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Saturday, 20 February 2016

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Gove has always seemed like a good egg to me. Now I know for sure - he is.

Piece by piece: -

"My starting point is simple. I believe that the decisions which govern all our lives, the laws we must all obey and the taxes we must all pay should be decided by people we choose and who we can throw out if we want change. If power is to be used wisely, if we are to avoid corruption and complacency in high office, then the public must have the right to change laws and Governments at election time.

But our membership of the European Union prevents us being able to change huge swathes of law and stops us being able to choose who makes critical decisions which affect all our lives. Laws which govern citizens in this country are decided by politicians from other nations who we never elected and can’t throw out."

Does that mean Gove would support the EU if it was wholly democratic and accountable? If you're an Outer, then would you support the EU if it was wholly democratic and accountable? If you wouldn't support a democratic and accountable EU, then it's irrelevant, time wasting, and obfuscating to talk about democracy or accountability because you don't care whether the EU is or isn't, you don't like it for other reasons - and they're the ones of relevance.

"We can take out our anger on elected representatives in Westminster but whoever is in Government in London cannot remove or reduce VAT, cannot support a steel plant through troubled times, cannot build the houses we need where they’re needed and cannot deport all the individuals who shouldn’t be in this country.

You see the little Hitler, big Hitler, inherent bossiness; he can't wait to get his hands on the controls of the train set too! No mention of the fact that the last time he and his ilk had full control of raising taxes, supporting steel plants, and building houses, the country was a basket case. And no mention that these things should not be done by a Government in a free society anyway. Taxing the individual for pet politico projects in the name of the majority is the perennial problem, and one that is denied him while HMG and the EU squabble about it too their distraction.

"The ability to choose who governs us, and the freedom to change laws we do not like, were secured for us in the past by radicals and liberals who took power from unaccountable elites and placed it in the hands of the people. As a result of their efforts we developed, and exported to nations like the US, India, Canada and Australia a system of democratic self-government which has brought prosperity and peace to millions."

Utter hogwash. One bunch of gangsters gained independence from another in a bitter and bloody struggle, in the name of Liberty only. It was only when the gangsters fucked off to Bongo-Bongo Land to give the natives a hard time that the ordinary folks of Blighty found a de facto, accidental, Liberty.

As soon as that welcome distraction was denied us by the collapse of empire, the gangsters were back taking us from hero to zero in just 34 years: 1945 - 1979.

TBC ...

"Our democracy stood the test of time. We showed the world what a free people could achieve if they were allowed to govern themselves."

Go tell that balderdash to the Rooskies and the Zimbabweans. Both run democratic constitutions. As Richard has commented: A democracy without Liberty is just a re-elected tyranny.

"In Britain we established trial by jury in the modern world, we set up the first free parliament, we ensured no-one could be arbitrarily detained at the behest of the Government, we forced our rulers to recognise they ruled by consent not by right, we led the world in abolishing slavery, we established free education for all, national insurance, the National Health Service and a national broadcaster respected across the world."

That one really makes me angry. To conflate the developments of rule of law with the state education system (which sucks), the NHS (which double sucks), and BBC (oh Lord, there is no power to which the suckiness of that organization can be raised to describe its suckiness) is just exactly what the problem is. All of the sucky things are politicos pet projects all of which are basket cases (a la steel manufacturing and government house building), fly in the face of Liberty, and fail to achieve the desired social outcome.

"By way of contrast, the European Union, despite the undoubted idealism of its founders and the good intentions of so many leaders, has proved a failure on so many fronts. The euro has created economic misery for Europe’s poorest people. European Union regulation has entrenched mass unemployment. EU immigration policies have encouraged people traffickers and brought desperate refugee camps to our borders."

The bodged Euro currency and its affects I don't disagree with. But notice again he conflates mass unemployment with EU policies, when it is only the Eurozone that has that problem. Blighty doesn't and yet it is subject to straight bananas and "'elf and safety". Cheap trick Gove.

As for EU policies encouraging people traffickers and desperate refugees, that has as much to do with the success of the EU policies and outcome compared to the rest of the world, and the wars in the middle east, as it does with EU border controls and policy.

"The EU is an institution rooted in the past and is proving incapable of reforming to meet the big technological, demographic and economic challenges of our time. It was developed in the 1950s and 1960s and like other institutions which seemed modern then, from tower blocks to telexes, it is now hopelessly out of date. The EU tries to standardise and regulate rather than encourage diversity and innovation. It is an analogue union in a digital age."

