Discussion:
EU
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Richard Partridge
2016-03-01 20:46:13 UTC
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This is off topic, of course, but I don¹t understand why England¹s Tory
government calls for unnecessary referendums and then gets scared that they
will come out the wrong way. First they scheduled a vote on Scottish
independence, which they didn¹t have to do, and then they had conniptions
when it looked as if the Union would break up. Now they have called for an
unnecessary vote on leaving the European Union, and are getting scared that
people will vote ³yes.²

Dick Partridge
Dogbert Dilbert
2016-03-03 09:40:13 UTC
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This is off topic, of course, but I don’t understand why England’s Tory
government calls for unnecessary referendums and then gets scared that
they will come out the wrong way.  First they scheduled a vote on
Scottish independence, which they didn’t have to do, and then they had
conniptions when it looked as if the Union would break up.  Now they
have called for an unnecessary vote on leaving the European Union, and
are getting scared that people will vote “yes.”
Dick Partridge
You're forgetting the last UK election, when it seemed that about 4
million mostly Tory voters were going to vote for a bunch of
"swivel-eyed loonies" called UKIP who were running on a platform which
included an in-out referendum on membership of the EU. In order to try
to get some of those voters back, Cameron had to promise that he, too
would hold such a referendum. At the time it was thought unlikely that
any one party would win an overall majority, so he probably guessed
that he could throw this commitment overboard once in a power-sharing
coalition and blame his coalition partners for it. Problem was that he
won an outright majority and for some reason felt obliged to go through
with this insanity.

What puzzles me is that if he reneged on his promise we'd all have said
Cameron was a liar and not to be trusted. But a) that's what we all
know anyway, so what difference would it make, and b) Cameron isn't
going to be in charge of the Tory party at the next election, so why
should he care?

Dogbertd
Richard Partridge
2016-03-03 16:17:55 UTC
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Post by Dogbert Dilbert
Post by Richard Partridge
This is off topic, of course, but I don¹t understand why England¹s Tory
government calls for unnecessary referendums and then gets scared that
they will come out the wrong way.  First they scheduled a vote on
Scottish independence, which they didn¹t have to do, and then they had
conniptions when it looked as if the Union would break up.  Now they
have called for an unnecessary vote on leaving the European Union, and
are getting scared that people will vote ³yes.²
Dick Partridge
You're forgetting the last UK election, when it seemed that about 4
million mostly Tory voters were going to vote for a bunch of
"swivel-eyed loonies" called UKIP who were running on a platform which
included an in-out referendum on membership of the EU. In order to try
to get some of those voters back, Cameron had to promise that he, too
would hold such a referendum. At the time it was thought unlikely that
any one party would win an overall majority, so he probably guessed
that he could throw this commitment overboard once in a power-sharing
coalition and blame his coalition partners for it. Problem was that he
won an outright majority and for some reason felt obliged to go through
with this insanity.
What puzzles me is that if he reneged on his promise we'd all have said
Cameron was a liar and not to be trusted. But a) that's what we all
know anyway, so what difference would it make, and b) Cameron isn't
going to be in charge of the Tory party at the next election, so why
should he care?
Dogbertd
It all seems very strange. Not mature, civilized and orderly, as in
American politics.

Dick Partridge
Mike Scott Rohan
2016-03-03 17:41:33 UTC
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Post by Richard Partridge
It all seems very strange. Not mature, civilized and orderly, as in
American politics.
Dick Partridge
Indeed. Pity that eagle didn't get Trump -- or at least his hair. What a snake-oil showman!

