If you stare at it long enough, it starts to go backwards. A little after that, your eyes explode.
Here are some brief thoughts on the second presidential debate (I don’t want to wax lyrical, as this would turn into an essay!).
Tim Farron, leader of the Liberal Democrats, has said that the oft-repeated claim that the EU is undemocratic is actually a lie. His view: we elect members to a European Parliament on a proportional basis, something we don’t even do in the UK, so how can the EU have any democratic deficit?
But in fact, his reasonable-sounding claim is not true. Being a smart man, Tim Farron must know this. Therefore, it looks like he must be lying.
But why is his view not true?
The EU’s democratic deficit has two majors points.
1. The numbers don’t add up. The UK gets 79 MEPS to represent the 65 or so million people of the UK. That’s one MEP per population the size of Birmingham, more-or-less. Whereas in the UK House of Commons, we have 600 or so MPs (the number has changed over the years) to represent the same number of people. Clearly, one elected representative per hundred thousand is more repesentative than one per million. Therefore, the EU parliament is less representative.
1b. The numbers really don’t add up. Remember that those 79 MEPs make up around 9% of the seats in the EU parliament. Therefore, even if all UK MEPs agreed that something was in the best interests of the UK, which is nigh-on impossible, they would still be in a 91-9 minority. Clearly, therefore, the people of the UK do not have control over their own affairs within the EU. The lack of a cogent European demos makes this point relevant not just now, but for the foreseeable future.
2. How are decisions made? Look at the chart at the top of this article. The European Parliament isn’t the prime mover within the EU, anyway. The Parliament oversees the Commission, but it is the unelected cabal-like European Commission which puts forward legislation, initiates policy packages, and imposes fines on national governments (p.45, The European Union: a very short introduction, 3rd edition, John Pinder and Simon Usherwood, 2013, OUP). The Commission is known as the “watchdog of the Treaty (p.44) and the “motor” of the community (p.45) for a reason.
Therefore, whilst there is an argument to be had that the House of Commons should move to a proportional basis (and, indeed, there a good arguments against this, too), this is not key to the issue at hand. The EU is, and by its very nature will remain, incapable of the representative democracy which it aspires to. It has a serious, inbuilt democratic deficit it cannot make up for.
© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry
Saucy little minx.
I’m learning two main languages, Spanish and Swedish. I’ve been using Duolingo to learn them of late (in fact, I’m more-or-less relying on Duolingo at the moment, which isn’t good; you should use more than one resource to give you good variation). I’ve been doing around 30 minutes a day for each language, which is the bare minimum you should do.
If you know how Duolingo works, I’ve just managed to fully regild my completed Spanish tree. Which is great news. Next steps:
This will make me firmly intermediate in level. I should have started step 3 by Summer 2017, and maybe completed step 4 by the following summer. When Finish step 4, I’ll work out the best way to keep that level and build on it. The ultimate goal is to be C2, of course.
I was stuck on Swedish for a long time. I kept mucking up infinitives and this sapped my energy. But I’ve been powering on lately. Moving onto new topics has got me pretty excited. In particular, I have loved getting to grips with the kommer att future form and the håller på present continuous. There’s a lesson for you: don’t get bogged down on troublesome topics, as it will kill it for you. Just keep moving.
I hope to have finished the tree by 30th November. So my middle-term plan is thus:
2016 actually marks ten years of learning Swedish(!) I’m pretty sure I should be fluent right now. Cambridge recommends 1000-1200 hours to be fluent (C2); so, studying an hour a day, I should have been at C2 level by 2010. But more on that next time!
© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry
I wrote this in 2006, I believe.
It was early in the morning,
Not long after sunrise,
That I was trudging to my workplace,
Crusty sleep in eyes;
My sagging head was lowly hung,
My face was bleak and wan,
And then at once bold in my path
Was stood a snow-white swan.
A mother warding her dear child
Destroyed my pensive mood
(The swanling doddled ‘tween her legs
Canal bank grass for food).
Her breast was out, her neck was stiff,
Her eyes that shone were keen,
Her form was strong, unmoving
Save her eyes that had me seen;
And nearer by a couple glid
So calm, and peaceful, free,
With pink mouths ope and trumpeting
Their happy song to me,
My gloomy wallow was forgot
As joy and bliss and truth begot.
© 2006 – 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry
featured image from http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c3/Swan.spreads.wings.arp.jpg
I wrote this in around 2004-2005. Walking around parkland, I rounded a corner near the Thames, and all-of-a-sudden I saw this field of bluebells. A transcendent feeling overtook me wholly. I was a firmly committed atheist by that point, had been for years. None-the-less, the pantheistic language of this poem I felt appropriately captured the way I felt in that sublime moment when I felt like I was gifted this field of bluebells.
I thank the lord my God I’m blessed
To see nature resplendent dressed,
All clad in richest purple hue,
The grass become a sea of blue;
And look what gently flutters by,
A wing that flashes golden eye,
As I amidst the long grass be,
Whilst golden sun shines down on me.
The heavens harken up above
To birds whose breasts resound with love,
A cool breeze makes the bluebells nod
To witness majesty of God.
© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry
featured image from http://www.cotonmanor.co.uk/images/bluebells/bluebell_wood-coton_manor.jpg
A society dedicated to promoting awareness of the continuing importance of the 92 historic (or traditional) Counties of the United Kingdom.
Aspera Ad Astra
Becoming the best me, one day at a time!
hand knits + patterns inspired by nature
Food Photography & Recipes
Songwriter and Sound Engineer
Tales from the mouth of a wolf
The best of Cebu curated just for you!
Smart language learning
Confessions of a Delusional Maniac
Metro.co.uk: News, Sport, Showbiz, Celebrities from Metro
A Dutchie getting fit!
Cannae be arsed
MUSINGS : CRITICISM : HISTORY : PASSION