I can't find any data that shows Europe falling behind on technical and innovation indices. Some up, some down, but no great momentum either way. But let's say what he says is true. If HMG under his watch is so blisteringly advanced and innovational, how come I can't get a fucking internet connection on the arterial route into and out of London in the mornings and evenings, and why is that dickhead Boris tearing up London to put in pre-industrial cycle routes instead of modern transport? And so why would we expect HMG to be any better than the EU when it comes to cranky politico pet projects?

TBC ...

"The EU is built to keep power and control with the elites rather than the people. Even though we are outside the euro we are still subject to an unelected EU commission which is generating new laws every day and an unaccountable European Court in Luxembourg which is extending its reach every week, increasingly using the Charter of Fundamental Rights which in many ways gives the EU more power and reach than ever before. This growing EU bureaucracy holds us back in every area. EU rules dictate everything from the maximum size of containers in which olive oil may be sold (five litres) to the distance houses have to be from heathland to prevent cats chasing birds (five kilometres)."

Does he actually expect us to believe that it would be any different if all Blighty's little Hitlers, big Hitlers, et al, queuing up for their turn to boss us around with petty rules and regulations get their chance?

The hypocrisy and contradiction is clear in the next pair of paragraphs - note my emphasis in bold ...

"Individually these rules may be comical. Collectively, and there are tens of thousands of them, they are inimical to creativity, growth and progress. Rules like the EU clinical trials directive have slowed down the creation of new drugs to cure terrible diseases and ECJ judgements on data protection issues hobble the growth of internet companies. As a minister I’ve seen hundreds of new EU rules cross my desk, none of which were requested by the UK Parliament, none of which I or any other British politician could alter in any way and none of which made us freer, richer or fairer.

It is hard to overstate the degree to which the EU is a constraint on ministers’ ability to do the things they were elected to do, or to use their judgment about the right course of action for the people of this country. I have long had concerns about our membership of the EU but the experience of Government has only deepened my conviction that we need change. Every single day, every single minister is told: ‘Yes Minister, I understand, but I’m afraid that’s against EU rules’. I know it. My colleagues in government know it. And the British people ought to know it too: your government is not, ultimately, in control in hundreds of areas that matter."

... In the first sentence he rails against rules and regs; and in the second he says he wants make the rules and regs! I mean, if there were no need for rules and regs, why do we need a little or big Hitler like you Gove? It must only be because you want to take over the making of said rules and regs, in contradiction of your first statement that they were undesirable and unnecessary.

Then he lets the cat out of the bag: -

"Every single day, every single minister is told: ‘Yes Minister, I understand, but I’m afraid that’s against EU rules’."

Good! Good, good, good, good, good, and good to the power of infinity! Whatever the piece of shit Gove dreamed up to make our lives a little bit more of a misery, like crap internet connectivity and cycle lanes, it just got canned by the EU. Yeeessss, result.

SoD

Btw, Gove is my MP.

Fancy doing a swap, Richard?

SoD

With a bit of luck, SoD, I will not be around when that huge, corrupt conglomeration of stupidity and avarice, otherwise known as the EU, finally collapses on itself but you probably will be there.

Enjoy!

"Fancy doing a swap?"

Yes, yes and thrice yes Lawrence.

One other point you ought to consider. If we vote to leave the EU, Cameron and Osborne will both be history. Surely that is a win-win situation!

Richard, we are passing through history and like our ancestors have a responsibility to our decendents. If we get out of the EU our decendents will know how corrupt it was.
How can any organisation allow terrorists into its midst. This is a last gasp chance for Britain to leave this monster.

If we leave the EU, Cameron, Osborne, and the Tory party implodes, and Corbyn gets in, that's as far from a win-win as it's possible to be.

SoD

Totally agreed Jimmy...

And Lawrence...

"Does that mean Gove would support the EU if it was wholly democratic and accountable? If you're an Outer, then would you support the EU if it was wholly democratic and accountable? If you wouldn't support a democratic and accountable EU, then it's irrelevant, time wasting, and obfuscating to talk about democracy or accountability because you don't care whether the EU is or isn't, you don't like it for other reasons - and they're the ones of relevance."

The EU consists of different countries each with its own traditions and culture. How can people from one country possibly have "democratic and accountable" powers over another unless the people of that country vote for it? Is Britain actually going to vote to be controlled by Germany and France? Technically, it's possible, "would be "Not in a million years." The EU being democratically accountable is a complete nonsense as you well know.

