SNP pressure to stay in the single market boosts the UK case. Why not champion these ideas for Northern Ireland?

Nicola Sturgeon herself admits there are challenges in the SNP’s proposals to keep Scotland within the single market if the rest of the UK is without. The generous view of the paper Scotland’s Place in Europe is that at least it sets out a position, which is more than the than the UK government has done so far. Witness Theresa May’s stonewalling performance before the Commons Liaison Committee yesterday and the Guardian’s sketch of it. Furthermore the Scottish case could  boost the overall UK case which is partly the intention   (with a Northern Ireland case not far behind, if anybody is bothered to make it. Arlene and Martin when you’re finished squabbling). The cynical view is that it is set up to fail and that failure will boost the cause of a Indyref2 in due course.

This  view is not shared by leading Scottish experts. First Jim Gallagher, a  former senior civil servant, then  leading strategist for the No campaign,and now exploring ideas for a confederal UK, blogging for the Constitution Unit.

The big message from the paper and its presentation is not bullying language about when a referendum might be called: it is that the SNP don’t think leaving the EU justifies repeating the independence poll at all. Instead they are setting out ways the UK can leave the EU without one. Can the UK stay in or near the single market, or at least can Scotland? If it can the UK leaves the EU, but the SNP won’t find themselves demanding ‘indyref2’…

Sturgeon is right to argue the UK should keep as close as possible to the EU single market. It is looking increasingly as if she might just get her way, at least to start with. As the Brexiteers in the UK cabinet continue to fantasise about the world of their imagination, pragmatists like the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, are stepping forward. They understand the reality of deal-making with 27 increasingly impatient member states.

Sturgeon is also arguing for a special European deal for Scotland within the UK. Her idea is that Scotland should remain in the single market even if the UK leaves.

That plan won’t work, and it would be a mistake for Sturgeon to make it a hard test for Theresa May to fail, because there are other ways to recognise Scotland’s difference that will work. Brexit inevitably makes Holyrood much more powerful. It will negotiate as an equal with Westminster on things like agriculture and fisheries. The internal balance of the UK will be shifted.

It can shift more. There is no reason to deny Holyrood the power to negotiate with Brussels too – on all devolved matters. Devolution means Scotland can make different choices over things that don’t have to be reserved to Westminster. Why shouldn’t it be able to agree, say, reciprocal health deals with European countries, or access to EU studentships for young people?

Similarly, if the UK ever does move to a system of work permits to control migration, permits to live and work north of the border could be issued in Edinburgh – and the same for Belfast, or London…..

.Nobody planned it this way, but Brexit makes that paradoxical phrase ‘independence inside the UK’ more plausible than it was in 2014.


While Charlie Jeffrey a leading politics academic in Scotland doubts that the political will exists in London to adopt the SNP plan, he nevertheless sees a way through, writing in the Herald.

What has been proposed is actually pretty mainstream opinion in Scotland. It is shared by many of those who see themselves as unionists and are committed to remaining part of the UK…

A trickier issue would arise from the proposal that, if the UK as a whole leaves the Single Market, Scotland would stay in by remaining within the European Economic Area, while also maintaining its membership of the UK’s internal market.

Some kind of economic border between Scotland and England would have to be established. The imagery of “border” conjured up in the Scottish constitutional debate is often that of fences and watchtowers; an economic border would be much more a matter of number-plate recognition and online form-filling: So, some additional expense and inconvenience, but not especially intrusive.

Can these proposals fly? That’s a matter less of law than political will. The UK has unusually malleable constitutional arrangements, with the sovereign UK parliament able to do much as it will. The EU too has shown an ability to accommodate all manner of distinctive territorial arrangements…

Give Scotland some set of additional powers, including the power to negotiate in external matters – more or less like those suggested in Scotland’s Place in Europe – and leave it to the Scottish Government to negotiate the details of a deal with the EU itself. That way there’s no need for a political bust-up, and Nicola Sturgeon, not Theresa May, would be responsible for the success, or otherwise, of the outcome.

Michael Keating director of the Centre on Constitutional Change agrees.

The closer the UK remains to the European market, with its free movement of goods, services, capital and labour, the easier it will be for Scotland. If the UK goes for a hard Brexit, it becomes more difficult for Scotland to keep in both markets. The Scottish Government proposes to keep borders open in both directions but, whatever happens, there will be borders. This is the inevitable result of Brexit.

The border may not be physical but virtual. It will be possible to move goods around the United Kingdom with no need for inspections, as the Scottish Government proposes to remain in a customs union with the rest of the UK. Yet if Scotland is in the single market and the rest of the UK not, there may be different product standards.

As the paper concedes, where goods enter the UK, the point of sale will need to be declared so that the relevant regulations can be followed. Trade in services between Scotland and England may be restricted by non-tariff barriers if different rules apply. Free movement of labour between Scotland and the EU may remain but it will be necessary to determine who is resident in Scotland and eligible to enjoy the right..

A second set of proposals concerns the extra powers that Scotland might require. These cover devolved competences subject to European law, plus wide powers to meet single market regulations in economic and social matters. Scotland might also need power to negotiate agreements with the European Economic Area and other governments.

None of this is technically impossible but it would represent a radical transformation of the United Kingdom and require the agreement of Westminster. The Scottish Government accepts that it would need the UK Government to negotiate the deal on its behalf. With the Tories already deeply divided over its approach to Brexit, it is unlikely to welcome an additional complication unless it really thinks that the UK is in peril. The ball is now in Westminster’s side of the court.

There are differing ideas here about Scotland  going  it alone in the single market and not everybody is  as optimistic about the impact on the border. But if some special deal over the single market could work for Scotland, could it be adapted for Northern Ireland? Is anybody listening?  Can you imagine the NI Executive taking in extra powers?

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London

  • Kevin Breslin

    From British people who went to the polling booth.

  • Angry Mob

    Under what manifesto commitment?

  • Kevin Breslin

    There doesn’t have to be a manifesto commitment. Don’t you understand the difference between a representive government and some sort of honour bound elected technocracy. You give the representatives the power to discuss international events and legitimise international treaties.

    Under what manifesto commitment was the Iraq War decided on?

    You are pretty much telling politicans to predict the entire future of their term in order to have a mandate at an election time.

    Basically you are saying every political party going into government must mention every treaty they plan to negotiate. Treaties often form two sets of “demos” which pretty much is why a national government cannot unilaterally assert anything.

    Surely those other governments have demos to listen to as well, it’s mighty arrogant to think they’d put Britain First, but that is the vain glory that has driven this departure.

    How are two seperate “demos” going to agree in isolation?

    It would obviously be as impossible as two separated groups negotating among themselves and relying on sheer coincidence both sides agree in isolation and work together with common assumptions.

    The EU needs to stop the Brits having free movement of people just to let the UK deal with their migration idée fixe, and acquire the talent for their own challenges instead. If the UK wants tariff free trade let them finance their own subsidy scheme without the income from those tariffs, as primarily that’s what tariffs are for, the EU is under no obligation to give the UK a free lunch here, and no one else in the world is either.

  • Angry Mob

    So there was no manifesto commitments which means the demos were never consulted so therefore the principle of conferral cannot apply and the EU has no democratic legitimacy in the UK.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Your arguement means that every UK decision not mentioned in a manifesto is undemocratic. Are you prepared to concede that?

    It also means that even if a treaty agreement was in a British government manifesto, if the same treaty agreement is not in the manifesto of a partner country then it is still undemocratic. Are you prepared to concede that?

    Or does Britain hold a monopoly on democracy, and the democracy of other countries must be held in contempt by comparison?

    If the UK government brings in an emergency budget or emergency security legislation not present in their manifesto … Completely undemocratic acts of fascism then?

    Seriously even Switzerland does not have the constraint of consulting the demos on every treaty and legislation, so in your opinion Nothing is democratic.

    Unless every treaty faces a referendum the UK is undemocratic. We know you seem to want to maintain the double standard. Brexit is based on double standards, hypocrisy and trying to manipulate people, which is exactly why democratic processes are called undemocratic.

