Thursday, October 11, 2007

Timothy Garton Ash: twat

Some commenters have drawn my attention to a CiF piece by that unshaved twat, Timothy Garton Ash. The razor-deprived fuckwit is ballsing on about the EU Constitution.
It's Groundhog Day in Britain's European debate. The Tories call for a referendum on a nefarious Brussels conspiracy to impose on us by stealth a European constitution. The government resists, with contorted excuses.

Well, I am with you so far. Nothing has changed in the last 30 odd years in regard to the EEC/EU. But then, that is partly because the government, of whatever stripe, has still to publish a cost benefit analysis.
The Eurosceptic press cries "foul". Europe is something ghastly being done to "us" by some sinister "them".

Quite correct, where "us" is the peoples of Europe, all 460 million odd of them, and "them" are the political elite who know so much better than we do about everything. Oh, yes, and their ghastly supporters in the MSM.
We have heard all the main arguments a squillion times. Any sane person will be bored to death by them.

We may have heard these parodies, for sure: but real argument, Timothy, based on economics and politics: no, we have not had them. Except, of course, on the blogs, and in pubs.
And this is before we even have a treaty to vote on. The parliamentary committee that stirred the latest rumpus, by saying that the proposed EU reform treaty is substantially the same as the constitutional treaty rejected by French and Dutch voters, was actually just giving its opinion on the agreement at the last summit of EU leaders on the outlines of a new treaty.

You see, this is the problem: the lying fucks in the MSM. What was published last Friday was not the "outlines of a new treaty": it was the final draft. What was published back in June was not the "outlines of a new treaty": it was a highly detailed document which contained almost all of the information that is contained in this final draft. And the report was not merely "giving its opinion on the agreement": it was assessing the draft treaty document as they Committee had read it.

But then, you wouldn't know any of this, would you, Timothy; after all, I didn't see your hairy phizzog at the Foreign Affairs select committee meeting yesterday, wherein they discussed the report in detail.
Next week European leaders hope to reach a detailed "political agreement" on the text, but it will only be finalised and signed at the end of the year.

Yes, Batshit brought that little excuse up yesterday. "It's not finished," he whined. Well, David and Timothy, it took a select committee 4 months to assess and publish a report on the first draft.

If the Treaty isn't finished yet, and yet it is supposed to be signed in December, do we not think that this might be something of a fore-shortened timetable?
That said, we know pretty much where we're heading. This treaty strengthens the now much-enlarged EU in some ways (eg in the coordination of external policy), streamlines it in others (eg a smaller European commission; no longer one commissioner for each of the 27 member states). It extends the powers of the EU's central institutions in some ways (eg qualified majority voting on energy and aid policy), but also builds in more checks and balances, including new "yellow card" powers for national parliaments opposed to new European legislation. This will be a much smaller leap of integration than either the Single European Act signed by Margaret Thatcher or the Maastricht treaty signed by John Major, but certainly more than mere tinkering. So it's not too soon to ask if we should have a referendum on it.

It is considerably more than mere tinkering, Timothy; it effectively makes our national Parliament subservient to the institutions of the EU, something you fail to mention in your summing up above.

Or does it? This debate was held yesterday, when Sir John Stanley brought up the relevent clause; the entire argument hinged around the word "shall"—in a legal document, is the word "shall" an imperative?

If the clause states that "the national government shall work to further the aims of the EU", is the "shall" a requirement or an invitation. Miliband argued that it was an invitation: that the British government might choose to further the EU's aims if it feels like it. In my opinion, this is bullshit.

If a court order says that, "you shall turn up in court at x time on y day" then one understands that one is required to turn up or face a penalty. It isn't an invitation to wander along if you feel like it.

Now, let's procede with Mr Garton Ash's article.
Here are five good arguments against having a referendum and one bad one:

  1. The treaty was not a constitution in the first place, and is even less so now.

    It was called a "treaty establishing a constitution for Europe" but it never was a constitution. However, it did replace the earlier treaties, which had formed a kind of cumulative constitution, with one grand unifying treaty. It no longer does. This is just another "amending treaty", like the earlier ones.

Oh hello, Mr Strawman: I didn't expect you quite so soon. The wrangle over whether the Reform Treaty is a constitution—or, indeed, whether the Constitution was a constitution—is absolutely fucking irrelevent.

The question is, does it substantially change our constitutional arrangements? Does it affect our balance of power? (The answer is "yes", by the way.) Whether or not it is a "proppa" constitution is utterly irrelevent to the referendum argument.
  1. Even if it's substantially the same treaty for others, it's not the same for Britain.

    Apart from the important change I just noted, the new draft treaty is, in substance, very close to the earlier one, on which Tony Blair and Labour in the last election promised to have a referendum. But the Brown government has negotiated various qualifications, clarifications, opt-outs and opt-ins, partly because the prime minister believes in them but mainly in order to resist calls for a referendum.

