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UK calls for EU muscle

Gavin Hewitt | 16:22 UK time, Monday, 26 October 2009

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Suddenly it seems the British foreign secretary is everywhere. Interviews, articles, speeches. Today David Miliband put forward one of the most forceful cases for a stronger European foreign policy ever made by a British foreign secretary.


There is a context to all this activity. The final signature on the Lisbon Treaty is expected soon and the focus is shifting to the two top jobs it will create: the President of the European Council and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs.

Firstly - the role of President. The presumed favourite is Tony Blair. Gordon Brown came out today supporting his candidacy. Yesterday David Miliband said Europe needed a president who would stop the traffic in Beijing. Today, when I interviewed him, he said "this is a time when a strong European voice is needed more than ever. This is not a time for shy and retiring violets".

Later this week European leaders meeting in Brussels will begin discussing the two
jobs. They probably won't fill the posts, but they may define their powers. Europe is
divided over whether it wants a charismatic figure as president bestriding the globe or a business manager who chairs summits. If the latter, then Tony Blair will probably not put his name forward. David Miliband is firmly in the camp that says that Europe must have a big hitter to sit at the same table as the Americans and Chinese.

One of several potential hurdles is that Tony Blair will be the chief witness at the Chilcot inquiry into the war in Iraq. Today David Miliband dismissed that as a problem. "Tony Blair is a retired prime minister," he said. "He is not a threat to any party in this country."

It is not yet clear who Tony Blair has in his corner. Berlusconi certainly. Sarkozy blows hot and cold. Angela Merkel is the key and, as usual, she is difficult to read.
The word from Berlin is that she is uncertain about Blair but will not necessarily oppose him.

The second job is the High Representative for Foreign Affairs. This is a kind of EU
foreign minister with a diplomatic staff. Today David Miliband called for a more
assertive European foreign policy. He said it was in the British interest. To be frightened of a more powerful European voice in the world was "blinkered, fatalistic and wrong". Britain, he said, should embrace it, shape it and lead it. Otherwise, he said, Britain's influence in the world would wane.

He said the choice for the UK was simple. "We can lead a strong European foreign policy or - lost in hubris, nostalgia or xenophobia - watch our influence in the world wane." That was clearly a reference to the Tories.

The problem for David Miliband's vision is this. The stronger a role he sees for the
so-called European foreign minister the more his opponents will argue that he is making the case that the British people should have been consulted on the Lisbon Treaty.

In my interview today I asked him who would be more powerful - the British Foreign Secretary or the European foreign minister. He insisted that key decisions would still be taken in London and that a strengthened European voice would not replace British foreign policy, but enhance it.

One other point. David Miliband clearly feels the climate change talks ahead of the Copenhagen summit in December are in difficulty.

Comments

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  • 1. At 4:49pm on 26 Oct 2009, Freeborn John wrote:

    British foreign policy seems temporally reduced to finding two berths (EU Commissioner + either president of the EU Council, or high representative for foreign affairs) in a lifeboat for the rats to escape the sinking Labour ship of government.

    It is impossible to regard David Miliband’s speech today as anything other than an audition for one of the two berths in that lifeboat. When he speaks of the “the grand and inspiring vision of the Union for the Mediterranean” you know that he is not addressing a British audience but is instead making a sycophantic appeal to Nicholas Sarkozy. Even the reality of Miliband’s first example (trade) today of how the EU can help Britain achieve its foreign policy aims proves his logic does not work in practice. Even with the very pro-EU Peter Mandelson as EU trade commissioner, the UK failed completely to advance the interests of its exporters of services and industrial goods at the WTO trade talks, instead ending up with Peter Mandelson arguing AGAINST the national interest and in favour of a protectionist Continental farm lobby which finally succeeded in scuppering the WTO trade talks. If that is the best that the EU can do to advance British trade interests with Peter Mandelson as EU trade commissioner you can be sure it would be no better at advancing British foreign policy with David Miliband as EU high representative of foreign affairs.

    Influence is a double-edged sword with the EU modus operandi always being to first agree a common European position that is in the Franco-German interest, and then (once the British position has been silenced), to argue for this ‘European’ position at world level. The real British interest can better be advanced by seeking out ad-hoc alliances with like-minded partners, wherever they are to be found in the world, and using this collective affinity to argue against those of a different persuasion, including the Europeans if necessary. This requires eschewing an entangling EU foreign policy in favour of a network of alliances with the USA, India, the Commonwealth, China, etc as well as European countries, from which we may freely choose our partners on an ad-hoc basis. Unless the British foreign minister believes that the interests of the UK are always automatically aligned with those of other European countries and are automatically contrary to what he calls the "G2" (US and China) he is today very clearly prioritising his own short-term career options over the real long-term interest of the country.

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  • 2. At 5:00pm on 26 Oct 2009, kcband8 wrote:

    Could we have boy David as EU Foreign Minister and Gordon Brown as President.

    That would really benefit the UK, as General elections could quickly follow.

    Anyway Tony Blair has not solved the Middle East crisis yet - he is not available.

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  • 3. At 5:46pm on 26 Oct 2009, nautonier wrote:

    Can't see either France or Germany, which control the EU behind the scenes, allowing a Brit into the top job of President?

    One of them might get the EU Foreign Minister job and Miliband looks like he's seen the writing on the wall re: next general election and is making a play for a Strasbourg major trough snouting eurocrat job while the going is good.

    However, my problem with either or both of them is that after 12 years of New Labour - Does anyone really have a clear idea what the UK government stands for - there are so many inconsistencies, anomolies, discriminatory issues and policies with current and past UK labour government domestic and foreign policy that I really shudder to think how either or both of them would represent the EU effectively in the event of a major crisis.

    The UK is a broken, devolved, fractured nation with race, class, culture splits wider than ever - has ghettoes and poverty and deprived areas - major policy areas that New Labour has failed on.

    How on earth can either or both of these two wasters make a difference in Europe?

    Blair in particular is a 'Wannabe Winston' with 3 wars in 7 years under his belt and his credentials over Iraq should be questioned (and will be, I'm sure, by France, in particular)

    What kind of government has New Labour created in the UK over the last 12 years - everyone I speak to says something different and the politics of these major appointees needs to be clear, before anyone is appointed appointed.

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  • 4. At 5:46pm on 26 Oct 2009, kaybraes wrote:

    Surely a man with Milliband's total lack of international stature and untrustworthyness is the ideal candidate for a top job in the EU. In another time, he, and his mentor Blair would probably have found themselves addressing the spectators for the last time, before losing their heads for high treason. It would be interesting to hear what they would have had to say in mitigation, though I suspect there is no valid excuse for the way both of them have betrayed the trust placed in them by the British people.

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  • 5. At 6:33pm on 26 Oct 2009, red deer champ wrote:

    Labour has lost my vote, and its craven acceptance of the anti-democratic EU is a big factor in that.
    If the EU President is important enough to merit a traffic-stopping motorcade, then in any meaningful democracy, the post should be elected.
    The EU is an unaccountable bureaucracy with scant interest in the views of its citizens, and an expensive token parliament to confer a veneer of democratic legitimacy. To point this out, and reject it, is neither hubristic nor xenophobia; and if it's nostalgic to treasure democracy, then so be it.
    If the Tories promise a referendum on Lisbon, I'll vote for them; otherwise it's UKIP.

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  • 6. At 6:58pm on 26 Oct 2009, StrongholdBarricades wrote:

    Hasn't the boy Millibland also said that you must judge the president of the council by his motorcade?

    I always thought policies were important, but the boy Millibland seems to believe it is appearance rather than substance

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  • 7. At 7:14pm on 26 Oct 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    Now why would Berlusconi support a Blair presidency?

    Berlusconi is a conservative, whilst Blair is ostensibly from the other side of the political divide.

    Berlusconi is Italian, whilst Blair is British.

    So why the endorsement? What have these two people in common?

    What these people have in common in sponsors. Corporate providers. In Berlusconi's case, he earns not just political support (donations) but also huge advertising revenue from the international corporate sector. In Blair's case, his party machine earns vast sums from the same international corporate sector.

    So much for even the semblance of democracy in Europe. Not only do all the parties from all the states have the same corporate sponsors, they cannot even be bothered pretending to have differences of opinion!!

    It is one thing to claim that the two choices (left or right) APPEAR to be identical. It is quite another thing when the the two choices endorse on another!!

    This is European democracy: you get to choose from a short list of people who have been chosen for you by a party executive. All the people wear suits, all have identical sponsors from the corporate and financial sector, and all have identical policies..... and in fact all of them get along famously.

    When was the last time you saw a difference of opinion between two politicians in Europe, let alone a difference of opinion based on political ideology?

    Merkel, Sarko, Brown, Berlusconi.... they all get along fine. They do not disagree about Europe, and they do not disagree about policy. Two of them are supposedly right wing and two are supposedly left wing, but if nobody told you who was which, you'd never be able to guess from what they say and do.

    What a farce. We are paying these people's salaries. The least they could do is PRETEND to offer us a choice.

    Even in the soviet show elections, the party asked the candidates to put up a show for the people.

    Can't we have a show? Can't we at least pretend that there is a difference in the party nominated candidates we get to choose from?

    Gavin, can't you at least pretend? In future, don't mention stuff like Berlusconi supporting Blair. They are from opposite sides of the political spectrum, apparently, and if we can keep that fantasy going then we can pretend to live in a democracy.

    Your job as a BBC journalist is to serve the party, sure, but that means doing your level best to pretend that the party wants democratic participation.

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  • 8. At 7:17pm on 26 Oct 2009, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    Why can't we, the people of Europe, vote for our President!!!

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  • 9. At 7:22pm on 26 Oct 2009, Mathiasen wrote:

    The leaders are not going to say anything openly, we only hear about it via the media. A search I made yesterday showed that the media in Sweden, Denmark and Germany have so far not been interested in Blair’s candidature.
    The reason might be this: Sweden is occupied with the coming summit and the president in Prague. Denmark is occupied with the climate summit, which seems to be facing problems, and in Germany chancellor Merkel has been occupied with the building of a new government. It will take office on Wednesday, and my guess is that Merkel is already now busy preparing the summit.
    We can probably expect some information in the coming days. It would be great if people from around in the union would report from their countries. This is not a matter for the UK only.

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  • 10. At 7:50pm on 26 Oct 2009, Gheryando wrote:

    democracrythreat, you're ill-informed. Sarko-right, Merkel-right, Berlusconi-right, Brown-left in British terms, but at least since Nu-Labour, right in economic terms.

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  • 11. At 7:54pm on 26 Oct 2009, WhiteHorses11 wrote:

    Isn't it time Blair stuck to the Middle East?
    And stays there.

    We don't want him as Euro President, but then we'd like a vote on the EU constitution/Lisbon treaty too.

    Doesn;t look like either's happening :o(
    Unless the Czech's save our bacon....Blessed be Klaus.....

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  • 12. At 8:09pm on 26 Oct 2009, Gheryando wrote:

    @Mathiasen,

    This is not really an issue yet in Italy..Berlusconi likes him, Frattini does too but says anonimous consensus is necessary, hinting at a compromise candidate. But as usual, Italians just go with the flow and let Germany, France and the UK sort it out.

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  • 13. At 8:19pm on 26 Oct 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    " Today David Miliband called for a more assertive European foreign policy. ... Otherwise, he said, Britain's influence in the world would wane."

    There is no point in having influence in the world if you don't even have any influence in your own country.

    It won't be Britain's influence in the world. It will be the influence of an arrogant, anti-democratic clique.

    European boys in a European Army will be dying to feed their megalomaniac dreams.

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  • 14. At 8:20pm on 26 Oct 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    Britain needs a strong Europe like Tibet needs a strong China.

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  • 15. At 8:22pm on 26 Oct 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    "UK calls for EU muscle"

    NO! The worse than useless clique who run the country because our democracy is not working call for EU muscle.

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  • 16. At 8:24pm on 26 Oct 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    8. At 7:17pm on 26 Oct 2009, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    "Why can't we, the people of Europe, vote for our President!!!"

    Bloody Hell!! John from Hendon! I sort of agree with that.

    He still wouldn't be our president because the whole construction is illegitimate.

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  • 17. At 10:21pm on 26 Oct 2009, Wyrdtimes wrote:

    When do the people of the "UK" get a vote on the EU?

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  • 18. At 11:06pm on 26 Oct 2009, Seedorf1023 wrote:

    Sounds like Miliband knows Labour is on their way out next election. I personally think he is just trying to line up a future EU position. As an American I think Tony Blair would be a perfect EU President. If the EU is looking for someone to make headlines and someone to be taken seriously in Washington and Beijing he is the man. The last thing Europe needs is a no-name politician from Luxembourg or The Netherlands that no one in China or America has heard of. If you want to make a real impact in Foreign Affairs and make an impact on American Foreign Policy you need someone Washington respects, trusts and knows.

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  • 19. At 11:25pm on 26 Oct 2009, Jur wrote:

    Excuse me, Gavin,

    but could you stop staring at your belly button and get off your butt? This silly obsession with whether Tony Blair will be president of the EU Council is boring. Where is Europe? Get out there, like you did in the US and like Mark did in this blog before you. Stuff is happening. You are missing it.

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  • 20. At 00:06am on 27 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "To be frightened of a more powerful European voice in the world was "blinkered, fatalistic and wrong"."

    More powerful European voice or just louder, more strident and more irritating voice to still be ignored?

    "He insisted that key decisions would still be taken in London and that a strengthened European voice would not replace British foreign policy, but enhance it."

    What makes him think that Britain's foreign policy won't become subordinate to the will of the majority or more powerful EU members like Germany and France? That's what happens when you ceded sovereignty, you give up the power to act independently in your own self interest. Britain is now firmly implanted in the EUSSR universe for better or worse. It will have to resign itself to its new "participatory role." That means in plain English it will do as it's told to.

    "Yesterday David Miliband said Europe needed a president who would stop the traffic in Beijing."

    The only way he will stop traffic in Beijing is by making drivers laugh so hard they won't be able to steer their cars when they hear the latest nonsense from him on their car radios.

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  • 21. At 01:36am on 27 Oct 2009, David wrote:

    I KNOW I'm not eligible to vote in the EU elections, BUT, IMO, we need a strong EU foreign policy leader, so we, the USA won't go bankrupt (if we haven't already done that).

    The EU, itself, needs a strong Business type manager (i.e, not Tony Blair).

    I do not dislike Mr. Blair, but he is not a leader that would be supported by the "continent nations."

    And his foreign policy "experience" (resume) is not that great (he should have stood up to G. Bush and cronies and told him "NO" to the Iraq... adventure-- as the French were brave enough to do). (sorry Francophobes)

    Americans are very emotionally attached to Europe. For instance, just ask the average African-American or Asian-American where he/she woould like to go if they were to go touring abroad--just to be thought "provoking"--no offense meant to anyone.

