Monday, December 13, 2004

"A totalitarian foreign power which, with the help of Quislings in Westminster, intends to take over our country"

Superb stuff via Martin Stabe:

Pub landlord in EU flag row

With a heading like that, and armed with the perennial assumption that pubs are often home to rather more "traditionalist" (to put it nicely) views on national life, you'd probaby expect the landlord to be the one objecting to the flag. But no. Instead it is the landlord who is being fined - yes, fined - by Worthing Borough Council for flying the EU flag outside his premises.

The quote heading this post in fact comes from the chap who complained to the Council about the "foul emblem", which apparently offends him when he has to walk past it. The same chap who had a letter published in a UKIP newsletter in February this year in which he claimed that "if we... surrender our constitution by adopting an EU version our children may have to fight a civil war to get back the constitution which is rightfully theirs". He's certainly got a flair for the melodramatic, if not a very strong grasp on reality. Just because he finds the idea of the EU offensive, does that mean no one else should be able to fly the flag? Personally I find the UKIP pretty offensive, but I'll still defend their right to spout their nonsense.

But the silliness of the complaint is not the issue. Where are the Council coming from with their decision to fine the landlord, rather than tell the author of this bizarre complaint precisely where to go?

Well, a Council spokesman justifies the fine thusly: "The EU flag is not a national flag and thereby falls within the same category as any advertising-type flag. These require advertising consent from the council."

So there we have it - the EU is not a state - OFFICIAL. Does this mean that every building in the land which flies the circle of stars should be fined, or will Worthing's frankly bizarre (if, technically, perhaps correct) interpretation be swiftly overturned on appeal? Either way, methinks that the EU itself should probably have something to say on this - the precedent and implications could prove somewhat problematic if the decision is upheld.

There could also be implications for the forthcoming election campaign - if an EU flag is political advertising, and so the council should receive a payment, what about those posters for individual candidates which pop up outside houses across the land in the run up to a vote? Will individual homeowners have to fork out cash for the right to state their political opinions, or will it only take one person who disagrees with them to make a complaint for them to be fined, as has happened here?

Very, very silly at first glance, but worryingly so if you start thinking about it too much. The anti-EU lot will probably have a field day once they pick up on this... So, having helped highlight it - enjoy yourselves, guys.

4 Comments:

Blogger ken said...

Well that’s the point is it not? I do not think we need the Worthing Borough Council to tell us the EU is not a state everybody associated with the construct will happily confirm that the EU is not a state.

This is described as a Euromyth on one MEPs web site;
“The word ‘constitution’ implies that the EU is to become a state”
I do note however that it is the “word” and not the “Constitution” that implies…..

We do keep being told that the EU is not a state, even as we see a continual competence creep and an extension of the EU into the very fabric of our society, even as it takes on all the trappings of a state.

This is why we need to have an open discussion about our place in the Union, I would say that at some point the EU will become a state, that is certainly the aim of the Union and has been since the beginning. We would be further down this road except for the French, who refused to allow the political arm of the EU to develop and voted it down in the 50s, this instead was replaced by “The Monnet method”:. Or political integration by stealth.

Although Design for Freedom, largely written by Peter Thorneycroft MP, 1947
No government dependent upon a democratic vote could possibly agree in advance to the sacrifice, which any adequate plan must involve. The people must be led slowly and unconsciously into the abandonment of their traditional economic defences, not asked…to make changes of which they may not at first recognise the advantages themselves. Which effectively describes the Monnet method.

Should we not therefore decide now that we do or we do not wish to be part of that state.

This from
BUILDING A POLITICAL EUROPE 50 proposals for tomorrow’s Europe Dominique Strauss-Kahn Chairperson of the Round Table “A sustainable project for tomorrow’s Europe”
formed on the initiative of the President of the European Commission

The question of a further move towards a political Europe arises again today. First of all,
because the Union has gradually extended its areas of competence (agriculture, VAT
harmonisation, internal market, euro, etc.) and has thus assumed growing political weight.
Then, because the expectations of the Union are now clearly political: economic
prosperity, through completion of the internal market via the euro; progress in social
matters (with the "social agenda") and on the environment (with the "strategy of
sustainable development"); police and justice (within the justice and home affairs pillar);
diplomacy and defence (with the European security and defence policy). The question of
the ultimate purpose of the European venture is therefore facing us again: should the
Union return to the long-term political vision of the founding fathers, who regarded the
"concrete achievements" as a "first step in the federation of Europe"5? Or should it
continue along the path on which it has embarked and propose no more than a framework
for ever-closer cooperation between independent States?

Bringing out the feeling of belonging to the Union. There can be no
democracy without demos, without a European people. This people exists,
it shares a model of society. But it is not always aware of it. The report
proposes three lines to promote the creation of European awareness: they
concern mobility of people, education and culture

Strand XVII: reinforcing the feeling of belonging to the Union
? Proposal 42: introduce into university courses the compulsory completion of at least one
year of study within the Union outside the country of origin
? Proposal 43: promote mobility between national civil services.
? Proposal 44: launch the debate about granting Union citizens the right to vote in national
elections in the country in which they reside.
? Proposal 45: introduce the teaching of European history in schools.
?Proposal 46: support the European museum project.
? Proposal 47: complement civic education at school with awareness of European values
and presentation of Union institutions.
? Proposal 48: institute compulsory learning of a second European language at primary
school.
? Proposal 49: increase significantly the European Union budget contribution to culture,
first and foremost in the form of financial support for the production of European works.

They might have included flying the flag for the EU. Which by the way although know as the EU flag is in fact the flag of Europe, which would probably help in any appeal.

12/14/2004 10:06:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Me thinks you protest to much, it is the rules. Local council bylaws are not an EU competence.

A non eu mouse

12/14/2004 12:33:00 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

The EU may not be a state but, in a very real way, the EU commission is a government, as indeed is the European Council. That is the real concern - we have in the making a government(s) of Europe, superior to the nation states.

2/15/2005 03:30:00 pm  
Blogger Nosemonkey said...

The thing I don't get is what's so great about nation states. I guess that's why we're never going to agree on this...

2/15/2005 03:45:00 pm  

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