News roundup: Galloway, terrorism and pornography


by Rumbold
8th January, 2010 at 10:10 am    

George Galloway has been deported from Egypt after apparently trying to cross into the Gaza strip. The MP had been part of a convoy that has been dogged by numerous problems and infighting.

EU bureaucrats and the European Commission are to take EU member states (and by extension EU taxpayers) to court in an attempt to get a 3.7% pay raise. They devised the formula which continues to award themselves pay rises despite the state of European economies. There are worries about the impartiality of the court as if the measure succeeds, those judging the case will also receive the same pay rise.

Eyal at the Spittoon writes on Jewish terrorists, who are threatening politicians who push for a freeze in settlement building.

Gracchi on the fluidity of the notion of kingship in late antiquity/early middle ages.

KJB argues that the increase both in quantity and explicitness in porn due to the internet feeds into the wider rape culture. It’s a long piece but worth reading in full.

Chris Dillow questions the received wisdom that a particular type of immigrant is more desirable to Britain’s collective mind.


              Post to del.icio.us


Filed in: Current affairs,Economy,Middle East






55 Comments below   |  

Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. pickles

    Blog post:: News roundup: Galloway, terrorism and pornography http://bit.ly/6PIGyI


  2. Gabriel Lewis

    RT @pickledpolitics: Blog post:: News roundup: Galloway, terrorism and pornography http://bit.ly/6PIGyI


  3. Samuel

    RT @pickledpolitics: Blog post:: News roundup: Galloway, terrorism and pornography http://bit.ly/6PIGyI




  1. Hannah — on 8th January, 2010 at 10:21 am  

    That’s a really great post re: rape culture and porn. Thanks for drawing my attention to it!

  2. DavidMWW — on 8th January, 2010 at 3:27 pm  

    I tried to comment on that rape culture and porn article, but either there is a software glitch, or my words were not deemed fit for publication.

    Here was the comment:

    Good article. Apart from this bit:

    While it is true that it’s hard to pin down an exact % or whatever for ‘how many men go on to rape after using porn’ or somesuch, to pretend that there’s no link whatsoever is just stupid.

    If there is a causal relationship between porn-viewing and rape, we would expect that to be reflected in the evidence. The internet has made porn much more easily accessible than it was fifteen years ago. I do not have the statistics, but I think it is safe to say that the number of people who regularly view hard-core porn has more than doubled (to say the least) in the last fifteen years.

    So if the relationship is causal, we would expect to see a corresponding increase in the incidence of rape. But there is no such increase. In fact, the only academic study I can find on the subject suggests the opposite.

    That is not to say porn-viewing does not have negative societal and psychological effects. But it does mean that your apparently common-sensical claim that there is a link between porn and rape is highly questionable.

  3. zak — on 8th January, 2010 at 5:38 pm  

    considering the state of the eu economy some big cuts in EU expenses needs to be done..

  4. Kulvinder — on 8th January, 2010 at 7:10 pm  

    …over her completely reasonable demands to have Nuts, Zoo, etc. recognised as pornography. Y’know, the ones that have FUCKING NAKED WOMEN plastered all over them. Blonde or brunette, melon-boobed, often orange-hued young women who have probably been airbrushed and all have one body type. She didn’t shriek ‘BAN THEM!’ or suggest that they shouldn’t be sold in newsagents, or anything like that.

    Theres no ‘publication equivalent’ of the BBFC; as such i’m not really sure what ‘being recognised as pornography’ means. Its perfectly legal (in principle) to sell say, playboy, to a 12 year old and a 30 year old. The age restriction is introduced from the venders ie WHSmith and Tesco don’t want to sell certain things to certain age groups so they introduce a rule enforcing that; you can’t buy ‘lads mags’ in almost all places where they’re sold unless you’re over 16 so im not realy sure what the point of labeling them as ‘pornographic’ would be.

    The limit on their consumption would be largely unaffected.

    More broadly both the government and the publication industry have recognised that a state sponsored BBFC equivalent would be completely unworkable.

    Firstly because the BBFC is itself slowly but irreversibly losing the ability to enforce morality as it once did. The ubiquity of the internet as well as the availability of mass travel means you can pretty easily side step any such censorship.

    Secondly the affect of age ratings for publications would be so dramatic that noone thinks its a sensible idea. You’d have to classify the sun/star/mirror as porn (and fight all their proprietors), women’s magazines that wrote explicitly about sex would also recieve an 18 classification (so cosmo/marrie claire etc). Any government that advocated such stance would have the entire publication industry and their readers against them.

