Our Future is Federalism?

Topical debate
Moonshine
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Post by Moonshine » Fri May 30, 2008 9:21 pm



Really we just disagree on the road map.



Are there any untampered routes left? That's my concern.

Fulub-le-Breton
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Post by Fulub-le-Breton » Sat May 31, 2008 10:27 am


Are there any untampered routes left? That's my concern.



I'm affraid to say moonshine but I have a much bleaker outlook on what makes the world go round.

Personally I think that it is all rather random and chaotic rather like weather patterns or economics and that there is no one controlling force or group.

There is no explanation to be found in a hidden room under the Pentagon, no conspiracy, just just different polls of power interacting in a chaotic fashion.

At the end of the day the world is meaningless and contingent and it is only us that give it any kind of sense. It is us that see patterns that may or may not have some substance behind them.

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Post by Fulub-le-Breton » Thu Jun 19, 2008 6:06 pm



An interesting article below following the Irish no vote to which I'd just like to add the following comments. Imagine if the UK left the EU. There is every possibility that this would push Scotland and eventually Wales to pull away from the UK and move back into the European circle. That would leave Cornwall stuck on to the toe of a Tory controlled England with no European checks or balances to protect us, no objective one and no Cornish minority status or language funding.

Cornwall left in the hands of Westminster for evermore.

Europe must embrace federalism with or without the Brits

David Marquand, 18 - 06 - 2008

This is a response by David Marquand to John Palmer's article on Ireland's "No" vote on the Lisbon Treaty.
David Marquand (Oxford): The real issue goes far deeper than our blinkered political class and media commentariat seem to realise. The post-cold war world, with a hegemonic US as the only super-power, is dying if not dead. An infintely more complex and more dangerous multi-polar world is coming into existence, with China, India and perhaps a revitalised Russia as super powers alongside the US. The US will for the foreseeable future remain the strongest of these super-powers, but it will not be the only one. Economically it has already ceased to be a hegemon: as the dollar falls, the Euro climbs. The crucial question for Europeans is whether we want the world to be run by the Americans, Chinese, Indians and perhaps Russians, or whether Europe should get its act together and become a quasi-super power as well. Europe’s political elites have either funked or fudged that question, and in Britain virtually no one has so far faced it. But the answer Europeans give to it will determine the shape of global and European politics as the 21st century proceeds. If Europe wants to hold its own in the multipolar world now taking shape it has to make a qualitative leap towards federalism.
On present form, Britain won’t be willing to make such a leap; and assuming the Irish referendum result means that they seriously want to opt out of further integration (I doubt if it does, as a matter of fact) nor will Ireland. How the rest of the member states would go if they were confronted with that question is unknowable at present. But I don’t think there’s much doubt that over the next twenty years or so the core countries of the EU will effectively federate. Of course that will mean a two-speed Europe, with the UK in the slow lane along with some (but by no means all) of the new member states in East/Central Europe. This would be a disaster for the UK, certainly politically and probably economically. But it would be far better for Europe (and the world) for the European core to move decisively towards federalism and leave the Brits behind than to bend over backwards to keep a lot of sulky Brits on board. On past form, the Brits will mutter and grumble if and when core Europe does make a qualitative jump towards federalism, but in the end, after a long delay, they will clamber aboard. What Britain does or doesn’t do, however, matters very little in the long perspective of European history.
What about democracy, you may say? Well, the fact is that the infamous democratic deficit is a product of the cumbersome, opaque intergovernmentalism of the proto-federal Europe we now inhabit. In a properly federal structure, with a clear separation of powers, each level of government would be accountable to the appropriate constituency or constituencies, as happens in the US, Canada, Australia and other federal states. Those who rail against the democratic deficit, and then do everything they can to maintain the intergovernmentalism that causes it, are the enemies of democracy not its friends.

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Post by Moonshine » Fri Jun 20, 2008 8:42 pm


I'm affraid to say moonshine but I have a much bleaker outlook on what makes the world go round.

Personally I think that it is all rather random and chaotic rather like weather patterns or economics and that there is no one controlling force or group.



That exists at the lower levels, above that there's a club of 6000, who see themselves as the one in a million supreme human being club, then there's the top 120-180 above them who really pull the strings - the big corps, royalty, ex world leaders and central bankers who tweak the markets, manipulate interest rates and oil prices and mess with our lives through their ability to print money and control our use of it.

Small bunches of other people with plans Fulub, and each of them knows best for us. An Gof would be baffled by it all, he really would.

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Post by Fulub-le-Breton » Sat Jun 21, 2008 10:18 am


above that there's a club of 6000,



Yes but in my chaotic world I include the human psyche and the motivations of this 6000 as you say. Why do they do what they do? What truly informs their decisions. Childhood experiences? genetics? Human environment? Random events contingent phenomena moonshine.

