The politics of identity

I have always assumed that the EU and its core, the Euro, will eventually be swept away by powerful senses of identity in some individual counties and regions of its vast rambling empire. Might it be the UK who tires of EU meddling in its affairs? Will it be Germany, refusing to pay the bills for its expensive currency union with the neighbours? Or will it be smaller countries and regions who want more self government?

History tells you that’s what will happen. The Roman empire united by force fell when that force met its match from nationalist revolts. The Catholic hegemony was undermined from within, mainly by the successful transmission of heretic thoughts allied to national self belief in parts of the old Catholic union. The Holy Roman Empire fell to pieces under the weight of opinion wanting more local identities. The Scandinavian unions broke owing to strong loyalties to the individual countries. The Latin and Scandinavian currency unions broke up over disputes on how to spread the debts. The USSR empire was destroyed by a series of public revolts state by state, and its currency union split up relatively peacefully and successfully afterwards.

I hope that this false union will go peacefully, through the ballot box. The paradox of the EU is the way it is splitting some of the larger countries of Europe through its own passion to build a Europe of the regions. On the way to power the EU decided that it would good to appeal direct to regional governments below the level of the member states. It set up a series of programmes where regions could apply for EU monies ( money originally sent to the EU by their national taxpayers and those of the other national states), to strengthen regional government. It was happy building the governments of Catalonia, southern Italy, Scotland, and other regions around the EU.

Now the EU has much more power it is becoming more wary of what it has created. The EU was not helpful to those who wanted Scottish independence. The EU is helping the Spanish state deal with rising Catalan nationalism. Just over the EU borders, the EU is far from amused by the demands for autonomy or independence in parts of Ukraine. The issue for the next few years is can the EU help suppress the nationalisms its has helped unleash? What will the impact be on the EU if some of these states within a state, countries trying to get out of larger countries, have their way? I will look at more of this soon.

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113 Comments

  1. stred
    Posted July 25, 2015 at 5:14 am | Permalink

    Perhaps you could have a word with the Anglo Scottish and Irish aristocrats residing at nos 10 and 11 Downing Street, and seem to have a copy of the EU handbbook for regionalisation kept under their pillows.

    • lickyalips
      Posted July 26, 2015 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      Yes – hidden inside a hollowed-out copy of Orwell’s ‘1984’

  2. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted July 25, 2015 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    Forgotten European Parliament building – Luxembourg: (H/T G. Fawkes )

    The old plenary chamber is lavishly decorated with a massive zinc bas relief that was be the largest metal sculpture in the world when it was installed. Oddly, despite funding the Luxembourg Parliament as the EU’s second largest contributor per head, Brits are not allowed to visit it. Tory MEP David Campbell-Bannerman is livid “What a waste of yet more hardworking taxpayers’ money by the EU. I am an MEP and regularly use two Parliaments now, but I have never even seen this third Parliament. Now as a Brit they say I am not welcome there anyway!”

    The EU spends £45 million a year to keep it running.

    When will all stop…please?

    • Jerry
      Posted July 25, 2015 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      @Ex-expat Colin; “[re the so called forgotten European Parliament building – Luxembourg] When will all stop…please?”

      What, silly anti EU comments, most likely never…

      There are numerous places in the UK, that (ultimately) belong to the state, including crown estates etc. were tax payers money is spent but for no good reason such taxpayers have no automatic right of entry if any at all. Oh and what of that rather silly rule in our own parliament that says visitors during non working periods can not sit on the green benches within the chamber, but presumably can pause at the despatch boxes as they walk past?!

      • libertarian
        Posted July 25, 2015 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

        Jerry

        He didn’t say taxpayers he said MEP’s and only British ones, do at least make an attempt to keep up. So please provide a complete list of parliamentary buildings in the UK that are currently empty yet are being paid to upkeep but certain MP’s are allowed to visit but others aren’t.

        • Jerry
          Posted July 26, 2015 at 7:09 am | Permalink

          @libertarian; “but certain MP’s are allowed to visit but others aren’t.”

          Well that is not what “Ex-expat Colin” said Mr Campbell-Bannerman said, there was no hard evidence in his ‘quote’ to suggest that other national MEPs are allowed to visit (it can be read any way one chooses in other words). Do actually try and understand what others say, not just read what you think they said or perhaps what you hoped they said, or indeed perhaps what they should have said but did not…

          Also the original website from were the apparent citation comes is some what suspect anyway, hardly the bastion of unbiased reporting and comment when it comes to this sort of europhobic article.

          • Edward2
            Posted July 26, 2015 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

            Why dont you apply to visit Jerry, as a fully signed up Eurofanatic.
            Please report back with a description of your visit.

          • libertarian
            Posted July 26, 2015 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

            Dear Jerry

            Do keep up, Ex Pat Colin referred to his source in the opening sentence, I suggest you read it before adding your ill thought out, poorly researched, contrary, opinions.

            You think that GF is suspect, so what? Do you have any proof to the contrary? No thought not.

            Yet another Jerry, lets argue for the sake of it,post

          • Jerry
            Posted July 27, 2015 at 6:47 am | Permalink

            @libertarian; There was no citation, and thus no facts. If this article is so clear cut then actually cite the URL [1], prove that you and Colin are correct. I deal in FACTS, not here-say, be it europhile or europhobe and anywhere between the two.

            “You think that GF is suspect, so what? Do you have any proof to the contrary? No thought not.”

            Then you will have no problem citing another source to back up your claims that GF is correct, that Mr Campbell-Bannerman is correct. You are in effect asking me to prove that I am not beating my wife, a European way of justice…

            Yet another libertarian (and Edward2), lets argue for the sake of it, post – hmm…

            [1] meaning that you will not be able to claim that I ‘must have read the wrong article’ or what ever.

          • libertarian
            Posted July 27, 2015 at 9:05 am | Permalink

            Jerry

            Oh dear once again Jerry fails completely in a debate.

            1) Expat Colin referred to a link containing the info you dispute

            2) You claimed it isn’t true

            3) If you deal in FACTS provide a link where we can arrange to visit this parliament

            4) You don’t understand the nature of facts, it would be highly unusual having a link that says you can’t visit

            Oh and Jerry here is a a list of EU Plenary Chambers with online visitor booking ability. You will notice that the chamber to which Fawkes & Colin referred has NO booking system and you have to call for information.

            So on the grounds that I can’t prover a negative this is as close as I can get, but close enough to prove you wrong, which is frankly easy.

            http://www.europarl.europa.eu/visiting/en/visits/chamber-tour-for-groups.html

          • Edward2
            Posted July 27, 2015 at 9:14 am | Permalink

            Its the casual waste of £45 million per year that irritates me Jerry, far more than your pedantic arguing about who may or may not be allowed to visit.

        • Jerry
          Posted July 28, 2015 at 7:58 am | Permalink

          @libertarian; “You claimed it isn’t true”

          No I did not, I said the claims were UNPROVEN.

          “You will notice that the chamber to which Fawkes & Colin referred has NO booking system and you have to call for information.”

          Exactly, so it is not just us British who can not visit, as that GF published rant infers.

          “So on the grounds that I can’t prover a negative this is as close as I can get, but close enough to prove you wrong, which is frankly easy.”

          Duh… Try actuall6y reading what I said, not arguing the toss about what you think I said. Thanks for proving my point!

          • Edward2
            Posted July 28, 2015 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

            The claims will always be “unproven” as long as you refuse to accept any proof placed in front of your face which any other person on the planet would accept.
            Jerry you are really really pedantic.

