View Full Version : EU Consitution - How will you vote?

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19th Apr 2004, 23:00
UK PPRuNers, whats your thoughts?

Do you approve of an EU consitution? Obviously you will wnat to read it first, but you probably have a fair idea as to what it will contain.

According to the BBC,

t has been suggested that the government may opt for a broader question on the UK's continued membership in Europe, rather than a simple 'yes' or 'no' vote on the constitution itself.

The content of the question is likely to be debated fiercely, and the final decision lies with parliament. But once the initial wording is proposed by the government within a parliamentary Bill, it must first be considered by the Electoral Commission - an independent body set up by parliament in 2000.

For the consitution we have,

Prime Minister Tony Blair
Most Labour MPs
Liberal Democrats
Most trade unions
A handful of Tory MPs


Tory leader Michael Howard
Most Tory MPs
About 60 Labour MPs
UK Independence Party
Business for Sterling group

Out Of Trim
19th Apr 2004, 23:49
Errr.. Had to think for all of 2 Seconds.. Against of course!

The sooner we leave the EU the better!!

That rotten old club we pay so much for and get absolutely nothing in return.

Their audits always show the economics of the EU to be a complete and utter fraud; what with the CAP etc and grants for nothing.. :yuk: :yuk: :( :( :yuk: :yuk:

20th Apr 2004, 00:15
Many people it seems have an opinion about the EU, some based on one small point. Larger issues such as the Stability pact, or one interest rate will fit 25 countries (really???) haven't been explained sufficiently. Having a common currency sounds luvly but,it's what comes with that that isn't so palatable.
Can't understand why so many Tories are against further integration by UK; Ted Heath took us in and he's a ....... Tory. DOH! Not a u-turn shorely????

As for further integration, I'm all for closer links but not closer ties.

West Coast
20th Apr 2004, 00:33
Vote for Bush instead.

20th Apr 2004, 06:07
I´m for EU membership, as is, but against the proposed constitution which I see as fatally flawed and undemocratic. If, as I suspect, the government tries to force it through by wording the referendum in such a way as to make it a vote about EU membership overall - then I´ll vote against. The country would know what the referendum was really about - and there is no possibility that the government would consider withdrawing from the EU regardless of the result....

tony draper
20th Apr 2004, 06:42
Time we got back to doing what we originaly joined for, destroying the cursed EU it from within.
Agin of course, anything that scuppers EU plans is desirable.

astir 8
20th Apr 2004, 07:05
I'm quite happy with Europe as a free trade area - wasn't that the original intention?

But all this European superstate/rule by edict by Brussels bureaucrats sh*t can go back where it came from

Boss Raptor
20th Apr 2004, 07:17
No and for a very simple and I believe fundamental reason reason - I am British and should not be ruled by anyone who is not British - the continued b*s of the EU in our lives is bad enough especially as when u see in many of the other member staes they just ignore the very same rules - take us out of the EU and leave us just a member of Economic Area

20th Apr 2004, 09:03
As astir 8 said:

"I'm quite happy with Europe as a free trade area - wasn't that the original intention?"

My sentiments entirely!

We joined the 'EEC'; it has now become the EU (or have I not kept up with the latest title?) which seems to have a completely different agenda.

Think it is time to, 'Exit stage left'

Unfortunately, I do not think it will ever happen.


Kiting for Boys
20th Apr 2004, 09:40
I’ll vote No.

They asked me once before to vote on staying in The Common Market, which became the EEC, then the EC then the EU.
They didn’t ask me about that, nor about the £500,000,000,000 net contribution, or the end of UK Fishing or the separate queues in Heathrow for us and Commonwealth, or….

Mr Chips
20th Apr 2004, 09:55
I shall be voting against, and if I could vote to leave the EU, I would!!!!

20th Apr 2004, 09:57
I'll vote yes. ;)

Only on the basis that we end up as the united states of Europe and b!tch-slap the yanks out of the global economic market.

I want to see the US domestic market forced to buy Vimto, Rover, Wimpy, Lyons Maid, Woodbines and Mojos instead of Coke, GM, McDonalds, Haagen-Dazs, Marlboro and Hershey Kisses.

Course I'll be an old man by then, but I'm doing it for the children.:E

Wee Weasley Welshman
20th Apr 2004, 10:21
To paraphrase Tony Ben MP (v left wing old codger of the CND persuasion - for those outside of the UK):

The people should never elect a politician that they can't throw out at the next election.

Which is very sensible and is why the EU constitution will be voted down by the British people.



20th Apr 2004, 10:25
Vote early, vote often:E

tony draper
20th Apr 2004, 10:31
Mr Slim,that senario is like a flea crawling up a Elephants leg intent on rape.

20th Apr 2004, 11:33
I depends on what the question is.

I would prefer it that we withdrew from Europe and re-joined EFTA. If that is an option on the referendum, I'd vote for it.

I'll definitely vote against the constitution in its present form.

tony draper
20th Apr 2004, 11:44
Howard is sticking it right up Blair as we speak.tee hee, tee hee.


Dalriadan Archangel
20th Apr 2004, 12:26
I think I will wait and see what the question is before I decide how to vote.

surely not
20th Apr 2004, 12:32
I am pro - european but I will wait to see what the final draft is before I commit myself.

I get the impression that several people have based their judgement on prejudice and wouldn't vote for the constitution even if it awarded them £1,000,000 per annum for life!

It is sad that the arguments against generally come down to prejudice and not reasoned thought.

I think the alternative of being aligned with the USA is far worse.

20th Apr 2004, 12:38
It makes a lot of sense to engage in a community that promotes free trade between its members and which, if run properly, would enable massive buying power for things like healthcare for its members. But it should end there. Each nation has its own culture, beliefs, values etc etc and should not be dictated to by a bunch of whining europoliticians. By all means buy and sell from and to one another, but let each nation rule itself, it's way and not from afar.

Vote No!


20th Apr 2004, 12:43
Well, if you want to withdraw, vote YES. The draft constitution includes a procedure for leaving the Union, for the first time. It also provides for the president of the Commission to be elected by the European Parliament, and (an interesting one this) for a vote on revoking any European legislation that a Europe-wide petition of at least 1 million citizens asks for.

The people should never elect a politician that they can't throw out at the next election.

Indeed. Vote Yes.

20th Apr 2004, 12:54
Steamchicken..Yes the draft constitution does give an opt out BUT only if 2/3rds of the remaining members agree to let them out. At the moment we could leave and no one could do anything. We should get out now while we stand a chance not when dictated to by others.

20th Apr 2004, 13:14
How funny!
Can any of you grown-ups back his vote with anything that looks/sounds/smells/feels like an argument?
Or have you just discovered how obscenely hollow,pathetically shallow the discussion on the subject of the EU has been in your country.
It has always amazed me to see how the threads,usually witty,argumented,balanced crash into the gutter as soon as one writes the "E" word;
Come on,people,show us continentals why we are just a pile of blithering drooling idiots to back the EU!
But make no mistake :Whatever your politicians tell you,this referendum has only one meaning and it is whether or not you choose to accept to be part of "E"...Of course,this means you have to ask your press to stand to the standards of "balanced and fair"information (Will I live long enough to see that!).
What is more likely to happen : the Scandians will bail you out by voting NO before your referendum,rending it mote.
And then you can dream -as apparently the majority of Prooners- to become the 51st,52nd,53rd and 54th states of the US (That can't be bad news,can it?,as you will give up that quaint game of yours called cricket,you will be competing in a world series that will compr'ise more than two countries ...I have to admit that I'm looking forward to watching a"Flower of Scotland" rendition of the dallas cow boys majorettes.

20th Apr 2004, 13:18
Can any of you grown-ups back his vote with anything that looks/sounds/smells/feels like an argument? What, like you just did?:E :E :mad: :mad: :E


Send Clowns
20th Apr 2004, 13:26
Lemurian begins his post by demanding serious arguments of the pro-Europe camp. He then, typically of the pro-EU lobby, comes up with no argument of his own. Where are your arguments for closer European integration?

For an argument against further integration, Lemur, try corruption, the CAP, the CFP (fits nicely with corruption; introduced illegally, known in 1973 that it would destroy fish stocks. Very clever the people that warned against that one. Suggests that the people who failed to heed the warnings were very stupid) French protectionism, the burden of employment legislation and the lies we have been told at each stage about the purpose of the whole scheme. Every time we are told that we Eurosceptics are scaremongering, that what we warn against is not going to come to pass. Then it is sneaked in, and we are told "oh well, too late now".

Here it must stop.

surely not
20th Apr 2004, 13:42
SC are you suggesting that corruption doesn't exist within our own Govt?

How can you decry the French as Protectionist when that is what you are suggesting we shud be in UK? Why else pull out?

Hmmm, I can think of some positive input from the EU. The minimum wage was EU inspired; the need for a constitution; The Bill of Rights.

All these are fair policies generally only objected to by those who wish to exploit those it seeks to protect

I doubt that our day to day life will change significantly if we vote to embrace the EU further. Our standard of living will almost certainly drop if we leave as exporting into the EU will be more difficult and we have seen how the USA can impose trade tarriffs at the drop of a hat.

I shall still feel British, and the majority of the nitty griity laws and decisions that do affect our day to day life will still be taken by Parliament.

No way do I want to become a state of the USA. That would be the end of independant control. It's bad enough now with Blair kow towing at every opportunity

tony draper
20th Apr 2004, 14:10
Those pork barreling twats in Brussels will prolly insist we run the referendum over and over agian until we vote yes, just like they did with the Irish.
The EU is the most corrupt organisation ever put together by the hand of man, I think they have the money that just dissapears down to 18% of the total EU budget now though.
I often wonder why if they are such keen Europeans do they insist their bribes are payed in Yanky Dollars.?
**** the EU and all who sail in her

20th Apr 2004, 14:18
Well Surely Not that must rate as one of the most pro-biased bits of propaganda I have read.
I suppose Finland and Norway to quote just 2 have a real hard time of exporting anything to the EU.
Remember that in the next few months countries that have no borders with the Irish or North seas will be able to take up fishing quotas.The bill of rights is OK if your name happens to be Cherie Booth as she and her company Matrix are making a killing out of it,conflict of interest ..it should be.
Smell the coffee, debate sensibly and look at the costs involved being in as opposed to being out.How many new hospitals,schools could we build with the money we wouldn't have to contribute?
Notice how it's always failed Labour party members who get prime EU jobs and ignore the corruption going on around them.

20th Apr 2004, 14:28
baiting works,and I was entitled to it.
Can we now start seriously,and if you allow,in order to keep things simple and legible,we shouldn't discuss more than two topics at a time.
This is what I think:
Although the EU is not perfect,it has created an area of peace and economic stability where people use to cut each other's throat every 20 years or so.One only needs to have travelled in Spain or Greece ,or Ireland in the past ten years to notice a tremenduous progress.That progress has a price,even more so when one of the basic tenets of the EEC/EU has been social protection;then that price is called CAP or CFP...or social charta...Call me a socialist dreamer,but I happen to agree with basic social protection.
My second subject is about the emergence of one lone economic superpower.There is no way my country could hope to compete with it on level terms.The EU can.For us airpeople,l'd rather have a EU commissioner discuss traffic rights with his US counterpart than any minister from any single european country.Do not misunderstand me,I am not for the creation of an anti-US power.What I want is a just way to keep some europeanness alive in the world.

20th Apr 2004, 14:37
I will be voting


to Europe. Try arguing against that!:mad:

20th Apr 2004, 14:58

the CAP was designed with one thing in mind - protection of inefficient french farming.

As for corruption, when was the last time the EU accounts were 'signed off' as being accurate - not in the last 7 years.
Just how much money has been wasted by the eu gravy train and have those caught with their fingers in the till been punished ? (edith cresson / jaques santer )

Would you accept french law being passed by the UK parliament ?
if yes then perhaps the eu is for you (although certain laws are convieniently broken/ignored without reproach (stability pact perhaps))

If no then perhaps you might get an understanding of the UK point of view - why should we accept being ruled from a foreign country by people we did not elect.

As Tony Benn once said "you should not elect a politician that you cannot get rid of next time round"

There is more wrong with the eu that right and that should be sorted before any more countries are involved.

Europe is a continent of many countries, cultures and languages and it is those differences that define who we are.

Vortex what...ouch!
20th Apr 2004, 15:02
That progress has a price,even more so when one of the basic tenets of the EEC/EU has been social protection;then that price is called CAP or CFP...or social charta...Call me a socialist dreamer,but I happen to agree with basic social protection.

Are you really saying the CAP and CFP are justified? The CAP is a good idea corrupted. Now just a big gravy train for farmers. The CFP has effectivly failed and destroyed european fish stocks. Please tell me why you think these two policies are a. necessary and b. anything other than failures?

You need something much better than that as justification for closer European ties.

Send Clowns
20th Apr 2004, 15:06
The EU did not create peace, Lemurian. NATO did that, alongside the development of democracy over Western Europe. The CAP was never about social protection. It was, from the start a way for a guilty Germany to be forced to pay French farmers. It is a ridiculous system that causes corruption and increases food prices. How does that protect the vulnerable of society, making them pay more to live? The CFP was not social protection either, it was a deal, made illegally in secret talks immediately before the UK joined the EEC to take UK fishing rights and give them to other nations. The repulsive Ted Heath was so keen to be the man to bring the UK into the EEC on the date he had chosen (1 January 1973) that he accepted this despite being warned that it would (not might, would) destroy fish stocks. It now has done.

You may like the social legislation. Have it in France, pay for it in France. I see no need for it to be imposed by the EU, or for your over-inflated state pensions to be paid by us in the UK, who don't have them.

I have no objection at all to the EEC as a trading block, to remove trade barriers, as this is good for all economies involved. Economic disasters of the past have been caused by protectionism. However as it stands the EU is responsible for much protectionism, a lot of it originating in France. Your own rhetoric of "competing" with the US as a trading block is indicative of this destructive attitude. We should be encouraging co-operation between all nations in trading, to the benefit of each.

However I do not see the requirement to have any further integration to keep the EU trading block. I don't see why the EU (and the pro-EU posters in this thread) force a choice between EU and US on the UK, a natural trading partner with both. For that matter why has the EU effectively forced us further from our trading partnerships witht eh commonwealth? Why are we trying to keep the EU as an exclusive trading block, bar a few select partners, rather than an inclusive one with reasonable agreements with the US and

tony draper
20th Apr 2004, 15:11
Said it before, all a United States of Europe would be, would be a large dunghill for that cockeral France to crow its hatred of the USA from, still if they are standing on a dunghill it makes it easier for the Germans to kiss their arses.

Send Clowns
20th Apr 2004, 15:44
That is a fairly succinct summary of my post, Mr Draper :p

20th Apr 2004, 15:47
Said it before, all a United States of Europe would be, would be a large dunghill for that cockeral France to crow its hatred of the USA from, still if they are standing on a dunghill it makes it easier for the Germans to kiss their arses.

Jeez nothing like a good ol' fashioned rabble rouser shooting from the hip with no logical basis for his argument, eh Tony?

Send Clowns
20th Apr 2004, 15:52
Surely not

Where did I suggest there was no corruption in UK politics? There was in fact very little before this government came to power, and compared to the EU where it is assumed, and nearly all MEPs are fiddling their expenses, it is still very restricted. Adding the amount of corruption around the EU that does not involve politicians, and there is a vast criminal enterprise, just taking money from those of us that work hard to make a decent living.

20th Apr 2004, 15:53
Finland is a full-blown member of the EU, to the point of having adopted the Euro.

Norway is a EFTA country.

As a Dane, I've had the privilige of actually getting to vote on various bits and pieces like the Maastrict treaty (which we rejected) and the Edinburgh ditto (which we agreed to with the well-known 4 exemption clauses) and the Euro (which we also rejected). In the mean time, the UK government had been standing on the sideline, not having the guts to call for a referendum, cheering for one of the smallest countries in the EU to fight their cause. Pathetic.

Now you finally get the chance to have your say. About time too if you ask me, I mean, the UK is allegedly a democracy.

I won't tell you what I think you should vote, and I will be pleased if you guys will kindly refrain from messing with internal Danish politics too (like the Labour party offering their "assistance" during the Euro vote to pro-Euro parties).

However, with the admission of another 10 countries in the EU it does stand to reason that some sort of constitution is needed, as the present system will be whollly inadequate. In the present system, the number of seats in the EU parliament any country has is governed by the size of its population. If we continue as is, Poland would overtake the UK as the third biggest memberstate in a few years. Also, in the present system each country has a commisionar, and it stands to reason that another 10 commisionar will not only be expensive, it is also quite unneccessary. Therefore there is a suggestion that smaller countries, like Sweden, Denmark and Finland, would "share" a commission seat and rotate internally at set intervals. The UK will keep their commissionar, as will all the big countries. Furthermore, in the present system all documents must be translated into all languages of the memberstates; with another 10 countries the burden of translation would be enough to keep a small country busy. Therefore, there is a suggestion to move to a system of only translating to the 3 main languages, namely French, German and English.

To me, that doesn't sound like a bad deal to the UK, whereas smaller nations stand to loose influence.

I'm not saying the EU is perfect, as it is so obviously not. It is, however, the best system presently on offer. So instead of just slagging the EU off, how about a spot of construtive critique or perhaps a viable alternative? Just a thought, but I do realise that Britons are the whinge champions of the world so maybe it just can't be helped?

20th Apr 2004, 15:55
Paulc,Vortex,Thank you for talking to me.
As I said,The EU is far from perfect and I agree-heartily- that the CAP was a good idea corrupted,if only for the overproduction it provoked.But it is now on the way out,just giving as usual enough time for the farmers to adapt or to get used to the idea that free hand-outs won't be there any longer.As for the CFP,don't you think you forget too easily that it allowed your fishing boats to participate in the depleting of the Norwegian cod stock,along with the Spaniards and the French?On this particular subject I would have loved to have a more forceful agency to have said "Enough,you cannot fish anymore for ten years"
Don't you also forget that 2.8 billion euros rebate (Nearly 50% of the entire EU total) ghranted to the UK?
Yes,I would accept british members of parliament passing laws that would affect my life...provided they act on a commission from the EU parliament.Don't you see,it is the exact point where you could teach a lesson or two to Euro MP's,especially now when we're just about to integrate some people whose grasp of democracy is quite new?
People you didn't elect? Do you your Lords?Do you your ministers in their cabinet posts?
Even before the CFP went into application,the fisheries'situation was already dire...the CFP just postponed the depletion by a few years,but now we have an international agreement which will give a chance to fish populations to recover...I agree,it should have been sooner...

20th Apr 2004, 15:58
There was in fact very little before this government came to power

You are joking with that comment aren't you??!! It was the Tories who were in power, the party who had the term "sleaze" specially adopted for them by the media, before Labour wasn't it?

Or did I imagine it??

20th Apr 2004, 16:10
I dont really mind, i know this is selfish, but if the EU goes really crappy i'll just move elsewhere. I look around and see people in this county who really annoy me. They take benfits, never look for a job. Complain about being poor! Poor, they live like kings compared to really poor people like those living in somalia. They have running water, sanitation, heating... they somehow find enough food to get fat. They have access to free education and healthcare, and many have luxuries like ciggarettes, alcohol, sky tv and lottery scratch cards.

I would like immigrants to come in and work here on permits.. had a polish guy fix the heating in my house last week for a FRACTION of what the local blokes do it.

20th Apr 2004, 16:21
I agree ssultana, let more of 'em in I say, they are often willing to do the sh**y jobs our own natives consider too demeaning. Some of the Phillipino nurses looking after the elderly here in homes are angels quite frankly.

You're right about Somalia et al. I mean the GDP per capita p.a. in some of these countries is just $900 and the average Life expctancy for a male can be as low as 36 years!!!! I mean my god, 35 and you're an old man??

For a comparison in Ireland, the GDP pc is now $29,300

We don't know how good we have it in the developed world and how goddamn lucky we really are.

Boss Raptor
20th Apr 2004, 16:26
Have a batch of young Czechs who will coming to do an aero engine fitter apprenticeship here in the UK as soon as we can get the paperwork done...


because we cant get anybody locally interested in making the commitment...at any price...and as for the calibre, skills and motivation the Czechs win hands down

I personally dont like the EU however if we cannot get the staff here then I will shop around and use the facilities it provides...only one thing mind you that I/we have ever benefited from :hmm:

PS. whilst as I have mentioned before or french counterparts get overseas military contracts as they are subsidised by the French Govt. on 'Aid for trade'...fair playing field...my a!se :*

Send Clowns
20th Apr 2004, 16:27
LemurianAs for the CFP,don't you think you forget too easily that it allowed your fishing boats to participate in the depleting of the Norwegian cod stock,along with the Spaniards and the FrenchConsidering that the majority (yes, more than half) of the EU fish stocks are in UK waters, that is a ridiculous statement. Without the CFP our fishing fleets would have had plenty of stocks in our own waters. The CFP caused the depletion, Lemur, it certainly did not delay it!

The rebate still leaves us with a net contribution, when some economies that are almost as large per capita are in countries that are net receivers of EU aid.


You'll have to do better than the words of red-banner headline writers to make a valid argument. What has being caught in the wrong bed to do with corruption? For that matter such sleaze was as common in the other parties anyway. Look at the corruption of the present government and compare. Money and spin, all is corruption. In any case, you are taking the issue off thread. Is the UK as corrupt as the EU, that was the question at point?


