Comments for http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html en-gb 30 Thu 30 Oct 2014 17:00:42 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html AndyBebbington http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=99#comment156 Why is Brussels so afraid of democracy and transparancy (including MEPs expenses)? For years, even many europhiles have admitted that the EU suffers from a "democracy defecit" although nothing has been done to chenge this. At last there is a party which aims to do something and fight for the long overdue changes. Lets hope a large number of voters see the need for reform and vote Libertas Fri 15 May 2009 19:20:35 GMT+1 serialdemocrat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=98#comment155 Libertas wants a strong UK in a strong EU - thats the difference between LIBERTAS.eu and UKIP. And they want to achieve that reform by becoming the largest party in the European parliament - the only way to reform the EU is from within. It took a pragmatic businessman to realise that a few members from each of hundreds of different parties across the EU would never form a strong enough group to get the reforms needed to make the EU democratic, answerable, transparent and efficient. It is extraordinary that the UK voter is not more angry about the waste and lack of accountability of the EU and there is no incentive for those in Brussels to change it. Lets hope LIBERTAS gets enough support to rattle the EU cage just as public indignation has shaken the Westminster to expose the expenses scandal. Sat 09 May 2009 10:05:13 GMT+1 wezzagood http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=98#comment154 Libertas offer the only way forward, by offering a trully pan europe party that can have an effect on all issues that relate to our great project. We can bring together the peoples of europe as one and cut out the bickering which has so blighted europe to date.Lets move away from the foolishness of local politics and go foward to a state that offers true democracy and transparency for all E.U. citizens. Fri 03 Apr 2009 09:33:22 GMT+1 greypolyglot http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=97#comment153 " #153. -StuartC- wrote:I have a 'Young European Movement' postcard campaigning for the euro (going back a few years now!) which quite plainly says on it in small print "Funded from the Far from Brussels programme of the European Commission"."I haven't seen it and I've no reason to call you a liar but you do seem to be quoting from a 2006 e-mail (yours ?) on the derkeiler site. Do you have their latest published accounts? I don't."That the European Movement receives EU funds really isn't a matter of debate. They used to admit it. Now they're a bit more shy. But it's openly admitted that the European Movement's central office in Brussels receives money from the EU,"Can you give sources, please." ..... so asking us to believe the UK branch doesn't receive funds from their organisation's Brussels HQ is something of a stretch."I haven't asked anyone to believe that. Maybe they do maybe they don't. Again, can you give a source."Such an arrangement would allow the UK branch to make the claims that you quoted from their website, wouldn't it."Agreed, it would but I haven't any proof of the arrangement. Have you?"Of course, not every organisation in receipt of EU funds is a paid mouthpiece of the EU."Hurrah, light at the end of the tunnel."But it's perfectly fair to cast a pro-EU campaigning organisation like the European Movement in that light."Hmmmm. Only if they're paid to proselytise, surely. Do you distinguish between being paid to "be a mouthpiece" and, for example, getting funding for (I'm inventing here) encouraging international co-operation between young people" ?"I have to say that attempts to deny plain reality like on this EM funding really do little to advance confidence in your broader arguments."Attempts to "deny plain reality" would certainly diminish confidence. Have I done so? Or have I said, in effect, "you state X to be a fact - please show me some evidence before I believe you"?"Dissembling and disengenuosness on the part of government and so many of the EU's keenest fans about the EU's purpose and goal is probably what winds people up far more on this issue than the actual pan-European State goal itself."That statement alone is proof that you have not read the Lisbon Treaty. May I urge you to do so, slowly and carefully. I have to agree, sadly, that it's not the most inspiring prose but it's well worth the effort. That way you'll actually know what your talking about"EU enthusiasts might find having the courage to argue honestly and openly for their / the EU's true objectives not just a more edifying but also more peaceful experience."To which I can only add "please include 'and antagonists' after "EU enthusiasts". Then we might all be a lot calmer and happier.Now, do we know who funds Open Europe and Libertas, etc.? Do they have published accounts? Thu 19 Mar 2009 17:18:59 GMT+1 -StuartC- http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=96#comment152 greypolyglot @ 145I have a 'Young European Movement' postcard campaigning for the euro (going back a few years now!) which quite plainly says on it in small print "Funded from the Far from Brussels programme of the European Commission".That the European Movement receives EU funds really isn't a matter of debate. They used to admit it. Now they're a bit more shy. But it's openly admitted that the European Movement's central office in Brussels receives money from the EU, so asking us to believe the UK branch doesn't receive funds from their organisation's Brussels HQ is something of a stretch. Such an arrangement would allow the UK branch to make the claims that you quoted from their website, wouldn't it. Of course, not every organisation in receipt of EU funds is a paid mouthpiece of the EU. But it's perfectly fair to cast a pro-EU campaigning organisation like the European Movement in that light.I have to say that attempts to deny plain reality like on this EM funding really do little to advance confidence in your broader arguments.Dissembling and disengenuosness on the part of government and so many of the EU's keenest fans about the EU's purpose and goal is probably what winds people up far more on this issue than the actual pan-European State goal itself. EU enthusiasts might find having the courage to argue honestly and openly for their / the EU's true objectives not just a more edifying but also more peaceful experience. Thu 19 Mar 2009 11:53:42 GMT+1 greypolyglot http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=96#comment151 " #151. democracythreat:I would concede that politicians who campaign against the EU ought not take money from the EU."Hurrah. Got there at last!"But sadly, the EU doesn't have any money. The money it spends belongs to the people of Europe. NOT to the EU."And you have had the audacity to accuse me of sophistry! You know as well as I do that even if you view the money as belonging (morally, I suppose) to the people of Europe the legal reality is that it has passed on to the various organs of the EU.Please try to argue logically and cogently. Tue 17 Mar 2009 19:55:49 GMT+1 democracythreat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=95#comment150 greypolyglot:I would concede that politicians who campaign against the EU ought not take money from the EU.But sadly, the EU doesn't have any money. The money it spends belongs to the people of Europe. NOT to the EU.I concede that this is a difficult distinction to understand. One has to comprehend that politicians are supposed to owe a DUTY to their constituents, and one must believe other fantastic ideas, such as the concept that politicians are mere custodians of the peoples wealth, and ought not spend it as if it belonged to them.I think this understanding that politicians are servants of the people is almost impossible for the traditional ruling class of Europe to understand, simply because under feudal laws they truly did own everything. The church and the gentry truly did own, as personal possessions, the entire taxation revenue of europe.Given that these same religious institutions and these same families are represented by the EU, it is probably not surprising that they continue to treat the tax revenue of europe as their own private property. Their birthright. Their divine entitlement. Their lordly possessions. Tue 17 Mar 2009 14:40:13 GMT+1 Padav http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=94#comment149 @greypolyglot : "I would sincerely hope that both camps could stick to facts and logical analysis."I'd agree that this outcome would provide a massive improvement in the level of debate but I think it unlikely. Much easier for those who viscerally oppose the broad concept of European integration and demonise anyone who dares to advance the notion that the people living on this island might actually benefit in some way from closer engagement with their near neighbours.It would seem that the idea of mutually beneficial cooperation abruptly ends at the White Cliffs of Dover. Tue 17 Mar 2009 13:06:51 GMT+1 greypolyglot http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=94#comment148 # 148. democracythreat:I take note of the fact that you disregard my comment "You have the right to be "anti" and I have the right to be "pro". I would sincerely hope that both camps could stick to facts and logical analysis." and that you feel free to decide that when I say "no" I really mean "yes". At least you've been honest enough to choose a most appropriate pseudonym!I'm curious though. Do you disagree that UKIP MEPs "would be being far more honest and ethical if they made do on contributions from their supporters and either refused their MEP salaries, etc. or accepted them and paid them to their favourite charities."? NB last option.Otherwise, isn't it akin to a Confederate gentleman campaigning against slavery while living the good life on the proceeds of a sugar plantation? i.e. somewhat hypocritical. Mon 16 Mar 2009 23:31:11 GMT+1 democracythreat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=93#comment147 dwwonthew wrote: "UKIP MEPs have been democratically elected. Are you suggesting that only those who peddled the EU message should be paid from the taxpayers' money used for MEPs salaries?"greypolyglot responded:"Actually, no. But I think that they would be being far more honest and ethical if they made do on contributions from their supporters and either refused their MEP salaries, etc. or accepted them and paid them to their favourite charities. They are, after all, anti-EU.""Actually, no." = Yes.But the sophistry is a lot more insidious than mere doublespeak. After all, what is the implication about whose money this is?greypolyglot implies that the EU owns this money, and that, being anti-EU, the UKIP MEP's ought not take it.Behold what happens to the tax payers' money when it gets to Brussels. It becomes the rightful property of the EU. It becomes the property of those who promote the EU, who love the EU. Who declare and maintain allegiance to the EU.That tells me all I need to know about the ethics and the aims of the pro EU crowd. These folks are not tireless civil servants with a devotion to the welfare of the common people of Europe. These pro EU experts are not individuals whose ethical beliefs regarding the treatment of tax payer money leads them to desire a more efficient and fair government system for Europe.These are professional politicians, members of a political party whose sole aim and ambition is the acquisition of more power, and more money for their own special club.The EU is a creation of and by and for the political class. It is taxation without representation, it is government without checks and balances. In short, it is tyranny. Mon 16 Mar 2009 20:15:03 GMT+1 greypolyglot http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=92#comment146 " #146. dwwonthew:You do know how to score in the insulting stakes don?t you?"Please re-read my posts slowly - don't skim. If you feel insulted then it's as a result of your interpretation not of my intention."Are you suggesting that the European Movement is not a mouthpiece for the EU?"I don't deny that they argue the pro-EU cause. But does that make them a "mouthpiece for the EU"? Maybe we are misunderstanding each other. I would interpret "mouthpiece" to mean a person or organisation employed to present the views of a person, company, etc. The EU has its own information services. Are you suggesting that anyone not openly employed by the EU but who nonetheless argues or campaigns in its favour must only be doing so because they are undeclared employees?Is Open Europe a mouthpiece for UKIP?"What (most if not all RDA's and Universities in the UK) have actually received is taxpayers' money channelled via the EU. It would be far more cost effective if that money were channelled directly."I'm not qualified to argue whether it would or would not. But it is far from unknown for the EU to fund what the British government has refused to e.g. as I was told by a taxi-driver on the Isles of Scilly - a water-treatment plant to combat blue baby syndrome. Wicked, wasteful EU!"UKIP MEPs have been democratically elected. Are you suggesting that only those who peddled the EU message should be paid from the taxpayers' money used for MEPs salaries?"Actually, no. But I think that they would be being far more honest and ethical if they made do on contributions from their supporters and either refused their MEP salaries, etc. or accepted them and paid them to their favourite charities. They are, after all, anti-EU."I think you owe me an apology. The organisation of which I am a member is part of a people-to-people international programme set up in the aftermath of WWII to promote international understanding."You will not get an apology because I specifically wrote "I neither allege nor know it to be the case but do point out that the description of your activities could as easily apply to the international fascist movement." To which I added "I do hope that what you've been doing is rather more wholesome than that." I'll readily agree that that certainly seems to be the case." we didn't have a referendum in the UK."Yes we did. 1975 see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom_European_Communities_membership_referendum,_1975" ..... are you suggesting that people like Mark Francois ..... Graham Stringer and Austen Mitchell ..... are communists and fascists?"No, I repeat "I simply recall that the most virulent anti-EC voices raised at the time of the UK's referendum were those of the communists and the fascists"."