    • yosarion
      Posted July 25, 2015 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      Makes you wonder what they are keeping it for, a senate perhaps

  3. Denis Cooper
    Posted July 25, 2015 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    As far as I can see there has been a long running low level conflict within the EU between the eurofanatics who want the EU to become a federation of the pre-existing nation states, and the eurofanatics who want to go the whole hog by breaking up the old nation states and forming a federation of regions and cities; and for the moment the first lot of eurofanatics have mostly come out on top, but the second lot of eurofanatics will persist in their efforts, they will not stop; and that is the most powerful reason which sways me towards saying that we must have a separate and separately elected devolved Parliament for the whole of England, the equivalent of the Scottish Parliament, not some fudge based on the UK Parliament.

    • acorn
      Posted July 25, 2015 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      I must be missing something Denis; why does Westminster not want to go the federal route? Is there some insurmountable political barrier I am not seeing?

      It can’t be that difficult to split UK tax and spending, into a federal bit and four separate national bits. There are loads of federal models around the planet that would fit, without having to have an “enquiry” that will last ten years! (And still report before Chilcott).

      I still haven’t worked out what England is? What is the golden thread that runs through it, such that people would say “I am English”, not British. Even federated, England would still have nine EU regions, with three of those financing the other six. Would they be any closer together under an English parliament? I would like to think so but not sure. Perhaps we should go back to the original 48 Counties and start again to build an England. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subdivisions_of_England

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted July 26, 2015 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

        I think you’ll find that England predates EU Regions by quite a lot.

  4. agricola
    Posted July 25, 2015 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    Yet another compelling reason for the UK to leave the EU. My only fear is the question, to what extent will the UK electorate fully appreciate how bad continued membership of the EU will be for us? It is therefore incumbent on the NO campaign to spell it out in all it’s horrific detail.

    • Timaction
      Posted July 25, 2015 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      The legacy party leaders are all Europhile quislings who want to remain in the EU on any terms. I just can’t work out why. When Nigel Farage questioned the candidates on the radio the other day the only one who would consider exit was Mr Corbyn. Lets hope he is elected leader of that awful party.
      They were all spinning the need to stay in to safeguard jobs and prosperity. This must be challenged on every occasion by informing people of our huge trade deficit with Countries that make up the EU and the simple fact we don’t have to be in it to trade with this political union, ask China, USA, Japan etc!

      • Jerry
        Posted July 25, 2015 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

        @Timaction; “The legacy party leaders are all Europhile quislings who want to remain in the EU on any terms.”

        Then it is game-over, we might as well stop this endless debate about our EU membership – remind me of the UKIP results in May, oh yes; 4m votes, 12.5% of the popular vote, an increase of 9.5%, one MP. That means a hell of a lot of voters must want to remain in the EU.

        “Mr Corbyn. Lets hope he is elected leader of that awful party.”

        Mr Corbyn might just be the europhobes greatest friend, if he really is as “lefty” as the “righties” in the establishment press are making out, after all it was the hard and left-of-centre-left wing of the Labour party who never wanted to join, and wanted out of the EEC between 1972 and the mid to late 1980s.

        • A different Simon
          Posted July 27, 2015 at 10:27 am | Permalink

          There were people all across the Labour party who were anything but happy about the EU .

          I wish Mr Corbyn success in the Labour leadership . If successful he will give Mr Cameron hell at Prime Ministers Question time .

          This may well cost me in the pocket personally but I’ve had enough of arrogant posh boys like Cameron , Clegg , Osborne and Boris thinking they are somehow borne to it .

          Boris’s naked ambition was the last straw for me .

          From 1964 to 1997 , every British Prime Minister had gone to a grammar school .

          As with mass immigration , the destruction of grammar schools benefited Conservatives at the expense of traditional Labour party voters yet the hapless Labour party couldn’t have been more helpful when it came to doing the establishments dirty work .

          Then the establishment won the lottery rollover , rollover jackpot . They found Anthony Blair , the ultimate elitest and leader of the Labour party !

          Sadly , Jeremy Corbyn , unlike his brother Piers , is not as normal as he at first seems – he adopts whatever leftie dogma is going rather than on it’s merits and has never done a proper job .

    • Jerry
      Posted July 25, 2015 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      @agricola; “to what extent will the UK electorate fully appreciate how bad continued membership of the EU will be for us? It is therefore incumbent on the NO campaign to spell it out in all it’s horrific detail.”

      Trouble is, many people see the same number of horrors for the UK existing outside of the EU, political groups such as the SNP (and the Catalan nationalists, has the EU really turned against the area of Spain from were the wealth and thus taxes come?) have obtained much of their political identity by way of the EU, what with their MEPs and regional development grants etc. So whilst you are quite correct, that the “No.” group has to spell out horrors of continued membership they also need to spell out a realistic road map, not just vague suggestions of Jam-Tomorrow, never mind some crazy idea that our old Empire will be queuing up to buy from the motherland like they did in times well past.

      Many people must be as keen as I am to read this detailed economic plan for UK in a post EU age – otherwise there is a real danger that people will vote to stay within the EU as the devil you know is always better than the devil you don’t…

      PS. It still also has to be established if a “No” vote will in effect be a vote to leave!

      • David Price
        Posted July 26, 2015 at 4:50 am | Permalink

        Some groups have spent a lot of time researching and developing approaches for post-Brexit, at least one has a very detailed roadmap which takes a relaistic and pragmatic view of the world that doesn’t rely on resetting the clock. You may or may not agree with their proposals but they are quite public and there for those who look.

        • Jerry
          Posted July 26, 2015 at 7:23 am | Permalink

          @David Price; What is this “relaistic and pragmatic” document/roadmap called, most the ones I have read thus far are based on either making assumptions that we will simply carry on trading on the same T&Cs as we have been for the last 40 odd years, or the daydream of turning back the clock (looking towards the Commonwealth), few if any have actually tackled the very real possibility that the ‘clock’ will be reset.

          • Posted July 26, 2015 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

            Jerry

            As you have no experience, expertise or knowledge in business or trade I would steer clear of this subject if I were you.

            Some of our biggest trade/export markets are USA, China & Middle East who are neither in the Commonwealth or the EU .

            EU Exports for April 2015 are £11.0 billion. This is a decrease of £0.8 billion (6.7 per cent) compared with last month and a decrease of £1.4 billion (12 per cent) compared with April 2014.

            UK exports to USA for May 2015 have risen 21.1%

            UK exports to China for April 2015 have risen 26.6%

            UK Exports to Saudia Arabia are up 46%

            UK Exports to India are up 37.5%

            ( Data from HMRC & UKTI )

            There is NO possibility that the clock will reset with European trading partners. We are the biggest market for German cars for instance and if you think BMW, Mercedes & VW would want to not renew/continue trading then you are seriously deluded.

            Less than 9% of economic activity of the UK is with the EU, so even if by some collective insanity they decided to throw their toys out of the pram , it wouldn’t take much at all to fill the void.

          • Jerry
            Posted July 27, 2015 at 7:25 am | Permalink

            @libertarian; “As you have no experience, expertise or knowledge in business or trade”

            More incorrect assumptions. You also seem to be dismissing the CBI etc, considering that I am asking similar questions as groups are!

            “There is NO possibility that the clock will reset with European trading partners. [../etc/..]”

            Utterly wrong/simplistic.

