Breakermatic diaries

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10 Total Votes
(Comment Deleted) by xth (2.00 / 0) #1 Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 01:55:50 PM EST

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(Comment Deleted) by xth (2.00 / 0) #2 Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 01:58:31 PM EST

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[ Parent ]
Easy mistake to make. by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #19 Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 04:46:44 AM EST
After all the EU made it.


[ Parent ]
Poor Belgians by Merekat (2.00 / 0) #3 Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 02:02:29 PM EST
They'd only just got a govt and now the EU has come along and nicked their main bloke. Now they'll have to resort to involving their monarch again.


[ Parent ]
(Comment Deleted) by xth (2.00 / 0) #5 Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 02:36:21 PM EST

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[ Parent ]
Already did this on Metafilter by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 2) #4 Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 02:26:55 PM EST
So I'll just paste in my comment
The President of the European Council has no executive powers. All he does is call and chair meetings of the council representing the member states.

So, since his job is to represent the interests of the member states, it doesn't seem that unreasonable to me that he's selected by the (democratically elected) leaders of the member states. If he was independently elected in an EU-wide poll, he'd have a different allegiance altogether.

Basically there's a heads-we-win-tails-you-lose talking point game amongst the Europhobes. First they complained the European Commission and European Parliament were getting too powerful compared to the member states. In response, the EU strengthened the role of the European Council which represents the member states. So now the Europhobes have turned round and complained "OMG he's selected by the member states not directly elected it's undemocratic..."

I thought Skeptic's comment was pretty useful too.
a) The Council is made up of the national governments, whereas senators are directly elected. But this highlights the fact that the EU is not a federal state like the US: the national governments remain sovereign and they certainly aren't going to give up the reins of the whole contraption. For those who are against further integration, to use this "democratic deficit" as a talking point is supremely disingeneous (as is putting much emphasis on the fact that much Council work is behind closed doors: do you seriously think that there's no backroom dealing going on in the US Senate, or any other legislative chamber for that matter? Boy, do I have a bridge to sell you.) Still, even in some federal countries there is a similar setup: in Germany, the heads of the regional governments sit themselves in the "Bundesrat".

b) There is no election for president of the Commission. But then, the POTUS actually isn't directly elected either (remember 2000?). As in many European countries, the cabinet/Commission is voted on (as a block) by the Council and the Parliament. Brits make a lot of noise about the fact that the Commissioners are "unelected", because in Britain only members of parliament may sit in the cabinet. But this a very peculiar British quirk (indeed, in some countries like Holland MPs actually have to leave their seats if they want to enter the cabinet). And furthermore, as the examples of Lord Mandelson and Baroness Ashton herself show, the rule can be easily circumvented by the PM by handing out a life peerage to someone that he badly wants to get in the Cabinet (which highlights the fact that Brits, with their unelected House of Lords as part of their parliament, are in a bad position to complain about any "democratic deficit" in the EU).


--
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
(Comment Deleted) by xth (2.00 / 0) #8 Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 03:20:58 PM EST

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[ Parent ]
No Counts by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #10 Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 03:25:52 PM EST
It goes Duke, Marquess, Earl, Viscount, Baron. No Counts.
--
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
(Comment Deleted) by xth (2.00 / 0) #11 Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 03:41:26 PM EST

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[ Parent ]
Yeah but Queeny by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #20 Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 04:49:24 AM EST
Is the titular head of state.  The last time she did anything that affected me was the Jubilee when I was still at school.

And we were given a commemorative shiny silver coin.

As opposed to government who've given us a raft of new and poorly thought out laws.


[ Parent ]
which of those laws have affected you? by Dr H0ffm4n (2.00 / 0) #27 Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 07:02:21 AM EST


[ Parent ]
Oooh by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #28 Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 07:13:29 AM EST
HIPS, photography in public places, just off the top of my head.

Which of those laws have affected other people adversely?  This guy.


[ Parent ]
have you sold a house? by Dr H0ffm4n (2.00 / 0) #29 Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 07:36:48 AM EST
or actually been arrested by police for photographing in a public place?

Was possession of a firearm made illegal since 1997?

Protecting other people's rights smacks of socialism and not what I'd expect of you ;)

[ Parent ]
We elect politicians to make decisions by marvin (2.00 / 0) #6 Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 02:36:27 PM EST
They made the decision to appoint this bloke, thus doing the job for which you elected them in the first place.

