Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics

Actually, the fact that the EU is democratic and transparent is what makes it unpopular.

Posted by Jason O on Dec 4, 2015 in European Union

For 1000 points, who is Roberto Acevedo? What about Dr. Fang Liu? OK, here’s an easier one: Jens Stoltenberg. What about Jean-Claude Juncker? Ever heard of him? I’m sure many of you, being educated and informed readers of quality, will know who all four are. But failing that, if you only knew one, I’d wager I know which one it was. Almost certainly Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the “undemocratic” European Commission.

For the record, the others are, in order of appearance, the Director General of the World Trade Organisation, the Secretary General of the International Civil Aviation Organisation, and the Secretary General of NATO.

Next question: which one of them was appointed by a directly elected parliament? Which one of them answers to a directly elected parliament? Again, you know the answer.

Yet, all across Europe it’ll be the EU that will be denounced as undemocratic. The other organisations will hardly get a mention despite the fact that all have actual decision making powers. For example, in this age where we’re all talking about tougher border controls, hands up who sets the global standards for machine-readable and bio-metric passports? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Not national governments, for a start. Step forward Dr. Liu.

Put it another way: would the EU be more or less popular if, say, the European Parliament never existed? Given that the parliament’s open debating of all proposals, loopy or not (and there’s no shortage of loopy proposals) is a steady source of hysterical stories for elements of the media, it’s not unreasonable to say that no parliament would have meant less hysterical story material.

But the EU, being BY FAR the most open and democratic international organisation in the world has by that very transparency cut a rod for its own back.

And, by the way, as a simple aside, remember that it was the democratic aspect of the EU which gave millions of British eurosceptics parliamentary representation when their own national parliament just ignored them.

The truth is that if the EU had operated with the same level of transparency of, say, the WTO, it would be less unpopular because nobody would know what it actually does.

Take NATO’s parliament, for example. NATO’s what now? Yeah, that’s right: NATO’s parliamentary assembly. Know how many UKIP members it has? Not one, because they’re chosen by parliament, as the European Parliament was before direct elections in 1979. How many UKIP MEPs do we think there’d be if the House of Commons still chose MEPS?

There’s a lesson there somewhere. If the EU were to collapse, national ministers would still need to figure out structures for cooperation in a globalized world.

Only this time, they’d do it real quiet.



Posted by Jason O on Dec 2, 2015 in News from The Future!, Not quite serious.

Dateline: South Pacific, 2099.

News Future logoChinese naval forces have confirmed that at least 1200 people have died in a large-scale pirate attack on the southern Pacific tax haven of Liberty Island yesterday. The attack, which began at approximately 2am Pacific time, seems to have been well planned and involved several hundred well-armed and disciplined pirates, who quickly overwhelmed the island’s small security force and communications centre. Widescale looting, killing and sexual assaults have been reported, and large fires are engulfing the island.

Liberty Island, an artificial atoll which first opened in the 2060s as a tax shelter for those persons of exceptional wealth wishing to escape global tax treaties, is a sovereign nation owned by its residents as shareholders. Although it does boast a well-resourced private security force, the sheer size and surprise nature of the attack led to most of the force being wiped out. Rumours that a number of the security force helped the pirates are unconfirmed.

The founder of the island, libertarian billionaire T. Rawle Jessup, was killed in the attack. Footage has since been uploaded onto the web of the tax exile businessman sobbing and begging nearby governments to send help.

Chinese and Australian naval forces were alerted by desperate residents pleading for help by satellite phone, and arrived as the last of the pirates were leaving, engaging them in a two-hour gunbattle and killing an estimated 70 pirates.

Initial reports suggest that the main pirate force may have escaped with jewelry, gold, cash and treasury bonds worth billions of dollars and yuan. A number of celebrities are also missing and maybe have been kidnapped. The well-known transexual model Leslie? is amongst the missing.


“RefugeeLand” continues to thrive as EU debates independence.

Posted by Jason O on Dec 1, 2015 in News from The Future!, Not quite serious.

News Future logoDateline: Merkelville, 2099.

Recent economic figures continue to show strong economic growth in the 4m strong European Union Migration Transition Zone, nicknamed “RefugeeLand” in Libya. The city and its surrounds, founded in 2017 by the EU in response to the Mediterranean Refugee Crisis continues to be run and funded jointly by the United Nations and the European Union.

The current governor of the city, former Irish premier Willow Kiely, has confirmed that whilst the EU is willing to look at devolving more power to the city’s elected assembly, it was not willing to grant the city independence.

“The truth is, Europe still needs the Zone, and that means we need to control it, and both access and egress from it. Despite the fact that business continues to grow, and unemployment is very low, this city only started generating more revenue than expenditure in the last ten years. Having said that, that’s more than can be said for most EU member states.”

The city, despite a difficult beginning and still with its fair share of attacks from various religious extremist groups, has turned out to be a fascinating spectacle for the world, its huge open air markets now a major tourist draw for cruise ships.

Commissioner Kiely points out: “This is one of the few places on Earth where Christians and Muslims are pretty much equal in numbers. Everybody has to get along. By force if necessary.”

The EU maintains a large number of combat drones, both air and ground mobile, to respond quickly to terrorist incidents. But Kiely has been quick to point out that local city militia, raised by prominent leaders in both communities, often deal with extremists faster than the drones can.

“This city is the only access point for refugees into Europe. You have to be processed here, and indeed many people here have family members who live legally or commute to the EU having been processed here. As a result, both communities have a vested interest in maintaining order here. A good clean record serving with the militia, for example, earns points towards a residency visa for the EU. “

The commissioner also pointed out that both communities take turns providing a small militia force to protect the city’s one synagogue.

“There’s a real pride about that here. People value what they have, want to protect it.”

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