There is a lot in the EU constitution that is not required in any way for th accession of the new states. There is much that is rambling garbage. There is much that is political, not part of a legitimate constitution at all but enshrining left-wing political dogma. There is much that is either completely meaningless in the last English copy I read parts of, or else so ill-defined as to be completely open to interpretation.

I am not saying that any EU constitution is wrong. Most here that would stay in Europe would agree, I think, that the right constitution could be very good for Europe, and protect our people and address the problems of the Union. What I would say is that this is about as far from being the right constitution for Europe as it is possible to be.

1) It is not really a constitution at all, enshrining policy as much as fundamental constitutional principle
2) It is rambling, wordy and very difficult to interpret (already different pro-constitution politicians are making completely opposite claims. Compare the length with the US constitution).
3) It has been written before the fundamental problems of Europe have been addressed (corruption, CAP, CFP, justice, over-regulation and protectionism)
4) It allows expansion of its own scope by underhand means, in control of the executive with no real checks and balances
5) It enshrines an expanding role for the EU, at a time when most agree the EU has authority over too many areas
6) It assures common policy with precendent over national policy in areas where there is no requirement and agreement is unlikely
7) It has been written for the wrong reasons. The excuse is to allow functioning EU with more countries

UK would lose 1 commisioner, but with idiots of failed politicians in post that is hardly a great loss. I thought at least the man who managed to remove the worst corrupt excesses in his own political party (Kinnock) would be able to do something in the EU. He did. He fired the perdon that exposed corruption :rolleyes:


Excellent. You'll probably do very well. Czechs are fine people,a nd good luck to them. I'm all for a common market, in trade and in jobs. On equal terms of course.

20th Apr 2004, 16:32
You'll have to do better than the words of red-banner headline writers to make a valid argument.

Will I? Why?

Are you saying I should know more than journalists who are paid to know about these matters?

All I know is whats been reported, I've no insider access I'm afraid.

And the Torygraph is no more reliable then the Sun before you say anything!!

(and p.s. the thread was about the EU constitution not corruption. The thread is not just what you say it is SC!!)

Send Clowns
20th Apr 2004, 16:36

Like, erm, examples of actual corruption, perhaps? You know, valid arguments. Rather than tabloid "Sleaze", a catch-all for what was mostly people sleeping with the wrong people. OK, that makes Robin Cook sleazy but any decently intelligent person listening to the nasty rhetoric he spouts could have told you that. What is actually corrupt about this? Do you ever answer a question, by the way? I did try to relate this to the thread, by asking you if you really thought British corruption was ever on a scale of EU. You obviously have other obsessions.

I put forward corruption as a major argument against the EU in its current form. Surely not mentioned corruption in the UK, so I pointed out that actually it was rather low, especially compared tot he EU. If you remember. I then tried to bring it back to the EU, but you ignored my question.

20th Apr 2004, 16:38
Tory party and corruption ? I can think of Westland, Matrix Churchill and Cash For Questions immediately.



Send Clowns
20th Apr 2004, 16:45
Not a lot in so long, compared to most countries, and especially compared to what I was comparing it with.

As compared to, over a much shorter time period, Ecclestone, Animal Rights groups, Mittal, Mandelson, Mandelson II, Murdoch / Berlusconni, releasing private information on patients, Joe Moore, Martin Sixsmith, George Galloway, various scandals in the Scottish labour party. Some of these were relatively serious, as they involved direct purchase of government policy. That is rather more important than a backbench MP asking a question (One case of which was never really resolved, as the parliamentary committee refused to take evidence from the accused. The main witness against him is a proven liar).

As compared to the EU, where we could mention about 90% of MEPs, plus many civil servants.

20th Apr 2004, 16:51
But to get back to the original question......................

I will vote No

How about Britain becoming the Offshore free trade area of Europe?. Probably a little niaive, but it has worked for places like Singapore and the UK already has the closest European links to the USA. That way we can make our own laws etc instead of some faceless gnome in Brussels. Just a thought.

20th Apr 2004, 16:52
Jeez I was thinking of Neil Hamilton and Mohammed, Jonny Aitken, Stuart Wheelers donations, etc

I love the way you jump down peoples throats SC when they disagree with you, yet you have the cheek to throw around casual figures like 90% of MEP's!!

Could you provide the basis for this statement? How did you arrive at it?

Nobody is saying Labour has not been corrupt, but to suggest the last Tories had very little to do with corruption is stretching things....

You're the one who brought up governments and corruption and diverted the thread!!

Can we get back to the topic?

20th Apr 2004, 16:59
Arms to Iraq....



that's just the A's!

Seriously, though, if you don't like the cap - why not support the constitution, as it will make it easier to change it? SC, show me one example of ANY EU state contributing to another's pension system. Just one. References. OK? PAULC, are you aware that the UK government budget wasn't subject to being signed off by accoutants until the NAO was set up and still doesn't have to be formally audited in the sense that either a private company or the EU's books are? Cresson and Santer, by the way, were forced to resign. LASERNIGEL, the Bill of Rights was passed by Parliament in 1688, then amended by John Major in 1996 to let Neil Hamilton have a second go at suing the Guardian. Are you sure that's the one you meant? WRT "failed Labour party members", when were Chris Patten and Leon Brittan members of the Labour Party? Or has there been some astonishing infiltration we never heard about? BOSS RAPTOR, FOGHORN, others, the Norwegians have an interesting phrase for the condition of being in the EEA but not the EU - "Fax Democracy". That is to say, the current EU trade policy is faxed to them and they have to put up with it as they have no - absolutely no - voice in deciding it. National sovereignty, eh. Unless I'm very much mistaken I don't think EFTA exists any more. Isn't all this stuff about Commonwealth trade links a tiny bit outdated? We are not an empire any more, and although that Empire Free Trade lark still might have been believable in 1952, I think it's time to "change our ideas when the facts change" (J.M.Keynes.)

Exactly what financial corruption was involved in the Martin Smixsith/Jo Bore affair?

20th Apr 2004, 18:34
A quick resume of sentiments so far - that'll be a resounding YES :E

Call me a cynic but it really won't happen.

Under the rules governing Subsidiarity and National Parliaments - subsidiarity will, in the first instance, be protected by national parliaments. It will be for each national parliament to decide, within six weeks of publication, whether a draft EU law breaches the principle of subsidiarity.

This will mean that no national parliament will be able to be out of session for more than six weeks at a time or it will risk losing its right to use this provision by default. Can anyone really see our politicians giving up their extended hols? No chance.

Interesting little funding aspect that needs consideration.

The EU may only spend, at maximum, 1.27% of the combined GDP of all member states, and that limit can only be raised by unanimous agreement of all 25 states.

Whereas the EU central budget is capped at slightly more than 1% of GDP, the United States federal government spends about 20% of GDP.

Cheap as well :uhoh:

As for voting - still waiting to pass chronological threshold :eek:

20th Apr 2004, 19:47
As a somewhat neutral observer on this:

1) It seems that there is a deep sense of injustice felt by the Brits on how they have faired from the EU

2) The democratic defecit in the UK (no constitution, subject as opposed to citizen, when did you last have a say, i.e. referendum?) seems to have had a pressure cooker effect

3) Just what is Blair trying to achieve by apparentley walking the plank?

4) Politicians are Politicians, I've worked with them in nearly 40 countries and they are all basically the same. Given the opportunity most will become corrupt in one way or another. No news here.

5) Familiarise yourself with the issues and vote as you feel, people can disagree with your choice but they should not criticise it - this is democracy.

I'm heading for the bunker...


20th Apr 2004, 20:03
I will vote NO.

My alternative vision is of the UK reverting to a trading nation, enjoying and capitalising on its position between mainland Europe and the US, with good and extensive ties to both.

My vision is of my country ruled from its capital (London), by its own people (the British), in its own interests.

The UK will most certainly not lose from such an arrangement. We are a far greater market to the rest of Europe than they are to us, in terms of both visible and invisible trade.

Perhaps the two most affluent countries in Europe are Switzerland and Norway. Neither is a full member of the EU, both have associate status.

I view the EU as an unmitigated disaster, not just for Britain, but for all of its peoples. They are suffering (especially those in the Eurozone) from the effects of over-regulation in the extreme, combined with an uneven application of those regulations. Even those countries and regions that seem to have prospered within the EU would probably have prospered anyway, due to the increase in free trade and if they had liberated their economies from the dead hand of social engineering.

And what's more, reading this thread, it looks like I'm in the majority.:ok:

20th Apr 2004, 20:33
Ahh, I was wondering when we were going to start

wishing for an England that can never be and remembering a Great Britain that never was

(with thanks to Mr. Kennedy)

I will vote YES.

The poster above suggests that Britain can be an intermediary between two large trading blocs, perhaps in the model of Hong Kong or Singapore. Well, sorry chum but if we leave the EU then we have no say in the activites of our overwhelming trading partners. Look at the figures:

Imports: US 15.5%, Germany 11.2%, France 9.4%, Ireland 8%, Netherlands 7.1%, Belgium 5.2%, Italy 4.4%, Spain 4.3% (2002)

Exports: Germany 12.9%, US 11.9%, France 7.8%, Netherlands 6.3%, Belgium 5%, Italy 4.4% (2002)

So we need to be in either of the two blocs, EU or US, to continue our economic existence. If we remain in the EU, then we have a massive vote in how the external economic trade gets conducted. However, if we join the US, we have no say. Look at what Bush did to us on steel.....making pally-pally with Blair yet pulling the rug from under him at the same time.

And "Fax Democracy" is quite apt. France and Germany don't mind extending an agreement that disadvantages them to countries as small as Finland because they are that, small. I doubt they would extend such an agreement to a country with so much to gain (and them so much to loose).

(But it seems the UK seems to want to take all the benefit from the EU but none of the sacrifice....?)

20th Apr 2004, 21:15
It seems an odd decision for Tony Blair to make to give a voice to the people then immediately raise the odds by trying to make it an 'in or out' type argument. Surely the referendum is about the constitution on the table. There must be plenty of people who seriously disagree with the document but want to keep within Europe. All Blair is doing is alienating those who care passionately about the future way the country is run but can see the pro's and con's of the European experiment.

I'll vote no as I do not like the faceless eurocrats who have so much sway over the UK's affairs. A big collection of states like Europe consists of, will struggle to achieve the kind of cohesiveness that the US has. In the current world climate foreign policy plays a significant role in the trust/mistrust ratio between the countries. A collection of states that have the knid of binding constitution as proposed would surely struggle with diverging foreign and defence policies.

I think that you cannot seperate the different elements of government to that extent. The European Economic Area is great as a tool for leverage of global markets to boost our exports but that is about as far as it gets.


20th Apr 2004, 21:21
I am very much in favour of the EU and Britain's strong role within it. The thread here (http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?threadid=126658) discussed alternatives and didn't come up with anything that could stand up to argument. In particular, as Britain is largely an exporter of services, it is very dependent on having a voice within the EU on how market organisation develops.

Concerning the idea of a constitutional treaty, yes it is high time that the relationships between the EU, the Member States and the citizens of Europe are codified. For Britain, not having a written constitution could be a problem.

About the draft constitutional traty being proposed. (Which can be found here (http://european-convention.eu.int/bienvenue.asp?lang=EN) by the way.) I have some reservations about it, along the lines discussed by ORAC. It should be clear, as simple as possible and not specify policies.

However, considerable disinformation has been provided about Europe to the British people. For example, the EU was always a project for European reconciliation and integration. A quick Google on the names of Jean Monnet or Robert Schuman or even Winston Churchill's speeches about a United States of Europe will show that it was never intended purely as a trading block. Arguably, the draft constitutional treaty represents a permanent withdrawal from some of the original integration objectives.

A 'No' vote on the back of a campaign of disinformation is more likely to lead to a loss of democratic accountability and of economic welfare in Britain than to an improved draft constitution. For this reason I will be supporting a 'Yes' vote.

20th Apr 2004, 21:47
A little history reminder,just toget rid of some myths on CAP:
1/-It was thought of as a protection for the GERMAN farmers against the predatory French.They set up farm prices along the german cost of production.
2/-A system of guaranteed prices,subsidies for the weaker states,levies for the stronger ones was introduced.
3/-As the prices were higher than the world market,the incentive was on over-production which then had to be subsidised by the EC to be sold on world markets.The results were tragic for the food producers such as Australia,Canada,the US......and the poor farmers of Europe...
4/-but not for the big landowners in Europe (and this includes,very definitely THE UK).
So we are quite a long way from the usual image of French inefficient farmers getting fat on the back of a poor Brit housewife,aren't we?
What disaster?We still have in continental Europe the best social protection there is in the world,the best health care,the highest unemployment benefits (Which is now ,along with pensions,the greatest headache we have as there is NO incentive for a salaried work,hence a great part of our jobless rate problem.)
Even those countries and regions that seem to have prospered within the EU would probably have prospered anyway, due to the increase in free trade and if they had liberated their economies from the dead hand of social engineering.

of course you are entitled to an opinion.Problem is,most of the progress we've seen in Europe has been done under liberal right/centre-right governments.
On the same subject,could you explain how Ryan Air would have survived without being protected by EU regulations,although not really playing level field with the social expenses/salaries of most continental Europe airlines?
Are you also calling disastrous the situation of some Brit aircrews who live a luxury -and virtually tax free-life in some posh western suburbs of Paris ?(better put my anti schrapnell jacket on in case this is a forbidden subject!)

tony draper
20th Apr 2004, 21:49
I can see it being a repeat of the last time the British people were asked about europe,not whether we go in or not,we were not asked that,but whether we stay in or not, on that occasion vast sums of taxpayers money was spent pushing for the stay in vote, whereas next to nothing was spent on the get the feckout campaign.
I voted to stay in actually, but that was when it was a Common Market, not the vast totaly corrupt edifice it has become now.
The only reason the British government is keen on new member states is as a power block against France and Germany incidently, its got sweet FA to do with the desire to help former communist contries to better themselves,politicians don't give a toss about their own citizens let alone somebody else's, that tells you something about the EU I think, the sooner we disconnect from the EU the better,get out before it collapses which incidently it will, unless it goes back to what it was intended to be, a common market.

20th Apr 2004, 21:52
but Drapes, I just gave you chapter and verse that it was never intended as just a common market. You don't have to believe me, you can check it for yourself.

20th Apr 2004, 22:09
funny,you are the fist Brit I've met to mention Churchill as a great European.
As a matter of history,the arrival of De Gaulle in London in 1940 was to herald the first union of two European states,France and the UK.
The avent of Marshall Pétain as head of the French government put a finish to the Plan.Although,after the war,Sir Winston Churchill pushed for the US of Europe,he had no intention of Britain ever joining as the will o'the wisp of the"special relationship" made him believe he could be the arbitre between the two blocks.
We honor him as a great Frenchman:D

20th Apr 2004, 22:18
vous êtes convaincu que je suis un rosbif?

20th Apr 2004, 22:25
Non,plus maintenant,après avoir vu votre profil!
So I'm still looking for that rare bird who knows Sir Winston's bio.
I should have known better.

Send Clowns
20th Apr 2004, 22:51

Congratulations, you come up with some pathetic cases, at least one of which was only ever "proved" on teh evidence of an admitted liar, none of which involved the government, simply individual and junior MPs.

The 90% was a rough estimate, but it is in accord with accusations from certain anti-corruption MEPs, who suggest that nearly all MEPs fiddle their expenses. These MEPs suddeny become very unpopular amongst their peers. Then there is the normal scandal of the fact that vast quantities of EU funds simply disappear, hence the budget has not been signed off in years. The people who start to question this are of course the ones suspended, rahter than those syphoning off the money :rolleyes: Do you seriously think the trivia you mention is corruption on an EU scale? Are you that naive?

Don't put words into my mouth. I did not say there was any governemnt without any corruption. You made that one up. I said the scale was much smaller. The curren Labour government puts the previous administrations into the shadows. The EU completely eclipses anything known in the UK. I simply suggested that the EU corruption was vastly greater than UK.

Wee Weasley Welshman
21st Apr 2004, 02:37
We all know that the large EU countries face a massive upheavel soon. Creaking Socialist economies propping up enormous welfare states will not survive the entry of Eastern Europe nor another decade of globalisation.

The UK got all the unpleasantness of restructuring done 20 years ago under Baroness Thatcher. Unpleasant medicine but now we reap the economic, industrial and social rewards.

It would be grievous to many if we now surrendered this advantage by signing the proposed EU treaty. We do not wish to return to industrial strife, we do not want to bail out continental pensioners and we certainly do not want to loose control of our economy. We will stand aghast at any EU control over our military - which nobody seems to have mentioned yet.

I think most people like Europe. We respect, revel and enjoy so many aspects of all the EU countries that we know something about. We like to travel there, live there and trade there. Few people take seriously any shallow criticisms of 'foreigners' in this country.

But the case for the benefits of further integration has not been made. Its already an effective trade block able to go eyeball to eyeball with the USA and China. Its already a level playing field for employment, emigration, customs and terms of trade. Its already a mechanism for resolving cross border conflicts.

What further is required?

I can't see the Germans ever rolling into Poland again nor us invading the French.

So whats the point of going further?

Genuinely interested,


21st Apr 2004, 06:36
I can't see the Germans ever rolling into Poland again nor us invading the French.

That statement has been made and subsequently broken many times in the last thousand years, I'd be very careful about using it if I were you.

21st Apr 2004, 06:53
1870 , Germans roll towards Paris , 1914 , idem ditto , 1939 , idem ditto and so it goes on . They have agreed a truce with the French but it is still domination and not democratic . Just think of the Euro .....based on the D-mark . You guessed it .....I'm against the whole b....y exercise !!!

astir 8
21st Apr 2004, 07:22
The introduction of EASA and its interference in the British gliding movement is probably going to

a)put up the costs of gliding very significantly

b) potentially ground about 2/3 of the UK glider fleet because the BGA's paperwork, C of A systems and technical directives don't tally with the German/French systems which have inevitably formed the basis of EASA regulations.

As far as I'm concerned that's a good enough personal reason for voting against further European unification.

Let's keep the EU a free trade organisation and stuff the over-regulation (which British civil servants and lawyers appear to embrace with totally unneccessary enthusiasm)

PS "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers" (Shakespeare)

21st Apr 2004, 08:14
Tell me mate, is your source of information the Sun? You keep on making sweeping statements about how corrupt the EU is, and I deduct from that you find the UK to be devoid of corruption?

Let me direct your attention to this page: http://www.asiacentre.net/data/global/cpi.htm which is a statistic of corruption by country as of 1999. If you can't be asked to view the page, here is an executive breakdown, with the least corrupt countries on top:

1: Denmark
2: Finland
3: New Zealand / Sweden
5: Canada / Iceland
7: Singapore
8: Netherlands
9: Norway/ Singapore
11: Luxembourg
12: Australia
13: United Kingdom
14: Germany
99: Cameroun

Hardly very flattering for the UK, now is it? Now would you care to back up your arguments with facts, or just continue to sprout inane drivel?

21st Apr 2004, 08:22
Congratulations, you come up with some pathetic cases, at least one of which was only ever "proved" on teh (sic) evidence of an admitted liar, none of which involved the government, simply individual and junior MPs.


People who are firmly entrenched in their beliefs would not give an inch no matter how much evidence was presented. I have yet to see in your posts any mention of "You're right, I stand corrected" or even "you have a point" (unless followed by the ubiquitous "....but if you had bothered to read my posts...")

WHY do you think political corruption is the strongest argument for a "no" vote on a European Constitution, and withdrawal from the EU? Others have posted convincing arguments about sovereignty, trading rights, autonomy and national interests. You continue to defend your tiny corner in your usual terrier fashion , even dragging in your usual pet whinge against Blair, characteristically forgetting or downgrading any prior "corruption" from previous British governments, whilst clearly forgetting the glaringly obvious case which makes your argument obsolete:

Corruption and politics mix better than gin and tonic. Politics is about power, and money, and who controls it. Those on the outside want in, those on the inside can control who gets in. Democracy, referenda - just words to make us feel like we are making a difference. To get all prissy about corruption in politics is to miss the point entirely.

I am sure the vote on the referendum will be no, purely on the basis of massive media opposition and widespread ignorance on the matter. But we will still remain part of the EU under Labour or Conservative; if you want out, there are currently only two British political parties committed to withdrawal from the EU - The UK Independence Party or the BNP. Take your pick!

Mr Chips
21st Apr 2004, 08:23
There are lies, damn lies and statistics...

which is a statistic of corruption by country as of 1999

I looked at the page and while it has a table as described... it has no explanation of how "corruption" is measured.. the source (which I can't access properly) is listed by my web blocker as "a political organisation)

with the least corrupt countries on top:

So the higher up the list, the better? Well, UK ranks above France and Belgium then.... and even Germany!!!

I couldn't find EU on the list.. maybe because it is a list of countries... No real comparison then...

So Flopster, expalin what you are trying to prove here?

Oh, and while you are at it, could you point us all to exactly where Mr Draper has....

I decuct from that you find the UK to devoid of corruption?

Mr Chips
Voting NO!!!!

tony draper
21st Apr 2004, 08:32
Theres not much corruption in the UK because its simply not called corruption, theres no need to hand some fat sweaty lying **** of a MP MP a brown envelope stuffed with notes to bribe him/her,you just have him/her on your books as a Consultant and pay him/her twenty grand a year quite legally, nice little earner have a few directorships and consultancies.
I believe one minister who shall be nameless,had about twenty of them going of them at any one time.
Of course as they say it is necessary for MPs to work in and have experience of the real world,but as somebody once said,its funny why none of them seem to opt for work in the real world like hospital porter and the like.

