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Saturday, September 18, 2010

EU tussle and systems of government control

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 9/18/2010 01:01:00 pm

N.B. This has turned into a massive 3,500 word post containing ramblings, conpiracy theories and general codifications of disparate but oft-articulated thoughts. You have been warned.

It was inevitable, of course, that my slightly throw-away post on Our New Coalition Overlords' meaningless EU "referendum lock" should be commented on by the redoubtable Nosemonkey.
Psst... the Lisbon self-amending thing is nonsense, based on a misunderstanding of Article 48.

This is designed for very minor amendments (primarily small changes of phrasing to prevent misunderstandings in application, should these arise), and has numerous checks and balances in place. Read it for yourself here.

It’s also very difficult to change the treaty. It would require:
  1. consultation with the Commission and European Parliament (and in some cases the European Central Bank)
    [Consultation by whom? I am sure that the Commission—the only body that can initiate EU law—are more than capable of consulting with themselves. And the European Parliament is a toothless distraction—DK]

  2. a majority vote in the European Council

  3. the formation of a Convention to examine the proposed changes

  4. a conference of representatives of the governments of the member states to examine these the Convention’s findings

  5. a “consenus” to be reached (implying unanimity under existing EU working methods)

  6. ratification by all member states according to the requirements of their own national constitutions

  7. if, after 2 years, not all member states have ratified the amendments, they are to be re-assessed

In addition, Article 48.6 explicitly states that this “shall not increase the competences conferred on the Union in the Treaties”.

In other words, Lisbon has a self-amending clause, but not one that could confer more powers on the EU. For this, a new treaty would be required – and under ongoing EU rules, this would still require a unanimous agreement from the member states.

But let's not let facts get in the way of hyperbole, eh?

Indeed not. But we have also seen how the EU is in this project for the long term, and what seem like insurmountable odds when listed above are, quite demonstrably, not.

We know this because larger, more disruptive and more bureaucratic undertakings have been successfully undertaken by the EU machine—not least the formation and ratification of the Lisbon Treaty itself. Sure, there were hiccoughs along the way (as far as the elites are concerned), but the Lisbon Treaty is substantially the same as the EU Constitution in all meaningful aspects.*

EUReferendum further enunciates the pointlessness of the Coalition's fig-leaf referendum legislation, in typically trenchant language... [Emphasis mine.]
The terminal flaw in the initiative is that its authors fundamentally misunderstand the nature of the EU and how it works. Thus, they blather about requiring a referendum whenever there is a proposed transfer of power, in which context we are promised a referendum in the event of another treaty.

Where the understanding fails is that the treaties are more in the nature of enabling acts, which hand over rights to make legislation in particular policy areas, or "competences". The actual transfers of power come when the EU exercises those rights and actually makes the legislation, be it regulations or directives or whatever.

Thus, "lock" or not, the transfer of powers will continue regardless, most often with the approval of the Tories who are as a matter of policy wholly supportive of the "project". But then, they have never understood the EU – and never will. Their corporate stupidity is famous throughout the land, and it is not going to change now.

It is a simple fact that the range of EU competencies is astonishingly wide, and are prone to mission creep: an EU competency in "green" issues, for instance, becomes a plausible excuse for EU meddling in energy generation policy.

In passing laws to combat "climate change", for instance, the EU can put massive taxes on coal-fired, carbon-emitting power-stations, mandate that power companies must pay huge carbon-emission fines (of about £6 billion per annum, currently) or insist that member state governments subsidise "renewable energy".

Thus, whether or not energy generation is officially an EU competence (and, offhand, I cannot recall whether it is—although this is, as I say, immaterial), it effectively becomes one through EU measures designed to combat "climate change".

Of course, as far as people like Nosemonkey are concerned, this is A Good Thing; for whilst NM is not a huge fan of the EU as currently constituted, he is a believer in supra-national governments.
In 17th century Britain and 18th century France and America, the call was for no monarch to be above the law. In the 21st century the call should be that no government—or, to be precise, no state—should be above the law.

