Nobel Prize 2012!

(38 Posts)
JodieHarsh Thu 11-Oct-12 13:06:58

So Mo Yan has this year's Nobel Prize for literature...

Not read him, to my shame.

Anyone here know his work? Where ought one to begin? And did anyone really think Bob Dylan would get it?!

DoubleMum Thu 11-Oct-12 20:03:52

I would start with Red Sorghum. He's the first Chinese national to win but his books are frequently banned in China.

JodieHarsh Fri 12-Oct-12 10:55:04

Oh hello! I was wondering if anyone would pick this up....thanks for the recommend: I shall Kindle it forthwith. I'm ashamed to say the only Chinese literature I've read is by Jung Chang. Time to up my game!

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 12-Oct-12 18:23:06

And the EU gets the peace prize. Take a bow everyone.

MrJudgeyPants Sat 13-Oct-12 00:13:39

70 years of peace and harmony because of the EU. Nothing at all to do with NATO, the atom bomb or Mutually Assured Destruction then!

Just think, the Second World War would have all blown over without a shot being fired if only someone had thought of giving Mr. Hitler a big fat expense account and a place on a committee discussing straight bananas!

A farce!

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 13-Oct-12 08:37:56

Not a farce at all. Unifying Europe and putting an end to the frequent and disastrous wars between the nations of Europe has been an incredible achievement for peace. Some might say that was its main aim, it was achieved too soon, and the more controversial stuff of recent years has been because it is an organisation searching for a new goal. Imagine if there was an equivalent 'Middle East Union' that had kept peace in that region for 60-odd years.

flatpackhamster Sat 13-Oct-12 09:50:12

The EU didn't achieve it. They had nothing to do with it.

If anyone brought peace to Europe it was Britain and America.

Interestingly, I was reading that Thorbjørn Jagland, head of the prize committee, is also Secretary General of the Council of Europe. Further, the person on the committee who was opposed to EU's receiving the prize (Ågot Valle, former deputy leader of the "No to EU" campaign) was away sick on the day the vote took place.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 13-Oct-12 10:10:45

The EU may not have physically ended WWII but the fact that all the nations involved were happy to subsequently enter a long-term political pact has certainly maintained the peace. The 1918 armistice only lasted another 21 years. The 1945 armistice has never been breached. That's a remarkable achievement.

flatpackhamster Sat 13-Oct-12 10:18:51

CogitoErgoSometimes

The EU may not have physically ended WWII but the fact that all the nations involved were happy to subsequently enter a long-term political pact has certainly maintained the peace.

You do know that WW2 didn't end in 1945? It ran on - in the guise of the Cold War - until 1990. What part did the EU play in holding back the Soviets? Where were the EU's tanks? Where were its planes, submarines, nuclear weapons and spies?

The 1918 armistice only lasted another 21 years. The 1945 armistice has never been breached. That's a remarkable achievement.

The EU wasn't founded in 1945. It was created in 1992.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 13-Oct-12 10:51:10

You're splitting hairs. The EU project began in 1950 with the European Coal and Steel Community starting down the road of economic and political peace with the six founding countries Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. 1957 the Treaty of Rome created the EEC - European Economic Community or Common market. Of course the Cold War happened at the same time but, compared to the days of bombs dropping on European cities or an entire generation of young European men wiped out on the fields of France and Belgium, a few spies swapping secrets was far less traumatic.

UnimaginitiveDadThemedUsername Sat 13-Oct-12 11:09:44

Of course, the other good thing about the Nobel Peace Prize award is that it will stick in the craw of that pathological liar Nigel Farage.

MrJudgeyPants Sun 14-Oct-12 01:50:16

Cogito Of course the Cold War happened at the same time but, compared to the days of bombs dropping on European cities...

To be fair, after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and specifically once the Soviets got the A-bomb, the idea of dropping bombs on European cities was an entirely different barrel of monkeys. The threat of MAD prevented the cold war from going hot thus maintaining the peace, not a talking shop.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 14-Oct-12 08:39:19

The threat of MAD didn't stop war breaking out in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Neither did the intervention of the EU specifically bring it to an end. However, the prospect of being part of the EU has kept those former enemies on best behaviour & been a big factor in maintaining that peace. I don't know why people find it tough to accept that the EEC/EU has been an agent for peace. That was its original stated goal and it is the one thing that it has been particularly successful in achieving.

UnimaginitiveDadThemedUsername Sun 14-Oct-12 15:55:38

I don't know why people find it tough to accept that the EEC/EU has been an agent for peace.

Oh, I do.

It's because they hate the EU so much they can't accept the instances that it has been of benefit.

flatpackhamster Sun 14-Oct-12 17:51:33

I think that making up instances where it has been of benefit doesn't help your case.

CogitoErgoSometimes

The threat of MAD didn't stop war breaking out in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Cold War was over by the time that broke out. Yugoslavia was the first of the Soviet Union's puppet states to break apart. NATO intervened in Yugoslavia, not the EU.

I find it hard to credit the willingness of EUFanatics to rewrite history in order to pretend that the EU is anything other than what it is - a tool for shovelling Other People's Money in to the pockets of big business and big government.

UnimaginitiveDadThemedUsername Mon 15-Oct-12 09:55:12

flatpackhamster

I think that making up instances where it has been of benefit doesn't help your case.

How is citing the ECSC (an ancestor body of the EU) a 'made-up instance'?

Robert Schuman proposed the ECSC to "make war not only unthinkable but materially impossible". How is this 'made up'?

Schuman also formed the ECSC despite the existence of NATO (presumably because the NATO treaty only covers external attacks against its members and not between its members, and only asks that in such an event that members commit themselves to some sort of response that doesn't have to include military action from each member - as we saw with 9/11 when NATO was wheeled out as a response to that attack).

Honestly - it's this kind of nonsense that shows how hysterical and blinkered some people are as soon as the acronym 'EU' is uttered.

flatpackhamster Mon 15-Oct-12 11:48:10

UnimaginitiveDadThemedUsername

How is citing the ECSC (an ancestor body of the EU) a 'made-up instance'?