21st Apr 2004, 08:41
astir 8. Hate to bring up gliding as I really enjoyed it when I was younger so don't take any offence.
Didn't the Luftwaffe train all it's pilots between the wars on gliders because of restrictions imposed by the Treaty of Versailles?...Scary that their regs are ok and ours aren't.A leopard never changes it's spots!

21st Apr 2004, 08:53
Do your own Google search mate, there are plenty of sites listing this kind of information; I just picked one of them.

I deducted (sorry for the spelling mistake, but English is only my 3rd language) from Drapes arguments, that the EU is oh so corrupt but the UK is not. That the UK ranks above Germany does not necessarily prove it's devoid of corruption now does it? By comparison, Nigeria ranks above Cameroun which is hardly an indication that Nigeria is corruption-free.

And speaking of corruption, what exactly to you mean by that? Do you have any facts to back up your statements, or are you merely quoting those bastions of high-level journalism called The Sun? For fecks sake, none of us here place any trust in their abilities to report on Aviation, but you trust them to report on politics?

One of the most common allegations is that politicians milk the EU by clamining for a C-class ticket when they fly on M or even with a LCC, then pockets the difference. I hate to burst your bubble, but that is not an EU problem but rather an accounting practice by individual memberstates. In Denmark, for instance, politician are reimbursed the actual cost of travelling, whereas other nations automatically hand them out the money for a C-class ticket. Another common accusation is that MEPs have their secratarys sign them up for meetings they don't attend to so they will get their per-diems. Well, again it's a national problem rather than an EU one and it is a problem that must be addressed by the member state rather than the EU. There were a few "incidents" with just this kind of cheating in Denmark, and it's up to the individual memberstates to do their own "policing", not the EU.

But blame where it is supposed to be.

astir 8
21st Apr 2004, 08:58

the basic problem is that French/German gliding has always been government controlled, with government issued paperwork to match.

UK gliding has always been controlled by the BGA (a non-government organisation) so its paperwork is regarded as non-compliant by the Eurocrats. Hence there's a risk that in 2 years time, most UK gliders will be deemed illegal by EASA.

It's a small and petty issue within the big European picture, but typical of the unnecessary regulation which seems to emanate from Brussels.

I regard the EU constitution as just more unnecessary interference with our lives, to the benefit of politicians and lawyers, who are all too often one and the same.

Send Clowns
21st Apr 2004, 09:23

Do not put worrds in my mouth, that is a supreme arrogance. I never said corruption was the "...strongest argument for a "no" vote on a European Constitution". You made that up. I never said I wanted the UK to leave the EU. In fact my posts imply that I support the UK's membership of the EU, although I think the nature of the EU needs adjustment, as do most citizens of Europe. Your next arrogance is the supercilious assumption that people who oppose the EU constitution are ignorrant. You have absolutely no justification for this.

I'm not sure why I should say I agree with anyone with whom I don't agree, isn't it a little absurd to suggest that teh fact I haven't is to my discredit?

I genuinely believe that the corruption of an individual backbench MP to ask a question for his personal financial gain is a lot less serious than the corruption of a government in exchange for payment to the party in government, or of a government using privileged access to personal medical information or bald lies about individual citizens (calling them racist for example, or suggesting they have mental illness just because they make legitimate criticism of the gotvernment) for propoganda, or of a minister in charge of a department inspecting a company taking a loan from the CEO of the company (the inspection comes up clean, the company then collapses), or of the same CEO buying political position by vastly expensive entertainment for senior party members, including the leader, spending money rightly belonging to the shareholders of the company, gerrymandering by changing voting rules to their own advantage, or the PM recommending a friend's company to a foreign government with lies, or a govrenment trying to change legislation just to attack a single individual that it dislikes. No [i]that's[/] what I call corruption.

You may not, but I suggest you are the one that has to justify your view. I do not deny any of the demonstrated corruption in any previous government. I am pointing out (as you also seem to have a blind spot for my actual argumet) that the EU is more corrupt. I would also say that many of the nations of the EU are also more corrupt, notably France, Germany, Portugal and Italy. In the area I know most about, aviation and aviation training, I can confirm that corruption is common in two of those in an area where I know of no corruption in the UK.

Do you seriously suggest that the EU is less corrupt than the UK? Despite all the actions of this government, I don't think you can justify this.

Mr Chips
21st Apr 2004, 09:32
And speaking of corruption, what exactly to you mean by that? Do you have any facts to back up your statements, or are you merely quoting those bastions of high-level journalism called The Sun?

Excuse me? What statements did I make? I pointed out that the "information" you posted was totally meningless. I made no statements

I questioned what the table actually shows. It refers to "corruption" with no explanation. It may as well be a table of "wibbleness" for all it shows.

Do your own Google search mate, there are plenty of sites listing this kind of information; I just picked one of them.

No thanks. If you are posting a link to back up your argument, try posting one which actually does that.

That the UK ranks above Germany does not necessarily prove it's devoid of corruption now does it?

Pay attention. NOBODY, certainly not Drapes, ahs said that the UK is devoid of corruption. We in the Uk do NOT trust our politicians. Simple fact..

HOWEVER, when viewing the "gravy train" that the EU appears to be, we can sit back and point the finger saying that the EU is WORSE than the UK.

Most of theUK do not want laws imposed by the EU, do not want to contribute money that gets paid to other countries for doing nothing (set asides for farmers etc), do not wantth petty rules that emanate (that only the UK ever seem to folow)

As for corruption, in the EU organisation, if you are a whistle blower, you get sacked. In the Uk we have laws that (allegedly) prevent this.


21st Apr 2004, 09:33

Do not put worrds (sic) in my mouth, that is a supreme arrogance

If you had bothered to read my posts you would see clearly that I in no way stated, implied or insinuated that the UK is less or more corrupt than the EU Commission/Parliament. Furthermore, you have conveniently ignored the wise words coming from Flopster that it is individual member states that set their national policy, with the EU providing umbrella legislation for commonality.

(as you also seem to have a blind spot for my actual argumet)(sic)

Likewise! I am saying corruption is endemic in politics. Your examples, although all unascribed and unattributed, bear this out. The countries you name are in alignment with Flopster's post.

The degree to which corruption is practiced and how much it influences policy varies, and to me is a non-argument. As it is the only one you are defending in your erudite fashion, I assumed you thought it was the strongest argument against.

It is obvious you have a bee in your bonnet about this isuue, but moaning about it and arguing the toss is not going to make it go away. And neither is a poxy referendum.

21st Apr 2004, 09:44
I would suggest that a Cabinet minister concealing evidence vital to the defence of the directors of a company which, with the explicit say-so of said minister, breached a UN embargo to send material used to produce weaponry to Iraq (where some of those products were used against British forces), in the knowledge that he himslef had a financial interest in same, with the result that they went to prison, trumps anything in recent European history with the exception of the Elf scandal in France.

Is it possible to have such a thing as a corrupt nation? I would have thought corruption was a quality of individuals, but let that pass. Political corruption may be more common in Italy than in the UK, but it is less common in Sweden. The country most similar to the UK in Europe is Ireland - but Charles Haughey's shenanigans would have embarrassed a Nigerian general.

Point? This is a red herring. What is proposed is a re-organisation of the European institutions. Can anyone explain to me why alleged corruption in the EU's current institutional arrangements is an argument against changing them? What kind of logic is that? You might as well say that - rewinding to 1997 - the corruption of the Conservative Party is a reason not to change the government! In any case, no-one believes that, when a case of corruption occurs in Britain, that we should renounce the institutions of the state because of it. But arguing that European integration per se is evil, bad and unpatriotic because some of its employees have had their fingers in the till is to argue that the House of Commons should be bulldozed for the actions of Neil Hamilton. The question is not about the actions of individual fraudsters in the past, but about the future organisation of Europe. Perhaps it would be best to base decisions on the merits or otherwise of the constitution.

21st Apr 2004, 10:07
astir8. Agree totally with your comments.It's just more and more stupid regulations imposed by unelected nobodies in some corner of Brussels.They are also going to regulate horses with passports causing another expense on Joe public.It's only because the French are disgusting enough to eat horse that the regulation has to be made in the first place.

21st Apr 2004, 10:15

What are you saying? Horses travelling without passports will be eaten?:oh:

And I thought the US was cracking down.

21st Apr 2004, 10:34
Your valiant efforts to defend Drapes are noted, but I'm quite confident he is able to fend for himself.

I brought up the statistics in an effort to prove that the UK is not corruption free. It was not meant as an indication to prove that the EU is not corruption free; how can it ever be with Italians onboard?

However, your dismissal of the statistics on the grounds that they don't fit your idea of how the world looks, does not lend much weight to your arguments. As said earlier, there are plenty of statistics and since you obviously can't be asked to look them up, and since I feel the need to prove my case, here is another example from a different source. However, I somehow feel you'll dismiss them too.

The source http://www.transparency.org/

The stats http://www.transparency.org/cpi/2002/cpi2002.en.html

You will be pleased to learn that the UK has moved from 13th to a 10th place. Still below the Scandinavian countries, and still above France, Germany and Italy.

On your remarks that "UK citizens will not pay for others" (or words to the same effect), please cast a glimpse on this: (source: http://www.cphpost.dk/get/55576.html )

Contributions Receipts Net (+/-)

Germany 162 74 -88

Netherlands 32 15 -17

Britain 61 44 -17

Italy 64 56 -8

Sweden 16 9 -7

Belgium 21 15 -6

France 95 90 -5

Austria 16 12 -4

Finland 8 7 -1

Luxembourg 1 ----

Denmark 10 11 +1

Ireland 5 22 +17

Portugal 8 28 +20

Greece 8 38 +30

Spain 34 79 +45

And then stop whinging mate! It's the Germans who's paying for the party, not the British! Yes, the UK is a net contributor but it's peanuts compared to what Germany is paying. What you are paying for is basically the poorest of the countries (note: Denmark is now also a net contributor) helping them to raise from poverty and develop into a modern society, who can then afford to pay for our goods and services. If you ask me, that's not a bad cause. You will of course also notice that France, the pet hate of the UK, is indeed a net contributor. I guess that burst another bubble didn't it just?

Mr Chips
21st Apr 2004, 10:46
Flopster, you simply don't read posts do you? YOU posted a table of corrupt countries. I pointed out that it was meaningless.

However, your dismissal of the statistics on the grounds that they don't fit your idea of how the world looks, does not lend much weight to your arguments

You seem to have this crazy idea that I had posted any opinions prior to this. I hadn't. i wasn't trying to defend any point of view. I pointed out that the link you gave proved nothing whatsoever. Simple.

However, I somehow feel you'll dismiss them too.

I will keep repeating until you get the message. The link you provided was a list of countries. No explanation of ranking, criteria etc. Meaningless.

You will be pleased to learn that the UK has moved from 13th to a 10th place. Still below the Scandinavian countries, and still above France, Germany and Italy.

So the original link was meaningless AND WRONG. This just gets better and better.

Yes, the UK is a net contributor

So we (and others) are paying for other countries. So I was right? Doesn't matter who is paying more than us, we are paying more than we receive.

My comment about paying for othgers is the only part of my post that you have replied to.

Your valiant efforts to defend Drapes are noted, but I'm quite confident he is able to fend for himself.

"Big enough and ugly enough" is the expression we would use here. Not sure if Drapes is either or both of those. he is a Geordie though, so he eats broken glass. Probably.

21st Apr 2004, 10:49
Can we agree that the UK's record on corruption is not bad but could always be improved?
That it is necessary always to be vigilant or else corruption grows?
That cynicism about corruption - 'they're all as bad as each other' - only stops people distinguishing the good from the bad and so helps corruption?
That - yes - there is a problem in the EU (and indeed in the USA for that matter) but that turning your back is hardly going to make it go away?
And that the EU Constitutional Treaty, by improving somewhat transparency and enforcing subsidiarity, is one step among many in the right direction?

And let's move the discussion on.

Edited to note that everyone's figures on corruption come from Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index. The summary of the 2003 edition is online here (http://www.transparency.org/pressreleases_archive/2003/2003.10.07.cpi.en.html)
and the methodology can be found on the same website. Worth reading.

21st Apr 2004, 11:04
No, the first statistics was from 1999, the second from 2002. That does not make either of them wrong. I also posted a link to the source, allowing you to judge for yourself the creditability of the statistics. I belive that the statistics prove, that the UK is far from perfect and as thus, the endless arguments of how corrupt the EU is are, if not meaningless than at least tainted, when coming from the UK. The argument will of course be even more meaningless had it come from an Italian. That was the thrust of my argument, and I trust this clarifies.

I appreciate what you are saying re. the contributions. However, if all member states were on the receiving end, who should then foot the bill? I suppose it is a bit socialistics, the principle being that the broadest shoulders should bear the heaviest burden, and that you disagree with that position. Fair enough, I guess we'll just have to agree on disagreeing on that point. My argument will be that we, as in the richer countries, can and should afford to bring the less-rich countries up the financial ladder. Moreover, by doing so they will, at some point, have the affluence to buy our goods and services, thereby sustaining employment in our countires and reducing the toll on social expenditures and, ultimately, lowering your taxes.

Imagine what would happen if Spain, Portugal and Ireland had not received the grants that they do; they'd probably still be financial backwaters with all the associated social problems. The EU is much more than just a trading block it is also a stabilizatin pact based on the theory that prosperous democracies will not invade their neighbours at the all too regular intervals we have seen here in Europe.

While I am, quite obviously, in favour of the EU, I am not blind to it's imperfections. Change should be made, that is clear to most people, and in my opinion one is best off changing from the inside rather than the outside. By leaving the EU, you will be akin to what Norway is experiencing, namely that they are required to a very large extent to comply with EU regulations, but have no influence on the decision process. You will also cut yourself out of the ability to seek employment in another EU country and your countries businesses will have to deal with import/export taxes when selling to/buying from EU countries. Again, you'd get none of the benefits but all of the burdens. All that to save a lousy 17 billion Euro's, which for a country the size of the UK is peanuts.

I've not a clue whether Geordies (btw wtf is a Geordie?) are up to or made of, but take your word for it that they eat glass. Please note, that in Swedish, Glass means icecream - betcha didn't know that ;)

21st Apr 2004, 11:08
Mr chips
So the original link was meaningless AND WRONG.
Nope the original link was to figures back to 1999, the new one being 2002
we are paying more than we receive.
In terms of subsidies, yes, but as Flopster indicated, these subsidies go to poorer countries who, in turn, buy goods and services from richer ones.
And when you fly to Mallorca or Greece, aren't you pleased with nice airports and motorways intead of what it was 20-30 years ago ?

Sorry Mr Flopster, you were faster than me, but I couldn't resist.

21st Apr 2004, 11:10
Slim 20..Makes you think what you could hide in a horseshoe whilst sat in 39a!

21st Apr 2004, 11:22
Yeh - and what about fingerprinting them? What happens when they change their shoes? eh? eh?

Bungling bureaucrats never think of the obvious stuff.

21st Apr 2004, 11:46
Well definitely know how horses are voting.....NEIGH. Sorry 'bout that had to be done!

21st Apr 2004, 11:58
Mr Chips,

"Doesn't matter who is paying more than us, we are paying more than we receive."

What is your point? I pay more tax than than I get services from the government. I do not have kids, I am not on the dole and I am not in hospital. I am quite happy to pay tax because I understand that this is what happens in a modern society. The better off pay to help out those who need the help.



Mr Chips
21st Apr 2004, 12:14
BHR - if you read back over a few posts, you will see why I said what I said.

In summary - I said the UK were fed up of paying for other people... and I was told we didn't... then statistics were printed that showed we do.

There is a huge difference between paying into the NHS/social security etc, and our nations wealth (and that of other nations) on schemes to pay farmers not to grow food etc...

Most of what I have posted is simply to refute other posters - as is my right. I was "accused" of posting things I haven't posted - and I haven't seen a response to that yet!

When this referendum comes around, I shall vote "NO". I don't agree with the way the EU appears to be run.

Wee Weasley Welshman
21st Apr 2004, 12:40
OK OK - lets be calm and say that we are all happy enough with the EU as it is today.

What is the case for creating and signing this constitution? In simple terms that I can understand - give me say, the top 5 reasons why adopting this constitution Britain will be better off.

I am genuinely keen to hear the pro-points. They ought, I think, to be somewhat compelling for us to make such a momentious constitutional change...



21st Apr 2004, 13:11
as usual,the thread has been highjacked by those with the most vocal-and so far unreasoned-hatred for anything from the continent.Still a matter of "Fog on the Channel,continent isolated"way of thinking,I presume.
The original question was about voting for the new EU constitution.The word "constitution" is in a way quite misleading as it has never been designed to replace national constitutions (Which in the case of the UK doesn't exist as a document).
The draft itself answers most of the wishes of the Public and the observers of the EU institutions ,mainly about transparency,democratic control,streamlining and representativity.
The new constitution is needed as the system of functioning has barely changed since the treaty of Rome (1961),devised for six countries.That system is unworkable with 25 members and that is that!
A rejection of the new constitution will mean a refusal to accept the working of the 25 member EU,which will cause,I'm afraid the officialisation of the de facto existence of a hard nucleus of states willing to go further along the path of economic/social/political integration.What it will lead to eventually,I don't know,but what will happen then will be against the wishes and the interests of the UK as they are understood now,ie a free trade association instead of a closer tied union (called here a federal state).
As for the benefits...the UK banks will be better defended by the Commission than by the British government as well as the open skies negociations with the US are demonstrating this very minute.
As for liberties,apparently no one is aware of the fight the European parliament (MEP's are elected aren't they?)is into against the US required disclosure of 34 items of personnal information for airline passengers,to which individual states,including France,Germany and the UK have meekly bowed to.

Wee Weasley Welshman
21st Apr 2004, 13:30
You don't seem to have given me five compelling reasons why the UK would benefit by signing up to this. Were you trying to?



21st Apr 2004, 13:38
as usual,the thread has been highjacked by those with the most vocal-and so far unreasoned-hatred for anything from the continent

I disagree Lemurian, there have been attempted hijackers, but for the most part they have been rebuked sucessfully by people like yourself and others who have put a few of them in their place with some cold hard facts. This is very refreshing and makes a change on PPRuNe which was in danger of becoming a Tory/BNP or Telegraph readers chatroom!!

21st Apr 2004, 13:38
Our posts cxrossed each other.
I'll do it from office after 20.00.

Mr Chips
21st Apr 2004, 13:41
yourself and others who have put a few of them in their place with some cold hard facts

Must be some posts missing from my copy of this thread..

in danger of becoming a Tory/BNP or Telegraph readers chatroom!!

Does that translate as "People who have a different political outlook to me"?

You asked which way we would vote. We told you. Feeling I am getting is that most people from the UK don't want this constitution.

Quite simple really.

21st Apr 2004, 13:44
as usual,the thread has been highjacked by those with the most vocal-and so far unreasoned-hatred for anything from the continent. I don't believe the thread has been hijacked at all.

I am a fan of decentralized government, where local government is in a better position to know what's good for thier community, rather than a distant, large, bureaucratic, centralized bunch of self serving tw:mad:ts. Federalizing a whole group of disparate nations is just asking for trouble and serves only to keep these EMPs in a job.


21st Apr 2004, 13:44
It's less than a momentous change but much more than just 'tidying up'.

The reason for the consitutional treaty is that with 10 new member states arriving next month, the present means of reaching decisions (or not) won't work any more. (They hardly work now).

Up to now, the EU has dealt with changes in its decision making systems by writing new treaties eg Maastricht, Amsterdam, Paris, Nice, Rome, Messina, Copenhagen (?), etc, etc. The penny has finally dropped that there has to be a better way of doing things.

There is recognition that there is a gap between the EU and its citizens. It gives its citizens a Charter of Fundamental Rights.

It makes subsidiarity effective - ensuring that decisions that are the responsibility of the EU are handed back to the Member States when there is no European dimension (I think regional aid will fall into this area but I could be wrong). That there is an agreed mechanism for any further areas to be covered by the EU (eg tax and social security for migrants to which Britain says no - and will probably more or less win; asylum and immigration will probably become European rather than national) and that the boundaries between the EU and its Member States are defined. Although there are changes in both directions, overall there is more federalism.

It recognises that the balance of power between EU institutions needs changing. Member States are gaining at the expense of the Commission (little countries don't like this, big countries do). Hence there will be a President and a Foreign Minister of the EU, who will require big country support. European Parliament gains. The voting weights of some countries (not UK) may be changed.

Spain and Poland want a mention of God or the Christian tradition.

In sum, it is a mechanism to define how Europe works together in future without necessarily changing enormously what it is working on.

Remember, it is still a draft and parts are not yet agreed.

The EU will never be a federation but nor will it be only a confederation or a trade block. It will always be a mongrel in between these three. Tradition, history and self-interest dictate a mixture of cooperation and independent action. The point is to find the right balance.

21st Apr 2004, 14:06
PPRuNe which was in danger of becoming a Tory/BNP or Telegraph readers chatroom!!

Whats wrong with that?

21st Apr 2004, 14:09
where's my insect repellent?

21st Apr 2004, 14:11
This is a long post so please bear with me......

I have read word-for-word all of Part 1 of the proposed constitution as after all this is what we are to be voting on.

The following are direct quotes from the draft which I have concerns about and the affect on the UK. I have written under some the reasons why I am concerned......