I’ve long argued that this is one of my key reasons for favouring some form of supranational governmental structure:
I for one would welcome legal restrictions on the ability of the state to interfere in our lives through unjust laws. I would like there to be lines in the sand, over which no government can step.

The trouble is, rather obviously, the age-old question of quis custodiet ipsos custodes—who guards the guards themselves?

Let us take, for instance, the United Nations—which is, arguably, the nearest thing that we have to a world government or final arbiter of international relations. Does this organisation break the law that it sets for others? Well, possibly (just search for UN whistleblower)—and its agents most certainly do (as I have pointed out many times, UN officials seem to specialise in pimping and otherwise sexually abusing vulnerable children). And the UN is certainly ineffective (although some might see this as a good thing).

In any case, the point is that a supra-national government is going to be no more inclined to obey "the law" than any other powerful body. Laws are, in any case, made by governments; retrospectively making past actions legal, for instance, is something that governments are rather fond of (New Labour did it a number of times—most famously in making the wholesale slaughter of animals in the food and mouth epidemic a legal act after the fact). Further, the bigger and more powerful the governmental body, the more difficult it is to enforce any kind of laws against them anyway.

These are all points that I have brought up in person with Nosemonkey: eloquent though he is, I have yet to receive replies that satisfy me. I'll admit, I'm a hard person to carry when one is talking about giving any kind of government more power but I simply don't see that a massive government is any less likely to break laws than smaller ones: in fact, given that it is far harder to constrain a larger force than a smaller one, I can see larger governments being considerably more likely to arrange things to their liking than not. "All power corrupts," etc...

In any case, when Richard at EUReferendum maintains that the EU does not aim to be a super-state, he is probably correct.
The first and foremost requirement of any campaigner is to "know your enemy"—Wellington's finding out what is on the other side of the hill, and all that. And the most crucial thing you will ever learn about the EU is that it is not a super-state, has no ambitions to become one and will not become one. But it is, increasingly, a super-government—and that is where it intends to go.

Primarily, the EU is a means by which the political élites in each of the member states by-pass the democratic institutions in their own countries, imposing their rule without the inconvenience of people participation. That is why the construct is so popular and enduring. The élites have created their own government without the interference of the pesky people.

In short, the EU is not an external agency imposed on us by foreigners (the UKIP/little Englander paradigm) but a conspiracy in plain sight, so glaring and obvious that it is ignored by all. It is the mechanism by which the political élites of Europe by-pass democracy and keep themselves in power. Thus, the EU is what the power élite in the British establishment impose on their own people—replicated in each country of the Union of Elites.

As you know, your humble Devil is far from enamoured of democracy—for it is simply a way of entrenching the tyranny of the majority into the political system—but it does have the advantage of enabling the people to get rid of governments that they do not like.

(This system of democracy is, of course, slowly but surely destroying the West: the entitlement culture and quite deliberately tutored ignorance engendered by government education programmes mean that the demoi of the developed countries consistently vote for more money and services for themselves, whilst ignoring the fact that the state has no money but what it extorts from wealth creators—hence the fact that almost all Western countries are social democracies up to their eyeballs in unsustainable levels of debt.

At the same time, taxes and regulations on business—although, since our states are at least partly corporatist and large companies are able to buy themselves loop-holes, the lion's share of these burdens fall on the SMEs that provide the vast bulk of employment and wealth creation—have become so burdensome that economic growth has slowed to minute percentages.

As such, to take Britain as an entirely typical example, the government is caught between a Scylla (of huge debt, which, including future liabilities, renders the state effectively bankrupt) and Charybdis (of a population continuing to vote for universal service provision requiring high taxes that stifle economic growth). This country is, to use technical term, fucked.)

Unappetising and, let's face it, near-indistinguishable as our reasonable options for government are, democracy does allow us to remove one bunch of corrupt bastards and replace them with another, very slightly different, bunch of corrupt bastards.

The EU has no such mechanism. The only body that can initiate EU laws is the EU Commission, and the EU Commission are appointees—they are not directly voted for and they often do not represent anything that the demoi actually desire in a government.