I don't know if you have heard of the butter fly effect (wiki search) but the effects of the insects wings reach far beyond the physical world in itself and deep into your and my motivations also.

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Post by Fulub-le-Breton » Sun Jun 22, 2008 7:47 pm

Federal U.K.?

Labour MP Derek Wyatt this week argued in a Westminster Hall debate that the answer to the 'English Question' is to have four seperate lower houses of equal powers - England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales - with a new upper house of representatives, with control over issues such as the environment, the Treasury and foreign policy. Epolitix.com carry an interview with Mr Wyatt on his proposals: http://www.epolitix.com/latestnews/arti ... arliament/

They forgot Kernow but no suprise there really.

In such a federal UK would you want Kernow to be the smallest state of the federation or have a different status, perhaps like the Isle of Man ie a protectorate?

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Post by Fulub-le-Breton » Sun Jun 22, 2008 8:45 pm

heah pfishwick,

Where are you when we need people to stand up for Europe? ;-)

Pfishwick
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Post by Pfishwick » Tue Jun 24, 2008 1:25 am

I've done so here, with qualified criticism:

module-pnForum-viewtopic-topic-484-star ... m#pid67961 (go up three posts).

Admittedly I could have been more pointed in replying to Kéighlán's post but I only wanted to provide a broadly pro-European response, including the recognition of Kernow by the COE.

Besides, those other themes (immigration, capital punishment etc) are widely covered in cyberspace and elsewhere.

Europe is a hot topic in the European media and beyond currently, especially in the light of the Irish "no" in the referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. I rather like this article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree ... eu.ireland

Incidentally note the quote from John Angarrack's interview in the footer. He's right on that and on his opposition to UKIP ;-)

Nos da,

Patrick



edited by: pfishwick, Jun 24, 2008 - 01:27 AM

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Post by Fulub-le-Breton » Fri Jun 27, 2008 1:52 pm

John Palmer reviews What's Wrong With the European Union and How to Fix it by Simon Hix.

In the midst of what has been a largely introverted - even turgidly morbid - debate about the future of the European Union following, the "No" vote outcome in Ireland's referendum on the EU Lisbon Treaty, the publication of a book which grapples with just why voter malaise with the EU has become such a problem is a healthy antidote. What's Wrong with the European Union and How to Fix it by Professor Simon Hix of the London School of Economics challenges much conventional wisdom by insisting that the EU suffers from too little politics - not too much.

At the heart of Hix's analysis is a conviction that it is long overdue for the peoples of the EU to be given a far greater voice in shaping the political future of the Union and the political character of its leadership. Hix believes that with - or without - the Lisbon Treaty - there should be far greater and more transparent choice about who should become the next President of the European Commission - the key executive body of the EU. This - he rightly believes - will encourage the political parties to openly contest each other's programmes for handling the current economic, social, environmental and other challenges facing the Europe in an ever more inter-dependent world.

In presenting his thesis to a meeting of the Federal Trust in London on June 25, Simon Hix was able to display a wealth of evidence showing the link between distrust of the EU and an even deeper distrust of national political; elites and institutions, the growing divide between the better educated and more economically secure parts of the public (in general strongly pro-European integration) and the les well educated, less killed and more economically deprived who regard the European process as indistinguishable from what they increasingly see as an out-of-control globalisation.

Simon Hix also demonstrated how in the elected European Parliament, political/ideological divisions are increasingly replacing conflicts based on mere national state of origin. He is rightly agnostic as to whether the new European political choices which should be presented to voters will revitalise existing party families based on the post French revolution ideological divide or will eventually replace them with new political formations and new divisions. In any case divisions and political conflict over the direction Europe should take will be far healthier than the unreal counter posing of "national" and "European" identities which dominates the present debate.

My only regret was that Simon Hix appeared to retreat a little from his original conviction that the open choice of different candidates for the Presidency of the Commission should be directly put to voters across the EU in the European Parliament elections next June and instead left - at least for now - to a decision to be made by national governments. It may be that the European parties will not have the capacity to rise to the democratic challenge. But the corrosive distrust which marks public discourse on matters European will not be countered by leaving decisions in the hands of governments which can and should be passed to the people.

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Post by Fulub-le-Breton » Tue Jul 01, 2008 1:49 pm

Some interesting thoughts on an 'anglo-celtic federal block' from a contributor to Our Kingdom: http://www.opendemocracy.net/article/ou ... ent-463234


Thank you for your courteous reply. May I apologise if I 'blew' off there but this is just the kind of specious 'sizeist' argument that sets us Scots off. I'm afraid we will just have to honourably disagree: mine's is a qualitative argument which I maintain and that I think stands as well as your quantitative. A nation is not a mere locality but has a far richer and more intricate and developed texture which is why we punched well above our weight. The size has got nothing to do with it but the complexity and agility of the organism.

