/ Euratom

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johncoxmysteriously - on 10 Jul 2017
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/07/10/explainer-euratom-row-does-matter/

Can anyone who knows anything about the subject explain to me how leaving Euratom can be in any way a good idea? Or, for that matter, what mandate the government has to do it? I don't recall "freeing our nuclear industry from red tape" being in the manifesto, and if it had been I don't imagine it would have been a vote winner. Maybe we could get RBKC to oversee it?

jcm
4
Ridge - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

Given we joined Euratom before we joined the EU, and we can only ship nuclear fuel internationally because we're part of Euratom, then leaving it is a spectacularly bad idea. However the name does begin with "Eu", so it's clearly something to do with the EU, so we have to leave because it's the will of the people...

We'll still have to comply with IAEA standards anyway, but outside of Euratom we'll have far less say in shaping those standards.
2
minimike - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

Leaving euratom will leave our hospitals unable to buy, transport or dispose of radioactive isotopes from/to Europe where most are manufactured. These are used to scan and treat hundreds of patents per hospital every week. Cancer patients will be affected most, but also heart patients and many others.

Leaving achieves nothing, it is an unintended consequence of (an idiotic idea called) Brexit. We would instantly have to rejoin euratom or set up our own agency and agree equivalence with euratom at great cost and increased bureaucratic burden.
2
Doug on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Ridge:
As you say, at first sight seems to be an automatic rejection because it has Eur at the start so must be a European plot. But behind that there's probably the fact that Euratom uses the European Court of Justice to decide disputes & a certain Mrs May seems to have a phobia of European courts.

But still a stupid decision
Post edited at 08:50
2
wbo - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:
If you try to understand this decision with logic or common sense you will always be disappointed.

ECJ is the problem - it's absolutely obvious that a Europe wide body should answer to a crown court in Chingford or wherever rather than a European court set up pre EU with encouragement from the UK government
Post edited at 08:30
1
Coel Hellier - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

> Can anyone who knows anything about the subject explain to me how leaving Euratom can be in any way a good idea?

Euratom is subject to the EU's ECJ, therefore staying in it would involve staying subject to an EU court.
RomTheBear on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Euratom is subject to the EU's ECJ, therefore staying in it would involve staying subject to an EU court.

Any treaty of this type will have arbitration mechanisms. I guess the tories are happy with it, as long as there isn't the word "European" in the name...
1
tony on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Euratom is subject to the EU's ECJ, therefore staying in it would involve staying subject to an EU court.

That doesn't explain why it's a good idea.

According to prominent Leave campaigner Dominic Cummings, those in Government supporting withdrawal are 'morons' and the idea is 'near-retarded on every dimension'.
Coel Hellier - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to tony:

As I understand it, Switzerland, not being in the EU, has "associate member" status with Euratom rather than full member status, and the UK might ask for something similar. I've not looked into the full legalities of this, but it may be that the change in status is technical (and about the ECJ) rather than having much actual effect.
jkarran - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Euratom is subject to the EU's ECJ, therefore staying in it would involve staying subject to an EU court.

So as an ardent leaver do you believe leaving Euratom is a good idea, a price worth paying or a step too far for the sake of that ideologically driven clean break?
jk
1
tony on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:

You still haven't explained why it's a good idea, which was John's original question.
baron - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

Does the article not outline the possible pros and cons of leaving?
Whichever side of the Brexit debate that you're on will probably decide which pros and cons you believe.
As the replies to your original post have proven
RomTheBear on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> As I understand it, Switzerland, not being in the EU, has "associate member" status with Euratom rather than full member status, and the UK might ask for something similar. I've not looked into the full legalities of this, but it may be that the change in status is technical (and about the ECJ) rather than having much actual effect.

Switzerland accepts ECJ arbitration as part of the associate membership to euratom (without being represented in the ECJ).
So basically associate membership is nothing less than full membership, but without much of a say in anything.
But anyway Switzerland already accepts ECJ jurisdiction in many areas, directly, or indirectly.

Let's add also that the associate membership of euratom and participation in horizon 2020 with Switzerland was negotiated in exchange of guarantees on the free movement of persons.
Post edited at 10:31
1
Doug on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to baron:

where are the pros? I don't see any thing very concrete in the article in the Telegraph
1
andyfallsoff - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

It absolutely isn't a good idea.

It does offer a perfect demonstration of how Theresa May has chosen an ideological stance on leaving the EU rather than a practical or sensible one, though. Her reasoning really doesn't go deeper than "it involves ECJ jurisdiction therefore we must say no"; irrespective of the costs, benefits, practicalities, economy... I find that quite scary. I don't think mindless ideology is a good principle of governance.
1
Coel Hellier - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to jkarran:

> So as an ardent leaver do you believe leaving Euratom is a good idea, a price worth paying or a step too far for the sake of that ideologically driven clean break?

First, I'm not an ardent leaver.

Second, I don't know about Euratom. The difference between full membership and associate membership (a la Switzerland) seems to be a technical and legal matter that I'd have to understand the implications of before having an opinion.
johncoxmysteriously - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to andyfallsoff:

I really don't get these ECJ people. How do they expect nations to reach agreements without also agreeing to have them policed by supranational courts? The first couple of times I heard someone going on about it I thought it was a joke. I still think it's mainly just a dishonest rhetorical device, but obviously it must strike a chord with some people. Anyone care to explain to me how those people aren't batshit crazy and a tiresome obstacle to the progress of humanity?

jcm

baron - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

Many people don't like to be told what to do.
We do accept that there has to be some sort of arbitration scheme for international disputes.
Well actually there doesn't, but because the alternative to arbitration is often war it seems a fair compromise.
We don't want the ECJ to arbitrate.
No particular reason, just a personal choice.
We'll settle for whatever arbitration other non EU countries use.
And your use of 'batshit crazy' and 'obstacle to the progress of humanity' has simply deepened our resolve to dig our heels in on this matter.
(I've used 'we' when I actually mean 'me' in an attempt to add some weight to my argument and just in case I'm the only person to hold these views).
15
andyfallsoff - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to baron:
Can you see why those of us who don't hold that view find it frustrating, though, when we hear that the effect of that choice is to cause what seems to us like unnecessary difficulties or damage to our economy, and you can't spell out any benefit (actually, you acknowledge that it isn't a reasoned position at all, just a feeling)?
Post edited at 11:29
jkarran - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> First, I'm not an ardent leaver.

My apologies. I must have confused you with someone else.

> Second, I don't know about Euratom. The difference between full membership and associate membership (a la Switzerland) seems to be a technical and legal matter that I'd have to understand the implications of before having an opinion.

As I understand it Switzerland as associate member still has to submit to the authority of ECJ, escaping which is the rod May has made for her own back so if we're to cling to this jingoistic idiocy neither option works for us. All of which leaves us where? It'll be fine though, I'm sure someone in power has a very cunning win-win plan that doesn't leave us out in the cold.
jk
johncoxmysteriously - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to baron:
So, if I understand you right, you've no objection to making supranational agreements about the transport of nuclear matter and those agreements being regulated by supranational courts, just so long as we don't make them with our 27 closest neighbours, or at least that if we do make them with our closest neighbours, we make it a precondition of doing so that we insist on the agreement being regulated by as yet non-existent bodies in which our neighbours have no say. You have no justification for this other than saying it's a preference.

