BBC BLOGS - Gavin Hewitt's Europe
IN ASSOCIATION WITH
« Previous | Main | Next »

Which names in the EU hat?

Gavin Hewitt | 18:55 UK time, Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Swedish PM Fredrik Reinfeldt (lower right) with other EU leaders in Brussels, 29 Oct 09David Miliband has said again today that he is not available for the key post of European foreign affairs supremo. "When I said I was not a candidate, I meant it," he said. This time the denial looks final. He says he is committed to the Labour government. More about Mr Miliband later in this blog.

The executive search for the two top European jobs is proving difficult. There has been a first and inconclusive round of phone calls. There are more potential candidates than jobs. And just beneath the surface are fierce currents and rivalries. There could well be public disputes before the names are chosen at dinner in Brussels a week on Thursday.

To step back for a moment. The Lisbon Treaty had two big aims: to make the European Union run more efficiently and to give it a stronger voice on the world stage. The key to achieving those goals was two high-profile jobs. The President of the European Council and the bureaucratic-sounding High Representative for Foreign Affairs.

Narrowing down the field is the responsibility of the Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt. He had some face-to-face meetings with other leaders in Berlin on Monday, the others he has been calling. When he spoke to Gordon Brown, the British Prime Minister put forward the name of Tony Blair - but not David Miliband.

The first difficulty is that some of these leaders are potential candidates. If they reveal their interest and don't get the job that will embarrass them at home.

The Swedish leader would like to arrive at the dinner next week with one name for both key jobs, but that is ambitious. There is still no agreement as to the kind of person they want as president. Do they want a bland consensus-builder or do they want someone
who can sit at the same table as the Chinese and American presidents?

That has not been settled. Neither should Tony Blair be ruled out. He was the clear front-runner but was regarded as damaged by his support for the invasion of Iraq and the fact that Britain was not a member of the euro. In the way that jobs are carved up in Brussels, the Socialist group of leaders indicated that they wanted someone of their political persuasion in the foreign minister's role, not the presidency.

But this is now a game about power. Despite the ambitions of the Lisbon Treaty many leaders don't want to be overshadowed by a strong president. That would count against Blair. The French and the Germans are said to have settled on the Belgian Prime Minister, Herman Van Rompuy, as a compromise candidate. He is clearly the current favourite and if the dinner were held tonight he would most likely be chosen. However, the impression that Paris and Berlin are carving this up would almost certainly cause opposition elsewhere and could persuade others to come behind Tony Blair.

Even though the French and the Germans are regarded as the power-brokers what happens if Britain and Italy fight for Tony Blair? Who will break the deadlock? It opens the way for deals and horse-trading and the emergence of a candidate that may not yet be in the field.

There are other dimensions to this power struggle. The tension between the small and large states. The differences between old Europe and the newer Eastern and Central European states.

And then there is the issue of how these candidates are chosen. Should the decisions be taken through a series of phone calls? Should the new faces of the EU be settled by secret deal-making? The Poles have suggested job interviews. Others believe that potential candidates should make a public pitch, so people know what they stand for.

The Swedish prime minister is very keen to have a consensus candidate who has the full backing of all 27 leaders. He is desperate to avoid a row or reverting to majority voting.

As for the "foreign minister" job, there is the curious case of David Miliband. In a matter of 10 days he had moved to a position where he was the favourite for the job. Support for him came from left and right. For a man who insisted he did not want the job he gave every appearance of running for it.

He gave a series of interviews and a detailed speech on Europe's place in the world. He said what many other European leaders wanted to hear. And yet he has counted himself out. One official in Brussels said it looks like a case of "political flirting". There may be another calculation behind this round of activity. The fact that so many in Europe have been impressed with him is good for his candidacy come the moment when Gordon Brown is no longer leader of the Labour Party.

The next seven days will tell us a great deal about power and how decisions are taken in the new European Union.

Comments

or register to comment.

  • 1. At 7:41pm on 11 Nov 2009, Julien Frisch wrote:

    And one thing is forgotten by most: The Heads of State and Government have agreed to a special declaration to the Lisbon Treaty determining that the posts need to be in regional and demographic balance.

    Since Barroso already got one job, there is already a male person from a mid-sized south European Country. That leaves a quite difficult balance for the other two jobs...

    Complain about this comment

  • 2. At 7:59pm on 11 Nov 2009, DiscoStu_d wrote:

    Fine. Stop twisting my arm. I'll throw my name into the hat for President. I've always wanted a sinecure.

    Cheers, Disco.

    Complain about this comment

  • 3. At 8:19pm on 11 Nov 2009, oldnat wrote:

    1. Julien Frisch
    "The Heads of State and Government have agreed to a special declaration to the Lisbon Treaty determining that the posts need to be in regional and demographic balance."

    That's why I read this blog. I learn so much from (some) other posters.

    Thanks for this. North/South : East/West : Large/medium/small : male/female etc.

    Difficult to balance all of these factors in every round, and some will need to be balanced over time.

    Gavin is right, however - "But this is now a game about power."

    I suspect that we will see an increase in smaller countries with common interests forming more focussed voting blocs in future.

    Complain about this comment

  • 4. At 8:32pm on 11 Nov 2009, Menedemus wrote:

    The whole process of selecting an unelected President and Foreign Minister just seems to me to highlight further the non-democratic deficiencies of the European Union and the rotten politics of the Council of Ministers.

    The current United Kingdom Labour government has one vote in 27 for each role but this Labour government only has power through 37% of the popular votes cast at the last General Election and has less than 7 months left in office should there be, as Nick Robinson suggests in his Blog, a May 2010 UK General Election.

    That means that the socialists, who currently predominate the Council of Ministers, are going to foist upon the EU THEIR popular (or best-of-the-bunch) choice, most likely a former socialist Premier, when the forthcoming elections in the UK and other countries in Europe will most likely be returning centrist-right governments who will then have to work with an unelected potentate who was not of their choosing.

    It all seems rather unsatisfactory.

    I support the idea of there being a European Union but this continued non-elective, undemocratic process of governing European-wide matters does seem to leave a foul stench about the rotteness of how the EU has developed and continues to develop.

    The sooner we have an elected President, Foreign Minister and electorally accountable Government of Europe as a whole, the better off we will all be as this undemocratic stench is getting up my nose and makes me feel that the excercise of creating and developing the EU is more for the benefit of political elite than it is for the citizens of Europe who currently have no vote nor choice about their future.

    Complain about this comment

  • 5. At 8:57pm on 11 Nov 2009, oldnat wrote:

    4. Menedemus
    "EU is more for the benefit of political elite than it is for the citizens"

    But that is true of virtually every political system that I know of. You mentioned "socialist" in your post, but in reality they aren't socialists - they are career politicians who reckoned that their chances of power were enhanced by selecting a party with a nominal left of centre philosophy, as opposed to a party with a nominal right of centre philosophy, as better for their career.

    Complain about this comment

  • 6. At 9:17pm on 11 Nov 2009, threnodio_II wrote:

    #4 - Menedemus

    I entirely agree but with one question. Is this not getting rather blown out of proportion?

    The original thinking was to have a president of the Council. Now this is a very different beast from president of the European Union. It they had stuck to that plan and done away with the ridiculous 6 month rotating presidency during which each country has a chance to show standards of leadership way beyond their capacity to cope in a time frame that is impossible, I would have said 'amen to that'.

    But this has now become a snowball. The further it rolls, the bigger the beast becomes. If the leaders end up with a compromise candidate, he/she will simply be seen as non-appointment. If they choose a competent chairperson, we will all be left wondering what all the fuss was about. But if they go for the big hitter, they are going to have to give powers way beyond the remit and totally unacceptable unless, as you rightly point out, there is a democratic selection process. This is the first big test of Lisbon and, having fought tooth and nail (and not always fairly) to get their treaty, the leaders now appear hell bent of digging a gory great hole for themselves.

    Complain about this comment

  • 7. At 9:27pm on 11 Nov 2009, oldnat wrote:

    re my #3

    I forgot to mention disability as a factor to be considered.

    Here's a nice theory.

    http://blogs.wsj.com/iainmartin/2009/11/11/how-about-gordon-brown-for-european-president/?mod=rss_WSJBlog

    Gordon Brown for EU President. Milliband as Leader of the UK Labour Party.

    Complain about this comment

  • 8. At 9:30pm on 11 Nov 2009, I am not a number wrote:

    4. "That means that the socialists, who currently predominate the Council of Ministers, are going to foist upon the EU THEIR popular (or best-of-the-bunch) choice, most likely a former socialist Premier, when the forthcoming elections in the UK and other countries in Europe will most likely be returning centrist-right governments who will then have to work with an unelected potentate who was not of their choosing."

    It's been pretty much confirmed that the president of the council will be from the centre-right due to their dominance in both the European parliament and European governments. (There are currently only seven "socialist" governments in the EU. Two of them are facing an election within the year compared to the 14 centre-right governments.)

    The high representative on the other hand will most likely be from the 'socialist'.

    As for elected presidents, the only elected president should be the commissioner and sadly enough that's not going to happen any time soon.

    Complain about this comment

  • 9. At 9:30pm on 11 Nov 2009, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Oh please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please let it be Anthony Blair Esq.

    Just so I can read Me_rijn, Mathiasen, Jukka_Rohilla, Threnodio, Jorge1, Gunota and all the rest of the crowd telling us how the European Union is such a truly, honestly, veritable haven of democracy, accountability and veracity in all it does!


    TeeHeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!


    Of course, if he doesn't get the wretched post with the wretched EU it's because it is such an undemocratic, venal and corrupt place I never really expected him too!

    There, just to keep you all in the loop.

    Complain about this comment

  • 10. At 9:44pm on 11 Nov 2009, Dan wrote:

    I think it should be Blair. He has vision and a moral sense...which make him unpopular in certain quarters and are probably the reasons he won't be chosen.

    Complain about this comment

  • 11. At 10:00pm on 11 Nov 2009, Benefactor wrote:

    # Gunota wrote:

    "As for elected presidents, the only elected president should be the commissioner and sadly enough that's not going to happen any time soon."

    Next Euro-election all being well and assuming the party groupings in the Parliament get their act together. As far as I understand, the EPP-ED, the ALDE, and the Greens are planning to field candidates for Commission President in Europe-wide Campaigns.
    The Council does officially still have to nominate this man, but the Parliament can simply refuse to approve a Commission until they get their way.
    That's why I'm hoping for a Business manager style Council President, the Commission President post will have a proper democratic mandate come next election and should be the one to speak for Europe.

    Complain about this comment

  • 12. At 10:10pm on 11 Nov 2009, oldnat wrote:

    10. Dan
    "He has vision and a moral sense"

    Is that meant as a downer for Brown?

    Complain about this comment

  • 13. At 10:24pm on 11 Nov 2009, threnodio_II wrote:

    #3 - oldnat

    "I suspect that we will see an increase in smaller countries with common interests forming more focussed voting blocs in future".

    Like Eurovision, you mean - when some tuneless rubbish comes from behind on the back the Slav solidarity vote?

    Seriously, I had high hopes of the Visegrad Group but bickering between Slovakia and Hungary about the rights of Slovak Hungarians plus Slovakia joining the euro seems to have put that on hold for now. The Baltic States certainly have common interests. If I was in charge of one of the bigger nations, my main concern would be that the smaller nations will find common cause to curb the big boys' ambitions.

    Complain about this comment

  • 14. At 10:24pm on 11 Nov 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To cool_brush_work (9):

    If you don't like it, you can get the .... out of it.

    Seriously thought, the election of the both EU president and foreign high... what was it can.. are both democratic elections.

    Lets imagine for a moment. Lets imagine that there would a European Federation, and the European Federation would have Congress and Senate. To congress each European country would send delegates based on the amount of population they have. To senate each European country would send a one member, but that one member would have the voting power based oh the population of the country where he/she had been elected.

    This is democratic, yes?

    Well, just replace the senator with the government and what you have is the current system. Actually the current system with proportional voting is even better than voting for senator in FTPT setting as change of coalition will change the voting pattern automatically.

    PS. In FTPT system, the elected person from an election district represents 100% of the election districts people. That is how the system was designed, that is how the system works. In FTPT system the Labor government which has over 50% of the seats in parliament also represents over 50% of the people. Now if you don't like it, then you have to change to proportional voting.

    Complain about this comment

  • 15. At 10:39pm on 11 Nov 2009, oldnat wrote:

    13. threnodio_II
    "Seriously, I had high hopes of the Visegrad Group but bickering between Slovakia and Hungary about the rights of Slovak Hungarians plus Slovakia joining the euro seems to have put that on hold for now."

    I didn't know of that. However, I still think it likely that regional (?) groupings of the smaller countries will come about, because it makes sense to have co-operation rather than conflict. I did say "in the future"!

    Complain about this comment

  • 16. At 10:41pm on 11 Nov 2009, JorgeG wrote:

    @ 9 CBW

    I do not want Blair for President of anything, let alone the EU.

    And no, I don't like the way they are electing the president one bit.

    But in order to have an open, transparent EU-wide election, sovereignty should be given to the people of Europe. And, in order to do that, the EU would need to become a confederation or something different to the current fudge of an intergovernmental organisation with some federalist trappings (e.g. the euro, Schengen, etc.), none of which (i.e. the federalist trappings) the UK is part of, despite the hysterical rant of the ultranationalist fundamentalists, xenophobes, et al. Countries such as the UK, were the ultranationalist front prevails, are the first ones to veto any idea of EU wide popular elections for anything.

    These ultranationalist front, the xenophobes, Europhobes etc. are the ones who look plain silly. Because come May 2010 they could elect a government whose first act of parliament could be to call a referendum on EU membership and then, upon winning it, serve immediate notice of withdrawal.

    Because the ultranationalists and xenophobes cannot seem to be able to achieve that, they instead blame the EU and pompously proclaim apocalyptic, hysterical nonsense about totalitarian superstates.

    This reminds me of what I read in the Sun (no I don't read the pamphlet often but was the only available paper in the take away) the other day under the enlightened headline "signed, sealed, delivered, up yours". It went more or less as follows:

    "The hated treaty has been signed. It effectively creates a federal superstate, meaning that a thousand years of Britain as a proud, sovereign nation are now coming to an end. We in the Sun have fought tooth and nail for Britain's independence and also fought successive UK governments who wanted to scrap the pound. But hey, Cameron is right. The country is bankrupt, the pound is sinking [no hint of irony or self-awareness there]. When he is elected he will have more important things to do than claim back Britain's sovereignty. He must sort out the economy first."

    It is obvious that the editors of this illustrious paper didn't think that their readers would notice that they were being taken for idiots. "He must sort out the economy first". You mean, "He will ask the totalitarian superstate for permission to sort out the British economy first before asking for Britain's sovereignty back?"

    It made for a good piece of EU bashing though.

    Complain about this comment

  • 17. At 10:46pm on 11 Nov 2009, JorgeG wrote:

    The BBC's version of events:

    "He was the clear front-runner but was regarded as damaged by his support for the invasion of Iraq and the fact that Britain was not a member of the euro."

    The fuller facts:

    http://blogs.ft.com/brusselsblog/2009/10/blairs-eu-presidency-bid-runs-into-trouble-as-summit-starts/

    "Martin Schulz, chairman of the European Parliament's socialist group, made it plain that he and many other Continental socialists didn't want the EU presidency to go to a Briton. The reason? The UK is semi-detached from Europe, not in the euro area, not in the Schengen zone permitting border-free travel around the EU, etc, etc."

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/president-blair-loses-sarkozys-support-1804354.html

    "Governments in Benelux and Austria oppose Mr Blair for other reasons. (...) They object, in principle, to any British figure taking the post while the UK remains outside the euro and the common, passport-free borders established on the continent by the Schengen agreement.

    If it wasn't because I have been told that the BBC is independent I would think that there is a government agenda for the media to suppress any mention of Schengen or of Britain being semi-detached from Europe and the BBC complies. By being the only country that is "not in the euro area, not in the Schengen zone" the UK *is* effectively semi-detached from Europe, but the BBC seems to want to omit that fact as much as possible and also to keep talking Blair up.

    No, No, No, No, No, No, No, No, No to Blair.

    I could just stomach Milliband as foreign chief if that was the price for keeping Blair out.

    Complain about this comment

  • 18. At 10:52pm on 11 Nov 2009, Mte_ wrote:

    #4 - Menedemus: "That means that the socialists, who currently predominate the Council of Ministers..."

    Actually, that's wrong. The center-right EPP currently predominate in the Council of Ministers - by a large margin.

    Complain about this comment

  • 19. At 11:24pm on 11 Nov 2009, threnodio_II wrote:

    #16 - JorgeG1

    I don't want to spoil your fun but there is a serious debate to be had here and, to be honest, comments like "ultranationalist front, the xenophobes, Europhobes" is music to their ears. Armed with these, they can portray us as a bunch of extremists out of much the same mould but hell bent on betraying their 'green and pleasant land'.

    When SB2 writes about the lack of democratic accountability, he is right. There is no point in denying it. Not enough people were properly consulted about Lisbon, nobody is being consulted about the new super jobs. It is true. It is fair criticism. Where we differ is what to do about it. For my part, I am a firm believer in the EU project but not the manner in which it is being brought about. I also believe that you will not bring about the necessary changes by standing on the sidelines shouting foul. Change will be brought about from within. We need a healthy degree of scepticism but we need it inside the organisation.

    This debate is rapidly degenerating into a name calling competition like two opposing groups of fans at a ball game so eager to scrap with each other than nobody is taking the blindest bit of notice of the real action. Talk about taking your eye off the ball! Cool_brush_work's comment at #9 is simply an attempt to wind people up. If he had taken the trouble to read my posts, he would know full well that I am concerned about the democratic deficit as he is and that I have been consistent in my opposition to Blair.

    You rise to it if you like but count me out.

    Complain about this comment

  • 20. At 00:31am on 12 Nov 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    I read here that "during the next week people in the EU will be awaiting (the news) who the EU president and foreign affairs will be; the EU further development was kind of sped up in the recent years, and in the run they decided to forego some democratic procedures; this ? skipping? of some democratic procedures / democratic deficiency in the process of the EU formation worries a certain part of the people, quite large an amount in fact, but sometimes the top down approach is more effective than the down-up? approach and thus the initiative was from the top and? the next I forgot, as I
    A./ remembered all those "people, quite a large amount in fact" :o)
    B./ thought our govmnt now dares to explain me their own "top-down" by referring to the "EU formation" - "sometimes more effective"
    C./ thought it's quite cool, about "democratic deficiency", speaking from the country where Yeltsin told us who he prefers for his successor outright bold, and then Putin also gave his "recommendations" LOL

    Well, for the lack of either Yeltsin or Putin you will have poor folk to wonder for a whole week who the president will be :o))))

    Though it seems to me no one is worried in particular? it's not like Obama campaign. not many in this blog can even suggest any name firmly.
    so you don't feel you will depend on anyone who will take the job very much? or you don't know, in which you will depend.

    Complain about this comment

  • 21. At 01:30am on 12 Nov 2009, Mia wrote:

    I wonder whether Miliband's flirtation around Europe is an attempt to indeed get into their good books should Gordon Brown step down and Miliband were to be the next Labour leader.

    It would provide a nice contrast to Cameron come election time; someone who knows how to maneuvre in Europe v someone who didn't have promised referendum but still seems to have pissed off everyone in Europe.

    Complain about this comment

  • 22. At 01:44am on 12 Nov 2009, Jay P wrote:

    You brits are a funny bunch! Most of you don't even want to be in the EU, you don't join Schengen, you don't want the Euro... but you want the US Poodle to be president of the EU?
    Is that UK logic?
    JP (Hong Kong)

    Complain about this comment

  • 23. At 03:54am on 12 Nov 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    14. At 10:24pm on 11 Nov 2009, Jukka_Rohila wrote:

    "To cool_brush_work (9):

    If you don't like it, you can get the .... out of it. ..."

    Unfortunately not. Our democracy is not working and its malfunctioning is supported by the anti-democratic conspiracy which includes Merkel, Sarkozy, Barroso and probably your Finnish wotsit.

    Complain about this comment

  • 24. At 03:59am on 12 Nov 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    22. At 01:44am on 12 Nov 2009, Jay P wrote:

    "You brits are a funny bunch! Most of you don't even want to be in the EU, you don't join Schengen, you don't want the Euro... but you want the US Poodle to be president of the EU?
    Is that UK logic?
    JP (Hong Kong)"

    I presume you mean Blair by "US Poodle."

    The statistics I have seen indicate that a majority of Brits do not want Blair.

    I want Blair - in prison.

    Complain about this comment

  • 25. At 04:33am on 12 Nov 2009, Dan wrote:

    #10. Dan: "He [Blair] has vision and a moral sense"
    #12. Oldnat: "Is that meant as a downer for Brown?"
    No. I wasn't thinking of Brown (like most Americans I scarcely think of Brown at all). I have always liked Tony Blair, going back to when he was opposition leader and watching him on "Prime Minister's Questions" (which runs in the US on C-SPAN). I cannot think of another European leader--not even Sarkozy--who would have more influence w/ the US. Not that Europe should choose a President based on that, but it should be a consideration in my opinion.

    Complain about this comment

  • 26. At 06:19am on 12 Nov 2009, Mathiasen wrote:

    #17. JorgeG1
    I have difficulties in believing it: BBC continues its campaining for Blair. There are two possibilities: Hewitt has sources we (and most of the European press) do not know about, or secondly he believes in the matter.

    Complain about this comment

  • 27. At 06:53am on 12 Nov 2009, Chris wrote:

    #11 I also hope for a business manager EU pres, this time around. Let things develop a few years and see if there is a need for a "heavy weight" president. Most EU countries have parlements and primeministers, presidents are the minority and I can't see the point of having one at this point in time. Someone that brings to get all the heads of governments together and ensures they all support a common policy will do just fine for now.

    About the name calling well, what can one do? When there is so much rubish flying around, at some point someone will get annoyed and shout "hey, put a lid on your rubish" it doesn't solve anything and it doesn't progress us in any way, but it does point out that the rubish thrower is full of it and if "gnothis eafton" (know yourself) as the ancient Greek used to say is not their strong point, then someone telling them what they really are may not do them any harm at all:))

    Complain about this comment

  • 28. At 07:04am on 12 Nov 2009, Chris wrote:

    #26 most likely has sources :)) I have no idea who is going to get the job, but at least from a mathematical (not logical or emotional) point of you, Blair has a chance. Assuming he has G. Brown, S. Berlusconi on his side he already has nearly 1/3 of the population, then there may be some support from Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania (those last four are speculation) then he can claim a fair amount of support. So you never know and as he hasn't said yet that he is not interested then there still a chance than next Thur Blair is president of the council :) So what if the UK is not in the EURO it still is a part of EU, it is not as the president takes any economic decisions there to look good, be nice to children and smaile a lot and lets face it Brair is good with that stuff :))

    Complain about this comment

  • 29. At 09:05am on 12 Nov 2009, Charentais wrote:

    #4 Menedemus sums it up perfectly for me!

    and

    #7 GB as EU President and Milliband to lead the Labour Party? That seems the ideal recipe to destroy both institutions. Bring it on!

    Complain about this comment

  • 30. At 09:26am on 12 Nov 2009, Christopher Alain Jones wrote:

    I don't understand the bickering about democracy only because we as people of the EU don't get to vote for the President directly.

    Its not as if the British vote for the priminister directly or the Germany vote the chancellor directly.
    they are always appointed by the government that has been elected, which is fair enough imho.

    Complain about this comment

  • 31. At 09:29am on 12 Nov 2009, MrSkipp wrote:

    It's interesting that you say "The Swedish prime minister is very keen to have a consensus candidate who has the full backing of all 27 leaders. He is desperate to avoid a row or reverting to majority voting". This means it can neither be Blair, who has too many opponents, or, if Brown does his job and uses the veto to protect British interests, a committed federalist like Juncker or Van Rompuy. There can then only be a compromise candidate, i.e. another lowest common denominator like Barrosso, or those other Commission Presidents whose names have already been forgotten, i.e. another poodle.

    When does the Lisbon treaty actually come into force? Because at this point the procedure becomes "qualified majority" - whatever that means?

    Complain about this comment

  • 32. At 09:44am on 12 Nov 2009, PlanetEnglish wrote:

    The credentials of La-tino Blair:
    1. USA's top poodle
    2. The Pope's top poodle
    3. Putin is teaching him Russian
    4. Led GB into the ME War on terror
    5. Led GB into the EU without a referendum
    6. Placed GB in-charge of GB without being elected
    7. Placed PMendelson in-line for next PM
    8. Surrendered Sovereignty to the Republic of Esperanto
    9. Ensured GBrown signs the document of surrender - Lisbon Treaty.
    10. In-line for the Holy Roman Empire's Hall of Fame.

    If he does become Head of State, he will be the first Head of GB since 1688, owing allegiance to Rome once again. History maker surely, 321 years in the making.

    Complain about this comment

  • 33. At 10:02am on 12 Nov 2009, I am not a number wrote:

    #26. Mathiasen wrote: "I have difficulties in believing it: BBC continues its campaigning for Blair."

    Didn't you know? BBC stands for Blair's Broadcasting Corporation.

    Complain about this comment

  • 34. At 10:11am on 12 Nov 2009, CComment wrote:

    A President and a Foreign Minister required for an undemocratic, unaccountable, unrepresentative European dictatorship. Pity Hitler and Ribbentrop aren't still available. Caledonian Comment

    Complain about this comment

  • 35. At 10:58am on 12 Nov 2009, Menedemus wrote:

    It is naive to suggest that voters in the United Kingdom do not choose their Prime Minister as, at every General Election, voters know exactly who the Leader of each party is.

    I believe that the personality of each Leader (and thus potential Prime Minister) is a major contributing factor for which a political party gets votes and ultimately wins power.

    In the UK, one only has to see the particular scrutiny to which Gordon Brown, David Milliband and Alistair Darling are exposed (as are David Cameron and George Osborne, et al.) to realise that their personalities and behaviours are the key to winning votes.

    The fly in British politics is where the incumbent Prime Minister reshuffles the pack of his/her Cabinet or, worse still, the current Prime Minister leaves office without calling a General Election and the adminstration continues without the absolute consent of a new General Election.

    One only has to see how that was a cause of electorate consternation with the rise of John Major to become Prime Minister and, more recently, Gordon Brown as Prime Minister - by default rather than popular vote.

    Because elected politicians DO select people or cronies to what amounts to political posts in Europe or in the United Kingdom this does not mean that this IS a democratic process or that it IS the right way to manage political appointments.

    Accountability to Parliament of the UK may be the protection offered as a figleaf for the executive powers of the Prime Minister and his/her executive choices but who exactly is the President of the Commission or Foreign Minister for the EU going to be responsible to ...... not the EU Parliament and not the electorate through that elected body but he/she/they will be solely responsible to 27 european Premiers sitting - sometimes openly, sometimes behind closed doors - always without accountability to their domestic Parliaments or Electorate. That IS not democracy in action.

    Complain about this comment

  • 36. At 11:20am on 12 Nov 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    PlanetEnglish @32, don't worry ab No 3; Blair co-insided with Bush period, and policies re things of that period hardly left Putin with any sweet memoirs. Besides, the train of Baltic States and Poland is mentally associated with him here.

    Complain about this comment

  • 37. At 11:48am on 12 Nov 2009, cool_brush_work wrote:

    JorgeG1

    Re #16

    Hope you enjoyed your fish n chips - - great British food - - an Island race was bred on such delicious fare!

    In case you haven't noticed despite your familiarity with the UK there are approx 44,000,000 adults of 1 sort or another in the UK and of those some 6.5million have predominantly 'foreign' (i.e. non-European) familial links.

    Now the 'Sun' or 'sTun' as those of us in the know like to call it may have claimed to have 'won' an election for John Major but that is a headline in a Tabloid and is not the Poll/Survey reality of the Electoral results from 1992.

    Frankly, the 4.1million regular daily readers of the sTun and its Sunday equivalent the NOW (i.e. the 'Nudes On Way') are a very small part of the general public readership.
    Also, as I have pointed out to you and other pro-EU before the idea that the British/English multi-cultural population drawn from Indian sub-continent, Africa, West Indies, China, North, Central and South America, Australasia, West, Central and East Europe, Arab Middle East, Russia, Scandinavia as well as the 4 UK Nations indigenous peoples are all so influenced by some red-top newspapers (sTun or otherwise) that nothing else matters in their view of Europe, is a total travesty of the truth.