"It is hard to overstate the degree to which the EU is a constraint on ministers’ ability to do the things they were elected to do, or to use their judgment about the right course of action for the people of this country. I have long had concerns about our membership of the EU but the experience of Government has only deepened my conviction that we need change. Every single day, every single minister is told: ‘Yes Minister, I understand, but I’m afraid that’s against EU rules’. I know it. My colleagues in government know it. And the British people ought to know it too: your government is not, ultimately, in control in hundreds of areas that matter."

"... In the first sentence he rails against rules and regs; and in the second he says he wants make the rules and regs! I mean, if there were no need for rules and regs, why do we need a little or big Hitler like you Gove? It must only be because you want to take over the making of said rules and regs, in contradiction of your first statement that they were undesirable and unnecessary."

The point that you are completely missing is that in a democracy, if we don't like a government that is populated by people such as Gove, we can always vote it out of office in the next General Election. This acts as a vital safeguard because once every five years or so, politicians are forced to take account of the views of the people if they wish to retain their jobs. Without this safeguard, governments will always morph into dictatorships.

"Then he lets the cat out of the bag: -

"Every single day, every single minister is told: ‘Yes Minister, I understand, but I’m afraid that’s against EU rules’."

Good! Good, good, good, good, good, and good to the power of infinity! Whatever the piece of shit Gove dreamed up to make our lives a little bit more of a misery, like crap internet connectivity and cycle lanes, it just got canned by the EU. Yeeessss, result."

Here, you seem to be making a blanket statement that EVERYTHING dreamed up by the EU is good and that everything dreamed up by Her Majesty's Government(of whatever colour) is bad. The truth is far from black and white here. On some occasions, EU legislation has prevented the British Government from becoming too dictatorial - more than 40 days detention without charge springs to mind. However, what seems to be happening in most reported instances is that the HRA supports the rights of criminal elements far more than the rights of the population that it is supposed to be protecting. For example, There have been altogether too many cases of the HRA preventing the deportation of foreign rapists, mafia or terrorists on the grounds that they are entitled to a family life in Britain. Whichever side of the argument you are on, surely you will agree that this country has, in its own self interest, the right to determine such matters itself, rather than be over-ruled by an unelected European bureaucracy.

You never answered a question I put to you in a previous post Lawrence, so I will repeat it. How will you feel, and will you do if an unelected European legislative body starts to enforce laws that are damaging to British interests, and that you are strongly against?

In a democracy, even an imperfect one, you will have some sort of voice. In a European dictatorship, you will have no voice at all.

You really don't get this democracy thing do you?

The end of paragraph 2 should read - Technically it is possible, but if that question was actually put to the British Electorate, the answer they would give would be "Not in a million years."

Richard, I liked travelling in Europe and having my wee bags of different currency. I did Belgium, Holland, Germany and Denmark on an army exercise then spent the lot on the way home at the bar. Nothing wrong with diversity. The Nation State is important. The EU has attempted to destroy the nation states for big brother and beaurocratic opportunists lining their pockets. We need to argue and win the Get Out argument and fuck the shysters.

Richard,

The executive of the EU - its president and the proposers of legislature - are not elected by the EU citizenry that's the undemocratic, unaccountable aspect of the EU. The legislative body - the one that decides whether or not the proposed legislature is accepted or not - is elected by the EU citizenry i.e it's your Euro MP.

That the EU is therefore in "democratic deficit" is undisputed. My question to you is: If the EU's president and proposers of legislation were also elected by EU citizens with European wide political parties, thus removing the "democratic deficit" and completing the proper design of a democratic republic, would you be in favour of it?

The relationship between EU and nation state would be reminiscent of HMG and Borough Council: Both democratically accountable, one dealing with global legislation and one with local.

So, would you be in favour of that?

SoD

Richard,

"How will you feel, and will you do if an unelected European legislative body starts to enforce laws that are damaging to British interests, and that you are strongly against?"

I think it unlikely that the legislative body of the EU would also become unelected to accompany the executive body already in that undemocratic condition. But maybe you meant the executive body of the EU?

I think you've missed my answer to that question: I'll tolerate disagreeable laws from the EU, or HMG, because they are reduced to a dribble compared to the torrent of laws that would spout from either of them on their own, unfettered, in full control of executive and legislative power.

My point is: I dislike elected power, and unelected power more so. Given the choice I'd take elected power. But given a third choice, that of "Bait and Bleed", whereby two powers that would lord it over me fight each other, thereby leaving me alone, I'll take that option. And in that case, I don't much care if the powers fighting each other, and therefore leaving me alone, are elected or unelected.

Except for one thing.

If the EU were ever to gain "legitimacy" by an elected executive to accompany its already democratic, accountable legislative body, then there is a fair chance that the EU and HMG would simmer down their distracting conflict, line their power ducks up, and give us a really hard time.

