The EU’s Democratic Deficit #brexit #changebritain @LeaveEUOfficial

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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

Direct Democracy Petition: Update #DirectDemocracy #TakeControl #Switzerland #BindingReferendums #Referendum

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My direct democracy petition has finally gone live (a few weeks after setting it up). So please share the below link and sign the petition (if you agree with me, of course!) I probably should have set this up a few weeks ago, though, before the bruising EU referendum campaign turned people off referendums.

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/157241

If a petition gets 250,000 signatures, it should trigger a national referendum

Engagement with politics is continuing to decline. Direct democracy is part of the solution.

When an official petition receives around 250,000 signatures, it should result in an official, binding referendum.

More details:

In Switzerland, when around 0.6% of the population signs a petition, it triggers a referendum (https://www.ch.ch/en/referendum/). This system works well in a country of more than eight million people, and there is no reason why it wouldn’t work well in the UK.

A committee or group should be set up to administer these petitions so they do not needlessly consume government time. Note that only a small number of petitions a year would receive the needed signatures.

© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from https://petition.parliament.uk

Brexit… Lite? @vote_leave #takecontrol #voteleave #brexit

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Immediately after the EU Referendum, people were talking about whether we would really leave the EU or not. But now that people have more-or-less accepted the result, everyone is talking about whether we’ll opt for “Brexit Lite” (The Independent, The Scotsman, Digital Look) or full-blown Brexit.

But given the once-in-a-lifetime, Remain or Leave, “you can’t be half-pregnant”, binary nature of this referendum, how could there be a “Brexit Lite“, and what does that even mean? I thought I would pass on the above graphic to bring light to the situation.

The more of those circles you are in, the more locked into the “European Project” you are. Note particularly the circles which read “European Union” and “Eurozone”. But it is very possible to be involved in some parts of European co-operation without being a state of the EU. Brexit-lite would simply mean being outside of the “European Union” (without presumably becoming Eurozone or Schengen Area), but not leaving all of the other circles. Full blown Brexit would presumably be leaving all or almost all the circles. Simple. The question is: which circles will we join or stay in?

© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from https://www.aegee.org/yvote2014/voting-guide/how-does-the-eu-works/

 

EU Referendum by Region @vote_leave #takecontrol #voteleave #brexit

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This should probably be familiar to you all by now, at least in broad outline, but I wanted to put it on my blog just for reference’s sake. Here’s how the 12 NUTS1 regions of the UK (the EU-designed regions of the UK) voted in the EU Referendum.

Note that eight of the nine regions of England voted LEAVE. See a full breakdown of results on the BBC website here.

© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-36605656

 

Swiss-Style Referenda #TakeControl #Switzerland #BindingReferendums #Referendum

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Engagement with politics is continuing to decline. Direct democracy is part of the solution.

If a petition gets around 250,000 signatures on the official government petition site (https://petition.parliament.uk), I believe it should trigger an official, binding referendum.

In Switzerland, when around 0.6% of the population signs a petition, it triggers a referendum (https://www.ch.ch/en/referendum/). This system works well in a country of more than eight million people, and there is no reason why it wouldn’t work well in the UK.

A committee or group should be set up to administer these petitions so they do not needlessly consume government time. Note that only a small number of petitions a year would receive the needed signatures.

If you agree, and are a British resident, please sign my petition here:

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/157241

© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from https://petition.parliament.uk

[new petition page link updated 22.07.2016]

EU Referendum: Vote Leave LIED!? @susannareid100 @Nigel_Farage @Vote_Leave #TakeControl #VoteLeave #Brexit

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There’s been a bit of a stir because Nigel Farage, leader of UKIP, has “admitted” that he can’t guarantee when, if ever, the money we currently send to the EU will be spent on the NHS and other public services. People are saying they’ve been lied to.