    Euro-skepticism is obviously an idea or feeling that is understood in Europe, BUT

    IMO, Europeans are the world's hope...for peace, culture and future prosperity (and for new ideas as well)




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  • 22. At 02:05am on 27 Oct 2009, kcwhattrick wrote:

    #21 Stellarbeloved said:

    "IMO, Europeans are the world's hope...for peace, culture and future prosperity (and for new ideas as well) "

    Sorry, but I think it's still too fresh in everyone's mind what happened the last time Europeans were left in charge of this planet. Peace? Culture? Prosperity? Try bloodbath after bloodbath, the destruction of indigenous peoples/cultures and prosperity for Europeans that was brought about by the blood of non-Europeans. Not really looking like "the world's hope" now is it?

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  • 23. At 02:37am on 27 Oct 2009, David wrote:

    OK,

    Then...Culture and Prosperity.

    But, before one gets too despairing. this European Common Market process haa actually pacified Europe..pretty much.

    The Russians said the end of the Cold War was the result of Eastern Asian prosperity, but I wonder...

    Where would you rather live? In fast growing, wonderful China (the official wording) or Europe?

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  • 24. At 04:35am on 27 Oct 2009, Samuel L Matthews wrote:

    I don't know if you have noticed, but the reason we are unable to vote for a European President, is because of national loyalties. With the exception of us Britons apparently, the French people will vote for a French president, the Spanish people will vote for a Spanish president, the Polish people will vote for a Polish president and so on, and as a result we will end up with a German President solely due to population (not that that is a bad thing, however national loyalty is not a good basis for electing anyone). We vote in a representative democracy, we just have to hope our government will represent us. The treaty was signed behind our back, however it was a necessary evil. In an increasingly G2 world we need Europe to stand together to be heard. The British people would have had Britain fade from the international arena on the back of their superiority complex. I for one believe signing the Lisbon Treaty was the best thing New Labour ever did.

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  • 25. At 07:23am on 27 Oct 2009, AnemosUK wrote:

    I find it totally farsicall by the British comments, When you dont like the EU, you dont like Brussels controlling Britain, you hate the EURO you all feel Britain is Gods gift to the world, without looking at the state your country stands, BUT you want an Englishman for President and above all the worst LIAR and the most disliked Prime Minister in recent years, I wish one day to know what the British really want

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  • 26. At 07:40am on 27 Oct 2009, Home412AD wrote:

    After days of brainless propaganda, the only sensible conclusion is that what we observe is pure nationalistic jingoism. In contrast to the emotional hysteria, the political facts are clear. Number one. Blair doesn't have a hope in Hades of being selected for any EU position, let alone the presidency. Number two. Miliband has even less reason to hope for any EU position, and risks being openly, publicly mocked with scorn and disdain by the Europeans if he keeps up his obnoxious marketing campaign.

    Blair is loathed and despised by everyone in the world, including all of Europe, as an ineffectual, incompetent, laughable circus clown. That's why he was given the Mideast position, because he is utterly inept, and bungles everything he touches. He was assigned to the post in order to fail, in a way that would earn no one else blame or criticism.

    In Europe, they are laughing themselves sick to see the English pee their pants over the chance an Englishman might get into the real world of international politics, without riding on the coattails of the Americans. That's nothing new for the Europeans. They've been laughing themselves sick at the English for 1,000 years, and the joke just keeps getting better. We're talking about a nation of people who can't even handle being farmers without losing all their livestock.

    Blair being president of the EU. The English make fools of themselves again in front of the entire world.

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  • 27. At 07:41am on 27 Oct 2009, Diabloandco wrote:

    Perhaps the traffic stops so that the drivers can take better aim.
    Just a thought.

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  • 28. At 08:29am on 27 Oct 2009, Andy-in-France wrote:

    #25 AnemosUK "... want an Englishman for President"

    Really? I think you will read the previous 'blog' you will seem most of us DON'T want Blair (and perhaps no-one else!).

    # Andrew - Interesting that European leaders are to 'define' the powers of the President. Have we not been told repeatedly that he is merely to 'chair' the European Commission? So now we have an implicit change to a wider role - President of the European Union. No doubt we will be told that this will also be a figurehead; at the same time I suspect we will informed that he will still be appointed by the cabal of other leaders. No democratic vote - says it all, really!

    As for the suggestion that this is to prevent the British voting for the British, the French for the French, etc - well, I for one would not vote for Blair, or Sarkozy (despite having a foot in both camps, as it were).

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  • 29. At 08:58am on 27 Oct 2009, DisgustedOfMitcham2 wrote:

    I'm guessing that UKIP must be actively supporting Bliar as president of the EU. It's hard to imagine any event that would boost their support at the next election more than someone as reviled as Bliar becoming the EU's figurehead. Heck, I might even vote for them myself if that happens, and as a staunch europhile, I never thought I'd hear myself say that.

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  • 30. At 09:34am on 27 Oct 2009, busby2 wrote:

    You report that the final signature is expected soon on the Lisbon Treaty so that it is full steam ahead on the next dictatorial step of the EU, the undemocratic appointment of an EU President.

    The Europhiles are no doubt delighted that the Lisbon Treaty might soon be ratified but they should not start celebrating because when the Conservatives win the next Ggeneral Election it will all start to unravel.

    The reason for this is entirely the EU's own doing. They made various promises to Eire that need to be written into the next EU treaty of accession which is expected to be Croatia, and every EU member has to sign the accession treaty for it to come into effect. This means that David Cameron can and will block such a treaty to implement the promises made to Eire until such time as he gets the changes he wants from the Lisbon Treaty, which he will insist are also written into the Croatian Accession Treaty. He should, for example, use the Croatian Accession Treaty to renegotiate the massive increase agreed by Labour in our net EU contributions.

    The Irish were extremely foolish to vote Yes to Lisbon in advance of deliivery of the promises made to them by their Govt and EU member governments. EU verbal promises are not worth the paper they are written on!

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  • 31. At 09:36am on 27 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    David Milliband in the interview refered to not wanting 'another decade of navel gazing like the last decade'. Remind me - who has been in office for the last decade?

    I still fail to undersatnd how the EU can realistically select a President of the Council who has endoresed a Prime Minister who resulutely sets his face against the Single Currency and Schengen. It simply does not make sense.

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  • 32. At 09:40am on 27 Oct 2009, bena gyerek wrote:

    vaclav havel

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  • 33. At 09:40am on 27 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    In reality this is a non story, the only thing that has made it a story worthy of a blog is that all the other front runners in the UK stable have gone lame (on the EU) and ruled themselves out of the running - that's what the Tories get when their leader makes policy on the hoof!

    Pity, as the Tories would have had some very good candidates, of course if the Czech President does his constitutional duties and signs the Lisbon Treaty smartish Cameron can then claim that the situation has changed (impossible to reverse the UK's ratification and pointless holding a referendum on a treaty that has come into effect) and thus put up some candidates for consideration, I suspect that Cameron is secretly hoping that Klaus signs PDQ...

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  • 34. At 09:49am on 27 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    30. At 09:34am on 27 Oct 2009, busby2 wrote:

    "The Europhiles are no doubt delighted that the Lisbon Treaty might soon be ratified but they should not start celebrating because when the Conservatives win the next Ggeneral Election it will all start to unravel."

    Are you suggesting that Cameron plans to hold a in/out referendum, that is the ONLY way that it could unravel, and as there is a party that the electorate can already vote for, if they wish to take the UK out of the EU, and as that party has yet to obtain even one MP (or even come second in any constituency), don't hold your breath expecting a "out" results, the majority of the UK's electorate knows which side their breed is buttered and don't want to see it carpet side down.

    "EU verbal promises are not worth the paper they are written on"

    Talk about mixing your metaphors. Duh! Anyway, you're wrong.

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  • 35. At 09:58am on 27 Oct 2009, Mike K wrote:

    The Tories need to do nothing at all to win the next election.

    Milliband recommending Blair, ..EU Presiedent.. traffic stopping.. its ..GUBU..(grotesque, unexpected, bizarre, unprecendented)...

    If he wishes to be a traffic stopper, go to Bagdad.

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  • 36. At 10:01am on 27 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    31. At 09:36am on 27 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    "I still fail to undersatnd how the EU can realistically select a President of the Council who has endoresed a Prime Minister who resulutely sets his face against the Single Currency and Schengen. It simply does not make sense."

    Nor can I unless it's going to be used as a leverage point, what better way than getting the UK to the centre of the Europe than make the UK the centre of the EU?

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  • 37. At 10:47am on 27 Oct 2009, DynamicEntrance wrote:

    Let Britain figure out if we wish to stay in EUrope before we put forward our canidate for a senior position. there are dozens more memberstates that have commited themselves more fully to the european idea and there for, in my eyes, more worthy of having their citizens hold a top position.

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  • 38. At 11:54am on 27 Oct 2009, dceilar wrote:

    #8 John

    Why can't we, the people of Europe, vote for our President!!!

    Don't be silly John. We're not qualified to make such choices. Seriously though, I think euro-sceptics would be worried because the Euro President would be elected by PR and have a real mandate which will worry national governments. IMO they should give more powers to the European Parliament first - and I can't see that happening either and for the same reasons.

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  • 39. At 12:07pm on 27 Oct 2009, Freeborn John wrote:

    David Miliband’s logic in his recent speeches has been predicated on his belief in an emerging bipolar world, dominated by a US and China 'G2', in which the UK can only exert influence via the EU. How does his foundational belief measure up to the real-world in which the British foreign secretary is supposed to work? And if his basic G2 thesis were correct, does it follow that the UK can only exert influence by throwing in its lot with an EU foreign policy?

    Prior to the fall of the Berlin wall we really did have a bipolar world, yet no British foreign minister ever suggested mediating our foreign policy via the EU. Now some may suggest that was because the UK was clearly on one-side in the Cold War but could we really be neutral in Miliband's G2 world between the US and China? Surely it remains the case that the UK will always have more in common with the liberal democracy to our West than the rising authoritarian giant in the East. France tried to play exactly the role during the Cold War that Miliband argues for the EU now by staying out of NATO and seeking opportunities to play off the US and Russia, with the result was that France was less influential than the UK throughout the Cold War period. Furthermore we in the UK instinctively view global issues in the same way that Washington does (i.e. as problems to be solved), where as Paris (like Russia) typically sees them as opportunities to advance its own interest (as with the UN 'Oil for Food' program in Iraq) such that it is far easier for the UK to work with Americans than with Paris, Brussels or even Berlin. Therefore, even if Miliband's premise of a G2 world were valid, his proposed response to it is defective.

    But is Miliband's premise of a G2 world correct? Last month the Australian government and press were making much play of the emergence of the G20 as the major forum for co-ordinating the world economy, to eclipse the G8. If the Australian premier believes the G20 has become the pre-eminent policy-setting forum in the world, then why does David Miliband think there is a G2? Either Miliband or the Australian premier must be wrong. The developed world already includes much more than the US and Europe, and China is not the only country developing rapidly. Therefore i would say that Miliband's G2 / G3 thesis has no basis in reality, and is indeed nothing more than anti-Americanism given an institutional framework.

    The blunt reality is that France, Germany, etc. have a narrower range of foreign policy options than the UK, whose tried and trusted relationship with Washington provides a vehicle not open to them for exerting real influence over the affairs of the world. It would be madness in the extreme for the UK to artificially limit its foreign policy options to the narrower range which Paris and Berlin have open to them, especially when the consequence is very likely to be an opportunistic EU foreign policy agenda dominated by the Franco-German alliance that will not share British priorities. It might be that someone from the far-left of the Labour party, with an atavistic dislike of the Americans might really believe the arguments that David Miliband is now making, but Tony Blair certainly did not in 2003 and i doubt that Miliband believes them today, except as line to curry favour with those who can provide him a lucrative Brussels refuge from where to sit out the long years of Opposition that await him.

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  • 40. At 12:51pm on 27 Oct 2009, nautonier wrote:

    If Blair did ever become EU president it would be a good opportunity to ply him with the unanswered questions about why the UK did not join the EU currency under Blair's leadership of the UK?

    Many of us may suspect rather than know that Blair was advised by e.g. Brown that to join the EU currency would have limited the UK money supply and credit boom that enabled Brown to bloat the UK economy as including it to be flooded with non. dom property developers borrowing from all and sundry in order to rob the UK of value contained in the development value of planning permissions from developing UK property.

    When those 'windfall gains' are taken out of the UK economy and taken overseas that is loss, sorry no 'theft' of our sovereign economic value in our own country's resources.

    We have all paid a very high price for Blair snubbing the EU on countless occasions and in providing Brown with a cash/tax cow for his public spending extravaganza on the back of property and credit card debt.

    Blair's appointment as President EU would disgust me, but in a way I'd like to see him get a very hot seat and be chased around on the numerous skeletons rattling around in his over-sized cupboard.

    'Skeleton chasing' - I like the sound of that! Might be a case of 'be careful what you wish for Mr Blair'?

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  • 41. At 1:09pm on 27 Oct 2009, cnutblair wrote:

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

  • 42. At 1:19pm on 27 Oct 2009, Benefactor wrote:

    38 dceilar wrote:

    "Don't be silly John. We're not qualified to make such choices. Seriously though, I think euro-sceptics would be worried because the Euro President would be elected by PR and have a real mandate which will worry national governments. IMO they should give more powers to the European Parliament first - and I can't see that happening either and for the same reasons."

    At the moment, Commission president candidates are selected by the Council and approved by the Parliament, if the Lisbon treaty comes into effect this swaps around, so that the Parliament selects candidates and the Council approves them (Parliament also has to obviously).
    What this means is at the next EP election we should see the various groupings running on the basis of their man for Commission President with real manifesto's. You can already see it in an embyronic stage, the EPP ran with Barossa as their man this election, the Greens also put forward a candidate, and the ALDE are already planning on putting up a candidate at the next election.

    I'm hoping for a business manager style Council President, the Commission leader should be the face of the EU, especially come next election when we have a direct say in who he is.

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  • 43. At 1:52pm on 27 Oct 2009, ewan_flynn wrote:

    Maybe Tony Blair would be best suited to the High Representative for Foreign Affairs position while giving Jean-Claude Juncker the job of President of the Council. Blair's remit would then have a more international focus while Jean-Claude would be ideally suited to chairing council meetings and not ruffling too many feathers. After a stint as High Representative (and VP of the EU Commission), Blair could then transition to President of the Council in five years time having bolstered his good European credentials.

    The position of President of the Council could in five years' time be merged with that of President of the Commission (a move allowed for under the Lisbon treaty), thereby creating a President of the European Union with truly meaningful clout.

