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Devon Malcolm

Brexit

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10 hours ago, Loki said:

I mean, neither the Cabinet nor the Prime Minister in this country are directly elected to those positions.  I see the Council as the equivalent of the Cabinet.

The Commission's the Cabinet. The Council is more like the German upper house, the Bundesrat. You are right that more people should point out to Leavers that almost no positions in this country are directly elected, though. Someone should ask no-dealers how they voted in the last WTO election.

19 hours ago, JNLister said:

* The Council of Ministers (officially the Council of Europe), which is the relevant government minister from each country for the topic at hand.

The terminology is almost deliberately confusing. The Council of Europe is a completely different organisation which counts most European countries as members. Its main purpose is to uphold the Convention on Human Rights. It's where the "they want to force us to give all rapists and prisoners the vote!" myth comes from.

What the media often refer to as the Council of Europe is actually the Council of the European Union. That has a rotating 6-month presidency. The second half of last year it was held by Austria, which is why there was a summit in Salzburg. Meetings of heads of government are called the European Council. Summits used to take place all over, but now they normally happen in the purpose-built Justus Lipsus building (the one with the snazzy room of mirrors in the ceiling and bright colours on the floor) in Brussels. 

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My money is on Gove. He is a Brexiteer but went around making sure he made reasonable sounding noise the past few months to turn the heads of remainers. Boris won't make it to the final two, he'll be blocked before that. Can't see Raab Himself making it. Outside chance for that Rory one who looks like he's had his face grafted back on to his head. 

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2 hours ago, gmoney said:

Outside chance for that Rory one who looks like he's had his face grafted back on to his head. 

He is what happened when Eddy Redmayne and Willem Dafoe stepped into the transporter from The Fly together.

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15 hours ago, Fog Dude said:

You are right that more people should point out to Leavers that almost no positions in this country are directly elected, though.

Yeah, but that's hardly an excuse to add yet another layer of bureaucracy, is it? "Our own political system isn't perfect, so why complain about the rest" isn't quite the way to go in my opinion. 

My main issue is that the right-wingers and the likes of Boris and Nige have hijacked the whole anti-EU debate. Does no one remember the days when the likes of Tony Benn was warning against the EU? Many a time have I found myself in the pub or with friends and when the subject is brought up and I dare stick my head above the wall and declare that the EU is, well, a bit shit, I'm immediately met with the "well, what about Farage and his bus?!?!" 

Fuck Nige and his bus, fuck Boris, and fuck the EU. Socialists and those on the left have long argued against the EU, and just because it's become the pet project of some right-wing cretins doesn't mean that people like me are going to walk back our beliefs. It's potentially the greatest swizz of all time, because with a few well-placed antagonists we've seen those on the left now fight in favour of the EU simply because they wish to oppose the likes of Boris and Farage.

Are we a minority who are anti-EU for those reasons? Probably, but you take what you can get. The right-wing types don't realise that exiting the EU isn't going to give them back their good old England of yore, where there were no foreigners and everyone loved a pint of bitter and owned a whippet. 

But, if by them voting to leave the EU in the belief that they will get those things means that the minority of us who want out for other reasons see progress that the left have been looking for, then fuck it, I'll take that.

What I sincerely hope happens is that we see Brexit happen, the Tory party crumble and somehow we see Corbyn get voted in. He's not perfect, but he's the best option at the moment for anyone who isn't a right-wing mentalist. If more of the parasites in the Labour Party bugger off to a new centrist party then all the better.

A UK outside the EU, being led by a centre-left government would be music to my fucking ears. Maybe then the EU will be seen as not fit for purpose, torn down and a new European agreement for trade and movement can be implemented.

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12 hours ago, David said:

Yeah, but that's hardly an excuse to add yet another layer of bureaucracy, is it? "Our own political system isn't perfect, so why complain about the rest" isn't quite the way to go in my opinion. 

Without wishing to go through the same arguments from months ago: yeah, if I were confident that Westminster, as well as my county, district and parish councils were all functioning well then there'd be a case for not having another layer of governance on top of that. But they're clearly not fit for purpose at the moment.

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My main issue is that the right-wingers and the likes of Boris and Nige have hijacked the whole anti-EU debate. Does no one remember the days when the likes of Tony Benn was warning against the EU? Many a time have I found myself in the pub or with friends and when the subject is brought up and I dare stick my head above the wall and declare that the EU is, well, a bit shit, I'm immediately met with the "well, what about Farage and his bus?!?!" 

Fuck Nige and his bus, fuck Boris, and fuck the EU. Socialists and those on the left have long argued against the EU, and just because it's become the pet project of some right-wing cretins doesn't mean that people like me are going to walk back our beliefs. It's potentially the greatest swizz of all time, because with a few well-placed antagonists we've seen those on the left now fight in favour of the EU simply because they wish to oppose the likes of Boris and Farage.

