catallaxy files

catallaxy in technical exile

Telling the EU where to get off

with 71 comments

The speaker is Nigel Farage. He is the former leader of the UK Independence Party. The wiki describes them as being ‘conservative’ but my understanding is that they are more libertarian.

(HT: Dan Mitchell).

Advertisements

Written by Sinclair Davidson

January 13, 2010 at 9:05 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

71 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. classic. And the hungarian woman seemed to think a vote amongst themselves to install someone in these positions is the same as a general election.

    I don’t know what it is about the EU. Bureaucracy gone mad. If it wasn’t for the fact that France, Germany and the UK generally ignore Brussels and pay lip service when it suits them, the whole edifice would have collapsed under its own pretensions long ago.

    I can understand why the UK thought it was a good idea to join the common market in the sixties, but is it still a good idea today? We are getting well beyond common trading rules.

    entropy

    January 13, 2010 at 9:24 pm

  2. That is awesome. I loved it.
    The European Union is bureaucracy versus democracy.

    daddy dave

    January 13, 2010 at 11:39 pm

  3. I would like to see a lot more Australians grow a pair and tell those who lecture us about our “obligations” to the UN to go and get royally F*****!

    Peter Patton

    January 13, 2010 at 11:50 pm

  4. Oh here here PP.UN scum

    tal

    January 13, 2010 at 11:58 pm

  5. tal

    It’s not even so much the UN, per se, that gets my contempt. It is more the craven Australian pussies who insist we bow to the UN. Over two centuries this country has built itself from nothing into the tolerant, prosperous, virile nation it is today.

    There is no doubt a lot of not-nice stuff has happened along the way, especially and obviously against the Aborigines. Though if you extend the 200 year historical gaze over ANY society there will be lots of black marks.

    Having lived in a number of places around the globe, there was no competition where I wanted to raise my children. So to hear all these limp-wristed twits screaming it is not us Australians our parliament is answerable to but all those inferior jungles in Africa, the former Soviet Union, Latin America, and Islamic world really makes me angry. And that few until recently have been prepared to call the pansies out also infuriated me.

    On the positive side I see a lot more people are telling the Australia-hating sooks where to get off. Let’s hope this is the beginning of a social movement.

    Peter Patton

    January 14, 2010 at 12:10 am

  6. It’s scary when Europe is forgetting/setting aside/comfortably disregarding/ignoring the principles of liberal democracy. Europe is over, it’s time has come and went.

    Michael Sutcliffe

    January 14, 2010 at 12:46 am

  7. “risen without trace”, “bland leading the bland””

    Excellent! Sounds like a description of Rudd.

    Abu Chowdah

    January 14, 2010 at 8:10 am

  8. “It’s scary when Europe is forgetting/setting aside/comfortably disregarding/ignoring the principles of liberal democracy”

    For most of Europe democracy is a very recent thing, so you’ll have to excuse them if they don’t know how it works.

    Infidel Tiger

    January 14, 2010 at 12:12 pm

  9. Infidel Tiger, I get the impression that 20th century Europeans became so accustomed to authoritarian governments largely necessary due to real war and then the Cold War that they have lost the hunger for liberty. Exactly what Hayek predicted.

    Peter Patton

    January 14, 2010 at 12:48 pm

  10. They’re not libertarian, they’re English nativists. Bigoted reactionaries.

    And widely regarded in the UK as absolute nutcases. Some examples from his speech:-

    “Herman van Rompuy, doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue” 1:10

    Insulting foreigners about the pronunciation of their names is a bit 18th century don’t you think? Certainly not classy, and what possible relevance is it.

    “we need our bums felt” 4:15

    So homophobia is still a selection criteria for public office?

    And shorn of the abuse, what is his point? That the selection process for EU Foreign Affairs Minister positions in the EU is flawed. So friggin’ what. He’s a member of that institution. I might as well be a House of Reps member complaining that the way we select the Prime Minister is wrong.

    If I really believed that I should be in the hills with a gun. And that’s where the UIP would very much like to be.

    They don’t deserve house room.

    JM

    January 14, 2010 at 11:20 pm

  11. That the selection process for EU Foreign Affairs Minister positions in the EU is flawed. So friggin’ what.

    Yeah, who needs a democratically elected government accountable to the people? That’s soooo twentieth century!

    Michael Sutcliffe

    January 14, 2010 at 11:26 pm

  12. IT: “For most of Europe democracy is a very recent thing,”

    Would you care to justify that statement?

