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Voting is just for show

Having been subjected to some robust criticism for my occasional cyncism about the whole modern democratic process, I am actually a little peeved to discover that I am but a mere dilettante:

If the French and the Dutch reject the EU Constitution on Sunday and Wednesday, they should re-run the referendums, the current president of the EU, Jean-Claude Juncker, has said.

“If at the end of the ratification process, we do not manage to solve the problems, the countries that would have said No, would have to ask themselves the question again”, Mr Juncker said in an interview with Belgian daily Le Soir.

‘No’ is not the right answer, you see.

The whole bloody continent is heading for another war. Britain out now.

Sidenote: This Mr. Juncker chappie is the president of the EU? Hands up anyone, anywhere who has ever heard of him!

51 comments to Voting is just for show

  • Verity

    “Sidenote: This Mr. Juncker chappie is the president of the EU? Hands up anyone, anywhere who has ever heard of him!”

    He’s the “president” of a population larger than that of the United States, a democracy which elects its presidents, and no one has ever heard of this individual, never mind voted for him?

    No. I think not. Something scary is building up over there – and it’s accelerating – and Britain needs no part of it. Out now. Declare that we’re out. Negotiate the details later. But out now.

    Suggestion: T Bliar, who is now playing both ends against the middle in a panic, bucking and winging it, looking pallid in the spotlight, “No, but honestly, ladies and germs … No offence, madam! Is ‘e with you? No, but honestly … ” Etc. Let him further his ambitions somewhere else.

    Actually, I sense power draining away from this fool day by day. He definitely will not be able to “deliver” Britain.

  • GCooper

    Which is exactly what anti-EU activists have been predicting all along: that the EUlite will go on asking the same question until they get the answer they want. At which point they’ll stop.

    And no, I’ve never heard of this Juncker person, either. I have certainly never voted for the little fascist, nor has his name ever appeared on any voting form I have seen.

    I blame Elizabeth David, myself. Had she not, in the aftermath of WWII, begun the process of inculcating the belief that traditional English cooking was rubbish and that anything French was automatically wonderful, this whole progression of intellectual dry- rot, whereby continental=good and English=bad, would never have got under way again.

    Interestingly, la David’s recipes often do not work. Like most involved in the love affair with anything foreign (as long as it’s not – heaven forfend! – English) her ideas were a romantic fiction. A triumph of the curious masochism of the British, where different has become synonymous with better.

    Yes. Like the cat. Out. Now!

  • Billll

    It is Mr Junker who is the dilettante here. Take a clue from the American democratic party: If the vote goes against you, simply hand recount untill you win.

  • Verity

    From Al-G’hard’y'an: Mr Juncker will declare that the ratification process must continue, and that countries such as Britain must not abandon their referendums.

    “Mr Juncker insisted this week: “The countries that have said ‘no’ will have to ask themselves the question again.”

    Who TF is this Junker Kaiser? Which among these countries that are enduring a referendum to nowhere in the coming days, elected him and in what capacity? Who is this individual to tell the sovereign country of Great Britain and Norther Ireland that he demands we hold a referendum? Sig and to heil with you, Kaiser Junkman.

    As G Cooper so aptly say, like the cat, which unhesitatingly obeys its instinct for danger with a daring, alert and well-judged jump, OUT. NOW.
    I have a feeling the Dutch and Danish cats will be out the window immediately after us.

  • pfb

    Jean-Claude Juncker, the prime minister of Luxembourg and holder of the rotating EU presidency…

    from the DT.

  • Verity

    Oh, w-e-ll, the prime minister of LUXEMBOURG! The key player on the European continent! Where LUXEMBOURG goes today, the world goes tomorrow. Thank god for LUXEMBOURG’s doughty leadership during WWII, and for the might of its armed forces!!

    Anyone know how many people voted him in, in the important country of LUXEMBOURG? Is that like being Prince Albert of Monaco? Like, major ?

    Does Kaiser Junkman understand he is not empowered to give orders to countries that didn’t vote for him? The wee Kaiser’s getting a wee bit beyond hissel’. But then, these kaisers always do.

  • “We’ll all go down together” seems to be the apt phrase, from this side o’ th’ pond. GB, keep an ocean between yourselves and the EU. Close the Chunnel before it’s too late!

  • Verity

    It’s springtime for England and Nederlands,
    But winter for Junkers, and France …

  • Juncker, where have I heard that name before? Oh, yes! The Aristocracy of Prussia, who performed so wonderfully for that last two German Reichs.