Crap. I have already discussed the worth of the famous "red lines"; they are worth absolutely cock all.

Every effort will be made to ensure that what Britain finally adopts, whether it is now or in five years, is the same as what every other country of the EU adopts. That is the fucking point of the sodding thing.

These MSM bitches and their EUphile masters keep saying that this is a "tidying up" exercise. Well, yes, sure, it is; but what needs tidying? The reason that things are "untidy" in the EU is because all of the 27 countries have slightly different arrangements and opt-ins, opt-outs, wiggle-it-all-abouts and this treaty is designed to stamp these out: it is designed to "harmonise" the arrangements for all countries so that they might be ruled more simply—that is the very purpose of this Constitution treaty.

Do you think that the "colleagues" are going to allow Britain to spoil this convenient harmony for any length of time? No.
  1. Britain has a parliamentary democracy not a plebiscitary one.

    When they were in government, the Conservatives fiercely resisted calls for a referendum on the much bigger changes in the Maastricht treaty. This is a debating point, of course, but not just. How do we agree what issues are big enough for a referendum?

First, two wrongs do not make a right, you fuckwit. Just because the Tories where a bunch of untrustworthy traitors—and the sooner that we see Hurd, Heseltine and Clarke hanging from gibbets in Parliament Square, the better—that does not mean that every government should be.

Second, we know when we should hold a referendum: when the balance of power is shifted. Look, you fucking hideous, hairy, little homunculous, we loan our power to the politicians in order that they can do those things that we cannot: that power is not theirs to give away. Do you understand that, you little shit?

A loan can be called in at any time: if we, the people, wish to regain certain powers from our Parliament, then they should be able to return those competencies to us. They cannot do that if they have given those powers away. Get it, fuckface?
  1. The world needs a stronger European voice, and needs it now.

    Every decade, we have done one big thing in what is now the European Union: the single market in the 1980s, the single currency in the 1990s, the historic eastward enlargement in the 2000s. The big thing for the next decade is what Europe will do in and for the world beyond its borders, from fostering development (the EU has the biggest aid budget in the world) and tackling climate change, to peace in the Middle East. We have wasted years in introverted dithering about our institutional arrangements. We should have our proposals about Russia, Iran and climate change on the table when a new American president moves into the White House in January 2009. With all its faults, this treaty would enable us to get on with what really needs to be done. If we take it down, Europe will waste several more years in navel-gazing, while Russia and China walk all over us and the planet boils over.

Crap. What the fuck do you think that the EU can do? The EU have a laughable military, and a minimal purchasing power; its markets arte declining and it is an expensive place to do business. The EU has little economic clout (even the EU Commission admits that what we have is declining rapidly) and we have fenced ourselves in, with tariff barriers and market restrictions, for so long that we are not an attractive market.

Don't you understand, Garton Ash: the EU is a protectionist organisation. It exists to stop other countries from entering our markets and damaging indigenous businesses; that is its very purpose. Not to mention the fact that a large part of the EU institutions' revenue comes from those tariffs.

The idea that this insular customs union is going to be a player in the wider world in anything but the most desultory manner is a sick joke.
  1. If Britain voted "no" to the treaty, we would be shooting ourselves in the foot.

    As I argued last week, as a single medium-sized nation, Britain can achieve only a fraction of the goals even Conservatives proclaim. We need a functioning Europe to get there. So this treaty is in our national interest.

Oh, I love this argument! Look, you fucking hairy arse-fucking twat-dwarf, we are the fifth largest economy and the third largest trading nation in the world (and even so, 80% of our trade is internal). Compared to our physical size, we are fucking giants.

The restrictions that are in place—the fact that we can no longer control our own trade policy, coupled with the EU's protectionism—means that we are crippling potentially lucrative contracts with the entire rest of the world (which is considerably larger, and growing much more quickly, than the EU is).

I have discussed the costs of the EU at length, many times, but the general concensus is that, in regulation and lost opportunity costs (not least the loss of free trade with the US, which they offered in 2003), the costs are about 10% of GDP; this currently translates to roughly £120 billion per annum.

Needless to say, we would be a much larger economy were we not shackled under this burden.
Now here's the bad argument:

You have more bad arguments? Fucking hell.
If we had a referendum, the government would lose it.

Blue funk, in short. I have to say that when I talk privately to pro-European friends, this is almost invariably the clinching argument: "Because we would lose it!" Even as I write this line, I know it's a gift to British Eurosceptics. "Look", they will gloat, "even the Guardian admits that the real reason is funk. Why don't pro-Europeans trust the people?" But our job, as journalists, writers, academics or thinktankers, is not to hack out party-political lines. It is to tell the truth. And this is the truth. Good as the other arguments are, the bad one is the clincher. If pro-Europeans thought they could win a referendum, as in 1975, they would probably go for it.

