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Klaus opting out

Gavin Hewitt | 18:12 UK time, Friday, 9 October 2009

There is an element of farce creeping into the drama of the Czech Republic and the Lisbon Treaty. We now know what President Klaus's conditions are for signing the treaty - or rather I think we do.Vaclav Klaus, 9 Oct 09

To start with, he did not intend to reveal his hand today. He feels he was pushed into it. The Czech president is clearly irritated that, in his view, the Swedish prime minister disclosed a confidential conversation they had yesterday. It seems that President Klaus was going to wait until the Czech Constitutional Court had ruled before revealing his new conditions.

He has focused on the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights, which is part of the Lisbon Treaty. It gives the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg the right to decide whether various laws comply with the charter. President Klaus feels Czech courts could be bypassed and that Germans expelled after World War II could, for example, make property claims supported by the Luxembourg court. So the president wants an opt-out.

"Before ratification, the Czech Republic must additionally at least negotiate a similar exemption" to that won by Britain and Poland, he said. (Britain and Poland both negotiated opt-outs.) President Klaus reckons that all this could be negotiated quickly.

The suggestion seems to be that this could be done at an EU summit later this month. But there's much that isn't clear. Does the Czech president have the power to negotiate such a clause? Some believe that rests only with the Czech government and, as of yesterday, they knew nothing about it. There are some, in the Czech Republic, who believe that it is the president himself who is exceeding his powers.

The attitude of other European countries is also uncertain. Some may be unwilling to make any concession. French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, for one, has ruled out any changes. Other countries may be wary about making concessions to the Czech president.

The Czech Prime Minister, Jan Fischer, repeated today what he had said earlier in the week - that ratification could still be completed by the end of the year. But this has to be an opinion. He does not know what the constitutional court will decide and he certainly can't read President Klaus's mind.

It is wise to be very cautious. President Klaus made clear again today his objections to the Lisbon Treaty. "I have always considered this treaty a step in the wrong direction. It will deepen the problems the EU is facing today. It will increase its democratic deficit, worsen the standing of our country and expose it to new risks."

These are the words of a man who clearly loathes the treaty and until the moment he signs it there have to be doubts about his intentions.

Comments

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  • 1. At 7:12pm on 09 Oct 2009, Kaspian Giovanni wrote:

    Mr Klaus needs to get with th programme. This is not the way that democracy is mean to work. The time for negotiation of the treaty and negotiation of this opt-out was months (even years) ago. To hamstring 26 EU states in such an obvious way is pathetic, when will the next "footnote" appear? He is clearly holding up ratifying the treaty for as long as possible - possibly until the UK election.

    On that point, does Gavin think that the Conservatives will really give the British people a referendum which would inevitably lead to Lisbon failing and in the long term, Britain's possible withdrawal from the EU?

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  • 2. At 7:27pm on 09 Oct 2009, Adrian wrote:

    This is chilling. President Klaus appears to be the only one now able to stay the progress of the unwanted, un-democratic EU Constitution (Lisbon Treaty), and you can sense the gathering of the wolfpack to try to destroy him. The Irish vote has been bought, and the Polish Government has been threatened or bribed into submission. We're seeing a vicious, ruthless machine, which demands complete power, in action.
    You think I'm being melodramatic? Just wait and see.

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  • 3. At 7:28pm on 09 Oct 2009, stepan-k wrote:

    All in all - Klaus is seeking to to as much damage and chaos as possible to cause delay at any cost.

    It is smart - he is asking something Polang and UK already have so it seems reasonable and plays on Czech natianalistic note using fear from claims of former Sudet Germans.

    And it is both low and unlawfull - we probably could have this exception if we ask for it during negotiations, but now it makes big mess both internationally (of course other nations are angry after this last minute change) and internationally (Czech president can not change international treaties, this ammendment would probably meen this new treaty must be go throw Czech paliament and senate again otherwise Czech constitutional court can easy consider it invalid). All this in situation when he has no right not to sign this treaty.

    PS I am Czech citizen.

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  • 4. At 7:29pm on 09 Oct 2009, newspaceman wrote:

    Aye right kaspiangiovanni: "this is not the way democracy is meant to work".

    In a democracy they would not have two votes on the same matter simply because the first gave the "wrong" outcome, hence Ireland's second vote is hardly democratic as the is fact that we, the British, are being denied a vote on the subject.

    That is not democracy, it is tyranny.

    cheers

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  • 5. At 8:23pm on 09 Oct 2009, Chris wrote:

    One good thing is that in the end of it all the Czechs will find out who runs the country and the rest of the EU will have a sitemap of who is who and responsible for what in Prague. It sounds like a very Byzantine type of system operating there, where who you know is more important than rules. Oh Sveijk makes much more sense to me now. Maybe Klaus is modeling himself on the good soldier Sveijk, going around and around in cyrcles instead of heading straight to the point. I can excuse Sveijk he was discharged from the army because of his condition but what's going on with Klaus? As for the democratic deficit that people go on about, please get of your high horses. We do not have a democracy anywhere in the first place and even at its best democracy is rule of the majority over the minority. The best we can all hope for is good rules and regulations for us all to deal with. All countries are rules by some sort of oligarchs. Russia petrol oligarchs, in the US & UK bank oligarchs, in China communist (or god god knows what?) oligarchs

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  • 6. At 8:27pm on 09 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 7. At 8:33pm on 09 Oct 2009, VaclavH wrote:

    As a Czech citizen I fully support my president. Reading this post that just recycles old news and some of the comments below it made to respond

    - Mr. writer - your future goverment will squash this nonsence for good forever
    - The way lisbon treaty has been voted for is a farce that has nothing to do with democracy - I live in Ireland but I myself was deeply shocked by their disregard to their own country for which many died and would be ashamed now. Unfortunately, the monetary crisis - deep failure of goverments - was used in their interest.
    - Mr Fischer has in fact no mandate with Mr. Klaus having full mandate.
    - My country has been recently betrayed by UK, France, Germany of course, Poland, Hungary and even Slovak republic - we have nothing in common and integration on case by case basis would clearly be an option even w/o EU or similar nonsense.
    - And please - keep Mr. Blair at home!

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  • 8. At 8:38pm on 09 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    I am not clear why my comment at 6 broke the house rules and it will be interesting to discover the answer. I posted two remarks, one of which roundly lambasted the BBC for very sloppy and ambiguous journalism for using the headline 'Czech leader wants treaty opt-out'. The Czech leader, presumably, is the head of government - in other words the prime minister. The president is head of state which is a totally different animal. . .

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  • 9. At 8:38pm on 09 Oct 2009, DiscoStu_d wrote:

    This is getting more entertaining by the day! The EU will surely survive a few pokes in the eye by a wily Czech president. They'll get their Lisbon eventually.

    I must confess that the thought of the EU masters with writhed faces and steam coming from the ears is one that I am very much enjoying.


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  • 10. At 8:41pm on 09 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    . . . the other comment refered to Klaus as being 'blooming minded' (expletive amended to avoid censorship).

    So what don't you like? My language or criticism?

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  • 11. At 8:44pm on 09 Oct 2009, Mathiasen wrote:

    #3. stepan-k:
    Berlin,
    Yes, it is not difficult to detect that Klaus is now trying to make it a conflict between the Czech republic and Germany. He will not succeed with it. He will face the opposition of most member states of the union, as the action of the Swedish PM also shows.

    But actually this is a Czech discussion. Klaus has no mandate to negotiate in Bruxelles and he needs the Czech government to bring his wishes forward. So far it has not happened.

    Mathiasen, Danish citizen

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  • 12. At 8:44pm on 09 Oct 2009, James Rigby wrote:

    Leader-to-leader rules of confidentiality being broken, other states putting undue pressure on another nation state, everyone trying to find a way to get this signed quickly.....why the hurry. If it's been 10 years in the making, another 6 months won't make much difference. Or are the eurocrats running scared that democracy, but way of a UK referendum, might scupper their plans for a Eurostate?

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  • 13. At 8:55pm on 09 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #7 - VaclavH

    Astonishing post. Would you care to explain how your country has been 'betrayed by UK (of which I am a citizen), France, Germany of course, Poland, Hungary (where I now live) and even Slovak republic'?

    Could you also explain how the head of government can have no mandate and the president does? Has the Czech system mysteriously turned into an executive presidency while no one was looking?

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  • 14. At 9:06pm on 09 Oct 2009, Mathiasen wrote:

    #13 - and just one more question: How come that the parliamentary chambers of the Czech republic have not discovered this conspiracy?

    Mathiasen

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  • 15. At 9:25pm on 09 Oct 2009, knowles2 wrote:

    The bloke clearly does not have any intentions of signing it before we have our say in Britain. It pretty sad state of affairs that Britain have to rely on other countries to defend our sovereignty.

    Hopefully he can hold of the EU Mafia until the next election. Shame he choose to reveal his hand to Swiss, if would of waited until after the constuition Court ruling there little hope that the Czechs would signed it before our elections.

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  • 16. At 9:28pm on 09 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #14 - Mathiasen

    Probably too busy watching the evil conspiracy of San Remo, Monaco, Lichtenstein, Andorra, the Holy See and the Isle of Wight to take over the world.

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  • 17. At 9:34pm on 09 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #15 - knowles2

    OK, now I know I am going mad. What on earth have the Swiss got to do with it? (Unless they are party to the conspiracy with San Marino, the Isle of Wight . . . and so on).

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  • 18. At 9:50pm on 09 Oct 2009, Markasol wrote:

    Threnodio, you need to learn some history if you find Vaclac's post astonishing. In 1938, during the Munich crisis, the UK and France sold the then Czechoslovakia down the river for Hitler's signature on a scrap of paper - they handed the frontier Sudetenland region of Czech Rep over to Germany without consulting the Czechs - this area had the terrain, mountains and expensively built fortifications, that the Czechs were relying on for their own defence. It was a low and dirty move and one of the most shameful in British history. 6 months later Hitler invaded anyway. During this invasion, Poland and Hungary joined in to grab bits of Czechoslovak land they had always coveted and then the Slovaks were granted a separate Republic which was a German puppet state and minor ally. So yes, the Czechs are right to feel wronged and you should understand and respect that. It may astonish most Brits to learn this but abroad Britain is seen as duplicitous and dishonorable, rarely keeping its word (the French call us 'perfidious Albion' and the Greeks said the sun wouldn't set on the British Empire because God wouldn't trust an Englishman in the dark) - quite different from our own self-image but unfortunately more accurately based on the facts.

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  • 19. At 10:13pm on 09 Oct 2009, adrvah wrote:

    Klaus is now playing the same game on the world stage that he has played on the national stage so far. I do not believe that there is any hidden agenda behind this. It is a desperate cry to be recognized, not to be fused with the mediocre crowd, and during the communist time there were no conditions to be trained for a real competion in the real world. Klaus has created a kingdom of illusion in which he can play a role he would never be able to play on the international stage. That is why he has always admired authoritative figures (Milosevic, Putin). There are unfortunately still too many people in our country who are willing to play this game with him. He is afraid to lose it and what he is doing now is the last desperate attempt to defend himself against the danger of being exposed as a phoney. The paradox is that the more he tries the more it becomes evident that he is one. What he is now doing to the Czechs is perplexing and embarassing. But it is a symptom of the communist past, our hidden illness. I hope and pray to the patron of our land, St. Wenceslas (Vaclav) that one day we will get beyond this and learn to live in reality.

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  • 20. At 10:23pm on 09 Oct 2009, achaian wrote:

    Why all anti EU people, instead of finding excuses against the Lisbon Treaty & trying to employ delaying practices under rediculous pretexts, don't organize campaigns for their countries (be it UK or "new" Europe) to leave EU altogether & let the rest of us proceed in building a democratic powerful Europe?
    I think it was a grave error of judgement the bulk enlargement of EU without the preconditioned acceptance of Lisbon Treaty.

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  • 21. At 10:42pm on 09 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #18 - Markasol

    Again astonishing. The very fact that you find it necessary to preface your post with an admonition to me that I need to learn some history is suprising enough. That you should do so and then take such a simplistic view of the reality is simply sad. While it is absolutely clear that Czechoslovak interests were betrayed at Munich, it is also obvious to anyone with an in depth uderstanding of the period that going to war with Germany in September 1938 would have meant almost certain defeat. It may have been shabby and hollow but it made strategic sense. It is also frequently misrepresented that Britain betrayed a military alliance with Czechoslovakia. No such alliance existed. There was a military alliance between them and France but that is another matter.

    You then go on to say that Poland and Hungary 'joined in to grab bits of Czechoslovak land they had always coveted'. In the case of Hungary, what they actually did was seek to recover territory which was originally part of the kingdom of Hungary, then became part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and was stripped away at the Trianon Treaty of 1919. Had the allies conducted themselves less vengefully in 1918/19, there is every possibility that the events of 1938 would not have happened at all. The territories to which you refer are, in any case, in modern Slovakia - not the Czech Republic - and the treatment of ethnic Hungarians living there continues to this day to be a bone of contention.

    I am the first to 'understand and respect' the way in which the Czechoslovaks may have felt wronged. What I do not accept is that events that occured 71 years ago should be allowed to cast a shadow over a project which is, at least in part, dedicated to the idea that never again should Europeans treat one another in such a way. Neither do I accept that the modern day Czech Republic should be entitled to be resentful of events which actually occured in Slovakia. Neither do I accept that, because a Corsican corporal saw fit to refer to Britain as 'perfidious Albion', that it necessarily follows that the entire French nation agrees with him. It actually comes as no suprise that some Brits are viewed by some people living abroad as 'duplicitous and dishonourable'. It would be something of a suprise if they didn't. But to be told that I need to 'learn some history' by someone who clearly has a noarrow and blinkered view of it is a little bit rich.

    I notice you do not address the rest of my post concerning the niceties of the Czech constitution.

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  • 22. At 10:50pm on 09 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #18 - Markasol

    Out of interest, do you not consider that Czechs were not also betrayed in 1968 or the Hungarians in 1956? Or is that somehow different?

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  • 23. At 10:53pm on 09 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    18 - Markasol

    . . . or the Baltic republics in 1939?

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  • 24. At 11:10pm on 09 Oct 2009, paracels wrote:

    What is the democracy element in one person, Mr. Klaus, holding his personal opinion and personal view against a treaty that has been ratified by millions in Europe and by his own parliament.

    In the past days, we have had the opportunity to observe Europe´s small standing with the US, pressured by China, giving away Europe´s influence and voting power in the G20 to China and other emerging countries, while keeping US own decision level untouched. Two days later, Europe was giving away his presidency of the FMI, while US keeps its veto powers.

    One more example of Europe´s current inability to defend its interests in front of the US. China and other assertive nations.

    Who is Mr Klaus, the signer of a treaty to establish an US missile system in European soil, to preempt a treaty that will Europe come together, take its position fact to face with the US and make it go from a "fabled giant" to an assertive entity?

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  • 25. At 11:31pm on 09 Oct 2009, ferrand stobart wrote:

    A possible key legal question in the Lisbon for the UK is the relationship of the EU President to HM the The Queen.

    If the President is the Queen's superior, then is he/she de facto Head of the Anglican Church, and the Commonwealth through being the Queen's "overlord ?

    If the President is NOT the Queen's superior, then by using the Royal Perogative she can abrogate any laws/treaties made in her name by Parliament should she so desire ?

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  • 26. At 00:35am on 10 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Oh HO! Who ever thought I'd have something good to say about a communist? Well that throws a spanner into the works as you Brits would say. (We call it a monkey wrench.) So, the ball is in the EU's court and in the UK's court. The people of the UK may get to have their voices heard after all...and then again maybe they won't. Who said European politics is always boring?

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  • 27. At 01:26am on 10 Oct 2009, capek wrote:

    It is Mr Klaus who wants an opt out, not Czechs! - and be assured that German claims are a sheer pretext for disabling the core principles of EU on human righs in the Czech Republic, giving more space to criminal political clans. Dreaming of Bolshvik Era & totalitarian rule in Prague in 2009.
    Let us distinguish between the Czechs and Mr Klaus, President elected by a margin of one vote under dubious circumstaces.
    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

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  • 28. At 01:35am on 10 Oct 2009, Didactylid wrote:

    26. MAII

    Sorry, but you do NOT call a spanner a monkey wrench. You call it a wrench. A monkey wrench is known over here as an adjustable spanner.

    We were bought up over here to be less profligate with our posessions, and if we're going to throw something in the works we'd rather lose a spanner than what the Germans call an "Engländer"!

    Apart from your goodself, this thread has been enormously educational already.

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  • 29. At 01:41am on 10 Oct 2009, BeebLeeMoore wrote:

    Presumably nobody's willing to entertain the possibility that Mr Klaus is simply playing a weak hand as well as he can. He doesn't like the Lisbon treaty, and he particularly doesn't like the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Since other countries have got an opt out from that, his demands won't look unreasonable to Joe Public. And playing his only card now is perfect timing, because he's the sole roadblock to the EU getting the Lisbon treaty in under the wire before the Brits are allowed to vote on it. I predict that the EU and the BBC and the Guardian, and every Europhile publication in good standing, and Uncle Tom Cobley, and all, will say that his demands are outrageous and cannot be entertained. Then after a month or so, they'll entertain them and offer him the same deal as they offered the Irish, and then he'll sign. Not wacky, not unpredictable, just a good poker player.

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  • 30. At 03:24am on 10 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Daffy-dyl

    Play all the word games you like. Bottom line, like it or not, it's not a done deal at all yet. You seem very irritated by that. Good. Shows you're still alive. I guess you think it would be a crime if the British population finally got a chance to vote and tell their government what they want them to do. I wouldn't worry much though. From the protest so far or more accurately lack of them, I don't think they care much one way or the other what happens to them. I know I don't.

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  • 31. At 04:16am on 10 Oct 2009, Nescio wrote:

    The attitude of leaders like Klaus and other former Soviet Block leaders show that they were not ready for the EU in the first place. Poland is another country who does not seem to be able to play by the rules. These countries are happy to lambast Germany for what happened 65-70 years ago. The Germans are foolish enough to pay far more to these governments that what they really receive. If Klaus is so concerned with german claims it is about time that Germany use the same blackmail tactics as Klaus does. Not one Euro should go to his impoverished country before he signs. Klaus is comparable with Mugabe, the blame is always on a country that has left a human life ago.

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  • 32. At 05:33am on 10 Oct 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    13. At 8:55pm on 09 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    "#7 - VaclavH

    Astonishing post. Would you care to explain how your country has been 'betrayed by UK (of which I am a citizen), France, Germany of course, Poland, Hungary (where I now live) and even Slovak republic'? ..."

    SB2(25% Czech): The UK betrayed the Czechs and the Poles by allowing the Soviets to occupy them after WWII .

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  • 33. At 05:37am on 10 Oct 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    21. At 10:42pm on 09 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    "... Neither do I accept that, because a Corsican corporal saw fit to refer to Britain as 'perfidious Albion', that it necessarily follows that the entire French nation agrees with him. ..."

    I knew this German Catholic priest who used to go on about perfidious Albion. It turned out he was a war criminal. "We didn't take an prisoners. Well, what can you do with them in the desert?"

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  • 34. At 05:40am on 10 Oct 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    21. At 10:42pm on 09 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    " ... it is also obvious to anyone with an in depth uderstanding of the period that going to war with Germany in September 1938 would have meant almost certain defeat. ..."

    I have seen a British TV documentary which disputed this assertion.

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  • 35. At 05:44am on 10 Oct 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    27. At 01:26am on 10 Oct 2009, senefelder-geo wrote:

    "It is Mr Klaus who wants an opt out, not Czechs! ..."

    That's what you think. They should have a referendum to find out. We in the UK should have one too. And if we don't get one, then expect endless trouble.

    I believe I read that Mandelson claimed that all the "EU"-bashing in the UK would stop once Lisbon was passed.

    NO CHANCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • 36. At 05:47am on 10 Oct 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    31. At 04:16am on 10 Oct 2009, DeMinister wrote:

    "The attitude of leaders like Klaus and other former Soviet Block leaders show that they were not ready for the EU in the first place ..."

    What about the UK? Were we not ready either?

    PLEASE GET US THROWN OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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  • 37. At 07:52am on 10 Oct 2009, bena gyerek wrote:

    for anyone claiming that having two votes in ireland on the treaty is "undemocratic", i would point out that the real strength of institutional democracy is not that leaders are elected, but that they always face the prospect of re-election. voters should always have the right to change their mind, otherwise there truly is no democracy. and changing their mind is exactly what irish voters did emphatically in the second referendum - a 2:1 majority on a 60% turnout is hard to argue against. and if irish voters should change their minds again in the future, the lisbon treaty creates an explicit mechanism whereby their government could choose to leave the eu. hardly a european dictatorship.

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  • 38. At 09:23am on 10 Oct 2009, dudelange wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 39. At 09:30am on 10 Oct 2009, el_coyote wrote:

    No British government will ever dare to leave the EU. This would make them extremely unpopular abroad, and bring financial losses to the economy at home (higher costs of labour and trade). Which means, in particular, even more expensive services. Plus an even less friendly image of Brits in Europe.

    The world is, on the whole, luckily becoming less and less conservative and more and more integrated, so just go with the flow, Mr Klaus and Mr Cameron!

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  • 40. At 09:59am on 10 Oct 2009, DoreenK wrote:

    The great weakness of democracy is that it gives entirely undue room and weight to marginal, extremist opinions. Mr. Klaus and his ilk constitute a tiny minority - and still having to listen to them is the price we pay for having freedom of opinion. How can one man stand in the way of the wishes of the vast majority of 500m people? Why is he still in office? Isn't there some provision in the Czech political system for the removal of the President for erratic, self-centred behaviour that is totally contrary to the best interest for his country?

    To those here talking - often ignorantly - about referendums and democracy, a referendum does not make any decision more democratic. It constitutes nothing less than the shirking of political responsibility by the elected representatives of the people - after all, we are *paying* our politicians to make *informed*, carefully weighed, mostly compromise-based decisions *on our behalf*. The Treaty was negotiated and signed by all. Backing off it now is irresponsible. The large majority of claims about the Lisbon Treaty are simply false and betray their authors' never actually having so much as looked at the document and its implications; their existence is one of the very good reasons why we have *representative* democracy.

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  • 41. At 10:19am on 10 Oct 2009, joehoch wrote:

    I should like to thank threnodio for his accurate summing up of history relating to these parts. It is also good to see Czechs entering the debate here. The argument that is often used by people against the european project is that democracy itself would suffer. A notion that is defendable and should be aired time and time again. The relative strenghts and weaknesses of democracies around the world should also be looked at. Just look at the caracters like Bush and Berlusconi that democracies have produced in recent times. In Prague, well, there we have also a bunch of crooks in politics. The headline in one prominent paper only yesterday used the word mafia with a question mark, naturally. This has nothing to do with Klaus, of course. Well, two of his advisors, we have heard said, are involved. The have had to resign their posts at the top of the law faculty in Pilsen. This is about selling titles to well connected people including leading politicians, a former prime minister is one of them.
    I should like to invite people to join the fight for democracy, because that what it actually is, particularly in the Czech republic. Klaus for one does not like that, he does not like ngo's for example putting their noses into things democratic. The czech word that people should learn about is "tunelovat", this is a form of stealing. Under communism the people would take from the state (everything was state property) to use for their family, anything that they could lay their hands on would be pinched. After 89 this philosophy was enlarged and thieving has been and is nowadays on a much larger scale. So the noun is "tunelovani", The tunneling of state or council property. The laws are weak, the police are weak, the procecutors are weak and so are the courts. Yet there is hope, because there are very couregeous people fighting this day by day, by day. So do have a thought for them and any Czech reading this should join in to fight Bem, Paroubek, Jancik and their collaborators. Otherwise forget about democracy in these parts.

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  • 42. At 10:24am on 10 Oct 2009, Jayceeyoukay wrote:

    There is indeed a huge irony (at several levels) in us Brits hanging on the decision of a former Czech Communist for the possibility of having our say on the LT.

    Of course, there is always the possibility that Mr Cameron may adopt a firmer stance if he senses that failure to do so would cost him power. He is after all, a politician.

    In the meantime it might be interestig to see the results of the ultimate hand grenade from Mr Klaus; an undertaking to sign the Treaty only after the British had had their say!

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  • 43. At 11:08am on 10 Oct 2009, knowles2 wrote:

    achaian If that what I believe the Lisbon treaty did then I would sign on and support it in a heart beat. The fact we been basically told by the writers themselves that it would made so complex and incomplete so that they could get it past the people is what make me doubt it.

    The fact it does not clamp down the corruption with in the EU. Does not define the president powers or other posts its creates, does not give us the people a say on who the president should be. The fact that they wrote the treaty in such away that they can change bits of it, with out it needing it to be rectified by the countries parliament again, this is how they can promise Ireland all the changes they promise with out it getting signed of from each country again.

    All mean to me that it a poorly written, poorly thought out treaty which is design to enhance there own egos rather than actually correcting some of the basic flaws in the EU, such a the EU accounts not being sign off yearly,the ridiculous moving of parliament every month or so.
    These just some of the biggest an simplest flaws with in the EU which they should of solved before even consider type treaty which is a blatant grab for more powers by the EU with out solving any of its current issues.

    Also if they want to make the EU simpler then getting every country signed up to the same set of rules and regulations would of made a bigger difference rather than the messed that is the lisbon treaty with different rules for different countries, which are very much open for interpretations. Yes it would of probably mean far less power being given to the EU, a far simpler treaty with less ambitious aims but it would actually done it job of which to simplified the running of the EU.

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  • 44. At 11:17am on 10 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    I hear that the Czech's are bidding for the 2011 "International Clown Convention" and want EU funding, any truth in the rumour?...

    As for the Lisbon treaty, this is a last ditch move, Klaus knows that if the EU bows to his (illegal?) demands both the Czech parliaments will have to re-ratify, on the other hand Klaus knows that if the constitutional court dismisses the most recent complaint he will have no choice but to sign within weeks, if not days, of that judgement.

    I suspect that the Swedish prime minister saw straight through Klaus and his 'cunning plan', thus immediately decided to spill the beans.

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  • 45. At 11:36am on 10 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #43. At 11:08am on 10 Oct 2009, knowles2 wrote:

    "Yes it would of probably mean far less power being given to the EU, a far simpler treaty with less ambitious aims but it would actually done it job of which to simplified the running of the EU."

    Yes by making the "EU" unworkable and thus untenable!... Of course all member countries could sign up to either the European Economic Area (EEA) or European Free Trade Association (EFTA) agreement and just abandon the EU as such but that would be very much a retro-step in freeing up the movement of trade and people within the majority of Europe - one only has to look at the sort comings of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to see what would happen.

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  • 46. At 11:38am on 10 Oct 2009, mirmidion wrote:

    I really don't understand why many British people have such a negative attitude towards Europe. Sometimes I put it down to the fact they had a large Empire and some haven't come to the realization yet that the time when the Pound was the world reference currency has gone. As a result the UK is flip flopping between Europe and the US trying to take advantge of both. Whether it stays in the EU with all its excpetions or not, it just seems bound to become some sort of satellite state of the US or the EU. The Benelux countries have already excluded any British president such as Tony Blair to head to EU if the Lisbon treaty is adopted. They argued that the UK is not part of Schengen, and the euro and therefore they should not have a strong EU representation. France and Germany by far outweight the UK in Europe. This is all indeed prefiguring the satellization of the UK. Needless to say to outside of the EU, the UK will become a dwarf in the light of rising powers such as China, Russia, or Brazil. It is pathetic to see that the UK foreign diplomacy is basically sucking to the americans. That has been quite obvious at the recent UN and G20 summit when all the British media got so excited because Obama gave a tap on Brown's shoulder and they saw it as a sign that the so called "special relationship" was still alive. Let's be clear, there is no doubt about who is wearing the pants (trousers) in that relationship! So it is time for the British people to decide where they stand, IN or OUT of the EU, but not in between. As for the Czech president, he is a just relic of the past who doesn't realize that the WWII has ended more than 60 years ago. SOme people just need a reality check.

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  • 47. At 11:43am on 10 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #41 - joehoch

    Thank you for those thoughts. History is never cut and dried and there will always be shades of opinion but it is good to know that someone with much better local knowledge and understanding broadly agrees with my analysis.

    On the bigger issue, it is curious that the wide diversity of opinions voiced on this blog all stem from the same basic desire - to see a true democratic process in action. From those who believe that the British way (whatever that may be - ask a Scot what he thinks of British democracy) is the only way and that the EU is corrupt and evil to those who see integration and cooperation as the only way forward, we all want the same thing.

    My problem with Lisbon is and always has been not what it sets out to do nor particularly the methodology. It is the way in which it has been introduced by sleight of hand. In effect, writing it as a treaty has denied all the people of Europe except the Irish a chance to vote on it. So what we have ended up with is a document which may well be the best possible compromise but lacks democratic legitimacy because of poor consultation. What this has done, of course, is left the door wide open for any loose canons who want to play politics with it. So now we have Klaus clutching at straws because he knows perfectly well that his eurosceptic stance will not succeed playing with his will I, won't I stance like a spoiled child, we have Cameron gleefully lapping up each and every opportunity to put off actually having a policy at all in the desperate hope that he can win an election on different issues.

    It is difficult to resist coming to the conclusion that, at a time when what is needed is a clear vision, all we are getting is self-interest and deviousness. We are a society full of politicians and not a statesman amongst them

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  • 48. At 11:58am on 10 Oct 2009, shouttothetop wrote:

    Lets's hope that Mr Klaus and/or the courts delay signing until after June next year. We can then have our vote and we all now what the British answer will be...The treaty will be dead in the water and Democracy will have won the day.

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  • 49. At 12:10pm on 10 Oct 2009, leytonmike wrote:

    This situation is just one more example of the farce that is politics here in the Czech Republic. Klaus was voted in as president by the narrowest of margins after almost being beaten in earlier rounds. The Prime Minister (and indeed most of the government here) was not voted into office by anyone! The Topalanek government crashed earlier this year and Mr Fisher - head of the Czech statistics office, and not a politician at all - was chosen to head a new gocernment!! For anyone to pretend that democracy exists here is laughable - Klaus' stance therefore should surprise no-one.

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  • 50. At 12:29pm on 10 Oct 2009, antipropaganda wrote:

    Threnodio - I agree with you entirely. Having lived in the Cz for some time now, I've noticed that in many ways it is still a Stalinist-like state and has perpetuated a 'false', as that joker Klaus would say, version of history in order to justify the expansion of the state after WWII. Regardless of the rights and wrongs of the expulsion of German speaking Czech citizens after the war, one of the main events in the mind of a Czech today is this 'betrayal' and responsibility they think the UK should have felt in what was an impossible situation. This is propagated by the same education system which glosses over the facts such as Kafka was a Czech Jew who wrote in German in a German-speaking Prague. Furthermore, while on literature, because much of the Czech-mindset, bizarrely, has been shaped by the Good Soldier Svejk, constantly playing a blame game, making excuses, being elusive and ridiculing and distrusting all forms of authority, have become qualities in most of the Czech politicians to varying degrees. This is one reason there is corruption and distrust which Klaus plays on - because they cannot imagine good intentions behind the EU. Czechs find it hard to imagine good politicians - and before you bring up British politicians, please read on to get an idea of the extent of inaptitude that exists in this Cz government which had to resort to a civil servant to lead it - Fischer.

    Insecurity. It is hard for older Czechs to imagine the EU is not another oppressor similar to the past. However, my view is that the past is the past. Klaus does a diservice to his own people in the way he patronizes them and actively mystifies foreign policy - and he's done this for years. It is hard to describe the respect this clown receives in the Czech Republic. Somehow this former communist set up an image of being a wise economist - a steady hand who guided the Czech Rep to independence. But as many a German will tell you, he is also one of the biggest swindlers in Europe and pocketed huge amounts of funds after the chaos his government instigated during a mass privatization process. In doing so, Klaus claimed and still does, that he is some kind of Thatcherite (remember, he never has to fully explain himself in Czech because everyone is subconsciously used to Stalinism - the nouveau riche, including politicians, are so busy skiing and cycling they are apathetic and don't understand the issues, let alone speak English or French). Much of these funds are in areas the EU is now investing in, by the way, like transport and infrastructure. Czech citizens have been also unknowingly been paying for misappropriated funds for years.

