Well said that man, I am a BNP member but I have to take my hat off to Nigel Farage - he's got balls .
Derek John Evans - Cannock, England
Great article Nige. Many people from the south east country Bulgaria dont like the EU. We never had a 'R' here. You are right when you said that Bulgaria and Romania shoud have never joined the EU.
No name given
Well said, straight to the heart of the matter. And at a time when I thought Greece was going to default, they are going to give them more time and prolong the agony. End this farce now.
Mark Lightfoot - Manchester
The only country that must leave the European Union is the UK. We don't want an American poodle as a Trojan horse. How could the British dare to reserve to themselves the right of divine origin to decree which countries and institutions are democratic and which ones are not? Furthermore, how do they ever think they could do so on obfuscated, shifty and inconsistent grounds? They themselves should start by looking into their own country. Let's start here by pointing out that proposing Papandreu as an example of a democratic leader shows either a poor understanding of our contemporary concept of democracy, or an attempt at political gain by exploiting other's lack of such a concept. Papandreu's insincere mention of a referendum was nothing but a wink at typical populist and fascist use of referendums. To exploit the momentary whim of the masses on simple propositions will destroy legality and will do so - or has done so in the past - for various reasons.
First, those wishes can be contradictory. Second, it is a practical impossibility to build a logically consistent legal system on referendums. Third, simple questions are tricky and even when a large number of people agree on a simple "yes" or "no", the would disagree and argue for an eternity if they actually had to agree on the practical meaning, detail, and conditions of such proposals.
It is so much so that, in reality, referendums are often just used to provide with an aura of legitimacy to sets of minute decisions actually being made in the dark by lawyers, bureaucrats and politicians etc.
Futhermore, Papandreu is responsible for the impoverishment of future generations of Greeks through the cycle of public spending leading to debt and to slavery. Or did you think that "democracy" (whatever you may mean by that) is above justice? Why do people talk so much about an abstract concept of democracy and less about justice.
Democracy is not voting on a face on a piece of paper. Democracy is, for example, community domain on farm land so we know we can eat and what we eat. Very interesting that the country that should be ashamed of the land theft of their own people in the early stages of their infamous industrial revolution doesn't see democracy in conflict with their low human development index, the malnutrition of their own proletariat or their skewed income distribution.
The euro is not a failure but a major success and the current crisis proves it. A currency is anything that serves as a) storage of value, b) mean of trade, and c) measure of value. A) There is a high demand for euros in the world. B) It is been widely used as a trade instrument.
In fact the American led invasion of Iraq was sparked by the prices been set in euros for their oil. C) A unit of measure cannot be in crisis. If a harvest is low, you can't blame the kilo or take grams out of it.
What the euro has done is put in evidence the demagogic (democratic for your standards?) and suicidal public spending of many governments. Going back to a national currency is allowing again for the tampering of public accounts. Real solutions must be provided instead.
Daniel A. Jaimen Navarrete - Madrid
Mr Navarrete sir, you have been completely brainwashed and are totally deluded. You need to wake up and see what is around you. The euro is on its knees and fanatical lunatics are very dangerous people.
Mr Navarette you have an interesting view of referendums and why they are wrong. If we take your argument then the one in the UK back in the 1970s (which only asked if we wanted to join a simple trading club) was wrong as well and we should not be bound by it into a faulty un-democratic superstate in the making.
Currently the EU is alike a lot of rusty old ships tied together in a raft and slowly sinking - so slowly that some can still delude themselves that it is still fine. The crews that we have alternately chosen for our ship all have ulterior motives (their political future) as to why they want to remain tied to this mess but of course our only hope of not going down is to untie and sail off.
steve - Scotland
To Steve: Nothing wrong with referendums per se but with the abuse of referendums for a purpose they are not suitable for and in detriment of legal congruency. Yes, the UK plebiscite on EU membership is questionable but it doesn't follow from there that an alternate decision process leading to the same result would have been questionable as well.
Besides, what do - unfortunately - the general public know on international trade and supranational institutions etc? Urging someone to make a decision on something he doesn't understand - and doing so knowingly - is a fabrication of consent and, as such, not real consent.
To no name: I guess you are not willing to help me see that glaring truth since you said nothing rationally leading to that realisation or anything in relation to the brief monetary lesson I gave you.
Daniel A. Jaimen Navarrete - Madrid
I think it is quite hypocritical in a sense that many Brits complain the EU is undermocratic yet the UK's House of Lords is completely unelected, the official head of state is unelected and the British prime minister is in a position of stewardship of the country with barely over a third of the electorate's votes. Maybe it's time for Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Northern England to split from the UK and leave the South to officialy join the USA.