    The French Revolution occurred in the late 18thC and Napoleon spread it across most of Europe – which is why all those countries have the Napoleonic Code (or Code Civil) as the basis of their legal systems (and also why there are so many tricolors amongst the flags of Europe).

    That’s over 200 years ago, and it’s pretty much “most” of the countries of Europe as well.

    The Americans might have beat the French on the clock to democracy, but the French helped them to succeed. Google Tom Paine.

    JM

    January 14, 2010 at 11:30 pm

  13. Michael, the European Parliament is directly elected by the people of Europe. A lot like the Australian Parliament.

    The executive reports to the European Parliament and is responsible to it. Much like the Australian executive (ie. cabinet)

    And the UK executive. I don’t see any differences worth getting excited about myself. And the nutcase is just demonstrating that he’s a nutcase.

    JM

    January 14, 2010 at 11:36 pm

  14. Better still, read Tom Paine “Common Sense”

    JM

    January 14, 2010 at 11:46 pm

  15. “That’s over 200 years ago, and it’s pretty much “most” of the countries of Europe as well.”

    “Google Tom Paine.”

    Google “Warsaw Pact”.

    Semi Regular Libertarian

    January 14, 2010 at 11:47 pm

  16. Michael, the European Parliament is directly elected by the people of Europe. A lot like the Australian Parliament.

    Is the new position of ‘High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy’ that he’s referring to and elected representative, because he’s quite obviously claiming she isn’t elected?

    Michael Sutcliffe

    January 14, 2010 at 11:47 pm

  17. I can’t believe some smug prick thinks other educated adults don’t know who Napoleon was, what he did, then decides to talk down to them.

    Do you understand why you get a total lack of respect here, JM?

    Semi Regular Libertarian

    January 14, 2010 at 11:49 pm

  18. Michael, is the PM (or more pertinently the Foreign Minister) of Australia elected to the position? Directly?

    SRL, a substantive response would be good.

    JM

    January 15, 2010 at 2:17 am

  19. Michael, is the PM (or more pertinently the Foreign Minister) of Australia elected to the position? Directly?

    It’s the levels of bureaucracy that are moving the people further and further away from the political process and undermining accountability and democracy. No, the PM is not directly elected, but he is elected. Would the people of Australia tolerate an unelected PM, appointed by a committee of people of whom they did elect? I don’t think so. Ditto Foreign Minister.

    But at the end of the day, this system isn’t necessarily unworkable, so maybe it is OK. But, as that fellow said, to uphold the tenets of democracy that we should be holding so dear, it should be put to referendum. If you don’t do this it can’t be OK because it’s not really democratic.

    Michael Sutcliffe

    January 15, 2010 at 2:35 am

  20. “Would the people of Australia tolerate an unelected PM, appointed by a committee of people of whom they did elect? ”

    Taking the current case, isn’t the ALP caucus a “committee of people whom they did elect”?

    And previously, isn’t the Coalition party room a “committee of people whom they did elect”?

    If so, then the Australian people have tolerated it since 1901, wouldn’t you agree?

    JM

    January 15, 2010 at 2:40 am

  21. The people held to account, the people acting in an official capacity, the people who’s signature must go on the law regardless of what influences they have, are elected officials. Would you really accept this any other way?

    You could say the same thing about public servants, but so what? The one who answers to the public is the elected official.

    Michael Sutcliffe

    January 15, 2010 at 2:49 am

  22. Another point – with the appropriate democratic controls in place, things like caucuses and party rooms enhance the democratic process. If you weaken the democratic checks and balances, as the EU has done, things like caucuses and party rooms become an arena for cronyism and tribalistic grabs for power.

    Michael Sutcliffe

    January 15, 2010 at 2:53 am

  23. Oh and Michael I forgot to mention the subsidiarity principle which was established by the Maastricht Treaty (the thing that got this turkey going on his ratbag career) which holds that:-

    Subsidiarity is an organizing principle that matters ought to be handled by the smallest, lowest or least centralized competent authority having its origin in Catholic Social Teaching.

    Which is quite opposite to your accusation of layers of “of bureaucracy that are moving the people further and further away from the political process ”

    People like Farage like to pretend that the processes of the EU remove people from the equation, but the very structure they condemn is designed to do the opposite. Those processes do the very thing they demand.

    At best, they’re just cheap populists.