And you don't like people calling that position crazy, so that when they do it strengthens your resolve to stick to it.

jcm
baron - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to andyfallsoff:
I can understand your feelings of frustration.
But the point of leaving the EU is to leave.
That includes the ECJ.
Whose purpose is to look after the interests of the EU and not its member states.
While that might make things more difficult it doesn't make them impossible.
The argument for staying or leaving Euratom is in the OP post.
My 'feeling' is related to the usefulness of the ECJ.
I am, as always, open to persuasion but other posters hurling insults does nothing to alter my viewpoint
4
baron - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

How do other non EU countries regulate and arbitrate their atomic trade?
Are they all arbitrated by the ECJ?
I could probably google the answers but you appear to be the authority on these matters so I await your answer with anticipation.
Malarkey on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to baron:

"But the point of leaving the EU is to leave."

Except when you leave you have to replicate all the EU rules verbatim, create a new bureaucracy to follow the rules that dictated to them by the EU - and still pay fees.

We can expect a similar farce for atomic energy, pharma regs, customs, science funding, courts.. Pay more, get less, have no say at all in the rules. "Taking Back Control"
1
johncoxmysteriously - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to baron:

I've no idea. However, carting nuclear materials about the place feels to me like pre-eminently the sort of thing where one would do well to start off by discussing with one's neighbours. If we f*ck up, it's not China that's going to suffer.

jcm
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tom_in_edinburgh - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to baron:

> How do other non EU countries regulate and arbitrate their atomic trade?

Other non-EU countries haven't spent the last 40 years building up a nuclear industry which is closely integrated with and dependent on facilities within the EU.


wbo - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to baron: - it would be very odd if we were not to use a European court to arbitrate a European trade. It is not easy to find out how for example a Japan/UK deal would work.

Would a French court, or German be better? Although of course they are ultimately answerable to the ECJ. An outright refusal to use the ECJ is a hard position to take. A UK court is not a credible answer - too local, too likely to leave

Bear in mind the ECJ is not part of the EU, and the UK was very involved in its formation. I guess this is all a part of a red white and blue brexit
RomTheBear on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to baron:
> My 'feeling' is related to the usefulness of the ECJ.

Without the ECJ such treaties would seem quite worthless. They would be unenforceable. Whatever treaty we sign, as long as it's anything other than simply political or symbolic, we'll need arbitration systems, dispute settlement, and enforcement mechanisms, with varying degrees of scope and strength, depending on the level of cooperation and integration we want.

They may well end up creating ad-hoc new bodies to arbitrate arrangements between the UK and the EU, which will do exactly the same thing, except they will be a lot less democratically legitimate, and most likely, will refer to the ECJ anyway.

I don't really understand the faff about the ECJ, it's been to our interest, especially given the protectionist tendencies of some of our closest European neighbours, it's been very useful to defend the interest of our businesses, particularly in FS.
Post edited at 12:43
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cb294 - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to baron:

Organizationally, the ECJ has nothing to do with the EU. It actually precedes formation of the EU. Since they pertain to countries in the same continent, both entities have names starting with "European". Not knowing this, and basing a political decision on such an embarrassing lack of knowledge of the topic at hand, is like burning down a pediatricians surgery because he even advertised on the front door that he was a "paedo" (Swansea or Cardiff, about 15 years ago, IIRC).

CB
jkarran - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to baron:
> But the point of leaving the EU is to leave.

No it bloody isn't, leaving the EU is a means to an end, I don't agree that the end justifies the means (or even that the end is the one you were sold) but leaving absolutely is not the end in and of itself!

> That includes the ECJ.

Why?

> Whose purpose is to look after the interests of the EU and not its member states.

That simply is not true.

> My 'feeling' is related to the usefulness of the ECJ.

And what about the 'ECJ mkII but obviously not called the ECJ mkII' we'll need to set up at cost (which will function like the ECJ. which we set up) in the aftermath of leaving if we want a meaningful relationship with the EU? What will you think to the usefulness of that and the tax you'll pay toward establishing and maintaining it in parallel with the ECJ?

> I am, as always, open to persuasion but other posters hurling insults does nothing to alter my viewpoint

No you're not, I've never seen you persuaded of any of this, you eventually just retreat to the unchallengable argument that 'its just a feeling and you're entitled to it'. That ideological, head in the sand attitude to the significant harm we're doing for no real gain is the source of my frustration.
Post edited at 12:43
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johncoxmysteriously - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply

> My 'feeling' is related to the usefulness of the ECJ.

What reason do you have for thinking that the ECJ will not arbitrate any dispute arising under EURATOM perfectly adequately?

jcm

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johncoxmysteriously - on 11 Jul 2017

In reply to RomTheBear

> They may well end up creating ad-hoc new bodies to arbitrate arrangements between the UK and the EU, which will do exactly the same thing, except they will be a lot less democratically legitimate, and most likely, will refer to the ECJ anyway.

Surely not? I'd imagine the response of the rest of Europe's response to any such request would be 'go away and come back when you've grown up'.

I really don't understand what eventual arrangements the government is contemplating. The answer seems to be the closest possible co-operation with our European friends but without having whatever we agree regulated by the same body all our European friends use to regulate it

Surely even the present government can see that isn't going to happen. I genuinely think they've just ceased to function according to any plan or estimation of consequences whatsoever.

jcm
Post edited at 13:05
tony on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

> Surely even the present government can see that isn't going to happen. I genuinely think they've just ceased to function according to any plan or estimation of consequences whatsoever.

That rather assumes they ever had a plan in the first place, the evidence for which seems hard to find.
Tyler - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to baron:

> But the point of leaving the EU is to leave
I thought the point was to assume greater control over things that we think we can do better alone and to improve economic prosperity, not to isolate us from every bit of international co-operation with our neighbours.

I'll add my question to the chorus, what possible tangible gain is there from leaving Euratom?
1
Ramblin dave - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to tony:

> That rather assumes they ever had a plan in the first place, the evidence for which seems hard to find.

Does "watch everything go to shit and then blame the EU27 for 'punishing' us by actually negotiating rather than unconditionally giving us everything we ask for" not count as a plan, then?
Coel Hellier - on 11 Jul 2017
Martin W on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to baron:

> Many people don't like to be told what to do.

Other people grow up, stop behaving like stroppy four-year-olds and recognise that living on a planet shared with seven billion plus other human beings* means having to accept that some decisions are made in the interest of the common good rather than a particular individual's self-interest.

* And growing. Which the planet isn't. And that's not to mention the gazillions of other organisms which are pretty much at the mercy of whatever homo sapiens chooses to do with the finite resources available here.
baron - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

Have a read of the wiki on the ECJ, especially the last few paragraphs, where even europhiles can have serious doubts abouts its abilities.
baron - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Doug:

It's in the 'what are the upsides?' Section of the article.
Nothing's concrete because it's the future and therefore only a possibility.
baron - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Malarkey:

While possibly true, this is such a eurocentric view of the world.
Most countries aren't in the EU and yet manage to trade with europe.
Yes it's going to be difficult to extract the UK from many years of integration but that's what the vote wanted.
2
baron - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:
Discussion and agreement sounds fine.
The final say belonging to the ECJ doesn't.
1
baron - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:
And this is true of most things where the UK and EU are concerned and exactly what you would expect from all the years of UK membership.
That doesn't mean we have to stay wedded to the EU forever.
1
baron - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to wbo:
I would suggest that the ECJ exists purely to assist the EU.
1
baron - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to cb294:
You need to check your facts about the role of the ECJ before you call other people ignorant.
2
andyfallsoff - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to baron:

> Have a read of the wiki on the ECJ, especially the last few paragraphs, where even europhiles can have serious doubts abouts its abilities.

