Earlier today in “YOUR DAILY BReXIT BETRAYAL” I mentioned the article by Tim Stanley in today’s DT, saying that I’d write about it separately because of its importance.
The headline of the paywalled article is “In the race to replace Juncker, the EU’s sleight of hand reminds us why we voted Leave”, hinting at the deeper background to that deadlock in the top EU gremium. It’s not just about Ms Merkel’s candidate suddenly no longer being acceptable, or about Ms Merkel’s astonishing cave-in to the three male PMs – Macron (F), Rutte (NL), Sanchez (ESP) – at the G20 summit in Osaka. There’s more to it and Stanley’s arguments are powerful:
“The Remainers say “we didn’t know what we were voting for!” and, fair enough, lots of Brexiteers didn’t. But neither did Remainers. Back in 2016, they couldn’t say who their MEPs were or what the EU Council is or name any of the commissioners – and that’s a problem because democracy only works when you understand how it works and who is working it. The EU is a sham democracy. That’s the real reason Britain voted to leave, and the row over the next President of the EU Commission suggests that we’re getting out just in time.” (paywalled link)
Moreover, this deadlock, this row shows clearly the sham this EU democracy is ‘in real life’. In 2014, many, certainly here in the UK, asked how come they didn’t have a vote for the then ‘spitzenkandidat’ Juncker – and who was it who actually designated him as such. That was certainly one incident not forgotten during the EU Referendum. Stanley continues:
“Brexiteers are accused of being obsessed with the Second World War, but the Europeans live very much in the shadow of Hitler and the terror of a return to fascism. The EU was constructed by men who were frightened of their own voters, so they cooked up a structure in which democracy is checked by a self-selecting, bureaucratic elite – a bit like the philosopher kings in Plato’s Republic or the clerics in Iran.
The democratic element of the EU is the European Parliament, which is elected by you and me and reviews and amends legislation. But legislation is actually drafted by the EU Commission, which also oversees national budgets, enforces treaties and negotiates trade deals. Who runs the Commission? Well, that’s decided by the European Council, which is made up of the heads of the 28 EU member states: they pick names for the top jobs and only then does the European Parliament approve them. Don’t worry if you’re having difficulty following all of this, you’re meant to. In Europe, power is divided on purpose; no one’s quite sure who is charge; change is slow. The ship of state sails on.” (paywalled link)
That is certainly worth repeating and keeping in mind: The EU divides ‘power’ on purpose, EU “democracy” is a sham and the EU Parliament is meant as a theatre to placate those who demand democracy. Next:
“In 2014, however, the Parliament embarked on a dangerous innovation: it insisted that whoever the Council nominates for President of the EU Commission ought to be drawn from the group with the most seats in Parliament. After this year’s elections, that was the European People’s Party, and that meant the Council should have nominated a German conservative called Manfred Weber. But Weber is inexperienced; he has been too nice to the right-wing Hungarians, and both the socialists and the liberals on the Council don’t like him. If the Council had accepted this unacceptable candidate, it would have been seen as a victory for the Parliament and power would have shifted in its favour. Weber was vetoed, and the summit to fill the job has turned out to be the longest in modern history.” (paywalled link)
There’s a bit more to this. Usually, the ‘most powerful woman’ in the EU, Ms Merkel, would have been expected to push her candidate through the Council by now. However, the French-German ‘friendship’ has been faltering and M Macron, who needs some sort of success, having steered France into an unholy mess, is using Ms Merkel’s physical and political weakness to promote himself as the only true Leader of the EU. That he expects more money for France’s faltering economy goes without saying. The following observation is also illuminating:
“The crisis is expected to be resolved today in one of those quiet compromises the EU is capable of pulling off when it wants to. But doing so exposes a serious flaw in the project’s organising principle. The EU cannot allow too much democracy because it’s trying to keep 28 countries across an entire continent happy, and the moment you allow one group in Parliament to dominate the agenda, you’ll alienate the other factions and perhaps whole nations, and European unity will collapse.” (paywalled link)
That emphasises again the fact that the EU is indeed a sham democracy, which cannot be said often enough. More:
“The EU isn’t boring and faceless by accident – it’s to avoid exactly this kind of conflict – but the show can’t go on for much longer. Europe is growing up and growing apart. The east is broadly authoritarian, the west is liberal; some want more integration and others want less; the future is more radical and democratic. It was the liberals, nationalists and greens who did best in the last elections, leaving no-one with a majority and making it harder to strike a balance behind closed doors, and the time will come when these upstarts demand a Commission that reflects their competing values; the Council will resist and all Hell will break loose. Brexit Britain might then be regarded not as reckless for leaving but prophetic and sensible.” (paywalled link)
Next Stanley makes some inconvenient observations:
“But “who governs?” is actually the most important question of all (literally everything flows from it) and if you can’t answer it easily then there’s something wrong with your system of government. Ergo, I have no idea what on Earth the people who fly EU flags outside the UK Parliament think they are fighting for. The authority of the EU Parliament, the Commission or the Council? In the event of a war between the EU and, say, Russia, which Commissioner would they follow into battle? What EU Directive would be on their lips?” (paywalled link)
That question also must be asked of our Remainiacs – not just those waving ‘that’ flag outside Parliament but those inside, in both Houses, again and again. Our Parliament decides over war and peace. It is one of the fundamentals of our democracy. Are the Grieves, the Starmers, the demonstrators who paint their faces with the EU colours happy to have some faceless, unelected “Commissioner” decide that we sacrifice our soldiers and sailors in a war not of our making, because >>> “EU”? Really? Stanley’s concluding remarks are to the point:
“It’s more likely that what they [the remainers] want to preserve isn’t the reality of Europe’s power structures but an idea of Europe that most Brexiteers share. We all want to trade with the Europeans, to move back and forth as freely as possible, to learn one another’s languages, indulge in each other’s cultures and to maintain a virtuous peace. But it’s a peculiarly continental obsession to think these things must require a government to do them – especially a government of smoke and mirrors. It’s this essential difference in political culture that makes them European and us British.” (paywalled link)
Amen to that last sentence!