Monday, 2 October 2017

EU Misconceptions

This is normally a lighthearted blog about the mess being created by the UK government and the hapless fools at the core of UK politics. I'm afraid I'm in a more sombre mood today after Sunday's shocking scenes surrounding the Catalan referendum. I don't want to go in to that too much because this blog is mainly about Brexit and Scottish independence. I honestly don't know much about the situation in Catalonia or any of the details that led to the referendum. Having said that, it barely needs saying that the manner in which the Spanish authorities crushed a peaceful and democratic campaign was made all the more chilling by the obvious parallels with the Scottish independence movement.

Paul Mason erroneously blames Juncker and the centre-right EPP grouping.
 What's all this got to do with the EU?  Popular opinion seems to think that the EU is either directly to blame for the unfolding horror or that it should intervene with immediate condemnations and threats of expulsion. Paul Mason, for example, was quick to blame Juncker and the centre-right EPP grouping in the European Parliament. I'm not sure what any of that has to do with Spanish internal affairs but politics is a nasty affair and any stick that can be used to prop up Labour's flimsy EU story seems to be acceptable to Momentum supporters. More nuanced but equally incorrect views came from a much wider group of commentators who felt that their support for the UK's EU membership had been betrayed by the institutions and individuals that make up the EU. That feeling of genuine sadness that the EU had somehow sided with the Spanish government by remaining silent on the issue was so prevalent that I'd like to explore it in more detail. What could the EU actually have done? Who would have done it? Which institutions might be responsible for restoring order in Catalonia? I hope we'll have some answers to these questions at the end of the post.



Totally understandable but anger must be better directed.
Let's start by thinking about the powers of the EU. What power does it actually have? Well, it only has the powers given to it by member nations and by the European Parliament. If the EU wishes to make a statement about Spanish policing then it will only do so if the member states get together and agree on that. Even if that was to happen it certainly isn't going to happen quickly because the EU works by process and law rather than by knee-jerk political gestures.  In the event that member states  decide to collectively give the EU the power to make statements about Spanish policing it will be done only with witness statements, legal reports containing references to EU law, and consensual agreement. That all takes time and cannot happen today.  We really cannot expect the EU to coordinate the opinion of 28 nations in real-time.

Even with consensus that something should be done could the EU actually intervene in Spain's internal police procedures?  This doesn't typically happen but if it did we'd have seen it already with the UK at the receiving end of the complaint.  The tragic case of Ian Tomlinson springs to mind.  Ian Tomlinson was a newspaper seller who was unlawfully killed by a policeman during a student protest in 2009.  Not only was police management of the protest in question but the forensic evidence provided at the trial was troubling, to say the least.  If there was ever a case for the EU to intervene then this was it. They didn't intervene, however, because this is beyond the competence of the EU.  In fact, the EU is  constructed in a way that stops it interfering with the territorial integrity of member nations.  The "federal super-state" that Farage and The Daily Express endlessly complain about is a myth and no more than that.

Let's imagine for a second that the EU does have the power to make immediate and definitive statements on the internal affairs of member states. Who might actually make that statement? After all, such a statement would be made on behalf of the entire EU but it would need to be made without proper consultation of its members.  The simple truth is that nobody has that power.  Jean Claude Juncker, President of the EU Commission, certainly does not have that kind of power because his role is administrative rather than political. Guy Verhofstadt is able to speak for the European Parliament on matters relating to Brexit but only because he was democratically appointed to that position by MEPs.  He certainly does not have the authority to speak for the EP on any other issue. He can, of course, speak in a personal capacity. In fact, many MEPs have spoken out with personal condemnations of the events in Spain. Perhaps in time we'll see political groupings in the European Parliament speak out with formal statements but that will take time. For today, the most we can expect is personal statements from individual politicians. Have we seen that? Yes, we have.
Alyn Smith is a SNP MEP.
What can the EU actually do? Well, Article 7 of the Lisbon Treaty provides for the suspension of membership if the conditions of Article 2 have been breached.  It's not at all clear that Article 2 has been breached in the case of the Catalan referendum so suspension seems unlikely and certainly could never be immediately implemented. Again, let's imagine that Article 2 had been breached in some way or other. What could the EU actually do?  Article 7 is quite clear that action requires the consent of the European Council, whose membership is the heads of state of the member nations.  We can forget about the UK having any influence here because, in case you hadn't noticed, it is scheduled to leave the EU at 11pm on 31 March, 2019. Even if that hadn't been the case, what would the chances have been of Theresa May spending time on this and staking her limited political capital on it? I would guess quite close to zero because it only opens the UK to all sorts of counter charges. It is honestly not hard to think of dozens of cases where the UK has let human rights slip down its list of priorities.  That leaves the other 27 EU nations such as Germany and Denmark and, yes, Spain. Anger and attempts at forcing action should be directed at heads of state rather than the EU.