How is this news? Of course Farage can’t promise it! He’s not even in the government, let alone Prime Minister! Furthermore, he wasn’t part of the official Vote Leave campaign. It’s embarrassing to see Susanna Reid pretend to be a hard-hitting journalist, a female sexier Paxman, by pushing Farage on this. Typical ITV nonsense. Have a go at the BBC, and yes it doesn’t have a slight bias, but she wouldn’t have been able to go after Farage, tabloid-style, and pretend this is a scoop.

© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/newsnights-evan-davis-loses-brexit-8281875#Z0mv3SYpsa8HhXOQ.97

Britain Will NOT Leave the EU @gideonrachman @Vote_Leave #TakeControl #VoteLeave #Brexit

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Two days ago I wrote how I can foresee a second EU referendum, however politically suicidal or disrespectful of the British people’s wishes that that would seem right now. I spoke of how often this has happened in the past when the people say “NO!” to the EU, and why it can and perhaps will happen again.

Now someone who knows more than me, Gideon Rachman of the Financial Times, has said the same thing in his article I do not believe that Brexit will happen (also available here). Unlike Mr Rachman, however, I would not view the onward trundle towards a European Super State or a second referendum to be a good thing. I say, let’s get out ASAP! I also think we cannot trust Boris Johnson on this. After all, he was until recently a lukewarm Bremainer, and famously said a few months ago that the best way to reform the EU, and stay inside this reformed entity, was to vote “NO” in a referendum.

As I said two days ago, we must watch our masters carefully. Any hint at a betrayal of the referendum results, especially Referendum: The Sequel, must be loudly opposed.

© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/8f2aca88-3c51-11e6-9f2c-36b487ebd80a.html

Normal Service to be Resumed Shortly!

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To all the people who read my blog for dieting stuff, for my posts about languages, or talk about religion or films, I apologise for the current over-saturation of EU Referendum stuff! I hope you understand that this vote is truly historic and therefore warrants a bit of air time! Normal service will resume soon!

© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from https://walbrookdiscovery.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/channel-test-image.jpg

Indy Ref 2: Reasonable Timeline @Vote_Leave #TakeControl #VoteLeave #Brexit

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The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland vote 51.9% to LEAVE the EU, and 48.1% to REMAIN. But as you’ll probably be aware, England and Wales voted to LEAVE with 53.4% and 52.5%, but Northern Ireland and Scotland voted to REMAIN with 55.8% and 62%. As far as England is concerned, eight of its nine regions* voted to LEAVE; London was the odd one out. (All details can be found here)

Nichola Sturgeon is now saying the Scottish Parliament will try to block Brexit. I do not believe that this is legally possible, but it would certainly be an outrageous and totally unacceptable proposition. Particularly given that Scotland voted only two years ago to remain in the UK even though everyone was perfectly well aware that the UK might vote to LEAVE the EU two years later.

However, there is a valid point here. Namely, that maybe Scotland and the rest of the UK are diverging politically, and that a second independence referendum for Scotland might need to happen.

But what would the timescale of that be?

The SNP would surely wish to strike while anger is high. However, that seems unreasonable. Indeed, a proposal for a second Indy Ref anytime soon is demonstrably wrong: immoral, yes, but also self-servingly opportunistic, demonstrative of not caring for the UK or even Scotland, but only for one’s own ideology.

Firstly, it isn’t proper to have Indy Ref 2 before we have left the EU. After all, the electorate would not be informed on what an independent UK would entail. That sets Indy Ref 2 back 2-3 years due to the two year negotiation period after Article 50 has been triggered — and it doesn’t have to be triggered immediately.

Secondly, that would take us to 2018/2019. Parliament runs till 2020. Surely it makes sense to allow Parliament to end.

Thirdly, indeed, surely it makes sense for the UK to elect its first post-EU, newly independent government. We must see how an independent UK is to be governed. That means we must allow for at least one full parliament as an independent nation. That takes us through to 2025.

Fourthly, it is probably wise to allow two or three parliaments to pass so that we can settle into a pattern. After all, the first parliament that we elect may well be reactionary. This takes us to 2030-2035.