    JM

    January 15, 2010 at 2:58 am

  24. One more – the cronyism and power grabbing gets monopolised by a bunch of people who intend to manipulate this for their own benefit, creating the ‘political class’ he refers to, who, needless to say, make their own lives very comfortable. But even more concerning, the establishment of a central core of the politcal class, eliminates this diversity and parliament and lets this class keep power by keeping every single other group on the fringes.

    Michael Sutcliffe

    January 15, 2010 at 3:02 am

  25. Do you see the decentralisation of power anywhere in Europe today? In any particular country? Does the European Parliament in any way seek to empower it’s member states, or declare that it should only concern itself with a limited number of key issues and everything else should be dissolved lower? Do you see the subsidiarity principle occuring anywhere in Europe?

    Michael Sutcliffe

    January 15, 2010 at 3:06 am

  26. “Do you see the subsidiarity principle occuring anywhere in Europe?”

    Yes. The legal systems require that decisions of courts are made at the lowest possible level. And they do that.

    (I’ll accept counter-examples from you, but that’s the way European law works in general.)

    JM

    January 15, 2010 at 3:11 am

  27. That’s a principle of any legal system. No court attempts to elevate a decision to the highest court in the land before the lower courts have made a call, and it’s decided that there is a further case to be answered, otherwise the whole thing would fall apart. And I agree that the highest court should be whatever court it is of European Union, just as the Supreme Court of the US should handle certain issues.

    I’m talking about a decentralisation of power like the US Tenth Amendment. That’s a parliament that is limiting itself to those laws embodying values that are universal to it’s member states.

    Michael Sutcliffe

    January 15, 2010 at 3:20 am

  28. They’re not libertarian, they’re English nativists. Bigoted reactionaries.

    Speaking of bigots, aren’t you the guy who suggested that Hamas were a legitimate organisation, in spite of their record of anti-Jewish exterminationism? Maybe I have the wrong “JM”.

    Michael Fisk

    January 15, 2010 at 3:31 am

  29. You stupid git JM. We have Parliamentary Government and everyone knows that. We have an elected Senate and most senior Ministers sit in the House and the leadership cadre has to do so by convention. Stop playing dumb. Recent elections are semi-Presidential in character. You play dumb like this and have the gall to tell us (among regular commenters, there is a history post grad) who frigging Napoleon Bonaparte was?

    Baroness Ashton was a political appointee to the House of Lords, her Cabinet position and her EU position. Her background and credentials are simply not fitting for an unelected stooge in charge of defence policy. She is not a fit and proper person.

    Yes, that is the system and politics they live under. However they oppose such patronage and anti democratic rule.

    That is why UKIP oppose the way the UK and EU are run.

    Semi Regular Libertarian

    January 15, 2010 at 9:10 am

  30. SRL: “That is why UKIP oppose the way the UK and EU are run.”

    They don’t oppose the way the UK is run, only the EU. Their primary objective is withdrawal of the UK from the EU. They have no problem with unelected representatives in the House of Lords, but have attacks of the vapours when the same representatives turn up in the EU executive – where they are subject to democratic sanction through the European Parliament. Bit double standard or exceptionalist or incoherent wouldn’t you think?

    They are perfectly happy with such patronage when it occurs in the House of Lords (on any other place where they like the outcome). Anti-democratic rule is fine when they approve of it, but when the Baroness enters the EU and becomes subject to more democratic processes they oppose it? Their position is incoherent.

    Michael, we rehearsed the middle east question a couple of years ago where I think it was established to most peoples satisfaction that I’m not an anti-semite (which I’m not), so I don’t see any point in bringing that debate into this.

    JM

    January 15, 2010 at 6:03 pm

  31. Michael, just the make the point again, the Europeans decentralize to the point of obsession as a result of subsidarity.

    If you’re going to claim that they centralize then you’re making the same incoherent claim that Farage is:- the Kissinger (“When I talk to Europe, who do I call”) on the one hand, and some unelected, absolutist authority riding roughshod over everything on the other.

    Germany, France and the UK have not devolved their budgets to the EU, they reserve it to themselves as they do other things such as law enforcement and defense. Is there a Europe-wide police force? No. Is there a European army? No.

    JM

    January 15, 2010 at 6:17 pm

  32. “the Europeans decentralize to the point of obsession as a result of subsidarity.”