If you doubt me, simply look at some recent British Comissioners: Neil Kinnock—a Labour Party leader decisively rejected by the British people twice times in elections—and Peter Mandelson, an engaging but poisonous little weasel who had to resign twice from government for corruption.

Do either of these appointees make you believe that our elected representatives are sending the very best quality people to serve on the EU Commission? No, me neither.

One of the things that government is very good at is maintaining a positive narrative—often through recurring state-sponsored events, parades, bank holidays and other nationalist "bread and circuses"-style distractions.

For instance, As EUReferendum points out in a hugely interesting post, far from helping the British people during the Blitz, the state—where it did not actively endanger its people by, for instance, refusing to let people shelter in Underground railway stations—failed to help the hundreds of thousands who were injured and rendered homeless. Similarly, during these horrific days, the RAF were of little help, and yet the state has been able to maintain the fiction of the heroic Few saving Britain from invasion.
After the tube trains have finished running for the night, it remains policy to lock the stations and mount police guards to keep people out. And the police did as they were told by their bosses.

In a few stations, though, there were people sheltering overnight. This is so unusual that a Guardian columnist actually writes about it in his paper – he is one of the lucky ones. But it is only because the people turned up en masse with crowbars and swept the police aside. They broke into the stations and secured shelter, in defiance of the authorities and their prohibitions. The people decided and, shortly afterwards, the government caved in and lifted the prohibition.

It was the same elsewhere on other issues. Shelter management and organisation was set up not by the government but by volunteers. When the government decided to put its own people in, they were swept aside. Local vicars, WVS volunteers, and many others, started making sense of the rest centres, and gradually order—and humanity—prevailed. And, in each case, the government fell into line.

Indeed. In this pattern, Richard sees hope for a way out of the shit state that our democracy is in—in the form of a people's revolution.
In other words, the collapse of society was averted—and the safety of the people assured—more or less, not by a beneficent government but by people power. It was their endurance, their good sense, their organisational skills and perseverance that saved the day—not the dead hand of a corrupt, inefficient, lethargic public bureaucracy.
...

That is why the Battle of Britain still matters now. The carefully crafted official myth perpetuates and sustains the political status quo, a centralist, statist, top-down myth that suits both the left and the right wing of British politics. It is the myth that government is a force for good, that it works and that it has the interests of the people at heart.
...

The real message, therefore, is the one that needs to be taken up and replicated—because it is totally relevant to today's conditions. And that is stark: no one is going to come to our rescue and save us from the messes the government has created—any more than they did in 1940. We are going to have to do it ourselves. When the going gets tough, the only thing that matters is people power.

This may well be the case—and I am seeing, on blogs and in comments, an ever-increasing frequency of calls for some sort of revolution. Alas, I do not share Richard's optimism about its likelihood—although I do share his faith in human beings, as autonomous individuals, in general.

However, it is the concept of autonomy that leads to my lack of faith: I don't believe that the vast majority of people in this country are autonomous in any meaningful sense—and certainly not as regards their political ideas.

Because it seems obvious to me that successive governments took careful note of what happened during the Blitz: as Richard puts it, "in each case, the government fell into line". Now, I may get accused of conspiracy here, but I think that the state learned there—and that lesson was not that people could do it for themselves (and so the state should remove itself from their affairs) but that, if allowed, people would do it for themselves.

And if they did so, then the power of the state was reduced—and this must never be allowed to happen again.

And no, I don't think that this driver came mainly from the politicians—they are, in the main, too stupid, venal, ignorant, vain and (surprised at their good fortune and knowing that it cannot last) concerned with lining their own pockets.

No, such an agenda could only be pursued by the Civil Service—that body of shadowy mandarins that Sean Gabb of the Libertarian Alliance, for one, has identified as a core enemy of any libertarian movement.

Can't you see it? Imagine Sir Humphrey Appleby, crying indignantly, "the people cannot be allowed to organise themselves! There would be anarchy!" And now, more silkily, "besides, the people don't want to be bothered with all the administrative tedium of governing themselves. They want to be guided by the government into leading fulfilled and happy lives." And, decisively: "And the government, Bernard, is us."