..... you come over to me as someone who is either obsessed by the EU or has swallowed wholesale the spin it churns out and then resorts to name calling directed at anyone who disagrees with you."If I have an obsession it's for truthfulness which why I try to limit myself to correcting mistakes and outright lies. Sometimes I digress. What names have I called you?"Unfortunately, this is all part of a pattern. Anyone who dares to question the EU risks being labelled a xenophobic little Englander and a Europhobe to boot."That's rather mild compared to supporting the EU and being called "woodlouse", "traitor", "quisling" (no, not by you)." to infer those of us of a sceptical persuasion are communists and fascists is plumbing new depths."I do not infer that nor have I implied it. You have the right to be "anti" and I have the right to be "pro". I would sincerely hope that both camps could stick to facts and logical analysis. Mon 16 Mar 2009 15:48:38 GMT+1 dwwonthew http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=92#comment145 Re: 145You do know how to score in the insulting stakes don’t you?But dealing with some of your points as they appear in your post, you say: "Correct me if I'm wrong but I have the impression that both you and Open Europe imply and infer that to receive EU funding is to be in the pay of the EU or to be simply a mouthpiece for the EU." Are you suggesting that European Movement is not a mouthpiece for the EU? Given the persistent letter writing campaign of their members in the East Midlands [there appear to be around half a dozen of them] you could have fooled me.You then say: "Well most if not all RDA's and Universities in the UK have received EU funding of one sort or another but I hope that you don't think that they are all paid apologists for the EU. Come to that, UKIP MEPs 'receive EU funding'. So what?"What they have actually received is taxpayers' money channelled via the EU. It would be far more cost effective if that money were channelled directly. And UKIP MEPs have been democratically elected. Are you suggesting that only those who pedalled the EU message should be paid from the taxpayers' money used for MEPs salaries? Then quoting my earlier post 'I have a long record of working for international, and specifically European, cooperation and that record was recognised at a meeting last year, in Switzerland as it happens…..' you say;"Well good for you, I think. I neither allege nor know it to be the case but do point out that the description of your activities could as easily apply to the international fascist movement. I do hope that what you've been doing is rather more wholesome than that."I think you owe me an apology. The organisation of which I am a member is part of a people-to-people international programme set up in the aftermath of WWII to promote international understanding. One of the first participants in programme went on to become the CEO of one of America’s leading companies and then President of that company’s charitable foundation. Other participants who went on to prominent positions in public life have served as a President of the European Parliament, a Finnish MEP, a Taiwanese Finance Minister, an Australian Shadow Minister and a member of our current Shadow Cabinet, a pro-Rector of a Polish University and a member of the Bundestag as well as people in a whole range of circumstance across the world. One of my predecessors as European President looks after a few cows in Belgium. My immediate successor went on to become a Justice Minister in Switzerland and her successor to be appointed the youngest professor in Sweden. The current President is a Minister in his government.Wherever we meet we are treated as honoured guests in the host country and, during my presidency, we were given a reception by the then President of Germany.That is hardly an international fascist movement. I think you owe me an apology.You then quote from my post at 143 "Why on earth should my comments ..... suggest to you that I might be paid by the BNP?" and go on to say:"I simply recall that the most virulent anti-EC voices raised at the time of the UK's referendum were those of the communists and the fascists".Firstly, we didn’t have a referendum in the UK. The Labour Government reneged on its promise to hold one. Secondly, are you suggesting that people like Mark Francois who so ably put the Conservative’s case for a referendum in the debate in the Commons and Labour MPs Graham Stringer and Austen Mitchell, who represents Grimsby and so should know something about the cost of the CFP, are communists and fascists?Sorry, but you come over to me as someone who is either obsessed by the EU or has swallowed wholesale the spin it churns out and then resorts to name calling directed at anyone who disagrees with you. Unfortunately, this is all part of a pattern. Anyone who dares to question the EU risks being labelled a xenophobic little Englander and a Europhobe to boot. However, to infer those of us of a sceptical persuasion are communists and fascists is plumping new depths. But don’t you realise you simply provide yet more evidence for the thinking people who see the development of the EU as extremely worrying? You also prove that the pen-name used by democracythreat is extremely apposite.And, I repeat, I think you owe me an apology - not to mention people like Messrs Francois, Stringer and Mitchell Mon 16 Mar 2009 11:26:22 GMT+1 greypolyglot http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=91#comment144 " #142. dwwonthew:Re: 141The quote you give seems to be from the UK European Movement's website."You have correctly identified the source. Unfortunately I can only find Open Europe references to the funding to which you refer, not the source text. Could you help out with a link, please.Correct me if I'm wrong but I have the impression that both you and Open Europe imply and infer that to receive EU funding is to be in the pay of the EU or to be simply a mouthpiece for the EU. Well most if not all RDA's and Universities in the UK have received EU funding of one sort or another but I hope that you don't think that they are all paid apologists for the EU. Come to that, UKIP MEPs "receive EU funding". So what?"I have a long record of working for international, and specifically European, cooperation and that record was recognised at a meeting last year, in Switzerland as it happens. I have served as President of the European branch of an international association, a position to which I was elected - and then re-elected - by my peers from across the continent. Our association does not receive any funding from the EU. It has been kept going for the past 50 years by the voluntary efforts and hard work of its members."Well good for you, I think. I neither allege nor know it to be the case but do point out that the description of your activities could as easily apply to the international fascist movement. I do hope that what you've been doing is rather more wholesome than that." #143. dwwonthew:Why on earth should my comments ..... suggest to you that I might be paid by the BNP?"I simply recall that the most virulent anti-EC voices raised at the time of the UK's referendum were those of the communists and the fascists. Most unlikely bedfellows but giving a good indication of which way to vote. Anything that was anathema to them was OK in my book. Sun 15 Mar 2009 15:43:04 GMT+1 ikamaskeip http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=91#comment143 Oldnat and Comment 131:That is certainly some "..chicken and egg.." Scottish scenario you describe!Talk about a confusion of ideas/ideals!"...No, its (UK) too small to be of use to us..": So, Scotland being 1 of 4 nation States feels it needs to be in something much larger and grander where its culture, economy, judiciary will thrive because everyone else will be so mindful of Scotland's needs?Followed by, "...one country is so dominant it happily gave away our fisheries..": So, the Scotland that goes unnoticed as 1 of 4 Nations is going to be more noticed as 1 of 27, 28, 29, 30, 31...?And then there was, "...'Demos' (Democratic systems?)... post WW2.. had successive UK Parliaments been responsive to Scotland. In practise the opposite happened..": So, the increase in number of UK Scottish Constituency MPs 1945-79 and then the introduction of Devolved Scottish Parliamentary Government was not a response to Scots' wishes for greater independence?As par for the highland jinks we then had the inimitable, classic Scotch mist, "...It's entirely possible the same will happen in Europe... if we don't bring about a change through which a limited number of aspects of sovereignty are acceptably pooled.. and the EU doesn't butt-in to non-pooled sovereignty...": So, a Scotland of 4,000,000 or so that could not get adequate 'pooled sovereignty' in the UK is after 'acceptable pooled sovereignty' within the EU of 400,000,000?Was there ever a better demonstration of 'it's greener pastures over the hill'!? Your antipathy to England causes blind faith in a European Union:Here's a little taster of the EU 'Demos' that you consider may, "..develop over time.." and you "..want to see..": You recall the Scottish Fisheries Industry 'given away' as 'of no importance' by those invidious English - well, it was the "..no butt-in.." European Union that insisted the English Parliament hand it over. Or, do you really believe it was a plot by the English and Brussels would of course have listened to the Scottish in Edinburgh far more than they did London!? You would do well to mark the passing of 'Scot and Lot' was your ancestors' Enfranchisement and the EUrocrats will give it scant regard as they impose their Tax but deny your historically Allotted rights. As we all know from centuries of experience south of the border, when the Scottish wish-list gets the heave-ho in Brussels because no one noticed them in the Federalised EUrocratic queue, no doubt, it will all be the fault of those Sassenachs in London.Do not mistake me: I am all in favour of Scots, Welsh, Irish Devolution in full. Alongside it must come an English Parliament for the English. With those developments will surely come the Right and Responsibility of each separate State to decide ther destiny within or without the EU. Whatever the outcome I wish the other nations' people well as our Union has served us well over the centuries. However, as you alluded, it has not the resonance amongst Britons in general anymore and in time a new and better 'Demos' may hopefully arise in the Isles (in my case, minus EU, naturally!). Sun 15 Mar 2009 07:22:06 GMT+1 dwwonthew http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=90#comment142 141Another thought. Why on earth should my comments on Eric Goodyer and the European Movement, which are based on information in the public domain, suggest to you that I might be paid by the BNP? 108Rather than rely on information on Wikpedia, which hardly has a reputation for accuracy, you should refer to the report published on the cost/benefit analysis of EU membership undertaken by the Swiss government. That found that, taking the net figures, full membership would cost six times their current bilateral trading arrangements. And yes, there is proof of that. The report is still available on the web. Sat 14 Mar 2009 19:51:41 GMT+1 dwwonthew http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=89#comment141 Re: 141The quote you give seems to be from the UK European Movement's website. The wording they use seems designed to dissemble and draw attention from funding received at the international level. As for proof, in an answer to a Parliamentary Question in 2007 the figure for EU funding given to the European Movement beween Jan 2005 and Oct 2007 was 2,552,005 euros. And no, I am not funded by anyone or any party. However, I have a long record of working for international, and specifically European, cooperation and that record was recognised at a meeting last year, in Switzerland as it happens. I have served as President of the European branch of an international association, a position to which I was elected - and then re-elected - by my peers from across the continent. Our association does not receive any funding from the EU. It has been kept going for the past 50 years by the voluntary efforts and hard work of its members.However,I am able to distinguish between Europe and the EU and make no apology for my scepticism. Sat 14 Mar 2009 17:51:50 GMT+1 greypolyglot http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=89#comment140 " #140. dwwonthew:..... EricGoodyer@88(his) comments should be seen in the context of his background ..... a member of the European Movement, an organisation that, at least at international level, receives funding from the EU - courtesy of the taxpayers of course."Someone is telling porkies. Their website specifically states:"The European Movement is funded entirely by membership subscriptions and private donations. It receives no money from the British Government, from political parties, or from the European Union or any of its institutions (the Council, the Commission, or the European Parliament)."So I guess it's up to you to substantiate your allegation? Have you got any proof?Before you ask - it's been done before - No I'm not a paid mouthpiece for the EU or any of its bodies. And at #135 you can see what I think of politicians of all hues.Now, the crunch question, Are you paid by Open Europe, UKIP, BNP ot whatever you like to attack the EU? Or is it, like my support of the EU, just a personal preference? Sat 14 Mar 2009 15:54:09 GMT+1 dwwonthew http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=88#comment139 To democracy threat@94 and StuartC@124 responding to EricGoodyer@88Mr Goodyer’s comments should be seen in the context of his background. He is a Labour Party activist and Parliamentary Candidate for the Charnwood Constituency. He is also a member of the European Movement, an organisational that, at least at international level, receives funding from the EU - courtesy of the taxpayers of course. It is, in essence, one of the vehicles through which the EU outsources some of its spin campaign.In the letters columns of East Midlands’ newspapers Mr Goodyer has been repeating the claim made here that “opinion polls” show a majority in favour of EU membership in the UK. However, he doesn’t reveal which “opinion polls” he is referring to. A quick trawl through the web produces at least 9 polls taken in the last 2/3 years by independent pollsters that show very similar results: two thirds of the people here want either a looser arrangement with the EU or want us to leave altogether. Only around one fifth approve of the current arrangement. So quite how Mr Goodyer can justify his statement that “British people want to stay in the EU” is something of a mystery. Perhaps it is simply his maths that are at fault. In the East Midlands newspapers he and his European Movement fellow travellers have also been pursuing the somewhat peculiar argument he has put forward here - because 80% of the population voted for the three main parties at the last election the EU has majority support in the UK. These people choose to ignore the fact that the majority of the population voted for parties that made a manifesto promise to hold a referendum on the EU treaty, aka the Lisbon Treaty. Of course, Mr Goodyer’s party reneged on their promise, aided and abetted by the LibDems.However, one of the objectives behind the European Movement’s letter-writing campaign, which has inferred there is no difference between the three main parties’ attitudes towards the EU seems to be to try to split the Conservative vote in the East Midlands . Perhaps there is a clue to why they feel a need to do that on one of their websites. Despite the advent of Libertas they are predicting that of the 5 East Midlands seats in the EU Parliament up for grabs in the forthcoming election, the Conservatives win will 3 with Labour and the LibDems 1 each. And, as William Hague, has stated that even if the Lisbon Treaty has been implemented when the Conservatives gain power they will not let it rest, it seems Mr Goodyer and his fellow travellers in the European Movement know they are losing the argument. Sat 14 Mar 2009 15:09:15 GMT+1 Doctuer_Eiffel http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=87#comment138 This post has been Removed Sat 14 Mar 2009 14:14:54 GMT+1 Andrzej Gruszczynski http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=87#comment137 The list of candidate with Libertas is likely to gain quite a lot of voters in Poland Fri 13 Mar 2009 22:24:50 GMT+1 acrobaticRobert_M http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=86#comment136 The Reform Treaty of Lisbon now provides Europeans with a concrete tool for the first time - the “Right of Initiative” that is anchored to Article 11. 