This Brexit sounds like an excellent idea then, doesn’t it?

Britain’s exit from the European Union would lead to the “implosion” of the continental bloc and force the United States to intervene to put “Humpty Dumpty back together again”, the boss of the London Stock Exchange has claimed.

Xavier Rolet added that the “UK leaving the European Union is the end of the European Union”. In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Mr Rolet, one of 200 business leaders to sign a high-profile letter in February supporting the campaign for the UK to remain in Europe, said such a prospect would be “devastating.”

Bring it on really……

79 thoughts on “This Brexit sounds like an excellent idea then, doesn’t it?”

  1. One more reason to vote Leave, then. In other news, the Cloggies are tooling up to give the EU two fingers of scorn next Thursday in a referendum on the accession of Ukraine. Life is good.

  2. I love the sound of panic in the morning as the political classes and corporatists see their cosy relationship unravelling..

  3. The EU prevents its members picking winners and skewing procurement. In a world of Trump and Chinese steel tariffs etc, it is the best safe haven we have

  4. Prevents us picking winners by insisting that we subsidise farming, green power, etc, etc, etc?

    You know, insists that we must pick losers to piss money all over?

  5. It’s curious that so many have observed that the reason to Remain is not because overall the EU is an amazing benefit to the UK, but because: our civil service are now so incompetent they couldn’t manage outside; although we’re in trade deficit and a net contributor with respect to the EU, the British economy and science would collapse without it; it’s a club we joined, and we just have to lump it; everyone else in the EU is so horrible they can’t be left to their own devices, and anyway they won’t be nice to the UK post exit; and now the EU would collapse if the UK left.

    Perhaps they are saving the amazing and irreplaceable advantages of being a member until some time in June?

  6. So Much For Subtlety

    Rolet was born in Aix-les-Bains, France. He is the eldest of three children born to military parents. His early life was spent in Algeria and France

    Why should we give a f**k what some French man thinks? For that matter why the f**k does this French man even have the cheek to express an opinion?

    In a better world the only communication we would have with this man would be at bayonet point.

  7. Careful what we wish for.
    The euro comprises maybe 20% of central bank deposits and huge quantities of government and corporate securities.
    What happens if the EU fragments and those funds are considered sub-par for investment?
    A big bank run at the very least.
    Write your own script from then on. My version includes Cameron saying we have to stay in despite the referendum result, so as to save the world . . . .

  8. The fallout from the collapse of the euro will hit us, brexit or no. More likely to survive it from the outside.

  9. It’s in the UK’s overriding interest that the EU is well run. UK leading in Europe would benefit everyone. A pity it has never been tried

  10. The parade of liars is being joined by loons now.

    JimW: The economic crunch is coming anyway.

    The lies really are getting desperate now.

  11. Another Steve? A troll without a sense of humour it seems.

    UK leading in an international criminal organisation? If we can’t manage it FIFA or the Olympic Gang why should the eeeeuuuuuwwww be any different.

  12. JimW: The economic crunch is coming anyway.

    Absolutely.

    The EU is utterly divided and impotent. Get the fuck out, speed up its inevitable demise and lets get on with what comes after; hopefully something with less arsehole politicians in charge…

  13. “UK leading in Europe would benefit everyone. A pity it has never been tried.”

    How do you know? What would “leading” look like?

    The EU is now the Euro and Schengen. All countries joining the EU must join both: both are requirements of membership.

    The UK is in neither. It can no longer even attempt to “lead”, since it does not even meet the current prerequisites for joining. It went along with Maastricht, and then Lisbon, and that’s where it ended up.

    The only way it could now attempt to lead would be to join the Euro and Schengen. It would then find itself dragged into the next set of little wheezes: common treasury for the Euro, common tax policies, common finance minister, common defence force, …, the only way to “lead” is to go along with everything, or suggest even further “integration”.

    The UK being able to “lead” in Europe in any useful way is now complete fantasy, and probably has been since Maastricht.

  14. UK leading in Europe would benefit everyone. A pity it has never been tried

    Sure it has. We lead in Europe in 1701-1714, 1803-1815, 1914-1918, and 1939-1945, very successfully each time. It’s rather rare to hear any thanks from the europeons though.