In the above, I imagined a scenario where Article 7 could be invoked due to a breach of Article 2.  The difficult here is that Article 2 has not been obviously breached.  Of course, Spain might carry on down this path to the point that the rule of law is suspended. Perhaps we'll see the court system dismantled so that investigations can no longer be carried out independently of political interference or perhaps a group of Francoists will seize power and reject the systems of democratic accountability.  EU membership would surely become untenable under those conditions but none of those things have actually happened. Despite the genuinely awful scenes, Spain is not yet a fascist state.

I'm not a lawyer or an expert in international affairs but it strikes me that this is a problem of human rights and therefore more suitable for the Council of Europe rather than any EU institution. All EU member states are members of the Council of Europe and are consequently expected to uphold the findings of the European Court of Human Rights. If a Spanish citizen feels that their human rights, as laid down in the European Convention of Human Rights, have been violated then it seems intuitive that their first port of call will be the Spanish court system, followed by ECtHR if they still feel that justice has not been served. We mustn't forget diplomacy, either. EU membership does not impede any member state from wielding the power of diplomacy, no matter what Paul Mason might think.  I'm quite sure that is going on because diplomacy literally never stops.  It's a great pity that this has been left to Boris Johnson because this is an area where, until recently, the UK had a deserved reputation.

The EU is a collection of national governments rather than a government itself; it acts methodically by process and law rather than gut reaction; it works by consensus rather than "strong" leadership; it is a sequence of institutions with specific competences rather than a unified structure of power. There is no single person at the helm. None of that might be what you want it to be but expecting it to be something that it isn't and then complaining about it isn't going to help the situation in Barcelona.  The truth is that understanding of the EU is so limited that it has all too easily become the default scapegoat of the left and the right.   The EU didn't do this, it was the Spanish governments.  We mustn't forget that simple fact.

Over and out,

Terry

PS The Council of Europe, the European Council, the Council of Ministers, the European Commission, the European Court of Human Rights, the Court of Justice of the EU.  I know it's a lot to take in but we have to get on top of this.  Ian Dunt is 100% right here:  they get you with the boring stuff.

26 comments:

  1. Thanks for putting that into perspective.

    It's very easy to blame the EU, where it would be appropriate to blame member countries, or rather their governments for shortcomings in condemnation of the situation in Catalonia over the weekend... and ongoing.

    The Council of Europe is of course an altogether different entity of 47 member states from Albania to the UK and all in between.

    Diplomacy at a state level is the way forward here, I agree. Dr Merkel has already contacted the Spanish government. I suspect that Germany may be the go to European nation for this kind of diplomacy in the future. It would certainly be a mistake to look for statesmanship from either May or Johnson.

    One correction if I may.

    You have mentioned a few times that it is the job of heads of state to act on these matters. In fact in most cases in Europe, it is the head of government who has that responsibility.

    I may be wrong, but I can only think of France, where the head of state is responsible for foreign policy.

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    1. The European Council uses the phrase "heads of state or government". You're right that "heads of state" is misleading. It sort of suggests that royalty and presidents with symbolic power are making decisions. Heads of government is much, much clearer.

      In this case the left and right attack the EU because it suits them to do so. It takes the pressure off Corbyn and May to intervene and pushes it somewhere else. This is completely irresponsible, in my view. We still live in a world where the Prime Minister has diplomatic power but she refuses to wield it. It's easy for her to refuse to do that because the opposition don't pressure her to do so and instead blame the EU. People like Paul Mason and the Momentum fanboys are only attacking the EU because they think it is a popular move and will help them win an election. They are every bit as bad as May and co because they propagate the myth of the federal super-state. They're basically doing Rajoy's work for him by refusing to use the available channels of diplomatic pressure.

      There are articles all over social media and in the National today about how the EU dream is somehow dead for an independent Scotland. That is so wrong-headed and makes independence even harder to achieve. All of this is based on a lack of understanding that allows pretty much anything to be said about the EU. It's often hard to separate lies from misunderstanding, although much easier in the case of Paul Mason.

