Friday, 17 June 2016

Peak Binary

The Capitalists extend their condolences to the family and friends of Jo Cox MP. We are democrats, and that means having it out in an entirely non-violent, non-aggressive manner. One of the Enlightenment innovations which England gave the world was a political system which was noisy but peaceful; adversarial with mutual respect. Let us not allow that to be undermined.


One of the things most frustrating about recent elections - including recent and upcoming referendums - has been the ludicrously simplistic choices we are forced to make. 

Labour or Tory? Yes or No? In or Out? These decisions are hideously bald. Scots could not vote for their most-favoured option of Devo Max. We couldn't say "no thanks" to Ed Miliband's anti-capitalism without saying "yes please" to George Osborne's steady-as-she-goes.

This has been especially brought out in this current vote on the EU. Let's be honest here: the EU has brought some amazing things to our shores and to others. Open skies. A proper competition regime. The massive reduction in state aid. But at the same time not many would deny the undermining of democratic accountability, horrendous protectionism especially in food, and the appalling mishandling of the single currency and common border area. Yet we are asked to vote for or against both baby and bathwater. We cannot tell Parliament what we might like instead.

It is high time we introduced a bit more nuance into our political system. If we don't, we should expect voters to remain frustrated and feel powerless to change anything. We are forced to take least-worst positions, and we wonder why campaigns turn negative so early.

I don't have a simple answer. Maybe it involves PR and smaller parties. Maybe it involves greater local autonomy and tolerance of divergent approaches. Maybe we need to survey people's views more thoroughly between elections. I don't know.

All I know is that asking people silly questions begs silly answers.


Steven_L said...

It is a binary choice. Do we bring parliamentary sovereignty back to the UK or keep it in Brussels? Do we make the Supreme Court the highest in the land or keep delegating that role to the ECJ?

Blue Eyes said...

I doubt you really think that.

Lots of people would be happy for the CJEU to have final authority on industry standards, competition issues, and so on.

Lots of people are unhappy about the EU having the final say on certain criminal justice issues.

Sebastian Weetabix said...

No, Blue Eyes. It really is that simple. Either we govern ourselves, or we do not.

Electro-Kevin said...

I think things would improve vastly in this respect if we left the EU.

I believe the democratic deficit in this country to be a result of our merger with the EU.

Of the Cox killing:


Blue Eyes said...

Would your condition be met if we stay in the WTO, as seems to be Gove's suggestion?

I haven't heard any proposal to leave the Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, either.

Anonymous said...

The returning sovereignty is BS, nations surrender *some* power as the price to play with the big boys, otherwise you just start down the path to North Korea.

We're tied by plenty of treaties, the EU argument is more about the level we concede for entrance to their private members club - e.g. is it worth what we get back?

Couching it in terms of returning absolute control is every bit a lie as what's been trotted out of the Remainers mouths.

We're not going to get a more nuanced debate in politics when the opposing sides immediately head to the extremes regardless of the subject.

Blue Eyes said...

Thank you, anon.

Electro-Kevin said...

Blue - If you're asking me:

I think our membership of any global organisation or agreement to any convention satisfies my desires in that we represent ourselves wholly and autonomously in conference.

We can leave them of our own volition, diplomatic necessities aside.

In the EU we are towards the back of the bus, not in anyway driving it and are one voice in 28. Our representatives remote and barely electable.

My most controversial statement in the last comment was '#youaintnobrexiterbruv

The reason being that "you ain't no muslim bruv' got muslim preachers off the hook for muslim violence. Both the Left and David Cameron accepted it readily.

Brexiters will not be allowed any such favour. In fact the very reason for this tragic killing has more to do with the demonisation of one particular demographic (mine) by the Left, than with anything Nigel Farage has said.

At the high end you get intellectual reason (Gove) In the middle you get someone at least attempting to make intelligent comment (me) At the bottom you get middle aged white blokes getting very angry and unable to rationalise why.

When black guys backlashed in the '80s society reflected and accepted that they had treated them badly.

I am sickened at the loss of Jo Cox and my thoughts are with her kids. I am particularly haunted by the fact that the killer returned to her while she was already stricken. RIP.

Sebastian Weetabix said...

@Blue Eyes: i daresay you aren't old enough to remember, but the late Enoch Powell was once being interviewed over his antipathy to the EU and was asked almost verbatim exactly that question: 'if it is unacceptable to be in the EEC, why do you think it acceptable to be in NATO, another supranational organisation?' His answer sticks with me even now: 'you make my point for me. In NATO and other supranational organisations we decide to co-operate with others and we are free to leave at any time. There is no binding court or authority which can override our parliament. The EEC overrrides our courts, our parliament, our law and we can do nothing about it. There is no European demos so there can be no European democracy.'

As in so many things, he was right.

Blue Eyes said...

EK my question was directed to Sebbie, but in answer to your point, we have represnetatives in the decision-making bodies according to the rules agreed by Parliament.