  15. Continuing to assume that Steve meant EU by “Europe”, it’s worth noting that the EU itself has exactly the assessment that the EU is Euro+Schengen, with more on the way, and those countries not part of either, let alone both, are not really in the EU. In particular, Cameron’s opt-out from “ever-closer union” was qualified to *prevent* the UK from any action that would interfere with the eurozone countries doing something for their own benefit. The UK cannot lead, but neither can it forestall. It’s also not straightforward for the electorate, because as with the “opt-out” from various other things in the past, a British government might suddenly decide to opt (back) in, after which there is no escape short of complete withdrawal, so the electorate doesn’t get what it thought it was being offered after all.

    The whole thing has become a waste of time and effort, and after 40 years of pain, the sooner an orderly withdrawal to a political position that reflects the actual politics, the better.

  16. The Inimitable Steve

    I think we should invade the EU, send in a crack squadron of Morris dancers to beat Herman Van Rumpypumpy with their sticks, and force Baroness Ashton to star as the eponymous equine in a remake of Black Beauty.

    Accept no substitutes or lesser Steves.

  17. The Meissen Bison

    TIS: While it’s fair (but not gallant) to point out that Lady Ashton is quite uncompromisingly ugly and white, she is now out to grass but drawing a modest Mandelsonian pension.

  18. Bloke in Germany in Catalonia

    Because you know you can keep all that lovely free trade, freedom of movement and establishment, and so on without it. Worked for the previous thousand years, didn’t it. Unfortunately such an arrangement does come with its costs, including lunatic idiot spending and insane pettifogging restrictions. Which, as we know, never happen at all when national governments are doing the spending and regulating, do they?

  19. Steve said: “The EU prevents its members picking winners and skewing procurement. ”

    You mean apart from the Euro picking German producers as the winners?

    If the EU cannot survive without the UK it wasn’t worth saving.

  20. The Inimitable Steve

    TMB – The justice and wisdom of TIS is infinite, much like how women remember every single thing you’ve ever said and done and shamelessly use it against you in a heated argument over why the living room that you painted Banana Dream 2 just last spring now needs to be Seafoam Green.

    Mandelson will be exiled to Hartlepool, the land of English guacamole.

    Neil Kinnock shall be forced to fight in a no-holds-barred cage match with Derek Hatton.

    Chris Patten will be locked in a giant Wicker Thatcher and given daily Chinese burns by actual Chinee.

    So sayeth Steve.

  21. The Remainers’ sole campaign message is that we’re so stupid we need foreigners to stop us making stupid decisions. The Outers’ sole campaign message is that we’re so pure only the EU stops us making intelligent decisions. Neither side’s campaign will win the referendum for them, they will get the decision in spite of their campaigning.

    For myself I’ve tried to clear away the blatent lies and scaremongering from both sides and try and find some foundations to make a decision myself. As an engineer I’ve decided that what is needed is to abandon the prototype and start again. The EU is displaying the classic “second system” symptoms. The second time around you build a better system after learning from the elephantine, feature-laden monstrosities that the first system became.

  22. Actually, it’s the other way: the second system tends to be overblown as everyone adds all the things carefully left out of the first one because of resource constraints. After that’s a big expensive disaster, everyone agrees to try again, and the next system tends to remove a lot of the bloat. By that analogy, the EU (created by Maastricht as the second system) needs to be replaced by something else. Free trade might be the easiest, since there’s less inherent overhead.

  23. BiG on the Run: Free movement etc was free enough before the EU. You just showed your passport and answered a few daft questions. Hardly worth accepting EUro-tyranny to be rid of it. Indeed state antics are the cause of any lack of freedom anyway. So we swap lesser tyranny for worse–so we can be rid of the lesser?

    All the running around must be sapping your mental energy.

  24. I know Americans, Australians and Canadians that live and work in the Netherlands, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, without holding an EU passport, and without their countries being members of the EU.

  25. jgh: No, my argument is that we should leave because although our bunch of idiots are still idiots, at least we can throw them out.