    It’s completely selective memory with an anti-European bias to it. I bet if agreements made with Commonwealth countries paid no attention to the manifesto, you’d naturally dismiss it as democratic under the double standard blinkers. Could this be because the likes of the Daily Express and Daily Telegraph and the Murdoch Press won’t tell you what to think?

    The U.K. was adding the undemocratic element to the EU, not the other way about. The U.K. will still be carrying out these “undemocratic” practices after Brexit, I really don’t see why it would change. Referendums for these EU countries exist for the Nations willing to use them.

    David “Three referendums” Cameron was going to bring in referendums as a compromise to Eurosceptics. Now the government is the demos between elections, and what they have in a manifesto is as pointless as a Vote Leave slogan.

    Farage hasn’t mentioned any direct democracy about treaties, neither has any major politican on the Leave side. The UK’s democratic deficit is self made and without reform still remains so.

    No part of Brexit was about making the UK more democratic, there is no UK based democratic safeguards to protect the demos from decisions made in parliament, only judicial ones.

    You still can’t explain where this additional democracy comes in. Indeed if the EU was undemocratic and antidemocratic then the Brexit referendum is irrelevant because the EU won’t respect it. Like it or not the EU have, those nasty foreigners in the EU27 agreed an exit plan with Article 50.

    So cut the insulting EU is not democratic, the problem really is the narcissist hatred at the EU for not being British and the folly of believing the Commonwealth, USA and Ireland are British.

  • Angry Mob

    No, my argument is that the UK joining the EU and giving it further powers with no mandate from the electorate means that the EU is not democratically legitimate in the UK. Not to mention when coupled with the fact that the EU commission has the sole right of initiative which makes the EU undemocratic itself.

    Even if you could claim conferral rights from the EU parliament elections; turnout has never been above 39%. Heck, only once since the EU’s formation has the EU average actually been above 50% in 1994 and when you consider the amount of people who only vote purely to put EU-sceptical politicians that argument doesn’t bode well.

    Furthermore in 2005 all three main parties stood on a manifesto promise to hold a referendum on the constitution of Europe, Labour won that election and after the constitution was “adapted” and renamed the Lisbon treaty they pushed it through parliament without a referendum, against the spirit of their manifesto pledge, because they knew they would lose.

  • Kevin Breslin

    No, my argument is that the UK joining the EU and giving it further powers with no mandate from the electorate means that the EU is not democratically legitimate in the UK. Not to mention when coupled with the fact that the EU commission has the sole right of initiative
    which makes the EU undemocratic itself.

    NATO has no mandate from the British people …. there never was a referendum on that.

    There was never a referendum or manifesto promise on setting up the Commonwealth.

    There was never a referendum or manifesto promise on the partition of Ireland.

    What about the World Wars … never a referendum or a manifesto promise on joining them either.


    This Parliament sure takes a lot of liberties when it comes to their mandate given by the people.

    It was the EU nations that determined the rules for the Commission, and they could easily change them if it added any convenience rather than opening up diplomatic nitpicking. The fact is the EU Commission doesn’t impose any laws without democratic authority, instead it is the EU national parliaments, EU Council, the EU Council of Ministers and the EU Parliament that decide its remit and ultimately determine what it can initiate.

    A mandated UK Parliament, not just the UK government not the EU Commission, not the EU Council of Ministers decided to sign the Treaty of Rome

    A mandated UK Parliament not just the UK government, UK government not the EU Commission, not the EU Council of Ministers decided to sign the Treaty of Maastrict.

    A mandated UK Parliament not just the UK government, UK government not the EU Commission, not the EU Council of Ministers decided to sign the Treaty of Amsterdam

    A mandated UK Parliament not just the UK government, UK government not the EU Commission, not the EU Council of Ministers decided to sign the Treaty of Lisbon

    Maybe you’re too Irish to understand the “Primacy of Parliament” when it comes to passing laws the “Parliament comes first” in British democracy, and Westminster passed every EU treaty into law, with mandates

    When all of Ireland was part of the United Kingdom its Irish Parliament was dissolved entirely and it had no veto over decisions on its soil. Why because the Irish government was bribed into voting itself out of existence.

    There’s no ingrained concern for the “demos” in that democracy.

    The UK also agreed several international treaties at Congress where the will of Parliament was effectively given to a diplomatic team.

    Where’s the role of the “demos” any different?

    The British people didn’t vote for the British people to sign a Treaty with Germany, so effectively there would need to be an election during a war to ensure there is a mandated government to sign one, unless they could predict the future.

    And the War Cabinet … did people vote for that?

    If you want to call yourself British, please understand that in British democracy, a British person elects the very MPs who pass these EU treaties into law, just like they did the Limerick Treaty which let the Irish Free State go.

    Otherwise you are acting like a British version of a Republican Sinn Féin troll saying the real parliament is Nigel Farage’s People’s Army. I can honestly see non-Loyalist Brexit terrorist groups being set up to kill people who don’t obey their authority.

    At least I respect the will of the people when it comes to choosing their government, whether it’s Conservative, Fine Gael or DUP led. Governments make stupid decisions, without the EU’s help, and like it or not so do voters.

    Even if you could claim conferral rights from the EU parliament elections; turnout has never been above 39%. Heck, only once since the EU’s formation has the EU average actually been above 50% in 1994 and when you consider the amount of people who only vote purely to put EU-sceptical politicians that argument doesn’t bode well.

    EU Treaties still have to be passed by Westminster and every other EU national parliament to be valid. If the EU Treaties are undemocratic it’s because Westminster is undemocratic. All National Governments and the EU Parliament have the right to initiate changes to the Common Foreign and Security Policy.

    As far as I’m concerned if people don’t care that much for international affairs to vote for MEPs, then they leave themselves at the mercy of their own governments doing deals in old palaces anyway. Political apathy is no excuse for fascism.

    When it comes to the European Single Market, well the Single Market relies on common rules, and if the common rules cannot be changed through unanimous European Council

    The reason for this is logistical, the alternative means that any country would effectively be able to change the terms of a treaty at any time. However treaties by their nature are an agreed contract for heterogeneous terms, terms worked out by democratic governments in the European Council and European Parliament.

    Furthermore in 2005 all three main parties stood on a manifesto promise to hold a referendum on the constitution of Europe, Labour won that election and after the constitution was “adapted” and renamed the Lisbon treaty they pushed it through parliament without a referendum, against the spirit of their manifesto pledge, because they knew they would lose.

    1. The European Constitution was rejected by France by referendum, so the UK didn’t need to have a referendum on something that didn’t exist. May as well say the Republic of Ireland should have a referendum on Irish unity without Northern Ireland’s consent. There is no EU Constitution here.

    Calling The Lisbon Treaty the European Constitution is complete falsehood. That had been negotiated by the EU Council, the EU governments agreed to pass it bar the Republic of Ireland … Yes, the Irish people rejected the Lisbon Treaty, but The Irish government gave them a a second referendum after getting guarantees got a second referendum passed.

    2. There is no difference to the UK system with Brexit, the UK can still effectively nominate a plenipotentiary like an EU Commissioner to sign any deal with any country or any pan national organisation like the EU or Mercusor if Parliament gives them backing. Labour got Parliamentary backing for Maastrict, Amsterdam, Lisbon Treaties … so what is so different?

    3. The European Free Trade Associate doesn’t have a pan-national Parliament, doesn’t have the democratically elected heads of governments or the democratically ministers of parliaments working on combined legislation
    The EFTA Secretary Generals hold an executive function similar to the EU Commission.

    The UK joined and left it without any specific referendum or manifesto promise to do so. Just Government and Parliament action. Neither is demos max … directly democratic.

    So how is that democratic vs. the EU?

    Who gives EFTA a mandate?

    Surely anything the UK wants for the EFTA can be shot down by a Swiss “bureaucrat” appointed by a Swiss government, a Norwegian “bureaucrat”, an Icelandic one or a Liechtensteiner?

    I am a social democrat, and a republican, I support greater democracy at the heart of Europe. Brexit was a democratic decision, but apart from wishing a separation from an NGO, the major sentiment was for British triumphalism for British triumphalism’s sake, and was so thin on policies it’s hard to see how the British “demos” are any less a slave to their “elites”.

