Why does the European Union scare some people?

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posted on Jun, 18 2004 @ 01:24 PM
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Originally posted by harrisjohns
Half the cabinet is Scottish and Scottish MPs get to vote in the House of Commons


Ah, the so-called East Lothian question. Many Scottish MPs at Westminster - a large majority of them, I believe - choose not to vote on issues which only apply in England. I agree that it is an imbalance in our system of government, and I think that a voluntary abstention on solely-English matters is a reasonable fix.

It is true, however, that on issues such as tuition fees the most heinous crime perpetrated by Blairs already-dodgy government - the Labour party whips forced Scottish Labour MPs to vote in support of the government line. That, I would suggest, is a sign of something rotten at the heart of Labour rather than our parliamentary system.

I would also like to observe that, contrary to some nonsense Ive seen posted elsewhere, Scottish MPs voted on English matters all the time prior to devolution, but Scotland has always had its own education, legal and health systems which have been subject to separate legislation just one reason, by the way, why devolution was a good idea and, I believe, helped to strengthen the UK.


Exactly, muppet, it's all been deliberately set up to be as chaotic and as confusing as possible and this lack of transparency is one of the reasons that so many of us in the UK view the whole operation with suspicion and disdain.


The cardinal rule of ATS: never attribute to conspiracy that which can be better explained by incompetence. The EU is a large, complicated set-up, I agree, but when you remember the size of its geographical reach, the diversity of its members both lingual and cultural and the sheer amount of work that it generates, youll see that it has to be. While Im in favour of a British commitment to the EU, I too would like to see it reformed and brought up-to-date.

And leading on from that, a beginners guide to UK politics for ThunderCloud and our foreign cousins.

*ahem*

The UK is ruled from Westminster in London, England. The Houses of Parliament, our seat of government, comprises two political houses, the Commons, for elected MPs, and the Lords, which used to be for the aristocracy but is now for people who gave Mr. Blair some money. Parliament passes all the laws and legislation which applies to the whole of the UK. However, there is [I]also[/I] a parliament in Edinburgh, Scotland, which passes separate legislation which applies only to Scotland, and assemblies (mini-parliaments) in Wales and Northern Ireland, which do, in theory, the same things for their countries. We have no official written constitution because there was no official beginning to our country rather, our rights are enshrined in thousands upon thousands of pages of arcane legislation which highly-paid lawyers debate at great length. The behaviour of elected officials, likewise, is not laid out in a single document, but is governed by centuries of history and tradition.

I know what youre thinking, and yes, it does make it awfully unwieldy. But it also makes it the home of parliamentary democracy as we understand it today.

There a lot more to it, but those are the bare facts. Id recommend the BBC for more information, particularly their excellent A-Z of Parliament page.




posted on Jun, 18 2004 @ 02:31 PM
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Originally posted by StrangeLands
never attribute to conspiracy that which can be better explained by incompetence.
The EU is a large, complicated set-up, I agree, but when you remember the size of its geographical reach, the diversity of its members both lingual and cultural and the sheer amount of work that it generates, youll see that it has to be.


That seems to me like a perfectly fine argument AGAINST the EU!!




....I know what youre thinking, and yes, it does make it awfully unwieldy. But it also makes it the home of parliamentary democracy as we understand it today.


Can you give an example of how the British system is unwieldy? I don't understand how you could come to that conclusion. Our current system is far simpler anything being proposed by Europe.

Have you read the Draft Constitution? I might start posting highlights in my sig. for fun..


[edit on 18-6-2004 by muppet]



posted on Jun, 18 2004 @ 03:15 PM
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Unwieldy? Well, since you askconsider, if you will, fox hunting.

Labour's election-winning 1997 manifesto contained the following pledge:


"We will ensure greater protection for wildlife. We have advocated new measures to promote animal welfare, including a free vote in Parliament on whether hunting with hounds should be banned."


The understanding at the time, of course, was that a full ban on hunting with dogs was inevitable. But in November 1997 - six months after the election - Blair's cabinet damage any chances of a private member's bill on the ban being supported by refusing to give it discussion time. Nonetheless, by the March of 1998, the bill had reached it's second reading stage - but then collapses under the weight of hundreds of amendments tacked on by pro-hunt MPs. On the 3rd of July 1998, the bill was formally withdrawn.

But five days later, in a breathtakingly cynical move, Blair announces that the ban on hunting with dogs will be in the next manifesto. By November 1999, however, Jack Straw announced that a parliamentary committee would "look into" the issue of hunting with dogs and report to parliament. The report in question - the Burns Report - finally arrives in mid-2000.