The idea of the Anglo-Celtic bloc I think more and more is the solution to our European problems, but alas the idea is not mine but Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun's. He was an important Scottish political thinker and opponent of the 1707 union who was also with Monmouth's rebellion, returning after the Whig Revolution. After Monmouth's unsuccessful attempt, he fled to the continent and offered his sword to the 'Queen of Hungary' fighting with the Austrians at the siege of Vienna, 1683, against the ever-expanding Caliphate. Surely one of the most signal moments in European history. So a good chap all round and valiant champion of liberty.

The Anglo-Celtic bloc was a project that was proceding along very nicely in these isles until Edward I came along with his unaccountable aggression towards a friendly cousinly nation and set back this project by 700 years. He could have won by friendship what was only achieved by 400 years of war.

Fletcher in the 1680s was for a British (Whig) union but envisaged it as a federal one (as you do, if you're Scottish, Welsh or Irish) but when the eventual 'incorporating' union proposal came up saw that as establishing a permanent minority status for Scotland within 'Britain' with no local autonomy which meant political slavery for the Scots (even if they gained commercial freedom in return). Thus he came to a very far-sighted analysis of a 'Europe of the regions' in which there would be balance and harmonious working which would prevent tyranny by any dominant part. An ardent European (who wouldn't be, after Vienna), he saw the British Isles as being one such federal bloc. He argued staunchly against centralisation saying that it mitigated against both liberty and local economic vitality. He saw London as a bloated parasite leaching the life out of the entire achipelago, as much an oppressor of its own people as those of the rest of these isles.

With petrol heading towards £2.40 a gallon I fancy this decentralised Albion, with a Council of the Isles, could come back into fashion.


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Post by Fulub-le-Breton » Tue Jul 08, 2008 7:09 pm

A great post:


As a passionate “European” I am understandably delighted to remind myself of the profound societal improvements wrought by successive decades of closer integration but these positive reactions are undermined by deep disappointment with the pace and direction of the integration process.

For me the advance of European integration and recognition of the potentially seminal role of sub-national geo-political entities are inexorably interwoven. It is no accident that the most vociferous opposition to closer integration in member states comes from within those Nations exhibiting relatively fixed unitary characteristics; such as the UK.

An element of devolution has been achieved in Scotland, Wales and (hopefully following this weekend) Northern Ireland but these developments do not signal a wholesale capitulation to the dispersal of power by Westminster. Competencies granted to each of the ‘Home Nations’ have been both asymmetric and strictly limited; only Scotland retaining any capacity to raise (small scale) revenues independently. Power to determine the scope and nature of public revenues, and with it the facility to establish relative financial independence from Whitehall, remains steadfastly London bound.

England, which continues to dominate social and economic activity within the British Isles, also remains exclusively unitary in its constitutional nature. Power is centralised (increasingly so) within a paranoiac control freak orientated Whitehall government machinery. The dispersal of effective political power is extremely hard won by lower tiers of accountable governance and painfully slow in emerging from a state machinery habitually reluctant to devolve competency and displaying a pervasive culture of centralism.

Why do I believe that European Regionalism and closer European integration are so dependent upon each other?

The answer is simple - the vast majority of European citizens do not fear Europe; indeed every successive Eurobarometer survey has indicated an appetite on the part of ordinary Europeans for the Union to play a more robust role, but only within clearly defined policy areas, where it can clearly demonstrate a relevant capacity. Obvious examples include:

• Global trade
• Global environmental strategies
• Pan-European and global transport policy
• Macroeconomic Policy (through Eurozone mechanisms)
• Organised (international) Crime & Terrorism
and more contentiously
• Defence
• Immigration
• Foreign Affairs

By contrast, European citizens in general react negatively to “unnecessary interference” from Brussels in policy areas they perceive as localised and immediate in scope, such as:

• Education
• Healthcare
• Local Law & Order
• Cultural matters
• Local economic strategies
• Local transport strategies
• Housing

Put simply, within a pan-European geo-political structure, the post-Westphalian Nation State has become too small for some issues but too large for others.

It is this emerging dichotomy of policy relevance that should dominate the great European debate in the 21st. century but the legacy of 19th century Nationalism continues to haunt our collective European future, stifling progressive approaches to increasingly complex challenges.

Those Europhobic groupings who implacably oppose the notion of integration in any form highlight the negative impact of centralised (and unaccountable) power – the constant refrain “European Super-State” is heard repeatedly but let us examine such claims in more detail. Ironically, whilst I concur with these fears, the solutions both you and I might advocate are rejected precisely because they cut across the status quo represented by the current Europe of Nations template.

In a Europe in which citizens have demonstrated their wish for Europe to be more involved in certain activities but not in others, following this principle to a logical conclusion, we discover that it is larger old-style Nation states looking increasingly past their sell-by date.