    How come it is the British you alledge have this myopic view whereas the rest of Europe has people with the intellectual capacity to make informed decisions based upon a variety of information on any given subject? There are no 'sTun' newspapers on the Continent: I beg to differ as any 10 minute browse of newsagents stalls from Stockholm to Athens would make very clear.

    Time you climbed down from your incredibly superior 'pro-EU' pedestal long enough to actually pay attention to the People of Britain you claim to share the homes, streets and delicious eateries with. Long overdue for you to acknowledge the People come in all shapes, sizes, colours, intellects, experiences and opinions which just about equates with Swedish, Germans, Italians and of course those Spanish who are so happy to entertain and take that Pound etc. off the Brits whom you disparage every time you write on here.

    Still, it makes for a good bit of Brit-bashing, doesn't it!?

    Complain about this comment

  • 38. At 11:57am on 12 Nov 2009, Chris wrote:

    #34 how could they help the situation in your opinion? I take it you made this comment after lots of clear thinking, otherwise you run the risk of coming across as a europhobe, etc. etc., which of cause you are not

    Complain about this comment

  • 39. At 12:11pm on 12 Nov 2009, cool_brush_work wrote:

    threnodio_II

    Re #19

    I have read your references to the 'democratic defecit' in all your posts but as I wrote once before, 'you are known by the company you keep', and in this case as in all your posts you are 'pro-EU'.

    Your constantly pointing out what is wrong with the democratic systems of the EU whilst all the time stating the EU is better than an independent UK/England is sitting in the Coliseum, eating your cake, watching the lions slaughter the innocents and occasionally remarking what a pity as you quite liked this or that person!

    Blair is exactly what the EU deserves: He is a master of blandishment, as duplicitous a politician as can be found in the modern era, wears his faith on his sleeve whilst dining with terrorists, and to top it all he is bi-lingual and very, very pro-European Union.

    The ideal candidate: He seeks only to further his own nest (as any EU rep would). His extremely able wife will assist him with through the EUrocratic legal minefield (as any EU rep requires in order to not get caught).
    No doubt, as with the UK in the EU Presidency he will 'fiddle' policies, plans and directives leaving him untouched whilst Federal Paris-Berlin-Brussels burn!

    EU and Blair: A match made in Machiavellian heaven (or hell, as you prefer).

    Complain about this comment

  • 40. At 12:32pm on 12 Nov 2009, Chris wrote:

    #37,

    Come one you know you are not fair when you just pick on the Sun as the only anti-EU media in the UK :) if on top of the 4.1M Sun readers you add the Telegraph, "Diana Express" (ooops daily express) the Mail, Sky and The Times then that gives us a very large number of the British electorate reading either out right lies or Europhobe stories at best. Given that to win a general election in the UK it only requires about 7 - 7.5M votes that should be sufficient to swing an election. Another country in Europe that has such media concentration in one person's hands is Italy and we can see the results there.

    So yes there is a point to be made about the Europhobe UK media infuencing the opinions

    Complain about this comment

  • 41. At 12:41pm on 12 Nov 2009, Wonthillian wrote:

    I think the danger here is that people assume that the Council president is the same as, the president of the USA, which it is not. The Council president is really just a chairman. He/she would have the accept the decisions of the Council members, i.e. the Member States who would need to answer to their Parliaments or electorates. A president with a strong personality would probably find it difficult to accept this role, which is why a lot of people would prefer a low-key 'business manager' type. Ideally you would want a somebody with a certain presence who would not be in the shadow of Obama or Putin, but would at the same time be able to accept the decisions of Council and not try to impose his own agenda. I suspect it would be difficult to find somebody who could tick both boxes.

    Complain about this comment

  • 42. At 1:00pm on 12 Nov 2009, cool_brush_work wrote:

    ChrisArta

    Re #40

    I did not pick on the Sun: That was your fellow-EU-traveller JorgeG1 and I was just replying to his entirely spurious allegation about its supposed 'influence' on the British electorate.

    An allegation you then repeat despite my poínting out the enormous wide-ranging British public!

    There were a couple of things you wrote that also are highly debateable:
    The Times is not 'pro-EU', but by any yardstick neither is it 'anti': It runs pro and anti news stories with equal rigour.
    Completely at a loss as to how you could describe SKY News as 'anti'!? There is simply no evidence whatsoever for such an allegation: Indeed, all UK Television prides itself on attempting 'neutral' Journalism which can enrage any of us in the UK or abroad on any topic.

    The idea 1 particular newspaper swings the votes one way or another is ridiculous when you consider the vast range of 'news' available: 4.1 million readership seems a lot but to assume all 4.1 vote as the Editor of the Sun suggests is stretching credulity beyond any statistical analysis. Besides, there are much less known but wholly different newspapers-magazines catering for Indians, Pakistanis, Africans, Asians, Arabs and Europeans as well as the Scottish, Welsh, Irish and English. What you are suggesting about the Sun is exactly what its Editor would have as the public image - - in fact - - You are the gullible Sun reader because You believe its nonsensical claims to be the power behind the Politicians.

    Try to understand this: The Sun recently swapped support to the Conservatives because all the Opinion Polls show they are very likely to win the next General Election - - this has been the political-electoral reality for a 12 month in the UK - - however, that wont stop the Sun Editor on the morning Cameron kisses the Queen's hand from proclaiming, "It's the Sun What Did It!"

    Only dunces will believe it: How much longer are you going to presuppose that the influence of the 'pro-EU' Daily Mirror (plus sister papers in Scotland and Ireland), Guardian, Financial Times, Independent, New Statesmen and their Sunday versions are any less or more likely to have a defining effect on the UK Ballot box?

    You either do not know and understand the UK People or You are one of those really minority of gullible Citizens who does not think for themselves even when placing an 'x' in the seclusion of a Polling booth!

    Complain about this comment

  • 43. At 1:28pm on 12 Nov 2009, Chris wrote:

    #42

    I both know and understand them :) It is irelivent if the Sun support the goverment or not. The thing I'm saying is that it is an anti-EU publication even when it supported the goverment it was still an anti-EU publication, so 3 month ago the Sun an anti-EU publication full stop! Same goes with the other media I mentioned above. By the way the Guardian & Independent I would not put them as pro-EU, it is just that they don't publish anti-EU lies :)

    About how media report things having an influence on their public, I think you are teasing me if are deny it :)

    Complain about this comment

  • 44. At 2:42pm on 12 Nov 2009, Seraphim wrote:

    Now this entry is weird.

    1. Question I have:

    Has anyone at all really considered Milliband as high-representative that he is that keen on denying his ambitions?

    2. Question:

    Why is the BBC still fighting a battle to promote Blair that is already lost? (and has been for some time) Do you guys get paid for that or is it just to claim towards the British public afterwards how unwanted Britain is within the EU when for - some strange reason - Blair didn't get the job?

    Complain about this comment

  • 45. At 2:43pm on 12 Nov 2009, threnodio_II wrote:

    ChrisArta, cool_brush_work, JorgeG1 . . . et al.

    I think we would agree that people tend to get the governments they deserve and this is particularly the case in democracies. They do after all vote for them. I would also contend that people get the press they deserve. Just to take News International as an example, if ten times as many buy the Sun as the Times on any given day, it speaks volumes about the readership.

    Now I suppose one could easily get on ones high horse and suggest that democracy is not safe in the hands of people that read comics but there is another explanation. It could simply be that most people see their daily paper as pure entertainment rather than journalism - that, to put it crudely, they are far more interested near naked girls and what will win the 3.30 at Kempton Park. People get their news from multiple sources these days - terrestrial, cable, the internet and so on. The influence of the press is hugely overrated these days. Their response increasingly has been to preach to the converted. So when posters here quote the Telegraph to us, they are quoting a paper that is written by EUsceptic Tories for EUsceptic Tories. Nobody else takes the blindest bit of notice.

    The day when we used to speak of the 'gentlemen of the press' and refer to the 'gutter press' to distinguish them from the broadsheets has long gone. They exist to sell papers and they print whatever it takes. They are all in the gutter now and not a gentleman for miles around.

    Complain about this comment

  • 46. At 2:55pm on 12 Nov 2009, cool_brush_work wrote:

    ChrisArta

    Re #43

    Of course all Media 'influence'!

    No, none of the Media determine an Election Result: No, none of the Media whether 'pro' or 'anti' supporting/opposing the 'Government' is at the core of how and why People vote as they do - - every UK Government since 1973 has been broadly in favour of the European Union - - or there would be far more success for UKIP etc.

    If you take the Guardian and Independent as "not printing lies" then surely they are operating as all genuine 'news' organisations should do and attempting to present the unbiased/even-handed approach to topics. That you would prefer the inordinately supine 'pro-EU' press so prevalent on the Continent is to your discredit and to my mind further evidence you do not 'know' or 'understand' the British Public and especially their voter intentions.

    The British Isles evolved very much at arms length from mainland Europe: To pretend otherwise as EU and UK Politicians have tried to do especially since Maastricht is to deny Historical reality.
    I submit most of the British Public are aware of these very significant cultural/social-judicial-political-military differences. Most modern Britons enjoy the facilities and convenience of the European coast and hinterland being literally a comparatively short ferry/train/plane ride away. They are also grateful to recognise by the accident of Geography the Channel has made for substantive differing choices of Historical custom and practise by the populace on both sides.

    The failure of successive UK Governments and of the EUrotocracy to engage with the British Citizens in honest, open debate about the pros and cons of unification is the fault of Leadership and not the Media. This is perhaps where the Sun etc. have scored with British public opinion: They are scurrilous in pursuit of profit from sales and therefore have exploited the glaring gap left by negligent, lazy and greedy UK/EU Politicians since the Federalisation project got into full swing.

    Rightly or wrongly (obviously I believe the former) Britons sense danger from ever closer political-judicial association with mainland Europe. When Me-rijn, Juuka_R, Mathiasen, Yourself etc. go on about how the EU has brought this and that benefit and is harmless to the Citizens' future the British do not share that optimism: They have not had the experience of general war ravaging every part of their lands and the trampling of all legalities under tyrannies (due deference to the 3 smaller Nations' histories but England really hasn't bashed you as a Napoleon, Stalin, Hitler etc.). As a result they do not see or foresee the benefits of Brussels' inspired Legislation. I am not alone in going further and stating that Brussels' view of ordered society is just another, albeit more sophisticated and cunning, version of that tyranny because there is nothing the fully united Europe can offer that the UK/England cannot enjoy by specialist Treaties where required and by default of circumstance in quite a lot of areas. UK/England does not need Europe on a daily basis and EU does not need UK/England.
    What does it matter to the EU if England chooses to negotiate its own path at the WTO etc.? Answer: The EU power-holders of Paris-Berlin-Brussels are distinctly worried an Independent UK and /or England thrives as the off-shore entity to the economic embarrassment of the 'unified' nations. Do not start quoting how low the Pound is or the vulnerability of the Trade etc. What has that to do with a successful EU? Answer: A successful EU exists but EUro or Pound the British Isles seem to have continued (the cyclical economic crash of the moment is nothing new) and the 60,000,000 despite like/disliking the EU has gone about its business - - that the UK Economy is presently in crisis occured though the EU umbrella was there - - so, lets not have anymore of this EU is the only way forward when it is patently untrue.

    All the 'pro-EU' activists going on about "how will England survive" and the dullard 'pro-EU' who still harp on about 'little Englanders/Empire' etc. as if any Briton under 60 would have any idea what they meant except from History books simply are a part of the overall failure to honestly engage with the British Isles' Population.

    Yes, the Sun has some minimal effect, but, not nearly as much as the UK and EU Leadership collective lack of probity, veracity and intellectual debate with the British Citizen.

    Unless and until not only the 'Democratic defecit' but also the 'Credibility-gap' of UK-EU relations is properly dealt with to the satisfaction of the huge swathe of undecided/unpersuaded Britons there is no prospect of Britons becoming reconciled to Government led from Brussels.

    Complain about this comment

  • 47. At 3:00pm on 12 Nov 2009, Isenhorn wrote:

    cool_brush_work,

    I think you are not quite correct, when you dismiss the power of newspapers like the Sun to sway public opinion. It is debatable what comes first: whether people begin to read a newspaper because they agree with what is said in it or whether a newspaper begins to publish articles knowing that this is what the people would like to read. Whichever it is, one things is clear- what is written in a newspaper closely reflects the opinion on the people who read it.
    Now, the 4.1 million strong Sun readership may have different reasons for choosing it every morning- for some the reason is that it costs 10p, others rank its third page above the third pages of all other newspapers and some buy it because of its football pages. However, I a sure a lot of people would not buy it just for those reasons had it not been for the columns of Littlejohn and his likes (apologies if Littlejohn no longer writes for the Sun; I have not read it for years- he might have left meanwhile).
    Now , as you rightly point out, there are other newspapers which are also critical of some issues. Where the Sun differs however is the fact that it does publish articles on certain topics, which are not supported by any facts but rely heavily on references to the Battle of Trafalgar, Battle of Britain and Henry V at Agincourt. Where that becomes serious is the way these same references are used by the Sun readership as foundations of their attitude towards many problems- be it immigration, EU or the war in Iraq. Even if the newspaper is not deliberately trying to sway the public opinion, the net result is the same- certain sizeable proportion of the UK electorate is likely to form an opinion (or find justification of their opinion) in a newspaper which does not present the facts objectively.

    The availability of other newspapers and media is not a remedy. It is not supported by any evidence but I would venture a guess that the overwhelming majority of people who read the Sun do not read the Times, thus the Times’ s objectivity in presenting the facts does not matter. Nor does it matter that the modern British society is quite diverse- I for one fail to see why you seem to think that any of the ethnic groups you chose to mention does not read the Sun.

    Complain about this comment

  • 48. At 3:14pm on 12 Nov 2009, threnodio_II wrote:

    #46 - cool_brush_work

    I do not understand you first paragraph. Either the people care very anti-EU, in which case the UKIP would have a far greater degree of success, or they are actually nowhere near as badly disposed towards the EU as the sceptics such as yourself would like to have us believe, or the EU is very low down on their list of priorities when they go to vote.

    Complain about this comment

  • 49. At 3:39pm on 12 Nov 2009, Chris wrote:

    @cool_brush_work,

    The media point was well explained by #47 above.

    further I fail to grasp what makes us here in the UK unique? The Irish are just as unique and so are people from Sweden or Denmark or Germany everyone is unique, who asked anyone not to be unique and who says that the UK or Denmark or Germany could not exist outside the EU? No one! What we are saying is that working together as one we can all exist better :) and yes you are right the British politicians do not explain the EU benefits very well, but they are scared they may upset The Sun and the Telegraph and the Star and the express editors so they avoid telling anything positive about it. And that is my point we have freedom of press here as long as you say things the press wants to say, othewise they will accuse you of "surentering 600 years of Englilsh freedom that was hard won, to the EU without a shot been fired!"

    Complain about this comment

  • 50. At 3:51pm on 12 Nov 2009, Chris wrote:

    by the way on the issue that press lies influence people's opinions even a pro-EU poster the other beleived the story in some tabloid that the Birminham council had banned Christmas in favour of "Winterville". So, no people will not vote 100% as the media tell them, but it will for sure influence their choise.

    Complain about this comment

  • 51. At 4:23pm on 12 Nov 2009, Wonthillian wrote:

    The Sunday Express displayed a headline the other week saying 'EU to ban shop refunds' You only had to read the first couple of paragraphs to realise it was complete nonsense, but a lot of people just read headlines.

    Complain about this comment

  • 52. At 4:29pm on 12 Nov 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Iantownhill @41, I think you put it very well; I would add a historical dimension, in the search for a candidature, to be considered. What if the EU lives another 300 years - think about the future! I mean you don't really know what you'll become, right?

    The first president, 300 yrs later, may be nothing to remember or may be a person to publish a picture in children's school-books.
    Just in case, I'd make sure it's someone good-looking and with a pleasant sounding name :o)))

    Complain about this comment

  • 53. At 4:42pm on 12 Nov 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    And well-shaven. Otherwise you can't draw a moustache. :o)

    Seriously, I think it won't be a bad idea to have his photo done on paper, not some hard disk or a ? "a flash-ka" - and sealed in a bottle. Some proven means to keep information, like carved in a rosetta stone. It so often happens that a 500 years later you can't get a good photo of "King Artur?" or our Rurik, what's with this and that on this planet - I'd go for a bottle expense as minimum.

    Complain about this comment

  • 54. At 4:48pm on 12 Nov 2009, threnodio_II wrote:

    #50 - ChrisArta

    Please check before you post. It was me that made the post about Birmingham and Christmas and I most assuredly did not pick it up from a tabloid newspaper. I was in the city and saw it with my own eyes.

    And it was nor Winterville, it was Winterfest.

    Complain about this comment

  • 55. At 4:48pm on 12 Nov 2009, Menedemus wrote:

    Iantownhill @41

    Not that I necessarily disagree or think otherwise to your summation of the role of President in your comment at #41 but quite how you know"...The Council president is really just a chairman. He/she would have the accept the decisions of the Council members, i.e. the Member States who would need to answer to their Parliaments or electorates. ..., I would love to understand?

    I get the impression that the role specification has not yet been written and that the Council of Ministers are defining who should have the role and will then determine how the role should be fulfilled.

    As I understand it, the role is to be THE person who either Putin or Obama can have at the end of the telephone to speak for and on behalf of the EU .... something/someone that President Bush and his administration were keen to have and do. I cannot imagine that this person is going to convene a special, hastily called, meeting of the Council of Ministers to discuss the EU support (or disagreement with) either Putin or Obama but rather he is going to have to act swiftly and independently as a key executive should do - there is no point being the recipient of THE phone call from the President of the USA and not be able to make a decision there and then - that would defeat the purpose of the President of the USA having someone to call who could represent the EU.

    A point in example would be the need for speed when it comes to unilateral action such as the Russian intervention in South Ossetia last year - I cannot imagine anyone who can "tick both boxes" being able to ring up Medvedev or, indeed, Putin and say"if you do this, we will do that when speaking on behalf of the EU without being (a)an executive of the Council of Ministers with plenipotentiary powers and (b) being able to make such executive decisions without the need to convene a meeting of the Council of Ministers. The selected candidate surely needs to be independently minded but also in accord with the majority view of the member Premiers of the Council of Ministers.

    As the President of the Commission might actually influence world changing decisions made in Capital Cities outside of the EU one can hardly imagine that he/she will be a blushing violet - and if he/she is so lame then we've probably been vexed by the problem of the role EU President far more than we need have done and perhaps should look elsewhere within the changes guaranteed by the Lisbon Treaty than that of such a subservient roles as President of the Council or EU Foreign Representative.

    Complain about this comment

  • 56. At 4:52pm on 12 Nov 2009, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Threnodio_II

    Re #48

    Precisely: It is surely all 3 with complete ambivalence on the part of many also thrown into the UK v EU mill.
    Thus, my premise that the 'anti' elements within UK Media do not play the significant role so many 'pro-EU' spout off about whenever the argument isn't going their way!

    Complain about this comment

  • 57. At 5:14pm on 12 Nov 2009, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Isenhorn and #47 plus Iantownhill #51

    Sorry, the idea 4.1 million UK Citizens all go out to vote the way the Editor of the Sun newspaper wants is just too fanciful to even consider. Unless you have some sort of evidence that UK Citizens are utterly different from the rest of the EU Citizens I cannot go along with such a nonsensical suggestion.

    Afterall, the great majority of mainland European Press are very 'pro-EU' and yet the electoral turnout has diminished at each of the last 4 MEP Elections: And yet, that same Electorate turnout in far greater numbers at their National Elections to vote for all sorts of Political Parties (mostly in favour of the EU just like the UK).

    PS. As I suspect you know very well but it was inconvenient to the 'pro-EU' argument, Littlejohn has not been a Sun commentator for several years (but does in Mail, so, same indicator).

    PPS: The Sun no more references the past History of the UK than does Der Spiegel, La Monde etc. and it is a deliberately misleading point by you. Neither you, I nor anyone can deduce/quantify any person's individual reaction to such a newspaper content. In fact given the enormous criticism English Education system gets it is just as likely many readers may not read such articles as they would not have a clue who Johnnie Johnson, Nelson, Henry V are!

    #51 - - As for "..a lot of people just read headlines.."! Oh really, and you base that as conclusive evidence of the 'anti-EU' voters on exactly what...
    According to the Newspapers own statistics the numbers daily/weekly purchasing and reading Newspapers is at an all time low - - however, it is 14+ million - - when did you last ask each of them!?

    The contempt you both display towards the ordinary British Citizen is very unappetizing indeed: As I read I am increasingly gaining the impression you have some theory/belief in the inate intellectual prowess of the average European as compared to the Briton. That would be a serious mistake but wholly typical of the 'pro-EU' who constantly regale us with how we 'anti' just don't understand!

    Next!

    Complain about this comment

  • 58. At 5:36pm on 12 Nov 2009, Wonthillian wrote:

    Menedemus @ 55

    See this link.

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

    Wikipedia may not be 100% accurate but I trust it more than most media outlets.

    It does speculate that the role will largely be defined by the first incumbent, and that is probably why Member states will be wary about appointing anybody who would try to endow the position with more power than it deserves.

    Complain about this comment

  • 59. At 5:42pm on 12 Nov 2009, cool_brush_work wrote:

    ChrisArta

    Re #49

    The uniqueness of the English, Scottish, Welsh, Irish (Eire and Northern), Swedish, French, German, Hungarian, Greek, Maltese etc. is exactly that - - they are from their particular Nations - - all share some clear commonalities and all have some supraNational-commonalities. The poling of identites and Govenment is a relatively new experience: That the recent European Elections were the 4th successively low Voter turnout and to have only 1 Nation give its People a voice at the most recent step towards integration is grounds alone in my opinion for rejecting the EU in its entirety.
    Clearly there is nothing 'unique' in the pan-European Citizen's experience of a supra-National Legislative power utterly rejecting any form of 'Democratic' access for People to decide their future.

    In fact as I look at the various electoral systems across the Nations I am struck by how unique is the experience of Secret Ballot in one form or another and how the EU at every stage of its development has attempted wherever possible to avoid that unique Citizen's Right.


    Why would you conclude that I think the Britons are better rather than just 'different' as I went to great lengths to explain in my previous posts?

    If you are trying to suggest the impetus for a 'united' Europe is every bit as strong in the Briton as in the psyche of Europeans I would strongly dispute that. There would have to be some wholly irrational, illogical disorder if after 3 chaotic, cataclysmic, destructive wars in less than 60 years France and Germany did not find their general Populations and their Political leadership not reflecting a wish for a longlasting rapprochement. That the British Isles' Population would be in favour of such a development is also fairly natural, but, that many would baulk at the idea of the need to for the UK/england to tie itself wholly into such a inification scheme is also highly understandable.

    Nothing in your #49 supports the idea the British and Europeans would 'all exist better' in one gigantic pan-European State - - You only think/hope it will happen - - whereas I think/anticipate the EEC existence of good, firm, longterm Trade, Travel and Tax relations was all that was needed. All the rest, the European Laws and Directives affecting every aspect of National Citizens' lives, the European 'Defence' forces, the increasingly intrusive EU Judicial-Police regulation of lives, and the move to an all-powerful, undemocratic and often corrupt Federal EU is an 'existence' that will prove unworkable and possibly tragically so in the years ahead.

    Complain about this comment

  • 60. At 5:49pm on 12 Nov 2009, JorgeG wrote:

    @ 19. threnodio_II :

    "I don't want to spoil your fun but there is a serious debate to be had here and, to be honest, comments like "ultranationalist front, the xenophobes, Europhobes" is music to their ears. "

    Threnodio, you and I usually are in the same camp and I really respect your opinions, but no, these comments were not intended as a shouting match but as *part of a serious debate*

    First, you interpret that my descriptors all apply equally to the same group of people. No, that was not the intention. The anti-EU brigades are very varied and colourful. Some are ultranationalists, some are xenophobes, some are anti-capitalists, some are plain racists, some are Anglosphere ideologes. Some, even, are all these in combination. I do not know of any anti-EU individual who doesn't fall in at least one of these groups.

    But my key point is this: It is not the BNP xenophobes or racists that I fear, the ones I fear the most are the unwitting, institutionalised xenophobes and/or racists, in the sense that was described by a gentleman called Macpherson who wrote a report that everyone (I assume) has probably heard about. My considered opinion, and this is not name calling, is that there must be something sinister/distorted in the mainstream thinking/values - call it what you want - of a country that is the only one, out of 30 European countries, that refuses to participate in the 'open-borders' Europe and, also, refuses to abide by the *true* EU principle of freedom of movement (i.e. one that is non-policed and universal for all legal EU residents) and instead operates a unilateral, restrictive, minimalistic travesty version of the same, with the acquiescence (by act or omission) of a majority of social and political opinion (e.g. all commonly known UK parties, from the top three to the greens to UKIP and BNP, oppose the border union that all the rest of the EU and EFTA countries have signed up to (except Ireland, forced out against its wishes by the UK’s refusal to participate)).

    Either the 28 European countries that have agreed to participate in the 'open-borders' Europe are the sinister ones, for having the temerity to open their borders between themselves, or the only country that refuses to do so while otherwise purportedly participating in their alliance (EU) and single market is the one that has an 'existential', identity, or other kind of problem. Both, it cannot be.

    And I have said many times that I agree that there is a democratic 'issue' with the EU, but you, more than anyone else should realise that in order to make the EU citizens sovereign *over the EU*, rather than EU governments (as it is currently the case), the EU would have to cease to be an *intergovernmental* organisation and, instead, become a fully fledged confederation or federation.

    The current way in which the EU heads of governments are horse-trading to elect a president and a foreign chief is 100% consistent with the EU being an intergovernmental organisation. The EU governments are the ones holding sovereignty over the EU, not the citizens directly. This is basic constitutional law but I am sure is too complex for most Europhobes to understand.

    Complain about this comment

  • 61. At 5:54pm on 12 Nov 2009, nedafo2 wrote:

    This isn't the big issue affecting the EU. The real issue was reported in the this weekend's Sunday Times. A report based on comments from a former adviser on climate change to the governement that the climate change models suggest that by 2060 the temperature in partd of siuthern Europe could increase by six degrees celsius. This would make these parts of the world vitually uninhabitable and would destroy their agriculture. Presumably smaller rises in temperature which may take place well before 2060 may also result in a population shift from southen to northern Europe. Will the EU withstand these pressures and will freedom of movement continue?

    Complain about this comment

  • 62. At 5:56pm on 12 Nov 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Menedemus, @55. I am very glad to see you. even that you are in a mood to take rapid decisions about us :o)

    This point of "speed" of decision making is of meaning, reminds me of organisational studies where it tells ab various options of organising an organisation.

    Hierarchy - top-down approach in decision making - when speed is critical.
    Teams - when breadth of experience is critical.
    Networks - when range of capabilities is critical.

    So, what are the objectives of the EU for a ? a? say, 3-year period?
    What are the objectives of the work of the president, for a 3-year period?

    Oh. How long will that president be, nobody mentioned. Is it one year, 3, 5, or till the death :o))))

    Complain about this comment

  • 63. At 6:03pm on 12 Nov 2009, JorgeG wrote:

    @ 37 JorgeG1

    Re #16

    "Hope you enjoyed your fish n chips - - great British food –"

    I do like fish n chips but no, there are no papers in the local one. It is in the Chinese / Indian take away where I normally browse the Sun, Mirror or Daily Heil.

    You know, there are hundreds of thousands of immigrants here, either legal or irregular, who survive feeding the local population (and occasionally foreigners like myself), and also doing other menial jobs that led someone clever to describe them as BBC's (British Bottom Cleaners).

    Why do you think I have something against the British people in general? I do have serious reservations about the mainstream views (see my previous post) but there are many British people with whom I wholeheartedly agree, e.g. threnodio (he happens not to live here but that is by-the-by). There was even a British politician who I really admired, the late Robin Cook. His resignation speech won me to his side forever.

    Complain about this comment

  • 64. At 6:35pm on 12 Nov 2009, cool_brush_work wrote:

    JorgeG1

    Re #60

    "...something sinister/distorted.."