4 Treaty of Lisbon. Article 11.4 offers the 400 million eligible EU citizens the possibility to express their opinion in a referendum and thus directly influence European decisions.“We Change Europe” wants to offer the opportunity of getting involved into the process of political decisions made in the EU. Therefore they created an E-Voting tool and the possibility to promote political aims in form of paneuropean initiatives. In order to foster such citizens’ democracy they organize Europe-wide votes for important union-related decision. All Europeans are invited to participate in these initiatives.At http://www.we-change-europe.eu Europeans can vote, if they will get involved in the following two important topics:The Europeans are enlarging their Union!The Europeans elect their President! They only have to click "Vote" and “Yes” or “No” at the “We Change Europe”-Website. Fri 13 Mar 2009 21:50:37 GMT+1 Reiner_Torheit http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=85#comment135 This post has been Removed Fri 13 Mar 2009 21:38:49 GMT+1 greypolyglot http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=85#comment134 "#134. democracythreat:So, greypolyglot, if I understand your position correctly, then you are as bigoted as someone else, and therefore you are not bigoted."I'm not sure what you're on but I'd reduce the intake if I were you. "Bigot" - One who is strongly partial to one's own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ. I'll accept the bit before the "and" (only insofar as it relates to the EU), as I imagine you might, but I deny the bit after. Being pro-EU in the UK seems to put me in a minority (at least among those who can be bothered to voice an opinion) and that tends to put me in the defensive position. The aggressive voices raised are those of the anti-EU faction."Or is that someone else is as prone to throw arrogant insults as you are, and therefore you do not throw arrogant insults?"It is certainly not my intention to be either arrogant or insulting."I can't work out exactly what you mean."Likewise. We seem to be talking past each other which is a shame. I much prefer to communicate but it's a little difficult to do so with those who liken one to a woodlouse (not you I hasten to add)."Maybe you might consider that there are a lot of people who are pro-europe, but who have a legitimate right to be anti-EU?"Yes, of course. But I do consider also that after a quarter century of relentlessly anti-EU propaganda put out by the (foreign-owned) British press there's a strong chance that they may be misinformed as to what the EU is and how it works. That's why I prefer to correct misinformation where I can rather than proselytise."I mean, I truly do entertain the possibility that the EU is the most perfect embodiment of any political power sharing system, and the further possibility that the it is so extremely wonderful that we should all just shut up and accept it the way we are told to accept it .... Nope, I still can't get my head around that idea."Firstly, you're just being sarcastic, secondly, I can't recall any EU statement to that effect. Please enlighten me if I'm wrong. What I will say is that it's a work in progress and, like all works of man will have its imperfections - which can be corrected if one does not throw the baby out with the bathwater."I am a curious soul, and would like to see more debate about what sort of political systems govern the many, varied, wonderful people of this continent."Agreed."As such, it annoys me to see the two party system defended with such arrogant self assurance as is found on this thread. I feel the two dominant political organizations in Europe have built a mechanism to exclude absolutely everybody else from power."Again, agreed. I'd much sooner see some form of proportional representation even with transferable votes so that the citizen actually does influence the outcome of elections. Surely, first past the past has had its day?"I get the distinct impression that if you belong to one of these clubs, you are deemed a better kind of human being, with privileges over your fellow europeans.By the way, are you a member of either of these two parties?"Absolutely not! To be frank, I despair of all politicians, seeing them as self-interested, self-promoting parasites. I'd sooner see members of the electorate randomly selected (as for jury service) and told to get on with the job for the next five years. Could they, would they, do worse than what we have now? Fri 13 Mar 2009 18:08:11 GMT+1 democracythreat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=84#comment133 So, greypolyglot, if I understand your position correctly, then you are as bigoted as someone else, and therefore you are not bigoted.Or is that someone else is as prone to throw arrogant insults as you are, and therefore you do not throw arrogant insults?I can't work out exactly what you mean.Maybe you might consider that there are a lot of people who are pro-europe, but who have a legitimate right to be anti-EU?I mean, I truly do entertain the possibility that the EU is the most perfect embodiment of any political power sharing system, and the further possibility that the it is so extremely wonderful that we should all just shut up and accept it the way we are told to accept it.In fact, I am entertaining this possibility right now.....Nope, .... I still can't get my head around that idea. For the life of me, I don't understand the inherent perfection embodied by the two party system of christian democrats and social democrats.I am a curious soul, and would like to see more debate about what sort of political systems govern the many, varied, wonderful people of this continent.As such, it annoys me to see the two party system defended with such arrogant self assurance as is found on this thread. I feel the two dominant political organizations in Europe have built a mechanism to exclude absolutely everybody else from power.I get the distinct impression that if you belong to one of these clubs, you are deemed a better kind of human being, with privileges over your fellow europeans.By the way, are you a member of either of these two parties? Fri 13 Mar 2009 15:46:55 GMT+1 greypolyglot http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=84#comment132 129. Dan6713 :@ 95 greypolyglot wrote:"They'll read about you in their history books and laugh at your fears and your parochialism - just as today we wonder at our ancestors who never moved beyond the valley in which they were born."------------------------------------------------Thats what happens when people can't win it turns into undermining and insults. That is the EU all over."Oh, you mean like the arch Europhobe Freeborn-John saying that supporters of the EU are like woodlice?Although in a way that's a sort of a compliment, I suppose. The woodlouse having been around for rather longer than homo sapiens, is quite a successful creature. Fri 13 Mar 2009 09:05:45 GMT+1 CartmanEazyE http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=83#comment131 Libertas are a typical single issue party, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Ganley has ridden a wave of euroscepticism and now hasn't got a clue how to get off the surfboard. No policies, just lots of doublespeak, make a few noises to keep the Daily Mail and its moronic readers happy, but don't actually say anything, because you've got nothing to say. The bloke's a buffoon who had a bit more success than he was expecting.He's worse than the vile hypocrite Hannan, and that's saying something. Fri 13 Mar 2009 01:39:46 GMT+1 oldnat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=82#comment130 #127 -StuartC-"somehow the UK is too stifling?"No it's too small to be of much value to us, and one country is so overwhelmingly dominant that it happily gave away our fisheries as of little importance.Demos and its representative institutions are a bit like chicken and egg. They grow or decline as the institutions perform a relevant function for the demos.It would have been possible for a UK demos to have been enhanced after WWII, had successive UK Parliaments been responsive to the attitudes of Scots. In practice the opposite happened.It is entirely possible that the same will happen with Europe, if we don't bring about a change through which a limited number of aspects of sovereignty are acceptably pooled, and the EU doesn't butt in to non-pooled sovereignty.Handled correctly, a European demos will develop over time - that's what I want to see. Thu 12 Mar 2009 23:43:29 GMT+1 greypolyglot http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=82#comment129 126. -StuartC- :" ..... democratically feasible to govern everyone in common from Brussels. It's a ridiculous outlook."GOVERN from Brussels? I'll do you the courtesy of supposing that you do actually believe that. But you're wrong - you see, the apparatus in Downing Street and Whitehall is called a GOVERNMENT because IT governs. (deep sigh of exasperation) Thu 12 Mar 2009 23:10:51 GMT+1 Dan6713 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=81#comment128 @ 95 greypolyglot wrote:"They'll read about you in their history books and laugh at your fears and your parochialism - just as today we wonder at our ancestors who never moved beyond the valley in which they were born."------------------------------------------------Thats what happens when people can't win it turns into undermining and insults. That is the EU all over. Thu 12 Mar 2009 21:17:54 GMT+1 -StuartC- http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=80#comment127 @ Europragmatic wrote:"All these people who keep going on about the EU being such a threat to democracy. Have any of them ever gone from European country to country and just looked at who all the people are who are eurosceptic."-------------------------------Oh dear. The lame 'guilt by association' game is a bit of a signal that someone has run out of arguments. But if we have to play, then I'm up for it. The list of EU enthusiasts is hardly distinguished. I find that photo of British fascist Ozwald Moseley standing on the plinth of Nelson's Column in front of a banner that says "Europe a Nation" a particular anti-EU motivator.Always important to know whose side you're on, eh?I'd also look rather carefully into the history of many of post-war Europe's most EU-enthusiastic leaders before slinging mud at the ideology of the EU's critics.Specifically, people like Francois Mitterrand, Valery Giscard d'Estaing and EU 'founding father' Robert Schuman. Thu 12 Mar 2009 20:27:39 GMT+1 -StuartC- http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=80#comment126 @ 101 oldnat wrote:"I always love the attitudes of Europhobic Brits (and I don't really see you as a Brit) that Incorporating Union is great for the UK, but that any kind of Union with those Continentals is abhorrent."-----------------------------Oh yawn. Far from a problem with "Continentals", it's actually about the practical exercise of democracy. Perhaps that's so inconvenient to understand that only smears of xenophobia are the only option. That certainly seems to be the pattern the pro-EU political elite follow.Democracy is clearly stretched when it comes to the UK, though pressure has slackened post-devolution. I always find bizarre the ideas of particularly some Scots Nats, that the EU's far wider scale Union project is nevertheless acceptable in its current form, or even in a similar democratic structure to the UK."Independence in Europe", but somehow the UK is too stifling? Talk about credibility chasm. Thu 12 Mar 2009 20:06:29 GMT+1 -StuartC- http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=79#comment125 @ 100 oldnat wrote:"We are actually in agreement. What I was calling for was not the continuation of archaic constitutional structures, but the conversion of the EU to a genuinely democratic structure.----------------------------The EU cannot become a "genuinely democratic structure" until there is a genuine European demos.You really can't call democracy genuine if you ignore the meaning of half of the word.I'm constantly surprised at how little regard so-called 'pro-Europeans' actually have for Europe's diversity. Why do so many seem to think that simply defining half a dozen broad-brush 'values' so vague few would ever disagree with them means its democratically feasible to govern everyone in common from Brussels. It's a ridiculous outlook.Is not what you propose for the EU exactly what Scotland has 'enjoyed' as part of the UK? ie. the ability to elect members of the UK Parliament, from whom the UK executive is drawn. Indeed, there is even a very strong Scottish contingent within the UK executive.Yet you go on to point out, quite rightly, that even these democratic features have not quelled concerns in Scotland about UK 'interference' and demands for greater autonomy have still grown.It seems to me the experience of Scotland that you outline shows the futility of introducing such democratic features to the EU. Because they will only ever be 'features', baubles, if at the root there remains a more fundamental demos problem of peoples not feeling enough in common to consent to common government.Until there's a genuine European demos giving European institutions a chance of being genuinely democratic, powers should returned to where democracy is genuine. The nation states, instead freely co-operating together. Thu 12 Mar 2009 19:47:28 GMT+1 -StuartC- http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=78#comment124 @ 95 greypolyglot wrote:"They'll read about you in their history books and laugh at your fears and your parochialism - just as today we wonder at our ancestors who never moved beyond the valley in which they were born."