    Being elusive is an acceptable political tactic in the Czech Rep when it comes to Klaus. This man, who brags about his conquests with the opposite sex, is rumored to in fact bat for the opposition. There is nothing wrong with that in itself of course, but living a lie has implications when it comes to public office. Klaus also had as one of the main tenants of his policy on EU, hugely important to the small nation, the policy that the issue was too sophisticated to discuss in the public arena. His reported disappointment with the Swedish PM openly and democratically saying what happened over the phone - his 'don't tell them what I told you' policy - again is another reason why Klaus belongs in the past. Environmental policy: enough said apart from it showing Klaus is archaic and is again dragging his country through the mud for one man's exhibitionist needs.

    The Lisbon Treaty is a threat to vested interests. Certain Czech politicians have been misleading their public - they are not anti-European in the British sense although enjoy that label because it brings them allies. How on earth could a 10million strong nation, reliant on its neighbors economically, be anti-European? No, they are not anti-European, but are instead afraid of being exposed as incompetent and afraid of the weight of argument and logic from outside which may redefine much of their understanding regarding what actual is 'Czech', beyond Svejk.

    The country's citizens should, with or without the EU, get involved in democracy instead of trivializing the good intentions of their European neighbors, moaning to the British and then turning around and saying we betray you throughout history. There's no secret police anymore, there should not be censorship anymore (if they get more involved in the EU they will be able to truly have freedom of speech instead of brushing awkward problems under the carpet), and the Czech Republic is a relatively law abiding place - Czech politicians need to start working much harder for their people.

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  • 51. At 12:53pm on 10 Oct 2009, Livion wrote:

    All Britains does not want be in EU, so I think Mr Klaus doing well.

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  • 52. At 1:13pm on 10 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    51. At 12:53pm on 10 Oct 2009, Livion wrote:

    "All Britains does not want be in EU, so I think Mr Klaus doing well."

    But many do so, for them, Klaus is doing very badly...

    Please don't try and make out that you are speaking for all.

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  • 53. At 1:18pm on 10 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    Bitingtheirankles,newspaceman1,SuffolkBoy2

    As a Brit and proud of my Brit heritage but living in France I find your attitude to Europe pathetic. The Empire is gone, it's over, it was a great period in British history for such a small island to have dominated so much of the world. Lots of other European nations tried but Britain did it. It is now over 'get over it' 'get real' and as someone else on this blog says 'get with the programme'

    Britain is a small very overpopulated island short on raw materials, Britain needs the EU much more than the EU needs Britain. I remember all the little Engerlanders not so long ago decrying the Euro 'it will never work', 'gone in a couple of years', that was when £1 would buy you €1.48 now £1 buys you €1. Which part of this don't you understand? Europe is the world's largest economy and not likely to be overtaken any time shortly in spite of Chinese growth rates. Europe has a great future but really needs the UK on board and contributing full time not having the sulks because some UK citizens don't like the rules.

    Talking of rules, while we are all getting legalistic here I see that there are grave doubts about the legality of President Klaus's position with regard to proposing this amendment. The Czech Parliamentarians are saying he does not have that right.

    To be sure Europe has it's faults so let's put those faults right not behave like some kid in playground who when he is not getting his own way takes his ball and won't play.

    Oh and MAII why don't you just stay in Jesusland and sort that out. Let's face it you have big enough problems back in the States without getting involved in ours.

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  • 54. At 1:25pm on 10 Oct 2009, NirajGarg wrote:

    It's well known fact that Union is strength. Definitely union comes with some compromise and adjustment for other members. but the strength we achieve is tremendous and worth the sacrifices we make..

    I feel, It would be wise for remaining country i.e. czech to ratify the treaty at the earliest.

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  • 55. At 1:26pm on 10 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    40 Doreen K

    Could not agree more, referendums are simply a way of elected politicians avoiding making the had decisions they were elected to make. Lisbon should never have been sent to referendums it's too complicated, the peoples' elected representatives in each country should have made the decision not 'passed the parcel'.

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  • 56. At 1:36pm on 10 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    Whoops
    'the had decisions' should have been 'the hard decisions

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  • 57. At 1:53pm on 10 Oct 2009, ikamaskeip wrote:

    benagyerek and #37.


    Re, ".. real strength of democratic institution..."

    Totally agree: In a Democracy the Politicians always face "re-election" and a second, third vote is always there for the Citizens in order to "change their minds".

    Oh, hang on! Let's apply your right to Democracy to the UK Citizens:

    First or second Referendum on ratifying the Lisbon Treaty? No.
    First or second Referendum on EU Membership (the EEC was totally different)? No.
    Right to change their mind about anything involving European integration since 1975? No.

    Now, that maybe the direct fault of the UK Parliament's Politicians reneging time after time on promises and the failure of Britons to insist on such Referendum consultation, but, the European Union has certainly not made any effort to have that "..democracy" applicable to the UK over the last 30+ years.

    Finally, you are wrong in detail about the Right to Withdrawal - - those processes have always been there - - unfortunately the cowards at Westminster and the duplicitous Federalisers at Brussels never quite got round to offering the UK Citizens a chance to be 'democratic' or 'undemocratic'!

    Which considering the EU insisted on a second Eire referendum on Lisbon is at the least very 'undemocratic' behaviour: It seems your EU-version OF DEMOCRACY is only to be used when the result will be positive for the European Union.

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  • 58. At 1:54pm on 10 Oct 2009, enough_hypocrisy wrote:

    Interesting how so many Brits think of the EU as if it was the bogeyman, do these people really think that by adopting that attitude they're making any point at all? So much about democracy, what do they think the role of MEPs, amongst them tehir own, is or would be?

    Why, for a start, should anyone consider themselves as the only trustworthy defenders of democracy and thus whine at the most evil EU, they could then do with a some lessons on the EU itself. We choose them, they rule us, simple. Or is it the case by any chance that just because our Whitehall friends are elected representatives, that automatically means there is direct democracy and they do as their constituents tell them to?

    If the problem is about decision-making, or rather, its moral justification, it would be interesting to see a referendum take place in the UK, I don't think evrybody would vote as The Sun or Cameron told them to, for a start, because the more-than-likely Tory government to come wouldn't be so high on opinion polls had Labour not made so many blunders at a time. Electoral manifestos are never agreed to completely.

    And by the way, Britain cannot make it forever by being more of an obstacle than any help, for instance, because it is help that one gets from the EU, not only responsabilities. Union makes strength.

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  • 59. At 1:57pm on 10 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    What irony. Couldn't write a play with anything more biting. The creators of the EU set it up so that there would have to be unanimous consent before such drastic action as Lisbon could be taken. This was to assure that no nation would be forced to accept laws that it felt were not to its advantage and in its own best interest. Yet when one nation whether it is Ireland or the Czech Republic chooses to fly in the face of the other 26, they scream foul.

    It was also required that all of the members be "democracies" whatever that means to a European mind. But the same democratic process that conferred on Gordon Brown the power to legally say yes for all of Britain may have given Mr. Klaus the same legal power to say no for all of the Czech Republic. And of couse on that aspect of it, those who demand Lisbon be enacted cry foul again.

    What is more, they are so impatient that it be enacted quickly, they cannot wait for the democratic legal process to wend its way through the Czech courts giving Brits time to possibly enter a democratic process of their own to find a way to possibly rescind their approval of Lisbon or to exit the EU altogether because they do not trust their own population to know what is best for itself as expressed in a democratic vote.

    What could be more proof of Europe's anti-democratic mentality right down to its core or its undiluted hypocricy?

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  • 60. At 2:10pm on 10 Oct 2009, Economist123 wrote:

    I have to agree with post 2 by Bitingtheirankles. It is very chilling to read how the EU, supported by the media, are now pushing the line that Klaus is isolated against an united Europe. This is complete nonsense. Klaus is the only man who is standing up for democracy in the whole of the EU. I, as an Englishman aged 30, have never been asked my opinion on Europe. I was never allowed to have a say on the Lisbon Treaty, which many say is just the EU Constitution rewritten. Instead, a Labour government which I do not support, and who have fading electoral support in the UK, think they can ride roughshod over democracy by forcing through the constitution in Parliament, and then voting against a Manifesto commitment to have a referendum on the treaty, claiming (or lying in my opinion) that it is significantly different to the old rejected EU constitution. Many say it is the same thing.

    The EU has shown itself to me to be undemocratic. It doesn't take NO for an answer. It forces Ireland to vote YES, and then not allow any more votes. The Netherlands and France both voted no, but on it goes. We're heading for tyranny of the worst sort in Europe. And unless the EU changes its ways, it can only end in revolution once again. Think France 1792. But instead of Kings and Queens and the aristocracy getting it, it'll be the new aristocracy - our unelected self selected elite.

    I fully support Klaus. And millions of other Europeans do too. I don't care what the BBC or the unelected elites at Brussels think or say, or the narrative and line they push - we know why they push their propoganda - because they want the Lisbon treaty signed off. These groups do not represent me or my view. Stand firm Klaus, we are relying on you and support you to the hilt.

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  • 61. At 2:11pm on 10 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    MAII

    We know that Europe frightens you, we know you would like to see it crash and burn but it won't. Go away, go and count 'chads', we watched GWB get elected the first time. Democracy US style, worthy of a banana republic. the vote count, in a state of which his brother was governor, is disputed. Days of counting and disputing 'chads' then a judge picked by a Republican legislature gets to make the decision. Very democratic.

    What could be more proof of your right wing American anti-democratic mentality right down to its core or its undiluted hypocricy? (Please note I didn't change the spelling or the typo's just substituted 'right wing American' for 'Europe'.)

    We know about US style democracy, he with the most money and control of the media wins. Democracy is what you make it.

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  • 62. At 2:17pm on 10 Oct 2009, Krzysztof Wasilewski wrote:

    Vaclav Klaus wants to have his cake and eat it in the situation when signing the Lisbon Treaty should be a piece of cake.

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  • 63. At 2:18pm on 10 Oct 2009, Mathiasen wrote:

    I am enlivened by many of the contributions in this blog, and today the Polish president has signed the LT. He also said that he believes it will be a success, and that is actually more than I had expected.

    Mathiasen

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  • 64. At 2:22pm on 10 Oct 2009, killary45 wrote:

    Those familiar with "newspeak" from Nineteen Eighty-Four will be amused to see the advocates of Lisbon using the word "democracy" in their arguments.

    I am usually a supporter of the Labour party, and at the last election I was promised a referendum on the EU Constitution. It is an insult to my intelligence for anyone to pretend that the Lisbon Treaty is not essentially the same as the Constitution. The one and only reason that we were not given the promised referendum is because the government thought it highly likely that the voters would reject it. Those who say otherwise are dishonest and totally undemocratic.

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  • 65. At 2:22pm on 10 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    TimBuck10;

    I am not frightened by one mouse or 27 mice, I am not frightened by Europe. For me it is a good comedy show. The best laid plans of 27 mice (or men which doesn't apply in this case) often go astray. Who can resist the entertainment of a bar room brawl...or a building burning down in a good blazing fire?

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  • 66. At 2:29pm on 10 Oct 2009, Economist123 wrote:

    MAII - post 59

    I fully agree with your point. The hypcrocracy of the left is astounding. Take post 41 by Joehoch. In it he lambasts and smears centre right politicians across the western world calling them crooks and questioning how democracies can vote such people into power. Then lambasts Klaus for going against democracy by not signing off the treaty. But of course, leftists forget that Prime Minister Brown (unelected to such a position), aided and abetted by Lord Peter Mandelson (unelected to such a postion and thrown out of the cabinet at least twice before) have signed off the Lisbon Treaty on behalf of the UK without letting anyone have their say in a vote. Joe Hoch - you are a hypocrit. The left are the ones against democracy - as they never let us have our say, and when we do have our say, they just ignore it.

    It's all going to end in tears one day. It surely is. As the unelected elites cannot keep pushing people into positions they do not like. Eventually they will bite back.

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  • 67. At 2:49pm on 10 Oct 2009, kalicokat wrote:

    Ref# 61
    You wrote "We know about US style democracy, he with the most money and control of the media wins. Democracy is what you make it."
    And your democracy is different how? At least we get to vote.

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  • 68. At 2:52pm on 10 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "It's all going to end in tears one day. It surely is."

    This is inevitable. As America forgot the lesson of the great depression by allowing the same defect in laissez-fair capitalism to recur and forgot the lesson of WWII by allowing unchallenged military threats to its democracy to emerge in places like Iran and North Korea, so Europe has forgotten the lessons of its absolute monarchical past. That less is clear, no matter how noble or genuine the sentiments of those who engineer government are, that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. The genius of the American system in contrast to Europe's is that it fractures and scatters power through the division of powers between state and federal governments and the separation of power among three different branches of government at both levels. This deliberate setting people's self interests against each other serves to create a system where each one checks and balances the others by challenging the others' power while guarding its own. Only through compromise can they act at all, only rarely when they collaborate fully in unison do they become a danger to the population at large. By contrast, the EU is a central unseen unaccountable entity accumulating absolute political power. Like any other ant hill one day when the worker ants are displeased with what the queen ant is doing to them and protest against it, the soldier ants will be there to crush them. The EU expresses the quitessential European concept of centralization and concentration of power antithetical to American understanding of the dangers of government. Rejection of it was the very reason for America coming into existance and structuring its own society the way it did. Its success has proven that it is a far better way to invest political power than Europe's method.

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  • 69. At 3:06pm on 10 Oct 2009, kalicokat wrote:

    ref# 66 Economist123
    Free speech is only for the left leaning. If you are not of that persuasion then you must keep it zipped. To do otherwise means you will be labeled an obstructionist. You certainly won't get a prize (Nobel that is).

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  • 70. At 3:12pm on 10 Oct 2009, adrvah wrote:

    Antipropaganda – As a Czech person I agree with most of what you say. It is only not fair to call Klaus a former communist. He was never a member of the Communist Party and in the 60ies he was one of the few who openly opted for more radically pro-market reforms than those submitted by the reformist Communist government. In the seventies his career was frozen, as it was the case with everyone who chose not to collaborate with the phoney regime that came to power after the Soviet occupation. After the downfall of communism he was able to sell a clear political and economic alternative to both the socialist past and the chaotic presence and contributed to the development of a more or less standard political environment. These are some of his real achievements which help to explain the respect he still has with some people in this country (of course they have been aggrandised by his devotees and flatterers of which there are alas still too many). The pitfalls, of course, were not a few. He inherited the black and white perspective from the communist past and the kind of capitalism he promoted, at least in theory, was an ideologically simplified caricature. He never had any respect to the rules of any kind and he was always anxious to be noticed and recognized, whatever the cost. For some reason he could always manage, which I think is due partly to his rhetoric abilities, partly to his attractiveness for people without scruples (who are always most effective in achieving their goals) and partly for the insecurity of the post-communist society. But now his bad personal qualities are reaching bizarre dimensions as he has been given this extraordinary opportunity to play this one-man-show which is in no one’s interest except his own. It has nothing to do with WWII, of course, the German card being an ad hoc attempt to legitimize his exhibitionism at least in the eyes of some of his compatriots.

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  • 71. At 3:16pm on 10 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #59 - MarcusAureliusII

    ' . . . the same democratic process that conferred on Gordon Brown the power to legally say yes for all of Britain may have given Mr. Klaus the same legal power to say no for all of the Czech Republic'.

    Total rubbish Marcus. Brown is head of government but not head of state. He had the right as party leader with an overall majority in the Commons to become Prime Minister and the Coomons had the power to pass the Lisbon legislation. Klaus is head of state but not head of government. All he is supposed to do is 'sign here' when the legislature tells him to. Chalk and cheese.

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  • 72. At 3:24pm on 10 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    threnodious, that is for the Czech courts to decide, not for you to dictate. That is why democratic governments to the extent that they even are democratic have courts in the first place. I am certain that since your sympathies lie with the Hungarians (my ancestry is part Hungarian) you are aware of what was presented on BBC's program "From Our Own Correspondent" this week about Czech repression of its 10% Hungarian minority to the point of not allowing them to speak in Hungarian in the conduct of their business affairs even among themselves. Therefore I am not surprised that you would oppose any actions by the Czech government that run counter to your own political views of how they should conduct all of their affairs.

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  • 73. At 3:31pm on 10 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    64. At 2:22pm on 10 Oct 2009, killary45 wrote:

    "Those familiar with "newspeak" from Nineteen Eighty-Four will be amused to see the advocates of Lisbon using the word "democracy" in their arguments."

    Oh please, talk about trying to reflect ones own phobias onto others...

    It's those against the democratic will and wish of the ELECTED representatives in each of the EU states who are the ones that keep using the word "democracy" as if no one else knows what it means - just like in Nineteen Eighty-Four. Remember that it was the totalitarianism of the (far-)right that Orwell was so against, not the democracy of the centre.

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  • 74. At 3:34pm on 10 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    65. At 2:22pm on 10 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "I am not frightened by one mouse or 27 mice, I am not frightened by Europe."

    Heck, a flock of flying elephants have just gone overhead!

    Funny how you then spend so much time attempting to discredit us, Marcus...

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  • 75. At 3:34pm on 10 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    MA11
    I can see I have you rattled that's why you have to resort to name calling. You and many other right wing Americans are terrified of a Europe that speaks with one voice and you know that is what you will get post Lisbon. It may take a bit of time but in the not too distant future you will have to take our take on things into account. Which means that the next time you want to bomb someone or invade or whatever it won't be just France and Germany but the whole EU saying no and that you won't like.

    Don't worry we aren't likely to start throwing our weight about as much as the US has in the past. I note by the way that 'Project for the New American Century' has bitten the dust the site hasn't been updated for more than four years.

    I also note that you didn't comment on the first Bush election results, odd that.

    Start coming to grips with reality, it's over, time to start making friends not telling everyone that they are wrong and ordering them about.

    Finally re this American democracy, don't you mean European democracy?
    Your constitution, of which you are so rightly proud, was plagiarised from the works of various European political philosophers, Tom Paine a Brit and Baron Montesquieu a Frenchman to name but two. I have read the names of the founding fathers and they are all good solid European names mainly Brit names come to that. Oh and if you don't like us that much can you please give the French their statue back?

    Sorry, I am banging on a bit, but a last little thought regarding one of your rants on another blog regarding technological superiority which is another topic where you think Europe lags badly. How is the Dreamliner? Is it flying yet?

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  • 76. At 3:39pm on 10 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    kalicokat
    As MAII seems not to want to address the issue perhaps you would care to comment on the apparent lack of Democracy in Florida and GWB's first 'victory'? It seems to me that the people who controlled that 'democratic' event were certainly of the right persuasion.

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  • 77. At 3:45pm on 10 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #72 - MarcusAureliusII

    Wrong again Marcus. The Czech constitutional court has been asked to rule on the legality of the Lisbon Treaty which was passed by the legislature. If they rule against it, they will be ruling against a measure passed by the assembly, not dicatate of a president whose job is limited to signing it into law.

    I did not actually hear 'From our own correspondent' but I must remember to tell the Hungarian government and media about it because they seem to be under the impression it is the Hungarian minority in Slovakia that are having problems.

    I will be sure to give you credit for pointing out that they are in dispute with the wrong country.

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  • 78. At 3:45pm on 10 Oct 2009, buckeridge wrote:

    @ 60. Economist123

    "I, as an Englishman aged 30, have never been asked my opinion on Europe."

    In the entire history of this country, on one occasion only has the government sought the opinion of the British people on any issue: EEC Membership in 1975. I'm not quite sure where this idea comes from that every Tom, Dick and Harry has the right to chip-in, Swiss-style, into the running of this country.

    "Klaus is the only man who is standing up for democracy in the whole of the EU."

    Taken directly from the Daily Mail? Klaus is an unelected politician pushing for a footnote to be inserted into the Treaty, a Treaty whose terms have been unanimously agreed by the elected representatives of 27 different states, plus the input of 785 MEPs. If one state doesn't agree, there's no Treaty. Simple. If Klaus is so unhappy, why doesn't he ask the Czech parliament to withdraw the ratification?

    "The EU has shown itself to me to be undemocratic. It doesn't take NO for an answer. It forces Ireland to vote YES."

    "No" was taken as an answer - that's why the Constitutional Treaty was abandoned. No-one forced the Irish to vote again, that was their own call. It's up to each state to decide how to implement the agreed treaty, if you don't like how your particular state has done it - blame your own government.

    The EU lives and breathes through the actions and decisions of its participating states. If they decide a new treaty is needed, they determine together by unanimity what's in it and who should be its representatives. Of course, there are many problems - notably the democratic deficit - but such are the difficulties inherent in bringing together 27 very different states under a common umbrella. Much progress has been made and is still to be made.

    Unfortunately your views as expressed above highlight exactly why there was no referendum on Lisbon - you don't vote on the content of the document, but rather your own views on the EU as drawn from the biased uninformed reporting of the British press controlled by a small group of rich pro-US elderly men who are not even taxpayers in this country.

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  • 79. At 3:47pm on 10 Oct 2009, davidkonecny wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 80. At 3:49pm on 10 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    In reply to comments made @ #66

    "Lord Peter Mandelson (unelected to such a postion and thrown out of the cabinet at least twice before"

    Irrelevant, at least he never got bunged in jail like some high ranking Tories have, including a Lord (who refuses to give his politically motivated ennoblement back).

    You might like to remind yourself of one of the greatest politicians this country ever had, and some say the last great Tory leader, a certain Winston Churchill before you complain about MPs who have resigned their posts, we won't even touch on 'crossing the floor of the house' without first stepping down as an MP...

    Like it or not, in the UK we elect MPs to make (sometimes difficult, sometimes complicated) political decision for us, parliament has decided to ratify the Lisbon Treaty, to then go against the will of that elected parliament and demand a referendum just because you don't like the flavour of the decision made by that elected parliament, now that is undemocratic.

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  • 81. At 3:53pm on 10 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Another irony that is manifest is the fact that those who support the EU superstate through the Lisbon Constitution are already attempting to exercise absolute power even though they haven't secured it legally yet. This through preventing elections where their position might lose because they can't make a convincing case, stifling debate because they fear losing, and even suppressing discussion as some have tried here. For them, the ends always justifies the means. These are the first breezes on the outer fringe of the perfect totalitarian storm. Europeans even in Britain and France seem indifferent to it just as they were indifferent to the gathering storm of WWII. In America such attempts to repress debate and elections would cause an immense uproar.

    Boiled and plated;

    Totalitarian dictatorship is not a matter of right or left, what political dogma is used to justify it is unimportant, it's a matter of total political control by a supreme central unaccountable authority. Orwell mentioned in his book "1984" that Nazi Germany and the USSR were both the prototypes for the totalitarian states of Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia. The Soviets recognized this and the book was banned throughout their reign in every Communist country. Wanna bet it is still banned in Cuba and North Korea?

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  • 82. At 4:00pm on 10 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    67. At 2:49pm on 10 Oct 2009, kalicokat wrote:

    "Ref# 61
    You wrote "We know about US style democracy, he with the most money and control of the media wins. Democracy is what you make it."
    And your democracy is different how? At least we get to vote."


    Hmm, do you, all of you, seems strange that Democrat support(ing) groups had to mobilise to get whole swaths of the population to (attempt to) register to vote, and then what happens to at least one such group [1], the right-wind press/candidate groups plant stories to discredit such groups.

    Anyway, when was the last time the USA held a referendum on a presidential, House of Representatives or Congress legislative policy/issue?

    [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ACORN#ACORN_in_political_discourse

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  • 83. At 4:14pm on 10 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #78. At 3:45pm on 10 Oct 2009, Ravenseft wrote:

    "In the entire history of this country, on one occasion only has the government sought the opinion of the British people on any issue: EEC Membership in 1975. I'm not quite sure where this idea comes from that every Tom, Dick and Harry has the right to chip-in, Swiss-style, into the running of this country."

    WRONG, we were asked in both of the last elections, you were free to vote UKIP if you so wished, even before that each party manifesto put forward their policy regarding the EEC/EC/EU, you were free to vote the way you chose.

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  • 84. At 4:14pm on 10 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    TimBuck10;

    Why should I be afraid of Europe. It is going down in flames whether as individual nation states or as an EUSSR superstate just the way the USSR did. Whether 27 mice scatter individually or run as a pack, they are after all just mice. Have you forgotten what President Obama said early on in the Presidential election campaign about Europe's ticking demographic time bomb? Well it is still ticking and it is only one of many bombs also ticking away in Europe.

    "Which means that the next time you want to bomb someone or invade or whatever it won't be just France and Germany but the whole EU saying no and that you won't like."

    Who cares? If the government of the United States feels it is in America's self interest to bomb someone they won't give one whit who opposes them. It wasn't just France and Germany who opposed the US invasion of Iraq, it was also most of Europe's population, Russia and China as well. Many others too. The US government is accountable to no one but its own citizens. It's a fact of life Europeans just can't seem to get accostomed to for some reason. I don't know if they don't believe it or just don't want to accept it but it is a fact.

    Yes, next time when an issue about foreign affairs under the EU superstate arises, what's left of the governments of France and Germany may force their will on the other members...or it may be the other way around. Insofar as the US is concerned, it won't matter much. We've written Europe off a long time ago. It's voice is barely a distant cackle of squeaks. One squeak or many it's still to our ears just squeaks.

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  • 85. At 4:21pm on 10 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #81. At 3:53pm on 10 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "Totalitarian dictatorship is not a matter of right or left, what political dogma is used to justify it is unimportant, it's a matter of total political control by a supreme central unaccountable authority."

    If that is correct, you all but describe the USofA during the presidency of a certain George W. Bush...

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  • 86. At 4:26pm on 10 Oct 2009, U11846789 wrote:

    Klaus is exactly why the treaty is needed. One individual should not hold up the whole of the rest of Europe.

    In order to improve the workings of the EU - and save a lot of money in doing so - this treaty needs to be passed.



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  • 87. At 4:26pm on 10 Oct 2009, JohaMe wrote:

    The amount of hope that is currently invested in an anti-democratic action (bypassing his elected Parliament) by a single non-directly-elected president by some Defenders of Democracy (and thus Fighters of the Lisbon Treaty and The EU In General) starts to unnerve me somewhat.

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  • 88. At 4:29pm on 10 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    84. At 4:14pm on 10 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "TimBuck10;"

    Resorting to abuse again Marcus, tut-tut...

    Why should I be afraid of Europe. It is going down in flames whether as individual nation states or as an EUSSR superstate ..//.."

    Yet another lost argument Marcus, you really should stick to a subject that you know something about, trying to describe the EU as anything like the old eastern european communist block just proves that you know little or nothing about the EU beyond what you read or hear in your far right wing media (such as FoxNews).

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  • 89. At 4:41pm on 10 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "If that is correct, you all but describe the USofA during the presidency of a certain George W. Bush..."

    Empty rhetoric. The Republicans will say the same of Obama and the Democrats now that the Democratic party controls the White House and both houses of Congress. The Democrats controlled both houses of Congress during the last two years of the Bush presidency yet they could not muster enough votes in their own party to thwart his plans because for the most part, they basically agreed with them, especially in foreign policy. Vociferous objections may have made for good media coverage but when the time came to govern, you see the same policies in Iraq, Afghanistan, with regard to Gitmo and elsewhere. If anything, the pursuit of the war in Afghanistan is even more vigorous than during the Bush adminstration. The only difference, the unimportant factor of personalities. Blather about impeachment came only from the extreme left, it was never serious. Congress had the power to cut off the purse strings to Bush's policies at any time. It just didn't want to. Those are the facts you ignore when you repeat the worn out hyperbole.

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  • 90. At 4:48pm on 10 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Boiled and plated;

    "you really should stick to a subject that you know something about"

    I know like the US Euope is financially bankrupt. (glad we had a helping hand in getting it that way.) But unlike the US it does not have the wherewithall to compete in any meaningful way on world markets. China and the developing world have much lower labor costs, the US, Japan, and others have much better technology, America and others produce food far more efficiently. If it protects its own domestic markets, it will be closed off to foreign export markets in retaliation. If it opens its domestic markets, it will be swamped by cheaper and better imports. It can't win. Among other things its labor costs are far too high, its taxes to support its lavish social safety nets and bureaucracy far too high, and its regulations far too complex and restrictive. It is an anachronism whose time is over.

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  • 91. At 5:05pm on 10 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    This has just about become the MAII thousand year rant. In the meanwhile I am grateful to our Czech contributors for filling in the the background for Mr Klaus and Czech politics, most interesting, and for Ravenseft for his very balanced and clear refutation of #60. Economist123.

    As for MAII's last rant all I can say is this. Why if us tired useless anti democratic Europeans are not in anyway necessary are we providing all those troops in Afghanistan? Marcus, the US is out of money and needs us very much and no doubt Obama knows that, also he will no doubt be somewhat more sensible than you and all of the other US neocons we get on these blogs.

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  • 92. At 5:06pm on 10 Oct 2009, frenchderek wrote:

    Am I the only one with enough stamina to have a look at the Charter on Fundamental Rights? OK, I scanned it rather than read it. But nowhere could I see any opportunity for an individual to seek restitution of property in another EU state. Such a demand would have to be made first to a court in her/his own country, and would only be subject to ECJ consideration if the national court so decided (or, if the case was supported by the national court and the property's current owner objected).

    Frankly President Klaus (nationalist?) is clutching at straws. He has found a small group of Senators willing to pursue a Constitutional case. Now he's annoyed because the Swedish President leaked a personal phone call. Since the substance of the call was so important to the future of Lisbon, as an EU supporter he felt it should be more widely known.

    So, if the Constitutional Court rule against the Senators, no doubt Klaus will have another card hidden up his sleeve.

    And I understand that there is nothing in the Czech Constitution that would allow their government to have a vote of no confidence, or similar?

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  • 93. At 5:07pm on 10 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    89. At 4:41pm on 10 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "
    "If that is correct, you all but describe the USofA during the presidency of a certain George W. Bush..."

    Empty rhetoric. The Republicans will say the same of Obama and the Democrats now that the Democratic party controls the White House and both houses of Congress. ..//.."


    Exactly, so why use it, Marcus?...

    The "EU" (as an institution) is no more or no less 'democratic' than any multi-party, parliamentary style, elected system, this is what makes many of your claims (such as the EU turning into the 'EUSSR', with it's obvious reference to a one party system) so silly - do you realise just how many political parties there are represented within the EU parliament, and they are very unlikely to become less due to 'Lisbon', in fact quite possibly the opposite.

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  • 94. At 5:11pm on 10 Oct 2009, antipropaganda wrote:

    Advrah ref 70 - thanks for that - I appreciate what you say. The thing is, none of this is clear. I don't understand how Klaus has gone on for so long with what I would call a misty past. Granted it may well have been nigh impossible to exist in a communist Cz without contact/membership of the communist party, but why doesn't anyone say this? Surely, when it comes to politicians, this kind of information should be transparent. One can't say, 'oh, he seems like a democrat' or whatever, when potentially key EU leaders receive funding from unknown sources from outside the EU (I'm thinking of the publishing of Klaus's anti-Gore book) and behave in a way which is identical to the communists of the past - remember the presidential election 'debate' between Sveinar (I think - I forget his name) and Klaus - that resembled more of a show trial in modern democratic terms. The corruption, elusiveness, the list is endless as to reflections of this socialist pre-revolution past and Klaus I feel is the epitome of this. Privatization was just a changing of labels - instead of things being owned by the people, C members acquired it. You can see them everyday driving around Prague, going to Parliament etc. Now I say - fair enough - you got to do what you got to do to survive - whatever - but why pretend Klaus was not in the communist party when we read stuff like this on wiki (and I don't see anyone objecting to it - I wonder why. I hate quoting like this, but this weird history makes the country look ridiculous):

    'Klaus grew up in the upper-middle class residential Vinohrady neighborhood of Prague and graduated from the University of Economics, Prague in 1963; he also spent some time at universities in Italy (1966) and Cornell University in the United States (1969)....

    He then pursued a postgraduate academic career at the (state) Institute of Economics of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, which he left (by his account, being forced out for political reasons) in 1970. He subsequently, from 1971 to 1986, held various positions at the Czechoslovak State Bank. In 1987 Klaus joined the Prognostics Institute of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences....