      It looks like some things are happening now. Angela Merkel has made an initial move and the EP is to debate this tomorrow.


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  2. I think that more and more Angela Merkel is becoming the leader of the West, in the absence of anything vaguely sentient in the White House.

    Perhaps Macron and Trudeau follow in her wake, hopefully learning from her long experience.

    Britain has for many years been merely a shadow of the USA. No one takes Trump seriously, and May is such a weak and vacillating leader, that she is totally ignorable, even when she does say something... Who, for example, turned up to listen to her UN speech?

    Blaming the EU for everything is of course a British sport, practised over the length of our membership. It would be silly to expect it to change now.

    It's going to be very handy to blame the EU when negotiations go wrong and the "no deal" part of "no deal is better than a bad deal" becomes the catastrophic outcome.

    It's funny though, that some think that the EU should intervene in Spain because of the undemocratic way they have conducted this affair.

    I wonder if they would agree that the EU should intervene when it comes to democratic deficits in the UK... Lords, PC, FPTP, Royal Prerogative, or indeed the fact that although the makeup of the Scottish Parliament is such that there is a majority of MSPs who were elected on a manifesto of a second referendum if Scotland was taken out of the EU against its will...something which was later passed in parliament when Scotland WAS taken out of the EU against its will, and yet which Mrs May, her colonel and her tea boy have insisted they will not allow.

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    1. It does seem more and more that everyone is looking to Germany to be the "leader of the free world". To me, though, it seems that Germany is reluctant to take on that role. The recent elections there seemed to focus more on domestic affairs rather than their place in the world. Somebody, somewhere has to provide leadership because if they don't Trump might get his way. With Brexit on the way, the UK doesn't have much capacity to do this and certainly doesn't have influence any longer. As you said, May's recent UN appearance sums up the UK's position today.

      I do understand why people feel betrayed. I think people feel disappointed and let down by the lack of immediate action. What happened in Spain was terrible. It certainly didn't look like the actions of a democratic state. The problem is that we could look at any country and pick out events that were also terrible and an affront to democracy. It's also hard to pick out the truths about the limits of the EU because we've been told for years that its power is unlimited by all sides.

      I saw someone describe the EU as Schroedinger's EU. It had too much power but didn't have use it when it mattered. It intervenes too much, but didn't intervene today. It can't be both ways. Personally, I don't want the EU to start having the power of intervention in internal affairs. That does sound like a federal super-state and it actually sounds a bit scary to me. I'd much rather the EU looks weak than all powerful. Too much remote power is never democratic.

      I am disappointed that more leaders didn't speak out in a personal capacity or even as leaders of parties. Because of that I totally understand that sense of betrayal. What annoys me is that anger is misplaced and directed at the wrong target. Get angry with Johnson and May. They can do a lot more than Juncker. If we don't like our leaders' actions then we need to vote them out and get new ones.

      I get the impression that a lot of independence supporters are looking to the EU as moral allies. That is probably misplaced. The EU member states are looking out for themselves. That is what their leaders and representatives are elected to do. Scotland has a lot of levers to pull to gather support within the EU but we mustn't forget that the EU is most likely to respond favourably when it is in the interests of its member states. That's just how it is.

      The Tory Party is see-sawing between no deal and reality. It seems that May is now edging towards reality while Fox and Johnson are on another planet altogether. But she is so unbelievably weak. How humiliating must it be to be her, being undermined hourly?







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  3. Terry, you, as per usual, are correct in the detail of what you outline here but I still find myself in disagreement with you over this issue. Accepting that 'the EU' do not have any power to intervene immediately there was still a noticeable absence of the idea that the principle of European democracy is of paramount importance to key figures within the EU hierarchy on Sunday. Junkers, Tusk, Guy V (sorry, I'm on my phone so ability to cut & paste or spellcheck are limited so please bear with me) and many others could all have stated the actions of the Spanish government in deploying state police to stop EU citizens voicing their democratic opinion was wholely against the spirit of the EU but they didn't.

    Instead we got weak statements condemning the violence but calling the referendum illegal. This is the same mealy mouthed reporting of "clashes" between police & "protesters" that the MSM have been utilising to describe police officers beating people committing the heinous crime of trying to cast a vote.