Robert Schuman proposed the ECSC to "make war not only unthinkable but materially impossible". How is this 'made up'?

Schuman also formed the ECSC despite the existence of NATO (presumably because the NATO treaty only covers external attacks against its members and not between its members, and only asks that in such an event that members commit themselves to some sort of response that doesn't have to include military action from each member - as we saw with 9/11 when NATO was wheeled out as a response to that attack).

Show me where the EU has been an 'agency for peace'. Give me an example of two EEA/EEC/EU members who were at risk of going to war and, thanks to their membership of the EEA/EEC/EU, decided not to.

It's like me claiming that there haven't been any wars inside China since 1950 and therefore India is a great agent for peace. It's a non-claim.

I agree that the purpose of the ECSC/EEC/EU was to shackle Germany in order to prevent further wars. There have been three major wars in Europe in the last 150 years and Germany started all three.

However, the main reason that Germany hasn't gone to war hasn't been the EU, but their own change of behaviour and attitude. The constitution in Germany makes it impossible for them ever to go to war. The devolution of powers, the limiting of government through the constitution and so on, all of them stop that.

Honestly - it's this kind of nonsense that shows how hysterical and blinkered some people are as soon as the acronym 'EU' is uttered.

Careful with that jerking knee. You'll do yourself an injury.

UnimaginitiveDadThemedUsername Mon 15-Oct-12 14:08:13

Show me where the EU has been an 'agency for peace'.

Initiative for Peacebuilding
European External Action Service

Give me an example of two EEA/EEC/EU members who were at risk of going to war and, thanks to their membership of the EEA/EEC/EU, decided not to.

How? By journeying down some sort of rabbit hole into a Looking Glass world? And you haven't even answered how ECSC is 'made-up' yet.

You completely miss the point of the influence that bodies like ECSC have. By meeting regularly concerning areas of mutual benefit, it's clear that any potential dispute gets nipped in the bud right at the start because there are permanently open diplomatic channels between ministers.

Something that wasn't possible where one of the members wasn't a partner, such as the Cod Wars.

In any case, there is a practical example of how the intensity of feeling in a border dispute within the EU has decreased due to mutual EU membership - Olivenza, where in recent years and following a number of EU structural projects in the area, towns on both sides of that part of the Portugese-Spanish border have set up a Euroregion to foster greater co-operation and understanding.

Careful with that jerking knee. You'll do yourself an injury.

In response to you calling people 'EUFanatics'.
Pot, kettle, black?

flatpackhamster Tue 16-Oct-12 08:07:26

UnimaginitiveDadThemedUsername

Initiative for Peacebuilding
European External Action Service

I didn't ask for examples of EU bureaucracy. Where's the 'agency for peace' stuff there? They're talking shops.

How? By journeying down some sort of rabbit hole into a Looking Glass world? And you haven't even answered how ECSC is 'made-up' yet.

The argument that you were making was that the EU in all its myriad guises has prevented war on the European subcontinent. I want an example of where two nations were going to go to war and their membership of some sort of EU body prevented that.

That you immediately try to turn the argument to something else tells me that you can't come up with an example. Of course you can't. There isn't one. So that reason for the existence of the EU - and the hilarious idea that it deserves the Nobel Peace Prize - is invalid.

You completely miss the point of the influence that bodies like ECSC have. By meeting regularly concerning areas of mutual benefit, it's clear that any potential dispute gets nipped in the bud right at the start because there are permanently open diplomatic channels between ministers.

Perhaps I do. Perhaps I was under the impression that being an 'agency for peace' involved a bit more than lots of meetings on expenses in nice hotels.

Before the EU sucked that power away from member states they were perfectly capable of holding meetings on expenses in nice hotels.

Something that wasn't possible where one of the members wasn't a partner, such as the Cod Wars.

AIUI from what little I've read, since Iceland and the UK were members of NATO there was diplomatic contact at that level and the final outcome of the Cod Wars was decided by NATO.

And I've just read that there is a conflict building over Iceland's new mackerel quotas. So we'll have to see how the EU's amazing diplomatic talents deal with that. Lucky they've "nipped it in the bud though", isn't it?

In any case, there is a practical example of how the intensity of feeling in a border dispute within the EU has decreased due to mutual EU membership - Olivenza, where in recent years and following a number of EU structural projects in the area, towns on both sides of that part of the Portugese-Spanish border have set up a Euroregion to foster greater co-operation and understanding.

Since they don't seem to have gone to war over that scrap of land in the last 90 years, I don't really see that it's an argument for One Government To Rule Us All.

UnimaginitiveDadThemedUsername Tue 16-Oct-12 10:02:42

hamster

I didn't ask for examples of EU bureaucracy. Where's the 'agency for peace' stuff there? They're talking shops.

You get peace by talking. Duh.

Eventually, people need to sit down if they want a peaceful settlement whether it is before or after conflict.
Are you really so ignorant that you don't know this?

AIUI from what little I've read, since Iceland and the UK were members of NATO there was diplomatic contact at that level and the final outcome of the Cod Wars was decided by NATO.

Eventually. After about twenty years, and only when Iceland threatened to close down its NATO base. Great speedy work done there by NATO on promoting peace, don't you think?

That you immediately try to turn the argument to something else tells me that you can't come up with an example. Of course you can't. There isn't one. So that reason for the existence of the EU - and the hilarious idea that it deserves the Nobel Peace Prize - is invalid.

You're the one trying to turn the argument into some sort of alternate history guessing game. It's ridiculous.

You've got such a limited view of international relations that you can only see peace and war as some sort of binary switch. Going to war isn't something that countries do on the flip of a coin - there are always factors that ratchet up or down to either of those two states. Did the Falklands War happen just like that? Maybe in your world view perhaps, but not in reality.

Plus, I notice that you flippantly comment on the Olivenza situation, completely ignoring the obvious proof that EU membership has enabled Spain and Portugal to ratchet down disagreement. Didn't like that, did you?

Since they don't seem to have gone to war over that scrap of land in the last 90 years, I don't really see that it's an argument for One Government To Rule Us All.

