Tag Archive: Democracy

European Election Schedule

I thought it may be of interest for readers to be aware of events taking place around the actual electoral process, the latter occurring in this country on 22nd May.

An important event will be, on 15 May, a full presidential debate with the five leading candidates for the presidency of the European Commission due to be held in Parliament’s Brussels Chamber, organized by the European Broadcasting Union (Eurovision). The debate, scheduled to last from 9 pm to 10.30 pm, will feature Jean-Claude Juncker for the European People’s Party, Martin Schulz for the Party of European Socialists, Guy Verhofstadt for the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, Ska Keller for the Green Party and Alexis Tsipras for the Party of the European Left.

It is from this one event that we will begin to get some idea of the future direction in which the EU may travel. For what it is worth methinks the contest for President of the Commission is a three-horse race twixt Juncker, Schulz and Verhofstadt, with Juncker presently being the favourite. Those of us who want cessation of our country’s membership of the European Union must hope that Verhofstadt (who must be the ‘dark horse in the race) ‘comes through on the rails’ because federalism (ever closer union) will then be ‘let loose’.

That Verhofstadt scenario will also promote a most interesting situation wherein much Cameron ‘wriggling’ will no doubt be observed – not forgetting of course the ‘wriggling’ that will be seen within Open Europe. What will be obsrved from Ukip and Farage – bearing in mind that due do the ‘Times’ in which we live, the latter has not been forced out of the picture – is but another intriguing factor.

The debate is to be covered on line by Eurovision, for those sufficiently interest and who would like to watch it.

The next event of note occurs on27 May,when the Conference of Presidents – the EP president and leaders of the political groups – will convene at 11.30am in order to give a first assessment of the election results. EP President Martin Schulz will then inform European Council President Herman Van Rompuy of the Conference of Presidents’ findings; with the European Council – heads of state or government – meeting later that day.

On 25 May, Parliament will hold its election night during which projections and results at European level will be presented to the media. 

The last event in the schedule is for the newly elected MEPs to meet over the month of June to form their political groups. All notifications of groups constituted must be handed in to the President of the European Parliament by 24 June.

The ‘month of Theresa’ will, therefore, be one to watch!

 

 

 


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Witney: Another example of ‘dictatorial democracy’?

This story was the lead page of Wednesday’s edition of the Witney Gazette, one that filled the front page – and raises a number of what may be considered worrying questions.

We find Duncan Enright stating that as councillors they are elected to represent and that the proposed draft policy is outrageous.

We find the Witney Gazette stating in their Editorial that the proposed draft policy is an affront to democracy.

We find David Cameron being quoted as stating: Witney Town Council, as is the case with all public bodies, needs to ensure that its business is conducted in an open and transparent way as possible.

 What is outrageous is:

1. Duncan Enright, along with every other councillor quoted, makes not one mention of those he and they are elected to represent – and therefore not raising the point about ascertaining what they may think or want.

2. The Witney Gazette pontificating about democracy when it so obviously has not one iota of understanding about the total lack of that about which it writes. There is also the point that had they bothered to read the press statement issued by Witney Town Council they should have immediately, themselves, queried Sharon Goth’s statement attributed to her and not just relied on one from NALC’s spokesperson Kate Groves.

3. The head of the largest public body in the land calling for business to be conducted in an open and transparent way as possible when he does anything but – exemplified by his (a): avoiding the real reason for HS2 and (b): obfuscation over this country’s membership of the European Union.

To each of the above the accusation of Pot/Kettle can be levied.

One group to whom the aforementioned accusation cannot be levied is the Witney public, who like the British public, have allowed themselves to become conditioned to accepting a form of democracy that equals democratised dictatorship – resulting in their serfdom.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Fog (or Mist) of Deception

Bruno Waterfield (Daily Telegraph) reports on the remarks of Chris Grayling, ones to the effect that he will go to court to halt the spread of a EU charter that would override British laws. These remarks can be viewed either as (a) they are not a fog, but a mist in that they can easily be seen through or, (b) they are indeed a fog (and those of us old enough to remember the fogs of the late ’50s and early ’60s will understand the words that follow) as he obviously cannot see that which is just beyond the end of his nose.