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  • 44. At 2:06pm on 27 Oct 2009, Wonthillian wrote:

    '42. At 1:19pm on 27 Oct 2009, Benefactor wrote:

    I'm hoping for a business manager style Council President'

    I agree. The problem with having somebody with a strong personality and his/her own agenda is that he /she will be constrained by how the Council votes (which is dependant on what Member State governments /parliaments think).If the president thinks he/she can take a different view to the Council consensus then there'll be trouble ahead. I don't go along with those who consider Tony Blair as a war criminal, but I don’t think he's the right person for this role.

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  • 45. At 2:17pm on 27 Oct 2009, busby2 wrote:

    Boilerplated

    “Are you suggesting that Cameron plans to hold a in/out referendum, that is the ONLY way that it could unravel, and as there is a party that the electorate can already vote for, if they wish to take the UK out of the EU, and as that party has yet to obtain even one MP (or even come second in any constituency), don't hold your breath expecting a "out" results, the majority of the UK's electorate knows which side their breed is buttered and don't want to see it carpet side down”.

    Not at all! Cameron has said that if the Lisbon Treaty has been ratified when he takes office next year, he will not let the matter rest there. The promises made by the EU to get the Irish to vote Yes to Lisbon can only be implemented by being made part of the accession treaty for Croatia, and that treaty needs the approval of all EU states. This gives Cameron the opportunity to insist on changes to the Lisbon Treaty which will unravel the terms as they apply to us. At the same time other states might well be tempted to renegotiate the terms of the treaty as they apply to them.

    I wrote "EU verbal promises are not worth the paper they are written on"
    and you replied “Talk about mixing your metaphors. Duh! Anyway, you're wrong”.

    I was only using Sam Goldwyn’s famous saying to illustrate the fact that the Irish electorate had been promised changes to the Lisbon Treaty which have not been delivered and which may never take effect. The Irish were misled on the basis of promises not fulfilled to vote Yes on EXACTLY the same treaty they had rejected. I regard that as dishonest.

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  • 46. At 3:34pm on 27 Oct 2009, PARRISIA_GREECE wrote:

    Blair, having lied to the British people and the UN about Saddam's non-existent WMD, will most probably discredit the EU, not give it more clout.

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  • 47. At 3:51pm on 27 Oct 2009, thebritisharefunny wrote:

    Briiliant idea in several contributions that we should all elect the person who will chair EU summit meetings! Let's also have direct election of the President of the UN Security Council, the Secretary General of NATO, the President of the European Commission, the President of the European Central Bank (and indeed the Bank of England), the Sec Gen of the WTO, and others.

    Maybe we could start in Britain by electing our own head of state? That WOULD be a real step forward for democracy!

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  • 48. At 3:56pm on 27 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #45. At 2:17pm on 27 Oct 2009, busby2 wrote:

    "Not at all! Cameron has said that if the Lisbon Treaty has been ratified when he takes office next year, he will not let the matter rest there."

    Which is meaningless waffle and Cameron knows it, if it wasn't he would be telling us what he would do rather than just making vague gestures in a eurosceptic direction as nothing is going to change if Lisbon comes into effect before the next UK general election, there will be very little wriggle room, ask for to much and all the EU will do is point towards the 'exit clauses' built into the Lisbon Treaty (at the UK's behest?) and tell Cameron to ask the British electorate what they want to do...

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  • 49. At 4:08pm on 27 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    46. At 3:34pm on 27 Oct 2009, PARRISIA_GREECE wrote:

    "Blair, having lied to the British people and the UN about Saddam's non-existent WMD, will most probably discredit the EU, not give it more clout."

    The trouble such a simplistic statement is that Blair wasn't the only person lying, Saddam was also lying, if he had no WMD why didn't he just allow the UN totally free moment and access were ever and when ever they wished, the only thing Blair's government seems to have blatantly lied about is the attack scope of any WMD that were believed to be in existence. Oh, and a note to "PARRISIA_GREECE", whilst the possible WMD might not have been within range of the UK, based on past knowledge of passed Iraqi WMDs and missile technology - which was the reason why Blair made the case for war - they would have been well within the range of Greece...

    That said, and getting back to the blogs topic, I'm not in favour of Blair becoming EU President for many of the same europhile reasons already given, indeed Miliband shouldn't be considered either, unless either or both appointments would put the UK further to the centre of the EU than ever before.

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  • 50. At 4:27pm on 27 Oct 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    If the Czechs stop this thing then Czech national day should become a public holiday in the UK. If it is down to Vazlav Klaus then there should be statues of him erected all over Europe.

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  • 51. At 4:30pm on 27 Oct 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    Sorry!! It's Vaclav Klaus!

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  • 52. At 4:33pm on 27 Oct 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    I hope we are gong to be able to sing the following:

    Good King Vaclav Klaus looked out
    on the feast of Stephen
    hadn't signed the bloody thing
    snow lay crisp and even.


    That's as far as I have got. Any suggested continuations or improvements?

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  • 53. At 4:41pm on 27 Oct 2009, thebritisharefunny wrote:

    Shouldn't there be a limit to the number of times the very same people monopolise the comments section? Say no more than two or three contributions peperson each time?

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  • 54. At 5:05pm on 27 Oct 2009, yamotto wrote:

    Why do we want to even be in the EU
    When facts are as follows-- EU conceived in Germany from 22nd June 1940 as the EEC - speech by Hermann Goering.

    First EEC conference Berlin University 1942, 13 nation summit Berlin 1943 run by von Ribbentrop

    After fall of Germany, the Germans switched the EU from a Nazi to a communist basis in 1946.
    Hitler's Deutsche Verteiderungs Dienst Intelligence Department (DVD) still controls EU development.

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  • 55. At 5:08pm on 27 Oct 2009, Freeborn John wrote:

    britishandeuropean (53): Wouldn't that just lead to posters commenting under a new name?

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  • 56. At 5:17pm on 27 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    54. At 5:05pm on 27 Oct 2009, yamotto wrote:

    "First EEC conference Berlin University 1942, 13 nation summit Berlin 1943 run by von Ribbentrop"

    Pull the other one! Oh and of course, you can cite your references, can't you....

    Another 'One post wonder' bites the dust.

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  • 57. At 5:26pm on 27 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    In reply to comments @ #55 (and 53):

    "britishandeuropean (53): Wouldn't that just lead to posters commenting under a new name?"

    Probably not as, according to changes that appear to be in the process of being rolled out, multiple accounts via the same email address may well be stopped...

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pressred/2009/10/changes-to-this-blog.shtml

    But if 'experienced' users were to be limited to the number of comments they can make should inexperienced (new) users be limited to which blogs they can comment (perhaps just the non contentious, non political blogs for example) on until they prove that they are not here just to disrupt, in the same way that they are pre-moderated on reactively and post moderated blogs?

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  • 58. At 5:47pm on 27 Oct 2009, Benefactor wrote:

    I don't think we should censure SuffolkBoy2, his multiple posts in a row (along with the content) just show that he types a lot faster than he thinks.

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  • 59. At 5:53pm on 27 Oct 2009, yamotto wrote:

    In reply to comment 56--Boilerplated
    There is plenty of historical evidence which supports my statements i suggest you go seek the truth for yourself as it is only then that you will realise omg its the truth
    however this one post wonder will provide a link to a short video introduced by sir patrick moore
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOhjtNLLGmM&feature=player_embedded

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  • 60. At 5:56pm on 27 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    In reply to comments @ #58:

    "[It] just show that he types a lot faster than he thinks."

    That's one way of putting it, and there I was blaming 24hr opening! :-(

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  • 61. At 6:33pm on 27 Oct 2009, Freeborn John wrote:

    It seems that stalking-horse Juncker has left the stable and is making a bee-line for Bambi Blair... Italy has withdrawn its support for Blair too.

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

    On his last day in Downing Street, Blair held a press conference with Governor Schwarzenegger of California, in which the outgoing PM joked "My press officer said to me, whatever else you do this morning, don't say: 'I'll be back.'". It seems Juncker intends to terminate his political career for good this time.

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  • 62. At 6:47pm on 27 Oct 2009, Benefactor wrote:

    59 yamotto wrote:

    "There is plenty of historical evidence which supports my statements i suggest you go seek the truth for yourself as it is only then that you will realise omg its the truth
    however this one post wonder will provide a link to a short video introduced by sir patrick moore"

    Seeing as the assertion of secret Nazi control is yours, the burden of proof is on you. You will have to do a lot better than that video.

    A small piece of advice, I don't know anyone who considers any YouTube video evidence of anything anywhere ever.

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  • 63. At 6:48pm on 27 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    46 - PARRISIA_GREECE
    49 - Boilerplated

    There are some very persuasive arguments against Blair as a candidate (I have already mentioned Schengen and the Euro) but Iraq is not one of them.

    Can some people posting here not embrace the possibility that there was an element of truth in the explanation? In other words, that British Intelligence (or is that a contradiction in terms?) really did produce evidence that was sufficiently credible to an admittedly gullible cabinet that there were WMDs available for Saddam's use. However dumb you might thing that judgement was with the wisdom of hindsight, there is no getting away from the fact that Saddam was obstructing the Blix enquiries and this could have pointed to validation of the intelligence.

    There is a serious debate to be had here both for and against the Blair candidacy but the 'war criminal' allegation is not one of them. If you care to argue that anyone stupid enough to believe the intelligence has no business running a school kids crossing still less a continent, I might be tempted to agree with you, but dressing him up as the 20th century's answer to Attila the Hun? Please - give me a break.

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  • 64. At 7:04pm on 27 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    63. threnodio

    "…There are some very persuasive arguments against Blair as a candidate (I have already mentioned Schengen and the Euro) but Iraq is not one of them…"

    By 2007 Blair was seen by his own MPs as a liability.

    This had more to do with Iraq than Schengen or the Euro IMO.

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  • 65. At 7:13pm on 27 Oct 2009, yamotto wrote:

    To Benefactor no proof of burden upon me unless you are blind & incapable of searching for the truth yourself however if you look into
    US Military Intelligence report EW-Pa 128 known as the Red House Report
    you might just discover something yourself
    instead of being told what is what & taking that for face value without ever questioning it?

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  • 66. At 7:20pm on 27 Oct 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To Boilerplated (56) and yamotto (59):

    Guys, yamotto is of course right. Yes, the truth is the EU was founded by Nazis, but you see there is much more to this. Let me introduce just few facts...

    There are 27 EU countries.
    Hitler was born in 1889.
    The Treaty of Rome was signed in 1957.
    14 July, the Nazi Party was declared the only legal party in Germany.
    Hitler was Reich chancellor for 12 years.
    Euro currency was introduced in 1999.
    6 countries signed the Treaty of Rome.
    There are 15 stars in the EU flag!
    Hitler died in 1945.
    On 21 March, the new Reichstag was constituted.
    UK prime ministers live in Downing Street 10.

    Now consider this...

    If you multiply 27 with 1889, minus 1957, minus 14, divide by 12, minus 1999, minus 6, minus 15, minus 1945, minus 21, divide by 10...

    What you get!? I tell you! You get 10! And what is 10! 10 is the number of original Care Bears! Yes! They are the ones behind this! They are going to take over the world!

    The truth is out there! The Care Bears are taking over the world! They tried with Nazis! They won't fail with the EU!

    Wake up sheeple!

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  • 67. At 7:23pm on 27 Oct 2009, busby2 wrote:

    "Shouldn't there be a limit to the number of times the very same people monopolise the comments section? Say no more than two or three contributions peperson each time? "

    No. And why didn't you take the time to add to the debate instead of complaining about posters who are debating and commenting on the blog?

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  • 68. At 7:25pm on 27 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

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

  • 69. At 7:37pm on 27 Oct 2009, yamotto wrote:

    @ Jukka_Rohila fail lol
    are you saying that the red house report is a fake?

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  • 70. At 7:48pm on 27 Oct 2009, busby2 wrote:

    Boilerplated Post 48

    In reply to: “Not at all! Cameron has said that if the Lisbon Treaty has been ratified when he takes office next year, he will not let the matter rest there”, you replied:

    “Which is meaningless waffle and Cameron knows it, if it wasn't he would be telling us what he would do rather than just making vague gestures in a eurosceptic direction as nothing is going to change if Lisbon comes into effect before the next UK general election, there will be very little wriggle room, ask for to much and all the EU will do is point towards the 'exit clauses' built into the Lisbon Treaty (at the UK's behest?) and tell Cameron to ask the British electorate what they want to do..”..

    Firstly, we were denied a referendum on the Lisbon treaty and then you say the EU will say to Cameron that we should be given a referendum on whether to stay in the EU because we don’t agree with the Lisbon Treaty, a treaty on which we were not given a say – what unbelievable arrogance!

    Secondly, your comment shows the mindset of the Europhile. If you see a possibility of things not working out in favour of an ever closer union, you come up with threats. The EU did this with the Irish.

    Thirdly, threatening the UK cuts both ways. The EU cannot pay its way without our excessive contribution and we are a very important market for our EU competitors – they sell far more to us than we do to them. They would wish to accommodate Cameron’s demands as it is in their interest to do so. You should remember that it is much easier to threaten a small country like Eire, a net beneficiary of EU money, than the UK.

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  • 71. At 8:15pm on 27 Oct 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    58. At 5:47pm on 27 Oct 2009, Benefactor wrote:

    "I don't think we should censure SuffolkBoy2 ... "

    My multiple posts are very short, usually. If you add up the number of words, which you could do with your word processor, I believe you will find that I post much less than some others.

    One of my reasons for the multiple posts is that if something is deemed to be offensive only part of my posting will be removed and not all of it.

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  • 72. At 8:17pm on 27 Oct 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    58. At 5:47pm on 27 Oct 2009, Benefactor wrote:

    " ... SuffolkBoy2, his multiple posts in a row (along with the content) just show that he types a lot faster than he thinks."

    Would you like to go outside and say that?

    If so, then please go outside and say it.

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  • 73. At 8:19pm on 27 Oct 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To busby2 (70):

    On your points...

    1) The only question that matters for the EU and all other member states, is Britain a democracy or not. If it is democracy, then the decision of the parliament to accept the Lisbon Treaty was legal. Now if Britain isn't democracy, then it can't be anymore member of the EU? So is Britain democracy or not? Now, if the answer is yes, then UK has to comply with the Lisbon Treaty, if it doesn't comply it is in violation of the treaty and thus it's member ship will be frozen.

    2) It is not threatening. The facts are just what they are. The thing is, in practice any vote about the Lisbon Treaty after it has become in force will be about the membership of the UK in the EU.

    3) North see oil was behind the economic renewal of UK under Margaret Thatcher and still contributed to the fat years of 90s and 00s under Tony Blair. The oil is starting to run out and so it will not anymore fuel British economy as it has in past. So if Britain wants to keep its prosperity and way of life, it has to rely on other sectors, namely to manufacturing and new technology. In short, very soon Britain has to start exporting more than it imports, being inside the EU benefits this target and being inside the Euro is the only possibility of the whole renewal to succeed. Manufacturing and high tech firms really do need the EU and the Euro.

