We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Say hello to Maurice and Gerhard

If you have not checked out the marvelous Social Affairs Unit blog recently, please let me commend some simply splendid articles that have appeared of late, such as Stumbling towards the EU door marked exit. In particular, keep an eye out for all the ‘Maurice and Gerhard’ articles.

32 comments to Say hello to Maurice and Gerhard

  • Perry

    look, I have no problem at all if Britain wants to withdraw from the EU. I said so before.

    But the article you link to contains a lot of disinformation, and xenophobia. For example, they claim that

    “EU membership has cost Britain around £100 bn a year – but what, if anything, have they got out of it?”

    That’s complete nonsense. Germany contributes much more than Britain, and Germany is contributing 22 bn Euro this year. So how did they come up with this ridiculous number?

    Then there is this:

    Not only have they handed over their fish and even most of their fishing boats with scarcely a word of demur

    Well, yes, there are quotas on fishing now, and it seems that British fishermen didn’t get a good deal, but Blair could have vetoed that. That he didn’t shows how little he cares for the Scottish fishersmen. Even so
    the issue will soon be academic, for the overall quotas are way too high, so that overfishing will destroy the stocks anyway, so that Europe’s fishing industry will go bankrupt aynway.

    And what am I supposed to make of this:

    they have been forced to dismantle a system of law and politics which they claimed to be the best in the world without acquiring a smidgen of influence.

    That system has been dismantled by Britain’s own
    governments. Nobody made you abolish the right to remain silent when accused, or the right for a trial by jury. Neither has the EU forced you to impose some of the harshest gun-control legislation in the world, or to criminalize self-defence. That is all home-grown.

    The guys at the Social affairs units also don’t seem to know much about economics either:

    We must now make sure that we screw the Brits as effectively when they are outside the EU as we did when they were on the inside! Since they run a big trade deficit with the rest of us they have huge potential leverage in negotiations – but I frankly doubt whether they have the wit to take advantage of this fact.

    What kind of “huge potential leverage in negotiations” are those supposed to be? Individual British citizens and firms decide what they buy, and from whom. Only a dictatorship could make them buy from others. It seems that this Hector Boffey has some serious totalitarian leanings.

    Perry, like I said, I have no problem with Britain leaving the EU (quite to the contrary), but lets try to stick to the facts in the debate about that.

  • quentin

    Remind me again, how long is the proposed EU Constitution? And how long is the Iraqi constitution?

    Let us stay in EFTA, but give the EU the boot.

  • dearieme

    Or we could ask to become the transmaritime provinces of Canada, and thus enter NAFTA.

  • Euan Gray

    I find myself inclined to side with Ralf, at least on some of this.

    There’s no doubt the cost of EU membership is higher than the formal cost of the contributions – but this also applies to other net contributor nations such as Germany. The added cost comes from petty regulation, increased prices (particularly food, which is much more expensive for all EU states than it would be without the CAP and protectionist import duties) and some restrictions on trade outside the EU. However, it is surely fantasy to suggest it amounts to 100 billion.

    It is true that British fishing grounds would exhaust anyway, but it is equally true that the EU has accelerated the process. Britain cannot conserve fish stocks without getting the agreement of, for example, French and Spanish fishermen, whereas outside the EU they could simply be prevented from fishing there.

    Most of our infringements on civil liberties and our way of governing are indeed home grown. Some, though, are inspired or required by the EU – biometric passports are an EU mandate, for example.

    As for “political leverage,” this essentially comes from the fact that the rest of the EU exports far more to the UK than the UK exports to the EU. Whilst it is true that individual people and companies decide what to buy, governments decide how much duty they will pay on their purchases. In the event of British independence, it would not be in the interests of the EU to attempt to raise punitive trade barriers, since this would hurt Europe far more than it would hurt Britain. It’s not so much a political lever as the fact that Britain would be naturally more prosperous outside the EU than within it, but the EU would be poorer if it didn’t want to play fair.

    I’m not sure if Britain will choose to leave the EU. However, I am very sure that the EU will implode whatever Britain does. It is trying to create an institution that is no longer a useful construct, and it is using long discredited methods in the attempt. It won’t work as anything more than a free-trade bloc, and I do think that ALL EU states would benefit if it just went back to being that. Germany included.

    EG

  • GCooper

    Ralf Goergens writes:

    “That’s complete nonsense. Germany contributes much more than Britain, and Germany is contributing 22 bn Euro this year. So how did they come up with this ridiculous number?”