    It would also kill the UK’s world leading advertising industry, they peddle sex, mssrs sorrell et friends would leave the country, and the pressure put by publications on performers to tone down their routines (or risk being ignored) would mean we’d end up like this.

  5. KJB — on 8th January, 2010 at 7:37 pm  

    David – You were deemed fit for publication. I lose track of my blog constantly, which is why moderation is on – I don’t notice that people have commented otherwise, until months later *cringes*.

    Rumbold – Please change the wording, that’s NOT what I’m saying! I’m discussing pornification and rape culture and how they relate to each other.

    Thank you for the link though.

  6. Kulvinder — on 8th January, 2010 at 7:52 pm  

    her completely reasonable demands to have Nuts, Zoo, etc. recognised as pornography. Y’know, the ones that have FUCKING NAKED WOMEN plastered all over them.

    I’m not really sure why that matters. If you want to call it porn call it porn. English law deals with obscenity/indecency; who would you want this ‘recognition’ from? Its perfectly legal in principle to sell playboy to a 12 year old as theres no publication equivalent of the BBFC (and it would be impractical and hugely damaging to business if one was introduced), the age restrictions are put in place and enforced by the vendors (whsmith etc); and rather amusingly, a 12 year old can buy a copy of the sun and look at page 3, he can’t buy a copy of a lads mag that has no nudity, he can buy a computer magazine if it comes without a cd – if however it has a cd and that cd has a game demo that has an 18+ rating on it he can’t buy the magazine.

    For what its worth id agree theres a ‘sexualised’ element to culture that is, well tedious, but i don’t think its the ‘fault’ of an industry that explicitly states its intentions to arouse. The fact that sex sells and the pussy cat dolls dress the way they do, isn’t the fault of two people having sex for the titillation of others.

  7. Kulvinder — on 8th January, 2010 at 8:32 pm  

    nb re-reading the piece and your comments ive possibly misunderstood what you’re trying to say (though in my meak defence your opening paragraph and conclusion appear to be arguing different things)

    DON’T use it as sex education.

    I’d sort of disagree, don’t use it as a point of comparison to a relationship, ie don’t objectify women in that way; but if you and your partner(s) see something you all like, i don’t see the harm in getting new ideas from it – the good sex guide sold on that principle.

    The problem isn’t the sex per se, its taking the attitude that all women should be or are little more than sex dolls – its what happens aside from the sex.

    DON’T use it to replace a relationship.

    Don’t think that sex is the only part of an intimate and loving relationship.

    Id be reluctant to say that someone shouldn’t find sexual stimulation and satisfaction outside of a relationship; its more a case of misogynists suggesting that all women are good for is sex, and since you have porn why bother.

    I’m not really sure what you meant by ‘rape culture’, and yes im male and discussing this but its not a case of dismissing outright what you’re saying rather disagreeing with some of the narrative’ :)

    for completeness

    ‘Have you seen a young girl with Playboy merchandise? Wearing an item of clothing that says ‘Stripper’ or something like that on it?

    Miley Cyrus’s sister

    Did it make you feel all warm and sexy?

    Er no

    Why not?

    I’m not really into nine year old girls dressed and looking like crack whores

    OK, now those girls will grow up to be adult women someday. Does that not bother you in the least?’

    …no?!!? should it? im confused, i don’t want her killed or anything.

    I don’t endorse them dressing in that manner but im aware that from their point of view theres an incomprehension about why dressing the way they’re dressing is ‘wrong’; the awkwardness is ours not theirs as we’re the ones aware of the sexualisation whereas they’re just aping the ‘grown ups’; a better question would be why those nine year old girls see dressing like that as being worthy of replication.

    Its more a case of why girls want to grow up to be jordan rather than the fact jordan exists (if you see what i mean).

  8. Ravi Naik — on 9th January, 2010 at 2:38 pm  

    I totally disagree with KJB’s article – that there is a causal link between ‘pornification’ and ‘rape culture’. There is no evidence that rape rates have gone up with the introduction of the Internet.

    Male and females are sexual beings with sexual needs, and have fantasies that go beyond the vanilla type and cross social taboos. It doesn’t mean that people want or will to with it in real life. Most individuals understand that porn only portrays sexual fantasies and not real life.

    I also think that if young girls are following Jordan or any of these empty celebrities for trends, then it all comes to bad parenting, not porn or media culture.

  9. Capote — on 9th January, 2010 at 2:46 pm  

    Thanksabunch for the KJB link.

    After a none-too-super workday, I howled aloud with merriment at the description of video featuring a lesbian gang-rape set in in a police cell ["... in West End Central do we lay our scene."]