    By the way, what do you want... Why is it so hard to just take your belonging and leave the EU? Why is it always that what Britain wants is, is to change the way how the EU works. The only problem with this is that the EU works as continental European countries want it to work and it is working very well. So, why are you complaining that the europhiles are threatening when they are asking to decide on being in or out?

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  • 74. At 8:31pm on 27 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #67 - busby2

    It looks as though we do not need any further censorship from outside as one of our number has taken on the task for his or herself. There was nothing racist or offensive about my post at #No.68 and if we are reduced to being referred simply because what we say is not liked by some, it makes something of a nonsense of the whole process.

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  • 75. At 8:49pm on 27 Oct 2009, yamotto wrote:

    One reason alone to not go into the EU
    comes from Bill of Rights 1689
    which states

    And I doe declare That noe Forreigne Prince Person Prelate, State or Potentate hath or ought to have any Jurisdiction Power Superiority Preeminence or Authoritie Ecclesiasticall or Spirituall within this Realme Soe helpe me God
    which means we shall NOT be ruled by any foreign power unless we have been defeated in war, which we have not so our very entry into the EU is illegal under common law & also treason

    Please remember William and Mary (who shared joint monarchy) and they could not take the throne of England until they signed, thus, as Magna Carta, another contract between the people and the monarchy, that in Constitutional law cannot be broken and certainly cannot be touched by any parliament. A contract cast in stone as was Magna Carta

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  • 76. At 8:52pm on 27 Oct 2009, I am not a number wrote:

    #69. yamotto "are you saying that the red house report is a fake?"

    Yes it is, the fact that the Daily Mail is the only newspaper which reported it says enough. If you're bored I suggest watching this. It's both amusing and enlightening. :)

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  • 77. At 8:53pm on 27 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #59. At 5:53pm on 27 Oct 2009, yamotto wrote:

    "In reply to comment 56--Boilerplated
    There is plenty of historical evidence which supports my statements"


    Then you will not have any problem citing documented proof, a video made as political propaganda, introduced by a well known euroscreptic (and UKIP member) is not proof, cite a printed document, preferably original, signed, dated and certified original...

    But lets remind ourselves what you said, "First EEC conference Berlin University 1942, 13 nation summit Berlin 1943 run by von Ribbentrop", you do realise what was happening in 1942 don't you, and even if there could have been 13 European nations gathered around the same table in Berlin the very circumstances would mean that few would have been their out of choice, and after 1945 why would France want to have anything to do with a plan hatched by a German leader that occupied France and more importantly killed many of it's citizens?

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  • 78. At 9:03pm on 27 Oct 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To Boilerplated (77):

    :D

    "after 1945 why would France want to have anything to do with a plan hatched by a German leader that occupied France and more importantly killed many of it's citizens?"

    So much that they proposed the formation of the European Steel and Coal Community in 1950 and we know what organization was spanned from it...

    Wake up sheeple!

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  • 79. At 9:09pm on 27 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    65. At 7:13pm on 27 Oct 2009, yamotto wrote:

    "To Benefactor no proof of burden upon me...//..."

    Of course there is, you are the one calling into question accepted European history from the last 70 years, if the documented proof is so easy to find and you have found the proof you will have no problems citing your proof will you? Just telling us that you are correct because you say you are correct simply doesn't cut the mustard, sorry, anyone can make unfounded claims, the internet is awash with them, anyone can create a website to back up their own views - first rule of research, never use the internet, and if you do, back up your citations with a printed, peer-reviewed, document, book or paper...

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  • 80. At 9:12pm on 27 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    75 - yamotto

    But one of the 'fundamental freedoms' that so many eurosceptics are so fond of trumpeting is that no government shall be bound by the legislation enacted by predecessors - that they may amend, amplify or repeal as the Parliament of the day sees fit.

    There is technically no reason why a future parliament - were it to completely lose its collective marbles - should not repeal the Bill of Rights, 1689 or the Great Reform Acts, 1832 and 1867 for that matter.

    You may have a point about Magna Carta (although it was a contract between the crown and the baronetcy, not the ordinary people) but nothing parliament has enacted is not susceptible of being 'unenacted'.

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  • 81. At 9:25pm on 27 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    70. At 7:48pm on 27 Oct 2009, busby2 wrote:

    [ re post Lisbon options ]
    "what unbelievable arrogance!

    Yes, the anti EU agitators are arrogant, try dealing in the fact and not fantasy that you parade as fact, are you seriously saying that Cameron would be able to renegotiate the Lisbon Treaty if the treaty is in operation - even Cameron admits that his hands will be tied, that is why he can't state what he would do if he becomes Prime Minister, why he is just using waffle...

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  • 82. At 9:28pm on 27 Oct 2009, Freeborn John wrote:

    Threnodio (68): It may have been possible for the general public to believe the WMD story in 2003, but it is no longer possible to believe that Blair believed it. It is clear now that the diplomacy was made to fit the military planning and not the other way around; that they were looking for an excuse that might justify action they were planning to take in any case, and that Bush and Blair discussed the fabrication of a range of possible excuses, e.g. a shot down U2 spyplane, etc.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/27/international/europe/27memo.html?_r=1

    With the Juncker stalking-horse coming out today, and with Berlusconi being ill and his foreign minister withdrawing Italian support for Blair, it would seem Blair’s campaign is rapidly losing momentum, with Miliband the one most likely to benefit.

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  • 83. At 9:35pm on 27 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    75. At 8:49pm on 27 Oct 2009, yamotto wrote:

    "One reason alone to not go into the EU
    comes from Bill of Rights 1689
    which states ..//.."


    Goodness sake, go back far enough and I'm sure you'll find compelling reasons why we should go back to living in caves!

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  • 84. At 9:42pm on 27 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #82 - Freeborn-John

    Yes, I am sure that's right and I do not dispute it but is is still an awfully long way from anything for which you might be dragged in front of the ICC.

    My point is that it is not really relevant. In fact there are those who might think that the ability to pursue a pragmatic agenda was a positive advantage (I am not one of them, by the way).

    On your final paragraph, I think I would prefer Blair in the senior role than Miliband in the more powerful one.

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  • 85. At 9:48pm on 27 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    78. At 9:03pm on 27 Oct 2009, Jukka_Rohila wrote:

    "To Boilerplated (77):

    "after 1945 why would France want to have anything to do with a plan hatched by a German leader that occupied France and more importantly killed many of it's citizens?"

    So much that they proposed the formation of the European Steel and Coal Community in 1950 and we know what organization was spanned from it... "


    Slight difference, France was in the driving seat and West(ern) Germany needed all the trade (exports) it could get!

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  • 86. At 9:48pm on 27 Oct 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    Austrian Radio Website reports Czech Constitutional Court has delayed its decision until 3. November.

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  • 87. At 9:49pm on 27 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #66 - Jukka_Rohila

    So the UK will have to leave when Croatia joins or the Care Bear's cunning plan is blown clean out of the water?

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  • 88. At 9:49pm on 27 Oct 2009, yamotto wrote:

    @ 83 Boilerplated

    Goodness sake, go back far enough and I'm sure you'll find compelling reasons why we should go back to living in caves
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The law is the law m8 does not matter how old it is ;)

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  • 89. At 10:02pm on 27 Oct 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To threnodio (87):

    Care Bears don't care about Croatia. Care Bears care about getting the Lisbon Treaty in place and advancing the European integration into a new stage.

    You see, if Cameron tries to blackmail Care Bears with the Accession treaty of Croatia, in essence demanding new opt-outs or a new form of relationship for UK with the EU, it is the most economical option for Care Bears just sit and do nothing.

    This is because if Cameron tries to blackmail and Care Bears won't give in...
    1) The fault of Croatia not becoming an EU member is because of the UK.
    2) The fault of Ireland not getting its concessions in paper is because of the UK.

    UK already does have a bad reputation regarding being an EU member so when the Care Bears just say that Cameron's proposal was unacceptable in any form then that it what the public will believe.

    After the incident Cameron has only two options, put an referendum on either staying in or going out of the EU, or loosing all political credibility.

    Care Bears really don't like loosing and in this case for UK, it is only you can only loose option if the people of Britain wont submit to the will of the Care Bears.

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  • 90. At 10:06pm on 27 Oct 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To threnodio (87):

    By the way, were you also referring to my comment of 73? As that was I thought when replying to your comment...

    Either way...

    The answer is still the same: Care Bears win.

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  • 91. At 10:16pm on 27 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    88. At 9:49pm on 27 Oct 2009, yamotto wrote:

    "The law is the law m8 does not matter how old it is"

    If every law that is (technically) still on the statute book was enacted I doubt that many people in the UK would have clear criminal records (and some might even be dead or deported), laws fall out of use, and in any case the "Bill of Rights" only relates to the Monarchs working relationship with the politicians, giving politicians the powers that previously were held by the monarch - the ability to make law - in fact if anything the "Bill of Rights" actually gives the government of the day the right to enact legislation, thus the Lisbon ratification is protected by the "Bill of Rights"!

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  • 92. At 10:23pm on 27 Oct 2009, yamotto wrote:

    And yet more proof that getting us into the EU is illegal
    go search for Anthony Royle MP Report
    yes i have a hard copy of these files which are offical papers from parliament with the crest & from the parliamentary under secretary of state & stamped secret but are now spent under the offical secrets act so anyone can obtain them
    albert burgess a great gentleman & ex policeman is currently pressing a case for treason against the corrupt ones involved

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  • 93. At 10:28pm on 27 Oct 2009, Keith wrote:

    @yamotto #88: Doesn't that oath of allegiance you quoted from the 1689 Bill of Rights have the words "ecclesiastical or spiritual" in it?

    There would seem to be a fairly obvious loophole in that: there's no mention of temporal power. And perhaps for good reason: if your interpretation was accurate, then it would seem at least on the face of it that the House of Orange, and later of Hanover/Saxe-Coburg-Gotha/Windsor, could never have ascended to the monarchy in the first place. Further, the purpose of the Oath is to ensure England's freedom from the Church in Rome - it is a bit of a stretch to apply that to a transnational alliance.

    As for the 1689 Bill of Rights, it can be repealed in whole or in part by any Act of Parliament, just as the Magna Carta can (and has been; only three clauses of it remain in force today: the freedom of the Church. the freedom of the City of London and the right to due process).

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  • 94. At 10:29pm on 27 Oct 2009, kasbah wrote:

    "He said the choice for the UK was simple"

    Choice? What choice is this that Milliband is referring to? Surely what he means is "the choice for the government was simple", because to say that the UK had a choice suggests that it is the country at large that has a choice, when in reality we know that these decisions are far too important to be left to the public to decide!!

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  • 95. At 10:35pm on 27 Oct 2009, yamotto wrote:

    @91 -Boilerplated

    in fact if anything the "Bill of Rights" actually gives the government of the day the right to enact legislation, thus the Lisbon ratification is protected by the "Bill of Rights"!
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    You have not read & understood that
    And I doe declare That noe Forreigne Prince Person Prelate, State or Potentate hath or ought to have any Jurisdiction Power Superiority Preeminence or Authoritie Ecclesiasticall or Spirituall within this Realme Soe helpe me God
    which means we shall NOT be ruled by any foreign power unless we have been defeated in war, which we have not so our very entry into the EU is illegal under common law & also treason

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  • 96. At 10:44pm on 27 Oct 2009, yamotto wrote:

    @ 93 Keith Jones
    Well there are bill of rights 1689 & also bill of rights 1688
    And dont forget Article 61 magna carta

    Rebellion in itself has a number of different meanings and is in fact quite close to another word that seems to be on everyone’s lips; Revolution. Defined meaning of Rebellion;

    1. Refusal to accept some authority or code or convention.
    2. An act or show of defiance toward an authority or established government.

    Defined meaning of Lawful;

    1. Being within the law; allowed by law: lawful methods of dissent. (The lawful refusal to conform to the authority that is unjust)

    Under article 61 of Magna Carta 1215 (the founding document of our Constitution) we have a right to enter into lawful rebellion if we feel we are being governed unjustly. Contrary to common belief our Sovereign and her government are only there to govern us and not to rule us and this must be done within the constraint of our Common Law and the freedoms asserted to us by such Law, nothing can become law in this country if it falls outside of this simple constraint.

    Article 61 shows quite clearly who really holds the power in this country, that being quite simply us the people; we have Sovereignty not any Parliament and nor can this be taken from us by any Parliament who claim to have taken the people’s Sovereignty. As defined above any act passed by a Parliament to remove the power the people possess, or to remove the power from the point of constraint we invested the power in, is invalid as it falls outside of the constraint laid down by Common/Constitutional Law.

    This is a simple safeguard put in place to protect our freedoms under said law and to never allow such freedoms to be removed or diminished. So in reality any Act, Statute and subsequent law or legislation formed by these actions, that effects our freedoms asserted to us, is quite evidently unjust, invalid and most certainly illegal

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  • 97. At 11:10pm on 27 Oct 2009, Keith wrote:

    @96 yamotto

    The 1215 Charter may have founded our Constitution, but it did not continue forevermore unamended. As I understand it, the 1297 Charter replaced the 1215 one. And much of that has since been repealed by various Repeal Acts between 1863 and 1969.

    And given that the 1215 Magna Carta was an agreement between the Crown and rebellious barons, was violated a year later by the same monarch who signed it, and was later revised, I would consider somewhat suspect any attempts to refer specifically to the 1215 Charter as any kind of legal position.

    Also, as I understand it, the 1688 Bill of Rights is the 1689 Bill of Rights.

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  • 98. At 11:12pm on 27 Oct 2009, Keith wrote:

    I'd also question whether yamotto thinks that Article 54 of the 1215 Charter ("No one shall be arrested or imprisoned upon the appeal of a woman, for the death of any other than her husband") is still in force...?

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  • 99. At 11:20pm on 27 Oct 2009, Keith wrote:

    @97 - correction of sloppy wording: "As I understand it, the 1297 Charter replaced the 1215 one."

    Sorry, that should read that the 1297 Charter was the most recent replacement of the 1215 one. It was reissued in 1216 (without Article 61, I might add) and subsequently reissued in 1225 and 1297 with substantial amendments.

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  • 100. At 11:20pm on 27 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #92. At 10:23pm on 27 Oct 2009, yamotto wrote:

    "And yet more proof that getting us into the EU is illegal
    go search for..//.."


    Cows come from Mars, I've got the evidence to prove it but you will have to go and find it for yourself, those who think that cows belong to the bovine family of animals are just plain wrong!