    Is there a book of prophecy that I missed? This seems Apocalyptic.

  • Sandy P

    PRESIDENT CHIRAC of France is preparing to throw Europe into confusion and put Britain on the spot by backing moves to keep the European constitution alive if it is rejected in Sunday’s referendum.

    French diplomats say that M Chirac is expected to urge other countries to proceed with ratification because France does not want to be seen to be blocking the European project. Any attempt to persuade other countries to go ahead will dash the hopes of those in the British Government who believed that a French rejection would make a British referendum unnecessary.

    Via Bros. Judd.

  • Sandy P

    –”Mr Juncker insisted this week: “The countries that have said ‘no’ will have to ask themselves the question again.” –

    Isn’t that what happened in Ireland?

  • Wild Pegasus

    Scoff at Luxembourg, but their per capita GDP trounces anything else on the continent. Or Britain. Or Ireland.

    - Josh

  • Ted Schuerzinger

    Wild Pegasus,

    Haven’t Luxemburg attained their high GDP by providing low-tax financial services to high-tax Belgium?

  • Henry

    Off topic:

    I’m sure all of you Samizdata people will be glad to hear that A & E doctors say that “long pointed kitchen knives” should be banned to reduce violent crime. Remember, it’s for your own protection. Doctor knows best!

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4581871.stm

  • I’ll be voting ‘no’ on Wednesday and hope a French/Dutch ‘no’ won’t cancel the British referendum. But oh, how I’d love to be on that island with you.

  • Gazaridis

    Actually, this is fantastic news.

    The alternative would be for the EU to tack a few more socialist bits onto the constitution, then pass the lot through as a series of minor technical documents. If only France say no, Europe gets pulled to the left. If we get a chance to say no, we pull it in the other direction, and something might break. And if the EU tells us to vote again, the tories might even push for withdrawal (as long as Ken Clarke doesn’t win)

  • Pete_London

    Sandy P

    The Irish referendum, I think, was to ratify or reject the Nice Treaty. Following a ‘no’ result I remember Jaques Delors saying something along the lines of ‘the Irish will vote and vote again until they come up with the right answer.’

    They promptly turned around and voted ‘yes’. Good little stakhanovites!

    It’s been plain ever since that there is no such thing as a ‘no’ where the EU is concerned. They only see a pending ‘yes’.

  • Pete_London

    David Carr

    By the way, I’m astonished at the level of ignorance shown in here. I’ve been aware of Juncker since at least yesterday morning.

  • Re GCooper’s comment

    “That’s the trouble, no-one’s proud of being British, these days. They all seem to think foreigners can do everything better.”

    From Episode – Fred’s Pie Stall
    Hancock’s Half Hour – Radio Series 6, episode 7
    Recorded – 17-6-1959
    First Broadcast – 10-11-1959

    A fantastic line having a go at the “intelligensia” who’ve long gazed adoringly at abroad whilst putting down their own country. The likes of Kingley Amis and Philip Larkin couldn’t abid them in the 50′s and I can’t stand them now.

  • APL

    Guys, Girls! Don’t get so excited. The Yes camp will win the French referendum by a whopping margin of 1%. The final result will be 51% yes and 49% No, by turnout.

    It is a dead cert, almost so much so, that it is hardly worth holding the referendum.

  • Andrew Duffin

    “He’s the “president” of a population larger than that of the United States, a democracy which elects its presidents”

    No, Verity. I am surprised you would make such a mistakte.

    The EU is not a democracy, and its presidents are appointed, not elected.

  • The Last Toryboy

    He’s the president of the Council of the European Union, aka the Council of Ministers, which is the part that represents national parliaments. The one where they rotate the boss every six months. Bliar is up next.
    Him not being elected doesnt bother me much because the Council of Ministers is the most intergovernmental part of the whole evil empire, ie a forum where all national parliaments are represented with a rotating figurehead with no real power. If some future EU is ever going to work, a loose confederacy perhaps, it would have to be done, IMHO, on this model, more of a forum for representatives of national parliaments to debate in than a supranational body supreme in its own right. And in such a forum, if it were to have a leader, obviously in an intergovernmental model that leader wouldnt be elected.

    The true black heart of darkness is the European Commission, none of whom were elected, all of whom are supposed to be independent (read : unaccountable) and free from influence even from those who put them there. Barroso The Corrupt and his team of hissing supranational rattlesnakes coiled in the darkness of their pit in Belgium are the root of all EU evil.

    EU delenda est.