I'm sure that it all began with the best of intentions—the National Insurance (although that was, as we know, corrupted long before it even became a reality), the child support, the tax credits and, most crucially of all, the state-sponsored schooling—but what a panicked government found was that all of the fenceposts for a system of societal control were already in place. All that the post-War government needed to do was to connect them and the people would cage themselves.

With the government having controlled almost all sickness and unemployment insurance since 1911 and most schooling since 1880 (with control tightening in a series of Education Acts in 1902, 1918, 1944, 1964 and up to the present day), it was relatively easy for the post-War government to extend itself into the provision of almost all healthcare, education and insurance—thus tightening its grip on the people through near-universal service provision.

Milton Friedman famously said...
I am in favor of cutting taxes under any circumstances and for any excuse, for any reason, whenever it's possible. The reason I am is because I believe the big problem is not taxes, the big problem is spending. The question is, "How do you hold down government spending?"

one of the prime reasons for holding down government spending—apart from the fact, as we see today, that governments spend profligately and unwisely—is that money, especially vast amounts of it, is power.

Of course, universal service provision enabled the government to demand, legitimately, far more money from taxpayers whether those taxpayers used the services provided or not. And so we have taxes rising steadily, from some 8% of GDP in 1880 to the situation that we have today—in which the government spends over 50% of all of the wealth generated yearly in this country.

By the end of the Second World War, many people were dead and the Friendly Societies (as an example of people having organised their own lifestyle insurance) had been all but wiped out (largely thanks to private corporates and the British Medical Association) for some thirty years.

As a result, the concept of voluntary collectivism and self-help was fading rapidly in the public consciousness—ably helped along by the narrative of the government as saviour of the British people from the Nazi threat (largely through the fetishisation of Churchill and other national bodies, such as the RAF).

With the state now in charge of the schooling agenda of well over 90% of British children (and, through regulation, influencing the curricula of the rest), the narrative of the state as protector—a benign body in loco parentis—was not difficult to seed.

As the narrative became more obvious, the teaching profession (already largely people by left wingers) became even more saturated by socialists, Communists and other statist cheerleaders. As the state ramped up Welfare payments from being simply a basic payout in extremis to being a cushion for lifestyles choices, the entrapment of the masses became complete.

And so here we are, where those who value liberty over security are in the minority (vocal though they may be in this blogging medium), oppressed and milked by the vast mass of state-aid recipients through the ballot box—behind which stand the politicians who are only too happy to buy the votes that keep them in their cushy jobs.

Revolution? Don't make me laugh. There will be no revolution in our lifetimes, either at the ballot box or in the streets.

The bovine population have been educated—nearly from birth—to believe that the state is the people's friend, and that the way in which we do things now is not only the most efficient but also the most morally correct way to run a society.

Those who are in receipt of handouts will not vote for their withdrawal, and will vote for more if they can—indeed, such is the tax burden that even those who are working could simply not afford to live were their state life-line removed.

And most of those who are not in receipt of such monies have been educated all of their lives to believe that said "benefits" are a moral certitude and that to even consider other systems a heresy.

This attitude is, of course, predicated on a patronising middle-class contempt for the "working classes"—by which, of course, they mean the non-working classes—who, like Sir Humphrey, they see as being so stupid, ignorant and feckless that the chances of said working classes being able to organise a piss-up in a brewery, let alone create ordered community insurance for themselves, is a concept to be treated with a bray of hollow, cynical laughter.

The sad pity being, of course, that as the people become ever more used to the handouts and the state molly-coddling, and ever less able to even conceive of the kind of self-help that was in such abundance only a century ago, this mirth is ever more justified.

As for trying to change this state of affairs, it is difficult enough to try to organise and motivate a band of the willing—let alone fighting against a majority of the unwilling. So you'll forgive me if I feel that the outlook is bleak, and that the only path that our societies tread is that of decadence and decline, finally fading into senescence and death.**

* There is one crucial difference, though, which people such as James Higham and his friends at the Albion Alliance don't seem to understand: unlike the EU Constitution, which was designed to replace all previous treaties, the Lisbon Treaty is an amending treaty.