In short, the earliest it seems reasonable to hold Indy Ref 2 is in about 15-20 years time. That’s not me, as a British Unionist, delaying. Let’s lance the boil! If we need to split, let’s split! But I just can’t see how it is reasonable, let alone constitutionally or politically sensible, to hold Indy Ref 2 anytime soon.

*The EU developed NUTS 1 statistical regions of England.

© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics/indy-ref-2-poll-says-8289832#S5SLVrMPUvEYCsBI.97

EU Referendum: The Sequel @Vote_Leave #TakeControl #VoteLeave #Brexit

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The UK has voted. The decision: to leave the European Union. However, over three million people have already signed a petition calling for a second referendum. In fact, so many tried to sign it that the government petition website crashed!

Now, I don’t believe this petition will come to anything. For a start, it calls for another referendum if the turnout was less than 75%. The turnout was “only” 72%. Yet you can’t retroactively apply this and say we now need another referendum because of the lower turnout. Shifting the goalposts at this stage would just further divide the nation.

However, I always worried, as did many other Brexiteers, that should LEAVE win, a second referendum would be called. Perhaps after the exit negotiation had finished. Y’know, to see if people were still happy with the deal.

This isn’t just conspiracy theorist Brexiteers talking nonsense again (even though David Icke is genuinely on our LEAVE side). Every time a nation is given a vote and says “No” to the EU, there is invariably another vote.

  • Denmark 1992 NO to the Maastricht Treaty 50.7%. Denmark negotiated, got some concessions, staged a second referendum in 1993. The result: 56.8% YES.
  • Ireland 2001 NO to the Treaty of Nice 53.9%. An improved proposal was put to voters in a second referendum in 2002. The result: 62.9 YES.
  • France and Holland 2005 NO to a Treaty establishing a European Constitution 54.9% and 61.5%. The EU simply put almost all of the same provisions in another treaty, The Treaty of Lisbon, which France and Holland did not have a referendum on.
  • Ireland 2008 NO to Treaty of Lisbon 53.2%. Some reassurances were given by the EU, and a second referendum was held in 2009. The result: 67.1% YES.

Seeing a pattern here? Yet whenever a nation says YES the first time of asking, there is peculiarly no second vote(!) For example:

  • Croatia 2012 to join the EU.
  • Malta, Slovenia, Hungary, Lithuania, Slovakia, Poland, Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia 2003 to join the EU.
  • Ireland and Denmark 1998 Treaty of Amsterdam.
  • Austria, Finland, Sweden 1994 to join the EU.
  • Ireland and France 1992 Maastricht Treaty.
  • Denmark 1986 Single European Act.
  • Ireland 1987 Single European Act.
  • Ireland and Denmark 1972 to join the European Communities.
  • And of course all the aforesaid times where the nation voted YES on the second referendum, after saying NO in the first, a further third one was not held.

There’s a reason we always had the double jeopardy rule in English law. It simply isn’t fair to keep putting the same person on trial until you get the “right” result. This ancient protection against tyranny was effectively repealed on the reasonable-sounding grounds that should new evidence come to light, it is only just to try the person again. Likewise, it seems so reasonable to ask the people to vote again when new conditions come to light. And literally millions of people petitioning for a second vote, plus the upcoming withdrawal negotiation conditions, are indeed “new conditions”. Yet in reality, this would be nothing but a try at barracking and wearing people down emotionally and mentally to not vote NO again, to either abstain or switch to YES.

If we were always offered a second bite, or a best of three, then I wouldn’t be so vexed. But that isn’t how the EU works. When supporters of “The Project” can avoid it, they don’t ask the question. And when they do ask the question, only the “right” answer will do.

And that is why I am not dancing in the streets. And that is why I haven’t cried with joy yet. For I know all too well that this isn’t over till the fat lady sings. I will shed tears of joy when we have actually left the EU. Till then, us supporters of a free UK must stay wakeful and watchful of what our overlords do.

© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from https://petition.parliament.uk