---------------------------------Oh I don't know. It seems to be the demise of pre-Enlightenment forms of government and failed empires that seem to have a much better chance of making the history books. And of being pored over with incredulity as to what people, for a time, thought was a good idea. Thu 12 Mar 2009 19:08:13 GMT+1 -StuartC- http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=78#comment123 @ 88 ERICGOODYER wrote:"Now that we have settled that question (i.e. British people want to stay in the EU) - lets debate how to reform it." -----------------------I'm not sure such broad-brush attempts to shut down that particular debate really work any more.Witness the January YouGov poll that showed 16% wanted to leave the EU plus 48% would like to see a much looser relationship, with the government taking back powers.Together that's 64% in favour of a different relationship with the EU, compared with 22 percent supporting our current membership status.If you prefer to look at it in party-political terms, it's fair to say the Tories want a looser relationship with the EU. Putting them together with UKIP et al gives the 'less EU' faction a substantial majority.So it appears that, in reality, ideas for reform that enhance an EU State, like a directly elected president or executive, would be the ones rather out on a limb when it comes to public opinion. Thu 12 Mar 2009 18:58:30 GMT+1 Dan6713 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=77#comment122 karolina001 post 122They understand it's a photo opportunity. The EU is a complete and total farce it's supporters made up of those on its payroll. The ordinary public mostly unaware of the creeping takeover but then that's how its been designed. To stealthily remove democracy and freedom and to install their so called political wet dream where politicians don't have much to do except say yes to the elite and take home huge pay checks jetting around looking forward to massive pensions living like film stars while waiting for the next sweetener. Living a futuristic life paid for by our gullible public pensioners and childrens futures. They should all be forced to live on a state pension in a rundown council estate and let reality be their reward. Thu 12 Mar 2009 18:49:52 GMT+1 karolina001 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=77#comment121 What are the social problems which our leaders and EU elites cannot understandhttp://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-03/12/content_10994832.htm Thu 12 Mar 2009 18:07:45 GMT+1 karolina001 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=76#comment120 http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7939561.stmWhy not bailout this guy??Why so much attention on this guy??They are all the same.Hiden secrets, why he dont speak out, but agrees. where is the deal?? Thu 12 Mar 2009 15:54:23 GMT+1 karolina001 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=75#comment119 Why some pro-EUpayrolls, reported my comment is unbelievable.It was enough for them not to read it and just skip it... but NO, the truth hurts more..they dont care what i write, but what they care is that the public doesnt read it.. and i will say it again, that we are going the path of social problems.. people should be protected same as our politicos are.Thanks to all who can see that we the taxpayers are being forced by this so called democratic system to bailed out the priviledge ones, so they dont loose one dime on it..they have high jacked the system in our name, and want to preserve the status quo of the elites in this system.we have cruel leaders who never try to understand the people, but only follow their wild dreams.. they care about empires,power,wealth,fame.. not humanity.Why our leaders were so fools to be fooled by this Ponzi bunks?? Were they fools indeed?? NOThey cooperated with them, becuase when their ambitions got over their heads, they disregarded humanity and people.if they have to choose between people and their wild ambitions. Are some EU politicos are using drugs? Sarkozy?? it is just a question, so dont take it for true, and dont report it. Thu 12 Mar 2009 15:44:08 GMT+1 Dan6713 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=75#comment118 Why Oh Why do some people try to tar those against the EU as being against EUROPE???? This really is intolerable. LOOK My opinion. I was replaced by Polish workers and lost my job I was i an awful lot of debt but my employers could see a way to save money and I became instantly expendable. Thats not some Mandy ideal of no British workers losing their jobs thats the truth Also I couldnt sign on because I had a girlfriend who lived with me whereas If I had been Polish I could have done.. NOW do I resent the Polish guys who took my job and consequently trashed my life? NO NO NO. I completely understand that they want to better themselves and their families and in this instance at my expense. Of course this shouldnt have happened because I am a British citizen and should be looked after by my elected government BUT the sad truth is WE are not. And soon it will be maybe your turn to understand what it's like to lose your job because of our government.. I love europe I can see though the EU'S GAME and tar feather demean devalue all you want the EU is still a Dictatorship that removes our democracy and our country while an elite few get rich and powerful Thu 12 Mar 2009 14:46:10 GMT+1 ikamaskeip http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=74#comment117 Europragmatic and Comment 113.You may: Have read a lot of newspapers. Seen right/left-wing political statements against the EU or particular groups. Picked up on facetious, ludicrous nicknames and stuff about Murdoch-Blair supposed 'deals'.It may be you are susceptible to 'What the Newspapers Say" as in Mr Kavanagh but that does apply to everyone else. Of course we all draw our opinions from the socio-economic environment around us. Many UK Citizens do have some irrational opposition to membership of the EU and that could be based on a Sun, Mail, Times Editorial, but, society in general experiences a great deal more than newsprint which it later uses to wrap its cod and chips in: I am afraid you cannot draw the conclusion everyone is warped by what they read especially as you are a prime example of someone who does not fit that pattern. There will be others.Of course all of your examples are nothing more exceptional than just people with differing and varying grades of views from your own. So what if the UKIP opposed east European workers migrating to the UK and in some quarters is nicknamed "BNP in blazers"!? It does not make them anymore unreliable or unworthy than your own side. In this Democracy they (UKIP) do not agree with you: Surely you understand that premise?Without a shred of evidence you pronounce on a Murdoch-Blair Referendum deal which basically puts you in the same stereotyping-grand assumption frame-of-mind as the BNP etc. that you so vehemently complain about!The BNP are a classic of resenting and suspecting all sorts from those they identify as not like them, but, whenever factually challenged are found out very quickly. Then with all the subjective stuff about your 'work experience' I am afraid that no conclusions are possible at all - anecdotal accounts of what is or is not said, thought, believed by others is notoriously inaccurate -for the very reason that what is in a person's mind cannot be construed as a permanent entity. E.g. prior to the 1975 Common Market Referendum in the UK, Polls showed 60 to 70% opposition to joining, but the result was nearly 75% in favour. A lot of UK Citizens may not be as clever as you but in a Democracy that is the cross to be borne by those who wish to see a nation stay free. It is the responsibility of those who 'know' to propose and develop the constructive approach enabling people to make informed decisions should they ever be given the chance to do so (i.e. referendum on EU Membership). If the likes of the BNP, Le Pen, Northern League etc. are to be roundly defeated it will not be by lumping everyone of them together (almost like an EU!): I am reminded the Nazis never got more than 42% of the electoral vote but that did not stop them attaining power, so, perhaps those of us who are anti or pro EU must be ever vigilant that the dangerous extremities of this argument do not overcome the values and ideals of that argument. Thu 12 Mar 2009 14:40:17 GMT+1 Dan6713 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=73#comment116 Eurproagmatic what are you saying the EU re a lot less than the Americans? So its okay? That they have spent more on projects than on corruption? That ukip would have closed the door on EU workers?Aare you for the EU or against it?IMMIGRATIONIs like a loch in good times when we need more people we open the doors to what we need In bad times we close the loch.. Controlled immigration. You seem to be saying we should have no borders at all? Thos who contribute in taxes do so on a promise we will get the services we require not to be a national health service or house the world. Thu 12 Mar 2009 14:07:54 GMT+1 ikamaskeip http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=73#comment115 Iantownhill and Comment 112.Nice try, re".. Norway pays 240 million Euro to EU.. receives nothing from EU budget.."However, as per usual with the pro-EU lobby the fact is quite a different reality from the purported EU line.Your Wiki contributor drew their information from the staunchly pro-EU propaganda pamphlet of the European Movement. Thus, it pays to look beyond what is stated to what is going on.I will try not to get too technical.Whilst quite true Norway pays 240 million it is of course paid to the EU via the European Economic Area (which covers all Europe). A Bi-lateral Trade Agreement. As a member State of the EEA Norway contributes in the same manner as every other nation.On the factual curve here are the basic Economic-Fiscal details of Norway's dealings with the EU (granted, none after 2007 as Norway as the catastrophe of recent economic downturn makes figures unreliable until realigned):Norway is the 4th largest non-EU independent trading nation with the EU. Norway 2005-06 recorded a 40.96 Billion Euro surplus of Trade with the EU.Norway has 75% of its trade within the EU.Norway has exceptions from the EEA for its unique Fisheries and Agriculture industries and made a profit 20O6-07 of 2.8 Billion Euros on them with the EU.Norway is the World's 3rd largest Energy exporter and trades in Billions of Euro profits with pratically the entire EU member nations.Between 2002 and 2005 Norway Traded in goods etc. 79.02 Billion Euros with the EU: By any yardstick, 240,000,000 Euros to arrange the paperwork for such Trade with the EU is a good deal for the independent State. Thu 12 Mar 2009 13:52:15 GMT+1 Europragmatic http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=72#comment114 Unlike Nato and The Americans who did a wonderfull job in keeping the peace between Greeks and Turks ( especially in Cyprus ). Also Nato has done and excellant job in supporting democracy in Europe as any Greek, Turk or Portuguese person could tell you ( and the Americans also did an excellant job of supporting democracy in Spain ). I wonder if the Eurosceptics in Eastern Europe know the sheer hatred that some of their British allies bear their people ( especially the Polish guest workers ). Reading some of the previous posts, on British Euroscepticism and blind xenophobia being interchangeable terms... I rest my case. Thu 12 Mar 2009 13:03:22 GMT+1 ikamaskeip http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=71#comment113 Dan6713 and Comment 111.Errr! re Content of my Comment 110.Look, apologies if you resent this next bit, but, it has to be stated in order for you to move forward.First:Those ".." are Quotation marks and those words inside were the Quote by me from another person's Comment.Second:My Comments were very largely agreeing with your Comment against the EU, and, now I've cleared up any misunderstanding let's hope you actually read future comments by all contributors in full. Thu 12 Mar 2009 13:01:29 GMT+1 Europragmatic http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=71#comment112 In my list I forgot to mention the Northern League in Italy. Their leader said the EU was full of gangsters and Pedophiles. Mind you, he also called Southern Italians, southern parasites, favoured the building of a wall on the border to keep Albanians out and gunboats used against boats of illegal immigrants. As for UKIP they have taken a very hard line on Eastern European workers. They would have been quite happy to slam the door in all their faces ( Apart from the Poles needed to work in UKIP member owned supermarkets or on UKIP leader mansion extensions ). In Britain UKIP have been nicknamed the BNP in blazers. In the case of Lord Tebitt. I have spent 20 to 30 years as a Western European immigrant in Britain. I have spent the time reading The Daily Mail, The Daily Express, The Telegraph, The Times, The Sun, The Star, The London Evening Standard, etc. I have also worked on building sites, in bus garages and train stations. After that I came to the conclusion that Lord Tebitt's views are representative of the entire right wing half of the British Conservative Party. It's curious, so many of the papers who kept preaching eurosceptism are North American owned. IE, Rupert Murdoch ( born in Australia, an American citizen, his children Americans, his company USA based and paying no taxes in Britain ) tells Trevor Kavanagh ( part Australian ) to tell the British people " Don't let foreigners tell you what to do! ". Tony Blair made a deal with Murdoch that he would not hold a refferendum on the Euro without asking Murdoch's permission first. With all their faults, Britain's dealings in the EU are masterpieces of democratic accountability compared with that stunt. On the billions lost because because of corruption. I have seen with my own eyes all over Spain, in the Scottish Highlands, in Wales, etc where the money went ( in train stations, bridges, roads, etc. ). Not to mention the improvements done in Eastern European countries ( a 5th. of it paid by the German tax payer ). So many British Eurosceptics are great fans of the USA. Thank God the Americans don't have that kind of corruption ( as the investors in US Ponzi schemes or the English Cricket Board could tell you ). Unlike in the case of the EU one can always tell where all the money went in the collapse of the Anglo Saxon style totally free market banking system! Thu 12 Mar 2009 12:48:20 GMT+1 Wonthillian http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=70#comment111 #110See the following link. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norway_and_the_European_Unionwhich says... 'As of 2005, Norway pays an annual fee of €240 million to the EU budget but it receives no EU expenditure' If this was not true, I'm sure the Norwegian Government would be the first to contradict it.#111If you believe in democracy, perhaps you should test your views by putting yourself forward for a forthcoming election (not sure whether it's too late for the Euro elections) Thu 12 Mar 2009 12:17:41 GMT+1 Dan6713 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=70#comment110 ikamaskeip wrotemost people understand that we are better off inside the EU (for all its flaws) that outside. ----------------------------------------------------You mean like the 60 BILLION we pay the EU yearly?You mean the huge influx of EU workers taking British jobs? I should know I was replaced by Polish workers and had to put my house on the market.You mean two million Polish sending home an average of £100 per week Billions leaving the UK. You mean how the EU has kept the peace in europe for the last sixty years? IE Bosnia Serbia.You mean the human rights joke which means millions of illegal immigrants cant be removed? As well as removing democracy it even fails at its deceptive promise of a trade organisation. France benefits our farmers dont they get closed down by our government eager to snatch land to build on.Fishing? What a laugh...The EU is the most corrupt organisation ever while they languish in their nice modern buildings with massive pensions and rewards are pensioners lose their pensions and our people deprived of BILLIONS..So what now? The EU does so much for us better in than out? No explanation just cause a little uncertainty so that people wont risk the status quo..Yes the EU propaganda from start to finish. Thu 12 Mar 2009 11:27:54 GMT+1 ikamaskeip http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=69#comment109 Iantownhill and Coment 108.Interesting and reasonably argued pro-EU points until, "...Norway.. have to pay EU for privilege of doing so.."Not sure where you got that idea from? Norway does not pay the EU anymore than the USA, China, India etc. do for Trading, Travelling, Investing etc. within it. The World Trade Organisation would have taken great exception to the idea the EU was 'protecting' its Economic-Fiscal-Manufacturing Trading Markets against other nations, regions etc. Now, either you just got carried away, or, like your assertion, "..most people understand we are better off inside the EU.." it was an over-reach of factual reality? Thu 12 Mar 2009 11:05:42 GMT+1 ikamaskeip http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=68#comment108 Dan6713 and Comment 105.Yes, throughout my childhood and years of service and then civilian work I was always aware that the reason the United Kingdom was a reasonably safe and secure place to call my Country was because it was against and withstood with other Independent States the grinding economic-military-political-social immensity of the Soviet Union.Apparently, that opposition was a mistake!We Britons should now all readily accept an immensely powerful, overbearing, unaccountable European Union.So, why didn't we just hold up our hands 1946 to 1989 and invite the Kremlin in for tea? Thu 12 Mar 2009 09:49:07 GMT+1 Wonthillian http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=68#comment107 Dan6713#105Thank you for your lesson in democracy. Perhaps you should consider the following.If the people of the UK felt that it was very important to leave the EU, i.e., more important than any of the other issues that divide the political parties, they could vote UKIP , BNP, for any independent anti-EU candidates in national or EU elections. None of these organisations are likely to gain much support, but if there was a reasonable degree of support for them, it would probably frighten the Tory party, and even some of the Labour party, into taking a more Euro-sceptic line. In extreme cases, if one of the big parties thought it would win votes, it could announce that it would hold a referendum on whether to take the UK out of the EU. It is indeed possible for a country to leave the EU, (and the Lisbon treaty sets out such an exit clause). It won't happen, of course, because most people understand that we are better off inside the EU (for all its flaws) that outside. And even many of those who would prefer the EU to be no more than a free trade area understand that it is better to agree policies from a position inside the EU than to follow the example of EEA countries such as Norway, who have no influence on EU policy but accept most EU laws anyway (and have to pay the EU for the privilege of doing so). Simple enough? Thu 12 Mar 2009 09:44:51 GMT+1 ikamaskeip http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=67#comment106 Europragmatic and Comment 103."..EU being such a threat to democracy.. looked at all the people who are EUrosceptic.. why doesn't anybody realise.."I largely agree with your list of the ill-liberal groups parading themselves as pro-democracy and anti-EU: Xenophobia is probably amongst the least of their unpleasant attitudes to European society.Nevertheless, your attempt to label everyone anti-EU as a part of some reactionary and wholly wicked manifestation does your pro-EU argument no good at all. Pro-EU Citizens really must do better with their arguments/reasoning than continually returning to the convenience store of one-size-nastiness-fits-all and just picking up the available epithet to use against anti-EU Citizens. E.g. I cannot agree with you including UKIP in the list of degenerates.Whilst not a member of UKIP I have looked at the content of their Policy Documents - Election Manifestos etc. I never found anything, apart from the clear anti-European Union stance, that would in any way place them alongside the BNP, Le Pen's French Nationalists etc.It seems to me in the interests of fair play you could perhaps revise this list: UKIP clearly oppose for economic and political reasons the continued UK membership of the EU, but they most certainly do not proclaim the extreme, illogical and unreasoning hatred of all things foreign that marks out the rest of the list.I am firmly anti-England membership of the EU: Scotland, Wales, N.I. can all make their own choices. With a large and extended European and Scandinavian family and having frequently worked in Europe my reasons for opposing membership are primarily grounded in what I consider to be the adverse political and economic implications for England. There are many millions in the UK who also believe as I do that an ever expanding, unresponsive, unaccountable EU is bad for Democracy and its one-size-fits-all impositions of EU fiscal-economic-judicial policy is bad for the Economy and Society.Human nature being what it is xenophobes, homophobes, bigots etc. exist in all sectors of society across not just Europe but the world at large. In Europe many of the above misguided and dull have found reinforcement for their puerile views in the groups you mention: However, it is an incredible stretch of the factual reality to suggest all anti-EU groups and their members only have those grossly anti-social traits and every one else's motives are pure as the driven snow!Entre nous: Whilst Lord Tebbit may have extremely odd 'era of colonialism' views he really is not representative of Cameron, Hague etc., now is he!?The gravy train of EU venality has been well-documented over years with MEPs and EUrocrats caught dipping illegally in the EU till: However, even as a EUrosceptic I would not claim all the represntative of the EU are in some way corrupt.It is possible to find and give examples of shocking, dysfunctional attitudes and actions by persons from every walk of life.E.g. the RC Bishop denying the Holocaust is hardly representative of genuine majority Catholic sentiment.The debate on membership and the efficacy of the EU will doubtless continue: I just hope that, whilst it is right and proper to draw attention to the extremes that are out there, the serious issues will be kept at the forefront of the discussion. The great majority of Citizens from pro and anti viewpoints deserve proper respect and consideration for their respective positions. Thu 12 Mar 2009 09:41:47 GMT+1 Dan6713 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=66#comment105 This post has been Removed Thu 12 Mar 2009 08:54:58 GMT+1 Dan6713 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=66#comment104 What is the matter with you people? Don't you understand? It's simple. Forget trying to look into it deeply just look at the big picture simply. Most things in the end are simple The EU removes democracy from the people and gives it all to a single organisation. NOW no matter how you present it That is a really daft thing to do. Of course the EU will be nice and giving while it takes over and of course once it does you all know how ultimate power ultimately corrupts its innevitable. Havent you already seen many glimpses of things to come? DEMOCRACYEvery five years we choose a party for Government. IE Labour, Tory, Libs.DICTATORSHIPThe EU is a single party with NO Competition and NO elections. You can vote in a new MEP as long as its an EU MEP. No opposition parties at all. It's the same as you can vote for three labour candidates. Guess what? Labour will be returned to power everytime..AMAZINGHow many people just plain miss this fact. Thu 12 Mar 2009 08:47:43 GMT+1 oldnat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=65#comment103 #103 Europragmatic"Why doesn't anybody realise what a bunch of xenophobes[apologies for correcting the spelling - it's the teacher in me!], hardline nationalists, immigrant bashers, homophobes, extreme right wingers ( and the hard left as well ) and bigots they all are?"Lots of us do.Reform the EU? - of course (like every other political structure). Attack foreigners? - parochialism run riot! Thu 12 Mar 2009 03:10:12 GMT+1 Europragmatic http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=64#comment102 All these people who keep going on about the EU being such a threat to democracy. Have any of them ever gone from European country to country and just looked at who all the people are who are eurosceptic. A list: UKIP, Veritas, BNP, The French National Front, The Austrian Freedom Party ( Haider and Strache { that was 1 nifty photo of him running arround with a rifle }), Vlaams Belang, The Danish Peoples Party ( Do you remember their " Do you really want to be swamped by 40 million Poles? " posters? very freindly that! ), Vaclav Klaus ( a German and environmentalist hating righty winger ), and those 2 very wierd ( and unpleasant ) Polish twins!Why doesn't anybody realise what a bunch of zenophobes, hardline nationalists, immigrant bashers, homophobes, extreme right wingers ( and the hard left as well ) and bigots they all are? Any leader in any country who doesn't sound like a small minded nationalist bigot when he talks is generally moderately in favour of the EU ( no mater wich language he talks in, I can understand 4 ).Robert Kilroy Silk, after he left UKIP said in a radio interview about UKIP's Eastern European allies " Yes, but I didn't realise what a cazy bunch of fascists I was defending ". Why does that not reassure me?Their is also old Lord Tebbit. I still remember the article he wrote in the Sun. He advocated that British gun boats should go and shoot at Spanish gunboats ( over an argument with Canada over fish and over something which was not even Britains problem ! )!Oh yes, Sinn Fein. They helped to torpedo the Lisbon Treaty. Not all that long ago, in Ulster, people who disagreed with them seemed ( for some strange reason ) to get shot, blown up or simply to have their knee caps done in! Thu 12 Mar 2009 02:42:53 GMT+1 oldnat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=64#comment101 #94 democracythreat"When was the last time a party in the general election promised to cede from the EU?"If that's your problem - do something about it! Why are voters in England so lazy about the constitution that they need a "party" to solve their problems?I'll grant you it takes time, but my parents signed a petition for Scottish Home Rule in the 1940's and it took us till 2000 to see that established. The SNP had minimal support when I first joined, now it's the Scottish Government, and 40% of the population support independence.Given the antagonism to foreigners that exists in England, it should take you far less time. Thu 12 Mar 2009 02:24:49 GMT+1 oldnat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=63#comment100 #92 MaxSceptic"Well the difference between us is that most of your fellow countrymen disagree with you, while most of my fellow countrymen agree with me."Only one of the many differences between us!However, I agree with you on the need for referenda on important constitutional changes.Of course, another difference between us is that sovereignty in your country lies with the Queen in Parliament, while in mine it lies with the people.You want one referendum - I want two.First the referendum on Scottish Independence which the Unionist Parties have conspired to block.Second a referendum on whether Scotland wants to be "Brigadoon", in EFTA, or the EU.I'm quite happy with democratic decisions (even if the majority disagree with me), but Scotland needs to take its decisions on international relations on its own terms - not confused with its neighbours.What we really need for the EU are a series of simultaneous referenda in every country on a number of "consensus" options which cover the range of opinion on its future - all the way from dissolution, through return to the "Common Market", Confederalism, Federalism, and even Incorporating Union.I always love the attitudes of Europhobic Brits (and I don't really see you as a Brit) that Incorporating Union is great for the UK, but that any kind of Union with those Continentals is abhorrent. Thu 12 Mar 2009 02:18:01 GMT+1 oldnat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=63#comment99 #81 -StuartC-"It's why so many are starting to question whether the structures we today call the EU, that were born of ideas from the first half of the 20th century and seem to derive from centurys old governmental concepts, are really fit for purpose."We are actually in agreement. What I was calling for was not the continuation of archaic constitutional structures, but the conversion of the EU to a genuinely democratic structure.Let's closely define which areas of policy are best handled co-operatively within Europe (or at least those European countries who want to co-operate), and have those issues decided democratically by the people electing a European Parliament, which will then select a Government to decide the policy which European Civil Servants will then carry out. Everything else is a matter for national