The EU: A danger to democracy

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Yokel, Sep 23, 2012.

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  1. Second try after PC had a fit whilst starting a previous thread....

    Václav Klaus warns that the destruction of Europe's democracy may be in its final phase - Telegraph

    The new push for a European Union federation, complete with its own head of state and army, is the "final phase" of the destruction of democracy and the nation state, the president of the Czech Republic has warned.

    In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Václav Klaus warns that "two-faced" politicians, including the Conservatives, have opened the door to an EU superstate by giving up on democracy, in a flight from accountability and responsibility to their voters.

    "We need to think about how to restore our statehood and our sovereignty. That is impossible in a federation. The EU should move in an opposite direction," he said.

    Last week, Germany, France and nine other of Europe's largest countries called for an end to national vetoes over defence policy as Guido Westerwelle, the German foreign minister, urged the creation of a directly elected EU president "who personally appoints the members of his European government".

    Mr Westerwelle, in a reference to British opposition, called for nation states to be stripped of vetoes on defence to "prevent one single member state from being able to obstruct initiatives" which "could eventually involve a European army".

    The new offensive followed the unprecedented declaration by the Commission's president, José Manuel Barroso, during his "state of union" address to the European Parliament on 12 September, that he would make proposals for a fully-fledged EU "federation" in 2014. "Let's not be afraid of the word," he said.

    Speaking in Hradcany Castle, a complex of majestic buildings that soars above Prague, and is a symbol of Czech national identity, Mr Klaus described Mr Barroso's call for a federation, quickly followed by the German-led intervention, as an important turning point.

    "This is the first time he has acknowledged the real ambitions of today's protagonists of a further
    deepening of European integration. Until today, people, like Mr Barroso, held these ambitions in secret from the European public," he said. "I'm afraid that Barroso has the feeling that the time is right to announce such an absolutely wrong development.

    "They think they are finalising the concept of Europe, but in my understanding they are destroying it."
    President Klaus, 71, is one of Europe's most experienced conservative politicians; he has served as his country's prime minister twice after winning national elections and will complete his second term as Czech President next year.

    Frequently referred to as the "Margaret Thatcher of Central Europe", Mr Klaus was born in Nazi-occupied Prague, played a key role in the 1989 Velvet Revolution that overthrew Communism and became founder of the Czech Civic Democratic Party, which has remained in government for most of the Czech Republic's independence.

    He reluctantly recommended Czech Republic membership of the EU in 2004 and five years later was the last European head of state to sign the Lisbon Treaty, delaying signature, under intense international pressure, until all legal and constitutional appeals had been exhausted against it in his country. "We were entering the EU, not a federation in which we would become a meaningless province," he said.

    Mr Klaus is a courteous old-school European, a keen and frequent public speaker, who insists on an intellectual critique of ideas rather than the personal criticism that often substitutes for serious political debate today. To his "great regret" he finds himself a lone fighter for democracy among Europe's heads of state.

    "When it comes to the political elites at the top of the countries, it is true, I am isolated," he said. "Especially after our Communist experience, we know, very strongly and possibly more than people in Western Europe, that the process of democracy is more important than the outcome.

    "It is an irony of history, I would never have assumed in 1989, that I would be doing this now: that it would be my role to preach the value of democracy."

    In his book, Europe: The Shattering of Illusions, to be published by Bloomsbury on Thursday, Mr Klaus makes the case that the EU has evolved into its current form because political leaders have found it convenient to turn away from their nation states, where voters have historically been able to hold them to account.

    "Political elites have always known that the shift in decision-making from the national to the supranational level weakens the traditional democratic mechanisms (that are inseparable from the existence of the nation state), and this increases their power in a radical way. That is why they wanted this shift so badly in the past, and that is why they want it today," he writes.

    "The authors of the concept of European integration managed to short circuit the minds of the people, making a link between Hitler's aggressive nationalism (nationalism of a totally negative type) and the traditional nation state, calling into question the existence of nation states in general. Of the many fatal mistakes and lies that have always underpinned the evolution of the EU, this is one of the worst."

    Mr Klaus is genuinely baffled and aghast when describing his state visit to Italy last week, where he encountered what he called the "destructive mentality" of Italian politicians who were using the eurozone crisis to give up on democracy and to evade responsibility for running their country.

    "It was really very depressing for me how many leading Italian politicians expressed the view that it is necessary to shift competences from Italy to Brussels because of one thing: they passively accept they are not able to make rational decisions themselves," he said. "They can now find the excuse or alibi that 'we are forced to do it'. I have never heard it before so explicitly or directly.