None of the few criticisms of the ECJ actually relate to its abilities - there are a few accusations of overreach (which I would suggest is a potential criticism the ECJ shares with almost all courts in the world - few courts haven't been accused of the same by people who aren't happy with a decision) and one point about overspending.

None of these relate to the court's "ability" at all. In fact the court's ability appears to be very good, as is evidenced by its increasing caseload (cited in the article).
jkarran - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to baron:

> Discussion and agreement sounds fine.
> The final say belonging to the ECJ doesn't.

Why?
jk
1
baron - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to andyfallsoff:
But my point is that it isn't and can never be an impartial arbiter between the EU and the UK post Brexit.
1
wbo - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to baron: have read the last section and I'm not getting serious doubts - that's a pretty strong interpretation.

What's your suggestion?



1
tony on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to baron:

> Discussion and agreement sounds fine.

> The final say belonging to the ECJ doesn't.

Where do you think the final say should be made? What's wrong with it remaining with the ECJ. Just because we voted to leave the EU doesn't mean that there might not be situations in which existing EU structures are the best option, especially when there is no current alternative. Inventing something new for the sake of it, when a perfectly good option already exists, seems stupid.
1
baron - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to tony:
In reply to your and others question about the UK and the ECJ-
the ECJ exists to serve the interests of the EU and not its individual member states.
While this might work for members of the EU how will the ECJ be impartial when faced with a dispute between the EU and the UK.
I can't imagine the EU being happy with a UK court being the arbiter any more than the UK accepting the ECJ.
There needs to be an impartial arbitration scheme, not just for Euratom, but for trade deals, etc.
If one doesn't exist then one should be set up.
5
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andyfallsoff - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to baron:

So you note in the criticisms of the ECJ the bottom one was cost. How much do you think it costs to set up a separate court, just to deal with disputes between the UK and the EU?

Do you think that the EU will be willing to share that cost, or do you think it will fall on the UK to pay for (given it is solely our demand)?

Also to say that the ECJ "exists to serve the interests of the EU" isn't correct - it exists to deals with disputes between parties in matters relating to EU / European community law. It already settles national disputes between national governments (i.e. EU states) and EU institutions. Applying your logic, presumably it is biased to the EU institutions when it does that?
wercat on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to baron:

that sounds like participating in an agreement which is governed by a set of rules but wanting to have special rules for one's own participation. I think that would be a good way of participating in sport, special rules for ones own team.

On second thoughts, far better to do it all on our own control as we did in the days of Windscale
Bob Kemp - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to baron:

"But the point of leaving the EU is to leave."

Ah, I wondered why we were doing it. Couldn't see any other reason that stands up...
baron - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to andyfallsoff:
It's understandable that the use of the EXJ is seen as preferable to setting up a potentially expensive new system but until the ECJ can be seen to be impartial in EU vs UK disputes it (the ECJ) won't be accepted by many leavers.
The ECJ sees itself as above the domestic law of its members and so is biased towards the EU agenda of closer integration.
2
Bob Kemp - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Maybe wbo is thinking of the European Court of Human Rights, which isn't part of the EU?
Ridge - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to tony:

> That rather assumes they ever had a plan in the first place, the evidence for which seems hard to find.

The plan, as far as nuclear goes, is to transpose the EU Basic Safety Standards Directive into UK law by February. Then we'll be fully compliant with EU law when we leave, which will really show them who's in charge...

Post that it'll be aligning ourselves with IAEA best practice, in exactly the same way that we did as part of Euratom...
wercat on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Bob Kemp:
I would have thought that ECJ would properly exercise the applicable Euratom rules, should we participate in Euratom, but in the event of a dispute as to the applicability or scope or conflict arising from the application of those laws surely the ICJ would have to rule ...

or, as this is UKC, perhaps Wikipedia Justice?
Post edited at 15:45
baron - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to wercat:
It's participating in an agreement where, should something go wrong, an independent arbitration system exists to help sort out the problem.
The present rules can't apply because the UK won't be subject to the ECJ.
So new rules will be used.
Like those that presumably exist between the EU and the rest of the world.
There's no desire for special treatment just fair treatment.
1
baron - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Bob Kemp:
Glad I cleared that up for you.
Ridge - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to wercat:

> On second thoughts, far better to do it all on our own control as we did in the days of Windscale

TBH the issues with the reactor builds in Flamanville and Olkiluoto don't exactly inspire confidence, and they aren't being knocked up with left over bits from WW2 like Windscale was.
Ramblin dave - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to baron:

Out of interest, if a third party enters into an agreement with the UK government under UK law which results in a dispute, where would you expect the dispute to be resolved? Would you consider it reasonable? Do you think that no third party should ever enter into such an agreement?
baron - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Ramblin dave:

I'm not sure I understand your point.
Probably me being a bit slow.
RomTheBear on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:
> In reply to RomTheBear

> Surely not? I'd imagine the response of the rest of Europe's response to any such request would be 'go away and come back when you've grown up'.

I don't think so. If the UK wants to essentially recreate the same structures on the side to make sure the rules are applied fairly, pay for it, and have not much say in it, I think the EU will say fine.
This is already pretty much the case with EFTA in fact, it's got its own court system, but EFTA court itself has to incorporate ECJ rulings in its case law...


> I really don't understand what eventual arrangements the government is contemplating. The answer seems to be the closest possible co-operation with our European friends but without having whatever we agree regulated by the same body all our European friends use to regulate it

You don't understand, nobody does, because they are utterly incompetent and have absolutely no clue. We are led by ignorant ideologues. The lack of analytical depth in the combined brains of this governement is particularly acute.


> Surely even the present government can see that isn't going to happen. I genuinely think they've just ceased to function according to any plan or estimation of consequences whatsoever.

Yes

> jcm
Post edited at 16:23
1
Ramblin dave - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to baron:
Well, start by answering the questions, maybe?

If you don't think it's reasonable for a dispute relating to an agreement made under EU law between EU member states and a third party (ie the UK) to be arbitrated by the ECJ, why would it be reasonable for a dispute made under UK law between the British government and a third party to be arbitrated by the British courts?

The basic point of courts is that they exist to interpret law under which both parties have made an agreement, not to be biased towards any particular agenda or to represent anyone's interests.
Post edited at 16:12
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cb294 - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:

The ECJ was established in 1951/2 for settling disputes under the steel agreement. That this independent court was later coopted and used as the court of arbitration for disputes between members and institutions of the EU does not mean that it became a EU institution itself.

The member nations of Euratom similarly named the existing court as arbitrating agency, rather than setting up their own system. The jurisdiction of the ECJ over Euratom matters is therefore independent of the role of the court in internal EU issues.

CB
1
baron - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Ramblin dave:
You posted something which I said I didn't understand and admitted that I was probably to blame for not understanding.
You reply in what comes across as quite an aggressive way.
I didn't say that the UK should arbitrate.
As you rightly point out the court should rule on the agreement that's been made.
But the court has to be impartial.
In a dispute involving the EU and the UK,p post Brexit, neither the ECJ nor the UK courts would be seen to be impartial - there needs to be a separate system.
Toerag - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

The French process nuclear waste of other nations into fuel at their Cap De La Hague re-processing plant. What court is used for this?
RomTheBear on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to baron:
> You posted something which I said I didn't understand and admitted that I was probably to blame for not understanding.

