Monday, 30 November 2009

Why No Party?

As of midnight (5 minutes away) we are no longer Scotland in the eyes of the European Union. We will be known as Region 9 and later in 2010 renamed the North Atlantic Tranche (can't get away from the acronym). As of midnight we are Europeans. Above is our new flag.

No headlines in any of the broadsheets celebrating the start of the new Europe. Nothing on Sky or the BBC either. All have been carefully choreographed to keep as low key as possible so as not to excite the citizens. They don't want us waking up do they?

The following is a comment left on another post today. Please read more at Captain Ranty's own blog:

I am now wondering why we aren't celebrating. At midnight, history is made. We have helped to create a superstate and for the first time ever, most of Europe is united.

We get rid of the £. Why no party?

We reintroduce the death penalty. Why no party?

We say goodbye to our sovereignty. Why no party?

We invite in the armed EuroCops. Why no party?

We become Regions 1 to 9. Why no party?

We no longer need parliaments. Why no party?

We no longer need the 646. Surely that is worth breaking out the good malt?

Seriously, if we have just done a good thing where are all the celebration plans? Not even a national holiday? A special broadcast from our monarch, our prime minister, or someone even more important, like Mandy?



Anonymous said...

Did we just bin the pound and start having the death penalty?

I didn't know. Hmmm, just when I'd got to like our new notes too. Oh well.

If we brought back the death penalty I might have a few ideas.....

NAT... I like it. It's an omen...

We can call it NAT day, for it surely is.

banned said...

Greetings from District 4; I bumped into a District 6ist yesterday, shady characters they are, do be careful.

subrosa said...

Greetings from Region 9 banned. Hey, I've good friends in District 6, although I have to admit one of the husbands has always seemed a bit shady to me.

subrosa said...

I just can't escape the acronym Tris. :(

Captain Ranty said...

Thanks SR.

The pound has to go. Our new bible says so. All member nations must use a single currency. How long it will take to switch, I honestly don't know, but it's happening.

The death penalty is perhaps a misnomer, or perhaps melodrama from me. In essence, any fatal shootings by "internal or external security forces or police" will not be investigated as wrongful deaths. They don't want a repeat of that Brazillian guy's "tube incident" appearing on News at Ten. The raft of new laws that came in at midnight support this.

I hope I was melodramatic. I hope I am wrong. I can get over a little embarrassment if I am.

I will never get over losing my country.


subrosa said...

CR, my pleasure. I'd love to be proved wrong too. Like you I can handle the embarrassment as that would certainly be a small price to pay.

Hammer said...

I, for one, welcome our new European Overlords.

The District numbering is interesting. I was aware that for administrative purposes, Britain subdivided it's-self into regions following Maastrict. In part, this actually helped pave the way for both the failed regional devolution project and Scottish Devolution. This allowed EU Development funds to be targeted where it was needed rather then it end up being funnelled by Westminster to London and the South-East (although they also have their own problems and did qualify for some development funds). At the end of the day, it's simple administration - do you you think civil servants can really remember a couple of hundred different region names in a dozen different languages?

Gordon Brown is, unfortunately, one of the Euro's greatest sceptics and we're looking at Cameron and his divided party coming in soon. Will we have the Euro by 2015? I highly doubt it. Even the SNP, which is staunchly pro-Europe can't decide if it wants the Euro.
Which is all a great shame. Being able to use the Euro makes travel so much simpler and talking to my friends from Europe, no-one seems to miss their individual currencies.
(For Reference, Britain is the only country in the EU that is not obliged to join the Euro - Denmark and Sweden are, as are the East European states).

As far as sovereignty goes, then in a globalised world it becomes a moot point anyway. The power of business and of America renders our sovereignty questionable (see the Suez crisis where Britain had it's venom drawn...we wouldn't even have the Bomb if America didn't want us to have it). In Europe, at least we have influence over someone as opposed just being a pompous relic of a hateful empire.

As far as Parliament goes, I'd say they are still needed and won't be vanishing soon. They've just been handed the ability to scrutinise and amend EU legislation, which is a step towards greater democratic involvement in the upper tiers of the EU. Hopefully, this power will be used in turn to provide further democratic reforms.
Sadly, it'll be the same-old same-old for Holyrood, with EU matters being kept at Westminster for the foreseeable. An absolutely intolerable arrangement given that (under the German constitution) the German states have the ability to represent their country at the highest levels of the EU on some matters.