1) "The Member States shall facilitate the achievement of the Union's tasks and refrain from any measure which could jeopardise the attainment of the objectives set out in the constitution"
- Presupposes that the EU's tasks remain beneficial to the UK.

2) "The Constitution, and law adopted by the Union's Institutions in exercising competences conferred on it, shall have primacy over the law of the Member States."

3) "Member States shall take all appropriate measures, general or particular, to ensure fulfilment of the obligations flowing from the Constitution or resulting from the Union Institutions' acts."
- All?

4) "When the Constitution confers on the Union exclusive competence in a specific area, only the Union may legislate and adopt legally binding acts, the Member States being able to do so
themselves only if so empowered by the Union or for the implementation of acts adopted by the Union."
- Seems to prohibit member state legislation in any of the competencies that the EU is given. These include Foreign Policy and Justice.

5) "The Union shall have competence to promote and coordinate the economic and employment policies of the Member States."
- For the benefit of who. The EU's balance sheet and GNP/GDP or for the welfare of the citizens of every member state?

6) "The Union shall have competence to define and implement a common foreign and security policy, including the progressive framing of a common defence policy."
- We have NATO for the latter. Present differences seem to throw a spanner into the former.

7) "The Union shall adopt measures to ensure coordination of the economic policies of the Member States, in particular by adopting broad guidelines for these policies. The Member States shall coordinate their economic policies within the Union."

8) "The Union shall adopt measures to ensure coordination of the employment policies of the Member States, in particular by adopting guidelines for these policies."

9) "The Union may adopt initiatives to ensure coordination of Member States' social policies."
- Such as forcing church groups to employ people they feel are directly against church teaching?

10) "The Union's competence in matters of common foreign and security policy shall cover all areas of foreign policy and all questions relating to the Union's security, including the
progressive framing of a common defence policy, which might lead to a common defence."

11) "Member States shall actively and unreservedly support the Union's common foreign and security policy in a spirit of loyalty and mutual solidarity and shall comply with the acts adopted by the Union in this area. They shall refrain from action contrary to the Union's interests or likely to impair its effectiveness."

12) "If action by the Union should prove necessary within the framework of the policies defined in Part III to attain one of the objectives set by the Constitution, and the Constitution has not
provided the necessary powers, the Council of Ministers, acting unanimously on a proposal from the Commission and after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament, shall take
the appropriate measures."
- What?, without checking the will of the people?

13) "A European law shall be a legislative act of general application. It shall be binding in its entirety and directly applicable in all Member States."
- Not just the UK then? France as well?

14) "Member States shall consult one another within the European Council and the Council of Ministers on any foreign and security policy issue which is of general interest in order to determine a common approach. Before undertaking any action on the international scene or any commitment which could affect the Union's interests, each Member State shall consult the others within the European Council or the Council of Ministers. Member States shall ensure, through the convergence of their actions, that the Union is able to assert its interests and values on the international scene. Member States shall show mutual solidarity"
- Peter Hain shows the same worry as I do (in his proposed amendment) for the second sentence. Can you assume that all EU members priviledged to be party to the notification do not pass on their knowledge to the very people who will be the target of our indepedent foreign policy?

15) "Member States shall make civilian and military capabilities available to the Union for the implementation of the common security and defence policy, to contribute to the objectives
defined by the Council of Ministers. Those Member States which together establish multinational forces may also make them available to the common security and defence
- What even if we vote against it in qualified majority voting?

Any thoughts?


21st Apr 2004, 14:44
"The Member States shall facilitate the achievement of the Union's tasks and refrain from any measure which could jeopardise the attainment of the objectives set out in the constitution"

Indeed. The objectives set out in the constitution. If, in Eurosceptic wet dream mode, the European Union was suddenly overcome by an urge to promulgate the Nuremburg Laws (say), I assume we would vote against it in the council of ministers. Much of anything really worrying would still come under unanimity, so that is disposed of. Anything scary that was under QMV would need a majority anyway, which is nothing like certain in a 25 state union. Finally, it would be unconstitutional anyway and invalidated by the European Court of Justice, if it passed the European Parliament and the chamber of national parliaments.

"The Constitution, and law adopted by the Union's Institutions in exercising competences conferred on it, shall have primacy over the law of the Member States."

This is not news, but a statement of fact ever since the original Treaty of Rome in the original 6 states and since 1973 in the UK. The whole point of (originally) the European Coal and Steel Community and now the EU is that you can't simply tear up bits you don't like when it suits you. Without this clause, nothing relating to the EU would be legally binding.

"Member States shall take all appropriate measures, general or particular, to ensure fulfilment of the obligations flowing from the Constitution or resulting from the Union Institutions' acts."

I should think so too.

"The Union shall have competence to promote and coordinate the economic and employment policies of the Member States."

Co-ordinate = waffle. How can "the EU" do this in its own interest anyway? It doesn't have an economy - only the member states do.

"The Union shall adopt measures to ensure coordination of the economic policies of the Member States, in particular by adopting broad guidelines for these policies. The Member States shall coordinate their economic policies within the Union."

This means the Euro rule book.

"The Union's competence in matters of common foreign and security policy shall cover all areas of foreign policy and all questions relating to the Union's security, including the "The Union's competence in matters of common foreign and security policy shall cover all areas of foreign policy and all questions relating to the Union's security, including the
progressive framing of a common defence policy, which might lead to a common defence."

A statement of current fact.

"Member States shall actively and unreservedly support the Union's common foreign and security policy in a spirit of loyalty and mutual solidarity and shall comply with the acts adopted by the Union in this area. They shall refrain from action contrary to the Union's interests or likely to impair its effectiveness."

Well, I would have thought it was normal to support a policy one has agreed upon.

"If action by the Union should prove necessary within the framework of the policies defined in Part III to attain one of the objectives set by the Constitution, and the Constitution has not provided the necessary powers, the Council of Ministers, acting unanimously on a proposal from the Commission and after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament, shall take
the appropriate measures."

- What?, without checking the will of the people?

With checking the will of the people. The Council of Ministers - the elected leaders of the member states - acting unanimously - that is to say subject to national veto - after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament. And who elects the European Parliament? (I know Eurosceptics find this a toughie)

"A European law shall be a legislative act of general application. It shall be binding in its entirety and directly applicable in all Member States." Not just the UK then? France as well?

Well what the hell else would it be? The irony of moaning about the clauses that make EU legislation binding on member states and then moaning that the French don't apply it should be obvious.

"Member States shall make civilian and military capabilities available to the Union for the implementation of the common security and defence policy, to contribute to the objectives defined by the Council of Ministers. Those Member States which together establish multinational forces may also make them available to the common security and defence
- What even if we vote against it in qualified majority voting?

"May" - use of the conditional. Allied forces, including NATO and the EU RRF, are generally governed by the principle that orders from the commander are binding on all national contingents subject to appeal to national command.

I'll do the others later. Beeerrr!

21st Apr 2004, 14:57

I have numbered my translation. Could you please do the same. If not obvious, please say.

1. We have agreed the Constitution. So let's do it.

2. The constitutional treaty is binding on law. You can't just ignore it.

3. If we agree to do something, you should do it.

4. Specific areas - not general areas (which are generally non legislative) such as law and foreign affairs.

5. Econ policy. For the benefit of who we may agree at a later date. This does not define a policy, simply lays out an area of competence.

6. Defines the area of competence. Relation with NATO (which all EU members are not part of) should not be in a constitution. If spanner thrown, then machinery will indeed stop.

7. Economic policy coordination. Each country's economy affects the others. There was economic policy cooperation before the EU. And as others have pointed out, this covers the Euro.

8. Employment policies. Gives ability to write guidelines. Given the initial objectives of free movement of labour, hardly earth-shattering.

9. Social policy. Does it say what you said it said?

10. Well, let's see how far we can co-operate in this area.

11. Children, stop fighting.

12. We can legislate in an area defined in Part III, provided that there is unanimous agreement among Member State governments (Council of Ministers) and the European Parliament agrees.

13. Yes. That's what the European Court of Justice is there for.

14. I think Peter Hain's worry is that nothing can happen, rather than that there is leakage. Diplomatics tend to be pretty diplomatic, even amongst not such good friends. And consultation usually occurs anyhow, just to make sure that actions are understood.

15. We voted against clause A and for clause B. We were so angry, we voted against the whole policy. We will now show our pi22ed-offness by only providing resouces to support clause B. Hey, how about that, we are in compliance!

Possibility to change my mind reserved. I'm not a lawyer.

DeepC, I suggest that you read a treaty with which you do agree, such as NATO. Then you'll see how these things are written, which bits have teeth and which bits only say, 'well, we might discuss policies in this area'.

edited to add missing point and re-number.

21st Apr 2004, 15:07

Im reading all your points and absorbing what you say but it would be sight easier if you adopted a slightly less patronising tone to your replies.

I do not claim to be an expert but just trying to bottom out the facts. If you want to help then just return with facts and informed opinion rather than trying to belittle everything.

I have never said I agree with the original Treaty of Rome or whatever forms the current constitutional arrangements with the EU. I did not vote on them.



Answer=42: I numbered my post but it does not seem to tie up with the numbering on your post.

21st Apr 2004, 15:15
Mr Chips, nah, you've just been engaged in selective reading.....its answer=42, steamchicken and the like who have actually gone to the trouble of posting actual facts instead of piously dismissing differing viewpoints with cheap scepticism.

I'm saying it makes a change to have some balance on here instead of hearing from the usual Mosley Mob!! (If you want to use the term Luvvie to label anyone with a different viewpoint from you the allow others to do the same!)

21st Apr 2004, 15:18
Come now, not actually all that complicated...

The EU is evolving into a socialist thingy run, promoted and supported by socialists. Therefore, its all pretty much complete b*ll*cks. QED.

There, that should settle the issue. Quite simple after all really.


21st Apr 2004, 15:34
Intersting posts, and thank you for taking the time and effort to both digest it and post your views.

Just out of interest, Denmark got 4 excemptions following the Maastrict / Edinburgh treaties. They are as follows:

1: The Euro
2: Legal cooperation
3: Foreign Policy
4: Common Defence Policy

However, part of the election in Denmark will incorporate these 4 excemptions. In other words, Denmark will not only vote (and we will have a vote) on the constitution, but also on the excemptions. Therefore, a "Yes" vote will also void the excemptions, and vice versa. That might prove a very hard election to win, mainly on the grounds of the legal cooperation and the common defence policy. It could go both ways, and it will be interesting to see if other countries who are planning to have a vote will wait for the Danish results, as they did with Maastrict and Edinburgh.

If memory serves me right, the UK got excemptions on the Social and Environmental parts. Again, I will imagine that a "Yes" vote will void those excemptions.

21st Apr 2004, 15:52

I don't know all of this but:
UK has now accepted the social chapter and ended its exemption (and the sky did not fall in). It also had an exemption to the Euro.
Sweden did not have an exemption to the Euro but was/is able to manipulate the rules to avoid it (until the next referendum).
No UK exemption on environmental issues.

Wee Weasley Welshman
21st Apr 2004, 16:21
So basically nobody can give me 5 clear benefits to the UK in signing up the Euro Constitution. Is that correct?

I understand the points made about why it would be good for the EU. I ask again - what are the simple to understand benefits to this country?



21st Apr 2004, 16:37
The benefits (if true) are good for the EU as a whole. The UK is a member of the EU. By definition therefore ...

I think I counted four clear benefits in my reply. So you can claim victory, if it makes you happy.

Wee Weasley Welshman
21st Apr 2004, 16:47
No, please, think of me as a bit thick if you like and clearly state - 5, 4 or maybe just 3 - simple benefits to the UK of signing the constitution.



21st Apr 2004, 17:03
I've been trying to ascertain out Net Contribution to the EU in the latest financial year. The closest I have come is an estimate for 2003-2004 of £3.225 billion.

Can anyone get any more up to date information?

Then can someone explain £3.225 billion of clear benefits that the EU brings us over a situation where we are a single state trading entity?

In my opinion the EU constitution as proposed can only properly work if we get to the 'United States of Europe' situation as proposed. A half way house will not work satisfactorily. It would have to revert back to purely a trading and travel bloc.

If we are aiming to become a European Superpower under the same type of model as the US (but with an enhanced style of Executive) then this constitution is the way to achieve it. I doubt Tony Blair will use this argument to win the battle.

It really is, for the current generation at least, a vote on what direction we want the EU to go.

Above everything what we need as a population in the UK is facts pure and simple. No spin. Then we can make a judgement. Until then I have no doubt that the NO vote will win and we will be back to square one. What we need is a series of options to give the Government a lead on what they should be arguing about with their EU counterparts. it is not necessary to bring down the pack of cards just for the sake of this over-egged constitution (as Tony Blair insinuated yesterday)


21st Apr 2004, 17:48
Work out the terminal value of discounted cash flows taking into account tax savings, increased export figures to the EU zone thanks to membership etc and then see if your Net Present Value adds up to the Net Contribution over time!

I'll be damned if I'm going to sit down and work it out!!

21st Apr 2004, 17:53
In fact there should be two referendi - one , Should there be agreement with the so called 'European Constitution' and secondly (if no? or otherwise , in anycase) should the U.K. stay within the European Union (USSE? .....heeheehee!!!)
Other man's grass and all that ..... but I'm sitting in the middle of the thing , looking at the way the German/Belgian/Dutch etc . politics work (or manipulates) and have been for the last 34 , ears. No , no , no - and I still want to return to the Island to retire , until one has lived abroad extensively one doesn't appreciate how good the U.K.is .
Sorry , rant over - St. George's Day in two days!

ears.....ears .... sorreeee! too much vino .....Years .

21st Apr 2004, 18:00
With regards to 9 on my original list....

"The Union may adopt initiatives to ensure coordination of Member States' social policies."

This is a 'cut and paste' out of the draft constitution and therefore it does say this. I added my own interpretation in an area which I think could affect me. The quote does read a bit 'heavy handed' but that is what it says.


21st Apr 2004, 18:02
1. better decision making mechanism (therefore, with any luck, fewer stupid decisions)
2. Citizens Charter of Fundamental Rights, so EU or national governments can't run all over them.
3. Effective subsidiarity - decisions made at the right level.
4. Free beer

OK I lied about the last one


Sorry, rejection of the consitutional treaty will not have the effect you say. Probably will mean that a new treaty will come along in a few years. It might be better written. It might be less federalist (which I suppose you want). But you can't be sure of either.

Why will rejection not bring about a simple free trade area,as you desire?
Because your interlocuters don't want it. Even the 10 accession countries have signed up for the whole 'acquis communautaire' which means everything that has gone before (including the bits that are being repealed!!!).
A simple trading block is not even good for the UK. The UK is basically an exporter of services. Yes, a trade agreement can have a services section but subsequently the UK would be outside discussions on market development.
Just think what this would do to the airline industry. EU open skies with America and the UK doing a separate deal - with what negotiating power? Same rights as Swiss had within EU? No EasyJet.
Now multiply this across the whole services sector. See what the long-term economic losses are from exclusion. Do you really want this?

Wee Weasley Welshman
21st Apr 2004, 18:54
1. better decision making mechanism (therefore, with any luck, fewer stupid decisions)

2. Citizens Charter of Fundamental Rights, so EU or national governments can't run all over them.

3. Effective subsidiarity - decisions made at the right level.

Thank you for trying to provide an explanation.

1. Better for the the interests of the United Kingdom - surely we would loose the veto on many issues?

2. We have managed for several centuries in the UK without being run all over by our elected Government. We turf them out if we don't like them - its all very simple.

3. What if one views the right level to be Westminster?


I hate to appear negative but. The constitution is an important step - if it isn't lets not bother and retire to the pub. As such there must be at least one or two compelling arguments for signing up.

People here seem unable to provide them. Is it the case that there are no simple stateable reasons why signing up is good for this country?

Please, someone, state just a couple of simple arguments why it is in the British (not the EU as an agency) interest to sign up.

Its not much to ask...



21st Apr 2004, 19:22
www -

It is too much to ask.

The proponents of the EU seem simply unable (or unwilling) to see something from our nation-state's point of view. Their belief that something is 'right for Europe' means that they consider it right for all Europeans. This attitude is what has led us into the bureaucratic jungle that we are now suffering.

Previous posters have praised various elements of EU social engineering, such as unemployment benefits (set by national governments), the minimum wage (ditto), and social protections. If only they could understand the costs that these place on the fewer and fewer people who actually work in the productive economy, they would see that if Europe doesn't change it will be eclipsed by countries such as India, China, and others who don't carry these burdens.

Windle Poons
21st Apr 2004, 19:51
Often quoted, but has a truer word been spoken in jest?

Sir Humphrey: "Minister, Britain has had the same foreign policy objective for at least the last 500 years: to create a disunited Europe. In that cause we have fought with the Dutch against the Spanish, with the Germans against the French, with the French and Italians against the Germans, and with the French against the Germans and Italians. Divide and rule, you see. Why should we change now when it's worked so well?"

Jim Hacker: "That's all ancient history, surely."

Sir Humphrey: "Yes, and current policy. We had to break the whole thing up, so we had to get inside. We tried to break it up from the outside, but that wouldn't work. Now that we're on the inside we can make a complete pig's breakfast of the whole thing: set the Germans against the French, the French against the Italians, the Italians against the Dutch. The Foreign Office is terribly pleased, it's just like old times."

There has been some serious debate here, and I don't want to trivialise it with the above quote, but it makes you wonder why certain people/parties/organisations want to be in/out of Europe. Do they genuinely see the EU as good/bad, or are their motives ulterior/political/personal and unknown?

In many respects we have never wholly given up the pre WWI policy of 'Splendid Isolation', and probably never will while the channel divides us from the rest of the continent. Maybe it's time we did, but if we do we have to whole heartedly and without reservation, which as a 'nation' (as opposed to an individual or group of individuals) I think we will find difficult.

With regard to the constitution, I am genuinely undecided on which way to vote. This is not because I am unaware of what the constitution is proposing, but because I wholly agree with some aspects and totally disagree with others.

According to one commentator on the radio I fall into the "Pin the tail on the donkey" category of voter on this issue. A potentially worrying analogy?


21st Apr 2004, 20:14

1. The veto is lost on a fairly narrow range of issues as defined by the constitutional treaty. You're going to have to look them up, I'm afraid.

2. So, an elected dictatorship is acceptable for five years? And then what?

3. Yes, that's the point. The precise definition of subsidiarity is given in the paper ORAC links to in the Euro thread. In implementation, I think a qualified majority have to agree to hand back to national competence but I could be wrong.

These are all clear, uncontroversial benefits to all, hence to the UK and its people. I have answered your question. If you keep on stating that I haven't answered, I will ask you two questions:
1. Do you think that the only way that British people can gain is if other people lose?
2. How would you answer the question 'what are the benefits of improved air traffic control to my airline?'


Good post. Frankly, what decides it for me is that I prefer power to be broken up to different levels: national and European. Makes it harder for one group to control everything. The alternative for the UK is, I fear, rule by Murdoch.

21st Apr 2004, 20:39
As an old citizen, I lost any kind of enthusiasm for any election, and I'm still voting for two reasons:

1 - It seems situation is often better in countries where people have the right to vote, so I don't want my country turn into such a place where people can only suffer in silence.

2 - As a consequence voting means "avoid the worst" (and not chose the best as many are still believing) and I will try to stick to this principle when I have to chose to answer "Yes" or "No" to this Europe Constitution.

For the moment I didn't make up my mind about this Constitution.
I guess it is not perfect....but maybe it's better to have it like it than wait to get another one which could be worse.....or maybe this text contains so bad paragraphs that it's better to wait for the next project....

(today it has not been announced if a vote will take place in France, but I think it will)

21st Apr 2004, 21:25
I had an interesting series of conversations at work today with a very well informed American colleague who is very anti-Bush and pro-European.

He was likening the current constitution debate with that of the US 200+ years ago. We eventually after much debate decided that it was not a particularly relevant analogy as the US was a union of new states which did not have an imperialistic past. In fact they did not have much past at all. At present there are people who are still alive who are only a generation or two separated from the height of the British Empire, The French colonies, German Military might etc...

I think too many people in the UK have the misguided notion that one day we will be a superpower once more in our own right without the help of the EU.

Many people lost family to agression from previous generations of our EU partners. For a lot of people in the country this is still in memory and will influence their decisions one way or the other.


21st Apr 2004, 21:50

I think that you and your friend are right to say that there are not really any serious parallels with the process of setting up the US Constitution.
That does not mean that comparisons are invalid between the two documents.

The people who were instrumental in setting up the EEC and before that the European Coal and Steel Community had been through the war.
They realised that the Maginot strategy had failed. The Marshall Plan's authors came to the same conclusion.
So, as well as being an economic response to the Soviet Union, an explicit objective of the ECSC / EEC was to contain Germany and was accepted by Germany as such.
Perhaps this has not been explained in Britain but Britain has certainly benefitted from peace in Western Europe, in the same way as it has contributed to its defence.
In the 21st century, it surely is not possible for British people to think that a policy of splendid isolation is the future?

21st Apr 2004, 22:02
My American Friend admired the form of executive proposed in the EU Draft Constitution. The Council of Europe in effect becomes the decisive level of the executive leaving the President as an accountable figurehead. The Council not being subject to the President's political and personal ambitions. He feels that the US suffers from a lack of strategic planning due to the power of the President.

Their are plenty of people in the UK who think Splendid Isolation is the way forward. There are others who would rather be aligned with the US than France.