    Rather than pointing to a principle, you might care to point to some substantive efforts to ‘de-centralize’ (one should note that the principle is only applied where it is believed ‘the Community’ lacks exclusive competence; this grows smaller by the day). But, and moreover, what is the point of the EU if its engaging in de-centralization? Europe was ‘de-centralized’ before the creation of ‘the Community’; that’s what nation-states where. The EU, in fact, wishes to usurp powers or competencies that were more or less effectively exercised by nation-states by encouraging a ‘common’ policy in defense, energy, fisheries, etc.

    “Anti-democratic rule is fine when they approve of it, but when the Baroness enters the EU and becomes subject to more democratic processes they oppose it? Their position is incoherent.”

    Actually, it is your position that is incoherent. Correct me if I’m wrong but no Minister actually serves in the House of Lords; they actually sit in the House of Commons and thus are elected members. In other words, the UK Parliament is, unsurprisingly, more democratic than the EU. Here, Farage is criticizing someone who has been elected to no office being appointed to a Ministerial position in the EU. His point is coherent to the point of being tedious.

    dover_beach

    January 15, 2010 at 7:33 pm

  33. Michael, we rehearsed the middle east question a couple of years ago where I think it was established to most peoples satisfaction that I’m not an anti-semite (which I’m not), so I don’t see any point in bringing that debate into this.

    But JM, you have repeatedly demanded that Israel recognise Hamas as a legitimate body, despite the latter’s record of exterminationism and mass murder. In contrast, you have called UKIP, who have neither killed nobody nor advocated any killing, a “reactionary” organisation of “bigots”. The contradiction between your water-carrying for Hamas – whom you have not once condemned – and your extreme attacks on UKIP, needs to be explained.

    Michael Fisk

    January 15, 2010 at 7:49 pm

  34. sorry that should read “neither killed anybody”

    Michael Fisk

    January 15, 2010 at 7:50 pm

  35. DB, you’re wrong (my bold):-

    H.M. Ministers, and especially Cabinet Ministers, are selected primarily from the elected members of House of Commons, but also from the House of Lords, by the Prime Minister.

    Current membership of the cabinet includes:-

    * First Secretary of State, Lord President of the Council Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills: The Rt Hon The Lord Mandelson PC

    – That’s Peter Mandelson, aka “The Prince of Darkness”, to you

    * Leader of the House of Lords, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster: The Rt Hon The Baroness Royall of Blaisdon PC

    * Secretary of State for Transport: The Rt Hon The Lord Adonis PC

    JM

    January 15, 2010 at 8:16 pm

  36. I wonder how Hamas selects its ministers. Do they need to be elected to any assembly, or just demonstate a proficiency in Jew-killing?

    Michael Fisk

    January 15, 2010 at 8:18 pm

  37. Michael I’m not getting involved in a debate premised on a false equivalence. The people the UKIP represents, and seeks to represent, are in no way as disenfranchised, marginalized or physically attacked as the Palestinians. Ok?

    JM

    January 15, 2010 at 8:34 pm

  38. The shorter JM: exterminating the Jews is OK so long as working class does it.

    So I guess the Nazi Party, which drew most of its votes from the lower-middle class, gets a pass then!

    Michael Fisk

    January 15, 2010 at 8:40 pm

  39. dover, the other thing is that the EU is deliberately constructed to

    a.) devolve power to the lowest possible level (subsidarity)
    b.) harmonise laws and structures across the union (“more perfect union”)

    You’re conflating the two. You’re also making an incoherent complaint. Either the EU is an overblown beauracracy that is completely ineffective; or it is a totalitarian centralized behemoth.

    Your choice?

    JM

    January 15, 2010 at 8:41 pm

  40. Michael, that is seriously beneath you, and not worthy of a response.

    JM

    January 15, 2010 at 8:42 pm

  41. Classic! Having taken my bait over Hamas, you have now made my point for me – you explicitly state that Hamas (a bunch of Jew-killing, gay-murdering criminals) are a more legimate organisation than a peaceful political party in a developed democracy.

    Michael Fisk

    January 15, 2010 at 8:44 pm

  42. Different country, different context. As I said I’m not entering into to it.

    And if your only purpose is just to bait me, I’m definitely not participating.