  • squawkbox

    Just a thought, but is the EU referendum legally binding on the French and Dutch governments? I don’t know about the Dutch, but as far as the French are concerned:

    1. Chirac can’t run for president again, so has no concerns about re-election (I think there’s a 2-term limit for the French presidency, but I’m open to correction on this).

    2. The stakes for the Eurocracy are high – a few million from one of the EU’s myriad slush funds might go a long way, especially in one of Chirac’s bank accounts.

    More complicated than this, I know (I haven’t lived in the EU for 10 years now and my memory of how it operates is fading) but is the basic idea of the French government disregarding the referendum’s result plausible?

  • Stehpinkeln

    Have heart gentleman, fair ladies and Man U fans. At some point in time Brussels will try to arrest an American and the USA will be at war with them. The Senate has already spoken and we are just waiting for Brussels to pull the trigger. Since they are bureaucrats, they will. Reminds me of a chimp playing with a loaded and cocked revolver.
    The BBC has a letters campaign going. While most of the letters to the BBC are written by staffers to support what ever part of the Socialist agenda they are pushing today, I figure with the strike and all, there is a slight chance that some of the letters’ are real. I bring this up because the tone of the notes from Germany was angry. I think the germans in general are not happy about not being allowed to vote. They would kill the EU in a heart beat, if they could. Remember Germans are the ones that are really getting their spincters stretched by Brussels. Shall we start a pool on who’s gone first, Blair, Shroeder or Chirac? I think Shroeder will do a Martin and just take over the government and ignore any no confidence votes, or rig them to his advantage.

  • Verity

    Andrew Duffin, I am sorry you couldn’t understand a simple declarative sentence:

    “He’s the “president” of a population larger than that of the United States, a democracy which elects its presidents” Now that I’ve italicised it to augment the comma, can you understand it? The entire point of my post was that this flea is NOT ELECTED, whereas the most powerful country in the history of mankind ELECTS its chief executive.

    “No, Verity. I am surprised you would make such a mistakte.” I didn’t.

    “The EU is not a democracy, and its presidents are appointed, not elected.” No shit. I have banged on for two years years about the lack of democracy and accountability in the EU. Every time I have mentioned the Bliar’s aspiration to become the EU’s first permanent president, I have always appended the word “unelected”.

    People, France is not going to vote no. It will be a tiny, tiny majority, as Jonathan has also said – maybe three to six percent – but it will be a majority. This is all French drama to concentrate the minds of other countries. (They think France voting no would throw “Europe” into disarray. They don’t realise there’d be street parties in Britain, Denmark and Holland.)

    Squawkbox – It won’t ignore the results, but if France rejects the 487 page “constitution”, written by a patrician Frenchman, there will be grave speeches on the television on how the government has listened to the “concerns” of the citoyens de La France and is even now addressing them with an additional thousand pages of footnotes. And to pencil in a date six months from now for a vote on the rejigged “constitution”.

  • “At some point in time Brussels will try to arrest an American and the USA will be at war with them.”

    Are you confusing Belgium’s war crimes act (the one which claimed similarly stupid extraterritorial jurisdiction to that which the USA claims, but – unlike the USA’s extraterritorial claims – will never be enforced) with something vaguely EU-related, or are you just mad?

  • Verity

    Quoting from Stephen Pollard’s blog:
    “This is Jean-Claude Juncker, the Luxembourg PM, on how things will change on Monday, given a yes or a no vote in France:

    ” ‘If it’s a Yes, we will say ‘on we go’, and if it’s a No we will say ‘we continue’. ”

    The insolence is astounding. How long before it becomes intolerable?

  • Verity

    To clarify, I intended the content from Stephen Pollard’s blog to be all in Italics and I messed it up because I’m working with Firefox. The quote from Pollard’s blog ends with ‘we continue’.”

    The final two sentences are my comment and nothing to do with Mr Pollard.

  • Johnathan

    The sheer brass neck of the EU goons never fails to amaze. In the coure of my job I have had dealings with people like Juncker and they are, without exception, complete jerks.

  • Gazaridis

    They think France voting no would throw “Europe” into disarray. They don’t realise there’d be street parties in Britain, Denmark and Holland.

    I don’t know about the rest of Europe, but the French government are fully aware there’d be parties in the UK. That’s why they want a ‘yes’ so badly –

    “A no vote is an open door to an Anglo-Saxon Europe” – French transport & tourism minister

    “To vote yes is to show one’s attachment to the French model and one’s refusal of the Anglo-Saxon or Polish model” – French budget minister

    If we get round to a referendum, expect to see these quotes and more.