Why can't you be satisfied with that? Do you want a US style system where you vote for everyone including the dogcatcher too?

Largely by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #21 Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 05:00:27 AM EST
Because I trust our politicians to vote in the interest of themselves, their party and their friends.

If it is also possible to vote in the interests of the country they represent, they will, but this is a rare occurrence.

There is only one vote I would like to see in UKia which is an "EU - in or out" referendum.

I am also interested in collecting Unicorn hair.  I suspect I have an equal chance of both.


[ Parent ]
I for one by codemonkey uk (2.00 / 0) #7 Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 03:00:45 PM EST
Welcome our chocolaty overlord.

--- Thad ---
Almost as Smart As you.
And sudsy too by marvin (4.00 / 1) #9 Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 03:23:14 PM EST
I welcome your new beer-providing EU overlord.

Perhaps he can purge the EU of American pseudo-beer swills like Coors Lite. Were he able to do that, I would support having Canuckistan join the EU.

[ Parent ]
I would be 100% in favour of the EU by dmg (2.00 / 0) #14 Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 06:36:00 PM EST
If it actually acted in the national interest of EU member states. And your above example is a good one. Good old-fashioned protectionism. There's nothing wrong with it. Of course you need a good army to back it up.... 
--
dmg - HuSi's most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
National interest? You lost me there. by marvin (2.00 / 0) #15 Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 07:18:51 PM EST
I can't keep track of how many states are in the EU - what are there, 25 or so now? What is a national interest in that context?

How can a single body work in the (often opposing)  interests of so many different nation-states? How far can they go to protect Belgian beer, before it harms English and German beers? The entire EU project seems like a recipe for a schizophrenic government, or at least one with some form of multiple personality disorder.

I agree with some previous Breakermatic rants in that the EU still somehow manages to regularly botch fundamental issues such as human rights and freedoms. If they screw up the easy stuff, that almost everyone agrees upon, I don't have much hope in them solving issues that involve balancing competing internal interests.

[ Parent ]
There is one state - the EU. by dmg (2.00 / 0) #16 Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 07:25:30 PM EST
The other states after signing of the Lisbon treaty are reduced to 'regions'.

But applying protectionism to US beer would benefit all EU member states surely.

--
dmg - HuSi's most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
One state perhaps by marvin (2.00 / 0) #17 Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 09:09:06 PM EST
But you lack a nation.

Applying the final solution to the makers of US megabrewey "beer" would benefit the entire species surely.

[ Parent ]
i'm not sure we should take it as a given by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #34 Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 04:47:46 PM EST
that the nation and the state must be coterminous.

i think the modern nation-state is a historical anomaly and will be surprised to see it continue for more than another generation or two.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
Back to city states then? by marvin (2.00 / 0) #36 Thu Nov 26, 2009 at 12:18:47 AM EST
The nation-state, on a more local scale. Or principalities.

[ Parent ]
The EU is a post-nation state by dmg (2.00 / 0) #37 Thu Nov 26, 2009 at 03:32:10 PM EST
Its a supra-national organization much like the UN, and will along with the American Union and Pacific Union eventually be merged into the global single state. It's blindingly obvious this is where it's all leading. 
--
dmg - HuSi's most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
Mock not Baroness Ashton by Vulch (2.00 / 0) #12 Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 04:41:19 PM EST
For she has a Dalek.

Can't be all bad then...



Have you read her bio? by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #22 Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 05:01:57 AM EST
Talentless apparatchik, as far as I can tell.


[ Parent ]
WIPO by Driusan (2.00 / 0) #13 Tue Nov 24, 2009 at 05:46:21 PM EST
Needs more quality trolling, less dead horse beating.

Who's Baroness Ashton?

--
Vive le Montréal libre.

Who? by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #24 Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 05:04:51 AM EST
Quite.


[ Parent ]
Interesting article by brokkr (2.00 / 0) #18 Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 04:42:33 AM EST
However, I fail to see the relevance of Belgian domestic politics to what the EU does. Belgium is, as the author states, three ethnic groups forced to cohabitate (he conveniently forgets about the Germans in the Eastern part). The EU is an agglomeration of twenty-something nations (less Belgium) that has joined the EU voluntarily.
--
Deyr fé, deyja frændr, deyr sjalfr it sama,
ek veit einn, at aldrei deyr: dómr um dau∂an hvern.