Cheers,

Mike

PS I begin to wonder if we haven't been misinterpreting references to "The Last Trump"...
Mike Scott Rohan
2016-03-03 17:39:22 UTC
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Post by Dogbert Dilbert
This is off topic, of course, but I don't understand why England's Tory
government calls for unnecessary referendums and then gets scared that
they will come out the wrong way. First they scheduled a vote on
Scottish independence, which they didn't have to do, and then they had
conniptions when it looked as if the Union would break up. Now they
have called for an unnecessary vote on leaving the European Union, and
are getting scared that people will vote "yes."
Dick Partridge
You're forgetting the last UK election, when it seemed that about 4
million mostly Tory voters were going to vote for a bunch of
"swivel-eyed loonies" called UKIP who were running on a platform which
included an in-out referendum on membership of the EU. In order to try
to get some of those voters back, Cameron had to promise that he, too
would hold such a referendum. At the time it was thought unlikely that
any one party would win an overall majority, so he probably guessed
that he could throw this commitment overboard once in a power-sharing
coalition and blame his coalition partners for it. Problem was that he
won an outright majority and for some reason felt obliged to go through
with this insanity.
What puzzles me is that if he reneged on his promise we'd all have said
Cameron was a liar and not to be trusted. But a) that's what we all
know anyway, so what difference would it make, and b) Cameron isn't
going to be in charge of the Tory party at the next election, so why
should he care?
Dogbertd
Well, the electorate trusted Cameron a lot more than Ed Milliband or anybody else, and personally I don't assume voters are all blind idiots when they elect one party, and perceptive idealists when they elect another. But to come back to Richard's point, in both cases the demand for a referendum was real, to the point of disrupting other issues and overbalancing the election. UKIP, a ramshackle assemblage of varying views, traded chiefly on the major parties' refusal to concede such a referendum. When Cameron promised it, he took the wind out of their sails, and dished them at the election. If he then ignored it he'd just make them stronger again, as well as risking serious defections from his own party, about half of which has come to distrust the EC, while many more could be persuaded to leave Europe if they felt the mood of the nation was favourable. Labour has been no less split for a long time between the moderates, who like the EU just as much as the moderate Tories, and the Left, who originally despised the EU as a capitalist plot but have found it politically convenient; so there too there have been demands for a referendum, and it's notable that UKIP's gains were mostly at Labour's expense. The actual electorate seems fairly divided, despising the EU's awesome wastefulness, undemocratic bureaucracy, elephantine indecision, stupefying corruption, Franco-German bias both political and financial, its obsession with imposing political integration over the heads of voters, and most recently its ability to get itself into trouble over the migration problem, Russian expansionism etc, while also valuing the economic and trade strengths that attract jobs and infrastructure and its potential to present a more formidable front to younger superpowers. Unfortunately this has become less apparent recently, because the original relative political harmony and political moderation, especially between France and Germany, and Britain also, has been replaced by a much wider range of opinions and a resurgence of noisy nationalism. Likewise the economic benefits have become less apparent because Britain is probably the strongest economy next to Germany right now, and people are not impressed with countries like Greece becoming a burden on others less corrupt and more sensible -- still less so France and Spain. No wonder they look at countries like Norway, which have grown rich and strong by largely ignoring the EC.

At which point I should probably say I'm (non-party) pro-Europe, but even more pro-reform -- *real* reform, not the window-dressing Cameron is trying to sell. Ending the idiotic comuting of the HQ between Brussels and Strasbourg, for example (solely to placate the French ego); cutting the huge bureaucracy and its gravy-train finances; ending the comfortable industrial links that chiefly benefit the Franco-German axis and quietly wall out others; ending the Common Agricultural Policy chiefly designed to featherbed French and German farmers; restoring countries' control of their own borders and territorial waters (to prevent Spanish over-fishing of British coastlines, for example); and a swifter, more reasoned response to international emergencies. That's a fairly favourable view; you can imagine why many others are hostile......