governments.Remember that Scots have had 300 years of having pooled some (not all) aspects of sovereignty with the UK. As the UK interfered more and more in aspects of Scottish domestic policy (which they largely ignored until the 2nd half of the 20th century). Since that has become more intrusive, demand for autonomy grew - hence devolution as a desparate effort by Labour to continue controlling England. Things have moved on considerably and now 40% for Independence (in Europe), 40% against, and 20% undecided.People can actually decide things, if they don't allow political parties to provide their only options. Thu 12 Mar 2009 02:05:20 GMT+1 democracythreat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=62#comment98 greypolyglot wrote:"If the EU were half as powerful and malevolent as a number of writers here allege, time and again, they'd have been locked up or done away with by now."I believe the same was said of Hilter's regime. And I am not saying your are wrong. I am just saying. That's all. I mean, sure, the EU doesn't have the power to do any real harm at the moment. Sure. I agree.But what if the power grows?I am 100% for increasing European integration. I am also 100% against allowing corporate feudalism to oversee that process. And the comparison with Hitler is very far from fanciful. The EU was created by the social democrats and the christian democrats. Otherwise known as the political parties made up of wealthy french and german industrialists, and funded by them and by the catholic church.You can verify that clam, if you want. get back to me and tell me how I don;t know what I am talking about.greypolyglot then wrote:"For heaven's sake grow up the lot of you. It's a multinational bureaucracy."That is a truly delightful phrase. Are you being funny? Thu 12 Mar 2009 01:38:03 GMT+1 oldnat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=61#comment97 #80 Dan6713"the EU which is a single political institution and has no competition and therefore undemocratic."That has to be the ultimate in Thatcherite competition policy!Westminster is a "single political institution". If it has to have competition to be democratic, then I'll opt to have my bins collected by the neighbouring council instead of my own, and to have all the reserved powers returned from Westminster to Scotland. Thu 12 Mar 2009 01:36:50 GMT+1 oldnat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=61#comment96 #76 democracythreat"You believe the voting for the labour party is different from voting for the tories, clearly."Quite wrong. I see little difference between these two UK parties, either on the left/right spectrum or constitutional issues. Both want to limit Scotland to indirect representation in international relationships. No matter how undemocratic the EU is (and I agree it needs reform), it is a better multi-national organisation than the UK."upper house full of Lords, is extremely difficult to understand, for an american or a Swiss voter."One of the many reasons why I don't want to continue living in an Incorporating Union with a country with no codified constitution, ineffective checks and balances and the fundamentally undemocratic concept of Parliamentary Sovereignty which overrules Scots Constitutional Law through weight of numbers, and despite the terms of the Treaty of Union.It's pretty incomprehensible here why the bishops of the national Church of a different country should be making lass for my country! Thu 12 Mar 2009 01:30:21 GMT+1 democracythreat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=60#comment95 WebAliceinwonderland wrote:"karolina001 @85 "and bailing out the fat cats"a question has been asked here; should the Government continue to do this.70% - sure, why not. :o) After each company owner sells his yachts, villa-s and tropical islands and returns the money back to the company accounts - why - then the state budget ought to help these companies."This is an important issue. For me, it is the smoking gun that convicts our entire political system on the charge of false pretenses, and defrauding the public of their taxes.For example, the UK government has put more money into Lloyds than would be required to buy it outright, based on the share value.Now how does that work?The government has not just taken on the debts of this badly run firm, they have gifted the shareholders with an exit strategy, allowing them to retaining their private fortunes.And it must be a conscious gift to these shareholders. What else can it be? The government is clearly not angry with the shareholders for sending the economy into freefall. If they were displeased, they could simply buy the company outright. Perfectly legal, perfectly normal.So why pay more than it is worth, and still not acquire complete ownership?Why are governments so intent on rescuing the shareholders of these massive, FAILED banking firms? Is it because they remember who their friends really are? Is it because, when they were at university, they were sponsored by these same shareholders, and given massively well paid jobs in the private sector, and massive campaign contributions in order to pay for the political advertising they needed to win office?That is why I say this behaviour is the smoking gun that shows the public who really works for whom.The government is using the publics money to ensure the bankers and industrialists who have lost all their money in the market do not end up broke. They are taking money from the middle class, and gifting it to the owners of failed corporations. All in the name of "saving the economy".Saving it for whom? Who do these professional politicians truly represent?Right now the government printing presses are working day and night to print more money, to gift to failed business owners. Now they are calling this "quantitive easing", because printing money is bad. We all know what happens when you print lots of money: INFLATION.And what does inflation do? It wipes out the savings of the middle class. We know that. That is why we can't call it printing money. We need a new phrase, so people are not offended.Well, as Marcus Kulakas has said on another thread, if the government prints all this money, the bond markets are toast. Bonds return fixed amounts of currency as their dividend, and so when inflation destroys the value of currency, it destroys the value of the bonds. Then everyone tries to sell their bonds, and the price plummets. If you think this doesn't affect the working man, think again. Every pension fund in the UK is linked to the bond market, and that means the government is destroying the pensions of all the workers by printing this money.This is the LABOUR government. The voice of the working person. Consciously butchering everyones pensions to gift money to the shareholders of the banks.Now, you experts on democracy, tell me again, ..... who is it these political parties represent?The voter, or the corporation?Oh well, I guess i can exercise my democratic freedom and vote for the political party who intend to stop this course of economic policy, and protect the interests of working people.Oh, wait.... who do I vote for? Thu 12 Mar 2009 01:27:52 GMT+1 greypolyglot http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=59#comment94 If the EU were half as powerful and malevolent as a number of writers here allege, time and again, they'd have been locked up or done away with by now.For heaven's sake grow up the lot of you. It's a multinational bureaucracy. As such it's a miracle that enough people of different cultures, languages, political persuasion, etc. can be persuaded to agree on ANYTHING inside the executive to produce any legislation - of value or not.If nothing else a few tens of thousands of civil servants from 27 countries are learning to compromise and work together. And so are their spouses and children.Given time a few tens of millions of ordinary citizens will do the same and then a few hundreds of millions. They'll read about you in their history books and laugh at your fears and your parochialism - just as today we wonder at our ancestors who never moved beyond the valley in which they were born.And those future Europeans will maintain their distinct identities, histories, etc. just as the nations of the UK have - even if they do have a single currency that, my oh my, is used in more than one country (just like the pound sterling). Wed 11 Mar 2009 23:45:31 GMT+1 democracythreat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=59#comment93 ERICGOODYER wrote:"In democracies we can vote for the next government, but not to secede from the country. Similarly in the EU we get to decide who becomes the largest party in the European Parliament. If you want to leave the EU, vote that way in the next General election."Vote for whom, in order to achieve this result?When was the last time a party in the general election promised to cede from the EU?Did not the labour party promise a referendum, and then renege?The major flaw in your argument is simply that voting for one party rather than another makes any difference whatsoever. You presume that all manner of proposals are available, and that voters in the two party system have a real choice about anything at all.I think that presumption is becoming increasing untenable, for thinking people. Those who understand how corporations sponsor the huge media bills for political parties, and how corporations operate a revolving door policy for chosen folks from University to the grave, understand that the whole political system of representation has become, for want of a better word, corrupt.Students join political parties at University, and from that moment they join a very elite club for chosen people. Large corporations that rely upon vast government contracts sponsor the careers of these professional political party members. That is what is meant by the "revolving door". University students belonging to political parties work in industry for big bucks, then they work in government, for small bucks. Then they work for the corporation again. And so on.Always the sponsor is the same, and those who partake in this elite game understand it very, very well.That is why you will never hear a single word about direct democracy from large corporations or from their political pets.Direct democracy would mean that government contracts can't be bought, and that politicians can't be bought.What astounds me most of all about this system is that it is so transparent. It is not a conspiracy. Nobody hides anything, they just don't talk about it.Most of the press say nothing, because newspapers and media organizations receive truly vast profits from this system. But it is no secret conspiracy. Once you start asking who works for who, and who funds whom in the elections, and who gets nice fat government contracts, the picture is clear enough.The soviet union operated in precisely the same manner. Instead of political parties, they has "departments" within the one political party. Different departments would sponsor their golden children from University, first giving them nice comfortable jobs in the department, then sending them to the Duma to ensure the department would get a greater share of the budget. And then back to the department, for comfort and reward.And just as in our own system of representative democracy, a huge number of people participated and truly believed that they had democracy, and that their votes mattered. Wed 11 Mar 2009 21:58:36 GMT+1 WebAliceinwonderland http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=58#comment92 karolina001 @85 "and bailing out the fat cats"a question has been asked here; should the Government continue to do this.70% - sure, why not. :o) After each company owner sells his yachts, villa-s and tropical islands and returns the money back to the company accounts - why - then the state budget ought to help these companies. Wed 11 Mar 2009 20:27:16 GMT+1 MaxSceptic http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=57#comment91 oldnat @74 wrote:"I don't want the future direction of Scotland to be determined by the (other) citizens of the UK - none of your business what we do with our own country. On the other hand, I'm content that certain aspects of Scottish sovereignty be pooled with the rest of Europe, and that direction of those aspects be determined, not by the Governments of the European states, but by the people of Europe."Well the difference between us is that most of your fellow countrymen disagree with you, while most of my fellow countrymen agree with me.I'd be delighted to put it to a referendum. Wed 11 Mar 2009 20:25:55 GMT+1 dwwonthew http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=57#comment90 84. "In democracies we can vote for the next government, but not to secede from the country. Similarly in the EU we get to decide who becomes the largest party in the European Parliament. If you want to leave the EU, vote that way in the next General election."But at the last General Election the majority of people voted for parties who made manifesto promise to hold a referendum on the EU constitution. Two of those parties reneged on their promises and then ganged up together in a way that verged on the dishonest to push the Constitution aka Lisbon Treaty through Parliament. And if one of the main parties wants to win the next election hands down they should make a manifesto promise to allow the people to give their views on the Lisbon Treaty - and a commitment to keep that promise - and couple it with an undertaking for a proper cost/benefit analysis of EU membership similar to that carried out by the Swiss government.And if you think the anti-EU view is a minority in this country I would suggest you look at the opinion polls that have been taken on attitudes towards the EU. The vast majority of them suggest around two thirds of the EU population would prefer a loser arrangment with the EU or would like to leave altogether.So it does not seem logical to suggest that the anti-EU view is in the minority. Wed 11 Mar 2009 19:25:08 GMT+1 Dan6713 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=56#comment89 Libertas do not want us out of the EU they want us in and with them in control with their own agenda. Wed 11 Mar 2009 19:10:49 GMT+1 democracythreat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=56#comment88 If anyone wants to understand more about direct democracy, they should look at Switzerland.This nation has had unemployment below 5% for over a hundred years now, through world wide depressions.It protected its people for the horrors of the 20th century by remaining neutral, and it has a health care system that is universal and universally recognised as first class.It has an education system that is remarkable, not least because it somehow manages to cater for a population that speaks five languages (English is the hidden lingua franca of this country).Switzerland is a model state, in nearly every respect.If you wish to understand how direct democracy