            “so even if by some collective insanity they decided to throw their toys out of the pram , it wouldn’t take much at all to fill the void

            Really, with what, that is not made or owned by such EU based companies or made here because of the fact that the UK has an open door to the rest of the EU?

            But as I said, if you are correct then peop0le like you will have no problems citing such a detailed economic roadmap for a post Brexit UK, one that doesn’t simply make assumptions or repeat here-say. I’m not even asking for it today, although apparently such a detailed report already exists (hence why I asked for its name), just that such a roadmap needs to be placed before the electorate prior to asking them for their vote come the referendum.

          • David Price
            Posted July 27, 2015 at 8:59 am | Permalink

            Some I am aware of and working my way through;
            – Dr Richard North’s Flexcit
            – Iain Mansfield’s IEA Brexit prize submission
            – Bruges Group proposals such as Hugo van Randwyck’s paper
            – Business for Britain’s “Change or Go”
            – Global Britain’s brexit proposal

            Perhaps you could list the material you have thoroughly researched to arrive at your expert opinion on what will happen with 100% certainty.

            In the meantime, the majority of our trade is outside the EU so why, realistically and pragmatically, should we restrict ourselves to only meeting their demands and constraints?

          • libertarian
            Posted July 27, 2015 at 9:46 am | Permalink

            JR

            Your comment system has a problem. I am unable to post with completing a Captcha Box. The box doesn’t allow data entry !!!

          • Posted July 27, 2015 at 9:47 am | Permalink

            Jerry

            Your postings on business prove unequivocally that you don’t have a clue how to run a business. You lack the knowledge, vision and awareness.

            I already showed you the GROWING export figures to OTHER NON EU parts of the world.

            Here is what is made here that ISN’T made for EU companies or indeed necessarily for EU markets

            Medical Devices ( UK worlds leading manufacturer )

            Mobile Phone chips ( 80% of World usage manufactured by UK co’s)

            British Aerospace Industry

            Cars ( Jerry we make RIGHT HAND DRIVE CARS in UK for home & Japanese markets)

            Vehicles ( lorries, buses, taxis, construction plant )

            ETC ETC ETC

            Heres a list with their values

            http://www.themanufacturer.com/uk-manufacturing-statistics/

            In services which are worth even more in export than manufacturing

            We lead the way in

            Financial Services

            Popular Music

            Sport

            Theatre/film/tv

            Accountancy Services

            Insurance

            Architecture

            Software & digital

            http://www.theweek.co.uk/uk-news/your-business/61274/biggest-trends-in-british-trade

            The CBI is a corporatist lobbying body and the EU is a statist/corporatist construction. As I’ve told you many times now the 21st century is about small and innovative independent businesses, you know the ones who have just created 2 million new jobs in the UK.

            Businesses are individual organisations often in competition with each other. The public sector doesn’t run business ( it just interferes) so EACH businesses will have its own strategic plan. Those businesses that currently rely on the EU for most of their trade will need a plan prior to Brexit, but they should be doing that anyhow as EU trade is fast demising in any case .

            As I said Jerry your knowledge of business is less than zero

          • Jerry
            Posted July 27, 2015 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

            @libertarian; “Businesses are individual organisations often in competition with each other.”

            Yes and many will be horrified at assertions like yours about a post Brexit age, when not backed up by any meaningful or detailed evidence – once again – I’m not asking for it today, just before the referendum.

            “As I said Jerry your [and apparently that of the CBI] knowledge of business is less than zero”

            You are entitled to you opinions – but you seem to take objection to any suggestion that a “Trust me I’m a Doctor” will not do when being asked to prove your post Brexit arguments, all but claiming that groups like the CBI are Charlatans too!

  5. Hefner
    Posted July 25, 2015 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    Interesting to note that JR in his survey of past empires breaking-up forgot the one closer to home, the British one. Maybe a case of tunnel vision?

    • agricola
      Posted July 25, 2015 at 8:10 am | Permalink

      The breakup of the British Empire was a very different matter. Yes it broke up, but then unlike previous empire collapses it morphed into the Commonwealth with the Queen remaining as it’s symbolic head. Members of the Commonwealth are there because they choose to be. Only when their behaviour becomes totally outrageous can it be suggested that they leave. In the Commonwealth I think we have a unique gathering of nations that we have failed to date develop to it’s full potential. A gathering of nations covering all skin colours and geographical areas with a greater affinity to each other than any empire created by force of arms or political compulsion, even though historically it started that way. We should not be seduced by our flirtation with the EU a mere gesture towards empire that lacks the means and the will of the people involved.

      • Jerry
        Posted July 25, 2015 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

        agricola; “the Commonwealth with the Queen remaining as it’s symbolic head.”

        Shouldn’t that be – the symbolic Commonwealth with the Queen remaining as it’s head…

        • agricola
          Posted July 27, 2015 at 4:04 am | Permalink

          No

          • Jerry
            Posted July 27, 2015 at 7:29 am | Permalink

            Dream on then “agricola”…

            It was the Commonwealth countries that stopped trading with us, not the other way around, hence why both Tory and Labour governments investigated joining the then EEC during the 1960s.

          • Edward2
            Posted July 27, 2015 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

            Thats a novel take on history Jerry.
            The UK turned its back on Commonwealth countries in preparation to joining the Common Market.
            Whether this was just to demonstrate our European credentials or it was a requirement to joining I cannot recall but we did make deliberate decisions to switch away.
            We reduced for example our purchase of West Indies bananas and New Zealand lamb in the years running up to our entry.
            It caused some financial hardship in these countries and a resentment which still has not fully faded.

          • libertarian
            Posted July 27, 2015 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

            Jerry

            “It was the Commonwealth countries that stopped trading with us”

            Wrong as always Jerry

            http://www.thecommentator.com/article/2412/the_commonwealth_eu_misconception

          • Jerry
            Posted July 27, 2015 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; @libertarian; Oh right so the UK stopped making the Commonwealth buy our products and services… How’s the weather on Pluto!

            Oh and “Edward2”, wasn’t there a small matter of a currency problem here in the UK during the mid to late 1960s, resulting in currency controls, and a devaluation etc, if there was any reduction in trade with the Commonwealth it wasn’t done out of spite towards them, it was done to stop the UK going bust. Also far from embracing goods from the then EEC countries, were not tariffs imposed whilst we Plebs were to “Buy British”?

        • Edward2
          Posted July 27, 2015 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

          What a load of irrelevant nonsense Jerry.
          Honhestly one of your most ridiculous posts ever.

    • libertarian
      Posted July 25, 2015 at 9:22 am | Permalink

      Hefner

      Agree but the British Empire really broke up with less antagonism than previous empires due to the British seeing the writing on the wall and giving it up ( yes I know there were some struggles for independence). Sadly the EU Empire doesn’t even notice the wall let alone the writing on it.

  6. Richard1
    Posted July 25, 2015 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    you may be right that the EU will eventually be swept away, but there is an important difference between the EU and all those other empires and unions – none of the others ever attempted any sort of democratic legitimacy. We may not like it on the eurosceptic right in the UK, but there is widespread support for the EU, and even for euro federalism, throughout the EU. Indeed where there is opposition it is often the wrong sort – nationalist socialist opposition such as the Front National in France. We see that also in the UK, where UKIP, which used to be a right wing free market party, now talks almost exclusively about immigration.

    We will make our own decision in the UK, but we should not kid ourselves that there is extensive support for the small govt free market anti-EU vision of most of the eurosceptic right in the UK (unfortunately).

