Previous posts in this discussion:
PostPM May Resigns (John Heelan, UK, 05/24/19 7:42 am)
The Prime Minister has resigned after being stabbed in the back by those who promised to support her.
Had she had the steel of Maggie Thatcher, things might have worked out differently. There are many runners at the starting gate to replace her, ranging from the no-hopers to the bookies' favourite BoJo, the Bullington Club's favourite clown. He would be a disaster as PM, as his previous statements and Zippergate reputation will come back to haunt him. If Putin could blackmail Trump he would have a field day with BoJo. One certain thing is that as a floating voter (supporting different parties in the past), I would never vote for a BoJo-led goverment.
While we are discussing the failure of UK democracy, let me turn to the absence of democracy within the EU by looking at the following:
1. Given the d'Hondt formula favoured by the EU Commission, Germany gets 99 MEPs and France gets 77 MEPs.
2. Elected MEPs opt to join the voting blocs with ideologies ranging from the far-right to the far-left.
3. The presidents of the various EU institutions are voted in by the heads of government of EU Member states (using the specious excuse that those heads themselves had to be voted in locally).
4. No surprising the presidents like this formulation of electoral argument.
5. Then there is the principle of "qualified majority" voting the EU likes to adopt when necessary. (see https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/council-eu/voting-system/ )
Democracy is a rarer bird in the EU than the United States.
JE comments: Democracy has seen better days in these United States, too. A question about MEP representation: shouldn't Germany, at 83 million population, have more MEPs than France, at 67 million? The 99-77 split is about the same proportion. Now the question of why you need this many expensive MEPs, and not, say, one-tenth, strikes me as valid.
John, are there any dark-horse candidates for PM you'd prefer over Boris Johnson? Jeremy Corbyn of course is waiting in the wings. He hopes for a general election and a miracle.
Thoughts on EU Parliamentary Elections: Europe at a Crossroads?
(José Ignacio Soler, Venezuela
05/25/19 3:55 AM)
In his post of May 24th, John Heelan described what he considered the "absence of democracy within the EU," and he quotes several electoral aspects to support his view. I recall having discussed recurrently this issue with him and several other WAISers. As before, I disagree with John.
The EU is far from a perfect community of nations, but not for the reasons John mentions. Of course it all depends on what people understand a democracy to be. But democracy is not only having an independent, free and fair electoral system to allow popular representation, which indeed the EU has, but also having a solid set of common basic and respected laws, strong democratic independent institutions for ruling, managing and controlling these laws, allowing the existence of diverse ideologies, healthy responsible political parties, freedom of speech and expression, a sense of citizenship and good moral or general ethical and educational standards among the population.
It is my conclusion that a true modern democracy is not only based on the elementary idea of "the general voting power of the people." Voting can be manipulated to erode incipient democracies. True democracy is based on a good balance of the above elements and some less significant ones I have omitted here.
The real reasons behind being anti-EU are more caused by the lack of a sense of belonging or citizenship among Europeans, caused by exclusive nationalisms or populisms from the "right" or the "left." Xenophobia, as well as supremacist feelings and of course racism, are stronger reasons than a lack of democracy or economic discrepancies. Other arguments are ways of disguising them or vain attempts to use politically correct arguments.
As everybody should know, elections for the EU parliament are to be held tomorrow. Unfortunately the predictions are for the nationalist ideologies to gain majority representation. This will be a major threat for the existence as all as for the institutional strength of the EU.
JE comments: The EU and the UK will probably occupy our attention for the next several days. It wouldn't be an overstatement to call this discussion "Europe at a Crossroads."
José Ignacio Soler has posed this question before: are anti-EU complaints about a lack of democracy born primarily of xenophobia? This would be very hard to prove. Imagine this survey question: "Is your principled opposition to the EU really based on a dislike of foreigners?"