    Spiffing stuff!

    One genre omitted was the ‘Bend Over Boyfriend’ stuff which features a woman with a strapon subjecting her boyfriend / husband to some rough play.

    Do any female members of the Cabinet come to mind, readers?

  10. Capote — on 9th January, 2010 at 2:50 pm  

    One recommendation:

    Readers all know Annabel Chong [a.k.a. Grace Quek] but I recommend those with a little time to spare on an uncensored search engine to seek out the XXX actress who acts under the name of Lystra Faith.

    Lystra contrives to be a delicate, somewhat hesitant and extremely graceful XXX star, quite a trick. She even speaks beautifully.

  11. damon — on 9th January, 2010 at 2:59 pm  

    ”Rape culture” is something new to my vocabulary.
    Zoo and Nuts may well belong on the top shelf. I have no problem with that. But they are not porn.
    They are childish … lad mags. (Lad being the key word, ie, young guys with an imature view on life).

    Internet porn though is a whole different issue.
    That is (overall) in my opinion, pernicious.
    It’s being watched by kids all over the world, and that is a really bad thing to be happening.
    God knows what young men in Quetta Pakistan make of it (and us westerners).

    I don’t think there is a trend to ever harder porn though. The ”mainstream” stuff (hardcore) seems to be the middle of the market I’d have thought.
    If you’ve seen the inside of a sex shop selling DVDs, there seem to be several major porn companies, which have dozens and dozens of titles each. All pretty much the same (I’m just guessing).
    I have sometimes wondered if this is an industry that will ever die out due to a lack of interest.

  12. Shatterface — on 9th January, 2010 at 4:04 pm  

    Pakistan needs more porn not less. Ditto Afghanistan.

    Honour based violence is more likely inversely proportionate to access to pornography.

    Misogyny is a result of taboo.

  13. Shamit — on 9th January, 2010 at 5:27 pm  

    Rumbold

    We published an article today written by eGov monitor team members on Europe:

    http://www.egovmonitor.com/node/32515

    Have a read – you would like it.

  14. halima — on 9th January, 2010 at 6:01 pm  

    “Honour based violence is more likely inversely proportionate to access to pornography”

    ? Eh?

    Let me give you a statistic on violence against women.

    More than 3 women are murdered every day by their boyfriends and husbands in the US.

    Yes, that’s more than 3 women EVERY DAY die from domestic violence.

    I only saw this on Oprah but googled it to check, and of course, it was correct.

    How much pornography is there in the US?

    In China, they censor pretty much two things and let everything else run free – politics and pornography.

  15. douglas clark — on 9th January, 2010 at 6:16 pm  

    halima,

    Is China quite the example you wish to use? From China Daily:

    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2006-05/17/content_592568.htm

    “Among those cases were 20,000 murders, a decrease of 5,000.

    China defines a murder as the intentional taking of a human life. Homicides represent a much larger category which includes deaths that occur as a secondary result of rapes, kidnaping, robberies and other crimes.

    More than 60 percent of the country’s homicides stemmed from marriage problems, disputes among neighbors and intoxication-related quarrels, the ministry said.”

    60% allocated to relatively minor grievances gives 12,000 per annum, or circa 33 a day! Obviously this is firstly against a far higher population and also includes murders for other reasons, but, still….

  16. halima — on 9th January, 2010 at 6:22 pm  

    Douglas,

    I wasn’t using China as an example of anything, but pointing out a fact … that politics and pornagraphy are banned. Discuss. That’s all.

    I don’t know what the correlation is between porn and violence against women, I’d have to look at some statistics, but the origin of porn itself is to do with prostitution and the purchase of sexual services of course, so probably not a ringing endorsement of women’s rights – even if consenting adults use it for recreation.

  17. halima — on 9th January, 2010 at 6:24 pm  

    China does have the highest rate of suicide among adult women in the world, I am told – even accounting for population size.

  18. douglas clark — on 9th January, 2010 at 6:29 pm  

    halima,

    Sorry, I assumed you were comparing and contrasting. My bad.

  19. halima — on 9th January, 2010 at 6:40 pm  

    Douglas,

    Sorry, I probably should’ve been clearer…

    Interesting that restriction of politics and pleasure are probably the surest two ways to keep order ….

    A friend once said to me she considers the wearing of the veil and pornagraphy as one and the same thing: they both objectify women’s bodies.

    I partially agreed with her, but concluded that I have a problem with exploitation, and the lack of choice, but not the porn or the veil.

  20. douglas clark — on 9th January, 2010 at 7:01 pm  

    halima,

    Thanks for your reply @ 18.