Cheers,

Mike
Richard Partridge
2016-03-04 21:52:42 UTC
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On 3/3/16 12:39 PM, Mike Scott Rohan, at
Post by Mike Scott Rohan
Post by Dogbert Dilbert
This is off topic, of course, but I don't understand why England's Tory
government calls for unnecessary referendums and then gets scared that
they will come out the wrong way. First they scheduled a vote on
Scottish independence, which they didn't have to do, and then they had
conniptions when it looked as if the Union would break up. Now they
have called for an unnecessary vote on leaving the European Union, and
are getting scared that people will vote "yes."
Dick Partridge
You're forgetting the last UK election, when it seemed that about 4
million mostly Tory voters were going to vote for a bunch of
"swivel-eyed loonies" called UKIP who were running on a platform which
included an in-out referendum on membership of the EU. In order to try
to get some of those voters back, Cameron had to promise that he, too
would hold such a referendum. At the time it was thought unlikely that
any one party would win an overall majority, so he probably guessed
that he could throw this commitment overboard once in a power-sharing
coalition and blame his coalition partners for it. Problem was that he
won an outright majority and for some reason felt obliged to go through
with this insanity.
What puzzles me is that if he reneged on his promise we'd all have said
Cameron was a liar and not to be trusted. But a) that's what we all
know anyway, so what difference would it make, and b) Cameron isn't
going to be in charge of the Tory party at the next election, so why
should he care?
Dogbertd
Well, the electorate trusted Cameron a lot more than Ed Milliband or anybody
else, and personally I don't assume voters are all blind idiots when they
elect one party, and perceptive idealists when they elect another. But to come
back to Richard's point, in both cases the demand for a referendum was real,
to the point of disrupting other issues and overbalancing the election. UKIP,
a ramshackle assemblage of varying views, traded chiefly on the major parties'
refusal to concede such a referendum. When Cameron promised it, he took the
wind out of their sails, and dished them at the election. If he then ignored
it he'd just make them stronger again, as well as risking serious defections
from his own party, about half of which has come to distrust the EC, while
many more could be persuaded to leave Europe if they felt the mood of the
nation was favourable. Labour has been no less split for a long time between
the moderates, who like the EU just as much as the moderate Tories, and the
Left, who originally despised the EU as a capitalist plot but have found it
politically convenient; so there too there have been demands for a referendum,
and it's notable that UKIP's gains were mostly at Labour's expense. The actual
electorate seems fairly divided, despising the EU's awesome wastefulness,
undemocratic bureaucracy, elephantine indecision, stupefying corruption,
Franco-German bias both political and financial, its obsession with imposing
political integration over the heads of voters, and most recently its ability
to get itself into trouble over the migration problem, Russian expansionism
etc, while also valuing the economic and trade strengths that attract jobs and
infrastructure and its potential to present a more formidable front to younger
superpowers. Unfortunately this has become less apparent recently, because the
original relative political harmony and political moderation, especially
between France and Germany, and Britain also, has been replaced by a much
wider range of opinions and a resurgence of noisy nationalism. Likewise the
economic benefits have become less apparent because Britain is probably the
strongest economy next to Germany right now, and people are not impressed with
countries like Greece becoming a burden on others less corrupt and more
sensible -- still less so France and Spain. No wonder they look at countries
like Norway, which have grown rich and strong by largely ignoring the EC.
At which point I should probably say I'm (non-party) pro-Europe, but even more
pro-reform -- *real* reform, not the window-dressing Cameron is trying to
sell. Ending the idiotic comuting of the HQ between Brussels and Strasbourg,
for example (solely to placate the French ego); cutting the huge bureaucracy
and its gravy-train finances; ending the comfortable industrial links that
chiefly benefit the Franco-German axis and quietly wall out others; ending the
Common Agricultural Policy chiefly designed to featherbed French and German
farmers; restoring countries' control of their own borders and territorial
waters (to prevent Spanish over-fishing of British coastlines, for example);
and a swifter, more reasoned response to international emergencies. That's a
fairly favourable view; you can imagine why many others are hostile......
Cheers,
Mike
I would hesitate to offer an opinion about what Britain should do. Every so
often some stupid ruling of the EU bureaucracy gets reported in the American
press, and I can see why people would get annoyed.