> You reply in what comes across as quite an aggressive way.

> I didn't say that the UK should arbitrate.

> As you rightly point out the court should rule on the agreement that's been made.

> But the court has to be impartial.

> In a dispute involving the EU and the UK,p post Brexit, neither the ECJ nor the UK courts would be seen to be impartial - there needs to be a separate system

Indeed, and we basically end up adding another costly layer of supra national arbitration courts, exactly as it was before, but just worse.
Post edited at 17:43
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Ridge - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to Toerag:

> The French process nuclear waste of other nations into fuel at their Cap De La Hague re-processing plant. What court is used for this?

Not sure what your point is?
tom_in_edinburgh - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to baron:

> And this is true of most things where the UK and EU are concerned and exactly what you would expect from all the years of UK membership.

> That doesn't mean we have to stay wedded to the EU forever.

It means that if we leave the EU there is going to be economic disruption on a biblical scale as every industry which has developed and optimised itself to function within the EU tries to re-organise itself to function well when there are barriers between the EU and UK.

You need a bloody good reason to break up a 40 year relatively successsful marriage and destroy a large part of your assets in the process and 'I don't like EU immigrants' doesn't cut it.

baron - on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:
This is true.
pasbury on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

This thread has led me to the wonderful discovery that the honorary president of the Nuclear Skills Academy and former chair of the Nuclear Innovation Research Advisory Board is called Dame Sue Ion.
johncoxmysteriously - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to baron:
>While this might work for members of the EU how will the ECJ be impartial when faced with a dispute between the EU and the UK.

That's not what we're discussing. We're discussing whether we could find a better arbiter between other members of the EU and the UK.

>There needs to be an impartial arbitration scheme, not just for Euratom, but for trade deals, etc.
If one doesn't exist then one should be set up.

This is typical of Leave voters, and why I described them (on this issue) as batshit crazy. There does indeed need to be an arbitration scheme between nations. However, there is no impartial third party which is going to oblige. Whatever body does it has to be made up of representatives of the nations involved. Whether you call it the ECJ, or whether you set up another body with ooo, let's say, one judge from each of the nations involved in the agreement, isn't going to make a difference. It's this fantasy that yes, we need an arbitration scheme, but no, it can't be one that takes any SOVVERINTY away from us, which is so annoying, and as I said an obstacle to human progress, because as long as we can't get over that, we're never going to be able to tackle, for instance, climate change, which will kill us all if we're not careful.

I always think it's telling that the biggest indicator of being a leave voter which pollsters have been able to discover is being a climate change denier.

jcm
Post edited at 08:53
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johncoxmysteriously - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to baron:

>The ECJ sees itself as above the domestic law of its members

Well, of course it does. That's because it exists to interpret the agreements they've made with each other, and they've agreed that their national laws will be subordinate to those.

Again, typical leaver stuff. They want to be able to make international agreements, but not to abide by them if they don't want to.

jcm
1
baron - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

There are no ' other members of the EU' there's only the EU, one organisation , don't you understand this.
The UK can't deal with individual european countries, they're all toeing the collective EU line.
Would you enter an agreement where the other party had the final say on everything and you had none?
Is that how other countries deal with the EU?
If anyone has problems with sovereignty it 's the EU which seems to want more and more control over not just its member states but anyone who has any dealings with it.
The ECJ isn't going to have any influence in the UK post Brexit, is that what's really winding you up?
Your throw away insult linking climate change deniers to leavers, along with your bat shit crazy comment, shows you up for exactly what you are.
I'll do what my mother always told me to do with people like you and that's ignore you.
8
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jonny taylor on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

Just thought I'd throw out an interesting point I heard today, which I didn't spot being mentioned in this thread. There is explicit mention of the Euratom withdrawal in May's official letter to the EU invoking article 50. i.e. if she revokes the part about Euratom (and this revocation is accepted) then it sets an interesting precedent for the contents of the letter being non-final...
Ridge - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to jonny taylor:

Is there any indication that the UK intend to remain in Euratom?
Ramblin dave - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to baron:
Sorry, the "riddle me this" approach was cheap debate club crap.

The point I'm trying to make is that courts are independent of the governments whose laws they exist to interpret and apply. This is one of the basic principles of pretty much every modern democratic government.

To illustrate the point, think about any foreign company doing contract work for the British government. They've entered into an agreement with the British government, and any disputes arising from that agreement could end up being arbitrated in the British court. For them to not look for that contract work - not to enter into that agreement - purely because the British government would, as you put it "have the final say on everything" would be ridiculous - people successfully taking the government to court is entirely normal.

Similarly, if we're looking to enter an agreement with a group of European countries under European law, and we're happy with what that agreement is, we should have no problems with any disputes getting arbitrated in a European court.
Post edited at 10:33
Ramblin dave - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to baron:

> The UK can't deal with individual european countries, they're all toeing the collective EU line.

If they're all toeing the collective EU line, why do they currently need a court to arbitrate between them at all?
1
Ramblin dave - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to baron:

> If anyone has problems with sovereignty it 's the EU which seems to want more and more control over not just its member states but anyone who has any dealings with it.

It's not about wanting "more and more control", it's about wanting to use a perfectly functional existing organisation to arbitrate disputes rather than wasting an enormous amount of time and money setting up a new one from cut cloth purely because some people have a limited understanding of how courts work.
jonny taylor on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to Ridge:

> Is there any indication that the UK intend to remain in Euratom?

I have not been following closely enough to know how plausible the possibility actually is, but it's not just random people on the internet suggesting that leaving Euratom is a stupid idea. The commentary I was reading was simply pointing out that that discussion has ramifications beyond just the nuclear industry, due to Euratom's explicit mention in "the letter". Maybe that makes it much *less* likely that May would u-turn on Euratom...
Deadeye - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to jkarran:

> My apologies. I must have confused you with someone else.

I'd be surprised if anyone in the university research sector thinks leaving is a good idea.
andyfallsoff - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to jonny taylor:
I've read the same thing - there is an article in the FT spelling out this argument, and the implications, in great detail (I'm guessing the same one you have, by the excellent David Allen Green - his writings on this are absolutely worth seeking out, see also his "Jack of Kent" blog).
Post edited at 11:12
jkarran - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to Deadeye:

> I'd be surprised if anyone in the university research sector thinks leaving is a good idea.

Me too. Surprising times we live in though.
jk
andyfallsoff - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to Ramblin dave:

> It's not about wanting "more and more control", it's about wanting to use a perfectly functional existing organisation to arbitrate disputes rather than wasting an enormous amount of time and money setting up a new one from cut cloth purely because some people have a limited understanding of how courts work.

...and in this case, wanting to use the same court that has been in place to deal with this particular treaty since the 1950's
jonny taylor on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to andyfallsoff:

Wasn't actually that one, but does sound like he's written some interesting stuff there. (Sadly the full text of his blogs seem to be behind a paywall for me)
cb294 - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to baron:

No I don´ t, as I know my facts.

CB
John2 - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

I'm with you on Euratom, but what do you make of the EU's insistence that EU citizens living in the UK should be subject to the jurisdiction of the ECJ? It seems completely reasonable to me that anyone who chooses to live in the UK should be answerable to the British justice system.
jkarran - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to John2:
> I'm with you on Euratom, but what do you make of the EU's insistence that EU citizens living in the UK should be subject to the jurisdiction of the ECJ? It seems completely reasonable to me that anyone who chooses to live in the UK should be answerable to the British justice system.