Well, possibly. However, can we stop this conflation with the 1975 referendum, please? In 1975, we voted—well, anyone who is now over 50 voted—on whether or not we wished to remain within the EEC. The EEC is not the same as the EU.

The EEC was supposed to be a free-trade area only, not a unifying political project. This was, at least, how it was sold to the people of Britain; although we know now that the pro-EEC politicos lied through their teeth. They knew that political unity was the goal all along. For that alone, all those on the pro-EEC side should be swinging from Traitor's Gate.
So long as this remains the case, pro-Europeans and Labour ministers resisting a referendum will sound weak, defensive and disingenuous.

And untrustworthy, traitorous, evil, arrogant corrupt... Oh, I could go on all day: fill in your own adjectives.
No matter that many of the Tories calling for a referendum are disingenuous too. Were they in government, they would have signed up to something very similar. That is how all Conservative governments for the last 35 years have acted. When push comes to shove, you get the best deal you can, and then - like Heath, like Thatcher, like Major - you go for it, in the national interest. In government, Cameron and co would be no different.

Absolutely; which is one of the many reasons that I won't vote for them, either. They are just as much a bunch of treasonous fucks as Labour. The day that they declare themselves to be anti-EU and throw Major, Heseltine, Hurd and Clarke (to name but four of those most guilty) out of the party, then I might believe that they have had a change of heart.

I'm not holding my breath.
But so long as Labour is not prepared to take the argument to the people, it will always be on the defensive. Moreover, in his heart of hearts I don't think Brown believes in this treaty half as much as Blair did.

Bollocks. If he didn't believe in it, he would declare a referendum. Stop with the ridiculous psychoanalysis, Gashton Art, and fuck the fuck off.
So we face the prospect of a Punch and Judy show in which both Cameron and Brown peddle a half-truth in which they only half-believe. The one advocates, the other opposes this treaty, but both without inner conviction.

And there, you see, you have hit the nail on the head in the matter of why people don't vote. Most of them realise that there is little point; moreover, the vast majority of people can see the insincerity in their politicians. And their politicians are insincere because they can see that they have been trapped and, unfortunately, none of them have the balls to stand up and say, "enough is enough."

Farage recognises this: like my father, he believes that it is the EU which is poisoning politics in this country. People don't vote, not because they are apathetic but because they understand that there is no point.
There have been many European proposals in the past which I did not support...

This, of course, is a variation of the racist declaring that "some of my best friends are blacks".
... but I do support this treaty. It's a bit of institutional housekeeping to make an enlarged EU fit for a 21st-century purpose; messy, unspectacular, but on balance good for Britain, Europe and the world.

Look, you tedious little shit, the EU is not good for Britain—economically, politically or socially—so neither is this treaty. Got it, fucker?
Unfortunately, here in Britain we now face a choice of evils: either this good thing is pushed through by the established procedures of a parliamentary democracy, but without clear popular consent; or popular consent is sought in a referendum, which will probably be lost. Not because the opponents have the better arguments, but because for decades British governments have failed to make those arguments, and to equip the British people to make an informed judgment on them.

Ah, yes, the people are too stupid and ignorant to understand what they are voting on, eh?

But, Timothy darling, one of your arguments against a referendum was that we live in a representative democracy; so, apparently, the people aren't too unimformed to understand what they are voting for when they elect politicians (or have referenda on Socttish Executives and Welsh Assemblies—a point made by Gisela Stuart yesterday), but they are when voting on the EU. Is that what you are saying?

What a patronising cunt you are. Fuck you.
Which is the lesser evil? Many of my pro-European friends will jump on me for saying this, but I must admit that I rather hanker after open combat. Sound the trumpets, stiffen the sinews, and let us march out from this boggy ground. At least it would make a change from Groundhog Day.

Yes, let's go forward into battle, Timothy: I will take particular pleasure in putting a claw-hammer through the back of your skull and then emptying sharpened cockroaches into the cavity, so that the little hissing bastards can eat you away from the inside.

Fuck you and your ill-informed writings; fuck you and your EU-loving; fuck you and your nasty little beard; fuck off and die.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Fantastic!

Your Apple shares have gone up today, too

Mark Wadsworth said...

Sorry mate, I read as far as 460 million, it's not, it's nigh on 500 million which I looked up before posting this rant.

LFB_UK *The Legend* said...

Now that was a nice sight to see, Back with a bang! an excellent fisking sir, well played

chris said...

DK, don't pour the sharpened cockroaches into his skull, the poor blighters will starve.

Cleanthes said...

"partly because the prime minister believes in them but mainly in order to resist calls for a referendum."

WOW! Arranging your negotiating position to avoid having to consult the people. That is a really shocking admission.