As such, it references and requires all previous treaties to be extant, and the mechanisms by which those treaties are enacted in member countries also must be in force. As such, the repeal of the 1972 European Communities Act would remove us from the legal obligations of the Lisbon Treaty in a way that would not have been possible under the EU Constitution.

** And I haven't even covered the role of the corporates and the media in all of this...

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 9/18/2010 01:01:00 pm


23 Blogger Comments:

Anonymous Witterings From Witney said...

DK, where pray have the Albion Alliance stated that the Lisbon Treaty is not an amending treaty?

I have neveer said this, neither have, to my knowledge, any of my colleagues.

9/18/2010 03:58:00 pm  
Anonymous IanPJ said...

There is one crucial difference, though, which people such as James Higham and his friends at the Albion Alliance don't seem to understand: unlike the EU Constitution, which was designed to replace all previous treaties, the Lisbon Treaty is an amending treaty.

DK, such a piss poor jibe doesn't even warrant a response. If you are looking to regain some of your blogging respectability, I'm afraid you wont get it at the expense of the Albion Alliance.

9/18/2010 04:01:00 pm  
Anonymous Trooper Thompson said...

People that love liberty are a minority. People in the power structure are also a minority. Between us stand the vast majority, who are indeed unlikely to take action in defence of their own interests (as liberty-lovers see them) except in the most extreme circumstances (e.g. above, bombs raining down). Rather than wishing human nature be different, or sinking into cynicism, liberty-lovers must try to understand the mechanics of this relationship. The majority are a kind of dead weight, which is used by the powers that be to preserve the status quo. We have to try to shift the centre of gravity within that weight.

9/18/2010 04:45:00 pm  
Anonymous Devil's Kitchen said...

Ian and WfW,

James Higham—who I believe to be one of the AA founder members, and who is listed as an admin on the AA site—has accused me of being in the pay of the EU, of "pulling the wool over Libertarian eyes" and said that "the LPUK leaders ... aren't EUceptic".

James—despite being pointed numerous times to the section of the Libertarian Party manifesto that details EU policy, i.e. immediate withdrawal (no referendum involved)—persisted in saying that I was not, in fact, anti-EU (despite a wealth of evidence to the contrary).

He then decided to extrapolate certain things that I said into LPUK policy: you yourself, Ian, did precisely the same thing when the Libertarian Party refused to sign up to the AA (even though, as ex-leader, you knew our policy on binding agreements with other organisations).

In fact, despite knowing what Libertarian Party policy was (having helped make some of it), you presumably endorsed James's attack on myself and the party on those grounds.

Given that Ian and James think my personal opinion is party policy (even though Ian, at least, knows that it doesn't work that way), I simply applied the same rule to the AA.

So, here's James Higham's comment on a post (shortly before he posted his blogs attacking my stance on the EU):

"... assuming you've read through the raft of legislation awaiting the GE that there IS no taking out after five years.
...

Lisbon is self-amending and there will be no UK to take out through the ECA."


This is more than just a slightly hysterical attitude (and nothing that James followed up with actually backed up his assertion that "there will be no UK to take out through the ECA."

James asserts that "there IS no taking out after five years", citing the self-amending nature of the Lisbon Treaty, but Lisbon's self-amending nature is utterly immaterial to the underlying point that it is an amending treaty—it cannot stand on its own.

Now, you can argue that I should not take James's opinion as indicative of the beliefs of the AA in general, and you are possibly correct.

But, maybe not, as this post by Ian shows:

"As they said, they’re more into contesting the next election, actually believing there’ll be one, poor guys and gals. Their leader refuses to call for an EU Referendum, despite having been shown why it is the single most crucial issue this time round."

Once again, repeating the idea that the there will be no UK. And, presumably, like Higham, laying this at the door of the Lisbon Treaty (I can't think how else I might have been "shown").

