, to the best of my knowledge, no former legionary has been convicted of crimes on account of the service and activities in legion.

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  • 43. At 2:16pm on 12 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    33. At 1:26pm on 12 Oct 2009, Freeborn-John wrote:

    "On October 6, The Guardian reported that "The Latvian foreign ministry summoned the acting British ambassador, Anthony Stokes, complaints were lodged in London, and on Saturday Miliband phoned the Latvian foreign minister to say he was not attacking the Latvian government".

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/oct/06/freedom-party-refute-miliband-claims"


    So, basically there was a miss understanding that has been cleared up, not exactly an international crises then is it, more like a storm in a tea-spoon...

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  • 44. At 2:20pm on 12 Oct 2009, extremesense wrote:

    #33 Freeborn-John

    According to your post it said, "The Latvian government has called in the British Ambassador to complain about the falsehoods being spread by David Miliband".

    Again, whether you've checked or not, I would ssuggest you are wrong. David Milliband has not spread any falsehoods about the For Fatherland & Freedom party and any suggestion that he was referring to Latvia as a whole were quickly cleared up (the particular SS march has been banned since 1997). Matter closed.

    I would also refer you back to my post as that is not the only area where I thought you had tripped-up. Any thoughts?

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  • 45. At 2:23pm on 12 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #34. At 1:36pm on 12 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    "Pragmatism decreed that if the French and Dutch said No to the Constitutional Treaty then The Lisbon Treaty was going to be a hard sell."

    Not so, it might have escaped your notice that France elected both a europhile Government and President since 2005 (not sure if the Dutch have had an election since, I suspect that they have...).

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  • 46. At 2:29pm on 12 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #37. At 1:45pm on 12 Oct 2009, forgottenukcitizen wrote:

    "It would be nice if a referendum [on the integration of Turkey] was held to see if the Citizens of the EU"

    Oh great, another europhobe who seems to find Euro Federalism when it suites their cause... When has any new member been the subject of a EU wide referendum?

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  • 47. At 2:30pm on 12 Oct 2009, ronreagan wrote:

    The usual Liebour trolls on this HYS can not believe black is black and white is white. To them ANYTHING or ANY argument against what they believe, and certainly anything against the Great Clown, and corrupt Labour MP`s, is totally wrong. This will be censored by the Bias Corp but have a look at Mandelson, Smith, etc, etc, for corruption and define it by another name if u can.

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  • 48. At 2:37pm on 12 Oct 2009, ThomasGoodey wrote:

    "It will not be difficult to find voices in Berlin and Paris who will attack David Cameron's whole European strategy." Well, that will tend to increase his majority in OUR election, that's for sure!

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  • 49. At 2:44pm on 12 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    45. Boilerplated wrote:

    "…Not so, it might have escaped your notice that France elected both a europhile Government and President since 2005…"

    What has this got to do with the Lisbon Treaty being a hard sell? It is perfectly possible to be pro Europe and anti Lisbon.

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  • 50. At 2:46pm on 12 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    39. Boilerplated wrote:

    "…Of course you do, it referred to the Constitutional treaty, how could it refer to a treaty that no one knew would exist, thus it's day facto that it related only to the EU Constitutional treaty…"

    If the Lisbon Treaty contained no part of the Constitutional Treaty I'd be right with you.

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  • 51. At 2:57pm on 12 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    47. At 2:30pm on 12 Oct 2009, ronreagan wrote:

    "The usual Liebour trolls on this HYS...//...."

    Unlike you who doesn't seem to not the difference between the BBC's HYS, the message boards and these blog areas were people (in the main) attempt to debate an issue rather than just make party political rants, at least those you appear to be speaking of know which area to use!

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  • 52. At 3:04pm on 12 Oct 2009, Cogito wrote:

    ' I have not investigated these allegations of far-right connections myself... '

    Perhaps, rather than regurgitate stale rumours - which have been denied by all concerned - and trying to give them traction, you ought to be finding out if there's any real substance in them in the first place. The only reason I can think of for trying to keep an old story alive is because you have some form of sympathy for the people who originated the story in the first place. That sort of slant from an organisation such as the BBC does not do pleas of impartiality any good at all.

    Such accusations as you report on should only gain more attention from journalists prior to an election if you do your homework properly and investigate them first before airing them. If you find them to be groundless, you should report them as such or not report the claim at all in the first place.

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  • 53. At 3:05pm on 12 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    48. At 2:37pm on 12 Oct 2009, ThomasGoodey wrote:

    "It will not be difficult to find voices in Berlin and Paris who will attack David Cameron's whole European strategy." Well, that will tend to increase his majority in OUR election, that's for sure!

    Why? Most people in the UK do not live in a UK centric bubble, they are intelligent enough to know that, unless the UK is going to take a North Korea isolationist path, any Government is going to have to have (political) relationships with countries near and far - irrespective of if the UK is a member of the EU or not. You seem to have missed the point here, this is about the charter of Cameron (and his party), yes the company one keeps is important, even more so if one has to interact with those who might be offended by such company.

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  • 54. At 3:10pm on 12 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #49

    What has this got to do with the Lisbon Treaty being a hard sell? It is perfectly possible to be pro Europe and anti Lisbon."

    Oh right, so a nation is anti Lisbon (according to you) but still elects a goverment and President that are 100% pro Lisbon, yeah, right... Talk about an oxymoron of a situation!

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  • 55. At 3:14pm on 12 Oct 2009, IPGABP1 wrote:

    There is a lot of unhappiness at our local Conservative and Unionist Club over the decision by David to build close relationships with neo- nazis and other lunatic extreme groups in Europe.It is a major error of judgement, that will, in the months ahead cause untold damage to the reputation of the party.

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  • 56. At 3:21pm on 12 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #50

    "If the Lisbon Treaty contained no part of the Constitutional Treaty I'd be right with you.

    Well by that logic the "Treaty of Rome" was also 'a constitution'...

    It seems to me that (in your twisted logic) that it doesn't matter about the meaning of the words, just that they are the same, yeah, right, glade we have that clear (as mud) now!

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  • 57. At 3:27pm on 12 Oct 2009, joehoch wrote:

    41 forgottenukcitizen
    Lets not be so hasty, lets give him and others from his party a chance to answer. there will be of course more detailed information on individual EP members they are directly involved with in their grouping, that will be forwarded to them. If you care to read my posting number 41 on the previous blog you would perhaps see the point.

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  • 58. At 3:29pm on 12 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    52. At 3:04pm on 12 Oct 2009, cogitodexter wrote:

    " ' I have not investigated these allegations of far-right connections myself... '

    Perhaps, rather than regurgitate stale rumours - which have been denied by all concerned - and trying to give them traction, you ought to be finding out if there's any real substance in them in the first place."


    "Watergate" was denied, some still denied they did anything wrong, if Gavin was to write about "Watergate" and place the same footnote at the end would you demand that he re-investigates, even though the evidence has been documented already by others?... Basically Gavin was informing us of an existing, on-running story.

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  • 59. At 3:31pm on 12 Oct 2009, forgottenukcitizen wrote:

    46. Boilerplated wrote:
    Oh great, another europhobe who seems to find Euro Federalism when it suites their cause

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I don’t recall stating any cause; still, it’s nice to see somebody’s got more time on their hands than I have (I’m in between jobs as they say).

    Funny isn’t it that whenever somebody mentions about a UK referendum on any European issue, pro EU fanatics seem get all hot & bothered.

    It’s probably because they already know what the outcome would be – especially if the referendum was to be on our own membership of the EU.

    As for Turkey; I haven’t met anybody that is in favour of them joining the EU, but as I mentioned previously, you can bet your bottom Euro that they will be shoe horned in eventually whether we like it or not – hang the consequences.

    Still, that’s EU politics for you; if you don’t get what you want the first time around, just keep on asking the same thing over & over again until people get so fed up hearing it, they just agree.

    Unless of course you live in the UK, in which case the UK Government doesn't bother asking us anything anyway – that’s UK Politics for you.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    ... When has any new member been the subject of a EU wide referendum?
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Never, but that’s because the EU is too arrogant to ask, not because we don’t want to be asked.

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  • 60. At 3:58pm on 12 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    54. Boilerplated wrote:

    "…a nation is anti Lisbon (according to you) but still elects a goverment and President that are 100% pro Lisbon, yeah, right...

    According to me? Exactly how do we establish a nation is anti (or pro for that matter) Lisbon [Treaty] without a referendum?

    Do you think governments are elected purely on their policy towards one aspect of EU policy? I don't.

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  • 61. At 3:59pm on 12 Oct 2009, Zydeco wrote:

    56. At 3:21pm on 12 Oct 2009, Boilerplated wrote:
    #50

    "If the Lisbon Treaty contained no part of the Constitutional Treaty I'd be right with you.

    Well by that logic the "Treaty of Rome" was also 'a constitution'...

    It seems to me that (in your twisted logic) that it doesn't matter about the meaning of the words, just that they are the same, yeah, right, glade we have that clear (as mud) now!
    *************************

    Perhaps the following quote by the man who wrote the Constitution may clear some of the mud!


    The author of the text himself, Valery Giscard d'Estaing, has confirmed this several times, saying Lisbon "is purely a legal re-writing - incidentally unreadable - of the draft Constitutional Treaty". And he revealed the reason for this: "Above all, it is to avoid having referendums".

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  • 62. At 4:02pm on 12 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    56. Boilerplated wrote:

    "…It seems to me that (in your twisted logic) that it doesn't matter about the meaning of the words, just that they are the same, yeah, right, glade we have that clear (as mud) now!.."

    I haven't a clue what you mean. Either the Lisbon Treaty contains elements of the Constitutional Treaty or it doesn't. If it does then a referendum was mandated IMO.

    The only reason there hasn't been a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty in the UK was because Labour (and their Liberal Democrat allies) were too afraid of the electorate to hold one.

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  • 63. At 4:13pm on 12 Oct 2009, JanisB1 wrote:

    @extremesense

    Re: "David Milliband has not spread any falsehoods about the For Fatherland & Freedom party and any suggestion that he was referring to Latvia as a whole were quickly cleared up (the particular SS march has been banned since 1997). Matter closed."

    Well, yeah, unless Mr Miliband decides to open it up again... There is nothing that can be fairly characterized as "SS march" in Latvia. There is no march that has been banned since 1997, and it doesn't work that way with marches or "marches" in a democratic country. One of the traditional commemorative events is a procession from Museum of Occupation/Doma Cathedral to lay the flowers at Freedom Monument in Riga on March 16th. Security threats and provocations against that event have been made in the past, so permit to hold it has been withdrawn or restricted, if I'm not mistaken, twice.

    Here is a photo gallery ( [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator] ) of commemorative event in Lestene Memorial at the website of Civic Union, which sits with EPP-ED in the European Parliament. This http://pilsoniska-savieniba.lv/box/bgalery/1225216148.1237280715-1237282954.jpg is a photo of Ms Sandra Kalniete at that event. She is a EP MEP, she has been foreign minister of Latvia and EU commissioner. The point is - neither Ms Kalniete, nor TB/LNNK, which has been in government for the good part of last 20 years, nor parliamentarians of other parties wo attend, are "SS march" participants. That characterization stretches available evidence to absurd…

    It is perfectly understandable that there can and will be differences in opinion about Baltic legions and history generally. We will never be completely on the same page with many—perhaps most—people about that. Yet to go on talking about "SS marches" as if no meaningful distinctions between SS and Baltic legions can be made, or to single out Mr Zile or TB/LNNK alone for "denazification", or to impugn people’s motives by endlessly casting all the Nazi aspersions, is to omit material information about the controversy. That's what British Foreign Secretary unfortunately has done - dragged into British politics and then trivialized into couple of “easy” phrases an issue much more complex than his remarks conveyed. And done so for obvious partisan reasons, no less...

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  • 64. At 4:28pm on 12 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #59

    "Funny isn’t it that whenever somebody mentions about a UK referendum on any European issue, pro EU fanatics seem get all hot & bothered."

    It's sooty Pots and kettle time again, care to cite any EU or UK parliamentary Bill or treaty that has been put to a referendum (apart from the '75 in/out vote and the devolution referenda) here in the UK rather than being decided by a Westminster vote, it's funny how the right have suddenly found favour in referenda after refusing the many requests in the past. If you want to use referenda to decide issues that would otherwise be decided by the elected parliament, fine, put all issues to the people, but remember that would also include such things as the income tax rate, defence spending, defence policy, the list is endless...

    It's not the calls for referenda as such that I object to, it's the hypocrisy of those who would otherwise never allow the use of referenda when they are/were in power calling for it's use just because they have lost the democratic (in our parliamentary system) political vote at Westminster.

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  • 65. At 4:46pm on 12 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #60. At 3:58pm on 12 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    "Do you think governments are elected purely on their policy towards one aspect of EU policy? I don't."

    If the decision is as important as the UK based anti Lisbon 'agitators' are making out, yes people would, many people are voting UKIP in the UK were they would otherwise vote Tory because they consider that the UK should not be a part of the EU (or, as they like to put it, the EUSSR).

    Just to further illustrate my point, how many, otherwise, Labour voter swapped their vote to either the SDP/Lib alliance or to the Tories in '83 because they didn't agree with major swaths of then Labour manifesto policy, such as their policy on unilateral nuclear disarmament?

    The Conservatives didn't so much win in '83 than the Labour Party lost. You must surely remember, assuming you're old enough, the Labour manifesto of 1983 being described as "The longest suicide note in history"?...

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  • 66. At 4:57pm on 12 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #61. At 3:59pm on 12 Oct 2009, Zydeco wrote:

    "The author of the text himself, Valery Giscard d'Estaing, has confirmed this several times,"

    You still don't get it do you, that (constitutional) treaty also contained parts of the Treaty of Rome, and all treaties between, so in your - twisted? - logic that (constitutional) treaty was no such thing, it was still the Treaty of Rome!...

    What Valery Giscard d'Estaing says or doesn't is actually irrelevance to the facts, for one thing he still wants to be seen as 'The Father' of a modern EU, he is attempting to score political position - why would he have said something that could have otherwise cause damaged, or are you suggesting that he has become anti EU all of a sudden?

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  • 67. At 5:00pm on 12 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #62. At 4:02pm on 12 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    "I haven't a clue what you mean."

    Why doesn't that surprise me...

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  • 68. At 5:06pm on 12 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    61. Zydeco wrote:

    "…Valery Giscard d'Estaing, has confirmed this several times, saying Lisbon "is purely a legal re-writing - incidentally unreadable - of the draft Constitutional Treaty". And he revealed the reason for this: "Above all, it is to avoid having referendums"…"

    This is simple and concise reflection of the linkage between the Constitutional Treaty and The Lisbon Treaty.

    "For the Treaty of Lisbon the process has been very different. It was the legal experts for the European Council who were charged with drafting the new text. They have not made any new suggestions. They have taken the original draft constitution, blown it apart into separate elements, and have then attached them, one by one, to existing treaties. The Treaty of Lisbon is thus a catalogue of amendments. It is unpenetrable for the public." http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/valeacutery-giscard-destaing-the-eu-treaty-is-the-same-as-the-constitution-398286.html

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  • 69. At 5:07pm on 12 Oct 2009, Zydeco wrote:

    64. At 4:28pm on 12 Oct 2009, Boilerplated wrote:
    #59

    "Funny isn’t it that whenever somebody mentions about a UK referendum on any European issue, pro EU fanatics seem get all hot & bothered."

    ...It's not the calls for referenda as such that I object to, it's the hypocrisy of those who would otherwise never allow the use of referenda when they are/were in power calling for it's use just because they have lost the democratic (in our parliamentary system) political vote at Westminster.
    **********************

    The hypocrisy you should be worried about is that of a Government that breaks its promise for a referendum, not on policy grounds, but purely and simply because they are scared they might lose.

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  • 70. At 5:13pm on 12 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    64. Boilerplated wrote:

    "…It's sooty Pots and kettle time again, care to cite any EU or UK parliamentary Bill or treaty that has been put to a referendum…"

    It's 'stick head in the sand' time and ignores the contents of the Labour Part Manifesto of 2005. Pretend the Lisbon Treaty isn't the Constitutional Treaty redrafted. In time the fuss will die down and the people will come to accept what they would never agree to.

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  • 71. At 5:16pm on 12 Oct 2009, johnharris66 wrote:

    #38 boilerplated wrote:
    "Care to point our exactly were in the 2005 Labour Manifesto it states that they will hold a referendum on the Treaty of Lisbon, if you can you will do nothing but prove that it is you who is peddling the lies"

    Calm down. The 2005 Labour Manifesto said "we will put it [the Constitutional Treaty] to the British people in a referendum and campaign whole-heartedly for a 'Yes' vote."

    On a very narrow legal point the 2005 manifesto did not specifically mention the Lisbon Treaty, but it very clearly promised a referendum on the Constitutional Treaty. So the case that Labour broke its manifesto commitment rests on the proposition that the Constitutional Treaty referred to in the manifesto and the then non-extant Lisbon Treaty were sufficiently similar that a commitment to hold a referendum on one was for all intents and purposes the same as a commitment to the other. The intent was clear. A new constitutional treaty was good for Britain, and Labour would campaign for it. A reasonable juror/voter would conclude that Labour's intention in the manifesto was to promise a referendum on significant EU constitutional changes that impact the UK.

    Since a manifesto is a political and not a legal statement of intent it was a sad day for democracy that Labour (with LibDem support) broke their commitment.

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  • 72. At 5:21pm on 12 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    65. Boilerplated wrote:

    "…If the decision is as important as the UK based anti Lisbon 'agitators' are making out, yes people would…"

    The issue was important enough for Labour to include a referendum commitment in their manifesto of 2005. [BTW "Party" not "Part" in my post 70]

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  • 73. At 5:27pm on 12 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    67. Boilerplated wrote:

    "…Why doesn't that surprise me..."

    Why am I not surprised that you choose to insult over responding to the substantive point. If this is supposed to be an argument in favour of not holding a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty heaven help us it must be terrible.

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  • 74. At 5:42pm on 12 Oct 2009, johnharris66 wrote:

    #64 boilerplated wrote:
    "it's funny how the right have suddenly found favour in referenda after refusing the many requests in the past"

    Surely all three major parties found themselves so much in favour with referenda that they included them in their 2005 manifestos. So are you saying that it is "right-wing" to endeavour to keep your word, but "left-wing" to break it with aplomb?

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  • 75. At 5:49pm on 12 Oct 2009, Zydeco wrote:

    66. At 4:57pm on 12 Oct 2009, Boilerplated wrote:
    #61. At 3:59pm on 12 Oct 2009, Zydeco wrote:

    "The author of the text himself, Valery Giscard d'Estaing, has confirmed this several times,"

    You still don't get it do you, that (constitutional) treaty also contained parts of the Treaty of Rome, and all treaties between, so in your - twisted? - logic that (constitutional) treaty was no such thing, it was still the Treaty of Rome!...

    What Valery Giscard d'Estaing says or doesn't is actually irrelevance to the facts, for one thing he still wants to be seen as 'The Father' of a modern EU, he is attempting to score political position - why would he have said something that could have otherwise cause damaged, or are you suggesting that he has become anti EU all of a sudden?
    ****************************
    I would not be so impertinent as to guess what d'Estaing may or may not want to be seen as.
    I have only pointed out that he has stated quite clearly that the Lisbon Treaty is the same as the EU Constitution.
    Apart from the fact this fact does not suit your argument, what other part don't you understand?

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  • 76. At 6:22pm on 12 Oct 2009, Reaper_of_Souls wrote:

    It is quite possible to share views with people on some issues and associate with them on related matters whilst opposing their view on other issues.

    I can see how simplistic perceptions can be manipulated by the "you sit next to him and smells" smears, but perhaps the issues should take more prominence. The reality of politics and diplomacy is that you often have to do deals with people you don't like. You come together on areas of common interest and minimise your exposure to things you consider distasteful.

    Of course from a Milliband (even the name conjures up images of a creepy crawly) smear attacks are always more likely than rational discussion of issues. [Probably a psuedo smear of a comment, but he / they surely deserve it].

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  • 77. At 6:24pm on 12 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    I have resisted the temptation to get involved in this thread for several reasons but there are points arising on which I feel the need to comment. To come back on topic, this arises from the Tory approach to the EU and, as far as I can see, what it boils down to is this:

    The Tories believe:

    1. Europe languishes somewhere around tenth in the list of priorities for the electorate so we could theoretically say nothing about Europe and still win it so better not to have a policy at all.

    2. There is a significant minority who do care very much. They are deeply divided. We cannot be seen to be too eurosceptic otherwise we will put off some Labour/LibDem defectors but we have to stop slippage to UKIP by appearing not eurosceptic enough so better not to have a policy at all.

    3. The British people are fundamentally indifferent so, if we get into bed with some very dubious people in Brussels to satisfy our sceptic wing, they are really not going to notice. We can have a really dumb policy in Brussels so long as we don't forget that, as far as the UK is concerned, it is better not to have a policy at all.

    4. We should use our best endeavours to encourage the Czech president to delay as long as possible so that we can maintain the pretence that we will have a referendum. Of course we know that is not going to happen but, the longer we can put it off, the easier it will be to go to the people not to having a policy at all.

    5. With any luck, it will all get done and dusted too late for it to be a big issue for the electorate and then we will not need to have a policy at all.

    There is just one problem with that. Wild horses would not have dragged me into the ballot box next year for Labour. On this one issue, the Tories show themselves to be as duplicitous and untrustworthy as the other lot. If enough of us see through them, they may blow the next election.

    Please remember that I live and work in central Europe. If there is so much as the faintest hint that the Tories are prepared to associate with racist or anti-Semitic elements in Europe, they show themselves in their true colours and have blown it as far as I am concerned.

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  • 78. At 6:40pm on 12 Oct 2009, Angryjohn wrote:

    To Boilerplated.

    Here is a statement.

    The Lisbon Treaty is the same as the constitution.

    If True: There should be a referendum as promised.

    If False: Gordon Brown has the right to sign the treaty.

    2. Most people believe the Lisbon Treaty is the same as the Constitution

    If True: The UK Electorate will think Labour should hold a referendum and not doing so is undemocratic.

    If False: The EU Sceptics are fringe rabble rousers who should be ignored.

    The trouble for the Pro EU camp in the UK is that all the significant people in the EU say that the Constitution is the same as the treaty, and thanks to the Internet, people read this.

    3. Most people in the UK are against the Lisbon Treaty.

    If true: The UK is going in a political direction that its populace does not want to go.

    If false: The UK is happy to sign the Lisbon Treaty.

    The only way to prove this either way is to have a referendum. There is no other way not matter how vociferous the EU Sceptics and Phoebes can get.


    For me, one of the fundamental points about this argument is that the UK were promised their say on the constitution, and that most people think the constitution is the same as the treaty.

    Surely a referendum would end the argument? I may be against the Lisbon Treaty and believe that it is wrong for our elected officials to have the power to give away their duties to the EU, but if I live in a nation which has voted for this, then i'll live with it.

    To let you know where I stand, I was raised as a Lib Dem, I joined the Navy as an Officer in 1996 and have worked in the city since 2005. Due to my dual nationality I was only allowed into the RN because of Maastricht. I used to be very pro EU. I am still very fond of all the European nationals I have worked and served with. I happen to believe that the EU is (1). Corrupt (therefore even if I did believe in where it was going now I do not trust its mechanisms and believe it needs to be fixed before we trust it any more). and (2). The EU is going in a direction that I do not want, ie a federal state.

    I can understand people being happy with the EU goals and am very prepared to agree that we'll disagree on these political aims. I am even prepared to accept that if I live in a UK that wants to become part of a federal super state then I’ll go with it even though I’d rather not.

    What I am disgusted with is the level of corruption and waste that is endemic in the EU (not Europe, the EU) and believe that supporting the EU is as bad as supporting the UK MP's more outrageous expenses.

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  • 79. At 6:52pm on 12 Oct 2009, extremesense wrote:

    #42/63 JanisB1

    Thanks for your feedback.

    You suggest that none of the Latvians forming either the police units under Einsatzgruppen A including Victors Arajs's or those in the 15th and 19 Waffen SS Grenadier Divisions were expected to swear an oath directly to Hitler and this is technically correct - only the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler swore directly to him and not Himmler (to the bemusement of Himmler).

    However, You are splitting hairs as a large contingent of the Latvian SS forces were fighting for/operating under Heydrich/Himmler/Hitler and were loyal to them - not all but enough. In fact, they were so loyal, some were fighting around Hitler's bunker at the end.

    You're right that no Latvian was ever prosecuted for 'War Crimes', however, given that the Soviet Union had immediately occupied Latvia, it is difficult to say - many people were 'prosecuted' and deported under Stalin's regime for collaborating following the war. What is not in doubt is the murder and deportation of Jews by a significant contingent of Latvians - there are memorials at Rumbula Forest and Bikernieki just some of the terrible crimes commemorating the terrible crimes committed.

    Regarding your post at #63 it's difficult to really argue with you because I get a sense that you're justifying the behaviour of certain contingents within Latvian society and politics that believes that those who fought with the Nazis were freedom fighters and any war crimes commited was the fault of the Germans.

    Was it not true that in 1998, Latvia's parliament sacked then Commander in Chief Juris Dalbins for taking part in a commemoration of the Waffen SS legion in Riga after the government had told officials not to participate?

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  • 80. At 7:08pm on 12 Oct 2009, Chris wrote:

    I just saw Cameron on TV today saying that, he thinks EU is good for some things and national governments good for other things. Maybe if he explains the difference to the electorate and what he thinks is good for each body then it will make it easy for people to decide how to vote. That's probably an area that the Labour government did not explain well. So, it looks as if Cameron things the EU is a good thing for certain areas.

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  • 81. At 7:50pm on 12 Oct 2009, Chris wrote:

    further more in reply to #42/63 JanisB1, Latvian SS were not different to any other SS, don't have any delusions about it! if you think that Latvian SS where somehow freedom fighters, there is something wrong. Make and effort and read Balys Sruoga's book about life in the stutthof labor camp run by the SS and you will see that a good number of the guards there were Latvians. So the Latvian SS were not "unfortunate freedom fighters" they were good proper SS. Anyone honoring them is therefore of questionable democratic quality.

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  • 82. At 8:03pm on 12 Oct 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    Miliband is a traitor who belongs in jail.