    My goodness, when you let your ture feelings out they really run away with you!

    So, the MacPherson report on the instutionalised rascism of the Metropolitan Police is the preamble to labelling any Citizen from 1 particular group of 60,000,000 that dares to suggest the other 30 or so Nations may not be headed down the correct poltical-economic-social-cultural pathway to the future.

    Out of the mouth of the EU loyalist comes the double-speak of political indoctrination and dangerously controlling instincts.

    Your #60 with its acknowledgement of the "..Democratic 'issue with the EU.." and the sweeping generalisation of "..sure its too complex for Europhobes to understand.." reminds me of another brilliantly evocative all-encompassing Report also stemming from some pertinent research by Britain: It was called, 'A Warning From History'.

    It was all about the incredible stereotyping content of your #60.

    Complain about this comment

  • 65. At 6:51pm on 12 Nov 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To WebAliceinwonderland (62):

    I think you missed some of your business classes...

    Hierarchy - Incompetent fools at the top, speed is great but the direction is wrong. Motto: "I only hire people who are smarter than me".

    Teams - Competent people avoid responsibility and doing real work. Motto: "Let me arrange a project team pre-meeting to discuss the agenda of the meeting."

    Networks - Everybody pretends to be experts on some niche thing, everybody knows little things, but nobody knows nothing about the whole picture. Motto: "This is not our core competency. We have to use network to increment our competence. Let me arrange a team meet up to build a case for the senior management."

    Now remembering this, the only aim of the EU and the EU president is just hope that nothing really bad happens, that there are no big scandals and everybody can retire before everything explodes to their faces.

    Complain about this comment

  • 66. At 7:11pm on 12 Nov 2009, Isenhorn wrote:

    cool_brush_work,
    I tink you have shown a remarkable example of self-contradiction.

    46. At 2:55pm on 12 Nov 2009, cool_brush_work wrote:
    'The British Isles evolved very much at arms length from mainland Europe: To pretend otherwise as EU and UK Politicians have tried to do especially since Maastricht is to deny Historical reality.
    I submit most of the British Public are aware of these very significant cultural/social-judicial-political-military differences.'

    And,

    57. At 5:14pm on 12 Nov 2009, cool_brush_work wrote:
    'Sorry, the idea 4.1 million UK Citizens all go out to vote the way the Editor of the Sun newspaper wants is just too fanciful to even consider. Unless you have some sort of evidence that UK Citizens are utterly different from the rest of the EU Citizens I cannot go along with such a nonsensical suggestion.'


    So, are the British citizens different from everybody else (thus the only way left for for them is to leave the EU) or are they exactly the same as the rest of the EU citizens (thus all the retoric to the opposite being complete rubbish)?

    Complain about this comment

  • 67. At 7:13pm on 12 Nov 2009, threnodio_II wrote:

    #56 - cool_brush_work

    Yes but this still comes back to the point I am making over and over again. The sceptics are constantly talking about what 'the majority of British people' want as though they have any way of knowing. We know what the press think, we know that the majority of politicians would rather not think at all because that would involve courting controversy and we know what contributors to this blog think. We do not know what the British people think. Come to think of it, we don't know what most mainland Europeans think either.

    The bottom line is that general elections throughout Europe tend to be fought on manifestos which embrace a raft of policies. It follows that EU matters will not, on their own decide the outcome of an election. This leaves only two of the three possibilities outlined in may earlier post. Either they don't care or most of them are satisfied with the status quo. To interpret this as EUscepticism is not only ill-advised, it is downright misleading. Yet again, if you really want to know what the British people want, damned well ask them and stop jumping to conclusions!

    #62 - WebAliceinwonderland

    The proposal is 2.5 year terms up to a maximum of two terms.

    #60 - JorgeG1

    I take your point but I remain reluctant to feed the flames. However, if you want to narrow the argument down to Schengen, then I will throw abuse around with you. It is the most absurd and pathetic example I have ever encountered of a government manipulating public anxiety for its own control freak mentality that I have ever encountered. By the way, I may not live in the UK now but I have spent over 50 years of my life there so I do know my way around that neck of the woods.

    By the way, could someone please tell me what MacPherson and racism in the Met has to do with the business in hand?

    Complain about this comment

  • 68. At 7:19pm on 12 Nov 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    "The next seven days will tell us a great deal about power and how decisions are taken in the new European Union. "

    I'm starting to warm to this fellow Hewitt.

    Anyway, i know we did the BNP question a while back, but check out the "Have your say" on the issue. Be sure to press "most popular responses" to get an idea of what the BBC readership think.

    Scary stuff!

    Complain about this comment

  • 69. At 7:20pm on 12 Nov 2009, threnodio_II wrote:

    #66 - Isenhorn

    I guess that depends on what you mean by British. Are we talking about Jutes, Angles, Saxons, Romans, Normans and Danes or are we talking about people who have no connection with Europe?

    Complain about this comment

  • 70. At 7:34pm on 12 Nov 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    thank you, threnodio. I also followed the link that Iantownhill gave, but that was after. So, two and a half years. And there is a picture of the building in Brussels where the Councul will be. Already a lot to know! It happens to many people when employed that no objectives are given, only place of employment, LOL, and salary. They don't even know the time!
    So, the president of the Council job is , relatively, not that badly defined. Because all people manage somehow, in his shoes, - and he/she will.
    ___

    Jukka, it's you who missed classes! :o) (graduates talk :o) You forget that the three modes of operation (as described by you above :o) can and MUST be run simultaneously :o))))

    Complain about this comment

  • 71. At 7:46pm on 12 Nov 2009, JorgeG wrote:

    @ CBW

    "So, the MacPherson report on the instutionalised rascism of the Metropolitan Police is the preamble to labelling any Citizen from 1 particular group of 60,000,000 that dares to suggest the other 30 or so Nations may not be headed down the correct poltical-economic-social-cultural pathway to the future."

    Who said I was labelling 'any citizen' from that particular group of 60m. As I have said before, it is self-evident that the xenophobes have the upper hand in British policy, but that doesn't mean that every man and his dog is a xenophobe.

    Also, I did admit that there is a possibility that the other 30 or so nations are wrong and the UK is right. It seems improbable, even from a pure statistical POV, but not impossible.

    You denigrate me for doing exactly what you do:

    You postulate that the UK is right and 30 or so European nations are wrong. I postulate the opposite. What is the difference? Why the "Warning from History" applies to me but not to you?

    Complain about this comment

  • 72. At 7:54pm on 12 Nov 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Jukka_Rohila @65, "only hope.. that not explodes", why, some objectives of the job can be named already.
    - as is "president of the Council" - to assist and lead the Council's work. to see that Council is healthy and does whatever it is doing.
    - as is "President" - to check what all the previous, half-a-year presidents did and try not to manage worse and desirably do better, in whatever it is that they were doing.
    - as is "President of the Council of the EU" - see that as min., the EU stays (not like Gorbachyov - the first president of the USSR)
    - invent something your own, as the job is new.

    Complain about this comment

  • 73. At 8:18pm on 12 Nov 2009, Chris wrote:

    #54

    Sorry threnodio_II I got your comment wrong, never the less there was also a tabloid claim that the Birminham council had banned Christmas in favour of "Winterville". I mixed it up with the winterfest you saw.

    Complain about this comment

  • 74. At 8:38pm on 12 Nov 2009, Caite Douglas wrote:

    How about some online democracy, who would you suggest for the post?

    How about:

    Angela Merkel
    Paddy Ashdown
    Ken Clarke
    Ken Livingston

    Or some unknown baldy

    Complain about this comment

  • 75. At 9:03pm on 12 Nov 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To Caite Douglas (74):

    Carla Bruni. We need a new and a fresh face for Europe.

    Complain about this comment

  • 76. At 9:07pm on 12 Nov 2009, Chris wrote:

    #59

    I think you argue just for the sake of it now. You claim to want everything that the EU offers, but you don't want the EU. You can not have taxes, trade and free travel without having some sort of rules in place and that is the part the EU plays. Makes rules so it is clear to everyone in the 27 countries that make up the EU where they stand, as for the human rights laws, etc. I'm happy they have there. I want to know that if I travel to Greece and I take a picture of a my friend at the beach, I will not end up in jail beause a military airplane happen to fly behind her as I snapped the picture :)

    About the uniquenes it was you that brought it up, all I was point out to you was that everyone through out the EU is unique and it is not a specific trade of the British isles :) So I'm happy you see my point and appear to agree that there is nothing more special about been British :) So please don not bring up as an argument as a reason why we should not like the EU because we are special! :)

    About the EU refusing people democratic rights, that is another argument that you keep making without even once pointing out where the EU (not the various national governments) has denied people democracy. Not even once you mantioned an example where the EU pushed a national government to refuse its nationals their democratic rights, so at least to me you make claims that appear false.

    If we are better together or alone, exactly right I think we are better together and you think we are better alone. The simple fact is we can not hack it alone. We don't have the natural resources nor the market to go it alone. That was the reason we had the empire, to get raw matterials process them here and send back to the colonies, we can't do that anymore so we need to be part of bigger group thus the EU! So we can be in it and try to shape it, or be at the sides and do as they tell us. I'd rather we are in it.

    Which brings us back to that it would be good to have a British involved in the foreign ministry or the council, but please not Blair.

    Complain about this comment

  • 77. At 9:23pm on 12 Nov 2009, Chris wrote:

    #61
    nedafo2

    So what are you trying to tell us here? What is your fear if people move around? I take it you are worried that the UK will be full of subtanned people from taking a holiday there or that it will be full of people that moved here from hotter part of the EU? All the better if there is still free movement, if it gets too crowded for us here we all move to Sweden and Finland it will be cooler there and they have lots of space so problem solved!:) What else worries you, tell me I'm on problem solving mode now.

    Even better we make Russia part of the EU and then we all move to Siberia, ooops here comes the EUSSR :)))

    Complain about this comment

  • 78. At 9:24pm on 12 Nov 2009, Chris wrote:

    #74 The former Irish president Mr. Robinson :))

    Complain about this comment

  • 79. At 10:25pm on 12 Nov 2009, threnodio_II wrote:

    #78 - ChrisArta

    MR. Robinson? Has Mary been keeping secrets from us?

    Complain about this comment

  • 80. At 11:00pm on 12 Nov 2009, Johan_Heuvel wrote:

    I'm not quite sure what the fuss is all about.
    A bunch of elected leaders choose a person to chair their meetings.
    I seriously do not believe this wrongly named "president" post has any substance at all, when push comes to shove. It is better called the "Chairman of the meeting of the elected leaders" Like the chairman of the senate.
    The only position I have second thoughts about is the foreign affairs post. But, than again, that is just a coordinator with not real powers. At least as far as I know.
    If we would elect these two posts through a direct election, they would defacto be the highest authority within the EU. I do not think any current member state President or Minister-President (as we call our Prime-Minister) is prepared to give up any real power by allowing for an directly elected EU leader.
    Directly electing the two EU posts by popular vote would mean the defacto end of member state government power.
    So, I think they will remain chairman and coordinator with no real power or substance for the foreseeable future. As realpolitic will dictate.

    Complain about this comment

  • 81. At 11:10pm on 12 Nov 2009, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Isenhorn

    Re #66

    No, absolutely no self-contradiction at all!

    The inhabitants of the Britsh Isles without any doubt at all have evolved under different experiences to mainland Europeans.
    Those same British Isles inhabitants, just like the mainland Europe, are perfectly capable of making decisions without a particular newspaper directing their thought processes.

    Why you or anyone should think the average Briton is any different from the average Citizen of Belgium, Finland, Portugal in terms of how they function at a 'political ' level is a mystery to me? I did explain in at least 3 Comments on here that it is my clear belief the evolutionary 'experience' of the British Isles' Citizens is very different from the mainland European Citizens - - that is not to say either is wrong - - but, it does explain how they come to differing views/perspectives on what is the best way forward for their Nations.

    The s'T'un newspaper etc. are just periphery as all Media are across Europe: Yes, they inform and help to form opinion but the Citizen's voting record seems hardly to bare any relation to the Editorial intent of the newspaper in the UK or on the Continent.

    Complain about this comment

  • 82. At 11:24pm on 12 Nov 2009, cool_brush_work wrote:

    JorgG1

    Re #71

    'A Warning From History' is most appropriate.

    Your idea is that because the UK population appear (and we have no proof either way thanks to cowardly UK and EU Leadership) to disagree with the others they must be in the wrong!

    Why not accept 'they' just do not want to follow the herd? Why not accept that the UK Populace has a different view of what is the best way forward: It certainly does not stop the EU progressing - - it does present a challenge to the EU because the EU hates the idea that anyone might be different and offer an alternative!

    Why is it the 'existential' identity presents such a problem? Answer: There cannot be any identity except that which the Federal EU has designated as appropriate.

    The 'warning'? Only the supra-national entity has the answer and if someone does not like the answer they must be wrong!

    Complain about this comment

  • 83. At 11:49pm on 12 Nov 2009, cool_brush_work wrote:

    ChrisArta

    Re #76

    When!?

    When and where have I ever suggested I want "..everything that the EU offers.."!?

    Do not mistake me: I believe the EU is a damned entity and I believe if it does not fall apart by its own inadequacy it will be brought down sooner or later by civil strife amongst its disenfranchised, disempowered Citizens.

    I think it is in the interests of the UK/England to avoid tying itself to this all-encompassing, undemocratic and unaccountable pan-European body. The powers behind it: Paris-Berlin have absolutely no concern in the longterm prosperity of the UK/England except as a client-State of the supra-National institution.
    Why would UK/England abandon hundreds of years of hard won custom and practise for the sake of adopting the mainland Europe version of how a Nation conducts its affairs? Answer: No reason at all that either the UK/england or the EU can actually articulate in any meaningful manner!

    I state again: The UK would do very well as an Independent Nation; it would be better to have Treaties with the EU along the lines of the EEC (Common Market) concerning Trade, Travel and Tax - - nothing that Norway, Switzerland, USA, Russia etc. don't also have - - of course it is for the independent State and the EU to negotiate the terms of those sorts of agreements.

    Why would the EU ignore an off-shore island of 60 or 49 million? Answer. It would not; it would just accept that this odd peoples do not want to have their Politicians, Judges, Police, Armed Forces, Welfare workers etc. Governed from Brussels.

    What would be the effect on the EU? Answer: Probably little if anything at all (though the EU masters are historically slightly envious of the UK/England Economy as an independent entity only 25+ miles (40+ Kilometres) from the mainland; surely the mighty EU cannot continue this envy!
    And what about the UK? Answer: Well, why should the EU care so long a the 'market' of 60 or 49million is still functioning!?

    The EU "offers" nothing that the UK/England must have: The EU is an international-supra-national entity and there are some advantages and disadvantages to its positioning geographically, but, as for it being indispensible to the UK/England's future - - that is some sort of joke!

    Complain about this comment

  • 84. At 00:25am on 13 Nov 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    WA;

    "sometimes the top down approach is more effective than the down-up? approach and thus the initiative was from the top and?"

    That's how Stalin saw it too.

    Finally there is a potential market for one more of Russia's plentiful natural resources that could be exported.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8357537.stm

    That's right, the Greenland ice pack is melting. Where will Greenlanders get their ice? What will happen on a hot day when they want a cold drink. Water water everywhere and not an ice cube to be found. What does Russia have more of, oil or ice?

    On a more serious note I am reminded of the ancient Greek Diogenes of Sinope who took his lamp during the daytime and went searching for an honest man. When he got to New York City....someone stole his lamp. I haven't found perfection yet but that will not stop me from continuing to spend my life searching. I don't think I'll need to bring a lamp or even a flashlight along on my quest though. If and when I find it, I think I will feel I've found it, I just know I will.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8352711.stm

    Complain about this comment

  • 85. At 04:29am on 13 Nov 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    83. At 11:49pm on 12 Nov 2009, cool_brush_work wrote:

    SB2: Well, he wrote some good stuff and he says it better than wot I do.

    My only doubt it about the following:

    "...it would be better to have Treaties with the EU along the lines of the EEC (Common Market) concerning Trade, Travel and Tax - - nothing that Norway, Switzerland, USA, Russia etc. don't also have ..."

    Is it not the case that Norway and Switzerland pay some money to the "EU" and to some extent implement "EU"-laws? That is something I would find totally unacceptable. I mean that I would find it unacceptable to be obliged to implement "EU"-law. I might be prepared to implement it voluntarily as, for example, I think that German child protection laws are worth copying.

    I suggest we should be as independent from them as I believe Japan is and trade with them on the basis of WTO rules. If they refuse to buy our stuff, then we refuse to buy theirs. Indeed if they refused to buy our stuff we might be unable to buy theirs.

    I also find the level of mobility required of Switzerland to be unacceptable.

    Complain about this comment

  • 86. At 04:45am on 13 Nov 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    60. At 5:49pm on 12 Nov 2009, JorgeG1 wrote:

    " ... My considered opinion, and this is not name calling, is that there must be something sinister/distorted in the mainstream thinking/values - call it what you want - of a country that is the only one, out of 30 European countries, that refuses to participate in the 'open-borders' Europe and, also, refuses to abide by the *true* EU principle of freedom of movement ..."

    As far as I am aware, many continental Europeans do not want this either. They only have if because representative democracy isn't working.

    As for 'the "true " EU principle of freedom of movement' I have no respect for it because I do not want to be in the "EU" anyway.

    The 'principles of the "EU" ' are of no interest to me. I never signed up for them. I have been denied the opportunity to show my contempt for them in a referendum that I was promised, that I want, that the majority of the British people want and that I DEMAND.

    Complain about this comment

  • 87. At 06:03am on 13 Nov 2009, Mathiasen wrote:

    According to the front page there should be an article with the headline Power struggle hots up for Europe's top jobs but the link returns the article “Which names in the EU hat?”. Also the RSS feed has now a list of old articles concerning USA.
    Is there a Webmaster on this blog?

    Complain about this comment

  • 88. At 06:23am on 13 Nov 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Mavrelius, you seem to have gotten into some sexual zig-zag? on top of the original LOL twist )))))

    Complain about this comment

  • 89. At 06:38am on 13 Nov 2009, Chris wrote:

    #83
    CBW

    Facts:
    You want: Trade, travel and tax, that exists today and that is what the EU gives you.

    Fantacy:
    The rest of your statement.

    If the Europhobes could seperate fact from fiction, this whole debate would be so much easier. I can argue with facts, but I can't argue with your emotions or your fantacies. I'm happy to be proven wrong based on facts, but I can't stomach some emotional fiction.

    You create a fantasy world that doen't exist with some unique island race, that in fact doesn't exist. And somehow based on that we should all abandon the facts on the ground and start working towards building that utopia.

    And in case you ask me again "what does the EU do for us?" by been members of this club we have to keep our beaches clean :) So, clean beaches in the UK thanks to the EU :)

    Now tell me one bad EU law that is making your life harder to you (CBW), not one that your friend's mate once had a friend whose father told him.

    BTW @ SB2 same goes for your arguments, it is good that we know your emotional state, but other than that we don't know why you feel that way!

    Complain about this comment

  • 90. At 06:47am on 13 Nov 2009, Chris wrote:

    #87

    Most likely the BBC is controled directly from the White house :)) maybe that's why we have MarvelousII (MAII) giving sermons here so often about that holly land :) with the perfect elitist (yes MarvelousII elitist oligarchy) "democracy" its perfect past record on human rights (as long as you were not black, or native American) and corrupt lobbying (that he proudly call, freedom of speach!!)

    Complain about this comment

  • 91. At 08:21am on 13 Nov 2009, Wonthillian wrote:

    '79. At 10:25pm on 12 Nov 2009, threnodio_II wrote:
    #78 - ChrisArta

    MR. Robinson? Has Mary been keeping secrets from us?'

    Obviously pitching for the diversity vote.

    Complain about this comment

  • 92. At 08:38am on 13 Nov 2009, Chris wrote:

    #79

    ha ha :))

    No she hasn't been keeping secrets, but I have have so here it comes. I admit I was trying to pretend I'm Gordon Brown thus the bad spelling of people's names :)))

    Complain about this comment

  • 93. At 08:38am on 13 Nov 2009, I am not a number wrote:

    #80.
    Actually in several European languages president means chairman or speaker for example the chairman of the French national assembly is called "président de l’Assemblée nationale", chairman of the German Bundesrat is called "Bundesratspräsident" (in fact German has three unelected presidents)

    This meaning is lost in English, mind you that doesn't stop the media from hyping up the position. ;)

    Complain about this comment

  • 94. At 10:23am on 13 Nov 2009, nedafo2 wrote:

    # 77 ChrisArta - I am not "trying" to tell anything. It is all apparent on the face of my earlier blog entry. You seem to have decided that I have made the point as part of a racist agenda. Frankly, race has nothing to do with it. The issue is whether or not the UK and other parts of western Europe can cope if climate change follows some of the models which the experts are producing. It is a resource issue. If you look at some of the reports coming out of the MoD and also the US government, they seem to recognise the issue. The difference between the UK and US is that we cannot control immigration from the EU.

    Now, I know you will want to characterise me as a small minded xenophobe but the issue is how many people does the UK have resources to provide for - 70 million, 80 million, 120 million? There must be a point where the whole system will break down if we are swamped by vast numbers climate change refugees. Are you happy for the UK to take unlimited numbers of immigrants?

    There is real risk that the whole EU project will be derailed by resource issues resulting climate change. At the end of the day, the question is to what extent people in the UK will be willing to share scarce resources with people from outside of the UK if that will have a serious detrimental affect on their own standard of living. I have an idea of the answer going by the record that we have in relation to the third world.

    Complain about this comment

  • 95. At 11:15am on 13 Nov 2009, Ioannis Karamitros wrote:

    I admit that I am what is called in French "An Européen convaincu", thus I am in favor of the European integration.
    My favorites are: Herman Van Rompuy, Jean Claude Juncker, Jan-Peter Balkenende or Felipe Gonzalez.
    On the minus side against Mr Blair is that his country is not a member of the eurozone and that he was in favor of the Iraq war.
    I believe that the best solution for choosing the right candidate is for him to make a speech to all EU's citizens and be chosen by an online ballot.

    Complain about this comment

  • 96. At 11:24am on 13 Nov 2009, cool_brush_work wrote:

    ChrisArta and JorgeG1

    What 'fantasy'? What 'emotional fiction'? What 'unique island race'?

    My Comments are firmly based in the real World.

    I believe the United Kingdom and especially the England portion of it would be better off entrusting its future to an Independent track: I.e. Not part of the Federal European Union.
    The Directives of the EU are not required for the UK to prosper; it does not matter whether they are good, bad or indifferent regulations they are not what the UK/England Citizens signed up to in 1973 or the Referendum in 1975. Since that time no G.B. Government has allowed the British a direct voice in determining policy towards the EU which is nothing like the original EEC. That the EU has evolved in a manner I and I assume (as we just don't know) millions of other Britons believe is detrimental to their future freedom of choice and prosperity.

    You ask me to name a Law: Well, how about not one Law is acceptable because the UK Citizens have not had the chance to agree or disagree. Of course there are many positives: That is not the issue. The Citizen's Free-will is.

    I believe the British experience over many centuries is different from that of mainland Europeans in many respects: I.e. British culture-heritage-custom and practise from Common Law to International Relations have evolved separate from the Continent and to no harm to either. They have worked in harmony and clashed at times: Militarily the UK has only ever interfered in Europe in the last 2 centuries at the request of a mainland Nation (e.g. Belgium, August 1914; Poland, September 1939), or as a rsult of international obligation (e.g. NATO v Serbia).
    Why would anything different occur if an independent UK/England existed on the periphery of the EU engaging in common Trade, Travel, Tax regulations to the mutual benefit of both? Why would the UK/England or the EU need all the other supra-national connections in order to be sure there was peace in Europe? An independent UK/England has not been and is no threat to the stability of the Continental Nations.

    I believe each National identity is very important for their right and rsponsibility of preserving their Free-will, but it is not the be all and end all of a Citizen's existence: I.e. The Dane, the Czech, the Austrian... the English are in danger of losing that Individualism and many of those 'rights' as the EU deepens its hold on each Nation's right to formulate Legislation and make Laws appropriate to and agreed at the Ballot box by Majority of their Citizens.

    It is not me that first wrote fanciful, unsubstantiated accounts of the British People.

    You wrote in #49 about "unique" nationalities and tried to assert that was what I had in mind: Despite my factual denials You continue this allegation.
    JorgeG1 in #60 and #71 first raised the spectre of "sinister/distorted mainstream" Britons and alleged they are "institutionalised xenophobes": You backed him and you both try to present your arguments as being full of reason, logic whilst attempting to portray any (such as me) who disagree as mindless tabloid readers whose intellect is so much less than your own that we can barely make a living without some foreigners you label as "british bottom cleaners"!

    Excuse me but is that 4, 5 or 6 million African-Arab immigrants we might consider as 'Spanish Seaside Servants'? And what about the 3 million Turks in Germany? The 2.5 million Polish across Europe? The 3 million Muslims in France? And so on..

    Just exactly what is your point when you write as though no immigrant to the UK does anything but clean toilets or serve fast-food? What are you specifically implying about Britons?
    For your information the largest single contributor to the NewLab Party funds other than the Trade Unions is the British-Indian Mittal brothers - - they did not become multi-millionaires as your 'bbc', did they? Of course most 'foreigners/immigrants' resident in the UK are no more likey to be fabulously wealthy than the indigenous Britons, but, neither are they all 'minimum wage' slaves as you appear to imply.
    Do explain how it is mainland Europe has integrated all these People and somehow it is only 'immigrants' you meet in the UK are always on the bottom rung of society?

    When an Egyptian woman is stabbed 20 times inside a German Court room, or Spanish teens fight in the streets with Africans, or, Muslims demonstrate in Copenhagen about cartoons etc. they are just minor matters, but, the MacPherson report on London's Police is symptomatic of the entire British People!?

    Afterall, you both write about Britons as if none you have met actually belong to Amnesty, GreenPeace, Red Cross, Howard League etc. and apparently the only ones you admire are Threnodio and 1 dead New Lab Politician!

    Too right you cannot argue on the facts! Absolutely, it does make the stomach churn!
    From where I sit reading your comments I know who it is suffering from xenophobia about the people of all races, creeds and colours on the British Isles.

    Only a fool would deny there is rascism, xenophobia etc. in the UK. Human Nature being what it is those sorts of mindless arrogance will be found in every part of British society: They can also be found in similar measure across the while of Europe. And just like Citizens on the Continent the average Briton no more makes his/her mind up about how they want their Nation to move forward based on those extremes than do People in any of the 27 Nations.


    Complain about this comment

  • 97. At 11:26am on 13 Nov 2009, Chris wrote:

    #94

    As you would have seen in my post that issue does not raise any concerns with me, about the number of people. As long as people come here and are happy to live here and play by our rules, I can't see the problem.

    As with regard how I would characterise you, I'd leave that up to you, to do some self evaluation. When I see phrases such as "swamped by vast numbers climate change refugees" & "how many people does the UK have resources to provide for - 70 million, 80 million, 120 million" I kind of do get a picture in my mind, but I'm always to change my opinion:)

    As I said earlier if it gets too croweded for us we move further north, I'll to get on good terms with Jukka_Rohila "Kitos" Jukka! and webAlice "blue-yellow-bus" and hope they can find a nice place for me to live some where St. Petersburg & Helsinki, near where they fough a war 60 - 70 years ago! I'll keep the peace between you guys there! Just give me a little bit of space to live and watch the reindeer wander happy as I fish for Herring

    So as you can see with the above sneaky plan in place, the vast numbers of climate change refugees, that will "swamp" the UK does not stress me at all

    Complain about this comment

  • 98. At 12:02pm on 13 Nov 2009, nedafo2 wrote:

    # 97 ChrisArta - I'm glad you're not stressed but I'm not sure that it make sense for for to leave it up to me to decide how I characterise you, whatever that means!