    JM

    January 15, 2010 at 8:46 pm

  43. JM you’re getting your arse kicked on the Palestinian stuff. No wonder you’re refusing to participate.
    .
    but, while we’re on the topic, your apology for genocidal mass-murderers on the grounds that they are “disenfranchised” is astounding.

    daddy dave

    January 15, 2010 at 8:51 pm

  44. I stand corrected, but considering the number of Ministers that are not elected amounts to less than 10% of the UK Cabinet it hardly matters. It certainly doesn’t suggest as you said that the EU is more democratic than the UK Parliament.

    dover_beach

    January 15, 2010 at 8:52 pm

  45. Different country, different context.

    JM, the problem you seem to have is not anti-semitism (which I have never accused you of anyway), but that you keep advocating morally bankrupt causes. It is this refusal to apply the very basics of morality that has brought you to the ridiculous position of maintaining that Hamas are a more legitimate body than UKIP.

    You aren’t the only one around here with this issue – see Homer, whose penchant for Nazi economics has prompted him to argue that the Nuremberg Laws were “nothing of note”, for instance – but it’s very troubling.

    Michael Fisk

    January 15, 2010 at 9:00 pm

  46. dover, read what I said. I didn’t say that the EU was more democratic that the UK. I said they were quite similar. I said that the UKIP could hardly complain that members of the EU executive were unaccountable, when those same members have the same relationship to the EU Parliament as they do to the UK Parliament if they want to assert on the other hand that members of the House of Lords have a valid role – which they do, loudly and frequently.

    Watch the clip again. That’s exactly what the nutcase says. He says that the Baroness has not been elected to public office but is now the EU Foreign Minister.

    Lord Mandelson anyone? What’s the difference?

    The fact that they try to mount such a ludicrous argument exposes that they are simply “Little Englanders”, in this case abusive Little Englanders.

    Dave, you’re being ridiculous. Palestinians can’t vote in Israel and are variously under occupation (West Bank) or trapped in a ghetto (Gaza).

    JM

    January 15, 2010 at 9:05 pm

  47. Michael, if you’re losing an argument, the Holocaust is not all-purpose cover. And using it like that is obscene.

    JM

    January 15, 2010 at 9:06 pm

  48. “dover, the other thing is that the EU is deliberately constructed to

    a.) devolve power to the lowest possible level (subsidarity)”

    Nonsense, as I said, they were already ‘devolved’ prior to its creation, and subsidiarity only applies where ‘the Community’ lacks exclusive competence (an increasingly shrinking field). You’re next going to argue that Federation was a step in the decentralization of Australian governance.

    “You’re conflating the two. You’re also making an incoherent complaint. Either the EU is an overblown beauracracy that is completely ineffective; or it is a totalitarian centralized behemoth.”

    You’re putting words in my mouth as usual; for one thing I haven’t said anything about its effectiveness or bureaucracy or totalitarianism. But to return to whatever point it is you’re making, firstly, subsidiarity applies only to areas where the EU lacks exclusive competence; moreover we do not see a devolution of authority in the EU but the centralization of authority in the central organs of the EU. Secondly, harmonization precisely contradicts the principle of subsidiarity since harmonization cannot obtain where laws, regulations, etc. are made, amended or repealed local, regionally or nationally. What we see in Europe increasingly is the EU set the direction of policy regionally and nationally, while national bureaucracies execute the directions of the EU.

    dover_beach

    January 15, 2010 at 9:09 pm

  49. Actually, I wouldn’t have intervened in this debate had you not used inflammatory language to describe UKIP (“reactionary” “bigots”), prompting me to draw an unfavourable contrast with your previous inability to condemn Hamas. You still refuse to condemn Hamas, and I must attribute this to moral blindness.

    Michael Fisk

    January 15, 2010 at 9:09 pm

  50. Palestinians can’t vote in Israel
    .
    That’s no excuse for genocide. But anyway, why would they vote in Israel when they don’t live there?
    Regardless, there’s No Excuse For Genocide. (except for being disenfranchised. then it’s okay)

    daddy dave

    January 15, 2010 at 9:10 pm

  51. Dave, Michael:-

    Godwin’s law – the first to introduce Nazi’s in a debate loses.

    Corollary to Godwin’s law – the first to introduce the Holocaust in a debate loses.

    Give it up guys.

    JM

    January 15, 2010 at 9:15 pm

  52. JM before:

    They are perfectly happy with such patronage when it occurs in the House of Lords (on any other place where they like the outcome). Anti-democratic rule is fine when they approve of it, but when the Baroness enters the EU and becomes subject to more democratic processes they oppose it?

    JM now:

    dover, read what I said. I didn’t say that the EU was more democratic that the UK. I said they were quite similar.