Grayling misses no opportunity to punt the official ‘Cameron meme’, stating: All this is why we need a major re-think of our future relationship with the EU, and to renegotiate our membership and let the British people decide in a referendum - which immediately begs the question just where the hell has this man been for the last 52 years? More importantly, where has he been for the last few months?

Did not Viviane Reading, in her speech to Cambridge University, make the point that there will be no repatriation of powers; that the four freedoms are not negotiable? Did she not make plain that there would be no ‘cherry-picking’? For those interested the speech by Reding on Fundamental Rights can be read here; and a video of her press conference on the same subject viewed here. There is only one way by which means Cameron can renegotiate the terms of the UK’s membership of the European Union and that is by invoking Article 50 of the TEU.

There is of course another point – one made on this blog on more than one occasion – and repeated by Reding; namely that where primacy of law is concerned, the EU is in ‘the box seat’. Did not the European Commission, in a letter dated 10th November 2010 to Stefano Manservisi, Director General, DG Home, write: ……it must be recalled that Union Law prevails over national law, including national constitutional law. So much for the mantra of ‘repeal ECA1972 and we are free’!

It naturally follows that if we are to discuss a fog (or mist) of deception, then it is impossible to overlook the results of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) recent competition about Brexit. As Richard North has written, one can understand one coincidence – but six?! It is not my intention to comment on all six finalists, suffice it to say the standard(?) of these can best be illustrated by a statement in that of Rory Broomfield and Iain Murray’s submission (page 8) about the UK having a seat at the top table. Just how many times must it be said that the top table is not at the EU; that the EU table is but a coffee table set far from the real top table at which global standards are formulated?

Not one of the six finalists of the IEA Brexit competition suggest membership of the European Economic Area (EEA) all calling for a Free Trade Ageement (FTA) and all believing this can be achieved in two years. The six finalists need to remember just how long it takes the European Union to negotiate FTAs – some have been in discussion for more than a decade and still they remain incomplete. Just how long has it taken Switerland to get those FTAs it has? Not only do the six finalists seem to be in a world of their own – so did the Judging Panel if this was their final selection from which to select a winner. Where the Brexit competition is concerned, is it any wonder that those judging the competition and obviously understanding not the subject matter in question, selected six pieces of which the content of each can only be described as utter crap?

When the content of political verbosity and that of the IEA and other supposed eurosceptic think tanks is concerned, the British public is being presented with an impenetrable fog of deceit and deception. Just how many Judas Goats do sheep need – and bear in mind we do elect some of those Judas Goats – but I digress.


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Members of Parliament – and their ‘status’ in our society

Jane Merrick, writing in The Independent, makes mention of the number of Members of Parliament who took part in the London Marathon. She writes that, quoting Sadiq Khan,  the cross-party support and hard work for charity shows that Westminster’s politicians are not all “greedy money-grabbers”.  Really? There is no scrabble to get on the ladder of promotion and the subsequent ministerial salary?

Why should Members of Parliament be singled out for working hard for charity? How are they any different to a member of the public who puts in as much time – if not more – working for charity? Why should those members of the public not receive exactly the same amount of media coverage – regardless of how much money has been raised? Such is the nadir to which politicians and politics has sunk that the cynic in me just thinks charity work among the political classes is done to (a) raise their public profile and (b) to increase their re-electability potential among their unthinking constituents.

Merrick is quite correct to highlight that the House of Commons is stuffed to the gunwales when the subject of their pay arises, yet the Green Benches are almost totally vacant when the subject under discussion is the bedroom tax – or matters EU, come to that. To paraphrase NASA: Democracy, we have a problem.

We have a problem in that there is little  vestige of democracy within our political system; we cannot elect those we consider suitable to stand as candidates; we have no control over what they do – and do not do – once they are elected as an Member of Parliament; we cannot recall them to answer for their behaviour. More importantly, just how can one describe a system of politics as democracy in action when said system holds the people in what is no more than a form of serfdom?

One day, maybe not in my lifetime, this country will experience Civil War II – and it won’t be pretty. 