    Any way, this is not an issue about my prejudices. It is an issue about resources and the environment. You might want to look at the report on the BBC site today on the shrinkage of the Greenland icecap if you are not convinced this is a real issue. Moving to St Petersburg or Helsinki is frankly a daft response. They are likely to be experiencing the same sorts of problems as the UK. It will be an international problem. It is a much bigger problem than the Polish plumbers taking our jobs stuff. It is a question of how willing and able will those parts of the world least affected by climate change be to help those which are worst affected (which its seems may include southern Europe). I suspect that we will see responses to this based on national lines. The Spanish, Italians etc. will no doubt wanted to prevent mass immigration from Africa of cliamte change refugees and ultimately the countries of northern Europe may wnat to stop mass immigration from southern Europe. Of course, this is not possible under the EU constitution which brings me back to my original comments. As I said, it is an issue of resources. Will countries selfishly protect their resources for their populations? I suspect so but what do you think will happen based on experience (and I'm not too interested on what you would like to happen)?

    Fianlly, good luck fishing for herring. You'll be lucky if there any left.

    Complain about this comment

  • 99. At 12:21pm on 13 Nov 2009, Chris wrote:

    #96

    At now point did I generalised or said that Britons are xenophobes! some very clearly are, but it doesn't apply to everyone, I'm not and I don't care where someone originates from. So here I say it loud we are not all xenophobes.

    About the media infuencing peoples opinions, even yourself said that it does. Please note I'm not saying it directs people how to vote, I'm saying it influences their opinions. Now if the media infuences peoples opinions and that infuence is anti-EU then my argument is correct.

    so please stick to what I'm saying not to what suits your argument.

    CBW fantasy:
    - The EU is not democratic, that is your fantasy do not present it as fact.
    - The Dane, the Czech, the Austrian... the English are in danger of losing that Individualism, that is a fantasy, each country can have its own laws
    - You said "You ask me to name a Law: Well, how about not one Law is acceptable because the UK Citizens have not had the chance to agree or disagree", that is a fantasy 5 years ago we could have voted for UKIP there was no such strong desire

    Again I don't accusse anyone of anything I just point out to people the points they are wrong about things

    Complain about this comment

  • 100. At 12:45pm on 13 Nov 2009, Chris wrote:

    #98

    It is going to be tricky, CO2 reduction is our best chance. I hope next month in Denmark they can agree on something. Also about the people that will arrive here, maybe we should start preparing now instead of leaving up to the last minute and stressing about it then.

    Complain about this comment

  • 101. At 1:55pm on 13 Nov 2009, cool_brush_work wrote:

    ChrisArta

    Re #99

    No, you only 'point out' what you believe to be 'wrong' in other's opinions: Unles You are claiming some divine knowledge Your opinion holds no more value or certainty than mine or anyone else on these Blogs.

    You assert what You write is 'fact', but none of Your supposed facts stack up to any reason at all for the UK/England remaining in a union with mainland Europe.

    It is lovely to have 'clean beaches' but who is to say that would not have happened without the EU?

    Where is your evidence that alongside seaside amenities anything that has progressed-reformed in the UK or 26 other Nations could only have happened under the aegis of the EU?

    Complain about this comment

  • 102. At 2:13pm on 13 Nov 2009, Isenhorn wrote:

    cool_brush_work @96,

    Your arguments about the ‘Good Olde England’ which kept apart from mainland Europe and only interfered at the ‘request’ from Poland and Belgium is laughable. I suggest you read more about the cause of both world wars and not just repeated the old rubbish that England only joined to save the Belgians and the Polish. A good point to start will be the ‘battleship race’ which began well before the Belgians even thought about requesting help from Britain. Another good topic will be the Crimean War. Or the partitioning of Bulgaria in 1878. (Let’s not include the Irish Independence and the Suez Crisis, as I suppose for you that would not count as Europe but as an internal British matter).

    You seem to believe that the centuries of the British Empire are somehow a reference which could be applied to all the modern day British politics. Yes, Britain was not part of Europe at the time. But she was also quite adept at stamping out any opposition to its tyrannical rule in all regions of the world-Opium wars, Afghanistan, The Great Mutiny, Anglo-Boer wars, to name but a few. Is that the legacy that you want us to use an example? The evidence which shows that the British are somehow special and different from everybody else? Even if Britain kept out of Europe to some extent, this was not because of some highly moral principles or because of cultural and political differences. British interests at the time lay elsewhere and Britain was not shy of imposing those interests with blood.
    Today, however, the Empire is long gone. It is time to wake up and smell the coffee. A 40 miles of shallow water do not make us all anything special or different from the rest of the Europeans. Today Britain cannot ‘go it alone’. You argument that the current economic crisis should not be used as an example of the inability of England to stay out of the EU is false. The mere fact that Britain, with its half-hearted membership in the EU, managed to get her economy most severely affected compared to all other EU and world players (France, Germany, USA, Japan have all already seen growth in their economies after the crash) is a proof of how incapable she has become of acting alone. If UK managed to do that despite all the EU rules, just imagine what it would be if she was out. It will be the 70s and 80s all over again.

    Complain about this comment

  • 103. At 2:24pm on 13 Nov 2009, Chris wrote:

    #101

    I like to operate on facts and not fears or uninformed opinions

    The EURO according to the Europhobes and a large section of the Europhobe press was going to be a disaster and we would give away our hard won freedom

    The fact is that we are all 25% - 30% poorer as a result of following that wise advise of the Europhobes.

    So as you can see I don't claim divine knowledge, base my view on what lays in front of me not on what I imagine.

    So if we were more proactive and into the EURO zone then I'd add that also to the benefits of been in the EU :))

    So my fear is that if we are not proactive with the LT and the council president and the foreign minister, etc. there more good things that we will not have access to.

    Complain about this comment

  • 104. At 3:34pm on 13 Nov 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/8356284.stm

    ' Among the conditions set by the European Parliament for funding pan-European political parties is a clause saying they "must observe the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law". '

    Hilarious!!

    So the "EU" - "parliament" presumably thinks it has the right to ban any group for being undemocratic whilst it itself and the whole "EU"-rubbish deserves to be thrown into the dustbin of history because it is undemocratic and has ignored the promises given to the British people about a referendum and the wishes of people in other countries to have a referendum.

    Complain about this comment

  • 105. At 3:39pm on 13 Nov 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    89. At 06:38am on 13 Nov 2009, ChrisArta wrote:

    " ... SB2 same goes for your arguments, it is good that we know your emotional state, but other than that we don't know why you feel that way!"

    I am too busy at the moment to reply to that in full. I have explained that at length in previous postings. Feel free to look them up.

    Complain about this comment

  • 106. At 3:43pm on 13 Nov 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    68. At 7:19pm on 12 Nov 2009, democracythreat wrote:
    # "The next seven days will tell us a great deal about power and how decisions are taken in the new European Union. " ...'

    We already kno0w enough. They are taken undemocratically and with complete and utter contempt for the "citizens of the EU".

    The "EU" is ultimately fascist and it is at least conceivable that it will only be able to keep itself together by fascist policing and by the fascist use of its armed forces.

    Complain about this comment

  • 107. At 3:45pm on 13 Nov 2009, phoenix wrote:

    Cool Brush

    I think you are missing the Point. The British public most definitely have a problem with the European continent and therefore by extension the European Union and the European project due to an erroneous perception that his coloured partly by the British media but also by historical narrative. This manifests itself as fixation that the European Union is some sort of conspiracy by continental powers to somehow "invade Britain" which is at least tiresome and at most deeply offensive to continental Europeans because it implies a kind of innate moral superiority in the British people which no one in Europe really believes in. This perception is partly due to Britain as a Island entity as somewhat detached from the continent and so it’s not that surprising. Another is Britain role in the Second World War, in that it saw itself as a victor. Other nations in Europe had to on the other hand QUESTION deeply the role of the nation-state, as the main political fulcrum in inter-European affairs, in most of their political class came to the conclusion that nation states constantly selfishly pursuing their own national interest at the expense of others on the continent was THE constant problem in European history and that complete sovereignty could not rest with the nation state because the nation state was MORALLY DISCREDITED. Hence the only way forward was to pool national sovereignty into a institution that would reflect emergent European values of solidarity. The Economic stick and carrot of the ECC was the start, as trade and economics affect people indirectly. Wounds after the WWII were still two raw between peoples to persuade them a total pooling of political sovereignty. So it was to be done gradually. But it always had a political component. It was there at the start. Always has. The European project was always a political one as well as a economic one. Something that was never fully explained to the British people by its own politicians and then glossed over during the referendum.

    Why?

    The simple reason is that British people still have a attitude that stinks when it come to do with anybody on the continent. Now this isn’t a slandering of entire people. Britain has many laudable points. For example Italy’s track record on immigrants and political and public probity not just as a government but as a society is shameful. But slowly but surely its getting better (though not as fast as some would like), but it's a societal problem which everyone knows about including the Italians. The British are wonderfully ( perhaps too much..) tolerant of foreigners and their politicians are but naughty children to the thieving monsters they have on the Bel Paese. Likewise Britain has a proble. And one which many British are unwilling to come to terms with,

    Britain problem is with continental Europeans, in a way which is quite at odds with their multiculturalism internally.

    It is... and this is no joke… quite culturally acceptable to call a German a 'Kraut. Fact. The Advertising standards agency turned down a complaint about 10 years ago on a advertisement using the word because it termed it a "light heated reference", despite the German embassy stating that it was 'offensive term' to many Germans. I cannot really foresee a sports advertisement that can be entitled "the pakis are coming" in this country any time soon, but insulting Germans is quite acceptable. This permeates all the way through society and informs much of the discourse with anything to do with Europe. On day time TV at the height of the row over Portuguese and Italian workers taking British jobs, a British worker on TV without a hint of irony or even self awareness referred to the Italian workers as 'eyeties'. Now nationalism and stereotypes abound all over the continent, especially in the more sordid nationalistic rags, but, I think you will be hard pressed to find a German newspaper with an advertisement referring to the British as "Insleassen" (Island Monkeys), or even for a German institution to CONDONE it.

    I think this is what Jorge was (albeit a bit clumsily) was trying to imply with his drawing parallels with the McPherason report. The British people on the have a TENDANCY …after all it would be unfair to all of them with the same brush, to view continental Europeans in negative stereotypical terms, and that this is reflected in its society and institutions, for example headlines such as "achtung Fritz for you the war is over" on a daily tabloid, or to mocking Europeans in a way though wouldn't be able to mock say a person of Pakistani or Caribbean origin. In of itself this is not a problem, as Germans Italians French etc being former colonial powers cannot really portray themselves as victims, and have thicker skins in any case. The Problem lies in that most of the British public seem to be unaware that this is unacceptable.

    When even the Guardian today had Simon Jenkins refer to the European project as, in terms such as 'Napoleonic', also used by the eurosceptic MEP Daniel Hannan, after the boiling rage subsides, I just feel sad, that we cant move beyond the Hitler/waterloo/ Agincourt/kraut/frog of Britain and its redcoats standing up to the dastardly foreigner , and this imagery is constantly used when it comes discussing the European project or the EU, just in the same way as its acceptable to refer to the germans in society as krauts. And that's why Jorge flies off the handle when he hears discourse like that and the name calling begins, because even Britain Institutions still allow the discourse to be couched by Eurosceptics in terms such as Napoleonic or Kraut, something which in mainstream political discourse on the continent is thoroughly unacceptable.

    Complain about this comment

  • 108. At 3:50pm on 13 Nov 2009, Mathiasen wrote:

    #96. , , cool_brush_work
    You wrote: “Militarily the UK has only ever interfered in Europe in the last 2 centuries at the request of a mainland Nation (e.g. Belgium, August 1914; Poland, September 1939), or as a rsult of international obligation (e.g. NATO v Serbia).”

    You forget the Napoleon wars, which is actually less then impressive. However, I do not expect you to know that Nelson went to Copenhagen, and before the Britons seized the Danish fleet he made the citizens of the city subject to a bombardement, which also destroyed various things of great cultural value to the Danes.
    I believe the bombardement was the first of its kind, but indeed not the last. Perhaps it should be given a little more prominent position in English history teaching.

    Complain about this comment

  • 109. At 3:54pm on 13 Nov 2009, Freeborn John wrote:

    ChrisArta (103): The exchange rate is a flexible mechanism that allows costs (especially that of UK labour) to adjust as demand for traded goods and services produced by the real economy changes. Without that flexible mechanism then wages would have to go up and down instead, or failing that the unemployment rate would go up and down.

    Whenever the UK has tried to fix its exchange rate in the past, e.g. to the Gold Standard in the 1920s, or the ERM in the late 1980s/early 1990s, we found that a fixed exchange rate leads to the unemployment rate oscillated violently instead, which is far more painful to real people than a floating currency.

    If the UK had been foolish enough to use the euro, then these historic experiences would now be being repeated here, as they are in Ireland today. The UK would (like the Irish) have seen a unprecedented asset price bubble and bust fuelled by over-borrowing at eurozone interest rates unsuited to their economy. We would now (like the Irish) be experiencing the deepest recession in the western world and record levels of unemployment. If we were today (like the irish) unable to adjust interest rates we would not now be coming out of recession but forced into Irish-style measures such as mandatory pay cuts for public sector workers, which i assume you acknowledge is not making those Irish workers 30% richer.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2009/jan/06/irish-public-workers-face-pay-cuts

    The Euro is not some magic machine that makes people richer irrespective of what is happening in the real economy. Without Irish-style mandatory pay cuts, it would make your labour 30% less competitive with a much increased probability that you would have lost your job in the recent downturn, and perhaps lost other things in your life that you value which depend on that job. So be grateful that the real jobs of British workers and the stability of our economy were not sacrificed on the altar of an undemocratic European political union. Be thankful that the UK joining the Euro is as dead of a political issue as you will ever find. This downturn has completely vindicated the UK decision to stay out of the euro with all main political parties knowing that to suggest reproducing the Irish yo-yo economy here would be electoral suicide.

    Complain about this comment

  • 110. At 4:27pm on 13 Nov 2009, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Mathiasen

    Re #108

    Definitely had not forgotten the Napoleonic Wars: That you would seek to cast the British rejection of Boney's 'Continental System' and the Danish part in it as being a bad thing does not surprise me in the least. The 'CS' was seen as a direct threat to the UK, the high seas, and of course Trade between the British Isles and mainland Europe - - something as an EU supporter you would know all about!

    Admiral Horatio Nelson: One of the greatest British Seamen of all time; tremendous example of triuph over disablement as victor at Aboukir Bay, Copenhagen, Trafalgar. Of course I knew about his daring at Copenhagen! Convenient of you to forget there was a 'war' going on for the mastery of Europe - - You know the one with Napoleon invading the Iberian Peninsula, BeNeLux, Prussia, Russia etc. (plus a little go in Egypt) - - A British Army commanded by the then Duke Wellesley held the lines of Torres Vedras to keep the French out of Portugal and over an 8 year campaign drove them out of Spain (battles of Badajoz, Salamanca etc.) Just a couple of years later Wellesley as the Duke of Wellington commanded the British-Belge-Dutch-French forces at Waterloo that finally did for Napoleon's Grande Armee and his Empire building (thanks also to the timely arrival of Blucher and his Prussians).

    Perhaps you should come to realise British education is not as poor as some would have you believe: Also, the proud History of Denmark does include quite a few overseas/overland adventures destroying many a settlement along the way, does it not? That wealth of Copenhagen didn't come entirely without cost to other peoples, did it?

    If you are going to point the finger we can do that too!

    Complain about this comment

  • 111. At 4:28pm on 13 Nov 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    nedafo2 and ChrisArta,
    "we should start preparing now instead of leaving it to the last minute and stressing ourselves ab it", "I'll get on good terms with Jukka and WebAlice.. a nice place for me to live somewhere btw St. Pete and Helsinki, where they normally fight wars" "will countries selfishly protect their resources?"

    :o)))))

    Two safe places to be, for miles around (including Europe) - will be middle-russky elevation plateau (this side of the Urals), and the great Siberian plateau (the other side of the mountain ridge).

    At that, the Siberian flat dinner plate will be the ultimate choice of the whole humanity in the continent, as it survived all in the past milleniums, when America cracked aside and drifted away from us (by mistake! such a good piece! in view of Russians - traditional land collectioners :o)))), when a good chunk of Europe cracked away from the Baltics' plateau (Balkan's ridge the "glue"), the Noa's flood :o))), things. We know where the cracks are, all know. It breaks where it's thin.

    If it simply gets warm (nearest perspective), folks simply travel "somewhat North". :o)

    If it starts swaying and leaning over, attempting to change the poles once again - any plateaus of the available around - large and small - are places to be. They won't drown like the fringes will. Though it might be quite hot there, but at least you'll have on what to stand.

    If the planet hops somersaults and changes poles again - Siberian plateau is the only safe place even that things will be flying around by your ears :o)))).

    So, in the short-term (this century next 50 yrs) - your planning for someplace btw St. Pete and Helsinki, Baltics' plateau - isn't bad. Germany has a side of the Baltics' plateau as well.

    Closer to the sunset of the century - middle-russky elevation is where all will gather, don't go to the fortune teller. Invited or un-invited :o))) It's bigger and cooler than any plates to the West of it.

    Finally, we all end up in Gulags :o)))

    Complain about this comment

  • 112. At 4:42pm on 13 Nov 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Then there will be resolved the last mystery in this world - "What for Russians hoard land?"
    (for we do it for the observable thousand years and don't know ourselves why)

    However the virus is embedded into every Russian. Must be we are programmed so :o)
    The moment you get out of your pram, you cast a critical look around, and think - oh! an excellent 10 metres' chunk. Now, I might fence it, just in case.
    Reminds me of my dacha, where "beyond the house" I don't even go, nobody does these 20 yrs :o), there the grass is in a knitting ball high as trees, it's no pasaran! /un-walkable place. For which I pay land taxes :o)
    But it's good, you know, to keep something in reserve! :o))))

    In this lovely manner, combined, we have fenced a good piece of land, with which we do nothing, never did, can not technically or morally, and, basically, don't see the reason to "do" anything with it. Because the idea is to get it and keep it resting and then a Russian is happy as, apparently, has fulfilled his/her duty in this world :o)))).

    There is a saying here that "under-used abilities are better than over -used ones". :o)

    Complain about this comment

  • 113. At 4:52pm on 13 Nov 2009, Mathiasen wrote:

    #110. cool_brush_work
    I understand your tone very well. The idea is of course to hide your mistaken account of British foreign policy.

    "Pointing fingers" is your interpretation, and it is mistaken again. To the Danes the conflict is history, something that belongs to the past, and like many other things it should not be allowed to make the future more difficult.
    This is what pres. Sarkozy said in Paris two days ago and what many Europeans, among them also many Britons, are thinking.

    Complain about this comment

  • 114. At 5:05pm on 13 Nov 2009, Mathiasen wrote:

    #110. and, cool_brush_work,
    Oh sorry, I think I will have to take this opportunity to mention another thing: There are already plenty of contributions here, which has no connection to the blog article whatsoever. I do therefore not recommend that we start a discussion about Danish history.

    More important is: Your strong national feelings make you think that I have the same feelings. But I haven’t.
    Read the contributions here carefully and you will learn one thing: Those of us, who are in favour of European integration, have many international experiences. Some of us have changed country, and some of us consider borderlines very much overestimated and have nothing good to say about nationalism.
    I shall waste as much as one minute to defend anything Danish because it is Danish.

    Complain about this comment

  • 115. At 5:20pm on 13 Nov 2009, oldnat wrote:

    114. Mathiasen
    "have nothing good to say about nationalism"

    As someone who carries the label of "Scottish Nationalist" for entirely historical reasons (I'd prefer independista!), you may be surprised to know that I don't greatly disagree. The British/English nationalists frequently show their entirely different stance by not understanding how we can simultaneously wish to end a narrow 18th century union with England, but want to remain united with them and 26 other European states in a much looser union.

    Rejecting pooled sovereignty should only be for those who insist on remaining bachelors.

    Complain about this comment

  • 116. At 5:22pm on 13 Nov 2009, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Ford_Mondeo

    Re #107

    Interesting, but in the main simply reiterating stuff I have written about (e.g. 'Island entity'), although you come at it from another perspective.

    Must say I do not agree the British/English fear "..continental power to somehow 'invade Britain.'" More that the British/English just do not see any logical reason for any union with Europe beyond formal Trade, Travel and Tax agreements that the EEC offered in 1973 and '75. Britons do not fear a cultural anymore than a military invasion from the Continent, but, I suspect many are like me and fear the usurpation of the Citizen's Free-will as the EU encroaches on any and all aspects of life formely the remit of the National Government. Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland all have forms of self-determination as an indication of their not being willing to go along with the English dominance anymore - - WHY? Why would the English not feel as the Scots, Welsh and Irish clearly do as the 21st Century gets underway, that dominance from any quarter than their own Elected representatives (no matter what the sytem) is wholly unacceptable.

    I note that you join ChrisArta, JorgeG1 etc. in attempting to label the British as having some sort of psychological 'problem' with 'foreigners' and yet neglect to recognise some 8 million Brits have parents/grandparents whose first language is not English - - do remind us all again, just which of the African-brits, Asian-brits, South/Central/North American-brits, MiddleEast-brits, European-brits, Scandinavian-brits, Australasian-brits and British-brits you are referring to as "..still having an attitude that stinks when it comes to dealing with anyone on the continent.." and making their decisions about Europe on the basis of the mild epithet 'kraut' or 'eyetie'!?

    I am afraid humming the 'dam-busters' theme at International Football matches is hardly evidence of a propensity to dismiss all things from over the Channel as unwelcome.
    The idea Britons base their decisions about the future of the British Isles on jingoistic trivia is just you being another victim of the s'T'un "Its Us What Won It" syndrome. So convenient to apportion the British/English antipathy to rule from Brussels as the ignorance of People as opposed to the intelligence to spot another effort at the undemocratic, unaccountable and unresponsive pan-European style of a 'Charlemagne', 'Napoleonic', 'Roman', 'Hitlerian', 'Soviet' era.

    I have written before and will repeat it now: Britons have moved on from Empire, WW1 and WW2 etc. No one in the UK under 50 would have any experience of 'imperialism' except for Hong Kong and the places that still vote to be apart of the UK, e.g Falklands, Gibraltar and no one under 75 could have seen active service in WW2!

    What is this nonsense trotted out by 'pro-EU' that somehow the British have stuck their mindset on 'Waterloo', 'El Alemein' or worse the 'Raj' and all the rest of Europe's Citizens have progressed to the Lisbon Treaty!?

    In 1975 65% of Britons voted on the EEC Refrendum; 1979 63% of Europeans inc. Britons turned out to vote in the European Parliament elections; by 2009 that Voter Turnout was down to 44%.

    Please do not come on here insulting mine and other's intelligence trying stereotyping of the British as the only ones having a problem with an overmighty Federal EU project.

    Quote from Martin Schulz, Germany, leader of the MEP Socialist 26 May 2009: "..the separation of powers People are familiar with from the Nation-State doesn't exist... Votes do not change an EU Government.. It should determine the Commission membership.. it does not.."

    Quote from Mark Franklin, European University, Florence, Professor of Comparative Politics, 2008: "..Why does anyone vote (EU elections)? Why bother... to vote for something with no apparent purpose?"

    Quote from Gaetane Ricard-Nihaul, Secretary General Notre Europe (Paris): ".. the big paradox that voter turnout is getting lower while the European Parliament is extending its powers.." and "..it is interesting to consider how low (turnout) it may go before... MEPs, some at least... are questioning their position.."

    There are approx 375,000,000 Europeans eligible to Vote: They are invited to select 736 MEPs who are responsible for an EU Budget of 116 Billion Euros - - the 2009 MEPs will determine legislation and have crucial oversight of Trade, Financial Services, Climate Change, Energy Security, Transportation, Consumer Protection, Immigration, Health, Education, Police, Judiciary and more...

    730+ MEPs with an Electoral Mandate of 44% Turnout across 27 Nations (and take out compulsory voting in Belgium, Luxemburg and Greece and it is dreadfully under 36%) get to do all that!

    Oh, but it is the British who have a problem with the EU!

    Complain about this comment

  • 117. At 5:37pm on 13 Nov 2009, Mathiasen wrote:

    Sorry everybody, I am in a hurry and made a mistake
    I shall NOT waste as much as one minute to defend anything Danish because it is Danish.

    Complain about this comment

  • 118. At 5:50pm on 13 Nov 2009, phoenix wrote:

    @116

    Cool Brush Work

    "MILD epithet 'kraut' or 'eyetie'"



    QED. Says it all really.

    Complain about this comment

  • 119. At 5:52pm on 13 Nov 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    cool_brush_work, I sympathise with you, you have stuck here with others in this discussion. With others I also sympathise :o))).

    The problem became so problematic, how to say.

    Others tell to the Britons minded like you are - get a grip of yourselves! come back to senses! be normal people!

    Well, if there is a portion of such a resistance to the concept, it is useless to simply say Shoo! to it and pretend it's trifles, one has to recognise it. Apparently a good part of Britons still feel inside resources that they can do it own way and by themselves. They may be right and may be wrong, but it strongly seems to them they haven't depleted all the back ups and resources, and the main thing - not practical resources but some inner world ? resources I got lost at this point

    To cut it short, cool_brush_work, at this point where "the problem got so problematic" - have you considered a move by horse? horse'? (chess).

    Take Shengen
    Take euro
    Get out of the EU

    Complain about this comment

  • 120. At 5:55pm on 13 Nov 2009, threnodio_II wrote:

    #110 - #108 - Mathiasen

    Here we go again. Quite what the Napoleonic Wars have to do with this I do not know but it might a good pln to get your facts right. The Danish fleet had a number of ships of the line which were not sea worthy but heavily armed so they were stationed along shore and opened fire. Nelson properly returned fire and damage to Copenhagen itself was collateral damage. The Duke of Wellington was never Duke Wellesley. He was various General Sir Arthur Wellesley, the Earl of Wellington and the Marquis of Wellington before becoming the Duke of Wellington.

    Complain about this comment

  • 121. At 6:07pm on 13 Nov 2009, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Ford Modeo

    Re #117

    Yes, it says that mild epithet as in 'little englander' etc. are just that!
    If you are seriously suggesting the British attitude to Europeans or the European attitude to Britons can be encapsulated by these mildly offensive, jingoistic terms when there are issues as great as 'Parliamentary accountability' also in the equation then your whole argument is flawed at the start and is frankly nothing short of ridiculous!

    Complain about this comment

  • 122. At 6:09pm on 13 Nov 2009, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Threnodio

    Re #120

    I stand corrected but I was right in essence and just hadn't enough time to think through my reference to one of Ireland's great Britons!

    Complain about this comment

  • 123. At 6:16pm on 13 Nov 2009, cool_brush_work wrote:

    WebAlice

    Re #119

    If it were only a game of Chess - - the 'Knight' forward 2 moves, sideways 1 move - - it is a cleverly reasoned play on the board but alas the British/English are without a Queen, Bishop or Castle to back up this daring effort.
    Double alas, as the 'expenses' scandal etc. have all too recently shown there are only 'rooks' in play on behalf of the UK and the remaining Citizens mere 'pawns' in the greed-driven chase to be 'King' of Brussels.

    Complain about this comment

  • 124. At 6:30pm on 13 Nov 2009, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Msthiasen

    Re #108, 113, 114, 117

    Now there's an interesting ploy: British Foreign Policy 200 years ago is the cause of my 'tone' in the present day.

    I write in #96 that UK has not been a military threat to mainland Europe for 200 years except... (and give examples).

    You promptly write refuting that and it is You who recalls a specific Dane v England Naval episode and the Napoleonic Wars and in both imply the British are at fault.

    I attempt a reply #110 illustrating how there can differing views on what transpired.

    Then according to You I am apparently the 'nationalist' and suddenly You are the 'European'!

    Quite remarkable, but entirely within keeping of the 'pro-EU' method of debate - - move the issue/s now the 'anti' has an answer!

    I must say I had thought better of You.

    Complain about this comment

  • 125. At 6:59pm on 13 Nov 2009, Mathiasen wrote:

    #120. threnodio_II
    Gentlemen, we are wasting our time. The Danes did of course invite the British fleet to come to Copenhagen, thus the account of British foreign policy is wrong. Secondly Copenhagen was subject to a British bombardment that lasted a couple of days. It had some pretty nasty effects. Danish historians estimate that the Britons had 31.000 troops disembarked on Danish shores. They were not invited, of course.