    The governments of the EU member states are equally guilty of being reticent in condemning Spanish actions but, individually, there are often reasons for countries to act this way. But the EU, as an institution, claims to be in existence to promote & ensure peace through democracy in Europe (which is why Turkey hasn't been allowed to join the club yet) and not just be a trading bloc with preferential rates for members.

    But at the first hurdle the elected & appointed top officials bottle it: no prior warnings to Madrid that using force against peaceful voters is 'un-European', no statements of condemnation about the removal of ballot boxes, no real disapproval of the use of violence against peaceful citizens. I'm a former police officer & we were trained that the use of force had to be justified & could not be lawfully ordered by a senior officer unless justified. I am appalled by the violence, not force, violence, used by the GS on Sunday.

    If the EU is not, in part, there to impart a higher moral & legal standard on member states then all it is is a common market & customs area & I don't care any longer & think the Scotland I want to see exist is better off out. You redacted the tweet voicing doubt about the poster's continued commitment to the EU but I am in full agreement with him (& said as much in reply to that tweet). He is not a Brexiteer or a Paul Mason looking for an excuse, any excuse, to attack the EU but is someone who appears to share my views on the primacy of democratic freedom & human rights over laws & regulations. What I saw this weekend makes me fear that the EU is more concerned about law than it is about democracy. Is this, I wonder & fear, the appeasement of the 1930s making a return?

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    1. The "problem" with democracy is that there are 2 sides to every issue. The Spanish government declared the referendum illegal. They are perfectly allowed to do that. There is no rule anywhere that forbids the Spanish government from exercising the powers available to them. Spain is not a fascist state and, while its actions strike me as completely inappropriate, it's hard to argue that Spain has broken any of its legal commitments to the EU. If the EU is tasked with upholding peace then doesn't it also have a duty to protect the integrity of member states? I'm trying to point out that it is easily argued that promoting peace might mean not endorsing breakaway movements that threaten stability. This is exactly the kind of tension that the EU is being asked to deal with. It is not a simple question that obviously leads to the support of the Catalan movement. It is a simple question to me but I'm not juggling all sorts of other commitments, treaties and the desires of national governments.

      If the EU does unilaterally intervene then it opens up a can of worms that can never be closed. Every EU nation has deplorable incidents where police tactics are heavy-handed, courts are corrupt etc. If the EU acted like a federal super-state then I'm quite sure Brexit wouldn't be the last departure. The simple truth is that member states will not put up with that kind of interference because it is not in the narrow interest of national governments to do so. The EU needs to find a balance between national sovereignty and collective action. That is not easy.

      The EU is only as moral as its member states because it acts on their behalf with their approval. I don't see the EU as "bottling it" because it does not yet have the authority to intervene. It can only be given that power by its members. That might happen in time but it is not going to happen today. A common criticism is that the EU is slow to react. That is 100% true but it is a positive as much as it is a negative.

      Directing anger at the EU is letting national leaders off the hook. In my view, national leaders are the only people with real power in this situation. What is Corbyn saying about this? What about May and Johnson? Or Merkel? Or Macron?

      The tweeter I posted here is neither a Brexiteer or a Momentum supporter. I hope I made that clear. I would reckon that I would agree with him on almost every issue. His opinion was just one that I saw dozens of times: disappointment, feeling let down. I wanted to point out here that the EU isn't what people think it is and doesn't have the powers many think it has.

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    2. I accept the truth of your comments regarding the powers of the EU and that it is not necessarily appropriate for EU officials to support independence movements within EU member states but there is considerable room between endorsing Catalonian independence and making a note of chastisement towards the actions of the Spanish government.

      By your argument the likes of Tusk/Junckers/Verhofstadt had either no authority to speak out at all or were bound to follow the line dictated to them by the member states governments. In which case their various statements should have gone alone the lines of "as a representative of all EU states my official position is...blah...blah....blah" instead we got version of (supposedly) personal opinions "Bad Madrid, you shouldn't have used violence. But you Catalans, tsk. What were you thinking? Don't you know your actions were illegal?" The net result was, as Craig Murray points out, the EU officials at the highest level appear to be endorsing the actions of the Spanish government more than they are criticising it. And that interpretation is reflected in the statements made by members of the Spanish government.