works in practice, and how a system of government can work hand in hand with the sovereignty of the people, you should look to this country, and see what you can see.D not listen to western experts, because in the west we have a cultural superiority complex that makes us blind to the possibility that any system could be better than our own.It was churchill who said that five minutes discussion with the average man was enough to put a person off democracy, and it was churchill who said that the english form of democracy was a terrible form of government, but nevertheless the best form we can have.But churchill was an english lord, and he was born into a position of power and privilege.He was a great man, and an even better writer, but he was not infallible. I wish i could ask his opinion on the subject of direct democracy, but I cannot. Wed 11 Mar 2009 17:41:42 GMT+1 ERICGOODYER http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=55#comment87 An enjoyable on line debate - but much of it is irrelevant, as the majority of the British Public support the EU - as proven by both opinion polls and real EU elections. At the last EU elections the pro-EU parties, Tory, Lab & Lib-dem secured 80% of the vote. Libertas, UKIP, English Democrats, Veritas (remember him), BP etc etc will again be in miserable minority.Now that we have settled that question (i.e. British people want to stay in the EU) - lets debate how to reform it. How about a directly elected EU president, and the directly elected parliament appointing the Executive? Wed 11 Mar 2009 16:31:09 GMT+1 rayatcov http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=54#comment86 Let's LEAVE..PLEASE, PLEASE Wed 11 Mar 2009 16:23:44 GMT+1 EUprisoner209456731 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=54#comment85 Since Libertas is not about getting any country out of the "EU" , presumably they need an anti-"EU" part in Ireland , like UKIP.IIP?Or do they already have one?I mean one whose sole policy point is to get Ireland out of the "EU". Wed 11 Mar 2009 16:11:30 GMT+1 karolina001 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=53#comment84 This post has been Removed Wed 11 Mar 2009 15:45:21 GMT+1 Michael Walsh http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=52#comment83 This kind of reminds me of an old article in The Onion complaining that whoever Americans elect, they just go to Washington and flap their arms about government.In democracies we can vote for the next government, but not to secede from the country. Similarly in the EU we get to decide who becomes the largest party in the European Parliament. If you want to leave the EU, vote that way in the next General election.If, as is very probable, the anti-EU party loses, that's life. In democracies minorities just have to live with the decisions of the majority. Wed 11 Mar 2009 15:43:03 GMT+1 democracythreat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=52#comment82 Although the UK does not have a written constitution, it has evolved certain principles of government that lead to civilized behaviour by government.One of these, perhaps the most fundamental, is the "separation of powers" doctrine, the idea that by making three separate branches of government independent, with independent powers, you create a system where each branch of government will act as check and balance on the others.Governments that do not enshrine this principle, and which do not have an independent judiciary, nor a parliament that can censure a president, tend to devolve into dictatorship and petty tyranny.Now the thing about the separation of powers doctrine is that it recognizes that power corrupts. It works, so to speak, because it does not allow power to become concentrated in one class, profession, or institution.It does not work because it selects the right sort of people and makes them leaders of the political system. It does not work because it selects the best parties, or because it ensures that the public are told the whole truth and nothing but the truth by politicians.In short, the best systems of representative government work because they do not become horrific. We are protected from the natural degeneracy of our leaders, who are, after all, merely people, just like you and I.Now the system of direct democracy takes this principle even further, and this is why it offers better protection to the people who live under its rule.By allowing the people to veto legislation put forward by special interest groups who fund the political campaigns of major parties, direct democracy separates power even further than the westminster system. A system which allows the people to initiate legislation, and more importantly to initiate a vote to block legislation they perceive to be dishonest, prevents corruption in the parliamentary system, because it makes corruption impossible to organize. The most obvious example of how direct democracy could have solved social problems in the UK recently would be the iraq war, the second most obvious example would be the EU itself.Whether you are pro EU or anti EU, pro Iraq war or anti Iraq war, one must admit that both these issues have vast numbers of people concerned, and that a referendum would have been held on both if the political process allowed the citizens to force one, with a petition containing 3 million signatures.In the case of the iraq war, Britain would not have gone, and this may have prevented the USA from going.In the case of the EU...... well who knows.But the point I wish to make is that every argument against direct democracy is based on the premis that the people are stupid, and tend to do stupid things.But so what? Yes, people are stupid. Individually, people make mistakes all the time.But our system does not protect us from the worst deprivations of tyranny because our leaders are NOT stupid. Our system protects us because it does not allow our leaders to behave in an insane manner. The system diffuses power, it does not select quality leaders.Direct democracy is based on the same principle. It does not work because the people are smarter than politicians. It works because the people are harder to buy off than the political parties. It works because corporations cannot corrupt the people with funding, by operating a revolving door policy for top level jobs with two major political parties. Wed 11 Mar 2009 14:58:10 GMT+1 Dan6713 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=51#comment81 The EU now has it's constitution and soon it will be fully functional and in control. They will then tell us what we can and can't do what we can and can't own.What could you do about it? Ask your MEP to help? He could speak and THAT'S it MEP's have no power and can only vote on issues the commissioners allow and even then if they don't like it they could overturn it anyway. So you and your MEP are powerless to do anything other than talk.. Regional assemblies are allowed to talk to and to carry out EU orders and THAT'S it.So a group of MEP's get together they are STILL powerless. Lets say the commissioners decide to change the laws they could offer MEP's incentives if MEP's go against the will of the EU they could find themselves isolated and alone. The EU as a collective will have carte blanche to do as they please. If they wanted to increase wages or decide they will no longer hold MEP elections whose going to stop them? They have no electorate to fear. Those in power could make sure their own constituants get looked after ensuring they always get returned or even just do away with it and decide elections are pointless. They do this already with countries just dont hold elections at all. The people are already refused any right to a referendum. They gave ireland lots of money and hoped ireland would have voted for the constitution then they would have said see PROOF we dont need referendums. So now there is the proof we do where are the referendums? The EU has started as it it intends to go on REFUSING DEMOCRACY to the people whose countries it steals.. Once they takeover properly they will never give up power and will quickly change countries infrastructures to make sure its almost impossible to get out. Our politicians who want the EU are given huge incentives and nice lives..Where did the public tell the EU they could take BILLIONS take our countries? Where did they get permission for all this?They didn't and yet some dare to call them democratic?This is plain ridiculous. Wed 11 Mar 2009 13:56:41 GMT+1 -StuartC- http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=50#comment80 @ 74 oldnat wrote:"I'm content that certain aspects of Scottish sovereignty be pooled with the rest of Europe, and that direction of those aspects be determined, not by the Governments of the European states, but by the people of Europe."----------------------In reality, of course, the 'people of Europe' can have very little impact on the direction of the EU. The EU's executive - the Commission - is not derived from the European Parliament elections, as national governments are. So it doesn't matter which way the European Parliament goes politically as a result of our vote, the executive and its direction remains the same.Democratic? I think not.Those democratic representatives people do have - their national minister in the Council of Ministers - can in almost all cases now be over-ruled by a majority of ministers they did not elect. So where exactly does meaningful popular input hold sway over the EU's direction? It's a totally elite project that yet has a very personal impact on many aspects of all our everyday lives, from the quality of our postal service to frequency of dustbin collections. The most accurate phrase I've so far heard used to describe the EU system is neo-feudalism.You say things are complex "once you look to the future". I agree. It's why so many are starting to question whether the structures we today call the EU, that were born of ideas from the first half of the 20th century and seem to derive from centurys old governmental concepts, are really fit for purpose. Such obsessive euro-centricity as those structures seem to engender is completely out of place in today's smaller, faster-moving, interconnected 21st century world. It's certainly not EU-critics who are dwelling in the past. Wed 11 Mar 2009 12:25:17 GMT+1 Dan6713 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=50#comment79 Old Nat said------------------------------------------------Congratulations. You may have posted the intellectually least impressive post of all time."Every time I vote for a Westminster MP, it has to be a Westminster MP. Every time I vote for a Holyrood constituency MSP, it has to be a Holyrood constituency MSP. Every time I vote for a Holyrood List MSP, it has to be a Holyrood List MSP.Every time I vote for a local councillor, it has to be a local councillor.---------------------------------------------------This is deceptive. Those are buildings or a name for a collective job. This is what I said about the EU which is a single political institution and has no competition and therefore undemocratic. DEMOCRACYEvery five years we choose a party for Government. IE Labour, Tory, Libs.DICTATORSHIPThe EU is a single party with NO Competition and NO elections. You can vote in a new MEP as long as its an EU MEP. No opposition parties at all. It's the same as you can vote for three labour candidates. Guess what? Labour will be returned to power everytime..AMAZINGHow many people just plain miss this fact.Old Nat.. You lost any argument so therefore deception to protect and cover up the EU propaganda is your only course left.Thank you for showing us how you and the EU operate. Wed 11 Mar 2009 11:42:29 GMT+1 kcband8 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=49#comment78 In answer to your question?Accountable Democracy Wed 11 Mar 2009 11:40:37 GMT+1 Freeborn John http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=49#comment77 Mark Mardell: You are wrong to say that the Commission is the servant of national leaders. The EU has two ways of working with surpra-nationalism having gradually replaced the inter-governmentalism that is used in other international organisations. If the EU still used inter-governmental then you might be correct to view the Commission as a secretariat or civil service under the control of member states. But that is clearly not the case with the widespread use of supranationalism that we have today. When this is used the Commission is able to use its monopoly of proposals for changes to EU law to set the political agenda, and although its proposals will only become law if agreed by a qualified majority of countries, no single government can stand against the Commission. Furthermore once decisions have been agreed once under supra-nationalism they are binding on all our future governments no matter how we vote. Therefore the EU Commission really becomes an independent power when supra-nationalism is used, whose power actually also increases (relative to national governments) as EU membership expands and new EU treaties introduc supranationalism into new and more politically sensitive areas. It would be nice to think that the BBC understood the implications of these changes and would not regurgiate out-of-date lines about the Commision being a civil service or under the control of governments. In a recent radio broadcast you compared the EU system to forms of government that were used in medieval Europe. You were right to do so. The role of the Commission can be compared to that of the Roman church which was able to use a combination of moral authority and multinational size to become a political power against which individual monarchs found it difficult or impossible to stand. The medieval solution was to establish national churches that were too weak individually to act as a countervailing political power to national leaders. I would suggest that history will repeat itself and that some similar action will be taken to cut down the power of the Commission. Wed 11 Mar 2009 11:30:38 GMT+1 cping500 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=48#comment76 Making the EU work for people has little to do with elections which in fact we have for the European Parliament and indeed Libertas which started in The Republic of Ireland knows that full well since electing the Dial has very little effect on what the citizens get and a lot less than in the UK with its (undemocratic) first past the post system and appointed (for life) House of Lords. What matters in my experience is getting things done In the UK the main way for citizens to do this its to contact their MP, who our (unwritten) constitution must get a responses from the government. In matters of the direct responsibility of the Commission in the UK I have done the same thing with the local MEP, on one occasion with success and on another she was defeated by the complexity of the Commission's bureaucracy. It would help the English translation of