Dick Partridge
Herman van der Woude
2016-03-04 23:27:32 UTC
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Post by Richard Partridge
On 3/3/16 12:39 PM, Mike Scott Rohan, at
Post by Mike Scott Rohan
Post by Dogbert Dilbert
This is off topic, of course, but I don't understand why England's Tory
government calls for unnecessary referendums and then gets scared that
they will come out the wrong way. First they scheduled a vote on
Scottish independence, which they didn't have to do, and then they had
conniptions when it looked as if the Union would break up. Now they
have called for an unnecessary vote on leaving the European Union, and
are getting scared that people will vote "yes."
Dick Partridge
You're forgetting the last UK election, when it seemed that about 4
million mostly Tory voters were going to vote for a bunch of
"swivel-eyed loonies" called UKIP who were running on a platform which
included an in-out referendum on membership of the EU. In order to try
to get some of those voters back, Cameron had to promise that he, too
would hold such a referendum. At the time it was thought unlikely that
any one party would win an overall majority, so he probably guessed
that he could throw this commitment overboard once in a power-sharing
coalition and blame his coalition partners for it. Problem was that he
won an outright majority and for some reason felt obliged to go through
with this insanity.
What puzzles me is that if he reneged on his promise we'd all have said
Cameron was a liar and not to be trusted. But a) that's what we all
know anyway, so what difference would it make, and b) Cameron isn't
going to be in charge of the Tory party at the next election, so why
should he care?
Dogbertd
Well, the electorate trusted Cameron a lot more than Ed Milliband or anybody
else, and personally I don't assume voters are all blind idiots when they
elect one party, and perceptive idealists when they elect another. But to
come back to Richard's point, in both cases the demand for a referendum was
real, to the point of disrupting other issues and overbalancing the
election. UKIP, a ramshackle assemblage of varying views, traded chiefly on
the major parties' refusal to concede such a referendum. When Cameron
promised it, he took the wind out of their sails, and dished them at the
election. If he then ignored it he'd just make them stronger again, as well
as risking serious defections from his own party, about half of which has
come to distrust the EC, while many more could be persuaded to leave Europe
if they felt the mood of the nation was favourable. Labour has been no less
split for a long time between the moderates, who like the EU just as much as
the moderate Tories, and the Left, who originally despised the EU as a
capitalist plot but have found it politically convenient; so there too there
have been demands for a referendum, and it's notable that UKIP's gains were
mostly at Labour's expense. The actual electorate seems fairly divided,
despising the EU's awesome wastefulness, undemocratic bureaucracy,
elephantine indecision, stupefying corruption, Franco-German bias both
political and financial, its obsession with imposing political integration
over the heads of voters, and most recently its ability to get itself into
trouble over the migration problem, Russian expansionism etc, while also
valuing the economic and trade strengths that attract jobs and
infrastructure and its potential to present a more formidable front to
younger superpowers. Unfortunately this has become less apparent recently,
because the original relative political harmony and political moderation,
especially between France and Germany, and Britain also, has been replaced
by a much wider range of opinions and a resurgence of noisy nationalism.
Likewise the economic benefits have become less apparent because Britain is
probably the strongest economy next to Germany right now, and people are not
impressed with countries like Greece becoming a burden on others less
corrupt and more sensible -- still less so France and Spain. No wonder they
look at countries like Norway, which have grown rich and strong by largely
ignoring the EC.
At which point I should probably say I'm (non-party) pro-Europe, but even
more pro-reform -- *real* reform, not the window-dressing Cameron is trying
to sell. Ending the idiotic comuting of the HQ between Brussels and
Strasbourg, for example (solely to placate the French ego); cutting the huge
bureaucracy and its gravy-train finances; ending the comfortable industrial
links that chiefly benefit the Franco-German axis and quietly wall out
others; ending the Common Agricultural Policy chiefly designed to featherbed
French and German farmers; restoring countries' control of their own borders
and territorial waters (to prevent Spanish over-fishing of British
coastlines, for example); and a swifter, more reasoned response to
international emergencies. That's a fairly favourable view; you can imagine
why many others are hostile......
Cheers,
Mike
I would hesitate to offer an opinion about what Britain should do. Every so
often some stupid ruling of the EU bureaucracy gets reported in the American
press, and I can see why people would get annoyed.
Dick Partridge
And yet, the future of the European countries lie in a unified Europe,
not in a continent where every country must see to survive on the costs
of other countries.
The European Union, and its forerunners, secured peace in middle and
western Europe since World War II, thanks to common economics and
common interests, not in the least free borders.
It is better that the European leaders quarrel in an assembly room in
Brussels, than that they send armies on a battle field to sort
problems.
--
Met vriendelijke groet,
Cheers,
Herman van der Woude
Richard Partridge
2016-03-05 16:57:10 UTC
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Raw Message
Post by Herman van der Woude
Post by Richard Partridge
On 3/3/16 12:39 PM, Mike Scott Rohan, at
Post by Mike Scott Rohan
Post by Dogbert Dilbert
This is off topic, of course, but I don't understand why England's Tory
government calls for unnecessary referendums and then gets scared that
they will come out the wrong way. First they scheduled a vote on
Scottish independence, which they didn't have to do, and then they had
conniptions when it looked as if the Union would break up. Now they
have called for an unnecessary vote on leaving the European Union, and
are getting scared that people will vote "yes."
Dick Partridge
You're forgetting the last UK election, when it seemed that about 4
million mostly Tory voters were going to vote for a bunch of
"swivel-eyed loonies" called UKIP who were running on a platform which
included an in-out referendum on membership of the EU. In order to try
to get some of those voters back, Cameron had to promise that he, too
would hold such a referendum. At the time it was thought unlikely that
any one party would win an overall majority, so he probably guessed
that he could throw this commitment overboard once in a power-sharing
coalition and blame his coalition partners for it. Problem was that he
won an outright majority and for some reason felt obliged to go through
with this insanity.
What puzzles me is that if he reneged on his promise we'd all have said
Cameron was a liar and not to be trusted. But a) that's what we all
know anyway, so what difference would it make, and b) Cameron isn't
going to be in charge of the Tory party at the next election, so why
should he care?
Dogbertd
Well, the electorate trusted Cameron a lot more than Ed Milliband or anybody
else, and personally I don't assume voters are all blind idiots when they
elect one party, and perceptive idealists when they elect another. But to
come back to Richard's point, in both cases the demand for a referendum was
real, to the point of disrupting other issues and overbalancing the
election. UKIP, a ramshackle assemblage of varying views, traded chiefly on
the major parties' refusal to concede such a referendum. When Cameron
promised it, he took the wind out of their sails, and dished them at the
election. If he then ignored it he'd just make them stronger again, as well
as risking serious defections from his own party, about half of which has
come to distrust the EC, while many more could be persuaded to leave Europe
if they felt the mood of the nation was favourable. Labour has been no less
split for a long time between the moderates, who like the EU just as much as
the moderate Tories, and the Left, who originally despised the EU as a
capitalist plot but have found it politically convenient; so there too there
have been demands for a referendum, and it's notable that UKIP's gains were
mostly at Labour's expense. The actual electorate seems fairly divided,
despising the EU's awesome wastefulness, undemocratic bureaucracy,
elephantine indecision, stupefying corruption, Franco-German bias both
political and financial, its obsession with imposing political integration
over the heads of voters, and most recently its ability to get itself into
trouble over the migration problem, Russian expansionism etc, while also
valuing the economic and trade strengths that attract jobs and
infrastructure and its potential to present a more formidable front to
younger superpowers. Unfortunately this has become less apparent recently,
because the original relative political harmony and political moderation,
especially between France and Germany, and Britain also, has been replaced
by a much wider range of opinions and a resurgence of noisy nationalism.
Likewise the economic benefits have become less apparent because Britain is
probably the strongest economy next to Germany right now, and people are not
impressed with countries like Greece becoming a burden on others less
corrupt and more sensible -- still less so France and Spain. No wonder they
look at countries like Norway, which have grown rich and strong by largely
ignoring the EC.
At which point I should probably say I'm (non-party) pro-Europe, but even
more pro-reform -- *real* reform, not the window-dressing Cameron is trying
to sell. Ending the idiotic comuting of the HQ between Brussels and
Strasbourg, for example (solely to placate the French ego); cutting the huge
bureaucracy and its gravy-train finances; ending the comfortable industrial
links that chiefly benefit the Franco-German axis and quietly wall out
others; ending the Common Agricultural Policy chiefly designed to featherbed
French and German farmers; restoring countries' control of their own borders
and territorial waters (to prevent Spanish over-fishing of British
coastlines, for example); and a swifter, more reasoned response to
international emergencies. That's a fairly favourable view; you can imagine
why many others are hostile......
Cheers,
Mike
I would hesitate to offer an opinion about what Britain should do. Every so
often some stupid ruling of the EU bureaucracy gets reported in the American
press, and I can see why people would get annoyed.
Dick Partridge
And yet, the future of the European countries lie in a unified Europe,
not in a continent where every country must see to survive on the costs
of other countries.
The European Union, and its forerunners, secured peace in middle and
western Europe since World War II, thanks to common economics and
common interests, not in the least free borders.
It is better that the European leaders quarrel in an assembly room in
Brussels, than that they send armies on a battle field to sort
problems.
That is certainly true.