 


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The subjugation of the United Kingdom

Leaving to one side, for the moment, the aspects of this country’s membership of the European Union it is time to look at other forms of subjugation that are currently being practiced on the United Kingdom.

John Redwood bewails the lack of devolution where England is concerned, comparing England’s plight with that of Scotland and Wales where devolution of power is progressing quite rapidly, one could say. There are two points that arise from Redwood’s article, not that he touches on either.

First, where devolution is concerned, once the Pandora’s Box of devolution had been opened – a cynical policy by New Labour to secure power at the 1997 General Election, it is said – it was obvious that such a policy would be the beginning of the break-up of the United Kingdom. That it was begun – and has continued – within the confines of ‘rule from Westminster’ has only exacerbated the problems that have arisen and hastened the calls from both Scotland and Wales for independence. As I have written previously, give an ‘enslaved’ people one hint of their ability to exercise a choice on any matter and they will never be satisfied until they can exercise a choice on every matter. What Redwood is obviously angling for is control of England by his party, on the basis that England elects more Conservative Members of Parliament than any other party. What Redwood is suggesting is not ‘devolution for England’ but the continuance of ‘rule by the political class’ in which the people of England will remain just as enslaved as they are presently.

Second, Redwood continues to ignore the next  logical step necessary in the devolution process, one that basically has two parts – (a) the devolution of all, what may be termed, ‘internal powers’ and (b) while he castigates the European Union for wishing to impose regional government, in effect he is no different – he just wishes to impose national government on England. That for which Redwood wishes is no different to any Scottish or Welsh Member of Parliament, namely the dictatorial rule by them of their people. To repeat, just how can the people of the United Kingdom question or halt any policy that is imposed on them with which they disagree? How can people complain about any policy implemented that was not part of a manifesto – conversely how can they insist that a policy which was in a manifesto – and which has been quietly ‘dropped’ – be implemented?

Tim Stanley (Telegraph Blogs) questions the seeming political ‘dynastisation’ of our political class, citing Stephen Kinnock who has secured a seat, Will Straw who looks as though he will too –  and David Prescott who is in the process of trying to secure a seat. That is not to mention, as does Stanley, the fact we had a contest for the leadership of the Labour Party featuring two brothers and that we have a shadow chancellor married to a shadow home secretary, a deputy leader married to a shadow minister for communities and local government and a shadow secretary of state for the environment, food and rural affairs who is the twin sister of the shadow leader of the House of Commons. This is not to say the problem is only one that affects the Labour Party – the Conservative Party are also quietly following this ‘dynastic take over’ – witness Ben Gummer and Laura Sandys to mention but two, although the latter appears to have had enough after just one term.

Interesting, this devolution thingy in that the people of Scotland and Wales appear to be clamouring for exactly what they have at the moment, namely ‘rule’ by a political class – albeit ones closer to home. It appears not to have crossed their minds that they will still be unable to question or halt policies with which they are against, neither will they be able to insist that manifesto commitments are implemented; that the independence they believe they will achieve is not their independence nor that of their country – just the independence of their political class to do as they wish, regardless of what the people wish.

It is obvious that the people of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can have their independence over national matters, while agreeing for international matters to be dealt with on their behalf and – more importantly – with their agreement. There is no need for the United Kingdom to break up – this is but a ploy used by nationalists of all four constituent countries that comprise the United Kingdom, in order to further their own individual political careers and one with which the people willingly go along with purely because they know no different.

There are those who comment in the blogosphere and participate in Twitter who pooh-pooh the idea of Direct Democracy and The 6 Demands – to which one can only point out that if people are easily converted to faux independence, just watch what will happen when they suddenly realise that real personal independence is possible.

 


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Back in business!

Having returned from my sojourn to Durham – well, actually Seaham – I can but apologise for the lack of posting. Suffice it to say the distractions of Seaham – were readers to meet her – would be well understood! The word ‘Bingo’ springs to mind – but I digress……….

While Richard North is obviously in the process of dissecting the 6 entries on the IEA/Brexit shortlist – and I have set myself the task of reading them this evening, so that I can throw in my twopennyworth – it cannot be overlooked that the media have, with their usual lack of knowledge and shortsightedness been weighing in.

