Monday, 3 October 2011

It's Europe, of course

The news that Greece will fail to meet the troika targets yet again takes us into October and gives the lie to my prediction early in the year that it would all be over by September. The problem isn't that the Greek economy isn't dead - it is as deceased as a Norwegian Blue - but like a ham actor, she's stringing out the moment of passing, with the IMF and EU nailing her feet to the perch. 


The Conservatives' strategy on Europe is to avoid the subject altogether wherever possible, or talk tough with fantasy pronouncements. As a fellow blogger has commented, the lights are going out all over Europe and the subject for debate at Conference is plastic shopping bags. 


Cameron is no Statesman, Brown was actually a kind of anti-Statesman and Blair's image of himself as a Statesman was shared by no-one else. Neither have we been well served by Foreign Secretaries. For nearly fourteen years we've been fielding the reserve team on the diplomatic stage. Our foreign policy weakness is palpable, and with no clear analysis of the nation's interests and no foreign policy focus we drift with the Euro current hoping like Mr Micawber that something will turn up tomorrow. 


An in-out referendum on Europe is not the answer; the public's appreciation of the issues is far more subtle than this. We are part of Europe, we want free trade and open borders for Englishmen but not for poor Europeans in the other direction. We want the EU off our backs and the power to decide our own laws; we want an end to the EU's tax levy, an end to the EU diplomatic service, an end to the interference of the European courts and of course nothing at all to do with a European currency. You don't need a referendum to formulate and put into effect a foreign policy strategy based on the above; you just need a modicum of leadership and Statesmanship from the government.  

27 comments:

Barnacle Bill said...

Err beg to differ we probably do need a referendum.
First to actually show the EU Federation our government has a mandate for leaving them.
Also probably buried somewhere in all the small print the mon-ocular Scottish moron signed whilst in the broom closet in Lisbon is the requirement for a 99.9% majority in a leaving referendum!

Anonymous said...

Blair was a good orator but turned out to be a fucking liar. I'd rather leave the EU and have a referendum on rejoining.

Bill said...

There is always the simplest and yet somehow the hardest option turning around and walking away.

Trouble is we have a government of Aliens who are either in debt to or in love, probably both, with the political state of Europe so if enough of us we want things to change we have to turn our backs and walk away from the Aliens first.

For many that step is too scary, better the devil you know and all that, so we end up in this long lingering death of she state, whose name cannot be spoken europe, that will very soon begin killing people across the continent as Autumn turns to winter and austerity gets to work.

Greg Tingey said...

We should be:
IN
1] Shengen - as are (I think) Norway & Switzerland, both non-EU countries)
2] An free-trade zone with the EU - which is (together with a "promise-of-shengen: ... which we never got) what we voted FOR, back in the day.

OUT
Of the EU as a legislative body, with none of their directives (including past ones not directly enacted into our law) no longer valid at all ....

We MUST have a referendum, but whether we can force the coward and traitor Cameron into it is anothe rmatter.

Anonymous said...

" Our foreign policy weakness is palpable, "

Like every other area of policy, that is because the EU is moving into that area.

BB: "Err beg to differ we probably do need a referendum."

Nope. We just need the governing administration to stand up and say; " We gave it our best shot, we abided to the letter with your rules and regulations. But, we are shocked, shocked! To find that over thirty years our treating partners have been cheating and lying, never intending to uphold their side of the treaties. We therefor declare the treaties to have been abrogated by numerous but unspecified treating partners.

The European Union has dissolved itself by non performance of its treaty obligations.

Bye bye.

Anonymous said...

Anon1: "Blair was a good orator but turned out to be a fucking liar."

'Turned out'

Sorry to be rude but that is a sign of a slow learner. It was obvious what a slimy git Blair is right from the first.

Budgie said...

Sorry to disappoint all of you but we cannot just up and "leave" the EU, referendum or not.

The Lisbon treaty stipulates that we must now ask the EU to leave. The (rest of) the EU then decides, without any input from us, on what conditions we will be permitted to leave.

If the EU does not want to lose our valuable payments, the conditions may be onerous indeed.

Anonymous said...

But what if we just walked out? What if we just stuck two fingers up at them and walked out? What the hell could they possibly do about that? Nothing.

There is a very real risk that the Greek people will do just that. Never mind "asking" their government to "ask" on their behalf, they could just stop complying with any rules on trade, taxation - anything in fact. They may just see their government and the EU as irrelevent and carry on working amongst themselves.