<sigh> We don't have 'one government to rule us all' - we have a supranational body where member nations co-operate to mutual advantage over items that concern them.

But of course, this will be mere static to you. The fact that you can't even take a step back and bring yourself to say "Well, I don't like the EU but even as a talking shop it may have been a contributory factor in the peace and stabilisation in a continent previously riven with war for hundreds of years" speaks volumes about you. As does the sticking your fingers in your ears and going 'la la laaa'.

I suggest you go away and do some proper reading on this, rather than gorge yourself on batshit conspiracy theory websites (my favourite is the one that says the EU is a Vatican plot, by the way).

somebloke123 Tue 16-Oct-12 10:15:37

Since up to 1973 the various forerunners of the EU only contained 6 countries (Benelux, France, Italy ,West Germany) and if it really was the EU that has preserved peace, then it seems little short of a miracle that the 20 odd non-members were not at each other's throats during the 50s and 60s.

UnimaginitiveDadThemedUsername Tue 16-Oct-12 10:20:26

somebloke - You're forgetting about all the other supranational bodies that were ultimately folded into the EU.

somebloke123 Tue 16-Oct-12 10:37:53

No not at all. The suggestion here is that the EU itself is responsible for keeping the peace, to the extent that it deserves a prize. The Nobel Prize was awarded to the EU, not to supranational bodies in general, nor retrospectively to precursors of the EU. If one were to award it to such a body then NATO would be far more deserving.

The basic reason for peace in Western Europe has been that the countries have been relatively free democracies and free democracies tend not to go to war with one another.

I would withdraw this ludicrous award from the EU but as a consolation let them have a Jim'll Fix It badge.

UnimaginitiveDadThemedUsername Tue 16-Oct-12 12:52:51

somebloke

The EU ended up incorporating the European Coal & Steel Community, EURATOM and the Western European Union (as well as other minor bodies). So as the current body that incorporates all of those historical groupings there really isn't any other way to present an award.

If you think about when some long-lived band is given a Lifetime Achievement Award, it's the current members who step up to receive the award even if early or founder members are long dead (and/or their best days are long behind them). I've never heard anyone begrudging such an award to The Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac etc in the same way that some are so begrudging to the EU.

As I said earlier, NATO aren't really deserving of a peace award - principally because it has proved incapable of stopping individual members from waging war. Its only benefit for peace within Europe has been the integration of procedure and equipment (common aircraft signalling, standardised ammunition, integration of command structures etc) as well as constant joint exercises and officer exchanges that means senior officers between nations view each other as colleagues and not rivals or potential enemies.

I actually think that it's a factor - it's like an oil that makes the wheels move more easily. But for the military only, unlike the various EU bodies that provide a similar service in trade, standards, resource allocation, research, economics, infrastructure, education et cetera. In this sense, NATO and the EU aren't really that different in the services they offer as supranational bodies (except that the EU has more democratic controls than NATO). And whilst I respect the position of people who oppose both of these supranational bodies from a political philosophy that opposes any pooling of sovereignty, as far as I'm concerned anyone who supports membership of NATO whilst opposing membership of the EU is quite clearly fucking insane.

Anyway - NATO. The main idea that people have about their role of providing peace in Europe is solely down to NATO protecting us from the Warsaw Pact, which is riven with 1950s-era US groupthink - not everyone in Europe actually bought into it, and documents uncovered after 1989 show that the Warsaw Pact's planning was primarily based around responding to NATO 'first strike' interventions. Obviously, it could then be argued that an absence of NATO would have made invasion more likely but then we're back into the Alice In Wonderland supposition that FlatPackHamster loves so much.

As for the point about democracies - that's true. But countries were only allowed in the EEC/EC/EU if they became democracies and could prove they were politically robust enough to stay democracies (Spain and Portugal weren't admitted following the end of their respective dictatorships until they could do this). Democracy becomes not just an end point but a means to an end, and the EU offered a lot of support and assistance to the Eastern European nations and some former Soviet republics post-1989 in transforming from authoritarian regimes to stable democracies. It's instructive to see how those republics who are more involved with Russia than the EU are a lot less stable and free than those that are.

somebloke123 Tue 16-Oct-12 13:21:08

Although the EU may require new member states to be democracies, the fact remains that the EU itself is not a democracy. The point has been well made that if it applied to join itself it would fail. (Assuming that it that the EU followed its own rules which it in fact doesn't - did you know that bailouts of individual states who got into financial trouble were supposed to be strictly verboten according to the terms of the treaties? This by the way was one of the "safeguards" that was used to reassure Euro-sceptics before the introduction of the Euro.)

The EU is not, was never designed to be, and cannot be, a democracy. To have a democracy you need by definition a demos, a people as in "we the people". Monnet's vision was of supranational entity which would be run by an "enlightened" administrative elite, who would decide for the people what was best for them, and which placed itself above the nation state, which in time was supposed to wither away. It is also anti-democratic. Whenever a member state has a referendum and gives "wrong" answer, it is made to rerun it until it gets the "right" answer, which is then taken as being irrevocable.

A single state without a demos is doomed to fail, as we are seeing with the unrest in Greece and Spain. Meaningful democracy in Greece, Spain and arguably the Republic of Ireland, have been suspended, with EU placemen having been parachuted in to govern them and run their economies.

You can't "pool" sovereignty by the way, any more than you can pool virginity. You can let go of it - let it pass to a higher level, or you can hang onto it.

flatpackhamster Tue 16-Oct-12 14:51:39

UnimaginitiveDadThemedUsername

You get peace by talking. Duh.

Eventually, people need to sit down if they want a peaceful settlement whether it is before or after conflict.
Are you really so ignorant that you don't know this?

You don't just get peace by talking. Peace needs to be enforced. Unless it can be enforced it's pointless. Look at the central African wars. They're supposedly at peace but the violence continues - the rapes, the killing, the torture hasn't stopped. Hutus and Tutsis are still at each other's throats.

Are you really so ignorant you don't know this? Or is it just naivete that leads you to conclude that if we all have a lovely chat the murderers will stop murdering?