The illegitimacy of the EU's executive body is high octane fuel to the conflict between HMG (and other EU nation states) and the EU, and long may it continue; for we can enjoy our "accidental Liberty" while the little and big Hitlers fight each other.

SoD

Lawrence,
Elected by who to represent whom?

One major difference between us is that while you are happy to tolerate disagreeable laws enacted with out democratic mandate, I am most certainly not.

Another irreconcilable difference concerns the option of "Bait and Bleed." The EU centralisation ratchet is tightening ever more relentlessly. Given that, if you think that sticking your head in the sand like the proverbial ostrich, while hoping that Germany and France are too busy tearing lumps from each other to worry about us is a viable policy, then I can only state that you are being hopelessly naïve. Power is a drug, unsanctioned power even more so. Sooner or later, the Euro-lion would decide that we had not complied with the latest directive, then come along and bite us up our collective arse.

You mention "accidental liberty." As your father has already stated so well, there is nothing accidental about liberty. It always has to be fought for. Freedom is never free. You should also take note that concepts such as liberty and democracy are only really well established within the Anglosphere and have gained much less traction in Europe, let alone other parts of the World.

You also mentioned Hitler. Good! I strongly suggest that you devote some of your spare time to the study of European history, with particular reference what happens when leaders cease to be accountable to the people they purport to represent. History has a nasty habit of repeating itself and it could very well do so again. I really hope that in a few years history will prove me wrong, but I am not holding my breath.

I leave the final word to Thomas Jefferson, arguably the most intelligent and eloquent U.S. president in history.

"When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the Government, there is tyranny."

"Elected by who to represent whom?"

I assume that was your attempt to not answer my question by asking a question.

Elected by the EU citizenry, representing them, and accountable to them. That's by who and to whom a fully legitimate EU democracy is elected and represents.

Now answer the question: If the EU completed its transformation to a fully democratic institution, would you be in favour of it?

SoD

"Elected by who to represent whom?"

Lawrence, it is really quite simple. If the names of foreign Eurocrats or politicians are put actually on British ballot papers and we, the British electorate vote enough of them into office, THEN they will have a democratic mandate and I would spport that. There, question answered. However in my opinion, this is a completely impossible scenario, because who on earth is going to vote for a foreigner they don't know about, who probably has extremely limited experience of Britain, and who almost certainly rates the national interests of his own country as more important than those of ours?

It's really extremely simple. Until a party or organisation actually possesses a democratic mandate from the people of a country to govern them, then it has absolutely no right at all to either tax them or enact legislation over them. Also, you should take note that the fact that a politician was democratically elected in Germany, France or Belgium certainly does NOT mean that their mandate extends to the governance of other nations as well.

We need to remove ourselves immediately from this EU farce. They invite terrorists into their respective countries and expect us to comply. Merkel has lost the plot. The French are being shot down in their streets by religious nutters because of the EU. The clock is ticking get out on the streets and campaign to get out.

Ok, Richard, so it's just the democratic deficit you object to. That's a consistent position, which is good. You don't mind straight bananas, a deluge of "'elf and safety" rules and regs, maybe even the majority putting a minority into a concentration camp, so long as it's democratic. But at least it shows you're consistent and aren't using the current democratic deficit of the EU as a smoke screen for other more base, xenophobic reasons. That's why it's a good question to ask the Outers: "Would you support the EU if it was fully democratic?".

So now you worry about a multi-state democracy not being able to consider each state's needs, or bias in the executive towards one state or another.

Well Britain and America have managed to run two level multi-state democracies, a central executive for global matters, and a devolved executive for each sub-state's local matters. The usual argy-bargy between the two, but nothing unexpected. So how can you say it's impossible : -

"However in my opinion, this is a completely impossible scenario, because who on earth is going to vote for a foreigner they don't know about, who probably has extremely limited experience of Britain, and who almost certainly rates the national interests of his own country as more important than those of ours?"

Does it cause a problem for Americans voting for a president who wasn't born and raised in their state? Or the English for a party whose PM is Scottish lineage? No it doesn't, because they have their local state reps to cater for local matters, and the prez / PM for global matters.

SoD

Lawrence, your assumption that my support of democracy means that I also support a plethora of stupid and pointless legislation is such a massive non-sequitur that I am starting to wonder what you were on before you typed it. the great British are usually wrong on the major issues more often than they are right, but that is actually irrelevant.

The whole point here is that any government should remain accountable to its electorate which acts as an essential check and balance, without which, said government will become ever more centralising and controlling until it inevitably transforms itself into a fully fledged dictatorship which is accountable to no-one.