I really haven't made up my mind on this one yet. My heart says 'No Way' but my head says it might be a good thing.

I am not anti-European, I married a Dutch Girl.


21st Apr 2004, 22:07
For those of the Anti-EU persuasion,

Upfront I will say I am undecided about the referendum as I have yet to see what question we will be asked.

As to the Constitution, do u really think that by not ratifying it in its entirety the Labour party will not simply bring it in one step at a time like their "stealth" taxes?

If any of you think that the government in Westminster is anymore or less accountable than one in Brussels is or would be in the future then I am afraid you are kidding yourselves.

UK industry is being crippled by the fact that the Labour government is placing greater burdens on it than its continental competitors. Want an example, take a look at who owns most of the UK's electricity supply and distribution business. It is the French and the Germans. Why? It is because the Labour Party ( and before them the Tories ) went hell for leather for an open market years before it was required by the EU. What did the French and the Germans do? They stuck to the agreed timetables and maintained their captive markets just long enough to acquire large war chests so they could by up all the squabbling UK companies who were fighting amongst themselves and did not see the real competition till it was too late.

As a nation we are too stupid to realise that the rest of the continent does not view us as we do. They see us as a target rich environment and we are too stupid to learn every single time. We need the EU now more than they need us since. You want to try posting on Pprune on a windup PC because the French and the Germans shut down our power supply? Trust me they could do it. The financial implications are almost worth it for them.



tony draper
21st Apr 2004, 22:38
Re the American Constitution, if I remember correctly it took a lot of years before all the States Ratified it, I am also led to believe that Texas still has a opt out and can leave the union anytime it wishes.
We are not European, we never have been Europeans, we never will be Europeans, on the whole as a people we have not the slightest interest in Europe, just look at any of our popular news or current affairs progs,or any television pog for that matter, mostly its what is going on in America, very rarely anything at all about European countries, that is a fact, squeal all you like about it, but that is a fact.
We always will have more in common with the USA than with Europe.

Wee Weasley Welshman
21st Apr 2004, 22:46
answer=42, you said:

1. The veto is lost on a fairly narrow range of issues as defined by the constitutional treaty. You're going to have to look them up, I'm afraid.

2. So, an elected dictatorship is acceptable for five years? And then what?

3. Yes, that's the point. The precise definition of subsidiarity is given in the paper ORAC links to in the Euro thread. In implementation, I think a qualified majority have to agree to hand back to national competence but I could be wrong

1. I asked for a simple reason why it was in the UK interest to sign. Telling me to look something up which I don't understand fails the question.

2. An elected dictatorship in the UK is called The Government and and then they are re-elected or thrown out. Thats a democracy, its worked for centuries and frankly most people are happy with that.

3. I don't understand the phrases and words you use. Please reduce to plain English.

I am one of the UKs people and the benefits so far outlined are not clear and certainly not uncontroversial. Perhaps I am being slow or confused in my reading of replies.

In response to your questions:

1. Do you think that the only way that British people can gain is if other people lose?
No I do not. I believe British people can gain at nobodies expense and to everyones benefit.

2. How would you answer the question 'what are the benefits of improved air traffic control to my airline?'

The benefits of improved air traffic control would be less cost and increased safety. But improved air traffic control is not in any sense linked to the UK signing of the EU constitution - is it?


I ask, once again, for someone to simply state in a manner I can understand - a couple of benefits to the UK in signing up to the UK constitution as presently mooted. No compelling case need be made - just one or maybe two (I've lowered the bar) reasons why its going to help the UK.

I really honestly want to know,



21st Apr 2004, 22:59
In appealing to global business, what's the advantage in a separatist view? (There are some, for sure... e.g. Switzerland.)

I work in 'internet' land. A single view of that for 25 countries is fantastic. 25 seperate state views is absolutely a pain to doing businees. It's 25 times worse than dealing with America (if we ignore the state variations, which exist, but are not a given x50).

What is the UK USP to go it alone?

Wee Weasley Welshman
21st Apr 2004, 23:02
How about we adopt the European standard plus abolish IR35? Would that help stimulate the UK IT industry compared to over the channel?



22nd Apr 2004, 00:25
The proposed EU constitution is something of a paradox:
A//-On one hand it seems hardly worthy of any notice as it doesn't bring any extension of the responsibility field of the EU institutions,contrarily to the Single European act treaty,and it is more a rule book than a real constitution (akin to that of a sport asociation,for instance.)
What it does is:
1/-simplify 80,000 pages of texts and regulations accumulated in the past half century,and clarify a few concepts:for example,proposed items will be "Framework laws" instead of the more bureaucrat-sounding "Directives".
2/-democratise:the European Parliament will have increased powers,it will elect the President of the European Commission;The decision making powers will go to the Council of ministers,with a Chairperson(:D ) appointed for 30 months instead of the rotation presidency happening every 6 months.
EU proposed legislation will be scrutinized by national parliaments and then be subjected to approval from BOTH the MEP's AND national governments.
3/- Change the voting system at the Council:Fields of national veto will be changed,qualified majority will be the general rule (latest proposal demands 55% of the members representing 65% of the EU population).Fields of subsidiarity are still being discussed...

B//-On the other hand,a vote against this constitution will be in effect a vote against EU membership.Quite a lot of the comments from the European countries emphasize that choice :
"A NO vote should have as a logical consequence Britain leaving the EU...For decades,London has been sitting on a hybrid position:legally in,mentally out.A referendum will make the british people decide whether they want the EU...Their vote will bring the necessary clarity..."
"A British No should signify farewell to the EU...we have to include an opt out clause in the Constitution so that a No vote will not block the other countries."(from the president of the EPP,European Peoples'party,who should know, as his group includes the Tory MEP's).

Now the real question:Can Britain afford to quit?
I have read and heard most of the reasons why as a nation you feel cheated (Franco-German take-over of British water and Electricity as an example)...The truth is :Some non-british companies bought most of the British industrial assets simply because they were for sale.Just that...It is too easy for you to forget the wholesale of the car industry to...er...Honda for instance."Target rich environment"?No,BHR,just selling to the highest and sometimes first bidder.
Like Eire and some other countries,the UK is offering to foreign companies the benefits of its EU membership along with the most liberal terms (for an employer,that is) of labour...
Now,leave the EU and the japanese car models produced in your country will lose their "Made in the EU"label...Do you think Mr Honda would like that?
Now,extend the same to your services providers:Banking,Insurance,Advertising....etc... companies.Will they be allowed to compete on a level term in Europe?

I can't give you an answer to these questions.I'm afraid as a sovereign nation you will have to decide.Your rulers have been quite successful in doing so for 938 years.Now it's up to Vulgum pecus Jack and Jane to do some serious soul and information searching.
Problem is :Do you trust your souls more than we do your sources of information?

Wee Weasley Welshman
22nd Apr 2004, 08:56
Lemurian - I asked for someone familiar with the issues to give me a couple of sound reasons why this country should sign that document.

To summarise your last post it seems that you think we should as it will help tidy up the adminstration of the EU, and, if we don't we will be thrown out of the EU with the result that Honda and Nissan will leave the UK.

That seems to me to be on the one hand a very weak reason and on the other hand a shotgun marriage or possibly blackmail.

Neither of which persuades me that I should or that we will vote Yes.

Throw us out if you like. It would suit a lot of us and, frankly, its an empty threat. If it takes 60m Brits to get this clattering train slowed down and parked in the sidings then - so be it.

Your inability to simply state a couple of reasons to sign in a couple of sentences elegantly encapsulates the problem.



<break break>

Bless Anatole Kaletsky in todays The Times. He makes the case better than any of us here probably ever will.

Most illuminating - definitely one of my favourite columnists of all time:


I feel quite chipper about the future having read that. Bring it on. :ok:



22nd Apr 2004, 09:34

I think you will find that several people here have given you reasons to sign. Just because they did not give you short, numbered sentences using words of only one syllalbe does not mean their points are less valid.

Your opinion on this subject is well known.

You have stated several times in your last three or four posts that you cannot understand what is being posted and you are not prepared to follow the links provided. So it seems that you are not actually interested in debate but simply want to create Sun headlines. Good luck to you.

The Sun will always have a readership in this country and I guess you are part of it.



Wee Weasley Welshman
22nd Apr 2004, 09:45
Now you see BHR - thats just childish.

I have two degrees, read The Times, The Granuaid and The Telegraph every day and am writing a book. I read widely and avidly whilst naturally abhorring the tabloid press.

If the pro-constitutionalists are unable to marshal their arguments into a couple of plain and simple sentences then it is perhaps likely that there is something wrong with their arguments.

That was the point I have been attempting to make.

With the implication therein that this is an issue that will prove enormously difficult to frame in a Yes/No referendum.



22nd Apr 2004, 09:48

OK, I will take your bait.

I challenge you to put forward 5 reasons why we should not sign.



p.s. I agree, it was childish. I apologise.

Wee Weasley Welshman
22nd Apr 2004, 10:02
I may as well use the prose of Mr Kaletsky:

1. A treaty originally presented as mere “tidying-up” has turned out to be a revolutionary exercise in social engineering, transforming traditional Anglo-Saxon notions of personal freedom, national sovereignty and limited government.

2. This treaty which was supposed to return powers to national governments, proposes to extend EU sovereignty into almost a dozen new policy areas, ranging from defence and criminal law to space exploration and sport. It does not suggest a single area of authority which would revert from Brussels to the nation states.

3. The main objective of the new constitution — to make EU institutions more “efficient” — goes directly against the desires of most British voters. Does anyone seriously believe that Europe’s problem today is its inability to enact enough regulations? If not, why should voters support a constitution designed to make it even easier for Europe to pass new laws?

4. The British vote will be decisive for the whole of Europe. The constitution is not an optional extra like the euro, which some EU countries can adopt, others such as Denmark and Sweden can reject, while others such as Britain simply ignore. This is a case of all for one and one for all. If Britain votes “no”, the entire constitution will fall.

5. By rejecting this they will have to come back with something more palatable and in the meantime there will be no horrid price to pay.



22nd Apr 2004, 10:18

Great cut and paste job.

Give me sometime to go find someone elses work to refute Kaletsky's.

I promise I will be back soon.



Wee Weasley Welshman
22nd Apr 2004, 10:27
Well I did say I was using someone elses prose...

Seems silly to re-invent the wheel that forms todays OpEd piece in The Times.



22nd Apr 2004, 11:43

To reply to your quotation:

How do you know any of this is true?

Lemurian gave a clear, concrete reason to sign the Constitution. There are plenty similar.

He answered your question in your terms.

And you accused him of blackmail.

Now that's plain dishonest.

Send Clowns
22nd Apr 2004, 12:01

I don't see the point in debate if you are going to ignore what I say and put words in my mouth. My comment previously on you putting words in my mouth was a direct quote from your own post. You implied that I had said corruption was the most important issue here. I had done no such thing.

22nd Apr 2004, 12:20
I am not in the mood to play games with you as my English isn't good enough.You'll have to forgive me for that.
It is very easy to summarize someone's post and take only the parts that suit your argument.Never said anything of that sort.I was jus pointing at the fact that ratifying the new constitution doesn't change anything in the treaties already agreed upon,it will just,through a set of new "frames" allow the union to keep on working as the mechanisms in place,which were designed fifty years ago for six are unworkable with 25 members.
I pointed at the paradox it now represents for your fellow countrymen-and women-:from a rather unimportant cleaning-up ops of the EU mechanisms,it has become a yes or no vote for Britains membership.
Point your finger at someone else,I'm not a blackmailer.You did it to yourselves.
I,for one,am a supporter of Britain's membership as all my posts indicate.I would also support gladly the creation on PPrune of a new forum dealing with European subjects outside JB's usual clientele.
Any takers?

See to-days FT columnist Quentin Pell\'s editorial :"Britain risks isolation in Europe".
unfortunately,I read it on the paper version,the url is through suscription.If you can\'t,I will copy it.

Ah! Rupert Murdoch,www!The times has long disappeared from my list of objective papers.

22nd Apr 2004, 12:37
Oh, change the record Clownsy. It's obvious from that last post that YOU did not read mine, so I'll say it again:

As it is the only one you are defending in your erudite fashion, I assumed you thought it was the strongest argument against.

I drew an inference from the content of your posts and your attitude. That is *not* putting words in your mouth so climb off your high horse.

Besides, the thread has moved on A LONG WAY since your irrelevant musings, so to persist on this thread purely to justify yourself without adding to the debate (which has now reached some form of relevance) is POINTLESS.

Argh! Now I'm doing it!

Wee Weasley Welshman
22nd Apr 2004, 12:48
Blackmail may be too strong a word. Nevertheless, its not a good reason for signing the Constitution - the threat that if we don't we are out of the EU and will loose all our free trade rights.

We appear to be in the position that you are saying we should:

1) Sign as it will make the EU easier to rule,

2) Sign else we'll be kicked out of the EU.

Neither of which, to my mind at least, are good simple reasons why we should sign up.

We're happy without it, thanks.

Or are there other simple reasons that I have failed to distil from previous postings?



Curious Pax
22nd Apr 2004, 13:02
Not sure what I'd vote yet - my instinct is towards 'yes', as my natural inclination is that whatever Rupert Murdoch, Conrad Black, Richard Desmond and the Daily Mail are against can't be all bad! Also, having seen the reality of some of the EU shock horror stories in the past 20 years, I don't believe much of what is written in the papers about Europe anyway. Too many of those stories are based on the proposal of an obscure MEP in the European Parliament that don't have a snowball in hell's chance of becoming law.

The classic example of this was the story about 15 years ago that the EU wanted us to rename all our motorways to fit in with the naming system in the rest of Europe. After I moved to Europe (I lived in The Netherlands for 5 years) it rapidly became apparent that each country actually had its own system of motorway names, with the the green 'E' number as a sort of appendage. Having since driven down many motorways across borders this seems like an excellent idea for navigation!

I've been looking without success as yet for a website that does a reasonably simple disection (sp?) of the proposed constitution to identify which clauses are just direct replacements for rules that are already in place in the existing Treaty of Rome and its offspring, and which are new rules. For the former replacing 5 treaties with a single document would seem like a good idea; what is in the latter should be what the discussion is all about.

I had a read of the brochure on the EU's own website, so (with a health warning about the non-independent source) it struck me as ironic that one of the things that is mentioned development of an EU-wide asylum policy, with strengthened external border controls. Given that many of the anti-EU contributors complain on other threads that we ought to adopt French attitudes to asylum seekers, I would have thought that would be good news!

As far as the UK referendum is concerned I can't see a 'yes' vote winning due to the combined reader numbers of the papers in favour of 'no'. Given that, I've not worked out what Tony Blair's real strategy is in having a referendum that it would seem unlikely that he will win. Brinkmanship with the EU to force some more changes through maybe?

The biggest problem with the proposed constitution is that it is trying to be all things to all men, which makes it inherently vague on the detail, and too easy to put cataclysmic interpretations on even apparently innocuous statements.

22nd Apr 2004, 13:54
To add fuel to the discussion,this is the Eurobarometer summary on Britain.
It makes in my opinion a very good reading on how this subject is perceived and therefore where we all stand.
The summary for every country can be read on the same website.
Here it is ;http://europa.eu.int/comm/public_opinion/archives/eb/eb60/exec_summ_uk.pdf
Good reading!

Curious pax,
I\'ve been looking without success as yet for a website that does a reasonably simple disection (sp?) of the proposed constitution to identify which clauses are just direct replacements for rules that are already in place in the existing Treaty of Rome and its offspring, and which are new rules
See this,giving pros and cons :http://politics.guardian.co.uk/eu/story/0,9061,1200403,00.html

22nd Apr 2004, 14:39
A link to the Guardian?Surely that's not biased!!!A paper for the masses, read by idiots and sponsored by job adverts that have exotic sounding job titles for people who, like sitting on their rears,with nothing better to do than make joe public's life harder,whilst providing a State paid index linked pension and benefits most people only dream about.
You might as well find a link to the Socialist worker.

22nd Apr 2004, 14:55
Sorry couldn't find one.
Neither could I find another informative link on other UK papers.So you're stuck to this one.At least it gives you straight the arguments for and against on the new constitution without any comment at all.Furthermore,it gives you the positions from the other EU countries.Guardian or not,that's the type of journalism I'm interested in.
Don't dismiss it as it is not a piece of partisan editorialship.
Please have a look on the othe hyper I give you...Seems the importance of newspapers opinion has been exagerated,and that gives me hope.(Lemurian,incurable optimist)

22nd Apr 2004, 14:55

The only reason why there is a possibility that the UK will be kicked out of the EU if it doesn't sign up for the new constitutional treaty is because much of the media and their spokespersons in Parliament keep on threatening to withdraw.

Arguably, a rational strategy for British people who support the EU but who would like a clearer constitution would be to vote for it but encourage the French etc. to vote against.


You've looked at the EU's official website (http://europa.eu.int/index_en.htm). Not exactly the greatest at communicating, is it?

I don't know that Tony Blair has a winning strategy for the referendum. The reason why the UK is holding it is that Murdoch sent one of his staff over Easter to tell Blair that the continued support of his papers for Labour is dependent on the referendum. Some independence, some democracy!

22nd Apr 2004, 14:56
"A paper for the masses" - what, as opposed to the Sun?

Here are some clauses I feel have not got enough attention:

1. The Union shall respect the national identities of its Member States, inherent in their
fundamental structures, political and constitutional, including for regional and local self
government. It shall respect their essential State functions, including for ensuring the
territorial integrity of the State, and for maintaining law and order and safeguarding internal

Under the principle of subsidiarity, in areas which do not fall within its exclusive competence
the Union shall act only if and insofar as the objectives of the intended action cannot be
sufficiently achieved by the Member States, either at central level or at regional and local
level, but can rather, by reason of the scale or effects of the proposed action, be better
achieved at Union level.....National Parliaments shall ensure compliance with that principle in accordance with the procedure set out in the Protocol

You do understand that this gives national MPs a block on extensions of central power?

These are the ONLY areas of policy where the EU has exclusive control:
The Union shall have exclusive competence to establish competition rules within the
internal market, and in the following areas:
– monetary policy, for the Member States which have adopted the euro,
– common commercial policy,
– customs union,
– the conservation of marine biological resources under the common fisheries policy.

Article I-17 (the flexibility clause) governs situations where the EU might need further competences. One point I think has been missed is that under section 3, not only must any such proposal be approved by European Parliament and by unanimous vote in the Council, but also by the national parliaments.

Under I-26, the President of the European Commission will be elected by the EP.

This is I-40(2):The policy of the Union in accordance with this Article shall not prejudice the specific
character of the security and defence policy of certain Member States and shall respect the
obligations of certain Member States, which see their common defence realised in the North
Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), under the North Atlantic Treaty, and be compatible
with the common security and defence policy established within that framework.

I-51 seems to wrap up the one about churches:1. The Union respects and does not prejudice the status under national law of churches and
religious associations or communities in the Member States.

Oh, and finally...
Article I-59: Voluntary withdrawal from the Union
1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the European Union in accordance with its
own constitutional requirements.
2. A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention;
the European Council shall examine that notification. In the light of the guidelines provided
by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that
State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its
future relationship with the Union. That agreement shall be concluded on behalf of the Union
by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European

22nd Apr 2004, 15:27
in the Union,we,French,are probably the ones most aware of the dangers of a referendum.
Most of the time,the voters have used it as a "motion de censure" for the government policy.Witness how close the Maastricht treaty was accepted ...the result of the vote in no way reflected the people's feeling on the Single Act...and I can cite plenty of other instances.
And this phenomenon is already showing in this thread.

your second quote,on the principle of subsidiarity can be illustrated by the EP move to fight the airline security agreement with the US as being incompatible with the EU regulations on privacy and civil liberties :If the French or the Germans or the British cannot fight it,then the Union system will.

22nd Apr 2004, 16:02
The Draft Constitution is not half as bad as the right wing newspapers would try to make out. But there is some very selective cut and pasting being done to prove each other's points.

The enforcing of a social policy is I still feel a bit of a worry.

"The Union may adopt initiatives to ensure coordination of Member States' social policies."

In the past there have been attempts by certain groups with vested interests to invoke the European human rights legislation to gain positions within organisations which do not agree with the group's interests. It would be a shame if a group of left wing socialist led countries can push through legislation that could increase such attempts under the guise of Social Policy.


22nd Apr 2004, 16:16
If you want an independent, multi-european, assessment of the draft, read An Appraisal of the Constitutional Treaty (http://www.vwl.uni-mannheim.de/vaubel/pdf-Dateien/ConsTreaty.pdf) by the European Constitutional Group. (http://www.european-constitutional-group.org/)

Their comment on the subject of subsidiarity is as follows. [The draft] "lacks an effective procedure for implementing subsidiarity. It leaves the ultimate interpretation of subsidiarity to the European Court of Justice, an institution which has no incentive to respect subsidiarity".

The ECJ is renowned for ignoring the wishes of nation states and enforcing their own interpretation. e.g. Gradual harmonisation of tax law by the European Court of Justice (http://www.legal500.com/devs/germany/cc/decc_001.htm)

Send Clowns
22nd Apr 2004, 16:35
How about this one for the British out there: the constitution binds us into the Charter of Fundamental Rights (Article 7). Toneeeeee promised that this would never be applied to the UK. His stooge said it had as much authority as "...the Beano". We'd better watch out for what Dennis the Menace is saying now, it seems likely to become law.