    Brexit has been used as a power grab by the Tory right, because the Tory right shares the Euro scepticism. Any unpopular decision any UK government will want to pass against public concerns I am sure will be draped in Union flag patriotic sauce. That’s how Westminster spins bad decisions. This May government and the one that replaces it.

    Compared to the Commonwealth, United Nations, NATO, Antarctic Treaties or any other international body, the UK demos has a lot more say than simply appointing a UK government who selects a Permanent Representative to act on their behalf.

    Every other international body the UK belongs to is appointed just like the UK appoints an EU Commissioner to the EU Commission, directly by government, or indirectly by a government who’s happy with the previous one.

    We know what happens when the political class milk flag waving under the guise of a creating a community based on mutual loyalty or resistance all to well in Northern Ireland.

    Just as British people realise that British democracy isn’t really democratic in the first place. Fair play for Cameron to have 3 decisions made by either the British public, or a Scottish plebiscite in terms of Scottish Independence.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Do you even understand how British democracy works?

    The U.K. Parliament voted on and signed each EU treaty into law with a mandate from the people, including the EU Commission rules. The EFTA has an Commission like body and NATO has a Council and both hold the rights to initiate legislation. The Commission similarly does not act in isolation from the will of governments and the parliament as it cannot pass anything that doesn’t have the backing of the European Council (heads of governments) and cannot pass treaties without unaminous parliamentary support from every nation.

    The EU Constitution was voted down by France, the final Treaty of Lisbon was voted in every parliament including France.

    Let me ask, what if the UK agree a trade deal with another government, but said government puts it to a referendum where it is rejected? What powers do the UK demos have then? What mandate do they have in that country.

    The only thing the UK can do is declare war on that country and impose rules if it wins. So much for Brexit’s non-violent Revolution, when you are creating totalitarian and megalomaniac doctrines that’d rival Da’esh.

    Exactly where does the “mandate” come from if representatives don’t have the power to wield it? As a republican I’m interested.

    I once heard an Irish person talk about a “mandate” existing outside of Parliament and any referendums that the Irish are legally bound to have. That person was speaking of Irish republican continuism, and that Ireland’s mandate comes from those loyal to the Irish Proclamation and First Dail.

    I suppose Loyalists do the same thing with the Ulster Covenant, and hardline Leavers are similarly tribal over Brexit.

    Let’s remember a Brit did shoot a pro-Remain MP in the name of Britain, before assuming the self proclaimed oldest democracy with the mother of all Parliaments doesn’t give in to fascist urges.

  • Angry Mob

    I think the first thing we should do is set out the definition as you seem to have some strange notion as to what a mandate is within the context of a representative democracy: The authority to carry out a policy, regarded as given by the electorate to a party or candidate that wins an election:

    As for your whataboutery antics, these seem plausible until you consider some important factors. Some like the world wars could not be foreseen and more importantly none impede UK sovereignty; in the way that the supernational construct of the EU does. Given that giving away our sovereignty is against the constitution of the UK and no mandate was been reached to do so the EU has no democratic legitimacy because the right of conferral cannot apply in the UK.

    “It was the EU nations that determined the rules for the Commission, and they could easily change them if it added any convenience rather than opening up diplomatic nitpicking.”
    This is where your argument falls down. If the Commission has the sole right of initiative and they decided that they don’t want their powers curtailed they simply don’t initiate the legislation which only proves my point that the construct of the EU commission makes the EU undemocratic.

    The UK did not sign the treaty of Rome.

    UK parliament had no mandate for the Treaty of Accession.

    From where did the UK parliament get its mandate for Maastricht Treaty?
    From where did the UK parliament get its mandate for Amsterdam Treaty?
    From where did the UK parliament get its mandate for Lisbon Treaty?

    UK parliament and government had a mandate for the European Union Referendum Act 2015 as it was in the Conservative manifesto. (See the difference?)

    I do understand Parliament is supreme but I also understand that we live in a representative democracy and parliament is supposed to seek a mandate from the electorate where it reasonably can.

    What exactly are you trying to insinuate regarding the Irish and not understanding the British Institutions? It’s quite the departure from your typical chauvinistic style.
    1) You are not seriously trying to suggest that they are totally different? The man who presided over the creation of the constitution even said they were basically the same:

    “In terms of content, the proposed institutional reforms – the only ones which mattered to the drafting Convention – are all to be found in the Treaty of Lisbon. They have merely been ordered differently and split up between previous treaties. There are, however, some differences. Firstly, the noun “constitution” and the adjective “constitutional” have been banished from the text, as though they describe something inadmissible. At the same time, all mention of the symbols of the EU have been suppressed, including the flag (which already flies everywhere), and the European anthem (Beethoven’s Ode to Joy). However ridiculous they seem, these decisions are significant. They are intended to chase away any suggestion that Europe may one day have a formal political status. They sound a significant retreat from European political ambition.”

    2) No difference indeed but we must endeavour to never allow it to happen unless the people consent to it.

    3) Doesn’t need one as it’s an intergovernmental organisation and doesn’t take over any areas of the UK’s competence that the EU does eg Agriculture.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Firstly you are cherry picking the representative democracy in the UK you want to support, the Labour decision not to have a referendum on the EU constitution and the Tory decision to have a referendum on EU membership were both party political and neither was specifically mandated. Like every other UK government the Conservatives, Labour, the Conservative and Lib Dem coalitions running the UK signed every EU treaty into law in the same way they did with other international treaties regardless of whether they were in a manifesto or not.

    There is a legal bind on a party to implement a manifesto commitment, just an understanding of trust which can be broken. I bet the Labour government of Blair didn’t have a manifesto commitment to the Good Friday Agreement, or the Conservative manifesto promising a Scottish independence referendum, so your strawman defence of UK non-EU policy making being tied to the demos of the U.K. at manifesto level is proven not to be the case even when referendums are held.

    Treaty changes can’t be foreseen necessarily either, because like world wars it may be an outside nation. Your view of soverignty seems entirely Brittishcentric and you don’t seem to understand other independent countries have to sign that treaty too. At the end of the day every EU treaty not only gives the UK responsibilities, but due to the mutual nature of the treaties confers other EU nations have responsibilities to other nations including the UK, which the UK wants them to abandon to an extent now.

    I disagree entirely that treaties have no legitimacy because of impedance of national soverignty, because every treaty impedes national soverignty. A peace treaty denies a soverign nation its soverign right to start a war instead imposing a bond of trust between nations. The GFA removes Articles 2 & 3 from the Irish constitution so delegitimising the treaty by the UK would mean the Irish could democratically bring them back in.

    There are over 14,000 treaties on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s archives including the EU one, are you really really sure that everyone of them has been signed off in a party political manifesto?

    These include multilateral treaties outside the EU, bilaterals treaties as well. Since obviously you have a double standard when it comes to other bodies such as EFTA as to the democracy (or lack there of) that they offer, it does not surprise me you make no insistence of democratic safeguards you would insist for the EU.

    While the UK didn’t technically sign the Treaty of Rome, it signed up to its principles through EEC membership, which had got democratic verification by means of a referendum, which came with the knowledge it would mean the UK democratically agreeing to the associated European Communities Act.

    Now you mention the UK had no mandate for future EU measures.

    Let’s start with the Treaty of Accession 2005

    The House of Commons voted on that measure in the 24th November 2005 in the Commons, 7th Feburary in 2006 in the Lords and even Gibraltar’s Assembly voted it in 8th December 2006. I’m convinced even the Queen signed off on this too.

    That voting thing across 28 national parliaments AND Gibraltar AND the European Parliament too does sound like a heck of a lot of democratic oversight to me. I suppose you don’t respect such a thing as a real mandate because there’s an unwritten law that parties need to have it in a manifesto for it to have democratic credentials.

    I mean maybe I am biased here since I know only 4 Bulgarians/Romanians and they’re all physicists. So perhaps I don’t understand these xenophobic urges to go after people who travel 5000 miles to work in Northern Ireland for Lord knows whatever reason.