    ....Having won his presidential election with the support of the communist votes[citation needed], Klaus has modified his previously strident rhetoric[citation needed] to say that he considers himself to be a "non-communist" but not an anti-communist. He rejects this label as a cheap and superficial posturing, although he has during the previous campaigns warned against the traditional "red scare" against ČSSD. This is seen by some[weasel words] as a fulfillment of his part of the secret deal to secure the presidency.[citation needed] Controversially[neutrality disputed], he invited the communist party to a reception in the Prague Castle, where they had not been allowed to enter throughout the 13 years of Havel's presidency[citation needed]. Nevertheless, in 2005 and 2006 Klaus repeatedly stated that he would refuse to appoint a cabinet which depended on communist support either directly or indirectly, but refused to explain[neutrality disputed] why they could be relied upon for his election but not to support the government.'

    So, either a lot of this information is not true, or Klaus enjoyed unprecedented freedoms for the time, because he really was one of the greatest Czech intellects of all time (shame this has never really transferred or is recognized outside Cz in which case). Is it the case that communists or former communists or whatever support him, and in return he tells them to keep quiet while he pushes on with their free economic/socialist/Chinese style agenda?

    Everyone in former communist Europe knows those kinds of opportunities - Italy, USA etc were impossible for non-communist party members. Maybe I am wrong and Wiki is unreliable, as obviously it can never be regarded as gospel truth. But it seems many of the facts are beyond doubt. Therefore, I think it is fair to say Klaus is a former communist. I would like to know your opinion, however, I would also like to say that I think the topic is important not because I wish to demonstrate some kind of weakness, but because I think the new generation of talented Czechs must start from a clean slate - from Karel Gott to Vaclav Klaus etc, these people have to move on, because there are such pressing issues facing Cz that it cannot afford to indulge in this routine nepotism and futile theatre throughout its politics, media and culture and be represented by dinosaurs anymore because it is to the detriment of its population.

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  • 95. At 5:15pm on 10 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    MAII
    We still have a motor industry, what happened to yours? Or is that another inconvenient truth. I note there was no reply to the Dreamliner enquiry either, the A380 flies very well and the work on the A350 is gathering pace, not bad for a bunch of tired has beens.
    When you are having to pay $7 per gallon for fuel maybe then you'll come to realise just how efficient us poor old Europeans are. We will manage against the Chinese and the Indians I'm not so sure about the US though you still don't seem to understand what is happening. Or, at least you and the neocons don't.

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  • 96. At 5:31pm on 10 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    90. At 4:48pm on 10 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "Boiled and plated;

    Lost the argument again Marcus, resorting to name calling abuse again I see...

    "I know [,] like the US [,] Euope is financially bankrupt. (glad we had a helping hand in getting it that way.) But unlike the US it does not have the wherewithall to compete in any meaningful way on world markets."

    Total rubbish, as anyone who knows anything about world trade knows, though out the Euro has stood it's ground and if anything has actually gained in strength during ther last 18 months or so.

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  • 97. At 5:36pm on 10 Oct 2009, Chris wrote:

    MA2 comment #90

    Talk is cheap, you are good at it but you just fill the air with noise and fiction. The facts about the EU economy are different check this in wikipedia :http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eu#Economy, but maybe you don't care about facts maybe you just like the sounds of your own voice.

    In short EU is largest exporter, its new members have labour costs that can easily compete with Asian exports. The more older members have technologies that people around the world are prepared to pay for. some of it members Greece, Denmark have shipping as their industries where they employ anyone they feel like to compete.

    Just a few thoughts to encourage some rational discussions rather than empty rhetoric :)))

    Keep up the discussion and fight, but add some facts!!

    Cheers, Chris.

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  • 98. At 5:46pm on 10 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    Is it just me or is there anyone else who feels more that a little sickened about MAII boasting about the part the US banks had in our current financial troubles? Quote #90

    "I know like the US Euope is financially bankrupt. (glad we had a helping hand in getting it that way.)"

    I think MAII has finally lost what little grip he had on the plot, perhaps the moderators should take that into account.

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  • 99. At 5:59pm on 10 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #98 - T1m0thy

    Oh please don't involve the moderators. Marcus is harmless enough. He obviously doesn't know the difference between the Czech Republic and Slovakia so no one is going to take him seriously and we all need a good laugh from time to time.

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  • 100. At 6:00pm on 10 Oct 2009, Victor wrote:

    There is certainly an element of farce in this. I am looking at the text of our constitution right now and I don't see ANYTHING there which would allow the president to make any such demands. He's clearly overstepping his authority - which means he could get impeached if he doesn't stop (and I really really hope that is what will happen). If he really thinks he can keep with this one man show, he'll be sorely disappointed.

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  • 101. At 6:01pm on 10 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #98. At 5:46pm on 10 Oct 2009, T1m0thy wrote:

    "Is it just me or is there anyone else who feels more that a little sickened about MAII boasting about the part the US banks had in our current financial troubles?"

    Indeed, it's almost like some gloating over 9/11, whilst no one died (well we are not aware of anyone killing themselves, like in the 1920s) because of the 2007-8 banking crisis many people/families have been left financially destitute...

    "I think MAII has finally lost what little grip he had on the plot, perhaps the moderators should take that into account."

    Timothy, I'm glad that the moderators have no serious reason to delete/remove his comments, the more anger he shows the more bile he produces, he will eventually drown in it - mark my words.

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  • 102. At 6:27pm on 10 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    TimBuck10;

    "Why if us tired useless anti democratic Europeans are not in anyway necessary are we providing all those troops in Afghanistan?"

    What European troops in Afghanistan? You mean the ones standing around pretending to train the Afghan army and police while they watch the real fighting from the sidelines? Or maybe you are referring to the undernumbered underfunded underequipped British troops who may be pulled out soon.

    Boiled and plated;

    "Exactly, so why use it, Marcus?..."

    I didn't. I merely quoted you and showed how obviously wrong you were. I give you credit for consistency in that regard.

    ChrisBullArta;

    "In short EU is largest exporter, its new members have labour costs that can easily compete with Asian exports."

    Actually this is a very distorted picture. Factories are moving from Western Europe to Eastern Europe where costs are cheaper but NO factories are moving from China to Eastern Europe. Most European exports are to each other. Fully opened to foreign trade as a bloc, Europe would die quickly. Still so closed, even former colonies of Europe complain that they can't export their agricultural produce to Europe because of protectionism.

    Threnodious, I know that the Czech Republic is where Hungarians are discriminated against. But what do the Czech Republic and Slovakia have in common? They both discriminate against the Roma whom they regard with great disdain. Europe is as racist as it ever was and still refuses to even look at itself. One more ticking time bomb.

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  • 103. At 6:28pm on 10 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    OK I take your point no moderators, indeed he is, as you both say, good value for money. I wonder what in particular has got him so wound up this time?

    #100 Victor_D
    I read about the impeachment option somewhere else, so it really is a possibility.

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  • 104. At 6:31pm on 10 Oct 2009, killary45 wrote:

    "Boilerplated" says that it is wrong to suggest that the introduction of the Lisbon Treaty is not democratic. He is right that it is our elected representatives who have passed the legislation to enable this country to join. However at the last election those representatives promised the voters that they would not ratify the EU Constitution without a referendum.

    Perhaps Boilerplated, or any other supporter of the EU, could explain the important differences between the EU Constitution and the Lisbon Treaty, with particular reference to how they materially alter the effect on the status of this country within the European Union. Those of us who believe that the EU is undemocratic are entitled to use the imposition of the Lisbon Treaty as an example of how the people are refused any opportunity, whether at a general election or a referendum, to express their opinions on it.

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  • 105. At 6:38pm on 10 Oct 2009, adrvah wrote:

    Antipropaganda – thank you. It is funny that I should be defending Klaus, something that I have probably never done before, and especially now when he is causing so much trouble. But no, it is not correct to make the inference that because he could visit some western universities in late 60ies he must have been a Communist. At that time it was possible, as the process of a gradual dissolution of the system that started in the early sixties and culminated in the so- called Prague spring in 1968 was already well on the way. After the Soviet invasion, the Communist grip on power was again tightened only gradually and it was still possible to travel and publish without censorship for sometime, roughly until the end of 1969. I don’t know details about Klaus’ career, but if he left the Academy in 1970, it is very likely that he was sacked because he refused to sign a proclamation in which he was supposed to express his agreement with the Soviet occupation and the present policy of the Communist party or something like that. People were asked to sign these proclamations on a massive scale, and, for that reason, many lost their job that year (and others, who would normally never be able to get these positions, started to make career). If I am not mistaken, Klaus already had some name as an economist in the late 60ies and it is certainly to his credit that he chose to work as a clerk in a bank rather then to continue with his career in the Academy. I do not think you needed to sign a proclamation of loyalty to the regime in order to be a clerk in a bank. I do not know the circumstances under which he started to work in the Academy again in the late 80ies, but I am sure that it was possible at that time to have a low rank position in the Academy without being a Communist. So these inferences are unfounded.
    Klaus’ attitude to the Communist Party as a president and the role of the Communists in his election is a completely different story. Yes, it is true that he was elected for the first time with the help of the Communist votes. But if I remember well, his main contender at that time was Jan Sokol, a former dissident who wanted to continue with the legacy of Havel’s presidency (the Communists could not stand Havel). Klaus was known as a pragmatist and a man who does not hesitate to make a pact with anyone who can help him pursue his goals. He was simply a better choice for the Communists. It has also something to do with Klaus’ tendency to distinguish himself from the people around Havel and what he perceived as “eliticism” of the dissident movement (being himself an eliticist of the first rank, of course). It is a complicated issue, but you are right that Klaus and his minions are creating mythology of the past, among other things in order to diminish the indisputable merits of those who, unlike him, actively opposed the Communist regime.

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  • 106. At 6:43pm on 10 Oct 2009, antipropaganda wrote:

    MAII - unfortunately you are merely an archetypal product of the worst aspects of teaching of history in your country. I imagine you took a month long back-packing holiday 'doing Europe' and were disappointed by the loss of quaintness you feel the introduction of the Euro brought about. Nevertheless, I feel the impact of your pithy soundbites and short sentences with their breadth of gravitas.

    One of the reasons for the EU is that all Europeans suffered greatly, indeed, died in their millions, fighting each other, and we never want that to happen again. Who won the war? Well it does not matter, but if it is decided by principle, then maybe Britain, as Churchill was easily the first to confront Hitler in a meaningful way. In terms of suffering or population, to be honest, probably Russia. The USA, no, not really - so there is no point in getting on your horse and acting like you speak from the moral high ground. This point is rather trivial, but I know makes sense to you as a Lord of the Rings fan.

    We openly and transparently discuss challenges facing us and tend not to brag or stir up confrontation regarding economic status, which, if you want to go there, is vastly superior across the EU as a whole to the rest of the world, because we do actually value our health systems and public transport. Yes, we struggle to find a way to find a way forward and compromise sometimes (probably a dirty word among your right-wing neocon circles that propagate the myth the USA won the WW2 alone - sorting us bickering liberal monarchist Europeans out in the process) with our various strands of differing history and cultures.

    It is almost hilarious to see a lot of Americans waking up to the fact that 1 they could not stop the election of Obama, but are now kissing his derriere as if they didn't support that Rep. primate you had before and all your actor/wrestler politicians 2 that the American Dream - the myth that you allude to when you say 'unlike the US it does not have the wherewithall' (what are you talking about? - Europe doesn't have academics or intelligent economists or something or what?) and 3 America cannot and does not want to be alone in the world.

    The Lisbon Treaty is in part a step towards the EU having a clearer voice on the world stage and achieving faster decisions. Its virtue will be the way in which it will have gone through this democratic process the Cz is part of now. Maybe its ugly, but its democratic. Your mouse metaphor is manifest of a deep seated insecurity: 'Why should I be afraid of Europe. It is going down in flames whether as individual nation states or as an EUSSR superstate just the way the USSR did. Whether 27 mice scatter individually or run as a pack, they are after all just mice.'

    Europe, and I can say this as a Brit on behalf of other Europeans I feel, does not want the world stage to be played out like a Hollywood movie. Neither are we in any way going down in flames, metaphorically or physically, but thanks for the constant reminder MAII. Fortunately your new president does not share your views, so instead of trying to carve out divisions regarding his approach to Europe and Russia, why don't you truly support him in his diplomatic efforts, which by the way, a great European institution the Nobel Peace Prize, decided to encourage the other day. The world is more united - what's your problem?

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  • 107. At 6:45pm on 10 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    # 104 Killary45
    Sorry but small question. Which nation are you referring to?

    MAII
    I'm not going to reply in any detail to your post #102 referring to European troops it really is disgusting. I would suggest you take a deep breath and apologise.
    As far as UK troops are concerned have you a direct line to No10? Because a UK withdrawal is news to us, but no doubt given the superior reporting of world affairs to be found on the US media it is a matter of common knowledge to you across the Atlantic.

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  • 108. At 7:06pm on 10 Oct 2009, antipropaganda wrote:

    MAII - tell the truth - you're an anonymous blogging comedian, aren't you?

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  • 109. At 7:09pm on 10 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #104. At 6:31pm on 10 Oct 2009, killary45 wrote:

    ""Boilerplated" says that it is wrong to suggest that the introduction of the Lisbon Treaty is not democratic. He is right that it is our elected representatives who have passed the legislation to enable this country to join. However at the last election those representatives promised the voters that they would not ratify the EU Constitution without a referendum."

    Political parties promise many thing in their election manifesto, if only the right-wing that are squealing oh so loudly about this 'pledge' have been so forceful demanding all the other pledges that - both left and right - have broken (such as maintaining the link between pensions and earnings, to give but one example) - oh how pieus the right are now when it suits them...

    "Those of us who believe that the EU is undemocratic are entitled to use the imposition of the Lisbon Treaty as an example of how the people are refused any opportunity, whether at a general election or a referendum, to express their opinions on it."

    You are entailed to vote UKIP at the next election, the reason you don't want that is because an election will be governed by the various election laws and thus the lies that Ireland had to suffer during their first referendum will not be allowed, thus you know that you stand about as much hope of getting your way as having snow at Christmas in Australia...

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  • 110. At 7:09pm on 10 Oct 2009, Chris wrote:

    #104

    Is that the first ever time in history that politicians broke their promise? And where they elected solely on that promise? If you follow your broken promises logic to the letter, then please put aside a day to week to have referendums to approve or reject broken promises. Maybe more if you want to have referendums for promised that are half met.

    @ MA2, in your comment at 90 that I was replying to you were talking drivel, actually now reading the rest of your posts they seem to be of the same quality. Further more, apart from trying to tell facts are distortions (and by sub sequence, your drivel is the only truth, there is) you did not add any facts to your superior (apparently infallible) wisdom as to why such a doomed future awaits the EU while a bright future lies ahead for the US? Facts if you have any, your own thoughts based on Hollywood scripts maybe meet some sceptisism.

    Keep talking, keep fighting, keep an open mind, even grand emperors call learn :))

    Cheers, Chris.

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  • 111. At 7:26pm on 10 Oct 2009, Benefactor wrote:

    #104 killary45

    "Perhaps Boilerplated, or any other supporter of the EU, could explain the important differences between the EU Constitution and the Lisbon Treaty, with particular reference to how they materially alter the effect on the status of this country within the European Union. Those of us who believe that the EU is undemocratic are entitled to use the imposition of the Lisbon Treaty as an example of how the people are refused any opportunity, whether at a general election or a referendum, to express their opinions on it."

    Regarding Lisbon, the "sceptics" are probably right, a referendum has not been given because it can't be guaranteed to produce the right answer, simple politics, maybe not pleasant, but the way it is regardless. Now, I understand that in most EU countries there is rough a 20% of hardcore of EU-haters who vote No to anything and everything whenever they get the chance, this is probably even higher in Britain, what I can't understand is why anyone moderate would want to vote No to this treaty, regarding your request for an explanation about how Lisbon affects the country within the EU I'll explain why I think its a great deal for Britain.

    First of all, the legal personality that would be "created" under Lisbon and makes it a superstate in actuality does no such thing, the legal personality and the ability to sign treaties already exists under the Nice treaty as part of the three pillars system, under Lisbon the pillars are done away with and combined. Nothing new, just streamlined and simplified.

    Secondly, Britain's voting weight is increased, maybe not substantially but still. And the use of more QMV is good for Britain, a lot of Brits seem to forget that veto is a two way street and a lot of Directives that would be good for Britain in the EU can be shot down by any one country now. Britain is a big populous country in EU terms, its not going to be on the receiving end of regulation that is doesn't benefit it very often and it can more effectively get regulation passed that it wants using QMV.

    Thirdly, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs is a combination of two ALREADY existing posts that unnecessarily duplicates a lot of functions. The post will make no statements about Foreign policy without the agreement of all 27 members, where this is disagreement everyone simply does their own thing. When there is agreement the EU's voice is amplified. Surely this is a good thing?

    Fourth, the Presidential post is completely non threatening, its got barely any competencies besides arranging meetings and providing a face for the EU. The reason that their is "confusion" about the post is because no one has had it yet, the position is roughly the same as the President system the EU has at the moment, as we see it the case of France, during their presidency Sarkozy tried to get a lot done, called a lot of meetings, organized policy and such. during the Czech presidency much less was done. The position was the same both times, it was how it was presented.

    Fifth, The Parliaments powers are expanded under Lisbon to a lot more policy areas, and the smaller countries get more MEP's by default while the larger countries like Germany lose a couple. Now I will be honest and say I'm not entirely comfortable with a Cypriots vote being worth much more than a Germans. But I cannot think of any other way of organizing the unique Parliament across countries.

    Sixth, national Parliaments will have the ability to stop directives by teaming up across the EU, and the scrutiny time allowed by national parliaments is much longer. Also, under Lisbon citizens can directly request directives from the Commission by getting a petition of one million citizens together,

    It also adds the withdrawal clause, and creates a public prosecutor. Regarding peoples complaints about corruption, the Parliament is already tackling this internally and a few MEPs are being investigated, I know at least one has gone to prison. They were definitely ahead of Westminster MPs in cleaning up their act.

    A lot of people seem to get this backward, Brussels isn't attempting to grab power or destroy the member states, the Union was created by the member states, has only the powers given to it by those member states and can be dissolved at any time by those member states.

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  • 112. At 7:31pm on 10 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #102 - MarcusAureliusII

    'Threnodious, I know that the Czech Republic is where Hungarians are discriminated against'.

    Marcus, you are not concentrating are you?

    The Czech Republic is the place where the loose canon won't sign the bit of paper. Only 0.1% of the poulation are Hungarian. Slovakia is the place where 10% of the people are Hungarian but are not allowed to say so in their own language.

    Got it now?

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  • 113. At 7:40pm on 10 Oct 2009, antipropaganda wrote:

    Nazdar Adrvah,

    Okay, I get your point - it's a bit clutching at straws for me - but I suppose the implications of vilifying such people would affect a large portion of Czechs today. However, I am not in favor of vilification, I just don't get the guy. Anyway, let's agree that strictly speaking, Klaus is not a communist technically, but rather a self-obsessed narcissistic exhibitionist dinosaur.

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  • 114. At 7:43pm on 10 Oct 2009, lacerniagigante wrote:

    If Mr Klaus is so worried about those Germans taking back their property, perhaps he should first change his name to Mikulas.

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  • 115. At 7:44pm on 10 Oct 2009, knowles2 wrote:

    MarcusAureliusII Then I guest the Irish second election where they were pretty publically bribe and bullied into the yes vote. With threats of redrawing support for there economy, an block any more support, of ceasing further investment in the country from the EU.

    If that not force then I do not know what is. an according to your view this goes against the founding principles of the treaty in the first place.

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  • 116. At 7:47pm on 10 Oct 2009, antipropaganda wrote:

    MAII this is getting boring now, so please come back and at least provide the link to your religious neocon organization in Texas that practices snake-worshiping in the pulpit, so we can get a better idea of what you mean, because I think your view may not be fairly represented.

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  • 117. At 7:52pm on 10 Oct 2009, lacerniagigante wrote:

    It's funny to see how Europhobics, especially the English, keep on missing opportunities to say something constructive. Their moaning is so repetitive.

    Instead of opposing progress (by regurgitating Murdoch-press clichés), why don't they suggest something constructive? Some alternative.

    They talk about not being allowed a say about Europe. But they never ask about their say for their own country? (The UK's head of state is an unelected monarch, with a House of Lords that can only envy the Brussels parliament in terms of democracy.)

    If you want the EU to be more democratic (something which could clearly be improved) you should start at home. Before pointing the finger at the evil eurocrats, maybe one should look closer to home.

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  • 118. At 7:54pm on 10 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #114 - lacerniagigante

    Perhaps he should sign the instrument of ratification on 25 Dec then we clould call him Santa Klaus.

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  • 119. At 8:14pm on 10 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #111 Benefactor

    Thank you, most illuminating and because I trust everything I read here it's saved me a lot of reading. Even the precis of the Lisbon treaty that I have seen are hard work and that is a good reason not to put this sort of legislation before a referendum. It's too complex and needs trained legislators to interpret which is why we elect them.

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  • 120. At 8:21pm on 10 Oct 2009, adrvah wrote:

    Antipropaganda, ad 113 – believe me that I have no reason to clutch at straws when it comes to this man. But let him drown for what he deserves to drown for and do not create yet another distorted reality. As regards your new definition, it is hard to contest.

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  • 121. At 8:25pm on 10 Oct 2009, Benefactor wrote:

    #117 lacerniagigante

    "If you want the EU to be more democratic (something which could clearly be improved) you should start at home. Before pointing the finger at the evil eurocrats, maybe one should look closer to home."

    Bearing in mind that the European Union isn't a country and the national governments aren't going to give up their power over it, nor are many citizens going to want them to. How can it be more democratic? As I've said in the past, the President of the Commission has to be approved by the EP, as it matures politically and the people of Europe take more interest in Pan-European issues I believe we will see the EP party groupings running on the basis that they will only approve their man, thereby linking the President post with the electorate. We saw a early version of this with the EPP grouping taking the majority and approving their man Barossa.
    Although the Socialists and Liberals didn't exactly put up any opposition for the post yet ... although they would have had to compromise anyway and run a joint candidate.

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  • 122. At 8:33pm on 10 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #117 - lacerniagigante

    You begin your post with 'It's funny to see how Europhobics, especially the English, keep on missing opportunities to say something constructive' then go on to say 'The UK's head of state is an unelected monarch, with a House of Lords that can only envy the Brussels parliament in terms of democracy'.

    This has to be one of the most unconstructive remarks I have seen on this thread and reaveals a profound ignorance of British constitutional arrangements. The reigning monarch has long since ceased to wield any political power and it therefore matters not one jot that she is not elected. And why reserve the criticism for the UK. Is there some reason why a system which works perfectly well in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Denmark, Norway and Spain is somehow flawed when it the British who are using it? And as to the House of Lords, they have long since had their powers curtailed to delaying legislation for no longer than one year and even that can be set aside if the Commons invokes the Parliament Act.

    Many of us in the pro-Europe camp (yes, there are some of us), would have much to say that is constructive but we constantly get trapped between a rock and a hard place because, no sooner have we rubbished the outlandish isolationist arguments of the die hard sceptics than we encounter the kind of prejudice your post engenders. It is not based in fact and is therefore unhelpful.

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  • 123. At 8:36pm on 10 Oct 2009, Mathiasen wrote:

    The weekly magazine on Europe in German television today had an interesting programme from Praha. Among other things there was an interview with Vaclav Havel, the former president.
    He explained a couple of things on the mentality of his people and said that Klaus will sign within reasonable time. He also said that his country cannot and will not hinder the process of European integration. It will not be in the interest of the Czech republic.

    Re#77 it was also said in the programme that already once the constitutional court in the country has declared the LT concordant with the Czech constitution.

    The next important step in this process will be the meeting of the member state leaders at the end of the month. The agenda will depend on where the Czechs are in their process at that time.

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  • 124. At 8:50pm on 10 Oct 2009, FaustKnits wrote:

    Question for those of you more in the know on European politics: I notice that the Czech republic was to be one of the sites of the missile defense shield, which leads me to believe that the US government has some leverage over the Czech government (via $$$ or more subtle means). Could Mr. Klaus' intransigence be US-inspired?

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  • 125. At 9:03pm on 10 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #122 threnodio

    I couldn't agree more. We don't need the Brit Eurosceptics to be given live ammunition they are best off with that of their own devising some of which are blanks.

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  • 126. At 9:11pm on 10 Oct 2009, killary45 wrote:

    While the Lisbon Treaty is very complicated the basic issue of whether we should have more integration into Europe or less is quite simple.

    I am a bit taken aback by the suggestion that just because I did not want a more powerful EU that I should therefore vote for UKIP. Why can we not say that we like the EU as it is, but that we are opposed to any project that gives the institution any more powers?

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  • 127. At 9:13pm on 10 Oct 2009, joehoch wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 128. At 10:01pm on 10 Oct 2009, AdamHPoe wrote:

    One Polish view - that's actually quite easy using the posts I have found here: dear Bitingtheirankles "the Polish Government has not been threatened or bribed into submission", what actually happened? Well, here in Poland I can assure you nobody quite understands. Our president HAD TO sign the treaty, because most of his country is pro-European, why he procrastinated for so long is a mystery to everybody - after all he announced it his great victory (2 years ago) for Poland to have negotiated the special treatment Britain received. Now that he signed it he invited top EU officials to watch his fountain pen fail (yeah it did, but he did sign it). He is, in fact, a Klausian type (if I understood correctly the Czech voices here), a man constantly worried about being heard (and he is right - he knows his political support in Poland is less than very limited) at all and using all possible means to be heard, even if it means total confusion for his own country and constitutional chaos. The latter is in Poland a result of the great debate of the 90s - whether we should follow the French or the British mode of democratic institution - as a result we got something in between, not the best way out, as it turns out: the government is responsible for the foreign policy but it is the president who has his say and finally approves all treaties (I sense someting similar happened in the Czech Republic). Anyway, we have this dwarf of a president who wants the world to treat him like a giant, even if it means confusion for the rest of the world. There is only one foreign head of state who is his great pal and shares his views, south of the border. Guess who.
    And as for 2nd WW and all that, well, in Polish, the idiom for it is "smokescreen".

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  • 129. At 10:05pm on 10 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    auntie-improper-gander;

    Now just look at the diatribe, the invective one little old American can incite against himself. How delightful. BTW, I didn't back pack across Europe for a month, I lived in France for nearly two years so you got that dead wrong. You also didn't read what I said about WWII. Had it not been for the US making a sacrifice and acting when it did, as it did, the USSR and Britain would have lost WWII to the Nazis. They almost lost anyway. What resistance did the Brits put up before America arrived? Acting as the targets for German missile attacks? Dunkirk?

    If the US also didn't act when it did as it did during the cold war against the opposition of many Western Europeans who were enamored with socialism, all of Europe would now be Soviet slave colonies. Might have been for the best. Too bad you need a tyrannical dictatorship in Europe to keep you people from killing each other but since you've been at it for well over 1000 years, your point is well taken. I guess that is the only way to repress your instinctive hatred of each other from boiling over into more wars...like the ones in the Balkins the US had to finally put an end to.

    When Europeans criticize America and Americans as they frequently and freely do, they don't seem to mind if their facts are dead wrong, out of context, or are an incomplete part of a much larger and more complex mosaic. So if my facts are not correct maybe one or two percent of the time, I feel no angst about it. You people don't like it when the shoe is on the other foot for a change. It feels uncomfortable to be on the receiving end of it. Get used to it, it isn't going to stop. Or just don't read my postings. I don't read most of yours.

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  • 130. At 10:06pm on 10 Oct 2009, JorgeG wrote:

    @ 43 knowles2

    "All mean to me that it a poorly written, poorly thought out treaty (…) Also if they want to make the EU simpler then getting every country signed up to the same set of rules and regulations would of [ you mean "would have"?] made a bigger difference rather than the messed [ you mean the "mess"?] that is the lisbon treaty with different rules for different countries."

    Wouldn't that be marvellous if all countries signed up to the same set of rules? Too late now, as your own country had a long list of opt-outs from previous treaties, as demanded by the Anti-EU brigade and their unelected tabloid bureaucrats, e.g. Maastricth (the single currency) and Amsterdam (Schengen) and those opt-outs needed to be reflected in the current treaty, for example there is one lengthy section devoted to the Eurogroup, needless to say this doesn't apply to the UK as it has chosen to keep its ever sinking currency. Surely the Europhobes are not trying to have it both ways again.

    @threnodio

    "My problem with Lisbon is and always has been not what it sets out to do nor particularly the methodology. It is the way in which it has been introduced by sleight of hand. In effect, writing it as a treaty has denied all the people of Europe except the Irish a chance to vote on it. So what we have ended up with is a document which may well be the best possible compromise but lacks democratic legitimacy because of poor consultation."

    It is interesting that you should say that, as this is IMO the trap in which the Europhobes routinely fall. What do you think should happen instead?

    Let me tell you. What should have happened instead is a popular vote on the LT across the EU, IN THE SAME DAY FOR ALL countries in which the LT would need a qualified majority (e.g. 2/3s) of countries AND individual votes to get ratified. That would be the only way that this process would have been truly democratic. Sounds easy, doesn't it? So why is this not possible? Very simple, because the EU *is not a federation* but an intergovernmental organization. If you give sovereignty to the PEOPLE of Europe, the EU then becomes a federation. By keeping the sovereignty with the heads of governments of EU countries, in that way the EU is not a federation. It is ironical how the Europhobes who perennially go on about this democratic 'deficit' and yet scream hysterically that they do not want to belong to a Federal Europe, don't realise that this democratic deficit is BECAUSE the EU IS NOT FEDERAL AND THE PEOPLE OF EUROPE are not sovereign, as it would be if the EU was a federation. And guess which country has fought tooth and nail to keep the EU as an intergovernmental organisation, not even agreeing to have a single unified day across the EU for EU parliamentary elections? Yes, its name starts with a U, although in some cases it's referred to with a name starting with G and ending with B. Even in other cases it is referred to as LE (Petit Angleterre, in French). Perhaps this confusion over its name may partly explain its severe identity crisis?

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  • 131. At 10:34pm on 10 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    MAII
    Simple stuff really, you are a clown, some times you can be amusing but most of the time you are the fall guy clown. You talk like something from the very caricatures of Jesusland, in fact I wonder who is your puppet master. Your facts as you call them are incorrect for 98 to 99 per cent of the time but we have got used to that. Just continue with your delusions and we will get on with our lives.

    PS With regard to US technology how is the Dreamliner? Flying yet?

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  • 132. At 10:38pm on 10 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #130 JorgeGI
    It must be late, I thought I understood English but that one is beyond me. I'll take a look in the morning to see if anyone has posted a translation.

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  • 133. At 10:59pm on 10 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #130 - JorgeG1

    Yes I think I agree with that but there is more than one way to skin a cat. Would it not be equally honest and telling were the erosceptic parties not just in the UK but EU wide to seek election on an anti-EU or at least an anti-federalist manifesto?

    What is happening is that no mainstream political parties are prepared to come right out and state their eurosceptic credentials and this is mostly because - certainly in Britain - the major parties are scared witless of adopting any credible policy. But this does also tell you something else. It tells you that, by the time you exclude from the equation all those who are agnostic about the issue and consider other issues more important reasons for voting and throw them in with those of us who are not antagonistic, you are left with political parties who do not stand a snowball's hope in Hades.

    There are simply not enough votes in euroscepticism to carry a political party to power (if there were, we would be predicting a UKIP victory next spring, not a Tory one). So there you have it. There has been no real democratic consultation because the sceptics can breath as much fire and brimstone as they like but, in their heart of hearts, they know they are onto a hiding to nothing.

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  • 134. At 11:08pm on 10 Oct 2009, joehoch wrote:

    47 - threnodio "true democratic process", these are big words, you are referring to referenda of course. We know of ad hoc referenda like the ones in this european project over the years. We know that the French and the Dutch voters used it as a protest over other political issues. So how true was the process?
    The Swiss, with a whole system of referenda, are they more democratic?
    Well I lived there before women had the vote. They had by then already been rejected by a referendum (for chaps only) to have the vote.
    In 1972 they finally got it almost everywhere in that country. In some part it took until the ninetees. Then they have a nice way of being racist, they vote on people becoming Swiss nationals. So you end up with quite a percentage of inhabitants that contribute to society but have no vote even after ten years of residence because their neighbours don't like their colour of skin.
    Referenda do have their uses in some small way in matters of petitions, for instance. This is my position on referenda.
    Comparisons on all sort of matters are nowadays carried out by international bodies, be it on corruption or education for instance, we learn a lot about our respective positions as countries and we adjust our behaviour and systems. I wonder whether we will get some organisation to start an all embracing democracy league table. It would probably be as revealing as the Pisa studies we have been getting.
    My bet is that the EU and the US would fare rather badly. How many people take part in the elections to their respective parliaments, for instance?
    Enough of that!
    We are off to Canterbury, Kent of course and not Australia, in a week or so. Looking for a home to settle for our battle weary bones and minds. Not far from Broadstairs by the way, if that means anything to you.
    Remember also: "There will allways be an England....and.....shall be true... .Just you wait Cameron!
    Regards

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  • 135. At 11:10pm on 10 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #129 - MarcusAureliusII

    'What resistance did the Brits put up before America arrived?'

