Category Archive: David’s Musings

2014
09/18

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David's Musings

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What a tangle web we weave…..

…..when first we practice to deceive.

Fraser Nelson, writing on the respective campaigns by both sides in the Scottish Referendum:

It [yes] has outmaneuvered, outsmarted and generally befuddled the three main Westminster parties who spent so long worrying about their positioning, relative to each other, that they forgot about voters.

So what, exactly, is new? Since when have politicians actually cared about those that elect them (except come election time), instead expending all their energy in ‘point scoring’ and attempting to outflank their opposite number(s) – both with the same objective, namely retaining power? Besides toeing the party line, politicians are fond of invoking Burke’s Law, voting as their conscience dictates but are not both examples forgetting about the wishes/views of their voters – assuming of course; they had taken the time and trouble to gauge said wishes/views ? Just where is the representation that politicians frequently state is the reason for their presence in the House of Commons?

A comment was seen today on twitter from the Scottish National Party Member of Parliament for Perth and North Perthshire welcoming the 16 and 17 year-old first time voters and stating that they will do his nation proud. This begs the question that if Scottish adults do not fully understand – dare one use the word ‘intricacies’? – the ‘intricacies’ of ‘independence’  (nay, even democracy) – just what will wet-behind-the-ears teenagers understand? That the average member of the electorate appears not to understand said intricacies is evident from their comments reported in the media and those on twitter.

Politicians on both sides are equally guilty of being economical with the actualite, – ie being economical with the facts. On Salmond and his belief that EU membership for Scotland is a piece of cake, then an article by Bruno Waterfield today dispels that notion – unfortunately too late to have any impact on voter’s knowledge. The Troika (Cameron, Miliband & Clegg) have equally been guilty with their stated wish to devolve more power to Scotland – said devolution will be ‘carefully managed’ if one reads between the lines.

What I suppose amounts to an editorial in the Speccie makes some important observations. The No campaign was fronted by Labour (no doubt through collusion between the leaders of what are called the three main parties – although that is a personal belief), yet Labour has found itself just as reviled as the Conservatives. If my belief is correct, what price democracy (leaving to one side how democracy is ‘delivered’) when three people can decide on how a nation is to be saved – and completely bugger up the operation to the detriment of those being asked to make the final decision? When all politicians – and I repeat the word ‘all’ as I would hate any one politician to feel excluded – do not tell the truth and thereby lie purely to preserve their position and status, then is it any wonder the electorate is confused and thus may well decide on a course of action they might later live to regret?

The Speccie editorial to which I link mentions ‘rage’ that the electorate feel against the political class; that ‘rage’ having been created by a slow process of conditioning us not to think, to accept all that we read and hear in the media; and for those of younger years what they have been ‘taught’ at school – in other words we have been slowly brainwashed.

The thought occurred to me just how far must things progress before that ‘rage’ about which the Speccie writes makes people start to question that which they are told, that a ‘lightbulb moment’ comes whereby they suddenly decide to question that which they are told and begin the process of  ‘finding out for themselves’?

One can but hope that the electorate of the United Kingdom ‘wake up’ to what is happening to them (not just ‘matters’ Scotland, but also ‘matters EU’ and ‘matters politics’) before they too resemble the captives of ISIS who desperately and forlornly say and do anything to negate what they know is their impending death – because if the people don’t, then their impending death (their power to reason, their power to live their lives as they wish) looms immediate.

 

 


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2014
09/17

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David's Musings

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Big mouths gasping for the air they cannot breathe

Gordon_Brownts_170914

This picture of Gordon Brown epitomizes our political class:

  • they all have big mouths’, enabling them to;
  • gasp for the ‘air of democracy’ they are unable to breathe, so;
  • they must eventually ‘die’, because;
  • political asphyxiation is akin to sexual asphyxiation: it brings benefit to one but not to others.

The only question for us to decide is how many of us must die before they do.

Just another thought……………………………….

 

 

 

 

 


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2014
09/17

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David's Musings

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Praise be to the Lord – or, on second thoughts, maybe not.

At last all the verbiage about Scottish devolution, including the hollow words about democracy from those with not the slightest understanding of the word, can come to an end – tomorrow is ‘R’ Day. Until that is, the result is known – and then we will no doubt have to endure the same thing all over again; for months if not years.