 

As I've said before, I have a little bit more time for criticisms of the EU from the left than from the right, but I'm becoming increasingly exasperated by both extremes. The quotations from Tony Benn are mostly from the 1975 referendum, when the EEC still had no directly elected element. Trying to equate what he was lambasting then to the EU of 2019 is disingenuous. The only more recent quotes relate to the Single European Act (which obviously he didn't like because it was Thatcher's baby, even though it was an historical inevitability of integration, and brought greater prosperity to the continent) and one about not being able to vote out the Head of the Commission which is a thing you can actually do now. I can't find anything scathing from him after Maastricht or Lisbon were passed, and his son is now avidly pro-EU. An equal target of Benn's ire was, notably, the House of Lords, which still hasn't been properly reformed.

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Are we a minority who are anti-EU for those reasons? Probably, but you take what you can get. The right-wing types don't realise that exiting the EU isn't going to give them back their good old England of yore, where there were no foreigners and everyone loved a pint of bitter and owned a whippet. 

But, if by them voting to leave the EU in the belief that they will get those things means that the minority of us who want out for other reasons see progress that the left have been looking for, then fuck it, I'll take that.

What I sincerely hope happens is that we see Brexit happen, the Tory party crumble and somehow we see Corbyn get voted in. He's not perfect, but he's the best option at the moment for anyone who isn't a right-wing mentalist. 

 

The only type of Brexit on offer at the moment is a right-wing one, though. A revolutionary Communist would probably accept short-term suffering in order to create the conditions for an uprising. I'd rather not have people suffer needlessly at all, thanks. Even the unicorn 'jobs-first' Brexit some on the Labour side have been talking about just panders to bigots and takes away our rights. Freedom of movement works both ways, as you ought to know from your Catalan vantage point.

I agree, of course, that it would be great to see the Conservative party disintegrate. It looks like they might've done at the Euro elections, but in local and general elections they sadly appear to have a much lower floor. Especially when someone like Corbyn is the alternative.

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A UK outside the EU, being led by a centre-left government would be music to my fucking ears. Maybe then the EU will be seen as not fit for purpose, torn down and a new European agreement for trade and movement can be implemented.

The only realistic alternatives I could see to the EU would be either a really too loose arrangement, or else a 'Europe of Nativisits' as envisaged by Steve Bannon. Both of those seem far worse than the status quo. It's far from perfect, but it's the best expression of Europeanness that we're going to get, and I think we're better off trying to reshape it from the inside. All it would take would be for the majority of MEPs and heads of government to be left-wingers, then if that wasn't enough, further treaty change. But not enough progressives can be bothered to vote for the first two of those, it seems. 

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12 hours ago, Fog Dude said:

Without wishing to go through the same arguments from months ago: yeah, if I were confident that Westminster, as well as my county, district and parish councils were all functioning well then there'd be a case for not having another layer of governance on top of that. But they're clearly not fit for purpose at the moment.

So, your argument for the EU is basically that you don't like how the majority of British voters are voting and would rather have another layer of governance to try and stymie that? Yeah, I've heard that argument from a few people in person as well, and I simply cannot agree with it. 

I'm no more enamoured by the current state of our political system and the people we have in power than you are, but even with that being the case i still don't want the EU there as a kind of bureaucratic safety net of sorts against what our democratically elected officials are doing. Those officials are there for a reason, and if you don't like it then you have to find ways to encourage people to vote for more suitable candidates.

There's much that the EU does that I agree with, but just because I happen to like how they go about their business in certain ways doesn't mean I can turn a blind eye to the effect it has on the democratic process and the implementation of more steps to further remove the decision making process from the people.

I imagine that if we had a far-left government in this country, implementing socialist causes and redressing many of the issues caused by right-wing capitalist policies over the years, only for the pro-capitalist EU to step in and look to stymie those actions where they could a lot of people would quickly change their tune. The shoe would be on the other foot.

We're happy to champion the fact that we're a democratic society when it suits us, but when the majority votes in a way that we don't like we're not too fussed about stamping our feet, demanding do-overs, throwing a hissy fit (or a milkshake) and turning a blind eye to the process being fucked about with so long as it means we get our way.

That's not how it should work. If you're not confident in how your system is working then vote to change it, and if others aren't voting with you then make it your business to inform them and educate them on why they should follow your lead.

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1 hour ago, David said:

So, your argument for the EU is basically that you don't like how the majority of British voters are voting and would rather have another layer of governance to try and stymie that? Yeah, I've heard that argument from a few people in person as well, and I simply cannot agree with it. 

That's... an interesting interpretation of what I wrote. I'd rather have the EU anyway, but it's especially bad when national and local government are clearly failing us. I really don't see how the EU is overriding the British will or interests, unless it's secretly breaking all its own rules. The tiny percentage of laws that were passed without the support of a majority of British representatives are pretty much all positive ones relating to things like consumer protection and workers' rights. Those went against the will of our government, but not against the will of our people or their interests.