    Maastricht Treaty: despite Major’s infamous problems with this it was ratified with a majority of 40 MPs in 1993, through the European Communities Ammendment Act. Then EEC Maastrict law became British law once it went through the Lords and past the Queen.

    Amsterdam Treaty and Nice Treaty, similar stories

    To quote a research briefing on this matter …

    Although treaty ratification is a matter of Royal Prerogative (erm what happened to demos?) EC/EU treaties have always been brought into force by an Act of Parliament.

    I’m an Irish nationalist, I’ve criticised British democracy several times but the fact Acts of Parliament were involved in every treaty and treaty Ammendment kind of means democratically elected MPs (put in there by the demos) voted all these laws in because they had mandates.

    So I can only see your arguement as somewhat selectively dictatorial. Do they have to pass some other seal of approval bigger than the House of Commons and the Queen?

    And in the case of the Republic of Ireland since Crotty vs. an Taoiseach, both a referendum and democratically elected TDs. If the UK reform to include similar legislation for direct democracy over treaties, I won’t go around saying the UK’s approach to treaties is undemocratic, if the people vote for something I don’t like like Brexit.

    Referendums aren’t like that in the UK it is an ad hoc choice of whatever government is in power for whatever reasons said government find political convenient. That’s how democracies work and that is how the collection of governments work in the EU.

    What I find particularly chavenistic is this belief the EU is designed in such a way just to annoy Britain and British democracy, quite often from Teutophobic and Francophobic sometimes Slavophobic, Romanophobia or Hispanophobic stereotyping. These nations include 22 military allies, 3 former colonies and 3 other nations the UK has trade deficits with. The usual fear of the day cocktail served up by the British papers seems to circle between these stereotypes and anti-Islam feelings.

    The U.K. isn’t worth the stress to the rest of Europe and is the biggest cause of its own stress, problems, anger and democratic deficit without any interference. This is already clear to me before Brexit has begun and it will be to you if or when the process ever ends.

    Ode to Joy is the anthem of the European Council and the European Flag is used there too, to present flags and anthems as a demerit of Europe along with fake paranoid fantasies of a Federal Europe being imposed completely against the wishes of the people is scraping the barrel. Federal Europe like Irish unity is a legitimate political aspiration, neither of which is being done without consent.

    I don’t see why in the liberal democracies of Europe, Federal European political ambitions are undemocratic. You may not agree to them, but European demos people put them in positions of power in the same way the UK put the likes of UKIP in power, as MEPs!

    I’ve never said British nationalists don’t have the right to their politics, but I think they need to accept those with alternatives views are not necessarily fascist themselves. Perhaps agree to disagree that European Federalism is democratically legitimate ambition for any person to hold as much as to oppose and people will tolerate British nationalism better.

    At least Ode to Joy doesn’t assert a religion or a political allegiance like GSTQ or any military sympathies on its people like the anthem of ROI. It’s largely neutral and inoffensive. If there was some tangible proof the EU was subjecting it upon people Clockwork Orange style then by all means I would apologise.

    Instead the EU respects multiple languages, multiple nationhoods, and strives for parity, while the UK has been shown to be increasingly monolingually obsessed and determined to bundle the whole nation together, where diversity is a curse to its supposed unity.

    So in summary

    * Do you agree that unless the British constitution consistently demand referendums on every treaty put in by an Act of Parliament, just specifically the European ones, the “mandate” for nearly every one of the UK’s 14,000 active treaties is questionable?

    * Do you agree that manifesto promises, vows and so on have as much legal legitimacy as the £350 million to the NHS suggestion on the back of Vote Leave buses?

    * Do you or anyone you vote for suggest/had suggested any reforms to the UK constitution that ensures future treaties are subject to the will of the demos, or are you and anyone you vote for as MP happy to let the other parliamentarians decide so at a whim whether they need referendum backing or to be put in a manifesto?

    My reform suggestion of course would be that with consent Northern Ireland leaves the United Kingdom, joins with the Republic of Ireland in a new Ireland state and then has a say in every future international treaty that it has that may change its constitution through a referendum. Currently in the Brexit UK international treaties with the EU and non-EU nations merely an Act of Parliment and even that can technically be usurped by government using the powers of an unelected monarch.

    My party the SDLP, with the suggestion of my MP and MEP at the time John Hume put the Good Friday Agreement to the people of Northern Ireland in the name of local democracy. Not seeing any similar affirmative democratic efforts being made by pro-Leave MPs over what roles referendums should have in future democracy in Brexit, future treaties etc to reform Westminster to be more demos friendly.

    Instead many pro Leave Tory MPs voted for Fixed Term Parliaments and wanted to pass Brexit legislation through a Royal Prerogative, with seemingly pro-Leave Labour and Unionist MPs cheerleading it.

  • Angry Mob

    I feel yet again I have to explain to you the definition of mandate: The authority to carry out a policy, regarded as given by the electorate to a party or candidate that wins an election.

    You seem to be under some delusion that the definition of mandate means that whatever party gets into power can simply do what they want, even if they promise in their manifesto the complete opposite thing. Whilst politicians have implemented policies that weren’t in there manifesto and in some cases broke there manifesto promises (Lib Dems and raising tuitions fees, Sadiq Khan raising transport fares) that does not mean that they have a mandate to do so.

    Labour along with the Lib Dems and Tories all committed in 2005 to hold a referendum on the EU constitution if they were elected. Labour won that election so had a mandate to do so they did not have a mandate to ratify the Lisbon treaty as they never sought or gained a mandate to do so and was directly against the manifesto commitment that they stood on because of a small technicality i.e. the EU constitution had a name change and that made it “ok”.

    I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make regarding my “strawman defence” but I’d safely assume it’s down to your own personal incredulity. Much like this “I disagree entirely that treaties have no legitimacy because of impedance of national sovereignty” which is not the point I am making and in any case the EU doesn’t impede the UK it subverts it. It’s not the treaties themselves; the problem stems from what a few treaties did by giving the undemocratic EU powers over areas of UK competence with no mandate from the electorate which is against the UK constitution. This differs from the EFTA and WTO and almost every other organisation so they are not comparable in this regard as they are intergovernmental and they never supersede UK competences.

    “While the UK didn’t technically sign the Treaty of Rome…” It didn’t sign it, there’s no technicality or grey area in it like the EU constitution and Labour debacle. Heath signed the Treaty of Accession despite knowing it was hugely unpopular and controversial with the electorate. Heath lied to the electorate telling us “There are some in this country who fear that in going into Europe we shall in some way sacrifice independence and sovereignty. These fears, I need hardly say, are completely unjustified.” Which as we now know was a massive lie from the PM as he knew Monnets endgame so the electorate who then voted to remain based upon that lie based upon the word of a PM who would of arguably been much more influential than todays politicians.

    Whilst the £350 million lie tainted the official leave campaign with dishonesty (whereas the remain campaign was built upon FUD) they could never provide a mandate regardless as they were not seeking election. I highly doubt many people actually voted leave based upon that lie and indeed polling by Lord Ashcroft proves the most important reason was the subversion of democracy, had the people in 1975 knew what the EEC would become I think we would have had a very different result.

    “Now you mention the UK had no mandate for future EU measures.” Which it didn’t if you read the definition of mandate at the top of this posting and the last. Can you show any manifesto commitments where the electorate had the chance to vote upon which entailed giving power to the EU? We never voted for the EU in any referendum and there are no manifesto commitments on which a party stood in which the right of conferral could stand. That’s all you have to prove really, not revert to whataboutery.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I just want to indulge myself picking apart this argument.
    “As for your whataboutery antics, these seem plausible until you consider some important factors. Some like the world wars could not be foreseen and more importantly none impede UK sovereignty; in the way that the supernational construct of the EU does. Given that giving away our sovereignty is against the constitution of the UK and no mandate was been reached to do so the EU has no democratic legitimacy because the right of conferral cannot apply in the UK.”

    1. The end of World War 1 and 2 pretty much put a end to British soverignty over most of the Empire.

    2. The UK’s membership of the EU is defined by 6 Acts of Parliament so is constitutionally valid. Indeed EU membership has the same legitimacy as the Act of Union until Parliament repeals these acts, or indeed repeals the Act of Union.