Eventually. After about twenty years, and only when Iceland threatened to close down its NATO base. Great speedy work done there by NATO on promoting peace, don't you think?

Was it really a 'war'? No. Number of deaths: 0. Number of casualties: 0. Number of vessels or aircraft lost: 0. Over a 20-year period. I know of family feuds with a higher casualty rate.

You're the one trying to turn the argument into some sort of alternate history guessing game. It's ridiculous.

I'm the one pointing out to you that the EU has not been responsible for peace on the European subcontinent.

You've got such a limited view of international relations that you can only see peace and war as some sort of binary switch. Going to war isn't something that countries do on the flip of a coin - there are always factors that ratchet up or down to either of those two states. Did the Falklands War happen just like that? Maybe in your world view perhaps, but not in reality.

Your example here is puzzling me. Are you claiming that we acted in some way which encouraged the invasion of the Falklands?

Plus, I notice that you flippantly comment on the Olivenza situation, completely ignoring the obvious proof that EU membership has enabled Spain and Portugal to ratchet down disagreement. Didn't like that, did you?

Has it? Portugal and Spain only joined the EU 40 years ago. Before that they weren't fighting over the Olivenza situation. When both countries were ruled by dictators, they didn't end up fighting over it.

<sigh> We don't have 'one government to rule us all' - we have a supranational body where member nations co-operate to mutual advantage over items that concern them.

Stalin always used to refer lovingly to those purblind fools in the West who fawned over the Soviet system and defended it against its critics as 'useful idiots'.

I wonder what term will be used for the deniers who refuse to admit that the EU anything but a lovely, snuggly chat room where we're all friends and everything's great.

But of course, this will be mere static to you. The fact that you can't even take a step back and bring yourself to say "Well, I don't like the EU but even as a talking shop it may have been a contributory factor in the peace and stabilisation in a continent previously riven with war for hundreds of years" speaks volumes about you. As does the sticking your fingers in your ears and going 'la la laaa'.

If it were only a talking shop I wouldn't have a problem with it. It isn't. And whatever good it might try to do is outweighed by the evil it has wrought. Not directly - but in trying to create its superstate where it runs everything for the benefit of the proletariat it has caused hunger, poverty, misery and starvation.

Your attempts to find something - anything - to justify your baffling claim that the EU is a 'force for peace' are starting to look embarrassing.

I've asked you to name a single incident where the EU has stopped a war on the European subcontinent. Just one. Some evidence of 'nipping it in the bud'. Some evidence that the EU deserves the Nobel Peace Prize. The EU has received the prize for preventing war on the European subcontinent. I don't see any evidence that it has, and I'm asking you to present some.

I suggest you go away and do some proper reading on this, rather than gorge yourself on batshit conspiracy theory websites (my favourite is the one that says the EU is a Vatican plot, by the way).

Your casual dismissal of anyone who doesn't have their tongue wedged between the buttocks of the EU speaks volumes about your narrow worldview and your utter inability to understand any arguments against it.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 17-Oct-12 09:45:55

"Give me an example of two EEA/EEC/EU members who were at risk of going to war and, thanks to their membership of the EEA/EEC/EU, decided not to."

How about the current Turkey/Syria situation? Neither are in the EU admittedly but Turkey would like to be and has been cleaning its act up over the last few years in an effort to gain acceptance. It can't be said for definite that the possibility of EU membership is making Turkey less bellicose than it was in the past, but it has to be a factor in their decision not to counter-attack.

BTW not an 'EUfanatic', just think credit where credit's due.

UnimaginitiveDadThemedUsername Wed 17-Oct-12 11:10:02

flatpackhamster

I'm not surprised you completely missed the point of what I said - it suits your personal agenda.

Your response points are so farcical they don't merit a response. You clearly don't know the difference between 'peace' and 'conquest'; you have no idea about different levels and intensities of conflict; your implicit support of NATO and hatred of the EU shows an ignorance of how supranational bodies work and fatally contradictory views regarding sovereignty; you have an ignorance of historical events; you spout hysterical bullshit like that the EU causes 'hunger, poverty, misery and starvation'... the list appears endless.

And as for your attempts to take the moral high ground, all I need to do is point out that you were the first people to dismiss others as 'fanatics'.

Ever since I first got on the internet I've encountered people like you. Shouting nonsense and conspiracy theory, unwilling to listen to others. Before then, I had no opinion of the EC (as it was then) and as little knowledge. And it was people like you that invaded the radio forum of which I was a member with outrageous claims regarding the EU (another one of my favourites was how Germany was secretly amassing tanks in order to militarily control Europe).

A little bit of autodidactic research into politics, economics and history showed not only the facts but also the deliberate misinformation and outright lies spread by those who want to isolate and ultimately impoverish Britain for narrow personal gain.

In fact, a little bit of research on your username shows that you do the self-same thing on a plethora of forums on the internet. And that when you rocked up to Mumsnet a couple of months ago you immediately got people's backs up by telling them how they should run the site to your particular standards. I'd bet you don't even have kids.

So, please please go on spamming lies and nonsense about the EU across the internet. Because all you'll succeed in doing is exposing yourself as a lunatic, and disposable cannon fodder of a small Establishment cabal who actually don't give two hoots about your economic wellbeing.

UnimaginitiveDadThemedUsername Wed 17-Oct-12 11:41:41

somebloke

Although the EU may require new member states to be democracies, the fact remains that the EU itself is not a democracy. The point has been well made that if it applied to join itself it would fail.

It's a supranational body. It's a club. And as far as supranational bodies go, it is more democratic than others by having an elected Parliament, a council made up of ministers from elected national governments and head civil servants appointed by elected national governments.

(Assuming that it that the EU followed its own rules which it in fact doesn't - did you know that bailouts of individual states who got into financial trouble were supposed to be strictly verboten according to the terms of the treaties? This by the way was one of the "safeguards" that was used to reassure Euro-sceptics before the introduction of the Euro.)

