The Ranting Kraut

19.3.2006 – 27.9.2010

Archive for June, 2007

No referendum needed?

Posted by rantingkraut on June 18, 2007

The BBC tells us that Blair set out four criteria which, in his opinion, would make a referendum on the thinly disguised re-launch of the EU constitution unnecessary:

First, we will not accept a treaty that allows the charter of fundamental rights to change UK law in any way.

“Second, we will not agree to something that replaces the role of British foreign policy and our foreign minister.

“Thirdly, we will not agree to give up our ability to control our common law and judicial and police system.

“And fourthly, we will not agree to anything that moves to qualified majority voting something that can have a big say in our own tax and benefit system. We must have the right in those circumstances to determine it by unanimity.

He added: “If we achieve those four objectives I defy people to say what it is that is so [sic] supposed to be so fundamental that could [sic] require a referendum.” (source)

1. “First, we will not accept a treaty that allows the charter of fundamental rights to change UK law in any way. At least this is concrete, although it is worth noting that there could still be far reaching implications for the way law can be interpreted. Indeed, if this was not so, there would be no point in such a charter.

2. “…something that replaces the role of British foreign policy and our foreign minister” would still allow for something that complements Britain’s foreign policy. All that is needed for an eventual replacement is an initial claim that the EU foreign minister complements national foreign policies followed by a gradual widening of EU competences.

3. In a very similar way, not giving up the “ability to control our common law and judicial and police system.” is general enough to leave room for institutions that are complementary at first and don’t interfere enough to amount to a loss of control. Then, gradually, they can evolve into replacements of national systems or impose gradually tightening constraints on them.

4. Reference to “a big say in our own tax and benefit system” immediately implies that something which gives the EU a small say could well be acceptable. The only question then is: who is responsible for measuring and defining the ‘size of a say’ and by what standard.

Blair is obviously trying to rescue the pretence that the current treaty negotiations will not lead to the gradual absorption of the UK into a European federal state. From the onset, there have been efforts to present the constitution as a minor treaty not worthy of much public attention. Just in case anyone might have forgotten this, the BBC also informs us that “he also revealed that he did not believe there had been a need for a referendum on the constitution in its original form.

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Posted in In The News, Regulation, UK politics | Comments Off on No referendum needed?

Quote of the day

Posted by rantingkraut on June 18, 2007

Just in case anyone needed proof that economic theory can be applied to (almost?) all areas of life, but probably shouldn’t be, here is David Friedman on sex:

“…one can plausibly model the process as a rising intensity of pleasure up to the point of orgasm, with total utility equal to the area under the curve.

Posted in Meaning of Life | Comments Off on Quote of the day

Reviving the Constitution

Posted by rantingkraut on June 17, 2007

There is one really revealing aspect of reporting on Europe in the German media: they are very clear about the fact that what Merkel is trying to revive the European constitution at next week’s summit. In German language articles on the topic, the word ‘Verfassung’ (constitution) is regularly used (e.g.). The English MSM, by contrast, tend to report on the amending treaty (e.g.) and then mention the very close similarity to the constitution further on.

Roger Helmer MP is not mincing his words though and brings it to the point quite neatly:

I quoted from her [Angela Merkel’s] letter to member-states (as had a previous speaker). This letter has been in the public domain for some weeks, and it’s authenticity has not been challenged. Mrs Merkel stands condemned of deceit, first and foremost, by her own letter, rather than by me. She makes it crystal clear that she intends to stick closely, in terms of legal effect, to the substance of the failed EU Constitution, while pretending otherwise.

She intends to effect a major constitutional change in Europe, a large new shift of powers from member states to the EU, by deceiving the voters as to the nature of the change, specifically by pretending that this is a limited and innocuous “Treaty”, when she knows it is in reality the Constitution in all but name.” (source as on: 17 June 2007)

I wonder if this has anything to do with Blair’s conciliatory stance on the matter.

Posted in Crazy Krauts, In The News | 1 Comment »

No Disciplinary Action Against German ‘Quran-Judge’

Posted by rantingkraut on June 9, 2007

A short update to an earlier posting on a German judge who referred to the quran when denying a women a speedy divorce.

‘Der Spiegel’ now reports that no disciplinary action will be taken against this judge:

“…the investigation found no reason to discipline the judge because she protected the woman with the restraining order, and her Koran reference was actually in a decision to deny legal aid, and not within an official ruling.” (Source)

Posted in In The News, Islamism | 1 Comment »

Islands for Tyrants

Posted by rantingkraut on June 9, 2007

With the G8 summit in Heiligendamm over, the negotiations, the protests and the riots have been extensively covered in the MSM. One aspect that has received little attention is what the event did to the locals and those living in the surrounding villages.

The inhabitants of Heiligendamm had their village fenced off and had to pass airport stile security checks every time they wanted to enter or leave. Nearby farmers and others living in the vicinity had local roads blocked by protesters and often had their property vandalised. On previous occasions when Bush visited Germany, the affected areas had curfews imposed.

We can all understand, of course, that heads of government are concerned about security, but wouldn’t it be nice if we could spare the locals all the trouble? Isn’t it odd if a supposedly liberal democracy turns villages into prison camps? I am not the first to suggest that a remote, ideally uninhabited, island would be the best option. Helmut Schmidt, one of Ms Merkel’s predecessors, has already suggested a more remote location. Ms Merkel argues that this would isolate the summit from the people, which is kind of odd, if you consider the amount of effort and fence building that has been undertaken to ensure precisely that kind of isolation.

So let’s be concrete: why not designate some desert island as a permanent place for international gatherings. I like Gough Island, which is far away from anything useful or any population that might be bothered. Down under, those who want to govern could then amuse themselves with the few Greenpeace protesters that make the journey.

There is one more possible benefit: Once they are there, heads of government in attendance could be required to pass a vote of confidence in a referendum in their home country before they are allowed back. That should deter them from agreeing on anything that isn’t truly popular at home.

Posted in Civil Liberties, Crazy Krauts, Globalization | 2 Comments »

Leaving the house without ID card

Posted by rantingkraut on June 9, 2007

The Spanish authorities are investigating a number of cases of alleged police brutality. One of them should be of particular interest with respect to the current British plans for a national ID card:

Leaving the house without an ID card. The most recent case is the one of Marc V.C. a young man who submitted his complaint against the police on account of the events of the morning of the 8 April 2007. He was in the Gràcia district and did not carry his ID card. He reports that the police then took him to the ‘Les Corts’ police station for identification purposes. In the cell, “at least seven officers” started kicking and punching him. He left with several haematomas, bruises and cranial trauma. The day before yesterday the four accused officers said they did not remember these events and attributed the observed facts to the possibility that the victim could have inflicted the injuries upon himself.” (Source)

Of course, the British police would never do anything like this, would they? Just remember: when ID cards become compulsory, sooner or later it will be possible to arrest you for not carrying one of them. When this happens to you, you may just end up hitting yourself out of frustration over your failure to be a good citizen.

Posted in Civil Liberties, ID Cards | Comments Off on Leaving the house without ID card

A Grumpy old Woman …

Posted by rantingkraut on June 2, 2007

New Labour’s “respect czar” is reported by the BBC to whine about bad manners in modern society. Grumpy old folks muttering about the decay of decency and the youth of today are nothing new of course. But when I was a lad, you would find those people in every neighbourhood and they would offer their complaints to anyone who couldn’t avoid listening for free. These days, the government is employing someone full time to do that.

Ah, the mere thought of a socialist party appointing a ‘czar’! There were times when they did the opposite.

Posted in In The News | Comments Off on A Grumpy old Woman …