Countering the European Super State “bogeyman” is feasible by counterbalancing the ceding of powers in clearly defined policy areas with the devolution of effective power in other areas of more immediate concern to citizens – see the examples shown above. Within this context “effective” means the power to raise revenues commensurate with those policy areas devolved to more immediate sub-national tiers of governance.

Pursuing this strategy both incrementally and irrevocably would see a “withering on the vine” process emerge; gradually the relevance of National tiers of governance (in larger member states) would recede until at some point in the distant future (50 years hence?), our children and grandchildren might be faced with a dilemma; why bother retaining these old style National administrations representing out of date, ineffectual (and expensive?) geo-political entities?

Were the principles of logic and democracy to underpin the development of Europe’s institutional arrangements, the larger member states would begin to disperse power to accountable tiers of sub-national governance. Concurrently this array of more immediate geo-political entities could assume a stronger role within the European institutional hierarchy, perhaps by adopting the proposal of an upper elected chamber (thus establishing a conventional bicameral institutional structure) to represent the Union’s ‘real’ cultural diversity with each Region electing a set number of representatives (Senators?) based on respective population sizes.

This fundamental reform would signal the beginning of a true democratisation of the European political arena and initiate a long process of power realignment mirroring the new circumstance presented by the twin challenge of globalization combined with electorates desiring more direct influence over their immediate day to day lives.

However, this logical evolutionary process of geo-political driven reform is frustrated by the hybrid nature of our current European institutional architecture. Effective power within the European Union still resides within the Council of Ministers/European Council nexus – the larger member states: Germany, France, UK, ably abetted by a second tier comprising: Spain, Italy, Poland & Sweden combine to reinforce the status quo. The crucial question here is: does this quasi intergovernmental institutional arrangement best serve the aspirations of European citizenry en-masse or does it merely function to preserve the power and influence of member state institutions?

A stronger role for sub-national entities is denied by member states – e.g. their refusal to allow Constitutional Regions any direct contribution to the European Constitutional Convention process. Did they fear the enhanced political standing such recognition might convey?

Domestically, individual member states deliberately impede the development of robust, culturally legitimate sub-national entities precisely because they fear the emergence of any nascent Nationalist sentiments from within. Scots, Scanians, Silesians, Catalans and Bretons can all testify to varying levels of repression and/or discriminatory tactics during the last 50 years.

Here then lies the source of my dilemma – do I salute the achievements made during the last 50 years of European integration or condemn the blind-alley inherent within a “Europe of Member States” template?

Are we going to waste another 50 years discovering the fact that the member state foundations laid down within the very same treaty we are celebrating this week actually now poses the single greatest threat to further European integration?

Comment by Peter Davidson — March 26, 2007



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Post by Fulub-le-Breton » Mon Jul 21, 2008 3:20 pm

An enigmatic website call Eurotopia: http://www.eurotopia.be/

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Post by Fulub-le-Breton » Sun Aug 24, 2008 10:42 am

The future of federalism
Extraordinary General Meeting to consider a proposal to reunite the federalist organisations in the UK - 6 September 2008

11.30 am, Saturday 6 September 2008
King's College London, Franklin-Wilkins Building, 150 Stamford Street, London SE1 9NN (nearest tube: Waterloo) - click here for a map

Programme

11 am coffee and registration

11.30 am Opening session: the future of federalism
Joint session for members of Federal Union and the Association of World Federalists (and non-members, too)

What is the future agenda for federalism in the UK, Europe and the world? How are these issues connected?

12.45 pm lunch break, including:
1 pm AWF EGM: to consider proposal to merge with Federal Union
1.30 pm Federal Union EGM: to consider proposal to merge with the AWF

2 pm Concluding session: the future of Federal Union
(assuming both EGM sessions agree to support the reunification proposal)

What should be the future actions and campaigns by federalists in the UK?

3.30 pm close

Please complete and return the form below, or send an e-mail to info@federalunion.org.uk, if you able to come to the EGM. Participation at the EGM is free, but we ask for a donation of £10 (waged) or £5 (student/unwaged) towards the costs of the catering and room hire. Please make a donation if you can.

Please let us know you are coming by writing to Federal Union, PO Box 44404, London SE1 7TZ, or fax to 070 0604 5367, or e-mail to info@federalunion.org.uk



edited by: Fulub-le-Breton, Aug 24, 2008 - 11:44 AM

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Post by Guest » Mon Aug 25, 2008 5:04 am

For us Cornish EU federalism would be a bad thing(as it would for most of the rest of Europe.), we'd be switching one bad set of affairs for another. From history it seems most federations end up with more and more power at the centre.

If we stay in the EU it should be for free trade and co-operation only.

Hunlef
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Post by Hunlef » Tue Aug 26, 2008 10:32 am

HTF is an unregistered, anonymous UKIPPER able to post to this forum?? :-O :-O

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