They, EU nationals in the UK will be answerable to the British justice system as they are now but their rights as agreed and granted at the time of leaving will be guaranteed by ECJ. That seems totally reasonable, it isn't a matter of domestic law, it's ensuring compliance of each nation within and without the union with a treaty they will (or as looks likely will fail to) agree and sign.

I really don't see the problem but then I never have with any of this, it always seems to come back to misguided jingoism.
jk
Post edited at 14:45
Ramblin dave - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to jkarran:

The rate we're going I'll be relieved if we're still on the bloody Eurasian Plate in two years.
John2 - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to jkarran:

What Barnier said was, "We want EU citizens in Britain to have the same rights as British citizens who live in the EU". He's not proposing to extend the rights enjoyed by UK citizens in the UK (whatever those may be) to British citizens who live in the EU, but he wished EU citizens who live in the UK to have all the rights that they enjoyed in their native country. If I were to move to a foreign country I would be quite happy to be bound by the legal system of that country and to enjoy the same rights as its citizens.
jkarran - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to John2:

> What Barnier said was, "We want EU citizens in Britain to have the same rights as British citizens who live in the EU". He's not proposing to extend the rights enjoyed by UK citizens in the UK (whatever those may be) to British citizens who live in the EU, but he wished EU citizens who live in the UK to have all the rights that they enjoyed in their native country. If I were to move to a foreign country I would be quite happy to be bound by the legal system of that country and to enjoy the same rights as its citizens.

So we seem to be talking about two different things here: Firstly the rights of EU citizens in the UK post brexit, this is to be decided and agreed upon, May's position is they will be diminished, Barnier's position is they won't. Some compromise will (or won't) be found or one of those positions will (or won't) be agreed. Those people will be subject to British law while they are on British soil, German on German soil, French on French soil etc. Secondly as I understand Barnier's proposal if Britain or indeed any of the other EU27 breeches the terms of the treaty we create enshrining those rights, whatever they may eventually be, perhaps by a subsequent prejudicial change to domestic law or a failure to uphold or apply treaty compliant law properly then the ECJ will have the right the intervene.

What is your problem with that?
jk
John2 - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to jkarran:

My problem is that he wishes people living in the UK to have the same rights that they would have if they were living in the EU.
jkarran - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to John2:
> My problem is that he wishes people living in the UK to have the same rights that they would have if they were living in the EU.

Why is that a problem for you? They and we have those rights now, unless our rights are to be diminished (not what you desire I presume) then at worst they will have equal rights here with British citizens. The converse is of course that we or at the very least Brits currently resident in the EU will get a full reciprocal deal and I can't see why you'd have a problem with that either. Assuming the treaty we agree doesn't freeze citizen's rights on the day of signing that parity lasts at least until our rights as Brits in Britain or their's as EU citizens (wherever) are strengthened, either way that creates pressure to improve the rights of Brit's at home, those in the EU and of EU citizens. No bad thing in my book, these are ultimately your rights we're discussing too, not someone else's.

You are pro-leave, right?
jk
Post edited at 15:29
elsewhere on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to John2:
> It seems completely reasonable to me that anyone who chooses to live in the UK should be answerable to the British justice system.

They will be, as they are now.

Any Brexit deal will be an international treaty complicated enough to require a method for resolving conflicts. Nobody is daft enough to think there will be no disagreements.

How do you think those conflicts or disagreements should be resolved?

A) an existing international court recognised by all sides.
B) a new international court recognised by all sides.
C) in the event of non-compliance just suck it up
D) withdraw from the treaty to start a trade war
E) something else

Since we expect that the rights of UK & EU citizens will be part of a Brexit deal we can expect an international court to have jurisdiction over that part of the international treaty. Otherwise any country can change it's laws which their courts apply with with no shared legal framework to challenge any laws that don't comply with the treaty.





Doug on 12 Jul 2017
seems lots of MPs (including Tories) also think leaving Euratom is stupid - https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/jul/12/may-warned-not-to-cut-off-nose-to-spite-face-as-tor...

John2 - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to elsewhere:
I really don't see what you are saying. Once we are out of the EU we will be out. We will be a separate national entity. We don't expect there to be some supranational body to resolve disputes regarding, for example, American citizens living in the UK. The EU are currently playing the Boris game of being pro having their cake and pro eating it. They are just not sufficiently honest to admit that. (Please don't interpret this to mean that I am pro either having or eating Boris).
Post edited at 18:30
elsewhere on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to John2:
So how would disputes on any aspect of a Brexit deal set by an international treaty be resolved?

John2 - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to elsewhere:

We make the deal - that's what's going on at the moment. Then we abide by it. What is your answer to what I said before - who expects there to be a supranational body adjudicating the rights of Americans living in the UK?
elsewhere on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to John2:

> We make the deal - that's what's going on at the moment. Then we abide by it.

And what if we or another country doesn't abide by it?

What is your answer to what I said before - who expects there to be a supranational body adjudicating the rights of Americans living in the UK?

I think we don't unless we have made a treaty for such a body.

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John2 - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to elsewhere:
'I think we don't unless we have made a treaty for such a body'

Quite. There is no justification or precedent for what the EU are demanding.
1
elsewhere on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to John2:
> 'I think we don't unless we have made a treaty for such a body'

> Quite. There is no justification or precedent for what the EU are demanding.

ECJ itself sets a precedent dating back 65 years.

What is your answer to what I said before?

Any Brexit deal will be an international treaty complicated enough to require a method for resolving conflicts. Nobody is daft enough to think there will be no disagreements.

How do you think those conflicts or disagreements should be resolved?

A) an existing international court recognised by all sides.
B) a new international court recognised by all sides.
C) in the event of non-compliance just suck it up
D) withdraw from the treaty to start a trade war
E) something else
Post edited at 20:11
Bogwalloper - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to jkarran:

Baron is a slightly more articulate version of Wayne from Chelmsford.

Wally
1
John2 - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to elsewhere:

This is silly. We are ironing out the disagreements at the moment. Then it's over.
elsewhere on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to John2:

> This is silly. We are ironing out the disagreements at the moment. Then it's over.

You believe none of the 28 governments will ever adversely change its interpretation or implementation of the deal?
That's very trusting of you.
baron - on 12 Jul 2017
In reply to Bogwalloper:

Thanks.
johncoxmysteriously - on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to baron:

>There are no ' other members of the EU' there's only the EU, one organisation , don't you understand this.

In a word, no, I don't understand it. Largely because it's bollocks.

Does anyone know whether the ECJ has ever actually been called upon to adjudicate upon a single dispute arising from Euratom?

jcm
1
johncoxmysteriously - on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to John2:

> I'm with you on Euratom, but what do you make of the EU's insistence that EU citizens living in the UK should be subject to the jurisdiction of the ECJ? It seems completely reasonable to me that anyone who chooses to live in the UK should be answerable to the British justice system.

It seems crazy to me. Like I said, the first few times I heard people say this I assumed they were joking. If we're going to accept European law in various areas, then we should accept it. There's no point in agreeing to do so and then refusing to incorporate it into our law without any method of enforcement when we don't other than by declarations of incompatibility, which don't help the EU citizen who's been f*cked over by our not complying with our agreements actually obtain redress. Maintaining that this should be the position strikes me as simply dishonourable.

jcm
1
johncoxmysteriously - on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to John2:

>What is your answer to what I said before - who expects there to be a supranational body adjudicating the rights of Americans living in the UK?