What may be termed a perverse sense of humour by some has engulfed me, watching on a daily basis one group of politicians fighting desperately to retain the power they have – and failing dismally – and another group fighting equally as desperately to grab the power the former are virtually handing them on a plate, accompanied by a blank cheque signed by the English, Welsh and Northern Ireland taxpayer. The entire affair can best be termed a tragic-comedy, one with many script writers.

The one question that Alex Salmond does not seem to have asked – at least I have not seen any reports that he has – is this: If Scotland is now being offered so many ‘goodies’ in order to keep them in the Union, why were they not offered in the first place – after all, devolution is devolution is it not?

But then, it was never intended to be ‘real’ devolution was it? How can it have been when it is still based on representative democracy – and ‘real’ devolution can never happen in such a system when that system depends on central control. 

The tragic aspect of this is that the Scottish people, in their haste to caste off the yoke of Westminster, have not yet realized all they have done is to reject one yoke only to have burdened themselves with a similar one – albeit one homegrown. One could say that as some Eurosceptics have fallen into line behind the Hannan the Judas Goat, so some Scots have fallen into line behind the Salmond the Judas Groat.

Robert A. Heinlein is reputed to have said that one should never underestimate human stupidity. Edmund Burke reputedly said that the greater the power, the more dangerous the abuse.  In the event of either a ‘Yes or a ‘No’ vote by the Scots we can put the two together and add another reputed statement, namely, forgive them for they know not what they do.

If the Scottish people really want independence, not so much for their country but for themselves, they should seek out a town in the North of England – not that far from the Scots border – that has an agenda all of its own. That agenda would give them the means to control those that wish to ‘lord it over them’; be they English or Scot, Welsh or Northern Irish.

Just saying………………………………………

 


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2014
09/14

Category:
David's Musings

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Graham Watson – ex MEP

Courtesy of @Calling England I am directed to two websites in respect of Graham Watson ex-MEP, one here; and the other here. This individual is no longer an MEP having lost his seat at the European Elections in May this year – and one wonders whether there has been a crime committed under the law of misrepresentation, especially as it would appear that there is not one mention of his no longer being an MEP – either in his biography or anywhere else on his website.

Where misrepresentation is concerned I believe there are three types of that: innocent misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation and fraudulent misrepresentation.

Leaving to one side any accusation of fraudulent misrepresentation, in regard to the first link I would cite:

  • A statement of opinion may amount to an actionable misrep where the representor was in a position to know the facts: Smith v Land & House Property Corp (1884) 28 Ch D
  • Under s.2(1) Misrepresentation Act 1967, a negligent misrepresentation is a statement made without reasonable grounds for belief in its truth. The burden of proof being on the representor to demonstrate they had reasonable grounds for believing the statement to be true. Howard Marine v Ogden [1978] QB574

The European Union in the United Kingdom is extremely keen to debunk untruths and even has a dedicated website to this end. In regard to the second link one can only ask whether this is down to an oversight?

In view of the fact that it is felt either his website content should be amended or taken down, this article has been brought to the attention of Graham Watson (@sirgrahamwatson); the Trading Standards Institute (@tsi_uk); and the Electoral Commission (@ElectoralCommUK) 

 


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2014
09/14

Category:
David's Musings

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Confusedminds.com?

What is abundantly clear is that Mr Salmond and his excitable followers are living in a bubble of fantasy that scarcely touches practical reality at any point,….

Christopher Booker

But then ‘matters Scotland’ has shown that it is not just Alex Salmond that is inhabiting a fantasy bubble, bearing in mind some of the articles that have appeared during the last few days

At the forefront is an article by Ed Miliband in the Guardian’s CiF section – and one can only say that if this article is an example of what he is thinking then the ‘Miliband depression’ effect that most thinking people feel can – and will – only deepen further. Miliband writes about the change we need in where power lies; Labour’s plans for extensive devolution to local government; changing our constitution so that it works for everyone; and that the mood of change is not just about how we are governed; crucially, it is about who we are governed for. The article then descends into one of a political nature with his repeating oft-mentioned comments about how the Tories cannot speak for the whole country; races to the bottom; etc, etc.