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  • 83. At 8:05pm on 12 Oct 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    Mioliband's attacks on the Conservatives is an attempt to distract attention from the treachery of Labour in signing the Lisbon Treaty.

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  • 84. At 8:06pm on 12 Oct 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    Blair, Brown and Miliband belong in jail.

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  • 85. At 8:07pm on 12 Oct 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    The "EU"-parliament should not force people to enter silly groupings to get funding.

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  • 86. At 8:08pm on 12 Oct 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:


    The "EU"-parliament should not be allowed to make up its own rules.

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  • 87. At 8:13pm on 12 Oct 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To ChrisArta (81):

    Just a note...

    If it is a-okey for some people to celebrate Victory Day and commemorate and honoring on fighting in the Red Army, then it is as a-okey to commemorate and honoring on fighting in the Latvian SS. Do remember that the situation in ex-communist and Soviet republics is a bit polarized. In essence in those countries, you either commemorate everybody or non at all.

    Not saying that it is a-okey or not a-okey, but to note some perspective on things.

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  • 88. At 8:14pm on 12 Oct 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/8301784.stm

    On this website I read that H.R. Clinton has said the US will not meddle in Northern Ireland.

    Whooppeeee!!!!

    Will the USA please stop meddling in the UK and the "EU" by trying to support "EU" integration and trying to get Turkey into the "EU".

    The people of the UK should not have a lousy dictatorship forced on them just so that the USA only has one telephone number to ring.

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  • 89. At 8:19pm on 12 Oct 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    As long as he doesn't deselect the three MPs who voted against us having a referendum he is worth nothing whether you are pro or anti-"EU".

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  • 90. At 8:32pm on 12 Oct 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    'Ave a look at this!


    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/danielhannan/100013246/the-eu-turns-its-hideous-strength-against-vaclav-klaus/

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  • 91. At 8:33pm on 12 Oct 2009, forgottenukcitizen wrote:

    78. ameyjohn wrote:

    Surely a referendum would end the argument? I may be against the Lisbon Treaty and believe that it is wrong for our elected officials to have the power to give away their duties to the EU, but if I live in a nation which has voted for this, then i'll live with it.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Unfortunately, I doubt that anybody will bother to read about, or investigate the Treaty before voting in a UK referendum (if of course we get one, which of course is hypothetical).

    The UK population would merely use the opportunity as an anti EU vote & a “no vote” would be the most likely outcome.

    This would open up a whole can of worms because no number of rewrites would satisfy the basic reasons behind the no vote – that being a no confidence vote in the EU.

    Brown knows this, & it may be the main reason why he did his U-turn with regards to giving us a referendum on the treaty.

    All these arguments about the Constitutional Treaty VS the Lisbon Treaty are irrelevant because I’ll wager that large numbers of the UK population would vote no anyway without even knowing what they are voting against (or indeed having any interest in getting to know).

    I’ll wager that Cameron is crossing his fingers & hoping that the whole thing is buttoned up before he gets into number 10 – it could be a very rocky ride for him if it isn’t.

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  • 92. At 9:07pm on 12 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    82 through 86. At 8:03pm on 12 Oct 2009, SuffolkBoy2 wrote, amongst others comments:

    "Miliband is a traitor who belongs in jail."

    More likely, "Soffokboy2" belongs in jail - for libel and deformation - or are you going to cite your evidence of 'Treason'.

    Just an other one of your, IMO, dunked ranting sessions by the looks... :-(

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  • 93. At 9:09pm on 12 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #88. At 8:14pm on 12 Oct 2009, SuffolkBoy2 wrote:

    "The people of the UK should not have a lousy dictatorship forced on them just so that the USA only has one telephone number to ring."

    I'm glad that you are finally coming to your senses and have decided not to back either UKIP or the Tories...

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  • 94. At 9:15pm on 12 Oct 2009, Chris wrote:

    To 87, I have a very good understanding of the situation in the former Soviet republics however because they were forcefully made part of the Soviet Union after WWII (well technical just before WWII, if you take into account that their parliaments at that time were nothing more than Stalin's puppets) that still does not give anyone the right to say our SS were patriotic freedom fighters. Having said that history is as is and although we should remember it, we should move on. However from a political point of view I still don't trust too much anyone who allies themselves with anyone who honors people that fought for the SS.

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  • 95. At 9:15pm on 12 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    90. At 8:32pm on 12 Oct 2009, SuffolkBoy2 wrote:

    " 'Ave a look at this! "

    [snip URL to Daniel Hannan personal, Torygraph hosted, blog]

    Oh look, the man who wants to take our health service away and replacing with a USA style "Got to see your credit card before we scrape you up off the road Mister" 'health service'.

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  • 96. At 9:17pm on 12 Oct 2009, AmeliaStudent wrote:

    I am surprised first of all by the rudeness of so many messages towards the journalist, maybe I am a naive student but shouldn't discussion stay on the issue rather than a personal attack on how the article has been written.

    My initial reaction to the allegations and the association the Tories may have with such parties, is whether they are true or not, does not matter! It does not matter because the UK electorate do not care enough about the EU. With the UK possibly being the biggest eurosceptics within the EU, only when a party looks 'too European' can it cause potential damage for winning elections, otherwise the attitude I fear is, 'who cares.' I would even go as far as to say it would be a dangerous tactic for Labour to play this eurocard against the Tories. The public do not like it when parties attack each other with issues that are seen by many as irrelevant.
    I unfortunately believe Cameron is far too aware of this fact, allowing him to appallingly move the party to keep the old Thatcherites happy. It is a disgrace, especially in a time where European cooperation and integration could not be more important!

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  • 97. At 9:47pm on 12 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    91. forgottenukcitizen wrote:

    "…The UK population would merely use the opportunity as an anti EU vote & a “no vote” would be the most likely outcome…"

    Presumably this would have occurred to the three main UK political parties when they made the offer of a referendum. Or is this a possibility that would only become apparent after the election?

    Political naivety or populist opportunism - who cares, I want my say just like they said.

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  • 98. At 9:58pm on 12 Oct 2009, Benefactor wrote:

    I've yet to see any convincing reason why the Lisbon treaty is anything but good for Britain. Eurosceptics have screamed a lot of nonsense about superstates and such, but nothing realistic yet.

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  • 99. At 10:11pm on 12 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    98. Benefactor wrote:

    "…I've yet to see any convincing reason why the Lisbon treaty is anything but good for Britain…"

    No need to convince us. We don't have a say.

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  • 100. At 10:11pm on 12 Oct 2009, Mathiasen wrote:

    96. AmeliaStudent
    It would be interesting to have a better picture, that is a social scientific picture, of the issue “British voters and the EU”, instead of the indignant contributions we can read here, but it is likely that a group of voters think as you say they do.

    The German chancellor now distances herself from her conservative colleague not least because of his manoeuvres in the European Parliament, and there must be another group of British voters, who are concerned by the fact that Cameron is losing influence.

    What a “nationalisation” would mean is difficult to predict – it will not be for free. In any case, the EU will also in the future affect the UK. Apart from Cameron’s company in the EP, it would therefore be relevant in the UK to discuss if a passive attitude is the best way to take care of British interests.

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  • 101. At 10:21pm on 12 Oct 2009, Reaper_of_Souls wrote:

    # 92. At 9:07pm on 12 Oct 2009, Boilerplated wrote:

    "82 through 86. At 8:03pm on 12 Oct 2009, SuffolkBoy2 wrote, amongst others comments:

    "Miliband is a traitor who belongs in jail."

    More likely, "Soffokboy2" belongs in jail - for libel and deformation - or are you going to cite your evidence of 'Treason'. "


    Given that both libel and defamation are civil matters, a jail sentence would be unlikely.
    Of course "deformation" may well entail GBH which is indeed a serious offence... but I didn't see any evidence of that, although I'll keep a close eye open to see if Milliband 1 or 2 look at all "deformed" next time they're on TV.

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  • 102. At 11:04pm on 12 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #99. At 10:11pm on 12 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    "No need to convince us. We don't have a say."

    Utter rubbish, if you choose not to use your vote at past and future UK General Elections that is your problem, not ours or the EU's...

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  • 103. At 11:14pm on 12 Oct 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    100. At 10:11pm on 12 Oct 2009, Mathiasen wrote:

    " ... It would be interesting to have a better picture, that is a social scientific picture, of the issue “British voters and the EU”, instead of the indignant contributions we can read here ..."

    Well start campaigning for us to have a referendum then, Mr, Mathiasen, Danish citizen, living in Berlin! Start taking the excellent Berlin underground to Merkels offices early in the morning when all the civil servants are going to work and start telling them that the British should have the referendum they were promised!

    Is that too difficult? You want more information!!!

    Referendum !!!???!!!


    " ... the indignant contributions we can read here ..."

    Wouldn't you be indignant if you were promised a Referendum but given a dictatorship?

    What if you paid for a BMW but got slapped around the face with a wet cod instead??? Would you be indignant?? Or do you like that sort of thing???

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  • 104. At 11:15pm on 12 Oct 2009, CornwallCoastPath wrote:

    How different is the Lisbon Treaty to the European Constitution? Obviously they're not the same word-for-word, but I think they are largely the same, according to the following evidence:

    1) the Giscard quote already mentioned in this discussion.

    2) I believe Angela Merkel said something like "they are 90% the same" or "they are 99% the same", and so did the Spanish Foreign Minister. I recall Labour MPs performing mental gymnastics over this, talking about humans and chimps having 99% the same DNA.

    3) The House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee scrutinized the Treaty and came to the conclusion that it was "substantially the same" as the Constitution.

    4) The BBC summary here:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/6901353.stm
    which includes the comment "Most European leaders acknowledge that the treaty preserves the main substance of the constitution".

    5) The Wikipedia summary here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lisbon_treaty#Compared_to_the_Constitutional_Treaty

    Apologies, I haven't yet located the references for 2 and 3, but they are true to the best of my recollection.

    If there's anyone who's unconvinced by the above, could I suggest they also consider the following. When the European Constitution failed, what happened to the political imperatives behind it? Did they suddenly disappear? For those involved, the Constitution was a key part of a life's ambition - would they just let that ambition go? The Constitution, being just a document, wasn't an end in itself, it was a means to an end. In politics, when a particular means to an end fails, other means are found to the same end.

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  • 105. At 00:41am on 13 Oct 2009, forgottenukcitizen wrote:

    97. rg wrote:.

    Political naivety or populist opportunism - who cares, I want my say just like they said.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    I agree, we both want our say, just like they (the Labour party) said we would.
    Another broken promise I’m afraid, so don't hold your breath.
    Still, at least we had PR in the Euro Elections, so your vote counted for something (well mine did anyway).
    Every cloud..etc.


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  • 106. At 03:05am on 13 Oct 2009, David wrote:

    I think the EU needs Great Britain in the EU, because the British are quite Eurosceptic and the EU does need some country who is more concerned with the EU'S flaws.

    Also, wouldn't this be a better situation for all those people who say "I'm going to emmigrate?" With the Schengen agreement (if Britain joined) they would be easily able to (work elsewhere).

    Am I right about that right to work? Tell me.

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  • 107. At 03:11am on 13 Oct 2009, David wrote:

    BTW, I'm not an anti-European commenter from the USA.

    I know a German women married to an American man, here, at my local credit union. And she told me that Germany has such better infrastructure than America. So, I do realize the richness and variety of European culture.

    And I Have Read history on Europe from 1850 on ...for fun (my textbook from a class) I picked it up and read it lately and its so good knowing sewers and cleaner hospitals actually changed Europe and its life spans
    for the better in the late 1800's.

    Who knew?

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  • 108. At 05:22am on 13 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    It is a common tactic in the US to try to link extremists to mainstream politicians of "the party opposite." Tarring Barry Goldwater with those on the extreme right worked superbly in President Johnson's re-election campaign in 1964. Usually there isn't even the slightest element of truth in the insinuations that they are birds of a feather. If the electorate felt the candidates in question really had extremist leanings themselves, they would not get large percentages of popular support that they do.

    I doubt that whomever is elected that there will be a public vote on either Lisbon or membership in the EU. A no vote would create problems for any UK government it would find difficult to deal with. I think both parties are deathly afraid of it. David Cameron pretends to talk tough at times but I don't think you will ever hear him make a firm pledge to hold an election on it. He is just being coy. If he hasn't up to now, he never will.

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  • 109. At 05:40am on 13 Oct 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To stellarBeloved (106):

    The right to move and work in other member states was already introduced in the Maastrict treaty that established the Single market. Britain joining the Schengen area would remove border checks and need for passport to travel between Britain and the Schengen area.

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  • 110. At 07:14am on 13 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    102. Boilerplated wrote:

    "…Utter rubbish, if you choose not to use your vote at past and future UK General Elections that is your problem, not ours or the EU's..."

    Is this argument by insult to the intelligence again? Read the Labour Party Manifesto. And don't come back with cobblers about the Lisbon Treaty not containing elements of The Constitutional Treaty.

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  • 111. At 07:34am on 13 Oct 2009, Zydeco wrote:

    108. At 05:22am on 13 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    ......I doubt that whomever is elected that there will be a public vote on either Lisbon or membership in the EU. A no vote would create problems for any UK government it would find difficult to deal with. I think both parties are deathly afraid of it.
    ********************
    This is what I find worrying. All parties are fully aware that, put to a vote, the Lisbon Treaty would certainly be defeated and an IN or OUT ballot would very likely be OUT.
    Thus any move made towards a closer union with the EU is done in the full knowledge that it is against the electorates wishes.
    The question therefore has to be 'What is in it for politicians, that leads them to defy the populace and carry on regardless?'

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  • 112. At 08:05am on 13 Oct 2009, lacerniagigante wrote:

    7. At 11:05am on 12 Oct 2009, maria-ashot wrote:

    "Aren't Brazil or Argentina or Chile more European even than modern Turkey?"

    It depends what you mean by "European". If you mean countries that have a (mostly) euro-catholic ruling class, then you're right.

    This shows that despite your (well placed) sympathies for the Armenians, Jews and the likes are brushing over other genocides, such as the one effected by Western European countries like Spain, Portugal, France, England and Holland in the Americas where most of the local population has been wiped out (not to mention the rape of Africa, by Belgium, France, Britain, Netherlands, etc.).

    Eurocentricism is an evil weed, very hard to eradicate from people's minds. Even in the USA, after 233 years of independence, some people still think there is some kind of priority to the suffering of "white" people in the list of injustice.

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  • 113. At 08:40am on 13 Oct 2009, lacerniagigante wrote:

    David Cameron, as a Tory, is a true descendant of Neville Chamberlain. "Far right? What far right? We're just doing our best to stop the advance of commies and socialists, by forging an alliance with decent "resistant" people on the Continent. That's it, folks."

    Hopefully (for Cameron) this time around there won't be need for a Winston Churchill to come and save the day, given that the continental right-wingers he's allied with are (still) just a rag-tag of provincial neonazis dressed in suits and ties, and he'll be able to pull the next election based on the progressive-hating instinct that afflicts many (but not all!) on his island, as can be seen from the mindless posts talking about EUSSRs and other laughable things.

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  • 114. At 08:54am on 13 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #103. At 11:14pm on 12 Oct 2009, SuffolkBoy2 wrote:

    "Well start campaigning for us to have a referendum then"

    Only if we can also have referenda on the top rate tax rate, should it be 75%.

    Be careful what you wish for, it might just come back and bit when you least expect it...

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  • 115. At 09:13am on 13 Oct 2009, extremesense wrote:

    #111 Zydeco

    Have you thought about the reasons for the British public being so anti-EU?

    I have and think that one of the the main reasons is that UKIP and other right wingers like Dan Hannan spin incorrect information such as Britain gets 80 per cent + of its laws from the EU.

    This is absolute rubbish.... the two ministries most affected, Business and DEFRA, can only claim that in the region of 50 per cent of their new laws have origins traceable to the EU. For other departments it's far far less probably under 10 per cent.

    As for the cost of the EU, it's not actually known. To attempt to quote a gross cost is difficult enough and would be dishonest because we need to know what the EU pays us too - most people only have anecdotal evidence like preferring imperial measurements to metric which is ridiculous.

    So, why not have a referendum? Well, it's pretty obvious.... the British public cannot make an informed democratic decision because we are constantly lied to about the EU by those against it (politicians and corporate entities).

    For example, Boris Johnson's London Mayoral Campaign received the majority of his campaign funding from alternative investment-linked (hedge fund/private equity-linked) individuals and businesses and has been fervently against. Unsurprisingly, so too are those in the alternative investment industry because the EU wants tougher regulation for them (following the financial crisis) and Boris is currently campaigning on their behalf.

    I say no to a vote because nobody would know what they're voting for.

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  • 116. At 09:16am on 13 Oct 2009, extremesense wrote:

    #103 Suffolkboy2

    Have you been drinking..... a lot perhaps?

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  • 117. At 09:16am on 13 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #104. At 11:15pm on 12 Oct 2009, CornwallCoastPath wrote:

    "How different is the Lisbon Treaty to the European Constitution? Obviously they're not the same word-for-word, but I think they are largely the same, according to the following evidence: ..//.."

    It's irrelevant, if you want to start suggesting that the Lisbon Treaty is the same as the abandoned constitutional treaty then that treaty was the same as the Treaty of Rome (hello circular argument), it's not the sentences used, it's the MEANING of the sentences that mater, thus the Lisbon is NOT a constitution.

    A treaty can't be a 'constitution' (in a Federal sense, as being used by the eurrosceptics) unless it creates a Federal entity, the Lisbon Treaty does no such thing, in fact if anything it strengthens the individual identities of the member nations!

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  • 118. At 09:17am on 13 Oct 2009, Benefactor wrote:

    #98. I wrote:

    "I've yet to see any convincing reason why the Lisbon treaty is anything but good for Britain. Eurosceptics have screamed a lot of nonsense about superstates and such, but nothing realistic yet. "

    Anything? Anyone?

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  • 119. At 09:19am on 13 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #105. At 00:41am on 13 Oct 2009, forgottenukcitizen wrote:

    "I agree, we both want our say"

    ...and you will, in May next year (or when ever), at the General election, you are free to vote for the party of your choice.

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  • 120. At 09:26am on 13 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #110. At 07:14am on 13 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    Is this argument by insult to the intelligence again?"

    No,that is your style, unlike you I know the differences between a treaty establishing a Federal entity and one that does not!

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  • 121. At 09:33am on 13 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #111. At 07:34am on 13 Oct 2009, Zydeco wrote:

    "This is what I find worrying. All parties are fully aware that, put to a vote, the Lisbon Treaty would certainly be defeated and an IN or OUT ballot would very likely be OUT.
    Thus any move made towards a closer union with the EU is done in the full knowledge that it is against the electorates wishes."


    Yet in almost ALL election held since 2005 within the the EU the electorate have voted for pro EU parties to form the next government, president or what ever, if you are correct UKIP should hold every one of the UK's MEP seats, but no, most are held by those of a very pro EU disposition or at least those who wish to remain within the EU of a non Federal nature.

    But heck, keep dreaming "Zydeco", it costs nothing...

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  • 122. At 09:51am on 13 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #115. At 09:13am on 13 Oct 2009, extremesense wrote:

    "Have you thought about the reasons for the British public being so anti-EU?"

    But we are not "anti-EU", those of a eurosceptic or outright europhobe nature are in the minority, their voice (not vote) is only boosted by a few (well healed) politicians or press-barons. More poeple voted for political parties that are (at least basically) pro EU than not in all recent elections.

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  • 123. At 11:03am on 13 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    120. Boilerplated wrote:

    …unlike you I know the differences between a treaty establishing a Federal entity and one that does not!..

    Show me where this distinction in made in the 2005 Labour Party Manifesto.

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  • 124. At 11:24am on 13 Oct 2009, Zydeco wrote:

    To extremesense at 115 & boilerplated at 121

    So that you understand my point of view. I am actually not totally against the EU. As a trading bloc it makes perfect sense and the easing of travel restrictions is most welcome.
    However it is the actions of MEPs and MPs that make me suspicious and wary of what the EU is really about.
    One example being that the EU budgets have never been given a clean bill of health by auditors and the one person who tried to 'clean up the act' was vilified and sacked. Why is this? What is being hidden?
    Other actions such as the loss of the UK fishing industry to the benefit of the Spanish boats defies explanation. How has this helped British fishermen?
    Allowing a mass influx of EU workers from day one of the accession of the Eastern states. It may have helped the building industry by getting pay rates down but how did it help British workers. Other EU nations put partial or temporary blocks on such intakes in order that they could consider the ramifications of such an influx. It might be good for the UK but no good explanation has ever been given to the public as to why it may be good or why we were so quick to accept the rule in toto and immediately.
    The whole situation is not helped by the way our Governments over the years have implemented EU directives and legislation. Other EU nations appear to take time to study and digest such directives before encompassing them into their own law - if they ever do. While the British Government not only leads the way in imposing them, but often does so without discussion in Parliament. The UK lawmakers also seem to take interpretations of the directives to extremes. The recycling/wheelie bin fiasco is a good example. It is not a bad thing to have, but the draconian way it is inflicted on us, with penalties greater than that for knife carrying or robbery, causes resentment.
    So much of the 'anti EU' feeling is not necessarily hatred of Europe, it is a distrust of the politicians running it. The corruption surrounding it and the way it is presented to us.
    If politicians would only be more open and honest about it the EU might have more fans.

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  • 125. At 12:17pm on 13 Oct 2009, Huaimek wrote:

    I don't know why you all take David Milliband so seriously . As I see it , he is starting the mud slinging early , before to next general election .
    I note some commenters getting quite heated and going into detail about the whys and wherefors of his accusations of Tories associating with unacceptible political groups in the European Parliament .
    In my view many of the above comments are a lot of irrelevent hot air . In those east European countries who were caught between the Nazis and the Russians , there still remain ill feelings and bitterness . Today in the EU it is water under the bridge . I would still oppose Turkey joining the EU , which in my opinion is already too big and unwealdy .
    Many British people Eurosceptic and otherwise are likely to vote Conservative at the next general election , no matter what David Millibrand says . Many British people would like Britain to leave the EU and seek a looser relationship .
    By leaving the EPP the Conservatives free themselves from a group , which by majority voting , may not achieve or express a view that they are seeking .

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  • 126. At 12:50pm on 13 Oct 2009, forgottenukcitizen wrote:

    119. Boilerplated wrote:

    #105. At 00:41am on 13 Oct 2009, forgottenukcitizen wrote:

    "I agree, we both want our say"

    ...and you will, in May next year (or when ever), at the General election, you are free to vote for the party of your choice.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Okay, I guess you either get it or you don’t.

    Please read the comments from 124. Zydeco because they sum up what many of us feel in the UK about the EU.

    Ask yourself one question; if the EU we have today had been proposed to the British public in 1975, would they have voted for it?

    Clue: The question on the paper was: “Do you think that the United Kingdom should stay in the European Community (The Common Market)?”

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  • 127. At 12:57pm on 13 Oct 2009, Mathiasen wrote:

    A couple of notes to the political calendar of the Union:
    The Czech news agency CTK writes that the Czech constitutional court will have a hearing about the question – some say complaint, which is not the same – about the LT submitted by president Klaus and a number of senators on the 27th October. According to Reuters is has previously occurred that the court announces its verdict on the same day or shortly after.

    If the verdict follows on the 27th it will be known to the EU leaders, who are scheduled to meet the following day.
    At this meeting is has been planned to name the new commissioners, the ”president” of EU and the high representative that is not allowed to be called the EU foreign minister.

    This afternoon the Czech PM, Jan Fischer, is in Bruxelles to discuss matters with the president of the commission, José Manuel Barroso.

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  • 128. At 12:59pm on 13 Oct 2009, Freeborn John wrote:

    extremesense (115): It does not matter if the percentage of new laws that come from Brussels is 80% or 1%. All that this affects is the rate at which the EU institutions takes over law-making and reduces the legislative power of the Westminster Parliament to vanishing point. Every new EU law is superior to national law and requires Parliament to withdraw any conflicting national legislation and never legislate in that area again. Since the EU institutions are never going to stop creating new laws it is inevitable that this will lead automatically (as intended by Monnet) to us losing the ability to elect a parliament capable of changing of the law of the land at some point in the future. The percentage of new laws that come from Brussels each does not change this endpoint; only the rate at which we approach the federal endpoint where EU law-making bodies are de-facto sovereign and our elections determine nothing except which party sends representatives to meetings in Brussels. Since i am opposed to this endpoint, i (and millions of other Britons) fully understand why we would vote against the EU in a referendum even if you do not.

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  • 129. At 1:03pm on 13 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #123. At 11:03am on 13 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    "120. Boilerplated wrote:

    …unlike you I know the differences between a treaty establishing a Federal entity and one that does not!..

    Show me where this distinction in made in the 2005 Labour Party Manifesto."


    I have already done so, the fact that you did not like the facts then will not change the facts now,, how could the Labour party (or any one else for that matter) offer a referendum on a treaty that NO ONE knew was going to be in existence - Blair might be many things but I don't think he even claims to be clairvoyant!

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  • 130. At 1:21pm on 13 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #124. At 11:24am on 13 Oct 2009, Zydeco wrote:

    "However it is the actions of MEPs and MPs that make me suspicious and wary of what the EU is really about."

    Sorry to sound blunt but: Then you fear your own ignorance, had you made that comment 20 years ago I would have had some symphony, but these days you are only a few clicks away from finding out all you want to know, the EU is probably more open than many national governments are.

    True there are accessibility issues (hopefully being fixed by gradual reorganisation of the various web portals), caused by the complexity of the EU (not helped by having 20 odd official languages) but if the time is taken to understand how things are organised - how the EU works administration wise (not politically) - one can normally track down what you're looking for, after all the eurosceptics don't seem to have any difficulty finding all those little morsels of unintended and forgotten examples of "double-speek" that are hiding in the knocks and crannies do they...

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  • 131. At 2:01pm on 13 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    129. Boilerplated

    …how could the Labour party (or any one else for that matter) offer a referendum on a treaty that NO ONE knew was going to be in existence - Blair might be many things but I don't think he even claims to be clairvoyant!..

    Quite, how many times do I have to point out that if no part of the Constitutional Treaty made it into the Lisbon Treaty you and I would be in agreement? The manifesto commitment didn’t disappear because of a bit of cut and paste. Blair and Brown did not hold the referendum was because they were afraid of losing.