  26. I know Americans, Australians and Canadians that live and work in the Netherlands, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, without holding an EU passport, and without their countries being members of the EU.

    True, but they have a fucking nightmare dealing with the French prefectures (an American friend of mine is going through this right now). One of the overwhelming advantages I have of Britain being in the EU is that the number of documents the French can ask me to supply is minimal.

  27. jgh: No, my argument is that we should leave because although our bunch of idiots are still idiots, at least we can throw them out.

    We can? All I’ve seen is idiots replaced by bigger idiots.

  28. What’s the point in everyone pretending that there’s some wonderful solution to a really big fucking mess? Clearly there isn’t. No-EU would be pretty terrible, given the fuckers in Westminster, and the EU is pretty terrible, especially the fuckers in Brussels.

    What both systems have in common are the fuckers. How about we deal with those problems – rope, lamp-posts, etc – and then there’d be at least some chance that either Brexit or Bremain could work?

    Anyway, about time we also ended this silly, sentimental attachment of countries to geographic locations. You really want to put the wind up the politicos, let’s have a system where you can ’emigrate’ without ever leaving your house.

  29. JonnyA>

    Our idiots, their idiots, what’s the difference? No EU law has ever come into force here without primary legislation to that effect from ‘our’ idiots.

  30. Tim and Dave:

    There are no wonderful solutions.

    Idiots are indeed always replaced with other idiots.

    But being able to get rid of the current idiots stops them doing too much damage, as the next set of idiots always a) undo some of the stupid things done by the previous set as a point of principal, and b) take a bit of time to start their own idiocy.

    In the UK we can get rid of our own idiots from time to time. But we cannot get rid of the EU idiots, there is no direct electoral accountability.

  31. But being able to get rid of the current idiots stops them doing too much damage, as the next set of idiots always a) undo some of the stupid things done by the previous set as a point of principal, and b) take a bit of time to start their own idiocy.

    I’m not convinced. I saw a pretty seemless transition of one set of idiots to the next, ratchetting up the idiocy, from 1997 until now. If there was an anti-idiot equipped with a few km of hempen rope and the M6 earmarked for lampost provision I’d be convinced, but who in the foreseeable future is going to stop this ever-upwards idiocy drive?

  32. Mr Ecks is on the money. Most of my generation spent their Summers on the continent, picking grapes or filling in cracks in the autobahn with little or no restrictions that I can remember.
    Anyone want to offer odds on a conflict not happening after the EU grants 78 million Turks visa free travel, and another 44 million Ukrainian’s is also looking likely sooner rather than later.

  33. Bloke in Germany in Catalonia

    @Fecks,

    Freedom of movement is the right to go live and work and run a business in the EU country of your choice. Short of your being a hardened criminal, no local petty bureaucrat can stop you – something that is rife if you try to, say, get a job in the USA, or Singapore, not to mention Australia, Argentina, and everywhere else.

    Whether or not, say, Tim could have successfully established his current activities in the Czech Republic absent an EU, it is clear that his path was much easier for the EU.

    You see – people like you look only at the cost side of this equation. Which is a bad way of making any kind of decision.

    @CHF, and my South African , Turkish, Indian, and so on colleagues won’t/can’t visit the UK, for fun or to go to our UK office, because they – unlike the Europeans, do not have freedom to go there without meeting onerous, almost impossible, visa conditions.

    @JonnyA,

    You can get rid of the EU idiiots, since one part of that institution is directly elected, another consists of directly elected members of the national governments, and the other bit is appointed by – gosh – elected national governments.

    Meanwhile in the UK you have legislators there by virtue of the fact that some ancestor gave the right guy a blowjob 900 years ago.

  34. Meanwhile in the UK you have legislators there by virtue of the fact that some ancestor gave the right guy a blowjob 900 years ago.

    Odd then that the House of Lords was the part of the British government that did the most good (usually by telling the House of Commons to stop being so fucking stupid) before Bliar’s vandalism.

  35. Jonny>

    “But we cannot get rid of the EU idiots, there is no direct electoral accountability.”

    We don’t elect the Civil Service here, we don’t elect European civil servants. We do, however, directly elect the people who make new EU laws – on the one hand the MEPs, on the other the Council of the European Union, which consists of domestically elected government ministers.