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I'm no more enamoured by the current state of our political system and the people we have in power than you are, but even with that being the case i still don't want the EU there as a kind of bureaucratic safety net of sorts against what our democratically elected officials are doing. Those officials are there for a reason, and if you don't like it then you have to find ways to encourage people to vote for more suitable candidates.

If you've bought into the EU being the source of all our extra bureaucracy and that it's somehow less democratic than our own institutions, then it sounds like you've fallen into the trap of believing both the right- and left-wing criticisms simultaneously. MEPs are our democratically elected officials just as much as MPs, MSPs and councillors are. And they're more democratic than peers. 

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There's much that the EU does that I agree with, but just because I happen to like how they go about their business in certain ways doesn't mean I can turn a blind eye to the effect it has on the democratic process and the implementation of more steps to further remove the decision-making process from the people.

Again, it comes down to the fact that Brussels and Strasbourg are physically more distant than Whitehall or Holyrood. That's literally the only way things are 'further removed from the people'. If you think the EU is less democratic than the UK, then you're simply holding it to different (higher) standards and I think you need to ask yourself why that might be.

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I imagine that if we had a far-left government in this country, implementing socialist causes and redressing many of the issues caused by right-wing capitalist policies over the years, only for the pro-capitalist EU to step in and look to stymie those actions where they could a lot of people would quickly change their tune. The shoe would be on the other foot.

Well, it'd be interesting to know what the specific example would be of a policy the EU watered down or outright stopped in this hypothetical scenario, but yeah, if that were the situation then I'd be more content for that government to have a go at negotiating a 'Lexit'. I still think that the current arrangement we have, which basically gives us all the advantages of EU membership without all of the obligations, is the best one we're going to get, and is preferable to any withdrawal agreement. 

Did you know the Socialist candidate for Commission President, Frans Timmermans, has proposed a Europe-wide minimum wage? That, if enacted, would eliminate Corbyn's "freedom of movement causes undercutting of wages" line of attack in one go. Sadly with Labour, the German SPD and the PS in France all set to make losses, it doesn't look like he'll have the chance to bring that in. (I voted for Molly Scott Cato and ‚Äď by extension ‚ÄstSka Keller for the second time in a row, by the way).

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We're happy to champion the fact that we're a democratic society when it suits us, but when the majority votes in a way that we don't like we're not too fussed about stamping our feet, demanding do-overs, throwing a hissy fit (or a milkshake) and turning a blind eye to the process being fucked about with so long as it means we get our way.

That's not how it should work. If you're not confident in how your system is working then vote to change it, and if others aren't voting with you then make it your business to inform them and educate them on why they should follow your lead.

Can't disagree with that at all. The fact that millions have been hoodwinked into believing that "democracy" was a one-off winner-take-all event from 3 years ago is frightening. The education system has failed those people. The media have those failed people, and the political system has certainly failed them most of all.

Besides, I think we need pan-European institutions that are stronger than just UEFA and a song contest. I can't envisage a decent alternative to the EU springing up from scratch, so it'd be wiser to stay inside the one we have and keep moulding it into something more palatable. If we had to rejoin, we'd never get all those opt-outs back.

Anyway, I've got my snacks and drinks at the ready for the results shows on TV tonight. How about you? Coverage of the Spanish municipal elections starts at 7:30pm CEST over there... 

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All interesting points, and although I don't agree with you on many of them it is refreshing to see a debate of sorts that doesn't resort to the usual buzzword insults. I'll certainly address some of them when I have time, although I am aware that we discussed much of this previously and don't want to go over old ground. Plenty of food for thought though, which is always good.

It may be a sign of the times, but I'm not really all that interested in the results. I don't have much time for the EU, and I personally didn't vote at all in these elections. I imagine Farage will see a certain level of success, that Tommy Robinson won't see much success at all, and we'll see a slight shift further to the right over much of Europe, which is troubling, but it's what the EU and the political landscape is somewhat encouraging at the moment, and I think it'll get worse before it gets any better under current circumstances.

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Tommy Robinson has conceded defeat. Great work

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But Nigel Farage has been elected in the South East. Fuck

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All sorts of japery today with people trying to interpret results, but the "Tories got punished because all their members want no deal Brexit, we must elect Johnson or Raab" storyline is the most mathematically questionable.

The combined UKIP/Brexit vote share was up 10 percent. The Conservative vote share was down 15 percent. So at the least, a third of their losses were to parties with a "softer" Brexit position.

When you then consider the likelihood that at least a couple of percentage points worth of the Brexit gains came from Labour, there's a solid chance the Conservative losses were actually split evenly between No Deal parties and Referendum to Remain parties.

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