George and Polly being sensible on the same day? So when do the cats start lying down with the dogs? Where are the rains of blood?

Miliband\’s Oxford lecture will be a resounding refutation of this, and a restatement of universal values. But he avoids Blairite hubris and triumphalism. Although he is "unapologetic about a mission to help democracy spread", he also stresses the "need to be cautious about our capacity to change the world", emphasising the power of international institutions – the international criminal court, the World Trade Organisation, the EU, the UN – to build the culture of democracy. "Democracy can and will take root in all societies".

Worth a slight cavil that though: when are we going to get democracy in the EU? Like, umm, a vote on it? There\’s much Churchillian "democracy is the least bad" floating around and Polly\’s right here:

They were driven by the universal desire to chose their own rulers, however difficult and dangerous the road to democracy.

The true meaning of "choose" being the ability to throw the bastards out. And that isn\’t something we can do with the EU, so it ain\’t democratic, is it?

12 thoughts on “Lordy!”

  1. “a restatement of universal values”: utter bollocks. If they were universal, people wouldn’t have to go round boring us to tears with statements about them.

  2. “The true meaning of “choose” being the ability to throw the bastards out. And that isn’t something we can do with the EU, so it ain’t democratic, is it?”

    Yes ‘we’ can. All leaders of the EU are elected – it’s one of the preconditions for joining.

  3. “unapologetic about a mission to help democracy spread”

    Milliband is evidently far more naive than I had estimated and dangerously so. There are, we might hope, well recognised problems about missions to spread and sustain ideologies – firstly, there tend to be lots of human casualties with the spreading and sustaining and, secondly, it isn’t only self-styled democrats who feel impelled to exercise such worthy missions.

    Remember the Crusades in the 11th century, the Mongol invasions of the 12th and 13th centuries, the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars to spread Liberté, Égalité and Fraternité, Britain’s imperial missions in Africa and India and in China to promote trade in narcotics, and the Soviet invasions of Hungary, Czecho-Slovakia and Afghanistan in the 20th century, not to overlook the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany at the start of WW2?

  4. Yes ‘we’ can. All leaders of the EU are elected – it’s one of the preconditions for joining.

    Ha f**king ha

    We do not have the ğpower to throw out those who make our laws. We only have the power to throw out 1/27th of them, whilst our neighbours have similar truncated power.

  5. @ Serf – that’s a ridiculous argument – it’s like saying that you only have power to throw out 1/600th of your lawmakers, while your neighbours have similar truncated power.

  6. “The true meaning of “choose” being the ability to throw the bastards out. And that isn’t something we can do with the EU”

    Oh come come, we get to throw out the people who sit in our Parliament who nominate the man who the Queen agrees will choose the delegates to assume the posts that set the agenda for the the committee that produces the proposals that are rubber stamped by a collection of men that various Queens, Kings and Presidents agreed would be able to lead the nations of Europe.

    If that ain’t democracy, I don’t know what is.

  7. Democracy in the EU is currently expressed largely through the Council of Ministers, where the governments of the member states (elected through democratic processes) agree among themselves on what to do.

    It is quite plausible to start changing that so that the European citizen gets more of a say. It could, for instance, be made so that the European Parliament could initiate legislation. The Commission could be abolished and replaced with an executive formed with approval of the Parliament, and the council of ministers reformed as a Senate.

    However, these moves towards democracy are precisely what is opposed by eurosceptics who insist on keeping the structure as it is. Really it becomes very difficult to take euroscepticism seriously over this.

  8. David Boothroyd, are you are saying that europhiles are trying to make the EU democratic but they are being frustrated by eurosceptics who don’t wish that to happen? If true, this is big news and we ought to be hearing a lot more about it.

  9. “There’s no Europe wide demos, so there can be no European-Democracy.”

    You might make the same argument regarding Scotland vs. England. And you might well be right on both counts.

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