    Whom to believe?

    dover_beach

    January 15, 2010 at 9:17 pm

  53. Dover, your application of “exclusive competence” completely misrepresents the meaning of the phrase.

    Here’s the Treaty of Nice (ie. the current) version:-

    In areas which do not fall within its exclusive competence, the Community shall take action, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, only if and in so far as the objectives of the proposed action cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States and can therefore, by reason of the scale or effects of the proposed action, be better achieved by the Community.

    Far from your representation subsidiarity applies only to areas where the EU lacks exclusive competence; , the opposite applies.

    Subsidiarity means that the EU can only take action where the member states cannot act alone and/or separately. In all other cases local structures apply.

    Exclusive competence therefore applies to areas where member states have no competence whatsoever. Such as the functioning of exclusively EU bodies. Which can only exist with the agreement of the member states and under the auspices of the treaties they’ve signed.

    JM

    January 15, 2010 at 9:26 pm

  54. dover, if you’re going to hair split the obvious, let me respond this way.

    The Baroness as a member of the Lords has a vote, but is not elected, and is not subject to democratic sanction until she becomes a member of the UK executive (because she would have to be selected by the democratically elected PM).

    The Baroness as a member of the Lords has a vote (in the UK) but is not elected and is not subject to democratic sanction until she becomes the EU Foreign Minister at which time she becomes accountable to the democratically elected EU Parliament

    In the first case, she is twice removed from direct election, in the second only once.

    But really, there’s not enough difference to worry about.

    Why the UKIP are happy with the first and not the second – which is objectively better – is beyond me. Maybe they’re just nutters?

    JM

    January 15, 2010 at 9:34 pm

  55. Godwin’s law – the first to introduce Nazi’s in a debate loses
    .
    um… Nazis? holocaust?
    I didn’t introduce Nazis or the holocaust; I was commenting on your support for genocidal Palestinian organisations such as Hamas.
    Besides that, Godwin’s Law is a grad-student joke. It’s not an actual law!

    daddy dave

    January 15, 2010 at 9:39 pm

  56. JM, I didn’t introduce the Holocaust to this debate until after you had made this comment –

    The people the UKIP represents, and seeks to represent, are in no way as disenfranchised, marginalized or physically attacked as the Palestinians. Ok?

    – which was clearly an attempt to excuse an avowed exterminationist political party, Hamas, on the grounds of socio-economic disadvantage; one could just as easily make excuses for the Khmer Rouge on precisely these grounds. Any comment of that order of moral bankruptcy must be replied to in the harshest terms.

    Michael Fisk

    January 15, 2010 at 11:02 pm

  57. Michael you can’t be serious.

    At 3:31 you said: ” aren’t you the guy who suggested that Hamas were a legitimate organisation, in spite of their record of anti-Jewish exterminationism? ”

    At 8:18 you said: “I wonder how Hamas selects its ministers. Do they need to be elected to any assembly, or just demonstate a proficiency in Jew-killing?”

    (and various other associations you’ve tried to establish, I don’t feel like listing them further)

    Anybody following this can see your attempt to introduce a completely different issue into this thread and try to establish a relationship between my comments on the the political structure of the EU, the well-known beliefs of the UKIP and to equate my views to genocide, atrocity and murder.

    Give it a miss, it’s tiresome.

    JM

    January 16, 2010 at 12:28 am

  58. The Baroness as a member of the Lords has a vote, but is not elected, and is not subject to democratic sanction until she becomes a member of the UK executive (because she would have to be selected by the democratically elected PM).

    The Baroness as a member of the Lords has a vote (in the UK) but is not elected and is not subject to democratic sanction until she becomes the EU Foreign Minister at which time she becomes accountable to the democratically elected EU Parliament

    Both of these approaches to appointing politicians are flawed and no longer are appropriate for open and transparent democracy. Peerage is an idea past its time. The move to eliminating hereditary peerage was progressive and makes for a functioning system, but that doesn’t make it particularly enlightened in the current day. The monarchy as head of state with appropriate checks and balances has proven to be a functioning system, and I’m sure the model that some socialists would prefer would be worse, but moving forward I don’t think we should be looking to the monarchy. So, in short, her credibility as part of the legislative body in Westminster is not at the same level as someone who was elected, as she was appointed through the influence of people of similar political persuasion, admittedly elected ones, but it was to further their agenda more than the agenda of the people, especially when you consider the upper house’s role in terms of legislative review. Furthermore, you can also see here that peerage leads to the creation of a political class who have a significant level of insulation between themselves and those who they are supposed to represent.