"He says it’s the economy. Precisely. Meaning the EU."

Nope. I said that it was because we'd lose, and then the EU would be able to dine out for another 40 years on yet another "stay in" vote.

DK

9/18/2010 04:54:00 pm  
Anonymous IanPJ said...

DK, I fear you take criticism of your stance on the EU far too personally.

A nine month old disagreement over a form of words between you and James is hardly relevant now. I would have hoped that you had moved on.

In fact, at the Albion Alliance, we have all, on numerous occasions made it clear that not only is Lisbon an amending treaty, that
it is also self amending, thereby not requiring further treaties in the future except in exceptional circumstances.

Unfortunately what you and many others fail to acknowledge, or do not want to see, is that the first self amendment of the Lisbon Treaty upon coming into force on 1st Dec 2009 was the subsuming of all the previous, and now amended Treaties into a newly created TFEU with full legal personality, thereby creating the same legal structure as if it had been a separate Constitutional Treaty.

The Single Communities Act cannot therefore be amended should Scotland for instance gain independence and gain National rather than merely Regional Status within the EU, as the original treaties to which it refers no longer exist in their own right.

We still maintain that the aim of the EU is the neutralisation of the UK as a single state, the State that signed up-to the Lisbon Treaty, and the only State that Lisbon allows to withdraw. It makes no allowance for States heirs and successors.

The antics of the EU to gain seats as a State in its own right at the UN only this week should ring some massive alarm bells but on that issue there has been an abnormal silence.

Incidentally the post and quote you have attributed to me, if you read it, is a guest post.

9/18/2010 05:44:00 pm  
Anonymous Devil's Kitchen said...

"In fact, at the Albion Alliance, we have all, on numerous occasions made it clear that not only is Lisbon an amending treaty, that
it is also self amending, thereby not requiring further treaties in the future except in exceptional circumstances.

Unfortunately what you and many others fail to acknowledge, or do not want to see, is that the first self amendment of the Lisbon Treaty upon coming into force on 1st Dec 2009 was the subsuming of all the previous, and now amended Treaties into a newly created TFEU with full legal personality, thereby creating the same legal structure as if it had been a separate Constitutional Treaty."


*sigh*

I was pointing out, in writing, the self-amending nature of the treaty back inJanuary 2007, dear boy.

That doesn't alter the fact that there are certain bits that can be altered, and that—as Nosemonkey helpfully pointed out—there are certain procedures to follow.

None of this makes it any less dangerous, but I think that you severely under-estimate the time that we have and the capabilities of Lisbon.

DK

9/18/2010 06:11:00 pm  
Anonymous IanPJ said...

None of this makes it any less dangerous, but I think that you severely under-estimate the time that we have and the capabilities of Lisbon.

I think we are in broad agreement as to the nature of the beast, but, I can guarantee that I have read and absorbed more EU legislation, directives, regulations, opinions and committee papers than probably any single incumbent in the UK parliament, and in my opinion the only thing that is underestimated is the determination and guile of the unelected Presidents of the Commission & Council, to have an EU superstate, with all the legal trimmings, in place by the end of 2012. Legally or otherwise.

9/18/2010 06:48:00 pm  
Anonymous The Boiling Frog said...

As such, it references and requires all previous treaties to be extant, and the mechanisms by which those treaties are enacted in member countries also must be in force. As such, the repeal of the 1972 European Communities Act would remove us from the legal obligations of the Lisbon Treaty in a way that would not have been possible under the EU Constitution.

That's not quite true. Not only, as IanPJ points out, because the original treaties no longer exist in their own right but that the Lisbon Treaty is an international treaty. It therefore stands under the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.

Sure we could repeal the European Communities Act 1972 but the Lisbon treaty would still stand under international agreement. Therefore we still have to invoke articles 50/51, ask permission from the other 26 member states and endure the 2 year cooling off period.

Or we could repeal Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties so we could exit Lisbon instantly, but the damage that would do to Britain's reputation would be disastrous.