Dick Partridge
Mike Scott Rohan
2016-03-07 15:27:33 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Herman van der Woude
And yet, the future of the European countries lie in a unified Europe,
not in a continent where every country must see to survive on the costs
of other countries.
The European Union, and its forerunners, secured peace in middle and
western Europe since World War II, thanks to common economics and
common interests, not in the least free borders.
It is better that the European leaders quarrel in an assembly room in
Brussels, than that they send armies on a battle field to sort
problems.
--
Met vriendelijke groet,
Cheers,
Herman van der Woude
The problem, though, is exactly what unity entails, and how it can be achieved. Britain has always stood rather apart from continental Europe, politically and culturally as well as geographically, and yet Europe can't afford to ignore it. The EC secured peace, yes; but what actually achieved and then defended it, when continental European countries failed for one reason or another, was Britain and the USA. Our separateness was our strength, as it had been against Napoleon. Our governmental system has also been much more stable and established. That isn't to say we wouldn't gain from being more closely integrated with Europe; but it makes it a lot less natural and inevitable for us. It follows that any move towards integration both requires special consideration and, in the view of many, entitles us to it; we must necessarily give up more than others. Any rush to unity, such as Jacques Delors proposed, or Germany's unification, would be all the more difficult for us. Political unity may well be best served by a much longer period of economic unity beforehand, in which both sides would gradually adjust and evolve balances naturally -- longer than a lifetime, perhaps.