But the process continues to drag. On the 18th of February 2001, MPs finally vote in the Commons for an outright ban, agreeing on a ban by a majority of 179. One month later, however, the House of Lords votes against the bill, which then fails completely because of a lack of parliamentary time.

A year later, they try again, with Commons MPs setting out a timetable for getting the ban onto the statute books. In March 2002, the Commons decides on a complete ban, but the Lords decides that a "third-way" compromise is a better idea. A new Hunting Bill is finally arranged in December 2002. However, by the following June, the Leader of the Commons has announced that proposed amendments to the Bill could cripple it and cause "significant delays". On the 10th of July 2003, the Bill passes from the Commons, with a couple of extra amendments after all, and arrives at the Lords for it's Committee Stage - a stage which ran out of time in October 2003, thereby killing the bill again.

As I write this, were no closer to getting the law passed banning hunting with dogs. The word around Westminster is that the ban only recently predicted for 2005 has now been pushed back to 2006, a stunning nine years after Labours original manifesto pledge.

... phew.

And all of this over a law which an enormous majority of the British public want enacted, which has appeared in two Labour party General Election manifestos, and already has a precedent right here in Scotland.

Yeah, I'd say the adjective "unwieldy" fits quite nicely.

And I would disagree that the complexity of the EUs structure is an argument against our involvement it just means that we need to keep our eyes on the ball and reform things so that theyre better for everyone. Isnt that the kind of legacy youd like to leave, muppet?



posted on Jun, 18 2004 @ 03:22 PM
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ThunderCloud.. you Texans are all alike
j/k

The federal government does interfere on a regular basis. How about the tactics they used to force states to slower the legal blood alcohol limit for drivers. Lower it or lose your federal highway money. Money that is collected at the state level. Or the way they tried/try to interfere with California's laws on legalized marijuana. Or how they are threatening doctors in Oregon who perform assisted suicides which are legal in Oregon. This is just the tip of the iceberg.



posted on Jun, 18 2004 @ 04:20 PM
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Hi Strangelands,

Fox hunting is an interesting example, and does illustrate a more complex side to out system.

I appreciate your description of the issue, but to me that illustrates a good system of government checks and balances. In the case of fox hunting, it's an emotive issue and one that the majority have no understanding of or contract with. It is therefore precisely the kind of issue that should be considered and re-considered by enacting in law. It made slow progress because there were plenty of more important issues to debate.

I don't believe there was any confusion though over the political process involved. Frustrating for supporters of the bill, maybe, but not unwieldy. Adding an extra layer or two of government isn't going to simplify things.

As for a legacy, big government and a bloated bureaucracy certainly aren't things I'd like to leave to my kids!



posted on Jun, 18 2004 @ 04:56 PM
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Originally posted by Indy
ThunderCloud.. you Texans are all alike
j/k

The federal government does interfere on a regular basis. How about the tactics they used to force states to slower the legal blood alcohol limit for drivers. Lower it or lose your federal highway money. Money that is collected at the state level. Or the way they tried/try to interfere with California's laws on legalized marijuana. Or how they are threatening doctors in Oregon who perform assisted suicides which are legal in Oregon. This is just the tip of the iceberg.


Well, I never said it was perfect
(What in life is?
) There are abuses, of course, as in any other system of government. But, generally speaking, it seems to run pretty smoothly...



posted on Jun, 18 2004 @ 05:50 PM
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Do any of you remember reading the "Late Great Planet Earth" back in the late 70's early 80' and wonder....there is no way Europe will ever be united. Then the Berlin Wall came down. Now look it's 25+ years later just like clock work the EU is like reading that book again...scary.



posted on Jun, 19 2004 @ 01:50 AM
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Originally posted by muppet
As for a legacy, big government and a bloated bureaucracy certainly aren't things I'd like to leave to my kids!


Particularly when all they want is a PS2 and a skateboard.




I do agree that our complex beaurocracy acts as effective checks and balances, though it can't be denied that it can also be sluggish, unresponsive and slow - but I'm prepared to concede that that's just the price you pay for parliamentary democracy, and I don't see it as inherently damaging.

But the same could be said for the EU - complex, yes, but only so equity can be maintained for all. And with the reforms which the UK could instigate from the inside, we could recreate the system

I can see that we're irreconcilably opposed on this issue, but I want to commend you for your rational, intelligent arguments - this issue is already dominated by nonsense and bile, so thanks for reminding me that there are reasonable people on the other side of the fence!

See you on the next EU thread...



posted on Jun, 19 2004 @ 09:19 AM
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Indy FYI Im an American Citizen Born and Raised in the US. So dont tell me that I dont live in the US and I have a great point to observe both the US. and EU and compare them.



posted on Jun, 19 2004 @ 12:26 PM
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I havent read all of the posts on this so maybe someone has covered this.