Representative democracy, by its nature, cannot bring power to the people – and never will; in which case it is a tad disingenuous of Miliband to raise the subject as under representative democracy  power will always lie with the centre. As has been maintained previously on this blog, creating yet another layer of government (combined authorities) between the centre and the people can only drive power further away from those with whom power should reside. Then there is the matter of our constiution – and if there is to be change then should not the people be consulted; after all, the constitution is just as much theirs as it is the property of 650. It will not have gone unnoticed that whilst Miliband maintains the Tories cannot speak for the whole country, there is the underlying premise that Labour can. Under representative democracy it is impossible for any political party to speak for the whole country – it is impossible to be all things to all men.

Perhaps the point that most stirs my wrath is his acknowledgement that it is not about how we are governed but who we are governed for. It is here that reference must be made to an article by John Redwood, who has long called for an English Parliament based on the question of who speaks for England. Redwood writes:  It is all the people of England, whether in cities, in the suburbs or in the countryside, that need better representation and more self government; at which point I have to return to a question posed by Sheldon Richman, namely which self, Mr.Redwood, are we talking about here?

Where Redwood is concerned, confused mind seems to be to the fore; witness: he writes:  Breaking England up into unloved and in some cases unknown Euro regions would be most unpopular……We do not want different Income Tax rates for Birmingham and Bradford, or for the rest of the south east; yet is this not what separate Parliaments for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will accomplish? Later, in castigating Clegg for his vision of devolution, Redwood writes: He [Clegg] does not seem to want English cities to set different Income tax rates for example, the main new power Scotland will enjoy.

Miliband raises the questions about how we are governed and who we are governed for, while Redwood wants better representation and more self-government – but that then must raise the question just who is it that should decide such and should it not be the people?

Readers will, no doubt,  have realised that I remain frustrated – nay; pissed off – with politicians talking about ‘democracy’, ‘devolution of power’ and ‘self-government’ when they have not, it seems, the slightest understanding of the respective meanings of those words. I am reminded of Cameron’s statement on assuming ‘usurping’ office: …. it is about making sure people are in control – and that the politicians are always their servant and never their masters. Fine words indeed, but then they are no different to what we hear from Miliband and Clegg – albeit cloaked in different phraseology – and none of them have any intention of ensuring that the people are in control.

In respect of that last paragrah and my disdain for our political class, I am reminded of a quotation; one reputedly made by Dorothy Parker who asked what was the difference between an enzyme and a hormone*. Her answer was that you cannot hear the former.

* Repeat the last word phonetically? 

Afterthought: If we are to have an English Parlliament then Raedwald has a suggestion. Mind you, if we are to have that, then we may as well have the remainder of this.

Update: Courtesy of a reader this item has just come to my attention. Whilst an idea worthy of note, my immediate reaction is that it is but another tweak to representative democracy in an attempt to make it more direct (or similar to one element of direct democracy).

In that regard it can only be doomed to fail as representative democracy and direct democracy cannot mix to form a hybrid – tis a case of one or the other.

Plus, besides the drawback that it is restricted to those with an internet connection, there is the thought that MPs can ignore any such feedback by invoking Burke’s Law.

 


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Smoke & Mirrors

We are informed by the circus clowns, passing as serious politicians who would have us believe they ‘govern’ us, that that is just what they do – formulating laws for the benefit of those they are supposed to represent

 On the other hand, readers will have read – if not here, elsewhere – about the existence of a new world order and global government, something which tends to contradict that which our clowns would have us believe.

It would appear that on 10/11th of this month a meeting took place in Chisinau to discuss how to better utilize administrative data sources and censuses to improve the measurement of migration and its impact. This ‘Work Session’ on Migration Statistics was organized jointly by UNECE and Eurostat, in partnership with the National Bureau of Statistics Republic of Moldova, under the auspices of the Conference of European Statisticians. Now, how was it that Evan Esar defined statistics? Oh yes, his definition was that it comprised the science of producing unreliable facts from reliable figures.