    Why would the Brits resist? There was no war until 1941 was there? At least that's what you teach the kids in school - World War II, 1941-1945. You see, I almost forgot - it isn't really a war unless good ol' American boys are getting shot at. Because we Europeans - well, we are less than human aren't we Marcus?

    And would you have turned up at all if those nasty Japanese had not messed with your masterplan or would you have just waited until you could have picked up the lot really cheaply?

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  • 136. At 11:55pm on 10 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    threnodious;

    "There was no war until 1941 was there?"

    Not for America. But even my high school history text did explain all of the events leading up to America coming to Europe's rescue. It was a real struggle at first just keeping the Brits from starving to death. Ever hear of "The Battle of the Atlantic?" Just a small skirmish in your eyes I suppose but if America had lost that battle against the U Boat wolf packs, you Europeans would all be eating saurkraut and knockwurst as your national dish today.

    "Because we Europeans - well, we are less than human aren't we Marcus?"

    Hmmm, food for thought threnodious. That would explain a lot.

    "And would you have turned up at all if those nasty Japanese had not messed with your masterplan"

    You mean our plan to be left alone and stay out of another European war? I suppose we would not have. Although President Roosevelt wanted to enter the war, polls showed that before Pearl Harbor 80% of Americans were against entry. Pearl Harbor gave Roosevelt the pretext he needed to come to the aid of his Anglo cousins at the price of American blood and treasure. In fact it was all Churchill could do to persuade America to concentrate on Europe and not Japan...while there was still a chance to beat the third Reich. Had Hitler listened to his generals...he'd have beaten the USSR no matter what we did.

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  • 137. At 00:47am on 11 Oct 2009, buckeridge wrote:

    @ Benefactor no. 121.

    How can the EU be more democratic?

    (1) Redefinition of the role of the Commission - a smaller and less prominent institution without any right of initiative, whose sole purpose is to prepare the first draft of legal texts upon the request of the Parliament/Council/COR and to monitor the enforcement of Community law without having any enforcement powers. In other words a pure civil service supporting the EU's work. Role of Commissioners to be vastly reduced if not disappear altogether.

    (2) Greater role for the Court of Auditors - powers to bring proceedings against Member States/Community institutions and agents for irregularities.

    (3) More powers for the European Parliament to scrutinise Council legislative proposals on the basis of compliance with the principle of subsidiarity. More possibilities for the right of petition - petition signed by 5% of EU electorate should be debated, by 15% proposal should be voted on etc etc.

    (4) Committee of the Regions to be more than just a talking shop. Right of initiative and obligatory consultation in certain areas.

    (5) Election of the President of the European Council at the same time as EP elections. Max. of 1 candidate per Member State, that candidate to be chosen according to a democratic and transparent procedure put in place by the Member State.

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  • 138. At 00:57am on 11 Oct 2009, kalicokat wrote:

    ref# 76 You bring up Florida and Bush's first election as Pres. It is not uncommon to have controversy in a close election. This one went to the supreme court and was settled. It seems to me that his election for a second term including a win in Florida seems enough of a validation of his first election. You remind me of Democrats that screamed for eight years but reply to criticism of Obama with "you lost so shut up".
    ref# 82 Have you seen the latest. ACORN is in trouble for giving information to a supposed pimp and prostitute on how to trick federal tax authorities on setting up a house of ill repute. I'm not sure I'd hold up ACORN as a shining light of progressive politics.
    ref# 124 Obama has canned the shield. You'll have to come up with some other conspiracy theory.

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  • 139. At 01:31am on 11 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    All those countries who wanted to be separate. Ireland from Britain. Slovakia from the Czech Republic. France and Germany. Ultimately all those countries that made up Yuogoslavia. Upper and Lower Slobovia. And those who want to be separate. The Basque from the Spanish and French. The Flemish from the Walloons. All wedded together forever and ever in one big happy family. And all so they won't go back to killing each other. What a nice picture to send home for Christmas. If I were Irish, I'd have voted no just so as not to be in the same country as England. And if I were English, I'd start lecturing the Irish just to remind them "Weeee're Baaaaaack." :-)

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  • 140. At 03:50am on 11 Oct 2009, antipropaganda wrote:

    MAII - I beg your pardon, you didn't go back-packing across Europe - I stand corrected. But you did rather walk into that one, didn't you. Instead you followed in the footsteps of many of your neocon countrymen - trying to be inspired by the Parisian je ne sais quoi. Well, you learnt a lot, I must say. Not really surprising why the French act the way they do. You really are a pathetic intellectual mouse, aren't you? Actually, I don't need to say much to highlight your small minded bigotry- here it goes:

    'It was a real struggle at first just keeping the Brits from starving to death.'

    'if America had lost that battle against the U Boat wolf packs, you Europeans would all be eating saurkraut and knockwurst as your national dish today.'

    Ha ha ha - I'm actually loving this - keep on discrediting yourself mate, it's hilarious. The problem is you continually wish violence upon Europeans by your choice of vocabulary. That's not right. When you have finished making a clown of yourself on the bbc, book yourself a train ticket across Europe if you can afford it and if you can get away from your sect down there in Texas - then you might actually learn something.

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  • 141. At 05:29am on 11 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    auntie-improper-gander;

    I wouldn't go back to Europe again on an all expenses paid vaction to five star hotels. I've seen enough of it for a lifetime. You Brits will be lucky if once in awhile you can sell me a wedge of Stilton cheese. BTW, I don't and never have lived in or anywhere close to Texas, wrong again.

    You Europeans really can't take even a small dose of your own medicine. How inconvenient for you.

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  • 142. At 08:01am on 11 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #134 - joehoch

    Have a good trip to Kent. I used to know it quite well years ago but gradually migrated west and had reached the New Forest by the time I upped sticks and headed for central Europe when I should have been thinking of retirement. Nice part but won't it seem a bit dull after Praha?

    Anyway - democracy and referenda. I agree that the idea of nationwide referenda of every hot topic of the day is a non-starter. To begin with, certainly in the UK, there is a big conflict between the constitutional principle of parliamentary sovereignty and the potential to commit Partliament to the outcome of a popular vote. Very difficult to see haow you can elect a government to office for four or five years on a broad mandate then compromise it every other Thursday by pulling the rug from under their feet.

    I have never been a big fan of referenda but there remains the problem that the major party will not nail bold colours to the mast on Europe and that is why I would like an exception made in this case. I repeat what I posted earlier - Labour proclaim their European credentials than throw a barbed wire fence round the place and turn it into a fortress and appear to believe they can be at the heart of economic decision making while clinging on to sterling. The Tories, on the other hand, make wild and empty noises about a referendum on Lisbon, which will never satisfy the eurosceptic wing but refuse to dive headlong into a vote on the substantive issue for fear of upsetting the moderates. If the parties can't make up their minds, we need a mechanism to make it up for tem and end this pointless drift.

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  • 143. At 08:16am on 11 Oct 2009, joehoch wrote:

    My posting at 127 is unlikely to be published here. It is of course difficult for a moderator to deal with facts rather than opinions. A journalist can show the facts to his editor, we in this blog can't do that. Yet how can we combat superficiality when we see it here. My attempt had been to show how deep the morass really is in this country. When one has been in a few battles here one can't help wanting to show how difficult it is to establish democracy. The suffering that people undergo, the sacrifices they make, the families that break up because of it, the people that die because they have been straining too hard, or indeed those that give up worn out after years. All those many unsung heroes that I have had the privilege to know.

    Just a few more words about Vaclav Klaus. His family came from the Ukraine and settled among the ethnic Germans in this country and adopted the name of Klaus. Whether this affects his thinking to this day about Germans, I do not know. His latest demand concerning the treaty concerns of course those very Germans that may to wish to claim some right over property in this country in the future. Then should anybody have any concerns about German intentions in this context. Is there to this day any underlying fear that is justified? I have observed that country for many decades and I can't help to feel uneasy at times. The teaching of history has been rather sloppy there for all those years. Facts remained hidden from citizens for several generations. Here is one that will make the monitor scratch his head. It is about murder, the murder of 30000 Germans by Germans during the Nazi era. This fact has been revealed to the citizens of that country for the first time in July this year of 2009. The history books have to be updated once more.
    So if Vaclav Klaus has still some reservations about German intentions, would or could anybody blame him?

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  • 144. At 08:32am on 11 Oct 2009, goldenclivebarker wrote:

    #112 Threnodio
    "Slovakia is the place where 10% of the people are Hungarian but are not allowed to say so in their own language."

    This is not true at all. Are you lying deliberately or are you just disinformed? You know, having the same rights than the rest of the nationalities is not a discrimination. Just because someone feels he should deserve more, as he is something unique?

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  • 145. At 09:20am on 11 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #143 - joehoch

    It is not possible to live for any length of time in central Europe without realising the immediacy and urgency of recent history, the way in which it has impacted on ordinary peoples' lives over several generations and how it remains fresh in the mind. It is very difficult to convey this to a predominently British readership. They see things in terms of broad brush strokes - we stood up to the Nazi monster, our democracy survived, we prevailed, we held out against the Communist world, again we prevailed, our system is the way, the truth and the life.

    The one remaining monument to communism which was allowed to remain in Budapest was the Soviet War Memorial. It marked, so the case goes, not the triumph of socialism but the sacrifice of many millions of ordinary Russians. So it stands in Szabadság tér (Freedom Square - ironic, no?), surrounded by railings to discourage the spraypainters and watched over 24/7 by police to arrest those who do try. A short walk away on the Duna side, a simple memorial of cast metal shoes stands to mark the sport where Hungarian Jews were required to remove their shoes before being shot and dumped in the river to float off down towards the Black Sea and awarning to the rest. Here too, constant vigilance to ensure no repetition of the recent event when someone put pigs feet in them. You hear harrowing stories about the deportations of 1944 and heart-warming ones about the numerous lives saved by Raoul Wallenberg in the same period. You hear the allies hailed for the gesture of marking the Jewish ghettos with marker flares before the air raids so that they would not be hit and lambasted for ignoring pleas for help in '56.

    They look northwards and see their fellow Hungarians in what used to be part of their kingdom being denied the right to use their own language, they look eastwards to Transylvania and say to themselves yes but this is our land, our people. Yet they have to reconcle this with being part of the big family of Europe now living in peace and security and, for the most part, they live with it because it is infinitely better than what went before. But the resentment remains because it is fresh in the mind - not dry fact on a dusty bookshelf but day to day reality. I cite Hungary because I know it best but similar stories repeat themselves throughout central Europe. Then they listen to the shifting tides of opinion in the West and understandably shudder. Are the neocon voices in America who complain of the cost of defending Europe not the same people who scrambled to absorb the newly independent nations into NATO? Are the siren voices complaining that eastern Europe is a bottomless pit into which Western Europe in throwing billions of wasted euros not the same people who rushed to absorb them into the capitalist dream. And was the economic nightmare that derailed it all something they did or was it possibly the sheer greed of Wall Street, the City, Frankfurt and Zürich which did for them?

    So do I blame Klaus for his reservations? Probably not. What is history for if not to learn from? But are they rational fears or deep seated prejudice? Probably the latter. One thing that is absolutely clear is that there is no room for rabid nationalism in this new order. You have to respect the rights of minorities and celebrate, not supress their culture. While Klaus is busy worrying about the entire German nation, there are countless little niggling spats going on which are potentially far more dangerous.

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  • 146. At 09:25am on 11 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #144 - goldenclivebarker

    I don't think you have been following the thread or even read the whole post. Of course I am aware of the reality on the ground. I was having one of my periodic spats with MAII and the intention of the comment was entirely ironic. Anyone who regularly visits this blog will be aware of this. Or don't you do irony?

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  • 147. At 09:34am on 11 Oct 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To goldenclivebarker (144):

    I think that the problem stems from the language law that is more or less unclear. For example to my knowledge what it bans is usage of other languages than Slovakia in official uses in communities that do not hold a status of being bi-lingual.

    I think that this kind of law is more or less the wrong way of doing a thing. With laws what you want to do is to uphold rights not restricts freedoms. For example here in Finland, as we are bi-lingual country, all parts of government and civil servants are required to give their service with both Finnish and with Swedish. That is right, a right to be served under these two languages.

    However there is no law restricting the govermeant and civil servants giving services in other languages if they can and want, and this is how things should be. Finnish and Swedish speakers don't loose anything on having the government and civil servants giving and offering services in other languages.

    Again, in Slovakia's case the problem is that the law restricts freedoms, not preserves rights.

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  • 148. At 09:40am on 11 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    Having read the later posts to this blog last night and this morning I'm struck by three things.

    1. The general consensus that Europe will work, albeit a bit crankily and will take a lot of fine tuning. There have been many interesting posts here from my point of view, I can now see much more clearly where the people from Eastern Europe are coming from. Given the amount of goodwill shown here we will succeed, it won't be easy but the overall project is good. We can create something different, not a Federal Europe but a Federation of Nation states bound together by a spirit of enlightened self interest.

    2. From all I can see Mr Klaus appears to be a maverick mainly driven by his only selfish needs. It would appear that his actions are not even legal and so I think we can wait a little longer for his signature.

    3. For our 'friends' from the US. I'm sorry if we frighten you, it's really very sad but you should learn from us. You have been brought up as a nation to always need a winner, compromise is an anathema to you, try it sometime you might find the results pleasant. We don't want to fight with you but we are no longer prepared to take you as the automatic leaders, from now on if you want our support for your actions you will have to persuade us not bully us.

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  • 149. At 09:41am on 11 Oct 2009, goldenclivebarker wrote:

    #146 threnodio

    I missed the #72, sorry. I've got the whole picture now ;)

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  • 150. At 10:40am on 11 Oct 2009, goldenclivebarker wrote:

    Jukka_Rohila
    I am a hungarian living in Slovakia. Everyone is talking in our behalf, without knowing the whole truth. The law is not restricting anything. We are speaking in our language where we want and when we want. It's just politicians-made hysteria. The law just helping slovaks living in mixed areas to be able to get the "services" in their language as well. So the law is not about "just" but it is about "too".

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  • 151. At 10:47am on 11 Oct 2009, goldenclivebarker wrote:

    #147 Jukka_Rohila
    "That is right, a right to be served under these two languages."

    Yes, that what is this law about. It is ensuring bi-lingual"ity" for slovaks living in mixed communities. The majority deserves the same rights than the minority don't you think?

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  • 152. At 10:52am on 11 Oct 2009, joehoch wrote:

    145 - threnodio, thank you very much for your extensive covering from Hungary. Just a brief response: Learning from history presupposes knowing about history. Since you brought up the "jewish question", here is a titbit from Germany. Paul Spiegel a very good German and jewish of course was the head of the jewish Zentralrat there from 2000 to 2006 when he sadly died. He had been involved for decades in mending bridges in Germany as indeed many others have. In practical terms that meant going to talk in schools to youngsters to aquaint them with history and talk about living together. He also went to do the same with adults, in clubs and other organisations. He went on record only a few years ago that he was giving up going to talk to those adults of a certain age, since they simply did not accept what had happened.
    Some time ago I had mentioned that I would have a Brussels story to report. It is so shocking that it will take time to put in words that would get past the monitor. It started in April 2007 and is still running now. Maybe one day when the treaty is in the bag. We don't want to promote europhobia, do we now? For now we should find time to celebrate the news from Poland and indeed from Turkey and Armenia. The agreement there was obtained with the help from the US and the EU, not to forget Russia. This common or joint success should give us hope for other trouble spots. So let's be upbeat about something.

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  • 153. At 10:55am on 11 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    136. At 11:55pm on 10 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "threnodious;

    "There was no war until 1941 was there?"

    Not for America. But even my high school history text did explain all of the events leading up to America coming to Europe's rescue."


    But there was a war in your own back yard Marcus, but as "threnodious" said, you sat on your hands until the Japs started to take pot shots at your own expansionist aims, the war in the far east didn't start with Pearl Harbour you know! As for the war in Europe, the Brits could have sat of their hands too, Hitler wasn't interested in the UK (to many common ties, such as Royal Family etc. you might have read about certain British Prince Albert?) but we stood up for the freedom of others and thus lied ourselves open to attack in the defence of them, something that the USA talks big about but very rarely does anything about unless the USA are going to benefit. Heck, the USA couldn't even give the UK their old ships, we had to buy the rusting heaps and the unsafe "Liberty" ships that you revitalised your own ship building industry with after 10 years of terminal stagnation, or the food you sent, your government even charged interest on the debt, you really should read up on Lease-lend and the UK war debt. So much for the USA standing shoulder to shoulder in the name of freedom back then...

    You really do have a pure Hollywood version of world history, but why doesn't that surprise me? :-(

    But getting back to the EU: The political right (and to some degree the centre left too) in the USA are scared of the EU because for the first time in 70 years the USA will be back were it was in the 1930s, a dust-bowl economy, unable to export anything worthwhile with no natural markets beyond it's own landmass, even industries that people consider native to the USA (computers, cars, aircraft and even space flight) are in decline against the established industries in europe (more automotive technology flowed from GM Europe to the GM parent company in the US than flowed the other way, to give but one example) or the up and coming industries in Russia, India or China, and as the EU have far better relationships with them than do the USA, in fact the institution of the EU has better relationships with most countries than does the USA, although that is starting to change now you have elected a progressive president that is not so gun-how or bible bashing as the last one...

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  • 154. At 10:57am on 11 Oct 2009, Mathiasen wrote:

    At the memorial of the 70th anniversary of the beginning of WW2 recently in Poland the chancellor said about the German responsibility that Germany will never confuse reason and impact. This is of course also true re the bilateral relation between Germany and the Czech republic.

    While her comment concerns the past, the LT concerns the future, and no matter how hard Vaclav Klaus tries, he will not disturb the future of the union.
    One of the reasons from the world of facts is that the value of the things German left when they were driven out, not only from Bohemia but also East Prussia is nothing compared to the importance of the European integration today, and the German government has not assisted its own citizens in lawsuits in this matter.
    This understanding of the past and future interests is shared by most of the other member states of the union, and that is another reason why he will not prevail.

    Finally, his ideas are still not on the European agenda, and they will not get there before the representatives of the Czech people, the Czech government, bring them to the table.

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  • 155. At 11:08am on 11 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #141. At 05:29am on 11 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "You Europeans really can't take even a small dose of your own medicine. How inconvenient for you."

    Talk about the pot trying to call the kettle black!

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  • 156. At 11:18am on 11 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #153 Boilerplated
    While I agree with the points you make let's go easy on the triumphalism please. This world domination is heady stuff and once you've been on it for a while it's dammed hard to give up. If any country should know that it's Britain and, let's face it, we are still finding it tough going 'cold turkey'.
    For MAII a few thoughts. Firstly as Americans you should stop, right now, this practice you have of telling each other and the world the whole time that 'we are the greatest' it's a dangerous self delusion. Secondly your win at all costs ethos is nonsense, compromise is usually much more constructive. Thirdly you have a huge amount to do in your own country to catch up, your infrastructure is in a poor state, your power generation systems poor, your transport systems, and your ridiculously inefficient and expensive health system all need serious attention. You personally have a lot of energy why don't you use it more proactively in guiding your own people instead of ranting at us? All we do when you do that is laugh at you or make fun of you.
    Oh and MAII I probably should have told you this before, but my girl friend, who I love dearly comes from Pasadena and is a patriotic American but that's patriotic with a small 'p'

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  • 157. At 11:23am on 11 Oct 2009, Macca wrote:

    I don't believe the Czechs have had a public vote on this issue and unless they do it's second guessing what the outcome would be.

    Klaus is clearly a man of strong opinion and he's trying to do whatever he can to get his way. Most of us do the same unless convinced the alternative is better or that there simply is no alternative.

    As for the Prime Minister having the power, the Czechs also have a situation where the PM wasn't voted in by the public. The last election was a hung parliament and the parties are all trying to form coalitions to gain the most seats. Mr Fischer was appointed after Mr Topalnek failed in getting the third attempt at a working government. Again, I could be wrong but that's what I've understood...any Czechs able to help out there? This being the case, how far over the line is Mr Klaus really stepping and is there not a law preventing him from doing this?

    I'm certainly interested in the comments from Czechs and less so from those who can't possibly comprehend the intricate details of life in a foreign country.

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  • 158. At 11:37am on 11 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #152 - joehoch

    That is a whole different story but one which makes me equally angry. Remember just over a year ago when WebAlice and I were cautioning everyone against laying all the blame for Georgia at Russia's door and we were shot down in flames? And now we find the EU thinks we were right all the time.

    In the meantime, a year has been lost. A year in which we could have enlisted their help with the Turkey Armenia arrangement, a year when the Quartet could have been advancing in the Middle East, a year of energy security rows. OK we have a new regime in the White House, the missile defence shield thing has gone away and there is a new atmosphere of detente but even so, talk about wasted opportunities. When are we going to wake up to the fact that they are not the evil empire, not the enemy.

    We need each other. Time to stop the sniping.

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  • 159. At 11:54am on 11 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #157 - strcprstskrzkrk

    Yes but can you identify one country in the EU - or in the western world for that matter - in which the prime minister is directly elected.

    Those with ceremonial heads of state - and this applies as much to the elected presidents as it does to the monarchies - has as their prime minister the leader of the party that commands a majority in the national assembly. This applies equally well when there is no overall majority as the party in question will be the senior party of the coalition. In most executive presidential systems, the prime minister is generally appointed or invited into office by the president. Even those countries in which a non-political figure has become PM - Fischer in the Czech Republic or Barnyi in Hungary has first been either elected or horse traded into office by the law makers.

    There simply is no tradition of directly elected Prime Ministers.

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  • 160. At 12:00pm on 11 Oct 2009, adrvah wrote:

    I just happened to read joehoch’s post no. 41 which escaped my attention earlier. Anyone interested in the background of Klaus’ attitude to the EU should read that post, as it touches on something that might actually be one of the crucial motives behind all that. It also addresses very well what is at stake for the Czechs at this point.

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  • 161. At 12:20pm on 11 Oct 2009, Victor wrote:

    strcprstskrzkrk wrote:
    "... any Czechs able to help out there? This being the case, how far over the line is Mr Klaus really stepping and is there not a law preventing him from doing this?"
    ---
    OK, here's a crash course in recent Czech political history: the last election in 2006 ended in a stalemate between the left wing parties (Socialists and communists getting 100 seats in the lower house) and "right wing" parties (center-right Civic Democrats, centrist Christian Democrats and the Green party, together also 100 seats). This was a kind of unique situation, and it made formation of government very difficult. Eventually, instead of pushing for new elections, leader of Civic Democrats Mirek Topolánek managed to persuade few MPs from the left to support the coalition of his party, the Christ. Democrats and the Greens. This government was very weak and worse, the left wing socialists considered its formation illegitimate. Few early "successes" of the government were few reforms related to taxation, health care and justice, as well as passing the Lisbon Treaty and signing the missile defense treaty with the US. Klaus was elected president by the parliament in this period, after the left wing failed to unite and support their candidate, economist Jan Švejnar.

    Instead of being a constructive opposition, the left wing adopted a single goal - to undermine the gov. at all costs, no matter how much it damages the country's image or interests. They eventually succeeded in the middle of the Czech EU presidency when they persuaded several MPs from the gov. camp to join them in no-confidence vote. The government fell, but no new government could be formed, so after much political infighting, the leaders of both main parties, civic democrats and the socialists, agreed on passing a constitutional law shortening the current electoral term. According this law, Klaus called early election in October 2009 (that means it should have been over yesterday). Until then, a technocratic government supported by all parties was supposed to administer the country. Unfortunately, the Constitutional Court ruled that the const. law on shortening the term was unconstitutional and called off the elections.

    Which means we're stuck with an apolitical government the mandate of which is unclear, a president who feels he can do whatever he wants now when he's in the spotlight and a fragmented parliament full of personal animosities and petty feuds.

    So, that's it, basically.

    If you have any concrete questions, just ask.

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  • 162. At 12:28pm on 11 Oct 2009, TannerMirabel wrote:

    First thing of all I have to say that I´m a Czech and I frankly dislike Mr. Klaus for lots of reasons becuase most of his opinions and attitudes are absolutely unbelievable.
    But I´m glad that he´s doing what he´s doing now simply because his worries about the possible claims of Sudet Germans are realistic and nobody can tell today that the Czech people don´t have anything to worry about.
    Reality is that you never know how any court generally finally decides a matter never resolved before and this is especially true with the highest judicial institutions whose rulings can´t be overruled by any other court. I know this from my lawyer practise. So I can pretty clearly imagine the European Court of Justice deciding that so called "Benešovy dekrety" (Benes Decrees) are inconsistent with the EU Charter of Rights. What the consequences of such a ruling would be? Why, something very similar to what happened after one sad day of the Czech history when the Munich Treaty was signed. Lots of people would have to move from their homes near the borders because someone in Luxembourg decided that they acquired them in an unlawfull way from poor German citizens who didn´t do anything worse than fighting against the sole existence of the Czech state and even nation. I can imagine this very well, it´s no sci-fi.
    Some constitutional facts about the Czech republic:
    The Czech constitution is a very sketchy and brief document and there is not a provision that would say that the Czech prezident is obliged to ratify an international treaty even if it´s approved by parliament. So he simply doesn´t have to.
    I agree with some of the bloggers here that just the repeating of the Irish referendum compromises the Lisbon treaty r at least its ratification process.
    Fact is that the opt-out could be approved quite quickly. Yes, the Czech politicians could ask for it sooner but it´s not fault of Mr. Klaus it wasn´t asked for cuase it was the Czech government and not president to do so. The president got into game just in the end of the ratification process and he simply does what he´s entitled to do.
    Sad that I, a person who dislikes Mr Klaus probably most of all the politicians, probably just G.W.Bush was worse than he, must defend his action.

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  • 163. At 12:32pm on 11 Oct 2009, citizenofeurope wrote:

    Quite a number of people on this blog consider the process of ratifying the Lisbon Treaty undemocratic. Why should it be undemocratic, if the parliament of a EU member country ratifies the Treaty? Do these same people consider their own countries parliament not democratically elected and not representing their people? And all the EU-member have supreme or constitutional courts, where parliamentary decisions can be challenged if such decisions would contradict the constitution.
    I appreciate that as an individual you may not like the EU or the Lisbon Treaty even so your parliament as decided otherwise.



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  • 164. At 12:43pm on 11 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #161 - Victor_D

    Thank you for the clarification.

    Does this mean that the 'technocratic government' can only function with the support of a majority in parliament to pass legislation? If so, I would guess my point at #159 still stands - or am I wrong?

    Does this political stalemate strengthen the President in any real formal sense or is he simply taking advantage of a political vacuum to further his own agenda?

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  • 165. At 12:52pm on 11 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #161. At 12:20pm on 11 Oct 2009, Victor_D wrote:

    "strcprstskrzkrk wrote:
    "... any Czechs able to help out there? This being the case, how far over the line is Mr Klaus really stepping and is there not a law preventing him from doing this?"
    ---
    OK, here's a crash course in recent Czech political history:..//.."


    So, constitutionally, legally speaking, the Czech president can do what the h*ll he likes, yes, there are no legal boundaries or restrictions, could he annul the parliamentary ratification of the Lisbon Treaty if push comes to shove? That is what was being asked Victor, not what the recent Czech political history is, what is the constitutional law.

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

    162. At 12:28pm on 11 Oct 2009, TannerMirabel wrote:

    "First thing of all I have to say that I´m a Czech and I frankly dislike Mr. Klaus for lots of reasons becuase most of his opinions and attitudes are absolutely unbelievable.
    But I´m glad that he´s doing what he´s doing now simply because his worries about the possible claims of Sudet Germans are realistic and nobody can tell today that the Czech people don´t have anything to worry about.


    That is rubbish, if these concerns are real why has it taken TEN years (or more) for anyone to raise them now, at a time of 23hrs 59mins 59sec?...

    Seems more like an desperate excuses rather than any real concern to me. Sorry.

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  • 167. At 1:07pm on 11 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #163. At 12:32pm on 11 Oct 2009, citizenofeurope wrote:

    "Do these same people consider their own countries parliament not democratically elected and not representing their people?"

    Exactly, I don't hear many Tory or UKIP members demanding a referendum on tax cuts, allowing the Hedge Funds to regulate themselves, or what ever, they are quite happy to accept the democratic will of the elected Westminster parliament when it's to their own political advantage...

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  • 168. At 1:15pm on 11 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #162 - TannerMirabel writes:

    'The president got into game just in the end of the ratification process and he simply does what he´s entitled to do'.

    - but -

    #161 - Victor_D writes:

    - that Klaus was elected 'by parliament'.

    I confess that I had not realised up to this point that it was parliament who elected the president but is there not an inconsistency here? If parliament elects the president, can they not just as easily remove him? And if they can do that, how can he possibly be "doing what he is entitled to do"?

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  • 169. At 1:18pm on 11 Oct 2009, Victor wrote:

    @ threnodio #164:

    Yes, your point stands. Fischer was chosen out of the blue, nobody really knew him. He's apolitical, calm, modest and capable, so the main political leaders felt he would be a candidate capable enough to administer the country without overshadowing them. This now backfired a bit as his essentially "puppet" government is becoming quite popular (Czechs do like apolitical governments for some reason).

    As for the president - his role is only important when it's up to him to name a new PM/ministers, call elections etc. His powers are mostly ceremonial. However, it is customary in this country that presidents usually form a "circle" of people through which they try to influence the politics and moderate public debate on many issues. Sometimes it's a good thing (like when Václav Havel was the president), sometimes not. Klaus' allies are mostly die-hard eurosceptics, like the bunch of radicals who staged a demonstration at the Prague castle against the Lisbon Treaty. They have very little support in the Czech society, but Klaus' position make them look important (and foreign media often blow it out of proportions).

    @ Boilerplated #165

    Constitution is often ambiguous about the exact extent of his powers, which is the problem today. Those who wrote the constitution wanted to maintain some sort of flexibility, making sure the separation of powers in the state remains unchallenged. BUT, from what I've heard from top constitutional law experts, its the government who's responsible for foreign policy, not the president. President's role is ceremonial - he signs the treaties and can even be allowed to negotiate them, but it's the gov. and the parliament who ratify them. His signature is just a formality - or should be.

    He can't do whatever the --- he wants, he must respect the constitution. There are two ways how to get rid of him:

    a) Senate can charge him with high treason if he blatantly disrespect the democratic constitutional system. If that happens, he's tried before the constitutional court and the punishment is dismissal.

    b) in case he becomes "unable to perform his duties as president" (no definition is included in the constitution as to what exactly does it mean), he can be removed from office and his powers are delegated to the prime minister and the chairman of the chamber of deputies (in UK terms speaker of the lower house). So, in theory if the parliament got really fed up, it could simply remove him from office on this basis.

    There is another option discussed - he could be brought before the high administrative court and charged with unacceptable delay in performing his duties. If the court ruled against him, he'd have to sign the law (in this case the Lisbon treaty) immediately. If he refused, he'd commit high treason.

    --

    So far, nobody has been really thinking about impeaching him, but if he keeps dragging his feet after the Const. court rules the LT is compatible with the constitution, it will become a real possibility.

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  • 170. At 1:44pm on 11 Oct 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To goldenclivebarker (150):

    There is no smoke without a fire. If the situation is as you describe, then there should be no problem and no conflict, but there is. For example Helsingin Sanomat, the leading Finnish newspaper, made an extensive article about the situation in the ground, and there was real worry about the language law, especially on how ambiguity it was and worry that the language law would require restrictions on speaking of Hungarian in many places.

    If this whole thing is just about protecting the rights of Slovaks, then write the law again and make its language on not restricting usages of other languages, but make it requirement that government and community services have to be offered in all communities with Slovakian language. Again, there is no smoke without fire.