    With regards to her position as EU Foreign Minister, or whatever her title actually is, she is accountable to the elected EU parliament and they’re the ones who ultimately vote on the legislation. So she is a member of the executive branch and not the legislative. That’s fair enough, but then she’s a public servant and not a minister. She shouldn’t be a member of the EU parliament and she shouldn’t have that misleading title. However, the truth is as a member of the political class she leverages off that title, and the fact she prepares the draft legislation for vote, to extend her own power and sphere of political influence into an area that should only be occupied by an elected member.

    Furthermore, she does all this with the support of the elected members with only a few people around the fringes pointing it out while the rest of the parliament disregards them. This is a significant flaw and Independence Party guy is right to point this out. It is not a minor issue and any legitimate parliament should always making sure it is accountable to the people, but I don’t see too may concerns in the EU parliament in this regard.

    Michael Sutcliffe

    January 16, 2010 at 3:31 am

  59. “Dover, your application of “exclusive competence” completely misrepresents the meaning of the phrase

    JM, no, you will find that my statement, “subsidiarity applies only to areas where the EU lacks exclusive competence” is in complete agreement with the Treaty of Nice, “In areas which do not fall within [the EU’s] exclusive competence, the Community shall take action, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, only if and in so far as the objectives of the proposed action cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States and can therefore, by reason of the scale or effects of the proposed action, be better achieved by the Community.”

    “dover, if you’re going to hair split the obvious, let me respond this way.”

    No, I’m not hair-splitting; you suggested that the EU was “more democratic” than the UK Parliament only to later retreat by suggesting that they were only similar all the while arguing that your retreat was no retreat at all.

    dover_beach

    January 16, 2010 at 1:29 pm

  60. Anybody following this can see your attempt to introduce a completely different issue into this thread and try to establish a relationship between my comments on the the political structure of the EU, the well-known beliefs of the UKIP and to equate my views to genocide, atrocity and murder.

    JM, I haven’t “equated” your views to genocide. But you are on record as arguing for the political legitimacy of Hamas (an exterminationist outlaw organisation) while at denying this same legitimacy to a peaceful political party, UKIP, against whom you used inflammatory political epithets such as “bigot” or “reactionary”. Not only have you not addressed this contradiction adequately, you have actually gone further in making explicit what we previously only suspected of you – which is that you support Hamas on the moral grounds that they are the vanguard of oppressed people in Gaza. This is a morally bankrupt position that essentially excuses homocide so long as the perpetrator is of below average means.

    Michael Fisk

    January 16, 2010 at 7:41 pm

  61. Michael I’m not going to address your points about Hamas because they are irrelevant to this discussion, and nothing more than a bogus red herring raised by you when you started losing the argument. Also the conflation you’re trying to make – that since you don’t like my views on one issue, you’re automatically entitled to disregard and disparage my views on anything else – is intellectually lazy.

    As to the UKIP, let me quote David Cameron, Leader of the Conservative Party, in April 2009

    “[they’re] fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists”.

    I think I’m in pretty respectable company in holding my opinion.

    Now if there’s a point hiding somewhere in your long comment at 3:31 I think it’s that Ministers in executive government shouldn’t come from a pool of unelected members.

    In which case, I reiterate my question to the UKIP (and you) – why don’t you object to the UK system then, which has exactly the same feature? There are currently 3 cabinet members who are from the House of Lords and unelected.

    Further, what about the UKIP itself? It’s current UK parliamentary membership – all 2 members – are both in the Lords and both unelected. One of them – David Verney – is a hereditary peer FFS.

    If the UKIP were to find itself in a coalition after a tight election, would they refuse cabinet positions for one or both of their only parliamentarians?

    I don’t think so.

    Fruitcakes and loonies. I’m with David Cameron on this one.

    JM

    January 16, 2010 at 10:16 pm

  62. Dover, you were misrepresenting the phrase “exclusive competence”.

    You original statement was: “the principle is only applied where it is believed ‘the Community’ lacks exclusive competence; this grows smaller by the day”

    The Treaty of Nice is clearly saying that

    a.) The EU can act alone in areas of its exclusive competence (eg. it’s own procedures)

    b.) If it acts at all outside that area – ie. in areas where other governments have responsibilities (‘competence’) – it can only do so within the restrictions of:

    (i) that its actions accord with subsiduarity, ie authority is devolved to the responsible layer of government

    (ii) the actions it undertakes cannot be achieved without the involvement of the EU which should harmonize and coordinate action.