    If you want us to believe that you are anything more than another anti EU agitator you will have to cite your references, after all you say that you have researched all of this...

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  • 101. At 11:24pm on 27 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    95. At 10:35pm on 27 Oct 2009, yamotto wrote:

    [ re "Bill of Rights" ]

    "You have not read & understood"

    Don't reflect your problem on to others. The 'Bill of Rights' was a method to remove absolute power from the monarch and replace it with what we now known of as a parliamentary democracy.

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  • 102. At 11:39pm on 27 Oct 2009, yamotto wrote:

    @ 92-Boilerplated

    If you want us to believe that you are anything more than another anti EU agitator you will have to cite your references, after all you say that you have researched all of this...
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I dont want you to believe anything i say in fact i want you to go seek out the information for yourself that is the point i am trying to make to you dont you get it yet?
    And ofc our government does not lie do they?
    no ofc not like when G-Brown said we would have a referendum lol
    sorry but if i,m a anti eu agitator is that not my own free personal choice? or would you prefer it if freedom of speech & choice was policed?
    dictatorship suits you sir

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  • 103. At 11:41pm on 27 Oct 2009, yamotto wrote:

    @ 97 Keith Jones
    i have already used article 61 of the magna carta & futher more got a letter from my local county council admitting it is still in force & can be used today

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  • 104. At 11:50pm on 27 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    102. At 11:39pm on 27 Oct 2009, yamotto wrote:

    "I dont want you to believe anything"

    Of course you do, otherwise you would not be wasting your time posting it here!

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  • 105. At 11:55pm on 27 Oct 2009, Keith wrote:

    @103 yamotto

    Interesting. So do you think Article 54 of the 1215 Charter is still in force?

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  • 106. At 11:57pm on 27 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    "yamotto", what gets me about what you are spouting is this, if you are correct why has no other euro-septic, many with years of legal training, many with years of constitutional training, not discovered these legal loop-holes that make the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty 'illegal', very strange that...

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  • 107. At 11:59pm on 27 Oct 2009, yamotto wrote:

    @ 104 Boilerplated

    I,m just expressing my own points of view & reasons for not going into the EU & you sir are getting quite heated up because i,m NOT pro EU like you
    such a shame isnt it?
    i dont know maybe soon we can all be agent smith clones & all like the same thing :D

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  • 108. At 00:01am on 28 Oct 2009, yamotto wrote:

    @ 105 & 106
    TPUC

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  • 109. At 00:05am on 28 Oct 2009, busby2 wrote:

    Jukka_Rohila #73

    On your points
    "1) The only question that matters for the EU and all other member states, is Britain a democracy or not. If it is democracy, then the decision of the parliament to accept the Lisbon Treaty was legal. Now if Britain isn't democracy, then it can't be anymore member of the EU? So is Britain democracy or not? Now, if the answer is yes, then UK has to comply with the Lisbon Treaty, if it doesn't comply it is in violation of the treaty and thus it's member ship will be frozen”.

    You make a point about democracy and ignore the fact staring you in the face that the EU is undemocratic!!! Unbelievable!

    It is bad enough having a Parliamentary democracy which makes bad decisions but we do at least have the right to vote our Government out of office. We do not have any such rights concerning the dictatorial EU whose every act is to bring member states into an ever closer union, irrespective of the views of the people of Europe. The last thing they ever want to do is to have the people of Europe question, let along, change those decisions.

    And when you lecture us on democracy, you should remember that any democratic rights enjoyed by the people of Europe stem from our refusal on these islands to cave to Hitler’s threats and to protect our freedoms.

    "2) It is not threatening. The facts are just what they are. The thing is, in practice any vote about the Lisbon Treaty after it has become in force will be about the membership of the UK in the EU".

    If you had read what I said, you will know that the promises made to Ireland need to be incorporated into a treaty and the next one will be the Croatian Accession Treaty. This will open Pandora’s Box to renegotiate the Lisbon Treaty as we could block both the implementation of the promises made to Eire and the accession of Croatia.

    I see in another post that you wrote that if Cameron tried these tactics of renegotiating Lisbon, you said this would result in us being blamed for the failure to admit Croatia and the implementation of the Irish concessions. This would simply mean that the EU will grind to a halt in these areas. The blame for this would lie with EU promises to Ireland that opened up the Lisbon Treaty to renegotiation and this would be a VERY easy message for Cameron to sell to the British people. There is no way that Cameron would be forced by other member states to hold a referendum on withdrawal from the EU – how could they force us to take that action?

    "3) North see oil was behind the economic renewal of UK under Margaret Thatcher and still contributed to the fat years of 90s and 00s under Tony Blair. The oil is starting to run out and so it will not anymore fuel British economy as it has in past. So if Britain wants to keep its prosperity and way of life, it has to rely on other sectors, namely to manufacturing and new technology. In short, very soon Britain has to start exporting more than it imports, being inside the EU benefits this target and being inside the Euro is the only possibility of the whole renewal to succeed. Manufacturing and high tech firms really do need the EU and the Euro".

    I don’t see it that way. If we were in the Euro zone now, our economic position would be even worse that it is. We need to trade not only with the EU but the rest of the world and we would not have a hope of succeeding if we had an uncompetitive exchange rate and were unable to control monetary and fiscal policy.

    The Irish crash was due to their membership of the Euro which kept interest rates far too low for far too long. I wonder how long it will be before the EU puts real pressure on the Irish to reduce their budget deficit? After all every state should not run a deficit greater than 3%!


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  • 110. At 00:34am on 28 Oct 2009, Keith wrote:

    @108 Yes I've already seen that crackpot site, having found it when I researched one of your earlier answers that, as it turned out, you'd apparently lifted wholesale from it. I take it then that you don't wish to answer the question of whether Article 54 of the 1215 Magna Carta is still in force; I can't blame you. I would, further, put it to you that your poor, overworked local council was perhaps not "on the ball" in declaring that Article 61 of said Charter is still in force when in reality, it is not.

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  • 111. At 00:49am on 28 Oct 2009, yamotto wrote:

    @ 110 Keith Jones

    Ok If you think its all crackpot then please prove me wrong with hard proven evidence? i mean you seem to know it all & i,m the wacky one here so its your turn to prove me wrong.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------ & my poor overworked local council was perhaps not "on the ball" in declaring that Article 61 of said Charter is still in force when in reality it is not
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Sorry had a giggling fit there :D yup the legal dept of my local council must not understand legalese & have no knowledge of common law. rofl good one :)

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  • 112. At 00:57am on 28 Oct 2009, Keith wrote:

    @109 Id just like to raise a couple of nitpicks about the first couple of paragraphs of your response there.

    You make a point about democracy and ignore the fact staring you in the face that the EU is undemocratic!!! Unbelievable!

    It is bad enough having a Parliamentary democracy which makes bad decisions but we do at least have the right to vote our Government out of office. We do not have any such rights concerning the dictatorial EU whose every act is to bring member states into an ever closer union, irrespective of the views of the people of Europe. The last thing they ever want to do is to have the people of Europe question, let along, change those decisions.


    Well, the extent to which the EU is "dictatorial" is determined by its Member State Governments, who are themselves democratically elected (for a given value of "democracy"; your mileage may vary), and by European Parliamentarians who have a direct mandate from their electors (ditto). The Commission is appointed and approved by both these bodies.

    So whilst it would be a stretch to claim that the EU is a paragon of democracy (it isn't; any chain is only as good as its weakest link, there are 27 links in that chain, and no Government would be keen on granting to the EU greater democratic authority than it itself possesses), it isn't entirely undemocratic either. Indeed, it's considerably more so than any of the other international organizations of which we are a member (though on the other hand, the EU does do an awful lot more than those organizations).

    People can, I think, get hung up on the phrase "ever closer union". It's an aspirational phrase. It does not automatically mean a one-way ticket to ever greater centralization - and indeed there have been occasions when measures have been repealed (a recent case where a bunch of regulations about fruits were ditched springs to mind) and where there have been signs of movement in the other direction (the 'yellow card' and 'orange card' system that would apply under Lisbon if it is passed). The people and politicians of the 27 Member States are made up of union-statists, federalists, confederalists, anti-federalists and different shades of opinion across the spectrum. Perhaps not to the extent that the general public is, but then that's a symptom of any political class.

    And when you lecture us on democracy, you should remember that any democratic rights enjoyed by the people of Europe stem from our refusal on these islands to cave to Hitler’s threats and to protect our freedoms.

    That doesn't necessarily make the form of democracy we have in the UK any better. Indeed, a cursory examination of the current situation - an unelected Head of State, an entirely unelected upper chamber to which one has lifetime membership once appointed - would tend to suggest that there are some serious deficiencies in it. Which are only mitigated by various settlements that have served to centralize power first in Parliament, then in the Commons, then more recently in the Government of the day.

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  • 113. At 01:12am on 28 Oct 2009, Keith wrote:

    Ok If you think its all crackpot then please prove me wrong with hard proven evidence? i mean you seem to know it all & i,m the wacky one here so its your turn to prove me wrong.

    I'm trying, but for some reason you keep refusing to answer my questions. I wonder why that is? Because your answer would make it obvious that you're wrong, even to YOU, perhaps?

    Sorry had a giggling fit there :D yup the legal dept of my local council must not understand legalese & have no knowledge of common law. rofl good one :)

    You'd be surprised.

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  • 114. At 01:31am on 28 Oct 2009, yamotto wrote:

    @113 Keith Jones

    Well seeing as you know all the answers point me to the ACT or statute that Repeals article 61 of the magna carta
    as i,m trying to be a good citizen & learn the error of my ways :)
    and which ACT or statute says that the magna carta is no longer a force to be reckoned with in common law
    i dont seem to be able to find it :s
    we need to have a COMMON PURPOSE to settle this methinks

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  • 115. At 01:53am on 28 Oct 2009, Keith wrote:

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

  • 116. At 02:03am on 28 Oct 2009, Keith wrote:

    Addendum - As far as the repeal of specific clauses of the 1297 Charter are concerned, the relevant statutes are:

    Offences against the Person Act 1828
    Statute Law Revision Act 1863 (1872 in Ireland)
    Civil Procedure Acts Repeal Act 1879
    Statute Law Revision Act 1887
    Sheriffs Act 1887
    Statute Law Revision Act 1892
    Administration of Estates Act 1925 (1955 in NI)
    Statute Law Revision Act 1948
    Criminal Law Act 1967
    Statute Law (Repeals) Act 1969

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  • 117. At 02:12am on 28 Oct 2009, Keith wrote:

    @114 yamotto

    I'll try again, as the lengthier version of my explanation with complete citations apparently broke the House Rules (!)... I hope this heavily edited version passes muster!

    In short, Wikipedia is your friend. The external links section of the "Magna Carta" page includes a scholarly essay on the 1297 Charter which states that it was reissued four times (in 1216, 1217, 1225 and 1297), and that the 1297 Charter was the first one that was actually enshrined in English law. The 1215 Charter, while significant from a historical perspective, is not relevant from a legal one.

    As such, citing the 1215 Charter as a basis for the unlawful nature of a subsequent Act of Parliament (including the European Communities Act 1972) doesn't really work.

    (I hope this satisfies the requirements of topicality... sorry mods!)

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  • 118. At 02:14am on 28 Oct 2009, yamotto wrote:

    Hmm most seem irish themed/sunday fairs :s
    which would not account for anything now
    however one does also show that todays magistates courts are indeed a court of defacto & not dejure:)
    anyhow still within that lot could not find the specific one which deals with article 61 & says it has been repealed

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  • 119. At 02:28am on 28 Oct 2009, Keith wrote:

    @118 yamotto

    And you won't find it, because the 1215 Charter is not legally relevant, as explained in #117 (and the document it references), and hasn't been legally relevant for more than 700 years. If you ask what repealed it, the answer is, quite simply, the 1216 Charter. That too is no longer legally relevant, as it was superceded by the later issues of 1217, 1225 and finally 1297. My point in citing the relevant Acts of Parliament that repeal provisions of the 1297 issue of the Charter is to illustrate that, despite folkloric myth, the Charter is not, in fact, inviolable, and hasn't been so for 181 years.

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  • 120. At 02:43am on 28 Oct 2009, yamotto wrote:

    Seems strange that Habeas corpus is part & parcel of common law which is still in force today & has been used not too long ago yet people have a hard time believing the magna carta can still be used also
    i guess not enough test cases as thats what law is based upon previous test cases & this is why a lot of people are trying to push it in whatever battle they are fighting & for what reasons to keep us out of the EU
    anyway m8 been great chatting to you intresting
    good night ;)

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  • 121. At 03:12am on 28 Oct 2009, Keith wrote:

    @120

    It may be true to say that habeas corpus originates with the 1215 Charter. The present-day legal basis for it would be the Habeas Corpus Act 1679 (and subsequent Acts passed in the 19th century), though.

    The comment that people "have a hard time believing the magna carta can still be used" is telling; you see, it really is a matter of faith, and save for the remaining three clauses in the 1297 Charter, has no basis in (legal) reality (though of course, that doesn't mean you can't fool unsuspecting council officials who don't know any better). Who do you expect people to believe - TPUC, a website of questionable authority (which is being kind), or Nicholas Vincent, a Professor of Medieval History at UEA who happens to be Director of the British Academy’s Angevin Acta Project? By all means, you guys at TPUC write to him and tell him he doesn't know what he is talking about - I look forward to seeing the chain of correspondence. I suspect another Lenski dialog will be in the offing, somehow.

    As for "keeping us out of the EU", it's a bit late for that, isn't it? We're already in it. We've been in it since 1993. The question in some circles is whether we wish to remain in it.

    Seriously, look; there are plenty of legitimate reasons to question the nature and scope of the EU, our level of involvement in it, the direction in which it is going and so forth. But foolishness such as this simply makes anti-federalists look bad by association. This is why NO2ID never bought the line about Article 61 of the Magna Carta (as can be seen if you search through their forum), and it's also why it's not a good argument to use here, either.

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  • 122. At 05:48am on 28 Oct 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    Boilerplated wrote:
    ""yamotto", what gets me about what you are spouting is this, if you are correct why has no other euro-septic, many with years of legal training, many with years of constitutional training, not discovered these legal loop-holes that make the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty 'illegal', very strange that..."

    Your faith in the certainty of the law is touching, Boilerplated. So is your faith in the "years of legal training" and "years of constitutional training". Most of the lawyers I know are cretins who spend their waking hours trying to rip off the taxpayer, but it is delightful to think that we are held in high esteem by the general rank and file of society. It is a bit the dog who loved his fleas for my taste, or the pig who wanted to make sausages.