It was more on the character by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #23 Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 05:04:31 AM EST
Of the new El Presidente than Belgium politics as such.

The EU is an agglomeration of twenty-something nations (less Belgium) that has joined the EU voluntarily.
Ah that is not the case.  For instance, UKia joined the EEC which is not the EU.


[ Parent ]
So fucking what by brokkr (2.00 / 0) #25 Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 06:39:32 AM EST
It's a name.
--
Deyr fé, deyja frændr, deyr sjalfr it sama,
ek veit einn, at aldrei deyr: dómr um dau∂an hvern.

[ Parent ]
So what, so what by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #26 Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 06:54:33 AM EST
You boring little...

It's is not a name.  EEC = European Economic Community.

EU - European Union. 

One is a trading block, the other is a superstate.


[ Parent ]
Colour me surprised by brokkr (2.00 / 0) #30 Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 09:38:07 AM EST
As far as I am aware, the ECSC was always about an ever closer spiral of co-operation. If you guys failed to realized this when you signed up in '72, the joke's on you.

Not that it's very important - I'm all for a British yes/no referendum. The rest of Europe cares not much whether you stay in or out; it's what France, Germany and Poland do that matters.
--
Deyr fé, deyja frændr, deyr sjalfr it sama,
ek veit einn, at aldrei deyr: dómr um dau∂an hvern.

[ Parent ]
That's not what were were sold though. by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #31 Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 10:52:32 AM EST
And in any case 1972 I wasn't even a twinkle in the milkman's eye, far less of voting age.

The rest of Europe cares very much that we stay in, and in 2008 there were 16,398 million reasons for them to want us to stay in.


[ Parent ]
Not of voting age by brokkr (2.00 / 0) #32 Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 12:13:27 PM EST
Do you propose to hold a referendum every 15 years on stuff decided since the last referendum?

Yes, the UK is a net contributor to the EU. So is France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden. This is largely because of a transfer of funds to the less developed members of the EU, which in my opinion is a Good Thing. YMMV. You would be better off economically and Eastern Europe would suffer if you left the Union, but it wouldn't be the end of it.

(Mind you, I am of the opinion that the CAP should go out the window post haste. That would probably cut a bit off your contributions as well.)
--
Deyr fé, deyja frændr, deyr sjalfr it sama,
ek veit einn, at aldrei deyr: dómr um dau∂an hvern.

[ Parent ]
No. by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #33 Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 12:44:56 PM EST
I propose sunset clauses on all new legislation affecting sovereignty, retrospective to 1972.

That's a pretty socialist view you have there on the EU.

I agree entirely about the CAP; whilst we're there we ought to look at the CFP as well.  It's a start.


[ Parent ]
Oh noes! by brokkr (2.00 / 0) #39 Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 06:19:05 PM EST
Scandinavian turns out to be socialist. News at 11.

Actually, I'm a social liberal. That's why I want to redistribute wealth with one hand and cut sector-specific subsidies with the other. (Yes, CFP must die.)
--
Deyr fé, deyja frændr, deyr sjalfr it sama,
ek veit einn, at aldrei deyr: dómr um dau∂an hvern.

[ Parent ]
Any more for any more? by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #40 Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 07:13:52 AM EST
CAP, CFP...  To my mind those are the two wrongest EU policies, do you have any more to be stricken down?


[ Parent ]
Those are my main objections by brokkr (2.00 / 0) #41 Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 02:40:59 PM EST
I don't like protectionism.
--
Deyr fé, deyja frændr, deyr sjalfr it sama,
ek veit einn, at aldrei deyr: dómr um dau∂an hvern.

[ Parent ]
I don't like protectionism by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #42 Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 06:18:11 PM EST
Nor overregulation.


[ Parent ]
Bullshit. by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #35 Wed Nov 25, 2009 at 06:49:50 PM EST
Britain's an important part of the EU, what with being a strong country outside the France-Germany-Benelux nexus.

[ Parent ]
Maybe by brokkr (4.00 / 1) #38 Sat Nov 28, 2009 at 06:14:34 PM EST
That's what it looks like from your side of the Ärmelkanal. From here, it looks like the center of gravity is shifting East of the Rhine.
--
Deyr fé, deyja frændr, deyr sjalfr it sama,
ek veit einn, at aldrei deyr: dómr um dau∂an hvern.

[ Parent ]