Northerner - Northern England
Well, of course, very little of modern democracy is in any way democratic. The illusion used to be that you would know from manifestos and pre-election speeches what various parties/leaders/council officials would do if you voted for them. That illusion dissolved in my lifetime as career politicians multiplied. These people judge their success and praise each other on how cleverly they can say or promise one thing, but word it so they can claim later they meant nothing of the sort.
Business has of course always done this too but similarly the extent of it is now massive as well. So the notion that ordinary people have any influence via democracy is proved wrong - most people see this and most people switch off to it all.
But something else has changed. The internet - the power of us all to find out, to explore, to expose and also to see any international issue from many viewpoints across the world; to check for ourselves with the sort of information-power we could only dream about before.
They still try their old tricks but they now know that we are able to watch them so that helps democracy. Another pro-democratic tide comes from a few parties like UKIP who try to hold up for scrutiny - to expose the way we are ruled and what is done "in our name". Notice that parties like this demonstrate about 90 per cent common sense as opposed to our "main" parties where the figure is about 30 per cent.
Steve - Scotland
Mr. Navarrete, the UK sends daily £50,000000 to Brussels. And all that the UK gets are regulations, more regulations and fines. Do you really think there is a "European nation"? Perhaps in 2100.
Jan - Prague, CZ
Autonomy and sovereignty are gold in a changing international world order. The EU is a utopian, idealistic project that came about over collective European guilt and shared trauma from the Second World War. You simply can't create a fusion of countries with different histories and values (especially values). Can you put Greece in the same league as the United Kingdom?
James - Dearborn, Michigan
I fully support Mr Farage and we mustn't under estimate the tenacity of the forces we are fighting against. As we have seen, the EU will resist any member state trying to leave the union with a determination that brooks no dissent. There are powerful and malignant forces behind the EU, who are hell bent on their agenda. And, ultimately, they will throw any amount of money at the problem to achieve their aim.
Martin Kay - Stratford Upon Avon, UK
There are a number of problems with today's labels "democratic governments" or "democratically governed countries". First, "democracy" has been abusively used by the Americans and other English speaking countries as a code word that has one meaning for those in the know and another one for the general public.
For the former, it is a way to say who is in our side and who is not; pure geo-strategic, neo-colonial, or coerced into an alliance. That's how Honduras got the certification. For the former is nothing but a fuzzy illusion that their say counts no matter how ignorant.
It has become a psychological mechanism of compensation for their unconscious and painful realisation of their inability and lack of education to understand public issues. It has, unfortunately been a prosthesis for true legitimacy which is acquired in real democracies through a public quest for justice. Justice is above etymological democracy (people's power) no matter what.
However, that people's power can ensure justice under specific conditions. In particular by linking democracy to the ancient ideal of a citizen's education foremostly based in politics and rhetorics. To reduce democracy to voting goes from infantile to devious.
Effective organisation of communities into decision making bodies that control specific material resources - farmland, mines and so on - is not. To dissociate "democracy" from a commonly shared moral and natural rights ideal is a dangerous exercise that will only benefit the chaos thriving shadow oligarchies.
To Jan. There has been a European nation (without a national state) for centuries and its formation process coincides with that of the progressive conversion of Europe to Christianity. An expression of such ideal was the pursuit of the universal monarchy. A major setback was the schisms leading to the establishment of the Protestant churches and the separation of Orthodox and Catholics.
After the XIX century national movement and the crisis of the legitimacy of the multinational crowns, the European Union comes back as yet another attempt to provide a suitable governance to an European nation of multiple ethnicities - and to do so under a secular humanism whose values are, nevertheless, offsprung of christian ones .
Also, sometimes large companies make an investment to buy markets. The fiscal transfers from stronger and core countries withing the EU to the rest can be a good business for the former and actually reinforces their position in the long run by ensuring that those potential competitors find a different role within the international division of labor. I hate bureaucracy as much as you do and I think that mathematicians and not lawyers should be making the laws and designing the public administration.
Daniel A. Jaimen Navarrete - Madrid
Mr Navarette, you speak of justice as being more important than democracy. Totally impossible - for you need controls to help define justice - quis custodiet ipsos custodes. Government defines what is justice by creating and upholding laws. If the people don't like the laws, in a democracy they can remove the government. This is not true in Europe where the commissioners bulldoze through legislation, where Ireland was told to keep voting until they gave the answer Brussels demanded, where the constitution was re-labelled the treaty of Lisbon after the Dutch had voted 2:1 against. This lack of democracy through the European Commission means that the people have lost the power to control government. Parliament is there to serve the people, not rule it, or would you have us ruled by despots who bully the weak and define justice as being that which serves their own political ideals, regardless of how that affects the people? Obviously so because that is how Europe works and you support it.