    Otherwise it can’t act at all.

    Your interpretation completely rewrites this and turns the EU into an overweening authoritarian superstate.

    Which it isn’t.

    JM

    January 16, 2010 at 10:51 pm

  63. And Michael: ” and the fact she prepares the draft legislation for vote,”

    This is wrong. While the European Commission – of which she is part – can propose legislation, in the area of the Common Security and Foreign Policy, which she is responsible for promoting and running, it is not allowed to.

    She has no legislative responsibility.

    Rather she represents Europe’s security and foreign policies to the world. As agreed by the European Council (ie. the governments of Europe).

    JM

    January 16, 2010 at 11:33 pm

  64. JM, I’m not misrepresenting anything. I understand the meaning of exclusive competence and the operation of the principle of subsidiarity (a principle which I in fact have no problem with).

    “Your interpretation completely rewrites this and turns the EU into an overweening authoritarian superstate.”

    Nonsense. My interpretation simply acknowledges that the EU’s authority is increasing and that this is occurring at the expense of the authority of national jurisdictions. That is simply undeniable.

    dover_beach

    January 17, 2010 at 8:22 am

  65. dover, can you point to an increase in the EU’s exclusive competence since introduction of the Euro over 10 years ago?

    JM

    January 17, 2010 at 9:26 pm

  66. Started losing what argument, JM? The only argument I’ve entered has been the one over your support for Hamas.

    By the way, your latest opinion of UKIP:

    Fruitcakes and loonies.

    That’s still stronger criticism than you’ve ever offered of Hamas. Odd, isn’t it?

    Michael Fisk

    January 18, 2010 at 11:05 am

  67. “dover, can you point to an increase in the EU’s exclusive competence since introduction of the Euro over 10 years ago?”

    Look at the areas of policy that the EU has exclusive competence and where it has shared competency (EU policy trumping the policy of Member states) according to the Treaty of Lisbon:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Lisbon#Defined_policy_areas

    That you want to present this as a tale of devolution is as mind-boggling as it is Orwellian.

    dover_beach

    January 18, 2010 at 11:38 am

  68. Shared competency is where subsidarity applies is it not?

    And the areas of exclusive competency have not been expanded since the introduction of the Euro in 1998 (and the competency was actually established years earlier during the run up)

    JM

    January 18, 2010 at 8:17 pm

  69. “Shared competency is where subsidarity applies is it not?”

    JM, so far as shared competencies is concerned:

    Member States cannot exercise competence in areas where the Union has done so.

    The EU has exercised powers in the following areas more fully in the last 10 years:

    * the internal market
    * social policy, for the aspects defined in this Treaty
    * economic, social and territorial cohesion
    * agriculture and fisheries, excluding the conservation of marine biological resources
    * environment
    * consumer protection
    * transport
    * trans-European networks
    * energy
    * the area of freedom, security and justice
    * common safety concerns in public health matters, for the aspects defined in this Treaty

    To the extent that the EU seeks to engage in policy in any of the above areas it can be said to have de facto exclusive competence.

    The jig is up, JM.

    dover_beach

    January 19, 2010 at 12:49 pm

  70. JH

    Brussels at one stage told UK shop keepers to stop selling in imperial weights or risk a fine/jail or both.

    Are you kidding those fuckers aren’t interventionist where they shouldn’t be?

    jc

    January 19, 2010 at 12:52 pm

  71. I’m not sure how much choice Europe had really, in terms of greatly diminished diplomatic, trade, and military clout since WWI. Still, the EU represents a great loss of liberty by the Europeans, no matter how you define liberty. In fact, there is little and declining political liberalism in Europe as political decisions are increasingly lost to the gnomes in Brussels and Strasbourg.

    By removing political decision-making one step further away both geographically and in accountability, individual Brits, French, Italians, Spaniards, Swedes, etc. increasingly have little connection with these supranational political assemblies and bureaucracies, who in turn have little fear of being accountable to local constituencies.

    The European citizenry’s loss of political liberty of course weaves into a decline in economic liberty as a leviathan of red-tape – again concocted by the gnomes of Brussels and Strasbourg – restricts the flow of property and the nature of contractual relations.

    On the international stage, even as a bloc they are increasingly ignored. With the rise of BRIC, expect to hear even less from them, except when we go skiing. 😉

    Peter Patton

    January 19, 2010 at 1:02 pm


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: