The Election: Where Next?


Dave Barnby

Taking a calm look at the result as a Brexit supporter, I have the following observations:

Yes, Teresa May has lost a lot of authority, but she should with the support of the DUP have a bit of a majority. Her main problem, assuming she doesn’t resign or get ousted, will be keeping recalcitrant Conservative Remainer MPs on side. She is the only parliamentarian with the stature and experience to lead the country on our serious security situation (after all she’s run the Home Office for 6 years) and Brexit talks and she needs to stick to a clean Brexit and not water things down. If we remain in the single currency, customs union and accept ECJ then we have not left the EU and uncontrolled immigration and all the rest will continue. The only change is that we will still be effective tied but have little or no say (less than we had before) over anything the EU proposes or does (much like Norway).

Furthermore, we are facing serious security threats which have arisen largely because of the EU and it’s free movement of people ideology and Angela Merckel’s invitation to for all and sundry to come and enjoy the benefits of Europe’s prosperity.

But it’s not a good situation for anyone, the Conservative Party and those who want to leave the EU, the only winners are those intent on frustrating Brexit.

On the bright side we have:

– SNP being half neutered with loss of seats of Alex Salmon and Party leader on H of Cs which will put a stop to Nicola Sturgeon’s disrupting demands for a second referendum on Scottish independence – not something you need when you’re trying to get out of the EU.

– Lib/dems have not won back losses in last election by any significant amount and have lost their most effective voice in parliament – Nick Clegg.

– Jeremy Corbyn and his party supported the triggering of Article 50 and he has committed to the end of ‘free movement of people’. With this result he has cemented himself as leader of the Labour Party and will be able to do deals with Teresa May if he wants, which in my opinion is not necessarily a bad thing, see below.

Assuming May continues as PM she should start talking to Corbyn immediately. She should engage with Corbyn on renationalisation of water, electricity, the Royal Mail and possibly rail in exchange for supporting a clean Brexit. There may be other carrots she can offer.

These privatisations came about, remember, because of the EU’s privatisation directives, driven by corporate lobbying even controlling influence of that body (there are excellent on-line videos showing this and read my book: ‘The EU: A Corporatist Racket’).

To me there is no sense in these organisations remaining in private hands. These bodies are not subject to serious competion and receive taxpayer or consumer subsidies; electricity through subsidising dubious renewable energy technology; rail receives subsidies to any extent necessary to keep them operating. Royal Mail postage rates have gone up astronomically since privatisation as has water.

Of course Corbyn realises these industries can’t be re-nationalised whilst we are a member of the EU, so he should be keen to make this deal and leave.

Couple of other thoughts:

I wonder how many seats the Conservatives lost due to Ukip putting up candidates in more than half the constituencies. It would be ironical if Ukip’s intervention, whose raison d’etre was leaving the EU, caused Brexit not to happen.

During the election campaign the polls showed Labour closing the polling gap from a Conservative lead of some 20% (which was why May was tempted to hold the election in the first place) to a lead of as little as 4% according to some polls. One wonder how this happened. Two thoughts come to mind:

– was the 20% figure false and rigged to get May to call an election in the first place, and

– I get a sense that huge amounts of corporate money was thrown into the campaign to get the Labour vote out, how else could Dianne Abbot get a 35,000 vote majority.

What can we do?

I would suggest that Brexiteers in Conservative constituencies get their MP to encourage Teresa May to not be pig-headed about this and get talking urgently to Jeremy Corbyn, yes, his demands may be costly, but at this dangerous time in our history, we must remember that ‘money does actually grown on trees’ (several £100 billions of QE proves that – for explanation of how this works get in touch with me) and money does need to be spent to get NHS and other some services back to a proper working level.

I’m sure Corbyn would be delighted to achieve some of his goals and the resulting credibility in exchange for supporting a clean Brexit which I’m sure he really wants.

Think about talking to your MP.

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34 comments

  • I see one sticking point as a consequence of the election result; the border between Northern Ireland and the republic. I don’t know what the D.U.P. wants to see, but you can be sure they will get it. My guess is that it will be the opposite of what the Republic wants, so they will be upset. We need their agreement if we are to keep to the Article 50 timetable and achieve withdrawal in 2 years’ time. How are we gong to get it?

    • Under Article 50(3), withdrawal happens automatically on the second anniversary of notification, whether there is a deal or not. So we don’t “achieve” withdrawal in two years time, withdrawal happens come what may (the only caveat being that an extension can be granted by unanimous resolution of the European Council).

      That being the case, it is the DUP who have the problem, not the Tories, which explains why they were so keen to seize on the opportunity and coalesce into Theresa May’s government. Which is not to say that will be the Tory calculus, but strictly speaking they don’t need the DUP in coalition and could maintain a minority government.

      There is an easy solution to the issue with the Republic. It’s actually a non-problem, as the solution already exists: the Common Travel Area. Ireland’s immigration laws and policies have always been in lockstep with ours, mainly so that the Common Travel Area could be maintained. Most of the people who need to benefit from free movement between the Republic and the UK are already citizens of either or both countries. I accept that the lockstep could weaken when we leave the EU and Ireland remains in, but that won’t necessarily happen. Ireland values the CTA arrangement and benefits from it. As an indication of this, Ireland has followed Britain in not being a full participant in Schengen. If that changes, then our policy may have to change, but that’s for the future.

      I agree with the DUP that we can’t exactly treat the Republic as a foreign country, so the solution is that we just continue the arrangements that existed before both countries entered the EEC and that still exist today. That is, maintain the Common Travel Area for British and Irish citizens, as before, and implement immigration controls for everybody else. This could be done technologically, or just the old-fashioned way with border patrols and determined action to deport anybody found in Northern Ireland or the mainland illegally. It should also be fairly easy to introduce checks for movement between Northern Ireland and the mainland, just as there are between the Republic and the mainland, notwithstanding the CTA.

      • Sorry, I should have worded it better; I should have said we need their agreement if we are going to negotiate a deal within the 2 year time frame. In any case, I have always assumed they will extend the deadline.
        I don’t quite follow your argument about the borders; as I understand it, anybody from the EU will enjoy free movement into the Republic of Ireland and the right to reside there. Once in Ireland, how do we stop them coming to the UK?

        • The privileges under the Common Travel Area apply to British and Irish citizens only. I understand the concern, that in practice non-citizens could travel to Ireland and then take advantage of the CTA by crossing the border (and in point of fact, the reverse is also the case), but that is just a normal immigration problem and is addressed in my post above.

          • But surely any EU citizen, having free access to the Republic of Ireland, has only to walk across into N.I. and then into England. Where is the border going to be? Or isn’t there one?

            • Yes, as a practicality, they could just walk across the border under the Common Travel Area arrangement (unless, of course, there are formal border checks, but for the purposes of this discussion I am going to assume that will not generally be the case, as it wouldn’t gel well with a continued CTA).

              The point is that people who enter Britain unlawfully will be subject to the usual judicial immigration measures, as would be any unlawful immigrant. After all, people can, if they want, just walk across the US-Mexico border or (especially) the US-Canada border, or any land border in the world for that matter, but that doesn’t mean they have been granted permission to enter the relevant country. It remains the case that they have entered unlawfully (or illegally if they are already subject to deportation).

              You should also bear in mind my earlier point that Ireland will be informally required to keep its immigration and border laws and policies in lockstep with ours, if its are to continue to benefit from CTA privileges. And if it becomes apparent that the Irish border is becoming a back-door for unlawful entry into the UK, then further steps would need to be taken: I imagine the first escalation would be formal checks at major routes over the border.

              • Sorry, that first sentence should say: As a practicality, they could just walk across the border DUE TO the Common Travel Area arrangement. It’s not under the CTA arrangement because the CTA is for citizens only, but the practical reality is that keeping the CTA in place does mean that free-flow across the land border is desirable (though not strictly a necessity).

                My post still holds however.

                Unfortunately I cannot edit my comments on here.

  • And furthermore, if we end up with an open border between North and South, we are pretty much back where we started. How are we going to control immigration?

  • Germany conquered Europe on their third try. Britain is fighting the Battle of Britain once again.

  • I think May got what she wanted. It was no accident that she crushed her opposition post Brexit within the Tories. She is and was a remain proponent and I suspect she has a job to do, which is contain the damage done to the elite through Brexit. Going from a high predicted majority and soaring Brexit support levels to a barely workable arrangement with the DUP, as a result of policies unrelated to Brexit but unpopular to core Tory voting blocs suggests she wanted a means to effect soft Brexit without being blamed for it, whilst remaining rhetorically tough. She has now also weakened Sturgeon.

    I find the attempts to blame Davis for this tortured, to put it mildly. lt was their policy proposals which turned voters off.

    Nonetheless, the Tories still got the highest number of seats and I fail to see how their losses in a FPTP somehow remove the mandate for hard Brexit. Pure hogwash.

  • Agree with some points, e.g. working with Corbyn, but that is on the assumption that she intends to keep her promise that to effect hard Brexit. We can deal with getting the right domestic policies once Brexit is done. We’ll see what her true colours are soon enough.

  • What this election has taught me is that I need to more self-confident and stop listening to dim-witted Tories predicting 100-seat majorities based on nothing other than some vague idea about what Jeremy Corbyn did when he still dressed like a geography teacher.

    The Conservative Party has always betrayed the British people. I have deep conservative principles in my own way, but I have always been anti-Tory, simply on the basis that they are not conservative. They didn’t sell-off the utilities and other national assets due to the EU. That is a lie. It may be that what they did was in accordance with EU directives, but EU directives are just the policies of the national governments of Member States, and the governments of Thatcher and Major would not have implemented privatisation unless they decided it suited their agenda. And it wasn’t privatisation anyway. Those assets were corporatised, allowing the Tories’ friends to profiteer off the back of public resources while socialising costs. The Tory agenda is whatever helps business. This has always been the case. The Tory Party is the liberal business party.

    However, it happens to be the case that the Conservative Party is the best prospect for Brexit becoming a reality, and I simply don’t understand this view that Theresa May should work with Corbyn. By all means, she should listen to Corbyn, if only to humour him, that’s just part of her job; but it’s not her job to co-operate with Corbyn or her other political opponents in executive decision-making. We don’t need a united front with the EU, that’s just a recipe for dithering and delay and maybe a second referendum.

    We’re leaving in two years, whatever happens. The Article 50(2) notice has been served. Withdrawal is automatic. It’s all-but over. The only way to stop this would be by going outside the relevant rules, a move for which there is no established protocol and which would be humiliating for Britain and a betrayal by every politician involved. I don’t think that will happen, not least because the elite already have a Plan B.

    Plan B is that we leave the EU formally, but we remain within the Single Market, much like the Norway situation. This is what a clever pro-Remain Prime Minister would do, and it’s just the sort of thing that Theresa May would do. But May has already made it clear, both in political speeches and in Parliament, that Britain is leaving the Single Market. Page 36 of the Tory Manifesto in this election confirms that this is a consequence of leaving the EU, which implies a Tory commitment to do so.

    So far, so good. We now just need a Prime Minister who is going to get the job done and will negotiate smoothly through the nitty-gritty. It’s an administrator’s chore: a task for the low-key backroom type. Theresa May is not the ideal candidate, I would prefer a man to be in charge, but she is the best among a bad bunch.

    • “…but EU directives are just the policies of the national governments of Member States,…”
      Que? EU Directives and Regulations are all made by the European Commission behind closed doors. There is no input whatever from national governments. Sorry, the governments of Member States I should say. One of the subtle changes brought about by the Lisbon Treaty was that when the heads of state met in the European Council, they no longer met as representatives of their own countries, but as representatives of the EU. Sneaky, huh?

      • The EU is a conglomerate of nation-states. The legislative process at EU level reflects the priorities of its Member States. That is not to say that individual Member States always enthusiastically agree with each bit of EU legislation, and I am certainly no supporter of the EU and I am glad we are leaving, but it is very much a misconception to suppose that the EU is somehow dictatorially bossing us around.

        • No, that was the ‘old’ EU. The one that was abolished by the Lisbon Treaty, and a ‘new’ EU created in its stead. The ‘old’ EU was an intergovernmental treaty-bound organisation of sovereign member States. Lisbon changed all that. The ‘new’ EU is a Unitary state, which derives its authority not from intergovernmental treaties, but from the Constitution.
          The individual Member States have NEVER had any bearing on law-making in the EU. The Commission makes all the laws, in secret, guided by some 3,000 secret committees. I am told it is one of only three legislative bodies in the world to meet in secret and issue no minutes (the other two being Cuba and North Korea). The 3,000 secret committees advise the Commission, and I am certain they in turn are advised by wise people with fat brown envelopes. We’re not allowed to know anything about this of course.
          National governments have feck all input into the legislative process, except to translate the Directives into domestic law via Statutory Instruments. When it comes to Regulations, they are spared even that task, as a Regulation immediately becomes law throughout the EU as soon as the document is signed (in secret of course).

          • Sorry but this does not reflect the reality of how the system works.

            Under the principle of co-decision, the Council of the EU, composed of the national governments of the Member States, acts as a legislative body alongside the European Parliament for the purposes of approving legislation proposed by the Commission. In practice, if legislation is proposed, or going to be proposed, that a Member States does not like, there will be negotiations and it will often not reach the stage of a vote by the Council. However, it is true that the wishes of a national government of a Member State will often be overruled by the Council through the voting system. Nevertheless, the legislative process works in such a way that all ordinary, and most special, EU legislation reflects the wishes of the Member States due to their ratification of each such measure in Council.

            It is true that one of the EU’s special legislative procedures allows the Commission in very limited cases to legislate without reference to other EU bodies, but that is not typical and has only happened twice in the history of the Commission. The power is anyway restricted to certain types of commercial regulation of a rather technical nature. The Commission is not primarily a legislative chamber, it is the executive bureau that formulates and proposes legislative measures, but does not normally deliberate on or enact them.

            So, in summary, virtually all EU legislation requires the consent of the Council, thus Member States have involvement in law-making at EU level. As a matter of practicality, we can also say that major legislation would not be passed at EU level unless it enjoyed the moral support of Member States generally (in the form of their governments). That is the political reality.

            The idea that the EU is dictatorially bossing Britain around is just an ignorant myth and shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the way the EU works. However, putting that aside, I welcome the prospect of leaving the EU, and even if the Leave case may be founded on some major misconceptions, it is the case that the EU will likely develop into a federative body, which would be very undesirable. You use the phrase ‘unitary body’, but the EU cannot be that, as by definition the EU is an international body and governs on subsidiarity principles.

            • I’m afraid you have been taken in by the EU’s propaganda. In my line of business I am bombarded with senseless EU rules. When I protes to my elected representatives, they agree with me but the answer is always the same; we don’t like it any more than you do but we have to obey EU rules.
              I will say again, the sole legislative body is the Commission. All Directives and Regulations are devised and written by the Commission, meeting behind closed doors. No minutes are ever issued. Yes, these sometimes have to be agreed by the EU Parliament, in a process that Nigel Farage once described as “Trained monkeys pressing buttons for bananas”. They have no clue what they are voting for – they vote on hundreds of measures in an hour, following hand signals from the leader of their group, who, like Roman Emperor, gives a thumbs up or a thumbs down to instruct the minions how to vote. It makes no difference anyway, since they cannot overturn a proposal from the Commission. They can refer it back – that is all, but the Commission can just throw it straight back at them.
              Many, many times we have objected to new measures in the Council of Ministers. On each and every occasion we have been outvoted. Our elected government is absolutely powerless to do anything at all. They have no input in what the Commission decides to throw at us.
              Then there’s this; ” You use the phrase ‘unitary body’, but the EU cannot be that, as by definition the EU is an international body and governs on subsidiarity principles.”
              I did not use the phrase ‘unitary body’. What I tried to explain is that the Lisbon Treaty abolished the EU and created a new body in its stead. This is also called the European Union, but it is a completely different animal. Remember that Lisbon is simply the Constitution re-named. The former EU, as I said earlier, was an intergovenmental organisation which derived its authority from treaties between sovereign states. The new EU is a unitary state, which derives its authority from the Constitution itself. It is, in effect, a new country called Europe.
              This is why Lisbon contains a mechanism for withdrawal. Prior to Lisbon we could just walk away from it. We could resile from the Treaty of Rome and all subsequent amendments. Now Rome has been superseded by Lisbon. We are bound by the Lisbon Treaty in the new EU, which is why we are now jumping through hoops to follow the prescribed procedure for withdrawal contained in Article 50.
              And I will wager £100 with anybody that we will not be out of the EU in two years’ time, whether ‘automatically’ as you put it, or otherwise. In fact I am about to place a bet with William Hill for a much larger sum to that effect.

              • I have not been taken in by any propaganda. I am simply stating facts. You tell me that the Commission is the sole legislative body. That is not true. You tell me that Member States have no involvement in EU law-making. That is not true. Member States have involvement through the Council of the EU, which represents Member States and is a legislative chamber, and also through the Council of the European Executive, which is linked to the Commission and ensures that the Commission works on Member States’ priorities. I am simply responding to your points by stating these facts. What goes on in practice behind closed doors is a different point.