    The UKIP estimate (drawing on figures from the Institute of Directors, ISTR) is that we would save £30 billion by withdrawing.

    I’d be in favour of withdrawal even if we wouldn’t save a single penny. The EU inevitably means bigger government. No libertarian (or Conservative for that matter) can possibly be in favour of it.

  • GCooper

    Eaun Gray writes:

    “It is true that British fishing grounds would exhaust anyway….”

    Why? Iceland has managed its fishing grounds rather well.

    I can see absolutely no reason to believe this assertion.

  • Euan Gray

    I can see absolutely no reason to believe this assertion.

    Britain doesn’t seem to have been as good at managing its grounds as Iceland. Fishing is/was a key part of the Icelandic economy, whereas it’s not really that important for Britain & so the disparity is not unexpected.

    EG

  • Sean

    What some of the Europhobes might want to consider is that, despite all the Brussles-o-Phobia fostered upon the populace, Britain has in fact been part of the European Economic Community for over thirty years. Opting out now amounts to economic suicide. Think of all the businesses depending on trade with the EU, what’s going to happen to their livelihood? Signing on with the US is a foolish, foolish idea, smack in the face of British independence.

  • Pete_London

    Sean

    I’m filled with the spirit of goodwill.

    So I’m willing to let another have the first pop at you.

  • Pete_London

    If they can be bothered.

  • Sean

    Fair enough.

    Being a newb, I suppose I do deserve a certain amount of hazing.

    Flay away.

    That said, I know plenty of people whose business is going to suffer, if not collapse, if Britain pulls out of the EU. If you need more food for thought, try and think of the thousands of expats living in Euroland whose existence depends on the common market. This isolationalist policy is going to ruin a lot of people, you know.

  • Pete_London

    Sean

    Utter nonsense, of course. I hope Two Sixes doesn’t mind me taking his/her comment from a recent thread:

    The slur that we are being isolationist only survives because nobody argues against it. It is in fact the EU which is isolationist: it trades mostly with itself, it sets barriers to trade to non-EU countries, it creates tariffs that wreck the businesses of developing world farmers and it seeks to create a Europe-only club where membership and (so-called) benefits are available only for the few.

    The UK, on the other hand, is a global player whose trade is mostly non-EU, who interacts in business and politics on a worldwide basis and who believes in freedom in enterprise – something that is of benefit to all but especially to developing countries wishing to get a piece of the action.

    We are an outward looking country with an expansive world-view, a belief in freedom to associate and trade with any of the world’s producers; we are, in fact, fighting against a bureaucratic, inward-looking, controlling group of unaccountable pen-pushers and federalists.

    The sooner we push – hard – the simple fact that we are for openess, inclusion, freedom and the rights of man to choose – and dismiss – his rulers the sooner we can stop cowering before this mindless slur that we are isolationists.

  • Shawn

    In reply to Sean,

    “Opting out now amounts to economic suicide. Think of all the businesses depending on trade with the EU, what’s going to happen to their livelihood?”

    I think your confusing trade with political union. Trade with Europe does not require political union, anymore than global free trade would require a global state. By all means Britain should have free trade with Europe, but not at the expense of the political soveriegnty of the British people. Not to mention the huge layers of extra beaurcracy, all empowered by law to regulate the lives of people who should be free to regulate themselves. When people outside or your country can decide for you how you should live and how a foriegn state should regulate you then you are no longer free. This is why national freedom is necessary to individual freedom.

    Disengaging from the EU is not isolationism, it is an act of political and national freedom.

    ” Signing on with the US is a foolish, foolish idea, smack in the face of British independence.”

    How does being a part of a free trade agreemenet with the US threaten British independence? Its just trade. On the other hand poltical union with Europe does in fact diminish British independence.

  • Euan Gray

    Sean,

    How, exactly, is anyone’s business going to collapse if the UK withdraws? Which businesses? Why would they collapse?

    Why and precisely how would it actually adversely affect the British economy to withdraw? I mean specifically, not vague generalisations.

    If the thousands of expats in Europe would suffer – and assuming we aren’t talking about people who contract directly with the EU official bodies or who are EU civil servants – what of the thousands of Europeans who live and work in Britain? Why would either not be allowed to stay where they are? If they weren’t, presumably the French in London could go back to France and do the jobs being done there by the British expats, who would in turn would come back here & do the jobs the French were doing. Overall, who suffers?