    Complain about this comment

  • 126. At 7:13pm on 13 Nov 2009, phoenix wrote:

    so in cool brushes opinion it is entirely acceptable for british society and institutions to casually refer to germans and italians as krauts and eyeties and futhermore it is in his/her opinion that the british public can deliver a balanced opinion on the advantagesand disadvantages of european intergration with these social attitude prevalent in public discourse? Yes?

    Complain about this comment

  • 127. At 7:34pm on 13 Nov 2009, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Ford Mondeo

    Re #126

    It is my contention that the trivia of epithets exchanged by the yaboo crowds at any international match and the odd tabloid headline or advert in the UK and in Europe are by no means the measure of National interests.
    Please read some popular foreign press and note the hyperbole - - just a couple of months ago the Italian no.1 seller was bragging about how Italy could "beat" 'England' - - they didn't even refer to G.B. - with everything from their banks to their historic monuments: Now, is that the Italian mindset? No! Of course not! It's a way to sell newspapers!

    Such stuff is by no means the marker of how British and European peoples view the relative importance of Membership of the European Union.

    Complain about this comment

  • 128. At 7:50pm on 13 Nov 2009, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Mathiasen

    Re #125

    I accept that Copenhagen suffered a good deal from the British bombardment (2nd April); the closeness to the shoreline of the 6 hour Naval action accounts for some of that. Where you get the idea of the 2 days battle is I suggest from the relative long time it took for the Danish representative to board the Fleet Commander's ship and sign the peace accord (3rd April) which included Danish agreement to withdraw from the alliance with Napoleon. Isn't there a memorial to the fallen Danes relating to that event?

    However, there certainly were no 31,000 troops? Did you mean 3,100 because even that is stretching it!?
    No, as the G.B. Royal Navy Fleet at Copenhagen had only Marines deployed for its warships and a minimal supply squadron I cannot see how 31,000 was possible.

    As for the reasons for the engagement. I repeat the Napoleon inspired Northern Confederation as part of his Continental System was the actual 'foreign' affairs cause. Geographically, we should also recall Russia, Sweden and Prussia were in and Norway was a part of Denmark in 1801.
    The threat to the British Isles was perceived by the Admiralty as wide-ranging and numerous as was the Luftwaffe in summer-1940.

    None of which of course matters a jot to the issue of the UK relationship to the EU in 2009.

    Complain about this comment

  • 129. At 7:51pm on 13 Nov 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    SB2, I think you need to articulate your position on the referendum issue more carefully.

    At the moment, you are demanding one referendum on the EU membership. But that is all. You are not articulating the demand for the right to referenda on demand. You are not clearly articulating a desire for more political rights for people like you, but rather you are merely demanding that the UK be returned to its former system of rule, whereby people had no rights whatsoever to referenda, on demand or otherwise.

    Now although I can understand someone who wants to return the UK to the good old days (because without doubt the old days were good for some), I cannot understand how someone who wants the good old days is using a demand for a referendum as the means for obtaining the good old days.

    You see, it seems to me that you either want folks like yourself to have a say on the laws that govern you, or you don't. And if you want a return to the good old days, then you don't.

    You spend a great deal of energy picking the faults in the EU, and I tend to agree with a lot of them. Especially the fear of where such an undemocratic and party based system will take us all in the future. I hear you, loud and clear.

    But unless you are equally able to articulate a credible alternative, and unless you give that credible alternative at least as much air time as you give to your complaints about the EU, you risk being pigeon holed as someone who is merely complaining for the fun of it, and dreaming nostalgic and unrealistic dreams about how wonderful the past was, before the world was ruined by the new generations of folks.

    Anyways, what you argue is up to you, but I think you are preaching at the converted at present. Everyone who agrees with what you say is a redundant audience, and anyone who is looking for a better alternative has nothing much to take away from your views.

    My own view is that we cannot honestly state that the UK before the EU was a better place for ordinary folks than it is today. Or, if the UK has become degraded, that is absolutely not the fault of EU membership.

    I think that if you take a cold hard look at your beloved UK, you will find that the things which you dislike about it now were largely created by the same people who would be in power if your single referendum was given its day.

    Complain about this comment

  • 130. At 8:13pm on 13 Nov 2009, ignace wrote:

    @109 Freeborn-John
    Some monetary nonsense that you are writing there. Why do you compare to Ireland? A comparison with Iceland (non-Euro) would be more relevant.
    Your monetary theory is just that, a theory, contradicted by the more complex and more balanced reality. Most economists agree that the Euro has tempered the consequences of the financial crisis in the Euro-zone countries.
    Fact: in the second quarter, a number of Euro-zone countries came out of the recession
    Fact: in the third quarter, the Eurozone came out of the recession
    Fact: Even in the third quarter, the UK is still in recession.
    If your theory would have worked, the UK should have gotten out of recession ahead of the Eurozone

    Complain about this comment

  • 131. At 8:13pm on 13 Nov 2009, threnodio_II wrote:

    #128 - cool_brush_work
    #125 - Mathiasen

    This really is completely pointless. Why do we not put the Battle of Copenhagen down to a bit of unfinished business after the Battle of Ethandun in AD 878 and admit that we have been on pretty good terms continuously since about 1815?

    As to the nonsense about 'nicknames' for people of other nationalities, I personally am offended by political correctness every bit as much as I am by abuse. It seems to me that these 'nicknames' are quite often used to make harmless fun of others but we all know that, in the present climate, someone is bound to take offence. The problem with this, of course, is that it provides the perfect opportunity for people to veer way off topic to defend their hurt feelings and gives others amunition to shoot down what would otherwise be sensible contributions. So let's stick with the proper terminology.

    Coming back on topic, can anyone confirm that Mr.Hewitt is now in the running for president and way too busy to bring us into line by starting a new thread?

    Complain about this comment

  • 132. At 8:18pm on 13 Nov 2009, threnodio_II wrote:

    #129 - democracythreat

    "My own view is that we cannot honestly state that the UK before the EU was a better place for ordinary folks than it is today. Or, if the UK has become degraded, that is absolutely not the fault of EU membership.

    I think that if you take a cold hard look at your beloved UK, you will find that the things which you dislike about it now were largely created by the same people who would be in power if your single referendum was given its day".

    I could not have put it better!

    Complain about this comment

  • 133. At 8:31pm on 13 Nov 2009, Mathiasen wrote:

    #128. cool_brush_work
    All data are from printed Danish sources: 31.000 (thirty-one thousand) troops attacked Copenhagen from the north on the 16th August 1807. The bombardment began on the 2nd September 1807 and continued the following nights (plural).

    Complain about this comment

  • 134. At 9:54pm on 13 Nov 2009, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Mathiasen

    Re #133

    Ah!

    You see Mr Hewitt's 'Lost In Translation' eventually has a purpose.

    Battle of Copenhagen involving Admiral Nelson 2nd April, 1801: no landings made except by various envoys.

    2nd Battle of Copenhagen Aug-Sept, 1807: General Wellesley (later of 'iron Duke' and Waterloo fame) and 30,000+ British troops attacked Copnehagen from the north (Nelson dead in 1805).

    Thus we reach agreement.

    Complain about this comment

  • 135. At 10:16pm on 13 Nov 2009, Chris wrote:

    @109 Freeborn-John

    Thank you for the theory lesson, I'm aware of it! Especially thank you for the fantasy that we are better off because we are 30% poorer :) What other fantasy are you going to try and sell me next, that if I worked for a lord 3 days a week for free I'd better off because I'd have no money at all to worry devaluation?

    Fact EURO zone is growing we are not.
    Fact last year most Europhobes were predicting the collapse of the EURO
    Fact it didn't happen it is still going strong

    Wish, I wished we were in it.

    To CBW we are not more "special" free spirit, "Free-will" people than the the rest of the EU. Unless you come up with some new fantasy now that the rest of the EU want to be oppressed!

    Complain about this comment

  • 136. At 10:20pm on 13 Nov 2009, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Threnodio_II and Democracythreat

    Re 'Copenhagen... cold hard look.. UK'

    Battle of Copenhagen is over: We have I think satisfactorily resolved our differences and come to the conclusion we were possibly delivering 'broadsides' whilst under 'national flags of misapprehensions'!

    Meanwhile: "..the good old days.." were always good for some and not always the same some, but, no days were all bad for all!

    What can be debated is whether Membership of the EU has led to improvements or they might have happened in any case without the EU? And of course has Membership of the EU led to retrograde effects on the UK?

    Personally, I think it will be a mixture of both: E.g. Some of the superficial issues; I believe like ChrisArta that cleaner beaches came more quickly in the UK because of the EU regulation and the competitive element of getting the 'flags' - - however, hardly a reason to give up National sovereignty - - and by contrast I feel it is EU influence that has led to increasing Political Correctness which has no popular support in the UK (but hardly a reason to quit the EU).

    On the much greater issues of Political control and National policy direction there is no question in my mind that the EU is a destructive entity which the UK and especially England would do well to be rid of at the earliest opportunity (unfortunately, after Lisbon that chance seems to be from exceedingly slim to none whatsoever for at least the next 5 to 10 years).

    Complain about this comment

  • 137. At 10:28pm on 13 Nov 2009, Chris wrote:

    Bed time for me now! good night all:))

    Complain about this comment

  • 138. At 10:34pm on 13 Nov 2009, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Chris Arta

    Re #135

    Everything involves a fantasy to you: Sorry, correction, every fantasy to you involves everything you disagree with.

    I do not know where you gained the impression I claimed any particular extra 'Free-will' for the British: It certainly was not my intention; most of my Comments include reference to all the Citizens of Europe, but my main concern is for the inhabitants of the UK.

    To my mind the EU is a threat to the Civil Liberties of every Citizen within its borders.

    Complain about this comment

  • 139. At 00:22am on 14 Nov 2009, Menedemus wrote:

    threnodio @132 (with credit to democracythreat!)

    Therein lies the fundamental flaw in the view that the the UK should (a) have an "in the EU or out of the EU" Referendum and (b) that all the ills of the United Kingdom can be lain at the doorstep of membership of the EU.

    The reality is that, fundamentally, the UK Government, Civil Servants and Judiciary have actually been far too (and for far too long) dogmatic in their approach to actually doing and governing according to the edicts of the EU whereas other (possibly all other) EU Nations have a very much more pragmatic and laissez-faire attitude to implementation of the rules that are there to bind the EU nations together and that are generated by the EU.

    The UK citizens cannot breathe for edict laws that are enacted by the UK government or enforced by the UK judiciary or Bureaucrats which impose human rights, health and safety, food hygene agricultural, fishing, trade and other EU inspired rules that many other EU nations have a very dilletante approach to adopting or not adopting wholeheartedly as they see fit.

    The British citizen then, naturally, feels the blame for these rules should be pinned on the EU and hate the idea of the EU membership whereas, in fact, much of the EU Rules are designed to bring countries together and align them together in federalist but accomodating style but it is the successive British Governments and Establishment - of both Tory and Labour persuasion - who actually impose these rules (with a vengeance) on their own citizens and so make for a very jaundiced view of the EU because the UK citizens are led to believe that membership of the EU as requiring absolute obedience to all EU Directives.

    Where are the EU Fish limits on the French and Spanish Fleets compared to the UK fleets which have been decimated by UK Deep Sea Fishing Quota Legislation.

    How hygenic are French, Italian or Greek restaurants compared to UK restaurants or other eateries acting in compliance with UK generated hygene rules in accordance with EU food safey directives.

    Is it really as safe to work on a British Construction Site as it is in say Poland, Spain or Greece or are the British Workers stifled by layers of Health and Safety legislated cotton wool compared to those countries.

    And so it goes. Successive UK governments have actually been the creators of more legislation than the EU and it is that British legislation that is the bane of British citizen's lives and the cause of misplaced hatred of the EU by some British citizens.

    Perhaps a British referendum should called on how the British should be governed nationally in the 21st Century rather than whether we should be part of the EU or not.

    Complain about this comment

  • 140. At 00:22am on 14 Nov 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    While all are asleep I will complain a bit about "End to Russia's 11 time zones?" - an article in the BBC News Front Page. That rightly points out at the geographers perplexity re how on Earth Medvedev plans to cut the number of time zones.

    As an owl I strongly disagree and wish for more time zones, not less!

    That's all International Larks' plotting, the only hidden underground mafia I know of, the real thing that separates the humanity and which is in control of our lives! (am ready to head a Resistance against this vicious Matrix).

    As it is I am robbed in St. Pete of 2 hours of morning sleep in winter - and of 3 hours in summer! Well, may be 1 and 2 need to ask Mum.

    Because stuuupid aligning geographies "up to Moscow" resulted in 2 hours stolen from St. Petersburg as compared to what it were in tsar times.
    In tsar times it was when sun and things? when observatory tells you? when it is geographical morning in your region! And now we are lying to geography and sun pretending - ha-ha! it's 10 o'clock in St. Petersburg -when just 80 years ago it was - 8 am!

    Now birds are asleep in the gardens, fishes are asleep in the ponds, and I am told it's 9 am - when it is dark! pitch dark in winter! and I know it is 7am! but you can't do anything - "Moscow said it's 9".

    Hilarious.
    Only geographers and meteo folk and observatory keep "real time" while all the rest are fooled and keep telling me it's time to wake up!
    Thank you.

    Complain about this comment

  • 141. At 02:08am on 14 Nov 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    :o) (fresh catch)

    - Dimitry, what have you figured...? mentioned there? strange - with the time zones?
    - Volodya, if you only knew how I am fed up with it;
    I am still sleeping - and they are already - calling!


    Right, we can reduce the number of time zones. For starters, we give Chukotka to America, Far East - to Japan, and all that is east of the Ob river - de jure to China. Because de facto - they are already there!

    State Duma eagerly supported Medvedev's suggestion to cut the amount of time zones. Now we'll have horizontal ones.

    It was not enough that they brought in amendments to the Constitution. Now they decided to correct Time.

    - These people in black - they are either Government... or aliens...
    - Does any one, still, in any country of the world believe that these are different SUBSTANCES?

    Complain about this comment

  • 142. At 02:34am on 14 Nov 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    WA;

    I thought I heard a bang in the middle of the night. I was half asleep so I figured I'd just imagined it;

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8359359.stm

    Oops!

    Complain about this comment

  • 143. At 04:48am on 14 Nov 2009, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    139. At 00:22am on 14 Nov 2009, Menedemus wrote:

    "threnodio @132 (with credit to democracythreat!)

    Therein lies the fundamental flaw in the view ... that all the ills of the United Kingdom can be lain at the doorstep of membera EU."

    SB2: That is not my claim and I know of nobody who claims that. I am too busy at the moment to spend as much time on rebuttals as I would like.

    My claim is that the UK needs to change. It can change more easily once it is outside the "EU", I think.

    Complain about this comment

  • 144. At 05:42am on 14 Nov 2009, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    If you are at a loss for a charismatic big hitter who can hold his place at the table with the Americans and the Chinese, and who will not disturb the balance in Europe, let me suggest that we have just the man, currently out of work.

    William Jefferson Clinton

    He is tight with Tony Blair and certainly would get Berlusconi's full endorsement. The Irish, I believe, still remember him fondly. He needs only make a suitable impression on Ms Merkle to carry the balance of power. Although we think of him as a socialist, he would certainly be center-right to you, or anything you would want him to be.

    Of course, keeping him from dabbling with foreign affairs might be a challenge - but no doubt the title of President would fit well.

    looking to find an old friend a job -
    KScurmudgeon

    Hi, Marcus!

    Complain about this comment

  • 145. At 08:03am on 14 Nov 2009, threnodio_II wrote:

    #139 - Menedemus

    Yes, I even remember reading somewhere that NuLab since being in office has created, on average, one new offence every day. To lay all that at the door of the EU would be absurd. You are also right about enforcement. The UK has an overblown civil service at both central and local government levels which receives huge resources to make sure the correct coloured bin bags are used and so on. In continental Europe, law tends to be enforced on the basis of whether or not it is to the benefit of citizens for it to be enforced so it is nowhere near as intrusive.

    What I do find offensive though is an over-worked, understaffed police service are letting nasty little pieces of pond life off with a caution for quite serious matters because it is just too long a paper trail to 'nick' them while people who have done nothing wrong are being hounded by pen pushers in the pursuit of conformity.

    The EU was never designed to work that way and the sceptics should take a long hard look at enforcement in the UK before laying into Brussels.

    Complain about this comment

  • 146. At 08:05am on 14 Nov 2009, threnodio_II wrote:

    #144 - KScurmudgeon

    Ha! Ha! Then all we need is the missus to win the next US election and the whole planet can be run over the breakfast table somewhere in the Azores.

    Complain about this comment

  • 147. At 10:07am on 14 Nov 2009, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Menedemus #139 and Threnodio_II #145

    RE:

    "...EU nations have a very much more pragmatic and 'laissez-faire' attitude to the implementation of the rules that are there to bind the EU nations together and that are generated by the EU."

    AND,

    "...people who have done nothing wrong are being hounded by pen pushers in pursuit of conformity."
    "...the EU was never designed to work that way and the sceptics should take a long hard look at enforcement before laying into Brussels."

    Well, the above really do just about take the biscuit for scurrilous 'it aint the EU' fault!

    The European Union is responsible for generating Law from a clean beach to handling atomic-radiated capsules, but it is the fault of the British Government, Civil Service, Police and Public for following those Laws?
    If only the UK Population was less EU-Law-abiding and its Governance more adept at Law-breaking everything in the UK would be so much better?

    The UK really must adopt a much more casual/diluted approach to the use of EU Law and Regulation such as 'ECJ judgements', 'fish quotas', 'farm subsidies', 'construction regs', 'hours of work', 'lorry loads' etc.

    So, EU 'Directives' and 'Competencies' were never really meant at all: It was all just a big wheeze loosely drawn up by idle hands and minds in the EU Commission and Parliament!

    The British have got it all wrong: The EU isn't a serious entity! Come on you Brits take it all with a pinch of salt, laugh about Maastricht, Nice and Lisbon... they're just bits of unrealistic paper, and Brits are free to interpret them as they choose!
    When the UK was massively Fined by the EU for refusing to accede to Fishing quotas for Spain it really did not have to pay the Fine: No one in Brussels meant it, in fact, you could have knocked Brussels down with a swipe of Haddock when the Brits paid up! The money is still in the EU Bank vaults because no one knows what to do with it: No other Nation pays Fines like the UK... it's all so embarrassing the way those Brits will insist on the application of EU Law.

    No EU Law is a problem: The problem is UK 'pen pushers' applying those Laws and Regulations as if anyone actually meant them to be, and 'police' mistakenly giving 'Cautions' to a few hundred decidedly unpleasant miscreants, whereas, those EU Laws, well, they are just the wall-paper for the Union of 27 Nations!
    EU Regulations are no problem at all if only the UK would realise as 'France,' 'Spain', 'Poland', 'Italy' etc. do that none of it need be put in place!
    There's no 'army' of civil servants anywhere but the UK: the other 26 Nations just go their merry way swapping gags about how those dumb-smuck Britons will insist on following the EUropean Union, as if it really was an Internationally binding set of agreements.
    There's no need for a UK Referendum on EU Membership: The UK should just announce they have finally caught on to the big supra-national joke and will no longer be applying Law from Brussels except for the ones about clowns must wear red-noses and double-wide-water-spray lapels.

    Good grief!

    Surely in #139 and #145 I have now read the least conceivable and most duplicitous defence of the EU it is possible to actually propose!?
    The EU is all in the far too serious imagination of UK Citizens and Government!?

    Complain about this comment

  • 148. At 1:33pm on 14 Nov 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    KS, one advantage to William Jefferson Clinton in becoming the EU's president is that he could move to France where having a wife AND mistresses is not only accepted but expected. And as a high government official, the cost of his mistress could be undoubtedly paid for out of taxpayer Euros. Could you imagine if French leaders were impeached every time it was discovered that they had a mistress? There'd hardly be time in between trials to get down to any serious wine drinking, fine dining, or cigar smoking. While Hillary clearly didn't like her husband's dalliances, she had resigned herself to them and put up with it. Would she remain Secretary of State or would she move to France to keep an eye on him even if she couldn't keep him on a tight leash? Or perhaps she'd stay in the US and indulge in her own extra-curricular activities. Perhaps they'd need to divorce just so that there wouldn't be a conflict of interest in their jobs due to different loyalties.

    Complain about this comment

  • 149. At 1:57pm on 14 Nov 2009, George wrote:

    To give your opinion on who should be selected, you can vote for the next President:
    http://www.robert-schuman.eu/vote_en.php?lang=en

    Complain about this comment

  • 150. At 2:24pm on 14 Nov 2009, threnodio_II wrote:

    #147 - cool_brush_work

    Well now it is you who is going over the top. Or maybe you are deliberately misrepresenting what I am saying.

    There ought to be nothing new about what I am saying and there is certainly nothing controversial - still less 'scurrilous' about it. Law enforcement has always been a matter of discretion. In the case of minor criminal offences, the police have always had first call as to whether there is cause to bring the matter to the prosecuting authorities. In more serious matters, the CPS have discretion as to whether a case is likely to succeed (I believe the current threshold is 50/50 or better chance of success) and secondly they are required to take into account if it is in the public interest to proceed.

    So please do not give me all this nonsense about new ways of enforcing the law. Yes there is a lot of new EU law but the authorities may still decide on a case by case basis what to do.

    There was a classic case of this in 1995 - the infamous Caerphilly cheese. The Western Mail, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, Daily Star, The Sun and the Daily Mirror all reported that the last Caerphilly cheese maker was being forced to close because it was unlawful under EU law to transport unpasteurised milk in churns. It transpired that this did not apply to raw milk and the whole thing was a complete myth. However, it did not stop a local authority from trying to close down a cheese manufacturer (I do not recall where) because EU law required that cheese could only be matured on a non-porous surface. The process in this case depended on using wooden shelves. It came to court and the judge ruled that of fact EU law did not impose an obligation on the authorities to enforce it.

    The law - all law - is a surgical instrument to be used with great care in the service of the public interest, not a blunt instrument with which to beat the innocent senseless. If you do not understand that, then you have a very restricted understanding of how the law ought to work. There is no reason why EU law should be treated any differently from English law.

    Actually, the ECHR judgement about crosses in schoolrooms is a very good example. Yes, the ECHR has ruled because there was an action brought but, if the Italians choose not to implement it across the board, there is absolutely nothing to stop the practice. It is only if a complaint is made that action becomes necessary.

    Complain about this comment

  • 151. At 3:11pm on 14 Nov 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To threnodio_II (150):

    Actually what is your problem with the ECHR decision on banning the usage of crosses in schools in Italy? Post-war Italy made the separation between the state and the church and in 1984 Catholicism ceased to be the state religion of Italy.

    The ECHR decision relies quite heavily relies to both the convention and to the fact that Italy is officially a secular and not a religious state. There would be no problem if Italy wasn't a secular state that had made the separation between the state and the church, but it has made that separation. In addition, in 2004 the Italian Constitutional Court made the decision on not banning the crosses in schools, but didn't give any legal justification for its decision. Given this context the ECHR court made the right decision and made the ban to protect the right for the freedom of religion.

    Lastly, while the ECHR decision isn't directly enforced, and the Italians can make a decision on not obeying it, there is another aspect to this, namely the EU. All EU countries must be members of the Council of Europe and to have ratified the European Convention of Human Rights. If Italy doesn't accept the ruling of ECHR, then it is in violation of its treaty obligation, thus in worst case scenario its membership in the CoE is questioned and its EU membership if not rejected but frozen.

    Again, a nation has the right to engage into treaties with other partners and the same right to reject a treaty, but taking accepting some and rejecting rest is not acceptable.

    Complain about this comment

  • 152. At 3:47pm on 14 Nov 2009, cool_brush_work wrote:

    threonodio_II

    Re #150

    I cannot help what you wrote.

    ".. the UK has an overblown Civil Service at both central and local Government levels... In continental Europe Laws tend to be enforced on whether or not it is to the benefit of citizens for it to be enforce so it is nowhere near as intrusive."

    Take that with my other quotes from your #145 (plus your agreement with Menedemus) directly relating to the EU and the meaning is entirely clear:

    The UK Government has undertaken scrupulous adherence to EU Law and Regulation and because the rest of Europe takes these things more casually it is the UK's fault it find the EU onerous.

    I have looked up your infamous 'caerphilly' cheese scandal and it was just nothing but a local government official misreading EU Regulations.

    Of course, no one in the UK dealt case-by-case or misread the EU Directive for the compulsory abandoning on Imperial Weights and Measures: Shopkeepers, Market Traders and the like were hounded and prosecuted into complying with EU Law: And yet, every Poll/Survey of the British Public showed less than 20% support for the new EU Regulations.
    Now, do you suppose if British civil service had taken the light-hearted approach you are attempting to suggest any Nation can do the EU would not have pursued the Government as it did on fish quotas, farm 'set-aside' 'livestock movement' etc!?

    It is not me, but you that is going well over-the-top with this attempt to portray the British Civil Service as the main culprit for thousands upon thousands of EU Regulations layered atop previous in the main satisfactory British Law and Regulation.

    ".. Law enforcement has always been a matter of discretion..": Well yes, when it was English Common Law the UK Police had those discretionary powers; they most certainly do not exist/pertain where EU Law is in question.

    "..all Law is a surgical instrument.." It certainly is where the EU Directives, Regulations, Competences and Judgements are concerned.

    "..There is no reason EU Law should be treated any differently from English Law.."

    Excuse me! Oh yes there is!

    EU Law has primacy: EU Law is the Law that regulates and insists Civil Servants take it to the British Citizens and enforce it. If UK Civil Service did anything else the UK is liable to huge Fines and Restrictions.

    Of course, were the UK to be outside the remit of the EU and therefore EU Law - - literally none of "..this nonsense about new ways of enforcing law.." would have arisen.
    One does have to ask why is there UK Law and EU Law? Why is there German Law and EU Law? Why is there Czech Law and EU Law?
    Obviously the answer is because the EU could not effectively function across 27 States without enforcement of EU Regulations: And, they must take precedent over National Law or there would be no point to the EU.

    So, we are right where I have always maintained we would be with this supra-national authority: In order for it to exist it must create and develop myriad rules and regulations as a suffocating blanket of Law on 27 Nations and 450,000,000 Citizens irrespective of their logical application at National-Regional-Local in terms of relevance, usefulness, commonsense etc.

    It is not the fault of UK Officialdom that an overmighty EU seeks to replace hundreds of years of UK political-social-cultural-judicial methods with EU alternatives. 'Alternatives' the huge majority of the population inc. no doubt many officials, judges, police bewildered as to which and what authority to refer to, simply do not recognise as just or relevant to their lives in the UK.

    Complain about this comment

  • 153. At 4:01pm on 14 Nov 2009, Jean Luc wrote:

    Re "So, we are right where I have always maintained we would be with this supra-national authority: In order for it to exist it must create and develop myriad rules and regulations as a suffocating blanket of Law on 27 Nations and 450,000,000 Citizens irrespective of their logical application at National-Regional-Local in terms of relevance, usefulness, commonsense etc.

    It is not the fault of UK Officialdom that an overmighty EU seeks to replace hundreds of years of UK political-social-cultural-judicial methods with EU alternatives. 'Alternatives' the huge majority of the population inc. no doubt many officials, judges, police bewildered as to which and what authority to refer to, simply do not recognise as just or relevant to their lives in the UK."

    Again,
    nobody has asked you to become member of the EU.
    Nobody is asking you to stay a member of the EU.

    If you have fundamental problems with the way the EU functions, just leave. But your country doesn't leave, for the simple reason that it needs the EU.

    So stop whining about these essential features like supremacy of EU law.

    Complain about this comment

  • 154. At 4:08pm on 14 Nov 2009, smroet wrote:

    #151 - Jukka_Rohila

    If every time a Finnish immigrant goes to another country in Europe, takes the nationality of this new country, and obliges it to take all its laws literally using ECHR rulings as the last resort, just because of she/he has a perception problem with the new cultural environment, where does this end up? The Finlandization of Europe, such as discussed during the Cold War? Technically, you maybe right about the ECHR ruling, but is it good practice?

    Complain about this comment

  • 155. At 4:16pm on 14 Nov 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To smroet (154):

    It is a good practice to follow the law and abide treaties signed. If a country doesn't want to follow a certain law, then they have to repeal it, and if a country doesn't want to abide its treaty obligation, it has to denounce the treaties that it doesn't anymore want to abide.