    • DaveM
      Posted July 25, 2015 at 7:16 am | Permalink

      You’re right in saying that there is support for the EU. However, I would argue that there has always been a certain amount of support for a European confederacy of some sort amongst the continental nations, whether it be the papacy, the Holy Roman Empire, or whatever. They seem generally content to be part of, and ruled by a larger European power whilst comfortably retaining their own identity. Maybe it’s a fear of Russia or the “Saracen” that has created that attitude. We have never been content with that in this country.

      The English in particular generally want total independence – probably because they were a breakaway colonial section of the Germanic race to begin with, and it’s in their nature to want to cut ties with the old country. The fact that they live on an island and have always had the ability to defend themselves militarily probably contributes to the sense of independence too. We saw the same with the anglo-americans in the 17th century and we are beginning to see the same with the Australians and New-Zealanders.

      The continentals, meanwhile, accept and support euro-confederacy for so long until they realise that the central ruling power does not have their best interests at heart, and then they decide they’d be better by themselves.

      I see no reason why the EU won’t fail the same way as all the othe Euro-empires have failed; even more so given that it is not backed up by any united military force.

    • agricola
      Posted July 25, 2015 at 8:30 am | Permalink

      So what cosy little box should legitimate, in your eyes, opposition to the ambitions of the EU fall into. Parties should be intellectually free to deal with the problems that assail their countries as they see fit. Politics needs to move with the times as does technology. A glance at Labour , a party in search of a purpose, should indicate a need to move with the times. If in the UK there is extensive support for small government, free market, anti EU euro scepticism, then it must be the will of the people. It does not mean they hate Europe or Europeans, they just have no stomach for what a few Europeans have created in Brussels.

      • Richard1
        Posted July 25, 2015 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

        I don’t say that xenophobic nationalist-socialist opposition to the EU, such as is prevalent in France and elsewhere is illegitimate, I just don’t support it, and I don’t want to associate with it.

    • Posted July 25, 2015 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      Richard 1

      There are currently 19 separatist movements within the EU member states. You are right a large number of citizens broadly like being in EU. Therefore those of us that want to exit the current mess need to put forward a coherent offering that gives the people of Europe the benefits without the drawbacks.

      The two things that continental Europeans actually like are the free movement of people and free trade. There is no reason we can’t have both of those in an EFTA type approach. Migration into the UK hasn’t anything to do with free movement of people its all about our generous welfare state. The reason immigrants don’t settle in France or Holland or Germany is because their welfare rules are vastly more stringent than ours.

      • Richard1
        Posted July 25, 2015 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

        I agree, a Switzelrand type deal would enable the same free movement and free trade as we have now. It is clear the UKs crazy benefits scheme is what is attracting the virtual invasion we see at the channel ports now.

    • Posted July 25, 2015 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      Certainly, in the last 3 decades or so, the anti-eu movement has been painted by the media as being made up of right wing free-market types (like me).

      The BBC/Guardian/Labour axis has gone further by branding us as cranks and mavericks.

      However, there has also been a left wing anti-eu movement. It just hasn’t been given the same coverage by the media.

      The trick for the OUT campaign is to bring this all together in a broad church movement under the banner of democracy. In fact, I would love to see this movement call itself the ‘Democrats” since that is what they would be.

      If the left and right wings campaign separately they will be marginalised by the media and gain little traction. Within the OUT campaign, talk of free markets etc must give way to the broader, more important issue of democracy and the sovereignty of the People through their Parliament.

  7. Mike Stallard
    Posted July 25, 2015 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    The people who are working hard for a new Federal Democratic Republic of Europe are not in favour of nationalism. They degrade countries into “States”, they speak of “populism” and despise national parliaments. They usually go for referenda instead. Please do read the preamble to the Spinelli document or else the speeches of M. Barroso.
    The EU is heading towards 1984 very fast and nobody in England seems to have noticed. The Germans have though. And so have the Greeks. The people who are working on the constitution and the new treaty are almost (not M. Juncker) ex communists.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted July 25, 2015 at 7:24 am | Permalink

      Well, I wouldn’t read too much into the “States” business.

      The UK is a “member state” of the EU because legally it is still no more than an international organisation established by treaty between its sovereign “member states”, and referring to the participating countries as “member states” is not unusual for international organisations.

    • Posted July 25, 2015 at 8:11 am | Permalink

      Mike, I read recently a quote from Jean Monnet dated 1943: “Europe’s nations should be guided towards the superstate without their people understanding what is happening. This can be accomplished by successive steps, each disguised as having an economic purpose, but which will eventuality and irreversibly lead to federation.”

      It’s been coming for a long time.

    • Graham Wood
      Posted July 25, 2015 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      Mike. On the EU Referendum blog you highly commend Dr. North’s latest post which describes the process of unravelling EU treaties for the UK as “an immensely complex operation”. Indeed it may well be, but that is to confuse the POST Brexit mechanics of negotiating the treaties with the campaign for leaving the EU, which is not at all “complex” – indeed quite the reverse.
      We know that no parliament can bind its successors. The road block to leaving the EU is not the complexity of unravelling various treaties, albeit that would be a long and tedious process, but rather the lack of political will in Parliament to assert British parliamentary sovereignty.
      All it takes to actually leave is a relatively simple process which is in the hands of our parliament – namely to take action over the legal status of the 1972 European Communities Act. The objective therefore should be to put pressure on this government, and indeed all Tory MPs to take that action which would break the hegemony of the EU law making process of our own.
      For electoral reasons I have suggested that this should be done in two stages, namely, amending the Act initially and making our own Supreme Court as superior to all other courts, including the ECJ. When that first necessary step is taken the process of Brexit has already started. EU legislation can then be accepted or rejected on the basis of national interest. After that the Act can be fully repealed and Brexit will then be complete.
      We have no need or legal requirement to enter in a long drawn out “negotiation” process with the EU by invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty in order to take these vital steps. Why should we be hostage to fortune for two years when the power to act still resides at Westminster?
      We should not confuse the mechanics of leaving via repeal of the Act with the later process of unravelling treaties.

  8. Lifelogic
    Posted July 25, 2015 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    Indeed the presence of the EU (and their totally misguided policies) at first encourages the break up of regions (in order to subvert the existing power structures), but now it seems they largely want to prevent the break ups (that they initially incubated).

    The solution for the UK (and many others) is surely to leave as soon as possible and revert to co-operation and free trade.

    • Timaction
      Posted July 25, 2015 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      So why are Messrs Osborne and Heseltine rushing to create regions? Because they are quislings at best and Europhile fanatics who should be tried when the treason laws are reintroduced!

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 25, 2015 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

        I suspect you are right on that.

        Anyway looking at Osborne’s recent budget (with his absurd wage controls, massive tax increases and other over complex absurdities) he is very clearly a misguided, top down, command economy, socialist at heart.

  9. Posted July 25, 2015 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Of course it is bound to happen and is happening in its collective psychology for we all want to belong; we don’t want to belong to place which doesn’t care abut us, we don’t want to belong to a culture which we cannot identify with. We want home and home not purely in the bricks and mortar sense. We don’t want sets of people in our own country pressing their religious or political ideals on us and we can empathise with other cultures who feel the same. We have built up a freedom where tolerance has gone a little too far and we are beginning to let those in control dictate. In some cultures and other animal kingdoms in an attempt to try and get more power proliferation of their genes and ideals is advocated or acted upon. The Catholic church did this last century , yet in England the monarch still has to be Anglican . The church as christians still get on and Rome is the centre of all for the Roman Catholic, having its religious pontiff to balance powers.
    I read yesterday England now has 131 languages in schools . Do our children have to learn all of them? Does the EU care about this problem? I cannot see why the main problem, that being of communication within this large set up, is dismissed.