  • Verityh

    Gazaridis, You are correct. What is so baffling, even after having lived in France is, what on earth are they afraid of? The Anglo-Saxon model works. Look at Oz, Singapore, the US, Britain, India – all the neat countries – churning out money like there’s no tomorrow and people’s living standards rocketing up, minimum of regulations (especially after we drive a stake through the heart of T Bliar while wearing a string of garlic and making the sign of the cross), everyone free to start a company and make a run at success … then you look at the French model, hidebound, bureaucracy bound, rules about how long an ambitious individual is allowed to work, form filling … well, I suppose it’s more comfortable and infantile to let the state dictate how you live and what you can do than take responsibility for yourself and your own future.

  • The Last Toryboy

    The Dutch government said they would ignore the referendum result if the turnout was below 30%. Referenda in the Dutch constitution are purely advisory, so they might ignore it anyway, and apparently the cynical Dutch electorate think they will do just that.

  • Verity

    TLTB, oh no! They mustn’t ignore it! They have to let the arseholes in the government know what they think! Would they dare go against the wishes of the electorate? (Not because of any high principles, obviously, but the politician’s mother’s milk: self interest. They know they will be coming up for re-election.)

    I am beginning to despair of the formerly valiant Dutch. But that’s the EU for you. It saps the will to live.

  • Jamisia

    I believe mr Wouter Bos (leader of the PvdA = the social-dems) has said something similar. If at first you do not succeed… then push it thru at all costs at a later date. I certainly will vote (and it’s going to be: ‘no’!), but less than 30% of the electorate go out and vote, it’ll be up to the british to kick Brussels butt.

  • guy herbert

    Last Toryboy:

    Him not being elected doesnt bother me much because the Council of Ministers is the most intergovernmental part of the whole evil empire, ie a forum where all national parliaments are represented with a rotating figurehead with no real power.

    Well, for those who come here with no EU prior, it is worth pointing out that this is not the constitutional position (I mean now, not under the forthcoming constitution). The Council is notionally the ruling body for the moment because in effect the EU is an unincorporated association of sovereign nation states and this is its general meeting. All the power is the Council’s. But to exercise it would require them to agree, or at least take some significant time off from domestic affairs to control the most freebooting bits of their own civil services that otherwise run the Council in the shape of Coreper, and have a proper argument.

    In practice the Commission proposes, the Council says “yes”, as previously arranged, before posing for a statesmanlike photograph, and the Parliament says, “We have to go to a social inclusion workshop in Graz this week, so I don’t really know what’s been proposed, but the helpful man from Wunderlobby GmbH explained that…”

  • Stephan

    Many wonderful points throughout this comment thread, but I just can’t figure out why so many of you are so damn caught up on democracy and how wonderful it would be for the EU (A very fitting acronym, I must add). Does anyone here actually think that the Union would be that much less tyrannical if we all got to pick our nannies and babysitters?

  • Verity

    Guy, Guy, Guy … you forgot to mention one of the major parts of the GM when the leaders emerge into the sunshine, blinking … They come out with their previously stitched up agreements and pose for their statesmanslike photo, yes, but then they … TALK TO THEIR NATIONAL MEDIA! In which they describe their TRIUMPHS! “We didn’t budge on our red lines,” blethers Blair (except for the ones we tossed away in private meetings)’. “We protected French apple growers against determined pressure from Greece,” says Chirac. “The Netherlands will continue to have the honour of being the highest per capita contributor in the entire EU,” bleats the Dutch prime minister.

    These statements are EXTREMELY IMPORTANT.

  • GCooper

    The tone of barely suppressed horror that has run throughout every BBC news report on the French referendum today has alone (almost) been worth the licence fee.

    I thought the Beeb was supposed to have cleaned-up its act on EU reporting? I’ve never heard such transparent bias as it has transmitted these past few days. It’s been almost as impressive as Jim Naughtie’s legendary use of the word ‘we’ when discussing ZA-NuLabour during the election.

  • Ian Parry

    If the countries which voted ‘no’ are to get another chance to vote ‘yes’ then it’s only fair that the countries which voted ‘yes’ should get another chance to vote ‘no’.

  • Any person in his supposed position who hasn’t learnt the word ‘referenda’ by now is clearly not to be trusted.