Look at that document (which forms Part II of the "constitution"). It is about as political as any bill of parliament, and should not be included in a constitution. It bans xenophobia, without defining what this is. Xenophobia is a "Hatred or fear of foreigners" (Pocket Oxford Dictionary) Therefore people are top be criminalised for their fears and feelings. That disgusts me as much as any expression of racial hatred.

Due to the above-mentioned clause The text of the Charter of Fundamental Rights is actually banned under its own articles. It also bans discrimination against anyone for their beliefs. Yet the ban on xenophobia is ... discrimination against someone for their beliefs :confused:

People here want to be taken seriously when supporting this farce of a constitution?????


Some of us can interpret a mixture of sources, including the left-wing Europhile BBC and the document itself, and come to our own conclusion. Of course the press that hates it is primarily right-wing: the document itself is socialist, so should not be described as a constitution, nor have the authority of one!

23rd Apr 2004, 12:08
A simple NO. It is quite clear that this is the primary stepping stone towards a federal structure of government, law and order etc.. being imposed on all current 25 member states, if it is successfully ratified. The parallels to the development of the U.S. constitution are strikingly evident and the Europe we need is that of an economic block not a poltical block, one DOES NOT have to lead to another.

23rd Apr 2004, 12:09
Its too late DD, this EU superstate will happen and there's nothing that Britain can do about it!

Its already gained critical mass and is now unstoppable, just enjoy the ride.

23rd Apr 2004, 13:28
I have a feeling this document is obsolete as quite a few of their concerns have been addressed.I'll research on these particular points and 'll come back to you.
Lost a wallet with all my cards and it's a bother (and the EU constitution won't help me on that!)

PS. I agree on your comment on tyhe ECJ,broadly.But it's also the last recourse of individuals defending themselves,quite efficiently I might add.

To all,
Thank you for all your contributions.This thread and the one on the Euro have been the most exciting I've found on this forum,for ages.

23rd Apr 2004, 13:39
"The document itself is socialist, so should not be described as a constitution nor have the authority of one"

Eh? Now, if that's not "discriminating against beliefs" then I don't know what is. BTW, do you mean that the constitution of a Communist state wasn't a constitution? What are you on about?

Send Clowns
23rd Apr 2004, 14:22
For those that think the EU is not excessively corrupt, then why do the EU anti-fraud office request that a judge have police arrest the journalist who exposes a cover up (Hans-Martin Tillack, Stern), rather than the officials involved in the fraud he exposed or those that tried to hide it? He has not been told what he has done wrong, just spent 10 hours in custody and had his offices searched twice, and computers and files removed. That shows not simple corruption of individuals but systematic, endemic corruption of the whole edifice. Why should our lives be ruled by a criminal conspiracy?

Where does my post discriminate against belief, steamchicken? You're reading things into what I say that aren't there, and I suspect completely misunderstanding the concept of a constitution. A constitution should be a framework for the operations of a political system. It should not enshrine a political doctrine. Why is that opinion discriminatory? Are you suggesting that a Communist constitution is a legitimate, correct, acceptible one?

You still haven't said why fears and beliefs should be outlawed, and a document illegal under its own terms should be the basis for a European constitution. You have not said why the Beano should become law, or alternatively why a government minister lied to us.

23rd Apr 2004, 15:15

“A constitution should be a framework for the operations of a political system. It should not enshrine a political doctrine. “

A constitution can be pretty much whatever it wants. If its writers agree it and those writers have such legal power as to enact it then it can be argued about but it is legal and has to be lived with. One could argue that the US Constitution is enshrining a political doctrine.

“Are you suggesting that a Communist constitution is a legitimate, correct, acceptable one?”

If it is legally enacted by those with the power to do so, then yes. We may disagree with it but that is the world we live in.

“Why should our lives be ruled by a criminal conspiracy?”

Some will argue that this has been the case since we started being ruled at all. One man’s criminal conspirac

As to the whole first paragraph I will have to read more on it before I can answer you properly however I would be surprised to learn that it is exactly as you have laid it out. I would think that an arrest in the EU has to be for a reason at least a flimsy one for the record (trumped up charges are a specialty in a corrupt police state).



Wee Weasley Welshman
23rd Apr 2004, 16:59
Oneworld22 - I would wager that this EU constitution will fail a UK referendum. The fact that is up for national vote will surely force the French, Spanish, Italians and Germans to joing the Danes and the Irish in allowing a referendum.

I can't imagine it will clear every one of those hurdles, therefore, its dead in the water in its present from.

They will either:

a) Fudge a climbdown, re-wording and watering it all down,

b) Allow it to stand get voted down and have a massive brake applied to the whole federalisation nightmare.

Both suit me.



23rd Apr 2004, 17:01
Why does it suit you though? What are you scared of?

23rd Apr 2004, 17:07
Why does it suit you though? What are you scared of?

I should not think he is scared. Perhaps more along the lines of "it's about time that, what we voted yes for those long years ago (a common market), does not bear the slightest resemblance to the EU State which has been foisted on us unrelentingly since. We are now about to be given an opportunity to voice our concerns and some people like WWW will say that they are not yet ready or do not favour any further relinquishing of power to the EU.


23rd Apr 2004, 17:16
But your elected parliament has ratified European treaties the past number of decades. You can't lay the blame at Brussels for any policies that you don't like, your law states that its good enough for your palrliament to ratify these treaties so blame your own politicians if they're leading you down a path you don't want to go.

23rd Apr 2004, 17:20
blame your own politicians if they're leading you down a path you don't want to go.

Oh don't worry about that. We do blame our politicians.
I am constantly amazed at the people who think that a general election is the time to address each and every one of the major issues that face this country.

When voting in a general election the UK's relationship with Europe is only on of many things which are influencing your voting. It is primarily the case that the things that you really want out of a government are mutually exclusive within any one party so it is a compromise of your political beliefs.


23rd Apr 2004, 17:26
But DeepC obviously the roar against Europe is not very loud if your politicians are ignoring it. The fact is Labour would be much more of a pro-Europe party then the Tories and yet they keep getting in with sizeable majorities why is that?

How have the really anti-EU parties done come election time? Not very well.....

The fact is despite all this childish and hysterical rantings over things like "the Metric Martyr" (what a fuss about nothing!) and issues over sausages and chocolate, the UK is still very much a part of Europe and I don't see huge country wide protests demanding Briains leaves do you?

23rd Apr 2004, 17:33
Did you see my post on the sad+miserable thread regarding Apathy. Apathy is a disease in this country at the moment and I doubt if you would get much reaction if the government decided it was going to align itself with North Korea.

How have the really anti-EU parties done come election time? Not very well.....

Maybe because they are often composed of political rejects and they are very much a one issue party. As I have said in my previous post the General Election is not the time (unless it is getting very serious) when these things are to be voted on.

We may be part of Europe but that is a far cry from being overruled from Europe.


23rd Apr 2004, 17:39
But I've seen people motivated enough to take to the streets over the war in Iraq, pro-hunting, anti-hunting, the price of fuel....

I've never heard of people being so anti-EU that they take to the streets demanding that the politicians stop now and call a halt to proceedings.

23rd Apr 2004, 17:50
A quote from the FT editorial I was referring to yesterday :
"One myth in London is that (the referendum) will not matter anyway,because other EU countries will reject the constitution first.That is based on wishful thinking,not good intelligence.The only countries already committed to referendums are Denmark,Ireland and Luxembourg.Spain,Portugal,Belgium and the Netherlands may have such votes,but have not decided yet.
Of those,the only one where the question is in much doubt is Denmark,a traditional sceptic on anything that smacks of a constitution in the EU.The Netherlands has never had a referendum before,and there is more anti-EU feelings because of the country's big budget contribution to Brussels.But few think it is enough to vote No to a constitution.
That leaves France,where President Chirac has done a u-turn in the opposite direction to Mr Blair:he had said a referendum would be desirable,but now seems to have changed his mind.He is unlikely to call one if he does not think he can win it.Anyway,the EU constitution is popular in France(not least because it was much influenced by Giscard d'Estaing,who chaired the drafting convention),and the likelihood is that the French will vote Yes in the end.
It is thus more likely than not that the rest of the EU will vote Yes in their parliaments and referendums,if they hold them.According to Eurobarometer,the opinion poll,62% of the EU population wants a constitution,agains 10% that does not.So britain could well be alone if it votes No.....
It may be too much to hope that the British will ever become enthusiastic Europeans.Perhaps only if they vote No and block the constitution will they be forced to contemplate total isolation,and think again.The trouble is,the rest of the union may not be ready to give them that chance."

And for God's sake,people,instead of arguing on perceived feelings,have a read on the Eurobarometer summary on what people think in the UK.It was enlightening for me,could be for you too.

Wee Weasley Welshman
23rd Apr 2004, 18:18
Characterizing people as being 'scared' suggests a paucity of sound argument for something.

I'm no more scared by the EU than by a spider.

I do believe it is the UK's economic, social and military interests to let the role of the EU go no further than it does at present.

Thats all,



23rd Apr 2004, 18:33
Characterizing people as being 'scared' suggests a paucity of sound argument for something.

Eh, I don't think so.......try again......

Wee Weasley Welshman
23rd Apr 2004, 22:10
GollyGreen - you asked me 'what are you scared of'?

I will try again to assert that I am not scared of the EU. I think it is a grand idea which at this present moment has slightly over reached itself.

The upcoming rejection of the proposed constitution via a UK referendum will provide a welcome line in the sand for millions of Europeans.



23rd Apr 2004, 22:51
On a funny note,www could be read as OUI OUI OUI!!!
On a more serious one,
The upcoming rejection of the proposed constitution via a UK referendum will provide a welcome line in the sand for millions of Europeans.
Isn't that an apt description of a very weak defense against the tide of an EU structural reform?
And please read your latest post again,an infortunate typing error made a golly of a giant.

24th Apr 2004, 09:45
Theres a good few Welshmen and Scotsmen for that matter who would very much be pushing for a increasingly united EU WWW. They would see their future as being an independant state within the EU.

What would you say to their calls for any referendum to be internal i.e. seperate referenda for Wales, England and Scotland?

Wee Weasley Welshman
24th Apr 2004, 14:46
I think you'll find that public support for the both the Scottish parliament and Welsh Assembly runs at about 30%. Bin both I say and take satisfaction from having disposed of nearly 1,000 politicians.

If Wales or Scotland wished to exist as a seperate entity in the EU then good luck to them - let them go with all haste. England is where all the money and all the resources are. Without Wales, Scotland or N Ireland dragging back the English they would be as rich as the Swiss.

Still, its nice to have somewhere to go hillwalking.



24th Apr 2004, 15:33
It never ceases to amaze me in debates of this nature - online and elsewhere - that those who thump the tub loudest about our independence as a nation in relation to the EU are almost without fail happy to see our foreign, military, and diplomatic policy subjugated to the interests of the USA. Some advocate joining NAFTA, others even suggest that this country should become a State Of The Union.

Just in case any of you true-Blue patriots need to be reminded of the fact, the USA is also a foreign country.

Before the Right Wing Echo Chamber gets on my case, I'm not particularly pro-EU (too expensive, too much corruption) nor am I anti-USA. That Bush fellow and his dodgy cabal are a different matter, though - talk about being ruled by a criminal conspiracy!

24th Apr 2004, 16:45
Greetings from this side of the Atlantic - but I am starting to miss Florida.

Caslance, I wouldn't say Britain is subjugated to the US. There has been a long history of cooperation between the US and England from the 1800's and the Monroe Doctrine (basically enforced by the British Fleet) to the events of today. Our leaders have certainly worked together: Churchill and FDR, Thatcher and Reagan, Blair and Clinton/Bush.

The US may be a foreign country but, like Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, we were once your colonies and still have much in common: from the language to the legal system. Britain will eventually have to make a choice and I am curious to see where she goes: with her neighbors in Europe or her family in North America.

24th Apr 2004, 17:40
Caslance, I wouldn't say Britain is subjugated to the US.Ah, but I didn't say that Britain was subjugated to the USA, did I 46Driver?

What I said was that some people are "happy to see our foreign, military, and diplomatic policy subjugated to the interests of the USA" and that this is sharply in contrast with their robust defence of this nation's independence whenever the magic phrase "EU" is uttered.

We do indeed have much in common. However, your system of government has far more in common with that of France than with ours and I fear that you understate the French, Italian, Irish, Spanish and even German influences on US culture and society.

I'm afraid that your "neighbours" vs "family" analogy is a gross over-simplification of the two complex relationships that we have with the US and with the rest of Europe.

24th Apr 2004, 17:51
That's very true Cas, theres no such thing as a pure "French" people or "English" people. Theres been such intermingling down through the centuries, that somewhere like England has a population made up of so many different mixes.

Wee Weasley Welshman
24th Apr 2004, 17:52
We need no alliance with anyone. Free trade and the current level of cross state harmonisation is fine - good for all.

Do we need to go further? Not in my view.

60 million people happily trading with the entire world, managing their own affairs via their own parliament under their own Monarch. Lovely.



24th Apr 2004, 20:30
As far as I'm concerned, no central european government can ever do any better than compromise as far as regulations are concerned. European regulation may be proffered for the good of the majority of member nations but in UK we are an island, not another piece of european land with a nominal boundary. In any event, the European government is nothing more than a huge gravy train of unelected professional rule makers swallowing up vast amounts of our hard-earned taxes that would be better spent elsewhere. All that comes out of Brussels is ever more restrictive legislation restricting the rights of and reducing quality of life of, the average working man dutifully paying his taxes.

We have traditionally been dependent on the seas that surround us, on our farming and on our technology and manufacturing industries.

For the last 40 years or so in UK, factory after factory, even industry after industry, have closed down, often after being taken over by large European conglomerates which do so in order to exploit our technology base whilst getting rid of the manufacturing competition we once fielded. Those in work are hence penalised by ever increasing taxes, in order to maintain our benefit state. Those on the dole are forced to swallow their pride to accept handouts, this gnaws at our society, especially as all other european countries are very happy to send more benefit seekers our way. Successive governments have all seemed powerless to prevent this.

Since the 1960s, huge numbers of small UK farms have been forced to sell up or close down, at great cost to the well-being of our countryside. Large numbers of bird, insect and amphibian species are now endangered due to the destruction of our hedgerows, copses and ponds, all in the name of greater yields. Bigger fields, bigger machines and fewer people are needed in an attempt to stay profitable within europe. Thousands upon thousand of people, a generation, have literally been forced off the land. We now often have the ludicrous situation where prices paid to farmers for their products are below the cost of growing them and in some cases below prices of five years ago. When manual labour is needed farmers are obliged to rely on illegal gangs of workers from abroad as our own unemployed won't work on the land (for which they would receive less benefits) - and who can blame them? The quality and taste (and safety, in many cases) of our food has deteriorated. No wonder that farmers' markets are making a big comeback here. Common sense needed, not common market?

The fine fishing fleet we had 30 years ago is gone, probably for ever. Our fishermen have been made to stay in port to appease others within europe whilst other nations have been allowed to fish our waters instead.

We seem to be rapidly approaching the stage where the UK is nothing more than a distribution and service centre for products made by other nations. Even the government seem to acknowledge that we are now a nation that relies strongly on providing services to other nations. How this can be put forward as a good thing is beyond me. The recent .com boom and bust of internet based companies was a big warning which hasn't been heeded. You cannot rely on something that has no material backup and to do so is foolish.

Our public services can be described as approaching third world in many respects. NHS, public transport, railways, roads. Quality of life? Crime rates? Seems to me our once proud nation is spiralling rapidly downhill and quite possibly, broke.

Is it a coincidence that this began when we entered the EEC? I think not. We already have a marriage that given us a nagging wife, and more than our fair share of responsibilities. We need a quickie divorce, rather than moving in with the mother-in-law.

Phew! Well that's today's tiny little whinge over with :rolleyes:

I guess that's a NO vote from me too, then :(

24th Apr 2004, 21:08

I bet it felt good to get that off your chest!

Whilst my heart agrees entirely with your sentiments, my head would suggest that that it is not entirely attributable to the EU membership.

What I would say is this. Every western economy is going to feel the pinch as the sleeping giants which are India and China come online. Service jobs are for the large part not geographically anchored and are easy to 'offshore'. With our economy so biased towards the Service sectors I think we will suffer more than some.

Once Taiwan and others emerged as manufacturing countries in 60's and 70's we would never be able to compete. To compete again we would have to give up any idea of a welfare state system and workers in menial jobs would have to take a pay cut which would make the minimum hourly wage look like a days pay.

Without massive natural resources I have no idea where this country can position itself to over come the problem. The route we are taking at the moment is to become more capitalist and hope to compete in the service/finance sectors with the world. The other way of doing it is to ringfence jobs for UK residents and protect our economy that way. Trouble is that would mean increased taxes to pay for people who have got used to a comfortable living working in our traditionally lower paid jobs which we now employ immigrants to do.

No easy answers I'm afraid. At the moment I think I would try and strive to keep the pound and set up London as a world financial centre. Low business taxes etc to encourage foreign investment in those centres. Farming will not be massively profitable anytime in the near future (except in the case of a worldwide catastrophe which closes foreign trade). Manufacturing suffers the same.

Just some thoughts......


24th Apr 2004, 21:16

I concur, in the main. However, I will still vote NO! :ok:

24th Apr 2004, 23:00
DeepC, Its not as simple as that. The trick is for developed countries to start adding to their value chain. While countries like India, China and co might be able to do things far cheaper than we do now, it does not necessarily follow that their productivity is greater.

As labour and capital costs in Ireland have risen for example, the country has moved from low cost to superior productivity. The country is also strengthening its inovative capacity and taking a lead in knowledge management.

This country must now make the switch to an inovation economy. Its complex, but well within reach providing the government takes an active role in supporting it.

Whether the UK is the same I don't know, but it would have similarities and also key differences. But one thing is clear, the UK must retain superior productivity and look to build a strategic advantage to offset any challenge from the low cost countries. Theres no point living in the past and going on about how Britians manufacturing used to be great and how all the ships and trains in the world were British built etc. those times are gone, its now about trying to build a new competitive advantage. The UK still has many advantages like quality of the education system, strength in financial services etc.

25th Apr 2004, 22:12
This thread has reached a level at which any contribution from my part would be downright intrusion in someone's affairs.
So it's up to jack and jane to decide.
I just hope leading to this referendum will provoke a long needed debate on the EU in your country,so that people really understand what is at stake.
I also hope that in case the No wins,it will lead to another referendum on Britain's EU membership,so that we,on the continent understand your position.
What makes us wonder about the British public opinion,their distrust of anything coined "EU" is that the main proponents of a UK disengagement are very powerful unelected foreign media tycoons.
Doesnt that tell a lot about whose interests are involved here?

26th Apr 2004, 08:48

“We need no alliance with anyone. Free trade and the current level of cross state harmonisation is fine - good for all.”

If you think this is going to be good for the UK then you have a rude shock coming. The examples of foreign countries using the so-called “free trade” card to knife the UK in the back, are depressingly common. From the EU to the US, from Japan to the Middle East, invariably when we play by the rules as they currently are, we get hammered.

”Do we need to go further? Not in my view.”

I am not saying that further EU integration is a sure fired panacea to all that ails the UK economy but by tying ourselves more closely to Europe it becomes in their interest to keep us healthy.

”60 million people happily trading with the entire world, managing their own affairs via their own parliament under their own Monarch. Lovely.”

It sounds like you want us to go back 100 years to a rosier time. Unfortunately this is the year 2004 not 1904 and we have to play the hand we have been dealt. “Trading with the entire world” is a fine notion but what do we have to offer? Minimal manufturing, inability to feed ourselves, even the vaunted service industry sector is moving abroad in the form of call centre jobs being exported to Commonwealth countries.

Isolationism is inherently stupid in the current climate.



Wee Weasley Welshman
26th Apr 2004, 11:14
What is isolationist about 60 million people happily trading with the entire world?

As to what we have to offer. Well, it depends if you view the glass as half full or half empty I guess. I'm defintely one of the half full brigade:

* high levels of literacy and numeracy
* lowish regulation of business and employment
* excellent industrial relations
* reasonable physical environment
* excellent IT infrastructure
* world class research and university facilities
* English speaking
* stable democracy with low corruption and crime
* historically open to internation trade and investment

I personally don't give a toss that we don't make ships or cars anymore. Good. We'd never compete over the next generation anyway and I think you'll find the only significant new factories that BMW, Chrysler-Benz, Audi or Porsche have opened in the last few years are outside of Germany.

Whereas many of the engineers and designers, finaciers and marketeers who manage those build and sales programmes are British or UK based.

As for your assertion that we need to sign up further so that it becomes in their interest to keep us healthy. Sorry but the last people I want to see 'helping' our economy is Wim Duisenberg and the ECB! Ken Clark followed by Gordon Brown have done a very nice job thanks.

If you hadn't noticed we escaped recession in this country and are currently riding a solid little boom. There are no unemployed people and generally everybody is very happy with their lot apart from about 500,000 first time house buyers.

Good luck reforming your public sector, funding your pensions and slimming down your welfare state. We'll watch with detached interest from this side of the channel thanks.



ps Do keep making us those excellent cars and selling us those wonderful Chateuxs though. :E

26th Apr 2004, 11:24
As I understand it the constitution will give the EU "legal identity" which will mean that if the EU sign any deal the whole of the EU is then commited to that deal, regardless of National interests.
I do not want my country to be run by non British nationals under any circumstances which is what I believe will be the eventual out come of further European Integration.