    This is the heart of the matter, nothing more, nothing less, simple as that.

    Complain about this comment

  • 156. At 4:27pm on 14 Nov 2009, Mathiasen wrote:

    153. At 4:01pm on 14 Nov 2009, Me_rijn
    You wrote: „-But your country doesn't leave, for the simple reason that it needs the EU.”

    Right, and only yesterday BBC had an article that explained how the Euro zone could help British economy out of the recession it has now itself left.
    The LT gives the member states the possibility to leave the union, which British Europhobes of course never mention anything about, because neither Labour nor the Tories want to leave the union. Their resort is therefore a mirage called referendum, which is exactly just as unlikely. There is nothing in it, we have seen this time and again in the last seven to eight months, and probably they cannot persuade British voters to vote UKIP either.

    The question EU will have to concentrate on is how UK can play a more constructive role in the EU.

    Complain about this comment

  • 157. At 4:29pm on 14 Nov 2009, smroet wrote:

    #153 - Me_rijn: "So stop whining about these essential features like supremacy of EU law".

    In the Annan V plan for the reunification of Cyprus, some of the proposals favourable to Turkey were against EU law, yet the EU supported the plan to make these proposals primary law. This failed only because the Cypriots voted down the Annan plan by referendum. So if EU-commissioners can propose to undermine the primacy of EU law because of political expendiency, why cannot we?

    Complain about this comment

  • 158. At 4:42pm on 14 Nov 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To smroet (157):

    You are probably referring to this...

    "The EU also took account of the political realities on the island by adding Protocol 10 to the Accession Treaty. Under its Article 1, the application of European law is suspended in those areas which are not under the effective control of the Government. The Protocol allows the enactment of a special regime for the "green line". Furthermore, it empowers the Council to decide upon the necessary adjustments to the Accession Treaty in the even of a settlement. That provision is designed to avoid that another intergovernmental conference must be convened to that effect."

    Article: Three years after EU accession – the practical effect of European law in Cyprus by Frank Hoffmeister

    In essence, the EU law is supreme, and in case of Cyprus, because of the political situation there, the EU laws is suspended in those areas that are not in government control. That is just pragmatic.

    Complain about this comment

  • 159. At 4:46pm on 14 Nov 2009, Jean Luc wrote:

    Re "In the Annan V plan for the reunification of Cyprus, some of the proposals favourable to Turkey were against EU law, yet the EU supported the plan to make these proposals primary law. This failed only because the Cypriots voted down the Annan plan by referendum. So if EU-commissioners can propose to undermine the primacy of EU law because of political expendiency, why cannot we?"

    You'll need to give specific references to which changes the EU Commission proposed.

    I doubt the EU Commission proposed changes to the fundamentals of the proces of European Integration through the EU.

    Note that merely proposing changes to primary EU law isn't a denial of primacy to EU law.

    Complain about this comment

  • 160. At 4:49pm on 14 Nov 2009, threnodio_II wrote:

    #151 - Jukka_Rohila

    I don't have a problem with it. I am not Italian, its 45 years since I went to school and I don't give a tinker's cuss what they put on their walls. I don't particularly mind the decision. What I think is terribly sad is that they had to make it at all. I also think the trend is very sinister. We are heading headlong into a situation where we are going to become so hidebound by political correctness that one will be avoiding anything that might upset anyone. Now before anyone comes over all high and mighty about it being an 'EU thing', it isn't. Political correctness is found all over - in North America and the east as well as Europe. Actually, it's way off-topic but I still hate it.

    #152 - cool_brush_work

    ". . . this attempt to portray the British Civil Service as the main culprit for thousands upon thousands of EU Regulations".

    I said no such think and well you know it but - since you insist, I will spell it out for you. The civil service is overblown and far too hidebound but it is not their fault. They have to do what their masters tell them. And who are their masters? That's right - Her Britannic Majesty's government. You remember them don't you? They are the guys who took you to war in Iraq without asking you, signed Lisbon without asking you, sold all your gold off cheap without asking you - I could go on and on but that's the point? You have it firmly set in you mind that the British model is the paragon of virtue and the EU is the devil incarnate. And what more obvious an example is there of that than the Council of the EU choosing the big boss man? Perhaps they should follow the British way and let the Labour party do it instead.

    Complain about this comment

  • 161. At 4:57pm on 14 Nov 2009, JorgeG wrote:

    @ 152 CBW

    "The UK Government has undertaken scrupulous adherence to EU Law and Regulation and because the rest of Europe takes these things more casually it is the UK's fault it find the EU onerous."

    No it hasn't.

    The UK may gold plate EU legislation on petty subjects very close to its heart, e.g. health & safety (more on this later) but it refuses to adhere to EU Law and Regulation on basic, moral principles that affect millions of citizens directly, and I have quoted the example of freedom of movement many times.

    The EU legislation on freedom of movement establishes the following:

    - Freedom of movement is *universal*, i.e. all EU residents, irrespective of nationality should enjoy freedom of movement inside the EU for up to three months. The UK interpretation of the same: Freedom of movement applies to – predominantly white – EU nationals, but it does not apply to – predominantly non-white – non EU nationals who are legal residents in the EU.

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld199900/ldselect/ldeucom/34/3402.htm#a9

    - Freedom of movement should be non-policed, i.e. no border controls on persons should be implemented on internal EU borders:

    Article 61, Lisbon Treaty

    "1. The Union shall constitute an area of freedom, security and justice with respect for fundamental rights and the different legal systems and traditions of the Member States.
    2. It shall ensure the absence of internal border controls for persons... "

    The UK also refuses to adhere to EU law and regulation on the single market:

    - Art. 3.2, Consolidated version of the Treaty on European Union]

    "The internal market shall comprise an area without internal frontiers in which the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital is ensured "


    The only difference is that other countries may apply EU regulations with more common sense and a sense of proportion, whereas the UK goldplates EU regulations and adds many more layers of petty bureaucracy and regulation to them (e.g. health and safety) BUT with respect to those regulations that it doesn't like it simply demands an opt out of them (which is then given by other EU members because they feel it is better to have the UK inside the EU, both as a PR exercise for the EU and also on account of the membership fees paid by the UK); and those essential EU regulations that the UK doesn't like usually relate to fundamental EU pillars (e.g. single currency, border union, charter of rights and, before 1997, social and employment legislation) as opposed to petty health and safety or fisheries regulations.

    On the subject of health and safety, I suggest to people to drive through British roadworks (an experience which I would otherwise not recommend to my worst enemy) and compare the experience with that of driving through roadworks on continental roads. In the UK roadworks are managed in obsessive fashion, an orgy of cones, yellow sign-posts, 40mph limits, average speed cameras, etc. Conversely, I have driven very often on French roads, and also, obviously, Spanish ones, and you rarely notice roadworks on major motorways or arteries; concrete blocks separate the works area from the open road and there is a (very reasonable) speed limit with little or no paraphernalia of cones, signposts or average speed cameras.

    I am not sure if health and safety regulation on roadworks emanates from the EU or not but I can attest that whatever the case, on the continent there is a civilised, common sense approach to roadworks, while in the UK they are seen as an excuse for government bureaucrats and their contractors to tell their innocent victims (all of us): "We are in charge here and we have power over YOU." And, needless to say, an excuse to tax drivers (with fines) to part fund the over inflated costs related to the orgy of cones, average speed cameras, signposts and the many self-important health and safety bureaucrats.

    Complain about this comment

  • 162. At 5:19pm on 14 Nov 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To threnodio_II (160):

    You do know that 'political correctness' as a term is in the same corner as the 'moral majority'. It is blamed when nothing else can be made to defend a taken position.

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

    Besides, when did it become politically correct to follow the law, I thought that following the law was just generally a correct thing to do.

    Complain about this comment

  • 163. At 5:19pm on 14 Nov 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    I don't see what difference it makes who the president of the eu is. He'll just be the external face to legitimize the real power structure which is secret, unelected, and unaccountable.

    Complain about this comment

  • 164. At 5:26pm on 14 Nov 2009, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Me_rijn

    Re #153

    How typical of your particular method of 'debate' that You intervene, clearly having failed to read all the relevant Comments, and then decide to label my reply as "whining".

    If You had bothered to actually read and consider the discussion between myself and Threnodio_II (a 'pro-EU' contributor #145 and #150) you would have realised I was pointing out the EU Law cannot be treated in a "laissez-faire" manner and is not to be dealt with in a "pragmatic" manner (see Menedemus, another 'pro-EU' #139). EU Law is the Law of the Land and as such the UK Government through its Civil Service must implement it.
    Though not agreeing with it I was defending the EU!

    Of course, I do have massive problems with the 'supremacy of EU Law' over English Common Law, but, I was arguing (if you had thought to look as opposed to leap to weighty conclusions as is Your trademark) in this debate that the UK cannot argue against the use of EU Law.

    Why don't you give your immense intellect of which you are so evidently proud a rest? I have written before that You fail to realise all this debate is about People and not Directives, Competences, ECJ Judgements etc. That You still write as though only You know and everyone else is in error reduces every argument You make to nothing more than hearsay.

    Threnodio, Menedemus, Democracythreat, even Jukka_R when debating the EU all grasp that we are talking about ordinary lives juxtaposed with a very large and powerful entity (the EU): Only You seem totally unaware of the living Humans these complex matters concern.

    Complain about this comment

  • 165. At 5:59pm on 14 Nov 2009, Jean Luc wrote:

    I did read the other comments, don't presume I didn't just because I disagree with you.

    It's obvious as well as you said that EU law one can be 'pragmatic' about. It's simply law.

    It's equally pointless in arguing against it's supremacy as you insist on doing.

    It's interesting to see you have a new argument: "this debate is about people". You realize you lost the legal argument, so you try a moral/philosophical/political argument.

    But the statement "this debate is about people" is quite meaningless. It doesn't impress much either, especially if you imply that we should listen to what the common man thinks about the EU. It's obvious the common man isn't informed, therefore his opinion (be it positive or negative towards the EU) is unfounded and not worth listening to.

    This is a pity indeed, because an informed population would be in majority pro EU and european integration. The national educational systems (including media) fail to properly inform citizens. And the Eu institutions can only stand by and watch.

    Complain about this comment

  • 166. At 6:11pm on 14 Nov 2009, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Threnodio

    Re #160

    I agree there is no need to pursue the issue further as we only ever lock horns over the same sorts of topics: Coming at things from opposing sides of the 'great divide' as we do!

    However, (well, you knew I couldn't leave it like that), I must say I do not see the EU as the "devil incarnate" and nor do I view the UK/England through rose tinted spectacles as the "paragon of virtue."
    Neither were there any 'good old days' to which I was particular party to; although I suspect every one from a reasonable home sees their childhood as being the best of times.

    No, it is that for all its imperfections the England I recognise came to that situation by the concensus of the People within England and the general agreement of the Westminster Parliament. Warts and all, they are UK/English social-judicial-cultural spots on the face of the Nation with the marvellous addition of 'colourful' inheritance from all corners of the globe over many centuries.
    Those blotches that needed attention were not imposed from without and History shows the UK/England was particularly effective at corrective legislative medication. In my time from ending National Service, to banning Capital Punishment, to pressing forward Equality of the Sexes/Races, to Devolved Political powers the UK/England demonstrated post-WW2 a propensity to manage its complexion by internal debate and the resolve to do what was not only right but also best for as many of the People as possible.

    In a way the present predicament the UK/England finds itself in, being bound to the EU, was arrived at by similar concensus in the early '70s.
    Certainly, I and millions voted 'Yes' to the EEC (Common Market) on the grounds that it was in the best interests of most of the British Isles' Citizens that we forge some direct links with our neighbours across the Channel other than those already in place, e.g NATO, EFTA etc.

    The unfortunate reality being that since that momentous consultation with the inhabitants of the British Isles no such appeal to the 4 Nations has been repeated.
    Given that concensus of 1973-75 it is a great pity the British Citizen has no opportunity to reassert their opinion one way or the other.

    As you know, this is where the 'divide' between us exists: You consider being 'in' and working for change is the way forward and I believe only being 'out' will the UK/England find a way at all.

    Complain about this comment

  • 167. At 6:20pm on 14 Nov 2009, smroet wrote:

    #158 & #159

    You can find the proposal here. Please pay attention to the recall in point 5 of the mission of the EU: nothing about free trade here. The Annan plan (~9000 pages finalized 4 weeks before the referendum) provided for the suppression of ECHR court cases similar to the Loizidou v. Turkey property access case (see Wikipedia for further reference). The whole of the Annan plan had the strong support of EU-Commissioner Verheugen, including the 'temporary' lengthy derogation period proposed for the Cyprus accession treaty.

    Complain about this comment

  • 168. At 6:34pm on 14 Nov 2009, Menedemus wrote:

    To be clear, it is my opinion not that the UK Government, Civil Servants, Local Authorities or the Judiciary are any worse (or better) than their equivalent within the other nations of the EU for generating national laws to implement EU directives and rules but, where the British are stupid, is that British officialdom will implement these laws in such a way that the laws become draconian or downright ass-like.

    Jukka is quite right, laws whether they pertain to pan-European matters or are local should be adhered to dilegently but the actually implementation and enforcement of EU Directives is left to national or state entities to enforce. The British state echelons are the bodies that most religiously (and certainly with fervour!) initiate enforcement of EU rules but I bet my aviordupois Pound weight to a European Kilogram that the Anglo-Saxons enforce and implement EU-derived state laws through State officials and their national organisations far more diligently than anywhere else in the EU ....

    For example, if France wants to protect French jobs in Renault despite EU Laws preventing this they will simply go ahead and close Renault factories anywhere else other than France and do so despite rather than because of the EU rules. I would bet that the UK government would follow the letter and spirit of the EU rules, close the UK factory and just pay out yet-more-State-welfare and soft-soap the Unions and UK-based ex-employees with platitudes ......

    That is not the fault of the EU but it is the fault of the UK bureaucrats who have no concept of "laissez-faire".

    Complain about this comment

  • 169. At 6:43pm on 14 Nov 2009, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Me-rijn

    Re #165

    What are you on about!?

    Nothing has been won or lost - - Don't you get it at all? You are not in a competition: This is not a race: There will be no 1st to last place.

    There is only Debate amongst People about an important topic that has effects for good or ill on all - - When You only came 4th in the Egg and Spoon at Infants did it scar You for life?

    Grow up You really sadly deficient fellow!

    Every one of my Comments on the EU - UK debate has been related to the Citizen, the Law, the effectiveness of Membership. None have been about You on a personal basis - - You don't matter at all to me or anyone else on here - WE are all engaged indebating topics not each other's navels!

    It is typical of your self-delusion that You have not recognised each and every contrbution by anyone on these Blogs is about Humans whereas You address all your remarks to Treaty... Clause.. Section... Sub-section... Codecil.. and have absolutely no understanding of the People those measures are about.

    Complain about this comment

  • 170. At 7:09pm on 14 Nov 2009, JorgeG wrote:

    @ FBJ, 109

    One in your own camp, a business commentator of the Torygraph, gives the right answer to your comment about 'The exchange rate is a flexible mechanism'. He articulates (in a much better way that I could have ever managed to do) what I have always thought, i.e. that rather than being of help as a 'flexible adjustment mechanism', currency devaluation is slow suicide for a country with such a negative balance of trade.

    "There has so far been scant evidence of the weak pound helping the recovery, or indeed tilting it away from consumption. Far from yielding the hoped-for surge in exports, this week's trade figures showed that the deficit had widened, as the car scrappage scheme sparked explosive demand for foreign cars."

    "Currency depreciation may make exports cheaper, but it also makes imports more expensive. For a country such as Britain, heavily dependent on imports of goods, food and increasingly energy, that's not obviously beneficial. With the decline in the pound, the terms of trade have turned strongly against us."

    "Figures published yesterday by Eurostat show that while Britain remained in recession, Italy grew by 0.6 per cent in the third quarter. Despite the supposed millstone of the strong euro, the Italians are managing to sell loads of Fiat 500s and Chianti to us, while we seem to be struggling to flog them Nissan Micras or packets of Walkers crisps.”

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/jeremy-warner/6563688/Currency-devaluation-is-no-magic-bullet.html

    Complain about this comment

  • 171. At 7:50pm on 14 Nov 2009, Jean Luc wrote:

    @At 6:43pm on 14 Nov 2009, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Almost had my cry there, very emotional stuff. "We are talking about humans!"

    The thing is, you talk but you don't say much.

    It's obvious I talk about the people as well, as the people are the major beneficiaries of the EU project and the reason the EU exists. Others and me have given numerous reasons why the EU is good and have given precise quantified benefits.

    Your arguments against the EU are never quantified or quantifiable. Your legal arguments have been set aside, whether you like it or not (a terminology focused on winning or losing isn't appropriate as you remarked).

    So, what concrete arguments do you have?

    Complain about this comment

  • 172. At 8:11pm on 14 Nov 2009, ignace wrote:

    elaborating on post 170 in response to FBJ: here's the list of Euro-zone countries that came out of the recession in the third quarter (and some already in second): Belgium, Germany, Italy, France, Austria, Portugal, Netherlands, Slovakia. Data for Ireland, Luxemburg, Malta, Finland, Slovenia (came out of recession in second quarter) wasn't available yet. Interestingly -in relation to FBJ's posting- , Ireland had already a zero growth in the second quarter

    Complain about this comment

  • 173. At 00:35am on 15 Nov 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    cool_brush_work @123 , thank you for the names in English; pity my suggestion isn't viable. Though, from an outsider's look - you are exactly not in the lack of "Queen, Bishop and Castle" -s :o)
    Anyway, at this point I'd start thinking in terms of a ransom! You don't seriously believe you'll be let out... :o))))

    infuzoria little slipper, @142 "I thought I heard a bang" :o)))))
    On little slippers - bacteria's best friends - please see

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

    I'm glad you appreciate the quality of Sov. anti-air raid hide away quarters, as those 40 soldiers who survived safe and sound - all ran down and had the whole arsenal blast above their heads.

    "American attitude to oil matters is explained by the very language; un-like Russians - they don't measure oil in "tons", nor transport it in "cisterns".
    They think of it in terms of "barrels" and carry away by "tanks".
    ________

    Jukka, I didn't understand what you wanted to say ab "PC" - a resort for those who don't have other arguments? or that the people who complain about PC have no other arguments? Anyway, I think in everyday life stereotypes of other countries are normal, even if not PC, but they shouldn't be used by media or any formal channels. I don't think that the most of them are offensive, often simply fun. Other peoples are often associated with their predominant cuisine :o) because what else you notice, as a difference, historically? Therefore various frog-leg consumers and beer-consumers (Germans for us) and potato-eaters (Belorussians here) and bacon-fat eaters (Ukrainians, for us). We might be vodka-eaters to others, though I think, LOL, the very word formal name "russky" is already, to aliens :o))) - a name calling.

    Only Americans are not food-related for Russians, because they are far and we don't know what they eat. I don't know why not ketchup-eaters but the fact remains they aren't. Were simply "apricots" before, as a rhyme, and after Serbia became "penguins". Because of the look in the full gear uniform worn at all times, as the rumour has it here life insurance isn't paid if you don't wear full gear in combat zones, like, take full precautions (and carry them on you even in the South).

    Complain about this comment

  • 174. At 00:57am on 15 Nov 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    I don't think that menu-related names are offensive, this is simply what stroke as un-usual a one culture person meeting another culture person in some medieval times, and then it stuck in the base/bulk of the language. Granted you can use a common parlance name as a teaser :o)))
    but then what not you can use as a teaser :o))) - provided there is a wish. Where there is a will, there is a way! :o)))

    Complain about this comment

  • 175. At 01:30am on 15 Nov 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Babuska Borscht;

    Americans eat countries. Soon, in just a week or so we will have an appetite for Turkey. President Obama is arranging for the China to eat it on right this minute. But first we will carve it up. While many Americans prefer the white meat, I prefer the dark. It's usually not as dry. I like a little Greece with my Turkey. I always take my time eating it. On Thanksgiving I'm not Russian off to anywhere. And to drink with it what else, Scotch. When the last bite is eaten, I'm Finnish.

    Complain about this comment

  • 176. At 01:32am on 15 Nov 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Kasha eater;

    We have a saying around these parts;..."Where there's a will....there's relatives."

    Complain about this comment

  • 177. At 09:45am on 15 Nov 2009, cool_brush_work wrote:


    Consider the following:

    "..government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.."

    and,

    "..the common man isn't informed, therefore his opinion is unfounded and not worth listening to.."

    One is the genuine voice of a person wanting Citizens to have and enjoy the benefits of Democracy.
    The other is the genuine voice of a person wanting Citizens to have and enjoy the benefits of the European Union.

    Is it any wonder there is deep, deep suspicion about the true approach to the values of Democracy garnered over generations when there is such a contrast in attitude and intention toward the Rights of the Citizen?

    Complain about this comment

  • 178. At 10:17am on 15 Nov 2009, Jean Luc wrote:

    @At 09:45am on 15 Nov 2009, cool_brush_work wrote:

    It's just my opinion, not the general opinion of europhiles.

    So don't attempt to delegitimize the EU because of my radical opinion, instead try to refute my personal claim.

    You didn't. In fact you completely fall within my statement. You had or have a misinformed opinion about the ECJ (judging from the untruths you have written in your comments on the ECJ).

    So why would a policymaker want to listen to your opinion on the ECJ, if that opinion is partially based on false presumptions?

    Once it is established that the majority of the common men is uninformed or misinformed about the EU, we could ask ourselves; "who's to blame?" To answer the question you need to look at the media of socialization and today those are still organized at the national level and subnational level.

    Those actors of socialization don't have any immediate short term interests in properly informing the citizens about the EU, so they don't.

    The result is a whole bunch of people like you, who haven't got a clue what's going on and how the EU functions, the only thing they know is that

    "Over there in Brussels, there are 'bureaucrats' deciding what we can and can't do"

    But you haven't really gotten any further in your argument than "My freedom is taken away from me" "There is a superstate EU" "What about the people" > general meaningless statements, unless they are elaborated upon, which you don't.

    Complain about this comment

  • 179. At 10:49am on 15 Nov 2009, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Stop whining.

    You have been caught out in Your assumed superiority.

    Shown up for what you are: You are anti-Democratic and no amount of subterfuge in Your 'radical opinion' disguises the 'meaning' of Your argument and the contempt in which You hold the 'common man'.


    Complain about this comment

  • 180. At 11:18am on 15 Nov 2009, Chris wrote:

    #104

    If you suggest that the BNP should get EU funding then I can see why you find the EU "un-democratic"!

    As I'm awake again!

    @Web thank you for the real estate advice, I think it will come handy if the scenario of been swamped by people arises. Personaly I'm more worries about been flooded by real water and some of us may have to leave the UK no matter what, so free people movement is a good thing for both the UK as well as the Netherland :))) See that's were our forward thinking comes handy :))
    About generalising people as patato eaters or beers drinkers, if even people say it and think it still doesn't make it right. Not everyone in a particular country drinks beer or eats patatoes :) so it can be offencive to the person receiving the comment and it could show ignorance of the person making the comment :)

    Complain about this comment

  • 181. At 11:33am on 15 Nov 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To ChrisArta (180):

    Have you ever read a comic called Judge Dredd? If the worst case happens with the environment, let me be the first to welcome you to Scandinavian Confederation. You can send your Visa application either in our Mega City One or our Brit-City embassy.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judge_Dredd
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mega_City_One

    Complain about this comment

  • 182. At 11:50am on 15 Nov 2009, Jean Luc wrote:

    Re "Stop whining.

    You have been caught out in Your assumed superiority.

    Shown up for what you are: You are anti-Democratic and no amount of subterfuge in Your 'radical opinion' disguises the 'meaning' of Your argument and the contempt in which You hold the 'common man'."

    You did it again. Calling someone an "anti-democratic" really isn't an argument, it's quite meaningless anyways. It doesn't impress either.

    Do I hold contempt for the common man? No not really, I just think it's pointless to ask someone's opinion on a subject (whether it is politics or not) if you know that opinion isn't informed or is even based on false presumptions.

    If you think that is undemocratic, so be it!

    Complain about this comment

  • 183. At 12:38pm on 15 Nov 2009, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Try as You may there is no disguising the following undemocratic views separate You from this debate between People who consider themselves as equal in Rights and Privileges:

    "..I just think it's pointless to ask someone's opinion on a subject (whether politics or not) if you know that opinion isn't informed or is even based on false assumptions."

    "..the result is a whole bunch of people, like you, who haven't got a clue what is going on.."

    "..the thing is you talk a lot, but you don't say much."

    "..the common man isn't informed therefore his opinion is unfounded and not worth listening to."

    "..you realise you lost the legal argument, so you try moral/philosophical/political argument."

    "..so stop whining about these essential features like the supremacy of EU Law."

    There is a very old expression in English that refers indirectly to Your assumed importance over others: We call it the 'Dutch Nightingales' - - the insistent croaking of 'Frogs' - - and for all the noise the reality of the type of creature is ever there for all to know.

    Complain about this comment

  • 184. At 1:21pm on 15 Nov 2009, threnodio_II wrote:

    #182 - Me_rijn

    We may be on the same side in the EU debate but I have to say that cool_brush_work has a valid point. You cannot just go around dismissing peoples' views simply because you think they are ill informed. If you were to state that, in a democracy, since people are the ultimate arbiters of who holds power, they have a duty to ensure they are properly informed in order to exercise their rights responsibly, I might be inclined to agree. What you my not say is that their views are not worth the candle because they are not well informed. The bottom line is that, come election time, polticians who might normally hold the 'common man' in contempt (though he dare not say so), will cheerfully scrape the barrel in order to play on their fears or narrow prejudicess in order to secure votes.

    When I hear the 'common man' voicing his natural scepticism in a crude manner, I don't look down on him. I want to celebrate because he has seen through the double sided mirror. Good luck to him.

    Like it or not, democracy is founded on the principle of one person, one vote and every vote counts. If this debate is held and we go down, I for one will go down fighting but will accept the outcome with a good grace. It is in the nature of democracy that we must do so. What does worry me is the reluctance to hold the debate at all. If we win this round, then we have a duty to ensure that we did so fairly by seizing the opportunity to prove our opponents wrong in suspecting us to be the enemies of democracy. We have to demand transparency and accountability.

    Complain about this comment

  • 185. At 1:24pm on 15 Nov 2009, Johan_Heuvel wrote:

    What a discussion raging on here.
    It took me quite a while to get through all those comments.
    On the EU: What is wrong with democratically elected governments making agreements and Really stick to them? Sometimes you win sometimes you loose. As I see it, the 27 EU governments making agreements is like a senate discussing new laws. We elect them, they make decisions and agreements and stick to them. The EU parlement is elected. And although it has no real power, calling that undemocratic is just crazy.
    It is true that as a single person in a larger block you have to share your vote with more. But on the other hand small nations can not determine their future either. So to have a vote than is even less "powerfull". As the world is today, Europe mainly consists of small global and medium regional powers. The cold war already showed that the old powers of Europe had no real say or real power to control their future. That future was controlled by the USA and the USSR. Personally I feel that reading through the comments of UK posters, domestic politics plays a mayor role in their EU views. Especially the weird class system that still exists in England and puts people in certain boxes from the start. The EU is not some alien entity that dictates. It is the result of democratically elected governments making agreements to streamline their own laws and regulations. If you don't trust the other elected governments in the EU with which your government talks, that is just your problem. Simplifying the EU to France and Germany is just ridiculous. France and Germany combined are not even 25% of the EU population. Without convincing the other 25 members they have no power at all. The benefits of the EU are just so clear that you must have a real metal plate stuck in your eye not to see them. Living close to man-made borders myself, having the EU is like a liberation of them. And how convenient is it that you can use your electronic devices across the continent. Pay with a single currency across the continent. Drive from the Atlantic ocean to the Baltic states without any problems. Have no fear of wars erupting between members. Can call a German or Belgium plumber in the village nearby. Tell me, what is wrong with that? And yes you do need an organisation that streamlines agreements and makes sure that the members implement them and not only when they stand to gain from them. Being in the single market brings economic benefits to the established western members because they have a head start. To be fair about it you should calculate the benefit of the single market for the economy and substract that from what you pay nett to the EU as well. We in the Netherlands are the biggest nett payers per inhabitant. But we calculated long ago that the economic benefit of the single market is much greater that what we pay to the other developing members. The profit to our economy of the products we sell them is much larger than the marginal Euros we send them back via the EU. And we view it as an investment in creating ever more consumers for our products. i never saw this kind of calculation on UK news. That would surely alter the perseption of the EU as money costing, since many brittish products are sold within the EU without tarrifs (60% of Brittish exports) and I can assure you that the proffit on that far outways the amuont send back to the other members to develop their economies.