The financial crisis has been a game changer for everyone. Before it happened Britain wasn't going to nationalise banks, the US wasn't going to bail out private car manufacturers, and yes - the EU wasn't going to bail out member states.

In this environment, are you seriously going to criticise just one body for performing a certain action when the circumstances warranted it?

The EU is not, was never designed to be, and cannot be, a democracy. To have a democracy you need by definition a demos, a people as in "we the people".

A demos is an electorate of a political unit. It is defined solely by who is eligible to vote.

'Demos' does not have some other sort of magical, etherial property bestowed upon it. Check your dictionary.

Monnet's vision was of supranational entity which would be run by an "enlightened" administrative elite, who would decide for the people what was best for them, and which placed itself above the nation state, which in time was supposed to wither away.

We're a long way from Monnet's vision. Just as in Britain we're a long way from the vision of an electorate being something where only men can vote.

Whenever a member state has a referendum and gives "wrong" answer, it is made to rerun it until it gets the "right" answer, which is then taken as being irrevocable.

It is never a 're-run' - that's a blatantly false statement. In each circumstance where a member nation has rejected a referendum, the terms and conditions of what was voted on have been substantially altered.

A single state without a demos is doomed to fail, as we are seeing with the unrest in Greece and Spain. Meaningful democracy in Greece, Spain and arguably the Republic of Ireland, have been suspended, with EU placemen having been parachuted in to govern them and run their economies.

Each nation's electorate voted for governments that are making cuts. And some of their citizens are exercising their democratic rights by protesting. A limited amount of civil unrest does not equate to the end of democracy.

You can't "pool" sovereignty by the way, any more than you can pool virginity. You can let go of it - let it pass to a higher level, or you can hang onto it.

Of course you can pool sovereignty. It happens all the time. In the Channel Tunnel area, we've got French officials performing border checks on Britain's behalf and on the UK side we get uniformed French police performing law and order duties. Kent Police even have a station in France!

This sharing of sovereignty by British and French police forces acts to mutual advantage, and neither force goes blubbing about any loss of sovereignty.

somebloke123 Wed 17-Oct-12 15:23:45

I think if you don't know the difference between a supranational body and a club then I'm not the only one who needs to check his dictionary.

The EU places itself above the nation state as a source of political authority The EU Constitution aka Lisbon Treaty states that EU law "shall have precedence" over national law. It also says that, within the field of "competence" i.e. power of the EU, national governments shall be permitted to legislate only in areas in which the EU has decided not to.

The only EU body permitted to initiate EU legislation is the non-elected EU Commission. Commissioners may indeed have been appointed by democratically elected governments. They are typically members of the old boys' network who need to be shifted out of the way, or be found somewhere to go after being rejected by normal democratic processes. Past incumbents include Leon Brittan, Neil Kinnock, Peter Mandelson, Chris Patten. On appointment they are no longer representatives of their country but of the EU itself. (Peter Mandelson used to refer to "my member states".

When they finish they are given a big fat pension that would cost £2-3 million pounds if bought on the open market, the continued payment of which is dependent on their continuing to advance the aims of the EU (a fact which in itself compromises any of them who are in the House of Lords where they are supposed to act in the interests of the UK.)

The EU parliament is a fig leaf. It can't initiate legislation. If it tries to amend it too much then the commission can just scupper it by withdrawing it. MEPs are permitted to speak only for 90 seconds (usually) after which their microphones are switched off.

Maybe I have never joined the right clubs, but I have never been a member of a club whose rule book stated that the rules of the club have primacy over the laws of the UK, or that Westminster shall be allowed to legislate only in areas where the club has decided not to.

The EU is no more a club of nation states than the USA is a club of states (they are really provinces). There is a higher federal level which is a higher level of political authority.

Reruns of referendums in the EU are made only after the merest of fig leaf modifications. They are only rerun after the "wrong" result, never after the "right" one.

A demos is much more than an arbitrary collection of people who happen to have been given a vote. The Basingstoke Women's Institute + The Baton Rouge Rotary club + the Bayern Munich LBGT Supporters' Group constitutes a collection of people. They are not a demos. A demos is a collection of voters with sufficient commonality of identity that people are prepared to put up with a democratic vote going against them e.g. labour supporters when the Tories win, and vice versa. The UK is a demos (though it has become more strained in recent years) - the EU most definitely is not. Swedes and Greeks have little in common apart from shared humanity.

A constitution is a constitution, not something to be discarded when circumstances change. Changing such a set of rules should require a number a hurdles to be passed. It was an absolutely explicit rule of past treaties that bail outs of individual states by the EU were forbidden. This has been ridden rough-shod over not for the benefit of the respective populations but to keep the whole EU/Euro gravy train on the road. Incidentally the rules allowing member states to adopt the Euro originally were fudged too. The only ones that really satisfied the criteria were the UK and Luxembourg, and we didn't join anyway.

Sovereignty refers to the level where authority lies. It's nothing to do with pragmatic give-and-take relationships such as particular police arrangments, which are always subject to cancellation by either party.

flatpackhamster Wed 17-Oct-12 16:39:32

UnimaginitiveDadThemedUsername

I'm not surprised you completely missed the point of what I said - it suits your personal agenda.

Your response points are so farcical they don't merit a response.

And yet you seem to have written a considerable amount of text.

You clearly don't know the difference between 'peace' and 'conquest'; you have no idea about different levels and intensities of conflict; your implicit support of NATO and hatred of the EU shows an ignorance of how supranational bodies work and fatally contradictory views regarding sovereignty; you have an ignorance of historical events;

If you expended the same effort providing sources for your claims or some sort of information about them as you do in berating me then perhaps I wouldn't just regard you as a blowhard.

you spout hysterical bullshit like that the EU causes 'hunger, poverty, misery and starvation'... the list appears endless.

Eurostat report shows 27.7% of Greeks below the poverty line

Greek unemployment now 25%, youth unemployment 58%

Unemployment in Spain 24.6%, youth unemployment 50%

There's Portugal, of course, and Italy and Ireland who are all suffering. This is a direct consequence of the Euro - the way it was constructed, creating monetary union without fiscal union. The EU has caused this. Then there's the destructive effects of its policies on some industries, such as the CFP on British fisheries.