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  • 132. At 2:20pm on 13 Oct 2009, MTE_05 wrote:

    Look, World War II on the Eastern Front was fought between two sides:

    1. Nazi Germany and its allies
    2. The Soviet Union and its allies

    You *CANNOT* say you oppose one without supporting the other. You cannot decry the actions of the Soviets without implicitly supporting the Nazis (complete with their death squads and plans to exterminate not only the Jews, but most of the Russians as well). Either the Soviets or the Nazis. There was no other choice. There is no other choice.

    Too many people seem to want to believe that somehow, somewhere, there were some heroic, pure, unblemished freedom fighters who never did anything morally questionable and never killed any innocent people. Ridiculous. Such people do not exist in any war, and especially not in a war as brutal as the Eastern Front of WW2.

    Or the other fronts, for that matter. Remember the fire-bombing of Dresden and the atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Axis was not defeated with silk gloves.

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  • 133. At 2:51pm on 13 Oct 2009, -StuartC- wrote:

    Gavin, who exactly is this "mainstream Europe" to which you refer?

    Do you mean the majority of European peoples who, polls show, oppose the Lisbon Treaty?

    For example, majorities of the French and Dutch peoples who voted overwhelmingly against the EU Constitution just to see it re-heated and re-served yet be denied a further vote?

    Or the vast majority of the British people who oppose the Lisbon Treaty and want to be given the promised say?

    The only independent poll of all 27 member states, taken in 2007, showed that majorities in 16 countries would vote 'no' to a Treaty giving more powers to the EU. If given the chance.

    Or do you unfortunately mean (as I suspect) just the tiny political clique of today's European leaders who are living in the past and working anti-democratically to remove from Europe's peoples any meaningful means of influencing their governing activities?

    Seems to me that Cameron's opposition to the Lisbon Treaty and willingness to give us a say is perfectly aligned with the mainstream that matters.

    The mainstream that matters for the future stability and prosperity of our continent.

    Let's just hope he sticks to it.

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  • 134. At 3:09pm on 13 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Zydeco;

    "Thus any move made towards a closer union with the EU is done in the full knowledge that it is against the electorates wishes.
    The question therefore has to be 'What is in it for politicians, that leads them to defy the populace and carry on regardless?'"

    There are at least two likely explanations. Every country's national culture has its peculiar needs. For Russia it is the need to be feared. For America it is the need to be liked. For France it is the need for its culture to be supreme. In Germany it is the need to be ignored. And for England it is the need to not feel isolated. Were the UK to be expelled from the EU or leave voluntarily, it could cause panic among its political elite. "How will we ever survive in the cold cruel hostile world on our own especially now that we no longer have an empire to leech off of?" This is why it pays Scotland money in the form of tax subsidies to remain in the UK. For Scotland, it is the need not to be poor so it works even though many Scots (assuming those I've spoken with are representative of widespread feelings) resent it.

    The other reason is the personal ambition of UK polticians. They are all looking forward to those gravy train jobs shuttling back and forth between Brussels and Strassborg where they can live a life of ultimate luxury and pad their expense accounts to the sky without the fear of a speaker of the house looking over their shoulders and where they can indulge in what is the ultimate job for a European mind, sitting on a council which makes pronouncements about every aspect of how everyone else should live their lives according to their own personal vision of utopia and then have it enacted into law that can't be challenged by anyone. Every aspect from cradle to grave including what the curvature of a banana must be in order for it to be sold for human consumption legally.

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  • 135. At 3:18pm on 13 Oct 2009, kcband8 wrote:

    Another pro European stance by the BBC.

    We (the BBC) have not investigated these claims but the opposition will use them against the opposition.

    Like the EU itself, misleading and undemocratic.

    If the Tories win power at the next election the BBC will have a field day with this - but will not mention the unelected power of EU officials at all.

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  • 136. At 3:29pm on 13 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #126. At 12:50pm on 13 Oct 2009, forgottenukcitizen wrote:

    "Ask yourself one question; if the EU we have today had been proposed to the British public in 1975, would they have voted for it?"

    May be, may be not, but that does raise an interesting question, why has it taken 20 years for so many of the eurosceptics (on the right) to start bleating on about referenda when they have never ever offered the electorate a say via referenda before - they even objected to the one Wilson held in 1975., it does seem rather 'convenient' to suddenly want to change the democratic system - hoe-hum. But if we (the UK) do end up having a referendum on the LT I do hope that the new found fondness for referenda will carry forward to deciding on tax rates, public spending and all manor of such policy...

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  • 137. At 3:40pm on 13 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #128. At 12:59pm on 13 Oct 2009, Freeborn-John wrote:

    "extremesense (115): It does not matter if the percentage of new laws that come from Brussels is 80% or 1%. All that this affects is the rate at which the EU institutions takes over law-making and reduces the legislative power of the Westminster Parliament to vanishing point. Every new EU law is superior to national law and requires Parliament to withdraw any conflicting national legislation and never legislate in that area again."

    Total tosh, national parliaments have to ratify any EU act, law or treaty, even after the LT, so if the national parliament does not ratify, the EU law doesn't come into effect, it's then up to the EU if it abandons the law in that country, granting an opt-out, or revisits the entire EU wide policy at the EP level.

    It's very obvious that the closest you have come to reading any EU document is UKIP propaganda...

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  • 138. At 3:42pm on 13 Oct 2009, Seraphim wrote:

    Freeborn John:

    "Since the EU institutions are never going to stop creating new laws it is inevitable that this will lead automatically (as intended by Monnet) to us losing the ability to elect a parliament capable of changing of the law of the land at some point in the future."

    Sorry to hear that you were not informed about the election earlier this year in which Britain (as well as all other EU countries) voted that very parliament. As you seem to be reading this blogg frequently, I am surprised that you didn't know about the election.

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  • 139. At 3:46pm on 13 Oct 2009, Freeborn John wrote:

    There is an interview with Michael Kaminski on the ConservativeHome website where he says:
    • the smears against him come from a "desperate" Labour Party.
    • that his grandfathers fought in the Second World War, that the Nazis killed members of his family, and that therefore being called a Neo-Nazi by David Miliband is "really offensive".
    • that the British Embassy is Warsaw has been inviting him for years to their events and that he does not think British embassies across the world invite Neo-Nazi politicians to their events.
    • that his party was previously in the EPP, and indeed that he was the leader of his party in the EPP group, but no-one accused him of being a Neo-Nazi then.

    http://conservativehome.blogs.com/thetorydiary/2009/10/michal-kami%C5%84ski-tells-conservativehome-that-the-smears-against-him-come-from-a-desperate-labour-part.html

    Is there any other plausible explanation than desperation for David Miliband calling Michael Kaminski a Neo-Nazi now when he never did before? If Miliband really believes that the Conservatives weaken themselves by leaving the EPP then this would be the first time in history that one major political party encourages their main opponents to follow a policy that would make them a stronger Opposition. Is that plausible? Miliband is just another 'course of least resistance' politician that finds it easier to be the representative of the EU Council to the British electorate, rather than a real representative of the British people. That is a course which may have been easy so far, but is going to lead him to electoral wipe-out on May 6, 2010.

    Labour is going down to a very heavy defeat on May 6 and they know it. The proof is that if they thought there was any way to avoid this defeat they would have replaced Gordon Brown already. The only question is about the severity of the defeat and who will replace Brown as Labour leader. Miliband has contributed to this defeat by being the man who signed the Lisbon treaty, and being one of those responsible for the decision not to hold the referendum promised in Labour's 2005 manifesto. The 2010 Labour manifesto is likely to contain a promise to hold a referendum on joining the Euro. The majority in the country that does not want to join the Euro should not be fooled twice by Labour manifesto promises about referendums. This is a party that lied to defuse the EU as an election issue in 2005 and will lie to you again in 2010. Better to dispatch them ruthlessly such that Miliband is put in the Portillo position of leaving politics for good rather than waste one or two decades of his life sitting on the Opposition benches. That is the fate that the signer of the Lisbon Treaty richly deserves.

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  • 140. At 3:48pm on 13 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    forgottenukcitizen, Freeborn-John, Freeman
    All these names adopted by the Eurosceptic flavour all redolent of Patriotism all all tarred with the brush that says we are true Patriots. Are they? I wonder?

    They casually throw out words like European dictatorship, undemocratic blah blah blah. As a Brit who lives outside the UK, enjoys the freedom of Europe, it's lack of borders, and IT'S LACK OF CAMERAS I really do wonder about your definitions of freedom. If you really are patriots gentlemen I suggest you stop prating about the Brussels big brother and look a little closer to home. Big Brother is certainly watching you and I will have a bet with any of you that whoever ends up running the UK after the next General election they won't start taking down all those cameras (and I'm not talking about the speed variety).

    My other thought's are that Mr Cameron is caught between a rock and a very hard place. His party is completely split over Europe, he has tried to appease the anti's with his promise of a referendum but is no doubt now praying that Santa Klaus let's him off the hook. His moving away from the mainstream conservative grouping within the EU parliament was another sop to his right that's beginning to look very like a wrong move.

    Last thought and this is back to UK freedom and interference in UK politics. Can we really trust a political party that employs the ex editor of the News of the World as it's communications director? I for one would always be thinking of who Mr Coulson's ex boss was. After the next election will we have Truth and Liberty the American way via Fox News perhaps?

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  • 141. At 3:58pm on 13 Oct 2009, Freeman wrote:

    Anything resembling hard evidence on Call-Me-Dave's allies yet or we still in the area of supposition, opinion and misrepresentation?
    Any more movement by Millipede to rival Boris for the "Most countries offended by one politician" award?

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  • 142. At 3:59pm on 13 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #124 Zydeco

    Another of the hoary old anti EU chestnuts put back onto roast I see

    "Other actions such as the loss of the UK fishing industry to the benefit of the Spanish boats defies explanation. How has this helped British fishermen?"

    Have you any proof that that actually happened, concrete proof that is? Like the tonnage pre a certain time (not number of boats that's very misleading) but actual tonnage of vessels before and after. The reason I ask is that I was in both Cadiz and Vigo recently and as I am a sailor spent some time in the local bars (it's a hard life etc etc). All I heard from the Spanish fishermen was how their fishing fleet had been decimated. I hear the same words in my home port of Hendaye from the French fisherman.

    Could the simple explanation of vanishing fishing fleets actually not be the actions of the EU but that of the fishermen who have consistently ignored all pleas for conservation and carried on fishing until there are no more fish. No EU conspiracy just stupidity and greed.

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  • 143. At 4:04pm on 13 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #115 extremesense

    Thank you thank you. Daniel Hannan, what a star. Born in Peru with a silver spoon in his mouth has about as much knowledge about the life of the average Brit as he has about that of Australian aboriginals, but can be guaranteed to give anyone who asks a quote about any facet of UK life.

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  • 144. At 4:06pm on 13 Oct 2009, Angryjohn wrote:

    Boilerplated, you should listen to Zydeco. He talks a great deal of sense. (comment 124) Believe it or not there are some EU Sceptics who don't read the Mail, are not zealots or far right nazis.

    You spoke about how transparant the EU is and how accountable. I disagree with you on this on these grounds.
    MEP's and EU Commisioners expenses. Every enquiry has been hushed up.
    Failure to sign the accounts. How many years is it? 13?

    A couple more points to add to Zydeco's eloquent arguement.

    The migration between Brussels and Strasbourg is a waste of time, money and resources and bad for the enviroment.

    EU employees benefits and pensions, especially the commisioners are far to generous. For example Neil Konnock and his wife have cost over £10m over the last 15 years. http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2009/06/15/campaign-highlights-kinnocks-10m-eu-earnings-91466-23877100/

    I would argue that they are not worth it.

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  • 145. At 4:12pm on 13 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #131. At 2:01pm on 13 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    "Quite, how many times do I have to point out that if no part of the Constitutional Treaty made it into the Lisbon Treaty you and I would be in agreement?"

    But that is nonsense, according to your 'logic', if you are attempting to call the LT a 'Constitution' [1] simply because it contains elements of the abandoned Constitutional treaty, you can't then call that document (the old Constitutional Treaty) a 'Constitution' as it's self contained elements of the Rome Treaty and all treaties there after! Under your logic the "Constitutional Treaty" was not a constitutional treaty at all, just another EU amending treaty!

    Any treaty will contain elements of any past treaties (or draft treaties) but that doesn't mean they have the same legal meaning.

    [1] clue, even the Rome treaty was a constitutional document, so was Maastricht, one set up what became the EEC, the other radically changed how the '(E)EC' was constituted, creating what we now know as the EU - it's legal entity - both Maastricht and the LT are amending treaties though and not founding, as was the Single European Act (SEA). Funny how there were few if any called from within the Tory party for a referendum on SEA or Maastricht, but then they were in power, in favour at the EEC/EC and Labour was the party struggling with europhobes.

    Oh, and if you got lost in any of the above or didn't understand it at all you have just proved why holding a referendum on such an issue would be undemocratic, to cast your democratic vote you first need to understand what you are voting on...

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  • 146. At 4:16pm on 13 Oct 2009, Freeman wrote:

    Thanks for the relevant post there FBJ.

    "forgottenukcitizen, Freeborn-John, Freeman
    All these names adopted by the Eurosceptic flavour all redolent of Patriotism all all tarred with the brush that says we are true Patriots. Are they? I wonder?"

    A love of freedom does not necessarily mean love of country Timmeh.
    They are not mutually exclusive either. Similar a love of freedom does not stop a love of Europe but it certainly stops a love of the current EU. Westmidden is not to my tastes either but preferrable compared with the EU. Any more shots at the messengers?

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  • 147. At 4:21pm on 13 Oct 2009, Freeborn John wrote:

    Boilerplated (137): It is a shame that the volume of your posts is not matched by their accuracy. It is a simple fact that the obligations of EU membership include removing all national law that conflicts with EU law and national parliaments have no choice in this matter so long as they remain in the EU. If you wish to dispute this obvious fact, then please provide one single example of a national law in any of the 27 EU member-states that has conflicted with any EU law in its 50-year history. I can guarantee that you will not be able to do this. Given that my description is reality, the obvious conclusion is that if the EU institutions continue to output new EU law indefinitely, then all of it will continue to preempt and nullify national law, with the long-term consequence that the scope within national parliaments can legislate is reduced towards vanishing point. This is what 'ever closer union' means and what Monnet meant it to mean.

    Seraphim85: The EU "Parliament" is not a real parliament. It not only answers to no People, but it cannot remove any prior-existing EU legislation because the undemocratic EU Commission has the monopoly on all proposals to changes in EU law. This was a deliberate institutional design choice by Monnet to ensure that voters cannot reverse EU integration. The Commission is able (by Monnet's design) to use this monopoly power to ensure that all its legislative proposals are in the direction of 'more Europe'. In its 50 year history it has only twice proposed that existing EU law be taken off the statute books, and that in the trivial areas of the shape of vegetables and mandated use of metric measures, which had both become an embarrassment to it. The overall picture is of a relentless campaign by the Commission to increase the body of EU law, whose supremacy nullifies national law and with it the power of your vote.

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  • 148. At 4:23pm on 13 Oct 2009, Freeman wrote:

    "Have you any proof that that actually happened, concrete proof that is?"

    How about my home town of Hull having a half dozen docks filled with trawlers pre-EU...lifeblood of the city and boy, could you smell it.

    Now...one small dock for fishing and a marina.

    Not that I can offer proof that this would not be the case anyway as no one could. But I would hazard a guess that the armadas of foreign fishing vessels probably did not help.

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  • 149. At 4:26pm on 13 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #77 threnodio


    I totally agree with your analysis, most especially the second to last paragraph, Cameron is playing both end against the middle. He still could get his fingers burned.

    I live and work in France and sometimes wonder where this Europe is that the sceptics keep banging on about. Everyone here is too busy making a living and enjoying the benefits of the EU to indulge in the odd kind o behaviour displayed be the UK sceptics. True they are not totally happy with the EU but if you ask them would they like to leave it they look at you as though you were mad.

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  • 150. At 4:26pm on 13 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #133. At 2:51pm on 13 Oct 2009, -StuartC- wrote:

    "Do you mean the majority of European peoples who, polls show, oppose the Lisbon Treaty?"

    Care to cite that, of course you won't as you know you can't!

    The facts are, in those countries that have held elections (France and Germany for example) the anti EU parties did very poorly whilst the pro EU (and Lisbon) parties did very well.

    Keep clutching at straws...

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  • 151. At 4:33pm on 13 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #135. At 3:18pm on 13 Oct 2009, kcband8 wrote:

    "Another pro European stance by the BBC."

    Another europhobe/BBC bashher who doesn't bother to actually understand what they are reading...

    "We (the BBC) have not investigated these claims but the opposition will use them against the opposition."

    But they have, foir example the "Record Europe" has covered this topic, even showed some rafther damming video of a certin politicain keeping rather unsavory company at a 'political' meeting in the early 1990s, what Gavin said was that he. had not invetigated this story - but then who would bother reinvestigating an already documented course of events, next you'll be demanding someone reinvestigates "Watergate"...

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  • 152. At 4:37pm on 13 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #146 Freeman

    Your last sentence summed up exactly my point to perfection.

    "Any more shots at the messengers?"

    You of course are the messengers chosen by who exactly? And your function is to lead us to freedom from the EU dictators. Of course how silly of me.

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  • 153. At 4:46pm on 13 Oct 2009, Freeman wrote:

    "152. At 4:37pm on 13 Oct 2009, T1m0thy wrote:
    #146 Freeman

    Your last sentence summed up exactly my point to perfection.

    "Any more shots at the messengers?"

    You of course are the messengers chosen by who exactly? And your function is to lead us to freedom from the EU dictators. Of course how silly of me."

    Is it just me or did that make no sense. I am my own man. These are my opinions (scary to EU fanatics that I know)

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  • 154. At 4:48pm on 13 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #148 Freeman

    So no proof then, just supposition and speculation as usual.
    The demise of the fishing fleets Europe wide is a function of over fishing and technology. Before fish finders and boats that could trail and handle five mile nets the fish had a chance and the fishing fleets were very large in number with small boats.
    Now we have massive powerful boats fish finders greed and no fish.

    Simple stuff really, no EU, just people being short sighted and greedy. But hey it's so much better to be able to blame it on someone else.

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  • 155. At 5:18pm on 13 Oct 2009, Mathiasen wrote:

    Many complaints and little analysis here.
    As a possible PM at a moment when all countries including his own have signed the LT, Mr. Cameron will face euro sceptics as well as advocates for a pro-EU policy, also in his own party.
    If we cannot learn anything else from the discussion here about the British way to the LT, it at least reveals that politicians have a back door. I expect that Cameron will have to use it once again, when he faces the dilemma of pleasing voters and take care of interests.

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  • 156. At 5:24pm on 13 Oct 2009, forgottenukcitizen wrote:

    136. At 3:29pm on 13 Oct 2009, Boilerplated wrote:

    #126. At 12:50pm on 13 Oct 2009, forgottenukcitizen wrote:

    "Ask yourself one question; if the EU we have today had been proposed to the British public in 1975, would they have voted for it?"

    May be, may be not, but that does raise an interesting question, why has it taken 20 years for so many of the eurosceptics (on the right) to start bleating on about referenda when they have never ever offered the electorate a say via referenda before…etc, etc.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Sigh – Slaps hand on forehead.

    Okay, this will be my last comment regarding this because I can’t see things moving on.

    As I’ve already pointed out, The European project that my parents voted for is not the same as the EU that we have now.

    If I had been old enough to vote at the time, I would have also voted yes to the concept of the EEC, but I wasn’t old enough, so I couldn’t.

    Things have changed significantly over the last 34 years & just because some people where happy to accept the EEC then doesn’t mean they are happy with the EU now.

    What I find scary is that a whole generation has grown up since 1975 & at no time has anybody bothered to ask the UK population for their opinions with regards to the changing role of the EU.

    This is completely different to asking us who we want as our MEP.

    140. T1m0thy wrote:

    If you really are patriots gentlemen I suggest you stop prating about the Brussels big brother and look a little closer to home. Big Brother is certainly watching you and I will have a bet with any of you that whoever ends up running the UK after the next General election they won't start taking down all those cameras (and I'm not talking about the speed variety).

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Timothy, most of the cameras around our way are there because the public asked for them to be there & not because they have been forced upon us without consultation or agreement.
    They have managed to catch a few local thugs as well.

    A very good example of democracy VS dictatorship I think – exactly the point I am trying to make.

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  • 157. At 5:27pm on 13 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #146 Freeman

    If being a fanatic is defined by living in Europe enjoying the freedom to live here, work here, move around here have a stable currency that's not continually sliding down hill then yes I'm a Euro fanatic.

    The options offered to me by you Free people are not very inviting, they seem to be mainly to talk about the freedom to makes choices to be poorer than I am now and that's a no brainer to borrow a phrase from MAII's countrymen.

    When all of you from the Europhobic connection can come up with a better working model I'll listen but at the moment the EU works for me. It's not perfect but it works and we can always tinker with it to make it better.

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  • 158. At 5:29pm on 13 Oct 2009, Seraphim wrote:

    "but it cannot remove any prior-existing EU legislation because the undemocratic EU Commission has the monopoly on all proposals to changes in EU law."

    Hmm wasn't one point of the LT to give more power to the parliament? If I understand you right though you are both - against the LT and also against the Commissioneers having so much to say as they do now? Could you please elaborate how that both together makes much sense?

    "Everyone here is too busy making a living and enjoying the benefits of the EU to indulge in the odd kind o behaviour displayed be the UK sceptics."

    Speaking of which ... tomorrow I am leaving for Porto without any border controls, without having to calculate in an odd currency, without seeing the completely logical metric system replaced by something different and if I may say it weird and without cars driving on the left side.

    British people must be the most afraid of any changes in the entire world.

    Freeman messengers are sent by someone so if you only present your point you are not a messenger, thats what he wants to say.

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  • 159. At 5:37pm on 13 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    139. At 3:46pm on 13 Oct 2009, Freeborn-John wrote:

    "There is an interview with Michael Kaminski on the ConservativeHome website..//.."

    Oh right, 'ConcervitiesHome', the highly independent, impartial voice of politics UK then - Bit like quoting RIA Novosti (during the 1950-90s) on if Stalin was a nice person or a psychopathic dictator who killed thousands - of course 'ConservativeHome' are going to publish anything remotely in praise of Labour or the Miliband's...Not.

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  • 160. At 5:57pm on 13 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #144. At 4:06pm on 13 Oct 2009, ameyjohn wrote:

    "Boilerplated, you should listen to Zydeco. He talks a great deal of sense."

    No doubt s/he does - to someone who hates the EU, and you don't need to be of the (far-)right to do so, ask Mr Scargil what he thinks of the EU...

    "EU employees benefits and pensions, especially the commisioners are far to generous. For example Neil Konnock and his wife have cost over £10m over the last 15 years. [ULR not quoted]

    I would argue that they are not worth it."


    Is that because you are not getting any of the pie? Sorry to burst your bubble but there are people who, no doubt, don't think you are worth your wage, salary, pension or what ever either.

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  • 161. At 5:59pm on 13 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    145. Boilerplated

    "...if you are attempting to call the LT a 'Constitution'..."

    You might want to do this, I don't.

    "...Any treaty will contain elements of any past treaties (or draft treaties) but that doesn't mean they have the same legal meaning..."

    Are you suggesting that nothing introduced in the Constitutional Treaty made it into the Lisbon Treaty? If so we have our agreement.

    ..."Funny how there were few if any called from within the Tory party for a referendum on SEA or Maastricht..."

    What's this got to do with the price of eggs? Labour made the referendum commitment.

    "...to cast your democratic vote you first need to understand what you are voting on..."

    Don't tell me, tell Labour.

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  • 162. At 6:03pm on 13 Oct 2009, Freeborn John wrote:

    Seraphim85: The Lisbon treaty gives the EU Parliament more power and this is a bad idea, that has been proved over 30 years not to make the EU more democratic. Every EU treaty since the EU "Parliament" was first directly elected in 1979 has increased the power of that institution but this period has also seen the growing feeling that the EU is undemocratic. This shows that more powers for the EU Parliament do not make the EU more democratic, and that Lisbon would also fail to make the EU more democratic. The reason is that ordinary voters do not regard international assemblies like the EU "Parliament" as having any democratic legitimacy to make the laws they live under, when the majority opinion of the nation is at odds with the majority opinion of the members of the international assembly.

    Nor should the undemocratic EU Commission have a monopoly power to propose all changes to law superior to any other for 500 million people. Indeed this is an obscene power which cannot be allowed to stand, but which Lisbon would extend into new and more politically sensitive policy areas. This monopoly power of the Commission is only appropriate for non-politically sensitive issues such as minor technical rules related to the common market. It is a violation of the basic principles of democracy when applied to politically contested policy fields.

    Democracy can therefore only be improved by reducing the powers of the EU, i.e. by taking back the powers which the EU currently exercises without the consent of the governed. I very much hope that this will be the policy of the next British government. If Mr. Hague's words are to be believed, there is reason to hope this will be the case.

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  • 163. At 6:06pm on 13 Oct 2009, forgottenukcitizen wrote:

    157. T1m0thy:

    Yes, I did a stint over in Europe this year myself – enjoyed it too.

    One of the things that struck me was the amount of high profile EU funded projects that seemed to flying around.
    Perhaps that’s the reason why they are so happy, but back at home in Blighty I can’t think of any EU funded projects in my town, or the surrounding area.

    Looks like you hit the jackpot mate because the EU does nothing for us around here apart from telling me I can’t buy 100 W light bulbs anymore.

    That’s the problem; if people don’t see any benefits, they won’t feel part of it.

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  • 164. At 6:08pm on 13 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #147

    "147. At 4:21pm on 13 Oct 2009, Freeborn-John wrote:

    Boilerplated (137): It is a shame that the volume of your posts is not matched by their accuracy."


    Oh look chaps, the pot attempting to call the kettle black again!

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  • 165. At 6:12pm on 13 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    148. At 4:23pm on 13 Oct 2009, Freeman wrote:

    "How about my home town of Hull having a half dozen docks filled with trawlers pre-EU...lifeblood of the city and boy, could you smell it."

    Could incidents/problems like this have had more to do with that than EU quotas?...

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  • 166. At 6:19pm on 13 Oct 2009, Zydeco wrote:

    130. At 1:21pm on 13 Oct 2009, Boilerplated wrote:
    #124. At 11:24am on 13 Oct 2009, Zydeco wrote:

    "However it is the actions of MEPs and MPs that make me suspicious and wary of what the EU is really about."