On 1st September twenty representatives of Governments, international organizations and academia took part in the discussions at the preparatory meeting, in Geneva, of the UNECE Group of Experts on Energy Efficiency. UNECE Executive Secretary Christian Friis Bach stated that to make green growth a reality, the direct relationship between economic growth and increase in energy consumption needs to be broken. Representatives of the International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation (IPEEC), the Copenhagen Centre on Energy Efficiency (C2E2), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and the Energy Charter Secretariat shared their views on how to increase the uptake of energy efficiency in the UNECE region.

In about one year, the UN Member States are expected to adopt a new development framework that will succeed the expiring Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The post-2015 development agenda will be a universal and transformative agenda with goals for all countries. It will be centered around a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are currently being negotiated by governments.

Bearing in mind the foregoing, can any reader convince me that there is a reason why we should bother voting in our general elections to decide our new government?

Just asking………………………..

 


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‘Sticking an oar in’

Some observers are temporarily refraining from comment on ‘matters Scotland’, however perhaps they would forgive this blog for making a few observations – ones that may not be considered, or even not seen, within the mass of comment that is being passed in the interim period.

Isabel Hardman has an article on CoffeeHouse entitled: What would the Tory Party really do if Scotland voted Yes?; to which the obvious answer must be that if the matter had been thought through then they would already have the answer and therefore Isabel Hardman’s question would be superfluous. That the matter has not been thought through can no doubt be relied upon as ‘a given’ – we are, after all, talking politicians here who, past experience shows, tend to deal with problems on a ‘now basis’ and only react later, mostly unsuccessfully, to events caused by their own lack of forethought. What Hardman’s article shows is that, as ever, when events cause a political party’s future to be thrown into doubt ‘internal rumblings’ begin to agitate for a change of leader.

Such ‘internal rumblings’ can – and invariably/eventually do – lead to a contest for a new leader of whichever political party; one decided by a select few, be they MPs and/or party members. This begs an immediate question, which is: if we are to be allowed Open Primaries to choose a Member of Parliament, should we not also have Open Primaries to choose the Leader of a Political party – after all, if we are to be landed with what amounts to, under representative democracy, a virtual dictator, should we not have a choice as to who is that dictator? (see THA -Demand 3) This only illustrates the faux wish of politicians and their political leaders stating that they wish to devolve power, but seeming to go out of their way not so to do.

Let me now turn to an article on LabourList, one whose authors are two prospective Labour parliamentary prospective candidates – namely Tim Rocca (Macclesfield) and Michael Payne (Newark). Here we have two potential politicians offering their views on what is wrong with our nation – and in so doing make a statement that is laughable. The article begins with the hope that Scotland will vote ‘No’ after which the United Kingdom will still need reform, political and symbolic, if the Union is to survive. Unsurprisingly, these two prospective parliamentary candidates then state that there is only one party capable of that reform, namely One Nation Labour.

Then follows what obviously is intended to be a serious statement but in the light of events can only be considered a bad joke, namely that devolution to Scotland, Wales, London and Northern Ireland has proved a success. If devolution had proved a success we would not now be in the pickle we are with Scotland. Cynic that I am, I think it feasible to believe that Blair’s devolution programme of 1997 was (a) an attempt to curry favour with the EU by the regionalisation of the United Kingdom; and (b) a means of ensuring he achieved a big majority in the 1997 general election.

It is impossible to allow people that have been ‘enslaved’ a small taste of freedom without that causing further problems because once that small taste of freedom is granted those people will not be content until they have total freedom. The ‘unrest’ in Scotland is simmering in England – and it is not just with ‘affairs Scotland’. The political class – and the media – would have us believe that this current ‘pickle’ is purely located in Scotland and is a matter for the Scottish people; which it most definitely is not. I would posit that a great swathe of the people in the United Kingdom have passed the stage of holding our political class in contempt and now look on them with cold indifference. What they may not yet have realised is that all that is keeping the political class where they are is the current system of representative democracy.

Nick Clegg has today given a speech at the IPPR to launch that think-tank’s report on devolution in England and it comes as no surprise to see Europhile Clegg endorsing Miliband’s proposal for ‘Combined Authorities’. As I commented when Miliband proposed this, it hardly seems logical to impose yet another tier of government between the levels of government that we already have- and does nothing to bring power closer to the people. Unfortunately devolving actual, real power to the people is the last thing our political class will do, because to do so can only result in the weakening of their central power; and that they will never allow.