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 25, 2015 at 7:49 am | Permalink

      The EU has been keen to destroy national identity and culture as it knows patriotism is its greatest enemy.

    • Posted July 25, 2015 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

      “We don’t want sets of people in our own country pressing their religious or political ideals on us…”. Yes that’s what those dreadful “far right” political parties have been saying for years. But you want to be careful what you say. Statements that don’t comply with the Guardian / BBC view of the world can result in arrest for “hate speech. Etc ed

      • margaret
        Posted July 25, 2015 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

        Sorry it can not be construed as hate speech and I also commented that we can empathise with other cultures who would not like a similar pressing of ideals on their way of life.

  10. DaveM
    Posted July 25, 2015 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    You gave some excellent examples John, but didn’t mention the UK. In spite of 300 years’ worth of attempts to make all the people on this island feel British, we are once again going through a period of nationalism. It wouldn’t be happening if the natives of all 3 countries had the same ethnic backgrounds. The protestant N Irish are generally anglo-saxon thus have less animosity to the English. Maybe your party should finally wake up to the fact that the UK should be a confederacy of 4 nations rather than trying to foist an unwanted ‘British’ identity on us. Then we might just get fairness for England.

    • bluedog
      Posted July 25, 2015 at 8:59 am | Permalink

      ‘Maybe your party should finally wake up to the fact that the UK should be a confederacy of 4 nations rather than trying to foist an unwanted ‘British’ identity on us.’

      Late last year there were hints that Cameron was planning a major initiative on the British Constitution. What emerged was EVEL via a change in the Standing orders of the Parliament; more a case of fine tuning than constitutional reform. Meanwhile the Chancellor is clearly working to an undisclosed agenda with his continued promotion of regional assemblies and assemblies for the larger metropolitan areas.

      It is remarkable that there has been no major statement of policy on this initiative, which seems to progress on an ad-hoc basis without a clear set of guide-lines.

      For example, is it the intention to create a number of states within England, as mooted by Prescott? Why is Cornwall apparently to be offered a devolved parliament and not Devon? Will we see the emergence of Trans-Manche in Kent, with a foot in the Pas de Calais?

      If so, we will understand that this is the EU regionalisation blueprint being implemented without democratic mandate. Where Osborne is concerned, nothing would surprise. On the other hand, if these changes lead to a federal British constitution, so much the better, but one fears they may not.

    • Little Black Censore
      Posted July 25, 2015 at 11:51 am | Permalink

      The protestant N Irish are generally anglo-saxon…
      So are most of the Scotch, whatever they may say.

      • DaveM
        Posted July 26, 2015 at 9:06 am | Permalink

        About 55% probably. Reflected by the split between Rangers and Celtic fans and the %ages either side of the Scottish independence referendum I’d suggest.

  11. Denis Cooper
    Posted July 25, 2015 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    Further to my earlier comment:

    The 1957 Treaty of Rome imposed on this country by the Tories under Heath did have references to “regions”, but mainly in the context of supposedly assisting the member states to improve the lot of their less favoured regions.

    It was the 1992 Maastricht Treaty imposed on this country by the Tories under Major which established the Committee of the Regions as an advisory body – but not yet a full “institution” of the EU – with its 350 members claiming to directly represent EU citizens at the regional or local level, when at least in the case of the UK hardly anybody has even heard of the existence of this body let alone knows who is supposed to be their regional or local representative on it.

    http://cor.europa.eu/en/about/Pages/key-facts.aspx

    “It is generally accepted that:

    •70% of EU legislation has a direct regional and local impact
    •EU citizens must be involved in the construction of the EU
    •50% of EU citizens believe their locally and regionally elected representatives are in a better position to represent them at the EU level
    •regional and local elected authorities close to citizens should be able to communicate their views during the preparation of the EU legislation

    The important role of the CoR was recognised and strengthened by the Lisbon Treaty in 2009.”

    “The CoR and its areas of competence

    Successive treaties have broadened the CoR’s role. Since the Lisbon Treaty’s entry into force, the CoR has to be consulted throughout the legislative process in the following areas:

    •economic and social cohesion
    •trans-European networks
    •health
    •education and culture
    •employment
    •social policy
    •environment
    •vocational training
    •transport
    •civil protection
    •climate change
    •energy”

    Some years ago there was a proposal that this body should be elevated to a senate, a second chamber of the EU Parliament, but that hasn’t happened and nor does it seem very likely to happen in the foreseeable future.

  12. Mercia
    Posted July 25, 2015 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    The Catholic hegemony was undermined from within, mainly by the successful transmission of heretic thoughts

    >
    Which reminds me of the Bible story of how Babylon was defeated. There was a river that ran underneath Babylon and invaders crept in underneath, quietly while no one noticed. In the Bible rivers of water are symbolic of ideas and truths. So we need to get inside this Jesuit dominated institution and subvert her with ideas from within?

  13. Posted July 25, 2015 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    These issues are totally alien to the Netherlands. Could it be that a national problem (unhappy regions) is projected onto the EU? I’ve never heard these arguments even in Belgium.
    If the UK were to e.g. have an English parliament to emphasise English identity, I cannot even imagine (anyone else in) the EU as being interested. These are national issues. No great (monstrous? ) EU empire exists, just the rather new hybrid of intergovernmental and supranational cooperation. The UK can apply article 50 if it feels unhappy as an EU member. But not all British feel that unhappy or feel that they cannot live their regional and national identities within this club.

    • libertarian
      Posted July 25, 2015 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

      Peter v L

      Really ? Well I spent a very pleasant afternoon with some compatriots of yours from Frisia, they were very uncomplimentary about Holland. You have never come across separatist factions in Belgium? Really, have you been living as a hermit in a cave?

      You also obviously have no understanding of how empires are organised and run.

      • Posted July 26, 2015 at 12:39 am | Permalink

        @libertarian: your attack suggests that you didn’t get what I meant, so here is a chance for me to clarify: Neither in Frisian dislike of Holland nor in Flemish dislike of Wallonions have I ever heard the EU been referred to, let alone been made the scapegoat. These are totally national issues, the ones in Belgium perhaps a bi stronger.

        I don’t see the EU as an empire but as a voluntary club of nations. If a majority of the British vote for “out”, that is it, you can decide to leave even tomorrow, if your government doesn’t want to wait for a referendum. Not quite the way Kenya or India broke free from their empire.

        You as a Briton may know or remember how to run an empire indeed. Is that it which appears to make the British feel so uncomfortable in this new hybrid structure which, apart from its size, is quite unlike empires?

        • DaveM
          Posted July 26, 2015 at 9:07 am | Permalink

          Mostly agree with you for once, PvL, apart from your rather silly last paragraph.

          • Posted July 26, 2015 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

            @DaveM: Silly? Maybe. However, the British empire ended less than 20 years ago (1997) and as far as attachment to identities is Co Cerne it is bound to still be a vivid memory in British minds and I wouldn’t be surprised to meet some nostalgia as well. Why otherwise am I put in my place by libertarian about how empires are run?