Finally, on the 'armed EuroCops', you can largely thank Major for that one. They were introduced in Maastricht, became operational in 1999 and have probably been being useful since then, although I can't find anything about key cases they've been involved in. I suspect the McCann case may be one however, since they seem to act as go-betweens between foreign forces. The inclusion of them in Lisbon is just book-keeping, moving all the treaties into one place.
It's interesting to note that Baroness Ashcroft is the head of this force.

Honestly, I would have been celebrating, but I forgot.
This is a great step forward for the EU and it does include some measures for greater openness. Not enough, but given the new involvement of parliaments then that will hopefully change.

PS. Regarding the article you linked to, I'm no expert on law, however my understanding is the vast majority of Scottish (but not English, Welsh and Irish law) is already based on Roman Law. This was the key issue which allowed Scots Law to remain independent of that of England in 1707. I'm not sure if that means what the writer refers to as 'guilty until proven innocent' also applies here (I suspect not) or if is being brought in (I also suspect not) or if it's simple fear mongering and playing on a lack of public knowledge of what's actually in Lisbon or if it's lack of information on the writers part (I hope this latter).

scunnert said...

Hammer - an unelected cabal runs the EU. The people of Europe weren't given a choice. Greater openness? Yer havin a laugh surely?

Transnational Corporations now run Europe - end of.

Captain Ranty said...

Mr Hammer,

An intelligent argument for the EU and it is good to see the thought behind the post.

At one point I was entirely submerged in Acts, Statutes and Bills and I know that Scots Law remained after 1707 but also that the inclusion of some English Law was agreed.

I don't pretend to be an expert, and I hope that I am not a fear-monger, so that leaves lack of information. Like you, I hope that is the case with me. If I find anything convincing I will post another piece and issue corrections.

I see the EU as a massive drain on our resources. Its demands for large amounts of our cash, badly needed here, is obscene to me. They don't seem to have to show us what they are wasting our money on, either. No audited reports for what, 11 years now? Do you want that to continue? Its surreal, almost fanatical production of new legislation is likewise obscene. Mankind has only ever needed just four laws with which to lead a safe and happy life. Cause no harm, no loss, no injury to fellow humans, and cause no mischief with contracts (fraud). I genuinely believe that every "crime" can be covered with these simple, natural, laws.

Instead we are witnessing unprecedented numbers of people gaoled for potential crime. No harm, loss or injury ocurred yet these people are sent down. How can that be fair, right or just?

The EU monster merely hurries things along. We are are morphing into some Utopian Corporate Citizen and the human element is mostly, wilfully, ignored.

The EU is bad for me, it's bad for my family, it's bad for my friends and colleagues, and it's bad for my country. I am convinced that if asked, the vast majority of us would say "Thanks, but no thanks".

And I believe Westminster knows that.


Hammer said...

Captain Ranty,

I have to say, I am also vaguely stumbling in the dark where it comes to the actual principles at the basis of EU. I'm more familiar with the implementation and organisation side of the coin.

I would agree in part with the idea of Europe as a drain on resources with debatable return. Following the Enlargement, the UK no longer qualifies for the degree of developmental aid that we once received. As I said (albeit making a different point), Scotland (in particular the Highlands) and the North of England and Wales benefited hugely from these and it helped to curb the aftermath of the 80s deindustrialisation. It's worth pointing out that sadly, Westminster has never done enough in this area.
Money-wise, British Farmers still benefit from the Common Agriculture Policy, which is currently at the most sensible it's ever been. On the other hand, the largest single beneficiary of these funds in the UK is the Crown, as one of Europe's largest landowners.
However, your point about the lack of audited accounts is a good one. It remains one of the most important issues in the EU. I'm sure that it's probably in the interests of the Governments of Europe not to make these available as well. God knows why, but you seldom see a party of Government actually kicking up a fuss about them.

As far as the benefits of EU law go, I can only really comment on one area off the top of my head.
The vast amount of conservation laws and laws banning the use of harmful pesticides in the UK have been passed by the EU. This has, of course, caused objections from farmers, but I remember during the 80s and 90s, seeing TV footage of dead fish washing up on the river banks due to run off fields where farmers were using these chemicals. They didn't seem particularly bothered at the time.
Previously, Mrs Thatcher had shown an objection to banning such chemicals, despite members of the Tory party campaigning against their use.

Regarding the people jailed for potential crimes, can you cite a specific instance? The only act which I know of that allows such things in the UK are the Terrorism Acts, which were, of course, objected to by the EU as infringing on human rights (ie. sentence without a trial etc).