    I’d agree with your friend to the extent that these are two extremes of a spectrum of male attitudes to women. In the sense that it is the men objectifying women, and not women doing it for themselves, if you see what I mean. I have a problem with control (rather than exploitation) and view both as somehow wrong.

    Dunno.

  21. SSJOHAL — on 9th January, 2010 at 7:18 pm  

    Halima, any statistics on how many women are killed in India before they are born?

    There’s documentary on BBC 1 this Sunday on the Sikhs 1984 at 11pm by Sonia Deol.

  22. Shamit — on 9th January, 2010 at 8:17 pm  

    “I partially agreed with her, but concluded that I have a problem with exploitation, and the lack of choice, but not the porn or the veil.”

    Halima

    Well said.

    Porn or veil aren’t too much to bear when you consider the value of free expression and speech.

  23. Rumbold — on 9th January, 2010 at 9:31 pm  

    SSJOHAL:

    Information here (also check out Rita Banerji’s organisation, 50 million missing).

    http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/1905

    Shamit:

    It’s an interesting piece. From my point of view, the present situation is not the worst, as at least the EU is incompetent when it comes to taking control. If it was competent I think Britain would be even worse off.

    I would like to see the EU return to a free trade/free movement area, with co-operation on things like climate change and not much else. But it won’t, so the only option is withdrawl.

  24. douglas clark — on 9th January, 2010 at 9:49 pm  

    Rumbold,

    It’s an interesting piece. From my point of view, the present situation is not the worst, as at least the EU is incompetent when it comes to taking control. If it was competent I think Britain would be even worse off.

    I would like to see the EU return to a free trade/free movement area, with co-operation on things like climate change and not much else. But it won’t, so the only option is withdrawl.

    What the heck has that to do with anything? Obviously you want to talk about Euro-bureaucrats, but nobody else does.

    There are more interesting ideas floating around here than your anti-EU, libertarian bullshit.

    For instance, whether women are exploited or not, or whether Kulvinder is credible.

    This seems to me to be rather more important than your Libertarian rant.

    Correct me if I am wrong…..

  25. Rumbold — on 9th January, 2010 at 9:52 pm  

    Douglas:

    Shamit linked to a piece on the EU (see comment #12) for me. I gave my opinion on it. And it is a sad opinion, as I really would like the EU to function properly.

  26. douglas clark — on 9th January, 2010 at 9:59 pm  

    Rumbold,

    Yes I’d forgotten about Shamit’s comment. And both your opinions are a tad sad.

    Anyway, you are the historian. How tough was it for the USA to become the USA?

    Compare and contrast.

  27. halima — on 10th January, 2010 at 2:49 am  

    Douglas, Shamit

    Agreed.

    On control, it’ss interested, police investigating rape crimes often say primary motivation of rape isn’t pleasure of course, but control of the woman, same goes for most violence against women.

    SSJOHAL

    Killing girls before they’re born? Yes, statistics don’t capture the horror, I once attended a UNICEF presentation on ‘Why are girls missing school in India?’ after the usual answers like poverty, distance, etc, the predominant reason was because they were killed at birth. The statistics must be horrific in India generally due to its population size.

  28. halima — on 10th January, 2010 at 2:55 am  

    I like the EU because it stops Europeans from going to war. It was the smartest invention of the 20th century.

  29. douglas clark — on 10th January, 2010 at 3:20 am  

    Halima @ 26,

    On control, it’ss interested, police investigating rape crimes often say primary motivation of rape isn’t pleasure of course, but control of the woman, same goes for most violence against women.

    Agreed. The apparent opposite, making women into a completely de-sexualised walking cardboard box also says more about men than it does about women. At least, that is my tentative conclusion.

    On the one hand objectification, on the other de-objectification. Both seem crazy to me.

    There ought to be a middle ground.

    Not at all happy with the idea of sexual selection pre birth. That seems to me to be a possible form of societal genocide.

  30. KJB — on 10th January, 2010 at 3:42 am  

    People, please, STOP COMMENTING HERE and just go to my blog! I’m not going to keep coming here to deal with you. My patience is cilium-thick after all the work I’ve been doing since Dec 18th (and ongoing 4/5 a.m. bedtimes). Ta :-D

    Kulvinder:

    1. though in my meak defence your opening paragraph and conclusion appear to be arguing different things

    2. DON’T use it as sex education.

    I’d sort of disagree

    1. I didn’t realise my opening paragraph was arguing anything at all. I was more having a dig at the CIF rent-a-misogynists.