    Given that independence would enable Britain to deregulate and trade freely with anyone she wanted to, how would this hurt the British economy? Would not the deregulation and consequent economic stimulus actually benefit us, and more than counteract any alleged harm from withdrawal?

    Specifically, how does Britain materially benefit from membership of the EU?

    Finally, is it not more truthful to say that British independence would actually hurt Europe a hell of a lot more than it would hurt Britain? I mean, everyone else would have to pay more to offset the missing British contributions.

    EG

  • John

    The figure of £100 billion for the annual cost of EU membership which is quoted in the amusing Maurice and Gerhard column is probably drawn from a recnt study by Ian Milne, “A Cost Too Far?”, which was published at the end of last year by Civitas. The figure is as high as it is because it includes the direct cost of EU membership, the costs of EU regulation, and the opportunity costs of EU membership – what could be agined by not being a member of the EU. Direct contributions are only a part of this.

  • John K

    I would foresee the UK becoming a member of the European Economic Area, which is basically what people thought they were getting when we joined the EEC back in 1973. We would continue to have free trade and free movement of people within the EEA/EU, but we would not be subject to the increasing political union which is the central feature of the development of the EU. Admittedly we might end up as poor as Switzerland or Norway, but that is a risk I am prepared to take.

  • GCooper

    Eaun Gray writes:

    “Britain doesn’t seem to have been as good at managing its grounds as Iceland. Fishing is/was a key part of the Icelandic economy, whereas it’s not really that important for Britain & so the disparity is not unexpected.”

    That’s a profoundly weak argument. You cannot make any comparison between Iceland’s management of its fish stocks and the UK’s, precisely because of what we are discussing: the malign influence of the EU. Britain has no control, while Iceland has.

    If Britain regained ownership of its fishing grounds, there is every reason to believe that, without the presence of Spanish and French feets hoovering-up everything that moves right down to the seabed, they would recover pretty promptly.

    The shabby treatment of Britain’s fisherman (the two in Hastings who were fined just this week for breaking a rule they didn’t know existed is a fine case in point) is one of the most visibly unfair of all the impacts the EU has had on this country.

  • Sean

    In reply to Pete_London,

    Have you missed out on the recent EU expansions? No offense, but what you’re saying suggests that you are still thinking of the EU as a Franco-German pet project. It’s not, these days, hasn’t been for at least a decade, and “New Europe” certainly has thrown a spanner in those works. As for isolationalism, it strikes me as patently absurd to argue that a larger, more diverse (let alone expanding) economy should have to suffer that kind of abuse from one single nation-state that refuses to commit itself one way or the other. “Evil Brussels” is a media/government-spawned chimera foisted upon the British public to keep them from realising that they’re living in a rip-off state.

    Which few club-members are you referring to? If Britain is such a Great Economy, wouldn’t she naturally become part of that select group?

    I would agree that the farming subsidy issue adversely affects non-member states, but is this an EU-endemic blight? Imagine UK farmers’ reaction if the country was suddenly flooded with dirt-cheap African produce, would they not clamour for punitive tariffs and government subsidies?

    Global player, nonsense. The UK has become a deluded US vassal clinging to a dead and gone Imperial past.

    We’re talking about the EU here, the scenario you are describing sounds more like the PRC.

    EU expansion, geographically and politically, strikes me as exhibiting an inversely proportional relationship to governmental oppression levels. Personally, I’d much rather be “governed” by some obscure bureaucrat in Brussels than some fascist git in Whitehall, the former being much less likely to have the wherewithal to actually control me than the latter.

    And please don’t give me that bullshit about Third World charity; there is nothing in UK foreign policy to support the argument, and even if there were, it’d still be a lousy argument, as far as the issue of EU membership is concerned.

    —————–

    In reply to Shawn,

    Nationalism and individual liberty strike me as mutually exclusive.

    As long as you exist as a tax-paying citizen of any nation-state, you are in fact not regulating yourself, you are being regulated by that nation-state’s government. Of course, the government likes to tell you that they’re acting in your best interest, and that any outside polity is naturally bad and deplorable. After all, it is in their best interest if you think that way.

    “When people outside or your country can decide for you how you should live and how a foriegn state should regulate you then you are no longer free.”
    - I assume you meant “outside of?” If you actually meant “or,” I’m in perfect agreement with you.

    “Opting out now amounts to economic suicide. Think of all the businesses depending on trade with the EU, what’s going to happen to their livelihood?”