EU has been a focal point for American Christian Fundementalists for AGES.
Alot of "prophets" and pastors have said that EU is in Rev, involves the beast etc and that the beast 666 will come from EU, rise up and be the first president of Europe. Thats the greatest reason I can think for people being scared of the EU. Im not 100% sure about the EU prophecies and the like. THere have been tons and tons of books and things written on the EU being the revived Roman Empire etc, bringing forth the antichrist/beast. That said if one looks at whats happening in Iraqi and what could happen again in other Mid Easten nations, the power of America I cannot see how EU can equal what America is today and will remain to be in the world. If American preachers point the finger at EU, they should take some steps back and look at America, they will find there are more scriputral references to America in the bible than any other nation on earth. Who is the most powerful politcial leader in the world at the moment? What office has the most power?? Its American White House right?? Unless that changes where else will the beast come from?



posted on Jun, 19 2004 @ 12:48 PM
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I can see that we're irreconcilably opposed on this issue, but I want to commend you for your rational, intelligent arguments - this issue is already dominated by nonsense and bile, so thanks for reminding me that there are reasonable people on the other side of the fence!
See you on the next EU thread...


.. and the same goes for you too. You make good and thought provoking points. Thank you!


til next time!



posted on Jun, 19 2004 @ 12:50 PM
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The beast proph. is an interpretation just like it was back in the dark ages and Roman times. People just fill in the blanks to make it fit. Nothing more nothing less.



posted on Jun, 20 2004 @ 04:48 PM
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Originally posted by Jamuhn
Also, as you may note, that was the original basis for America and looked how the states got overridden by the government. Thats whats scary, the idea of centralization.

[edit on 17-6-2004 by Jamuhn]
Thank you. Took the arguement from me. Anyone who thinks the EU is a good idea must love American politics. We started out as a loose confederation of states, with a loose glue of the constitution. The federal govornment existed to help govorn non state territories, defend the borders, customs, and provide defense of the basics of the constitution. Look how its changed. Now, we have the FBI, DEA, ATF. How many times have individual states voted for something, only for the feds to overturn it and override the will of the people of that state? Look at California. First, there was proposition 187, denying services to illegal immigrants. the feds told them sorry, cant do that. Then california passes the medicinal marijuana law, the feds overruled it, went into the state, and were busting people left and right, with no assitance from the state. Then the proposition to end affirmative action. they overruled that. The feds finally had the last say. Look at the legal drinking age laws. Before the moral majority, every state had its own legal drinking law for age. Some states it was 18, some 21, and some, so long as you were accompanied by your parents, any age was legal. Then the feds pressured and forced the states into submitting to a 21 and over law. These are only a few examples of the evils of federalization. I wouldnt worry too much though, Last Free Man, as from the looks of it, the UK might be pulling out all together.But anything who thinks the EU is a good idea is nuts. The US is a model of what happens in centralization. Dont get suckered in by the happy bambi idea of the EU, its pure trouble. You can write all the constitutions you want, guaranteeing whatever the hell you wish, it wont do any good. Wee have had a constitution for over 200 years, and look where that got us. Guarantees my ass.



posted on Jun, 20 2004 @ 05:39 PM
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I will not be ruled by a German.

Simple as that.



posted on Jun, 20 2004 @ 06:09 PM
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Originally posted by Nerdling
I will not be ruled by a German.

Simple as that.


Thats what you think. Just let the EU finish consolidating thier power and dominance over all its members. After they get done bleeding you dry, they will have you driving on the same side of the road as the rest of em.

Cant have diversity in a federalized state. Just look at the USA, and the "power" of the states, as was deemed in the coinstitution, and as it stands now.

Like the national guard. Used to be they were strictly an army for individual states. Now the feds can call up national guard at will with no permission from the state that its made for. Thast whats gonna happen. It always does. Any loose confederacy either breaks up, or becomes totally centralized. When youre all under one govornment, youll all have to fall inline. Diversity of systems of law simply cannot be tolerated.

Just give em some time......



posted on Jun, 21 2004 @ 03:19 AM
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Originally posted by Nerdling
I will not be ruled by a German.

Simple as that.


You'll be "ruled" by whoever you vote for, the same as you are now. Isn't it about time we got past unreasoning xenophobia and started looking at the citizens of Europe just as people like us?

And Skadi, I appreciate your perspective on American federalism, but I'm not sure I understand your point. The individual states have lost some of their power - but are you suggesting that the individual states would be stronger if they were apart? If there was border control around Idaho? If Texas slipped into a cold war with New England?