    2. Don’t be cheeky. There’s a difference between ‘using porn as sex education’ and ‘using porn for sex tips.’ It was probably the most comprehensive sex ed I got and I’m not particularly happy about that.

    As for the rest, all I can be arsed to say is: just read the post again, all the way through and slowly, and then if you have queries, get back to me.

    Ravi, I’m disappointed in you. You’re supposed to be one of the more incisive regulars. Your comment makes it blatantly obvious that you haven’t read my post properly (or even read it at all). DavidMWW had the same confusion as you and I dealt with him in the comments. Kindly read it again and give me something proper this time. I expect more of Picklers!

  31. Rumbold — on 10th January, 2010 at 10:34 am  

    Douglas:

    Well, the US was a different case. It didn’t have a history of nation states, different languages etc. So to a certain extent it was able to, and needed to, start from scratch.

    Halima:

    I like the EU because it stops Europeans from going to war. It was the smartest invention of the 20th century.

    A recurring fallacy. The EU was devised and invented before World War Two, and it isn’t the main reason why European powers haven’t gone to war after WWII. The reasons are: democracy; the Soviet threat; NATO. Democracy makes it more difficult to go to war (especially against a country that is likely to cause significant damage to you), because you have to justify it to people, the Soviet threat concentrated minds and ensured the presence of tens of thousands of American troops, while NATO is a military alliance that precludes its members fighting one another. Is there actually any empirical evidence that the EU prevented another war? No. Britain didn’t join until 1973 and it didn’t fight any European nations before that point.

  32. The Common Humanist — on 10th January, 2010 at 11:43 am  

    Rumbold
    You just don’t like the EU at all do you?

    We need a better, radically reformed EU but to dismiss it out of hand I think is a mistake.

    Particularly in the 1980s the EEC as was then EC the EU was responsible for two bits of crucial legislation that Thatcher was fighting tooth and nail – the Urban Waste Water Directive and the EURO programme of constantly improving Diesel emissions standards.

    Both has massively improved the quality of life in Europe and neither would have happened if HMG was left to its own devices and they have stimulated leading edge industries within the EU.

    But I grant you the way it is structured at the moment is a crock of shit.

    I would agree that to say the EU has stopped a European war is a bit of a stretch but it has certainly helped bind the nations of Europe together just that little but more.

  33. Rumbold — on 10th January, 2010 at 11:55 am  

    TCH:

    I dislike the EU in its present form, yes. But I am not opposed to the notion of a free market/movement area in which countries work together to co-operate on environmental and other issues. I am also a strong supporter of expanding the EU, as I think that this has benefited countries emerging from dictatorships in the past (and helped to stabilise them).

    My stance comes from the realisation that the EU cannot be reformed. The forces interested in keeping it as it is and deepening it are too strong for even a handful of countries to fight. We will never see another treaty put to a referendum because Lisbon is an enabling treaty, which means it can simply be altered. Too many people in the EU and member countries have a vested interest in the EU’s largesse: the MEPs, officials, some businesses, politicians. Take the CAP. It is a monstrosity, yet it will never be abolished, because it benefits some people. If Britain can’t get rid of the CAP then it certainly can’t do much else.

    Revolution (returning to the beginning) not reform is the only option.

  34. The Common Humanist — on 10th January, 2010 at 12:30 pm  

    Rumbold

    “My stance comes from the realisation that the EU cannot be reformed”

    I worry about that too.

    CAP – disaster
    Common Fisheries – disaster

    If only Tory and Labour hadn’t
    dropped the ball in the 50s when we were offered the chance to design the EEC as the leading nation in Europe at that time. Dammit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I agree, start again might be the only way.

    If there was a referendum about staying or going I honestly don’t know which way would vote at the moment.

  35. Shamit — on 10th January, 2010 at 2:25 pm  

    Douglas

    The US came into being because a central Government was imposing taxes without representation as well as not considering the voice of the people.

    The EU is going the opposite way – national democratic governments are giving away power (which is not theirs to give) to unaccountable, unelected institutions and incompetent individuals.

    No wonder, while EU leadership went on about how Europe is leading the world in copenhagen – except for UK and France EU was ignored. The Swedish PM (then holding the Presidency) got a text to say the deal was done. EU was not even in the room.

    I do not despise the EU – I agree with Rumbold that as a trading block facilitating free movement of people and goods and services its excellent – what I disagree with is its blotched attempts in trying to define a political identity without asking the voters. And ultimately, no nation state is going to give up its own privileges such as UN seating or bilateral relations.