    Sorry to sound blunt but: Then you fear your own ignorance, had you made that comment 20 years ago I would have had some symphony, but these days you are only a few clicks away from finding out all you want to know, the EU is probably more open than many national governments are.
    *************************************
    Au contraire BP.
    Yes I am capable of doing my own research , which incidentally once time involved displaying the EU Constitution and the Lisbon Treaty on adjacent screens and comparing them. Not much difference I would say.
    But why should I need to do such research? Why aren't the politicians, who want my support, giving me this information? During this year's run up to the EU election I asked my local candidate, why I should give credence t5o an organisation that cannot get an auditor to sign of its books

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  • 167. At 6:22pm on 13 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #158 Seraphim85

    While I agree with most of your post it is a shame to spoil it by bringing in the measuring system and which side of the road people drive on. Britain is not the only nation to drive on the left the Japanese do as well.

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  • 168. At 6:27pm on 13 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    153. At 4:46pm on 13 Oct 2009, Freeman wrote:

    "Is it just me or did that make no sense. I am my own man. These are my opinions (scary to EU fanatics that I know)"

    Sooty pots and kettles again...

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  • 169. At 6:31pm on 13 Oct 2009, Zydeco wrote:

    166 continued

    He replied that he didn't know but he was sure that didn't mean anything was wrong.
    Just a small example of why I am wary.
    Unlike many politicians, some of whom should know better, I have read both the Treaty and the Constitution. Letters to various MPs - both pro and anti EU - seeking clarification of certain points, were met with no replies.
    When MPs who vote in Parliament on matters concerning the Treaty admit they don't need to read it because the Whips will tell them how to vote, I despair.
    As I said in a previous comment, I am willing to be persuaded that the EU is good, but the attitude shown by those who might wish to persuade me leaves a lot to be desired. At the very least I expect them to know what they're talking about

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  • 170. At 6:31pm on 13 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #163 forgottenukcitizen

    The reason you don't see many EU funded projects in the UK is that most of the projects are 50/50 funded and the UK's politicians do not like stumping up their 50% so you poor people get left out. One more example of the UK's ability to shoot itself in the foot where the EU is concerned,
    The light bulb comment I have to say I find just sad. If the most you can find wrong with Europe is to complain about environmentally motivated legislation which was voted on by your elected representatives in the European parliament and approved by the democratically elected government of the UK it's a sad day.
    It and the earlier comments about the fishing fleets also shows up the fact that so much anti EU propaganda is just that and lacks substance.

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  • 171. At 6:36pm on 13 Oct 2009, Benefactor wrote:

    #166 Zydeco

    "During this year's run up to the EU election I asked my local candidate, why I should give credence t5o an organisation that cannot get an auditor to sign of its books"

    What did he say?

    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    #162 Freeborn-John wrote:

    "The Lisbon treaty gives the EU Parliament more power and this is a bad idea, that has been proved over 30 years not to make the EU more democratic. Every EU treaty since the EU "Parliament" was first directly elected in 1979 has increased the power of that institution but this period has also seen the growing feeling that the EU is undemocratic. This shows that more powers for the EU Parliament do not make the EU more democratic, and that Lisbon would also fail to make the EU more democratic. The reason is that ordinary voters do not regard international assemblies like the EU "Parliament" as having any democratic legitimacy to make the laws they live under, when the majority opinion of the nation is at odds with the majority opinion of the members of the international assembly."

    More power to EP = Less democracy? What? Seriously! Your telling me that because some people don't like the EU and feel it is undemocratic, measures that visibly increase the amount of democratic control are actual decreasing democracy?

    Increase of power and increase of democratic control of those powers are different and unrelated.
    If I'm reading that wrong please clarify.

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  • 172. At 6:41pm on 13 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #169 Zydeco

    That seems, to me, to be more of a complaint about politicians than the EU. It also, I would suggest, the continuing problem with all democracies in an increasingly complex society. Too much information and not enough time to assimilate it.

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  • 173. At 6:48pm on 13 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #156. At 5:24pm on 13 Oct 2009, forgottenukcitizen wrote:

    "As I’ve already pointed out, The European project that my parents voted for is not the same as the EU that we have now."

    Yes it is, it's just evolved, according to your logic Britain should still be in the Dark ages, living in caves - probably!...

    But again, if you are correct, why didn't the Tories hold referenda in the 1980s and '90s when they were ratifying treaties that have had far more effect on the direction of the EU that the LT will. For the Tories to now complain that we (the public) can't have our say is just hypocritical. Especially as, if the LT is not ratified, the EU will be left with many of the problems signed up to by the Tories in the afore mentioned period.

    "What I find scary is that a whole generation has grown up since 1975 & at no time has anybody bothered to ask the UK population for their opinions with regards to the changing role of the EU."

    Of course they have, at every (national) general election.

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  • 174. At 6:54pm on 13 Oct 2009, Zydeco wrote:

    172. At 6:41pm on 13 Oct 2009, T1m0thy wrote:
    #169 Zydeco

    That seems, to me, to be more of a complaint about politicians than the EU. It also, I would suggest, the continuing problem with all democracies in an increasingly complex society. Too much information and not enough time to assimilate it.
    *********************
    Yes it is a complaint about Politicians. But they are the people that need to win me round.
    When some politicians come out with such insulting remarks as 'the public doesn't understand' but then have to admit their own ignorance of the document, what is one supposed to think.
    The EU is important. I have 8 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren who are going to be far more affected by what the EU does in the future than I am. It is decisions being made now though that affect their future. I have a role to play in that and therefore would like honest, clear information from those that make the decisions.
    At the moment I am not getting it.

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  • 175. At 6:55pm on 13 Oct 2009, Seraphim wrote:

    "Every EU treaty since the EU "Parliament" was first directly elected in 1979 has increased the power of that institution but this period has also seen the growing feeling that the EU is undemocratic."

    I assume you talk about your own feelings in this? Well I doubt I am trained to change them nor would I want to but for me what made the EU not as democratic as it could be was the probably too fast expansion without altering existing treaties so that they would fit to it's new size beforehand... but then again there are many things one could have done if one had seen it coming, always easy to say afterwards!

    "Democracy can therefore only be improved by reducing the powers of the EU, i.e. by taking back the powers which the EU currently exercises without the consent of the governed."

    I think this would only be confirmed by other british citizens who thanks to their resentment to change kinda bought the negative effects from the EU (bananas have to have certain curves) without accepting it's benefits (Euro, Schengen,....). If you would ask the people who got the entire package pluses and minuses I don't know many around that would prefer giving all of it back.

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  • 176. At 7:02pm on 13 Oct 2009, Zydeco wrote:

    173. At 6:48pm on 13 Oct 2009, Boilerplated wrote:
    #156. At 5:24pm on 13 Oct 2009, forgottenukcitizen wrote:

    "What I find scary is that a whole generation has grown up since 1975 & at no time has anybody bothered to ask the UK population for their opinions with regards to the changing role of the EU."

    Of course they have, at every (national) general election.
    ****************************
    Which takes us full circle. How many people voted Labour at the last election because of their PROMISE to have a referendum on the EU Constitution.
    Comes back to what I have several times. Until you can trust politicians there will always be more anti EU feeling than perhaps there should be.

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  • 177. At 7:12pm on 13 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #161. At 5:59pm on 13 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    Oh, and before anything else, thanks for confirming that you dont know what your talking about, you missed the entire point of the comment you replied to...

    "Are you suggesting that nothing introduced in the Constitutional Treaty made it into the Lisbon Treaty? If so we have our agreement."

    Of course I'm not, but just because it contains elements of a previous treaty (provisional or ratified) it doesn't mean that it's the same document under a different name.

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  • 178. At 7:27pm on 13 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    162. At 6:03pm on 13 Oct 2009, Freeborn-John wrote:

    "Seraphim85: The Lisbon treaty gives the EU Parliament more power and this is a bad idea,"

    If you believe that then you are either just totally anti-EU (of the UKIP flavour) and thus will find anything and everything they do 'wrong' or do not understand/have not read the first thing about the LT (other than what is printed in the Murdoch type press), national parliaments actually get MORE powers, not less!

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  • 179. At 7:31pm on 13 Oct 2009, forgottenukcitizen wrote:

    170. T1m0thy

    In which case, it’s fair for people in the UK to ask “what’s in it for me” & gives credence to those who say “why should we keep on pumping money into a system that obviously doesn’t benefit us, but seems to be benefiting people on the European mainland”?

    As i've already said; that’s the problem; if people don’t see any benefits, they won’t feel part of it.

    More to the point; with the UK finances in the state they are, can we afford to keep on pumping in money if we obviously aren’t going to get many benefits that we can see with our own eyes.

    Fair point; this may be a UK issue, but that's not the way most people will see it.

    Personally, I think the light bulb comment is quite valid since it displays the attitude of the EU legislators.

    Did we really need the EU el al to waste time & money (our money that is) to come up with a directive to tell me which type of light bulb to buy?

    Heck, most of us changed over to energy saving lamps years before the EU even thought of this one.

    The fact that most of us are intelligent to know what is good for us (& our energy bills) without being dictated to seems to be above them.

    There are various reasons why somebody may require a filament bulb rather than an energy saving lamp (it’s all to do with point source VS defused light) & I know that a filament bulb is far better for reading.

    In this case, a filament bulb is the answer, but soon we won’t have a choice any more will we, since the great & good have decided that they are to be phased out over time whether we like it or not.

    Do I see another example of democracy VS dictatorship here?

    I could go into the effects of EU legislation on motorcycle instruction & licence testing, which has been questionable to say the least, but if I start that I’ll just go on & on & we don’t want that do we.

    Remember, never has so much damage been done than by those who “try to do the right thing”.

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  • 180. At 7:32pm on 13 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    177. Boilerplated

    "...."Are you suggesting that nothing introduced in the Constitutional Treaty made it into the Lisbon Treaty? If so we have our agreement." Of course I'm not..."

    Then we can't agree.

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  • 181. At 7:36pm on 13 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    177. Boilerplated

    "...."Are you suggesting that nothing introduced in the Constitutional Treaty made it into the Lisbon Treaty? If so we have our agreement." Of course I'm not..."

    Just a thought you did read the word 'introduced'? This means stuff that wasn't in EEC/EU treaties previous to the Constitutional Treaty.

    The Lisbon Treaty contained nothing like that then?

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  • 182. At 7:37pm on 13 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    166. At 6:19pm on 13 Oct 2009, Zydeco wrote:

    "Yes I am capable of doing my own research , which incidentally once time involved displaying the EU Constitution and the Lisbon Treaty on adjacent screens and comparing them. Not much difference I would say."

    Until you actually read it and thus understood the legalities of it's meaning and not just played "Snap!" with the words.

    "But why should I need to do such research?"

    Because you want to use your democratic vote perhaps, or do you only ever vote as that nice Mr Murdoch or the Barclay brothers tell you to?...

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  • 183. At 7:45pm on 13 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #169. At 6:31pm on 13 Oct 2009, Zydeco wrote:

    "When MPs who vote in Parliament on matters concerning the Treaty admit they don't need to read it because the Whips will tell them how to vote, I despair."

    Well that is true of many bills that go through parliament, not just the Lisbon Treaty ratification, it's a failing of the UK parliament - not the EU or the EP - perhaps we actually need a Federal EU and EP if our own legislative process/system is as poor as you make out, roll on the USoE!... [/irony]

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  • 184. At 8:06pm on 13 Oct 2009, Freeborn John wrote:

    Bolierplated (178): Political power does not grow on trees. It is a finite resource such that any additional power given to the EU "Parliament" must come from somewhere else. The Lisbon Treaty transfers additional co-decision powers to the EU Parliament at the expense of the national governments in the EU Council of Ministers and the national parliaments who must remove whatever of their law that comes into conflict with that created by the EU institutions under Lisbon. Since the EU "Parliament" has less democratic legitimacy than either national governments or parliaments the result of Lisbon would be a reduction in democratic legitimacy of the overall political system.

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  • 185. At 8:43pm on 13 Oct 2009, Chris wrote:

    Here is how EU works, it does not have a supremacy over national govenments except for pillar one, that is the case today, it doesn't need LT.

    The other two pillars are intregovents agreements and national governments have to propose them

    So it looks as if Freejohn is contributing to Global warming with his hot air blowing :)

    The concept of "pillars" is generally used in connection with the Treaty on European Union. Three pillars form the basic structure of the European Union, namely:

    the Community pillar, corresponding to the three Communities: the European Community, the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) and the former European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC)

    (first pillar);
    the pillar devoted to the common foreign and security policy, which comes under Title V of the EU Treaty

    (second pillar);
    the pillar devoted to police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters, which comes under Title VI of the EU Treaty

    (third pillar).
    The Treaty of Amsterdam transferred some to the first pillar

    You can find the pillar competences if you like. The bottom line there is no real dictatorship, however it exists in people's imaginations

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  • 186. At 8:43pm on 13 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #170. At 6:31pm on 13 Oct 2009, T1m0thy wrote:

    "The light bulb comment I have to say I find just sad. If the most [people] can find wrong with Europe is to complain about environmentally motivated legislation which was voted on by your elected representatives in the European parliament and approved by the democratically elected government of the UK it's a sad day."

    Tim, the issue goes deeper than the lightweight (no pun intended), tabloid, comment from "forgottenukcitizen", the problem is that whilst these new CFLs use less power when in use, they use much more power than we are being told in their whole of life period, from manufacture through to correct disposal/recycling (more on that delightful chestnut later...).

    Regardless of what the propaganda says they are not direct replacements for TF bulbs, in my experience one needs to use a bulb of 20 - 40Ws greater power to get the same equivalent LUX from a CFL compared to a TF bulb. Then they are not always suitable for the typical light fitting found in the average modern house, many types can't be used with dimmer circuits, photo-cell switches, time switches or recessed/totally enclosed fittings (that counts out just about all non low voltage halogen bathroom lights in the UK!).

    They cost more than TF bulbs, and what ever the propaganda states, they may not last any longer than TF bulbs due to people having to use them in such installations or fitting outlined above.

    The main complaint about TF bulbs is that they waste power, but whilst they are not admittedly the most efficient electric fires, in 95% of installations their heat doesn't go to waste, for three quarters of the year they simple help heat the room (obviously in warmer climates that might not be helpful though but in the northern climates of the EU most people will accept any help they get with heating...).

    Now to the real objection I have, recycling, or not as the case may be, the insides of the CFL are quite hazardous, if the house holder has a CFL smash how many know the correct method of clearing up the powder mess, most I suspect will reach for the vacuum cleaner - WRONG, very WRONG - at the end of their life, how many people know the correct disposal method, how many will just put it out with the non recycled garbage - WRONG - how many shops make a policy of telling people they accept old CFLs back for recycling, how many manufactures have put in place (despite the WEEE regs) such schemes, or at least told the customers, I've yet to find any such instructions with any of the CFLs I've dealt with.

    In short, the switch to CFLs was paved with good intent but no one in the EU considered the full picture - this annoys me as it's given just the sort of ammunition that the euro-bashers can use, and highly popular it is to.

    This is one example of were the Lisbon Treaty would have helped, more local (national) parliament scrutiny would have disclosed national issues before the policy was passed at the EP/EU level.

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  • 187. At 8:48pm on 13 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #179 forgottenukcitizen

    It seems to me that once again the greatest problem about the UK and the EU is one of perception. You are incensed about the lightbulbs. I regard that as a perfectly reasonable democratically made decision made by the member countries of the EU as part of a plan to reduce CO2 emissions. I don't think they could have done it another way because people would have continued using tungsten lighting because the lamps were cheap. What were the legislators supposed to do make tungsten lamps available on prescription? As another point with regard to EU wide cessation of selling products did you get all upset when they stopped selling leaded petrol?

    The EU has achieved a lot that it gets no credit for, for instance curbing Microsoft's anti competitive practices which did impact on you and me. The US government tried to do the same and failed but the EU succeeded.

    Another example is the EU forcing the mobile phone companies to stop their massive overcharging on roaming. In an increasingly mobile world where EU citizens move at will from one country to another it took EU wide powers to do that.

    With regard to your comments about contributions to the EU I suggest you look at the following http://www.eu-oplysningen.dk/euo_en/spsv/all/79/ it makes very interesting reading. If any nation has a reason to complain about the EU in purely financial terms it has to be the Germans but they as a nation always think long term in their investment strategies whereas the Brits unfortunately think short term.

    One of the long term aims of the EU is bring all members up to the same standard. This is not altruism, the more GDP each country has, the more it spends which benefits the whole community.

    In someways it doesn't matter to me if the UK decides to pull out. I live in France and the EU has done me proud. I do have two sons and two granddaughters who live in the UK and for this reason would be horrified if the anti's got their way.

    The referendum seekers, most of who seem to be on the conservative right, are hypocritical. The most fundamental piece of EU legislation ever put through was Maastricht. Did the then conservative government give you a referendum on that? They said that referendums destroyed Parliamentary democracy and they didn't sit well with the idea of strong government.

    Whenever someone tells you that such and such is a direct result of EU legislation in future dig about a bit because it's been my experience that more often and not that is not true. This was especially the case in Environmental Health legislation where the original EU guidelines ran to less than three A4 pages and the UK local government jobsworths turned it into a major industry. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the same turns out to be the case with your motor bike stuff.
    Sorry I've been banging on a bit. Hope it helps.

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  • 188. At 8:57pm on 13 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #184 Freeborn-John
    And your point is what exactly. Is the European Parliament a democratically elected body? You are playing the same game Europhobes always play.
    1. Don't give power to the European parliament and so the national government leaders who really quite enjoy hanging onto power make thier decisions in a little private cabal.
    2. It's undemocratic you cry.
    We can all play those games, the losers will be the British public. Britain didn't join the Euro because of the Europhobes, are you going to give everyone their money back now that the £ is worth 30% less than it was a year ago? I'm sure you'll tell me that it will bounce back but history shows the £ on an inexorable slide since WW2.

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  • 189. At 9:00pm on 13 Oct 2009, Freeborn John wrote:

    ChrisArta (185): One of the major changes in Lisbon is the 'collapsing' of the pillar structure such that the decision-making mechanisms of the first pillar of European Community law become applicable across almost the entire range of policy fields. As you say, under the first pillar the EU currently has supremacy over national governments. Under Lisbon there is no longer any second or third pillar; just the old 'community method' of the first pillar that is now renamed the 'ordinary legislative procedure'.

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  • 190. At 9:07pm on 13 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #176. At 7:02pm on 13 Oct 2009, Zydeco wrote:

    "Which takes us full circle. How many people voted Labour at the last election because of their PROMISE to have a referendum on the EU Constitution."

    But how many knew then that the Constitutional treat, that would have been the subject of a referendum, would be abandoned? Sorry but you just can't seem to get your brain cells around the little issues that there is absolutely no point, what so ever, in holding a referendum on a treaty that is no longer extant!

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  • 191. At 9:33pm on 13 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #179. At 7:31pm on 13 Oct 2009, forgottenukcitizen wrote:

    "As i've already said; that’s the problem; if people don’t see any benefits, they won’t feel part of it."

    This is the chicken or egg quandary, with the UK tending to shun the EU at every possible opportunity and corner there are few and far between possibilities for them to see any benefits - in this respect the UK is it's own worst enemy, sowing the seeds of their own professes of doom!

    One example, high speed rail, through running of trains (what at one time would have been called intercontinental trains), whilst the majority of the EU have actually gained from the Schengen Agreement (both in transport links, policing and security) the UK's opt-out - that also causes problems for Southern Ireland - has left us with with one HSL and only three HSL 'door-to-door' destinations within the UK. Whilst it's true that there are technical issues that restrict non British trains running in the UK it doesn't stop UK trains from travelling more widely. Not being in the Schengen area has not stopped the problems of illegal immigration, in fact many consider that it has made the problem worse as once here it's actually more difficult for 'illegals' to go back or move on elsewhere within the EU or even beyond the EU outer land borders.

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  • 192. At 9:43pm on 13 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    190. Boilerplated

    "…you just can't seem to get your brain cells around the little issues that there is absolutely no point, what so ever, in holding a referendum on a treaty that is no longer extant!.."

    I'm not sure whether to be disappointed or pleased that your rudeness isn't solely directed at me.

    If the Lisbon Treaty contains material newly introduced in the Constitutional Treaty then the electorate has a legitimate expectation that the new treaty be 'put to them'.

    It is not for one side in an 'offer and acceptance' situation to unilaterally alter the terms of an agreement.

    The treachery of the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties should be broadcast from the highest rooftops between now and the election.

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  • 193. At 9:44pm on 13 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    180. At 7:32pm on 13 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    "177. Boilerplated

    "...."Are you suggesting that nothing introduced in the Constitutional Treaty made it into the Lisbon Treaty? If so we have our agreement." Of course I'm not..."

    Then we can't agree."


    Not we can't if you start trolling by miss quoting, attempting top make out that I said the complete opposite to what I actually did... Just to put on the record, again, what I did say in the reply @ #177;

    [quote]
    Of course I'm not, but just because it contains elements of a previous treaty (provisional or ratified) it doesn't mean that it's the same document under a different name.
    [unquote]

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  • 194. At 9:50pm on 13 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    188. T1m0thy

    "…are you going to give everyone their money back now that the £ is worth 30% less than it was a year ago?.."

    Don't blame the EU sceptics for Gordon Brown's failure to defend the currency. He says there are disadvantages to 'spotting' the pound and T1m0thy points to the result. I hope those who voted for Dear Leader are happy.

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  • 195. At 9:53pm on 13 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    191. Boilerplated
    "Southern Ireland"

    Minor point, but it's Eire or Ireland. Donegal is not in the South.

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  • 196. At 9:58pm on 13 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #184. At 8:06pm on 13 Oct 2009, Freeborn-John wrote:

    "The Lisbon Treaty transfers additional co-decision powers to the EU Parliament at the expense of the national governments"

    No it doesn't, national parliaments still have to ratify any directives for the EP/EU and what is more they get greater abilities to directly input into the decision making process BEFORE they have to go through ratifying process. All in all the national parliaments have MORE power to influence policy under the LT that they do currently.

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  • 197. At 10:06pm on 13 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #192 rg

    And the treachery of the current conservative position which is to promise a referendum but only if the treaty hasn't been ratified by everyone else and then hope that it is. The conservatives effectively have no position on Europe they are hopelessly compromised and split. If they get into power they will run aground on the rock called Europe as they have before.

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  • 198. At 10:10pm on 13 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    193. Boilerplated

    "…it doesn't mean that it's the same document under a different name…"

    Where did I suggest that it was?

    My contention is that it was deceitful to cut and paste the Constitutional Treaty into the Lisbon Treaty and then say a referendum was no longer required.

    If the Lisbon Treaty contained no element newly introduced in the Constitutional Treaty then this would be fair enough. If a General Election were called (before ratification) with the referendum commitment withdrawn then this also would be fair enough.

    Neither of these two things happened. Labour and their Liberal Democrat allies instead chose the path of duplicity.

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  • 199. At 10:10pm on 13 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #198 rg

    Hollow laugh, the devil himself couldn't have defended the £ don't blame poor old Gordon for that one. The £ dived because the UK economy is unfortunately a house of cards. Too much emphasis on financial services, too much borrowing, a massively inflated property market. That wasn't Gordon Brown that was just UK inc.

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  • 200. At 10:25pm on 13 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    197. T1m0thy

    "…the treachery of the current conservative position which is to promise a referendum but only if the treaty hasn't been ratified…"

    The Conservatives, true to their word, voted for a referendum in parliament. They have yet to say what they would do post ratification in any manifesto that I know of.

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  • 201. At 10:27pm on 13 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    199. T1m0thy

    That wasn't Gordon Brown that was just UK inc.

    You haven't been listening to him these past dozen years.

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  • 202. At 10:32pm on 13 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #187. At 8:48pm on 13 Oct 2009, T1m0thy wrote:

    "The EU has achieved a lot that it gets no credit for, for instance curbing Microsoft's anti competitive practices which did impact on you and me. The US government tried to do the same and failed but the EU succeeded."

    If you substitute Intel for Microsoft I'm in totally agreement with you on that comment Tim, it's (relativity) easy to live without Microsoft but not so easy to live without AMD and with an over priced Intel product...

    "I wouldn't be at all surprised if the same turns out to be the case with your ["forgottenukcitizen"] motor bike stuff."

    Having just re-read the comments @ #179, from what was said I would almost certainly say that it's was a UK legislative move (heck in some EU countries they have only recently found crash helmets...), there was certainly moves in the late 1980s early 90s - from memory - to stop high powered motor bikes finding their way into the hands of inexperienced riders in the UK, I suspect that if anything such legislation has been drawn up by the EU it's been a UK government initiative rather than another's.

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  • 203. At 10:40pm on 13 Oct 2009, Chris wrote:

    Hi FreeJohn, I'm sorry to disagree with you, please, please check again before you make up your mind completely on this point. You will be pleasantly surprised to find out that Unlike the Constitutional Treaty of 2004, the Reform Treaty of Lisbon preserves the dualistic structure of EU primary law. Also as I'm sure you know laws & legislation can be requested by anyone not only by the commision a national minister or EMP or the commision. The commision has the task to write a draft law "Green paper" and present it, then the Euro parliament has to discuss it and agree it, plus the committe of regions has to review it and comment on it, plus social and economic committe has to review it and comment on it. Then the council (made up by national ministers all 27) has to decide and "horse-trade" on it, then it becomes laws after it is agreed by the council. That is hardly a one way traffic or fast and furious law trafic. By the way one good thing about the LT is it proposes to make the council meeting (27 ministers) public currently they are not. So in that respect it can only be a good thing to know what the national mister agreed to.

    I hope the above gives you a little more confidence in the LT and the EU, of cause there is a chance yo made up your mind and no amount of information will convince you otherwise, but I still hope you have an open mind. :)

    Cheers, Chris.

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  • 204. At 10:47pm on 13 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #192. At 9:43pm on 13 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    "If the Lisbon Treaty contains material newly introduced in the Constitutional Treaty then the electorate has a legitimate expectation that the new treaty be 'put to them'."

    Why, no other treaty was put to a referendum, funny how the Tories suddenly find referenda when it suits their political purpose...