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  • 171. At 1:45pm on 11 Oct 2009, CornwallCoastPath wrote:

    To citizenofeurope (163): you asked whether parliaments are considered as not representing their people. As far as Britain and the EU question is concerned, the answer is undoubtedly Yes. Only a minority in Britain are in favour of the UK's ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, yet Parliament went ahead and did it anyway.

    You talk about democratic election of parliaments. A key part of this process is that parties and candidates present their manifestos to the people, on the understanding that, when elected, members of parliament will enact the promises made in those manifestos. In the 2005 UK general election, all major parties promised in their manifestos to hold a referendum on the EU Constitution (the forerunner of the Lisbon Treaty). But Labour and Lib Dem MPs reneged on that commitment by voting to approve the Treaty without a referendum.

    That is the context to UK ratification of the Lisbon Treaty - it was only made possible by Parliament breaching its "contract" with the people. It means that in my view, and I'm sure that of most people in Britain, UK ratification of the Lisbon Treaty has no democratic legitimacy.

    I hope that answers your question "Why should it be undemocratic, if the parliament of a EU member country ratifies the Treaty?".

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  • 172. At 2:01pm on 11 Oct 2009, Economist123 wrote:

    78 Ravenseft

    "In the entire history of this country, on one occasion only has the government sought the opinion of the British people on any issue: EEC Membership in 1975. I'm not quite sure where this idea comes from that every Tom, Dick and Harry has the right to chip-in, Swiss-style, into the running of this country."

    Yes, how dare any government ask the people their opinion on something. You sound scarily like you approve of tyranny Ravenseft. Do you actually understand democracy? I.e. the will of the people being respected? Asking us what we think before doing something? Millions of people have fought and died for democracy, and you're quite happy to never let us have our say on how the country is run or where we fit into the undemocratic EU. Sounds like you'd fit quite well in at the EU given the very obvious democracy deficit which exists there.

    In addition, you say Parliaments decide for the people. Well most politicians in the UK openly admit to having never read the Lisbon Treaty. What right do they have to vote it through? They are as non plussed as the majority of the population. And just for the record, if, as you clearly demonstrate, you have such a low regard for the electorate, then why even have national elections? Most of the population can't even name the leader of each party. How can they be trusted to vote? Taking your argument to the natural conclusion, we might as well just bring back the Monarchy and do away with centuries of democratic progress.

    "Taken directly from the Daily Mail? Unfortunately your views as expressed above highlight exactly why there was no referendum on Lisbon - you don't vote on the content of the document, but rather your own views on the EU as drawn from the biased uninformed reporting of the British press controlled by a small group of rich pro-US elderly men who are not even taxpayers in this country."

    Oh really? So you can infer from my original post that I read the Daily Mail? True, it is the second highest most read daily granted, after the sun, and way above the papers you are likely to read (I'm guessing the unpopular Guardian) but I do not read the Daily Mail. But then you're trying to smear me and my opinion, and so the insults come out. I have my own views on the EU. And from where I'm sitting, they're about to force an unelected President on us, self selected by the elites. That sounds an awful lot like tyranny to me. And I'll have none of it. That reason alone outweighs any other reason to me to vote no over yes for this Treaty. Sorry to disappoint you.


    ""No" was taken as an answer - that's why the Constitutional Treaty was abandoned. No-one forced the Irish to vote again, that was their own call. It's up to each state to decide how to implement the agreed treaty, if you don't like how your particular state has done it - blame your own government. "

    Well thank you for allowing the Czechs to decide not to sign the Lisbon treaty. If they don't wish to, as expressed by the will of their President, then you don't get your new toy - the Lisbon Treaty. Or do you want it both ways? That's usually the leftists for you. You seem to sadly want to kill democracry and force your viewpoint on everyone via tyranny and if you disagree with them, you're an uneducated daily mail reader. Their stock in trade insult. Bravo.

    If you want your Lisbon Treaty, then how about trying to persuade people and to win the popular vote, rather than insulting them, belittling them, and sounding like your opinion is worth more than a thousand people. You sound like you support tyranny. From where I'm sitting, I know which route leads to evil. And you're travelling in the wrong direction.



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  • 173. At 2:11pm on 11 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    171. At 1:45pm on 11 Oct 2009, CornwallCoastPath wrote:

    "Only a minority in Britain are in favour of the UK's ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, yet Parliament went ahead and did it anyway."

    Care to cite a document that shows that as a fact rather than an opinion?

    Oh and don't think that you will get away with citing an opinionated press barons (paid for) opinion pole...

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  • 174. At 2:25pm on 11 Oct 2009, Head2k wrote:

    For those who are interested, here is a link to the Czech Constitution in English language.
    http://www.hrad.cz/en/czech-republic/constitution-of-the-cr.shtml

    Art. 54 - 66 are about the president. And you can of course look up the word "president" on the page so you see all articles which it is involved in.

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  • 175. At 2:27pm on 11 Oct 2009, Victor wrote:

    Economist123 wrote:
    "Well thank you for allowing the Czechs to decide not to sign the Lisbon treaty. If they don't wish to, as expressed by the will of their President,"
    --
    Stop right there. Klaus is not representing anybody here, just himself. I am sick of people who are mistaking his personal grudge and europhobia for the "will of the people." Such a will is represented by the parliament WHICH HAS PASSED THE TREATY. If Klaus opposes this decision, then he's in fact opposing the will of the people and showing the highest disrespect of the democratic system.
    Isn't it funny how he talks about democracy, but he upholds it only when it suits him? Not really surprising from a man who doesn't respect any opinion but his own, no matter if it's about the climate change, role of NGOs, Russian foreign policy or the Lisbon treaty. Not really surprising from a man who admires people like Putin.
    Klaus is not a democrat, he's a wannabe paternal autocrat. The sooner we get rid of him, the better.

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  • 176. At 2:29pm on 11 Oct 2009, Mathiasen wrote:

    #163. citizenofeurope
    You wrote: "Quite a number of people on this blog consider the process of ratifying the Lisbon Treaty undemocratic."
    Many of the contributions here are interesting, those of the euro sceptics are first of all unexpected to me, but then the rubbish category is also represented.

    All member states of the EU are democratic, and the ratification of the LT is taking place in accordance with the constitution in each member state. In most cases the politicians have avoided referenda, and this procedure is absolutely consistent with the constitutions. Euro sceptics have connected a lot of unrealistic hopes (and wishful thinking) to the attempts to stop the LT through the constitutional courts for instance in Germany and now the Czech Republic. These attempts have added to the democratic test of the LT, but so far they have also failed their real object.
    Politicians within the EU cannot avoid general elections, - even if they would probably like to!, and the voters keep electing pro-EU governments, also after the ratification, which is a de facto approval of the LT. If the voters want out, they should elect the opposite, namely anti-EU governments.

    The ratification of the LT has indeed not been the most problem free political process the EU has seen. It is most unlikely to be repeated. I expect that politicians, media and interested citizens will discuss what an alternative can be, but I do not expect the politican of the member states to give up their influence on possible treaties in the future. The influence of the voters is therefore still connected to the general election in each member state.

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  • 177. At 2:30pm on 11 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #171 CornwallCoastPath
    As a Brit who is in favour of the Lisbon Treaty I have to ask where you get the facts to back up the following statements

    'Only a minority in Britain are in favour of the UK's ratification of the Lisbon Treaty'

    There has been some sort of survey on this? No there hasn't it's just an opinion, as you say later

    'It means that in my view'

    Yes just that 'in your view'

    You follow it by another sweeping statement

    'and I'm sure that of most people in Britain'

    You have no evidence to confirm this. If your view was all that prevalent the UKIP would be in the majority and we Britain would not be in Europe. When are you Europhobes going to 'get over it'?

    My own limited research within my circle of acquaintances backed by general knowledge of the UK over many years is that membership of the EU for most Brits is a 'done job' a non issue. Most of those I have spoken with on the subject of the Lisbon Treaty view it as too complicated and something to be left to their democratically elected MP's. When are you going to stop banging about being denied your democratic rights, if you are unhappy vote UKIP if you dare, that is.

    While I'm on the subject when are you all going to cotton on to the fact the Euro is a success and you have all lost over thirty percent of your wealth as a direct result of the pressure that stopped the UK joining. Clever that wasn't it? the fact that most anti European sentiment in the UK is stirred up by TV channels and newspapers owned by Rupert Murdoch seems to have escaped your notice. Is his interference in UK politics Ok with you?

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  • 178. At 2:37pm on 11 Oct 2009, Economist123 wrote:

    173 Boiler Plated said

    "Care to cite a document that shows that as a fact rather than an opinion?

    Oh and don't think that you will get away with citing an opinionated press barons (paid for) opinion pole..."

    Then why not put the Lisbon Treaty to a referendum if you think the majority of the UK electorate support the EU? What are you so scared of Boiler Plated? Oh, yes, that in fact CornwallCoastPath is in fact correct, and that the majority of the UK is against the EU in its current form.

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  • 179. At 2:48pm on 11 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #172 Economist123
    That was rather long I'll try to make mine a bit shorter. If we are going to have a democratically elected government to run a country why should we have referendums? They are a cop out. I elect a government to govern, not to come running to me for a decision every time it's a bit difficult. I note, that in a previous post, you said you are in your thirties and therefore probably don't realise that referendums are a new event on the British political scene, and when you consider the problems inherent in using them you can see why.

    I suspect your comments about MP's not knowing the content of the Lisbon Treaty are fallacious. No sane politician would leave himself so wide open to being caught out by not at least having a working knowledge of such an important matter.

    I repeat a question I asked to an earlier post by one of your fellow Europhobes why, if the citizens of the UK are up in arms about the Lisbon treaty, are UKIP not in power? The answer I think you will find is that most don't care, are happy to be part of the EU and think that this is all a storm in a teacup.

    I will also repeat my question with regard to meddling in UK politics by Newspapers and TV stations owned by octegenarian Australian/American billionaires with their own agenda most of which does not include the well being of the citizens of the UK. Possibly you should be more incensed with that that the approval of a treaty linking the UK to a group of democratic European states? Especially when this treaty was approved by your own democratically elected Members of Parliament

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  • 180. At 2:49pm on 11 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #171 - CornwallCoastPath

    You see, it is happening again. Labour and the LibDems campaigned on a promise to give a referendum on the EU Constitution. The constitution was abandoned following the rejection by the French and the Dutch and the Lisbon Treaty was negotiated instead. You can argue until you are blue in the face that the constitutional arrangements in Lisbon are almost identical to the original draft constitution but the simple truth is that it is a different document, it is not a constitution in itself and therefore there was no mandate to offer it by referendum.

    Before all the eurosceptics start to bombard me with the usual rhetoric, I fully understand why you feel you were not properly consulted. Indeed, I have quite often expressed my own reservations about the lack of consultation and suggested the UK should now have a referendum about the whole issue of membership.

    But that is quite different from misrepresenting the facts. Lisbon and the constitution are different animals and to say otherwise in order to accuse the parties of reneging on electoral promises is to deliberately mislead. Incidentally, I am intrigued by the suggestion that the LibDems did so. They may have offered a referendum if elected but they were not elected. They were faced with a simple three way choice in the Commons, aye, noe or abstain. Are you seriously suggesting they had a duty not to vote for something they did support simply because they could not force a referendum?

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  • 181. At 2:55pm on 11 Oct 2009, Economist123 wrote:

    Victor D says:
    #
    "Stop right there. Klaus is not representing anybody here, just himself. I am sick of people who are mistaking his personal grudge and europhobia for the "will of the people." Such a will is represented by the parliament WHICH HAS PASSED THE TREATY."

    Actually Klaus is representing me. So not just himself. In fact, Klaus is representing all the people who wanted a say on the Lisbon Treaty but were refused by their Parliaments, who decided on their behalf to push it through anyway. And in the UK, where I live, this was done by the Labour Party, who went against a manifesto committment to let the UK have a referendum on the Treaty, and who have flagging support in the UK to the extent that are heading for a landslide defeat in the election next year. Hardly a ringing endoresement that they have the right to decide on the behalf of the UK.

    And others have said, by breaking the manifesto commitment to have a referendum on the treaty, they have broken their contract to govern on behalf of the people. You are supporting the stealing of democracy Victor and the selection of an unelected EU President. Tyranny is coming, and you support it Victor. I speculate, that your mindset suggests that had you been alive at the time, that you would've supported the rise of Hitler or Stalin, seeing as you seem to favour tyranny over democracy.

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  • 182. At 3:04pm on 11 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #171 - CornwallCoastPath

    "Only a minority in Britain are in favour of the UK's ratification of the Lisbon Treaty".

    How do you know that? Are you psychic? The whole essence of of your case is that the British people should be given a referendum. What an earth for? You already claim to know the result. And you lecture us about democracy!

    #172 - Economist123

    "What right do they have to vote it through? They are as non plussed as the majority of the population".

    Oh right. So it is more democratic to ask people who have no idea what they are talking about to make a choice than to get them to periodically choose some of their number, who also do not know what they are talking about, to do it for them. Is there no limited to the twisted logic to which some people will resort?

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  • 183. At 3:08pm on 11 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Boiled and Plated;

    "But there was a war in your own back yard Marcus"

    I know to someone in Europe, the Pacific ocean may look small on a map. The European experience is one of short distances and Europeans usually think on a small scale, hence their penchant for building large monuments that turn out to be uesless, the Millenium dome being a prime example. But the other side of the Pacific ocean is hardly in America's back yard. It is more than twice the width of that Atlantic. It is literally half a world away. East Asia is parbably about as far from California as Britain is from India.

    Once upon a time there was a boy named Jack who sold his mother's milk cow for a bag of magic beans. When she found out, his mother got so angry she threw the beans in the backyard and sent Jack to bed wihout supper. When he awoke the next morning, Jack discovered a magic beanstalk that reached into the sky. He climbed the beanstalk where he found a giant whose only thought was to eat him. Jack escaped by the skin of his teeth, sliding down the beanstalk and chopped it down killing the giant who was in hot pursuit. Talk about buying a pig in a poke. The magic beans is the Lisbon Treaty, the Constitution in disguise. It is hundreds of pages long and so deliberately incomprehensible, of the few people who read it even fewer can understand what it says. The milk cows are the nation states that are being forfeited. The giant is the EU superstate. There's a good chance that once Europeans enter the land of the giant, they will be eaten by him and will never escape alive. Oh how eager they are buy those beans and to climb that beanstalk to find the giant's gold. It will be interesting.

    threnodious, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Britain, France, Norway, Sweeden, yada yada yada. From here all the mice look alike to me. The most notable thing about them is not their differences which they and the travel agents claim for them, mere details IMO but their similarities. The difference between one mouse and another is only important to the mice themselves....and those scientists experimenting on them.

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  • 184. At 3:14pm on 11 Oct 2009, Economist123 wrote:

    Timothy 179

    "repeat a question I asked to an earlier post by one of your fellow Europhobes why, if the citizens of the UK are up in arms about the Lisbon treaty, are UKIP not in power? The answer I think you will find is that most don't care, are happy to be part of the EU and think that this is all a storm in a teacup."

    The reason UKIP are not in power is because it is a single issue party with no domestic policies (or if they do hardly anyone knows them - probably because they do not have the funding to make it widely known). You, I am sure, are well aware that all political parties are coalitions of people with different goals and aims, Europe is an issue for some, and probably doesn't register with a number of other people. The only party with a serious chance of winning a majority in Parliament who profess to Euroscepticism is the conservatives, hence they have my support (but not just on this issue alone). I would only vote UKIP if I believed enough other people would. That's just not going to happen yet.

    As for the argument that the Lisbon Treaty is different to the EU Constitution - no Eurosceptic will believe you. Yes they have different names, so the equivacal can say without lying (although they are lying really) that they are different things and hence no party promised a referendum on the Treaty but actually the constituion. The fact that so many people have come out and said they are in effect the same documents, means by a sleight of hand (or word manipulation), you, and Labour politicians, and Threnodio (post 180) can claim they are different. You need more than that to convince me. How about letting me vote on who the EU President will be? I can see the EU falling about on the floor laughing at me for asking that question.

    I might just conceivably support the EU if it was more open, visibly democratic and respecting the decisions nations make (Ireland said NO!!), with an audited and signed off set of accounts.... But then pigs might fly too.


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  • 185. At 3:18pm on 11 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    178. At 2:37pm on 11 Oct 2009, Economist123 wrote:

    "Then why not put the Lisbon Treaty to a referendum"

    Because that is not how political decisions are made in the UK, did Thatcher ever offer a single referendum, for that matter did Heath offer a referendum on entering the EEC? I bet many would have loved to have had referenda on union law, selling off the council houses, the utilities, closing down vast swaths of the nations (tax payers owned) industries, tax rates, the Pole/Council Tax (the list could go on and on). It's actually quite disgusting how the right-wing now seems to have found favour for referenda, now it suits their purpose, but all the rest of the time they were quite happy for Westminster to make the decisions - but of course it was to their own political advantage back then...

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  • 186. At 3:19pm on 11 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #181 - Economist123

    "And others have said, by breaking the manifesto commitment to have a referendum on the treaty, they have broken their contract to govern on behalf of the people".

    How many more times - nobody has offered a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. Ye Gods, even the Tories have made their offer conditional on it not being in force by the time of the election. You know the rules as well as anyone else. If you want out of the EU, vote UKIP. If you don't want to vote UKIP, then you will just have to accept the position of the party you do vote for.

    Oh, and Klaus represents the people who elected him - the members of the Czech Senate who voted for him - and nobody else.

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  • 187. At 3:21pm on 11 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #181 Economist123

    I was quite prepared to have a debate with you on this subject until I saw your last post. You talk arrogant rubbish. Klaus is not representing you, he is the President of the Czech Republic. This is all blather and clutching at straws by people who cannot cope with reality.

    I will again repeat my question. Why are you so excited about the so called lack of democracy involved in the ratification of the Lisbon treaty but have no problem with the anti democratic activities of the Murdoch family? You are being allowed to take part in this debate courtesy of the BBC an organisation recently described by one of Mr Murdoch's brood as an 'evil empire' Take a good look at the States where people are kept in the dark by the likes of Fox News, that is what Murdoch wants to bring to the UK. Methinks your guns are pointing in the wrong direction.

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  • 188. At 3:23pm on 11 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #183 MAII

    You are awake I see, such a shame. And your point is?

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  • 189. At 3:24pm on 11 Oct 2009, Economist123 wrote:

    Threnodio

    "Oh right. So it is more democratic to ask people who have no idea what they are talking about to make a choice than to get them to periodically choose some of their number, who also do not know what they are talking about, to do it for them. Is there no limited to the twisted logic to which some people will resort."

    The Labour MP Caroline Flint came out and said she had never read Lisbon (see Daily Telegraph 31st March 2009). In fact if memeory serves me right, a number of Labout MPs admitted to not having read it in detail. No twisted logic here. Maybe you should look up some facts and empirical evidence to support your twisted views of democracy, where the electorate aren't allowed a say on things because they are uneducated and uninformed oiks, but politicians are highly intelligent knowledgible beings (depsite all the evidence to the contrary).

    Oh, and Threnodio, if you think CornwallCoastalPath is wrong about the level of support for Lisbon in the UK, then put it to the test. Have a referendum. What's that, no you won't? Not prepared to put your money where your mouth is? Surprise surprise.

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  • 190. At 3:26pm on 11 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #183 - MarcusAureliusII

    Careful what you wish for Marcus. A mouse 27 times the size of its parents could probably eat an eagle for breakfast.

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  • 191. At 3:33pm on 11 Oct 2009, phoenix wrote:

    "the fact that most anti European sentiment in the UK is stirred up by TV channels and newspapers owned by Rupert Murdoch seems to have escaped your notice. Is his interference in UK politics Ok with you"

    Quite right. Murdoch has only one thing in mind and that is to silence free press and bring media under his own dominion. He knows that the EU would bring a smackdown on his own ambitions to hold a monopoly over the world's media so he does everything in his power to counter them including peddling disgusting semi-racist lies that prey on peoples stereotypes of other nationalitys. Not content to use his attack drones (some of them which I wouldnt be suprised in his pay on this very same blog) to print over 10 years of euromyth nonsense he then dared to peddle more falsehoods in Ireland a enterprise he almost got away with.

    At least though his hatred for the EU is based on good old fashioned ambition. Klaus is just well... stubborn. He doesnt even reflect the mood in his own country where the people are broadly pro european.

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  • 192. At 3:40pm on 11 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    184

    "...The reason UKIP are not in power is because it is a single issue party with no domestic policies (or if they do hardly anyone knows them - probably because they do not have the funding to make it widely known)..."

    I think you answered your own question very well.

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  • 193. At 3:47pm on 11 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    187.

    "...Methinks your guns are pointing in the wrong direction..."

    The guns should be pointed directly at the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties. And Johnson had the gall to go on about 'Tory deception' on Marr.

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  • 194. At 3:48pm on 11 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    MAII meet Economist123 A man after your own heart. Or is it hearts? (never quite sure if there is one of you or a committee) One thing he has going for him is that, as with yourself, he will never let facts get in the way of his forceful explanation of his views. He does also have a talent for claiming he has majority support for these views which is something, I note, you no longer claim.

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  • 195. At 3:49pm on 11 Oct 2009, Economist123 wrote:

    Threnodio

    "How many more times - nobody has offered a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. "

    And yet Valery Discard d'Estaing, former French President said in 2007 that, "The Treaty of Lisbon is the same as the rejected constitution. Only the format has changed to avoid referendums."

    So you, and Labour, are being equivical to say that no referendum was offered on Lisbon Treaty when it was, but to avoid one, you all changed the name and format. The EU is built on lies and half truths. Hardly an inspiring start is it.

    And as for Boiler Plated - I think your argument is nonsense. We were promised a referendum on the Constitution. A former French President said it was effectively the same thing. So now, just because the name has changed, you think you can get away with changing the policy. It's just more lies I'm afraid.

    Threnodio - post 190 - spoken like a true power crazed tyrant wannabee.

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  • 196. At 3:54pm on 11 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    Further to my comment @ #185

    178. At 2:37pm on 11 Oct 2009, Economist123 wrote:
    "Oh, yes, that in fact CornwallCoastPath is in fact correct, and that the majority of the UK is against the EU in its current form"

    "Economist123", if there was any shred of anti EU sentiment in the majority of the population then either the Tories or UKIP (or a coalition of both) would have formed the government at the last election and not Labour and their pro EU stance...

    Labour offered a referendum on the "Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe", not on the latter "Treaty of Lisbon", ask yourself this, if holding a referenda on EEC/EC/EU treaties are so important for the democratic process in the UK then why did Thatcher not offer one when the Single European Act (SEA) need to be signed/ratified in '87, why didn't Major offer one before he signed/ratified the Maastricht Treaty in '93, why was there no calls from the right for referenda when the Amsterdam Treaty in '99 or Treaty of Nice in '03 were signed/ratified? All of those treaties were (are, if Lisbon falls), in many ways, far more reaching in their aims than Lisbon ever is.

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  • 197. At 3:55pm on 11 Oct 2009, cobber1234 wrote:

    A few items I'd like to point out here , especially to those "deficit of democracy" proclaimers. As some may be aware I did get to vote on Lisbon and happily endorsed it second time. I did so without the remotest reflection on other countries do. We do referenda, all kinds of referenda, some of them more than once, as those decrying the "second time tyranny" would know if they had any historical reference. It's only "tyranny" because of the topic matter.

    Then we have the likes of MarcusAureliusII with their Blighty-centred "uncouth johnny foreigner" view. Neither Klaus nor the Irish are responsible for the low estimation in which the EU is held in Britain and it suggests a form of dishonesty whereby others are to be blamed for your own political woes.

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  • 198. At 3:59pm on 11 Oct 2009, Economist123 wrote:

    Timothy

    "I will again repeat my question. Why are you so excited about the so called lack of democracy involved in the ratification of the Lisbon treaty but have no problem with the anti democratic activities of the Murdoch family"

    Personally I do not give two figs what the Murdoch family do. I do not have to read or listen to anything they produce. People can choose to do so, or choose not to do so. I take it you think his family are influencing too mnay people to take negative views of the EU. The fact is, their power is diminishing all the time. There are hundreds of alternative places to view news (or opinions) on the internet. But I am excited about the undemocratic nature that the Lisbon Treaty is being pushed through as it makes one be very concerned about the future direction the continent is taking, without proper consultation with the people it is suppossed to represent.

    Maybe the EU can be reformed to a better more accountable, open and democratic institution. In fact Klaus has even said as much himself (in the Institute of Economic Affair Volume 29 March 2009).

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  • 199. At 4:00pm on 11 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    Ok let's have a referendum. The questions should be

    Yes I understand the Treay of Lisbon I want to vote on it

    No I don't understand the Treaty of Lisbon I want my MP to vote on it.

    If the yes vote wins that then have a referendum on the treaty.

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  • 200. At 4:01pm on 11 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    181. At 2:55pm on 11 Oct 2009, Economist123 wrote:

    "Actually Klaus is representing me. So not just himself."

    You are a Czech citizen, just now you were demanding your UK government do something for you, or is this an (typical) europhobe that wants a Federal European voice when it suits their purpose - why does a word word starting with "H" spring to mind?!...

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  • 201. At 4:04pm on 11 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #189 - Economist123

    What a shame your attention span is even shorter than your temper. Had you taken the trouble to read what I said, you will notice that I actually favour a referendum on the substantive issue of membership.

    What I do have a problem with is the idea that voting on Lisbon will solve anything - especially as there is no constitutional precedent. But the idea - which is yours not mine - that it is more democratic for the people to decide en masse even though you seem to say that most would not understand the issue than for their elected representatives to so is simply absurd.

    Out of interest, I wonder whether you have read and memorised the Road Traffic Act 1988 as amended by the 2006 Act. Because, by your logic, you really should not be driving a car unless you have. Or is only Lisbon we have to know from cover to cover before forming a judgement?

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  • 202. At 4:11pm on 11 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    183. At 3:08pm on 11 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "Boiled and Plated;"

    "But there was a war in your own back yard Marcus"

    I know to someone in Europe, the Pacific ocean may look small on a map.../the rest of your clueless 'waffle' left out/...


    Oh right, is that so, just in case you missed this fact - the UK were already fighting in the far east war before 1941, so if we could sail even further to defend Freedom why couldn't the USA do like wise - even more so considering that they had (and still have) a rather large naval base half way across the Pacific...

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  • 203. At 4:16pm on 11 Oct 2009, Economist123 wrote:

    Boilerplated (200)

    Actually I am a UK citizen. When I said Klaus is representing me, I do not mean directly as a Czech citizen. What I should have said (before rushing off a post) is that by refusing to sign, Klaus is acting in a manner which supports my view (and is obviously acting in a manner which ires a number of posters here). I do not want him to sign the Lisbon Treaty. By doing this act, he gives me hope that maybe I can have my say on the Treaty.

    If this Treaty was the same as any other which was negotiated, then why did the likes of former French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing start ringing alarm bells about it?

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  • 204. At 4:17pm on 11 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #197 Cobber123
    Not quite sure where you are coming from? Are you saying you are Irish? And then your comment

    "the likes of MarcusAureliusII with their Blighty-centred "uncouth johnny foreigner" view"

    MAII Blighty centred???

    I agree that this blog is orientating around the UK but it is after all the BBC.

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  • 205. At 4:21pm on 11 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #195 - Economist123

    Yes, Gicard did say that but Barroso, who also had a distinguished legal background before entering politics says precisely the opposite. I suppose you pays your money and you takes your choice. I can almost hear people already saying 'well he would say that wouldn' he' but, before you do, Giscard was the principle author of the original constitution so they both have an axe to grind. I can assure you there are differences but the similarities are more evident.

    As to your response to my 190, I have for the second time today, to point out that I was engaging in bit of mickey taking banter with MAII, not to be taken seriously. If you cannot distinguish between mischievous irony and serious comment on a blog, I seriously doubt whether you can work out the differences between two very heavyweight legal documents but then I somehow doubt that you have tried. Which would rule you out of a referendum, wouldn't it?

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  • 206. At 4:23pm on 11 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #184. At 3:14pm on 11 Oct 2009, Economist123 wrote:

    "The reason UKIP are not in power is because it is a single issue party with no domestic policies"

    Wrong, they had a manifesto full of UK only policy, in fact 99% of their policies seem to be UK only, it's far more likely that people are not voting for them because they have no international policies (apart from jumping ship from the EU)...

    http://www.ukip.org/media/pdf/UKIPa4manifesto2005.pdf

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  • 207. At 4:24pm on 11 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #198 Economist 123

    "Personally I do not give two figs what the Murdoch family do."

    then I think you are very foolish. Murdoch and his brood have succeeded in controlling the media in the US to the point where they managed to get George Bush elected twice. I would agree with your statement

    "There are hundreds of alternative places to view news (or opinions) on the internet."

    and this was used very cleverly by the Obama team to secure his election win, but there are already signs that those with money and influence in the US are moving to develop ways of controlling that or swinging it to the benefit of the Republicans (same thing)

    I think you are being very unwise, you ignore Murdoch and family at your democratic peril.

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  • 208. At 4:26pm on 11 Oct 2009, Krzysztof Wasilewski wrote:

    If Cameron wins the next election to the British Parliament and forms new conservative government, we, outside UK, will watch the same old Shakespearean drama titled TO BE or NOT TO BE in EUROPE with Mr Cameron as Hamlet and Mr Brown as the Ghost.

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  • 209. At 4:33pm on 11 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    198. At 3:59pm on 11 Oct 2009, Economist123 wrote:

    "Personally I do not give two figs what the Murdoch family do. I do not have to read or listen to anything they produce."

    But you do when their 'meddling' interfaces with government actions or policy.

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  • 210. At 4:35pm on 11 Oct 2009, Chris wrote:

    @ 171 there is no "contract" with people. Politicians make promises, it is up to you to believe them or not and vote for them or not. It really is that simple! Once you voted for them you wait for another 4-5 years and vote again.

    @ 171 & 172 if you don't like the government next time around you vote for a party that you like and you think it will make a better job than the current government. Why make things complicated and stress yourselves with imaginary fears about tyranny etc. Obviously the present UK parliament decided that the LT is a good thing for the UK and voted as such. The problem is Klaus that although "his" parliament things the LT is a good thing for their country, he ignores their will.

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  • 211. At 4:38pm on 11 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    I apologise for this being totally off topic but the post #202 by Boiler Plated touched off a thread in my mind and so.

    MAII
    The war in the Pacific was a side show a large side show but still a side show. I do not want to demean those who fought in that theatre unlike the way earlier in this blog you demeaned those who fought the Battle of Britain in 1940 including I must say some of your countrymen in the Eagle squadron.

    You make a great play of the size of the Pacific theatre of war but most of it was Ocean and there were a few tiny strategic islands. I compare this to the Battle of Kursk in what was the the USSR from 4th July to 23rd August 1943. A total of 5600 tanks, 2.2 million infantry 20,00 artillery pieces and nearly 5000 aircraft. Compared to that one battle the Pacific theatre was I repeat 'a side show'

    Now maybe you will let us Europeans get back to our democratic dispute about the rights and wrongs of Mr Klaus and his subterfuges.

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  • 212. At 4:41pm on 11 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #208 omasta

    Oh just beautiful, this blog needs a laugh from time to time.

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  • 213. At 4:43pm on 11 Oct 2009, Economist123 wrote:

    Threnodio

    You read my mind. Put simply, I do not trust Barroso. He holds a post to which I had no direct say he could hold. And he weilds way too much power for my liking. As for the similarities between the Constitution and Treaty - that is exactly what makes my blood pressure rise whenever I read people write that no referendum was promised on the Treaty, but only the Constitution. The fact they are so similar, despite the wordplay changing the name, should mean we still get the referendum. The fact there is such a democrat deficit in the EU should worry you (and Timothy and Boilerplated, even if you do all support the institution).

    ps apologies for the tyrant comment. The red mist descended.

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  • 214. At 4:56pm on 11 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Tim-M0UTHY #156;

    "For MAII a few thoughts. Firstly as Americans you should stop, right now, this practice you have of telling each other and the world the whole time that 'we are the greatest' it's a dangerous self delusion."

    Actually it's a fact. Some people in other countries may not like it but the evidence is overwhelmning that the improbable creation, survival, and ascention of America is the greatest invention in human history. It changed the entire course of human civilization in every conceivable way. Because of the invention of America, the human race has made more progress in the last 233 years than in the previous 233,000 years.

    "Secondly your win at all costs ethos is nonsense, compromise is usually much more constructive."