The EU does cause poverty, it does cause hunger, it does cause misery. People in Greece and Spain are starving and the EU is the reason they are starving. And the EU doesn't care. The Commission doesn't care, the Council doesn't care, and Parliament is impotent even if it does care.

And as for your attempts to take the moral high ground, all I need to do is point out that you were the first people to dismiss others as 'fanatics'.

Ever since I first got on the internet I've encountered people like you. Shouting nonsense and conspiracy theory, unwilling to listen to others. Before then, I had no opinion of the EC (as it was then) and as little knowledge. And it was people like you that invaded the radio forum of which I was a member with outrageous claims regarding the EU (another one of my favourites was how Germany was secretly amassing tanks in order to militarily control Europe).

I don't think it would have been people like me. I know that Germany doesn't want to control Europe. The German papers tell one as much. You do read the continental papers, don't you?

A little bit of autodidactic research into politics, economics and history showed not only the facts but also the deliberate misinformation and outright lies spread by those who want to isolate and ultimately impoverish Britain for narrow personal gain.

And yet you don't seem to be too busy showing us these facts. You're much more interested in telling everyone how much better informed you are than people who disagree with you.

In fact, a little bit of research on your username shows that you do the self-same thing on a plethora of forums on the internet.

You've discovered that I don't hide who I am or what I think and that I hold consistent views no matter where I go. Well done. Have a sweetie.

And that when you rocked up to Mumsnet a couple of months ago you immediately got people's backs up by telling them how they should run the site to your particular standards.

Let's see whether you can work out why I might have appeared on Mumsnet a few months ago. Think it over. Take your time.

I'd bet you don't even have kids.

How much would you like to bet?

So, please please go on spamming lies and nonsense about the EU across the internet. Because all you'll succeed in doing is exposing yourself as a lunatic, and disposable cannon fodder of a small Establishment cabal who actually don't give two hoots about your economic wellbeing.

The entire political class, bar a few outliers, supports membership of the EU. The majority of the media supports EU membership in one form or another. The only mainstream paper whose editorial line is that Britain should be outside the EU entirely is the Express. Everyone else supports full membership or renegotiation.

The people who don't want membership are the majority of the general public. That makes you the disposable cannon fodder of the Establishment cabal and me the heroic defender of Liberty and the Common Man.

Amusing, isn't it?

UnimaginitiveDadThemedUsername Thu 18-Oct-12 13:13:43

somebloke

The only EU body permitted to initiate EU legislation is the non-elected EU Commission. Commissioners may indeed have been appointed by democratically elected governments. They are typically members of the old boys' network who need to be shifted out of the way, or be found somewhere to go after being rejected by normal democratic processes. Past incumbents include Leon Brittan, Neil Kinnock, Peter Mandelson, Chris Patten. On appointment they are no longer representatives of their country but of the EU itself. (Peter Mandelson used to refer to "my member states".

We already have a forum for directly elected politicians and a forum for ministers of elected governments, so there is nothing wrong with having a forum for individuals who have proved they are capable operators. As Hong Kong governor, Chris Patten was responsible for its smooth transition back to Chinese rule. Mandleson and Kinnock both showed how they were able to change their own party from within when it could have been ripped apart. Leon Brittan resigned his seat from a standing Tory government to become a Commissioner.

The golden rule of democracies is that you don't elect civil servants because of the conflict of interest. Britain doesn't do it, and the EU doesn't do it. Do you really think we should elect civil servants? I don't think that's a good idea.

The EU parliament is a fig leaf. It can't initiate legislation. If it tries to amend it too much then the commission can just scupper it by withdrawing it.

So if proposed legislation isn't acceptable to the directly elected parliament it gets withdrawn by the Commission - and that's somehow a bad thing?

I thought the standard line was that the European Parliament was merely a rubber stamp and had no power - but now you're saying they can effectively knock something into touch. Once again, why is this a bad thing?

MEPs are permitted to speak only for 90 seconds (usually) after which their microphones are switched off.

An incidence where we expect politicians to be succinct in order that as many people be heard as possible and that votes can be always take place.

Do you prefer that great democratic tradition of filibustering, then? Talking so long that a vote cannot even be made?

Maybe I have never joined the right clubs, but I have never been a member of a club whose rule book stated that the rules of the club have primacy over the laws of the UK, or that Westminster shall be allowed to legislate only in areas where the club has decided not to.

There's plenty of groups where you have to abide by the rules, and where actions that may be legal and permitted in the outside world would cause you to be censured if they conflict with the club or put it into disrepute.

A demos is much more than an arbitrary collection of people who happen to have been given a vote. The Basingstoke Women's Institute + The Baton Rouge Rotary club + the Bayern Munich LBGT Supporters' Group constitutes a collection of people. They are not a demos. A demos is a collection of voters with sufficient commonality of identity that people are prepared to put up with a democratic vote going against them e.g. labour supporters when the Tories win, and vice versa. The UK is a demos (though it has become more strained in recent years) - the EU most definitely is not. Swedes and Greeks have little in common apart from shared humanity.

You're just making stuff up now. Multiple dictionary definitions do not attribute a demos with anything other than being a collection of people who vote. Actually, to be fair, there is another definition - voters eligible to vote within an Ancient Greek republic. But considering women now have the vote in the countries we are discussing, they clearly aren't a 'demos' in this sense so we can discount this meaning.

A constitution is a constitution, not something to be discarded when circumstances change. Changing such a set of rules should require a number a hurdles to be passed. It was an absolutely explicit rule of past treaties that bail outs of individual states by the EU were forbidden. This has been ridden rough-shod over not for the benefit of the respective populations but to keep the whole EU/Euro gravy train on the road. Incidentally the rules allowing member states to adopt the Euro originally were fudged too. The only ones that really satisfied the criteria were the UK and Luxembourg, and we didn't join anyway.

Like I said, our current economic environment has been a game-changer for everyone. And I'd suggest that the endless meetings and summits of EU nation finance ministers to come up with solutions and new mechanisms like the Fiscal Compact shows that there were indeed 'hurdles', as you put it.