I note that in the BBC link above, Farage is calling for federalism in the United Kingdom and backing powers for ‘regions’ while also backing the right of the nations comprising the United Kingdom to have the ability to express what he terms the legitimate democratic and economic ambitions of its different nations. It seems rather odd for him to do this when only last June he agreed that he wanted a smaller state. Give a politician a bandwagon and they cannot resist jumping on it! He did say that you can’t get a cigarette paper between any of the political parties………..

Nigel Farage wants a form of federalism coupled with his belief in direct democracy? Then Nigel Farage should get on board with this! That he won’t can also be taken as a given because at the end of the day Nigel Farage only wants power for himself as he is, after all, a consummate politician (ie he wishes to cement the marriage twixt people and politician by screwing us!).

The CoffeeHouse ‘Evening Blend’ advises that tonight there is a rally at the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow where Brown will repeat his devo-more plan that he laid out on Monday night, arguing that ‘their plan for a stronger Scottish Parliament offers faster change, because the pro-devolution parties will deliver a stronger Scottish Parliament with determination and speed beginning the day after the referendum and they will in fact do so quicker than the SNP could ever secure independence’; that Ed Miliband will talk about the SNP’s threats about the NHS; and Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont will accuse Alex Salmond of ‘narrow nationalism replacing patriotism, intolerance replacing debate and disunity replacing solidarity’.

Hell, since when has ‘intolerance replacing debate’ been a new phenomenon? Is that not an existing characteristic of our political class – since when has any politician willingly engaged in debate with one of us? Challenge them and they ‘run a mile’ – witness David Campbell Bannerman only yesterday.

What we are now witnessing is our present political class running round in circles in their attempts to put back into the Pandora’s Box of devolution that Blair opened, all the problems  they now face – and that would be funny but for the fact that at the end of the day it is the taxpayer that is funding this circus act by the clowns who would have us believe they are serious politicians.

 

 


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EEA ‘Lite’ (2)

Following my critique of David Campbell Bannerman’s IEA Brexit entry and the related post by Richard North – in which he, Richard North, has been kind enough to add his support to that which I wrote – both of which had links tweeted to David Campbell Bannerman (one of which asked if he had any rebuttal), he has, contrary to expectations, deigned to respond on twitter thus:

@WitteringWitney Currently too busy campaigning to help save the UK to worry about these witterings. But please send me your expert solution

It is heartwarming to see a politician supposedly being too busy working hard to ‘save the UK’ especially when, previously as a member of Ukip and latterly as a member of the Conservative Party, he has been complicit in the continued ruination of the UK through misguided beliefs and lack of knowledge.

Of course had David Campbell Bannerman not been so busy he would have seen that my critique contained a link to such a paper, ie, one that has produced the only detailed exit plan that, to my knowledge, has ever been published.

In the hope that he can manage to spare the time, especially as he seems to find time for poor attempts at sarcasm, I can only hope that he does read FleXcit in its entireity – he might just learn something!


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Which ‘self’?

According to Isabel Hardman, Alex Salmond gave a very good speech today; from which:

A ‘Yes’ vote is about building something better. It is about the growing acceptance across virtually every community in Scotland that no-one, absolutely no-one, is better-placed to govern Scotland than the people here ourselves. No-one cares more about this country, and no-one will do a better job of governing this country than the people of Scotland.

A counter-view comes from Sheldon Richman, “Subjugating Ourselves”:

Romanticizers of representative government put much weight on the claim that the people rule themselves, but that doesn’t withstand close examination. Anyone can ask himself how casting one vote out of hundreds of thousands or millions every two, four, and six years could possibly count as self-rule. Which self are we talking about here?

Is not representative democracy but democratized dictatorship?

If we want self-rule then we need this - anything less is an insult to the word democracy!

 

 


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‘EEA Lite’ – a critique

Following my two previous posts on the subject of David Campbell Bannerman and his IEA Brexit submission, having read the document my initial reaction was that the content was a tad ‘thin’, even allowing for the word constraints imposed; that it contained a certain amount of waffle, again surprising in view of the word constraints; is contradictory in some parts and in other parts what is proposed is not only illogical but illegal.