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  • 205. At 10:56pm on 13 Oct 2009, -StuartC- wrote:

    150. At 4:26pm on 13 Oct 2009, Boilerplated wrote:

    "Care to cite that, of course you won't as you know you can't!"

    --------------------------------

    Whoops ... wrong I'm afraid. I will cite it with pleasure and, at the same time, thank you for the opportunity to reinforce the point.

    The poll I referred to later in my original comment @ 133 (excluded, strangely, from your chosen extract) was carried out by the independent polling company TNS in all 27 member countries for the think tank Open Europe, back in March 2007.

    It showed that 75% of people in the EU want a referendum on any new treaty which gives more powers to the EU - that in the UK, 83% would want a vote to be held - and that a majority in all 27 countries would want a referendum.

    It also showed that 23% think the EU should keep the powers it has now, but should not be given any more and that 41% think the EU should have less powers than it has now and that more decisions should be taken at a national or local level.

    Please correct me if wrong, but isn't that 64% of people who want the status quo or less powers for the EU?

    Your mention of election results is irrelevant when referendum results provide evidence of public opinion to the contrary. Elections are fought on all manner of issues and it's absurd (in fact, quite an elitist outlook) to hold the view that voters support every single policy of the party they vote for.

    Especially new policies and actions undertaken after the last election. Do remind us, for example, when the last UK general election took place, and when the Lisbon Treaty was agreed.

    Finally, I have to say, I'm really quite impressed by your apparently exclusive talent for italicising other people's comments in your replies. Very, er, professional!

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  • 206. At 11:00pm on 13 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #201 rg
    Gordon Brown did not invent the borrow beyond your means give everyone more credit than they can possibly afford culture that the UK imported wholesale from the states. He could be accused of not doing enough to stop or control it, but what politician wants to be the one robbing his electorate of what they see as their justifiable goodies. Britsh borrowing and savings habits are terrifying.
    I have no mortgage a reasonable income and yet had lived in France for five years before they offered me a credit card and then the credit limit was €1000. In the UK I used to get a card a month offered to me on an unsolicited basis with credit limits in the 000's
    Given the background of most of the senior echelons of the conservative shadow cabinet I can't see them reining in the city.
    I think a supposedly undemocratic Europe is the least of the UK's worries.

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  • 207. At 11:08pm on 13 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    198. At 10:10pm on 13 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    "193. Boilerplated

    "…it doesn't mean that it's the same document under a different name…"

    Where did I suggest that it was?

    My contention is that it was deceitful to cut and paste the Constitutional Treaty into the Lisbon Treaty and then say a referendum was no longer required."


    You sure are tying yourself up in knots!

    If it is not the same document, which you now claim that you never said it was, then it doesn't need the referendum on the "Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe" does it, as it's not the constitutional treaty that the previous document was and thus required a EU wide referendum. QED

    All I can assume is that you have never actually bothered to read either the first document (the "Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe"), the second document (the "Lisbon Treaty") or possible neither, such is you mixed up state of mind.

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  • 208. At 11:10pm on 13 Oct 2009, Chris wrote:

    Hmmm good to see it was published eurosceptic "Open Europe"!

    Just out of curiosity now, this is a question to everyone in this board, given that Libertas (or under its logo/ideology) had candidates in most EU countries during the June Euro elections, does anyone know what % of support they gatherd EU wide? That should give us some idea as the level of support there is EU wide for more referendums.

    I'm really interested in the above if anyone knows please tell me.

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  • 209. At 11:16pm on 13 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    In reply to comments made @ #199

    "That wasn't Gordon Brown that was just UK inc."

    Without getting to deep into Mr Pestons editorial area (and thus way off here), it was actually cause by the Tories in the 1980s, rather than modernise dated industries (as Germany, France, Italy and Spain did) Thatcher preferred just to create the conditions for the wholesale closure of many 'heavy' industry and replace them by financial and services industries, along with a 'right to buy' that started locking large numbers of people into the mortgage system - all of which is what imploded last year...

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  • 210. At 11:32pm on 13 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    205. At 10:56pm on 13 Oct 2009, -StuartC- wrote:

    "The poll I referred to later in my original comment @ 133 (excluded, strangely, from your chosen extract) was carried out by the independent polling company TNS in all 27 member countries for the think tank Open Europe, back in March 2007."

    If the best you can do is cite an opinion poll (that can be swayed by who bought the poll, the questions asked, how they are asked, who they ask (the sample) and by how the results are presented) then you must be really desperate, try citing a national election were the voters elected an anti EU government or President - or lets make it a bit easier, a government or president that is just anti the LT.

    France has held such an election, did they elect an anti EU/Lisbon government or president?... Germany has held such an election, did they elect a anti EU/Lisbon government or president?... No, they both elected a government and President fully in support of the Lisbon Treaty.

    Nice try but keep clutching at straws, you might find the clue yet...

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  • 211. At 11:42pm on 13 Oct 2009, -StuartC- wrote:

    Boilerplated wrote @ 178:

    "national parliaments actually get MORE powers, not less!

    -------------------------------------

    More than national 60 vetoes removed in the Lisbon Treaty, extra powers over many new policy areas handed over, and a new 'self-amending' method of changing the treaties to increase the EU's powers in future.

    And you claim national parliaments get MORE powers? Please.

    Sure, in the Lisbon Treaty, national parliaments do get the right in principle to ask the Commission to review a new proposal.

    But (a) in that review the Commission can choose to maintain their proposal with impunity, so the provision is ultimately powerless.

    And (b) the rules parliaments must comply with to even provoke a review in the first place (numbers of parliaments deciding to support a review within a specific time period) are so restrictive as to make it near impossible.

    This provision, much-hyped by fans of EU-style centralisation of decision-making away from democratic fora, is a trinket compared to what's being lost.

    If you think national parliaments are winners from the Lisbon Treaty, you'd better read the German Constitutional Court's judgement on the treaty - and the action they insisted the government take to allow it to coexist in German law with their Constitution.

    The Court pointed out: "The status of national parliaments is considerably curtailed by the reduction of decisions requiring unanimity and the supranationalisation of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters."

    Who should we believe here?

    Neither is it irrational to criticise the EU Parliament getting more power. Who are MEPs accountable to, really? How many were lodged at the top of regional lists by their parties and guaranteed a seat almost regardless of how people voted?

    Many owe their positions almost entirely to their party, so in truth how accountable does that make them to us?

    Even if we had every UK MEP aligned against a particular EU law, how much influence is that over EU Parliament decisions anyway? Tiny! Could they block a law? No.

    This is the whole trouble with the EU debate. Supporters of ever more powers for remote EU institutions just refuse to engage with the hard realities of proposals and, more broadly, where the EU is heading. Consequently debate soon degrades into political labelling and name-calling. It's all so lame.

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  • 212. At 00:01am on 14 Oct 2009, -StuartC- wrote:

    Boilerplated wrote @ 207:

    "All I can assume is that you have never actually bothered to read either the first document (the "Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe"), the second document (the "Lisbon Treaty") or possible neither, such is you mixed up state of mind."

    ---------------------------

    The House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee certainly did, and they concluded that the two documents were "substantially equivalent".

    They are the specialist House of Commons body set up to scrutinise EU legislation.

    Should we not take their view seriously?

    Nevermind the numerous European politicians who at the time claimed various 90%+ percentage similarities between the two documents.

    Even Valery Giscard d'Estaing, chief architect of the original EU Constitution, proudly declared: "All the earlier proposals will be in the new text, but will be hidden and disguised in some way."

    Are we supposed to ignore all these voices contradicting your view?

    The idea that the two documents weren't essentially the same - the Lisbon Treaty merely the repackaged changes that the original EU Constitution wrapped up in one bundle with existing treaties - is not tenable.

    The end consolidated effect will be essentially the same as the original EU Constitution. As Giscard said, all the big changes are still there - president, foreign minister, diplomatic service, loss of vetoes, loss of powers for national parliaments etc. etc.

    Pretending otherwise and refusing the promised referendum was an unforgivable deceit on the part of our own government. That decision struck a fatal blow to public faith and trust in Gordon Brown right at the start of his leadership, from which I believe he has never recovered.

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  • 213. At 00:09am on 14 Oct 2009, -StuartC- wrote:

    ChrisArta wrote @ 208:

    Hmmm good to see it was published eurosceptic "Open Europe"!

    --------------------------------

    Yes, results published by, but the poll wasn't *conducted* by them.

    As I said, the poll was conducted by the TNS - a leading international polling organisation.

    If you have doubts about their methodology that provided the results, or wish to accuse them of some kind of bias, may I suggest you take it up with them. Search 'TNS global market research'.

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  • 214. At 00:40am on 14 Oct 2009, -StuartC- wrote:

    Boilerplated wrote @ 210:

    "If the best you can do is cite an opinion poll ... then you must be really desperate, try citing a national election were the voters elected an anti EU government or President ... Nice try but keep clutching at straws, you might find the clue yet..."

    ---------------------------

    I hesitate to suggest that it is probably the person who looks only to previous election results to discern the views of the public on every single policy issue who is not entirely connected to reality.

    Opinions change. That's how governments change. We may shortly get a much more EU-critical government here in Britain. Perhaps we'll see then how keen you are on this line about elections.

    Dismissing the entire opinion polling industry in one lofty sweep because they deliver inconvenient conclusions isn't really a credible response.

    But it does serve to reinforce my views of the pro-EU mindset. The EU does the same thing to referendum results.

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  • 215. At 02:01am on 14 Oct 2009, kalicokat wrote:

    The comments included in this blog reminds me of the quote of Churchill "The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter." It's true for everybody including my home the US of A. It is what it is.

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  • 216. At 06:36am on 14 Oct 2009, Arn_Silvester wrote:

    FOR ALL THOSE REFERING TO VACLAV KLAUS:

    1. According to the current EC Law, each new Treaty (or indeed any amendments of former Treaties) needs to be duly ratified by ALL Member States prior to coming into force. The same applies to the Lisbon Treaty and therefore it must be lawfully ratified in all the Member States, including the Czech Republic. Otherwise, it is just a useless piece of paper (said with a little bit of downplay). And the EC and EU Treaties as amended in Nice will continue to apply.

    2. Ratification in a particular Member State is a matter of laws and legal construction in that particular State. The ratification process in the Czech Republic is a matter of law for the Czech Republic. No other Member State (including France) has any right to interfere with the ratification process in the Czech Republic. Even less permissible is to use the intimidation and other mafia tactics of the French diplomats and the EU big pots against our president Klaus as they currently do. Using these repugnant tactics only shows how much so called ‘democracy’ is left in the EU and where we all are headed after the Lisbon Treaty is fully ratified.

    3. According to our (Czech) Constitution and its legal construction, the president’s signature is necessary for any statutes and international/EC treaties to have effect. It is not a mere formality like in the UK, where since the revolution of 1689 and the doctrine of Parliamentary sovereignty, the Crown has no real power of veto over statutes of the UK Parliament. Our president, on the contrary, has no duty (neither in practice nor in theory) to sign any statutes/treaties. In fact, he has a real and widely exercised right of veto over a large amount of the laws passed by the Czech Parliament. So the position is that no one can force him to sign the Lisbon treaty.

    4. President Klaus has also every right to ask for special guaranties for its citizens and opt outs from the Charter of Fundamental Rights/and other parts of the Treaty if he wishes do so. In fact, it is his duty to do it. Both Poland and the UK have such Charter opt outs. Furthermore, Denmark has opt outs in relation to the whole Chapter IV of the TEU – all agenda relating to justice and home affairs.

    5. Let me also stress that there is no time limit for our president to negotiate these and other opt outs. He has also, in line with our constitution, the right to represent our state abroad and negotiate and ratify all Treaties, such as the Lisbon Treaty. The only requirement is that the treaties/opt outs etc. negotiated or proposed by our president must be co-signed by the Prime minister (currently Fisher).

    As to the arguments about negotiating these opt out sooner, the problem was that Klaus has always criticised the Lisbon Treaty and long before requested the opt-outs BUT neither the previous and current Czech representation nor the EU officials have been taking him seriously. They always glanced over the problem, probably thinking that because Klaus’s conditions and suggested opt-outs require a co-signature by the Prime minister, and that the eager for-Lisbon-flunkey (Czech prime minister) will not agree to such opt outs or never brings them to the negotiation table, they do not need to bother with the objections nor with Klaus.

    Well, as we can clearly see they need to always take Klaus into account. Stupidly enough, none of the eager Lisbon supporters in the Czech Government and EU machinery came into terms with the fact, that if they ignore Klaus and his requirements, he has every right not to sign the Lisbon treaty, and that he will use it so the Lisbon will not come into effect until his conditions are met. And no one can force him to sign it, even if Sarkozy and his bogus diplomats take a proper stand on their heads.

    6. The changes Klaus wants can be quickly adopted. It is now for the EU officials (who previously only ignored him) to act. If they wish the Treaty to survive, they will come up with a solution. It is nothing new in the EC history and it can be quickly resolved.

    The funny thing is that the country which tries to push Klaus the most, threaten him and get rid of him– meaning mainly France and its bogus president– is the same country which had no problems to halt the progress of the EC and EU on numerous occasions in the past. It is also the country which posed a numerous obstructions to the EC trade in order to be able to protect and discriminate in favour of their own nationals, especially in the area of agriculture. See for example the Luxemburg accords and the Ionnina compromise in 1966 when France blocked the whole EC Council in order to guarantee advantageous farm price proposals for its farmers.

    7. There are no doubts that the current French president will only continue these gutless two-faced French tactics, especially in the time of economic crisis. His protectionist tendencies have already been apparent, e.g. during the G20 summit, when he was threatening to leave when things didn’t go according to his plan. With people like him leading significant EU states (e.g. France), no state should be keen to surrender its right of veto in the European Council. It is clear that Sarkozy can - with help of other states (having the same interests)- force through the laws inconvenient for our nation much more easily with Lisbon treaty than without it. This can happen for example in the area of the current proposals to cut the heroic amount of green gases by 2020 as it is planned. This is clearly much more advantageous for big economies, which economic growth has already reached its peak in the past then for economies of the Czech Republic Poland, Slovakia, and others (among others also Italy) which all protested against such plans that can only hurt our growing industries and economies because our growth is currently significantly higher than growth of the rich economies as it did not yet reach its peaks. We have already been forced to cut a great amount of green gases since the end of the communist era and further cuts are in a current economic climate only irresponsible solution. Moreover, all these ecological heroic plans will be very profitable for French and German companies that have been preparing for launching these on the advice of their governments for a long time. Needless to say that any pro-claimed positive impact on the environment (so widely published) is only questionable and illusory, especially if the US, Cina, India, Rusia and other huge polluters are not going to adhere to these standards, thus ensuring for themselves an important economic advantage on the relevant markets.

    I think that our president should therefore require opt outs and/or guarantees also in this regard. European economy (and if you don’t like Klaus's attitudes at least the economy of the Czech Republic) should be saved from these highly impractical agreements and solutions.

    All in all, I, as a Czech citizen, am only proud of my president. It is one of the few people in the EU who actually defends our nation and is able to think critically about democratically deficient European institutions and all the machinery behind them. It is this EU machinery, operating with the help of certain prominent influential states, which, moreover, starts to use mafia tactics and force sovereign states into hasty signing of its EU Treaties, threatening to oust our president in addition to blackmailing us with EU expulsion, all this in a mafia like fashion without respecting proper constitutional procedure in the Czech Republic. If they are doing this prior to signing of the Lisbon Treaty, when the right of veto still exists, it is hardly imaginable what will follow if the Lisbon Treaty is ever adopted. Long live the Klaus! Hang in there man! You have a real support of the majority of the Czech citizens and many other European citizens indeed!


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  • 217. At 08:11am on 14 Oct 2009, CornwallCoastPath wrote:

    In the short time that I've been looking at this blog, one very pro-EU contributor - Boilerplated - seems to have added getting on for 100 entries. Just what is it, I wonder, that motivates Boilerplated and people like him / her to be such unrelenting advocates of European integration and Britain's participation in it?

    Could it be the prospect of not having to show a passport or change currency when going on a Tuscan holiday? Or is it a higher ideal, such as people of many nations and opinions living together in peace, harmony, tolerance and mutual respect? Possibly, but the rather intolerant and disrespectful tone of many of those entries would seem to suggest otherwise.

    Part of the answer, I think, lies in the demise of the USSR. Many on the left in Britain, while not necessarily agreeing with what the USSR did internally, saw it as an important counterweight to the USA on the world stage. With the USSR gone, a natural question to ask is: who should now fulfil that role?

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  • 218. At 09:29am on 14 Oct 2009, Wonthillian wrote:

    ~217

    Part of the reason is that this blog is rather disproportionately full of Eurosceptics, and it is sometimes necessary for those of us who believe in the principles of the European Union (though not necessarily in favour of a Federal Europe) to work harder to redress the balance somewhat. Yes, there is a certain security in belonging to a large club to counter the dominance of, not only the USA but also Russia and Asia. Britain used to have an Empire. It hasn't now. Some people need to get used to that fact and recognise that we need to find alliances elsewhere. This doesn't mean getting subsumed into a superstate. As a UK resident, I can continue to drive on the left, speak English, and, using pounds and pence I can buy beer in pints and buy stamps with the Queen's head on which I can post in a red pillar box. I also have to use a passport to get to France which is a bit inconvenient but a lot of people seem to be happy with that situation.

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  • 219. At 10:13am on 14 Oct 2009, Freeman wrote:

    "This doesn't mean getting subsumed into a superstate."
    Tell that to the EU. ^^

    I used to be vaguely OK with the EU. It had some good bits. But as the years progress and I see how it works in reality, I see what type of organisation it will become...and it scares the hell out of me. I fear for the future of my children. The sceptics are mocked for referring to the EUSSR but seeing how the EU operates on dissenters and its general setup I can see it going this way all too easily.

    BP/Timmeh: You may now proceed to shoot the messenger some more... not sent by anyone, just someone with his own message. Perhaps you can accuse me of eating babies or something.

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  • 220. At 10:17am on 14 Oct 2009, Chris wrote:

    @217 It is to try and point out to people that there is no EUSSR!!!!! Only in paranoid dreams such entity exists, dream land is also the same place where EU is a faceless dictatorship. Wake up from your dreams!

    @ StuartC how did Veritas go EU wide?

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  • 221. At 11:07am on 14 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    This is one of the best blogs I have ever taken part in. Very informative very stimulating, very interesting about a subject if vital importance to all Europeans.
    To me the fact that those of both camps who have taken the time and trouble to research the Lisbon Treaty cannot agree on an interpretation says two things.

    1. It may indeed be too complex.

    2. It is defintely not the subject for a referendum. If the 'experts can't agree what hope is there for the rest of us?

    I believe that a strong and well integrated Europe is vital for myself but more importantly the future of my children and grandchildren. It is not just a question of a counterbalance to the US, it's a counterbalance to China, Russia, etc. It is a way of ensuring that those values at the core of European beliefs can be promoted strongly, justice for all, health care for all, freedom to worship or not to worship, to name but three.

    The evidence presented here of the failure of Parliamentary democracy is, if true, a damming inditement of the whip system and the UK Parliament. If we can't trust those we elect to do their job properly who can we trust? A cynic would say that maybe they should spend more time on the job and less padding their expenses.

    The post #216 sets out very clearly the very real fears of a Czech sceptic. I'm not attacking that, the Czechs had most of the last century to refine that scepticism and with good reason. I would ask, however, why did Mr Klaus's reservations not come out earlier? To me his current position smacks of grandstanding.

    Last point but one. I still totally disagree with the concept of referendums to settle matters of this kind. Whether or not you or they think they were promised a referendum is irrelevant, the point is that referendums have fatal flaw when its comes down to their use. As we have seen over the past few years they get hijacked and are used as a way of registering discontent with a current situation/ruling party. If you genuinely want good governance, in my opinion, referendums are not a good way to go.

    Last point. I think that one reason that this blog has been so thought provoking and interesting for me is because I have ignored MAII. It would appear so have others and we have had a good, if robust, debate.

    Thanks to Gavin. What's the next topic?

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  • 222. At 11:13am on 14 Oct 2009, joehoch wrote:

    216 - Arn Sylvester
    Would you care to comment on the lawlessness in the Czech Republic? The suspension of law and order where certain individuals are concerned?
    "JANCIK CANNOT BE BROUGHT DOWN", these were the words of PRIMEMINISTER MIREK TOPOLANEK to Frantisek Laudat, a member of his party ODS in Prague. He has since resigned from the party for this very reason. We, that have been fighting Jancik for years for his many corrupt dealings, we have a right to know, as indeed has the rest of the world. What does Jancik know and about whom, that he cannot be touched? Is it about Klaus?

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  • 223. At 11:13am on 14 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #219 Freeman
    I wouldn't dream of shooting the messenger. Far too crude, I'll merely report you to my superiors in the European Thought Police. You can expect a knock on your door any time now. But don't worry it will all be recorded on those cameras that you voted for.

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  • 224. At 11:20am on 14 Oct 2009, Freeborn John wrote:

    ChrisArta (203): Please be assured that my objections to the EU, and to Lisbon (which would make the problems with the EU worse) are based on a thorough understanding of both existing EU treaties and Lisbon. You are describing the EU of Nice and admit in post 185 that EU currently has "supremacy over national governments" in the first pillar of community law. One of the changes in Lisbon is to rename the Treaty on the European Community (TEC) the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) precisely so that the decision-making method (what was previously known as the 'community method' but in Lisbon is called the 'ordinary legislative procedure') would become the norm almost across the entire range of policies. Furthermore, it is a simple fact that only the EU Commission can make legislative proposals, and indeed that this is its main power. The Lisbon Treaty clearly states that "The ordinary legislative procedure shall consist in the joint adoption by the European Parliament and the Council of a regulation, directive or decision [i]on a proposal from the Commission[/i]". There is no ambiguity about who makes the proposals. No doubt that without a proposal from the undemocratic Commission (which views its job description as 'ever closer union' nothing happens at EU level. The EU Commission has always been able to use this monopoly power to dominate the legislative agenda in the first pillar of community law and would under Lisbon be able to do the same in more politically contested policy areas that were previously protected from it. Furthermore the growth in the number of member-states increases the domination of the Commission relative to national governments, because unanimity is required among national governments in the EU Council of Minsters (see Article 293 TFEU, formerly Article 250 TEC) to amend its proposals which is harder to achieve with 27 members.

    Basing your support for Lisbon on an understanding of the EU of the past is as dangerous as driving a car by looking permanently out of the back window. The inevitable long-term consequence of an ever growing body of superior EU law which requires national parliaments to remove any and all conflicting national legislation no matter how we vote in future elections is that the role of national parliaments will automatically shrink towards vanishing point along with the power of our votes to shape the law we live under. I hope you are both open-minded and forward-thinking enough to see that this is the automatic and inevitable consequence of the EU under Lisbon, and that should Lisbon be ratified, then 20 or 30 years from now your votes will be as powerless to change anything in the politically contested policy fields that were previously kept outside the former first pillar of EU law, as your votes is now to influence the common market regulations that have been agreed under the community method in past decades.

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  • 225. At 11:30am on 14 Oct 2009, Freeman wrote:

    #223 Mock all you want after it could never happen here could it? No history of that kind of thing in Europe and my wonderful lady's childhood memories are all a delusion.

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  • 226. At 11:41am on 14 Oct 2009, forgottenukcitizen wrote:

    187. T1m0thy:

    I think you are playing a little hard on the light bulb thing here Timmy; it was meant to be an example of overzealous macro management on the part of the EU.

    Like I’ve already said; I had already changed over to energy savings devices, along with my parents, neighbours & siblings; it’s in my interests because I pay the bills here.

    Perhaps you are the type of person who believes that you have to be forced into doing what’s right rather than just doing it because it’s the right thing to do?

    As an Engineer, I can tell you that we didn’t need the EU to force us to use unleaded petrol because improved engine technology, materials & fuel quality had made it redundant anyway, so it was in the interests of the oil companies to take the lead out, not least because medical evidence could eventually have been used in damage claims if they didn’t.

    As with the light bulbs, the wheels where all ready in motion, & all the EU did was jump on the band wagon that was already rolling.

    Likewise with Microsoft; Open Source software has become quite popular (eg Firefox, Open Office etc), so they would of had to take a serious look at their pricing & sales practices whether the EU got involved or not.

    Microsoft remains the dominant international software company & will remain so for quite some time to come- EU or not.

    Your other comments are duly noted & I thank you for your detail, but I keep on coming back to the basic question of asking “what’s in it for me”, or indeed my wife & children?

    We can spend many hours discussing who is responsible for the UK’s apparent poor deal in Europe (191. Boilerplated puts it very nicely), but that won’t change the fact that increasing numbers of people are asking this question & drawing a blank.

    France doesn’t need bringing up to standard because it’s all ready up to standard, which is more than can be said of many areas of the UK which are in decline.

    Given this; is it any surprise that many of us feel that we are on the fringe of the EU &, after decades of contributions through our taxes, expect to get something out of it – if not for ourselves, for the next generation?

    If we can’t manage this, then it will probably be better for the UK if we did leave.
    It would be a sad day, but else can we do?

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  • 227. At 11:44am on 14 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #225
    Does not having a sense of humour come with the Europhobe tendency?

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  • 228. At 11:49am on 14 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #224 Freeborn-John
    I don't have a problem with the national Parliaments losing their powers providing that the freely and democratically elected members of the European Parliament are given commensurately greater powers. The problem I have with most UK people of the sceptic tendency is that they don't want that, and aren't honest enough to admit that their real agenda is to haul the UK kicking and screaming out of Europe.

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  • 229. At 11:56am on 14 Oct 2009, joehoch wrote:

    216 Arn-Sylvester
    Would you also care to tell the world about the Mafia University in Pilsen, where people obtained titles from the law faculty, including Jancik of course and the chap he has done favours for in Prague, who got his Doctorat in law there after two weeks "study" instead of the four years? All those many people with false titles in all sorts of positions including very sensitive ones, such as the DEPUTY POLICE PRESIDENT's. He of course just resigned, as have four top people from that University, were not two of those advisors to Vaclav Klaus himself?

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  • 230. At 12:06pm on 14 Oct 2009, Freeborn John wrote:

    T1m0thy (228): The EU Parliament has been given more and more powers since it was first directly elected in 1979, and the result has been a continual worsening of the EU democratic legitimacy crisis. That approach has been proved a failure for 30 years already; yet Lisbon would perpetuate an approach known not to work by giving more powers to the members of an institution that almost nobody can name, and for which fewer and fewer people turn out to vote for in each successive election.