    Arguably the greatest success any politicians have ever had has been the way the MEPs and the Council of Europe have convinced everyone that they’re not democratically accountable for the laws they make. Viewed purely in the abstract, as a piece of political manoeuvring, it’s brilliant. Having the Council of the European Union as well as the European Council within the EU, both having similar roles, is a masterstroke. Everyone thinks the not-directly-elected European Council and European Commission are responsible for what the CotEU does. And then there’s the Council of Europe, which isn’t even part of the EU, but makes decisions that sometimes lead to EU action, confusing matters even further.

    Hell, it’s so confusing that I’ve had to correct myself about a dozen times while writing that – and there’s probably still at least one error.

  36. Bloke in Germany in Catalonia said:

    You can get rid of the EU idiiots, since one part of that institution is directly elected, another consists of directly elected members of the national governments, and the other bit is appointed by – gosh – elected national governments.

    If only one Commissioner and say, 10%, of the elected idiots in Brussels are ours we cannot hope to have much effect by getting rid of ours for some better idiots. The only option for each member state is to take part in the convergence and harmonisation, or like the UK sit on the sidelines and moan, or to leave.

    The setup is ideal for bureaucratic sclerosis and unaccountable political deals done behind closed doors. Even the EU knows this. It wants this a) to get things done in the initial decades and b) to excuse the obvious later step of making it all apparently accountable to the people of the EU as a proper EU nation.

    The correct answer to shits having built an undemocratic shadow-nation is not to grant them democratic authority and bring it into the light but to make them start again from an honest beginning. Otherwise they get no feedback from the public and will continue to be shits, and the public will not learn to be more vigilant.

  37. BIGIC,

    > You can get rid of the EU idiiots

    There are many idiots. The point is that you can’t get rid of the legislators. Who are precisely the people (in any government) that you need to get rid of.

    > … since one part of that institution is directly elected

    The EU Parliament, which has no legislative power.

    > … another consists of directly elected members of the national governments

    Not sure which bit you mean here, but, if they’re not the Commission, then they don’t write laws.

    > … and the other bit is appointed by – gosh – elected national governments.

    This would be the Commission, and either you are mistaken or you are beiong very disingenuous. The Commissioners are indeed appointed by elected national governments, but it does not follow that they can be got rid of. They can’t. Once appointed, they cannot be unappointed. As Mandelson boasted: Gordon Brown, our then Prime Minister, literally could not sack him.

    For a Commissioner to be got rid of against their will, they need to be convicted of a serious crime.

  38. Gareth>

    “If only one Commissioner and say, 10%, of the elected idiots in Brussels are ours we cannot hope to have much effect”

    Your vote is a rather lower proportion even than that. It’s how democracy works, I’m afraid.

    “The only option for each member state is to take part in the convergence and harmonisation, or like the UK sit on the sidelines and moan, or to leave.”

    Or to _lead_ the convergence/harmonisation process. Which is what the UK should be doing, if it’s in the EU. I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that Europe has worked for at least two thousand years on the basis of the English and Germans allied against the French and Spanish/Italians/whoever. An EU representing that kind of power balance might actually work.

    As it is, we’ve spent the entirety of our power in Europe over the last few decades on retaining the Elgin Marbles (at least successfully, so far), while an unholy alliance of Germany and France have faced almost zero opposition – and because the Germans haven’t been firm enough with the French, we have the current mess.

  39. Squander>

    See above. It’s the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament who make EU law, not the European Commission.

  40. Dave,

    > We don’t elect the Civil Service here

    The people we do elect can get rid of them. Our civil servants don’t write laws.

    > we don’t elect European civil servants.

    The people we do elect can’t get rid of them. EU “civil servants” do write laws.

    > Arguably the greatest success any politicians have ever had has been the way the MEPs and the Council of Europe have convinced everyone that they’re not democratically accountable for the laws they make.