Sovereignty refers to the level where authority lies. It's nothing to do with pragmatic give-and-take relationships such as particular police arrangments, which are always subject to cancellation by either party.

And if that higher level of authority includes you as a member (as does the EU and NATO), then you aren't losing sovereignty.

UnimaginitiveDadThemedUsername Thu 18-Oct-12 13:21:39

flatpackhamster

Eurostat report shows 27.7% of Greeks below the poverty line
Greek unemployment now 25%, youth unemployment 58%
Unemployment in Spain 24.6%, youth unemployment 50%

What about Finland, the Netherlands, Austria etc? Nothing about them, eh?

Given that EU membership demonstrably doesn't cause poverty and unemployment in all EU nations across the board, your claim that the EU is responsible is clearly nonsense.

Loving the way you believe that an individual nation's mismanagement of its own economy is somehow someone else's fault.

Let's see whether you can work out why I might have appeared on Mumsnet a few months ago.

You've become a parent? Well done you. It's funny how you spend most of your time telling people how to run their site according to your personal political prejudices, arguing politics and spreading misinformation and lies though, isn't it?

The people who don't want membership are the majority of the general public.

A recent YouGov/Sun poll puts those who don't want membership (and therefore withdrawal) at 26% - which isn't a 'majority' the last time I checked:

d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/39lzsuywij/YG-Archives-Pol-Sun-EU-090712.pdf

Classing 26% as a majority is either the mark of an imbecile or a liar.

Which are you?

somebloke123 Thu 18-Oct-12 14:04:47

The commission aren't "civil servants" they are the major source of executive power. Kinnock lost an election (or was it 2) because he was perceived as a windbag not up to the job. He was virulently anti-EU when climbing up the Labour party greasy pole under Michael Foot and he is pro-EU now he is a happy passenger on the gravy train. When Marta Andriessen pointed out irregularities on EU accounting, instead of taking her findings on board he got her sacked.

Mandelson had to resign twice from the Labour government because of financial irregularities.

Patten holds down 3 positions (1) EU Commission pensioner (2) membership of the House of Lords (3) Chairman of the BBC Trust, each of which are on conflict with the other two.

So yes they are all operators - if you want that sort of thing.

And as commissioners they could not be got rid of.

One the second point you didn't read what I said. It's not the EU Parliament that can kick something into touch. The point is if they try to amend it into something better and the Commission don't like it, the Commission can withdraw it.

...

Er .... there are possible positions between restricting speeches to 90 seconds and having fillibusters lasting several hours.

-

Demos: You're just time wasting. The word does indeed come from the ancient Greek. This does not (of course) mean that it has to have literally the same definition as then e.g. with only male and non-slave suffrage. It has a widely-accepted definition in political science as a more or less homogeneous group that can be considered as an entity. Look it up. The acid test is "am I prepared to go with the decision of the majority even if it goes against my vote?". If I am able to acknowledge the others as having enough commonality of culture, aspiration and purpose as I then my answer will be yes. I do feel that towards the Scots, Welsh and Cornish. I do not towards Finns, Greeks and Slovenians (not that I harbour any hostility to those groups.)

-----

Constitutions are not absolutely permanent but are quasi-permanent. The hurdles to be overcome to amend them are, or ought to be, high.

For example the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution, guaranteeing freedom of expression, could be removed, but it would require something like a 2/3 majority in the Senate and 3/4 of state legislatures to agree. I may not have the precise details correct - but the point is that it can't be done at the drop of a hat by a bunch of political placemen just because "circumstances have changed" or even faced with a "gamechanger". The prohibition on bailouts was absolutely central. Of course some people did warn that the Euro would inevitably lead to unsustainable tensions and they have been vindicated. At the time theywere variously derided as Little Englanders, xenophobes and other mindless terms of abuse.

----

No it doesn't. Sovereignty denotes where authority lies. If ultimate authority lies with the UK Government, let's say in deciding what type and level of taxes we are allowed to levy, then the UK is sovereign. If it lies with the EU Commision then the EU is sovereign. And it doesn't matter whether some of the commissioners are from Britain.

If the USA wants to abolish the 1st amendment and gets enough votes in the relevant bodies then it can do so. If all the senators and governors from Ohio disagree then the can be overruled. So so sovereignty resides at the Federal level in the USA. Ohio has zero sovereignty. It has devolved powers, which are not the same thing.

www.cps.org.uk/files/reports/original/111027161740-SenseofSovereignity1991.pdf

flatpackhamster Thu 18-Oct-12 22:28:28

UnimaginitiveDadThemedUsername

flatpackhamster

What about Finland, the Netherlands, Austria etc? Nothing about them, eh?

No. Obviously. You asked me to prove my point and I did. I didn't mention the countries you've listed because they aren't the ones where people are starving and rioting on the streets. Yet. Is it your view that these people are acceptable casualties given that there is no street violence in Finland? It would be an odd position to hold. Yet you don't seem bothered in the slightest by their plight.

Given that EU membership demonstrably doesn't cause poverty and unemployment in all EU nations across the board, your claim that the EU is responsible is clearly nonsense.

I thought you were the expert on history and the EU. I had - foolish me - assumed you were going to fill you next post with all the amazing facts you had. It seems that you were too busy - again - thinking up rude things to say to me. Maybe next time?

So let me help you out with some facts.

When you create monetary union, you are tying a whole group of countries with different currencies together. Some nations will have their old currency overvalued, and some undervalued.

Germany had its currency undervalued when it joined the Euro. As a consequence exports were cheaper, and the German economy boomed.

Countries such as Greece, Spain and Italy had their currencies overvalued when they joined the Euro. As a consequence their exports were more expensive. A single interest rate created further problems, since it set interest rates too low to control (for example) the Spanish credit bubble.

So there has to be a mechanism (fiscal transfer) to move the money from the nations who benefit from the currency (Germany) to the ones who don't (the PIIGS). But, since there isn't a fiscal union there is no fiscal transfer mechanism. So the first major stress test of the Euro - this global banking/liquidity/etc crisis - has ripped it apart and revealed its fundamental flaws.