        • Posted July 26, 2015 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

          Peter vL

          Happy to apologise, you are of course right the tensions between factions of different European countries predates and is outside the EU breakup of nation states.

          As an Englishman I witnessed the very last details of the orderly break up of the British Empire. That is one of the reasons that I and a large number of my fellow countrymen and women see exactly the same pattern happening to the EU Empire. There is absolutely nothing unique or innovative about the EU. It is a typical Empire based structure Rome ( read Brussels) , a “government” drawn from the provinces and governors of the different indigenous people.

  14. Mercia
    Posted July 25, 2015 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    The USSR empire was destroyed by a series of public revolts state by state

    >
    Not quite as simple as that. I got a transit Visa so I could drive through the Soviet Bloc countries at the time and the revolutions coincided with Satellite TV dishes appearing all over eastern europe in which they could get their news from West Germany. Dallas and Dynasty sparked the velvet revolution. It all started in Poland with Solidarnosc overthrowing the communists which then sparked revolution everywhere. I was in Gdansk at this time helping overthrow the communists and this could not have happened if the Polish State controlled media had not joined in (and they did), I sat in Poland watching debates between the opposition and communists on state controlled TV as it unfolded. There media was very similar to our own BBC as it is now but in the end they all agreed the future would be brighter if they got out of the USSR. So it is not until we first win over our own state media (the BBC) that our own revolution will succeed.

    • Alan
      Posted July 25, 2015 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

      And how do you propose to win over said media as they are in the pockets of the EU.

      • Mercia
        Posted July 25, 2015 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

        And how do you propose to win over said media as they are in the pockets of the EU.

        >
        All reformations and revolutions happen at the (start of a new media age), the ideas of the Reformation were preached hundreds of years prior to the invention of the printing press and other media at the time but never took off until then. We are at the beginning of a new media age now.

  15. Iain Moore
    Posted July 25, 2015 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    I don’t believe you can debate identity politics without dealing with the origins of it. But as the merest mention of it in my post about English representation by the BBC got your sensors pen out , it is going to be a very limited debate, and one where bundles of amended posts get published last thing at night so no one gets to read them.

  16. JJE
    Posted July 25, 2015 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    What do you have to say about the role of the USA in this? I see President Obama has told us to stay in the EU.

    • DaveM
      Posted July 26, 2015 at 9:09 am | Permalink

      Most people will ignore Obama. Must be a nightmare for the PM though – so many people telling him what to do. If only he had a mind of his own and the courage of his own convictions.

  17. Mercia
    Posted July 25, 2015 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Very interesting article.

  18. Martin
    Posted July 25, 2015 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    You can take any political entity and scale it up or down.

    England could go back to the old seven kingdoms. (The Heptarchy of Mercia, Wessex etc)

    I recall you were keen on breaking up (scaling down) the old Berkshire Council. (I saw no coverage about riots of folk complaining about the old Berkshire Council. Maybe the BBC did not cover it on the local news.)

    reply I accepted the strong enthusiasm for district Unitarian expressed through the consultation at the time, and held a debate where the district unitary side won easily

  19. Bill
    Posted July 25, 2015 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Thank you for this. See also ‘The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: Economic Change and Military Conflict from 1500 to 2000’ by Paul Kennedy (1987, Random House), which supports your thesis. Effectively large empires find themselves involved in self-contradiction and collapse. Given that the EU has sometimes been characterised as an alliance between minorities and central bureaucracy to the disadvantage of the larger population groups, the current policy ‘divide and rule’ is wholly understandable. This makes it important for the UK to remain united, with England’s voice being heard in the Union.

    What we don’t want is a truncated UK afloat in a fragmented post-EU world.

  20. oldtimer
    Posted July 25, 2015 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Imperial overstretch, sooner or later, is usually the cause of the deline and fall of empires – including the British, Hapsburg and Ottoman Empires to name a few more. The costs outweigh the benefits and become insupportable. It can come from within or from external pressures of growing rival empires or combinations of these pressures.

    UK membership of the EU empire no longer offers net benefits only net costs. It seems to me it must change in significant ways for it to make sense for the UK to continue to be a member. That is the essence of the issue of Mr Cameron`s proposed renegotiation. It is a fork in the road ahead, between the federalist and nationalist visions.

  21. zorro
    Posted July 25, 2015 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    I would like to hope that the breakup will be amicable, but I have a deep foreboding that it may be violent over time…

    zorro

  22. alan jutson
    Posted July 25, 2015 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    The more they try and force multiculturalism and loss of State identity on each Country, the more the people will rebel.

    The people simply do not want it.

    Simples.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 25, 2015 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

      But the people do not have the power and will not get a fair say?

      • alan jutson
        Posted July 25, 2015 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

        Lifelogic

        “..will not get a fair say”

        If people are denied a fair say, time and time again, rest assured eventually they will take matters into their own hands, or by voting for a charismatic leader who rises to the cause.

  23. Graham Wood
    Posted July 25, 2015 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    “I have always assumed that the EU and its core, the Euro, will eventually be swept away by powerful senses of identity in some individual countries”

    Mr. R. An excellent and timely post, but I am not at all sure that we should depend on the somewhat vague hope of a protracted decline and then extinction of the EU over a period of time .
    I agree with you that national identities will indeed be strongly re-asserted by the people in member states, and as you say through the ballot box. The examples you give are highly significant as being the inevitable result of the EU’s aim of destroying the autonomy and national identity of its member states – always deeply counter-productive as inevitable given the strength of natural national associations, culture and history.
    That said, there is also the urgent need to defeat the EU within our own parliament by political action – hence my suggestion to Mike Stallard above for the need for specific action over the 1972 European Communities Act.

  24. Posted July 25, 2015 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Why is this union “false”?
    It isn’t to me and many others?

    • Posted July 27, 2015 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      To describe it as a “Union” is entirely false because, as recent events have shown, it’s no more than a group of individual countries all vying to get the best they can out of the EU and the other member states.

      Meanwhile the schemers in Brussels dream of a United States of Europe which, of course, they would want to be in charge of.

      You have the Club Med countries trying to get full Monetary Union so that they can get billions of Euros from Germany to bolster their uncompetitive economies.

      You have the majority of recipient States demanding ever more money from the EU budget which is paid for by very few donor countries including ours.

      You have Italy and Greece demanding the other member states solve their immigrant problem by taking countless thousands of economic migrants off their hands. Very few Member States showing solidarity and signing up for that are they ?

      You have Germany doing everything it can, short of putting their hand in their pockets too far, to keep the Euro in existence against all economic reality because they know that their industry will suffer if they had a realistic exchange rate.

      France is trying to keep the CAP afloat as their inefficient farmers get most of the cash.

      The Spanish : Ditto with the Fisheries policy which they use to plunder UK waters.

      Union ? This is the reality.

      It’s a joke in very poor taste.

      • Posted July 27, 2015 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

        Just one example of EU largess :

        There was a BBC Arts programme last week which went to great lengths explaining just how much EU money has gone into developing the Arts in Poland. The EU has spent something like £500m on arts projects in Poland alone.

        Total EU Spending in Poland has been a massive £96.2bn !

        No wonder they are the most enthusiastic member state :
        They just want this ludicrous gravy train to continue !