We are free to leave the EU whenever we like. Parliament could vote to repeal the enabling legislation tomorrow. Parliament decided to join the EEC, it decided to set up and join the EU. Parliament decided to agree to the Maastricht, Amsterdam, Nice and Lisbon treaties. Our courts only acknowledge EU jurisdiction because Parliament tells it to.

Please tell me which part of that I am too young to have got right.

Anonymous said...

"The returning sovereignty is BS, nations surrender *some* power as the price to play with the big boys, otherwise you just start down the path to North Korea."

What is about sovereignty, you don't comprehend - if not, just about everything?

Enoch, in the above quote has it perfectly understood, if our legislature isn't supreme and our courts are subservient - we have there is no sovereignty. Trade treaties are set to provide mutual advantage, sovereign nations can leave if they deem it necessary - the UK gave up that sort of power by throwing our lot in with the FrancoGermanoAxis.
Evidently, being part of the EU disadvantages the UK in that we have to conform to all sorts of idiot regulations mainly fashioned to keep the French someways competitive and thus is the EU customs union - basically said a protectionist club and very bad news for free traders such as, ourselves.

There is an existential principle at stake...haven't you heard about TTIP? FFS, the world and Britain can either wither to nothingness and be a provincial non entity, carrying on down the road to total Corporate and Political control or, Britain can shout fuck off to Sovietization and Brussels and hello to individuality, Sovereignty, to helping create a freer world - what's not to fucking like about that?


"Our courts only acknowledge EU jurisdiction because Parliament tells it to."

Ain't it the problem that Bliar rammed through the HRA and by the backdoor the ECHR was introduced into British statute, Judges are now deciding on how to make their very own interpretations of the law - irrespective of what the legislature wants or realizes, that Parliament is chock full of shysters and solicitors and all of them think Brussels is Utopia on earth - that's a bit of a prob.

I dunno but can't you see a bit of a democratic deficit - old son? Westminster isn't a legislature any longer, it is a stamping office for EU diktat passed through, never scrutinized via statutory instrument. The EU runs Dave, Berlin tells him how high to jump, or where have you been for the last twenty years and longer but at least since Maastricht?

Steven_L said...

Parliament could vote to repeal the enabling legislation tomorrow.

No. A change to the constitution can only be enabled via a referendum. Been a while since your law degree?

Blue Eyes said...

Lololololol the UK *WROTE* the ECHR. Is this really the level of the debate? Fuck me. The ECHR is also an entirely different convention than the EU treaties, although EU countries must be members of the ECHR.

I am no particular fan of the EU, and the worst thing for me is the erosion of democratic accountability it causes directly and indirectly. I am not even arguing in favour of staying, here. But seriously, if your argument is that our membership is somehow unconstitutional well, then, perhaps you have not understood the only real constitutional certainty that we have: Parliament is sovereign. If Parliament is sovereign then it has the right to delegate stuff elsewhere. It really is not that complicated.

Blue Eyes said...

A change to the constitution can only be enabled via a referendum.

Oh. My. God.

Electro-Kevin said...

Blue 12.01 - My issue has never really been with the EU. It has been with our sly politicians, who sign ground breaking treaties without referenda or change their names so that they don't need referenda.

We won't come out of the EU (the invocation of Article 50) because the vast majority of our politicians don't want it - as they have made abundantly clear in the run up to this referendum. Nearly all the misuse of data, 'impartial' agencies, hysteria, screaming and finger-pointing rhetoric has been Remain towards Leave and I can gather an abundance of recent video and pictoral evidence to prove it.

This is not democratic. All the major parties select their own candidates and offer mainly Europhile options (which I've been complaining about for years on this site.) Eurosceptic MPs generally end up on the back benches. Party discipline ensures that key votes are not free.

So now we have a divided country, not just a divided Tory party.

Of you being 'too young' to understand ?

Well I was considered too young to have a say in the 1975 referendum and now I am considered too old (at just over 50) to have anything other than a bigotted and ignorable opinion in this one.

Sebastian Weetabix said...

@Blue Eyes: you're not to young to understand, but you are possibly too thick to get it. Our law is overridden by Brussels. The only law making body in the EU is the commission which is not elected, it is appointed, and neither you nor I have any chance to influence it. The EU parliament cannot propose, amend or repeal law. You can vote for whoever you like and it MAKES NO DIFFERENCE. This is not even undemocratic, it is positively anti-democratic. The only way our parliament can assert sovereignty is to abrogate the treaties and leave.

You would have quite liked COMECON. It was very stable, had a single economic area, had assemblies and elections (though parties that didn't share socialist values were not permitted, which brings to mind Martin Schultz's suggestion that parties which do not share 'European values' shouldn't be allowed to stand for election). But even they weren't so thick as to inflict a single currency or have identical rules from Berlin to Vladivostok.

Blue Eyes said...