And there's the rub! Being seen as a complete irrelevence is the sort of contagion that the EU politicos do not want to see spreading.

Coney Island

Anonymous said...

Budgie: "The Lisbon treaty stipulates that we must now ask the EU to leave. The (rest of) the EU then decides, without any input from us, on what conditions we will be permitted to leave."

Lisbon treaty is void through non performance of treating parties.

We're out, it's just making our political class stop paying, stop prancing around on the EU stage, stop bailing out EU bankrupt countries, stop approving EU leglislation that we are no longer obliged to enact, etc, etc.

Bill said...

Budgie
"but we cannot just up and "leave" the EU, referendum or not. The Lisbon treaty stipulates that we must now ask the EU to leave."

As I said walking away is hard because walking away means one accepts the consequences of one's actions. This is the sticking point for most because the aliens in government appear to promise that they will look out for us in return for compliant taxation.

They have simply figured out what the sugar plantation owners never could which is how to get the slaves to fund their own confinement. That confinement is in the head as your comment illustrates. Most of us believe we have to get our elected dictators to ask the slave owner for permission to leave its workhouse when the reality is we can simply walk through the doorway.

Not picking on you personally but your comment does sum up the problem we as individuals face, in my opinion of course!

Anonymous said...

Anon2: "stop approving EU leglislation that we are no longer obliged to enact"

Oh, and repeal the '73 act that gives authority in UK law to all thi shite!

So, yes. The problem is our own political class.

Isn't that a thing, we have a political class now, not representatives of the people.

What was it Adam Smith said? "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public,"

Budgie said...

Sorry, Coney Island and Anon, you are in denial. We signed, entirely voluntarily, an international treaty. It is in black and white. We are obliged to abide by its provisions.

It will be difficult enough to get our establishment to leave the EU, but to pile treaty breaking on top, nothing short of a revolution would be needed. We are a long way from that.

The task immediately in front of us is to prevent the odious europhile Cameron from capitulating even more power to the EU.

Budgie said...

Bill said: "That confinement is in the head as your comment illustrates. Most of us believe we have to get our elected dictators to ask the slave owner ...".

No, it is not merely "in the head", nor is it a question of "belief". The Lisbon treaty is in black and white, I have a copy, and Brown signed it for the UK. It is real, get used to it.

If you think we can merrily break any treaty you dislike on a whim, why should other nations trust us to keep other treaties?

The UK's position in the world would be untenable. We would no longer be able to insist other nations stick to treaties in our interests.

Anonymous said...

Budgie: "It is in black and white. We are obliged to abide by its provisions."

The treaty exists only in your imagination.

We are only obliged to abide by the provisions of the treaties so long as the other treating partners do so too.

The Greeks have been suspected of breaking the provisions of the treaty for ... well ever, but now it is clear as day that they have failed to meet their obligations. Talk of a bailout, a European stability fund [which explicitly requires a treaty change to make it legal], that is all contrary to the existing treaty provisions and thus a breach of the treaties.

The treaties only exist in so far as you imagine them to, and as long as we permit our new overlords [British politicians]to maintain the facade.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree that the treaty does exist, we have signed it.

However I don't think anyone other than the EU commission will give a shit if we burn it.

Gallovidian said...

"Sorry to disappoint all of you but we cannot just up and "leave" the EU, referendum or not."

As long as we have a Trident sub somewhere under the Atlantic we can do just that.

Budgie said...

Anon 13:22:

"The treaty exists only in your imagination."

The Lisbon treaty only doesn't exist in your imagination. You are in denial of reality, which is sad.

"provisions of the treaties"

What provisions? What treaties? The relevant provision of the Lisbon treat is Article 50 "Voluntary withdrawal from the Union".

"The Greeks have been suspected of breaking the provisions of the treaty"

Which treaty, what provisions? Please be specific. Even if Greece broke the Lisbon treaty, that does not make it legal for the UK to ignore the whole treaty or any of its Articles.

"Talk of a bailout, a European stability fund ... that is all contrary to the existing treaty"

Article 123 does prohibit EU 'credit facilities' or 'debt instruments', but Article 122 allows 'financial assistance', so that is debatable. However you cannot decide to throw out Lisbon in one breath and cite one of its Articles in justification for your stance in the next.

"The treaties only exist in so far as you imagine"

Sorry but you are delusional - Brown's signing of the Lisbon treaty is a fact.

yokel said...

OK so the consequences might be rough for a few years, but can we not see our way through that?

My vote is for UDI, just like the former colonials in the Americas and in Southern Rhodesia.

nisakiman said...