    In retrospect one can say that the the 1970s decision to directly elect the EU Parliament (it was previously staffed by members of national parliaments) was one of the great mistakes in the EU project. It is a mistake that Lisbon does nothing to correct, and would only make worse.

    ----------
    "In those countries where different races dwell together ... the power of the imperial parliament must be limited as jealously as the power of the crown, and many of its functions must be discharged by provincial diets" (Lord Acton, 'Essays in the History of Liberty')

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  • 231. At 12:09pm on 14 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #226 forgottenukcitizen

    Leaving the EU and losing the last of Britain's big manufacturing industry at the same time. All those Japanese/Korean car plants and other industry based in in Britain for one reason, UK membership of the EU. Many Japanese/Koreans speak French as well as they speak English how long do you think those plants will stay in the UK if the UK pulls out and the tariff barriers go up?
    It is unfortunate that because of accidents of history, blatant interference by foreign nationals owning large chunks of the UK media, that the UK has become semi detached from Europe and has not seen many of the benefits of it's membership. I think you would be very much worse off out than in, the £, I would suspect, would go into freefall, but at some point you are going to have to decide and I don't think you have that long. Maybe another five years after which the other members are going to lose patience.

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  • 232. At 12:19pm on 14 Oct 2009, Freeman wrote:

    #227 Try and include a ;-) or ^^ to show you are being humourous rather than just mocking but my point still stands. You do not consider a Political Police to be a future possibility it seems. I do. We have walked this road many times.

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  • 233. At 12:37pm on 14 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #230 Freeborn-John
    I take your point but would have to preface it with
    "in my opinion"

    I will then make the point that, in my opinion, the European Parliament still does not have enough like enough power. Most European decisions are made by effectively a court of star chamber whereby the heads of National Governments horse trade and then this decision is rubber stamped. From their point of view it's a great system because they make the decisions and someone else takes the blame.
    The system of blaming the EU for every unpalatable decision from light bulbs to subsidy has been working for years and suits national politicians very well.
    The reason that voter turnout for the EU parliamentary elections has been remorselessly dropping is that the voters are not stupid and know that they are being asked to vote for a toothless talking shop.

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  • 234. At 12:56pm on 14 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #232 Freeman
    I do consider Brits to be a touch arrogant about the subject of personal liberty given the level of policing in the UK. Do you not think that the French possibly the most anarchisitc, bolshie, society in the EU would put up with a police state, not to mention the Germans, all those brought up since WW2 have a very healthy way of responding to that kind of threat.

    Sorry about the lack of symbols I didn't understand the conventions here they vary a lot.

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  • 235. At 12:59pm on 14 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    207., Boilerplated

    "…All I can assume is that you have never actually bothered to read either the first document (the "Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe"), the second document (the "Lisbon Treaty") or possible neither, such is you mixed up state of mind…"

    The Constitutional Treaty is the one Labour and their Liberal Democrats offered a referendum on in their respective 2005 manifestoes.

    There has not been a change of government since 2005.

    The referendum offer still stands.

    The Lisbon Treaty contains elements of the Constitutional Treaty

    Therefore a referendum should have been held on the Lisbon Treaty if the electorate were not to be cheated by Labour and their Liberal Democrat allies through these illustrious political bodies deciding on what they committed themselves 'to put to the people'

    What I find amazing is that pro EU types are happy for their cause to be advanced by open deception of the public.

    I won't sink to your tactic of debate by insult.

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  • 236. At 1:06pm on 14 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    235 rg
    And what you want is a referendum so that you can then bring in your agenda which is to get the UK out of the EU. Who is telling the big lie?

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  • 237. At 1:09pm on 14 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    212. -StuartC-

    "…Pretending otherwise and refusing the promised referendum was an unforgivable deceit on the part of our own government…"

    Thank you Stuart, the EU going forward, built on deceit. Well done Labour (and not to forget your friends the Liberal Democrat), bastions of democracy all.

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  • 238. At 1:15pm on 14 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    236. T1m0thy

    "…Who is telling the big lie?"

    The Labour and the Liberal Democrat parties fit the bill.

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  • 239. At 1:27pm on 14 Oct 2009, Freeborn John wrote:

    T1m0thy (234 and 140): Individual liberty and representative government are two separate things, with the EU being mainly being one of the degradation of representative government. I cannot agree with you that security cameras are, on their own, a danger to individual liberty. They are no different in principle to policeman’s eyeballs and i assume you are not in favour of blind policeman? If the criminal law is kept within liberal limits then we should all want it to be enforced as efficiently as possible by a police force equipped with the use of modern technologies (subject to appropriate safeguards). Only when the law exceeds liberal limits (for example by becoming paternalistic or prohibiting actions that cause no harm or offense) should we get worried by the efficient enforcement of that illiberal law. By all means champion the cause of liberal limits to the law, but please do not suggest here that Britons should be more concerned about security cameras than the progressive replacement of democratic governance by the one-way expansion of undemocratic EU law that your vote cannot touch.

    Your faith in the EU Parliament also rests on a mistaken belief; i.e. that democracy is the same thing as majority elections. Democracy is more than that. In particular it requires that the people doing the voting are part of a united polity that will agree to be bound by the majority decisions of that group. This is a condition which does not exist across Europe or indeed anywhere on Earth outside national communities. That is why you only see majority rule in nation-states and why the EU "Parliament" should never be mistaken for a democratic institution.

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  • 240. At 1:54pm on 14 Oct 2009, mikewarsaw wrote:

    I live in Warsaw, Poland. As an expat Brit I have observed the Polish political scene over the past 18 years. The principal ally of the British Tories in the EuroParliament is the Polish PiS "Law and Justice" party, which is ultra catholic right wing nationalist, xenophobic, homophobic and europhobic. It has a large group of virulent antisemites as members as it has absorbed the small but highly vociferous neo-fascist extreme right. The views of Mr Kaminski are well known and published over here. He happens to be on the moderate left of PiS! You should read the views of his even more extreme colleagues!
    So the Tories allying themselves with what are east European rabid right-wingers who have far more in common with the British National Party is a surprise, to say the very least.
    Winston Churchill must be turning over in his grave!

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  • 241. At 2:05pm on 14 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #239 Freeborn-John
    It's not just the cameras, it's the biometric id cards, the dna database, the prevention of terrorist act, the police behaviour at large scale demonstrations. The UK is a long way down the road to a police state.
    I do not trust Europhobes because the bottom line is you want the UK out of Europe and you will use any means to acheive that short of actually campaigning for it.
    The reason you won't tell the true story is because you know that the UK public will never buy into it. If they were so concerned about the undemocratic police state that you claim Europe is going to become they would all be voting for UKIP and Britain would be out of the EU.
    Most Brits know that the EU brings them a benefit, they also know that leaving would bring a very large downside, Europhobes don't want to have to reveal the true depth of that downside. What you want is a nice referendum where you can blur the edges and throw a spanner in the works without having to come clean on your real motives. My guess is that many of you live in the hope that finally the rest of the EU will become so exasperated that they ask the UK to leave. That would suit you because it would then be, yet again, the fault of the EU.

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  • 242. At 2:49pm on 14 Oct 2009, -StuartC- wrote:

    ChrisArta wrote @ 220:

    "@ StuartC how did Veritas go EU wide?"

    -------------------------

    Do you mean Libertas? They flopped. All too predictable. Declan Ganley I fear was gripped by a dose of meglomania after his initial referendum victory and underestimated the scale of that task. Bit off more than he could chew!

    His problems trying to find allies in each country to sign up to a single pan-European manifesto illustrated graphically for me Europe's political diversity.

    It served to confirm why the EU's mission to over-ride all that from above and 'guide' stripped-out institutions of national democracy with common policies beyond the reach of meaningful public input are doomed to cause pressure points and, potentially, instability on our continent.

    It's not a very encouraging future.

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  • 243. At 3:04pm on 14 Oct 2009, -StuartC- wrote:

    T1m0thy wrote @ 221:

    "To me the fact that those of both camps who have taken the time and trouble to research the Lisbon Treaty cannot agree on an interpretation says two things. 1. It may indeed be too complex. 2. It is defintely not the subject for a referendum. If the 'experts can't agree what hope is there for the rest of us?"

    ---------------------

    Re. point 1 - I think part of the problem is that the EU makes its treaties deliberately vague, safe in the knowledge that any dispute about the EU's rights to act under the treaty are then arbitrated by another EU body - the EU Courts of Justice.

    Re. point 2 - The whole point of a debate on a controversial issue, it seems to me, is for the arguments to be put and for individuals to make up their minds and act accordingly.

    Not to expect the protagonists to come to agreement.

    In that sense people voting in a referendum can then act as a jury over their claims. This is especially important when the question relates, as it does with EU treaties, to changing the nature of where governing power lies. That ultimately being the possession of the people, only on loan to politicians and certainly not the possession of any band of 'experts' to do with as they please.

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  • 244. At 3:18pm on 14 Oct 2009, Freeborn John wrote:

    T1m0thy (241): The UK should first attempt to negotiate the return of powers lost in the treaties of Amsterdam (including the Masstricht opt-outs that were surrendered then) and Nice, and Lisbon too should it ever be ratified. There would only be a need to resort to withdrawal if other countries refuse to enter serious negotiations or if they cannot be concluded satisfactorily. In that eventuality i would not resort to "any means"; a simple referendum should suffice.

    There was a time when EEC membership was clearly a net benefit to the UK but that time is past. The two key long-term trends responsible for the change are (i) the rising costs of membership, both financial (and the indirect costs of membership dwarf the direct cost of UK contributions to the EU budget) and damage to democracy caused by the unasked for political union, and (ii) the disappearing benefit of being inside the EU customs union as tariffs in the wider world have dropped from about 30% in the 1970s to an average of 2% today (and 0% in services which now employs the vast majority of the British workforce). These are long-term trends which i believe have already turned the UK cost/benefit calculation negative, and will continue to undermine the former advantages of EEC membership.

    The exact situation could only be worked out by a full-scale cost benefit analysis conducted by the UK government, and to date no British government has done such a thing. The Swiss government however have done exactly this and concluding that EU membership would be nine times more expensive for Switzerland than the current Swiss-EU bilateral relationship. Given the similarities in the UK and Swiss economies, both of which feature major finance and pharmaceutical sectors, it is likely the calculation would be similar for Britain. Never-the-less we should first seek to correct these problems by renegotiating the return of power and budget back from Brussels.

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  • 245. At 3:40pm on 14 Oct 2009, -StuartC- wrote:

    Iantownhill wrote @ 218:

    "Part of the reason is that this blog is rather disproportionately full of Eurosceptics, and it is sometimes necessary for those of us who believe in the principles of the European Union (though not necessarily in favour of a Federal Europe) to work harder to redress the balance somewhat."

    -------------------------------

    Out of interest, where does the boundary lie as regards power transfers to the EU for someone who believes "in the principles of the European Union (though not necessarily in favour of a Federal Europe)"?

    What step of integration would be a step too far?

    I ask because, in my experience, people who make this claim just so happen nevertheless to support every single new treaty that comes along without defining a limit to the centralisation that is so clearly leading to an EU State - the outcome often inaccurately described as a 'federal' Europe.

    Fair to say I too support the principles over which the EU claims to have a monopoly - open trade, free movement, international co-operation.

    But I don't support the EU because it's clear to me that it's not remotely necessary for all political decision-making to be transferred to central EU institutions in order to achieve these principles.

    Integration and centralisation are obviously not the only ways those principles can be achieved. There are ways too for countries to work together that, crucially, have far more respect for democracy.

    The integrationist aspect of the EU - insatiable hunger for more powers at the expense of national democracies, removal of national vetoes, symbols of statehood etc. - is a whole different ballgame from progress towards those core principles.

    Advocates of integration have worked very hard to disengenuously conflate the two. In order to secure support for more dubious EU-style political integration, they make an uncontroversial appeal for greater co-operation.

    But the two are not the same. One can be achieved without the other.

    When the two are rightfully separated - co-operation and integration - I believe we will get a far better quality debate on the EU issue.

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  • 246. At 6:33pm on 14 Oct 2009, forgottenukcitizen wrote:

    •231. T1m0thy wrote:
    #226 forgottenukcitizen

    Leaving the EU and losing the last of Britain's big manufacturing industry at the same time. All those Japanese/Korean car plants and other industry based in in Britain for one reason, UK membership of the EU. Many Japanese/Koreans speak French as well as they speak English how long do you think those plants will stay in the UK if the UK pulls out and the tariff barriers go up?
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Yes, I foresee that there would be quite a few toys thrown out of prams if we decided to leave the EU, especially by those countries that seem to be doing very well out of the deal.

    There would be a lot of tit for tat tariffs for a while, but after the dust settled down, common sense would probably prevail & a reciprocal agreement between the UK & the EU bashed out.

    It would be nice if we could just get back to the basic concept of the EEC, but there are now far too many fingers in pies for that to happen.
    These are the same fingers that seem to be very reluctant to be subjected to the same expenses scrutiny that MP’s are being subjected to now & we have to ask ourselves why?

    Somewhere along the line, the EU’s direction was changed from being a business based arrangement that was profitable to the UK to a wealth re-distribution exercise which it isn’t.

    That’s the main reason why so many people in the UK feel that they have been lied to, because at no time was this change put to the people of the UK.

    I did read that it costs Norway as much in tariffs to deal with the EU than it would cost in membership, but I have good friends in Norway & can confirm that they are very suspicious of the EU’s intentions if they were to become members.

    Either way, tariffs usually end up being a zero sum affair if the traffic is equally loaded between the two sides.

    Being a member of the EU did not help the 4 major factories around my way from closing, & it doesn’t help me a great deal in my current position because I have to travel a darn site further than the EU to work these days.

    Still, I recognise that it must help some companies, but a trade agreement – without all of the EU baggage – could just as easily work.

    Manufacturing in the UK has been in decline for decades now & this is likely to continue whether we are members of the EU or not.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    It is unfortunate that because of accidents of history, blatant interference by foreign nationals owning large chunks of the UK media, that the UK has become semi detached from Europe and has not seen many of the benefits of it's membership. I think you would be very much worse off out than in, the £, I would suspect, would go into freefall, but at some point you are going to have to decide and I don't think you have that long. Maybe another five years after which the other members are going to lose patience.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I agree- there is far too much Murdoch based anti European drivel banded about in the press, but the only way to change this is for the EU to appeal to the public directly & change their image.
    Perhaps if our own Government explained the reasoning behind much of the EU legislation, a few misunderstandings could be avoided.

    As I keep on saying, people believe what they see with their own eyes, but if all they see (in my case anyway) is closures of Libraries, Swimming pools etc & not a EU Cent spent locally in their town, you can’t blame them for being sceptical & wondering if it is all worthwhile.

    As for patience - I think it will be more a case of the UK loosing it with the EU than the EU loosing it with us.

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  • 247. At 7:44pm on 14 Oct 2009, Freeborn John wrote:

    forgottenukcitizen (246) said "There would be a lot of tit for tat tariffs for a while..."

    This would be illegal under WTO trade rules. The absolute worse that could happen would be that the existing EU common external tariff would be applied on trade between the UK and the EU26. This is about 2% on industrial goods, 11% on agricultural products and 0% on services. Since the UK imports high tariff agricultural products and mainly exports zero percent services the result would be of nett benefit to the UK.

    Furthermore the UK currently must hand over the tariff revenue on its imports from the USA, Japan and other non EU countries to Brussels which is money we would keep if outside the EU.

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  • 248. At 8:01pm on 14 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #214. At 00:40am on 14 Oct 2009, -StuartC- wrote:

    "I hesitate to suggest that it is probably the person who looks only to previous election results to discern the views of the public on every single policy issue who is not entirely connected to reality.

    Opinions change...//.."


    Err, do try and keep up, the German elections were only a month or so ago, so the 'real' opinion (of what they think of the EU) shown by the German voters - by re-electing a staunchly pro EU chancellor and government - in their election is a lot closer to the reality than an opinion carried out a few years ago...

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  • 249. At 8:05pm on 14 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #216. At 06:36am on 14 Oct 2009, Arn_Silvester wrote:

    "5. Let me also stress that there is no time limit for our president to negotiate these and other opt outs. He has also, in line with our constitution, the right to represent our state abroad and negotiate and ratify all Treaties, such as the Lisbon Treaty."

    True - but only if the Czech PM agrees, in writing...

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  • 250. At 8:08pm on 14 Oct 2009, Mathiasen wrote:

    @ forgottenukcitizen
    When necessary Norway is adapting its legislation to the EU, and that is quite often. Only the Norwegian politicians have no influence on the decisions made in the EU. If the fantasy becomes reality, namely that the UK leaves the EU, the situation will be similar to British politicians.

    It is correct that some Norwegians “are very suspicious of the EU’s intentions”. However, one thing is certainly not a secret: Because of the oil Norway is a very rich country, and it would as a member become a net payer right away. That is a good reason for the voters to stay away even if Norwegian politicians have recommended a membership. I assume it gives British politicians headache to think of a possible equivalent situation.

    The EU is very unlikely to ask UK to go. It would only be relevant if the UK through opt-outs tried to achieve advantages at the expense of the other members.

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  • 251. At 8:10pm on 14 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #217. At 08:11am on 14 Oct 2009, CornwallCoastPath wrote:

    "In the short time that I've been looking at this blog, one very pro-EU contributor - Boilerplated - seems to have added getting on for 100 entries. Just what is it, I wonder, that motivates Boilerplated and people like him / her to be such unrelenting advocates of European integration and Britain's participation in it?"

    Sooty pots and kettle time again!

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  • 252. At 8:15pm on 14 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    219. At 10:13am on 14 Oct 2009, Freeman wrote:

    " "This doesn't mean getting subsumed into a superstate."
    Tell that to the EU. ^^ "


    They already know, as you would know had you actually bothered to read the Lisbon Treaty.

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  • 253. At 8:40pm on 14 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    225. At 11:30am on 14 Oct 2009, Freeman wrote:

    "#223 Mock all you want after it could never happen here could it? No history of that kind of thing in Europe and my wonderful lady's childhood memories are all a delusion."

    Except that is doesn't happen within the EU (yes it happened in the past, 65 to 70 odd years ago, before the formation of what we now know as the EU) but it does still happen in the countries that the anti EU propagandists so often praise - now what is the countrys name that has kidnapped innocent people flown them to a prison camp on Cuba and tried to first acknowledge that these people were actually in the prison and then tried to prevent them from having a free and fair trial, preferring to appoint judge, jury and no doubt executioner from US military personal?...

    With the all fundamental human rights enshrined with in the EU's constitutional treaties (since Rome) the chances of it happening again in Europe are very slight - unlike the 'free world' that the anti EU propagandists so often praise - what is more when many of the newer member states of the EU have so recently come out of a long period of oppression and state observation do these anti EU propagandists really think that they would sign up to anything remotely similar?!

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  • 254. At 8:46pm on 14 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #235

    "The referendum offer still stands."

    ...for a treaty that no longer exists!

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  • 255. At 9:29pm on 14 Oct 2009, -StuartC- wrote:

    Boilerplated wrote @ 248:

    "Err, do try and keep up, the German elections were only a month or so ago, so the 'real' opinion (of what they think of the EU) shown by the German voters - by re-electing a staunchly pro EU chancellor and government - in their election is a lot closer to the reality than an opinion carried out a few years ago... "

    ---------------------------

    Oh please. Is this serious?

    An event in one country no doubt conducted chiefly on a wide range of potent domestic political issues. Set against the 27 countries surveyed by a respected market research company on the specific subject of the Lisbon Treaty and the EU's powers.

    Who was it earlier flinging accusations of clutching at straws?

    In any case, you'll see if you go back and read more carefully that that election result is also potentially in synch with the results of the poll.

    So you're making no headway in your attempt to discredit or dismiss it I'm afraid.

    But while we're talking of 'keeping up', I should point out that my original point (@133) was in any case about pan-European opposition to the Lisbon Treaty - not EU membership.

    Is it because you can't refute the validity of that poll I cited (contrary to your crowing scepticism), showing a majority across Europe oppose giving more powers to the EU, that you've now moved onto a different debate?

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  • 256. At 10:09pm on 14 Oct 2009, -StuartC- wrote:

    Boilerplated wrote @ 253:

    "With the all fundamental human rights enshrined with in the EU's constitutional treaties (since Rome) the chances of it happening again in Europe are very slight - unlike the 'free world' that the anti EU propagandists so often praise"

    ---------------------------

    Maybe you could tell us a bit more about Article 52 of the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights (to be given legal force via the Lisbon Treaty) that allows "limitations" of the basic human rights it sets out if doing so is deemed in the "general interest" of the EU.

    Nice and vague, wouldn't you say? Wonder who decides if anyone has offended the EU's "general interest"? Or what constitutes such offence? It's not made clear.

    Or maybe tell us why officers of the EU's embryonic 'FBI' - Europol - have immunity from criminal prosecution for anything (except only liability in traffic accidents) they get up to in the course of their duties. Here in Britain that is enshrined in Statutory Instrument 1997 No.2973 - look it up.

    As I'm sure you'll know, Europol is given new powers of "implementation" of operational action in the Lisbon Treaty. Plus Article 88 is a blank cheque for further extensions of Europol's powers merely by EU majority vote. Bit of a worry for liberty lovers, eh!

    Or maybe we could discuss the 'snoopers charter' EU Communications Data Directive (2006/24/EC), which requires the storage of details of every email we all send and every website we visit - without there first having to be any suspicion of criminal activity.

    Of course, there's also the little matter of the EU Arrest Warrant, which allows people to be taken to face trial in another EU member country without evidence of a crime having been committed first having to be presented in a British court.

    Thus doing away with a hard-won traditional legal right we have (unlike any other EU country) called Habeas Corpus, designed to prevent the authorities throwing us in the slammer on spurious suspicions and our never being seen again.

    To be fair, the UK government is also eroding that fundamental right via its anti-terror legislation. But that hardly excuses the EU - the EAW is being used for much more than anti-terror action. See the Andrew Symeou, Deborah Dark or Malcolm Hay cases, for example.

    Seems to me from this and other evidence that the EU is far more the source of some dangerously authoritarian measures than our protector.

    When such hugely illiberal 'loopholes' are combined with the EU's gaping democratic deficit, I don't like the look of an EU-style future at all.

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  • 257. At 02:15am on 15 Oct 2009, Admzaa wrote:

    I wholeheartedly support President Klaus's decision to try and tackle this very evil, undemocratic and dictatorial organisation called the European Union. As an British/EU citizen, I have been campaigning against the threat and dangers that the EU poses to its own people for many years. As a result, I have been subjected to at least five attempts on my life, one of which left me with serious head injuries. The sooner this organisation collapses the better. I post this message knowing that I am once again endangering my own life!

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  • 258. At 07:31am on 15 Oct 2009, Huaimek wrote:

    #216 Arn_Silvester

    I applaud you comment in support of Vaclav Klaus , the freedom and respect to the Czech Republic .
    My family had a very dear friend , Yaro Tomcic , who served in Britain during WW2 . I have visited Prague in 2002 and was so happy to meet his son Yaroslav . We talked together about the pros and cons of the Czech Republic joining the EU . I was so worried for you all , where your cost of living would rise so rappidly , that people would scarcely afford to live .
    I pray that Vaclav Klaus will hold out against bullies like Sarkozy , to achieve the opt-outs that he deems necessary .

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  • 259. At 08:45am on 15 Oct 2009, joehoch wrote:

    258 Huaimek
    Since Vaclav Klaus is well known not to respect democracy, he is openly against NGO's, therefor to speak of "freedom and respect" is a bit sick. Klaus obviously does not want the Czech people to have too much of it. Neither is Sarcozy responsible for the poor state of law and order in the Czech Republic. You could blame the Swiss perhaps for their banking laws that undermine democracies elsewhere. We know of some accounts there concerning Czech politicians, but if we knew the transactions that have taken place in greater detail, Mr Klaus or some of his friends would be out of power. The US have greater access to accounts in Switzerland than this country has. Where is the freedom and respect for the Czech Republic?

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  • 260. At 09:20am on 15 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #256 Stuart-c

    I don't have the time right now to check the factual content of this post but have my doubts based on a very simple logic. If such draconian powers and unaccountability were built into the Treaty would not the mainstream UK press have found these and be screaming about them from the roof tops?
    The other thing that I find most interesting is the level of condescension shown by the UK Euro sceptics, they are the only ones fighting this desperate battle against the sneaky hordes of the EU who are ready to rip away the democratic rights of Freeborn Brits. I, as I have said before, live in France, the level of political discussion in this country is far above that in the UK, they still have prime time TV debates with politicians having to answer questions from often hostile audiences. That being the case why is it that these apparently glaring democratic deficits have not been exposed here. No doubt you will come up with some sort of reply indicating that the French are as a nation part of some vast conspiracy. Is it only the Brits of the Eurosceptic persuasion who can read?

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  • 261. At 09:30am on 15 Oct 2009, joehoch wrote:

    256 StuartC
    To question the democratic credentials of the EU is a very reasonable and justifiable persuit and we all should keep it up. The devil is in the detail as always. In the matter you refer to about Europol, you use the term "mayority vote". You may well know what you mean by it, can you tell us by what institution?

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  • 262. At 10:22am on 15 Oct 2009, Mathiasen wrote:

    Apparently it is no longer the Germans but instead the Frenchmen, who are bullying the Czech president. Well, the German chancellor has a much more calm temperament than our friend in the palace of Elysee (please add diacritics). Actually, it just demonstrates what kind of interests that are involved in the matter.

    So far we have no answer from Praha on the question, how long it will take before the president has made up his mind, but it is very naive to think he can go over forever. The rest of the EU will insist on having an answer long before the next British election. The question is, if the Czech politicians have a kind of back door in relation to president Klaus.

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  • 263. At 10:47am on 15 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #256 Stuart-c
    This is a direct request to Gavin Hewitt. I am very suspicious of the sudden appearance of this 'information' on Europol so late in the life of this blog. It looks to me like a way to run a scare story safe in the knowledge that the disquiet having been planted the truth will not come out.
    I am therefore requesting that Gavin investigates this story and posts his findings on his blog.