Cheers,

Mike
Mike Scott Rohan
2016-03-07 15:02:44 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Richard Partridge
I would hesitate to offer an opinion about what Britain should do. Every so
often some stupid ruling of the EU bureaucracy gets reported in the American
press, and I can see why people would get annoyed.
Dick Partridge
Well, I hear the same thing about US rulings, the EPA for example, and our wonderful home-grown government services too. One has to conclude that they're much the same anywhere, and that what matters most therefore is accountability -- the ability of ordinary people to access and if necessary alter such rulings. The EC is particularly bad in that area, drawing on the continental tradition of monolithic, hierarchical government. French and German voters, for example, vote primarily for a party and don't care so much about who is actually representing it this time round, whereas British voters care much more about their individual MPs, sometimes ignoring party sympathies for a particularly good man. MPs are therefore much more in touch with their constituents than continental deputies, and much more individually influential. Which is not to say this works perfectly, but it's much easier for me to speak to my MP directly than it is for my French cousins to contact their local deputies, or my American in-laws to contact most senators or even senior local politicians, state governors for example. And that MP may well also be a major party figure or even a cabinet minister, and in direct touch with the Prime Minister. For example, when I was trying to help a Russian friend's son get permission to stay in the UK, I was able to e-mail my then MP, Andrew Lansley and have him call me back in person; it didn't depend on party contacts or anything like that. Lansley was also Minister of Health at the time. A lot of Brits feel the EC's impersonality and lack of local consideration, or even knowledge, is alien by comparison, and responsible for a lot of inconsiderate or plain silly rulings.

But yes, it's hard enough for us to decide, let alone an American; just as we should probably avoid trying to advise you guys -- although IMHO having Donald Trump stuffed and mounted seems like a pretty good start...

Cheers,

Mike
Richard Partridge
2016-03-07 20:46:13 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On 3/7/16 10:02 AM, Mike Scott Rohan, at
Post by Mike Scott Rohan
Post by Richard Partridge
I would hesitate to offer an opinion about what Britain should do. Every so
often some stupid ruling of the EU bureaucracy gets reported in the American
press, and I can see why people would get annoyed.
Dick Partridge
Well, I hear the same thing about US rulings, the EPA for example, and our
wonderful home-grown government services too. One has to conclude that they're
much the same anywhere, and that what matters most therefore is accountability
-- the ability of ordinary people to access and if necessary alter such
rulings. The EC is particularly bad in that area, drawing on the continental
tradition of monolithic, hierarchical government. French and German voters,
for example, vote primarily for a party and don't care so much about who is
actually representing it this time round, whereas British voters care much
more about their individual MPs, sometimes ignoring party sympathies for a
particularly good man. MPs are therefore much more in touch with their
constituents than continental deputies, and much more individually
influential. Which is not to say this works perfectly, but it's much easier
for me to speak to my MP directly than it is for my French cousins to contact
their local deputies, or my American in-laws to contact most senators or even
senior local politicians, state governors for example. And that MP may well
also be a major party figure or even a cabinet minister, and in direct touch
with the Prime Minister. For example, when I was trying to help a Russian
friend's son get permission to stay in the UK, I was able to e-mail my then
MP, Andrew Lansley and have him call me back in person; it didn't depend on
party contacts or anything like that. Lansley was also Minister of Health at
the time. A lot of Brits feel the EC's impersonality and lack of local
consideration, or even knowledge, is alien by comparison, and responsible for
a lot of inconsiderate or plain silly rulings.
But yes, it's hard enough for us to decide, let alone an American; just as we
should probably avoid trying to advise you guys -- although IMHO having Donald
Trump stuffed and mounted seems like a pretty good start...
Cheers,
Mike
That's a good example of how democracy should work. It's hard to imagine
the European Union could be like that.

When I was young, if you wrote to your Congressman you often got a personal
reply. That seldom happens nowadays.

Dick Partridge

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