Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Useful links

No, I have not done my analysis of the European elections and what they might mean for the future of this country's or the EU's politics (precious little in most cases). The reasons are: laziness, stultifying boredom with the subject and too much time wasted in arguing with people that not all anti-EU parties, even if they are right-wing, are fascist even if you assume that fascist means right-wing.

We live in an age of endless and freely available information or so we are told by people who either like the idea or hate it. There is much talk about information overload. Yeah, right. My own experience is that the number of people who ignore information, stick to about two sources and repeat well known mantras may well have grown in this age of information. Perhaps, they are scared of having to think for themselves.

In the meantime, here are two links to very useful articles dealing with necessary issues and making it unnecessary for me to do so.

First up is the Boss of EURef who gives a very cogent analysis of Peter Kellner's article in the Grauniad about UKIP and its polling.

Secondly, The Boiling Frog has done us all a favour by analyzing and debunking the latest canard that is making its round in eurosceptic or quasi-eurosceptic circles: that the new rules on QMV about to come into force will allow the EU to disallow either an IN/OUT referendum or Brexit. Take your pick. It really depends on which eurosceptic or quasi-eurosceptic you are listening to.
It’s true that from the 1st November many areas are changing to “Lisbon Treaty QMV rules”. The main effect of this is to change to QMV those clauses which required unanimity according to the Nice Treaty. Yet, and what is often overlooked, is this doesn't apply to withdrawal because crucially Article 50 wasn't in the Nice Treaty. Instead it is an innovation of Lisbon and is listed as a "new item". As such it began life already under QMV rules, alongside other "new items" such as the election of the President of the European Council. This is made clear by Article 50 (2) (my emphasis):

In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. That agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.

Article 50 therefore has never been under a unanimity decision, it has always been subjected to QMV rules. All that happens is that Article 50 will change from “Nice QMV rules” to “Lisbon QMV Rules” "in accordance with Article 238(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union."
And so on. Read the whole piece. Undoubtedly, however, I shall have to produce my own opinions on that very small, barely noticeable earthquake that took place last month.

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