I don't see the EU as being a Utopian entity or lessening culture and identity. I see no-one banning tartan, rebranding Cornish pasties or damaging any of our major 'brands', barring the pound, a currency which was only introduced in the last 50 years.
The EU isn't good for everyone and it isn't good all the time. But there can be little doubt that the EU has been responsible for laws which benefit us hugely - even if it's just that it makes visiting someone sunny for a holiday much easier and that your kids toys don't have lead paint in them.

Hammer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hammer said...


You are quite right. I didn't vote for the EU Commissioners. They are unelected.

However I didn't vote the for Westminster Government which appoints them either.
I also never voted for Lord Justices, members of the House of Lords, the British Ambassador to America, the head of the Civil Service, the UK Representative to NATO, the UK Representative to the UN, the Climate Change Delegation to COP-15 or the High Commissioner of Canada.
And I most certainly didn't vote for a Monarchy.

There are a lot of things in this life that we don't vote for. Instead, we vote for MPs to do it for us - we trust them to appoint all of these people (except the Queen of course). What matters is that a majority of the British public (taking into account the flaws of FPTP) did vote Labour in to power and give them the right to appoint a Commissioner to the EU.

You are also forgetting that the highest body in the EU is the Council of Ministers. It's members include the majority of every cabinet in the EU. If every single state in Europe has an unelected government, then I think we have bigger problems here. ;)

(NB. I voted SNP in 2005, not meaning to sound like I didn't vote then)

Anonymous said...

What a first rate discussion.

The EU isn't all good, or bad. Come to that even the UK isn't all bad.

I know that there has been much work done, funded by the EU, which would never have been funded by Westminster. However, no matter how poor some regions of the UK are, they are richer than some of the newer countries in the Union, and therefore we have less in the way of funding now than previously.

As for the non elected status of the EU, well, as Hammer said, how much of our administration is actually elected, when you take the Lords (who comprise quite a fair number of ministers, including the Dept Prime Minister), the Supreme Court, the top civil servants and all the Ambassadors? Under the system used in Westminster, the current government was elected by a fairly small number of the population and the next government (in all probability) will be elected by a fairly tiny number of the Scottish population.

Britain is a rather undemocratic country. Our Prime Minister was not even elected to that job. He got it because it was his turn. This has turned out to be a disastrous situation. Our head of state is not elected, and whilst there are those who say that the present incumbent has done a fair job, there is no doubt in my mind that the next one will be a catastrophe.

As I've said, I don't think that the EU is the best thing for Scotland as an independent country, but it has profited a lot from the EU in its status as a region of Britain, or as we are known abroad, England.

Clarinda said...

No wonder the teaching of accurate Scottish history in schools and most other easily accessed public places etc. has been eroded/sidelined to the point where too many Scots believe that William Wallace was our sole hero. Imagine if we and our children had been educated within the ethos of our true history, cultural, literary, industrial and entrepreneurial past and potential future - how it might have been different. Not only have we ended up as victim to anglo-political bias but now the EU autocracy has taken it upon itself to rule supreme.

I take Hammer's points, but as we become lulled into the illusion that an unelected body will be better for us than any democratically elected government - aren't we missing something vital to our humanity and individual freedom to think for ourselves? I accept that there are loads of other unelected bodies around, but that doesn't mean two unelecteds make a better decision. When we are talking about people making ultimate decisions, the EU is a totalitarian form of governance, and that must not be allowed to reign omnipotent.

I can't imagine that the French electorate who still treasure and celebrate their cultural, arts and literary traditions and proponents with far greater gusto and reverence than we do - and who are much more robust in sticking up for all things French, will be as submissive as we might think under the Euro Boot when the penny, or is it the Euro, finally drops. Perhaps they and many other EU plastic regions will just carry on ignoring EU directives as they have done for years, while the UK seems determined to be EU goodie-goodies?

It's been said before but worth repeating - ignore the effects of civil oppression/marginalisation at your peril when the political classes consistently fail to uphold or promote the reasonable national expectations of the electorate.

subrosa said...

Excellent contributions lady and gentlemen and I thank you.

I confess the last treaty I read was the Maastricht Treaty so I'm not completely or anywhere near au fait with Lisbon, but I read the comments of those who have persecuted themselves reading Lisbon and opinion seems to be divided fairly evenly, although at as progresses more appear to be anti Europe than pro.

Clarinda puts it well when she says 'ignore oppression and marginalisation at your peril'. None of our politicians made a stand when Tony Blair reduced PMQs to a sitcom half hour and rode roughshod over Westminster since then. It continues today in a similar vein and the Scottish parliament seems to have adopted the habit.

Good reading here in the Scottish Review.

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