    America was at its core an uncompromising invention and an uncompromising philosophy. Only in the last 55 years since the end of WWII when America compromised on its principles, relaxed in its demands for complete victory over those who would destroy it has it gotten into trouble. There was no compromise with Imperial Japan or Nazi Germay. That was the way to secure peace in the world. Too bad it was a lesson America quickly forgot making compromise after compromise in the war aginst Communism. It could have lost that war.

    "Thirdly you have a huge amount to do in your own country to catch up, your infrastructure is in a poor state, your power generation systems poor, your transport systems, and your ridiculously inefficient and expensive health system all need serious attention. You personally have a lot of energy why don't you use it more proactively in guiding your own people instead of ranting at us?"

    All the more reason for the US to pull out of Europe, disentangle itself from the web of European intrigues, leave Europe to its fate by its own devices and return to taking President Washington's warning seriously.

    "All we do when you do that is laugh at you or make fun of you."

    That's all Europeans ever do. Have you looked in the mirror lately? Why do you think I laugh at you? Europe would be pathetic if it wasn't so funny. "We don't know where we're going, but sure as hell nobody's going to slow us down or stop us from getting there." That's Europe's current view of its future.

    "Oh and MAII I probably should have told you this before, but my girl friend, who I love dearly comes from Pasadena"

    Do you have someone who can translate for you from (San Fernando)Valleytalk? You probably need it....fer shure!

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  • 215. At 4:57pm on 11 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    In reply to comments @ 211. T1m0thy wrote:

    "The war in the Pacific was a side show a large side show but still a side show."

    It might have been to those in Europe but for those who lived or fought out in that theatre it was anything but Timothy, My father was lucky to avoid it - but most of his (ex school) chums scummed to either the building of 'that railway' and the barbaric treatment dished out by the Japs, for those who had to fight through jungle, or those Japs who faked death just to blow themselves up if it took an over inquisitive GI or Brit with him, for those who had to endure suicide pilots dying for the military masters (not the Emperor) etc. - no the far east war was very real, what annoys me is that had the US bothered to get off their hands in 1938/9 it could have been avoided.

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  • 216. At 5:01pm on 11 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #213. At 4:43pm on 11 Oct 2009, Economist123 wrote:

    "Threnodio

    You read my mind. Put simply, I do not trust Barroso. He holds a post to which I had no direct say he could hold."


    So by that score you have no trust in any past UK Prime Minister either, and unlikely to have any for future ones - and that is of any political; flavour!...

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  • 217. At 5:17pm on 11 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    196

    "...Labour offered a referendum on the "Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe", not on the latter "Treaty of Lisbon"..."

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

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  • 218. At 5:23pm on 11 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    "...it's far more likely that people are not voting for [UKIP] because they have no international policies..."

    I thought Labour came third to UKIP in the European parliamentary?

    If people are 'not voting' UKIP they vote even less for Labour. Or does 'not voting' have another meaning in EU land?

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  • 219. At 5:26pm on 11 Oct 2009, Economist123 wrote:

    Boiler Plated 216

    " So by that score you have no trust in any past UK Prime Minister either, and unlikely to have any for future ones - and that is of any political; flavour!..."

    Er no Boiler Plated. The logic doesn't follow like that. My not trusting Barraso has no bearing on the fact that I had no direct influence over his current position in the EU. They are independent things. I might trust a different man. But Barraso looks and sounds like he is on a mammoth power trip, and he is determined to push the EU project onwards regardless of what the EU citizens want (does he even know, and more importantly, does he even care?). He even comes from a country with a history of dictatorships. So why should he be any different?

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  • 220. At 5:53pm on 11 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Cobbled123'

    "Then we have the likes of MarcusAureliusII with their Blighty-centred "uncouth johnny foreigner" view."

    I'm not sure what that means but it sounds like it was an insult. I always said there was unfinished business between the US and the UK that was never addressed in the treaty ending the War of 1812. Sounds like time to take up arms against Reggie Red Coat again. And you don't get your nukes we hold for you so you can fight us with them. Back to your muskets. Talk about xenophobia and being able to dish it out but not take it on that skewered isle, that plessed blot.

    Tim-M0UTHY;

    So the war in the Pacific was a side show huh? Tell that to the countless tens of millions of victims of the Japanese Imperial Empire from the Phillipines to Manchuria and all the way to India. Hatred for and fear of the Japanese and a return to Japanese militarism is still widespread all over the region. And until the Battle of Midway, it wasn't clear which side would win. A side show for Britain but hardly for those in Asia whose lands were invaded, whose people were enslaved and butchered, and for Americans who fought as hard in the Pacific Theater as in the Europen theater of war. Tell it to the families who lost soldiers at Iwo Jima and countless other infested hell holes like it and tell it to those in Japan who suffered the firestorm of the bombing of Tokyo every bit as horrific as Dresden and of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. You Brits know how to twist the facts of history into a pretzel and you don't like it when someone comes along to untwist them. Too bad.

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  • 221. At 5:54pm on 11 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #214. At 4:56pm on 11 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "Because of the invention of America, the human race has made more progress in the last 233 years than in the previous 233,000 years."

    America wasn't 'invented' 233 years ago, ask any native North American, and after you have done that go and find out who invented most of what you think is native to the USA (clue, the railways were invented by the British, the motor car was British/German (we are still arguing that one), the jet engine was British, the fundamentals of space flight was Nazi Germany, computers were British - and the the mathematical side of all, the Greeks... It could be said that the 233,000 years "BUSA" (Before the United States of America) allowed the 233 years - so far and counting - of the USA, don't flatter yourself with your misguided hyperbolic self-praise, some might say that the past industrial history USA is basically no better than what some complain China of doing these days, ripping off others ideas all the time - I couldn't possibly comment...

    "That's all Europeans ever do. Have you looked in the mirror lately? Why do you think I laugh at you? Europe would be pathetic if it wasn't so funny. "We don't know where we're going, but sure as hell nobody's going to slow us down or stop us from getting there." That's Europe's current view of its future."

    Marcus, the same can be said for the USA, you're trying to be the pot calling the kettle black again.

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  • 222. At 5:56pm on 11 Oct 2009, I am not a number wrote:

    #219 Economist123 wrote:
    "bearing on the fact that I had no direct influence over his current position in the EU. "

    Depends whether or not you've voted in the EP election last summer, if you haven't then this statement would be true.

    "He even comes from a country with a history of dictatorships. So why should he be any different?"

    Every country in Europe has a history of dictatorships, oligarchies and plutocracies. If I were to judge a person by its country's history I'd probably live in exile... trusting no one.

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  • 223. At 5:57pm on 11 Oct 2009, CornwallCoastPath wrote:

    T1mOthy: you said there hasn't been a survey of opinion in Britain on the Lisbon Treaty. You're simply wrong about that. Yesterday's Sun published a YouGuv poll including the following on the Treaty: Against 39%, Don't Know 32%, For 19%, Would Not Vote 10%. If you think this was rigged, please cite your evidence.

    There's also very strong circumstantial evidence of the state of public opinion in the attitude of most pro-Treaty politicians. Common sense suggests that if a politician has public opinion on their side, they will say so. The fact that they haven't, and seem to want to avoid talking about public opinion altogether, speaks volumes.

    You talk about the Treaty being complicated. Yes, I agree, it is. But how did this come about? The Treaty didn't fall from the sky - it was written by human beings. They could have made the Treaty comprehensible to the general public, but they chose not to. Why do you think that was?

    I think the idea of a "done job" is a very dangerous one: it implies that might is right, and is anti-democratic.

    On the question of democracy: perhaps I'm being too idealistic, but in my view democracy means the active, informed, participation of the public in the important decisions affecting the country. Whether we should become part of what is in effect a United States of Europe easily qualifies as an important decision. If the issues are complex (and again I agree they are) then the government should fully inform the public about the proposed changes and actively seek their consent. Instead they've taken the opposite approach.

    I think the bottom line for people who take your approach is: would you be prepared to participate in a nationwide exercise to explain and debate the Lisbon Treaty (perhaps using a simplified or summarized version), and then hold a referendum and abide by the result? If not, I would question whether you are a democrat.

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  • 224. At 6:00pm on 11 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #218. At 5:23pm on 11 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    "I thought Labour came third to UKIP in the European parliamentary?"

    Do keep up, we are talking about domestic parliamentary elections, UKIP could take every one of the UK's MEP seats and it would not affect Westminster policy towards the EU nor would it lead to the UK withdrawing from the EU.

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  • 225. At 6:10pm on 11 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #219. At 5:26pm on 11 Oct 2009, Economist123 wrote:

    "Er no Boilerplated. The logic doesn't follow like that."

    Err, yes it does, you said (about Barraso) "He holds a post to which I had no direct say he could hold.", but the same is true of all UK Prime Ministers - you vote for your MP, not for a Prime Minister, in fact our electoral process could actually cause the leader of a party (going into the election) to loose his or her seat and thus the party would then need to elect a new leader (and to act as PM if they are the majority) - you seem to be as clueless about UK politics as you are the EU. :-(

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  • 226. At 6:16pm on 11 Oct 2009, joehoch wrote:

    157 the finger-in-the-throat fellow!
    your are quite audacious to use such a name. You are not learning Czech are you? This pronounciation exercise name of yours is quite a challenge. I bet you Karel (Karl) Schwarzenberg the Austrian and now Czech battler for democracy would not manage to pronounce it. So I suppose he does'nt qualify to comment. Read my comment at 41 and you would learn enough about democracy in these parts. If you really "dig" Czech look up the newspaper Pravo from Saturday 10.10.09 and look for the article on Polikliniku v Kartouzske... . I organized that a few days ago. This Poliklinik was in fact "tunelovana" tunnelled as I explained at 41. The journalist has not mentioned that sofar. The material is being readied next week. Other tunelovani evidence on another property has been given to him already. So read the paper and improve your Czech.

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  • 227. At 7:13pm on 11 Oct 2009, David wrote:

    Yes, remember?

    1n 1938, France and Great Britain could have defeated Germany by just invading and occuping it? (Historians by a vast majority say so ...in books?)

    And then they could have ousted Hitler, but they had no stomach for it...hmmmmm sounds familiar to today?

    But, peaceful France sold off the CzechoSlovak country with the Great Peacemaker PM Chamberlain? HMMM, wonder what the Czechs are thinking? What "fresh hell is this?"

    Perhaps?

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  • 228. At 7:26pm on 11 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Tin Plated and Boiled Off;

    "America wasn't 'invented' 233 years ago"

    The United States of America which is what most people around the world take the word America to mean was invented and delcared to the world on July 4, 1776. That is when America delcared itself a free Independent nation and told the British government to pack up and go home. It took awhile to convince them but when they realized that the world had turned upside down, they left with their tail between their legs. They tried their luck again a few decades later with mixed results. You won't fool us a third time.

    Some of your historical facts are dead wrong or distorted through incompleteness such as omitting that the American Goddard invented modern rocketry, the Nazis merely having further developed it but that doesn't matter. BTW, Americans invented heavier than air flight, the jet engine was just one advance that improved it but that doesn't matter either. Even the invention of mass production, quality control, transistors and integrated circuits, personal computers and the internet which makes modern society possible is not as important as the invention of modern democracy itself. That invention allowed what had been 13 obscure collections of towns, village, and farms in some obscure remote corner of the world to transform itself into the most important civilization that has ever existed in human history in a mere 175 years. There is not one shed of doubt about it and you and other Europeans don't like it when you are reminded of it. And the reason why is clear. You are the ones whom the emigrees who went to America to build the lives for themselves they couldn't even hope to dream of in Europe left behind to suffer, wither, and eventually fade into obscurity. You are becoming as remote and irrelevant to America and Americans as the natives of Borneo.

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  • 229. At 7:49pm on 11 Oct 2009, Benefactor wrote:

    #195 Economist123 wrote:

    "And yet Valery Discard d'Estaing, former French President said in 2007 that, "The Treaty of Lisbon is the same as the rejected constitution. Only the format has changed to avoid referendums."

    So you, and Labour, are being equivical to say that no referendum was offered on Lisbon Treaty when it was, but to avoid one, you all changed the name and format. The EU is built on lies and half truths. Hardly an inspiring start is it."

    You only care about what Valery Discard d'Estaing says because he is saying what you want to hear. Loads of other Foreign politicians have said different.

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

    #218 rg wrote:

    "I thought Labour came third to UKIP in the European parliamentary?

    If people are 'not voting' UKIP they vote even less for Labour. Or does 'not voting' have another meaning in EU land?"

    You know something, I predict a big swing away from UKIP come general election time.

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  • 230. At 8:29pm on 11 Oct 2009, lacerniagigante wrote:

    # 118. At 7:54pm on 10 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    "Perhaps he should sign the instrument of ratification on 25 Dec then we clould call him Santa Klaus."

    :-) That's the 6th of December though. (Unless one drinks too much Coke.)


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  • 231. At 8:37pm on 11 Oct 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To MarcusAureliusII (228):

    Yo! Dude! Why are you disrespecting me and my homeboys? It is like you constantly try to pick a fight, what is it, what are you trying to prove, man? Don't your homeboys give you respect, if so, getting into a fight ain't the way to earn it bro! You only end up with a reputation of being a loud mouth and that ain't a respectful way to be!

    Bro! We give shout to you homeboys out there, and we know the posse gives respect back! So quit messing around and picking up fights, because the only one who will end up with disrespect is you, not your homeboys and not mine.

    Peace!

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  • 232. At 8:55pm on 11 Oct 2009, lacerniagigante wrote:

    122. At 8:33pm on 10 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    "#117 - lacerniagigante

    This has to be one of the most unconstructive remarks I have seen on this thread and reaveals a profound ignorance of British constitutional arrangements."

    I admit I was a bit rough, but my post was meant as a provocation for thought rather than a deep analysis.

    "The reigning monarch has long since ceased to wield any political power and it therefore matters not one jot that she is not elected. And why reserve the criticism for the UK."

    Because most of the EU-rejectionists on this forum happen to post from Britain. If Spaniards or Swedes would utter the same rants about the lack of democracy in Brussels, I think they would be in as well. But I never see that written anywhere.

    "Is there some reason why a system which works perfectly well in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Denmark, Norway and Spain is somehow flawed when it the British who are using it?"

    You must mean Sweden instead of Norway, as the latter is not EU.

    "And as to the House of Lords, they have long since had their powers curtailed to delaying legislation for no longer than one year and even that can be set aside if the Commons invokes the Parliament Act."

    Still, it's quite rich to accuse a (proportionally) elected European Parliament of dictatorship, when something like the House of Lords even exists.

    I think the problem with the British EU-enthusiasts is that they're always trying to avoid offending the EU-phobic side. So much so, that total horse manure such as what we here from UKIP, Tories and the likes goes out unchallenged.

    Blair and Brown have failed their electorate, by not embracing the EU more closely, as they promised back in 1996. They did it for fear of offending Mr. Murdoch who would then punish them via his tabloids. The end result of New Labour's thatcherite policies wrapped in red flourish, is that Britain is now down on its knees, with a pound that may dip under the euro, an indebted population, living on quite low standards next to a continent that isn't doing that badly given the world's current state. And what you're going to get next is a Tory government that is promising more of the same stuff.

    Think about this: if only the UK had a proper modern proportional representation election system, then the Tories wouldn't be able to wreck havoc as they would need a partner.

    Oh, but proportional representation is the trademark of the "socialist dictatorships of the continent" and the Britons surely know better abot democracy (though the Scots, who have been looking at their Irish cousins in envy for far too long now, may soon be begging to differ to Alex Salmond's satisfaction).

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  • 233. At 9:02pm on 11 Oct 2009, newspaceman wrote:

    I have read most of the comments on this post with interest, especially those relating to what actual democracy is.

    I am no genius, but surely there is a difference between voting someone in to power trusting that the majority of the time you and them will concur on issues effecting the country you inhabit, and voting them in so they can pass these issues to a higher, more dominant, power for their decision.

    Albeit we (as GB citizens) were told that they would not pass said power on, unless we got a chance to vote on it.

    Thus surely that is not democracy ?

    cheers

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  • 234. At 9:16pm on 11 Oct 2009, CornwallCoastPath wrote:

    To threnodio (182)

    Firstly, who are "us"? I was replying to a point made by citizenofeurope. Is there some little clique that I should be aware of?

    How do I know that only a minority in Britain are in favour of the UK's ratification of the Lisbon Treaty? See 223. With a figure of 19%, I think we can confidently say that the Treaty's supporters in Britain are in a minority.

    I don't follow your logic at all about a referendum. Yes I'm in favour of one, but what on earth has that got do with what I do or don't know? I'm not in a position of authority, so what I do or don't know doesn't matter. What does matter is that we have a referendum as a public event, with the result becoming public knowledge in the same way that the weather or interest rates are public knowledge. If you and Boilerplated etc. believe that there hasn't been enough surveying of public opinion regarding the Treaty: I would agree, and let's work together to remedy that in the best possible way, by making the case for a referendum.

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  • 235. At 9:21pm on 11 Oct 2009, lacerniagigante wrote:

    121. At 8:25pm on 10 Oct 2009, Benefactor wrote:

    "#117 lacerniagigante

    Bearing in mind that the European Union isn't a country and the national governments aren't going to give up their power over it, nor are many citizens going to want them to. How can it be more democratic?"

    Granted, the EU is not a country. But neither is the UK so, for that matter. It is a union of 4 countries (or rather one country that dominates other 3, and plunders the oil reserves of one of them, via a very strange arrangement called a "Union", to keep its fragile economy afloat).

    At least in the Lisbon treaty (which I concede is very far from a perfect document), there are mechanism that ensure that not one country (or group thereof) can bully smaller ones. What Vaclav Klaus is afraid of (Germans reclaiming "back" their lands in western Czechia) cannot happen, without the Czechs having the right to claim for compensation from the Germans. He's just scarecrowing, to the Europhobe's delight. We know that.

    "As I've said in the past, the President of the Commission has to be approved by the EP, as it matures politically and the people of Europe take more interest in Pan-European issues I believe we will see the EP party groupings running on the basis that they will only approve their man, thereby linking the President post with the electorate. We saw a early version of this with the EPP grouping taking the majority and approving their man Barossa."

    Most people usually take interest in what they read in the newspapers and hear in the news. And that's when it affects their personal lives. As long as the EU remains a far-away place which is used by member state politicians to hide their own weaknesses and failings, there isn't too much hope for participation.

    "Although the Socialists and Liberals didn't exactly put up any opposition for the post yet ... although they would have had to compromise anyway and run a joint candidate."

    Which played in the hands of Barroso last time, and will probably play in the hands of Blair soon. I expect Blair to win, as a horsetrading "gesture" from the continentals towards Britain: we give you the post but you stop annoying everybody with British exceptionalism.

    But if Cameron comes to power, such a move will only backfire on the Brussels crowd. Just like the UK-rebate idea, that was thought by Giscard d'Estaing to "buy off" the Britons, ended up becoming the ace in Maggy Thatcher's handbag when she mistook the European Parliament for a Saturday vegetable market exchange and she proudly came back to London "with her money".

    One thing I agree with the British Europhobes is that Britain must make up its mind once and for all: you either go 100% in, or 100% out, but you can't hang on the door "to see what happens next" all your life. The referendum shouldn't be about Lisbon, it should be about membership to the Union. If the British public speaks against it, then out England goes (Scotland will probably secede from the UK and join the EU at that point) and everybody remains good friends.

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  • 236. At 9:25pm on 11 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #223. At 5:57pm on 11 Oct 2009, CornwallCoastPath wrote:

    "Yesterday's Sun published a YouGuv poll"

    A well known eurosceptic newspaper, owned by a politically right-wing Australian who is living in the USA, that paid for the survey, hardly independent and thus proves nothing.

    "You talk about the Treaty being complicated. Yes, I agree, it is. But how did this come about? The Treaty didn't fall from the sky - it was written by human beings. They could have made the Treaty comprehensible to the general public, but they chose not to. Why do you think that was?"

    Because it's a legal document and like all legal documents it has to use exact language that leave little - hopefully nothing - to interpretation (not helped by having to mean the same thing in 20 odd languages), I suggest that you go and read some British parliamentary Bills and Acts if you think it's only EU documents that are complicated...

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  • 237. At 9:31pm on 11 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #228. At 7:26pm on 11 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "Some of your historical facts are dead wrong"

    The pot trying to call the kettle black, again.

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  • 238. At 9:53pm on 11 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #214 MAII
    Wow was I spot on that just has to be about the original stream of consciousness rant. Marcus you have lost the plot. Read what I said again.

    #215 Boilerplated
    That comment wasn't directed at you and I think you know that I did say the war in the Pacific not the war against Japan. The comment was directed to MAII's egocentric comments about how the USA won the war. I know how many people fought in Burma and the rest, and how many died, some of them were my family.

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  • 239. At 9:56pm on 11 Oct 2009, Mathiasen wrote:

    #235. lacerniagigante
    You wrote: “...Britain must make up its mind once and for all: you either go 100% in, or 100% out...”

    The rest of the union would prefer to have the UK 100% in, and to the UK it will be a disadvantage to be 100% out. I therefore expect the British government also under the leadership of D. Cameron to continue the in and out at the same time strategy.

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  • 240. At 9:57pm on 11 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    231 Jukka_Rohila

    Hi
    I don't know the Finnish for 'Yo dude' but thanks for that it was great.

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  • 241. At 10:01pm on 11 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #236 Boilerplated

    Thanks for saying that, it saved me the effort, and also it's always better when two people say it. So here we go, "Cornwallcostalpath" the Sun is owned by Rupert Murdoch and it tells lies, in fact it very rarely tells the truth apart from when the editor makes a mistake.

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  • 242. At 10:11pm on 11 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #232 lacerniagigante

    "I think the problem with the British EU-enthusiasts is that they're always trying to avoid offending the EU-phobic side. So much so, that total horse manure such as what we here from UKIP, Tories and the likes goes out unchallenged."

    Not so, I have no problem at all offending their delicate sensibilities the fools. They are just a great big pain in the ass or to put it more properly in good old Anglo-Saxon a*se. I have sanitised it so because the moderators bless them might get upset.

    If the Euro sceptic or septic members of the UK could ever just sit down and think about where they could possibly got outside of Europe maybe we could have some moments of sanity, but don't hold your breath.

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  • 243. At 10:24pm on 11 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 244. At 10:36pm on 11 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    235. lacerniagigante
    "It is a union of 4 countries (or rather one country that dominates other 3, and plunders the oil reserves of one of them, via a very strange arrangement called a "Union", to keep its fragile economy afloat)."

    What is even stranger is that a majority of my fellow countrymen/women have consistently said "Here you are. We don't want to be like Norway. Please take the oil revenues and use them to plug the hole in your annual accounts."

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  • 245. At 10:40pm on 11 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    236. Boilerplated
    "A well known eurosceptic newspaper, owned by a politically right-wing Australian who is living in the USA, that paid for the survey, hardly independent and thus proves nothing."

    Members of the British Polling Council don't distort data for their clients - though their clients may not approve of results they don't like being published. The interesting thing about the numbers is that 32% are honest enough to accept that they don't know (presumably because they get little information they trust).

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  • 246. At 00:47am on 12 Oct 2009, CornwallCoastPath wrote:

    To Boilerplated (236):

    Regarding the poll in the Sun: are you seriously querying the conclusion that the Treaty's supporters in Britain are in the minority? That would imply that YouGuv has somehow massaged a true figure of 50%+ down to 19%. If you really believe that, it's an extremely serious allegation and I think that as a matter of urgency you should take whatever specific evidence you have to the Press Complaints Commission.

    Also, if you're disputing those figures from the Sun, I would have thought that one of the best ways of doing so would be to quote numbers from alternative sources, such as polls commissioned by the Independent or Times or Guardian or Mirror or BBC or ITV or Channel 4 or indeed the Government - presumably you would regard at least some of those sources as reliable? It's interesting to note that you haven't done so.

    Regarding the Treaty itself: I see that you agree with me that (even if for the best of reasons) the Treaty was made incomprehensible to the general public. I trust, therefore, that you're not one of those people who criticize eurosceptics for not having read the Treaty. To criticize people for not doing what the authorities never intended them to do would be just a tad unreasonable.

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  • 247. At 01:37am on 12 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "I see that you agree with me that (even if for the best of reasons) the Treaty was made incomprehensible to the general public. I trust, therefore, that you're not one of those people who criticize eurosceptics for not having read the Treaty. To criticize people for not doing what the authorities never intended them to do would be just a tad unreasonable."

    The intent was to not have people be able to read and understand it because if they did, they might come to the conclusion that it was not in their best interest. Those who framed it wanted them to vote on emotion alone. And so that is how the decision will be made. It should come as no surprise to anyone. Europeans invariably make the most important decisions on emotion without thinking through the consequences of their actions. That for example is how they started two world wars and would have fought a third if it wasn't for the wise intervention of the United States to prevent it.

    But I think that putting an end to two world wars and preventing a third is as much sacrifice as one nation should make for another group of nations. That is why I think the US should pull out of NATO, withdraw its forces from all of Europe and unless the Europeans get on the stick and start applying some real military muscle in Afghanistan and begin to pull their weight, the US should pull out of there too and let the Europeans fight the threat of "extreme militant Islam" eminating from central asia all by themselves....or face the consequences.

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  • 248. At 02:21am on 12 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    247. MarcusAureliusII
    "But I think that putting an end to two world wars and preventing a third is as much sacrifice as one nation should make for another group of nations."

    I'm always surprised that you seem to hold two contradictory thoughts in your head -
    1. countries (including the USA) operate solely in their own interests
    2. The USA in WWI, WWII, and the Cold War acted altruistically, and against your own best interests, in saving the world.

    However, I am delighted to agree with you that "the US should pull out of NATO, withdraw its forces from all of Europe and unless the Europeans get on the stick and start applying some real military muscle in Afghanistan and begin to pull their weight, the US should pull out of there too".

    I'm sure, however, that you are aware that the war on "extreme militant Islam" is seen by the USA as necessary because you consider that their actions are directed against you.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/25/opinion/25brooks.html

    Would you disagree with David Brooks that "Since 1979, we [USA] have been involved in a long, complex conflict against Islamic extremism."

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  • 249. At 09:02am on 12 Oct 2009, lacerniagigante wrote:

    239. At 9:56pm on 11 Oct 2009, Mathiasen wrote:

    "The rest of the union would prefer to have the UK 100% in, and to the UK it will be a disadvantage to be 100% out."

    Surely Britain, with its history, its seat in the UN and its language, bring some political advantage to the EU. But why should the EU burden itself with a failed economical system, such as "Le système Anglo-Saxon" where "growth" can be ensured only by ridding the citizens with debt instead of taxes? There's enough economical, as well as political, trouble for the EU to fix on its eastern and south-eastern frontiers. Saving Ireland and Iceland from drowning in the Capitalistic Ocean is one thing, but to try and pull out Britain from the morass may prove catastrophic (especially so, as the British public disdains EU help).

    "I therefore expect the British government also under the leadership of D. Cameron to continue the in and out at the same time strategy."

    Quite likely (London calling "should I stay or should I go" is part of the pop culture here :-) But the chap is so desperate for Downing Street, that he can't keep from pulling out his long-held views on the "not-so-special relationship" (EU-UK), in spite of these being completely irrelevant (at best) or counterproductive in the current economical climate.

    His call for a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty is a risky move.

    His calculation is that Lisbon will be law by the time he moves into number 10 and that he won't have to keep on his promise, while still cashing on the Churchillian rhetoric which plays so well with a public that likes to blame "them continentals" for the self-inflicted economical situation.

    But his electorate (and, more importantly, that media empire that has just delivered the long awaited Brutus stab to New Lab) may still want him to do something about the EU. At that point the only viable option would be a vote on staying or going. And that could be very, very damaging for the Tories because of the UK electoral system.

    While a party with a clear minority of the popular vote (the Tories are heading for power with only 41% of the vote) can grab power in Westminster (and so much for the long sung "democracy"), it is virtually impossible pull a referendum.

    Eventually the British public, mislead they may be by tabloids and slogan politics, are not stupid. The majority of those that bother to vote (including many Tories) would rather thumb their nose and stay in the EU than being thrown out all together, knowing that the disadvantages of being out outweigh those of being in.

    Interesting times lie ahead.

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  • 250. At 09:03am on 12 Oct 2009, Johan_Heuvel wrote:

    I don't know about the press in other nations, but Klaus is being portrait as quite a fool in the press here in the Netherlands. If the Sudeten Germans are entitled to any compansation pay for being ethnically clensed by the Czechs in 1945 they should have been paid 20 years ago in 1989.

    On the contrary the Germans pushed over vast amounts of their tax money the last 20 years to help build the new Czech democracy, only to be spat in the face by this Klaus.

    The main view on the EU here (in the Netherlands) is: I don't care our Grandfathers had a fight. I don't care were you're from. All I care about is you and me, here and now, and how we build a better future together.

    A man like Klaus seems to live in the past of 65 years ago. And looks like a relic and a fool with such crazy comments.

    Any relavent objections should have been negotiated by the Czech government. Not a president who's jo it is to cut ribbons.

    As for a UK referenda. That is an internal UK matter.

    Personally I feel a referendum is a weakness. A Pontius Pilates gesture. We (the political elite) do not want to be held responsible and therefore wash our hands in innocense by a referendum. Instead of an intelligent educated choice (for which full time politicians are elected) we will simplify the topic to one liners so joe the "wathever" may decide how he feels on the day.

    I will live to regret the day we in the Netherlands wil ever again put our fait in a referendum. Allowing a population with an IQ of a 100 to make the important educated choices, who dont have the time nor the capability to see the bigger picture, was a big mistake.
    Parlementary democracy has not been invented for nothing.
    Back on the referendum on the EU constitution: many people voted against the government, and were made to believe they could get the Guilder back by voting against the constitution (told to them by the opposition). All of which had absolutely nothing to do with the topic about which the voting should have been. Polling stations actually showed people were in favour of the constitution but against the government of the time and against the Euro... The recent economic crisis though, has levitated the Euro to unprecedented popularity and now people are starting to really feel love for the currency. Something none of them expected 4 years ago. So the referendum is now, in hind sight, believed to have been a big and utter failure. And the biggest government party was voted back in power, because people had a change of heart on that as well.

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  • 251. At 09:08am on 12 Oct 2009, lacerniagigante wrote:

    244. At 10:36pm on 11 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    "What is even stranger is that a majority of my fellow countrymen/women have consistently said "Here you are. We don't want to be like Norway. Please take the oil revenues and use them to plug the hole in your annual accounts."

    Do you think that with Dave in and Gordon out in London, Alex will finally push his plan forward?

    On my last trip to Edinburgh the Union Jack was flying only on official palaces. Everywhere else was the Saltire, and I even saw a place flying the Twelve Starred Circle!!! That may have been just a nod to the continental tourists, but it's something I've never seen in England (except on some GB car stickers).

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  • 252. At 09:34am on 12 Oct 2009, Johan_Heuvel wrote:

    Dear MAII,

    I have had quite a laugh reading your comments.
    You must be a stand up commedian or something.
    The twisting of facts and mixing in of fiction is just plain funny.
    The serious reaction of other posters to your nonsence is hilarious.
    Looking forward to your next post.
    Kind regards from the Netherlands,

    Johan

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  • 253. At 09:38am on 12 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #245. At 10:40pm on 11 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    "Members of the British Polling Council don't distort data for their clients"

    Of course they do, they might not utter outright lies or distort the answers given but that doesn't mean that they don't ask loaded questions, for example did that YouGov poll first ask those they polled if they had read the Lisbon Treaty and if the person had not, then say good day and walk away (how can anyone give an opinion if they do not know what they are being asked about) or did they just launch into a load of paid for questions that reflect the opinion of the organisation buying the product (in this case YouGov).

    Also how and were the sample is taken matters, go into any ex coal mining area in the UK and ask what people think about Thatcher and you'll get a completely different answer than if you went into the City of London, what is more both samples would be a true opinion poll which could be used to extrapolate when the rest of the nation is 'thinking'.

    If the above is not true how come all the major political parties come out with totally different polling results (sometimes in exactly the same locations)?! Go sniff some fresh coffee for goodness sake...

    As the saying goes, there are statistics, lies and dammed lies!

    "The interesting thing about the numbers is that 32% are honest enough to accept that they don't know (presumably because they get little information they trust)."

    It's a damnation of that 32%, they do have access to the (raw data) information but choose not to bother - or are we to believe that this 32% just happens to be the entire UK population that doesn't have their own internet access, have no access to it via work or public access via 'cafe or library?!