    Now with respect to this idea that the Lisbon treaty might be "illegal", I think you are using entirely the wrong words. Illegality is a class based concept. We use different words for the notion of being contrary to law, depending on whom we wish to describe. When poor people transgress the law, police are entitled to arrest them and to intimidate them and to describe them as "breaking the law". It would be correct to say these worker drones behave in a manner which is "illegal", if they should come into possession of property which is not strictly their own. We might even call them "thieves".

    But when a banker, a doctor or a lawyer comes into property which is not their own, this is more properly described as a breach of contract. You see. Not "illegal", but rather an actionable wrong. So when the bank steals the money from your account, or when you doctor lies to you in order to generate referrals for his golfing buddies, or when your lawyer over estimates his bill, these are not the actions of a thieves behaving illegally.

    Now moving up the food chain, when we discuss politicians and party members, we find that pretty much anything goes. Politicians can't be held to their promises, because votes are not even a contractual term giving rise to actionable wrongs. And when politicians come into property which is not their own, as we have seen vividly in the not so distant past, we must understand that this is simply part of the job. Sometimes they say sorry and sometimes they give the property back, but sometimes they don't, too. It is non-justiciable, meaning that judges are not interested.

    So, this idea that the party could behave illegally..... please, this is ridiculous. It is like saying Blair and Bush should be tried for war crimes. It is absurd. War crimes are only for losers. In fact, the whole point of war crimes trials is to sneer at the loser and to treat him like a worker drone. In this way we demonstrate that he is not the refined quality person he thought he was at the time.

    Such as the Serbian fellow, Karaditch or whatever his name is. Who the hell did he think he was, ordering those attacks which left civilians dead all over the place? Tony Blair? Well, he isn't Tony Blair, in fact he is no better than the worker drone sitting next to you. It is therefore entirely possible for Karrotisch to behave "illegally".

    But it is absolutely un-possible for a ranking party member to behave illegally. That is just silly.

    What is the point of having a party and appointing judges if the law doesn't give the right sort of chaps some room to move?

    Now there may be troublemakers out there who believe that everyone is equal before the law, but these people are mentally disturbed and probably terrorists into the bargain. What these troublemakers want is to drag good and decent fellows down into the muck with them, because they can't stand the sight of winners having a good time.

    That is why it is called a "party", don't you know? Because all the right sort of people are invited, and everyone has a swell time, and the academic grumblies and the lower orders of humanity are left outside with the police and the hounds.

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  • 123. At 08:43am on 28 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #18 Seedorf1023

    Scary stuff indeed. Washington RESPECTS Blair, knows him certainly but respects I wonder. I think they probably respect Merkel but she is, unfortunately, otherwise engaged at the moment. Someone asked for views from other countries I can only speak for what I see and hear here in France and I have not heard a good word for Blair. That said it's complicated by the fact the Sarkozy is very unpopular and his perceived support for Blair would make that unpopular. Those French that I know who has expressed an opinion don't like Blair because he supported Bush and the war in Iraq.

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  • 124. At 08:57am on 28 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #24 SamuelLMatthews
    I can't quite make the math work out here. If all the EU nations voted for one of their own with a first past the post system i.e. 50% of the votes cast no one would be elected. I can't see whats wrong with allowing the European Parliament to select the president from one of their number rather in the same way that the UK Parliament selects it's leader. At least the EU parliament is democratically elected (whatever the sceptics might say). Do we really need all the flim flam and hype that the US uses? Who needs a system that takes two years to elect a president and so much money it's obscene? Maybe time for a change.

    As far as Gavin's original post is concerned while I think the EU could do with a little more profile I'm not so sure about high profile flag waving. ~The EU's real power comes from being the world's largest economy, having a strong and respected currency and serious technological know how. Those in charge of other countries know this they don't need the hype, they know the real power of the EU. The military side is another matter and needs a lot of work, but given the mess that military intervention has caused in the last few years maybe that is no bad thing.

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  • 125. At 09:00am on 28 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #25 AnemosUK
    I cannot fault that statement most of the Brit anti EU people should preface their posts with 'Confused of the UK'.

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  • 126. At 09:03am on 28 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #121 - Keith Jones
    #120 - yamotto

    I am obliged to KJ for all the detailed information which serves to underline my original thinking that no statute law is written in stone since this would compromise the sovereignty of parliament and its freedom to amend or repeal. As regards Habeus Corpus, it is important to distinguish between statute law and the common law. The common law, put in very simple terms, is the power of the judiciary to decide issues on the basis of 'that which is fair and reasonable'. Habeus Corpus is de facto law because it is regarded by judges as a fundamental human right. It has certainly been refined and defined by statute law but it remains basically a principle of the common law.

    (#97 - KJ) The 1688 Bill of Rights became An Act Declaring the Rights and Liberties of the Subject and Settling the Succession of the Crown, 1689 but continues to be called The Bill of Rights under the provisions of the Short Titles Act 1896. So KJ is right - it is one and the same thing. The full title, however, is very important in this exchange because it established a very important principle. The Restoration was agreed on the basis that the crown, in the person of Charles II was subservient to the will of Parliament. Thus when the line of succession is broken, it is Parliament who decides the succession. Therefore KJ's remark way back at #93 is very important. The Houses of Orange and Hanover/Saxe-Coburg-Gotha/Windsor were in fact Royal Families at the invitation of Parliament. This underlines the principle of the reigning monarch being 'sovereign in parliament' and thus the sovereignty of parliament is perpetuated.

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  • 127. At 09:11am on 28 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #107. At 11:59pm on 27 Oct 2009, yamotto wrote:

    "I,m just expressing my own points of view & reasons for not going into the EU & you sir are getting quite heated up because i,m NOT pro EU like you"

    I have no problems if people are anti the EU, I do have problems if they use lies and half truths to try and bolster their rational, or when they make claims that they don't seem able to reference, using peer reviewed documents.

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  • 128. At 09:11am on 28 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #28 Andy-in-France

    In my opinion the most serious and undemocratic aspect of the whole EU process is not the undeservedly demonised commission in Brussels it is the way the the EU heads of state continue to exercise control through the back door.
    They will have the control of who is President, not the Parliament which is democratically elected, but a cabal of European leaders. Ok I accept they are, in the main, elected democratically but in the role of European power brokers we have very little control or say in their decisions.
    This is in, my view, the biggest single disservice that the sceptic tendency has wrought within the EU. By continually attacking the EU parliament and, in the case of the UK electing rabid anti Europeans, they have assisted the EU heads of state in their stealth campaign to retain power. By saying that the EU parliament should not have power they have handed control to a cabal.

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  • 129. At 09:15am on 28 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #111. At 00:49am on 28 Oct 2009, yamotto wrote:

    "yup the legal dept of my local council must not understand legalese & have no knowledge of common law. rofl good one"

    It wouldn't be the first time, nor the last (I suspect), hence why people have taken their councils to the law courts and won!

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  • 130. At 09:19am on 28 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    109. At 00:05am on 28 Oct 2009, busby2 wrote:

    "You make a point about democracy and ignore the fact staring you in the face that the EU is undemocratic!!! Unbelievable! "

    Oh look, it's pots and kettles time again. Unbelievable!

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  • 131. At 09:41am on 28 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #122. At 05:48am on 28 Oct 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    "Boilerplated wrote:
    ""yamotto", what gets me about what you are spouting is this, if you are correct why has no other euro-septic, many with years of legal training, many with years of constitutional training, not discovered these legal loop-holes that make the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty 'illegal', very strange that..."

    Your faith in the certainty of the law is touching, Boilerplated. So is your faith in the "years of legal training" and "years of constitutional training". Most of the lawyers I know are cretins who spend their waking hours trying to rip off the taxpayer...//..."


    You are entitled to your opinion... I was actually referring to the highly knowledgeable people who actually write the Bills that become Acts that become Law, if those people have never raised the issues being raised by "yamotto" is there really any hope that s/he is correct? It's getting on for 40 years since the UK first had to write an Bill/Act/Law to allow the country to legally join the (old) EEC, it's 27 years since the UK had to ratify SEA, 17 since Maastricht, 5 since Nice, and now Lisbon, are you seriously suggesting that in all that time someone would not have raised the issue if there was any mileage in it at all?!

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  • 132. At 09:50am on 28 Oct 2009, Mathiasen wrote:

    #128, T1m0thy
    I would wait a second with these conclusions. Politicians appointed the chairman of the commission to begin with. Today the commission must be approved by the parliament.
    We are far from the end in the development of the union, and I agree that it will be a lot more interesting to discuss that theme and work for improvements in this field, instead of rejecting the false descriptions we see quite a few of here on this blog.

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  • 133. At 09:55am on 28 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #66 Jukka_Rohila
    Very very good, thank you.

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  • 134. At 10:02am on 28 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #86 SuffolkBoy2
    Wow you had to get that from Austrian radio/ It was on the BBC website last night.

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  • 135. At 10:08am on 28 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #109 Busby2
    "You make a point about democracy and ignore the fact staring you in the face that the EU is undemocratic!!! Unbelievable! "

    Just for the record, please explain in clear unequivocal language just what it it about the EU that is undemocratic. You keep making this assertion, back it up with evidence

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  • 136. At 10:30am on 28 Oct 2009, yamotto wrote:

    @135- T1m0thy
    If you go read the Anthony Royle mp report
    you can find more than plenty of reasons why
    if you cannot find it then i recommend looking at albert burchess

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  • 137. At 10:34am on 28 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    In reply to comments @ #135:

    I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for that answer, if I was you... :-(

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  • 138. At 10:43am on 28 Oct 2009, yamotto wrote:


    shoehorned into the eu

    will give full access ;)

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  • 139. At 10:49am on 28 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #136 yamotto
    Just taken a look at Albert Burgess, wow. Whoof whoof whoof whoof. David Icke as well, now there is an interesting individual 'the son of god' I believe. This is evidence. I have taken a look at easily available information on Anthony Royle but his report does not seem to get a mention perhaps you could provide us with some more information.

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  • 140. At 11:00am on 28 Oct 2009, yamotto wrote:

    @139 T1m0thy

    Albert Burgess & shoehorned into the eu
    have nothing to do with David Icke
    its not my fault you were led on a wild goose chase now is it?

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  • 141. At 11:21am on 28 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    I didn't bring in David Icke he comes up all of his sweet little own, seems to be sponsoring your friend Mr Burgess, interesting company. I note you have failed to give me any assistance regarding Anthony Royle and his report.

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  • 142. At 11:33am on 28 Oct 2009, yamotto wrote:

    @ 141-T1m0thy


    said it twice already lol
    shoehorned into the eu

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  • 143. At 11:48am on 28 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    I found the Royle report no thanks to you. A rather obscure document that merely repeats the usual Eurosceptic rubbish of the last thirty years. I note that Anthony Royle was a seriously right wing public school educated brigade of guards individual who tended to spout a lot of stuff about King and Country and all that. Your other authority is clearly on the barking side of mad and is supported by no less a figure than David Icke. It figures.

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  • 144. At 12:19pm on 28 Oct 2009, yamotto wrote:

    @ T1m0thy 143

    Well the Royle report is not just a rather obscure document
    281 files it is so you quite clearly have not read it all have you:)
    as for no help from me you know by house rules of this forum i cannot add urls, which begs the question to me do you read anything?
    i,m sorry my Eurosceptic rubbish upsets you but it is based on facts on offical headed paper & what was being done in secret in Parliament in the 1970s that led us where we are today
    which is still FACT we the general public have NOT had a referendum on the lisbon treaty which we were promised would happen
    lies lies lies & if you wish to carry on believing the lies then go ahead your choice ofc
    but there is a vast majority of people who wont buy the lies they didnt in the 1970s & are not buying the lies now

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  • 145. At 12:27pm on 28 Oct 2009, Chiefy1724 wrote:

    I think that a Bliar ascendancy to the EU "Presidency" will prove to be a great boost for the SNP in Scotland and the Tories in England, especially if Broon has been seen to direct the diplomatic force of the "UK" Government behind it.

    UK Prime Ministers, once they go, step aside; They may ocasionally chip their two bob's worth in from the sidelines "In the best interests of the country" but that's about it.

    Bliar was, and continues to be a divisive figure. The greatest recruiting sergeant that the SNP and the cause of Independence would have would be Him and Mandy spouting forth on the issue from unelected posts in Brussels.

    NuLab policy, and therefore UK foreign policy at the moment seems to be firmly focused on obtaining as many places in the European Lifeboat as possible for use come May.

    It may queer the view of an Independent Scotland towards the EU, but European Governments come and go, and tend to swing more easily in the "new" democracies between Left and Right.

    Bliar is inevitably tainted by association with Bush and the Iraq War and even if the "big" European powers vote for him, his tenure in that job will be limited. Wasington may "know" him but he will forever be linked with Bush and Iraq and that makes him Poison to the Obama administration.

    His unelected, imposed appointment would do more to force reform of the democratic institutions of the EU by demand from within than anything else I could think of.

    From the "UK" perspective, the sight of Bliar lording it over us all from Brussels would allow Call-Me-Dave and the Tory party to put Withdrawl from Europe back on the agenda without qualms.

    And most people would IMHO vote for it simply to "get one back" at Mr Smug Tony Bliar. Smile nice for the cameras now....In a Very Real Sense.

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  • 146. At 12:40pm on 28 Oct 2009, Freeborn John wrote:

    T1m0thy (135): Democracy is 'rule by the people'. This is typically viewed as majority rule via representative institutions of a community with enough cohesiveness that dissenting minorities will accept to be bound by decisions of the majority, even when they disagree with those decisions.

    The strong solidarity required for a free state to remain cohesive is ultimately derived from national identity, which is why all democratic states are nation-states. This does not mean that international organisations cannot make decisions which are accepted by the peoples of their member-states as being democratically legitimate. It does however mean that they have to use very different decision-making processes than the majoritorian institutions of the nation-state if they are to avoid overruling and coercing dissenting nations.

    All international organisations in the world (except the EU) that make serious decisions binding on their membership, use decision-making by unanimity. This is the only way to ensure that no nation is forced to accept measures to which its majority is opposed. All these other international organisations (NATO, WTO, etc.) have, through the use of decision-making by unanimity, been able to avoid the breakdown in democratic legitimacy that the EU has experienced. The difference between the EU and those other bodies, which lies at the heart of the EU crisis of democratic legitimacy is the 'community method' which allows law to superior to any other to be imposed on a nation (i.e. against its majority will) by a qualified majority of other nations, which therefore lacks democratic legitimacy in the outvoted nations. Now some will say that the community method has existed since 1957, but until the late 1980s it was only used in trivial areas of market regulation that could not generate political controversy, but since Maastricht every new EU treaty has extended the community method into more and more politically sensitive policy fields. And in hardly any country were the voters asked if they agreed to this, often because it was self-evident they did not. In the few countries that were asked and said NO, the people were either ignored or required to keep voting until they finally said YES. The result has been that the entire Brussels edifice as it exists today lacks democratic legitimacy. Yet the EU institutions continue to produce a never-ending torrent of EU law which only grows larger every year, all of which pre-empts national law and shrinks the remaining space within which we may elect a government capable of changing the law we live under towards vanishing point. Clearly this is not democratic and gets less democratic with the passage of time. If you think otherwise, then please explain why.