                If you were to argue that legislative initiation gives the Commission great practical influence over EU-level law-making, then I would be inclined to agree. I would also agree that the Parliament and Council do not veto Commission proposals often enough, but that is not the same as the point you make. For instance, you claim that Parliament cannot overturn Commission legislation, but in reality the Council and the Parliament can reject Commission proposals, which are then returned to the Commission. The Commission then decides whether or not it wishes to return with a new proposal, which is the normal way that legislative processes work.

                You used the phrase ‘unitary state’, but the EU is not a unitary state. It can’t be.

                I also disagree with your comments about the significance of the existence of a withdrawal mechanism. The fact is that Greenland, a territory of Denmark, was able to secede from the EU without any codified withdrawal process.

                There are other points, I am sure, but I think this exchange is a waste of time.

                • Working backwards through your points, yes, Greenland was able to leave ‘without any codified withdrawal pprocess’. And so could we. All we had to do was repudiate the Treaty of Rome and all subsequent amendments. Now that won’t work. We are bound by the Lisbon Treaty, and we have to abide by its terms, i.e. following the procedures set out in Lisbon Article 50.
                  I You maintain that the EU is not and cannot be a unitary state. I’m afraid you haven’t kept up with the times. The old EU was indeed an intergovernmental organisation. Lisbon, however, did away with the old EU and created a unitary state in its place, also called the EU in the hope that people wouldn’t notice.
                  You say that Parliament and Council do not veto Commission proceedings often enough. That is a bit of an understatement. The NEVER do so, for the simple reason that they cannot.
                  Then you say this; “Member States have involvement through the Council of the EU, which represents Member States and is a legislative chamber,…”.
                  I can only refer you to the EU’s own website, http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/european-council/ ; “The European Council defines the EU’s overall political direction and priorities. It is not one of the EU’s legislating institutions, so does not negotiate or adopt EU laws.”.
                  As I pointed out earlier, although you seem reluctant to accept it, one of the significant changes brought about by the Lisbon Treaty was that the heads of state meeting in the European Council no longer represent their own countries, but attend as representatives of the EU.
                  I don’t know why you keep denying all this – it is all in the public domain and has been for some years, as is the fact that the SOLE body in the EU with the right to create legislation is, and always has been, the (unelected) European Commission.

                  • Again, you don’t appear to understand the meaning of the phrase ‘unitary state’. Even if what you say about the EU’s institutional reformation is correct (it isn’t, but let’s humour you and assume it is), that still wouldn’t make the EU a ‘unitary state’.

                    You state that the Parliament and Council do not veto Commission proposals because they can’t. Again, that is simply untrue. Also, the Council and the Parliament have vetoed Commission proposals. I agree not often enough, but your claim that they have never done so is untrue.

                    The quote you take from the EU website does not support anything you have said. It refers to the European Council, which I did not refer to in my earlier posts. I was referring to the Council of the EU.

                    I will not discuss this with you any further, and will ignore your replies, as you are making statements that are FACTUALLY untrue and you are refusing to accept this.

                • Just a footnote to clarify any misunderstanding; Early on I referred to the European Council (the heads of state of the Member States). In your response, you referred to the “Council of the EU, composed of the national governments of the Member States,”. On second reading, I assume you meant the Council of Ministers, rather than the European Council. It is true that we get a vote in the Council of Minsiters, but on every single occasions where we have tried to stop a proposal from the Commission, we have been out-voted, so that’s worthless. You then mention the “Council of the European Executive”. I am not sure such a body exists. I have never heard of it at any rate.
                  And then of course there is the Council of Europe, which is something else again, and has nothing to do with the EU. Confused? You will be.

                  • The European Council is where the heads of government of the EU Member States convene. The Council communicates its political priorities to the Council of the European Executive, which then works with the European Commission to formulate these priorities into legislative proposals.

                    The Commission decides on legislation and drafts it. These legislative proposals are then passed to the Council of the EU, which represents the Member States, and the European Parliament, which is directly-elected by EU citizens. Under co-decision, the Parliament and the Council can veto or amend legislation as they see fit; if legislation is vetoed, the relevant proposal is returned to the Commission unenacted.

                    In some circumstances, the Council and the Commission can legislate together, without reference to the Parliament.