    Complain about this comment

  • 186. At 1:27pm on 15 Nov 2009, Jean Luc wrote:

    Seriously, if you want to kill any debate just claim the other speaker is 'undemocratic'.

    And still you haven't found any decent argument, you just state that I am undemocratic (and presumably as a result one should not listen or even debate with me).

    Let me use on of your techniques now (see how in fact I don't say anything useful at all, but still claim to make a statement):

    You shun from real debate by portraying me as undemocratic, just like the ruling elite in the USSR and it's satellite states categorized all dissidents as enemies of the people and the people's democracy.

    You see? I try to delegitimize you by comparing you to the soviet party elite! I don't even need to go into the substance of your remarks because I have shown you are the undemocratic one (whatever that means!)!

    Complain about this comment

  • 187. At 1:43pm on 15 Nov 2009, Johan_Heuvel wrote:

    I consider the (mis)-use of the word Dutch in the Enlish language as highly offensive.

    What is the point of comments like these?:

    "There is a very old expression in English that refers indirectly to Your assumed importance over others: We call it the 'Dutch Nightingales' - - the insistent croaking of 'Frogs' - - and for all the noise the reality of the type of creature is ever there for all to know."

    Would you make this expression as "Scottish Nightingales"
    , "English Nightingales", "Pakistani Nightingales", "African Nightingales", "Indian Nightingales", "Christian Nightingales", "Muslim Nightingales". What a weird thing to do, dismissing the Dutch in your language like that. It must be jealousy.

    Complain about this comment

  • 188. At 1:52pm on 15 Nov 2009, Chris wrote:

    #185

    You are making a rational point in your post. Now just wait to find out, that you are: "a rational thinking Europhile that can not see the democratic deficit! and have given away centuries of rights to complain for the short term benefit of living your life in a prosperous safe environment" :)))

    Complain about this comment

  • 189. At 1:53pm on 15 Nov 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    to contribute to @ 182 and 184

    "We are small people!
    We're a hole worn away on the society,
    But if you will look at us from aside:

    Behind the narrow shoulders of an UN-BIG man
    There stand, down-cast and sullen, - two big stupid dummies
    Two big wars.

    (Vysotsky, of course, "Ballad about Guns")

    Complain about this comment

  • 190. At 1:59pm on 15 Nov 2009, Chris wrote:

    #186.

    You can also throw in "democratic deficit" and also "surrenders hard won democratic rights" while not having your vote for it :))

    Complain about this comment

  • 191. At 2:09pm on 15 Nov 2009, Johan_Heuvel wrote:

    @ 189.

    Vysotsky? Who is that and what is your point? This reads like rondom words to me. There is nothing in my life which I can even remotely relate to what you have written, to even begin to understand what it is about.

    Complain about this comment

  • 192. At 2:27pm on 15 Nov 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Johan_Heuvel, from the practical point of view all is very reasonable and EU advantages are self-speaking. However, beauty lies in the eyes of the? that one who is looking at it. And any statistics will prove, LOL, that you can bring a horse to water but you cannot make it drink.
    I sympathise with the British "freedom fighters" :o), may be because fresh out of USSR, and still not out of Kremlin "ways and habits", what's the point to have something good if you don't want it.
    Nightingales :o) sing badly in golden cages.

    Complain about this comment

  • 193. At 2:46pm on 15 Nov 2009, Johan_Heuvel wrote:

    WebAliceinwonderland, okay i think I get your point to some extend. But for me, we the people, is the most powerfull phrase. It is engraved in my mindset that government is merely there to serve the people. One man one vote, all are equal before the law. Every individual opinion should be taken into account and minorities should be protected from the tirany of the majority. And that there is balance of power which ensures no entity or person can take total or illigal control. A construction which puts the ever lasting struggle for power within a legal framework in which nobody can take full control. Any misuse of power should be punished at the ballot box and/or by judges. From that perspective some of the arguments which are thrown on to the forum seme destened for systems of the past and not constuctive for systems of the future.

    Complain about this comment

  • 194. At 2:50pm on 15 Nov 2009, Chris wrote:

    #192

    The British "freedom fighters" as you very well called them fight, on the same ground as the people that are reminisced of the "good old days under USSR" I can also sympathise with them, but I can't accept their fight as been the right fight to have, as much as I can't accept the view of the people that wish for the "good old USSR" although I can also sympathise with them also:)
    Also I"d rather have something good that I don't want rather than something bad that I don't want :) I'll never have everything exactly the way I want it! :)

    Complain about this comment

  • 195. At 2:55pm on 15 Nov 2009, ridoca wrote:

    #151 Jukka_Rohila

    you fail to recognize that countries have the right to challenge a ECHR decision before accepting it. This is what the Italian government is doing as far as I know. Furthermore, that Italian position is that the cross is not only a Cristian symbol, but also a part of its cultural and historical heritage. This may sound strange to you, but if you were to forbid christian symbols from any EU state's public place, then those 7 nations that have a cross in their flags (Finland being one of them) would have to change it. Also, the EU you so much seem to love has a flag that, as I'm sure you are aware, was designed by a fervent French Catholic, and as he himself explained when the design was picked as the winner of the contest, is no less than the virgin mary's halo as depiced in countless paintings. Now, bannig the EU flag on account of a ECHR decision: that's something I would love to see...and it could happen, as fast as another EU citizen from a random small country decided that displaying such a blatantly christian symbol is offensive for all non-cristians :)

    By the way, I am not religious, and I couldn't care less about cristian symbols in general, but ignoring the simple fact that those same symbols are embedded into most EU states' culture is a very shallow way of approaching the subject.

    Complain about this comment

  • 196. At 3:02pm on 15 Nov 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    ChrisArta,
    Johan Heuvel's note, @191, reminded me: when packing for the real estate address re-location :o))), take some effort at ? Well, I guess this is a hopeless appeal, as Russian 20th century is un-translated; say - bring in own songs, remember all own you ever had - won't make an excess - and simply mumble them energetically :o)))) acompanying with jiga :o)))) or any hip-hop you are able of o:)))) - we will understand.

    Other things in the traveller's pack should include lots of woollen things (remember, the point of the travel is you are returning "to the Cold" :o)))) (not from) , say, something that goes in English understanding as a French sea-man jumper

    And then of course some preliminary training in your future predominant menu :o))) though I think in this all arriving nationalities are trained marvellously well as they are! - just look at any pub or bierstube :o))))

    and then voila, you're all fit.

    Complain about this comment

  • 197. At 3:42pm on 15 Nov 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Johan_Heuvel, I'm sorry for bringing in a quote that doesn't ring a bell with you immediately, but see, after a couple of minutes you think you understood. The point made by the poet there was? what is it?
    it's like "common man" opinion shouldn't be neglected, because those "ordinary small men" survived through and got done with "two big monsters looming behind them - the two great wars".

    On the other hand it's not so simple, it's not a whining song type "ahh we are small, have a mercy on us, take note of what we wish for"

    "Two big wars", behind those "narrow shoulders" - it's also a warning - type - beware! those insignificant "small men" are capable of maintining a one big shake-over of pillars - any time.

    Technically, on Vysotsky, it's here

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

    Practically, he was a religion of about 350 mln people in the USSR quarters for quite a couple of decades, and the status position as "encyclopaedia of life" is still un-beaten, no one approached near.
    A poet (900 songs) and a singer - in the free time. In work life - an actor, theatre and films.



    Complain about this comment

  • 198. At 4:14pm on 15 Nov 2009, Johan_Heuvel wrote:

    Dear WebAliceinwonderland,

    I have to confess I know next to nothing about 20th century Russian culture. All I can remember learning from Russia when I was young were images on the television of marching soldiers, grey buildings, and empty stores. And I remember learning in school that communism was the devil, almost on a par with fascism. So anything originating from the USSR was almost immediately dismissed and met with enormous skeptism. Especially, since most people believed the USSR was planning our destruction and wanted to kill us and our culture of, as it did with central Europe. We can discuss wether these views were correct another time. But the result was/is that Russian culture was/is completely blocked and Russia is still viewed by many people as a potential agressor. That is why any move by the Russian government is almost always explained from a negative stance. However, it is my firm believe that one day in the not to distant future Russia should be allowed to be part of NATO and the EU as well as any other European country. We entered this adventure with Germany just after the second world war, thanks to brave men in charge who went against the popular views of the time to build something for the common good. Not building a common future with Russia after the end of the cold war in 1991 can only be blamed on a lack of courage of the men in charge at that time. And I firmly believe, that had we done so, the world would have been a more stable place today and Russia and the rest of Europe would have been better of as a consequence. And I probably would have known who Vysotsky was.

    Complain about this comment

  • 199. At 4:56pm on 15 Nov 2009, threnodio_II wrote:

    #198 - Johan_Heuvel

    " . . . the USSR was planning our destruction and wanted to kill us and our culture of, as it did with central Europe".

    "as it did with central Europe"?

    I can assure you that the central Europe I know was not killed off by anyone. It may have been kept on hold for a few decades but today it is alive and well and vibrant.

    Complain about this comment

  • 200. At 5:03pm on 15 Nov 2009, Johan_Heuvel wrote:

    Dear threnodio_II,

    I was talking in the passed-tense and about the views of the time (pre 1989). I've been visiting countries in central Europe a lot the last couple of years and love it there.
    Kind regards,

    Johan

    Complain about this comment

  • 201. At 5:17pm on 15 Nov 2009, cool_brush_work wrote:



    Do tell us all: Which part of, "..it's pointless to ask someone's opinion on a subject if you know that opinion isn't informed.." and "..the 'common man' isn't informed... isn't worth listening to..", are the grounds for believing there is a shred of 'Democratic' instinct anywhere in Your remarks about "..delegitimazing.." a point of view?

    When someone writes "..you know nothing at all..", "..your opinion.." is worthless, and then seek to hide behind the accusation You are using ".. your techniques now..", the yawning credibility gap becomes unbridgeable.

    Nowhere, did Threnodio, Mathiasen, Democracythreat, Menedemus, JorgG1, Suffolkboy etc. question Your or my right to contribute to these Debates: Everywhere in Your Comments it is made clear that You believe We are not fit to Debate with You because You are so much better, cleverer, know more, comprehend in a manner that the 'common man' (which, You may never quite understand, is ALL OF US) is unable to do.

    Unfortunately for You, it is Your version of the reality that is under serious scrutiny because Your lack of egalitarian principles has been exposed.

    I would go so far as to admit the EU is not so bad an organisation that it needs people of Your political outlook to defend it.

    Complain about this comment

  • 202. At 5:17pm on 15 Nov 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To ridoca (195):

    Yes, countries have the right to appeal, but what I have heard from the mouth of Italian politics is that they won't accept the decision of the ECHR in any case. If that is the situation, if ECHR wont change its decision, and Italy doesn't obey, and if other CoE members aren't willing to change the convention, then we have a conflict of Italy not obeying the treaty.

    Going back to the crucifix, in my honest opinion you have to be Berlusconi class stage actor to say that it is just a secular, just cultural symbol. Well let me ask you, if crucifix is a secular and cultural symbol, then why is Vatican and the Catholic church so much against removing crucifixes from schools? After all, for them it is a symbol of faith, and thus having it linked into secularist values that the state promotes is a bad thing.

    Now going back to the your note about Christian symbols in example in state flags and in the EU flag. Well, if somebody makes a complaint to the ECHR, the ECHR says that having religious symbols in flags violates freedom of religion, and the appeal is turned down, and CoE members aren't willing to change the convention, then yes, the flag has to be changed.

    Again, this is about following the rules, if rules are not obeyed then there are consequences. That is how the world works and has to work. Now if everybody is willing to change the rules, then we can have new rules, and if there is no conflict with the new rules, then that is it.

    Complain about this comment

  • 203. At 5:25pm on 15 Nov 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    People, people...

    Hitler was for the people...
    Nazis were for the people...

    Stalin was for the people...
    Communists were for the people...

    Everybody is for the people. There is no political ideology or system that against the people, so discussing are you, or are you not, for the people, is a waste of time.

    What is important is, what for are you for the people? And who exactly are the people? These are the things that are important to answer.

    Complain about this comment

  • 204. At 5:31pm on 15 Nov 2009, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Johan Heuvel

    Re #185

    Cannot fault you on the view that the inter-'Trade' of the EU certainly generally out-weighs the individual National contributions.

    UK/England 'trade' with Continental Europe (the EU) on common agreed levels: Absolutely; UK/England abide by intercontinental Tax/Tariffs: No problem at all; UK/England support the easing of all Travel and Transport constraints between 27 Nations: Let's go for it straightaway.

    Oh, hang on - - the UK/England did that when it signed up to the EEC in 1973 and again when the UK/England Citizens voted for it in 1975.

    Now if you could explain why in the intervening 30+ years all UK/English MPs, Judges, Police, Office and Factory Workers, Doctors, Nurses, Teachers, Dustmen etc. have also had to pay attention and obey EU Directives and Regulations then that would resolve the whole matter, wouldn't it!?

    UK/England 'trade' with the EU on a common agreed level

    Complain about this comment

  • 205. At 5:37pm on 15 Nov 2009, Johan_Heuvel wrote:

    @ 203

    Are you for real? What are you talking about? Totalytarian regimes are by defenition never for the people. Never heared of the balance of power?

    Complain about this comment

  • 206. At 5:40pm on 15 Nov 2009, Johan_Heuvel wrote:

    Complain about this comment

  • 207. At 5:44pm on 15 Nov 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To Johan_Heuvel (205):

    They said so.

    That is the point.

    Everybody says so.

    Complain about this comment

  • 208. At 5:45pm on 15 Nov 2009, Johan_Heuvel wrote:

    @204

    as to your question:
    "Now if you could explain why in the intervening 30+ years all UK/English MPs, Judges, Police, Office and Factory Workers, Doctors, Nurses, Teachers, Dustmen etc. have also had to pay attention and obey EU Directives and Regulations then that would resolve the whole matter, wouldn't it!?"

    Most of these EU regulations are less strickt than the UK directions. Actually most of these are just the streamlining of regulations between member states, so that companies can comply to a single set of regulations across the continent. Having the hassle of re-thinking everything for a unique set of regulations for every member state is extremely prohibitive in a single market. Alligning them is helpfull in that sense. But to the best of my knowledge UK regulation is often stricter than EU regulations. And the UK has a big say in the establishment of the EU regulations as well as it is one of the bigger economies.

    Complain about this comment

  • 209. At 5:52pm on 15 Nov 2009, Johan_Heuvel wrote:

    @207

    I am not sure they said so. In "mein Kampf" Hitler made clear what his sinister views were for large parts of the people. And for Stalin, I'm not sure either he made public statements about how he was there to serve the people. He more likely stated he was there for the worker, which is only a portion of the people.

    Complain about this comment

  • 210. At 5:57pm on 15 Nov 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To Johan_Heuvel (209):

    Yes, yes, but what you don't get that is that from the point of view of Hitler and Stalin, there were the people, and beings who were not part of the people, hence they were for the people.

    Again the point is that it is futile to discuss who is for the people, because everybody is for the people. You dig?

    Complain about this comment

  • 211. At 6:01pm on 15 Nov 2009, ridoca wrote:

    @ 202 Jukka_Rohila

    Well, I'm sure that if you listen to the right politicians they will also tell you that he UK will leave the EU, and that Turkey will never get into the EU. Surely enough, you will also "hear" exactly the opposite if you listen to other politicians... But I forgot, you must be the only person that holds the final word on this subject, and your word is the truth of course ;)

    ..."Going back to the crucifix, in my honest opinion you have to be Berlusconi class stage actor to say that it is just a secular, just cultural symbol."

    Actually, your contempt for Berlusconi notwithstanding, if you read any Italian newspaper (or talk to any Italian Politician, in your case), you'll find that this is the position of left, center, and right wings of their Parliament. As for the crucifix being "just a secular symbol", I've never said that. If you read me correclty, I said "not only a Cristian symbol, but also a part of Italian cultural and historical heritage". This is undeniably true.

    As for why the Vatican is so opposed to removing the crucifix: is this s trick question? they are the Vatican, and that's a cross: what do you expect?! Not only that, but if you study the matter further, you will discover that Italy has a bilateral treaty with the Vatican (Lateranensis Pact), which states that even if Christianity is no longer the state religion in Italy, public places in Italy must still expose a crucifix.

    As for rules, I remind you that the original stability pact was "the rule" until the Nation that wanted it so stringent in the first place (Germany), was not able to abide by it anymore; then, of course, they realized that this uber-rule was not so cool and they agreed to relax it considerably... And as much as I find it anachronistic, I'm pretty sure that this "rule" about the cross will be overthrown as it touches issues that are too embedded into European society to be cleanly separated.

    Now, go ahead and fumigate some of your wisdom on us ;)

    Complain about this comment

  • 212. At 6:11pm on 15 Nov 2009, Johan_Heuvel wrote:

    @Jukka_Rohila (210):

    you have to forgive me, but I think we just have to agree to disagree on this one. I firmly and only believe in the rule of the people by the people. And in the importance of the balance of power. Anything else which is not based on this idea is in my view simply not for/by the people. And I firmly believe no politician in power should be trusted with this power, as power corrupts. It is this healthy mistrust which cleans the system when nescesarry.

    But I can try to bend my mind so far as to sense what you are talking about. You can claim to be for "the people" by dismissing parts of the populus. Although that claim of being for the people will be an obvious lie for those willing to think about it. Since claiming to be for the people by dismissing parts of the populus and claiming absolute power over the people is a contradictio-interminis (self contradicting statement).

    I think we should just agree to disagree.
    Kind regards,

    Johan

    Complain about this comment

  • 213. At 6:17pm on 15 Nov 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To ridoca (211):

    If would have red my my whole comment, you would have noted that in the end I made a note that even if the ECHR doesn't repeal its decision, the CoE members have the rights to change the convention if they find an equal footing on these things.

    In case of the Italy-Vatican bilateral treaty, both the EU law and the ECHR are superior to this treaty.

    Complain about this comment

  • 214. At 6:25pm on 15 Nov 2009, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To Johan_Heuvel (212):

    For crying out load, we are not in disagreement here.

    How hard is it to understand a simple point...

    In short: everybody says that they are for the people, nobody says that they are against the people, thus it is futile to talk and argue who is for the people and who is not, because everybody is for the people.

    What you have to concentrate on is instead A) what for are you for the people, and B) who exactly are the people. There is no substance in taking a stand that somebody is for the people and somebody is not for the people.

    Complain about this comment

  • 215. At 6:36pm on 15 Nov 2009, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Johan Heuvel

    Re #187

    Sorry, for my delay in writing a response but it was as I indicated a very old 'english' saying and I knew it but had to look up its origins.

    As I suspected there was no rudeness or general condemnation of the People of the Netherlands involved: There is in fact a vast range of English expressions that make use of the term 'Dutch', e.g. 'Dutch treat' = each person pays their own fare for a meal, cinema etc. This is by far the most common use in the 21st Century. However, other 'Dutch' inc. 'If not, I'm a Dutchman' = used by English to strengthen their declaration; 'Double-Dutch' = to speak gibberish.

    The above are perhaps a small indication of how large was the Anglo-Dutch connection in the past centuries (inc. a King, several trade wars and rivalry in the Americas - - New Amsterdam/New York - - West and East Indies).

    Now, as for the 'Dutch Nightingales' expression: This wholly derives from the British Naval euphamism some hundreds of years ago that the common sound of croaking frogs along the Dutch shoreline and rivers was NOT like the melodious sound of Nightingales - - it came in time by its use to mean something that was NOT that which it might appear/seem to be.

    It has nothing at all to with any impression of the People of the Netherlands.

    Whereas, I used it as appropriate to Me-rijn's views and my assumption he was from the Netherlands.

    Incidentally, similar expressions (as you queried) do exist: E.g. Cambridgeshire nightingales, Liege nightingales etc.

    In any and all circumstance I sincerely apologise if I caused offence as most certainly none was intended.

    Complain about this comment

  • 216. At 6:37pm on 15 Nov 2009, Jean Luc wrote:

    Re "Do tell us all: Which part of, "..it's pointless to ask someone's opinion on a subject if you know that opinion isn't informed.." and "..the 'common man' isn't informed... isn't worth listening to..", are the grounds for believing there is a shred of 'Democratic' instinct anywhere in Your remarks about "..delegitimazing.." a point of view?

    When someone writes "..you know nothing at all..", "..your opinion.." is worthless, and then seek to hide behind the accusation You are using ".. your techniques now..", the yawning credibility gap becomes unbridgeable.

    Nowhere, did Threnodio, Mathiasen, Democracythreat, Menedemus, JorgG1, Suffolkboy etc. question Your or my right to contribute to these Debates: Everywhere in Your Comments it is made clear that You believe We are not fit to Debate with You because You are so much better, cleverer, know more, comprehend in a manner that the 'common man' (which, You may never quite understand, is ALL OF US) is unable to do.

    Unfortunately for You, it is Your version of the reality that is under serious scrutiny because Your lack of egalitarian principles has been exposed.

    I would go so far as to admit the EU is not so bad an organisation that it needs people of Your political outlook to defend it."

    Seriously, I have more interesting things to do than trying to prevent you or anyone else from expressing your/his opinion.

    You can use your right to free expression. You can even use it to keep repeating the non-argument you keep using against me: you accuse me of being undemocratic and somehow this would bring me in discredit.

    The problem is you have or had an uninformed opinion about the ECJ which made you spread untruths about it's powers and functioning (this is a fact). I just pointed out to that, commenting that one shouldn't pay too much attention to what you think about the ECJ, simply because your opinion is based on falsities.

    Not surprisingly you try to steer the debate towards my supposed undemocratic political ideas, my supposed self imagined superiority, etc. (notice how all of that has nothing to do with substance)

    It's quite predictable and long foretold; the rise of the massas, where the ignorant claim their right to express themselves, but also claim to be heard and demand that their opinions, no matter how (un)founded are treated equally to those of the informed citizen. The informed citizen, always in a minority, his valuable say gets drowned in the roar of the masses. The masses, who are always right, for they are the majority.

    Since you manage time and time again to not debate on substance, perhaps we should agree to disagree. This will be all the easier if you admit that to you hold an uninformed opinion to be as valuable as an informed opinion. If you don't agree to this statement, you shouldn't have reacted so vehemently against me stating the opposite in comment 182.

    Complain about this comment

  • 217. At 6:40pm on 15 Nov 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    WA 192;

    "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder"

    That is the well known saying you were looking for. Rather than explain it, I refer you to one of the most memorable episodes of Rod Serling's brilliant TV series "The Twilight Zone" seen on American TV nearly 50 years ago. The Twilight Zone was must see television when it aired and there were no consumer VCRs in existance yet.

    http://www.veoh.com/browse/videos/category/entertainment/watch/v6316436GQ6CawaR#

    If the software doesn't print the entire link because it breaks, you can get to it by typing after http;//www.

    veoh.com/browse/videos/category/entertainment/watch/v6316436GQ6CawaR#

    into the url address box.

    I won't spoil the surprise ending for you but it delivers a powerful message about conformity that someone who lived in a totalitarian state can appreciate and a warning to those who would impose or welcome a totalitarian state like the EUSSR should pay especially close attention to. The dangers of imposition of or submission to conformity has been one of America's greatest fears since the mid 20th century and the publication of the book "A Nation of Sheep." Conformity is seen by thinking Americans as a fatal weakness of other societies it does not want to repeat.

    Complain about this comment

  • 218. At 6:55pm on 15 Nov 2009, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Me_rijn

    Re #216

    Oh dear: 'uninformed' and 'informed' opinion!

    Now, remind us all - - when, where, why, and who was it decided You were 'informed' and the rest of us were 'uninformed'+

    Oh yes, I recall - - You decided You were informed: In fact You decided when , where, why and naturally You were the 'who' that decided all that!

    "..agree to disagree.."? You rate yourself far too highly! What on earth would make You think after Your recent anti-democratic contributions I need consider Your views at all!?

    Complain about this comment

  • 219. At 6:59pm on 15 Nov 2009, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Me-rijn

    Re My #218

    Now do You see: I wasn't even prepared to consider Your view because of Your opinion - - is it dawning slowly in Your head now - - afterall, why would I agree with anything You write when Your opinion doesn't count?

    Are you getting it now?

    Let me assist: It is called Democracy.

    Complain about this comment

  • 220. At 7:54pm on 15 Nov 2009, Jean Luc wrote:

    Re " Me_rijn

    Re #216

    Oh dear: 'uninformed' and 'informed' opinion!

    Now, remind us all - - when, where, why, and who was it decided You were 'informed' and the rest of us were 'uninformed'+

    Oh yes, I recall - - You decided You were informed: In fact You decided when , where, why and naturally You were the 'who' that decided all that!

    "..agree to disagree.."? You rate yourself far too highly! What on earth would make You think after Your recent anti-democratic contributions I need consider Your views at all!?"

    Seriously dude. I'll just use your own set of arguments:

    You were spreading lies about the ECJ, so why don't you respect my democratic right not to care about your uninformed opinion? You can't even respect my right not to listen, you really want to force your opinion on to me.

    You don't even allow me to make up my mind about who's opinions I regard as valuable and who's I don't. No, in the name of democracy you want to privilege me of my right to chose which opinions I value and which I don't.

    Note that I never said I am informed or that I am right. I merely observed that you were spreading blatant lies about the ECJ and therefore I concluded your opinion about the ECJ is worthless to me. You postulated I hold undemocratic beliefs, much more subjective an evaluation than me observing you hold plain false views on the ECJ and conclude that my opinion doesn't matter. So the only opinions that matter to you are the ones of people who share your subjective definition of 'democracy'. I on the other hand simply look at the presumptions people base their opinion on, if they are blatantly wrong, I'll dismiss their opinion.

    Did I demand from others not to pay attention to you? I didn't. Did I force anything upon anyone? I didn't.

    You on the other hand keep shying away from a debate on substance.

    Let me assist: Democracy is an essentially contested concept, it can not be simply used in an argument. There is no perfect or even ideal form of democracy. Theoretically, democracy isn't even an end in itself, but merely a means to a higher end. Trying to use such an abstract and hard to define concept, which isn't even a value in itself (!), in an argument is quite useless. So if you have anything interesting to say on the matter of debate itself, do so directly, without needing to resort to democracy-arguments.

    Complain about this comment

  • 221. At 7:59pm on 15 Nov 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Johan-Heuvel, @ 198
    I am sorry I did not reply at once, I went shopping (where the shelevs are not as empty as before :o))))

    thought I've confused folks enough with Russian poetry and, how to say, :o)))) having fulfilled my duty as a naughty Russian (reputation is everything! you know. one must take care of it! :o))) - hopped out with a light heart.

    It is very true what you say, yes, alas, that's, roughly, the lay-out.

    I lived in all things Soviet (that you were told scary stories of :o) up about age of approx. 18 - because there is no clear date to us when they ended :o)) and didn't note anything particular believe it or not , must be because from inside you always seem "normal" to yourself. Even the empty shelves I hardly remember as a problem, as these were parents' problem, it's parents' duty to extract food out of nowhere and clothe the children. Marching soldiers, yes, thousands, twice a year huge appearance, 1st May parade and 7th Nov revolution day, but the rest of the time you wouldn't see a uniform, neither in the USSR nor now.

    Though we are not very much less militaristic. Army here is traditionally packed into distant garrisons, far from any nearby even small towns - for their army security reasons, or simply because space allows to keep army and all things military-related separately. So they don't even go to the nearby town on a weekend leave or a day off - nobody sees them, or saw before. So the surface looks can be mis-leading, we hardly ever even knew how Soviet or Russian uniform looks like - seeing the changes with much interest on parade days, when they were allowed to get out, and sport the latest military heavy-metal tanks or rockets, dragging the whole munition behind them, their show time. Kremlin still finds it important to show off, otherwise one might begin to wonder where the huge chunk of the country's budget goes to - you don't see it.