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  • 264. At 11:11am on 15 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #255. At 9:29pm on 14 Oct 2009, -StuartC- wrote:

    "Oh please. Is this serious?"

    No, you are not, all you seem to ever do is repeat - parrot fashion - the anti EU comments found in the anti EU press, how do you disregard an election result that only occurred less than a month ago (over an opinion poll that could have been crafted to gain a required result wanted by it's owner), and to think that you have the nerve to call yourselves the 'real democrats' - you don't know the meaning of the word.

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  • 265. At 11:15am on 15 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    254. Boilerplated

    "..."The referendum offer still stands."...for a treaty that no longer exists!.."

    The Constitutional Treaty incorporated into the Lisbon Treaty.

    Why people think a cut and paste job makes the 'put it to the people' commitment invalid is beyond me. Unless of course the pro Lisbon Treaty fellows think they'd lose a popular vote, the original offer being a throw away election ruse?

    Surely this can't be the case for the honourable members of the Labour Government and their Liberal Democrat friends.

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  • 266. At 11:15am on 15 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #256. At 10:09pm on 14 Oct 2009, -StuartC- wrote:

    "Maybe you could tell us a bit more about Article 52 of the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights (to be given legal force via the Lisbon Treaty) that allows "limitations" of the basic human rights it sets out if doing so is deemed in the "general interest" of the EU."

    Maybe you can tell us a bit more about the human rights of those incarcerated by the US in Cuba, all those (many with mental heath problems) who are currently on 'Death Row' in the USA, and to think yo0u call the EU undemocratic or lacking in human rights, you don't know the meaning of the words.

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  • 267. At 11:17am on 15 Oct 2009, joehoch wrote:

    262 Mathiason
    Removing Klaus through "a kind of back door", deposing him , in other words is talked about over here in Prague. Mirek Topolanek, the former prime minister, rejects the idea. He is the leader of the ODS to this day, which is unlikely to change. There are of course those wishful thinkers that would like to see him go through a gate, a sort of Watergate. The rumors about his person abound, nothing that should be openly discussed however.

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  • 268. At 11:19am on 15 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #257

    [nothing worth quoting]

    A one post wonder, never to be heard of again, most likely...

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  • 269. At 11:23am on 15 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #258

    "My family had a very dear friend , Yaro Tomcic , who served in Britain during WW2 . I have visited Prague in 2002 and was so happy to meet his son Yaroslav . We talked together about the pros and cons of the Czech Republic joining the EU . I was so worried for you all , where your cost of living would rise so rappidly , that people would scarcely afford to live."

    I assume that concern was of what would happen to the people of the Czech Republic if they did not join the EU, since they became members the EU have spend millions of Euro's modernising their countries infrastructure rather than the Czechs having to fund them entirely from their own national resources.

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  • 270. At 11:27am on 15 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    217. CornwallCoastPath

    "...to be such unrelenting advocates of European integration and Britain's participation in it?.."

    There is nothing wrong with being an "unrelenting advocate" for any cause. What gets my goat is when these same advocates do anything to stop everyone else having their say.

    If anything sounds warning bells about The Lisbon Treaty this alone should.

    Making a referendum commitment in a political manifesto only to renege after winning the election, on the basis of a cut and paste job, is not the way to earn trust.

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  • 271. At 11:31am on 15 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    266. Boilerplated

    "...you don't know the meaning of the words..."

    Still making friends.

    I do wonder out loud whether a fifth column might be at work here.

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  • 272. At 11:34am on 15 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    263. At 10:47am on 15 Oct 2009, T1m0thy wrote:

    "I am very suspicious of the sudden appearance of this 'information' on Europol so late in the life of this blog."

    You are right to be so, why do I say this, because no other credible anti EU organisation seems to have reported/mentioned anything similar in their diatribe of anti EU propaganda. Perhaps "Stuart-c" might like to cite chapter and verse of the relevant "EU" document were this 'immunity' is enshrined?...

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  • 273. At 11:59am on 15 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    265. At 11:15am on 15 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    "254. Boilerplated

    "..."The referendum offer still stands."...for a treaty that no longer exists!.."

    The Constitutional Treaty incorporated into the Lisbon Treaty."


    You still just don't "Get it", all constitutional treaties (such as Rome, 'SEA' or 'Maastricht') contain element of past treaties by definition.

    It's funny how the right wing have suddenly found referenda all of a sudden when it suits their own narrow political aims but when referenda was ever mentioned before they always claimed that referenda diminish democracy rather than empower it - how hypocritical they are now...

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  • 274. At 12:06pm on 15 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #271. At 11:31am on 15 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    "I do wonder out loud whether a fifth column might be at work here."

    Sorry I doubt anyone on these blogs can help you to remember if you have joined either the SLD, UKIP or the BNP...

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  • 275. At 12:17pm on 15 Oct 2009, forgottenukcitizen wrote:

    If such draconian powers and unaccountability were built into the Treaty would not the mainstream UK press have found these and be screaming about them from the roof tops?

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    They do but, as I’ve already pointed out to you, it’s usually in the form of mindless anti European drivel rather than informed debate.
    An answer to this may be for the EU to take out full pages in the National UK papers & put their case forward for things like the Lisbon Treaty.

    That in turn, may force the newspapers to respond with reasonable debate – well in some cases anyway (even Forgotten manages to get his head out of the Daily Sport every now & again – my joke).

    As you should know, the UK Government does not communicate with the electorate in the UK very well, so there’s no use relying on them.
    Our First past the post system of Government means that it is very difficult to measure how the population feel unless you have referenda asking them how they feel about specific issues.

    Obviously you can’t do this every month but once a decade might be nice & the whole European issue would be a good start.

    Of course I’m drifting into fantasy land, because the UK Government has never been particularly interested in what the UK population want anyway unless it suits their own agenda, so it won’t happen.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    No doubt you will come up with some sort of reply indicating that the French are as a nation part of some vast conspiracy. Is it only the Brits of the Eurosceptic persuasion who can read?
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Well I won’t, but I will point out that you are clearly happy with the whole EU experience in France, but perhaps lack empathy for those of us who are obviously not getting any visible benefit from it.

    If I was happy with the EU (which obviously I am not – for reason’s I’ve explained), I might be more inclined to turn a blind eye to the dodgy expenses, balance books, further integration etc.
    Why not, I’m reaping the benefits, so why rock the boat.

    I’d also be very happy to see the various high profile projects that I saw when working recently (albeit a short time) in Europe, because I could come home & see similar things going on in my Town.
    I can’t because it isn’t happening & hasn’t happened for 35 years now; how much patience are people expected to have?

    I do hope this isn’t a case of the “I’m alright Jack” syndrome from other European Countries that are living the high life because times have changed in the UK - & not for the better.

    Now we are flat broke now & facing a very difficult road ahead.


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  • 276. At 12:51pm on 15 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    274. At 12:06pm on 15 Oct 2009, Boilerplated

    "...Sorry I doubt anyone on these blogs can help you to remember if you have joined either the SLD, UKIP or the BNP..."

    Still promoting the EU Lisbon Treaty case by insulting those with a different opinion?

    Classy.

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  • 277. At 12:55pm on 15 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    273 Boilerplated

    "...how hypocritical they are now..."

    Hypocrisy is offering a referendum in a political manifesto only to withdraw this, on gaining power, on the basis of a cut and paste job.

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  • 278. At 1:15pm on 15 Oct 2009, Wonthillian wrote:

    #245 StuartC
    'Out of interest, where does the boundary lie as regards power transfers to the EU for someone who believes "in the principles of the European Union (though not necessarily in favour of a Federal Europe)"?'
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I don't know exactly where the boundary lies, but I know we're a long, long way from it, as indicated by the last part of my post 218.

    I agree not all decisions should be centralised, they should be taken at the level which is appropriate. Taking transport as an example, decisions concerning the painting of local bus shelters are taken at District Council level. Decisions about rural bus services are generally taken at County Council level. Decisions concerning the national transport infrastructure are taken at National level. Decisions regarding international transport, and technical standards for vehicle manufacture are taken at a European or wider level. Nothing in the Lisbon treaty will change any of this.

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  • 279. At 1:19pm on 15 Oct 2009, Thomas_B wrote:

    Ford Mondeo

    "Now Klaus wants a footnote to the Treaty. What really sticks in the throat is not that he should ask for it in the name of his people-he has a right to, but are that he makes appeals to old grieviences that should have by now been set aside. THOSE DAYS ARE OVER."

    You better should not underestimate the demands of some Sudeten Germans which would indeed take steps on European Courts to for their claims on lost properity which is since 1945 in the now Czech Republic.

    I think that the attempt of the Czech President are certanly considerable, even for the reasons you´ve mentioned.

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  • 280. At 2:15pm on 15 Oct 2009, joehoch wrote:

    Today's news from Prague
    The Government, at the request of the Constitutional Court, has met and the full cabinet has unanimously decided that the request by the 17 senators before the court to reject the Lisbon treaty was unsubstanciated.
    The Constitutional Court will convene on 27.10. to deliberate the matter before them.
    This may lead to a faster decision than generally anticipated.

    On a different note.
    One senior social democrat senator lady talks about removal of the President. The leader of that party has different ideas, but then he is certainly someone that should be removed(and might be before long).
    The former leader of that party Zeman is starting a new party for the "clean" social democrats. Both mayor parties are therefor being split. Finally!!!

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  • 281. At 2:16pm on 15 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #275 forgottenukcitizen
    And here was I thinking that this blog was past it's sell by date. I find myself in agreement with you on many of your points. The UK government, and by that I include all the political parties not just those currently in power, do seem to have a problem communicating which is bad when you consider that politicians are supposed to be communicators. Politics seem to have been trivialised in the UK much more than it has in France or Germany. My other long standing criticism of UK politicans is that they are led by a perception of public opinion mainly that of the tabloid press and do not in fact lead any more.

    I can't help you greatly with your questions about EU funding of projects I have no idea how it works. I can tell you, however, that my combined property tax in France is 50% less than my council tax was in the UK and that the standard of service from my local town hall is outstanding. To me the UK's greatest problem is it's lack of good local government and it's bureaucracy. The French are bureaucrats par excellence but their bureaucracy works and is contained whereas that in Britain seems to grow and grow and never work properly.

    I'm not claiming that all is a bed of roses over here, it isn't and it's not easy, but I don't think that the project so clearly revealed by Freeborn-john in #244 where he basically states that he wants to see the whole thing renegotiated, Nice, Maastricht, the lot and if not the UK to leave, is in any sense practical.

    Most of Britain's problems come from within the UK, blaming Europe, the weather or anything else is just self deception. Someone on this blog suggested that you could all live on the products of the financial services industry and pharmaceuticals like Switzerland while forgetting that there are less than 8 million Swiss not nearly 64 million. Not to mention the fact that one of the UK's major banks has just started to relocate to Hong Kong and that the Germans would love to have Britain outside Europe so that Frankfurt could grab the lions share of Europe's financial business. Other Europhobes used to point to Iceland as a success story but I see that has petered out. Norway frequently gets a mention too but there again they conveniently forget the population of less than five million floating on a sea of oil with massive Hydro Electric resources.

    I don't make out that it is easy but I don't believe that the Treaty of Lisbon is the problem. If the Europhobes get their way on this they will start on something else, their agenda is Britain out of Europe, no more no less. Their greatest success so far has been to keep the UK out of the Euro and we can all see what a success that has been.

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  • 282. At 2:27pm on 15 Oct 2009, Mathiasen wrote:

    #18 Ford Mondeo
    Yes, it is obvious that the past is being instrumentalized in these discussions. We cannot do much about it apart from mentioning that from day one, that is back in the 1950s, EU was a strategy to change the relations between as well as the behaviour of European countries. It has been a great success.

    The Federal Republic cannot forbid any private person to ask for a verdict in a courtroom, but it is not aiding suits by expelled Germans.
    If such possibly claims really are a matter for the leaders of the EU, as Klaus is making it, I find it difficult to say for sure. For instance the German unification negotiations were made at the so-called 4+2 table, notwithstanding the fact that the whole continent had been involved in the war.
    On the other hand: If Klaus really believe that the sacred principles of freedom are at stake, I don’t understand why he should compromise on these principles just because Germany once again declares that it does not support private suits by expelled Germans.

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  • 283. At 2:52pm on 15 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    275. At 12:17pm on 15 Oct 2009, forgottenukcitizen wrote:

    "[start of an unreferenced previous comment] If such draconian powers and unaccountability were built into the Treaty would not the mainstream UK press have found these and be screaming about them from the roof tops?[end of an unreferenced previous comment]

    They do but, as I’ve already pointed out to you,


    Then you will have no problem citing which UK press have done so and by doing so you will be able to cite their citation to the relevant chapter and verse of the relevant EU law. Of course if all you are doing is repeating, parrot fashion, half-truths and/or out-right lie printed in the anti EU British press...

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  • 284. At 2:58pm on 15 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    276. At 12:51pm on 15 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    "274. At 12:06pm on 15 Oct 2009, Boilerplated

    "...Sorry I doubt anyone on these blogs can help you to remember if you have joined either the SLD, UKIP or the BNP..."

    Still promoting the EU Lisbon Treaty case by insulting those with a different opinion?

    Classy.


    Sooty pots and kettle time again! Just returning the favour you showed me, obviously you like dishing it but don't like having it served your yourself - after all it was you who called me (and anyone else who stands up to the lies of the anti EU propagandists), now what was your phrase, oh yes, "fifth columnists", but of course you removed any reference to such comments...

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  • 285. At 3:07pm on 15 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    277. At 12:55pm on 15 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    "273 Boilerplated

    "...how hypocritical they are now..."

    Hypocrisy is offering a referendum in a political manifesto only to withdraw this, on gaining power, on the basis of a cut and paste job."


    But it's not, as anyone who has bothered to actually ready the said documents would know, who swaths of the old 'Constitutional' document have been left out, and what has been left out is what gave the original document it's Constitutional nature rather than just being as constitutional as the original treaty of Rome was.

    It's not about what is the same but what is different, and enough is different to completely change the meaning and effect of the LT when compared to the previous (now abandoned) Treaty that would have created a Federal like entity of the EU.

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  • 286. At 3:20pm on 15 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    279. At 1:19pm on 15 Oct 2009, Thomas_B wrote:

    "...I think that the attempt of the Czech President are certanly considerable,..."

    If there was any credible issues don't you think that they would have surfaced sometime in the last 8 to 10 years, even within the Czech parliament at the time they were ratifying the Lisbon Treaty and not (as it just so happens) at the 11th hour when all other objections are fast running out...

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  • 287. At 5:08pm on 15 Oct 2009, Angryjohn wrote:

    "EU employees benefits and pensions, especially the commisioners are far to generous. For example Neil Konnock and his wife have cost over £10m over the last 15 years. [ULR not quoted]

    I would argue that they are not worth it."

    Is that because you are not getting any of the pie? Sorry to burst your bubble but there are people who, no doubt, don't think you are worth your wage, salary, pension or what ever either.

    Boilerplated. I am a junior partner in a small private firm that makes its own way, pays its employees (4) and pays its taxes. The pie that you talked about shouldn't even be there for anyone to have a slice of.

    Your comment is unworthy of you.

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  • 288. At 5:28pm on 15 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    285. Boilerplated

    "...what has been left out is what gave the original document it's Constitutional nature rather than just being as constitutional as the original treaty of Rome was..."

    The Labour Party Manifesto certainly didn't make this distinction. If there were nothing, that was newly introduced in the Constitutional Treaty, left in the document after its metamorphosis into the Lisbon Treaty I wouldn't have an argument.

    In an 'offer and acceptance' contract both parties retain rights when one side wants to change the terms. One side can't decide for the other by introducing conditions after the event.

    The honourable way to avoid a referendum would have been to have a new 'clean' document retaining no element introduced in the Constitutional Treaty. Alternatively a General Election (using a manifesto without a referendum offer) should have been called before ratification. Neither of these things happened because Labour was afraid to lose.

    The future of the EU starting with Lisbon is founded on deceit. And aren't we proud.

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  • 289. At 5:42pm on 15 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    284. Boilerplated

    "...it was you who called me (and anyone else who stands up to the lies of the anti EU propagandists), now what was your phrase, oh yes, "fifth columnists", but of course you removed any reference to such comments..."

    Your interpretation is completely inaccurate. I was pondering whether a series of less than candid 'pro' EU Lisbon Treaty posts could work for the 'anti' side. Pretending that the Lisbon Treaty isn't the Constitutional Treaty in drag just because bits were left out doesn't exactly help the pro case.

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  • 290. At 5:48pm on 15 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #287. At 5:08pm on 15 Oct 2009, ameyjohn wrote:

    "I am a junior partner in a small private firm that makes its own way..."

    Thanks for confirming that I was correct, it is the "I'm not getting any so why should others" syndrome.

    Tell me, when you are a full partner who will decide how much you pay yourself, how who will decode what perks you receive, who will decide what pensions you get, you and your partners or your customers? After all, many would claim that someone you should not be able to 'fix' your own remunerations either if others (in this case EU employees) can't...

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  • 291. At 5:50pm on 15 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    287. ameyjohn

    "...The pie that you talked about shouldn't even be there for anyone to have a slice of..."

    I remember the Lisbon Treaty debate in the House of Lords. One well healed ex EU Commissioner after another stood up to speak in favour of it and vote. The Kinnock woman was MEP for Wales year after year through being top of Labour's list (and therefore virtually impossible to vote out). Guess where she is now?

    As you say that's some pie.

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  • 292. At 6:03pm on 15 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    GLENYS KINNOCK, the new minister for Europe, has amassed six publicly funded pensions worth £185,000 per year with her husband Neil, the former leader of the Labour party. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article6493969.ece

    Pie.

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  • 293. At 8:53pm on 15 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #288. At 5:28pm on 15 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    "The Labour Party Manifesto certainly didn't make this distinction [about which EU treaty required a referendum to be held]."

    Rubbish, how could they be talking about any other treaty, are you seriously suggesting that they might have meant the Treaty of Rome perhaps - or perhaps they were going to give us the referendum on the Maastricht Treaty that the Tories never allowed us to have... There was only one treaty being put to a referendum in all EU member states at the time.

    One thing is for sure thoough, if you do mean that Labour was offering a referendum on the "Treaty of Lisbon" in May 2005 then the UK really does need to re-elect the Labour government in 2010 as you are implying that the Labour government knew something in 2005 that no other member state government or EU official knew - they must be clairvoyant!

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  • 294. At 8:55pm on 15 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #289. At 5:42pm on 15 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    "Your interpretation is completely inaccurate."

    Believe what ever you want, everyone else will just read what you said...

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  • 295. At 9:00pm on 15 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #292. At 6:03pm on 15 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    "GLENYS KINNOCK, the new minister for Europe, has amassed six publicly funded pensions worth £185,000 per year with her husband Neil, the former leader of the Labour party. [times online URL not quoted]"

    Jealous are we?....

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  • 296. At 01:38am on 16 Oct 2009, forgottenukcitizen wrote:

    283. Boilerplated

    Sorry Boiler, but you have completely lost me here.

    Isn’t it funny that the person who the post was directed too seemed to understand my comments perfectly well & responded in an informed & Gentlemanly way, even if we didn’t exactly agree with each other’s opinions?

    It’s no secret that, as a rule of thumb, the UK Fleet Street media is generally Euro sceptic & somewhat right wing.

    It’s also no secret that they are very quick off the mark to highlight what they think is petty EU legislation, but are very slow off the mark when it comes to more complex or (heaven forbid) practical legislation which may be of benefit.

    Sorry if you didn't understand the spirit of the post.

    Still – time to move on I think because we have had our monies worth out of this one & i'm surprised it's still open for comment.

    I'd suggest More speed & less haste in future.

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  • 297. At 07:26am on 16 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    295. Boilerplated

    "…Jealous are we?...."

    I see, taxpayers who think certain public officials are overpaid are by definition jealous.

    That makes as much sense as suggesting that the Lisbon Treaty isn't a cut and paste of the Constitutional Treaty as a fig leaf to avoid a referendum commitment.

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  • 298. At 07:33am on 16 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    293. Boilerplated

    "…One thing is for sure thoough, if you do mean that Labour was offering a referendum on the "Treaty of Lisbon" in May 2005 then the UK really does need to re-elect the Labour government in 2010 as you are implying that the Labour government knew something in 2005 that no other member state government or EU official knew - they must be clairvoyant!.."

    To borrow your word - Rubbish.

    As you know perfectly well the manifesto offer was on the Constitutional Treaty which was cut, paste and renamed the Lisbon Treaty.

    No clairvoyance necessary.

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  • 299. At 08:53am on 16 Oct 2009, Huaimek wrote:

    #275 Forgottenukcitizen .

    People mistakenly think that British public opinion is derived from the national press and TV . That is not so ; newspapers print what they think the people want to read . Newspapers are only interested in selling newspapers ; to have whole pages devoted to singing the praises of the EU , would put them out of business .

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  • 300. At 09:11am on 16 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    296. At 01:38am on 16 Oct 2009, forgottenukcitizen wrote:

    "Isn’t it funny that the person who the post was directed too..//.."

    Sorry "forgottenukcitizen", but you have completely lost me here, what post/comment - it's very difficult to know what you are talking about if you do not bother to reference the comment to which you are replying to.

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  • 301. At 09:20am on 16 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    re #300

    Forget that comment about referencing, sorry.


    "Sorry if you didn't understand the spirit of the post."

    Err, no, I understood the spirit of you post(s) only to well an uncited (that just repeated) an anti EU rant you read in an anti EU newspaper, if the what you said/repeated are not simple lies then you will have no problem citing the relevant EU law chapter and verse will you...

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  • 302. At 09:30am on 16 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    297. At 07:26am on 16 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    "295. Boilerplated

    "…Jealous are we?...."

    I see, taxpayers who think certain public officials are overpaid are by definition jealous."


    Yes! They would not be complaining if they were on what they call the 'Gravy train' (or understood the job position/requierments, ie. what the remuneration in the commercial world would be), no these peopel you talk of would accept it as the going rate for the job/pension, no doubt there are some who consider what ever remuneration you are on "rg" as being excessive, either through ignorance or jealousy...

    You seem to think that only those who can self finance themselves should be in politics, perhaps you really do believe that only the landed gentry, self made millionaires and lottery winners should be 'in politics', it would not surprise me as that is how politics used to be and as you seem stuck in the past...

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  • 303. At 09:37am on 16 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    298. At 07:33am on 16 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    "As you know perfectly well the manifesto offer was on the Constitutional Treaty which was cut, paste and renamed the Lisbon Treaty."

    Which you would know, had you actually bothered to read and more importantly understand, the Lisbon Treaty, is NOT a 'Constitution', just a constitutional document like the Treaty of Rome was, just like "SEA" was, or like the Maastricht Treaty was - non of those required a referendum and there was no offer of a referendum either.

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  • 304. At 09:43am on 16 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    299. At 08:53am on 16 Oct 2009, Huaimek wrote:

    "newspapers print what they think the people want to read."

    Or the way the owner wants the readership to think...

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  • 305. At 10:50am on 16 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    303. Boilerplated

    "…the Lisbon Treaty, is NOT a 'Constitution', just a constitutional document…"

    When did I suggest otherwise?

    I keep holding out for someone here to write that nothing introduced in the Constitutional Treaty made it into the Lisbon Treaty. No takers yet and we are past post 300.

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  • 306. At 10:57am on 16 Oct 2009, forgottenukcitizen wrote:

    301. Boilerplated,

    Sorry Boiler, we will have to leave it there.

    Since I have had several replies to my post(s) that make perfect sense, from people who obviously understand what I’m saying, I’m afraid that you are the odd one out here.

    Not only that, but your grammar & spelling in 301 appear to be worse than my own (which isn’t good I admit), & you seem to be back in the same grove of the record again.

    Like I said – Sometimes we have just got to move on.

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  • 307. At 12:53pm on 16 Oct 2009, Freeman wrote:

    Double wow....over 80 posts Boilerplated. I think you should ask the EU propaganda department for a raise. ^^

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  • 308. At 8:14pm on 16 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    305. At 10:50am on 16 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    "303. Boilerplated

    "…the Lisbon Treaty, is NOT a 'Constitution', just a constitutional document…"

    When did I suggest otherwise?"


    When you keep trying to calm that the "Treaty of Lisbon" is the same as the "Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe" perhaps?...

    Sorry but I'm quite sure that you do not understand the deliverances between a document that would establish a News Constitution and a document that amends a current constitutional document, they are not two and the same.

    "I keep holding out for someone here to write that nothing introduced in the Constitutional Treaty made it into the Lisbon Treaty. No takers yet and we are past post 300."

    That has already been explained about 50 times already! It's not the words that matter but their meaning, the abandoned treaty created a new Constitution, the Lisbon Treaty amends the current constitutional arrangements, just like it did with "SEA" and "Maastricht".

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  • 309. At 8:19pm on 16 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    306. At 10:57am on 16 Oct 2009, forgottenukcitizen wrote:

    "Sorry Boiler, we will have to leave it there."

    I guess that we will just have to take it then that you can't cite your reference to what the press said, and thus as you can't cite the relevant EU laws it was just another anti EU rant on either your part or the by the press...

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  • 310. At 8:22pm on 16 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    307. At 12:53pm on 16 Oct 2009, Freeman wrote:

    "Double wow....over 80 posts Boilerplated. I think you should ask the EU propaganda department for a raise."

    Fact doesn't need propaganda...

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  • 311. At 01:28am on 17 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    308. Boilerplated

    "…When you keep trying to calm that the "Treaty of Lisbon" is the same as the "Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe" perhaps?..."

    I never wrote this.

    I don't know what a "News Constitution" is.

    "…the abandoned treaty created a new Constitution, the Lisbon Treaty amends the current constitutional arrangements…"

    A cut and paste job by another name.

    You still dodge the point about elements introduced in the Constitutional Treaty (for which a referendum is mandated) being included in the Lisbon Treaty. Because of these the referendum commitment could not be extinguished except by default.

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  • 312. At 01:40am on 17 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    310. At 8:22pm on 16 Oct 2009, Boilerplated

    "…Fact doesn't need propaganda…"

    Fact is the British people didn't get their referendum.

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  • 313. At 09:22am on 17 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    In reply to comments @ #311 and #312

    "Fact is the British people didn't get their referendum."

    So you want a referendum held for a dead, abandoned, treaty then, yes?!...