    3. The right of initiative lies with the Commission, firstly

    Let’s look at Articles 4 and 5 of the Treaty of Union.
    Particularly Article 4
    “Competences not conferred upon the Union in the Treaties, remain the Competences of the Member States.”

    “The Union shall respect the equality of Member States before the Treaties as well as in their national identities, inherent in their fundamental structures, political and constitutional, inclusive of regional and local government”

    Outside the EU, the U.K. has no Commissioner, no MEPs, no Ministers or Heads of State in EU institutions and as such has no right to initiatiate any EU legislation.

    Your arguement about the EU Commission refusing to act (on Britian’s behest) applies right across to all the other nations in the Union. If the UK wants to influence the EU, it could do so through diplomacy and win the support of the other nations. Brexit doesn’t give the UK any rights to initiate any soverign control or influence the other nations, it merely frees them from their treaty bound obligations to the UK. Such as giving Brits reciprocal free movement and single market access rights!

    4. The right of conferral does apply to the UK, since the EU is a voluntary Union of states, it is explicitly defined that the EU has a principle of subsidiarity in Article 5 where the EU’s remit is limited by the constraints of treaties. Treaties that can always be amended by the collection of EU nations.

    The EU cannot act in a manner contrary to its Treaties. Treaties that are signed in by Acts of Parliament. So conferral exists with regards to the UK. The EU is limited by what the UK Parliament voluntarily gave it.

    The EU has to be determined to be the most relevant level to meet the Treaty objectives. So because an issue can be carried out through a national competence without multinational interaction, subsidiarity exists with regards to the UK.

    The EU cannot engage in any action that does not exceed what is necessary to achieve that objective set by the Treaties. So the EU cannot behave in a manner to disproportionately discriminate against the UK according to the Treaties.

    So the arguement is just strawman and dictatorial. In NATO, every NATO country is bound by treaty to intervene if say Turkey or Estonia, Lithuania or Latvia gets invaded. The U.K. can choose to refuse to act, but it is violating international law by doing so.

    Likewise the UK could repeal the European Communities Act and all other EU treaties, but it would put an end to the international agreements and violate international laws that the UK agreed in its interest to protect itself in case it was on the receiving end of another nation’s violation of a treaty.

    Now don’t you think it’s time to concede you arguements were based on purely biased pro-Leave propaganda, and anti-EU prejudices?

    It entirely relies on British chauvenism where the British nation claims the right to take soverignty away from other independent countries involuntarily and without their mandate. Leave supporters do not believe in reciprocity, they believe in Brittish supremacism, or rather their own caveat of the British population’s supremacism. It’s a shame because agreements are based on reciprocation, not on demands to be worshipped.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Do you understand how an Act of Parliament works?

    Elected people gave MPs a mandate, and said MPs have to vote on that measure in the House of Commons. Power given to the MPs, not the government of course.

    That means laws can pass with opposition support.

    Commons not Government is the supreme authority … If we ignore the undemocratic Royal Preregoative stuff.

    It doesn’t matter if there’s a manifesto commitment or not, parliamentarians have no legal obligation to fulfil their manifesto, only a duty of honour which is legally meaningless.

    I don’t see Brexit putting an end to British politicans electioneering or offering one iota of defence against it. All hopes of honour among pro-Leave politicans went out the window when they electioneered about £350 million to the NHS.

    There are no such moral binds for a politican to keep their word in British politics, just the ability for the British public to vote them out when they feel betrayed.

    It wasn’t the EU that “betrayed” the UK, it was Britain’s politicans and their unelected head of state. It was UK Parliaments and/or Lizzie that gave the Government the authority to let their foreign ministers or prime ministers sign off on their behalf.

    The EU doesn’t subvert UK democracy, the U.K. deliberately limited its own control by Acts of Parliament to stay on good faith with its neighbours. If it had any problems it could always negotiate treaty amendments from within the EU.

    It’s the UK Leave side that wishes to subvert the control of other nations by demanding they maintain good faith, under the threat of bad faith. They really sold themselves on the belief that every other country in the world should capitulate to their demands, and the UK are the victims if they do not!

    Instead you go on worrying about the Ghost of Monnet … It’s as stupid as associating Protestants in Ireland with Oliver Cromwell. Prejudices are a curse on the prejudiced minded. As I said before, the entire arguement assumes a ghost going out its way trying to punish Nigel Farage.

    There are treatments for paranoia. Going off alcohol might be a good suggestion.

    If UK politicans think the logical fallacy that bad faith with their own demos to maintain good faith with other nations.

    If UK politicans think the logical fallacy that bad faith with other nations will restore good faith with their demos.

    Both these issues show the flaws of British democracy not the EU.

    Britain gave the French Navy competency to patrol the English Channel, and Ireland competency to patrol the Common Travel Area. Both of these are non-EU examples of UK signing off on treaties that give up soverignty to other nations. Similarly with EU Customs Union, where other nations check customs on UK’s behalf because of cross national laws, or the Common Agricultural Policy which has ensured tariff free trade and the removal of non-tariff barriers, as well as ensuring the UK rebate Thatcher and her government negotiated without a manifesto promise to do so.

    These are all hypocritically ignored.

    So by all means wish the UK to alienate itself from other nations as a cry for love for the Angry Mob, by why should British politicans really care any more for their own population just because they are cutting links to other nations?

    The Tories only need to please 30% of the U.K. Voting Population due to the gerrymandered nature of British democracy.

    Do you honestly think xenophobic and nationalist politicans are incapable of doublespeak, elitism or class snobbery?

    UK didn’t even have universal suffrage until last century.

    Manifesto promises are the words of a False God, in terms of international law Treaties are the real divinity.

    The only way I’d get from Electioneering to a Karma Police is by shuffle on listening to Radiohead’s OK Computer.

    Your logic is a tad ridiculous and biased, and relies on superstition the basis of which the UK could still vote on the merits of.

    This is why I compared it to Des Dalton, the U.K. Leave brigade feels the EU is undemocratic continuance of the pre-EEC/EU UK in the same way the Republican Sinn Féin thinks partition is undemocratic and subverts the authority of the First Dail.

    Des Dalton doesn’t respect the authority of the Dail, can we cut to the chase and accept Leave supporters who make the arguement that the EU is undemocratic don’t respect the authority of the House of Commons?

    Where exactly is the democratic authority to make such claims?

    The UK binds to the WTO and EFTA follow the same mechanics, everything the UK agrees under these organisations constrain the authority of their Parliament with the consent of their Parliament.

    Maybe you want “petitions of concern” added to the UK constitution so that the Leave tribe has to sign off on each peace of legislation as well as all those national governments. I mean if you want to ensure specific consent from anti-EU opinion, maybe it’s time to recognise them as a nation to themselves.

    Will the Leave side revelling against the Liberal Elites be proud they just gave their government consent to let corporations avoid tax in the UK and have the size of the NHS reduced to compensate it?

    Seriously, do you really think the block grant towards Scotland and Northern Ireland is going to survive in the long term with Brexit?

    Manifesto promises! Hilarious stuff. The only binds on an MP is the law of the country, and that they can be voted out.

    Yeah, you clearly have a problem with British democracy, British politicans but are obsessed with the sanctity of political manifestos.

    The only reason Northern Ireland is in the UK is because Lord Castlereigh influenced the Irish Parliament to vote itself out of existence by adopting the Act of Union and Partition comes from the Treaty of Limerick.

    The U.K. State itself exists because of treaties and acts, not because of a cultural mob asserting some divine right of kings.

    The EU still relies on 28 national parliaments and 1 supranational parliament of the citizenry before a competence comes into place with in the EU. Every treaty can come with opt outs for specific nations, to which the UK gained loads. The EU was voluntary, and every perceived bad EU law the UK obeys had the UK House of Commons’ fingerprints on it.

    The U.K. Leave side wants the EU and other nations to mandatorily give it cake to take, and will voluntarily surrender crumbs in exchange. That’s a fantastic negotiation strategy, it works so well for North Korea and Loyalist racketeering mobs

  • Angry Mob

    “Elected people gave MPs a mandate, and said MPs have to vote on that measure in the House of Commons.”