    "It is a flight from accountability and responsibility. They have given up on the role and importance of democracy. That is the final and really tragic consequence."

    With sadness, more than anger, he concludes that the Conservatives, in government under David Cameron, are no better than any other national politicians with "two faces", who "show one to their voters and the other when speaking in Brussels, at various EU summits and similar events."

    "We see it best with the British Conservatives after Margaret Thatcher. With the full weight of public opinion behind them, sharply opposing the euro and any further transfer of powers to Brussels - winning many a vote thanks to this - as soon as they step on to the continent, their resolve to fight for these principles evaporates," he writes.

    Speaking to The Sunday Telegraph, he is too courteous as Czech head of state to criticise directly the Prime Minister's leadership, but is privately said to be despairing at his lack of fight at the EU summit table. "I would wish to return to the original position with the Conservative Party. I don't really wish to add to what I say in my book," he said.

    After the collapse of Communism, conservatives in the Czech Republic found natural allies in their Britain counterparts under Baroness Thatcher - a relationship that has continued, with members of Mr Klaus's party sitting in the grouping led by British Conservatives in the European Parliament.

    But Mr Klaus himself is beginning to think beyond that. As Czech president he cannot act unilaterally, but he expresses his personal support for the UK Independence Party, a relationship that became closer after a recent meeting with its leader Nigel Farage, and he hinted at possible plans when his second and last term of office ends next March.

    "Involvement in an explicit way is at the moment out of the question. I suppose in the long run, but definitely not as president of this country," he said, adding: "I support many of their ideas."

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  2. Sounds like a good time to discuss the nature of democracy, what it's for and how best to achieve those aims. Are multi-party elections really the best way in today's world to achieve popular supervision of policy or do they merely represent the best attempt that was possible in the 18th century? For that matter, is popular supervision of policy really all it's cracked up to be in the longer term?
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  3. Two faced politicians - surely not. Someone will say that there are apathetic voters next.
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  4. As Mitt was just saying 47% of Septics are never going to vote for him because they rely heavily on the services government provides which are largely paid for by the far richer folk of his class he sees as his base. An exaggeration but this is largely because over time the bottom deciles have voted into office politicians who at least partially served their interests in the past few decades. That's democracy and a lot of the better sort of people have really never liked it's egalitarian tendencies. Indeed with no baying mob to frighten the new version of the gentry it's hard to see how it is in their interest to share wealth and power with the plebs.

    The EU while not as representative as some nation states is unusually democratic for a pan national body but increasingly exists to serve elite globalized interests particularly in finance. You could look at the current crisis as a single minded effort to rescue an essentially bankrupt set of core country banks from the consequences of profligate lending. A stealthy action that will finally must be paid for by the same countries tax payers who are also being told lower wages, shorter retirements and fewer services are the future. This very sheltered version of crony capitalism isn't compatible with democracy either.

    The clash really isn't between nation states and the EU but the interests of globalized capital and imperfectly representative government. Looking at the struggle so far the latter clearly doesn't have a cat in hell's chance.
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  5. One the biggest of the EU's many lies, has been the fantasy that the eec/eu have enabled Europe to live at peace for 60-odd years, I always thought that it was NATO, an occupied and divided Germany, and a policy of mutually assured destruction myself. An artificial, undemocratic, political union of the type favoured by Brussels leaves us in a similar sort of place to the old Austro-Hungarian arrangement...the breakup of which gave us two world wars originating in Pan-European empire-building. I cannot believe that these people actually believe that forcing us all into a federal superstate is a recipe for peace and stability. The EU is a chimera born out of France's fear of Germany and Germany's fear of itself,and is nursing the hopes and dreams of the left at her rancid teats.
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  6. All that from a self serving kleptocrat. Still given the number of pens he has nicked in public, he should still have plenty of ink left. Arrse.

    He is babbling on about democracy, which might involve being accountable; given that, when has he or his government ever been held to account. The money they have stolen through defence deals Tatra, BAE, Pandur, CASA etc etc would be enough to balance the budget. He also undermines Czech democracy by not allowing more Czech judges to be appointed, their remuneration cut but still allowing massive fees to be paid to advokats.

    When a prosecutor gets close, their job ends. He has the gall to talk about democracy?

    I should also think there will be one of two Germans out there that are still looking for money and property owned to them, but which Klaus has blocked.

    The bloke needs to have a serious heart attack, the cnut.

    Rant ove
  7. There is no profligate lending without profligate borrowing.

    Let us not forget that those banks were feeling the effects of a US Govt policy disigned to enfranchise the poor by making them home owners.