    Sorry but you obviously still don't 'get it', it's not the words that matter in any legal document but their meaning, the Lisbon treaty does not create a "Constitution for Europe", merely a revised constitution for the (the institution that is called the) "EU".

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  • 314. At 6:15pm on 17 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    313. Boilerplated

    "...So you want a referendum held for a dead, abandoned, treaty then, yes?"

    If you mean the Constitutional Treaty, it didn't die, it lives on renamed as the Lisbon Treaty. Also it isn't I who offered a referendum it was the Labour Party and their political allies The Liberal Democrats.

    That these two stalwarts of the British political establishment would so openly renege on a commitment to the British electorate is frankly remarkable.

    Perhaps they thought reconstituting the EU was too unimportant for people to care about. Any votes lost in future elections were too few to worry about. Third and fourth in the June EU Election was an acceptable price - for that parliament isn't important to them I suppose. Funny old world.

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  • 315. At 8:56pm on 17 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #314. At 6:15pm on 17 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    "313. Boilerplated

    "...So you want a referendum held for a dead, abandoned, treaty then, yes?"

    If you mean the Constitutional Treaty, it didn't die,"


    Yes it did, if you had actually bothered to read AND UNDERSTAND the Treaty of Lisbon you would know this, it is not the same as the defunct treaty that would have established a Constitution for Europe - a Federal europe (fact) - all the LT does is amend the current document that constitutes the institution know as the "EU", which is not of a federal (fact).

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  • 316. At 11:22pm on 17 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    315. At 8:56pm on 17 Oct 2009, Boilerplated

    "…all the LT does is amend the current document that constitutes the institution know as the "EU", which is not of a federal (fact)…"

    On the subject of facts, was anything introduced in the Constitutional Treaty incorporated into the Lisbon Treaty?

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  • 317. At 11:43am on 18 Oct 2009, Angryjohn wrote:

    Boilerplated.

    Do you advocate some people getting something for nothing and others not?

    I say it again. There should be no pie to get jealous over. No one should be able to travel on a gravy train.

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  • 318. At 12:00pm on 18 Oct 2009, Angryjohn wrote:

    To some up Boilerplated:

    Support the EU and support the Gravytrain. Support a few people getting a lot for not a great deal of work.

    If you don't then you are jealous.

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  • 319. At 5:10pm on 18 Oct 2009, Angryjohn wrote:

    Sum up even. I was typing in a hurry before having to change a nappy :-)

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  • 320. At 8:51pm on 18 Oct 2009, CornwallCoastPath wrote:

    To mikewarsaw (240): you, along with many commentators on this issue, omit to mention WHY the Tories moved to this group in the European Parliament. It wasn't done for its own sake - it was done because the main centre-right group was federalist, and therefore out of step with the Tories' non-federalist view of the EU.

    The trouble is, David Cameron hasn't taken the next logical step. He hasn't, as far as I know, actually used his new alliance as a platform from which to promote a vision of a non-federalist EU. He seems to want to avoid talking about the EU altogether - as seen for example in his Andrew Marr interview on 4th October.

    There's a golden rule in politics that DC should take note of: if you don't define what you're about, your opponents will.

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  • 321. At 8:54pm on 18 Oct 2009, CornwallCoastPath wrote:

    There's an aspect of the Lisbon Treaty's ratification that I'd like to learn more about: how did the parliamentary scrutiny and approval process work? Some said there was no need for the public in the 27 EU countries to be consulted on the Treaty because their respective parliaments did all the necessary scrutiny. But what exactly was involved?

    Were the parliaments presented with the Treaty and invited to feed back any comments they had? If so, how were those comments handled? Did they result in updated versions of the Treaty - in other words, is the Treaty we now have a reflection of the considered opinions of parliamentarians in 27 countries? Even in the unlikely event that no conflicting comments were made, the sheer organizational challenge of managing successive versions of the Treaty and publishing them in many languages must have been daunting.

    Where I work, we often need to review documents for approval, usually in teams of say 5 or 6 people. Even if everyone agrees with the broad thrust of a document, there will almost always be some items that need to be changed for the sake of emphasis, clarity etc. It's virtually unheard of for a document to go through this process unchanged. So for the EU to have reached the stage of having a single Treaty that incorporates feedback from parliamentarians in 27 countries - hundreds if not thousands of people - is a remarkable achievement. Well done.

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  • 322. At 9:10pm on 18 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #317. At 11:43am on 18 Oct 2009, ameyjohn wrote:

    "I say it again. There should be no pie to get jealous over. No one should be able to travel on a gravy train."

    You expect people to work for free?...

    I do not know what you do for s living, and don't care, but there will be people who (if they did know) would consider that you are on a gravey train, heck some people even object to refuse collection personal getting their 'going rate (and perks)', considering that they are over paid for the work they do...

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  • 323. At 9:13pm on 18 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    318. At 12:00pm on 18 Oct 2009, ameyjohn wrote:

    "To some up Boilerplated:

    Support the EU and support the Gravytrain. Support a few people getting a lot for not a great deal of work.

    If you don't then you are jealous."


    If you do so through either spite or ignorant then yes, you are jealous, are you really saying that if you were employed you would not accept the going rate for your employed position?!

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  • 324. At 9:20pm on 18 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    321. At 8:54pm on 18 Oct 2009, CornwallCoastPath wrote:

    "There's an aspect of the Lisbon Treaty's ratification that I'd like to learn more about: how did the parliamentary scrutiny and approval process work? Some said there was no need for the public in the 27 EU countries to be consulted on the Treaty because their respective parliaments did all the necessary scrutiny. But what exactly was involved? ..//.."

    If you are questioning the way the LT was ratified in the EU 27 then you are also questioning every single page of other legislation that has ever been passed by the parliament in questions...

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  • 325. At 9:26pm on 18 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    316. At 11:22pm on 17 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    "On the subject of facts, was anything introduced in the Constitutional Treaty incorporated into the Lisbon Treaty?"

    You still don't 'get it', it's not about what is the same but what is different, what has been left out.

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  • 326. At 10:02pm on 18 Oct 2009, CornwallCoastPath wrote:

    "If you are questioning the way the LT was ratified in the EU 27 then you are also questioning every single page of other legislation that has ever been passed by the parliament in questions..." (Boilerplated, 324).

    No I'm not. Those other items of legislation required only the approval of their respective parliaments. The LT required co-ordinated approval across 27 parliaments. I would have thought that was obvious.

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  • 327. At 10:28pm on 18 Oct 2009, CornwallCoastPath wrote:

    "On the subject of facts, was anything introduced in the Constitutional Treaty incorporated into the Lisbon Treaty?" (rg, 316)

    rg, you're being cruel to Boilerplated. An honest answer to your question would take ages to type.

    It would be kinder on Boilerplated's fingers to ask "Was anything introduced in the Constitutional Treaty that was NOT incorporated into the Lisbon Treaty?"

    In any case, I see no reason to challenge the descriptions from the BBC and Wikipedia referred to in my entry 104. The Wikipedia reference seems to be the more thorough one in listing the differences; they take up about half a page and are prefaced by the comment "Most of the institutional innovations that were agreed upon in the European Constitution are kept in the Treaty of Lisbon".

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  • 328. At 10:40pm on 18 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #326. At 10:02pm on 18 Oct 2009, CornwallCoastPath wrote:

    [In reply to comments @ #325]
    "No I'm not. Those other items of legislation required only the approval of their respective parliaments. The LT required co-ordinated approval across 27 parliaments. I would have thought that was obvious."

    Each ratification was at the national level, so if you are questioning one or all national ratifications then you are also questioning that/those parliaments legitimacy for passing any other national (or EU) legislation!

    It really is as simple as that, 'obvious' if you like, assuming that one actually has bothered to understand the first thing about how EU legislation is implemented - at the national and pan-european level, the Lisbon Treaty has not been ratified in any different or special way to any other EU legislation (other than Ireland, and even then the Irish parliament now has to pass/ratify the treaty), the only difference being is that all the EU 27 member states have to ratify before the treaty can become EU law.

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  • 329. At 10:44pm on 18 Oct 2009, Angryjohn wrote:

    To BP.

    The difference between my job and the jobs within the EU is that tax payers don't pay for me. If you seriously believe that tax payers should pay for a gravy train for an undeserving few then you and I are so different I doubt we'll ever agree. You seem to work on a different logical paradigm than anyone else I have met.

    If you are pro EU then at least argue that the kinnocks were worth it therefore not on the grazy train then that is an arguement I could respect even if I didn't agree with it.

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  • 330. At 10:49pm on 18 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #327. At 10:28pm on 18 Oct 2009, CornwallCoastPath wrote:

    "rg, you're being cruel to Boilerplated. An honest answer to your question would take ages to type."

    Not in the slightest, and my (@ #325) answer took only a few seconds to type, but if anyone is being cruel it is "rg" to himself, once again he has proved that he simply doesn't understand the first thing about the Lisbon Treaty, or the EU for that matter, preferring to repeat - parrot fashion - the 'rants and lies' that are printed in the anti-EU tabloid press.

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  • 331. At 00:22am on 19 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    325. Boilerplated

    "…it's not about what is the same but what is different, what has been left out…"

    "Was anything introduced in the Constitutional Treaty incorporated into the Lisbon Treaty?" was the question.

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  • 332. At 00:35am on 19 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    330. Boilerplated

    "…preferring to repeat - parrot fashion - the 'rants and lies' that are printed in the anti-EU tabloid press…"

    This is libellous.

    "…he simply doesn't understand the first thing about the Lisbon Treaty…"

    Was anything introduced in the Constitutional Treaty incorporated into the Lisbon Treaty? Not too difficult a question is it?

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  • 333. At 08:31am on 19 Oct 2009, Wonthillian wrote:

    #321
    There's an aspect of the Lisbon Treaty's ratification that I'd like to learn more about: how did the parliamentary scrutiny and approval process work? Some said there was no need for the public in the 27 EU countries to be consulted on the Treaty because their respective parliaments did all the necessary scrutiny. But what exactly was involved?
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    All major European legislation must be cleared by UK Parliamentary scrutiny before Ministers are able to vote in Council. The reports of the European Scrutiny Committee are available on.

    http://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/european_scrutiny.cfm.

    You will see it goes into quite heavy detail, line by line. Imagine putting all this points to a referendum. "Question 327. Do you agree in paragraph 69, line 6, to insert 'may' and leave out 'shall'?"

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  • 334. At 09:34am on 19 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #329. At 10:44pm on 18 Oct 2009, ameyjohn wrote:

    "The difference between my job and the jobs within the EU is that tax payers don't pay for me."

    You are paid by your end customer, if they consider that your costs are to high then you are being over paid and as everyone would like to have cheaper products I suggest that you practise what you preach, work for free, and give up all but your state pension etc, you are on your own gravy train in their view...

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  • 335. At 09:39am on 19 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    331. At 00:22am on 19 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    "325. Boilerplated

    "…it's not about what is the same but what is different, what has been left out…"

    "Was anything introduced in the Constitutional Treaty incorporated into the Lisbon Treaty?" was the question."


    Which was answered, sorry if it doesn't fit in with your rants/ignorance, that is your problem not mine.

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  • 336. At 09:41am on 19 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #332. At 00:35am on 19 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    "This is libellous."

    Yes, your lies are...

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  • 337. At 11:35am on 19 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    335. At 09:39am on 19 Oct 2009, Boilerplated

    "...Which was answered..."

    I don't think so. Waffle is not an answer.

    "...Yes, your lies are..."

    Anyone who disagrees is a liar because the writer says so, no reason needed.

    I must say I miss Cerberus (late of Today and 5Live MB). They could be rude too, though they would always try and put up an argument.

    I do thank Boilerplated for keeping this "Europe and the UK election" election thread alive. The actions of Labour and their Liberal Democrat allies took after the 2005 poll need to be kept as prominent as possible right up until the next UK General Election. This thread is but a small opportunity to try and do this. It's good when we all can do our bit.

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  • 338. At 11:41am on 19 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    327. CornwallCoastPath

    "..."On the subject of facts, was anything introduced in the Constitutional Treaty incorporated into the Lisbon Treaty?" (rg, 316) rg, you're being cruel to Boilerplated. An honest answer to your question would take ages to type..."

    Not really, one thing would have been acceptable.

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  • 339. At 12:34pm on 19 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #337. At 11:35am on 19 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    "I don't think so. Waffle is not an answer."

    Glade that you have finally realise that you have not answered one question put to you!

    "Anyone who disagrees is a liar because the writer says so, no reason needed."

    Glade that you have finally realised that you have no right to call others liars just because you do not agree with their opinions or answers...

    "I do thank Boilerplated for keeping this "Europe and the UK election" election thread alive."

    Oh look, sooty pots and kettle time again!

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  • 340. At 2:32pm on 19 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    336. Boilerplated wrote:

    "...Yes, your lies are..."

    339. Boilerplated wrote:

    "…Glade that you have finally realised that you have no right to call others liars…"

    When did I call anyone a liar on this thread? (There are over forty posts to choose from).

    I must say the EU has some well spoken ambassadors here. Those silks in the Inner Temple had better watch out.

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  • 341. At 3:38pm on 19 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #340. At 2:32pm on 19 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    "When did I call anyone a liar on this thread? (There are over forty posts to choose from)."

    When ever you have questioned anyone who said that there was no need for a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, when ever you questioned anyone on the content of the relevant treaties (in question), every time you question if the EU is democratic or not, it's all lies, you can not and have not proved one word of what you have suggested - have you...

    I have no problem with people of opposite views debating the facts but when people like you just start repeating the same 'lies and rants' that are printed in the anti/euroscrptic popular press without having bothered to check the truth of those 'lies and rants' first...

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  • 342. At 5:26pm on 19 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    341. Boilerplated

    "...When ever you have questioned anyone who said that there was no need for a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty..."

    Free speech: not surprised to read that those against the mandated referendum are opposed.

    "...I have no problem with people of opposite views debating the facts..."

    This doesn't extend to original content from the Constitutional Treaty copied into the Lisbon Treaty. That's 'lies' apparently.


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  • 343. At 8:41pm on 19 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    In reply to comments made, and more importantly, left out @ #342:

    Hey "rg", selective editing again, were did I say that I was against free speech, this is what I actually said:

    [quote]
    I have no problem with people of opposite views debating the facts but when people like you just start repeating the same 'lies and rants' that are printed in the anti/euroscrptic popular press without having bothered to check the truth of those 'lies and rants' first...
    [unquote]

    "This doesn't extend to original content from the Constitutional Treaty copied into the Lisbon Treaty. That's 'lies' apparently."

    And you still just don't 'get it', no one has ever said that elements of the old and abandoned constitutional treaty have not been included in the Lisbon Treaty but (and this is the point that you seem to be having a big problem with) it's not the words nor the word-count that matters but the (legal) meaning of the words, the Lisbon Treaty does not create a federal element to the EU, as did the original and now defunct treaty. Sorry but again you show that you have either not bothered to read the Lisbon Treaty or if you have, you have failed totally to comprehend it's legal meaning.

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  • 344. At 9:42pm on 19 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    343. Boilerplated

    "…Hey "rg", selective editing again…"

    I don’t think so. This was the exchange

    [342 rg] "When did I call anyone a liar on this thread"?
    [342 Boilerplated] "When ever you have questioned anyone who said that there was no need for a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty"

    Not an incitement to free speech IMO.

    "…no one has ever said that elements of the old and abandoned constitutional treaty have not been included in the Lisbon Treaty…"

    If this is (finally) an admission that elements introduced in the Constitutional Treaty were included in the Lisbon Treaty then a referendum should have been called.

    "…the Lisbon Treaty does not create a federal element to the EU, as did the original and now defunct treaty…"

    The Labour Party Manifesto (I have copy) does not make this distinction. (This was made retrospectively by one party in an offer and acceptance situation). Labour was elected on the basis of a referendum and didn't consult the electorate when they ratified the Lisbon Treaty (containing elements of the referendum mandated Constitutional Treaty).

    They didn't do anything illegal because a manifesto is not a binding document. This doesn't stop me from pointing out that the 2005 Manifesto says 'put it to the people' and the opposite course (Labour decided for them) was cynically followed because they thought they would fail to win sufficient support. Thus the remaining parts of the Constitutional Treaty (wrapped up in the Lisbon Treaty) were not 'put to the people'.

    "…it's not the words nor the word-count that matters but the (legal) meaning of the words…"

    Don't agree at all. These treaties are basically a set of instructions for governance. If an instruction, (formula or rule) first introduced in the Constitutional Treaty made it into the Lisbon Treaty then this should be put to the people just like the manifesto says.

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  • 345. At 10:24pm on 19 Oct 2009, Polonium210 wrote:

    334. At 09:34am on 19 Oct 2009, Boilerplated wrote:

    ""The difference between my job and the jobs within the EU is that tax payers don't pay for me."

    You are paid by your end customer, if they consider that your costs are to high then you are being over paid and as everyone would like to have cheaper products I suggest that you practise what you preach, work for free, and give up all but your state pension etc, you are on your own gravy train in their view..."


    Work for free as everyone would like cheaper products? LoL. I've read your posts on this thread and I've come to the conclusion that you are possibly an internet troll!

    The difference here is that customers have a choice in that they can go elsewhere for cheaper goods due to the existence of competition. Not so with the EU gravy train brigade though is it.

    In principle I'm for a more united Europe, but I couldn't be more against the current structure of being dictated to by the current collection of corrupt, unelected, failed politicians and career lawyer bureaucrats.
    If they don't engage the people and end the corruption (which unfortunately I cannot ever see happening) then it will all end in failure. It's just a matter of time.

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  • 346. At 00:26am on 20 Oct 2009, CornwallCoastPath wrote:

    "Imagine putting all this points to a referendum. "Question 327. Do you agree in paragraph 69, line 6, to insert 'may' and leave out 'shall'?"" (Iantownhill, 333)

    Indeed - a referendum on that basis would be absolutely impossible.

    But by the same reasoning, approval across 27 parliaments would be, if not impossible, then hugely difficult.

    Thanks for your House of Commons link, but before I follow it up in detail, I'd like to get a feel for how the scrutiny and approval process worked across all 27 EU parliaments.

    Let's assume that feedback to the Treaty's authors was provided parliament-by-parliament, rather than by individual MPs. That would still leave 27 sets of feedback that needed to be incorporated into the Treaty, including, where applicable, resolution of any conflicts between items of feedback.

    To use your example: the French and Italian parliaments may indeed have wished the "shall" in paragraph 69 line 6 to be changed to "may". But what if the Greek and Swedish parliaments had insisted that the "shall" should remain? How would that conflict have been resolved? And what if the Belgian and Portuguese parliaments were of the view that the "shall" should be changed to "could"? That would complicate things still further. And remember that all these conversations would be taking place in a number of different languages.

    It would be interesting to know how many versions of the Treaty there were between the one that was first presented to the 27 parliaments and the Treaty as we know it today. I'll see if I can find this out - or could anyone here tell me?

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  • 347. At 08:23am on 20 Oct 2009, Wonthillian wrote:

    #346

    It is good that some people are asking sensible questions, as opposed to engaging in some of the yah-boo discussion that is common on this blog (which , I must admit, I occasionally get sucked into as well)

    To try to answer your questions, all the feedback from Member States is discussed at Council Working Group level, where representatives from Member States will debate the legal text line by line, ensuring that the concerns raised by their home governments and/or parliaments are taken into account as far as possible. I don't know how the Parliamentary scrutiny procedure works in all Member States, although it is common in these meetings for the UK to stick up its hand and say that it can't approve anything at this stage since is still awaiting UK Parliamentary scrutiny clearance (I have attended WG meetings at junior level as a UK advisor, though not on the subject of the LT). Documents are normally available in all official languages and there is simultaneous translation. You are correct in saying that unanimous agreement is difficult, and compromises usually have to be made. Unanimous agreement among 27 member States is obviously much more difficult than unanimous agreement among 6 Member States, which the rules were originally designed for. This is why there has been pressure to agree on the basis of a qualified majority rather than unanimity. The LT extends qualified majority voting to cover more policy areas such as transport tourism and energy policy, though the most sensitive policy areas, such as tax, social policy, defense, foreign policy and treaty revision would continue to require unanimity.

    How many draft version of the treaty have there been? I don't know, but I would imagine about 1374

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  • 348. At 09:13am on 20 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #344. At 9:42pm on 19 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    "The Labour Party Manifesto (I have copy) does not make this distinction."

    How many more time are you going to repeat the above lie, the only treaty that it could have meant was the (now abandoned) constitutional treaty because the Lisbon Treaty was not even in existence, no one even knew that there would be a Lisbon treaty - unless you are claiming that someone within the Labour Party is clairvoyant...

    "Don't agree at all. [that it's not the words nor the word-count that matters but the (legal) meaning of the words…]"

    Then you prove that you understand very little about the legalities of such treaties and thus your opinion is worth about as much as the electrons you used to make it.

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  • 349. At 09:17am on 20 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #345. At 10:24pm on 19 Oct 2009, Polonium210 wrote:

    "Work for free as everyone would like cheaper products? LoL. I've read your posts on this thread and I've come to the conclusion that you are possibly an internet troll!"

    Stop trying to reflect your own behaviour on to others. Your posting history rather goes before you, or more to the point, it doesn't...

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  • 350. At 09:56am on 20 Oct 2009, Polonium210 wrote:

    "#349. At 09:17am on 20 Oct 2009, Boilerplated wrote:

    Stop trying to reflect your own behaviour on to others. Your posting history rather goes before you, or more to the point, it doesn't..."


    Hardly makes me an internet troll does it.

    Maybe you should stop having an answer for everything and you wouldn't make as many stupid/illogical comments.

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  • 351. At 10:28am on 20 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #350. At 09:56am on 20 Oct 2009, Polonium210 wrote:

    [in reply to comments @ #345 and #349]

    "Hardly makes me an internet troll does it."

    It does when your very first comment [on your user account] is to call someone else a "internet troll".

    "Maybe you should stop having an answer for everything and"

    Oh right, so the only people who should comment are those who know nothing about the subject/issues?!

    "you wouldn't make as many stupid/illogical comments."

    In your opinion of course, but all your opinion does is prove your own stupid/illogical thinking...

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  • 352. At 11:17am on 20 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    348. Boilerplated

    "…How many more time are you going to repeat the above lie, the only treaty that it could have meant was the (now abandoned) constitutional treaty because the Lisbon Treaty was not even in existence, no one even knew that there would be a Lisbon treaty - unless you are claiming that someone within the Labour Party is clairvoyant..."

    I wouldn't be able to make a statement on this unless the Lisbon Treaty contained elements introduced in the Constitutional Treaty. I think we have established that this isn't a 'lie'.

    "…you prove that you understand very little about the legalities of such treaties and thus your opinion is worth about as much as the electrons you used to make it…"

    The debate isn't about such high minded stuff like "the legalities of such treaties". It is about "Europe and the UK Election" and the non referendum has been one of, if not the biggest EU issues in this parliament. Don't believe me? Look what happened to Labour and their Lisbon Liberal Democrat allies in June.

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  • 353. At 1:55pm on 20 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #352

    "I wouldn't be able to make a statement on this unless the Lisbon Treaty contained elements introduced in the Constitutional Treaty. I think we have established that this isn't a 'lie'."

    Of course you can repeat a lie, and the fact that you carry on making out that the Lisbon Treaty is a carbon copy of the old and abandoned constitutional treaty you carry on repeating the same lie...

    For one last time (hopefully...), it's not the words or the word-count that matters but the legal meaning of a treaty, Lisbon does not create a "Constitution for Europe", it does not create a federal entity out of the EU.

    The debate isn't about such high minded stuff like "the legalities of such treaties".

    Of course it is, it's the legal meanings within a document that create a treaty, law or what ever.

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  • 354. At 2:01pm on 20 Oct 2009, Polonium210 wrote:

    "351. At 10:28am on 20 Oct 2009, Boilerplated wrote:

    "Hardly makes me an internet troll does it."

    It does when your very first comment [on your user account] is to call someone else a "internet troll"."


    So now an internet troll is someone who suggests someone else is an internet troll within their first comment!


    ""Maybe you should stop having an answer for everything and"

    Oh right, so the only people who should comment are those who know nothing about the subject/issues?!"


    No! I didn't say that you shouldn't comment at all. Just that you shouldn't have an answer for everything. Stop twisting peoples comments to suit your needs!

    ""you wouldn't make as many stupid/illogical comments."

    In your opinion of course, but all your opinion does is prove your own stupid/illogical thinking... "


    Not just my opinion Boilerplated. Look at some of the responses that you have got from many others... It is entirely logical for me to assume that you are a troll when for example you reply to someone else's comments about the Kinnocks earning too much for what they do "Jealous are we..."


    I've changed my mind. Please DO continue to have an answer for everything. It's entertaining to read.


    Moving on...
    I'd be interested to know your thoughts on the developments within the UK concerning the significant shifting to the far right (e.g. BNP, EDL). Maybe I'm wrong, but from what I've read it seems that it's an anti EU vote just as much as it is anti-immigration. I just cannot see in my lifetime the British accepting an EU president that they feel they will have little or no connection to.

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  • 355. At 6:06pm on 20 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    353. Boilerplated

    "...you carry on making out that the Lisbon Treaty is a carbon copy of the old and abandoned constitutional treaty you carry on repeating the same lie..."

    Where? Give a post reference.

    "...Lisbon does not create a "Constitution for Europe"..."

    Similarly where did I claim this? Give a post reference.

    "...it's the legal meanings within a document that create a treaty, law or what ever..."

    This has nothing to do with whether a referendum should have been called.

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  • 356. At 6:16pm on 20 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    354. Polonium210

    "...Maybe I'm wrong, but from what I've read it seems that it's an anti EU vote..."

    In the June EU Election UKIP were treated as something of a joke with the media emphasis on the party's troubles in the Brussels/Strasbourg Parliaments. 2004 was supposed to be their high water mark.

    Yet what happened – UKIP beat 'pro Lisbon' Labour into third place. http://www.europarl.europa.eu/parliament/archive/elections2009/en/united_kingdom_en.html

    btw Polonium210 are you a Russian poster?

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  • 357. At 03:06am on 21 Oct 2009, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Gavin Hewitt:

    Well, yes...The UK elections and Europe have a common thread...They don't know what is going on; Until the results are in...

    PS: I am not advocating an general election....


    ~Dennis Junior~

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