                    In very limited circumstances, the Commission can legislate without reference to other EU bodies, but this has only happened twice and is a power that can only be used in regard to commercial and corporate regulation.

                    It is true that the Council and the Parliament do not veto Commission proposals as often as they should. It is also true that the Council can override the wishes of a Member States, but then, I never said it couldn’t. What is not true is to say that Member States have no involvement in legislation. What I have just demonstrated to you shows that, in fact, they are involved. It is also the case that, in relative terms, the Council will only pass legislation against the wishes of a Member States infrequently. In most cases, if an objection is raised, then the relevant proposal will be amended or rejected before it leaves the Commission, or informally prior to deliberations of the Council.

                    You also have to take into account that there is a margin of appreciation in the implementation of EU legislation by individual Member States, so that the manner in which an EU directive is implemented will vary (sometimes quite considerably) from one Member State to another. That is the whole point of ‘directives’: they are directions to Member States to achieve certain objectives, they do not have direct effect on EU citizens or other non-state persons, only on Member States, and are not primary legislation in and of themselves.

                    • I don’t know where you are getting your information from. It is true that I spoke about the European Council, and you replied about the Council of the EU. I thought we were talking about the same thing. I didn’t realise you were now talking about what everybody else calls the Council of Ministers.
                      You now say this; ” The Council communicates its political priorities to the Council of the European Executive”
                      I have never heard of the “Council of the European Executive”, and nor has anybody else it seems. The closest I can find is the “European Executive Council”. This is what Google has to say about it;
                      “The European Executive Council (EEC) is an exclusive circle of confidential exchange and reflection which gathers the CEOs and top executives of around thirty major multinationals’ European headquarters.”
                      What this has to do with EU legislation I have no idea. Maybe they’re the ones who stump up the bribes for the Commissioners?
                      Then there is this; “In very limited circumstances, the Commission can legislate without reference to other EU bodies, but this has only happened twice and is a power that can only be used in regard to commercial and corporate regulation.” Would you care to give examples rather than just making assertions? Have you not heard of Commission Regulations? or Council Regulations? These unelected EU bodies can and do meet in secret to write laws which immediately become binding on all of us, including her Majesty Queen Elizabeth for what it’s worth. You say there are only two such Regulations; in fact there are thousands of them. Probably tens of thousands. Maybe even hundreds of thousands. In recent years it has become the preferred method of making EU law, because they don’t have to involve either the EU Parliament or national parliaments.
                      It is worth noting that none of these law-makers are elected. The Commissioners are appointed by some secret process by national governments; the Ministers are also appointed by national governments. None are elected to the office of EU lawmaker.
                      Finally I can only repeat that the whole point of the ‘Constitution for Europe’ (aka Lisbon Treaty) was to abolish the inter-governmental EU and create a new body which derives its authority directly from the Constitution. We have signed the Lisbon Treaty and are therefore bound by its terms, hence the need to follow the Article 50 procedure. Also under the Lisbon Treaty, institutions such as the European Council, as I have said before, are now EU institutions, whereas they were formerly inter-governmental institutions. This is such an important point, as it fundamentally changes the whole nature of the EU. I don’t know why you are unwilling to accept this – that’s the sort of stuff Peter Mandelson would come up with.

                    • I am not making bare assertions. I am telling you what the legislative process is. You can either accept facts or not.

                      I am not “just now” talking about the Council of the EU. I have always referred to the Council of the EU. The confusion in that regard was entirely yours.

                      Regarding “Council of the European Executive”, I meant intergovernmental liaison via the Council and the Commission, but that’s not an important point. The European Council decides on political priorities and communicates these to the European Commission. The Commission formulates the legislative proposals and the Council of the EU and the Parliament are the legislative chambers, and can accept, amend or reject the proposals. There are also special procedures where the Council of the EU and the Commission legislate together without the Parliament, and also in very limited cases the Commission can legislate on its own. I am not going to give you examples. You can find them yourself.

                      If people stump up “bribes” for Commissioners, that doesn’t affect the fact that Member States are involved in EU legislation, something you have repeatedly denied, even though it is true. I am sure people offer bribes to national governments and members of national parliaments too. That changes nothing about what I have said.