It must be remembered that the email, under cover of which the document was sent to me, stated that other than personal details which had been removed, the pdf was that which had been submitted to the IEA. As a result it does appear extraordinary that such an important paper should contain typographical errors; coupled with the fact that the use of the English language leaves much to be desired, to the extent that some of my criticism of the content may be viewed as pedantry.

To critique David Campbell Bannerman’s submission to the IEA Brexit competition in every aspect where it is felt to be incorrect would result in an article of great length, consequently it is my intention to focus on just a few points in order to demonstrate the paucity and inexactitude of content generally.

Although the pdf sent to me does not contain any notification that it is copyrighted, there would appear to be possible copyright issues involved. As a result I do not feel able to publish it; instead I can but quote sections, notarizing page and paragraph.

Bearing that in mind, let us turn to the submission:

Immediately, in the Summary we read an ‘inexactitude’:

Following an Out vote in an In/Out EU Referendum, the UK Government would be empowered to withdraw from European Union (EU) membership – i.e. to initiate ‘Brexit’. As Westminster is sovereign, it only needs to repeal the 1972 European Communities Act (ECA) and its attendant European Amendment Acts. (page 3 – point 1)

(I will return to this later as it is tied to comments made on page 32 of Cambell Bannerman’s submission.)

This issue is primarily is a democratic one – about how our country is governed not about the politics of the Right or Left. (page 4-paragraph 3)

Brexit would enhance British democracy through the restoration of full national control to the British Westminster Parliament, ending the reality of well over half the UK’s laws coming from the EU Britain would no longer be subject to EU control through unelected EU Commissioners, bureaucratic diktats, secret deals in the European Council, and the outvoting of its MEPs in the European Parliament. (page 4 – paragraph 4)

It is illogical to write about enhancing democracy when democracy has first to exist – which it does not where the British are concerned. The reason(s) for that statement can be found in this document (FleXcit: pp 269-283) from which we are informed, quite logically, that there is:

little value in withdrawing from the EU if it only means returning reclaimed powers to the political elites who held them previously;

political elites who ceded powers in the first place – and would be free to so do again while the current lack of real democracy is allowed to continue.

 We are informed:

EEA Lite is designed to sit somewhere between the successful but over-prescriptive EEA Agreement (also known as the ‘Norway Option’) launched in 1994 post the EU single market and the Swiss-style set of 120 bilateral agreements, which are far more democratic but less structured, more idiosyncratic, less clear institutionally in terms of dispute resolution, and provide only agreed sectoral access to the EU Single Market. (page 5 – paragraph 2)

The EEA Agreement is not also known as the ‘Norway Option’ – EFTA/EEA is known as the Norway Option; a term first coined, so I believe, by Richard North.

Earlier, in the introduction, I referred to the poor use of the English language and we have already seen one such example, namely; This issue is primarily is a democratic one. Writing about the post Brexit position; the Choices and Recommended EEA Lite model, Cambell Bannerman states:

The existing models for an association with the EU for a European country outside of
EU membership more than a Most Favoured Nation basis are as follows:

The Turkish option involves membership of the EU customs union for goods but with no involvement in EU social or employment laws. Turkey also enjoys parallel Free Trade Agreements to the EU’s FTAs, which are negotiated alongside. The Turkish is doing very well outside the EU. (page 6 – paragraphs 1&2)

The Turkish? Surely it should read either: The Turks are doing very well; or: The Turkish nation is doing very well. I have no wish to labour the point about the poor use of the English language but I mention the two examples quoted to give a flavour of the innumerable examples contained in Campbell Bannerman’s paper.