Re: the self amending part - Article 48, as I understand it there are 'implicit' and 'explicit' clauses. All bar one are explicit, i.e. any self-amendment to the treaty requires Parliament's permission, however the notorious 48.7 clause is implicit; basically Parliament always agrees to amendments unless it specifically objects (unlikely I know).

Not that any of it matters as our political 'leaders' are willing partners in the project.

9/18/2010 06:49:00 pm  
Anonymous Katabasis said...

"Sure we could repeal the European Communities Act 1972 but the Lisbon treaty would still stand under international agreement. Therefore we still have to invoke articles 50/51, ask permission from the other 26 member states and endure the 2 year cooling off period."

Moreover, the remaining member states would also then stipulate the conditions of the UK's withdrawal - with the UK excluded from any such discussions.

9/18/2010 06:57:00 pm  
Anonymous IanPJ said...

The Boiling Frog. The reference to Parliament that you quoted is a reference to the EU Parliaments, not national ones.

The full TFEU may be read here.
http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:C:2010:083:0013:0046:EN:PDF

9/18/2010 07:10:00 pm  
Anonymous The Boiling Frog said...

Can you clarify IanPJ what you mean, because 48.7 contains this:

Any initiative taken by the European Council on the basis of the first or the second subparagraph shall be notified to the national Parliaments. If a national Parliament makes known its opposition within six months of the date of such notification, the decision referred to in the first or the second subparagraph shall not be adopted. In the absence of opposition, the European Council may adopt the decision.

Isn't that 'implicit' consent by the UK Parliament?

9/18/2010 07:52:00 pm  
Anonymous IanPJ said...

My apologies Boiling Frog, I misread what you said. You are quite right in your assertion. I had assumed you referred to paras before 48.7..which refer to the EU Parliament.

9/18/2010 08:07:00 pm  
Anonymous The Boiling Frog said...

No worries, cheers IanPJ. I was worried by your post that I had misread the Treaty; god knows I don't want to read the bloody thing all over again. ;-)

9/18/2010 08:31:00 pm  
Anonymous Techno Mystic said...

Depressing, and I can't help thinking a lot about a quote by Winston Smith from 1984: "Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimetres inside your skull."

There is scope for events to derail the European Project though. I was just thinking the other day what will happen if the EU eventually tries to harmonise tenancy law. The British might be forced to go over to a continental model of long-term rental where tenants have more rights. Since many of those in power will have property interests they won't be too pleased if UK tenants get more rights.

On the other hand, if France and Germany were forced to go over to an Anglo-Saxon model of short-term lets there would probably be rioting in the streets.

If France succeeds in banning the burkha then this might also be a divisive issue because opponents of a ban in the UK would have to argue that Britain is different from continental Europe.

So I am optimistic right now that there are still plenty of faultlines that could derail the prospect of a European government.

9/19/2010 09:41:00 am  
Anonymous Recovering Libertarian said...

What depressing twaddle. Could somebody enlighten me as to exactly what practical difference it makes whether our lords and masters are based in Brussels or Westminster? As DK has already acknowledged in this post:

"Unappetising and, let's face it, near-indistinguishable as our reasonable options for government are, democracy does allow us to remove one bunch of corrupt bastards and replace them with another, very slightly different, bunch of corrupt bastards."

And that's worth fighting for? Seriously, if there is an honest recognition (as in the OP) that 'sovereignty' means nothing -- in terms of the struggle for liberty -- why continue to make such a fuss about it?

9/19/2010 11:16:00 am  
Anonymous Eurogoblin said...

"In passing laws to combat "climate change", for instance, the EU can put massive taxes on coal-fired, carbon-emitting power-stations, mandate that power companies must pay huge carbon-emission fines (of about £6 billion per annum, currently) or insist that member state governments subsidise "renewable energy"."

I'm possibly wrong on this, but I believe the EU's "energy and climate change package" is a package of legislation setting national targets (a package designed with input from member-states, including concessions to Eastern European states with largely coal-based economies). As such, it's up to the member-states how they meet those targets. So the "massive taxes" on coal-fired power plants are being designed and levied by national governments, not by the EU.