    And yes, I think it was a major mis-hap we didn't get closer with the West in the perestroyka time, chance missed. By now, when you say , LOL! "Russia may be allowed to join NATO and the EU" it sounds already as a joke. I won't want to join NATO. One thing is we heard distant news ab NATO from behind the Iron Curtain - and all the way suspect the Government lies to us, as in many things other - another thing is these past 20 years, when information sources got open and you can see for youself - wars wars and wars. If it were our wars, during the last 20 yrs, Russia in NATO - may be we'd be now less critical about NATO :o))). From outside it's always more easy to criticise, or? anyway, NATO's reputation is irreversibly spoiled in the eyes of the living Russian generation.

    On the EU we have far better feelings, not particularly fond of the "system", say - better feelings about European countries.

    I also understood what you've said about the "system" - that you find it important because exactly you think the EU system is there to guard the interests of the "small man".
    Well, it may be so, but you know, the ones who got burned by hot milk - are ?blowing air? before tasting it - on clean cold water. :o)))
    The very word "system" raises an alarm.

    On the top political level relations with Russia got improved, from the side of the Western Europe - dramatically - when we scrapped the mid-range rocket systems. The public in these countries may have not realised it :o))) or were not cared to be informed of the difference :o))) - but, how to say, no Angela Merkel would be telling off Putin :o))) or Sarkozy arriving to heroically save Georgians from us :o))) - or discussing various North and South Streams - if Russia still had rows of mid-range rockets digged into the ground aimed at European countries. Once we got rid of them - people (in the knowing) got relaxed and normal relations began, how to say, fixing.
    An occasinal sub, of course, LOL, still can, or an airplane - but that's what all have and is nothing in particular. We are not NATO or Americans where armament is focused on "portable" devices, type subs and aviation, but have it stable in the ground.

    I think if we scrapped our short-range as well - immediate neighbours - our relations with the Baltics States and Poland would be on another footing as well. But we are not yet into total disarmament somehow :o))), and there still stays "short-range" and "long range" (hello Mavrelius).

    (Also, Mavrelius - what do you want from us in terms of help with Iran and Afghanistan? we don't have middle range anymore - helpless "to help" you :o)))) All coins have 2 sides.

    Anyway. And yes, then you would know who is Vysotsky, whose songs very much help to live and in diffucult situations, and we would also know many things other.

    Complain about this comment

  • 222. At 8:29pm on 15 Nov 2009, ridoca wrote:

    To 213 Jukka_Rohila

    "In case of the Italy-Vatican bilateral treaty, both the EU law and the ECHR are superior to this treaty."

    Actually no, only EU legislation is superior to each member nation's law. A ECHR decision is non binding, and certainly not superior to national legislations.

    I will not insult your intelligence by asking if you are confusing the CoE with the CoEU. The former, of course, is not part of the EU body, while the latter is. Any CoE decision has no direct and immediate consequence on a member state. For that to happen, the same case would have to be re-trialed (and produce the same outcome) by the ECJ which adopts the European Convention on Human Rights to avoid asyncronicity with the ECHR.

    "...in the end I made a note that even if the ECHR doesn't repeal its decision, the CoE members have the rights to change the convention if they find an equal footing on these things."

    Thank you! That has been my case all along: I am delighted to see that you finally recognize the fact that the decision of the Italian Gov't is not against the rules, it is just a step following the path set by the rules. My point being that maybe you've been a tad too quick in your conclusions regarding this case.

    Too late for me, I don't work for the EU (or CoE); no, unfortunately I got to wake up early tomorrow and actually do something productive.

    Complain about this comment

  • 223. At 9:12pm on 15 Nov 2009, Johan_Heuvel wrote:

    WebAliceinwonderland (221):

    I can understand your point of view. The very statement that you see it as a joke to join the EU (or NATO), just shows how far we have drifted apart since 1991. To make the statement here (in the Netherlands) that in the long run Russia should be in our common defensive packt and more importantly in the EU are also met with laughter and skeptism. But I believe it is in our common interest to do so. The EU can offer Russia economic stability, an additional democratic safeguard, and a large and prosperous common market. With Russia in the EU there would be a defenite guarantee of the end of the great wars of the last century in eastern and central Europe. Since there would be no border anymore. And this could help to ease the tension that still exist between central European countries and Russia and build more common trust.

    Complain about this comment

  • 224. At 9:16pm on 15 Nov 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    WA;

    "Also, Mavrelius - what do you want from us in terms of help with Iran and Afghanistan?"

    In Iran we want you to stop helping them acquire nuclear weapons. We want you to cooperate with imposing and enforcing severe sanctions if they don't stop trying to acquire them. This is the last step to try to stop them short of war. Not only do the US and Israel feel threatened by the prospect of a nuclear armed Iran, so does much of Western Europe. The French and British prime ministers have said so many times. If it appears the Iranians are about to acquire nuclear weapons, we fear a pre-emptive strike against them by America, Israel or both. The only thing worse than that would be doing nothing to stop them. It could be a nuclear strike. Iran works through terrorist surrogates. An American nightmare is that Hezbollah or al Qaeda manages to smuggle a nuclear weapon into an American city and detonate it. We don't know what the aftermath would be, nobody does. It's an abyss as deep and dangerous as the prosepct of nuclear war was during the Cuban missile Crisis. Russia ought to be worried about that too. Everyone should be very worried about that. Russia itself is not immune to a nuclear attack by terrorists and is definitely on al Qaeda's list of targets because of Chechnya.

    In Afghanistan there is nothing Russia can do militarily to help. But it can facilitate the transport of equipment and supplies to the coalition forces fighting there by making its own airfields and those in neighboring central Asian countries like Khazakstan available. In the recent past, it seemed Russia was trying to thwart that effort. It seemed to be siding with the Islamic terrorists. Russia also has a vital stake in the outcome of the war against al Qaeda now being fought in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Somalia. I hope your government is smart enought to see that.

    I hope you watch and enjoy the Twilight Zone episode I provided a link to in posting #217. It was a very fine TV series, a "Poineering" effort.

    Complain about this comment

  • 225. At 9:32pm on 15 Nov 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Johan Hovel;

    "The very statement that you see it as a joke to join the EU (or NATO), just shows how far we have drifted apart since 1991."

    No, it only shows how badly Europeans misjudged their real relationship with Russia. Like all self deluded fools, Europeans believed what they imagined and wanted to be true even though those images flew in the face of facts. One day Europe will wake up and smell the coffee. I hope that day comes soon when America quits NATO and brings all of its troops home, the day it tells Europe that if it feels it needs defending, then it should defend itself. Europe is utterly worthless to America. High time we treated it that way. That it isn't is our delusion.

    Complain about this comment

  • 226. At 9:35pm on 15 Nov 2009, Johan_Heuvel wrote:

    MAII (224):

    In regard to Iran I'm deeply worried. But in respect to a common action, in contrast to the Iraq war, public sentiment in western Europe is starting to be in favour of a pre-emptive strike as people are having nightmares of nuclear explosions as well. And in the last decade fundamentalists have shown their ugly face so much that people are becoming more prepared for action. So it might be that a giant coalition is not unthinkable in this particular case. But it worries me a lot that even with this momentum building, Iran appears unimpressed. And I'm still not sure wether a pre-emptive strike would achieve the goal of preventing Nuclear weapons to spread into the hands of extremists. I just feel it is terrible we have to resort to these desparate measures.

    Complain about this comment

  • 227. At 9:57pm on 15 Nov 2009, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Me_rijn

    Re #220

    Democracy is 'the' argument/debate.

    Don't worry Your head about it: Nobody gives Your opinion of Democracy any more weight or value than all the rest of the stuff You churn out.
    I know it is vexing for You, but, Your cleverness, Your talents, Your opinions are no more or less than anyone else on the issues debated here. Of course that is unfair. You know how much more more You know than all the rest, but, to re-paraphrase Threnodio_II, Democracy is in the end not only 1-man-1-vote it is also every-man-every-vote and Your little jottings are as inconsequential as all of us in the great scheme of things.

    Now recognising that fact I feel humbled: Of course, You feel sleighted.

    Good.

    Complain about this comment

  • 228. At 10:03pm on 15 Nov 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    O! You will blow up Iran and then the whole muslim world else gets wild. Not in the EU, where you've got 2 muslims and a half, but in the Russian soft belly.

    Russia can not by definition support any radical anti-muslim countries' action, having 30 per cent muslims of own population.

    (By "help" with the Afghanistan and Iraq, MA-2, I didn't mean we'd fire at them. Simply, we are not in respect, if you wish, there any longer, since they know we have no means against them. This is cynical but it is true. So our voice is much less counted than it might seem to you.)

    Complain about this comment

  • 229. At 10:12pm on 15 Nov 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    And not in the United States, since all there are "Americans" and who is conveniently located as far away from wars, how to say, you fight them as far away from own borders as possibble, and then wash up your hands, if something goes wrong. Like Iraq - "entry - 1 rouble; exit - 2".

    Johan_Heuvel, yes, true, we've drifted apart since 1991, because nevermind what MA says - there were the times when could get one. Those were the days, my friend! :o))) Hey hop and great expectations. There was something in the air, at least, all here wanted to and thought any next day tomorrow.

    On common defence - we are not as far from each other as you think, I've heard a dozen times that Russia proposes a common EU-Russia defence system - now, immediately. This is what Russia proposed to NATO many a time during the last year and a half meetings.

    Mavrelius, what do you complain ab Afghanistan deliveries. You fly over Russia, your military airplanes, trains with stuff travel from Riga across all Russia, your supplies are safe and will be during the time the agreement lasts, which I think is a year more.


    Complain about this comment

  • 230. At 10:18pm on 15 Nov 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    And with visas' cancellation and un-interrupted travel - the EU and the USA will be the last countries in the world, by the look of it, to sign deal with Russia.

    Our Foreign Affairs minister Lavrov was questioned, just days ago, on how it is going, on the no-visa agreement with the EU. He said "well, now the only thing I can boast about is there is finally a "Commission" created, looking into the matter. At every meeting of the commission I propose to cancel visas - tomorrow. The European side says it's too early. (LOL). We tried to make a road-map, but they refuse. We've asked :formulate - by points - what should Russia do so that we jointly cancel visas. There is no answer, and the European partners didn't even promise to lie the points out on paper. I've asked - then - in 3 years? Got answer - no. I asked - then - in 5 years? Got answer: no. I asked - then , let's pin -point it, set at least the time - "in 10 years". Got answer - no. So, in the nearest 10 years we won't have no-visa regime with the EU, and what will be further on - I don't know."

    Complain about this comment

  • 231. At 10:27pm on 15 Nov 2009, Johan_Heuvel wrote:

    MAII (225):

    you wrote:
    --------------------------------------------
    "Johan Hovel;

    "The very statement that you see it as a joke to join the EU (or NATO), just shows how far we have drifted apart since 1991."

    No, it only shows how badly Europeans misjudged their real relationship with Russia. Like all self deluded fools, Europeans believed what they imagined and wanted to be true even though those images flew in the face of facts. One day Europe will wake up and smell the coffee. I hope that day comes soon when America quits NATO and brings all of its troops home, the day it tells Europe that if it feels it needs defending, then it should defend itself. Europe is utterly worthless to America. High time we treated it that way. That it isn't is our delusion."
    --------------------------------------------

    I have no problem with the USA bringing their troops home at all. It is up to the USA to do as they please and it would free up some additional troops for them. It would probably be a good thing for Europe as well, since it would force Europe to rethink its defensive strategy and make it less dependend on USA musle. It would probably bring Europe even closer togheter. But I would not call one of your biggest trading partners and the cradle of your culture and the nations of many of your great grand parents utterly worthless.

    Complain about this comment

  • 232. At 10:31pm on 15 Nov 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Right, Europe doesn't have "2 and a half". But in European countries muslim people are comparative new-comers, while here they are, how to say, in full rights at home not for the 2nd-3rd generation, but for centuries. There is no question here type "to build a mosque or not to build", rather, LOL, "to build a Rus. Orthodox church or not"

    Complain about this comment

  • 233. At 11:10pm on 15 Nov 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

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

  • 234. At 01:02am on 16 Nov 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Mobius strip,

    there is an odd article in the NATO-Russia agreement which says that either side will not increase own security if it harms the other's security.
    I understand it's an old out-dated LOL document (to which we though stubbornly referred in your Polish-Czech placement ideas), but as old wise Jukks says - either respect the deal or we split our interests the whole pack.

    2. "schee and kasha - meals of Russia". not borsch-t-sh-t-sh!

    Watch my hand: Ukraine - sugar - why - warm place - beetroot grows - they have beetroot - they invented borsch! Granted it's known as Russian :o))) because you know what Ukraine is, in cold reality :o))))

    Seriously, the original version is heavy, lots of pork fat pieces, we upgraded it to lean beef. At which point of development it became palatable and got known.

    Complain about this comment

  • 235. At 02:02am on 16 Nov 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    WebbedFeet;

    Why should I care one way or another about some stupid old treaty between the US and Russia. Fact; each side has enough nuclear weapons aimed at the other to blow it up 10 times over and then some and neither side could stop the other from attacking if it wanted to commit suicide and end the world too. What else matters??????? )))))0(((((

    Borscht, Smorscht, who cares if it is Ukranian, Russian, Upper Slobovian or Lower Slobovian? I won't eat/drink/inhale/other in any way allow that into my body. If I want beets, I'll eat beets. I could go for a nice pizza and a few cold beers though. I think that is America's favorite food, pizza. I could talk about it all day. One example, a friend asked me a trivia question; how many acres of pizza does America eat on average every day? I guessed almost right. According to him, the correct answer is...90 acres of pizza a day. I guessed 100 based on scientific calculations, permutations, and probabilities. The best pizzas are plain (Neopolitan) and from the New York City Metro area's Italian restaurants and Chicago deep dish pizza. The rest are highly inferior. California may make the world's most sophisticated computer chips but it cannot make a good pizza to save its life. (They claim it is the water. Rubbish.) Beware of strange toppings like broccoli, pineapple and other wierd stuff. Great pizza does not need any toppings. Well, occasionally pepperoni and you can sprinkle some garlic powder, crushed hot pepper, and even some grated Parmesian cheese on it. And above all, pizza should never be eaten cold because the cheese congeals among other reasons. Pizza should never be reheated in a microwave oven, that will ruin the best pizza. There are no good frozen or mass market pizzas made. I think that sadly, most Americans have really never tasted good pizza even though they eat a lot of it. It is all the fault of the Democrats. I don't know how or why, I just know it is though, you'll have to trust me on that :-)

    Complain about this comment

  • 236. At 04:07am on 16 Nov 2009, David wrote:

    Web Alice, MAII,

    Your Russian jokes and perspective are still great, and Marcus, your wit still is good "Pen is mightier than the sword,"

    Just cking in.

    I like this Euro blog, better than the American one (but still read and comment on both:)

    David

    Complain about this comment

  • 237. At 06:31am on 16 Nov 2009, Mathiasen wrote:

    # The American calling himself Marcus Aurelius
    With the observation that "Europe is utterly worthless to America" you have put yourself into a category of observers of the relation between Europe and North America I admit I had not expected you would go back to even if I do not have many expectations.

    If I start to insult Queen Elisabeth, I would assume that my message would be referred to the moderators. In return the most horrible rubbish on matters of importance can be free distributed in these blogs. It is a strange world…

    Complain about this comment

  • 238. At 10:39am on 16 Nov 2009, democracythreat wrote:

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

  • 239. At 12:20pm on 16 Nov 2009, Freeborn John wrote:

    If Jean Claude Juncker was the stalking horse designed to shoot down Tony Blair's candidature for EU Council president, then it now seems that Herman Van Rompuy is the federalist dark horse who has revealed his true colours by making a speech to the Bilderberg group in which he has called for EU taxes to be levied.

    http://euobserver.com/9/28993

    With Tony Blair having gone lame, and David Miliband preferring to save himself for a run at the bigger prize of leadership of the Labour party, the UK no longer has a nag in this race. The EU project has repeatedly been brought into disrepute by an excess of Benelux federalists who should be rooted out of the Brussels institutions one by one as a matter of urgency. The top priority for the UK in the forthcoming EU Council meeting should be to ensure that no federalist Bilderberger like Herman Van Rompuy ever gets appointed to a significant EU post like EU Council president.

    Complain about this comment

  • 240. At 12:36pm on 16 Nov 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    I don't know who is interpreting the "house rules" around here. I just had a post removed because, as far as I can tell, I criticized British democracy.

    Meh. Where is the guy who is supposed to write this blog anyway?

    It's hard work, at the BBC.

    Complain about this comment

  • 241. At 12:44pm on 16 Nov 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    oj. the blog came to a stand-still. May be we should make a u-turn and return to the crucifixes in Italy.

    (David @ 236, "pen mightier than sword".
    "You can kill a man with one word.
    But women somehow prefer carpet bombing :o)))

    Complain about this comment

  • 242. At 12:56pm on 16 Nov 2009, Mathiasen wrote:

    #240, DemocrayThreat;
    It has been clear for a couple of days now that this blog is momentarily dead. The RSS feed is leading to old articles on matters in the USA.
    See also my comment in #87.

    Complain about this comment

  • 243. At 12:56pm on 16 Nov 2009, Tomas ORiada wrote:

    Post 239 shows exactly why someone like Herman Van Rompuy will be picked... someone from the heart of Europe. Not someone from a semi-detached country on the periphery of the European Union.
    How could a politician who kept the UK out of the Euro and out of Schengen open frontiers agreement ever be accepted in such a post by the rest of the union?

    Complain about this comment

  • 244. At 3:25pm on 16 Nov 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    democracythreat @240
    "where is the guy ..." etc. I just heard that a Russian ice-breaker with BBC crew on board got stuck in Antarctida blocked by the ice. :o)
    (incl. many innocent British tourists as well)

    The captain though is cheerful and says won't stress his diesels to break free, as is promised change of wind direction, un-blocking the ices, "in 2 days' time" (by the same local meteo office who told him the wind is safe to proceed into the trap :o))) Suggested his passangers to view extra 2 days among penguins "as a bonus from the company" :o))), given outrageous travel costs to be on board.

    So a good part of BBC may be there :o)))
    _________

    It looks we are not such goners in terms of the amount of un-melted yet ice on this planet, if they can still hold an ice-breaker ship.

    Complain about this comment

  • 245. At 3:34pm on 16 Nov 2009, threnodio_II wrote:

    I am not going to trawl back through all the posts that have appeared while some of us have had better things to do just to list the contributors but:

    Whoever posted that he would be moderated if he insulted Queen Elisabeth (I think it was Mathiasen), you already did - her name is Elizabeth - and you were not moderated. Whoever posted that Europe does not matter a damn to anyone else and all he cares about is pizza and beer (we all know who that is), pizza is Italian and I have never tasted anything American which even resembles beer. Whoever posted about religious symbols on national flags should note that UK would not breach the ECHR judgement because it has an established church and those people who are using this thread to insult each other are never going to agree but are mainly responsible for it being 240 odd posts long.

    Let's get back to basics (and topic). The matter of who is appointed to the Council Presidency may be great fun but it is of passing academic interest until we know what he (or she) is going to be doing. Mr. Milliband wants someone who can stop motorcades. Well at the risk of stating the obvious, a traffic warden with a tin whistle can do that. What we need is a clear understanding of what this animal will be doing in practice. Then, and only then, can we form a judgement about any of the candidates - not that that matters very much really since we will not be doing the choosing.

    The key questions are whether the EU is heading in the right direction, whether there is adequate consultation with the electorate about key decisions, when those decisions are in the hands of the sovereign governments of the member states, if they have a duty to consut their own people and - finally - if the Council has the right to create new and powerful positions on their own initiative.

    Complain about this comment

  • 246. At 3:41pm on 16 Nov 2009, DiscoStu_d wrote:

    I read that this Belgian fellow tipped to be the EU pres fancies haiku. I mean, who doesn't like good non-rhyming verse now and again!

    Here' my offering:

    EU wants new Pres.
    Paris/Berlin want weakling
    Good luck with new job

    and another:

    Welcome to the club
    Don’t fret over expenses
    Hope you like gravy


    Complain about this comment

  • 247. At 3:42pm on 16 Nov 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    in case I alarmed someone - it's not that alarming. Unlike a normal ship, ice-breakers can not be squeezed by ices by definition, because their bottom is egg-shaped. When ices squeeze them they simply pop up on top onto the ice-floe and sit there, until better times. Because of this shape under-water, it's also a nightmare to travel on the ice-breaker in rough sea, they are swinged mercilessly, like an egg rolling from side to side. That's why they always wait for gliding sea weather (when they have passengers on board), but when only the crew - well, they go rolly-polly, it's ice-breaker's business.

    Complain about this comment

  • 248. At 5:03pm on 16 Nov 2009, Jean Luc wrote:

    re " Me_rijn

    Re #220

    Democracy is 'the' argument/debate."

    Ah right, but when I say debate, I do mean debate with proper arguments, facts, examples, etc. I don't mean your unfounded general expressions of emotional anxieties over the evolution of the EU integration proces.

    Re "Don't worry Your head about it: Nobody gives Your opinion of Democracy any more weight or value than all the rest of the stuff You churn out."

    I don't worry at all my friend. Let every man accord the value he wants to my remarks. Especially when it concerns subjective matters such as democracy. However, concerning the other things I 'churn' out, even a mentally handicapped person can see that your statements on the ECJ were plain false, whereas my statements approached reality far more accurately. But still, even than it's up to the readers whether they sympathise more with your unfounded scare mongering, or with my realistic approach.

    Re "I know it is vexing for You, but, Your cleverness, Your talents, Your opinions are no more or less than anyone else on the issues debated here. Of course that is unfair."

    Now now, who's the arrogant debater now? You already know me through and through? Rest assured, I am not really vexed. How could I when the accusations come from a man who sells nonsense on message boards and when he loses the discussion on facts, turns to the strategy of the "common man, oppressed by elite EU bureaucrats and their arrogant little followers" ;)

    Re "You know how much more more You know than all the rest, but, to re-paraphrase Threnodio_II, Democracy is in the end not only 1-man-1-vote it is also every-man-every-vote and Your little jottings are as inconsequential as all of us in the great scheme of things."

    Ah yes, you never did reply did you. So tell me (generally speaking:) do you think that an uninformed opinion should be accrued as much as value as an informed opinion?

    Complain about this comment

  • 249. At 5:06pm on 16 Nov 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    I have a vision of Gavin sitting in a dark room in the BBC basement, being interrogated and electrocuted because his blog was insufficiently correct, according to the dictates of the Brown government and the EU elite.

    It is not a wholly unsatisfactory outcome.

    Anyways, threnodio, can we (you) stop referring to systems of representation and appointment as "democracy"?

    Cheers.

    Complain about this comment

  • 250. At 6:34pm on 16 Nov 2009, threnodio_II wrote:

    #249 - democracythreat

    If it makes you happy.

    Complain about this comment

  • 251. At 7:46pm on 16 Nov 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    It makes me exceedingly happy.

    I am trying to start a serious political movement here. You know, like a revolution.

    If you start using the word democracy so that it actually means something, then that will make two of us.

    And that, comrade, will have the Brussel's elite shaking in their boots.

    The chinese say that if the water is too clear, then the fish have nothing to eat. But we say to them, comrade, we say to them: I AM NOT A FISH.

    Or "we are not fish". Or whatever.

    The point is, of course, that without a vote on legislation there can be no peace in Europe. I think they will get the message eventually.

    Complain about this comment

  • 252. At 01:37am on 17 Nov 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Threnodious, what you know about America you could put in a thimble and still have room left over for your finger. I have tasted many many hundred of different beers from around the world during my lifetime and my favorite without a doubt is Samuel Adams Boston Lager. I loved it from the first moment I tasted it, it's as if it was made just for me. Their Boston Cream Ale is a close second for me too, the rest of the beers are not in their league. Once upon a time before 1970, imported Lowenbrau dark beer was very fine but since Miller made it under license it was worthless. I've gotten reports that the Lowenbrau made in Germany isn't what it once was either. Becks isn't bad. BTW, IMO anyone who drinks beer warm or only slightly chilled is not civilized. Kind of like putting milk in tea. What kind of sick mind thinks of such things? When I lived in California, people actually put mustard and mayonaise on Italian cold cut subs instead of oil and vinegar. Isn't there any common sense left in the world anymore or do we need to pass laws against such crimes?

    Complain about this comment

  • 253. At 08:52am on 17 Nov 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    I have a marxist rationalization for milk in tea, from my uni days as a stevedore:

    A working man puts milk in his tea for two reasons: Firstly, he has only a few minutes to drink it, and so he needs to cool it down promptly. He can't nurse it gently while he chatters away with his bourgeois fellows. He need his fluids to replace sweat, and he needs them fast.

    Secondly, the working man takes milk in his tea because he never says no to the offer of protein. Only the bourgeois swine can afford to look down their noses at the chance of milk, the same way they look down their noses at the glorious worker whose sweat feeds their children.

    Ah, I miss the days of being an oppressed worker. It was not bad fun.

    Complain about this comment

  • 254. At 11:28am on 17 Nov 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Well dt, I guess that that explains why only the bourgeois swine drink Coca Cola, it's for the same reason. Small wonder they never made much of a success of their business. If only they'd thought to put milk in it. Hey here's an ided, a scoop of ice cream instead of milk. And maybe a drop of whipped cream and a marischino cherry on top. Ooops, too bourgeois again. It'll never sell.

    Complain about this comment

  • 255. At 02:50am on 18 Nov 2009, pciii wrote:

    MAII "Hey here's an ide[a], a scoop of ice cream instead of milk."

    The Australians already do this. Apparently it's called a Spider. Go figure.

    Complain about this comment

  • 256. At 12:09pm on 18 Nov 2009, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    oh, this is a good section formed, "where remains of food in the planet are nostalgically fondly remembered" :o)))

    PS Mister-Twister, it's sweet of you of course, with the Twilight zone.
    A year ago when we met I think I explained you I have 4gb in my old box of PC, which doesn't allow me to even watch youtube (well, in slow motion :o)))
    What makes you think that in the year that passed I was able to put aside a thousand dollars for a note-book? Remember you deal here with a genuine Russian, not any honky-ponky "rich on oil" or whatever we are supposed to be.
    I can not "watch" any thing. I have to delete word files of last week to be able to type a new lecture on marketing for students.
    _________
    :o)

    Oil - to Europe!
    Money - to the USA!
    Tubes - to the sea!
    Family - to London!

    - and what shall we do?
    - Well, we - "All - to elections!"

    :o))))))

    Maamoebius, no, that's too much. Simply, MA.

    Complain about this comment

  • 257. At 2:28pm on 18 Nov 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    paulcrossleyiii wrote:
    "MAII "Hey here's an ide[a], a scoop of ice cream instead of milk."
    The Australians already do this. Apparently it's called a Spider. Go figure."

    A fine working class nation, bound in corporate servitude to their British overlords.

    And thus, my marxist doctrine of embellished condiments is proven, to the extent that such theorems can be proven in a world so full of mendacity and falsehood.

    Never let it be said the political science is dead in the bourgeois swine-pig mass media.

    Complain about this comment

  • 258. At 6:28pm on 18 Nov 2009, Bill wrote:

    As a British middling eurosceptic who would like to see improvements to, and not destruction of, the EU my vote would be for Mrs.Vike-Freiberga, twice President of Latvia.

    A Professor of Linguistics, the lady in fluent in English, French, German, Latvian and Spanish and understands Italian and Portugese.

    She has reservations about federalism, hold centrist free-market views, abhors dogma in any form and is pushing for openness about how the EU operates. She is critical of how the EU currently operates and has called for the EU to "stop working like the former Soviet Union".

    An adept and able politician, who steered Latvia into the EU and Nato, she would allay the fears of eurosceptics everywhere and appears to have a better appreciation and understanding of what worries people across the EU.

    If she ever gets the job and visits Britain of the EU, I would certainly stand in the rain to wave a flag of welcome to the lady!



    Complain about this comment

View these comments in RSS

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.