      Others elsewhere have asked what the reaction would be if these actions had taken place in Russia, Venezuela or some African nation with an autocratic government. You do not find, in such instances, the likes of Verhofstadt coming out with lines like "60% of citizens are against X and the whole referendum is illegal anyway". What the EU has shown me through the statements of its top officials, is that, like too many professional bodies (the medical profession springs to mind, the police another), their first instinct is to rally round protect the leadership of the institution rather than police its actions to ensure the end-users are treated properly.

      I realise, in thinking back about your blog, is that you concentrate on the trade side of the EU almost exclusively. That is very important in the context of Brexit but it is not the only thing the EU exist for and I wonder whether you don't give that quite as much emphasis as I do. That is by the by and may simply be something we have to agree to disagree on.

      All the best.

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    3. Thanks for your detailed response!

      I think it would be most inappropriate for Juncker to speak out. That would be like Jeremy Heywood speaking out about UK unemployment policy. His role is most definitely not to speak out. Donald Tusk is in a different position but I also think it would be inappropriate. He is President of the European Council. I would guess he can only speak with authority when he has backing of the heads of government. Verhofstadt can speak out in a personal capacity and even went as far as that. His response was diplomatic, to say the least. He is an elected MEP - all elected MEPs can speak out in a personal capacity and many did.

      I honestly don't share your view that the EU's inaction can be interpreted as endorsement of Spain's actions. I interpret it as a problem that needs solved but without the levers to reach a solution. It just isn't the EU's job to interfere in the internal affairs of Spain or any other member state without consultation across its membership. That takes time and will. It's not clear if the will is there but that isn't too surprising because Spain isn't the only EU nation with a secession movement.

      I completely agree that the EU will have a natural tendency to protect itself. It would much rather the Catalan issue just went away because they don't want anything to threaten its stability or status quo. All institutions act that way. In the EU's case, it acts that way because its member nations want it that way and designed it to act that way. I think Belgium is the only nation to speak out so far. Scotland, of course, can be added to the list but it doesn't (yet) have a seat at the EU.

      I completely take your point about double standards. The EU would certainly criticise Russia much faster than its own membership. The reason for that is that Russia comes under foreign policy, while Spain is domestic policy. The EU is weak on domestic policy but it is designed that way because its members want it that way. It's just not in the interests of national governments to have the EU poking around all the time so they avoid that. I can see the advantages of giving the EU more power in this regard but I think the EU risks becoming the undemocratic super-state that Farage already believes it is.

      My blog is indeed mainly about trade issues. The EU does have a wide reach but that is because trade harmonisation involves all sorts of indirect issues. I tend to focus on that most because that's the bit that the UK will miss most when it leaves. I tend to think that the peace dividend of the EU is that countries with harmonised trade and open borders and a multi-way flow of workers are much less likely to bomb each other. I think that has been fairly successful. Of course, the EU does have other concerns that reflect European values. These might include the environment, workers' rights etc. Most of that is dealt with under the banner of trade harmonisation. Then there are things like the EU army and EU foreign policy and crime and justice policy. These are the least developed and weakest areas of the EU so I tend not to consider these too much. But you've prompted me to think more about these issues. In the context of the UK, however, it opted out almost all of it so leaving the EU won't change much.

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    4. Cheers Terry. Sorry for skipping over your last post in the following comment but I'll get back to that later if I may.

      You've twice commented that Spain is not a fascist country but my question is, what is the point a country becomes defined as fascist? Or is it something we look back on & say, 'look, fascists!' using crystal clear hindsight?

      Personally I'd define using state violence against the populous as fascist & certainly using legal means against leaders of the opposition. Craig's latest for reference https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2017/10/catalonia-rajoy-moves-towards-extreme-measures/

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    5. And if you are not familiar with this blog, the latest few posts have interesting things to say as well.

      https://randompublicjournal.com

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    6. I don't have a quick answer for a definition of fascism. History tells us that it slowly creeps up rather than happening in an instant. I totally get your point.

      If we use state violence as a marker of fascism then, sadly, it might be hard to think of a developed nation that isn't fascist. The US would certainly be fascist by that benchmark, as would the UK. I'd need to think about a specific instance but I'm certain I could add France and Germany to that list. If we added intrusive surveillance and data collection to the benchmark then I'm fairly certain I could add immediately France to the list and underline the UK's entry in bold type. None of these nations, however, are actually fascist. There is still democratic accountability, and there is still a clear separation of judicial and executive powers. I don't know enough about what is happening in Catalonia but as of today it doesn't look fascist. It looks ugly and brutal and it is of great concern but is it fascism? Have democracy and Spanish law been discarded? Some might say that, yes, it has. Others might disagree and say that Spanish law is being upheld. I guess that's my point. Nothing is clear cut, every law and action is open to interpretation and legal argument. With that in mind we are asking the EU to make an *immediate* judgement in an area where it already has limited competence. My take is it is a very tall order. We couldn't even get that from our own Foreign Secretary who is completely free to formulate policy.