On the Euro - take an example. Let's say a country used to have a currency called dollars, where 10 dollars were worth 1 euro when the country adopted the European currency. A family is earning 50,000 euros. It buys a house for 250,000 euros. It borrows 150,000 euros on a mortgage. The country's economy collapses. The employer says that in order for it to remain viable the family must take a pay cut of 25 per cent so the employer can reduce the price of its product and stay in business. The family now only earns 37,500 euros. They can not afford to repay the mortgage, which is still 150,000 euros. Thousands of people are in the same position. House prices halve. The house is only worth 125,000 euros. The family can not sell the house to repay the mortgage. They go broke. The banks lose money and must be bailed out. This is exactly what happened in Spain. Now - if our example country had kept the dollar, the country would have devalued by 25 per cent. The country's products would be more competitive on the world market and the family would keep its 500,000 dollar income. The loan of 1,500,000 dollars would be serviced. House values would hold up. It would still be worth less in euros, but it would still be worth the same in dollars - that's what devaluation does. The banks would not lose money so would not need bailing out. Imports would be more expensive so people would buy more home grown products. The country would be able to control its economy internally without having to subjugate itself to foreign powers and the level of human misery would be greatly reduced. People would not lose their homes. I know this is a little simplistic, but is basically true. Businesses also have loans but under the euro they, too, cannot service their loans, because the currency can't be devalued. Because of more expensive imports there would be a bit of inflation for a short while, but the situation would be vastly better than under the euro.
Surely the foremost aim of democratic government is the well-being of its people. There is no point in having a wealthy country when that means there are a few mega rich and millions living in poverty. I point to Britain during the industrial revolution. We were a superpower and one of the richest nations on the planet, yet the majority of our people lived in misery and poverty, regarded by the powerful as being almost sub-human, not worthy of consideration. We have moved away from that through struggle and the correct use of the democratic process. You appear to want to return the whole of Europe to a form of feudalism where those in power regard the masses as uneducated morons who don't understand what is good for them, and you said so in so many words. You seem to believe that because the people are uneducated and don't understand, that they should just do what they're told. That is a very dangerous approach. Under a democracy people may not understand policies and economics - although you underestimate many of them - but they know if their life is worth living. If a government does not provide a safe environment where everyone can afford a decent standard of living they will change that government. That's all they need to understand. There are millions of people who drive cars successfully without having any idea of how the engine works. If the car does not do what it should they change it. That's how modern democracy works. The abandonment of democracy that is happening in Europe, and which you openly condone, is a step back to the days of the czars and must be stopped.
Your arrogance in branding the mass of the electorate as uneducated and incapable of understanding is unbelievable. If they don't know, we must educate. If they don't understand, we must explain. You just dismiss them as nobody, use long words and jargon to try to put yourself above their level instead of trying to bring them up to yours. Your are an oppressor, sir, who should learn that long words and jargon are not conducive to good communication, but serve only further to oppress the weak by keeping them in ignorance. You would probably still have the bible printed in Latin.
Steven Trigg - Littlehampton, UK
Northerner - You are right about the Lords, but remember, they rubber stamp what the commons says, and the incumbent government will appoint life peers to ensure the balance in that house leans their way - all parties do this. The big difference with Europe is that the unelected body, the commission, is the only body that puts forward legislation, and the parliament, the elected body, rubber stamps what they say. The elected body has no power to formulate policy - that is done by the commission. Not quite the same thing, although further reform of the Lords would be desirable.
Steven Trigg - Littlehampton UK
Nigel stated: "National democracy is the crucial determinant of political life."
I am sorry but although I have been a long term supporter - late 1990's - this is not so, it is local politics, and not necessarily democratic at that, even though democracy - particularly the UKIP policy of local and national 'direct' democracy - seems to be the best recipe at the moment.
The smaller the constituency, the greater the say of the individual, which is the mean level of most human interest.
S. Jenner - Beckenham, Kent.
Steven Trigg - even though at first glance your remark on how legislation gets the rubber stamp in Brussels seems correct, in reality it is not. The commission asks input from government, does research via European Universities, does its own research and gets input via the European Parlement etc. And when enough countries and parliamentarians support an idea, they start creating new legislation. You can't get more democratic and independent than that.
Furthermore, the commission is a whole lot more democratically chosen than any similar organ in Europe. Remember, they have no political power, they are just bureaucrats. All of the commissioners are democratically chosen by their respective governments. On top of that, they are all put to the test by the European Parliament and if needed - rejected.
Which country in Europe chooses their top bureaucrats democratically? None. But should the commissioners be democratically chosen? I think not. This could lead to commissioners supporting their parties instead of the European citizens.
And finally, since the Lisbon Treaty, the parliament can put forward legislation and is increasingly doing so.
Jan de Vries - Amsterdam, Netherlands