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  • 254. At 09:43am on 12 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    246. At 00:47am on 12 Oct 2009, CornwallCoastPath wrote:

    "To Boilerplated (236):

    Regarding the poll in the Sun: are you seriously querying the conclusion that the Treaty's supporters in Britain are in the minority?"


    I'm disputing the worth of any poll, what ever the result, they are not worth the paper they are written on, unless it's printed are on a perforated roll of tissue paper...

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  • 255. At 09:49am on 12 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    247. At 01:37am on 12 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "The intent was to not have people be able to read and understand it because if they did, they might come to the conclusion that it was not in their best interest."

    Wow Marcus, you could be talking about the American constitution there and not the (EU) Lisbon Treaty, if Mr Joe Average could read and understand your constitution and laws there would be little or no work for the lawyers - the USA is famed for it's long and costly litigation battles, how come if they are crystal clear in their meaning?...

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  • 256. At 09:56am on 12 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    252 Johan_Heuvel
    I agree with you, MAII is good value for money apart from when his twisting of the facts demeans or defames the efforts of others. It's been a good debate, I've learnt a lot. It will be interesting to see how it turns out and even more amusing to watch David Cameron slowly turning an a devilish spit of his own devising. Will Santa Klaus sign in time to let DC off the hook or will he hold out and force DC to hold a referendum? If the UK has a referendum will it then tear the Conservative party apart?

    The stuff of high drama or is it just more political farce? Who knows but it will make for some more fun blogs.

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  • 257. At 10:13am on 12 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #250

    "I will live to regret the day we in the Netherlands wil ever again put our fait in a referendum. Allowing a population with an IQ of a 100 to make the important educated choices, who dont have the time nor the capability to see the bigger picture, was a big mistake.
    Parlementary democracy has not been invented for nothing."


    Well said, and that can is true of ANY country, not just the Netherlands, that have a multi-party democratic parliamentary system. The shortcomings of the Swiss referenda system has already been noted elsewhere in this blog by someone else.

    Also, the popular vote is not always the correct vote, after all many (in both France, the UK and perhaps even the Netherlands) would have voted for continued appeasement - of Hitler and his German expansion to the east - in September 1939 just to avoid another war, would that have been the right thing to have done?...

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  • 258. At 10:20am on 12 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    253. At 09:38am on 12 Oct 2009, I wrote:

    "or did they just launch into a load of paid for questions that reflect the opinion of the organisation buying the product (in this case YouGov)."

    Oops, trhat should of course have read "...in this case "The Sun."

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  • 259. At 11:01am on 12 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    Just a thought for Cornwsllcostalpath and the veracity of the 'Sun' I remember well the infamous interview with the widow of Sgt Mackay who was killed at Goose Grren during the Falklands war. The 'Sun' made up the entire interview they had not been able to contact Mrs Mackay, and so telephoned Mrs Mackay senior (his mother) who hung up the phone on them. They then fabricated the entire interview.
    I'm sure that other contributors to this blog will be able to detail many more 'Sun truths'. I am actually surprised at anyone quoting the 'Sun' as a source of anything unless it is with a sense of irony.

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  • 260. At 12:14pm on 12 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    old gnat

    "Would you disagree with David Brooks that "Since 1979, we [USA] have been involved in a long, complex conflict against Islamic extremism.""

    No, it goes back to at least 1948 and before when the US supported the creation of the state of Israel and maybe even earlier.

    The reason the US is the primary target for Islamic extremists is that it is the strongest element and number one symbol of western civilization that Islamic extremists have indentified as its mortal enemy, a threat to the 6th or 9th or 11th century mentality of Islam they wish to preserve. All of the rest of Western civilization is its target and enemy too. When it can't hit far away and wary America which exercises great vigilance, intrusiveness, capture, and focible extraction of information from its memebers, it will attack softer targets in Europe if it can. That is why the kinds of US government methods Europeans and American liberals detest most are the ones that are most valuable and effective. They are the methods the Bush administration instituted and that the Obama administration finds it can't do without to protect America either. During the war to defeat this form of mental illness among a dangerous element in the world, we will have to relinquish some of our liberties temporarily to prevent losing all of them permanently. There is much precedent for this and as the most rational of societies, we have in the past and will in the future restore full freedom once the danger is over. If Europe doesn't want to take these measures, then America should take them alone if necessary and let Europe learn the hard way once again what the consequences of not standing up for its freedoms results in. Al Qaeda has no less qualms about bombing trains in Spain, subways in London, or government institutions in Moslem Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. All of these countries by their standards represent a corruption of Islam by the modern world they hate. It's the same mental illness the infamous Unibomber in America inflicted on society only it is not single individual but a large well organized and well funded loosely knit group. Ultimately it will require a sustained cooperative effort to defeat it, an effort Europe is not prepared to fully participate in yet. It needs to be attacked more times to be convinced of the reality of the threat.

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  • 261. At 12:23pm on 12 Oct 2009, oulematu wrote:

    The situation around the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty does not tell us anything new except that human institutions are highly imperfect.

    It is clear from the text of the Lisbon Treaty that the EU is incapable of agreeing on simple and clear constitutional rules which could inspire the EU’s voters and would address the real issues facing the EU. I have not heard almost any politicians in the EU who would publicly declare that the Lisbon Treaty is a good document on its own merits.

    It is also clear from the ratification process that the Czech political system operates in an environment of permanent chaos and unpredictability. Despite all the EU-sceptic furore it is also clear that the Czech political class is unable to clearly formulate and defend Czech interests against the interests of other member states (it should be noted that unlike the UK, Ireland, France and many other EU states, the Czech Rep did not get any concessions in the negotiating and approval process). Rather than “Svejk”, this is more reminiscent of the proverbial Bohemian village of “Kocourkov” whose citizens could never get anything done because of their inefficiency and incompetence.

    So what do I suggest? I think we should accept the situation as it is, as part of the EU’s normal political folklore, without getting excessively worked up about it. There is no need to create artificial conflicts over the ratification of Lisbon. It is clear that the real divisions and challenges for the future of the EU and the world as a whole lie elsewhere. Given how much injustice and inefficiency there is in the EU and the world, I can hardly believe the average EU voter would be seriously concerned about the latest twist regarding Lisbon.

    By the way, any comments on whether the Lisbon Treaty can realistically serve as a basis for disputing title to land in Sudetenland (which accounts for about 1/3 of the area of the Czech Republic)? Should the European Court of Justice take this view, that would seriously undermine not just the popularity of the EU, but also the ability of the Czech Republic to guarantee a meaningful system of property protection for years or decades to come. Should it be concluded that past injustices against the post-WWII expellees have not been sufficiently remedied, I would strongly recommend that financial compensation (instead of restitution in kind) should be the correct remedy. To the extent that the post-WWII expulsion was a response (even if an excessive one) to WWII, all or a large part of any such compensation should be reimbursed to the Czech state by the German state.

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  • 262. At 2:26pm on 12 Oct 2009, Head2k wrote:

    261. "By the way, any comments on whether the Lisbon Treaty can realistically serve as a basis for disputing title to land in Sudetenland"

    I am not a lawyer but from the Czech media it seems that Klaus is the olny one with this opinion. Law experts of the government and of major political parties say that is in not realistic, especially beacuse the European law is not retroactive.

    I tend to believe that Klaus picked this issue not because it is realistic but because it is sensitive for the majority of the Czech population. And because the debate easily shifts from the real issue (whether such claims could succeed) to general nationalistic discussions about the subject of expulsion of Germans and their potential claims. These discussions have shown up here periodically for the last 20 years and they were always accompanied by a lot of emotions. As a result, a large portion of Czech public is likely to support Klaus and forget the ridiculous timing and unrealistic reason for the opt-out.

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  • 263. At 2:55pm on 12 Oct 2009, U14163761 wrote:

    Following those blogs here I realize there is much more to Mr Klaus and his refusal to sign the LT.

    May be someone knows the answers to a few questions I have and was unable to fine answers in the www:

    Is it correct that the term of the actual EU Commission will end by the end of this October 2009 ?

    In case the LT has not being signed by Mr Klaus by the end of October 2009: Is it correct that in that case the new EU Commission needs to be chosen based on the rules of the Treaty of Nice ?

    If the Treaty of Nice aplies of how the new EU Commssion is chosen:
    Is it correct that all 27 EU memberstates must first agree unanimously
    (of one voice) to the REDUCTION of the actual NUMBER of Commissioners to the effect, that an new EU Commission will have LESS members than there are memberstates ?
    That is in the future there will be less Commissioniers than there are memberstates

    What will happen, if such an unaminous vote cannot be achieved ? Will the existing EU Commission stay in place until either such a unaminous vote or the signature of the LT by Mr Klaus is achieved ?

    In case an unaminous vote about the reduction of the members of the EU Commission is achieved: Will it then need another unanimous vote to decide WHICH memberstate (or memberstates, depending on how much reduction they did agree)will be left without a commissioner of their own, or will that be decided by a simple majority ?

    I am surprised these question are nowhere to be discussed: I mean somehow the EU Commission is our all government here in the EU and its umcompletly unclear how it will look like by the 1st of November 2009.

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  • 264. At 3:27pm on 12 Oct 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To oulematu (261):

    Excuse me, but Finland too didn't get any opt-outs from the Lisbon Treaty, does that thus mean that our politicians and government were completely lost and submitted to the will of other countries? Actually most EU countries didn't get any opt-outs! Does that mean that only countries that did get opt-outs have politicians and governments who are not loss and won't submit to the will of other countries?

    I would say that it is the other way around.

    Those countries with highly enabled governments and civil servants with a will to co-operate and to compromise are those countries that don't need opt-outs, they negotiated a treaty that was acceptable and satisfactory to them. In my view, having an opt-out is more a sign of failure to negotiate than an hall mark of success.

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  • 265. At 4:18pm on 12 Oct 2009, David wrote:

    So,

    Which is the most conservative/tabloid paper in the UK?

    The Sun or the Mail?

    I had thought it was the Mail, because someone said as much, here.

    Now, its the Sun, or are they basically similar?

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  • 266. At 4:36pm on 12 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    251. lacerniagigante
    "Do you think that with Dave in and Gordon out in London, Alex will finally push his plan forward?"

    I know what you mean, but it is important that the Scots people take the decision.not one man or party. Big change is scary, and we are by nature gradualists.

    My personal guess is that we won't leap for independence but will constantly demand more and more powers to be returned from Westminster to Holyrood. At some point the English will get fed up and decide that the Czech/Slovak solution is the best.

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  • 267. At 4:39pm on 12 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    253. Boilerplated
    "It's a damnation of that 32%"

    Or simply that it's not that important to many people. Just because you get exercised about some issue doesn't mean that others should.

    Re polling - You do realise that the polling is adjusted to the UK demographic I suppose? No, on second thoughts, you obviously don't.

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  • 268. At 4:42pm on 12 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    260. MarcusAureliusII

    Yes. That's what I thought you would say. It does make a nonsense of your previous post.

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  • 269. At 5:22pm on 12 Oct 2009, JorgeG wrote:

    196. At 3:54pm on 11 Oct 2009, Boilerplated

    "Labour offered a referendum on the "Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe", not on the latter "Treaty of Lisbon", ask yourself this, if holding a referenda on EEC/EC/EU treaties are so important for the democratic process in the UK then why did Thatcher not offer one when the Single European Act (SEA) need to be signed/ratified in '87, why didn't Major offer one before he signed/ratified the Maastricht Treaty in '93, why was there no calls from the right for referenda when the Amsterdam Treaty in '99 or Treaty of Nice in '03 were signed/ratified? All of those treaties were (are, if Lisbon falls), in many ways, far more reaching in their aims than Lisbon ever is."

    Absolutely right, Boilerplated.

    The Europhobes and their unelected bureaucrats are the most hypocritical and double standard creatures that I can think of. Having said that, I do respect the stance of those who say that they want to leave the EU altogether, but still this latter group are hopelessly misguided to say the least, as they keep voting UKIP for the EU parliament, a body that has zero competencies to decide on UKIP's agenda, i.e. the UK to leave the EU.

    But to keep banging on about the LT now is what is really undemocratic, as the constitutionally elected UK parliament ratified the treaty. But "we were promised a referendum", go the hysterical rants of Little England. You were promised a referendum on the Constitution and, in any case, there is no constitutional obligation for political parties to stick to every promise that they make to get elected. For example, NuLab's electoral pledges in 1997 included an 'Ethical Foreign Policy' and we know how well that promise was kept. Of course Little England and their unelected tabloid bureaucrats kept cheering when that promise was broken (the Irak invasion).

    As Boilerplated rightly says, there was no referenda on treaties which were a lot more far reaching than the LT, of which in any case a lot of it doesn't apply to the UK by virtue of its long list of opt outs.

    If there was any democratic legitimacy in the UK there would have been referenda BEFORE opting out from the single currency and from the border union. Why? Because in 1975 the UK agreed in referendum to abide by the Treaty of Rome and its 'ever closer union'. The euro and Schengen were nothing else than steps in that direction. Therefore the British government or parliament had no democratic legitimacy to overturn the 1975 referendum. Instead, the Europhobes and their unelected tabloid bureaucrats undemocratically forced the hand of successive British governments to opt out of the things they disliked, just like now, Murdoch demanded from El Gordo – as a condition for his continued support of NuLab (something on which lately he changed his mind) – to opt out from the Charter of Rights, because for him and his Little England readers it is a 'Crooks Charter'.

    A lesson in democracy for Little England: The Lisbon Treaty has now been ratified by all elected parliaments of all 27 EU countries. If Little England and their unelected tabloid bureaucrats do not want to abide by the treaty the solution is simple:

    Follow the signs for the exit door.

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  • 270. At 8:32pm on 12 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #265. At 4:18pm on 12 Oct 2009, stellarBeloved wrote:

    "Now, its the Sun [or Daily Mail], or are they basically similar?"

    The Sun pandas to the whims of Mr Average
    The Mail pandas to the whims of Mrs Average

    Basically they are very similar (in tabloid outlook, although the Mail doesn't have a 'Page 3' Mr Hunk, unlike the Sun that has a page 3 Miss Lovely), although the Mail is now almost entirely a Tory paper, the sun flip-flops on the whims of it's owner (Murdoch) although is always of a capitalist ideology.

    Does that help?

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  • 271. At 8:38pm on 12 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #267. At 4:39pm on 12 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    "Re polling - You do realise that the polling is adjusted to the UK demographic I suppose? No, on second thoughts, you obviously don't."

    Irrelevant when any opinion poll is worth no more than perforated paper that is kept in the smallest room in the house...

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  • 272. At 8:49pm on 12 Oct 2009, -StuartC- wrote:

    Following Vaclav Klaus's activities is like watching an episode of Stephen Fry's 'Last Chance to See'.

    The man is clearly Europe's last democrat.

    It's just such a pity that it's left to him alone among Europe's leaders to fight for principles of liberal democracy on our continent, threatened by the Lisbon Treaty and the neo-feudal EU political centralisation project it is designed to serve.

    Principles long forgotten by our own blinkered, promise-breaking government and their equally duplicitous Lib Dem fellow euro travellers. And some on the Tory benches too, of course.

    Klaus is a hero. Plain and simple. And if his lone stand succeeds in spoiling the EU project to steadily prise government from the influence of the people, he'll go down in history as such.

    The man who saved Europe from a return to some very dark times.

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  • 273. At 9:24pm on 12 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    272. At 8:49pm on 12 Oct 2009, -StuartC- wrote:

    Following Vaclav Klaus's activities is like watching an episode of Stephen Fry's 'Last Chance to See'.

    The man is clearly Europe's last democrat.

    I think you meant 'Demigod', what do you not understand about the fact that the Czech parliaments have passed (ratified) these treaties, and thus Klaus has no legal authority in acting as he is...

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  • 274. At 9:56pm on 12 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    273. Boilerplated

    "…Klaus has no legal authority in acting as he is…"

    Do you know this to be true or is this wishful thinking?

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  • 275. At 10:39pm on 12 Oct 2009, BolffX wrote:

    274. At 9:56pm on 12 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    273. Boilerplated

    "…Klaus has no legal authority in acting as he is…"

    He has legal authority to do it. Czech constitution does not say that he MUST sign.

    It is even more complicated (as everything in Czech). In fact czech constitution gives right to president to act on behalf of state outside the country and it gives him also right to negotiate international agreement. However it is also unwritten 'tradition' that president delagetes this right to government or minister of foraign affairs. As he did in this case as well. And according constitution the ratification as any other law in Czech Rep. is valid after it passes parlament and its signed by president. The only difference with standard law is that parliament can override president decision by voting for the law with at least 101 votes (of 200). This is not possible with the international agreement like the LT is.

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  • 276. At 10:58pm on 12 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    274. At 9:56pm on 12 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    Do you know this to be true or is this wishful thinking?

    Are you telling us that those who live in the Czech republic who post here are either wrong or liars?...

    Now I don't, if I can help it, cite Wikipedia but the following article (extracts below) has such an uncontested edit history or talk page it's either accurate or a previously undiscovered article - so here goes (my emphasis):

    Ability to veto parliaments ratification:
    [cite]
    The President of the Czech Republic has the authority to act independently in a number of substantive areas. One of his strongest powers is that of the veto, by which he can return a bill back to parliament. Although his veto may be overridden by parliament, his ability to refuse to sign legislation acts as a check on the power of the legislature. The only kind of bills a president can neither veto nor approve are acts which would change the constitution.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/President_of_the_Czech_Republic#Absolute_authority
    [uncite]

    So basically it would seem, he can't refuse to sign, all he can do is return the legislation to the parliament for further consideration, but he can't do so indefinably. The really interesting aspect in the above is citation is, if the constitutional court does rule that the LT ratification process has affected the Czech Republics constitution the president has no say in the process anyway!

    Ability to renegotiate parts of the 'LT' on behalf of the Czech Republic:
    [cite]
    Duties shared

    Many of the president's powers can only be exercised with the assent of the Government, as expressed by the signature of the Prime Minister. These include all matters having to do with foreign relations and the use of the military, the appointment of judges to lower courts, and the granting of amnesty. ..//.. [non cited content has no relevance]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/President_of_the_Czech_Republic#Duties_shared
    [uncite]

    So unless the Czech PM had given his assent, in writing, to the telephone call made by Klaus to the Swedish PM, Klaus has over stepped his authority. It would be very interesting if the Czech PM knew anything about this phone call before, during or even after (until the Swedish PM blew the whistle on Klaus that is...).

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  • 277. At 10:58pm on 12 Oct 2009, lacerniagigante wrote:

    272. At 8:49pm on 12 Oct 2009, -StuartC- wrote:

    "Following Vaclav Klaus's activities is like watching an episode of Stephen Fry's 'Last Chance to See'.

    The man is clearly Europe's last democrat."

    Except for the little detail that Vaclav Klaus was not elected by the Czechs (the Czech president is nominated by Parliament).

    But you're right: this is the last chance indeed to see a European president with a Stalinesque moustache. And Vaclav knows it... those 15 minutes of spotlight.

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  • 278. At 11:00pm on 12 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #275. At 10:39pm on 12 Oct 2009, BolffX wrote:

    "He has legal authority to do it. Czech constitution does not say that he MUST sign."

    Care to cite that?...

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  • 279. At 11:06pm on 12 Oct 2009, BolffX wrote:

    Is referendum the type of democracy we want?

    Why are you so obscessed with those referendums? Do you think that they will bring us better life? Do you think that majority is always right? If so than look in history:
    - Hitler was voted by majority of the germans.
    - Munich 1938 was supported by majority of public in France and UK.
    - Communists were voted by majority in Czechoslovakia after WWII in 1948.

    So I would be really really carefull. In fact in my oponion I look at the referendum as lost of democracy as I understand it. It is based on same ideology as the communists one is. (btw both of them sounds very good - We are all equal, We all decide). But it does not work like that. 'We all decide' means we all share responsibilities and that means we dont feel responsible at all!!

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  • 280. At 11:16pm on 12 Oct 2009, lacerniagigante wrote:

    260. At 12:14pm on 12 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "It's the same mental illness the infamous Unibomber in America inflicted on society only it is not single individual but a large well organized and well funded loosely knit group."

    Apart from the fact that you're rambling way off topic, maybe you forgot about the Oklahoma bombers which have killed many more people than Ted Kaczinski.

    Or perhaps do you consider right-wing white-supremacist wackoes to be "better" than those evil islamic terrorists?

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  • 281. At 11:56pm on 12 Oct 2009, BolffX wrote:

    #278. At 11:00pm on 12 Oct 2009, Boilerplated wrote:
    "Care to cite that?..."
    http://www.psp.cz/cgi-bin/eng/docs/laws/1993/1.html

    CHAPTER THREE - Executive Power
    President of the Republic
    Art. 63
    (1) President of the Republic shall furthermore
    a) represent the State with respect to other countries;
    b) negotiate and ratify international treaties; he may delegate the negotiation of international treaties to the Government or, subject to the Government consent, to its individual members;

    ... you can read more about czech President role in the politicall system. Czech constitution (specially comparing to the EU LT) is quite simple text.

    Anyway, your interpretation of what you read on Wiki is wrong in this case. International treaty is not the same as national law (however it may become part of national law after it is ratified). Also the constituional court does not make any laws. So even if constitutional court says that LT is 'compatible' with czech constitution, that does not give president duty to sign.

    There is no legal instrument to force Czech president to sign the treaty. The only one I could think off would be changing Czech consitution. But even if such as law theoreticlly could be passed its not sure that current president could be forced by that as he was voted in the office when such as law did not exists.







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  • 282. At 00:07am on 13 Oct 2009, BolffX wrote:

    280. At 11:16pm on 12 Oct 2009, lacerniagigante wrote:
    260. At 12:14pm on 12 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    The best response to MarcusAureliusII is NO response. This guy is not only out of topic, he is totally out of reality.

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  • 283. At 08:00am on 13 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #269 JorgeG1

    I cannot put it any better than that but would add an addendum. The failure to join the single currency has cost the average Brit over 30% of his wealth. I will now hear the Europhobes screaming 'rubbish the £ can go up again' true but the historic trend of the £ has been a steady spiral of decline since WW2. In the 'good old days' of £sd cockney slang for two shillings and six pence (a half a crown 1/8th of a £) was 'half a dollar' and with good reason, there were 4 $US to the £ in 1950.

    Maybe we should have a bit more realism and a little less jingoism. The world moves on and to try and stand still is behaving just like good old King Canute.

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  • 284. At 08:41am on 13 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #218 281. At 11:56pm on 12 Oct 2009, BolffX wrote:

    "There is no legal instrument to force Czech president to sign the treaty."

    Nor does he have the right to act as a dictator...

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  • 285. At 08:45am on 13 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #282. At 00:07am on 13 Oct 2009, BolffX wrote:

    "280. At 11:16pm on 12 Oct 2009, lacerniagigante wrote:
    260. At 12:14pm on 12 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    The best response to MarcusAureliusII is NO response."


    Wrong again Bolffx...

    If he is way off topic then his comments should be reported, if he is within topic he needs to be contested, otherwise those who can't tell fact from fiction (possibly those for who English is not their first language) could well assume that 'MarcusAureliusII' and his distortions are correct.

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  • 286. At 08:58am on 13 Oct 2009, oulematu wrote:

    262 wrote: "I am not a lawyer but from the Czech media it seems that Klaus is the only one with this opinion. Law experts of the government and of major political parties say that is in not realistic, especially because the European law is not retroactive."

    I personally tend to agree. But this is a personal view which does not cost anything - who can guarantee that a different view cannot prevail? If it is so crystal-clear, where's the harm in inserting a clarification footnote which does not change the legal meaning of LT? The footnote can then be acknowledged at the coming European Council without any further legal formalities, and everyone can be a happy European again. If CZ gets steam-rolled now and widespread property restitution becomes an issue because of the LT, I can guarantee you that will create a nasty backlash against the EU and pretty much everything else. It is ultimately also in the EU's interest to keep its states happy, especially where it does not cost anything, like here.

    264 wrote: "Excuse me, but Finland too didn't get any opt-outs from the Lisbon Treaty, does that thus mean that our politicians and government were completely lost and submitted to the will of other countries? Actually most EU countries didn't get any opt-outs! Does that mean that only countries that did get opt-outs have politicians and governments who are not loss and won't submit to the will of other countries?"

    Maybe Finland did not have any special issues to be concerned about. Several countries thought they had to address special problems and got them addressed. If at least a remotely plausible argument can be made that this could be a potential issue for CZ, then why not address it now before it turns into a real problem?

    As I said I would not get overly worked up about this. I have never been one of Klaus' fans, but where were all his detractors in the early 1990s? Busy extolling his supposed Thatcherite credentials while he was splitting Czechoslovakia into two nation states, designing "innovative" privatization methods and introducing bank socialism disguised as free market wisdom?

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  • 287. At 09:56am on 13 Oct 2009, U14163761 wrote:

    As to what it will mean in case Mr Klaus will not sign the LT by the end of this month (Óctober) I have now received some information from my member of EU Parliament:

    My question:
    Is it correct that the term of the actual EU Commission will end by the end of this October 2009 ?

    His answer:
    Yes. Term ends 31. October 2009 (based on Council decision of 19.11.2004).

    My question:
    In case the LT has not being signed by Mr Klaus by the end of October 2009: Is it correct that in that case the new EU Commission needs to be chosen based on the rules of the Treaty of Nice ?

    His answer:
    Thats correct. There is an alternative though: The period of each commissioner may be prolonged, nobody needs to leave automatically after 5 years.

    My question:
    If the Treaty of Nice aplies of how the new EU Commssion is chosen:
    Is it correct that all 27 EU memberstates must first agree unanimously
    (of one voice) to the REDUCTION of the actual NUMBER of Commissioners to the effect, that an new EU Commission will have LESS members than there are memberstates ?
    That is in the future there will be less Commissioniers than there are memberstates ?

    His answer:
    YES

    My question:
    What will happen, if such an unaminous vote cannot be achieved ? Will the existing EU Commission stay in place until either such a unaminous vote or the signature of the LT by Mr Klaus is achieved ?

    His answer:
    That would mean that the existing EU Commission continues in office.
    There is a way, though, to satisfy ALL 27 memberstates, even when there are only 26 commissioners to be chosen. The office of General Seretary of the EU, now lead by Mr. Solana, will be up for renewal on the 18. October 2009 and if Mr. Solana does not continue, his post may be given to that EU country which will have no more commissioner (Treaty of Nice).

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

    Such my conclusion is that the EU will not be in any turmoil in case Mr Klaus will not sign the LT by the end of this year. It will just continue for the time being without it.

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  • 288. At 10:23am on 13 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #287. At 09:56am on 13 Oct 2009, U14163761 wrote:

    "Such my conclusion is that the EU will not be in any turmoil in case Mr Klaus will not sign the LT by the end of this year. It will just continue for the time being without it."

    I don't think that anyone has ever tried to claim that the EU would go into meltdown if LT wasn't ratified fully by a certain date, the problem is that the EU can't carry on indefinably as it is, the EU does need to streamline/trim it's procedures somehow and at some point. What no one wants (or needs) is for the LT to fall and the EU then have to spend another 5 - 10 years negotiating yet another treaty, and I can just hear the cries from the eurosceptics should any of the text from the LT find it's way into any future post 'Lisbon' treaty...

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  • 289. At 10:46am on 13 Oct 2009, Johan_Heuvel wrote:

    What I just cannot get my head around is this.
    If the German speaking Sudeten inhabitants who were illigaly expelled by nationalistic Czechs, actualy have a legal case.
    Which ofcourse could not be the case.
    But that legal claim is denied to them by discriminating/racist Czech laws.
    Aren't the Czechs ashamed of their own cunduct?...
    I for sure would be ashamed if such a situation would occur in the Netherlands and would urge for a satisfying solution.
    Especially, if we would have gotten financial benefits from the Germans for 20 years. What a bunch of pathetic little people are ruling the Czech republic... Do they have no honour or shame? God, why did we ever go in a Union with semi-racist idiot states like this.

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  • 290. At 11:35am on 13 Oct 2009, oulematu wrote:

    to 289: I do not approve the expulsion either. However, that conduct occurred over 60 years ago in an extreme historical situation. Not sure if it is right to ask Czechs today to feel ashamed. By the same token one could query whether Dutch people feel ashamed of their country's colonial and slave trading past.

    It would be wrong to create new injustices by taking away properties from their current bona fide owners. If it is felt that justice has not been done so far, consideration might be given to financially compensating the expelled individuals or their ancestors by the states involved. To the extent the expulsion was a response (even if an excessive one) to the war, any such compensation or a large part thereof should be reimbursed to the Czech state by the German state.

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  • 291. At 11:58am on 13 Oct 2009, Johan_Heuvel wrote:

    Dear oulematu,

    what you describe would be an example of a satisfying solution. If this was/is done no footnote would be necessary. That is why Klaus his remarks have such a nasty taste to them.

    On the other hand, I'm not completely sure if the German state should be involved since this is an internal Czech matter between current and former Czech inhabitants.

    In the Netherlands we are told of our shamefull past in school. There are monuments reminding us of our crimes against our fellow man. We do feel shame for our slave trading past.

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  • 292. At 12:59pm on 13 Oct 2009, Head2k wrote:

    289.
    Actually they were expelled legally in accordance with Czech president Benes' Decrees issued after the war. The moral and ethic justification for these decrees is of course debatable.
    The fact is that vast majority of the Germans collaborated with Nazi occupants after the Munich Treaty and during the war. So in fact they betrayed Czechoslovakia and collaborated with its enemy. That was the reason for the decrees resulting in the expulsion and property confiscation.
    The moral problem which remains debatable is whether such a lump action was needed, because of course not ALL Germans collaborated with the Nazis, yet they were expelled too. I am not sure whether there were exceptions defined in the decrees, but I can imagine that if someone didn't want to be expelled he/she needed to proove an active involvement in the resistance movement or something like that.

    It is difficult to judge the Dercees if one didn't live in Sudeten towns and villages during the war and didn't experience what German citizens were doing there to their Czech neighbours. As well as it is difficult to not understand the feeling of bitterness and injustice of those Germans who didn't collaborate but were expelled anyway, and in some cases even experienced blind revenge from their Czech neighbours after the war.

    After 1989 there was issued a law which enables restitution of property confiscated after 1948, that is by communists. So it doesn't apply on Benes' Decrees.

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  • 293. At 1:24pm on 13 Oct 2009, Freeman wrote:

    #265 SB The old Yes Prime Minister take on newspapers is as still as true as it is humourous:

    Hacker:
    "Don't tell me about the press. I know exactly who reads the papers: the Daily Mirror is read by people who think they run the country; The Guardian is read by people who think they ought to run the country; The Times is read by people who actually do run the country; the Daily Mail is read by the wives of the people who run the country; the Financial Times is read by people who own the country; The Morning Star is read by people who think the country ought to be run by another country; and The Daily Telegraph is read by people who think it already is."

    Sir Humphrey:
    "Prime Minister, what about the people who read The Sun?"

    Bernard:
    "Sun readers don't care who runs the country, as long as she's got big t|ts."

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  • 294. At 3:39pm on 13 Oct 2009, traducer wrote:

    Gentlemen & Ladies
    As this thread is going past its sell by date I feel it is OK to make a general comment.
    I hae been online for too many years and have seen us Brits absolutely lambast the Americans. However todays top score goes to Marcus.
    Frankly, as a Brit living in the Czech republic I am embarassed by my fellow countrymens inability to quote clear hard facts with citations to enable Marcus to research and modify his perspective.

    I give him full marks for ontinually statng the US position and annoying so many of you so constantly.

    I will take issue with you Marcus on only one point (and I could on very many), your comment about the US withdrawing from NATO.

    The NATO contributories are now specialisied to a high degree - Brit, hearts and minds and urban terrorism, Czechs, chemical warfare response and the various military hardware solutions etc etc etc. For a full faceted milatary response to threat this coalition is well suited to its job, INCLUDING the input of high level military advise and strategy.
    Your own public military gaming intelligence will confirm this.

    All NATO countries can indeed go it alone. UK in the Falklands is the first example.

    But I feel it is wrong to even express a meme the NATO disbandment is considered. And I think you would IRL agree.

    Your views were of great interest to me as were my Czech friends slants (I think that the Benes Decreti inadmissable in this case however) - I learnt a lot from this thread. Good Job all.