    Why do we need the European diplomatic service? What purpose would it serve? Does that mean all of europe would have a common foreign policy – Britain, Germany and France as well as Poland and others do not really believe so. That is why the leaders were happy to have two non entities get on with another unelected power grabber Barosso. secondly, it is a colossal waste of member state taxoayers’ money.

    We are wasting money on all these stupid administrative issues when unemployment in Europe stands at 23 million and rising – with structural deficits as well as surging youth unemployment and precarious financial position for the euro. None of which has been or would be addressed by the new lisbon treaty – sadly. Lisbon treaty was touted to help us get on – but after looking at it and how it would work its orientation is external and not on the right issues. And barroso and ashton are part of the commission employees who are going to court against member states to increase their pay.

    Reforming EU now is very difficult – it needs to be brought back to its original role of being a free trade area.

    and EU had nothing to do with no wars being fought on european soil – its been US and NATO And the fear of Soviet Union and the economic and security protection offered by the US.

    and I know it riles Europeans to think that way we owed our security to the US but it was true and we have to thank them for no more wars after second world war – not these stupid institutions.

    I do not like unaccountable, unelected institutions governing politics or having major say in policies and that is a fundamental difference between US and the EU -/.

  36. halima — on 10th January, 2010 at 3:18 pm  

    “I like the EU because it stops Europeans from going to war. It was the smartest invention of the 20th century.

    A recurring fallacy.”

    Not quite.

    You’re talking about two different things. I am talking about preventing war between Ger and other European countries. Forging a common economic identity and single currency has meant war within the states of Europe to be inconceivable. This had nothing to do with the stationing of US troops and NATO.

    The idea that peace is guaranteed by NATO is something I find difficult to subscribe to, for the most part we were lucky in the Cold War that things didn’t blow up more than they did. If you look at events like Cuba, it’s amazing that we didn’t find ourselves in the middle of a full-blown nuclear holocaust.

    Following your argument you would be claiming that South Asia is a safe region because India and Pakistan have nuclear weapons and mutually assured destruction is deterrence.

    “and EU had nothing to do with no wars being fought on european soil – its been US and NATO And the fear of Soviet Union and the economic and security protection offered by the US.”

    But US troops and NATO had nothing to do with preventing states within Europe going to war, it was about deterring the Soviet Union.

    It’s not an easy conversation for a blog, though.

  37. MiriamBinder — on 10th January, 2010 at 3:31 pm  

    @ Shamit # 34 – The EU is in fact nothing more nor less then its member states. How do you determine that the member states that are the EU are giving away powers that aren’t theirs to bestow – without going into the rights and wrongs of where they have bestowed those powers?

  38. Shamit — on 10th January, 2010 at 3:53 pm  

    MiriamBinder -

    let’s take UK as an example.

    While we do not have a written constitution it is an accepted fact that Parliament is Soverign for its term. And any parliament during its term can override acts of other previous parliament.

    This very fundamental rule that governs the relationship between the state and the citizen in the UK. While the Government in power has all the rights to legislate – they cannot turn over or change the framework of governance without the consent of the governed. And there is precedent here as well.

    Devolving power to Scotland and Wales is much smaller than handing over irreversible powers to European Union – yet we did ask the people of Wales and Scotland.

    In the devolution question – the sovereignty of the UK was not in question and no one questioned the sovereignty of the House of Commons – but still we went to the people.

    However, with the Lisbon treaty we have surrendered in many areas the Sovereignty of the Houses of Commons and it was not surrendered to any elected body either but to unaccountable, unelected institutions and individuals.

    One could argue that this mechanism allows a british PM to get through legislation through European backdoors and avoid accountability in the house of commons.

    And the powers of the House of Commons come from the people – and those powers are held in trust by the House of Commons. And if they wish to change the framework of governance, then they should go to the people who actually “own” the power. Otherwise, its a betrayal of a sacred trust.

    Further, the people in many countries rejected this constitutional treaty now presented in the form of Lisbon and what happened? we still put them through backdoor. That is a violation of all forms of democratic representation.

    Would you tomorrow accept if gordon brown says through legislation that he would be PM for the next 10 years irrespective of what the voters think — aren’t the European institutions and elite saying the same thing to us.

    That is why I conclude those powers given away were not theirs to give.

  39. Rumbold — on 10th January, 2010 at 4:34 pm  

    Halima:

    Germany was occupied for decades by foreign troops after WWII ended. It also grew economically which meant that the conditions which caused previous German militarism didn’t weren’t there. How could Germany have become a threat when it was split into two and each side had armies stationed there?