Witness the input from the Express’ Political Editor, Macer Hall – a classic example of a ‘talking-head’ who knows squat-diddly about that which he should know. That he should claim the winning IEA/Brexit entry is required reading for all eurosceptics illustrates his own personal ignorance of a subject on which he should be able to write with authority – coupled with the fact that it is but another example of a monkey dancing to the organ grinders tune. Of course he could have had a word with his colleague Patrick O’Flynn who doubles as Communications Director of Ukip – but that would have been akin to asking a brick wall on the basis brick walls possess no knowledge.

If the one newspaper backing the only political party that wishes to cease the UK’s membership of the European Union cannot assemble the facts – oh hang on, I’ve just remembered that the political party they are supporting is unable to assemble the facts.

Obviously his parents did not make a wise choice when christening him - witness: he has no practical or analytical approach; he most obviously does not believe that anything worth doing is worth doing well; he has no methodical way of thinking and needs more time to learn about that which he writes; neither is he systematic in his work, nor does he seem to have any concerns about about his responsibilities, especially when confronted with change and uncertainty.

Readers, I give you Macer Hall  a prime example of the nadir to which journalism has sunk!

 


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Brexit – an initial reaction

Richard North has begun a critique of the winning entry to the Brexit IEA competition with a series of posts beginning here and here. Leaving aside any comparison with that of Richard North’s submssion, the general content of the winning entry is dire to say the least and has more holes in the argument it makes than has a colander.

It is unfortunate for me that the announcement of the IEA Brexit event coincides with a trip I am making to Durham and with other things I need to do before leaving means that posting today will be light, to say the least. I will however attempt one post this evening, hopefully commenting on that which Richard North may produce in the meantime, along with other contributions from Autonomous Mind and The Boiling Frog.

Prior to any comments, such as those that have been made on Twitter, let me make plain that I am not a sycophant of Richard North, in fact we have a serious disagreement over the implementation of The Harrogate Agenda – but that is another, separate matter. What is important is that this winning entry is completely unworkable and can only be be termed a ‘pie-in-the-sky’ wish-list – and requires being exposed as such.

For what it is worth – and for those who like conspiracy theories – a view expressed to me privately believes that this decision about who has won the IEA Brexit price is political.  This whole thing has been organised by the Tory old guard, looking for a damn good policy document to present to the electorate after getting rid of Cameron. The men in grey suits could not be seen to involve those in central government in this, so they chose someone who has an impecable background, will give instant credibility to the new policy when the time is right, a man who is in the right position, who can be recalled and promoted, even into government to oversea the policy that he wrote. That’s why Richard North didn’t fit the bill, not because of the content of his submission, but because he could never be used. This opinion continues with the question of who will be the next Tory Leader and whether there is a secret deal going on behind the scenes with Farage, as his behaviour and missed opportunitities of late begs the supposition that he doesn’t want a romping victory, but a partnership with the new Tory leadership.

Food for thought?

 

 


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Democracy? Pah!

Yesterday the House of Commons debated the UK’s block opt-out of pre-Lisbon criminal law and policing measures – Hansard report here. Having watched the debate, that such attracted the attendance of fewer than 50 Members of Parliament can only be seen as a reflection on the interest Members of Parliament have in the future of those they are supposed to represent.

As ever there was much mention of the word ‘democracy’ by Members of Parliament and when such luminaries as William Cash and John Redwood significantly fail to understand that democracy per se does not exist, what can one do but ask what hope is there for democracy.

Witness Cash earlier stating (Col: 42): Given the importance of those issues to UK citizens, those who represent their individual constituencies in this House should now have the opportunity to vote on them. That is a matter of principle and it is also a matter of democracy; and Redwood (Col: 40): Will my hon. Friend confirm that this is a desperately serious matter because if we opt in to any of these things, those subjects are no longer under the control of the House and the British people?

Where is there any element of democracy if any vote at the end of a debate is decided by parties whipping their Members of Parliament in order to comply with that party’s ideology du jour? Where is there any democracy when policy is not under the control of the House of Commons – or the British people, come to that – but under the control of an unrestrained Executive?

Of course hoping that any of the media would pick up on these two points is wishful thinking.