    I agree that they have been extremely successful at confusing people. For instance, you appear to be under the impression that MEPs “make” laws. They do not. The EU Parliament is officially referred to as a “legislature” but its actual role is to scrutinise and amend legislation, never to initiate it. The EU’s legislators are the Commission. They’re an unelected government. If you were to draw an analogy between Westminster and Brussels, the Commission would be the Cabinet, not the civil service.

  41. Dave,

    No EU law has ever come into force here without primary legislation to that effect from ‘our’ idiots.

    You are talking about EU Directives. Which need enabling legislation.

    On the other hand, the only primary legislation needed for EU Regulations (which are law) to come in to force here is the European Communities Act 1972.

  42. From the EU’s own website, an admirably clear phrase, albeit hidden amongst a hell of a lot of obfuscation clearly intended to fool people into thinking that the EU Parliament is a legislature:

    the European Commission, the only institution empowered to initiate legislation.

    Really not analogous to the British Civil Service, then.

  43. Squander>

    “The people we do elect can get rid of them.”

    No, they can’t. Yes Minister-ism aside, the government cannot just sack senior civil servants. Theoretically they can abolish a department, but…

    “Our civil servants don’t write laws.”

    https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/office-of-the-parliamentary-counsel

    ” EU “civil servants” do write laws.”

    No more so than the above example.

    “For instance, you appear to be under the impression that MEPs “make” laws. They do not. The EU Parliament is officially referred to as a “legislature” but its actual role is to scrutinise and amend legislation, never to initiate it.”

    Er, yes. That’s what a parliament does. It’s the body which amends and votes on the proposals put in front of it. Legislation in the House of Commons is usually proposed by an MP, but there’s no requirement that it must be.

    “The EU’s legislators are the Commission.”

    No, they’re simply not, not beyond a technicality. The EU Commission submits legislation to the MEPs on subjects put forward by directly elected national governments via their Commissioners, which the Parliament can then reject if it wishes, but it also puts to the Parliament questions the Commission has been asked to consider by various parties including the Parliament itself.

    http://www.europarl.europa.eu/aboutparliament/en/20150201PVL00004/Legislative-powers

    _The Commission has the legislative initiative. However, under the Treaty of Maastricht enhanced by the Lisbon Treaty, the European Parliament has a right of legislative initiative that allows it to ask the Commission to submit a proposal.

  44. SE>

    Yes, as you agree there are only two ways an EU decision can become law here, and both require primary legislation from Westminster. That the legislation is, in one case, already in existence does not change the facts here: ‘our’ directly elected idiots voted to have it that way.

  45. Oh, one more thing:

    “If you were to draw an analogy between Westminster and Brussels, the Commission would be the Cabinet, not the civil service.”

    Bad analogies all round, but it’s more like the Whips.

  46. > Er, yes. That’s what a parliament does. It’s the body which amends and votes on the proposals put in front of it. Legislation in the House of Commons is usually proposed by an MP, but there’s no requirement that it must be.

    Legislation in the EU is never proposed by an MEP because there is a requirement that it must not be.

  47. Squander>

    Now you’re just arguing with the facts, even though we’re dealing with direct quotes from the EU on the subject. Once again:

    “under the Treaty of Maastricht enhanced by the Lisbon Treaty, the European Parliament has a right of legislative initiative that allows it to ask the Commission to submit a proposal.”

  48. Dave et al:

    If you guys want to vote Remain simply because Brexit doesn’t, in one fell swoop, deliver your ideal form of government, then crack on.

    Anyone who thinks that even the unanimous will of the British electorate could change the current political course of the EU by a single millimetre must have recently suffered a stroke.

  49. Dave,

    From Wikipedia:

    The Commission operates as a cabinet government

    I’m not one of those people who think that Wikipedia is the Word Of God. However, one good thing about Wikipedia is that the arguments that break out over controversial subjects are there for all to see. You may notice that, despite the EU being a body constantly immersed in controversy and a big impending referendum that’s making everyone argue about it even more than usual, there’s no “[citation needed]”, no page history of the same claim being edited in and out again twenty times a day, and no page full of Wikieditors bickering with each other. Perhaps, with your conviction that the claim — repeated elsewhere on the site — is wrong, you should start a bunfight there. But I don’t think you’ll get very far. The EU itself regards the Commission as its government, even if you don’t.

