Today’s first letter comes from our contributor Sonya Jay Porter, with a proposal for a reform of the HoL:
we now know that the House of So-Called ‘Lords’ has voted against Brexit and so has shown itself to be an authoritarian and anti-democratic organisation. I was therefore delighted to sign a Petition online to give the electorate a referendum on the abolition of the House of Lords.
[Ed: if you haven’t signed it yet, here’s the link again: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/209433 ]
When the Lords were real Lords and had lands and heirs to pass them on to, I felt it was fine to have a Revising Chamber of such people because they would make sure they handed a good country on to their sons, but this lot are just appointees and chums of the current Prime Minister and members of the Cabinet.
I should prefer to return to something similar to King Alfred the Great’s Council, called the ‘Witangemot’ or Meeting of Wise Men, which consisted in those days of anyone owning land and called Aldermen (Elders). These days, various groups in the country, such as the Law, Medicine, Media, Unions, etc., etc. could be asked to elect a number of Aldermen and Alderwomen to the Witangemot for a period of 5 or 10 years overlapping for which they could be paid a basic salary plus expenses.
Their consideration would then be for their own people and their country — not their pockets.
Comments and suggestions welcome!
Respectfully, Sonya Jay Porter
Our exemplary correspondent Roger Arthur sent in the following letter, on M Macron’s vision for the EU:
This is for those who had to reach for a sick bag, when listening to Macron address the EU earlier in the week, again advocating ever closer union.
His win over Marine Le Pen last year seems to have been an exception to an otherwise rather lukewarm attitude towards Brussels across the continent. He is not only in conflict with his own people, but with many Eurosceptics across the continent and is increasingly – out on a limb.
Two Eurosceptic parties topped the polls in Italy last month, while Austrians elected a more realist government, and the Alternative for Germany (AfD) had great success in the general election in September. Not to forget Viktor Orbán’s surprisingly comprehensive victory in Hungary just two weeks ago.
Instead of the balance of power in the EU tilting to more zeal for centralisation post-Brexit, the opposite seems to be happening: small countries, having previously hidden behind the UK’s sceptical voice, are slowly becoming louder and more decisive, warning of the dangers of ideas such as a European Monetary Fund, a European finance minister, or increased contributions to the EU budget.
Dutch PM Mark Rutte has been at the forefront in this. Having kept mum on the EU for most of his time as PM, he is becoming a more determined voice against ever more integration, saying that this is “not the answer”. The Dutch government recently published a letter in cooperation with Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Sweden, calling for moderation in the current debate, rejecting most of Macron’s federalising proposals.
But this new coalition of Northern states is not the only danger to the federalists’ utopian dreams. Central and Eastern European countries have been equally alarmed by some of the proposals coming out of Brussels. Austria’s young Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has criticised closer economic integration and argued for a greater emphasis on subsidiarity by giving power back to the member states:
“It is right for the EU to scale back when it comes to questions that member states or regions can decide for themselves, and to make sure that regulations don’t increase steadily,”
Kurz said recently.
Other Eastern European countries meanwhile argue similarly for more restraint, particularly on areas such as migration.
The fallout of the Visegrad states with Brussels has been well documented, and Poland’s Law and Justice Party and Hungary’s Fidesz are both expected to win big in next year’s European Parliament elections, further shifting the debate away from simply Paris, Berlin, and Brussels, to Budapest, Warsaw, and other smaller member states.
Behind all this, we have unresolved Eurozone flaws and the debt overhang in countries such as Greece and Italy, where debt/GDP ratios have risen to unsustainable levels – with the prospect of more bailouts by next year – and ever more EU red tape. Macron can talk the talk but more EU is not the answer, however persuasive he may appear. He might be a good actor, but that will not be anywhere near enough to stop the EU Titanic from breaking up and sinking.
Respectfully, Roger Arthur
Given the preponderance of Napoleonic Law and administration in Brussels, I can’t help but think that M Macron continues in the vein of his predecessors who dream of recreating a ‘European Empire’ along the lines of the Napoleonic one!
The last letter is from our reader and now-again member Richard Lee:
I re-joined UKIP on the first of April this year. But I am no fool! I realise it is imperative that one of the main parties must go. Which one does not matter because both have been complicit in misleading the public as to where the Common Market is to end up. A Federal Europe, mainly answering to the old enemy Germany who are on their third attempt to control the continent.
So who would be the best to go? For me the Tories must go as they still think they can carry on as if we are Mushrooms. The deal they are negotiating will leave us half in and half out.
The UKIP leader must be prepared to tell Europe that their negotiations will have no value once a new party is elected. We must be prepared to break the law if they try to use legalese to tie our free country down.
We must defend our fisheries, if necessary with force or we will have nothing left. Send the warnings now so that they know they will not always be dealing with a weak compliant government. The EU is in a weak position and we need to let them know it.
Respectfully, Richard Lee