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Ask and ye shall receive (not) (5)

Continuing this series of posts which attempts to find out from the Council of the European Union whether or not the President of that body does or does not swear an oath of office, a response has been received to the email contained in No: 4 of this series:

We acknowledge receipt of your new message of 01/04/2014 to the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union.

The General Secretariat refers to its previous reply and reiterates that the Treaties do not require the President of the European Council to swear an oath. The General Secretariat has no information as to why this is not the case.

If you require any further information, you are welcome to contact us.

Readers will immediately notice that the questions raised in my last email remain unanswered – they have no idea why the Lisbon Treaties (TEU & TFEU) are worded as they are; they are unable to explain why two men who have the same level of responsibility and  obligations are appointed to positions of which only one requires an oath of allegiance; they are unable to explain to whom or what the President of the European Council owes an allegiance; they most definitely do not wish to disclose any aspect of his contract of employment and will not even go so far as to confirm or deny that one exists.

Information for the public would appear to be yet another area in which the European Union fails dismally.

 


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EU Justice – In or Out?

It was announced in early December last year that the United Kingdom would not be opting into the European Public Prosecutors Office. In order to confirm my understanding of what this would mean for the United Kingdom the following email was sent to Jeff Lamb of the London Office of the European Commission:

It is the stated intention of the UK Government to opt out of the EPPO.
 
As part of the EPPO ‘set-up’ it is incumbent on Member States opting in to provide a designated European Prosecutor who would carry out fraud investigations and prosecutions in each Member States aided by a team a team of national staff, with each Member State presumably being liable to fund those personnel, their offices and their activities. It is also noted that national law will apply where punishment is concerned.
 
Bearing in mind any UK firm using EU money (for example an engineering company which secures a contract on an EU-funded infrastructure project, an agricultural  business in receipt of EU subsidy, or any consultancy or university engaged in research projects) is liable to undergo such an investigation.
 
When the UK has opted out, what legal basis and/or obligation is there for the UK to accept a fraud investigation carried out by a body of which it is not a member, conducting a process to which, by nature of its opt out,it is not a signatory?
When the UK has opted out, who provides and funds a designated European Prosecutor, their offices,his/her staff and their activities for the UK?

To which the following response was received:

I put your questions to the colleagues who are familiar with the Commission’s proposal  on the EPPO, and they provided the following responses:

Answer to Q1:  A firm located in UK and misusing EU-funds would not be subject to an EPPO-investigation, as the UK will not participate in the EPPO. For the UK, with the establishment of the EPPO, the current arrangements would continue to apply – i.e. the firm located in the UK would be subject to investigations by the UK national authorities and – as the case may be – OLAF. A domestic UK criminal investigation may arise as result of OLAF’s recommendations or the EPPO’s request for cooperation.

 Answer to Q2:  As the UK has opted out there would be no EPPO structures in UK and no UK-related activities of the EPPO which would need to be funded.

I leave readers to make what they will of that answer, especially as the result of any EPPO request for co-operation would most definitely result in the activities of the EPPO being funded by the United Kingdom.

With the stated wish of the United Kingdom Coalition Government to opt back in to 35 measures covered by Protocol 36 of the Lisbon Treaty – plus the European Investigation Order (EIO), some questions arise. Nick Clegg stated in his recent debate with Nigel Farage that there will be no more big transfers of power worthy of a referendum any time soon.

For any government to claim independence and sovereignty over its territory it must retain the power to decide any matter which affects that independence and sovereignty – and once it cedes one iota of either it can no longer claim independence nor sovereignty over its territory.

Does not therefore the decision to opt-back-in to these 35 measures concede a transfer of power over aspects of our justice system? Bearing in mind that ceding power over sections of our justice system control of which is essential if the UK is to retain its independence and sovereignty, it should automatically qualify for the calling of a referendum?

When a situation exists whereby absolute power is possessed by one person, or a small group of people, without effective limitations and who are thus able to interpret the laws they enact to suit their own ends – I believe it is justifiable in calling such a dictatorship.

Yet the United Kingdom is still referrred to as being subject to Parliamentary Democracy – just who is kidding who?

 


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