  50. The Inimitable Steve

    In other news, the Dutch are running a non-binding referendum on the EU’s Ukraine deal.

    EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says the stakes are high, saying that a “No” vote “would open the door to a great continental crisis.”

    Ever noticed how the EU’s always just about to go into meltdown, unless we always and everywhere do exactly what they say?

  51. “and because the Germans haven’t been firm enough with the French, we have the current mess.”

    Even if some interesting alternative ever been on offer, and I doubt that it was, the EU as it is now is not going to change. It will continue on its existing path.

  52. Dave,

    > Now you’re just arguing with the facts, even though we’re dealing with direct quotes from the EU on the subject.

    You said yourself that they deliberately try to obfuscate, and you were right. Perhaps you’re not parsing those quotes carefully enough.

    > Once again:

    Oo, you said “Once again” to imply that the only reason I could disagree with you is that I didn’t read what you wrote. Nice one.

    “under the Treaty of Maastricht enhanced by the Lisbon Treaty, the European Parliament has a right of legislative initiative that allows it to ask the Commission to submit a proposal.”

    You seem to think this contradicts something I’ve written. What it says is that the EU Parliament is allowed to ask the EU Commission to write legislation. The Parliament may not write legislation; no MEP may write legislation; the Commission, and only the Commission, writes legislation, and the Commission is both unelected and unsackable. You even agreed with this a few comments back (while implying that it was of no consequence and exactly like Westminster). Yet you still argue that it’s wrong.

    Which is it? Is the claim that the unelected and unsackable Commission is the only EU body that can write legislation a pig-ignorant batshit-crazy conspiracy theory, or is it true and so completely unremarkable that you can’t believe anyone would give a damn about it?

  53. ‘our’ directly elected idiots voted to have it that way.

    I’ll take some of the blame for Maastricht, as I had voted for the government. I refuse to take any blame for 1972. I was out of nappies but nowhere near voting age.

  54. Ever noticed how the EU’s always just about to go into meltdown, unless we always and everywhere do exactly what they say?

    Groupthink has become so strong that any dissent is disaster.

  55. Oh, and this:

    > The EU Commission submits legislation to the MEPs on subjects put forward by directly elected national governments via their Commissioners

    As mentioned earlier, a country’s Commissioner may not wish to represent their country’s directly elected national government. Brown apparently didn’t think Mandelson was an appropriate Commissioner for the UK, and Mandelson responded to this suggestion by publicly boasting that Brown couldn’t sack him.

  56. “As mentioned earlier, a country’s Commissioner may not wish to represent their country’s directly elected national government. ”

    They aren’t allowed to: they become EU Commissioners, acting in the EU’s interest as an independent entity.

  57. Oh, and this too (I didn’t have time to follow the link earlier):

    >> Our civil servants don’t write laws.

    > https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/office-of-the-parliamentary-counsel

    The Office of the Parliamentary Council draft laws. This is not the same thing as writing laws. I appreciate that the word “write” is used vaguely and figuratively in this context, but I seriously doubt you don’t really know the difference. Just in case, here’s how they put it:

    We work closely with departments to translate policy into clear, effective and readable law.

    They don’t write policy; they don’t decide policy. They help turn policy into well-drafted law; they take laws written (i.e. decided) by others and turn them into proper bills and acts.

    The Commission decide policy — which is what the phrase “write law” means. As well you know, I’m sure.

  58. The EU would do well to realise that constantly enforcing loyalty is a weakness not a strength. (For example, making it a condition of paying pensions to ex-employees).

    We’re all free to criticise our UK system and our politicians and we do so all of the time. We’re also not keen on making significant changes, funnily enough.

    EU citizens have also made it pretty clear via a number of referenda that “ever-closer union” is not popular. This is not the same as saying the EU is not popular, and it certainly doesn’t mean that the EU can’t survive “No” votes.

    Were an EU Grandee to say that the EU was a bit of useless mess much of the time, but hey that’s democracy, but also something beneficial overall the Grandee would earn some respect.