Well, nobody, obviously. But then we don't have agreements with America concerning, say, competition law. If an EU company is doing business in the UK within EU competition law which we have agreed to abide by, and it gets shafted by UK companies which aren't doing business in that way, then there's not much use in it going to the UK courts and ultimately to the ECJ and getting it declared that our law is incompatible. It needs an actual direct remedy in damages. I find it ridiculous to suppose that this shouldn't be the case.

jcm
1
johncoxmysteriously - on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to John2:

> 'I think we don't unless we have made a treaty for such a body'

> Quite. There is no justification or precedent for what the EU are demanding.

I'm not following you. What do you think the EU are demanding? There's certainly a precedent for accepting the jurisdiction of the ECJ inasmuch as every other country in the EU is fine with it.

jcm
1
John2 - on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

But we are no longer going to be a member of the EU, so it's hardly relevant to cite the attitudes of other EU members as a precedent for our future actions.
wercat on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to John2:
Can you imagine that we (our companies) may suffer in future because an EU member signed up to an EU agreement with UK may not be sticking to the rules in trade with us. This has happened in the past -( do you remember how France in the early 80s was channelling all our UK made VCRs and electronics through a single assessment centre, hampering our ability to export to them?)

How much use would it e complaining in an English court that an EU member was not complying with an EU agreement with us.

Don't you see that we have taken back "control" over our own little island, but we have in exchange planned to lose control over all of the other EU states and any future rules they make among themselves. Plus loss of EU citizen privileges for all of us. That is a far greater loss of control than any illusory "taking back". Unless you fancy having to expose the less well off to lots of cheap US crappy food imports while the affluent can still afford much more expensive food more ethically/healthily produced
Post edited at 09:15
1
John2 - on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to wercat:

I view this whole issue much as an anthropologist might, observing the behaviour of remote tribes.

The EU are reacting with anger and spite to the fact of a member nation wishing to leave. Far from having the interests of their member nations at heart, they are determined to stuff us to the best of their ability now that we have had the temerity to announce that we are leaving their artificial construct. The interest that the eurocrats have in the welfare of their member nations is best illustrated in the fate of Greece - inveigled into a flawed common currency they borrowed lots of money at artificially low interest rates to but products manufactured in Germany, and now they are in a situation where they can never pay back their debts. The only sensible thing would be to forgive if not the whole a large part of the Greek debt, but that would be to point up the flawed nature of the euro project as a whole.

Then there are the UK remainers, instant experts on international trade and international law who lack the historical vision to understand that it's perfectly possible for the UK to prosper outside the EU. As for the video records of the 1980s, that was a trade dispute and nothing to do with the overseeing of the rights of EU residents in the UK by the ECJ.
5
wercat on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to John2:

this thread concerns Euratom. Why would we not want the ability to be heard in a European Court?
1
cb294 - on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to John2:

> But we are no longer going to be a member of the EU, so it's hardly relevant to cite the attitudes of other EU members as a precedent for our future actions.

But you will, in all likelihood, strike a deal with the EU addressing your relations with this supranational block. As others who did so (e.g. Switzerland), you will have to abide by the rules for the arbitration process that comes with any such treaty. It is not realistic that the EU will accept any other court than the ECJ (which is, to repeat, not an EU institution, but used as its established arbitration panel).

In any case, the idea is not that ECJ jurisdiction will mean that EU citizens in the UK (but not UK citizens), would continue to have redress to the ECJ in all cases where they are unhappy with UK court decisions going against them (that would clearly be unjustified).

Instead, the idea is that both UK citizens in the EU and EU citzens in the UK will, following Brexit, be able to call upon the ECJ specifically in cases affecting any rights that will arise from the eventual Brexit agreement (a binding treaty between UK and EU). E.g., this would enable a British pensioner living in Spain to sue the Spanish government if it passed a law that would, at a later point in time, remove some health care guarantees that will presumably be enshrined in the Brexit treaty. IMO, this seems entirely sensible.

As for the Euratom issue, there are many states besides Switzerland (which is a full member in all but name), which have a more loose association. Of course, any conflicts arising from their association treaties are subject to ECJ supervision. Why would the UK expect to be offered a different mechanism?

CB
1
andyfallsoff - on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to John2:

How incredibly patronising.
1
thomasadixon - on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to wercat:

Don't you see that this was entirely the point? Leaving the EU means we're no longer part of it, it means that we no longer have any control over the decisions they make, and in turn they no longer have any control over the decisions we make. We can come to agreements, like we do with the rest of the world, but there's no overarching system that means we can be forced to abide. This means not being subject to a court which can overrule our Parliament, that's clearly fundamental to the decision we've made.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-uk-leaves-the-eu-40571853

I thought this was quite good - key points: The Euratom treaty applies to *EU members* which we won't be. The UK Parliament has already debated this specific issue, before Article 50, and voted to leave Euratom. The EU reports to the IAEA (the real international nuclear agency) and the EU in this area is making law that applies to its territory, it's functioning as a national court, a national body.
1
Ramblin dave - on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to John2:

> The EU are reacting with anger and spite to the fact of a member nation wishing to leave. Far from having the interests of their member nations at heart, they are determined to stuff us to the best of their ability now that we have had the temerity to announce that we are leaving their artificial construct.

They're trying to secure strong legal protection for their citizens, using the fact that they're in an extremely strong negotiating position because we essentially decided to jump out of the plane first and work out where to get a parachute from later.

Doing some anthropology of my own, I'm fascinated by the way that the Brexiteers are spinning every failure of the EU to bend over backwards to accommodate us as "spite" and "punishment" - it's almost like they want someone else to blame if everything turns to shit, so they don't have to take responsibility for putting us into this stupid situation.
1
John2 - on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to cb294:

I'm entirely in favour of the UK continuing its membership of Euratom, and maintaining the supervision of disputes by the ECJ. What I do not believe is that EU citizens resident in the UK should have their rights decided by the ECJ.

We are currently negotiating our exit from the EU, and once the terms of that exit are decided it will the up to EU citizens whether or not they wish to live in the UK according to those terms. I see no reason why they should not - it's highly unlikely that we are going to start transporting Jews to death camps or marking homosexuals with pink triangles.
2
Ramblin dave - on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to thomasadixon:
> This means not being subject to a court which can overrule our Parliament, that's clearly fundamental to the decision we've made.

Out of interest, do you only apply this to foreign courts, or do you not want British courts to be able to overrule Parliament as well?

And who do you expect to bother coming to "agreements" with us if one of the conditions is going to be that our Parliament can't actually be obliged to abide by them because that would compromise its sovereignty?
Post edited at 11:47
thomasadixon - on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to Ramblin dave:
> Out of interest, do you only apply this to foreign courts, or do you not want British courts to be able to overrule Parliament as well?

I don't want British courts to be able to overrule Parliament, our elected Parliament is supreme not some judge.

> And who do you expect to bother coming to "agreements" with us if one of the conditions is going to be that our Parliament can't actually be obliged to abide by them because that would compromise its sovereignty?

There's a difference between obliged to do something and passing the power to another to enforce that obligation. I'm obliged to keep my promise to see my sister this afternoon, I've agreed to do so. There's no higher power that has the right to enforce that agreement though, and nor should there be.
Post edited at 11:55
7
tony on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

> Does anyone know whether the ECJ has ever actually been called upon to adjudicate upon a single dispute arising from Euratom?