  25. Mitchel
    Posted July 25, 2015 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Unlike those past empires which sometimes tried to impose change on the culture of their acquired lands,we have had the reverse going on in the West where national governments themselves are deliberately eroding their national cultures by encouraging mass immigration for reasons of diversity,not just economics,outlawing behaviour by the natives that incomers might find offensive,and perverting the teaching of national history.
    Rousseau’s advice to the Poles at the time of the partition of Poland in the late 18th century needs to be heeded:-
    “You are likely to be swallowed whole,hence you must take care to ensure that you are not digested.”

  26. ian wragg
    Posted July 25, 2015 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    There are 19 EZ countries and 9 non EZ countries. I think the Greek debacle makes it very unlikely that any more would wish to join. Despite this being part of the agreement it has become apparent that countries which have their own currency are doing better than the southern states.
    With record unemployment and a rise in nationalism it is to be hoped the penny drops and the people realise it is the EU that is the cause.
    I know PvL will cite Germany, Austria and Holland as doing well but that’s at the expense of the other 16 countries.

  27. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted July 25, 2015 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    With whom would the people here rally, if push came to shove?
    If there were to be a re-run, perish the thought, of the English Civil War 1642-1651…would Parliament this time win?
    HM The Queen’s family travel to a wedding of some interest by white van…
    Conversely,arguably the personification of Parliament, avails Himself by Parliamentarians’ gracious permission a more royal uplifting to 0.7 miles down the road.

    Ayes to the Right, Noes to the Left.

    Me thinks The People have already cast their votes without physical ballot.

  28. Atlas
    Posted July 25, 2015 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    Re: the demise of the Western Roman Empire – having borders that could not be held against refugee tribes (Vandals, Visigoths etc)? Current events in the Med have a parallel.

  29. NickW
    Posted July 25, 2015 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    The present is different to the past in one important respect.

    Public opinion is now controlled by the media narrative, and the EU has a tight control of the media narrative.

    To what extent does the democratic corpus think for itself?

    To what extent will the media face a savage backlash for standing in the way of public opinion? (BBC; you are already reaping the effects of your propaganda; how much worse do you want it to get?)

  30. Mitchel
    Posted July 25, 2015 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    What are we supposed to do when our own deceitful government, liberal Establishment, national broadcaster and our closest ally are all conspiring to keep us ” in” and the mass of the population is more interested in Kim Kardashian’s bottom or that actor from Poldark’s shirtless torso?!

  31. The Prangwizard
    Posted July 25, 2015 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    We English need to have our identity recognised too – indeed we must be put first. Unionists who cannot face this need and insist on ‘British’ will need to recognise they are on the wrong side of the argument. It is easy to understand Irish frustration of a hundred years ago and later, and the Scots more recently; at least they did not need to take up arms. Maybe the British and Unionist Establishment learned something.

    We English should no longer be expected to refer to British and Britain when the words should be English and England. Examples of this are legion.

    There are many cultural institutions which have the word National in their title, without clarity as to which nation they are representing. I think we know that most of them were instituted more than a century ago at the height of British Empire when everyone would automatically understand. They are thus becoming vestiges of a bygone age, yet they hang on as if the British Establishment still knows best and the Empire rules over the English, the last colonial subjects.

    There a ‘National’ Gallery in England, but no National Gallery of England, yet Scotland has a National Gallery of Scotland. If the ‘National’ gallery in London is British, where is England’s? There must be change. The Establishment must abandon its feelings of superiority.

    And we have a British Library (in London), yet there are Libraries of Scotland where people go ‘to learn about Scotland and the Scots’ but there is no Library of England? So where do the English go to learn about ‘England and the English’. They should not be required, as an underclass, go to a British Library. If the Scots can have a dedicated library system, then so must the English. We English are under no obligation to defend the UK union when it does not recognise us in the same way as it recognises others, and actively opposes us.

    I do not recognise the Union flag, and it is clear that ‘authorities’ fly it when they should be flying the Flag of St George. Thus they attempt to deny the people of England their identity.

  32. Posted July 25, 2015 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    I agree that the eu is trying to balkanise Europe into bite-sized chunks. This is more controversial in countries that do have well defined regions such as the UK.

    However some eu member countries already have regional provinces and so the matter is less of an issue.

    One example is the Netherlands. I suspect this will be the first country to reject the eu (unless the UK gets there first with our referendum).

    This is because the Dutch pay very large sums to the eu without the power and influence that Germany and France enjoy.

    It is also populated by self-reliant individuals who have a tradition for political moderation. As the eu becomes more extreme I expect the Dutch to stand their ground and draw the line.

  33. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted July 25, 2015 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    Before and during World War Two,various nationalities and, ethnic groups irrespective of their new citizenships were interned here, in America and in deed in Germany.

    I believe a useful exercise would be to figure if you were say Ruler of the UK, given a number of wars expected and not expected with various countries and peoples:

    1. Which institutions in the UK, local police, local army bases, Local Authorities, could you with confidence issue out an order to intern whoever, knowing that no-one in those institutions would not immediately give warning to perhaps the most dangerous in those groups? And perhaps join with them openly or secretly to thwart you? None.

    2. How would you and the UK survive? You would not.

    It is not just a question of Identity. It is also a question of Non-Identity. Of loyalty. Of an impossibility of loyality.

    It is the same within all EU countries. Unlike America which was seen as a New Country to which many ethnic/religious/national groups could not have had anything “Agin” ,- the UK, African, EU peoples, Asian peoples, and Middle Eastern peoples have no propensity when migrating between one another to Bury the Axe in their collective new homes for they are not NEW.

    The EU was always doomed to failure. It is not a New Country. It is making little copies of traditional European and world people’s national/religious/cultural and ethnic prejudices and templating them on the very fabric of individual European body-politics and has only led to countries within countries, states within states, peoples within peoples. And with Rt Hon Mr Cameron and Rt. Hon Theresa May stretching semantics and believability into farce with their not quite stated idea that we should consider the congregations of the Methodist Churches to be equally capable of generating ISIL converts. They lack a British narrative. They lack British words. British meanings. And their upper-middle class counterparts in the Labour Party ask: “Well, actually, what do we really mean by “British?” If they do not instinctively know then if push comes to shove they should be interned with the rest.

  34. Denis Cooper
    Posted July 25, 2015 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Now the SNP are whining about a few thousand pounds spent on electronic updating of the Commons voting system to accommodate EVEL:

    http://www.scotsman.com/news/uk/snp-anger-over-cash-spent-on-evel-voting-system-1-3840644

    My complaint is more substantive, that it is a mere sop for the English when what we really need is a devolved English Parliament and government.

    • David Price
      Posted July 26, 2015 at 7:11 am | Permalink

      EVEL is a sop to the Scots and an insult to England, it was devised solely in the context of the needs of the other three countries and addresses none of the needs of England

  35. Posted July 25, 2015 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Is there an underlying theme of historical determinism in this posting?

    An alternative explanation of the current difficulties the EU is experiencing might simply be that the EU ruling class, or powers-that-be, has got its economics all wrong with the introduction of the common currency. If they had, on the other hand, done their homework and carried out a due diligence study in advance, they would instead now be reaping the benefits that had always been expected. Greece would have moved from a military dictatorship to a thriving and prosperous democracy in just a few decades.

    The Germans would be happy with their huge European market. The British would be happy that not only could they retire to Majorca, or wherever else took their fancy, but the younger members of society could actually get a job there too. There might have still been some grumblings that too many Eastern Europeans were making their way to the UK but the figures would show that the flow was two way and that just as many people had left the UK to take up jobs in Germany, Italy, France and elsewhere. The wages would be about the same in, say, Barcelona and Leeds, but the weather and the standard of football from the local team in Barcelona would perhaps give it an edge!