    So drop the endless sensitivity, and the quasi-religious fervour and we might be getting somewhere. (And Germany and France need to be told that it’s not their club anymore).

  59. CHF,

    > They aren’t allowed to: they become EU Commissioners, acting in the EU’s interest as an independent entity.

    I agree. It’s Dave who claims they’re democratically accountable to the national governments that appoint them.

  60. Britain’s exit from the European Union would lead to the “implosion” of the continental bloc and force the United States to intervene to put “Humpty Dumpty back together again”

    If it was 1945 then this would be a good idea. Unfortunately the people that gave Japan it’s functional constitution are long gone. As an American I’d advise you to solve your own damn problems. TPTB over here would love to see a continental war so we can sell more weapons.

  61. “Or to _lead_ the convergence/harmonisation process. Which is what the UK should be doing, if it’s in the EU.”

    At the level of trade, where necessary (some “convergence” and “harmonisation” amounts to codifying the status quo and preventing competition), but increasingly that’s done elsewhere:
    http://www.adamsmith.org/the-liberal-case-for-leave/
    is a thoughtful discussion. As regards the political organisation, I don’t see it happening: the UK is outside the two primary mechanisms of integration, and I wouldn’t fancy the Referendum’s chances if it had explicitly asked about joining the Euro. Outside the Euro, the UK’s ability to influence anything politically within the EU is now negligible. What else is there to harmonise or converge? The EU has already started involving itself in justice and home affairs, including civil matters (similar to the full faith and credit clause of the US constitution). This is being pushed from the EU level downwards: there’s no natural interest by the UK government or most UK citizens in pan-European home affairs. Defence?

    “The Commission operates as a cabinet government”

    Only in a sense that pre-dates the Durham Report and responsible government.

  62. “The EU has already started involving itself in justice and home affairs” in support of “free movement”, of course. How could you possibly move with true freedom if the laws aren’t the same?

    It’s similar to the land-grab by the US Federal Government using the “inter-state commerce” clause to frustrate the clear intention of the enumerated powers clause and avoid the messy business of … well … amending the constitution to extend the list if that’s what the People want.

  63. There already is an amendment that covers additional powers, the tenth.

    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

    If we focus on the effects what changes would we actually see if we switch to a strict reading of that clause? I can’t think of many business that don’t require participating in interstate trade.

  64. ” I can’t think of many business that don’t require participating in interstate trade.”

    Indeed, and It’s a good example of reading the whole thing in context to see what they were originally getting at:

    “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the
    several States, and with the Indian Tribes;”

    it wasn’t detailed regulation of every item traded within and without the country, or even the provision of health insurance, but the overall structure of trade, as with “foreign Nations” and the then separate “Indian Tribes”.

  65. The Tenth Amendment was intended to prevent casual expansion of federal power, and it’s surely plain enough, but for various reasons it didn’t work out that way.

    I think it just shows how hard it is to control even a reasonably well-constrained and (originally) carefully-specified system of government (to continue some relevance to EU development).

  66. “the overall structure of trade” or as the Federalist Papers put it “a superintending authority over the reciprocal trade of confederated states”, with examples relating to the imposition of duties (not the details of the traded articles), and other imposts such as tolls.

  67. BiGon the Run: The Espew has smoothed out some of the problems to Tim having a business in wherever. Obstacles created by political scum have been removed by more political scum at a high price in other freedoms –both gone and those that will go before the EU has finished bringing down the formerly mighty continent.

    You might think that a good deal. Lesser evil replaced by greater is my take. Lets try NO evil instead.

  68. Hopefully I’ve got the blockquotes right this time…

    Dave said:

    Your vote is a rather lower proportion even than that. It’s how democracy works, I’m afraid.

    Which demos voted in the EU government?

    Dave said:

    Or to _lead_ the convergence/harmonisation process. Which is what the UK should be doing, if it’s in the EU. I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that Europe has worked for at least two thousand years on the basis of the English and Germans allied against the French and Spanish/Italians/whoever. An EU representing that kind of power balance might actually work.

    The UK leading the EU in any sense is unlikely. Sitting on the sidelines moaning suits Westminster to a tee. Anything bad can be blamed on Brussels (even if its not true) and anything good from Brussels can be claimed by Westminster (even if its not true).