    What elected people give MP’s a mandate; that is not democracy? A mandate can only come from the electorate.

    Elections are for deciding who governs, in itself not a blank cheque to implement any policy that politicians so wish. The electorate should familiarise themselves with each parties policies and manifesto to see what they are actually voting for. They then elect MP’s based upon what they expect the party to do and if they don’t perform they are voted out at the next election. That’s how it’s supposed to work but as you point out it isn’t always so.

    Case in point, Labour was elected in 2005 with a manifesto promise on offering a referendum on the EU constitution. After the name was changed to the Lisbon Treaty Labour deemed it appropriate to ignore the manifesto pledge and were voted out in 2010 amongst many other failures.

    You are right that it was the UK politicians that betrayed the British electorate, Heath in particular who had no mandate to have brought us into the EEC and along with his treasonous lie is particularly deserving of scorn among a long list of others.

    We can view to see this differently but the EU does subvert sovereignty . Whilst it was the UK parliamentarians who have agreed these treaties which subverted further powers and competences to the EU they never sought an electorate from the UK electorate until the 23rd June 2016 when we finally got to put right an historical wrong. So whilst the EU isn’t to blame for this it doesn’t mean that it was entirely innocent. If it was really the bastion of democracy you claim it should ask every member state to hold a referendum and use this mandate on its path of further integration, but it would never do that for obvious reasons.

    I don’t drink but thanks for the advice as you’ve made me consider it. As for you cynical tirades about how the UK subverts other countries sovereignty with not one iota of evidence to back up this bold assertion. I mean you seem to claim all leavers are xenophobic which they are not yet you display the tendencies of someone who is xenophobic against the British.

    Whilst I can’t find anything to verify your claims the Britain gave the French permission to patrol the English Channel the crucial difference would be that we did not give them control of the English Chanel, in the way that the EU has control of our fishing waters.

    It’s a fallacy to think that Brexit means British Isolation when the opposite is true, it will allow the UK not only to continue working in partnership with the EU after we have left but allow us to engage with the wider world to construct new trading agreements and even having our say in the drafting global legislation that.

  • Angry Mob

    You should really should indulge yourself to pick this argument apart, let me know when you get around to it.
    1) Irrelevant.
    2) It was against the constitution when implemented so therefore cannot be constitutionally valid as those earlier acts should have been repealed.
    3) Strawman. I never said refusal to act on British interests. They have sole right of initiative and only they can invoke that power to change the treaties. You claim that this can ” easily” be done by the member states is false as it’s solely within the Commission’s remit.
    4) The EU is not a union of states. That would be describing an intergovernmental relationship which you have not grasped.

  • Kevin Breslin

    You’ve got it completely wrong. Elections don’t determine who governs the nation, the electorate gives a mandate to an MP who represents them.

    In a Parliamentary democracy, Parliament decides who is the government. The electorate of the constituencies determine who is their MP.

    Since UK democracy is gerrymandered by FPTP any representation of the majority of people is completely coincidental, rather than the will of the electorate.

    This problem still remains, an 80% pro-Remain Parliament was put in place by a less than >52% pro-Leave people.

    The biggest lie is that Westminster is democratic, and the EU isn’t. Westminster and its political system is entirely responsible for this democratic deficit.

    The Brexit referendum is just an example of this coincidence. All kinds of conflicting Brexits were “mandated”, it doesn’t mean any of them will be delivered and the Brexit that will be delivered like EU laws will be still decided by the same crooked bunch of Westminster Parliamentarians dealing with the Parliamentarians and Representatives of other countries.

    Please stop lying to yourself about the sanctity of manifestos or some imaginary zeitgeist covenant between politicans you like who just join the ranks of other British parliamentarians.

    What you are trying to do is impose esoteric subjective preconditions on the authority of Parliament based on legally meaningless dogmas that hold no constitutional authority until parliament ironically decide that they do.

    You want to believe a narrative fiction about Monnet and various other foreigners, that’s fine, the U.K. Population can vote as xenophobically as it wants to save it from being subverted by “Evil Foreigners”. Paranoia is a valid political force that can be mandated.

    Please Stop lying to yourself about the EU.

    Ask your UK Parliamentarians why they signed the Common Fisheries Policy, ask them why they violated treaties by invading Iceland’s soverign waters. They gave the UK access to Irish waters, Spanish waters, Swedish waters as part of the trade off.

    I suppose the Lady of the Lake gave the UK authority over European seas, not treaty agreements those nasty non-British countries.

    Everything is reciprocated and applies across the board. As far as I’m concerned U.K. isn’t exploited, it’s political class are just greedy and full of contempt and likes to play victim. Just like North Korea and Loyalists, it’s not meritocracy they want, but to be compensated for feigning injury.

    Leave supporters don’t want trade offs, they want tribute.

    Everything bad they say about the EU is reflective of their inner demons and vices. It’s not about taking back Control of the U.K., but want lopsided unilateral deals with the EU without reciprocation. I’m sorry but the EU nations have the right to control themselves too, they won’t be slaves to Westminster or an English nationalist zeitgeist.

    Why are you even bothering with the façade of being a democrat?

    You don’t recognise the soverignty of any Parliament in Europe including the UK’s unless it validates your personal beliefs as to what defines a mandate.

    Are you really claiming the previous UK HoC was illigitimate until the Brexitland one emerged? This is tribal nationalism of Des Dalton standards.

    Don’t you know the UK signed peace treaties carving up Germany after the war?

    That’s far bigger mission creep than a UK parliament consentually agreeing to the CFP on equal terms with its EU neighbours.

    I’m sure objectively and logically speaking when politicans do anything not in their manifesto that keeps the UK’s distance from the EU you would not still call it “unmandated”.

    I would call that fascism and bordering on meglamania, British imperialism always does. British nationalists need to realise that other nations will not sign off on UK treaties which are designed explicitly with lopsided terms and lopsided entitlements.

    If the UK wishes to have “partnership” with a pro-British bias, they will need to impose soverignty on other nations through armed force, like they did in India, Pakistan, Canada, the US, South Africa, Ireland etc.

    If the UK want the imperial days, they need their hands bloody.

    If they want partnership it can’t be take, take, take, give us cake … but give and take.

    British jingoism will just be a blank cheque for other national jingoisms.

  • Kevin Breslin

    1 Your opinion simply isn’t my opinion. That’s politics. Once you realise the rest of the world aren’t zombie supporters of British exceptionalism, you’ll see the big issue with Brexit is the UK government’s ability to deal with differences of opinion.

    Only by taking on these differences as relevant, do third nations feel any need to accept the UK government/parliament’s greviences have any relevance to them.

    2. Erm It wasn’t against the UK constitution, it was against YOUR opinion, to quote another OK Computer reference “Your opinion which is of no consequence at all”. Manifestos have no authority under the UK constitution, which by definition are the Acts of Parliament.

    I hate to break it to you, you are not Queen of England.

    3. The Commission has a UK appointed Commissioner who can initiate and be sacked by the UK government. If the UK wants to influence its EU nations, it will still need to do so on the basis of partnership, rather than supremacy.

    The EU is not the British Empire after all. It needs the concent of the whole thing to change the whole thing.

    Similarly, a one size fits UK treaty deal with another country will be nothing short of a patronising trade ultimatum, which would likely trigger trade wars. Historical examples include The Tea Act and The Opium Wars.

    4. The U.K. is a voluntary union of states which the UK government plans to voluntarily withdraw from and face the natural political and economic losses from that departure.

    Trying to villianize the Governments and Commissioners of Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Hungary, Italy, Malta, Slovenia, Croatia, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Cyprus and the Republic of Ireland … as the Nasty EU, when all of them regrettably accept your departure from their voluntary association is purely based on bitter British nationalist supremacism and xenophobia.

    Your opinionated arguements about British democracy, only give legitimacy to British democracy and British Acts of Parliament when it suits you, but instead of by the very definition of the British constitution these Acts of Parliament in collective form actually are the British constitution, whether it offends the anti-EU community of the U.K. to call them so or not.