I shall vote against any form of futher integration and campaign to that effect too.

Apologies if these points have been made before.

26th Apr 2004, 13:19

“high levels of literacy and numeracy”

This is something that you would find hard to prove simply by taking the UK born membership of Pprune as your survey group. J

“lowish regulation of business and employment”

Could you perhaps quantify this statement as most industries are currently complaining about the current levels of red tape with the prospect of more.

“excellent industrial relations”

Yet again another subjective statement with not figures to back it up.

“reasonable physical environment”
Please explain how we can trade on this? I will give you an example of our not being more closely tied to the EU cost us. The making of Braveheart took place in Ireland instead of Scotland due to the Irish government giving better incentives. This they could do because of the subsidies the EU provided to the Irish.

“excellent IT infrastructure”

I do not have the exact figures but IIRC we have the lowest take up of broadband of any country in Northern Europe.

“world class research and university facilities”

Again could you please provide your facts on this subjective claim. I do not think many in industry or education would agree with you.

“English speaking”

And this is important why? Try travelling abroad and you will find that most people over the age of 10 in Europe have an understanding of English better than that of the similar aged Briton.

“stable democracy with low corruption and crime”

Some may say that we do not live in a democracy but in fact a constitutional monarchy but I am not that sarcastic. J Furthermore a democracy invokes images of choice, which no longer exists in the UK since the two main parties are indistinguishable. As for corruption I think you have done your little hobby horse to death on this one so it needs no further discussion. IIRC crime rates are on the rise.

“historically open to international trade and investment”

As a Welshman I would have thought that you would have not brought this up after the LG and Samsung incidents. Remember also the Chungwa Picture Tubes factory in Scotland.

“As for your assertion that we need to sign up further so that it becomes in their interest to keep us healthy. Sorry but the last people I want to see 'helping' our economy is Wim Duisenberg and the ECB! Ken Clark followed by Gordon Brown have done a very nice job thanks.”

Any reason you do not want a non-UK resident involved in our economy beyond the fact that they are foreign? Remember the Marshall Plan? We had a bit of help from outside then.

“There are no unemployed people”

What none at all? This is news to me. We must be saving a fortune on being able to shut down the DSS since it is/was the government department with the largest budget. To add to this the fact that there are no people claiming unemployment benefit means we do not need Herr Blunkett’s ID cards to stop benefit cheats, another saving identified.

“We'll watch with detached interest from this side of the channel thanks.”

Which channel are you referring to? I infer from your name you hail originally from that part of England that has road signs with all the excess consonants from “Countdown”. You say you now live in Cheltenham. I live in Scotland. I therefore take it you are referring to the Manchester-Liverpool canal and just misspelled.



Wee Weasley Welshman
26th Apr 2004, 14:08
BHR - I think you see the glass as half empty my friend. :(

Perhaps you could point to me a major EU country with a better economic climate and prospects than the UK? One with a more cohesive character on the international stage, more confident, better governed?

Who is it in the EU that we should be aiming to emulate? Which nation should we most aspire to be like? Where do we come in the pecking order and which countries are above us?

You can sit here naval gazing about this country going to the dogs if you like.

But Blighty ain't quite knackered yet. Its the rest of the EU that should be taking lessons from us and asking us for economic advice. Invitations to join their currency and their club further should and will be politely declined.

Its only a country the size and clout of Britain that CAN stand up to the German/French alliance. I'm sure a great many EU countries are Very Please Indeed that we have done so and announced a referendum that cannot be won. Thus scuppering the draft constitution.

Valere Destang (don't care how its spelt) can shove his treaty. If the French, Germans and Belgians want to form some super state then fine. Most countries around the physical edge of the EU don't want that or are apathetic.

They central federalists thought they could bully each country into line using the weight of the Franco/German axis and were delighted when Spain fell to the Socialsts thus collapsing an Anglo/Spanish axis.

Well too bad matey. The UK will put it to the people, the people will say no, and then its Call My Bluff time. They can't possibly 'throw us out' and any attempt to do so would collapse the whole eddifice.

Now they are going to be stuck with a 25 member EU with the likes of Poland in it who are quite keen on Amercia and their values. The Franco/German alliance will not be allowed more power and control in the form of the proposed constitution so in effect they've lost and we've won.

Europe as a group of nations working together where it suits them. Not a federal state and not even pretending to be.

Tony Blair and the political machinery of Whitehall have gone up enormously in my estimation following the referendum move. I wonder how long they had been planning it?



26th Apr 2004, 15:30

"Perhaps you could point to me a major EU country with a better economic climate and prospects than the UK? One with a more cohesive character on the international stage, more confident, better governed?

Who is it in the EU that we should be aiming to emulate? Which nation should we most aspire to be like? Where do we come in the pecking order and which countries are above us?"

In a word, Sweden.



26th Apr 2004, 15:31
When I was about 12 years old I remember seeing a news clip of Margaret Thatcher stood at the dispatch box in the House of Commons during a debate on europe. She bellowed "NO NO NO". I will never forget it, because she was right all along, but people wouldn't listen....

My vote will be NO.

I am British and want to stay that way. Time to put the "Great" back in Britain, and we can start by saying NO NO NO to this constitution.

26th Apr 2004, 15:38
Sweden has a high tax economy.

The following taxes are levied on earned income:

local tax at a rate of 26-35 percent (depending on the municipality),
national income tax of 20 percent on annual taxable earnings of between SEK 252,000 and 390,400 and 25 percent for income above SEK 390,400 (year 2001).

Pasted from http://www.sweden.se

Lowest Level Taxation of 46%

I doubt that any UK government proposing that kind of taxation would last much longer than 4 years.



Just looking at the figures above. Can anyone from Sweden or who knows about their taxation explain the figures. Can you earn up to SEK252,000 (£18000) without paying tax?. If that is the case then it is a built in welfare state system which I admire.

Wee Weasley Welshman
26th Apr 2004, 16:26
Democratic Swedish designers built a plane for poor people who can't afford normal airfares. The technical secret of this plane was that it had no floor - the passengers simply had to hang from straps attached to the ceiling.

One day this plane was flying over the Alps and began losing height. The Captain came over the tannoy:

"One of you will have to let go and since there are 50 Swedes on board and 51 Norwegians, one of the Norwegians must let go."

All the Swedes clapped !


They have practically the same GDP spending parity as us (Sweden $26,723, UK $26,518) but you have to pay an eye watering amout in tax:

We have, three bands of personal income tax set at 10%, 22% and 40%. The standard rate of value-added tax, from which a number of everyday goods are exempt, stands at 17.5%.

They have top rate of 60%. Capital gains tax is levied at a general rate of 30%. Value-added tax (VAT) applies to the sale of all goods and most services. The basic rate is 25%.

No no no.

You seem to be taking the position that we should join more fully into the EU and adopt the Euro so that we can become just like Sweden.

<look of dumbfounded incredulity>

Surely shome mishtake?


26th Apr 2004, 18:04
I think you'll find WWW that Irelands GDP per capita is quite a bit ahead of the UK's now with better prospects and will probably move further ahead.

Good tax regime here for corporations and excellent Business-Government relations (no jokes about corruption please!!) ensures that all those lovely US giants keep coming here and giving us all this FDI. And Irish financial services keeps growing and the Irish have overtaken the Saudis in recent years in making real estate investments in the UK. Look at the 4 top London hotels for example.

Wee Weasley Welshman
26th Apr 2004, 20:35
Absolutely. Definitely the way to go, drop the taxes, cut the red tape and let the economy fly.



27th Apr 2004, 08:38

Do you believe in the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus as well?



Flip Flop Flyer
27th Apr 2004, 09:06
All the Nordic countries, Sweden included, are basically socialist welfare states. While it may not be to your particular liking, the Nordic Welfare model does seem to have proved it's durability. Yes, the taxes are high. No, businesses can't just go and do their own thing. Yes, pretty much everything is regulated except your personal freedom.

The downside, some say, is that high tax and a high-level welfare model kills all entrepreneurship and doesn't give people an incentive to work. That is both right and wrong. For the alleged lack of entrepreneurship I give you IKEA, Nokia, Ericsson, Maersk Sealand, Bang & Olufson, Kvaerner, Volvo and SAAB. Is it more difficult setting up a business in the Nordic than, say the US or UK? Yes, definately so. Get more than just a handful of employees and there'll be all kinds of regulations to comply with. This is a function of the socialist train of thought, that the government is there for the sake of the people, not for the sake of business. However, from there and to saying that the Nordic model is deadly to business is very far from the trouth.

As for unemployment benefits. Indeed, you can make a living on the dole in the Nordics, probably the best in the world. However, the dole will never buy you a nice house, or a nice car, or give you enough income to take your family on bi-annual vacations to sunspots. What it does do is hang out a safetynet, a basically no Swede, Dane, Norwegian or Finn will ever fall below a certain financial level unless they themselves want to (by doing drugs for instance). There is no poverty. On the other hand, you will rarely find extremely rich people showing off their wealth in the Nordics either, although there are obviously a large number of very, very rich people there. One could say that the difference between the Nordics and, say the US, is that you have an enourmous difference between extremely rich and extremely poor in the US, and a rather narrow gap in the Nordics between very well off and not so well off.

The education system in the Nordics, where we don't send our kids off to school until they are 6 or 7, has proved to be among the best in the world. Indeed, Finland recently took first place in surveys for 8 - 10 graders on literacy, match and science. DK, NO and SE not far behind.

The economies in the Nordics have, like the UK, mainly avoided the recession. Unemployment is low.

So there is indeed an alternative to ultra-capitalism. The cost is, that you'll all have to share the burden of keeping the society going. That means some people will contribute more than others, but all will contribute quite a lot. The benefits are the wellfare model; free schools and universities; free medical care of very high standard; highly developed, and generally free social services.

I know which model I prefer. I also appreciate that it is a model which you will probably have to have ingrained over a couple of generations to appreciate, and then there's the case of horses for courses and all that.

So what's the general Nordic bearing on the EU then? Well, there is none. Norway has, on the strenght of their North Sea oil, elected to stay out. They are, however, an EFTA member and therefore have to comply with a multitude of EU regulations, when exporting to EU countries which they do a lot, but without having any influence what so ever on the making of EU regulations. But Norway is filthy rich; possibly the riches country in the World (and the most socialist in the Nordics btw).

Denmark is, generally, pro-EU but Danes are notriously anti-authoritarian. So when all politicians, newspapers, opinion-formes etc. tells us to vote "Yes", we'll automatically think something's fishy and vote "No". Then they, as in the politicians, will go back and re-do their proposals and put it to the vote again. Then we'll usually vote "Yes". The "No" vote to the Euro was more a sentimental vote than anything else, and polls have it that given the choice again, Denmark would vote "Yes".

Sweden is ever the correct and well-mannerd member of the club. Commonly referred to as the Germans of the Nordics, for their dedication and throughness, they will generally be good citizens and as the government tells them, but will from time to time sport a rebellious trait and say "No". Then the politicians will do as in Denmark.

Finland, having suffered many years in the shadow of the USSR, are happily embracing all that's EU. For them, it's one hell of a sweet deal. I don't even think the Finnish government will put the constitution to the vote, as the result is already given. The EU approval rating in Finland as right at the top of the board.

tony draper
27th Apr 2004, 09:19
Always thought the Scandanavian countries the most civilised in the world, doesn't the high standard of living and how well they have done have something to do with their small populations?
The UK has about 30,000,000 to many mouths to feed and hands reaching out in my opinion, theres simply not enough of the cake to go round, and there never will be again.

27th Apr 2004, 15:11

So what do we do then?

Do we retreat into ourselves like WWW would like to do or do we embrace something greater than ourselves?



27th Apr 2004, 15:46
Just what are the points of all the GB ultra-Nationalists in this discussion? Unless I am mistaken:

They still drive on the right (left) side of the road.
Heinz baked beans still come in 1lb tins (even if they're labelled 415g.)
Appliances in the UK are still sold with those huge 3 pin plugs.

So if you agree that they are merely being pedantic and you are still open to persuasion...

Consider that we are several hundred thousands in France, presumably at least double that number in the whole of Europe, who would be extremely inconvenienced by any "NO" vote, especially if it were to result in the UK leaving the EU tomorrow. And I guarantee you that should we be forced back to live in good 'ole Blighty, we will make your lives so unbeareable that you will want to emigrate to a faraway land. One where being British is neither here nor there. And one where you will have no say in the matter. All clear?! :} :uhoh:

Wee Weasley Welshman
27th Apr 2004, 16:20
Nobodies retreating anywhere or being ultranationalist.

One is simply saying that there is no desire on the part of the British electorate to sign an EU consitution that gives more power to Brussels.

Thats all.

This referendum is putting broad smiles on a great many French and German faces as well as British. Support for further Federalising of Europe is hardly rampant anywhere other than within a 25 mile zone centred on Brussels.



27th Apr 2004, 16:42

I assume you were being somewhat tongue-in-cheek with your post or you are just fishing.

If by ultra-nationalist you mean that I'm proud of my country and have yet to be convinced of the benefits of further integration then count me in.

Bear in mind all the Brits living in countries outside the EU and your worries will be put in perspective. I don't think that there is going to be a massive backlash against the UK if we vote No.

Keep smiling.


27th Apr 2004, 16:48
One attempts to speak on behalf of thousands, another does the same for the whole British electorate. := Support for or against is hardly rampant outside of the UK press. Obviously, this dilemma is determined by how widely one is read. If you're only concerned with those dissenting within a 25 mile radius of Brussels, a 1 megaton device should suffice. If you can't simply explain how voting for would change the lives of the ordinary people residing at 111 St. Pancras, Chichester for the worse , then please don't give up your day job! :yuk:

DeepC, does that mean we will all have a "right of return"?! ;)

27th Apr 2004, 17:20
To explain my thinking.....

We have discussed Sweden as being a modern socialist economy to aspire to. I would put it to you that the economy that Sweden has is only realistically possible in a developed country with a small (<10 million) population. To quote FFF from further up the page....

Is it more difficult setting up a business in the Nordic than, say the US or UK? Yes, definately so.

OK. Sweden is ok because it has around 10 very succesful big companies. Those companies are paying a lot of tax. Their employees are paying a lot of tax. It is a much more ringfenced economy than the UK. We have discussed that the UK's future lies in trading with the rest of the world offering value added services.

Now try and explain how we can get an economy like Sweden's economy in a Europe which is composed of 3 or 4 powerhouse economies and many many smaller economies. There is no chance that we can (without massive taxation increases in the 3 or 4 powerhouse economies) provide the cushion for the poorer countries that is the benefit of the Swedish model. The UK, Germany and France are struggling to provide the welfare state systems that they have.

What now is the benefit of the EU Constitution. Looking at the above, we have no hope of gaining the rewards that Sweden has. So we are then commited to a more capitalist economy as a half cocked socialist economy is doomed to failure.

Looking at the US, their economy is strong yet the median earnings are still low (C£23,000). The rich are very rich and the poor are very poor. I do not particularly admire that model either.

As I have said there are no easy answers and signing up for a socialist constitution at this time with very very little possibility of the benefits seems to me not to be in the best interests of the UK.


27th Apr 2004, 19:38
signing up for a socialist constitution at this time

You scaremongering DeepC?

How will it be a Socialist constitution? Will all enterprises be re-nationalised? Under EU Control? Will there be no more free enterprise allowed? Member states will still be able to direct their own tax affairs, there will be no diktats regarding social welfare etc...

Please explain? I'm no Socialist, I would be described as right wing in my economic views and I see no danger in an EU wide constitution.

Flip Flop Flyer
28th Apr 2004, 08:25
I'm afraid your assumptions have led you somewhat astray. Indeed, both the Swedish and Danish economy are dominated by a few very big industries. However, the vast majority of Swedes and Danes are still employed by small and medium sized (up to 500 employees) businesses. So it is not a function of a few very large businesses footing the bill, but rather the sum of a very large number of smaller businesses and their employees tax contributions.

Is the Scandinavian model exportable? Nope, not unless the country looking to import the model is willing to embrace the entire train of thought behind the model. Being Danish, that's what I'm most familiar with so let me try to explain the background. Up until the 1960s, Denmark was very much a country based on agriculture. However, due to its size Denmark is unable to compete internationally in every area of agriculture, so they specialized. Pork was to be the name of the game, and Denmark developed the pig into the highly efficient meat machine that we know today. At the same time marketing effort was concentrated on a few countries, and I'm sure you're well aware of "Danish Bacon". It is notable, that the R&D to develop these new pigs were largely funded by cooperatives, which is a very socialst idea dating back to the early 1900s. At that time, farmers were pretty much getting shafted by diaries and industrial butchers, who creamed the profit so to speak. In response a large number of farmers pooled resources and set up cooperative diaries and butcheries. The profits was then shared among the farmers. Sounds rather communists to you? Well, it worked. Instead of making a few industrialists rich, the system kept the wealth amongst the farmers, who then reinvested and developed their industry - the end result is the highly efficient agriculture we have today.

Would that system work in an ultra-capitalist country like the US? Probably not, as their mindset is not tuned to collective efforts but rather to entreprenurial individuals.

In the 60s people started moving from the countryside to the cities to build the modern industrial society. As it was quite obvious Denmark could not, for any number of reasons, compete in heavy industry they specialized in niche markets. Like furniture design, where the Swedes and Finns would deliver the wood and the Danes would design and sell the furniture. Today the emphasis is on bio-technology and IT - using brains rather than muscle has proved to work for us. Sweden, on the other hand, with its huge natural resources went more along the lines of heavy industry, but still their products was aimed at niche markets. Your Volvo's and SAAB's are good examples.

There is a saying in Scandinavia of how to make a successfull business: Have the Swedes build it, the Danes sell it and the Norwegians transport it. Not trying to be all things to all people, but specializing and excelling in niche markets has made Scandinavia the richest area in the world. All based on socialist-capitalistic ideas. It can work.

It's been said here, that the relatively small populations made it easier for the Scandinavian coutries. Yes, and no. Yes, because it was a more homogenous population and no because there was a limited pool of workers to draw from - that is another hurdle that kept us from being a major industrial power, despite the natural resources of Sweden, Finland and Norway. Being fewer people also means that there are fewer people to pay the bill, and the bill is quite substantial per capita when you're running the Scandinavian Wellfare Model.

28th Apr 2004, 09:19
Flip Flop Flyer

Thanks very much for your informative postings. I'll hold my hand up and say that my posts, more often than not, contain some slightly dodgy assumptions and I very much welcome your posts to add something or take something to my thoughts.

It is clear then that the Nordic countries have a very socialist welfare system and internal business model but they employ capitalist international business strategies to provide the capital to continue to provide the welfare system.

I take your point about the 500+ smaller businesses but I still hold that it would not be possible to scale up the Swedish model to an economy such as the UK and especially not to an economy the size of the EU countries combined.

This thread has really kindled and interest in these things and I spend a lot time at work talking to my international colleagues to try and learn a bit more.


Wee Weasley Welshman
28th Apr 2004, 12:57
I think you are overlooking the fact that the Scandies are not one of the worlds major military powers.

It takes quite a few resources to attain and maintain this position.

I note that nobody to my original question:

Which major EU country is it that so sets us an example of how a country should be run and that by signing the Constitiution we might better emulate?

I contend that we are fine, and shining, an example of a nation as we will find within the EU.



Flip Flop Flyer
28th Apr 2004, 13:38
If I may direct your attention to this link: http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/30046.pdf

You will see that in 1999/2000, Sweden used 2.3% of it's GDP on military expenses vs. 2.5% for the UK. Norway is at 2.2% and Denmark at 1.6%. For SE and NO, not really that much of a difference is it? I do wonder, however, how it is possible to be a "major military power" of the world with that little spending. Or perhaps the UK is no more a "major military power" than, say, France who coincidentially spent 2.7% of their GDP?

Is Britain something for continental Europe to emulate? Don't think so; in my opinion the UK is far to conservative. That is of course a two way street, and therefore the UK is not suited for a "socialist" minded continental government. That is not to say we cannot cooperate, indeed the political life will generally benefit from widely dispersed points of view, and decisions will generally be better if agreed by a wide audience rather than a tiny majority.

By the way, the UK economy is not alone in showing growth in the EU. I belive Spain is leading the pack, but you will find that the Nordic countries are not doing too bad either. Perhaps your press is suffering from a bit of Yank syndrom, and is only familiar with the biggest handful of countries in the world?


Much appreciated, and I do trust that you shall not hesitate putting finger to keyboard whenever I err on the side of, ehh, error :ok:

Wee Weasley Welshman
28th Apr 2004, 13:56
I don't care who spends what, we have Trident, we have an expedtionary Armed Forces who are used and whom are highly effective. No country in Europe has anything to touch them and we all know it.

Seems the businessmen join me in not seeing the benefit of the proposed EU constitution:


UK business leaders are sceptical of the benefits of closer European integration and opposed to the proposed EU constitution, a survey has said.
The ICM poll for eurosceptic think-tank New Frontiers of 1,000 chief executives found 59% thought the draft treaty would not make the EU work better.

The study also found eight out of 10 firms thought Britain, not the EU, should handle trade negotiations.



28th Apr 2004, 14:06
WWW, I'd hardly say that the UK are a "Major" military force.

A strong Military yes, but not a world power.

I really think you're living in the wrong era........

28th Apr 2004, 14:27

You beat me to it.