some terms was more accurate. president= chair (person), (there are at least three of these) cabinet= office etc We speak UK English not Franglaise! Wed 11 Mar 2009 07:30:40 GMT+1 democracythreat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=47#comment75 oldnat wrote:"#55 Dan6713Congratulations. You may have posted the intellectually least impressive post of all time.""The EU is a single party with NO Competition and NO elections. You can vote in a new MEP as long as its an EU MEP. No opposition parties at all. It's the same as you can vote for three labour candidates. Guess what? Labour will be returned to power everytime.." Every time I vote for a Westminster MP, it has to be a Westminster MP. Every time I vote for a Holyrood constituency MSP, it has to be a Holyrood constituency MSP. Every time I vote for a Holyrood List MSP, it has to be a Holyrood List MSP.Every time I vote for a local councillor, it has to be a local councillor.This is a gross infringement of my democratic freedom. "Careful, Oldnat. You may be stepping into a pile of irony here. After all, what is your democratic freedom?You believe the voting for the labour party is different from voting for the tories, clearly. This is what you call your democratic freedom.Well, what is the difference?Would either party have refused to invade Iraq for "democracy", having failed to find WMD?What is the difference between labour and torry policy on Afghanistan?Which party wants to end the monarchy and form a republic?Would either party have denied the banks the power to send the community to debtors prison, or would both parties have wined and dined with the bankers who made contributions to their campaign funds?Would either party have offered a referendum on the EU?In fact, can you even tell me one single thing that these parties would do differently?Which is for lower taxes?Which is for greater civil liberties?You mock Dan, but I do not see that you have made your point.So you believe you have democratic freedoms. OK. I put it to you that when I was speaking with people in the former soviet union about their former system, some of them believed the elections they had were meaningful.Are those people deluded about their freedoms, or were they correct in saying that the freedom to vote for one of two communist party candidates as a democratic freedom?You ought not mock others when your own position is so fragile.What you call your democratic freedoms, I call your opportunity to be servile to power.I say you have zero democratic freedom, because you have never been, and probably never will be, free to vote on any legislative proposal that affects the law in your land.Indeed, I put it to you that someone who speaks so loudly about democratic freedom, and yet who lives in a monarchy with an upper house full of Lords, is extremely difficult to understand, for an american or a Swiss voter. Wed 11 Mar 2009 04:52:45 GMT+1 oldnat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=47#comment74 #62. At 9:16pm on 10 Mar 2009, Sparklet wrote:57. At 6:49pm on 10 Mar 2009, MaxScepticAbsolutely agree.And you said on BT's blog that you were an independent thinker!Not an iota of difference between you and max?Are you sharing a songsheet? - or simply into posturing? Wed 11 Mar 2009 02:31:26 GMT+1 oldnat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=46#comment73 #57MaxSceptic"I am not in favour of any pan-EUropean party.I want the future direction of the UK to be determined by - and only by - the citizens of the UK."You are entitled to your view.I don't want the future direction of Scotland to be determined by the (other) citizens of the UK - none of your business what we do with our own country. On the other hand, I'm content that certain aspects of Scottish sovereignty be pooled with the rest of Europe, and that direction of those aspects be determined, not by the Governments of the European states, but by the people of Europe.It makes a lot of sense that on European issues we should vote as Europeans. If you don't like that arrangement, then of course feel free to vote for a UK Independence Party (except that a significant chunk of the UK might not want to follow you).Complex thing, politics - once you look to the future instead of the past. Wed 11 Mar 2009 02:28:36 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=45#comment72 I like it the way it is, corrupt, secretive, divided, and weak. Isn't that the way we wish all our adversaries were? Who do these people think they are anyway? The next thing you know, they'll be wanting the EU to do what "the people" want instead of what the leaders want. This dangerous democracy thing is.....is......is.....positively anti-European, that's what it is. Wed 11 Mar 2009 02:27:02 GMT+1 Doctuer_Eiffel http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=45#comment71 If these closet right wingers spoke more about democracy at home they might have more credence.There is no democracy when the main parties are so similar as they are in the British parliament. So more democracy in the EU? More than what? How much more? How?Libertas is just yet more bla bla bla from career politicians.When the real thing comes along we will recognise it it for sure.Let us have more basic democracy at home. That means more votes including ones about illegally invading other countries for no damned good reason. That is the best way of changing the EU.More democracy starts with proportional representation. Wed 11 Mar 2009 02:19:46 GMT+1 oldnat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=44#comment70 #55 Dan6713Congratulations. You may have posted the intellectually least impressive post of all time."The EU is a single party with NO Competition and NO elections. You can vote in a new MEP as long as its an EU MEP. No opposition parties at all. It's the same as you can vote for three labour candidates. Guess what? Labour will be returned to power everytime.."Every time I vote for a Westminster MP, it has to be a Westminster MP. Every time I vote for a Holyrood constituency MSP, it has to be a Holyrood constituency MSP. Every time I vote for a Holyrood List MSP, it has to be a Holyrood List MSP.Every time I vote for a local councillor, it has to be a local councillor.This is a gross infringement of my democratic freedom. When I vote for my councillor, s/he should be randomly elected to some elected body somewhere. Perhaps the Legislative Assembly of Belarus? Wed 11 Mar 2009 02:18:22 GMT+1 HonestBloke http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=43#comment69 @alkenn: "When asked questions from the Audience about transparency of expenses, but Ganley and Matthews were direct and emphatic that it should be front and centre for any candidate and would be for Libertas candidates", you wrote.Ther German press ( [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator] ) and the Danish press ([Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]) have published lists of members who chose to benefit shamelessly from the EP pension fund system. Many British MEPs are members of that fund, on top of their UK fund, paying over 1,000 euros each month from an EP allowance, to see it doubled by the EP. Will the Libertas candidates pledge not to become 'double' members? Wed 11 Mar 2009 00:43:24 GMT+1 dennisjunior1 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=43#comment68 Mark:But how would they bring more democracy to the EU?I think that (Libertas) wants to do things differently following many years of mismanagement in Brussels...i am not accusing anyone of misconduct, just taking a guess-Dennis Junior- Tue 10 Mar 2009 23:35:46 GMT+1 dennisjunior1 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=42#comment67 Mark:LibertasFrom what there website, that you supply in the link...Says in basic words, that they want to bring changes to the political system in Brussels....But with no manifesto unveiled, how do we really know what they stand for? Just, wait and see until the manifesto comes out and we will now what there policies are on issues.....~Dennis Junior~ Tue 10 Mar 2009 23:33:46 GMT+1 -StuartC- http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=42#comment66 @ 58 frenchderek wrote:"Ganley says he wants more democracy in the EU; he also claims he's read the whole of the Lisbon Treaty. Maybe that last claim is what addled his brain? As has already been noted, the Treaty would give more power to the EU Parliament. It would also give more power to national parliaments to intervene in draft EU legislation and (horror!) to require changes."------------------------Actually it seems Mr. Ganley has read the Lisbon Treaty further than most. Far enough, for example, to get to the bit of the article purportedly giving national parliaments 'more power' that says the Commission is not required to act on the views expressed by national parliaments in any 'review' of legislation they are asked to perform.In the highly unlikely event that fourteen national parliaments all vote against their government on the same proposal, within an eight week window, then the Commission merely has to “reconsider”. But not actually change its action at all, if it chooses not to. His quite sensible response was probably: Big deal!Such proposals aim to give the impression of accountability without the reality. They are baubles for disingenuous EU advocates to hold up while the truly anti-democratic measures - such as the expansion of majority voting, permitting whole countries and elected governments to be over-ruled - goes hopefully unnoticed.Why do EU fans insist on trying to take people for fools? Tue 10 Mar 2009 22:52:20 GMT+1 democracythreat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=41#comment65 The EU is not much different from the UK, in terms of how the system works.Both are dominated by two parties. In the UK you have the tories and the "labour" party.In the EU, you have the christian democrats and the social democrats.In both systems, these two parties swap control, control of the budget spending.Google who has been the appointed leader of the EU commission since its' inception, and note which parties they have belonged to.You'd have to admit, although the christian democratic party set up the EU, they have been fair and reasonable about sharing the control of it with the social democrats.The commission job has gone back and forth between these parties like a pendulum. Very fair, don't you think?And after all, both these political parties have the word "democracy" in their name, so clearly they are models of true democratic practice. Tue 10 Mar 2009 22:12:59 GMT+1 democracythreat http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=40#comment64 Dan6713 wrote:"DEMOCRACYEvery five years we choose a party for Government. IE Labour, Tory, Libs."So... if i were to set up a system whereby the ten richest men and women in the country appointed the members of three major parties, and then everyone had to vote for one of them... you'd call that democracy?Hypothetically, I mean. Tue 10 Mar 2009 22:07:39 GMT+1 -StuartC- http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=40#comment63 alkenn @ 49:The flaw that Libertas UK points out - quite rightly - is that the EU has too much power. It advocates taking some back. I like that. It's a step to enhance democracy. But it can hardly be considered pro-EU to aim to dismantle it - to aim to jam its core centralising purpose into reverse."Pro-European" - now that's a different matter. Wanting to improve democracy in Europe, to which the EU is the biggest threat, is a very pro-European ambition. Effective, responsive democracy being key to our continent's future stability and prosperity - far more so than any number of glass palaces in Brussels. But not "pro-EU". I really do think there's a conflict of credibility there.Libertas's 'usp' and potential utility is the pan-European party angle, potentially delivering an increased influence in the European Parliament than any single national party could achieve.But apart from the potential division that may result from apparently conflicting national platforms on which their MEPs may be elected, another big flaw is that it presupposes much of consequence as regards changing the EU's structure can be achieved from the European Parliament.That isn't a problem for Libertas alone, of course. Every party that claims taking up their million-pound EP seats is going to make any sort of fundmental difference faces the same giant question mark. They all have a problem explaining how exactly MEPs are going to achieve reformist ambitions such as repatriation of powers. That would require major treaty changes that are not the dominion of MEPs but of member governments as the European Council.That all said, I'm witholding final judgement until we see the words of the manifesto. Tue 10 Mar 2009 21:27:28 GMT+1 Sparklet http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=39#comment62 58. At 7:28pm on 10 Mar 2009, frenchderek wrote:"OK you may find yourself too remote from your EMP - but surely you can "get at" your own MP if you want to express your views on EU proposals?"Didn't work on the simple matter of a referendum, did it!! Tue 10 Mar 2009 21:19:31 GMT+1 Sparklet http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=38#comment61 57. At 6:49pm on 10 Mar 2009, MaxSceptic Absolutely agree. Tue 10 Mar 2009 21:16:47 GMT+1 Rustigjongens http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=38#comment60 Allow the population of the UK a referendum on europe, that is the democratic thing to do.If the EU is so beneficial than the government has nothing to lose, has it?. Tue 10 Mar 2009 21:00:42 GMT+1 TomNightingale http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=37#comment59 #56 karolina001Aren't your fingertips hurting? You wait 'til you're older (and perhaps wiser). xxx Tue 10 Mar 2009 19:47:12 GMT+1 betuli http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=36#comment58 Let's see... Libertas takes part in European elections and it will be an option in the 27 states and not only in Ireland. It also has a Latin name which reminds the Roman Empire, one of the sources of European civilization... I'm afraid it doesn't suit europhobic minds.As Suffolkboy2 (15) said, it's better to stick with the UKIP, mates. Tue 10 Mar 2009 19:37:44 GMT+1 frenchderek http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2009/03/libertas.html?page=36#comment57 Ganley says he wants more democracy in the EU; he also claims he's read the whole of the Lisbon Treaty. Maybe that last claim is what addled his brain? As has already been noted, the Treaty would give more power to the EU Parliament. It would also give more power to national parliaments to intervene in draft EU legislation and (horror!) to require changes.OK you may find yourself too remote from your EMP - but surely you can "get at" your own MP if you want to express your views on EU proposals?Sorry, I forgot. You're against Lisbon. Tue 10 Mar 2009 19:28:46 GMT+1