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  • 147. At 1:03pm on 28 Oct 2009, Walshicus wrote:

    Here's something to consider - when was the last time you saw a truly Euro-sceptic UK government since we joined? All governments support the project when they're in power, and oppose it when they're not [well, except for the Lib Dems].

    Why?

    Because the media in this country has conspired to spread anti-EU sentiment through half-truths, exagerations and outright lies, in order to sell papers to people too stupid or with too little time to discover otherwise.

    Because once in power governments know that the EU is the only vehicle that provides relevancy in an increasingly 'continentalised' world. A world dominated by America, China and India will not see Britain as a peer, but it will see Europe as such.

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  • 148. At 1:12pm on 28 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    146. Freeborn-John

    "…The result has been that the entire Brussels edifice as it exists today lacks democratic legitimacy…"

    Tomorrow, when Lisbon kicks in, the democratic deficit will increase again.

    If there were even pretence of democratic ambition the President would be elected. His Holiness the Pope could claim greater legitimacy than President of the European Council.

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  • 149. At 1:15pm on 28 Oct 2009, Benefactor wrote:

    72 SuffolkBoy2 wrote:

    "Would you like to go outside and say that?

    If so, then please go outside and say it. "

    I'd look a bit silly stood on my doorstep talking to someone who isn't there. Although I guess I wouldn't look as silly as you look now.

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  • 150. At 1:50pm on 28 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #146 Freeborn-John

    I am tempted to simply reply as the French would to so much verbiage 'blah blah blah blah' but on this occasion I won't.

    All of the arguments you and the other members of the sceptic fringe put forward are typical of conspiracy theories the world over. I hear the same thing in the States, over there it's the Feds who are out to enslave them pah!!!!

    I actually wish in many ways that the British government would have a referendum but not about the treaty of Lisbon a much more open and honest referendum where the UK people are asked 'do you want to be part of Europe or not? With the pro's and cons spelt out clearly. I think the vote would be yes, You constantly claim that you, the sceptic tendency, are in the majority but you do not have a shred of proof for that statement it is only your view. The only hard evidence we have says that it is not the case because UKIP does not get any votes. You will ,of course, argue that this is because it is a single interest party. I would say it is because to the majority of Brits the EU is a 'done deal' sure they moan about it but given the anti EU stance of Britain's media is that surprising.

    Your verbose statement at #146 above does nothing to convince me of your claims of lack of democracy. All of the legislation binding Britain into the EU was approved by democratically elected members of parliament but that, of course, is not democratic enough for you. You want the democracy where your point of view wins. The fact that an Australian American media proprietor can blatantly interfere with the affairs of the UK doesn't upset your democratic sensibilities at all. It wouldn't, would it, because he's on your side. Only problem with that is that he is anti EU for serious financial reasons that have nothing to to with the ongoing health and happiness of the people of the UK. He is on record as saying that he dislikes the UK, so be careful of whom you sup with. He is a great friend of right wing republicans in the US and look where that got the USA.

    As to all of legislation you all claim is forced on you by the EU. Many of these claims are false. A classic example of which is when I made a reference to the huge number of surveillance cameras in the UK you replied that you had voted for them. On this blog over a related subject one of your fellow sceptics referred to the surveillance society being forced upon Britain by the EU.

    Lastly I live in mainland Europe and note that while there are those within France Germany and the rest who have their doubts about some parts of the EU no one is seriously seeking to get out. There aren't many who think that the EU is out to get them, that seems to be a peculiarly Brit sceptic viewpoint.

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  • 151. At 2:08pm on 28 Oct 2009, busby2 wrote:

    #130Boilerplated

    In reply to “You make a point about democracy and ignore the fact staring you in the face that the EU is undemocratic!!! Unbelievable! ", you wrote:

    “Oh look, it's pots and kettles time again. Unbelievable!”

    Is that the best you can do? How pathetic because the writer I was responding to was questioning the democratic nature of our democratic system and ignoring the undemocratic nature of the EU. He was the one to whom your comment about pots and kettles should be directed!

    On the same point T1m0thy #135wrote
    “Just for the record, please explain in clear unequivocal language just what it it about the EU that is undemocratic. You keep making this assertion, back it up with evidence”.
    Well you cannot be very bright if you need this to be spelt out.
    The EU Commission is unaccountable and unelected. This unelected, undemocratic and unaccountable body is responsible for proposing new legislation. This body decides what legislation the Council of Ministers and the EU Parliament should consider ie they determine the agenda. The EU Parliament has not got the power to amend or to propose legislation; they can only go through the unelected Commission. If, for example, the EU Parliament asks for amendments, the Commission will consider all the changes Parliament suggests. If it accepts any of these suggestions it will send the Council an amended proposal – in other words power lies with the unelected and unaccountable Commission because they have the power to reject the EU Parliaments amendments.
    Power always lies in the hands of those who set the agenda and this is in the hands of the unelected civil servants in the Commission whose aim is to bring about an ever closer union, irrespective of the wishes of the people of Europe.
    Now tell me T1m0thy, how is EU system democratic and how does it compare to the Parliamentary democratic system we have in this country?

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  • 152. At 2:12pm on 28 Oct 2009, busby2 wrote:

    Freeborn-John #146

    Excellent post. I look forward to T1m0thy's response to your post and to mine at 151.

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  • 153. At 2:27pm on 28 Oct 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    Boilerplated wrote:
    "#122. At 05:48am on 28 Oct 2009, democracythreat wrote:
    "Your faith in the certainty of the law is touching, Boilerplated. So is your faith in the "years of legal training" and "years of constitutional training". Most of the lawyers I know are cretins who spend their waking hours trying to rip off the taxpayer...//..."

    You are entitled to your opinion... I was actually referring to the highly knowledgeable people who actually write the Bills that become Acts that become Law, if those people have never raised the issues being raised by "yamotto" is there really any hope that s/he is correct?"

    I think it looks better when we capitalize the first letters, so these folks become "Highly Knowledgeable People", or even "HKP's". That way it is easier to distinguish these people from ordinary party members with law degrees.

    Now you submit that nobody has ever suggested that the EU is on legally shakey ground. (Notice I do not say "the EU is illegal", because I understand that nothing done in the name of the party can be illegal, properly speaking. For those who think this is mere semantics, I would suggest that mere semantics is the difference between a prison sentence and a glorious career.)

    This is wrong.

    Clearly a great many people raised the question about whether the ECJ was entitled to declare itself the new sovereign power under the UK constitution. That is why we have famous court cases adjudicating the issue, such as Factortame 1 and 2, and numerous others.

    If you have read these cases, you will know that the ECJ and the House of Lords do not share their reasoning on the issue of sovereignty. This is despite a great many Highly Knowledgeable People being present in both courts.

    So what we have in European law is detente, not certainty. The ECJ claimed power, and the House of Lords rejected the bid for power..... however it does not seek to over rule the party of the day. Thus the HOLs agrees that the reasoning and claims of the ECJ are "illegal", however the ECJ will be respected as one source of law insofar as the parliament of the UK continues to desire that outcome.

    Yamotto might be in error to imagine that an ancient principle brought to light will suddenly dismantle the entire edifice of the EU machine, however you are equally in error to imagine that in the right circumstances, it could never do so. A legal principle is something from which to hang a legal judgement, rather like a hook on the wall for your coat. And like a coat hook, any old one will do the job. It really doesn't matter which hook you choose, they all do the same job. And of course, if you want to keep carrying your coat, you can ignore the hooks altogether.

    Anyway, with the way things are going these days, the debate is becoming tiresome. We are common people, and I am not even a party member. I have never felt so embarrassed to have an opinion as in Europe today. We have to accept the world for the way it is, and the way it is in Europe is a cross between soviet party mechanics and the class system of a divinely appointed aristocracy.

    What people like me think is just chatter, and it is the same in a court of law as on this blog.

    I used to believe in the rule of law, when I was young and inexperienced with courts and lawyers. Now I just think the rule of law is an expression of hope, perhaps even a definite political position.

    I don't think we can sensibly distinguish the law from the political economy of the state, and so I would conclude that the rule of law is the rule of the class system, and the negation of concepts such as private property for common people, and the liberty to vote on legislation.

    I was reading a judgement on copyright recently, concerned with file sharing, and something was nagging at me the whole time. In the end, I suddenly worked out what it was.

    Libraries. Libraries are a dead concept. If libraries did not already exist, there is no way on earth the law would allow them to be created. The whole concept of the library is dead: this idea that people can share any information and that public money might be spent to make information readily available to everyone.

    The law has killed that idea, in partnership with the corporate lobbyists. Just like the law has killed the idea of war crimes for NATO members, and the concept of parliamentary sovereignty in the UK. It wasn't a fierce battle, and it wasn't a fair contest. The judiciary have strangled these concepts to death in the darkness of the courts, out of sight and without ceremony. All at the behest of the corporate interests who fund the party.

    So you can believe in Highly Knowledgeable People and the certainty of the law, if you want. If it makes you feel better, go for it. Myself, I am unsure whether the law has always been this rotten and my understanding is catching up to the reality, or whether the modern law is degrading due to the evolution of the political economy of the state. I suspect the former, but if it is the latter then perhaps we will see a fruition of current trends that is not so repulsive as the current crop of lawyers in society.

    "Highly Knowledgeable People."

    Mmm. I think I prefer my priests wearing collars than wigs.

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  • 154. At 2:27pm on 28 Oct 2009, Mathiasen wrote:

    A court of second instance in Denmark has today rejected a suit calling the LT not conform with the Danish constitution raised by a group of citizens, which also counts a professor of a law and former member of the EP. The court has said that the group has no legal interest in the matter.

    I'm sure everybody here is aware that the case in Prague that yesterday was obstructed through a new trick of a group of senators is carried through at the constitution court.
    Not that I think it will change a lot of the discussions here, but I assume the British government had faced a lawsuit long time ago had its ratification of the LT not been conforming with the democratic laws of the UK.

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  • 155. At 2:41pm on 28 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #152 busby2
    Love it, we all write long winded posts full of unsubstantiated claims and then congratulate each other. Way to go.

    Oh and no, it's quite true, I'm not very bright and so could you please explain who is it that suggests to these commissioners what legislation to put before the Parliament and who selects these commissioners?

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  • 156. At 2:58pm on 28 Oct 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #154 - Mathiasen

    There was a lawsuit last year which would have required a referendum on Lisbon on the grounds that it was in effect the same thing as the old proposed constitution. The court threw it out on the grounds that it was not the same thing.

    Not that this will convince too many eurosceptics on this blog. After all, what on earth do judges know about the law? :-)))

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  • 157. At 3:24pm on 28 Oct 2009, yamotto wrote:

    @156- threnodio

    Was it a court of de jure or a court of de facto? & was the judge acting in a lavitical capacity?

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  • 158. At 3:33pm on 28 Oct 2009, I am not a number wrote:

    Freeborn-John @ #146, I have a question: why do the outvoted states implement the EU law even though they were outvoted and it doesn't serve their national interest?

    #151. busby2 "The EU Commission is unaccountable and unelected."

    You got one right guess which one? (hint the commission is not elected) Back in 1999 the Santer Commission was forced to resign because no party in the EP supported the commission. This could not have happened if the commission is unaccountable as you, along with many others, claim.

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  • 159. At 3:38pm on 28 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    Busby2 re my #155

    As a 'bear of very little brain' I'm still waiting for enlightenment. How is the commission chosen and how do they decide on what legislation to push forward?

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  • 160. At 4:06pm on 28 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    Oh well Paddington is off to find some honey. Maybe I'll get an answer later.

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  • 161. At 4:48pm on 28 Oct 2009, busby2 wrote:

    T1mOthY

    "As a 'bear of very little brain' I'm still waiting for enlightenment. How is the commission chosen and how do they decide on what legislation to push forward?"

    What a apt description of you because you always ask questions BUT NEVER answer any questions put to you.

    You probably have a bad memory as well. I asked you in #151 "Now tell me T1m0thy, how is EU system democratic and how does it compare to the Parliamentary democratic system we have in this country?"

    Now where is your answer to MY question??? Or is it beyond you to give annswers to questions and yet always demand answers to your own points???

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  • 162. At 4:55pm on 28 Oct 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    threnodio wrote:
    #154 - Mathiasen

    "There was a lawsuit last year which would have required a referendum on Lisbon on the grounds that it was in effect the same thing as the old proposed constitution. The court threw it out on the grounds that it was not the same thing."

    What was the name of that case, threnodio?

    I was not aware the court acknowledged either the cause of action or the remedy which was sought. To my understanding, the action was a media stunt, and nobody ever seriously suggested that the courts in the UK have the power to grant referenda to the people.

    I suspect you will find that the court threw the action out because no such action exists in law, and that the judge saw fit to have a political speech at the same time.

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  • 163. At 5:32pm on 28 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #161 busby2

    Interesting no answers. I suspect the reason for that is you don't know the answers or, just as likely, that you don't want to answer because you know the answer will expose the essential lie that is the sceptic position. This is nothing to do with democracy, this is everything to do with the BIG LIE, you aren't against the EU because of a lack of democracy you just want Britain out. If a lack of democracy was the problem that could very easily be rectified simply give the democratically elected European Parliament power over the commission.

    Ever since the European Parliament was first brought into being the small but vociferous band that is is the sceptic tendency have tried to control/reduce it's powers, and then they call it undemocratic.

    I have some serious reservations about the EU and the political patronage inherent in the current system where the Commissioners are appointed/recommended by the governments of the individual countries. It all too easily creates 'jobs for the boys' quite often it creates jobs for the failed boys. That said I don't think it's grounds for taking the UK out Europe or calling the whole thing undemocratic. After all the people who do the selecting are democratically elected.

    As I said earlier the UK is in the EU as a result of decisions made by a series of democratically elected governments. The ridiculous conspiracy theories and this mysterious ogre called the commission who is going to seize all the peoples of Europe and send them to where exactly?

    I note none of you democracy lovers ever address my comments about a totally unelected Rupert Murdoch and his interference the sovereign affairs of the UK. No, because you think he's on your side. I also note that whenever you are pushed to answer just what it is that Great Britain inc is going to do to turn a penny outside the EU you become very vague. When pushed about the likely fate of those Japanese and Korean owned factories that are UK based we hear things like 'well of course there will have to be a period of adjustment' You have no clue as what the UK would do if outside the EU you simply have a single minded goal like all obsessives and haven't really thought beyond that.