With reference to your second point, the British Empire lasted as long as it did, with the largest land mass and the lowest troop concentrations in history, largely because the people of the countries we governed wanted us there. It had to end eventually, but there has been nothing like it before or since.

How America was founded was a long and bloody tale, but the states eventually morphed into a single nation with a shared language and culture. This is in absolute contrast to Europe, which consists of a multitude of nations, each with its own language and culture, many of whom actively dislike and mistrust each other, and each of which is looking out for its own interests over those of any of the others. I can only repeat that pigs will fly before Europe is moulded into the European equivalent of America.

With regard to your last point, I will paraphrase the first Duke of Wellington who once said that if you were born in a stable it doesn't mean that you are a horse. The Caledonian sounding Cameron is English, Obama - albeit of Kenyan descent is a fully fledged American citizen, and I (despite my Welsh surname)am English. None of us can remotely be described as foreigners in our own countries.

P.S. Read Niall Ferguson if you want to find out more about what made the British and American Empires ( the latter an empire in denial) tick. I can only repeat that you badly need to catch up on your historical reading and Ferguson will help.

Richard,

I feel as culturally at home with my Czech and Slovak friends as I do Northerners, Scots, Welsh and Irish.

They all have funny traits: Scotsmen wear skirts, Yorkshiremen stick ferrets up their trousers, and Czechs and Slovak men bend their young females over on Easter Monday and spank them lightly with sappy, whippy tree branches while the young women serve them beer and cakes.

All bloody strange for a Thames Valley Southern boy like me, but well within my cultural radar's horizon to cope with. (Particularly the whippy, beery, cakey thing, I had to ask for several goes at it to understand what it all meant, purely in the interests ofbroadening my cultural horizons, you understand).

For Christ's sake (hint), Richard, there's so little to distinguish us from California to Moscow, it's only a question of time. Outside of that zone might take a little longer, mind, seeing how most of the ex-colonials seem to have settled down in Blighty, not that much longer for them either.

SoD

Lawrence,
"What do they know of England that only England know." My time in Russia has given me a whole new perspective on my own country. I simply cannot agree with your statement that "there is so little to distinguish us from California to Moscow." The differences in culture and outlook are actually considerable. I fear that you are also completely ignoring the effects of nationalistic feeling and patriotism which - take note - are particularly strong in Russia - Never forget though that this also applies in Great Britain despite determined attempts by the left to make patriotism a dirty word.

Please also take note that fitting in with culture is very much a two way street. British ex-pats tend to do this very well, but the culturally enriching types from North Africa and the Middle East that are coming over here in significant numbers seem utterly determined NOT to fit in at all. Unfortunately a notable proportion of them also appear hell-bent on taking over and forcing us to change our culture for theirs. Europe has exactly the same problem as recent events have shown.

Native British and European citizens, a large proportion of whom also retain strong patriotic feelings, are not blind to this and are now beginning to feel alienated by their governments and threatened by the new arrivals. The result has been a significant rise in racism and xenophobia. Please note that Europe's open boundary policy has been the direct cause of this particular problem which looks set to continue until the policy has been changed. Please take note by the way, that if you vote to remain in Europe, you are voting for this absolutely fundamental EU policy to continue.

I fear you're hanging around with only one type of Rooskie, Richard.

Dig a little deeper and I'm sure you'll fond a more internationalistic, less Ukipperish Rooskie type.

Oh, maybe not, I've just thought, they're probably all in London, or serving time in Siberia like those poor Pussy Riot gals.

SoD

I have met and continue to meet many Russian people Lawrence. You, to put it bluntly, have not. Also, you obviously have yet to attend a Russian May Day celebration, which would give you a much better idea of the strength of Russian patriotism. The vast majority of people over here are actually highly patriotic. However,I would refer you to Alexey for a detailed answer on that.

What is actually happening in Russia is that Putin (who actually knows how the Russians think and really has his finger on the pulse of the nation)is milking Russian patriotism for all it is worth by involving his Armed Forces in foreign conflicts such as the Ukraine and Syria to distract the attention of the public from his absolutely dire economic performance. So far it seems to be working, but for how much longer?

By the way, your comparison of Russian patriotism with UKIP is a highly accurate one. The kipperish 'us against the whole fucking World' mind-set is precisely how most Russians think.

I wish I was joking, but I'm not.

Well that at least is something we agree on!

Putin is Vote Leave, Grassroots Out, and the Judean People's Front's greatest supporter. If he wasn't absolutely skint you could sure a scandal involving his covert funding of one of these groups would be a dead cert.

SoD

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