    And BTW Brits and Americans - Military Rockets were invented by the Chinese :)

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  • 295. At 5:07pm on 13 Oct 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To Head2k (299):

    Being legal doesn't mean anything. For crying out loud, under the laws of the Nazi Germany, killing jews and other non-humans was legal. Being legal doesn't matter, what matters is does a law brake general human rights or not.

    In case of Benes decrees, they clearly can be declared as crimes against the humanity as they massively violated human rights of massive amount of peoples. If somebody thinks that it isn't so, let me just add that collective punishments are a violation of the laws of war and against the Geneva Convention.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benes_decrees
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collective_punishment

    Now what is past is past, crimes can't be undone, but what can and should be done is for the people to declare old crimes as such, not defend or rationalize them and make an effort to make sure that never again such a thing happens again. In the case of Benes decrees, the Czech and the Slovak governments should declare them and actions committed because of them as crimes against humanity and judge and declare the people who committed them as criminals.

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  • 296. At 5:44pm on 13 Oct 2009, traducer wrote:

    No. 295 Thank you for that link. I have asked many people here in CZ to explain bebes dekreti and none can - or my be embarassed, either because they dont know or dont want to know.

    I understand that these have to be repealed by soud (law courts) but as a layman, why can this not happen - we (in the czech republic) can not keep living in the past.

    There are stupid laws all over the world that are ignored and forgotten - the driving of sheep over london bridge is restricted to a sunday - just try it - lamb chops in seconds.

    What I am saying is we (Czech residents - I am British) must move past these idealogical anchors and stop investing the past with so deep a meaning. And this includes the gameplaying parlimentarians who have so damaged our image in the world and europe over the past 10 months.

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  • 297. At 6:08pm on 13 Oct 2009, oulematu wrote:

    291 wrote: ".. I'm not completely sure if the German state should be involved since this is an internal Czech matter between current and former Czech inhabitants."

    WWII claims are quite clearly not a Czech domestic matter and, to the extent any further financial compensation is justified, the German state should indeed be involved. The reason is that WWII was started by AH who was elected by voters in D. D should bear the primary responsibility for all WWII claims and CZ cannot be held responsible for WWII and its consequences including the expulsion which occurred in response to WWII except to the extent that response was clearly excessive in light of the circumstances - including the fact that 6 years of Nazi occupation had just ended and the country was occupied by Soviet troops. Therefore, if it is felt that financial compensation for the expulsion is justified (despite the fact that the expulsion was in some cases technically lawful and despite the various treaties entered into since WWII), this should be primarily addressed directly between WWII victims and D. If CZ is implicated, then CZ should be able to recover most of the money from D, and the remainder (to the extent of its share of fault, if any) should be borne by CZ and by SK in proportions agreed between them in 1993 when CS was split into CZ and SK.

    Either way, no WWII claims should be raised against good faith owners of real property in CZ and especially not on the basis of the LT. As for the LT, the EU should agree to the footnote without going through the whole ratification again, and this whole discussion should be preferably parked and confined to historians who should engage in cross-border dialogue and their books should be widely accessible on google.

    I think the above sums up my views on this topic and I have nothing more to add.

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  • 298. At 6:10pm on 13 Oct 2009, Head2k wrote:

    295.
    I wrote it was legal because you wrote that Sudeten inhabitants were illegaly expelled. Now it obviously matter which law you judge the accordance with. It was legal due to the Czech Law.
    The collective punishment is involved in the Fourth Geneva Covention, which was enacted in 1949, that is after the expulsion. So it was not against the Geneva Coventions valid at that time.

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

    So you can hardly judge the people who "committed" the decrees as criminals, without making law retroactive.

    The moral aspect is of course a whole different story. But I bet that no government, at least in near future, will apologize for the Decrees, much less nullify them. Exactly because of the possible restitution or compensation claims. If you consider that two and half million of people were expelled from Czechoslovakia and that Czech Rep. and Slovakia have 15 million people together now, the restitution or compensation claims, if successful, would have a huge effect.

    So in this case honest self-reflection is replaced by pragmatism.

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  • 299. At 6:16pm on 13 Oct 2009, traducer wrote:

    Marcus Aurelius II
    Here is a projection of world relations that you may like to think about, The USA is 233 years old, it is a fantastic new image of political and social reality. I (Personally) love the people but hate the external politics, why, because the US was founded in conflict, against the Brits, Spanish, Mexicans and Indians. There is no problem with this, but it is inherently implicit in your (sorry the US's) world view now. Yes you go for diplomacy but you (not personally) are very small carrot big stick.

    Europe, and I agree with you, is simply fractious warring nations, the history is abysmal. But now, with global comms, we (in europe) are evolving.

    How, 233 years ago 'created' no, 'invented' no, evolved the USA now Europeans are 'evolving' an new form of governance, based loosely in social democracy, but absorbing all national characteristics.

    Similar to my comments above regarding the multi-faceted military presentation of NATO, the multi-faceted presentation of Europe in 20 years time will, without doubt, be formidable, competetive and socially durable.

    This transformation will be enacted without the bloodshed that normally accompanies this step change in society.

    This fact alone, ensures success and endurability, painless birth.

    Marcus, you are the only american I have seen (online) with a view on this transmogrification, and so I ask you to step back and consider, you may actually be one of the few US citizens giving good constructive negative (I hope you understand that negative input is positive) input into the birth pains of a whole new social system. Congratulations, and I salute you for it,

    And, to combat any tendancy you may have to decry this, and to gie you some ammunition... Current US debt is 1.4 trillion dollars. China, the asian countries and Iran wish to trade petrol in Euros rather than dollars. Russia and other are ambivalent but vacillate between Euros and IMF SDR's (to counteract currency fluctuations caused by an individual countries internal problems.

    5 - 10 years will see the world very different.

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  • 300. At 7:25pm on 13 Oct 2009, BolffX wrote:

    295. At 5:07pm on 13 Oct 2009, Jukka_Rohila wrote:
    "Being legal doesn't mean anything. For crying out loud, under the laws of the Nazi Germany, killing jews and other non-humans was legal. Being legal doesn't matter, what matters is does a law brake general human rights or not."

    And how far you want to go with this revision of history?
    When should we start? If apply your logic and move few years earlier to 1938 I can simply say that British and French are fully responsible for all death people in former Czechoslovakia by letting Germans to occupy CZ. They should componsate that to Czech and Slovak people, becouse the Munich act was not only against the human rights but it was also againts the law.

    We can go more back to 1918 and Treaty of Versaille. This treaty was also against human rights. Becouse of this treaty Germans got so radicall. And this treaty is basiclly main cause of WWII.

    So and no what? Should we start blame to British and French for WWII and ask for moral and financial compensation from them?

    And what about British colonizing rest of the world by killing original habitants? E.g. Australia. Everything that was done to Aborigines by British was totally against human rights. They basiclly murdered most of them. Too long ago? 200 years.
    So how far you want to go with this revision of history?

    We have to move on ...

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  • 301. At 8:16pm on 13 Oct 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To Head2k (298) and BolffX (300):

    It is the right and the obligation of the contemporary generations to judge the past: what was done in the past and those who were behind the deeds done with the yard stick that we judge ourselves. What this means that we have to judge those who in the past did deeds that we would find ourself either criminal or monstrousness as such, that is the moral verdict that has to come out first.

    In case of legally finding the deeds and the people behind them criminal, let me remind you that Nazi Germany, its leaders and many of its organizations were trialled based on decree that introduced laws and procedures to judge the Nazis. In effects Nazis were trialled retroactively. Now if the Nazis were trialled this way, there is no reason on not using the same stick to examine other crimes that happened before, during and after the WW2.

    In my honest opinion, the fear of restitution or compensation are just excuses on not judging the past as it is. If restitutions or compensations would be real reason on making judgment on the past then there would be no reason for the Czech Republic and Slovakia to make a formal declaration on where Benes decrees would be judged and apologies made to the victims. Now to my knowledge this hasn't been done, but it is clear that it should be.

    And to BolffX, the reason why we must go back in history, and make a judgment against it is for us current generations to make it very clear on what we accept and we don't accept. If say that we do not accept or condone genocide or ethnic clenching, then we have to judge our history by our own standards and make a separation to the generations in past. Now where does it end? Good question, maybe we should start with matters that have involved people still living, there is quite enough work with that.

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  • 302. At 11:47pm on 13 Oct 2009, BolffX wrote:

    There has been Czech-German Declaration signed in 97 between Czech Rep. and Germany which deals with question of those Benes decreets.

    I could not find english text to post link.

    I personally think that it is not enough. Czech republic should go more further with this but still stay on formal/moral level. Czechs also need to make more self-reflection about it.

    I can hardlly imagine that there could me any 'personal' restitutions or compensations. I cannot imagine whom and base of what would judge those cases. That would be my fear.

    However this is not about Benes decrees, this is about Czech president Klaus and mainly this is about Europe. There has been enough said about Mr. Klaus I think. His current position about signing Lisbon Treaty is not representing position of majority of Czechs, including politics.

    On the other side the question is if the LT will bring us the Europe that "current generations" want. If the current generation still wants united and strong Europe without wars they should ask their politicians if something like Lisbon Treaty will achieve that. But are current generations even care about that?

    My oponion is that EU needs something more "solid" than Lisbon Treaty. It needs real constitution. Simple text that defines what Europeans has in common. I travel arround Europe a lot and I see that there is a lot things in common. Without such as text, that we can teach children in the school, the Europe will stay more-less like one of the american commenters here looks at it.

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  • 303. At 06:44am 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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  • 304. At 09:38am on 14 Oct 2009, ikamaskeip wrote:

    Arn_Silvester and #303.

    Thank you for a very informative and erudite explanation of the President's Legal position for International Policy-making in the Czech Republic.

    It will have come as a shock to many 'pro-EU' lobbyists to read that the very same term 'Ratification' they so admire and demand for the Lisbon Treaty is having itself applied at a National level in the Czech Republic.
    I am quite sure from reading many of their Comments on this and previous Blog Articles concerning the Lisbon Treaty that the thought never occured to them Lisbon's future would hang on the Right and Responsibility of 1 Democratically Elected leader acting with the Free Will of a Citizen to duly consider what is in the best interests of his fellow Citizens.

    No, for the duplicitous EU National Governments (with the partial exception of Eire), the 'pro-EU' lobbyists and for the Federalist-EUrocrats in Brussels the idea of a Democratically elected leader exercising his Democratic powers is anathema. Your final 5 or so sentences are really what Democracy is all about and why the EUrocrats and EUrophiles hate it so much: Not for them the path of Democratic accountability - - rather the diktat - - and of course if they could oust the Czech President they would do so with alacrity, afterall, how dare he act as if his democratically arrived at authority and status were of any importance compared to that of the great EU!?

    How correct you are in your observation of the double-dealing France in its attitude to the EU: Pres Sarkozy is just 1 in a long line of Elycee Palace occupants who have treated le project grande as their personal puppet and are dismayed whenever any Nation dare consider an alternative to Paris' view of how the European world should turn. France's brazen policy of what is good for France will be good for the EU has to be admired in some ways by especially us British who have become used to cowardly Westminster Parliaments where an avaricious need to belong at any cost to the British Citizens' Rights and Responsibilities as Freeborn men and women has been disgarded and ignored time-after-time.

    It is refreshingly different to see a fellow European Nation with a Leadership that views it is the Rights and Responsibilities of the Citizens that come first in their consideration of Duty to their Nation: Would that Thatcher-Major-Blair-Brown (and soon the pathetic Cameron) had shown any evidence of similar RESPECT for the Democracy fought, bled and died for over centuries by their fellow Citizens.

    So, I readily concur: "Long Live 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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  • 305. At 2:54pm on 14 Oct 2009, ikamaskeip wrote:

    threnodio and #122.

    Perhaps the key point to keep in mind about the uniformed Euro-sceptics of the UK and the ill-informed Europhiles of the mainland who contribute on these Blog debates is that the sceptic remains to be convinced and is therefore open to persuasion whereas the Europhile already knows they are right is therefore not open to any new idea at all!

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  • 306. At 6:31pm on 14 Oct 2009, -StuartC- wrote:

    lacerniagigante wrote @ 277:

    Except for the little detail that Vaclav Klaus was not elected by the Czechs (the Czech president is nominated by Parliament).

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

    But of course neither has the current 'caretaker' Czech government been elected by anyone.

    Given Klaus has the higher approval ratings (at 61 percent in latest polls, it's higher than any Czech politician) it seems quite clear who has the greater legitimacy.

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  • 307. At 9:42pm on 14 Oct 2009, Johan_Heuvel wrote:

    Dear Arn_Silvester,

    this is all nice and beautyfull if Klaus had wanted opt-outs on the economy, the environment, etc. But he clearly stated he only wanted an opt-out on the human-rights. Because he is afraid former German speaking Czech inhabitants who are still alive, will have a legal case against the Czech state. Which might have illigaly expelled them under the LT in a lumb opperation when expelling all German speaking Czechs. From my perspective he can have this opt-out and since the LT is not retroactive it doesn't mean anything at all. But the mere admission that the expulsion of German speaking Czechs might be against their fundamental human rights worries me. Especially, since those people are still alive and nothing has been done to restitude them. This is what really bugs me in this.

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  • 308. At 9:50pm on 14 Oct 2009, ikamaskeip wrote:

    JorgeG1 and #269 plus T1M0thy and #283.

    "...but we were promised a referendum.. go the hysterical rants.. of Little England..":
    Which 'rant' is that? The UK/England Citizens expressing their points of view which do not suit you, so, they are mere contemptuous hysteria, whereas your 'pro-EU' contributions on the EU do not resemble worship of a God-like entity of unchallenged wisdom and omnipotence!
    Which 'little England' are you referring to: England-Scotland-Wales-Northern Ireland? For someone who often claims to live in the UK and understand their psyche you also seem often woefully out of step with the reality even allowing for English not being your first language.

    "..a lesson in Democracy for Little England.. follow the exit sign..":
    Which of the EU Democracy 'lessons' do you propose for those 'little' people you clearly despise? The EU Democracy version 1 that is defeated in Referenda for a new Constitution and so introduces it under another name (LT) and this time insists on no Referenda; or, EU Democracy version 2 that faced with a Nation (Eire) insisting on a Referenda holds a Ballot until its gets the Yes vote it requires; or is it EU Democracy version 3 whereby a Nation such as the UK is denied any Referendum at all by its National and supra-National Governments because the "exit sign" is surely where the Majority Yes vote would take it?

    "..failure to join the European currency has cost the average Brit over 30% of his wealth.." ???

    Economic illiteracy and numeracy skills that beggar belief!

    The average Briton earns 23,000 pound per annum give or take a couple of hundred.
    The average Briton has savings of around 9,000 pound give or take a couple of hundred.
    The average house-owning/mortgage-paying Briton is in debt for 20+ years or so to the amount of 140,000 pound.

    None of which are affected by not using the Euro: The UK does not pay more or less for imports than it would using the Euro - - within the EU prices of Goods in retail shops in the 'west' of the mainland are noticeably higher (the figures for 2006-07 suggest from 4% to an incredible 16% more expensive) for a range of products from Televisions to Motor Spare Parts to Household hardware than they are in the UK - - however, in the 'east' almost all products are at a lower price than anywhere in the 12 nation pre-expansion.

    The facts are that without the Economic growth/impact over the last 7 to 10 years of the emerging 'eastern European' Nations the 'west' of the European Union (except for Germany) has already begun to stagnate under the all-consuming Economic blanket Directives-Orders-Regulations of the EUrocrats in Brussels. The Fiscal balance sheet looks fine at the moment because of the Economic fig-leaf of post-communist boom in the East and has nothing much at all to do with the EU never mind the advent of the Euro. Indeed there is an Economic theory that the 'East Europeans' did not need the 'west' but vice versa!

    I concur, "..maybe we should have a bit less..." only I would say of the cockney rhyming slang which is of course cute but irrelevant to a Decimalised Pound that has been in existence for some 40+ years.
    "...realism.." Try finding a Dollar worth 4 of anything in this day and age - - that's rationalisation which is a term real Economists use - - and even then I think you misunderstood your own example as clearly you are implying in 1950 the UK still on Wartime Rations was somehow enjoying a boom with its half-crown!?

    The average Briton has lost nothing at all by the UK remaining outside the Euro-zone.

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  • 309. At 11:01pm on 14 Oct 2009, lacerniagigante wrote:

    308. At 9:50pm on 14 Oct 2009, ikamaskeip wrote:

    "The average Briton has lost nothing at all by the UK remaining outside the Euro-zone."

    But for some strange reason, while the Eurozone's economy is picking up, the UK's is still diving nose down. Assets in GBP have lost 30% their worth. Stories are heard of French and Belgians crossing the channel on weekends scouting the South-East for purchase opportunities as investment from "average Britons" defaulting on their mortgage.

    Your denial of reality would endearing, were it not offensive to the thousands of "average Britons" who have lost their jobs in the last year.

    Maybe some reading on why this is happening http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/0cf1c0ee-a3b5-11de-9fed-00144feabdc0.html might bring your feet down to earth, mate.

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  • 310. At 11:47pm on 14 Oct 2009, ikamaskeip wrote:

    Lacerniagate and £309.

    Re, "...EU picking up..UK still nose diving down.."
    Sorry, but that is patently untrue as comparison of the 3rd quarter figures for % of Unemployment, for inward Investment, for House Price rises and for GDP in the EU and the UK demonstrates. In each of those areas the UK numbers reflect an improving scale at a higher pace&trend than for the EU. The EU is clearly not emerging from recession any faster than the UK.

    Re, "..Assets in GBP have lost 30% their worth.."

    Sorry again, but you really will have to stop stating some statistic without any evidence backing you up! Stories of Belgians etc. You mean people from mainland Europe are buying Houses in the UK like the British are doing across the Channel> My God that is stunning... I mean its only been going on since the 17th century, but hey, give yourself time and your endearing little asides will become more relevant.

    Re, "..your denial of reality is endearing.."

    Sorry but, patronising nonsense is just that patronising nonsense. Perhaps you would do well to look more clearly and focus more on the link you provided. Unfortunately for you the tale of the UK and the EU is not quite the one you must have eagerly leapt to embrace by hurried reading.

    My feet are set firmly toward returning to the real world of the entrepreneurial Economic and Fiscal ability and talent of the UK that is currently being dragged into the stagnant EU pool of one/size/fits/all.
    It is you mate who needs to consider what the advantage is of the EUro zone when precisely the same problems occur both sides of the channel and nothing Pound or EUro bankers did made a jot of difference, or, do you really suppose there are no defaulting mortgages, unemployed, bankruptcies etc. anywhere except the UK. I think you will find there are people crossing all European borders to take advantage of their less well off and struggling neighbours. That it is nothing new or has much of an impact on the overall economy of any but the smallest National Economies, e.g. Estonia, you seem to have overlooked.

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  • 311. At 10:16am on 16 Oct 2009, eviedog1234 wrote:

    Hey, lets let the people decide, I think that's called democracy!

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  • 312. At 8:29pm on 16 Oct 2009, Mathiasen wrote:

    The little BBC video from Prague has additional information to the present situation. It declares how Klaus can be removed from his office, if there is no agreement in Prague on the LT.
    Not new, but still right, are the viewpoints of Vaclav Havel, the former president. His recommendation of the Czech participation in the European integration probably speaks the heart of most Czech politicians.
    Klaus is facing still more pressure.

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  • 313. At 01:58am on 17 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    311. eviedog1234

    "…Hey, lets let the people decide, I think that's called democracy!"

    They tried this in France and The Netherlands and didn't get the right answer.

    As I understand it this Klaus chap was a known EU sceptic before his re election. The thought occurs that he has as much of a democratic mandate as his opponents claim for themselves.

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  • 314. At 7:52pm on 18 Oct 2009, CornwallCoastPath wrote:

    A week ago (see 223) I quoted some opinion poll results from the Sun regarding the level of support in Britain for the Lisbon Treaty. Here are the results again:
    Against 39%, Don't Know 32%, For 19%, Would Not Vote 10%.

    This was met with howls of derision from certain contributors, who seemed to think that anything in the Sun was bound to be inaccurate.

    I suggested (see 246) two courses of action to those who took that attitude. Firstly, we have a Press Complaints Commission whose role is to evaluate complaints such as these. As far as I can see (both from this blog and the PCC website), my suggestion of referring the Sun's poll data to the PCC hasn't been followed up. So for convenience I quote below the relevant PCC web page:
    http://www.pcc.org.uk/complaints/process.html

    Secondly, one of the most effective ways of demonstrating the Sun to be incorrect would of course be to cite opinion poll results from other sources that was at variance with the Sun's data. Again, this suggestion hasn't been followed up.

    As it happens I've done a bit of research myself and found this from the BBC's Daily Politics programme in March 2009:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/the_daily_politics/7949104.stm

    It's not directly comparable with the Sun's results as it doesn't specifically refer to the Lisbon Treaty. But it does include the following, from which I think clear messages about the British people's view both of the Treaty itself and of the ratification process can be inferred:

    Britain should leave the EU but maintain close trading links
    Agree- 55%
    Disagree- 41%

    The British people should decide in a vote before Britain transfers any further power to the European Union
    Agree- 84%
    Disagree- 13%

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  • 315. At 8:22pm on 18 Oct 2009, Mathiasen wrote:

    314. CornwallCoastPath
    I’ve been taking a look at the BBC page you are referring to. Your figures are correct.
    Concerning The Sun: Not everything must necessary be a lie because The Sun prints it, but realistically seen a careful explanation for the origin of the source and its quality is probably quite necessary in such a case.

    The figures speak about scepticism. To me they also suggest that British media and politicians have a job to do.

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  • 316. At 9:55pm on 18 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    315. Mathiasen

    "…British media and politicians have a job to do…"

    I would have thought the one thing guaranteed to breed scepticism in politics is for the press to become cheerleaders for politicians. People are far to savvy to allow themselves to be preached at (unless the preacher man is talking of what they want and believe in). They know when they are being led to accept what they would never vote for.

    I think its nonsense to believe the press somehow imposes a bias. It can only reflect public opinion or the reader's hard earned cash is spent on something else.

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  • 317. At 10:23pm on 18 Oct 2009, Johan_Heuvel wrote:

    To 314 and 315.

    What the Brittish press does not bring accros to the Brittish public is the fact that the EU is mostly benificiary for the smaller members. Of the 27 members 21 members do not have embassies in all capitals. Sharing them via (for example via the LT) is a big help for their citizens. This doesn't affect the UK since it already has embassies in every capital. Having a reserve currency benefits an economy, since you can print money without fearing instant collapse of your currency. A has proven to be helpful in the current economic crisis. So for the band of small nations is it beneficiary to combine their currencies. Again, this doesn't really matter for the UK since it already has a reserve currency. The perceived difference between for example Germany and the UK (from for example the Netherlands perspective) is that where Germany recognises it is a relatively small player on a global scale and was willing to expand the Deutch Mark to the smaller members, the UK is snobbing the other (smaller) nations with their opt-outs, rebates and ridiculous WW2 referenses.

    Consequently, if you would poll the other EU nations if they would like to see the UK leave, I would not be surprised if you would see above 50% ratings in several nations as well. We all remember Tatcher cheering and snobbing. And we can all read the English press as well. The wishfull thinking on the Euro collapsing was just awfull and full of hatred. And I don't think we would allow for close linked trade agreements for a naton that leaves the Union after giving it a giant snob. You are either in or out. If you chose to be out, you're out. The UK will be reduced to the poor house of Europe, when consequintly the banking sector wil leave the UK for the EU financial centers in Paris or Frankfurt. The nations wich currently have close trade agreements are potential members. A member leaving is a totaly different situation.

    As to those WW2 references: The current German Republic, build around the Rhine and Bayern culture, has nothing to do with the nazi regime build around the Prussian culture. The military Prussian culture died with Prussia as the Russians drove millions of Prussians from their birthplace to the west in the latter stages of the war. And subsequently shifting those territories to Poland, which in turn shifted entirely to the west. Thus, destroying the Prussian culture completely. And then gave it the final blow with the founding of the GDR. Never saw a BBC documentary on how Prussia died in 1945. Or how it dominated Germany form 1872 untill 1945 for that matter. Only silly cartoons and strange remarks in comedy shows come from the UK. And Germany is only 80 million on 450 million 18% of the total EU population. So they really aren't going to take over. Nor would the German economy dictate the course of the ECB if the UK wasa member of the Euro erea.

    So I completely agree that the brittish press and politicians generate distorted views on the EU project. And more worying other EU citizens. Consequently, the UK citizens are blaiming failed UK policies on the EU. Ofcourse, the EU is far from perfect, but the recent UK parlement expenses claim scandal shows that so is the UK system.

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  • 318. At 00:03am on 19 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    317. Johan_Heuvel

    "…the [British] press and politicians generate distorted views on the EU project.

    The press reflects and/or reinforces sceptical public opinion. Conversely politicians generally are in favour of the EU, it can't have escaped their attention that it is another playroom with treats (two if we count Strasburg) from where they tell us what to do.

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  • 319. At 07:14am on 19 Oct 2009, Mathiasen wrote:

    317 Johan_Heuvel
    Yes, small countries are generally benefiting from international law and order. That is true in the EU, and will also be it at the coming climate summit in Copenhagen. However, it is a question on what side of the fence the government in the UK is standing.

    It has for a long time been clear to me that John Cleese hit something essential with his “Don’t mention the war” (Fawlty towers). It is not so much history writing as psychology.

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  • 320. At 01:05am on 20 Oct 2009, CornwallCoastPath wrote:

    To Johan_Heuvel (317) - thanks for your interesting perspective from the Netherlands. I'll see if I can provide a British perspective in reply.

    In my view a lot hinges on the "EU project" you mention in your last paragraph. In 1975 we in Britain gave our approval to continued British membership of the then Common Market [the question on the ballot paper was “Do you think that the United Kingdom should stay in the European Community (The Common Market)?”]. So where exactly does this "EU project" come in?

    I hardly ever hear the phrase "EU project" or "European project" in day-to-day conversation. It's occasionally used by media commentators (usually of the left-liberal persuasion). But most importantly, no politician has, to the best of my recollection, ever addressed the British people on the subject of what the "EU project" is, never mind sought our approval for British participation in that project. Whatever this project is, it seems to be operating "out there" somewhere, outside the democratic process. And in my view there's a slightly sinister ring to the very term "EU project" or "European project" because of its non-specific nature. If we are talking about a European integration project, then why not use that term?

    So perhaps you could do what our politicians haven't, and let us know what this "EU project" is? Is it about creating a European version of the USA, in other words a European superpower? If so, why? - does the world need another superpower? And if that is the aim, what would be the implications? One that springs to mind is that no superpower would be credible without nuclear weapons. Is it one of the aims of the "EU project" that the EU would eventually take control of British and French nuclear weapons? It would be nice to be told.

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  • 321. At 10:26am on 20 Oct 2009, Huaimek wrote:

    #40 DoreenK
    500million people have not given their consent to The Lisbon Treaty !!!
    There are Eurosceptics and opponents in every member country .
    By the tactic of deliberately not allowing referendums , governments have ratified the treaty regardless of the Known opinions and wishes of their people . Gordon Brown and the British Labour Party will reap the rewards at the next general election .
    Vaclav Klaus is not mistaken in holding out and not immediately ratifying this treaty . The Czech people have suffered many years of harsh Soviet Dictatorship ; no sooner have they won their independence , they are now in danger of being subjected to the equaly dictatorial European Union .
    I believe Czechs and Poles are more attracted by association with the west , being The USA than the EU , to have protection against the possibility of further Russian control . The economic aid and possibilities for modern advancement are a carrot enticement .

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  • 322. At 11:08am on 20 Oct 2009, Huaimek wrote:

    #46 mirmidion
    You do not have any understanding of British thinking and attitudes towards the EU . None of your supposed reasonings are anyway near correct . Successive British governments have tried to enthuse about the Union and it merrits , without being able to sway public opinion in favour of our membership . We are not against Europe or its union ; we welcome the ability to travel freely in Europe and live in another country , as I have done . We simply do not feel ourselves to be European even if genetically we are . We do not want to be part of a huge, corrupt, undemocratic megalyth ; even if we are a little group of islands isolated on our own . We don't actually see any benefits from EU membership . We mostly , if not completely trade at a deficit .
    The argument that Europe is becoming a mighty power like China is a dream , dream on ; as yet it isn't true and I doubt it will ever be true . As seen from outside ,in persective, European Union power is no more than that of the single member state .

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  • 323. At 6:31pm on 20 Oct 2009, Johan_Heuvel wrote:

    To 320:

    The "EU project" goal is to guarentee stability between states within the EU and inside member states (Look at the Berlusconi TV situation that is being discussed in the EU parlement to guarentee press freedom in Italy). To have a frame work which makes wars between members virtually impossible and ensures no Dictator can take over a member state.
    This is achieved by pooling part of the member states sovereignty to a common boddy. Furthermore, the EU project offers the smaller nations (and the larger nations to some extend) the benefit of scale. Allowing for example niche services to be offered Europe-wide, which would not survive in the respective economies allone. Thus extra stimulating overall economic activity. The Euro serves as a stimulator of this cross border small scale enterprises. Making business simpler and safe against currency fluctuations. Since the UK is an island these benefits are not entirely clear to UK citizens in their day-to-day life. But cycling from the Netherlands to Belgium to Germany they are. The UK experiences similar benefits by pooling Wales, Schotland and England. Allowing for example a plumber in England to operate across the border in Schotland as well. Serving several villages simultaniously, where the villages in England allone might not have been enough to sustain his/her business.

    Now to the downside: Since, this pooling of sovereignty needs fair rules and regulations the EU member states discuss topics on a regular basis. Since it is a matter of member-states this creates a supra-national layer in which elected governments directly make agreements amongst each-other. Thus generating a distance to the electorate. If the electorate would have a direct say in these supra-national matters it could bypass its own elected government thus giving the supra-national body the supreme legitimicy in the EU. Since this is not desired by member states governments, the current compromise-model of a powerless parlement and relatively powerless commision is sustained.

    Since, there is no benefits for the members to go back to the pre-EU situation, and since there is large resistance from national governments not to be marginalised, the current status quo is perceived to stay in place for the forseeable future. But the price is a complex non transparant organisation which acts extremely slow and has a large distance to the citizens of the EU since it is separated from them true seceral layers of bureaucracy. So it is in the interest of most nations to reorganise the compromise somewhat to make it more managable. Hence the LT. The desire of democratic states not to be marginalised bars the Union from having a direct influence from the electorate. While, the desire to make the Union more managable gives the sence of undemocratic behaviour to the citizens, since the electorate has no direct vote to the matters discussed.

    Kind regards,

    Johan

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  • 324. At 03:02am on 21 Oct 2009, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Gavin Hewitt:

    I am supportive in Klaus's decision of opting out...


    ~Dennis Junior~

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  • 325. At 1:36pm on 25 Oct 2009, CornwallCoastPath wrote:

    Thanks, Johan (323).

    I think a lot of people in Britain would be surprised at your description of the EU as being anti-dictatorship. Many of us would regard the EU as pro-dictatorship - at least as far as its own power is concerned. I'll give you a couple of examples:

    1) You may remember that after the 2005 French and Dutch "No" votes to the European Constitution, the EU was described as being in "crisis". What kind of an organization is it that is in "crisis" as a result of a democratic vote?

    2) A truly anti-dictatorship EU would have looked with concern at the situation in Britain, in which Lisbon Treaty ratification was pushed through Parliament without a referendum, in contravention of the manifesto commitments of all the major parties. Yet I remember Barosso speaking out against a referendum in Britain. And when the Labour Party polled just 16% of the British vote (on a turnout of less than 40%) in this summer's European Parliament elections, a truly anti-dictatorship EU would have suggested to Gordon Brown that he had lost the confidence of the people and should call a General Election. But did they do that? I think not - for reasons we all know!

    On your point about being able to travel and work easily across borders - yes, that is a benefit. But something I don't understand about all these stated benefits of the EU (free movement of people, goods and services; co-operation on climate change and anti-terrorism etc.) is this: none of these benefits are specific to Europe; they apply globally. It would be good to have worldwide free movement of people, goods and services, etc. So why are the EU apparently making no moves in this direction? The only answer I can think of for confining these things to Europe is that the idea is to create a European superpower. Hence the comments I made in the last paragraph of 320 - to which, I note, you didn't answer!

    Best Wishes!

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