  • Stehpinkeln

    John B, way back when, during the Clintons administrations 2nd term ( I think, maybe Bush’s first) the ICC was talking about arresting Americans for war crimes. The Senate passed a resolution declaring war if that happened. Doesn’t really mean anything, since all the Senate can do is delcare war, they cannot wage it.
    But if the sitting President whenever this happens wants to, he CAN wage war on somebody. The whole War powers thingie is so far out of touch that it needs to be re-worked again. It was done in the 70′s IIRC, but that law hasn’t beeen challenged in court yet. Both sides are afraid to. So anything out of the Senate that even hints at the use of violence can be interpreted as a war resolution. The resolution covering the War on Terror is so vague that it can be stretched to cover almost anything. And has. It covered Iraq and if needed it can cover Syria and Iran also. 18th century laws and practices don’t deal very well with 21st century problems.

  • Tony (UK)

    War? With the EU? Geddin!! – I’ll go to Lakenheath to wave the first flight of bombers off!

  • Stehpinkeln

    Skipping past the trivial subject of an US-EU war and going to the frivolous of the EU PM, What exactly is the collective noun for the citizens of Luxembourg? I thought I would slide over to good ol’ Samizadata.com, where some of the more erudite guardians of the Queen’s English are know to while away the hours, and ask here.
    I considered Luxembourger, but that sounds like the featured sandwich at the ‘Caped Cruader Cafe’.
    And then there is Luxembourgarian, which brings to mind a ahort skinny fellow waving a red flag and a mis-fused bomb.
    Or maybe Luxembourgese, which sounds like a really bland and vile salad dressing.
    All this ruminating makes me hungry, so I will eat lunch a await the verdict of those more learned then I .

    “Where facts are few, experts are many. ”
    - Donald R. Gannon

  • Verity

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4589403.stm

    Well, they’re voting early; but will they vote often enough?

  • Joshua

    squawkbox: The French referendum is supposed to be binding, but the Dutch referendum is supposed to be advisory.

  • The Last Toryboy

    I believe Luxembourgeois live in Luxembourg. Tho I could be wrong.

    And yes, COREPER is another pretty evil part of the EU. Still, my point is that assuming you want any cooperation between European nations at all, having some sort of intergovernmental forum would be the way to do it, so the Council itself is not a particularly onerous institution, it seems to me.

    Its all the other garbage that comes with it which is the problem.

  • Verity

    TLTB – Do we have such a forum with the US?

    Only 10th raters, like failed people who go to endless council committee meetings, need forums.

    The Commonwealth, for instance. Blah blah blah blah blah. The UN. Formal forums aren’t needed. Pick up the damn’ phone.

  • Chris Harper

    Chig,
    Sorry chum, despite its looks referendum isn’t latin or latin based. The plural is referendums, not referenda.

  • From Merriam-Webster:

    Main Entry: ref·er·en·dum
    Pronunciation: “re-f&-’ren-d&m
    Function: noun
    Inflected Form(s): plural ref·er·en·da /-d&/; or -dums
    Etymology: New Latin, from Latin, neuter of referendus, gerundive of referre to refer
    1 a : the principle or practice of submitting to popular vote a measure passed on or proposed by a legislative body or by popular initiative b : a vote on a measure so submitted
    2 : a diplomatic agent’s note asking for government instructions

  • Julian Taylor

    Of course poor Jean-Claude Juncker should be aware that he is only a temporary custodian of the position of Supreme Head of International Trade and President of The United States of Europe until such time as our sacred and beloved St Tone of Nowhere Special decides to ascend from the lowly status of Prime Minister For Life in the UK to that position, unless of course the USA allows Blair to become President after GW.

    When I look at Chirac, Blair et al bitching at their own population for possibly voting no then all I can see is the panic that they might, heavens forbid, be prevented from attaining one of the most powerful positions in the world by their own people.

  • Verity

    Julian Taylor – St Tone of Nowhere! Funny!

    My take on Toneboy’s future. He won’t make it to prez of the EU. Chirac and Schroeder will double cross him – the one honourable thing they have done in their entire political careers.

    Blair ‘n’ Cher will bounce across the Atlantic for very lucrative after dinner speeches, of course. That much is predictable, and they need the money.

    I haven’t seen this mentioned elsewhere, but I am guessing that Toneboy will open a consultancy in DC with his name on it. It will be based on his depth of experience in dealing with the EU and his “familiarity with EU law – given that he helped fashion most of it himself. Needless to say, Mr Blair has unrivalled access to EU governments and lawmakers, among whom he is widely respected”.

    The really highly educated and knowledgable people in the consultancy will keep him away from decision-making, but will wheel him out for client meetings. The Blair Consultancy Group. Chairman Anthony Lynton Blair, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

    Mark my words.