According to a piece by Ed Vaizey and Rachel Reeves in the Sunday Telegraph which appears to be behind a paywall, but is quoted on the BBC website, "There appears never to have been an ECJ case involving the UK and Euratom,"
which isn't quite the same thing as you're asking, but does suggest the whole ECJ/Euratom thing is a bit stupid.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-uk-leaves-the-eu-40571853
wbo - on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to thomasadixon:
> I don't want British courts to be able to overrule Parliament, our elected Parliament is supreme not some judge.

Don't buy that one at all.

John2 - and I certainly don't buy that lot either. Hardly 'remote' at all apart perhaps from reality - do you really believe in such a Machiavellian, revengeful Europe?
cb294 - on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to John2:

But the current negotiations will eventually lead to a new treaty that defines the new relation between UK and EU. This as yet undefined brexit treaty will by itself give rise to specific new rights and duties for citizens of both sides, which presumably will largely be a continuation of rights citizens of both sides currently enjoy. This very much cuts both ways, it is not exclusively about EU citizens in the UK.

As for any such treaty there must then be some court to protect these newly enshrined rights, else any of the 28 governments involved could at some later point simply ignore their obligations stemming from this treaty. To paraphrase this as you do as "EU citizens in the UK having their rights decided by the ECJ" is misleading at best.

Certainly it is not about all rights, which are indeed largely a question for national courts, but about a specific list of rights for both UK and EU citizens that will be defined in whatever treaty the EU and UK will agree upon, and which from that point on will need to be enforceable at some supranational court.

Imagine, say, the Spanish government deciding to put a 90% tax on British pensions transferred to Spain (which I guess would be illegal both under current regulations, but also following the Brexit treaty). In this case a UK citizen would want to be able to take the Spanish government to court, asking the ECJ to find the Spanish government in breach of the Brexit agreement (if they fail before Spanish courts).

Conversely, EU citizens living in the UK should be able to expect to be protected from the UK government walking away from obligations made at the Brexit treaty at some future time. Again, as these rights will be based on an international treaty, this protection would have to be through a procedure not limited to the national courts.

The EU proposes the ECJ to be this essential supranational court, and there really is no viable alternative.

CB

andyfallsoff - on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to John2:

> I see no reason why they should not - it's highly unlikely that we are going to start transporting Jews to death camps or marking homosexuals with pink triangles.

And yet only 9 months ago, the party in power was making overtures to those who don't like immigration by suggesting that businesses should be publicly marked out for hiring anyone non-British...

Whilst I am not saying we are about to do anything as bad as the points you suggest above, I think that it is arrogant and complacent to suggest that it could never happen and we are somehow "above" such actions. WWII wasn't so long ago - it was within a lot of peoples' lifetimes - and one of the lessons of that is that huge numbers of people can be complicit in horrific acts in the right circumstances. Which is exactly why we have human rights, international cooperation, the EU...
andyfallsoff - on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to thomasadixon:
> I don't want British courts to be able to overrule Parliament, our elected Parliament is supreme not some judge.

Have you never heard of checks and balances?

Do you have complete trust in all politicians always to do the right thing?

This viewpoint always astounds me, but it explains how dictators and autocrats obtain power.
Post edited at 15:11
thomasadixon - on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to andyfallsoff:

> Have you never heard of checks and balances?

Yes, largely in connection with constitutional systems, which is not what we are. Lots of people also talk about them here, failing to understand how our system works, and has always worked.

> Do you have complete trust in all politicians always to do the right thing?

Of course not. Do you have trust in judges, who you have no control over whatsoever, to always do the right thing? Politicians can be replaced, by us, the voting public.

> This viewpoint always astounds me, but it explains how dictators and autocrats obtain power.

Does it? Can you point to the last time the UK had a dictator take power, or alternatively when the constitutional protections you're talking about last prevented that from happening?
1
thomasadixon - on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to cb294:

> Imagine, say, the Spanish government deciding to put a 90% tax on British pensions transferred to Spain (which I guess would be illegal both under current regulations, but also following the Brexit treaty). In this case a UK citizen would want to be able to take the Spanish government to court, asking the ECJ to find the Spanish government in breach of the Brexit agreement (if they fail before Spanish courts).

The UK citizen has to accept the decisions of the Spanish government, it's not for foreign citizens to take sovereign nations to court to tell them what decisions to make. If the Spanish do that then the pensioners will leave, and the Spanish government will lose huge amounts of money. After we leave the EU Spain can, as they currently can with every other nation in the world, make whatever decisions it likes in relation to immigration of UK nationals. We shouldn't have any legal power to stop them - and vice versa.

> The EU proposes the ECJ to be this essential supranational court, and there really is no viable alternative.

There really is. Going forward we have exactly the same arrangements that EU nations have in relation to everywhere else in the world. They choose their immigration (and other) policies. We choose ours. No court required.
John2 - on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to wbo:

I do believe that he EU is an enormously wasteful and self-serving organisation. The euro was an obviously flawed concept, I'm not suggesting that the rest of the EU deliberately brought Greece to its present pass but having done so I think they could have shown more compassion. Look at the EU unemployment rates - Greece 24.5%, Spain 21.4%, Italy 11.3%, France 10.6%. Meanwhile there seems to be plenty of money around to pay MEPs and members of the European Commission above-inflation wage rises. As for the monthly migration of the European Parliament from Brussels to Strasbourg, it's beyond parody - 'Oh, I'm getting bored with this argument about where to site the parliament - it's only taxpayers' money, so let's just set up a second parliament in Strasbourg'.
1
andyfallsoff - on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to thomasadixon:

> Yes, largely in connection with constitutional systems, which is not what we are. Lots of people also talk about them here, failing to understand how our system works, and has always worked.

Er - what is a "constitutional system", and why aren't we one? We do have a constitution, before you trot out that old inaccuracy (it just isn't codified into a single doc like say the US).

> Of course not. Do you have trust in judges, who you have no control over whatsoever, to always do the right thing? Politicians can be replaced, by us, the voting public.

More than I do politicians, yes. And under our constitution, the judges have some power to limit what politicians do, but it is limited - appropriately so given, as you say, they aren't elected so it isn't a political role as such.

> Does it? Can you point to the last time the UK had a dictator take power, or alternatively when the constitutional protections you're talking about last prevented that from happening?

How about when Theresa May was prevented from circumventing the constitution by triggering article 50 without a parliamentary vote? That was one example of the courts providing that the power of politicians remains within their constitutional limits (although I grant you, that's an example of a limitation on the executive, not on parliament).

My point is that we have constitutional limits, and judicial oversight, for a reason. UK legislation has been found incompatible with human rights on several occasions, and that legislation is then sent back to parliament to be revised. Isn't that an example of the system working?

My statement on dictators and autocrats is because, across the world, one of the first steps of a dictator / autocratic leader is usually to restrict the power of the judiciary to impede on their power. See Russia, Pakistan, Turkey, Egypt... the fact it hasn't happened in the UK doesn't mean it can't.
cb294 - on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to thomasadixon:

> The UK citizen has to accept the decisions of the Spanish government, it's not for foreign citizens to take sovereign nations to court to tell them what decisions to make.

Not if a treaty this sovereign nation will sign will guarantee such rights. Pacta sunt servanda, which incidentally the UK public will have to learn WRT the divorce bill (I am sure even Johnson and Davis are aware of that, even if they do not admit it in public).

> There really is. Going forward we have exactly the same arrangements that EU nations have in relation to everywhere else in the world. They choose their immigration (and other) policies. We choose ours. No court required.