    I think your confusing trade with political union. Trade with Europe does not require political union, anymore than global free trade would require a global state. By all means Britain should have free trade with Europe, but not at the expense of the political soveriegnty of the British people. Not to mention the huge layers of extra beaurcracy, all empowered by law to regulate the lives of people who should be free to regulate themselves. When people outside or your country can decide for you how you should live and how a foriegn state should regulate you then you are no longer free. This is why national freedom is necessary to individual freedom.

    Free Trade to me implies abolition of customs duties, and freedom of movement. There is more of that within the EU than between the UK and the rest of the world.

    —————–

    In reply to Euan Gray,

    “How, exactly, is anyone’s business going to collapse if the UK withdraws? Which businesses? Why would they collapse?”
    - If your business depends on trade with EU countries, withdrawing from the club will very likely have the effect of your European clients and suppliers choosing replacement contacts within their own, tax-friendlier environment, rather than putting up with the hassle of dealing with an outsider Britain. The EU does not particularly need the United Kingdom.

    “Why and precisely how would it actually adversely affect the British economy to withdraw? I mean specifically, not vague generalisations.”
    - “Precisely, specifically,” I hope you’re not expecting an LRB-style article, I don’t have the time to write one. Anyway, my theory would be that, assuming there are in fact a significant number of businesses operating within the UK which rely on reasonable trade conditions with EU-countries, said businesses would be forced to look for alternative client/supply bases once those conditions deteriorate. Many of said businesses will have to file for bankruptcy, which in turn will cause a burden on the “British economy” as a whole, increase inflation, and gradually erode any remaining illusion of economic self-sufficiency. I very much doubt those business will be able to strike up an economically sound relationship with either supplier nations such as the US and Japan, nor with developing countries whose dependence upon/ability to export cheaply would adversely affect the competitiveness of UK-based producers.

    “If the thousands of expats in Europe would suffer – and assuming we aren’t talking about people who contract directly with the EU official bodies or who are EU civil servants – what of the thousands of Europeans who live and work in Britain? Why would either not be allowed to stay where they are? If they weren’t, presumably the French in London could go back to France and do the jobs being done there by the British expats, who would in turn would come back here & do the jobs the French were doing. Overall, who suffers?”
    - As it stands, any EU citizen at the moment is legally able to transmigrate from one country to the other, work or not work, at will. There are various restrictions upon being allowed to work, yes, but it is considerably easier for EU citizens to move about within EU member states than without. Remove Britain from the EU, every British expat living abroad will have lost that freedom of movement. I’m pretty sure being forced to move back to the Fatherland after having lived and worked abroad for years, possibly decades, will be viewed as distressful by most people affected, whichever nationality they happen to be.

    “Given that independence would enable Britain to deregulate and trade freely with anyone she wanted to, how would this hurt the British economy? Would not the deregulation and consequent economic stimulus actually benefit us, and more than counteract any alleged harm from withdrawal?”
    - The way you’ve phrased this indicates a belief that Britain is currently dependent upon, somehow enslaved to, the European Union, regulated from abroad and prevented from free trade. Where’s the evidence to support this? Where’s the proof that regulation by Brussels is more harmful than regulation by Whitehall? Where’s the proof that separation will lead to overall deregulation? What barriers to free trade would be removed? What is the “British economy,” some form of mass-hypnosis, a governmental egregore? Where’s the evidence to support the assertion that there will be economic stimulus generated, instead of economic depression? I humbly suggest that a de facto National Socialist web has been spun before the eyes of the British public, a web which blinds them to geopolitical reality.

    “Specifically, how does Britain materially benefit from membership of the EU?”
    - You may as well ask how the British taxpayer benefits from UK membership. It’s all relative. I like being part of the EU, it’s one step closer to global citizenry, and one step further away from medieval serfdom. The US don’t much care for the UN, either, but just because they and Israel keep whining about it doesn’t render that institution worthless, either.

    “Finally, is it not more truthful to say that British independence would actually hurt Europe a hell of a lot more than it would hurt Britain? I mean, everyone else would have to pay more to offset the missing British contributions.”
    - Not likely, the eastern front sucks up a lot more dosh, nobody’s likely to notice the difference.

  • A question from an outside observer: if Two Sixes, whom Pete London has quoted, is indeed correct, and the EU “it trades mostly with itself, it sets barriers to trade to non-EU countries”, wouldn’t Britain’s economy be damaged if it finds itself outside the EU?

    On the other hand, Sean says: “The US don’t much care for the UN, either, but just because they and Israel keep whining about it doesn’t render that institution worthless, either.” Well, forget Israel, but if the US withdraws all financial support from the UN, would it not in fact render it worthless?