People are afraid of losing power, I can understand that. They are afraid of being subsumed into a larger political and social entity, of losing their distinctiveness, their personal culture. But fear is never going to build anything, and it's never going to help us improve our world. Damn it, haven't we progressed enough to judge these things by intellect and logic rather than vague worries and doom-mongering?

If you can honestly, hand-on-heart, tell me that the States would have been better off without the Union, then fair enough. But if this is, as I suspect, merely railing against a powerful federal government that isn't suiting your exact needs, then write it off as the price of democracy.



posted on Jun, 21 2004 @ 05:34 AM
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Originally posted by The Last Free Man
Hmm, most British farmers are living on less than 11,000 a year and many are going bankrupt. So you must have a real # job.



Heh. I love this quote. Pure and utter drivel swallowed from the media.

I come from a farming community. I don't know one single poor farmer. Farmers are self-employed - do you really think that they fill in their tax returns honestly when there are masive subsudies to be gained?
All of the farmers in my area are money-men. Driving about in new cars, owning nice houses, in the pub every day. The fallacy that they are poor is precisely one of the reasons given by the media why the UK should pull out of Europe. Now if you had said fishermen, that would be a different story.......

As for the EU. I think it's a good idea as long as it can be put into practice properly. The problem is that each member state is fighting for itself in there and not working for the whole, so you get massive discrepencies in treatment at this juncture. The whole system needs to stabilise a lot more before it becomes acceptable to me. What also doesn't help is the fact that the EU commisioners are unelected and for the past 15 years have been as corrupt as hell. Their running and robbing of the system is unforgiveable and many of them should be serving long prison sentences rather than dictating laws. I find it totally amazing that somebody like Neil Kinnock can lose three general elections in the UK and then be given a place in the EU where he has almost as much power as our elected prime-minister. A man who has been refused by his country 3 times should never be allowed to sneak into power by the back door. Not only that, but they gave his wife a position too!!!

It seems that morality is one of the first things that the EU needs to address.



posted on Jun, 21 2004 @ 01:21 PM
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To manswer your question, yes. We would have been better off as individual states compared to the federalism of today. It wouldnt most likely be 50 individual states, but maybe blocs of states, with the big states, such as California, Alaska, Texas, standing on thier own.

But the fact is, that the original plan for the US was great, a loosely knit union of states, soverign states, who, so long as they abided by a few basic principals, had the protection of the federal govornment, who would not interfere in internal matters of the state.

But that all changed, the federal govornment consolidated power. it began taking over state run armies. It overturrned state laws and bills that were voted on by the people themselves. It overran the power of the state, and extorted compliance from others.

America is one big fat federal dung heap mess because of federalism. Since the federal govornment really took over, look how many wars we have been involved in. (The federal reserve was created in 1913, I believe around that time we also saw the implementation of the federal income tax and the IRS).

The individual states cannot pass bills and laws anymore if they dont comply with the illegal and unconstitutional federal govornment we have today.

The bottom line is: we are worse off because of the federalization and centralization. Larger states, like New York, california, ect, pretty much run this country because they have all the money and the people. Little states with l;ess money and less people get bullied around, and brought inline. They really dont have much say in both congress or elections.

Had the original plan of a bare minmum central govornment been instituted, it would have been fine, but unfortunately, it never works that way. Once you create a centralized govornment, they consolidate thier power centrally, and break down the will and power of individual states. It has happened in every single instance of empire. The Romans, the soviets, America, so on and so forth. it will happen with the EU.

If a member nation passes a law the central body doesnt like, they simply overturn it. Please see previous posts about how even the powerful state of California had three major publically approved bills overturned, and federal agents roaming the state busting people who didnt comply with THIER ruling.

The really bad part about the EU is that youre talking not about a few modern day states created by refugees and exiles, as was America, but by people who have existed as distinct entities for thousands of years, each with thier own morality, laws, cultures, languages, ect. In the beginning, some states in the US had other languages other than English as thier first language, now, every state has english.

The US isnt a happy place. There are many people who think we should ceceed from the illegal union that is now imposed upon us. California has talked many times of doing it, as has Texas. The problem?

The national guards of each state are now ultimately federally controled. The states dont even have thier own armies anymore. Look how many national guardsmen have been deployed by the federal govornment to get sent overseas in wars. The govornor no longer has complete control over his own armies anymore.

The state of California just banned electronic voting. (that shady voting system put out by diebold that makes elections simple to rig). Now, the federal govornment is trying to overturn California's descsion NOT to have fraudulent voting machines around.

