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delirium happy

Just keep on trying till you run out of cake

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I'm probably preeching to the choir, but...
delirium happy
I would imagine that most of the Europeans and some of the non-Europeans reading this will be aware that there was recently a meeting of various European Union leaders to finally hammer out the details of the EU constitution. In Britain at least, this has resparked the old "Europe: good or bad?" debate that seems to never end.

There are plenty of reasons why a further integrated Europe may be a bad thing (for instance, I think that Europe is still too disparate for a unified economic policy to makemuch sense) but the two reasons which I seem to be hearing cited on the news again and again make absolutely no sense to me.

1. The European constitution is bad because it would override British laws and we would have to obey the charter of fundamental human rights. Indeed heaven forbid that we afford people human rights. I'd sure hate for that to happen. If our laws don't agree with them then just maybe what we ought to be doing is examining our laws?

2. The European Union is a bad thing because we put more money into it than we get out of it. This appears to be an argument from the same school of thought as the people who want to scrap train services that aren't profitable. Britain is afluent enough already. I really don't have a problem with money being spent on people who might need it more than I do rather than me. Being British does not make me inherently more deserving of anything. Redistribution of wealth is a good thing and will no doubt lead to a healthier world economy. Of course, I'm just a bleeding-heart liberal though, so what do I know about such things.

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(Deleted comment)
How about "The EU Constitution is bad because it does not mention God".


Church and state, anyone?

I agree with you from the bottom of my heart (which is probably also on the bleeding side, but whatever).

You also left out: The EU is bad because it contains Germans, and 60 years ago we were at war with Germany. Duh.

How about:

"The EU constitution is just all the old treaties hastily gaffer taped together so badly that you can see the joins"?

Like the era of FOG ENVELOPES CHANNEL, CONTINENT ISOLATED will ever end. :-)

Actually there is a grain of truth in (1). UK law (and here it is ok to say UK law, 'cos this applies to Scottish and NI law as well as English/Welsh law) is subordinate to EU law in areas where the EU has competence.

There's lots of interesting academic debate about whether it's possible for Westminster to pass laws incompatible with the EU and have the courts uphold them - my thinking, which coincides with a reasonable academic body, is that this would be possible, but only if Parliament passed an Act with the specific intention (as seen through looking at Hansard etc) that it would be law regardless of its compatibility with EU law.

The problem with the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights is that it includes 'rights' that aren't generally included in a liberal British interpretation of the term 'human rights'. I think it undermines the significance we attach to breaches of human rights if we include such things as 'right to social security payments' as being human rights. Human rights are about the really important things - right to life, to freedom from torture and other rights necessary so that we can participate in the political process eg. freedom from govt interference in our private lives, the right to freedom of expression, to form trade unions/other freedom of association rights.
Also note that the British liberal version of human rights involves 'freedom from govt interference in bar' rather than 'govt has a positive duty to prevent foo' (with some exceptions). There are also people who would make the political argument that no one has the right to expect social security benefits, and for so long as mainstream political opinion is divided on this, then it can't be right to call this right a 'human right' - there is a consensus from left-right over the other things designated as human rights eg. no one would try to argue that 'freedom of expression' isn't a fundamental human right.

The better argument in relation to (2) is that in its current form the EU wastes money eg. the CAP, having two Parliamentary buildings etc. And that's aside from the fact that many people don't think redistribution of wealth is a good thing.

<3 - it drives me nuts too!

If I hear one more pundit saying "It's making Europe into a country because contries have consititutions" I will buy a machine gun and go out and shoot every member of UKIP.

I am a member of a science fiction group. That group has a concentration (and a very complicated one at that). Golf clubs have consitutions. Tonnes of things which are not countries have consitution. And Great Britain, the entity which issues my passport, does not. So SHUT UP!!!!!

Ahem. Sorry about that.

I agree with both of your points, especially the second one. I don't feel that somehow I or the US am more worthy just because this is where I am or I'm me. I mean, I care about myself more than other people, especially those I don't know. But I accept that that doesn't make me actually more important or more deserving.

What I've seen of debates on Europe remind me of flamewars. Two sides shouting at each other in different language and insisting that the sky will fall or equating each other to Nazi's (see Godwin's Law).

I keep thinking that, as an intelligent, concerned person, I should have an opinion. But whenever I approach a discussion about it, I can feel my enthusiasm draining away (just as I do when I try to read through a flamewar to figure out what the hell people were arguing about.)

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