    I think that Ralf and others are making some valid points, and the EU may well be a good idea economically, provided they let go of some of those goofy regulations I keep hearing about. However, if I was British, or any other European citizen, I still would oppose joining the EU for one simple reason, and that is that it is not democratic, i.e. the government in Brussels is not directly elected by the people, and is not in any way accountable to anyone. I am not naive, and I know that the British, or the US, or any other Western goverment leave a lot to be desired in that area, but it seems to me that this is in large part due to the apathy of the citizens, and their reluctance to exercise their rights and take advantage of the political tools that are available to them to make changes (like voting). It seems to me that joining the EU would make these tools totally unavailable to those who are still willing to take the trouble and use them.

  • GCooper

    Sean writes:

    “If your business depends on trade with EU countries, withdrawing from the club will very likely have the effect of your European clients and suppliers choosing replacement contacts within their own, tax-friendlier environment, rather than putting up with the hassle of dealing with an outsider Britain. The EU does not particularly need the United Kingdom.”

    Absolute twaddle! The sclerotic manufacturing industries of Italy, Germany and France are heavily dependent on the UK as a market. As has been observed countless times, can you seriously imagine the directors of Renault, VW, BMW, Bosch, Tefal, Fiat and all the rest allowing one of their major export markets to be walled-off? Can you imagine the reaction of new Eastern European members to having their emergent manufacturing industries denied access to such a large market?

    This scare story has been peddled by Europhiles for decades (it was one of the myths that dragged us into the bureaucratic nightmare in the first place). Fortunately, the public at last seems to have come to its senses (see today’s Telegraph poll). All being well, our next step, once we’ve rejected the ‘constitution’ will be out of the whole outdated, Socialist, statist farce.

  • GCooper, I would imagine that the EU does not impose restrictions on it’s members on selling their products to a non-member, but rather on buying them from one. Am I wrong?

  • GCooper

    Alisa writes:

    “GCooper, I would imagine that the EU does not impose restrictions on it’s members on selling their products to a non-member, but rather on buying them from one. Am I wrong?”

    You misunderstand the situation. The lie that has been told to persuade the British to first join and then remain in the EU is that we will face trade barrriers, if we do not.

    Do you suppose, were Britain to leave, and such barriers were imposed, that we would not retaliate?

    Do you believe the manufacturers within the EU would not prevent such barriers being imposed in the first place?

    This has been one of the blackest lies told by the Europhiles.

  • “I’d much rather be “governed” by some obscure bureaucrat in Brussels than some fascist git in Whitehall, the former being much less likely to have the wherewithal to actually control me than the latter.”

    This was all one needs to read really,the quality doesn’t go up.

  • Verity

    Ron Brick FKQU – why should the choice be limited to these two routes, both of which are undesirable?

  • Pete_London

    Alisa, two points:

    You asked:

    A question from an outside observer: if Two Sixes, whom Pete London has quoted, is indeed correct, and the EU “it trades mostly with itself, it sets barriers to trade to non-EU countries”, wouldn’t Britain’s economy be damaged if it finds itself outside the EU?

    Far from being damaged, Britain’s economy would be free to flourish outside of the EU, so long as we could prevent our politicians from doing what politicians do of course. Two sixes, Verity, GCooper, I and others have explaned why.

    You also state:

    I think that Ralf and others are making some valid points, and the EU may well be a good idea economically, provided they let go of some of those goofy regulations I keep hearing about.

    I think you misunderstand the nature of the EU. Don’t worry, many do, even here. ‘Economics’ have nothing to do with the EU. The ‘European Union’ is nothing more nor less than the construction of one country called Europe, ruled absolutely from Brussels. It is to go beyond even the Soviet Union; at least in the Soviet Union the Russians were still Russians, the Poles were still Poles and the Hungarians were still Hungarians. Many are distracted by ‘goofy regulations’ and ‘banana regulations’ and a hundred thousand other regulations and it is all beside the point.

    Even if I were persuaded that today the British people would benefit economically by being a part of the country of Europe I would still argue against it. The point is not economics. Allow me to presume that you’re a citizen of the United States of America. Can you envisage being a citizen of the country of America under direct rule from Toronto or Mexico City or Caracas? I dare say you cannot. Read back in here. Verity has explained the ‘Anglosphere’. The Anglosphere is still the greatest force for good in the world and the EU is a direct, exlicit, political threat to kill it.