      Ta for the link. I shall read that tomorrow lunchtime.


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    7. Fascist, totalitarian, autocratic; so many blurred lines it is hard to pin down political realities.

      The use of force by the state against the population is a hallmark of a fascist state but non-fascist states also use state violence. I would argue that the USA is one such state because we have seen how brutal their law enforcement can be. But, to date, I'm not aware of American police beating people simply for trying to vote.

      During riots people often get struck with batons but very often this is combined with being arrested & charged with a crime. But always in riots or protests arrests will be made & the rule of law seen to be enforced. On Sunday the GS simply beat people, hospitalising over 500, and not a single (as far as I know) arrest was made. That, to me, would be a line of demarcation between a fascist state & simply a violent one.

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    8. The Spanish government would argue back that they were protecting the written constitution. I would argue back that there is still a separation of judicial and executive power. Executive power is, sadly, often brutal and immediate. We definitely saw that last Sunday. Will there be justice in the Spanish courts? Will Spain legally and fairly resolve the conflicts between its constitution and its human rights obligations? I don't honestly know. I don't know anything about the Spanish judiciary but I also have no reason to believe that it is now coupled to the executive and incapable of independently following Spanish law. I can only really be hopeful in this instance. Am I too hopeful?

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    9. Too hopeful? Only time will tell. I hope I'm being to pessimistic.

      Being interested in 1930s/40s Europe I've always wondered what the difference was between those that escaped the Nazis & those who lingered too long & became victims.

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  4. After writing all that I find that Craig Murray has already expressed it far better than I could hope to do & added some extra legal stuff for us all to consider as well.

    https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2017/10/obliged-reconsider-support-european-union/

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    1. Thanks for the link. I'll give that read at lunchtime.

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    2. I read Craig Murray's piece. He is a compelling and passionate writer and makes a lot of important points. I still disagree him on the key point of the ability of the EU to intervene immediately. I believe he is wrong here.

      Craig Murray pointed out contraventions of human rights. The problem is that this is exactly the sort of thing that needs to be decided by courts and process. Literally nobody has the authority to make that decision *today* because it is a question of law and legal judgement. As I said, that would require the gathering of evidence, witness statements etc. Moreover, it needs a representative of at least 1 member nation to drive that process forward at the European Council. The EU typically isn't pro-active in that sense and very few people want it to be because it would be a genuine democratic deficit.

      You might wonder why nobody in authority can express their view from their position of office holder. Well, the EU just doesn't allow that and there is nobody in that kind of position. It acts on consensus and that takes time. Immediate action is not a feature of the EU.

      There is argument for the EU to change and to have more power and be more pro-active. There is also argument the other way. I'd probably prefer the latter rather the former. I don't like the idea of nation states being unable to manage their own internal affairs, no matter how bad a job they might do of that. The ability of democracies to manage themselves with elections is far more sustainable than a central body telling nations what to do. This is a complicated balance with all sorts of trade-offs. My argument is that an EU that could react in the way Craig Murray wants is an EU I don't want to see because it would be making Farage's super-state myth a reality.

      I honestly don't know what Craig Murray could reasonably expect to have happened so far. The real issue is that national governments are not being proactive. That is the real problem.

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  5. Apparently she had inflammation of one finger. Still horrible violence of course.

    https://twitter.com/danielsirera/status/914971098869100544

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    1. I was more interested in Paul Mason's response than the incident itself. I think I saw enough to conclude that the police response was wholly inappropriate.

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  6. https://www.arcofprosperity.org/the-infuriating-but-necessary-european-union/

    You may like this post too.

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    1. Great link.

      Really interesting point that the EU is the mechanism that allows small countries to flourish. I hope that the independence movement remembers this above all else.

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    2. When you have time, Vestas has made some points over on Munguin's Republic, which I think you could argue much more knowledgeably than I... if you don't mind taking a look?

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    3. Sure thing. Will be this evening before I get around to that, though.

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  7. Thanks, Terry. It's the post before the current one.

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