                      As for what you say about the changes in the basis of EU institutions, I would agree that the Commission (especially), Parliament and (now) the European Council have taken on an increasingly supranational operational role, and I am sure it is true that the roots of a federative super-state are in the making within the Lisbon Treaty, which is one of the reasons we need to leave, and I support us leaving, as that is the EU’s clear direction of travel. But it doesn’t follow that the EU is a federative state now, and it is certainly not a unitary state and never will be. The EU remains fundamentally an intergovernmental system.

                      Could I please ask that we conclude this exchange now? This is not getting us anywhere.

                    • “I am not “just now” talking about the Council of the EU. I have always referred to the Council of the EU. The confusion in that regard was entirely yours.”
                      You are quite correct; I was talking about the European Council and you responded by referring to the “Council of the EU”. If you had called it by the same name everybody elase does – the Council of Ministers – I would not have been misled.

                      ” in very limited cases the Commission can legislate on its own. I am not going to give you examples. You can find them yourself.”
                      You know what this reminds me of? – Edward Heath assuring us back in 1972 that European Law would only over-ride UK law in certain limited technical legislation relating to trade. I give as much credence to your contention as I now do to his, especially as you are unable to provide evidence to back up your claims. I suggest you look up Commission Regulations if you want to learn how they work in practice.

                      “I would agree that the Commission (especially), Parliament and (now) the European Council have taken on an increasingly supranational operational role [….] The EU remains fundamentally an intergovernmental system.”
                      No, I’m sorry, you are completely wrong on this point. I’ve said it many times already, but the Constitution for Europe a.k.a. Lisbon Treaty made a FUNDAMENTAL change to the structure of the EU. The old inter-governmental EU is gone; now we are living in a new country called Europe, and as such we are bound by its Constitution. All the institutions that were inter-governmental are now EU institutions. Thisis what Mr Blair would have called a ‘step change’. This is not something I have just dreamed up – it is perfectly well documented and there are hundreds of sources that will verify what I am saying. I am not sure what your motives are in acting as an apologist for the EU, but I’ve heard it all many times before.
                      One thing that has not been mentioned are the three thousand-odd secret committees that feed ideas to the Commission, or lobbying, perhaps I should call it, except they don’t have a lobby.
                      Let me tell you how it works in practice. Suppose I invent a new speed camera that can read car number plates by means of OCRS. I will go to the Commission, via one of these lobbying groups, and say “Don’t you think it would be a good idea if you installed these cameras all over Europe’s roads? Just think how easy that would make it to monitor people’s movements. Sorry, what I meant to say was just think how many lives you could save each year by putting these cameras everywhere. Oh, and by the way, here’s a fat brown envelope to help you decide.”
                      This is the reality. Inter-governmental tosh! Do you even know of the existence of these committees? I’m still trying to work out whether you are being disingenuous or merely naive.

                    • I have not ‘misled’ you about institutions. Quite the contrary, I have been at great pains to inform you about a subject you quite clearly have not the slightest clue about. I referred from the very beginning, explicitly, to the Council of the EU and it is clear from context that subsequent references to ‘Council’ are to that body unless indicated to the contrary.

                      The rest of what you say seems to be a paranoid rant. Over the last few years, I have turned against Britain’s membership of the EU as I have become convinced that European federalism is a multi-culturalist project that undermines European identity and also damages Member States socially and economically. I remain of that view, and have no motive for being disingenuous as I am very keen for Britain to leave, but I am careful not to misrepresent what the EU is and what it does – not least because, misrepresentations and errors of fact undermine our case, especially when we overreach in our arguments.

                      An example of this type of argumentative overreach is found in your posts. You referred to the EU in your earlier missives as a “unitary state”. It clearly isn’t, it can’t be, and it never will be, as anybody with the slightest familiarity with a dictionary will confirm. Another schoolboy error from you that completely threw me. Had it not been for that mistake, I might have approached your case differently.

                      As for ‘naivety’, I have stated very plainly and very explicitly that I believe the EU could develop into a federative super-state. However, the EU, at this point, remains largely an intergovernmental organisation consisting of sovereign Member States who can withdraw at will. Withdrawal is automatic after a due notice period – there are no formal hoops and obstacles, another untruth you have spouted here.

                      I repeat that this discussion is useless. You have adopted an a priori position based on ignorance about the way the institutions work. You admit your own ignorance, but then you say I am talking “tosh”. Really??!? A bit more humility is called for on your part, I think.