28th Apr 2004, 15:00
Hmm OW22 I don't think the research agrees with your opinion. I have found some references 1, (http://www.copri.dk/copri/ipra/glob-act.html) 2 (http://econ.ohio-state.edu/mumy/econ556/lectures/Lecture%2018-%20June%204.doc) that list the UK as one of the world's top/major military powers.
Effective working relationships among the world’s top military powers (the United States, Russia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Japan, and China) have created an unprecedented opportunity for cooperation to strengthen UN and regional conflict-resolution and peacekeeping and to reduce the global deployment, production, and trade of weapons.


28th Apr 2004, 15:22
Global Action to Prevent War

A funny publication to quote from about military power isn't it??

Anyway, compared to China, US or even North Korea, the UK would not be a major military power in any sense of the word.

I always find it weird when people go about bragging about how big their military is.

28th Apr 2004, 15:27

It depends on what criteria you use. Total Spend or % of GNP or men/women under arms.



28th Apr 2004, 15:33
So it is not a function of a few very large businesses footing the bill, but rather the sum of a very large number of smaller businesses and their employees tax contributions. It's a known fact that large businesses, multinationals, have a choice of tax heavens where to make, taxable, profit. Smaller businesses usually don't have that, and neither, again usually, have a staff of (expensive) tax/subvention consultants, so usually they pay the full amount of tax.No country in Europe has anything to touch them and we all know it. but at what cost? Iraq could cost the British taxpayer £6bn - double the amount initially set aside for the conflict by Gordon Brown.

28th Apr 2004, 16:25
I wasn't aware that the EU Constitution meant everyone had to be Swedish. In fact I think the European Commission and Central Bank's record in the last few years has been rather conservative if anything - budget deficit caps, asking everyone in the Euro to keep their budgets "close to balance" - hardly socialism.

Pity, really. Gripens, herring:D , and much prettier too.

28th Apr 2004, 16:35
Global Action to Prevent War - A funny publication to quote from about military power isn't it?? Exactly why I thought you would accept it as a source of info on who the top military powers were, rather than quote a Fox News source:D Unsurprisingly, you ignored it:rolleyes:


28th Apr 2004, 17:13
Why would I accept that source over any other? You labelling me now as well Ozzy without knowing anything about me?

Strange thing to do.......

Wee Weasley Welshman
28th Apr 2004, 17:18
I saw a UK Independence Party billboard this afternoon in Bristol. Never seen one before - have they come into some money or something?

I rather like Tony Blairs letter in Le Monde today. He's really turning the screws on the French President to allow a referendum. Watching the President twist and turn finding reasons not to, whilst pretending its not because the French will vote Non, is most amusing. Well - to my eyes anyway.

EU Constitution - RIP.



28th Apr 2004, 17:41
You labelling me now as well Ozzy without knowing anything about me? Did I say I was labelling you OW22? I provided pointers to some reports/papers that refuted your opinion that the UK was not a military power. Nuff said:ok:


28th Apr 2004, 17:42
Come on Ozzy and pull the other one, you know exactly what you meant!!!

28th Apr 2004, 18:15
No not everything needs to be Swedish. What we were trying to picture was a socialist state that is performing well and providing a very good living for it's citizens. The only place people could come up with was the Nordic countries and especially Sweden. In looking at the way Sweden works we have come to a conclusion that it is very unlikely it could be scaled up to the size of the EU. Therefore what kind of EU are we aiming for. The EU constitution enshrines a lot of wishy washy employment rights into EU Law to be adapted and added to by the European Court.

That is very expensive. I agree that a lot of what it says should be best practice anyway, but enshrining best practice in legislation is a very very costly exercise for small businesses.


Wee Weasley Welshman
28th Apr 2004, 19:46
Business votes No - The Times today, Business commentary:



Now, with the accession states about to join, the uncertainties over the future of the European economy are multiplied. By comparison, Britain looks relatively stable. There are undoubted advantages to be had from belonging to a single market, the concept to which we originally signed up. But the single market remains an ambition that has not been realised. The French still manage to engineer situations that see their national champions emerge triumphant: just look at the merger of Sanofi and Aventis and the way that Swiss Novartis was kept at bay.

This survey only confirms what had gradually been seeping into common currency: the single currency is not going to be welcome in Britain.

It would seem that the majority of the electorate doesn't want the UK to sign up and neither does the balance of the business community.

Which leaves...



28th Apr 2004, 19:55

The majority of the electorate do not bother to vote so what does it matter what they "think" or "want" if they do not turn out to register an opinion.

I think that the referendum is not likely to be as clear cut as it seems now.



28th Apr 2004, 20:00
I'll buy you a litre of german beer if we-in France-have a referendum.
The reasons are :
1/-No need for one for a cosmetic text on EU mechanisms,without any major addition to the already ratified treaties
2/-As I said before,we are probably the people who know best that voters rarely-if ever-answer to the question asked on the bulletin.All french referenda have been either a plebiscite or a vote of censorship for the government which used it.In ALL cases,these votes did not reflect public opinion on the subject.That comment applies for -in fact-all the votes in this country.That's how Chirac lost a majority in '97 and and got reelected in 2002 with a banana republic majority when people too clever for their own good managed to oust Jospin from the presidential race to the benefit of Le Pen.
And Chirac,like most french politicians know that.
3/-The president is not squirming,the draft will pass through a rather healthy majority at parliament level.
(And all that when a majority of the population is in favour of the draft,if only because it has the imprimatur of ex-president Giscard d'Estaing who chaired the Convention).
Just my humble grain of salt.

Wee Weasley Welshman
28th Apr 2004, 20:06
And The Times leader column leads with:


I particularly liked:

Now it is the eurozone that is described by the IMF as underperforming, whereas “in contrast to the eurozone, macroeconomic performance in the UK remains strong”. At the weekend, tempers erupted in the Group of Seven meeting as the finance ministers of France and Germany berated Jean-Claude Trichet, the President of the European Central Bank, for not cutting interest rates. Nicolas Sarkozy, the French minister, protested that it was his job as Finance Minister to deliver growth, but he was unable to do so as he had no control over the levers of growth handed to the ECB. Had he not thought of that before?

Lemurian - If the consitution is only a cosmetic text on mechanism - why does it matter if we just drop the piddling little thing?



28th Apr 2004, 20:42
It's because you are stuck with a political maoeuvre in which,as I said in earlier posts,voting for a so-called constitution which ,apart from vote mechanisms (qualified majority vote or what?)for a 25 country Union and some cleaning-up/clearing of some misunderstandings and misconceptions...will mean voting for a Europe which is already there,the advantages plus the drawbacks...since your country ratified the Treaty of Rome,the Single Act,the Treaty of Maastricht and the Treaty of Nice,plus a score of other agreements.
And apparently -as my english is not very good and I didn't understand any of your posts-that is exactly what you would want: out of the European Union.
Now,behold,it seems that an acceptance of the draft has risen by ten points since we started this thread and the sceptics 'number dropped by 11 points.
Is it just possible that all this europhobia was only a matter of un=information?
Hope doesn't kill,does it?

Wee Weasley Welshman
29th Apr 2004, 08:14
Exactly what I would want is to maintain the status quo by not signing a flawed EU Constituion.

Nothing more - I'm a happy and contented European who has benefited greatly from the EU free market which allowed me to live and work in the EU when the opportunity arose.

To try to characterize Non-Constitutionalists as rabid Little Britain EU isolationists wearing union jack underpants merely suggests a weakness of both confidence and argument.



29th Apr 2004, 09:49

"To try to characterize Non-Constitutionalists as rabid Little Britain EU isolationists wearing union jack underpants "

I admit that this is wrong but when you carry so many of their banners it is difficult to separate you and them.



Wee Weasley Welshman
29th Apr 2004, 10:19
I'm sorry if you find it difficult.

Meanwhile I am still waiting for someone to produce a couple of single sentence compelling reasons why it would be to this countrys advantage to sign the EU Constitution.

Something I asked for some pages ago but, alas, no clear answer yet supplied.



29th Apr 2004, 10:51

Many other posters have put the detailed reasons why this constitution is in this country’s interest ( as opposed to “this countries interest” ). Since you need it simplified I will do that for you.

1) More integration is better for UK economy since the current integration has boosted the UK economy
2) More integration is better for UK security since the current integration has increased UK security
3) More integration is better for UK future since the current integration has been great for the UK so far.

I could go into more detail like the esteemed posters earlier in this thread but you do not want that so there you go.



29th Apr 2004, 11:17
1) More integration is better for UK economy since the current integration has boosted the UK economy
2) More integration is better for UK security since the current integration has increased UK security
3) More integration is better for UK future since the current integration has been great for the UK so far.

1) This is a confident statement. Where is the evidence that a trend will continue. The world is one big Market Place. I don't see Australia and NZ joining forces (as a legal state) to compete on a world level. There are many countries that get along with just trade agreements (NAFTA etc) as we have done up till now. What the EU constitution and the arguments that a lot of Europhiles are putting forward is this. "Unless you sign up to this constitution you will no longer enjoy the goodwill in business of the EU". If that is the case then it is a quite sad way of doing business. If it is not then all the business benefits are the same as now.

2) No. Better security integration worldwide between the UK and the EU, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries has (if we are assuming it has improved) improved the UKs security.

3) That is just regurgitating the previous two statements. That is not providing another argument.


Wee Weasley Welshman
29th Apr 2004, 11:31
Well a weaker more generalised 3 points I could barely dreamnt of being made!

1) More will = better?
2) Security against what?
3) Its been good so far = must sign up for more?

Talk about resting on laurels!

Please please BHR endulge me by cutting and pasting the posts made by "many other posters have put the detailed reasons why this constitution is in this country’s interest"

Come on - in simple sentences that the man in the street can understand - WHAT is the BENEFIT to the UK in signing this constitution?



29th Apr 2004, 12:11

It is depressing to see that the identification of sarcasm has died out on this thread.

WWW has asked for simple one sentence statements that the man in the street can understand. That is what he got. The fact the concepts they cover cannot actually be properly conveyed in one sentence is another matter entirely. Please feel free to read the early posts at your leisure WWW as I am not here to cut and paste your life for you. The fact that earlier posters have made valid and worthwhile arguments, which you disagree with or are not able to understand does nothing to diminish the weight of these arguments.

The average man in the street is unlikely to ever understand the complexities of Velcro fasten shoes never mind a constitutional document bringing together the disparate strands of more than a dozen international treaties, agreements and memos of understanding.

The average man in the street will either not bother to vote or, if he can be bothered to drag himself away from Pop Idol long enough, will vote the way the Sun, Star or Daily Sport tell him to. So lets not kid on that anything in this is “representative of the majority of the UK population” as you would like to believe, WWW.



Wee Weasley Welshman
29th Apr 2004, 12:23
Which all goes to illustrate the withering superiority of the Pro-EU lobby.

The President of France cravenly says he seeks a joint postion with Germany on a referendum. Knowing full well that the German constitution forbids referendums. He knows the people of France do not want the EU constitution.

In this country the likes of Michael Heseltine and Mandelson witheringly condemn Blair for allowing a referendum. Protesting that the great unwashed will not understand any more than The Sun newspaper allows them.

Well. A pox on the lot of you.

If you cannot summon a simple Pro-Argument that the man in the street can understand (and please, he or she is not that thick, you pseudo intellectual minnows) then perhaps, just perhaps, it is your arguments that are too weak and not the people.

BHR - you ask me to read again the previous posts. I have done so and could not find any simple cogent argument for the UK signing up in its own self interest.

I asked for people to clarify, they could not.

I asked for people to cut and paste the bits I may have missed - you would not.

I summise the reasons are - you cannot.

There is NO clear advantage for the UK in signing this deeply flawed document drafted by the French giving amazingly wide ranging new powers to Brussels in an attempy to preserve the position of power that the Franco/German alliance is about to lose nest week in an EU of 25.

I am sorry but your Federalist fox has been shot.

The cheers around the New EU far outweigh the wails.



29th Apr 2004, 13:40

Your use of the sort of emotive “them and us” language so prevalent in the Sun and certain right wing nationalistic political parties is disappointing but hardly surprising.

When less than half of the average voters in the street can be bothered to pick a party, never mind a candidate, after an election campaign covering many weeks. Then I think that the chances of having the same people make an informed and balanced decision on a premise as detailed as the one we are discussing, are rather on the low side. I will stand you a litre of French wine and a litre of German beer that the turnout for a referendum is lower than that of the general election that precedes it.

As to your other points:

“Michael Heseltine and Mandelson” are you kidding me? Are these the standard bearers for your way of thinking on this? Suddenly it all becomes clear.

“If you cannot summon a simple Pro-Argument that the man in the street can understand (and please, he or she is not that thick, you pseudo intellectual minnows) then perhaps, just perhaps, it is your arguments that are too weak and not the people.”

You have had answers from 3 separate people raising the same issue yet you still claim to have not had a simple explanation. Perhaps the man in the street reading this thread will understand the pros as well as the cons for the Constitution. Perhaps it is just that you are not going to understand it. Do not be ashamed we all have our weaknesses. I guess this is one of yours. I have trouble with wasps and bees despite never having been stung. None of us is perfect.



Wee Weasley Welshman
29th Apr 2004, 15:40
Why can't a No vote be considered an informed and balanced one? And why have all the newspapers moved from a position of universally Pro-EU to Anti-Further Eu in the last 30yrs? Is it because newspapers merely articulate the instincts of their readers? I think so.

Hesletine and Mandelson are both extreme Pro EU'ist who don't want the British to be allowed a referendum on the Constitution. I'd rather put them in your camp.

I have not had 3 answers from different people.

What we have had is 3 people make vague statements about how the UK has benefitted from being in the EU trade wise (agreed) and vague statements about the grave perils of being thrown out.

Nothing so far has passed the test of being a simple sentence reason as to why it is in the UK's self interest to sign up.

Bill - you are an intelligent articulate man - you seem to understand the EU constitution issue. Why don't you take the opportunity here and now to put me out of my misery and give me a couple of sentences as asked?



29th Apr 2004, 16:34
The average man in the street is unlikely to ever understand the complexities of Velcro fasten shoes never mind a constitutional document bringing together the disparate strands of more than a dozen international treaties, agreements and memos of understanding.

Which is precisely the reason that the Pro-EU lobby need to provide succinct arguments in favour of the proposed EU constitution.

Your quote above is the loudest argument that is coming out of the EU lobby at the moment. "You airheads don't understand. So we'll make your decisions for you".

The EU Constitiution as presented is the wrong document at the wrong time. It seeks to create a United States of Europe with legal authority over and above each member state. On past performance, foreign policy within the EU has been wishy washy with precious little decisive, incisive thinking. I don't particularly want that type of foreign policy ordering (or not ordering) our armed forces about. A Veto on foreign policy is the least of the changes which would need to be changed in the draft until such time as I would consider voting yes.

I think that constantly complaining about right wing newspapers stating untruths about the constitution is undermining the credibility of the Yes campaign. Provide the arguments (Yes, I have read this thread) and we'll listen.


Flip Flop Flyer
29th Apr 2004, 16:53
One could of course reverse the argument and try to establish a few points where the UK might suffer from a no to the constitution, if taken to the extrem - the UK leaving the EU. I belive that is what you are, ultimately, advocating.

If we stay within aviation, do you think that BAe will still be suppling wings to Airbus say 5 or 10 years after the UK left the EU? I think not.

You would not be able to live and work within the EU whereever you please. I belive there are more people from the UK living and working in the rest of the EU than the other way around - so you'd stand to loose jobs and ultimately wealth.

You would have to comply with EU regulations, if you wish to trade with EU countries, without any influence on the decisions passed down - this is the "Norwegian dilemma".

One could then reverse the above and postulate that saying "Yes" will guarentee the UK still having those benefits.

Is that shallow enough for you?

Kiting for Boys
29th Apr 2004, 16:59
WWW has Hesletine and Mandelson in the same para as ‘camp’. Almost spluttered aloud.

Here’s an argument against. The Constitution extends the Commission’s ‘competence’ into over 20 new areas. Mentioning just one – the management of fish stocks will move permanently away from Westminster ever having a say and the fleet will be sold even further down the mixed metaphor.

Stocks of haddock are at a higher level in 32 years and the UK boats can’t fish for them.

Oh, another one is that the Commission get to manage energy – read North Sea oil.

I bet the referendum turn-out will exceed that for the general election – if there ever is a referendum.

Wee Weasley Welshman
29th Apr 2004, 18:25
Flip flop - I certainly don't advocate leaving the EU. In just the last few pages I've said I and most of the country are Happy Europeans, I've lived and worked abroad and i don't think anyone has seriously advocated leaving the EU.

We are happy as we are. So are many States. France, Belgium and Germany in descending order of enthusiasm want to go more Federalist and consolodate a lot more power to Brussels.

I say no to that and so will the majority of people asked in this country.

Its a bit weak to equate not signing the treaty to wanting to leave the EU. Its similarly la la land to suggest that not signing will lead to us being turfed out.

Well I am sorry but we are no longer the Sick Man of Europe. We are the major military power in the EU, we are the only ones with any influence over the only Superpower, we do trade internationally and we are quite happy with ourselves socially, politically and economically.

We have are one of the big three in Europe and, frankly, as we are showing now - if we say NO then that means NO.


Are you trying to turn tables on me and ask 'Why would it be not in our interests' simply because you yourself cannot supply my requested couple of good reasons why its in our interest?

The lack of pro-Constituion compelling reasons is deafening. And you all know it.



Flip Flop Flyer
30th Apr 2004, 09:38
I will have to disagree that we can leave things they way they are and happily plod along.

If for nothing else, the consitution will make it practically possible to accept the new EU members. Having another 10 countries join the EU, slowly prospering and being able to afford the "expesive" goods and services we produce in western EU. This will also benefit the UK economy, if they are willing and able to exploit this giant new market. In my opinion it is extremely selfish not consider the people of Poland, Rumania, the Chezh Republic etc. and what their membership of the EU will bring them. Just look at how Spain and Portugal devolped after joining in, ´'85? So it'll cost us a few Euro's, as it still does with Spain and Portugal, to bring these countries up to "standard" but it's an exercise well worth it - and who knows, www , when you're ready to retire and Costa Del Sol is just too overcrowded, maybe you'll enjoy being able to buy, with relative ease, a cheap and cozy little cottage at the Adriatic coast?

The constitution should also help to make the EU more efficient and effective. Now that is , given the notorious and gigantic bureacracy that the EU also is, but without an effort to at least try to amend procedures nothing will ever change.

So while no one here, myself included, are seemingly unable to provide you with 3 reasons, easily digestable for even a "Sun" reader, what good a "Yes" vote will bring, it could perhaps be because this referendum is not about a bang-wizz wonder treaty that'll cure AIDS, save the rain forrest and once again make the Empire rule the waves.

Wee Weasley Welshman
1st May 2004, 09:26
I think you'll find the British government and myself are all for EU enlargement - it erodes the Federalist dominance of the Franco/German axis.

I asked for 3 reasons - they didn't have to be Sun reader simple. You are saying that because you can't provide 3 tangible clear reasons that the average PPRuNe reader can understand.

The reason for that is because it isn't in British interests to sign the proposed constitution. It was drafted by died-in-the-wool French Federalists with the sole aim of retaining power in Brussels and not letting the new States have an impact on policy.

As it isn't in out interests we shouldn'y, and won't, be signing.



1st May 2004, 10:50
Absolutely typical.
Now we know what are really your concerns.
A convention was set up,including British MEPs,so the draft is hardly a french one.
I note,along with others that you haven't considered any of the posts before.
So let it stay as it is,I for one refuse to play your game.
Time will tell.

1st May 2004, 11:14
This world is evoluting at a faster pace than us and our mentalities.

We have to work on it to improve it or try it's not worse.

Welcoming the 10 new Europe Community States, I think this enlargement is at least a promotion of peace between states which spent a lot of time fighting each other.

If we want others goals to be reached, we have to dig on it, different influences from many partners will be exerted: after a period when only politician and businessmen had their word, I hope Workers Union will tell theirs to make sure this "big market" will allow protection for the poors, efficient public services for Health, Education, Power and Water supplying, Transport, Scientific research....so that our societies are not destroyed by Big Business.

Future will be what we make it.

1st May 2004, 11:26
Had to laugh this morning when Blair came on TV saying how it will safe guard jobs in the UK and create additional ones also. Is this why PEUGOT are moving their production, engine and spares facilties to Poland from Coventry within the next three to four years making the better part of 5,000 people jobless? This not even counting the knock-on effect in the subsidary industries....

Employment costs are cheaper in the new states, the EU will give subsidies for major companies to invest and move production here, the quality of work will be equal to, if not better than what is produced now, but over time people in these states will demand more money for what they are doing thus inflating costs that will be passed on to the purchaser with the finished product.

I for one am glad i have 3 years left in the airforce before heading to pastures new..think running a nice bar in Cape Town or Brisbane will suit me.

2nd May 2004, 15:25

"You are saying that because you can't provide 3 tangible clear reasons that the average PPRuNe reader can understand."

Reasons have been given and yet you alone still cry out for them. Ever considered that the problem is not the reasons but rather you instead?



Wee Weasley Welshman
2nd May 2004, 17:24
No Bill. Point me to the page number and poster and I will gladly look yet again for a cogent clear reason why it is in the UK's interests to sign up.

Come on.

Threats about else we'll be chucked out and pointing out that it will help the French keep control Do Not Count.



2nd May 2004, 20:48

You have become boring mate. This was fun to start but I am not here to convince you. You vote whatever way you like. And I will do the same.