    Apologies to Suffolkboy2 At least you say you want Britain out and don't prate about democracy.

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  • 164. At 5:36pm on 28 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    162. democracythreat

    "…nobody ever seriously suggested that the courts in the UK have the power to grant referenda to the people…"

    My understanding is that a political manifesto isn't actionable. Pity this isn't printed in bold on every ballot paper.

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  • 165. At 8:44pm on 28 Oct 2009, TV Licence fee payer against BBC censorship wrote:

    #151. At 2:08pm on 28 Oct 2009, busby2 wrote:

    "#130Boilerplated

    In reply to “You make a point about democracy and ignore the fact staring you in the face that the EU is undemocratic!!! Unbelievable! ", you wrote:

    “Oh look, it's pots and kettles time again. Unbelievable!”

    Is that the best you can do?"


    It's more than your lies deserve, you want democracy but don't want the democracy that ratified the Lisbon Treaty in the UK... Democracy, you don't know the meaning of the word.

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  • 166. At 9:13pm on 28 Oct 2009, busby2 wrote:

    T1m0thy

    Still no proper answers to my question on "how is EU system democratic and how does it compare to the Parliamentary democratic system we have in this country?"

    I suspect that you don't wish to compare the democratic shortfall at the heart of the EU with Parliamentary democracy at home in the UK because, for you, an ever closer union is all that really counts, and that greater democracy and accountability will delay and prevent this happening. You gave the game away when you said “If a lack of democracy was the problem that could very easily be rectified simply give the democratically elected European Parliament power over the commission”. Europhiles aren’t exactly clamouring for this are they?

    Isn’t the truth that the undemocratic nature of the EU is broadly acceptable to you because you approve of the aims of achieving an ever closer union and that you don’t wish the project to be held up because of obstacles like referendums in which the project has to be sold to the people of Europe?

    The undemocratic and unaccountable nature of the EU is just one of the features I despise about the EU. My fundamental objection to the EU is their drive to an ever closer union, irrespective of the views of the people of Europe. The EU fears democracy because they rightly fear that if the EU was run in a democratic way, the drive to an ever closer union would be stopped in its tracks.

    My final question to the Europhiles is how do you expect an ever closer union to thrive and to be successful without popular support for the project? How are you going to handle the sceptics and those who don’t wish to be a part of such a union? Aren’t you building a political structure that can only fail because it does not have public support and fears public opinion?

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  • 167. At 9:25pm on 28 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    165. Boilerplated

    "...you want democracy but don't want the democracy that ratified the Lisbon Treaty in the UK..."

    How to duck a referendum commitment in one easy lesson. Rename the treaty you are having trouble with and pretend it contains nothing introduced in its predecessor. Eh Voila!

    This is an example of circumvention of democracy for students everywhere.

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  • 168. At 10:09pm on 28 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #166 busby2

    Just another meaningless rant not one single answer to anything just a non stop repetition based around the word 'democracy'. A word which I'm beginning to think is being slowly debased by it's tedious repetition.

    Answer one straight question. I gave you answers if you could only understand them now answer the question. How is the UK going to survive outside the EU?

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  • 169. At 10:17pm on 28 Oct 2009, U4466131 wrote:

    #166 busby2

    Oh and no, as I have several times before, I do not believe that referendums are a sensible way to run a country. They are too easy to slant, too easily hijacked by single interest groups and do not work when there is any degree of complexity. They are fine with a simple yes no vote. Take a look a California as I suggested. They had referendum mania and the state is almost impossible to govern now. Referendums are populist nonsense why elect a government and then vote on legislation yourself. It's called democracy you elect a government and they make the laws. Simple stuff really, even I can understand it and, as you say, I'm not very bright.

    But hey, why am I writing this you don't want a debate you just want your own way.

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  • 170. At 10:49pm on 28 Oct 2009, rg wrote:

    169. T1m0thy

    "…Referendums are populist nonsense why elect a government and then vote on legislation yourself…"

    Such "populist nonsense" was just what Labour put in their manifesto in 2005.

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  • 171. At 11:02pm on 28 Oct 2009, yamotto wrote:

    @ 169-T1m0thy

    MPs are supposed to represent the will of the people in Parliament for a defined purpose. It is not unlimited. They do not hold absolute power, no matter what they choose to think, or to say. We did not rid ourselves of the divine right of Kings to have it replaced with a divine right of politicians.

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  • 172. At 11:10pm on 28 Oct 2009, Freeborn John wrote:

    T1m0thy (169) said "It's called democracy you elect a government and they make the laws".

    Except that they cannot make any law which conflicts with an EU law. And since the EU institutions are never going to stop adding to their body of superior law, the remaining room where the government we elect is still free to make the law is getting smaller with every passing day.

    At what point T1m0thy along this road to 'electing a government that can no longer make the laws' do you stop calling it democracy?

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  • 173. At 01:04am on 29 Oct 2009, busby2 wrote:

    T1m0thy

    Just another meaningless rant not one single answer to any of the questions I have put to you. Democracy is only tedious to you because it stands in the way of an ever closer union, which you support.

    You go off at all sorts of meaningless tangents and forget what you think you said!! For example in #169 (which you addressed to me) you wrote "Take a look a California as I suggested". Err, no you didn't suggest this to me or to anyone else as a word search proved. I think you have lost the plot, T1m0thy!

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  • 174. At 07:27am on 29 Oct 2009, thebritisharefunny wrote:

    Re # 151 and whether the EU is "undemocratic":

    No EU legislation can be adopted without the approval of both the Council (ministers from the democratic governments of the 27 Member States) and also of the directly elected MEPs in the European Parliament (there are some exceptions to the latter, but the Lisbon treaty remedies that). What other international structure has that degree of accountability?

    As to the "unelected" Commission (which anyway only has a right to propose, and not to decide on, legislation, and to implement what has already been agreed), it requires the confidence of the European Parliament to hold office.

    This is not unlike the UK government. The UK Prime Minister is appointed by the Queen, but neeeds majority support in the elected Commons. The Commission President is appointed by the 27 Prime Ministers (or Presidents) of EU countries, but needs majority support from the European Parliament.

    Individual UK Ministers are appointed by the Prime Minister, not necessarily from elected MPs (plenty of ministers are appointed to the Lords). Individual Commissioners are also nominated by the Prime Minister of their country, but at least have to go through a public confirmation hearing where they are grilled by MEPs (it would be nice to see some UK ministers have to do that!) prior to a vote of confidence from the Parliament.

    In both cases, the executive is subject to parliamentary scrutiny at the appropriate level and legislation requires the approval of elected representatives.

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  • 175. At 11:21am on 29 Oct 2009, busby2 wrote:

    The EU legislative agenda is controlled, prepared and drawn up by the unelected and unaccountable Commission whose remit is the project of achieving "an ever closer union". The Commission controls the agenda and they are in charge: eveything else is simply a check on the exercise of their control. That is not democratic. In a parliamentary democracy like ours, we elect the members of the House of Commons and the majority party forms a Government. The job of the civil service, unlike the Commission, is to be impartial and to serve the government of the day. In a parliamentary democracy, the elected government, operating through its majority in the House of Commons sets the agenda and the legislative programme, and ultimately they are responsible to the electorate for the discharge of their duties and responsibilities. The opposite is true in the EU model where unelected and unaccountable civil servants working in the Commission are the power behind the Commissioners.

    A good example of the undemocratic nature of the EU is that if the EU Parliament proposes changes to legislation, the final say so on whether those changes can be adopted is the unelected Commission, which means their civil servants! In a democracy, civil servants do not determine policy: they are there to advise and do not have the final say so as they do in the EU.

    When the Santer Commission was forced to resign, nothing changed because their remit of working towards an ever closer union irrespective of the wishes of the people of Europe remained the same.

    If you cannot wrest control of the legislative agenda from the Commission and its civil servants, or alter its remit of working towards the project of an ever closer union, there can be no democratic control over the workings of the EU.

    I'm still awaiting an answer to the question I posed to the Europhiles on how do they expect an ever closer union to thrive and to be successful without popular support for the project? How are you going to handle the sceptics and those who don’t wish to be a part of such a union? Aren’t you building a political structure that can only fail because it does not have public support and fears public opinion?



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  • 176. At 11:31am on 29 Oct 2009, Freeborn John wrote:

    britishandeuropeanisfunny (174): The problem with your logic is that you focus exclusively on the institutions and ignore the voting public. You are directly comparing the institutions of a nation-state with those of international organisation, and saying that if the institutional form of an international organisation (in this case the EU) mirrors that of a nation-state (such as the Westminster model) then this implies the EU is democratic. What you are blind to is (see post 146) that democratic legitimacy as national and international level are very different things, such that when you treat the people of a real nation, such as Britain or France, as if they were mere regions of some larger arbitrary collective, and impose majority decision-making at international level on them, you are forcing the outvoted nations to accept measures which their national majorities oppose, and which they will then naturally reject as having no democratic legitimacy within their own community.

    If you were right there would be no nation-states in the world at all, and the populous Chinese or Indian nations would largely be decisive in deciding a global majority opinion that could legitimately decide the laws that we live under. If you were right then the Stormont parliament (modelled directly on Westminster) had a democratic legitimacy to impose its majority will on the Catholic minority in Northern Ireland for 50 years and the resulting Troubles should never have erupted. If you were right the EU would not be widely perceived as having a democratic deficit. But you are not right, and the appropriate remedy is either to reduce the scope of EU power, restore decision-making by unanimity at EU level, or to subordinate EU law to national law in politically-contested policy areas, such that each nation of Europe can once again decide the law and policies it lives under via their general elections.

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  • 177. At 2:02pm on 29 Oct 2009, I am not a number wrote:

    #175. busby2

    I already pointed out that the commission is accountable (to the European parliament) so I'm not sure why you continue to call it unaccountable.

    "The Commission controls the agenda and they are in charge: eveything else is simply a check on the exercise of their control."

    The agenda has to be approved by both the Council of the European Union (which will select the commission president) and European parliament. Furthermore the agenda is also determined by which party is the largest in the European parliament. So if you want an eurosceptic commissioner president (with an eurosceptic agenda) then make sure that the eurosceptic party is the largest in the European parliament. You have to convince a lot of people though, considering European parliament is directly elected by the various European people.

    "the final say so on whether those changes can be adopted is the unelected Commission, which means their civil servants!"

    Absolutely wrong. It's not the commission that has the final say but the council of ministers, which can still adopt the changes suggested by the European parliament even if the European Commission doesn't agree with it.

    #176. "the people of a real nation, such as Britain or France"

    When you wrote that John, did you honestly believe it or did you simply ignore the Scots and Welsh in Britain and the Basque, Bretons, Occitans and Corsicans in France?

    "you are forcing the outvoted nations to accept measures which their national majorities oppose"

    Indeed. You forgot to answer my question (in #158) so I'm asking it again: so why does a nation still implement an EU law even though they were outvoted and it goes against their national interest?

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  • 178. At 3:03pm on 29 Oct 2009, Freeborn John wrote:

    Gunota (177): In answer to your question, they have no choice. It is an obligation of EU membership to which they are treaty bound.

    The British, French, Irish etc. nations do exist. Scotland and Wales are regions of the UK and have approved their constitutional status as such by referendum in 1997 with powers devolved from the national parliament in Westminster to regional assemblies. There has been no corresponding referendum to legitimize the powers conferred on the EU.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welsh_devolution_referendum,_1997
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_devolution_referendum,_1997

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  • 179. At 3:58pm on 02 Nov 2009, Macky Dee wrote:

    Gunota, you wrote:
    I already pointed out that the commission is accountable (to the European parliament) so I'm not sure why you continue to call it unaccountable.

    I say this:
    The EU Commission is NOT accountable to the EU members of Parliament (MEPs).
    Commissioners make laws, MEP's debate over them, go back to the commission with their views (they only have 1 chance to do this)
    if the commission veto's the MEP's recommendations - that's it.
    That is all the debate that you get!
    A Euro President that you cannot vote for?
    An EU commission that cannot be voted in or out?
    WHERE IS THE DEMOCRACY ???
    This is why the british feel hard done by, so should other europeans.
    Whats the highest court in your land,
    the highest court in Britain isn't even in britain its the Euro Supreme Court.
    And Human Rights? All criminals are still human, so they still have the same rights as citizens.
    In the UK, it used to be that as a civillian, if you were sent to prison you would lose your civillian rights these days criminals have the same rights...

    i dont want to keep going on but I think there TOO MANY issues with europe for me ever to be pro-european.

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  • 180. At 10:30am on 15 Nov 2009, julie harpum wrote:

    this is horrid, isn't it? The British think that Europe is a pick and mix job,and that you can take or leave parts of international treaty, whereas the Irish horribly showed that they understood how to shout t down what didn't suit them and got their own aspects onto the draft before it was finalised, even when their Parliament had voted for a previous draft...the British have made the international world think that they are stupid, because they don't know how to get their own way. Tony Blair's time is past - he is a has been who is cavorting round the Middle East in political limbo. The important job here is not the President of the Council, who will be a cypher (the "real" power is in the hands of the President of the Commission, the much time worn current one, Barroso from Portugal). The big job is about forging a foreign policy for Europe, to take over and make something of the excellent work done by that Solana chap that nobody has heard of, although he stitched back together the mess in former Yugoslavia and got that presentable enough for most of it to apply for EU membership.It is a question of the EU "backyard", the "frontier states" which are the southern Mediterranean and Ukraine , Belarus and Moldova and beyond that Russia, and all those oil pipelines coming through Turkey.It is a big job in a post colonial world, bearing in mind that Europe made merry in everyone else's backyard and frontyard for centuries, and has difficulty in maintaining a lead now . It would be a good idea to wrench back the world trade organisation which is a sorry mess and which excludes Russia , but the British are too prOvincial and isolationist to realise all this. We will fluff this opportunity to get it going our way as we fluffed the original foudning of the EU at the start.

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  • 181. At 8:49pm on 16 Nov 2009, cool_brush_work wrote:

    MODERATORS


    NOT SURE IF ANY OF YOU ARE PAYING ATTENTION TO THIS BLOG!!!!!!!!

    HOWEVER, THIS IS AS CLOSE AS I CAN GET TO THE NEXT GAVIN HEWITT BLOG AND ALL THOSE THAT FOLLOW IT.

    ALL HEWIIT'S BLOGS AFTER THIS IONE ARE NOT APPEARING - - THIS IS DESPITE MY HAVING BEEN ABLE TO ACCESS THEM UPTO YESTERDAY (15TH NOV) - - SOMETHIG ISN'T FUNCTIONING!!!!!!!!!!!!!????????????????????????????

    IT IS THE SAME WITH MESSRS ROBINSON, MARDELL ETC.. THE MORE RECENT BLOGS HAVE ALL DISAPPEARED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!????????????????????????????????????

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