The very same can and will happen in the EU. Oh, Im sure they will promise otherwise. Since when has any tyranny come out and say, hello, we are your new oppresors? But it will happen. VOTE all you like.

Voting makes no difference in America, and it sure as hell wont in the EU. Youll "vote" for whoever they want you to vote for.

Anyways, I hope I answered your question. id hate to see the same fate America has suffered happen elsewhere in the world. Its bad enough we have irreversable #ed up our country, question is, do you wanna follow in our footsteps?



posted on Jun, 21 2004 @ 03:52 PM
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Interesting stuff, Skadi, thanks. I must admit, I wasn't aware of the prevalence of anti-Federal feeling in the US. Fascinating...

Though I don't feel qualified to pick through your post, I would offer some observations.

Firstly, the biggest difference between the proto-USA and contemporary Europe is that the member countries of the EU are distinct nations, with their own histories, cultures and traditions. Rather than make things more difficult, I believe those firm identities will allow a true Federation to be created, without being subsumed into a single nation-state.

Secondly, we're going in with our eyes open. I don't know how hard people fought against the "dangers" of federalism back at the dawn of the US, but European countries have been hit with that particular political stick every step of the way.

Thirdly, if we're aware of the dangers of rampant federalism - never, by the way, something I have been in favour of - then surely those dangers can be avoided? By careful consideration now, by being on the inside influencing the process, we stand a better chance of economic, cultural and political prosperity in the years to come. Does that mean that we risk losing our sovereignty? Not, in my opinion, if we keep our perspicacious gaze on both the letter and the spirit of the laws.

With so much to gain, dare we turn our backs?

Thanks again, Skadi - lots to think about!

Oh, and btw, Leveller - I too live in an agricultural community, and I completely agree. The "Poor Farmer" should appear on the cryptozoology board!



posted on Jun, 21 2004 @ 05:11 PM
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Anti federalism is alot stronger than people think. Alot of people get very pissed, when the state they live in has to bend to federal directives or get cut off from federal funding of roads, education, ect.

The whole going in with eyes wide open is a null point. The founding fathers of this country, if one reads closely into early American history, were very well of the dangers of federalism. Just look at the constitution. It was written, not only to gurantee basic human rights, but to divide the powers and keep centralization at bay. Part of the constitution states, whatever is not covered in the bill of rights, is up to the individual states to decide how they wanna run the show.

Obviously, that piece of paper didnt do us much good, did it? look at the current state of the constitution today. Its basically been killed in spirit, its only a matter of time before the letter of the law is banished.

If you think a constitution and whatever useless documents the EU parliament drafts guaranteeing this and that will protect you, you need to wake up. Our country was formed around the constitution, and it got trashed.

They even added the prohibition amendment to the constitution back in the 1920s. They can add whatever they want.

The things you lose and the things you gain from the EU, its better not to have one, not in its, well, current ideal. Hitler envisioned an EU too.

A better idea for the EU would have been a normal NATO arrangement minus the US, a loose conglomerate for mutual defense. And maybe some sort of Nafta treaty for commerce. We have NAFTA, yet we havent had to convert to a single currency, yet.

But to actually have a european govornment, with a constitution that supposedly will guarantee national soverignty, forget it. Your asking for trouble there. Whether people have existed as nations for hundreds or thousands of years matters not. the soviet union was made up of alot of different people. Sure, the russians invaded thier nation states. but there is little difference between soviet, american, or european tactics, except the technicality of how its run. QWhether its tryanny by the sword, or the pen and paper, the result will pretty much be the same.

Do you think little countries inside the eu are gonna have much power and pull? hell no, it will be dominated by the Germans, French, who will be in perpetual conflict with the Germans and French. The fact that these cultures have existed for so long, with age old rivalries and ethnic conflicts can make it even worse there, as old grudges can be carried out with new policies, amendments, legislation, ect.

America isnt the first place this sort of thing happens, and it wont be the last.

heres a really good example you can relate to. Im sure you watch some satelite tv and US news channels. Where do most of these stations report from? What major US news reaches there?

When I was over in the UK, all I saw were stpries out of new york, washington dc, and sometimes California. And Florida.

Watch the national news, and what do you see? new York, Flroida, california. Texas. Its as if every other state doesnt exist. the vast number of people from "insignifigant back woods states" have almost no representation in the national media. Let alone in our own govornment. We simply dont exist because we dont live in fashionably rich states with neighbors who run the countires, so, we dont matter. Thats just the way it is.

So all those little countires, especially the poorer eastern european countires, are simply gonna get cowed, pushed around, and used for cheap labor. National interests simply wont exist.

Id be very happy if the US broke apart myself. Im sure alot of people would too, because the federal govornment is getting totally out of control.





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