Image by borkur.net via Flickr
Interesting debate on the Telegraph website, between myself and a Europhile commentor, under a Telegraph article about the differences between the German and British economies. I thought I would reproduce the debate here, in the hope that it might be of interest.
The debate centres around the European Union but is really about something wider – namely whether we still believe in sovereign nation states or whether we prefer to adopt a globalised system of governance, with overlapping supranational bodies making law, and “pooled sovereignty”.
The problem is that the British are not like Germans – more’s the pity! If the UK had been bombed in the manner which Germany sufferred, we would still be sitting in the ruins whining about it.
The Germans, on the other hand, just got on with the job of repairing their country, as one would expect from an industrious and forward-looking country.
The British, on the other hand, imagine that history stopped in 1945 . . .
Yes, we need to encourage talented immigrants – but only if they are going to WORK – not use the UK as a tax haven, while also refusing admission to those frm the Third World who just want to use the Welfare State.
Restriction on the actions of venture capitalists would also be welcome – do you remember the ‘Phonix Four’ who asset-stripped the Rover Group, or the way in which a hsotile takeover of the Hawker-Siddeley group took place, after which it was dismembered for profit?
“The British, on the other hand, imagine that history stopped in 1945″
Not all British. But the UKIP seem to think life was better in 1940 when Britain and Germany were bombing each other and trying to starve each other to death.
As far as I am concerned, the EU is worth every penny if it means we avoid that sort of thing happening again.
If there is another war in Europe, it will be caused by the EU. We are already seeing riots in some of the Southern countries. We have seen the EU depose two democratically-elected governments (in Greece and Italy). Eventually if you take people’s democratic rights away, and impose suffering on them, then they will take to the streets.
The idea that the EU has prevented war for the last half century is quite simply a big fat lie, and insulting to the Americans, whose troops really did keep the peace all those years.
The American troops were there because of the Cold War. Not to keep EU member states from fighting each other.
Virtually all the American barracks are now empty.
There is absolutely no prospect whatsoever of wars between European states.
Riots and social disorder are hardly the same thing.
Chester58, I fully agree with you that there is no prospect of war between the European states. I also agree that the reason the American troops were here was the Cold War. But they are, nonetheless, the reason for the peace we have enjoyed.
But I wasn’t talking about war between the European states anyway. They are being progresively weakened and smothered by the EU. I was talking about what would be a civil war, or a revolt against the supranational EU.The EU is all about subjecting the democratic nation states in Europe to a supranational body, the EU itself, led by the Commission. One day Germans, for example, will realise that their elected government is no longer able to act in Germany’s national interest because it is subject to the EU. And there will be no way for them to change EU policy, since the EU itself has little democratic basis. In that scenario, the only way for Germans to fight a decision by the EU, would be with violence. That could ultimately lead to war. As you said, there is no prospect otherwise of war.The European Grand Project is far from complete. But we see even today our own government repeatedly saying it is not able to take necessary decisions because of EU “law”. And we see our own courts deferring to European “courts” as well.As the “Project” progresses, we will see even the strongest nation state, Germany, being forced into line and its government turned into a local council.
The EU is not a friendly international agreement between sovereign states. It is a subjection of those states to a supranational institution, run by a European elite. What’s more, that elite see it as a model for the future governance, not just of Europe, but of the world.
Your first paragraph does not make sense. The American troops were here because of the Cold War. Not because without them France, Germany, Italy or other EU members would have gone to war.
The EU has progressively strengthened Europe. In most of the post-war period Europe had been weak and divided, caught in a vice between the USA and USSR.
Now Europe is the world’s largest and strongest economic bloc.
The European Commission consists of about 20,000 civil servants. By contrast, the British MoD alone has 80,000 civil servants.
The idea that the EC is “taking over” Europe is just too utterly ridiculous for words.
The EU has done a fantastic job in harmonizing law between countries and giving us defined human rights as citizens of Europe.
You people – the Europhobes – are just so divorced from reality, you are political flat-earthers.
I suspect that, while there is absolutely no prospect of war between European states, you are rather hoping for one. Well I think you will be disappointed, just as you are disappointed that the Euro did not collapse as you were predicting.
Yes there will be civil unrest and demands for reform (such as the deman for greater social equality across Europe) but that is normal – it will drive progress.
You have contradicted yourself, Chester58.
You say that in most of the post-War period “Europe was weak and divided, caught in a vice between the USA and USSR”. And you also claim that the EU was the reason for peace during that period!
You say that it is “ridiculous” that the EU is taking over Europe – and then say it has done a fantastic job of “harmonizing” law, and making us citizens of Europe. With “defined human rights” – which override our own laws – to boot.
I don’t want a war. But I am not a citizen of Europe. I am a citizen (actually a subject) of a democratic nation state, namely the United Kingdom. My elected parliament has democratic sovereignty. The EU wants to “harmonize” that away.
You are the one who is divorced from reality. You think there could never be another war in Europe. You think that what is happening now in Syria could never happen here. You and your kind are supremely dangerous people. You endanger both our democratic rights and the peace we have enjoyed for my whole lifetime.