    There was no reason it couldn’t have been like this, and it still could if the highly paid technocrats in the EU learned the lesson, that is there for all to see, that austerity economics in the EZ is just not working, can never work and needs to be replaced with something that does work.

    It is of course the Marxists who are traditionally associated with the concept of historical determinism. Capitalism is supposed to contain the seeds of its own destruction. Sooner or later the system will break down to be replaced by a workers’ controlled state. Does anyone really believe that? Except, the Marxists, themselves, after years of doubt, can now perhaps be forgiven for thinking that it might be true after all. The European ruling class don’t understand how their own system works. They seem determined to prove that Marx was right after all!

    • David Price
      Posted July 26, 2015 at 7:31 am | Permalink

      Have a read around the beginnings of the EU, particularly the then european view of the UK and de Gaulle’s actions and motives. Correct economics would not and will not address the fundemental issues. The key issue is attitude and it seems primarily the influence of the French ruling class.

      We were never seen as part of their European dream and the primary motivation was never economics.

  36. Posted July 25, 2015 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    I’m afraid I don’t share your optimism, the EU has successfully created the Orwellian monster of 1984.
    However, the structure is much smarter, it relies on internal fear, the mentality of the “old, whichever age they are”, those unwilling to take any risk.

    We see it in Greece which is prostrating itself before the mighty EU and taking ANY conditions, just so they can stay in the EZ.

    The problem is a deep seated insecurity and mistrust of the”local” state power, we see it in the UK where some 50% are opting for slavery to a non-democratic bureaucracy.

    Europe has lost the self assurance, the willingness and belief in it’s own ability to survive against the “giants”, China, USA, which is why they shelter in this false shelter.

    France and Germany are the only ones which derive real advantages. France for it’s CAP and Germany for the low exchange rate of the Euro and ready made “market – empire of the EU”.

    1984 doesn’t end well, remember something like “a boot over their faces, forever”

    • libertarian
      Posted July 25, 2015 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

      Paul Dirac

      Spot on, good post

  37. Posted July 25, 2015 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Apologies for being off topic but there seems to be a growing campaign in the “Twittersphere” for voters to register with the Labour Party. For £3 they can then vote for their candidate of choice.

    Which is fair enough for Labour Party voters and supporters but, not fair enough, IMO, for non Labour supporters. Especially if they intend to vote for a particular candidate in the expectation of damaging the Labour Party. The Labour Party has made its Leadership selection process as a democratic as possible, arguably too democratic, and so has left itself open to this kind of abuse.

    So, I’d just appeal to Tory, Lib Dem and UKIP supporters to keep well out of it. If they interfere in the election process they aren’t just voting to damage the Labour Party they are voting to damage the democratic process too.

    • NickW
      Posted July 25, 2015 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

      The Labour party and the Unions have shown themselves to be so adept at making arrangements to ensure that the “right” result is achieved, that we need have no fears that entryism will interfere with the left’s version of democracy.

      • David Price
        Posted July 26, 2015 at 7:35 am | Permalink

        Surely Labour can easily accomodate a bit of multiculturalism?

        Besides, if they can’t take a joke they shouldn’t have suborned the BBC to give som much resource and coverage to their party’s leadership elections.

  38. Posted July 25, 2015 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Below is an extract from the Guido Fawkes Website. Here we have a clear case of the EU discriminating against British citizens. Why any Brit would want to visit this ex-parliament building, I don’t know, but any that wants too should be entitled to.

    Perhaps it comes under the same weird rule that allows Scotland to discriminate against University Students from England ? ( Why didn’t Cameron insist that they scrap that rule in return for more devolution ? ).

    Never mind the large amount of cash we are expected to contribute towards
    the upkeep of this relic ! ( I mean the relic in Luxembourg etc ed

    “British taxpayers are still paying for a forgotten European Parliament building that hasn’t been used for 34 years. The 208 seat chamber and attached buildings, located in Luxembourg, last hosted the European Parliament in 1981. The EU sees fit to shell out over £45 million a year to keep it running. Luxembourg is over 100 miles away from the Brussels…

    The old plenary chamber is lavishly decorated with a massive zinc bas relief that was be the largest metal sculpture in the world when it was installed. Oddly, despite funding the Luxembourg Parliament as the EU’s second largest contributor per head, Brits are not allowed to visit it.

    Tory MEP David Campbell-Bannerman is livid “What a waste of yet more hardworking taxpayers’ money by the EU. I am an MEP and regularly use two Parliaments now, but I have never even seen this third Parliament. Now as a Brit they say I am not welcome there anyway!”

    Tours are only granted to citizens of Luxembourg, France, Belgium, Germany and Netherlands… something for David Cameron to add to his negotiation demands…”

  39. miami.mode
    Posted July 25, 2015 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    Doubtless most of our MPs worked extremely hard at getting voted into Parliament and consequently I have difficulty in understanding why a majority of them then seem quite happy to be subservient to Brussels.

  40. DaveM
    Posted July 26, 2015 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    For heaven’s sake, I’m getting tired of these conspiracy theories and paranoia.

    England is a country united by a language, a history, and a culture. You can’t just destroy that and break it up because that may be what some uber-EU fanatics might think. Most English people live a very insular lifestyle, interested only in football, music, and the people they know. The idea that immigrants from Europe flocking in and changing all that is ludicrous. They assimilate to our way of life whilst retaining some of their own customs, and adopt an island mentality very quickly. I know because I actually speak to them. You can find them in gyms, pubs, restaurants, garages, everywhere really . Their grandchildren will be English and probably inter-marry with other English or naturalised English people. Just look at the 3rd and 4th generation Caribbean immigrants if you want to see where the European immigrants will go. We just need a break from the immigration because the infrastructure is creaking.

    Para left out ed

    Mr Cameron and his mates – whose political identity I still cannot fathom – need to look at the future and the past and take some time to create a sound and pragmatic constitution for England. Mr R, will you please get them to do something? And please don’t cite EVEL as the answer. Even you know it’s a fob-off which will make no difference to the despicable way England is treated.

  41. RB
    Posted July 27, 2015 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    He seems to genuinely believe in the ideas promoted by John Lennon.

    >
    He said he wants to do away with sectarianism for example. His false assumption is Sectarianism, like racism, is a form of bigotry, but that would presuppose all discernment is bigotry and imply there is no such thing as truth and error. I mean if you follow this logic through then we should all become Catholics again and if you apply the same logic to politics then we should do away with political parties and just have a one party state.

    If you read what Cameron says carefully, it becomes clear to me he is the dangerous extremist. Yet he is supposed to be the leader of the ‘conservative’ party.

  42. RB
    Posted July 28, 2015 at 5:04 am | Permalink

    What the political elite should know, especially Cameron and the Foreign Office, is that they may think we live in a post Christian culture, but the Holy Spirit (angels of the Lord Jesus) are contacting people in private with instructions.
    Organised Christendom may be near an end but a grass roots spiritual revolution will follow. What we need our politicians to do is make sure we still have freedom of speech and discernment to allow that to happen.

  43. RB
    Posted July 28, 2015 at 5:18 am | Permalink

    Cameron said yesterday that if the allegations concerning Lord Sewell are true then “I suppose” he should go. “I suppose”?

  44. RB
    Posted July 28, 2015 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    He did say “I suppose” on the unedited version but on the 22 second version the BBC are showing he does not.

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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