  40. MiriamBinder — on 10th January, 2010 at 5:14 pm  

    Shamit, I accept your example however I still maintain that as the EU is the sum total of its member states that the UK has to adopt that legislation, this is ONLY because the UK has already agreed that this legislation is a good idea.
    On every substantive issue – even after Lisbon – member states retain vetoes. All major decisions are confirmed either in the European Council or the Council of the European Union – which are made up by the heads and ministers of the governments of the member states.

  41. Shamit — on 10th January, 2010 at 5:48 pm  

    “On every substantive issue – even after Lisbon – member states retain vetoes. All major decisions are confirmed either in the European Council or the Council of the European Union – which are made up by the heads and ministers of the governments of the member states.”

    Actually only in common foreign and security policy, taxation, asylum and immigration policy – unianimous voting are required.

    In others you need a qualified majority – therefore might get legislation impacting your country even if you voted no -

    That is where my objection lies — by accepting this we have transformed the nature of the sovereignty of the House of commons. Which I reckon was unconstitutional.

  42. halima — on 10th January, 2010 at 6:11 pm  

    Rumbold

    I’m no history student these days, but there’s been a preying problem with Germany since its unification in 1870s – and how do the other European powers cope with the emergence of a single country that is more powerful than the rest of Europe. Even since 1870s Germany has had an expansionist agenda, and existing super structure didn’t recognize this, Ger defeated in one world war, and tried to cripple it through punitive settlement. At the end of WWIi they tried a different approach by giving Europe a way of peaceful German expansion through a common market, shared political institution and political cooperation and the pooling of sovereignty.

    Isn’t that the basic story? You will know this better than most.

    The fact that no one has spoken about a war within Europe is a testament to the success of the European Union. The fact that today we find it inconceivable to think of a war in Europe is a testament to the success of the European Union. But things looked very different in 1945.

    The EU is to do with finding a peaceful rebalancing of power in Europe. I consider this to be basic point.

    The causal references on the origins of the EU, a peaceful Europe and the beginnings of cooperation state: 
The European Union is set up with the aim of ending the frequent and bloody wars between neighbours, which culminated in the Second World War.

    Books have been devoted to this, so there are differing historical perspectives.

  43. MiriamBinder — on 10th January, 2010 at 6:21 pm  

    @ Shamit # 40 – even if that is the case, a qualified majority is still a majority … such is the nature of democracy.

  44. Shamit — on 10th January, 2010 at 7:07 pm  

    Really – where did the citizens authorise this?

    Where did we empower our politicians to surrender the powers of the House of Commons? We did not. And the Government chose to give away powers which were not theirs to give.

    So how is that democracy?

    It is more like an oligarchy of political elitists who think they know better and are creating insitutions to help retired inconsequential politicians.

    Just tell me where is the democracy here? what part about the lisbon treaty was democratic?

    So if tomorrow european leaders vote and issue an european law that all incumbent head of government would stay in power until death — and as that does not fall under common foreign and security policy, taxation, asylum and immigration policy – you would call it democratic?

    When you are taking the decisions out of national parliaments — there is no one to hold the executive accountable. European parliament does not have the powers either really.

    So how is all this democratic – pray tell me.

  45. MiriamBinder — on 10th January, 2010 at 7:44 pm  

    Shamit # 43 – “The EU” doesn’t tell any member state what to do. Because “the EU” is those member states.
    If “the EU” introduces new legislation, and the UK has to adopt that legislation, this is because the UK has already agreed that this legislation is a good idea; even if only by default because the UK has in principle accepted the ToS.
    On every substantive issue – even after Lisbon – member states retain vetoes. All major decisions are confirmed either in the European Council or the Council of the European Union – which are made up by the heads and ministers of the governments of the member states

    Now you may not like the way it is working, you may object to certain decisions however that in itself does not make it undemocratic. Democracy does not necessarily mean that everyone is going to like all the decisions made at all times; that does not alter the fact that the decisions have been reached in a democratic manner.

    Now admittedly it would be a lot nicer if they came by, knocked on your door every time they needed to make a decision and ask you for your tuppence worth but … Quite aside from the fact that this would end up costing more then the entire EU budget every time there was a question to be answered … decisions would never get made. Every citizen in every EU state has the opportunity to elect a member of the EU parliament. It may not be perfect democracy but it is the best system available at this moment in time …

  46. Shamit — on 10th January, 2010 at 7:54 pm  

    If “the EU” introduces new legislation, and the UK has to adopt that legislation, this is because the UK has already agreed that this legislation is a good idea; even if only by default because the UK has in principle accepted the ToS.

    And that is where my problem lies.

    Why is it addding value beyond an free economic zone

  47. Shamit — on 10th January, 2010 at 7:54 pm  

    rather where?