                    • All I can say is you are way out of date. I don’t know why you continue to maintain that the EU is still an inter-governmental organisation when the Constitution for Europe a.k.a. Lisbon Treaty explicitly states that the ‘old’ inter-governmental EU is no more, and the ‘new’ EU derives its authority from the Constitution itself. All the ‘old’ inter-governmental institutions are now EU institutions. As I have said, this makes all the difference in the world, although you are pretending that it is not happening. Don’t take my paranoid word for it – go and check it out for yourself. It must be almost ten years since Christopher Booker brought this to my attention, and it was he who pointed out the significance of this subtle change – designed to go un-noticed by the majority of people, and judging by your response, clearly successful in that objective.

                      “However, the EU, at this point, remains largely an intergovernmental organisation consisting of sovereign Member States who can withdraw at will. Withdrawal is automatic after a due notice period – there are no formal hoops and obstacles, another untruth you have spouted here.”
                      I have already pointed out your error in the first part of this paragraph. What intrigues me now is what follows; “Member States can withdraw at will… Withdrawal is automatic after a due notice period.”
                      The “due notice period” is that set out in our new Constitution – the Lisbon Treaty. If we have to follow the terms of the Lisbon Treaty, then we cannot withdraw “at will.” So which is it? The answer is provided by my previous comments; in the ‘old’ EU we could indeed “withdraw at will” – OUR will. We could set the terms of our withdrawal. All we had to do was repudiate the Treaty of Rome and all subsequent amendments, by the simple expedient of repealing the 1972 ECA. Now that won’t work. I mean, we could try it, but I bet the ECJ will just turn round and say “Ok, you’ve just repudiated a treaty that no longer exists -it has been superseded by Lisbon, and you are now bound by that”. We in turn would say to the ECJ; “Stuff you – we don’t recognise your authority”. In fact, I think this is precisely the scenario, in some shape or form, that this will eventually boil down to. To finish my point, the reason we have to follow the Lisbon Article 50 procedure is that, in the ‘old’ inter-governmental EU we retained the sovereign right to withdraw “at will”. Now we have agreed to accept the EU Constitution as the binding authority for the ‘new’ EU (whether unitary or not – it doesn’t matter what you call it), and as such we have to abide by its terms. So we can no longer withdraw “at will”. We are bound by the terms contained in Lisbon. Have you been asleep for the last ten years? Do you genuinely not know about these changes brought bout by Lisbon, which are SO important? You talk as though Lisbon never happened. Personally I would like to tell the EU to get stuffed and just tell them we’re leaving, but they would then have the legal right to send tanks through the Tunnel, so it could get a bit messy. In fact, for the twenty five years I’ve been involved in this business, my view has ALWAYS been that the only way we will ever get out of the EU is to fight our way out. In fact I’m off to the bookies to put money on it.

                    • I have not read this, as I am too busy at this point and I suspect we are just going over old ground now.

    • “However, it happens to be the case that the Conservative Party is the best prospect for Brexit becoming a reality, and I simply don’t understand this view that Theresa May should work with Corbyn”

      This, and the preceding paragraph, is exactly my view on this.

      Also, the author of the article alluded to UKIP contributing to the Tory losses; I’m pretty certain those voting Labour did not help one bit; after all, UKIP’s overall vote share was down by a significant proportion.

  • This article starts off rather oddly (first paragraph)

    ” If we remain in the single currency, customs union and accept ECJ …”

    When did we join the single currency? Who knew?

  • And re UKIP/Tory votes, if Tories had supported AV people could vote

    1) UKIP
    2) Tory

    It was the Tories’s choice to deny us that option

  • Where next?

    My fear is that by offering nothing more than a watered down, synthetic copy of socialism since at least 2010, the Conservative Party has merely laid the foundations for the real thing.

    They have never made the case for free markets, individual freedom or low-tax and small government.

    The next move could easily be a majority for a hard-left Labour administration. This is where the left’s long march through the institutions and Thursday’s youth vote points.

    It is also where the widespread “austerity has failed” (when was it ever tried?) narrative points.

    Things will almost certainly get worse, perhaps much worse, before they get better.

  • The problem is that the “national” governments of the individual states want to give up control of things such as immigration the the European Union. In the eyes of a gullible populace it shifts the blame for what they are doing to the EU. The people appointed by the individual states (those in Western Europe at least) as EU Commissioners are always politicians in favour of greater EU powers.

    • That first sentence should end “…to the European Union.”

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