    Thomas Sowell has written an excellent book on this topic 'The Housing Boom and Bust', in which he sets out the manner in which US policy makers used force of federal law to compel banks into selling risky mortgages. When bankers objected they were accused of racism.

    It now turns out that the reason they did not want to lend 300K to Billy Bob of Louisiana was not because he is black, rather it was because he had no effin' money.
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  8. Oh the poor little bankers so easily bullied! Finally it was all down to being forced to lend to evil Gibsons. Odd that the same bankers were eagerly and successfully lobbying for laxer regulation of the same markets throughout this period, actually they still are.

    The extreme enthusiasm for making dodgy loans of many major institutions around the world has simpler roots. That made your bonus bigger and got you promoted. It also delighted shareholders for a long time. It was naively seen as good buccaneering business and allowed a dull service to the real economy to balloon into a huge and very opaque "industry". It was all insured by CDS's and was thick with financial instruments of mind bending complexity, what could go wrong?

    NINJA borrowers being preyed on by usurers were just one particularly egregious aspect of the system of easy credit that fueled all the booms and busts of the post Big Bang era. The fact that governments encouraged and indeed cheered on this behavior is reprehensible but incidental to the natural incentives of the industry and markets. There's a whole series of studies on real estate busts that support this.

    An awful lot of the subprime market was speculators buying up tracks of empty Florida real estate as investments. The risk analysis on this from lenders was just shockingly poor. The widely held market assumption was prices would never stop rising let alone fall. It's a very similar story to the role of the Cajas in Spain. Those mortgages that where then repackaged with the complicity of rating agencies as AAA CDOs and the soon to be toxic asset punted on to pension funds, a form of legalized fraud. I don't really see this as tale of evil bankers more of human fallibility, folly and a political class wedded to what has been a great source of economic growth since the 80s.
  9. Has the commons ever been too keen on democracy ? Back when Scotland had 2.6 million population only 4500 had the vote. in England Dunwich in Suffolk possessed such wisdom it had two MPs and a Bishop for its pulation of 32 people.

    The Commons was wary of the Army.. Charles 1st James 2nd and Cromwell had all used the Army against the Commons.

    Thomas Paine and later the Peterloo Riot signalled the Commons it was time for a bit of a change. This was when we had one constable for every 14000 citizens few of whom had the vote.

    The Crown had to have the consent of the Commons to have a standing army.

    But the Commons made sure that social reformers would be unlikely to gain officer rank by making it too expensive. The Commons felt little threat from the imbecile aristocrats who formed the officer corps.

    Publicly funded police forces came in long before all male house owners got the vote (About 40% of men entitled to vote circa 1870)

    The Police are a Crown authorized body. But the Commons made sure it gained influence first by creating special Branch and later by creating MI5.

    Round about the 1960s the Home Office hit on a greater wheeze for controlling the Crown Police. The proof of this was the ready obedience in 1984, unlawfully, to central control by a limited company (ACPO)

    Accountability ? if you die and are unrecognisable then the Coroner has to apply to the Home Secretary for "Permission" to hold an inquest.

    if you complain about armed militia (who have no Crown authority to bear arms) the police can only prosecute the James Shortty types by consent of the Attorney General.

    If you want to appeal an inquest verdict you can only do so with the consent of the Attorney General.

    If you want to appeal an inquest verdict to Europe then you can't. Inquests are not subject of rights to fair trial.

    Not surprisingly when people get a bit questioning about accountability the now tried method to con them into subservience is to extend democracy. I give you the latest voting right con ... elections for Police Commissioners.

    Now we have democracy we have one constable to every 400 of us and the constable tugging his forelock to the Home Secretary instead of serving the Crown.
  10. So he's got a book to sell and he's whipping up a panic among Torygraph readers.

    The EU as an entity does not believe in government by consent - nothing new there. As much as I despair at the morons in the House of Commons here there is absolutely no way they're going to give up defence and foreign policy.
  11. The EU as an entity does not believe in government by consent from the populations of the member states because that's exactly how it was set up. It's a union of states, not of peoples, and all else flows from that.
  12. The EU is so democratic You sometimes get to vote Twice on the same issue. What more do you proles want?

  13. A vote on being in the EU in the first place?

    I am not French, therefor I do not wish to be governed by the Germans
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  14. Oh ssh such a thing is too important to be decided by the likes of You, let the Kinnocks of this world worry about that
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  15. <eu mode in> your just a little englander and can't be trusted to see the bigger picture and vote the right way <eu mode off>