  48. Rumbold — on 10th January, 2010 at 7:58 pm  

    Halima:

    I don’t think that the EU has made war more likely, I just don’t see the evidence that it has helped to avoid war. Germany’s expansionist agenda ended post-1945 for a number of reasons, but perhaps one reason was it simply was unable to compete with the US and the Soviet Union. Nor was there any impetus for expansion. Take the example of Spain and Britain. There has been plenty of times when the two countries have goen to war. Yet despite Spain not joining the EU until the 1980s, the two countries did not go to war post-1945.

  49. Don — on 10th January, 2010 at 8:07 pm  

    Germany’s expansionist agenda ended post-1945 for a number of reasons

    One pretty big one springs to mind.

  50. halima — on 11th January, 2010 at 10:17 am  

    Rumbold

    The EU website even says the EU was created to stop wars between states within Europe.

    How to manage the ‘German Question’ was taxing from 1870s onwards, causing two world wars; the EU has provided a vehicle for Germany to peacefully increase its influence in Europe.

    It’s also quite simplistic to view history in terms of what decision-makers want; economic forces affects the balance of power and German unification in the 1870s created a massive economic power that wasn’t reflected in the outdated diplomatic architecture of Europe which gave preeminence to declining colonial powers Britain and France.

    Just because the Soviet Union and the US were involved in the Cold War, and Germany was demilitarized, at least of its own armed forced, didn’t resolve the question of how to deal with this new economic force in Europe. The EU provided a vehicle for Germany to play a powerful yet peaceful role in Europe, benefiting all member states.

    Managing Germany has become even more important post-unification after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

    Surely that’s not controversial?

  51. douglas clark — on 11th January, 2010 at 2:25 pm  

    Shamit @ 34,

    Well, we both obviously feel quite strongly about this!

    When was the US Declaration of Independence? 1776 IIRC. It has taken that polity 235 years, give or take, to become what it is now, and in certain respects it is still imperfect. There are, for instance, still debates to be had about state versus federal authority.

    When was the Lisbon Treaty passed? 2009. To be exact, 1st Decenber 2009. It is just over a month old.

    The Copenhagen Conference on Climate change commenced the 7th of December 2009.

    So, we are to see the future of a treaty, which had been in place for a week as, to quote your own words:

    Copenhagen was the litmus test. In the last summit meeting before the Copenhagen conference, Europe committed significant amount of money towards helping developing nations meet the climate change challenge. We were told, unequivocally, in an earlier summit that Europe is leading the world in climate change and EU would be a voice to be reckoned with in Copenhagen. Leaders were enthusiastic about how Lisbon Treaty would ensure Europe gains its preeminent position in the world and the affirmation would come in Copenhagen – Europe would speak with one voice and with more coherence.

    While the leaders were giving away the hard earned money of their taxpayers Europe was reeling from high unemployment especially youth unemployment, significant budget deficits and massive economic uncertainty. The support for leaders giving away funds from the public purse received lukewarm support if any at all from the voters of the country. Recent survey by IPPR showed that in 157 marginal constituencies in the UK, the support for Gordon Brown giving away our money was strongly supported by 16% of the electorate while 20% were opposed strongly.

    But the leaders, including the self promoting and unaccountable Barroso, continued to commit money and promote the dream that Copenhagen would be Europe`s finest hour. The reality on the ground could not be futher from this elitist EU dream.

    Frankly, you are being very short termist here. It is certainly true that the EU has not got it’s act together, yet, but it is a bit much to describe Copenhagen as a litmus test.

    and I know it riles Europeans to think that way we owed our security to the US but it was true and we have to thank them for no more wars after second world war – not these stupid institutions.

    Not particularily. It was a world war that established the alliances that shape post WW2 geopolitics. And there has been no lack of wars elsewhere on the planet. The EU was, as Halima pointed out, partly or even mainly established to stop wars within its’ boundaries and to that extent it has been a 100% success.

    I can quite see what Libertarians object to about the EU, the bureacracy is an easy target, but that has been a small price to pay for the relative stability that we have seen. The democratic deficit is somewhat overplayed too.

  52. douglas clark — on 11th January, 2010 at 3:38 pm  

    Rumbold @ 47,

    Spain and the UK didn’t go to war after 1945.

    Absolutely true. Apart from some silly spats over Gibraltar what exactly would have been the causus beli? The difference between then and now is that it is now unthinkable.

    That is, to a large extent, what the European Project has been all about….

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Pickled Politics © Copyright 2005 - 2010. All rights reserved. Terms and conditions.
With the help of PHP and Wordpress.