    I bet you don’t want any change of British democratic best practice democratic, if it reveals that the will of the British people is not the will of the Angry Mob.

    60 million people need to accept an ad hoc definition by a random British citizen, instead of accepting the decision of Parliament where they had the chance to decide their own mandated choice of MP through a constituency vote.

    I hate to break the pro-Brexit hive mind, but close to 49% of voters voted to Remain, are they not democrats for even voting on this?

    It’s not British democracy that was betrayed, it was the ego of the Angry Mob.

    As Churchill said democracy is the very worst form of government, except for all those others that had failed.

    So when British democracy failed YOU, you call it a historical injustice rather than look objectively at the UK system. You create ego defences that a prior referendum would have no legitimacy if people had the benefit of hindsight, which isn’t a great omen for the legitimacy of Brexit in the future.

    Are you willing to have the humility to concede any British democratic decision being acted on by Parliament that you personally didn’t approve of, but concede at the end of the day it was democratic, but you still disagree with?

    Or do you really fit the Little Admiral Nelson strawman who’s principles are fickly determined by personal tastes and impulses with inconsistent reason based on self biases rather than objective reason?

    Do you really think the UK is going to get such a good trade treaty with other nations with Hebephrenic impulses like that?

    A lot of pro-Leave voters are going to be betrayed by Brexit because the UK government won’t be able to please everybody, it’s very likely I feel that you may be among them. Will you have the grace to accept that a mandate for leaving the EU was not a mandate for pleasing you?

    The UK governments have used blaming the EU as a cloak for implementing unpopular decisions it wanted to do anyway, I hope that once the British public realise politicans aren’t the Santa Clauses they claim to be they take responsibility for the people they voted in, rather than create dissociative arguements that they falsely advertised their manifestos.

    The people you back in the Leave Campaign were hardly above dirty tricks. I was embaressed by some in the Remain Campaign, particularly Cameron and Osbourne, but at least half of them took responsibility for their actions.

  • Angry Mob

    Elections do determine who governs the nation, indirectly; as the constituent’s votes for whom they wish to be represented by. The MPs who are elected are given a mandate to represent, not merely a mandate and represent being the keyword.

    You are right in saying that the UK isn’t democratic, I can agree with that, it needs improvement but to claim the EU is whilst the UK is not is deluded. They are both undemocratic and being ruled by two undemocratic institutions is futile. So getting rid of the EU may just allow us to reform our own system in the future, which would otherwise be pointless if we were stilled governed by the EU.

    I’m not saying manifestos are sacred although they should be regarded higher is another matter. The crux of it all is that the UK electorate has never ever mandated, voted for, approved, consented, gave blessing to, conferred or whatever word you wish to use the right to be governed by the EU. The EU has no demos, the national parliaments of the member states are above the parliament with its limited power and without a mandate from the UK demos there is no democracy, only “cracy”.
    What I am trying to explain to you what is commonly known representative democracy, not sure how esoteric that is as most people with a fundamental knowledge of politics should know about it. Yes parliament is supreme and as proven many times they can ignore the electorate and whilst the decisions the ultimately make may be legal it doesn’t make legitimate. Subtle difference.

    What narrative fiction about “Monnet and various other foreigners” are you referring to, or have the voices in your told you something I should know about?

    What treaties were violated during the cod wars, the ones implemented after the various incidents?

  • Angry Mob

    1) Irrelevant as what has it really got to do with the current topic.

    2) It was against the constitution.

    From the Bill of Rights (1689) which requires the Crown (represented by parliament) to seek consent of the electorate under constitutional change:

    “And I doe declare That noe Forreigne Prince Person Prelate, State or Potentate hath or ought to have any Jurisdiction Power Superiority Preeminence or Authoritie Ecclesiasticall or Spirituall within this Realme Soe helpe me God.”

    Which in more modern English means:

    I do declare that no foreign prince, person, prelate, state or potentate hath or ought to have jurisdiction, power, superiority, pre-eminence or authority within this realm so help me God.

    So given that the Bill of Rights was never repealed; any treaty signed that gives the EU further powers has been illegal and against our constitution. The right to consultation in order to change our contusion is also enshrined in other key documents so to repeal it would mean tearing up the entire constitution.

    3) Whilst each member state elects a commissioner, they are not there in the capacity to represent the member state. Whilst the individual member states may be able to influence their commissioner that is fine, it’s not my grievance.

    Your claim that the member states can “easily” change the treaties is false. If several member states decided they wanted to seek a treaty to say repatriate certain powers; they can’t without the commission initiating the legislation. History has proved that once the EU has claimed a competence it never receded in what is sometimes known as the EU’s ratchet mechanism. The EU commissions role as the guardian of the Treaties is not to recede power, hence why it has the sole right of initiative.

    4) See point 2 above.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Wow. I mean 1, 2 and 4 together seem to be based on your own opinion of some Bill of Rights adopted by the Kingdom of England, before the Act of Union.

    Let’s treat this as the absolute authority in British soverignty, nay English soverignty

    It means No foreigners can ever be a PM … That’d mean no people born outside the Kingdom of England … No Scots, No Irish … No Gordon Brown, No Arthur Wellesley. No power to Foreigners like Me and You (assuming you’re not English). Why bother with the façade of the Act of Union since it’s against The Bill of Rights to share power with foreigners in Ireland, Scotalnd and indeed the Entire British Empire outside of England.

    Indeed Britian, the U.K., the British Empire, the Commonwealth … They all violate this Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights was made in England for the English, not for foreigners or imperial subjects.

    What a hilarious heritage your adopted country has, that of the anthem with the crushing of rebellious Scots. You really cannot be serious.

    And England of course comes from Angles, a part of Denmark/Northern Germany who pretty much invaded Britain themselves anyway. Of course not to be outdone by the Saxons of which the current Queen is descended from.

    You really cannot make this up.

    Let’s look at the Throne in 1689, William of Orange, born in Binnenhof of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. A Dutchman on the Throne of England. Hypocrisy at its finest. I suppose you are one of these puritans who think his wife Mary was the real erm King?

    If you really are a Puritan you’d have King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands continue from William’s legacy, and reject the usurper from the House of Windsor/Saxe-Coburg and Gotha on the throne now.

    Well well, like Des Dalton’s first Dail, you are treating the Bill of Rights like some Proclamation you have.

    I really have never read such nonsense in my life, and I’ve read the Da Vinci Code.

    Frankly, you may as well say the constitutional authority belongs to the one who wields Excalibur.

    This isn’t democracy, it’s a theocracy where King Billy is idolised as a God in a manner contrary to his own Protestant faith.

    3. You claim the EU cannot recede power, or that somehow the Commision’s use of the right of iniative stops it from having the authority to recede power.

    Let’s talk about how treaties can be changed in the EU.

    An ordinary revision procedure in which an intergovernmental Conference is called and which is initiated by any institution towards the European Council. So effectively if the parliaments think the Commission has too much power the national leaders can call this to trigger the process of amending treaties or making new ones.

    The simplified revision procedure has the European Council agree to a list of reductions in power that come into place if each national mechanism of authentication backs them.

    Of course the UK will be negotiating with the Commission on the basis of being a third nation, and will probably be relying on some sort of treaty change so it gets a good deal from the EU. Shame it really cannot initiate anything but bad faith and hostility to foreigners. Good luck getting trade by insulting your customers!

  • Angry Mob

    1) Is irrelevant to the topic at hand as you’re again resorting to whataboutery to try and prove a point which is not directly related to the current topic.

    2) It may be your opinion that my “opinion” is merely an opinion but you are merely arguing against facts by masquerading them as my opinion.

    Regardless of your xenophobic tendencies by denouncing the Bill of Rights for the sole reason of having been the creation of Englishmen the fact is that the Bill of Rights has never been repealed and any legislation made since which does not respect it is illegal. To quote yourself “Do you understand how an Act of Parliament works?”