  • I'm suffering for my art

    Ron Brick FKQU – I concur. It wouldn’t be difficult to rebut the varying thrusts of Sean’s arguments, but really, most of us don’t have time (or simply can’t be bothered) to write a War and Peace-length response to his War and Peace-length post. Maybe best to let him labour along with his misguided views.

    I like being part of the EU, it’s one step closer to global citizenry, and one step further away from medieval serfdom.

    Well, enjoy it while it lasts. I, for one, fail to see the allure of “global citizenry”, even if John Lennon did. But then, he’d taken some pretty heavy drugs in his lifetime, man. And did you really mean away from mediaeval serfdom??

  • Pete, you are really preaching to the choir here. There is nothing in your last comment that I was not aware of, and with which I do not agree. Except for the economic part, on which I am still agnostic, and which you or the others have not addressed sufficiently. Although, when you wrote: “Even if I were persuaded that today the British people would benefit economically by being a part of the country of Europe I would still argue against it.”, you probably have answered that one as well. As an outsider who nonetheless was raised on a European culture, I really do not like the idea of the EU. But the economic aspect of it is a separate one, and it needs to be addressed. If it is, or has been, and if the British people are willing to pay the price even in case of possible economic disadvantage to their country, I say more power to them.

  • GCooper

    Alisa – what part of ‘costs the UK £30 billion’ fails to convince you economically?

  • Shawn

    “Nationalism and individual liberty strike me as mutually exclusive.”

    There is obviously the problem of definition of terms here, because different people have different interpretations of what nationalism and individual liberty mean.

    Having said that, imo nationalism and liberty are necessary to each other. By nationalism I do not necessarily mean the nation-state. I use the word in the older sense of a given people with a shared culture, language and history. Whether or not Britain constitutes a nation is an arguable point, but the members of Britain, the English, Welsh, Scots and so forth certainly do constitute national communities. This would be true whether or not they had any government at all.

    Nationalism is simply the desire to protect and preserve hearth and home. To protect ones property, family and community from harm and slavery. If a people are no longer willing to excersise such protection then they cannot have liberty, for sooner or later someone else will take it from them.

    Individual liberty does not and cannot exist in a vacuum. It must be lived in a given community. This is true even if one lives alone in the mountains. If that community is ruled by others then there is little in the way of protection of ones life, property and liberty. You are at the whim of rulers who may be far away and may have little interest in you or your people. National freedom, and the patriotism which helps to maintain that freedom, is a necessary component of preserving individual liberty.

    Of course this presents problems for large multicultural nation-states, which is why decentralising political power and devolving that power back as close to local communities as possible is also necessary. In this respect the EU is a step backwards, as it is concentrating power further away from the local, and increasingly in the hands of people who do not share the British peoples history, traditions and values (which is why those things are under assualt by the Gramscians).

  • Shawn

    “You may as well ask how the British taxpayer benefits from UK membership. It’s all relative. I like being part of the EU, it’s one step closer to global citizenry, and one step further away from medieval serfdom. The US don’t much care for the UN, either, but just because they and Israel keep whining about it doesn’t render that institution worthless, either.

    People living in the Middle Ages were in many respects far more free than those living in Europe now. “Global citizenry” means global government, which means a government far away in any real sense from its subjects. It also means a government in which small local communites have no power, especially those that are far from the global power center.

    The British taxpayer recieves nothing of value from the UN. Not one thing.

    “The US don’t much care for the UN, either, but just because they and Israel keep whining about it doesn’t render that institution worthless, either.”

    No. Rational thinking alone is necessary to determine that the UN is utterly worthless and totally opposed to liberty in any form.

    And given the UN’s tacit and sometimes open support for Arab fascism and Islamic terrorism then describing the US and Israels criticism as whining is both offensive and stupid. The UN has allowed its refugee camps in the ME to be used as terrorist training grounds, and does nothing to stop the anti-Jewish propaganda that is spread in such camps. So when a suicide bomber motivated by such propaganda and trained in a UN “refugee” camp murders one of YOuR children then perhaps you might have a right to an opinion on Israels position regarding the UN.

  • Alisa,

    the EU has a democratic deficit, but that’s how the eopponents of further intergartion like it. For it the EU were more democratic, integration would be more palatable.

  • GCooper: the part where this figure is analized in a bit more detail, as well as being confirmed by other sources. No, I am not going to do a Google research on this, as I am not a British citizen, and so an informed opinion of mine would not be be of any help to anyone:-)