EK I completely agree. The basic point is, though, that Parliament is supreme, and the voters only ever seem to send a handful of "sceptic" members there at any one time.

SW, EU legislation etc. is applicable in the UK because the UK Parliament allows it to be. We are not a country under occupation.

It helps, if you are going to be patronising, to be correct. It seems that old age does not guarantee wisdom, or even basic knowledge.

I repeat one last time: I am not a particular fan of the EU, but we entered and remain a member of the EU entirely legitimately. If we decide to leave we are free to at any time.

Electro-Kevin said...

We agree on that, Blue.

The quarrel is between the British people and their politicians. The EU is quite open about its aims and its politics is closer to the continental style, as it would be.

Britain was very different and this is why our politicians have lied and lied to us.

I can't see where I've been patronising to you in this thread. Can you point it out please.

Anonymous said...

There is, and this is deliberately done: barely any difference between the ECHR and the ECJ.

Indeed, they ECJ/ECHR are interchangeable and though one lot sit in Lux and the other in Strasbourg - the only separation is in degrees of Jesuitic nicety and that's probably too casuitic for you to understand mate.
The EU are smoke and mirrors and the corporates running the show hand in glove with the ERT - or haven't you heard and that's what I don't like - corporate giants influencing me by recourse to changing the law via a comfortable inside track leading right into the unelected law makers parlour, "democracy be damned!" NOW - do you understand?

"EU economic policy is driven by the interests of the ERT - the group of European global conglomerates with an inside track on policy making and with an influential hold over all new Commission initiatives. Emission standards for outboard motors? Airworthiness licenses for model aircraft? Any lunatic initiative you can think of that comes out of Brussels has been over the desks of the ERT gatekeepers. And is geared to give them economic advantage - and sod the interests of SMEs, local firms, Mom and Pop enterprises and the Mittelstand. " /quote.


UK are part and wrapped up in the EU! - are you fucking taking the piss?

Nick Drew said...

BE is right, IMHO: UK Parliament is de facto sovereign, because (a) UK is not occupied and (b) EU is in no way able to threaten force

99.9% of the problem is the failure of our craven politicians to recognise the actual power they hold & exercise it creatively

'ah, but the rule of law is very important to us' - yes indeed, more important than democracy in my book and woe betide the politician forgetting it: but let's agree which body of law first, eh?

that why I salivated (briefly, before hopes were dashed) at the thought of a cleverly written Sovereignty Act - which would put us in more or less the technical position Germany enjoys - that could have clarified matters under UK law, to satisfy all honour

it would have included such things as - a unilateral opt-out (upon suitable & carefully UK-enacted terms, to work through the practicalities case-by-case) from anything EU we don't like, to the extent we haven't negotiated a formal opt-out anyway: so including any crap passed by QMV, for example

'oh but the EU would sanction us, or maybe *gasps* kick us out'

no, they wouldn't - (a) we are a net contributor, a damn' difficult beast to sanction, and (b) Poland (e.g.) is in gross violation of the economic terms of its Accession Treaty, but never gets kicked out, because no-one wants a Poland-shaped hole at the heart of E.Europe. They Badly Need Us. More than Poland, even.

this is also why I bang on about the France-in-NATO precedent (accepting the Powell point about certain key differences, but my point remains): France did exactly what it fancied in NATO, and in particular didn't do whatever it didn't fancy - but who was going to expel France at the height of the Cold War? Exactly.

BTW, I don't know how many of our readers have dealings with the EC. Let it simply be said that when you actually deal with these people, you find very many EU regs and decisions are framed in free-market mode by very free-trade-oriented and very high-quality British civil servants working in the EC - to the despair of France et al - and are well worth the time & effort. Take what we want, & two fingers to the rest

'oh, but if all countries behaved like that, where would it all end?

easy! in some sensible core 'highest-common-factor' regulations that everyone genuinely supports

Electro-Kevin said...

ND - Agreed. The animous isn't against the EU but against our own craven politicians.

It is important to note that the demented Tommy Mair didn't take it out on migrants.

E-K said...


CityUnslicker said...

BE is right though, black and white is how Cameron wanted...and black it will now be whatever the result. Just like Scotland.

hovis said...

The advice Heath was given my his Lord Chancellor , Lord Kilmuir at the time. As such all other Governments have acted illegally in the same way. It can therefore be contended as the initial agreement was illegal (ab initio) thenthe subsequent treaties are without force or merit.

The idea that this is not a binary choice is simply untrue, a lie if you will, there is nothing else on offer, not EU lite, nothing Cameron, Corbyn or the other Remainiac lunatics say changes that. The vote is not for a status quo, as is is not on offer, from either camp.

Anonymous said...

What I want to know is - when's Corbyn going to have Thomas Mair round for tea, as he hosted IRA representatives after the killings of Anthony Berry, Ian Gow, and the Reverend Robert Bradford?