The EU and the efforts towards economic integration and reconciliation are indeed the reason for peace in Europe and in particular between France and Germany.
This happened while Europe was in the shadow of the Cold War. Now eastern Europe is part of the European family of nations, which the UKIP is determined to destroy.
I did not say there can never be another war in Europe. But I would not want to return to the pre-EU hostility between European countries.
Everything that the UKIP says about democratic rights is complete and utter tosh.
Britain is less democratic than most European countries and the EU can do nothing without the consent of its member nations.
“Everything that the UKIP says about democratic rights is complete and utter tosh.”
Tell that to the Greeks – whose democratically elected Prime Minister, George Papandreou, was deposed in an EU coup d’etat and replaced with a “technocrat” when he dared suggest that a referendum was needed on the austerity plan.
Tell that to the Italians, whose democratically elected Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, was deposed in an EU coup d’etat and replaced with a “technocrat” when he failed to support the austerity plans in Italy with enough vigour.
“The EU can do nothing without the consent of its member nations.”
Hilarious. EU directives (which are supposedly “legally binding” on member states) are proposed by the Commission and approved, mostly by qualified majority voting, by the Council of Ministers (European Council) upon which Britain has 29 votes out of 345 and by the European Parliament, within which Britain has 72 MEP’s out of 736. In general, neither the Council nor the Parliament has the power to propose new “laws” – that is reserved to the Commission. Britain does not have to give its consent to new EU “laws” – they can be imposed regardless.
Further, the British courts are subservient to the European Court – and that is empowered to create case law. Again, on the European Court, Britain provides one judge out of 27. The “Court” ruled as long ago as 1964 that member states had definitively transferred sovereign rights to the Community and Union law could not be overridden by domestic law.
Majority voting is what democracy is all about surely?
Or has UKIP redefined democracy as the rest of Europe being forced to do what Britain decides?
Or do you require absolute consensus on absolutely everything? So for example, for a decision in the UK parliament to be binding, do you require that every single MP votes for it?
Papandreou was not deposed by an EU coup. He failed to secure a parliamentary majority in his own country.
Berlusconi lost a vote in the Italian parliament.
British courts are not subservient to the European Court (I assume you mean the ECJ).
The ECJ is the highest court of the European Union only in matters of EU law, not national law. It is not possible to appeal the decisions of national courts to the ECJ, rather national courts refer questions of EU law to the ECJ.
If you mean the ECH that is unrelated to the EU.
Again, the ignorance of Europhobes is just staggering.
No, we have not redefined democracy as the rest of Europe being forced to do what Britain decides.
The point is that under the EU, Britain is forced to do what the rest of Europe decides.
UKIP wants Britain to be an independent sovereign country, in which our elected parliament makes the laws that govern us without reference to any higher authority. Naturally we do not want any say in the laws that govern other European countries.
Yes, I was referring to the ECJ of course. British courts have to defer to the interpretations of the ECJ on matters of EU “law”. And EU “law” is now easily the majority of law that applies in Britain. Further, the Commission can prosecute member states in the ECJ that do not apply EU “law”, and the ECJ has the power to fine them.
I note that you have mentioned “EU law”, and juxtaposed it with “national law”. EU “law” is made by the whole union, and it comprises easily the majority of the “law” that governs us today. It consists in “directives” from the EU, applied into British law by the British state. Would it be clearer for you if I called them “orders”? That word “directives” is a bit of a weasel word after all!
In theory directives are applied into British law subject to the consent of parliament, but the British state itself can be hauled before the ECJ and fined if it fails to implement a directive.
Most of all, remember that the EU “project” is evolving all the time. The intention is to deepen the “union” (i.e. subservience of the member states) ina continuous process.
You also mention the ECHR and state that it is separate from the EU. True – but EU members now are forced by the same EU “law” to accept the ECHR.
“The point is that under the EU, Britain is forced to do what the rest of Europe decides.”
NO! That is where you Europhobes have got it so, so wrong.
Britain is part of the EU, it is not “under” the EU. And it is not “forced” to do anything.
Britain, as part of the EU, has its say in the shaping of EU law.
But so too do the other 26 (soon to be 27) member states. Unfortunately, for a chauvinist party like the UKIP this is unacceptable. The UKIP says “if I am not allowed to win I am going home” – it is the attitude of a callow teenager.
But that is an undemocratic view. In negotiations there must be a willingness to compromise.
EU law only touches those areas that concern all European countries. But we are talking in general terms. What ruling by the ECJ do you object to?
The English legal system is far from perfect and personally I think it is no bad thing if the ECJ can review a situation where English law is at variance with European norms.
Notice I say English law, because Scots law is closer to European legal norms.
Chester58, I’ve enjoyed this debate and it is a vital one for all our future. I suspect it will rumble on for many years yet.
Your points would carry more weight though if you refrained from calling your opponents “chauvinists”, “Europhobes” and “undemocratic”. I respect your point of view as sincerely held and well thought-through. I believe I deserve the same respect.