Without convergence of the economies before they joined the Euro, the scheme was destined to fail. But the PIIGS joined the Euro for political reasons, not economic ones.

The Euro was a political tool to force convergence but it has failed. And there were a great many people warning that without fiscal union monetary union would fail. And it has failed, and millions are having their lives ruined. Ruined because the EU played politics with their lives.

Loving the way you believe that an individual nation's mismanagement of its own economy is somehow someone else's fault.

It would certainly be the sole fault of the politicians if they had access to the tools to improve the productivity of their economy, such as altering interest rates and cutting the exchange rate.

Their problem was that they were tied in to a system where they could never become more productive than Germany.

A recent YouGov/Sun poll puts those who don't want membership (and therefore withdrawal) at 26% - which isn't a 'majority' the last time I checked:

d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/39lzsuywij/YG-Archives-Pol-Sun-EU-090712.pdf

Classing 26% as a majority is either the mark of an imbecile or a liar.

Which are you?

It's a bit of a shame that you didn't pay a tiny bit more attention to that poll. If you read question 7 on page 3 - which is the important question here, not the one you plucked out - you'll note that only 31% want to remain a member of the EU and 48% want to leave - with 17% "don't know" and 4% 'wouldn't vote'.

That's a majority.

So how does it feel being the disposable cannon fodder of the establishment cabal? Are the parties good? Sorry, soirees. Maybe they can give you some 'facts' for your next post.

UnimaginitiveDadThemedUsername Fri 19-Oct-12 19:00:36

somebloke

Yes, the Commission is the executive branch, but what is an executive branch? It's the branch that administers the state.

The Commission is responsible for drafting European Union law and in theory has a monopoly and independence over instigating legislation. They deal with day-to-day running of the EU and uphold law and treaties. Whilst they have Commissioners ultimately responsible for specific areas and therefore resemble ministers, they are in fact bound by existing legislation as ultimately agreed by member nations in the Council. They don't have the authority to busk it and make policy on the fly like our ministers do.

Commissioners can't be got rid of? Wrong. Commissioners can be got rid of - the European Parliament forced the mass resignation in 1999.

Marta Andreasen's case is a curate's egg. She has a long history of falling out with employers for not following procedure (even Nigel Farage has fallen out with her now), so whilst on balance I think she was forced out there is a strong element of doubt. Unfortunately, as far as whistle blowing goes, I can't think of any organisation that ends up smelling of roses. The NHS is absolutely shocking in its treatment of whistleblowers and needs to change - but I don't think that's reason enough to call for its extinction.

Demos - give it up. It doesn't matter how much eurosceptic pixie dust you try to sprinkle over it, it isn't going to change its meaning to what you want it to mean. A demos is an electorate. Full stop.

Constitutions - it's interesting that you use the US as your example. American obsession with the fixed nature of their Constitution is a very real issue for their society.

Sovereignty - you post a link to the Centre for Policy Studies, a right-wing think tank that has most recently made a name for itself in suggesting the introduction of summary dismissals of British workers. If I posted a link to Europa you'd laugh at me.

Noel Malcolm's essay is interesting, but clearly rooted in an archaic historical view and apart from a fleeting reference to NATO makes absolutely no mention of the effects on sovereignty of international treaties or other major international bodies (as well as ignoring any cost-benefit analysis - it just obsesses on the 'cost'). Like I said earlier, I've got respect for people who have an absolutist attitude to sovereignty and who don't pick and choose which groups and treaties they sign up for. I just haven't met many people like that.

UnimaginitiveDadThemedUsername Fri 19-Oct-12 19:29:05

flatpackhamster

You said, and I quote:

"The people who don't want membership are the majority of the general public."

Let's play your game…

…you claim that 48% is 'a majority'. 48% is not a majority. You were talking about people who don't want membership. On that basis, you haven't got to a majority.

Of course, you're trying to spin what you actually said into a different question, which is why you are now trying to bundle in 'don't knows'.

And you are, of course, cherry-picking a specific question from the poll that you weren't originally referring to, which forces a binary choice on the electorate - "If there was a referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union, how would you vote?"

48% vote to leave when forced to pick from an in-or-out choice. A high percentage. But in any case, 48% is still not a 'majority'

Now let's play my game...

…giving people a fully open choice, the question on p1 asks the following:

People hold different views about how they would like to see the European Union develop. Which of these statements comes closest to your view?

Those answering "Complete British withdrawal from the European Union"? = 26%

26% is not a majority.

Page 3 asks the question "Imagine the British government under David Cameron renegotiated our relationship with Europe and said that Britain's interests were now protected, and David Cameron recommended that Britain remain a member of the European Union on the new terms.
How would you then vote in a referendum on the issue?

Those answering "Would vote for Britain to leave the European Union"? = 34%

34% is not a majority.

It's clear that out of all the different categories of opinion, most people favour a redefinition of membership, NOT the rejection of membership that you claim they do.

In summary, whether we play your game or mine, you're still wrong in saying that the majority of the British people don't want membership of the EU. The fact that you tried to run this past AND not cough to being found out shows that you are a liar when it comes to debate about the European Union. You're in great company, of course - people like Nigel Farage and Dan Hannon lie their socks off about everything EU-related they can get their hands on, and are routinely supported by huge chunks of the British media in the long-term aim to bounce the British people into being turkeys that vote for Christmas.

No matter - you're still a mendacious liar, and cannot be trusted.
We are done here.

flatpackhamster Sat 20-Oct-12 10:26:45

Renegotiation is not an option, as anyone with an ounce of understanding of the EU would know. There is a binary choice here, in or out. Cameron wants to pretend there's a 'third way', but there isn't.

We clearly are done, since your sole interest is in arguing about a percentage in a single poll. I was hoping you might bring some of those much-vaunted 'facts' about the EU, but, for the third time of asking, you've failed to do so. I can only conclude that you don't really understand the subject, which is, I'm sure, why you're in favour of membership.

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