You (most probably) don't believe in climate change, and by that logic the whole thing is a waste of time. But, if we assume for a moment that carbon emissions do indeed pose a threat to our continued survival, then surely an international organisation such as the EU is the best way to effectively moderate them? If Germany pursued an effective climate change policy but Poland decided not to, then that's a big, fat externality sitting on Germany's doorstep.

9/19/2010 12:00:00 pm  
Anonymous Devil's Kitchen said...

Eurogoblin,

First, nice to see a new face around here...!

"You (most probably) don't believe in climate change..."

Not in catastrophic anthropogenic climate change, no.

"... and by that logic the whole thing is a waste of time."

And money, and lives. Yes.

"But, if we assume for a moment that carbon emissions do indeed pose a threat to our continued survival, then surely an international organisation such as the EU is the best way to effectively moderate them?"

Well, no, I don't think that something like the EU is the best way to approach it. There are subtle and unsubtle reasons for that, which are worth addressing in a full post.

I shall try to find time over the next couple of days to do so.

DK

9/19/2010 12:39:00 pm  
Anonymous Eurogoblin said...

Ta for the welcome. And I'll look forward to your post on how externalities such as pollution and transnational crime can be regulated without the EU.

9/19/2010 06:49:00 pm  
Anonymous Devil's Kitchen said...

"And I'll look forward to your post on how externalities such as pollution and transnational crime can be regulated without the EU."

And I'll look forward to writing about how the EU is far too small and parochial to deal with transnational externalities...

DK

9/19/2010 06:57:00 pm  
Anonymous 13th Spitfire said...

Regardless of what other people have said I thought that was a most excellent post and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Personally I believe that the EU will fall under the sheer weight of itself and crumble under its own contradictions.

Though I also agree with your sentiment that there will be no revolution in your lifetime though the calls are growing louder each day for one to be had. There is of course another twist to that. If you come to the understanding that the human species is built up by two classes of people: leaders and followers. Most people are pretty dim, and even that is understatement. In essence you can convince the majority of anything and only a tiny class of people will truly understand that what you are saying is complete nonsense.

There is no need to wake up the masses but one could instead feed them a different take on reality, one where they are not shackled by the state and dependent on it for their upkeep. If you tell them something different for long enough they will start believing it. As you have said yourself the calls for at least something to happen are growing louder, so clearly some sort of message is getting across. Question is, is it getting across to the leaders or the followers?

9/20/2010 01:11:00 am  
Anonymous B of B said...

The 'Battle of Britain ' was never about stopping the luftwaffe from bombing the cities. It was solely about the luftwaffe targetting airfields to destroy our fighters in order to have air superiority for Operation Sealion ( the invasion of Britain by sea). The Battle of Britain finished on September 15th 1940 after a few short months when Hitler decided to forget about the invasion as he realised the RAF would never surrender air superiority. Hitler switched to bombing cities to try and get a surrender that way.
Reports from the time spoke of our pilots being sad at the bombing of London but glad the target had switched to London so they could repair their aircraft and airfields.
Hitler's switch to bombing the cities was a tactical error as he was only days away from destroying most of our fighter airfields in Southern England.
Air superiority is now seen as vital in all wars since WW2 and is always the first stage of any campaign. ( remember the attacks on Iraqi airfields during GW1 /GW2 in the opening days of the wars.)

9/20/2010 01:14:00 am  
Anonymous Tapestry said...

The wheel is about to turn. The world's governments are in maximum debt at which point many will be forced to default. This is the high water mark of the state as provider.

The Tea Party leads the movement towards self responsibility. It will come here too.

9/20/2010 07:19:00 am  
Anonymous chalky white said...

As 'B of B' says the Battle of Britain was a short campaign to decide who had air superiority over British airspace. If the luftwaffe had won then there would have been a curtailing of the blitz of London and Coventry etc as the Germans would have been afraid of hitting their troops who were billeted there.

9/20/2010 11:50:00 am  

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