    You have clearly misunderstood; again. The Bill of Rights dealt with constraining the power of the Monarchy and asserting rights of parliament, it is the Monarchy whom could not be foreign. To deal with your whataboutery regarding the PM I suggest you seek out further information on Bonar Law and as for the monarchy seek out Mary, Princess of Orange.

    If you have never read such nonsense in your life I would suggest you start proof reading before submitting.

    3) I did not claim they can’t recede power I claimed that they had never.

    The ordinary revision procedure which requires a majority by the council to even consider the proposal, which is then in turn requires approval by the convention which then in turn has to be approved by the intergovernmental conference and then finally agreed by every single member state. “Easily” changed, I think not but a quadruple lock or is this one of those “safeguarding measures” you spoke of?

    Actually, as stated in article 50 the UK will be negotiating with the European Council and hopefully depending on Mrs Mays speech tomorrow it may not even be on matter of trades if we go for the EFTA route.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I denounced the Bill of Rights for applying only to the Kingdom of England, and to this very day Scotland and Northern Ireland have seperate legal systems. I’m not sure exactly where it ever came into place in terms of Irish or Northern Irish law, but I do recall around that time The Penal laws were introduced so it’s a safe bet that Bill of rights has had quite a few amendments through the years by Acts of Parliament, and quite a few of its passages are redundant.

    Now moving on from this, EU law specifically states that any treaty passed into law must follow the standards and procedures of the member state. That would mean violating the Bill of Rights, wah wah wah historic injustice wah wah wah … would have breached EU law if the Bill of Rights had any credibility in UK law.

    It was a very dumb arguement to make, may as well say the Bill of Rights prevents the UK signing up to the International Court of Justice, the International Council for Science, the International Monetary Fund or the International Olympic Committee.

    It comes down to wanting to claim international soverign agreements must follow British diktats or they undermine British soverignty.

    The EU exists as a collection of six treaties the UK signed up by Acts of Parliaments. With good diplomacy the UK was a big enough nation to have massive influence, but as I keep pointing out ultranationalists want absolute control. Instead the Leave side pretty much acted like the UK can get whatever it wants by acting like a diva, and people drank the cool aid.

    It wasn’t a lack of democracy as to why the EU weren’t caving in to British diktats, the rest of the EU offered them their best offer and the Brits rejected that offer. Now the 27 other nations EU is in a position to reject what the UK has to offer if they feel they under valued their partnership before.

    It’s easier to blame this on a Commission, or Merkel, or Juncker than to face up to the fact that significant populations many of the countries in Europe, including non-EU ones like Norway and Turkey may not like the Brits as much as they used to. Indeed Scottish, Welsh, Northern Irish, Irish and English may not like what the UK has become as much as they used to. People from other continents may not see a UK where a senior politican calls on the people to reject experts as even that “old European nation where it is good to study in”

    The fact is in an international diplomatic arrangement the British “demos” don’t get to dictate lopsided rules for the single market, or discriminations against other “demos” in a treaty involving reciprocity of rights and freedoms. That’s the nature of having your cake and eating it, the old imperial desires of getting something for nothing in an uncivilised world.

    Essentially the people of the UK didn’t voluntarily want to have reciprocal terms with its 27 EU partners, which means those 27 EU nations are no longer obliged to give the UK freedom of movement of people, freight, capital and services in their markets either.
    They didn’t want the reforms the EU offered, they wanted more, even with the risk of ending up with less.

    Effectively the UK Leave side wanted the UK to be the honest broker for the rest of the European nations. However it has been proven that they don’t know what honest means. The accusations of the EU Commission being undemocratic is just part of the same phoney propaganda.

    Would anyone trust Johnson, Davies or Fox or dare I say it Farage to honestly broker a trade deal with you if they pretty much came with their Britain uber Alles attitude that their financiers had every right to enter your market, but your workers had no right to enter theirs?

    Are these Brexiteers going to discuss trade deal with the Commission, or are they going to not have a deal with any EU nation whatsoever because they now think the very existence of a Common Market is undemocratic and prefer multiperturbational multinationalism exercised through its 10 highly exhausted trade negotiators.

    Or that you had conspired to be depostic by paying farmers and fishers out of CAP and CFP that the British public knew where part of the package when the UK voted to join the EEC, and were so despotic after negotiations you gave the UK a rebate because it wasn’t a common European agricultural nation?

    It’s demagoguery 101, say everything you don’t like is both unnessary and introduced by evil demonic outsiders regardless of the cause of events.

    When the UK joined EFTA a body they signed treaties to EFTA institutions as an honest broker. Then when it was failing at free trade, it joined the European Economic Community democratically verified by referendum. That gave democratic legitimacy to the European Communities Act that would be implemented as an Act of Parliament.

    Everything else it did between that onto the present day followed the constitutional mechanisms of The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Just because it wasn’t a populist zeitgeist with some doesn’t mean it wasn’t democratic. Take the Poll Tax, that was democratically introduced but it wasn’t popular.

    Many folks in the UK don’t understand that stopping other Europeans going to the UK, mean stopping Brits going to continental Europe on similar terms. Not as. “Punishment” or a “Reprisal” but simply due to mutual respect or indeed mutual caution.

    Joining EFTA again means compliance with an unelected EFTA Survelience Authority equivalent to the Commission free from political interference. EFTA Courts hold an authority to ensure signaturies obey the rules and agreements of EFTA. So basically like the Commission they are the referees not the lawmakers.

    However since it’s clear pretty much that any treaty with another country subverts the authority of Westminster, I can pretty much see the same demagogues feigning injury when they basically aren’t allowed to cheat.

  • Angry Mob

    It doesn’t only just apply to the Kingdom of England, the Act of Union 1707, article 19 saw to that when it was incorporated into what then became Great Britain. There has been very few amendments (most recently 2013)to the Bill of Rights and the quoted text, which is still in force which can be seen here:

    The Bill of rights would not prevent us signing up to intergovernmental bodies as they do not take supremacy over the UK in the way that the EU does. I seriously think you need to look at the difference between intergovernmental and supranational constructs.

    That’s a very good point you make as well re EU law, the UK’s membership is therefore illegal in both jurisdictions but like a rabbit in the headlights you resort to making unreasoned arguments if your only rebuttal is your ingrained Anglophobia.

    As for the EFTA Surveillance Authority, they don’t have the right of initiative like the EU Commission so it doesn’t matter that they are unelected just like the EU commission as they don’t have that power; the EFTA is not a political organisation. As for the EFTA court it has no primacy over the member states law, again different to the ECJ which is supreme.

  • Kevin Breslin

    EFTA is political every international body is.
    WTO and IMF rules do take supremacy over UK law.
    EU law was legal as the UK permitted it.
    There was absolutely no Anglophobia basically stating that The Bill of Rights does not determine the legality of the British constitution.
    You quite literally googled UK law for something that vaguely captured an idenity issue mater, yet fail to appreciate that if it were the word of god statement of British law, the British wouldn’t need a marriage between aledged homosexual Dutchman King Billy and wife Mary to get around it.

    So much for “identity”

  • Angry Mob

    “EFTA is political every international body is.
    WTO and IMF rules do take supremacy over UK law. ”


    “EU law was legal as the UK permitted it. ”

    If it was illegal in the UK then it basic logic dictates that it would be illegal in the EU as the UK did not follow its own standards and procedures.

    “There was absolutely no Anglophobia basically stating that The Bill of Rights does not determine the legality of the British constitution.”

    Why make reference to it then? Do you consider Magna Carta to not be part of the British Constitution?

    Not sure what relevance homosexuality has in this debate, whataboutery again but William III mother was Mary, Princess of orange born in London. Thus he was born to an Englishwoman, see where this is going?

  • Kevin Breslin

    The point is British politicans have always found a way to contort themselves around their own unwritten constitution so to speak under what has passed for British democracy for centuries. Even if it may need something like a(n alleged loveless)marriage to technically fulfil a legal requirement.

  • billodrees

    1. Europeans would enjoy pissing off English Tories by welcoming Scotland.
    2. European Army/Defence: Scotland is geographically very strategic to a well defended Europe.
    3. Europe has invested politically in Northern Ireland’s peace process. Breaking up the “Union” will strengthen the peace process in NI.