    Moving from the sidelines would involve giving up the Pound. That is not likely to happen either though I have my suspicions that pegging the pound to the euro might one day happen out of the blue.

  69. @ Tim Newman: ” I saw a pretty seamless transition of one set of idiots to the next, ratcheting up the idiocy, from 1997 until now”

    Thats because the Maastricht rebels were right – it was the death knell of the UK as an independent State. Since 1992 the focus of power has shifted, such that the people we vote for in Westminster are just the same as Local Councillors, pretty much identikits types, nominally Red, Blue or Yellow, but really all the same because no-one becomes a politician to change things any more, because you can’t. So you just get the professional politics nerds, and the borderline psychopaths who love controlling other people, even if the actual rules they are enforcing are made by someone else. They just attach themselves to the party they think will give them the best hope of power.

    Pre-92 politics meant something, because the people you voted in could have real effects on peoples lives. Post-92 those effects have gotten smaller and smaller as time has passed, as the EU elite have slowly implemented the set of laws they wish to enforce across the EU. The amount left for the national politicians to work with has dwindled to very little, mainly tax and benefits.

  70. “The amount left for the national politicians to work with has dwindled to very little, mainly tax and benefits.”

    The shortly-arriving central treasury and finance minister for the euro (and thus the EU) will address that, and benefits in work and after it are obviously already subject to EU-wide constraints.

  71. Bloke in Germany in Catalonia

    @Gareth, the same argument applies to the poor sod who lives in South Shields North, or Chipping Sodbury. He can only get rid of 1/650th of 1 of the UK’s legislative houses.

    In fact, given that they are likely to be safe tory or labour seats, he probably can’t even do that.

  72. Bloke in Germany in Catalonia

    @Fecks,

    This age we are living in has to be one of the least evil ages to have been living in Europe.

    I’m not suggesting the EU has any more than a bit part to play in that fact, my point is that the fact you can defend the notion that pretty much any time of Europe’s past was less evil, less brutal, less rich, less free, when almost all of Europe’s past was manifestly more evil, more brutal, poorer, and less free, for almost everybody, shows how utterly mad you are.

  73. Witchsmeller Pursuivant

    – Dave

    That’s what a parliament does. It’s the body which amends and votes on the proposals put in front of it. Legislation in the House of Commons is usually proposed by an MP, but there’s no requirement that it must be.

    It’s always proposed by an MP because no-one else is allowed to speak in the House of Commons. Duh.

    You seem curiously, but unsurprisingly, ignorant of how government functions. Modern democracies have institutions which reflect four forms of power; executive, legislative, judicial and financial.

    The Executive decide policy and draft bills – in the UK, this is the Prime Minister, the Cabinet, and other Ministers. In the EU it is the (unelected) European Commission.

    The Legislative ‘scrutinise’ and, crucially in a democracy, can pass the bill into law or veto it. In the UK it is only the House of Commons that can pass law, although the (unelected) House of Lords still retain significant powers of veto. In the EU it is the (unelected) Council of the European Union and the European Parliament.

    Whilst the UK can be criticised for its ad hoc, almost mediaeval constitution, its system of government is still infinitely more democratic than the EU’s because the Executive is accountable to the electorate.

    Vote Lexit.

  74. All this travel is making you physically and mentally ill Biggie.

    The 19th century, although physically nastier because of the primitive tech of that era, was a time of greater freedom than allowed by political shite now. In the Anglosphere certainly. The Continentals have always been plagued with lots of bad habits and tin-god rulers. Life was not as good then as now because we have better tech now. But the freedom and prosperity that created that tech was laid down then. Had the tin gods that exist now existed then most of the tech that we now have would never have been allowed to emerge and spread the way it has. Look at the railways and cars. Had todays eco-freaks–esp your beloved Teutonic twats–been running the show then none of that would have been “allowed”. Look at the shite mess the fuckwit state has made of nukes and their piddle-power (subsidised) greenwank “revolution” that is helping to bring us all down.

    You are the loon here BiGs. The sooner the men with the nets catch you the better for us all.

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