Were we, the British people, not promised a referendum on the Lisbon treaty? Surely, if Broon signed it without the approval of the nation, does that not render null and void any agreement? And what about no British government being able to pass acts binding it's successor? I'm no expert on the legalese of the situation, but five gets you ten that if there was a will, there would be a way.

Our biggest problem is that the political class sees European Union as a "good thing". They are assured of prestigious jobs for life with gold-plated pensions. What's not to like?

Anonymous said...

@ nisakiman,

"Our biggest problem is that the political class sees European Union as a "good thing". They are assured of prestigious jobs for life with gold-plated pensions. What's not to like?"

That's why these bastards will never allow the British people to be released - out of the EU thraldom.
They [the British establishment and the new quango/town council elites + corporate business empires - Crapita to name but one] all have everything to lose.

So, an impasse, what will it take to break it?

Could it be, a rebellion? The possibility of open [citizen] revolt in Europe grows ever closer [there have been low level sporadic violence against the 'state' from Greece to Spain and up to Berlin] - it [has done] could spill over to Britain again............in the near future maybe. With, a bad winter, rising food prices, fuel poverty, the first brown outs/blackouts + public sector union strikes may provide a catalyst for more serious discontent and disruption.

By then, it will be too late for our 'political class', their passing - would hardly bear mention and it certainly would not summon any tears.

Bob Doney said...

Budgie said: ".....nothing short of a revolution would be needed. We are a long way from that."

Well, maybe not so very far. The difficulties have only just begun, inflation is as yet only a dim light on the front of an oncoming train, and people are starting to hurt.

Anonymous said...

"What provisions? What treaties? "

The series of treaties dating back as far as I am concerned to the '73 act. One superseding the prior.

There is nothing special about a treaty. It is nothing more than a contract, true it is a contract between sovereigns, but a treaty is nothing more than that.

To have a contract two or more parties must agree to abide certain conditions. With reference to the European Union treaties (plural) they did so agree. But then Greece failed to meet some of those agreements, Portugal probably failed to meet them too and no doubt in time we will find out that Italy also fiddled it's way into the European Union.

Now anytime a body knowingly enters a contract and either knowingly has no intent to meet the terms of the contract, of subsaquently fails to achieve the terms of the contract.

Then the contractors, AKA 'High contracting parties', have two choices, cobble together another agreement to patch up the abrogated prior treaty, or call off the whole affair.

It looks like Cameron is going to try for the former, because he doesn't have an original idea in his scared little highly educated head.

"The relevant provision of the Lisbon treat is Article 50 "Voluntary withdrawal from the Union""

Since various signatories to the treaty have driven an horse and cart through the provisions of Lisbon, as incorporated from Nice, Maastrict et al.

We don't need to exercise the provisions of Article 50, the UK just announces the treaties have been abrogated through non performance and we are out.

Anonymous said...

@anon, 3 October 2011 21:22


"We don't need to exercise the provisions of Article 50, the UK just announces the treaties have been abrogated through non performance and we are out."

Well put, well said and indubitably correct.

Robert said...

As I understand it, bailouts of other Eurozone members are illegal under the Lisbon Treaty. They are already talking about changes to the Treaty to cover these breaches.

As the members of the Eurozone have already breached their Treaty obligations, what is to stop the non Eurozone members from declaring the Lisbon Treaty void?

john miller said...

I accidently heard the Andrew Marr programme yesterday morning.

Normally, I avoid it like the plague but I thought I'd give it a whirl, only to hear some mandarin saying that one couldn't expect much from the FCO as its budget was "only" one billion pounds a year...

Peejos said...

How odd that nobody mentions Hitler breaking his treaty with Russia. Which country is the main driver of the EU? His. There is no apparent revulsion by the world at entering into treaties with Germany. The idea that UK woud becme some sort of pariah because it broke away from the EU does not stand up. Did we not have Commonwealth Preference not so long ago, now our blood relatives are treated as second class citizen?

Greg Tingey said...

Peejos
Get back into your vile racist hole.
Germany is a wonderful country, that, 78 years ago entered a period of horror and madness.
My father helped scrape it yup 1945-48 (Allied Control Commission/CivMilGov) in a small way ....

As for a "treaty"
Parliament can not be bound by previous Parliaments.
What Parliament can enact, Parliament can repeal.

A unliateral Act declaring our withdrawl from the EU, if passed by a majority, and signed by HM, is legal and binding.

NO PROBLEM AT ALL