Making mention of his EEA Lite Agreement, Campbell Bannerman writes:

It is argued here that an EEA Lite Agreement with the EU is the best and easiest solution to the nature of Britain’s continuing relationship with the EU. Article 50 allows a 2 year negotiating period for such a withdrawal agreement, but this is extendable by agreement between the two parties, but EEA Lite has the advantage of being based on an existing and acceptable EU agreement and working system (The ‘Regular’ EEA Agreement) which could be negotiated into an EEA Lite form in a much shorter time frame, and additionally appeal to other non-EU EFTA European nations such as Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein, making life easier for the EU in working with fellow European nations outside the EU. (page 8 – paragraph 2)

If the existing ‘Regular’ EEA Agreement is ‘acceptable’ then why does it need to be changed? It can be argued – and has been – that the EEA Agreement is far from ideal. Unfortunately in attempting to offer an alternative Campbell Banneerman is, in common with most politicians, wearing blinkers and consequently looks at change from an EU perspective instead of considering change necessary to encompass global perspectives. In this regard a logical alternative is offered in FleXcit. (pp 243-251)

Continuing, we are then informed:

EEA Lite will secure the main objectives of the EEA Agreement with the four freedoms of: Goods; Freedom of Services; Freedom of Capital – but with an amended ‘Freedom of Workers’ – not Peoples – commitment. (Page 8 – paragraph 3)

The ‘Four Freedoms’ is regarded by the EU  as a non-negotiable part of the Single Market acquis – something stated quite categorically by Viviane Reding whilst she was an EU Commissioner. As a result one has to question the thought processes of anyone who proffers an amendment to something that cannot be amended.

Discussing the means of disengagement: the legal and constitutional process of withdrawal from the EU, Campbell Bannerman writes::

In constitutional and legal terms, the Westminster Parliament is still sovereign. Therefore, Westminster need only repeal the 1972 European Communities Act (ECA), and its attendant European Amendment Acts, for Britain to formally leave the European Union; (page 32 – paragraph 1)

and;

Following the UK’s declaration that it intends to leave the EU, the UK Government would announce an immediate halt in the transposing and implementation of new EU Directives and have the power to enact or to suspend the enforcement of new EU Regulations, as appropriate. (page 33 – paragraph 3)

Referring back to the Summary and the two statements above, the UK Parliament is not sovereign and this view can be based on 2 facts: (a) sovereignty, in political theory, is a substantive term designating supreme authority over some polity.  It means a state or a governing body has the full right and power to govern itself without any interference from outside sources or bodies – a right that the UK Parliament no longer has; and (b) in September 2010 the EU stated that EU law prevails over national law, even constitutional law.

In stating that the UK Government should announce an immediate halt to transposing and implementing EU law following the invoking of Article 50 Campbell Bannerman demonstrates that he is not the only person who does not seem to understand that about which he writes. In written evidence to the European Select Committee  Professor Paul Craig, St John’s College, University of Oxford states:

(a)  The UK expressly repeals the 1972 ECA, but has not yet exited from the EU as it is allowed to do under the Lisbon Treaty, Article 50 TEU. On this scenario there would be no Act of Parliament through which EU law fell to be recognized in the UK. However until the UK left the EU it might be argued that it remained bound by EU law as an international Treaty obligation.

Point 3 of Article 50 states:

 The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.

ergo, if the Treaties do not cease to apply until a withdrawal agreement is reached and enters into force (or two years have expired) then logic dictates that the UK cannot, legally, refuse to transpose and implement any EU law. The point also has to be made that while the UK could ‘draw out’ the process of transposing and implementing any EU law during the negotiation period of Article 50, it cannot refuse outright to so do. On the question of legality it should also be remembered that Lex specialis enters the equation – admirably explained here.

The foregoing illustrates the paucity (and inexactitude) of content previously alluded to, consequently I see no point in continuing a detailed critique further, other than a few general observations.

David Campbell Bannerman appears to believe that the act of invoking Article 50, preceded by the annulment of ECA 1972 is all that is needed – that in one bound the UK is free and all will be well with the world. He seems to forget, as he makes no mention of them, that there are hundreds of treaties to which the UK is a party only through its membership of the EU – and each of these treaties would need to be renegotiated with the countries concerned. An obvious example is aircraft movement, be that overflight and/or landing rights. Campbell Bannerman makes no mention of steps necessary to maintain the stability of the financial markets while Article 50 negotiations take place; neither does his submission contain any fall-back position should, as one suspects, EEA Lite be rejected out of hand by the EU, other than that of relying on WTO tariffs.

David Campbell Bannerman may well be feeling a tad aggrieved that his submission did not make the final 6 – and rightly so, for it is no better or worse than those that did. Like his submission, they too were flawed.

 

 


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