This would indeed be true if there were a failure to reach any agreement. Then, as you say, there would also be no need for supranational arbitration. You can of course hope for such an outcome (a valid political aim, even if it is not one I would agree with), but IMO this is extremely unlikely to happen.

More likely the eventual Brexit treaty will enshrine the continuation of certain reciprocal rights for UK and EU citizens, possibly differentiated to their individual status at some deadline day. Any such rights will then naturally be subject to enforcement by some supranational court or other, which will again be agreed to in the same treaty by the sovereign negotiation partners and thus become binding.

FFS, any binding international agreement comes at some cost to sovereignty! Do you really believe a country that refuses to submit to external judicial control when signing a supranational treaty (e.g. any trade agreement), simply to be able to walk away from its commitments if it catches a bout of "sovereignty", will be taken serious as a negotiation partner on the international stage?

Trumpistan and to an extent China may just about get away with something like this, but they are the exception due to their economic and military weight.

CB

Ramblin dave - on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to thomasadixon:
> There's a difference between obliged to do something and passing the power to another to enforce that obligation. I'm obliged to keep my promise to see my sister this afternoon, I've agreed to do so. There's no higher power that has the right to enforce that agreement though, and nor should there be.

Could you imagine, for instance, hiring a builder on the same basis? With you having no recourse if they do substandard work, and them having no recourse if you refuse to pay them for some trumped up reason?
Post edited at 16:48
thomasadixon - on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to andyfallsoff:

> Er - what is a "constitutional system", and why aren't we one? We do have a constitution, before you trot out that old inaccuracy (it just isn't codified into a single doc like say the US).

Add in the word written. I think you know what I mean anyway.

> More than I do politicians, yes. And under our constitution, the judges have some power to limit what politicians do, but it is limited - appropriately so given, as you say, they aren't elected so it isn't a political role as such.

Their power is limited to whatever power was given to them by Parliament. That's fine, they're necessary, of course. What makes you trust the judges more than politicians? What do you trust them to do?

> How about when Theresa May was prevented from circumventing the constitution by triggering article 50 without a parliamentary vote? That was one example of the courts providing that the power of politicians remains within their constitutional limits (although I grant you, that's an example of a limitation on the executive, not on parliament).

Well as you say, that's a limitation on the executive, not parliament. Is that what you mean by checks and balances? It's not usually what people mean when they're talking about human rights, etc.

> My point is that we have constitutional limits, and judicial oversight, for a reason. UK legislation has been found incompatible with human rights on several occasions, and that legislation is then sent back to parliament to be revised. Isn't that an example of the system working?

Your point is inaccurate, we don't have such limits. We never have had, and the HRA doesn't change that.

> My statement on dictators and autocrats is because, across the world, one of the first steps of a dictator / autocratic leader is usually to restrict the power of the judiciary to impede on their power. See Russia, Pakistan, Turkey, Egypt... the fact it hasn't happened in the UK doesn't mean it can't.

My statement on the merits of constitutional protections is because, across the world, they have utterly failed to prevent dictators taking power. That something hasn't happened doesn't mean it can't, no, but the fact that constitutional protections fail again and again does show them to be far less important that they're cracked up to be. Our system, on the other hand, has a seriously good record of not failing.
thomasadixon - on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to cb294:

> Not if a treaty this sovereign nation will sign will guarantee such rights. Pacta sunt servanda, which incidentally the UK public will have to learn WRT the divorce bill (I am sure even Johnson and Davis are aware of that, even if they do not admit it in public).

I do find it funny when people resort to latin to try and seem authoritative. Is there something wrong with standard English?

> This would indeed be true if there were a failure to reach any agreement. Then, as you say, there would also be no need for supranational arbitration. You can of course hope for such an outcome (a valid political aim, even if it is not one I would agree with), but IMO this is extremely unlikely to happen.

No, it just depends on the kind of agreement. We agree to do X in return for them doing X. Provided we both do it there's no problem, and no need for any court. As is true for most international relations. If we or they breach then we talk to them, aka diplomacy.

> More likely the eventual Brexit treaty will enshrine the continuation of certain reciprocal rights for UK and EU citizens, possibly differentiated to their individual status at some deadline day. Any such rights will then naturally be subject to enforcement by some supranational court or other, which will again be agreed to in the same treaty by the sovereign negotiation partners and thus become binding.

We'll see, we can make whatever agreement we (and the EU) like. The idea that such rights are naturally subject to a "supranational" court is nonsense.

> FFS, any binding international agreement comes at some cost to sovereignty! Do you really believe a country that refuses to submit to external judicial control when signing a supranational treaty (e.g. any trade agreement), simply to be able to walk away from its commitments if it catches a bout of "sovereignty", will be taken serious as a negotiation partner on the international stage?

We've obviously got different ideas of the term sovereignty. What do you think it means? Do you think that any nation making any agreement doesn't reserve the right to withdraw from it in future?
andyfallsoff - on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to thomasadixon:
> Add in the word written. I think you know what I mean anyway.

Well you talked about people not knowing how they work, but then didn't appear to yourself...

EDIT: (and ours is written, just not in a natty document titled "constitution"). But anyway - why is it only relevant to have checks and balances on parliamentary power in a system with a written constitution? Surely if the rules are more opaque, it is more - rather than less - important to have oversight of what the body with power is doing?

> Their power is limited to whatever power was given to them by Parliament. That's fine, they're necessary, of course. What makes you trust the judges more than politicians? What do you trust them to do?

Why do I trust them more than politicians? How about (a) the professional requirements to be a judge are far, far higher than politicians (in fact, its a harder job to get than almost any other - it requires seriously long service and a record of excellence); (b) for that reason, a judge is unlikely to have gone into the profession purely because they desire power; (c) they aren't subject to short term political pressures (because they aren't elected) so won't do / say whatever necessary in the short term for political gain.

> Well as you say, that's a limitation on the executive, not parliament. Is that what you mean by checks and balances? It's not usually what people mean when they're talking about human rights, etc.

It is one example, yes. Part of the job of the judiciary is to ensure that politicians act within their power and don't exceed it. I don't see why you don't see this as a good thing...

> Your point is inaccurate, we don't have such limits. We never have had, and the HRA doesn't change that.

Under the HRA, if UK legislation is not compatible with the ECHR then the courts can issue a declaration of incompatibility. Parliament can then ignore that declaration if they choose, but the aim of such a declaration is to force parliament to re-examine what they've done, and in practice they will review the legislation (which is why May gets exercised about revoking the HRA).

> My statement on the merits of constitutional protections is because, across the world, they have utterly failed to prevent dictators taking power. That something hasn't happened doesn't mean it can't, no, but the fact that constitutional protections fail again and again does show them to be far less important that they're cracked up to be. Our system, on the other hand, has a seriously good record of not failing.

No system can prevent dictators taking power overall, because any system can be changed. My point is that by denying any oversight of parliament by the judiciary, you make such a change (and a move towards an autocratic system) more likely.
Post edited at 17:21
andyfallsoff - on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to thomasadixon:

> We've obviously got different ideas of the term sovereignty. What do you think it means? Do you think that any nation making any agreement doesn't reserve the right to withdraw from it in future?

Just the same as we did with the EU. Either both are a compromise on sovereignty, or neither are.
thomasadixon - on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to andyfallsoff:

> Why do I trust them more than politicians? How about (a) the professional requirements to be a judge are far, far higher than politicians (in fact, its a harder job to get than almost any other - it requires seriously long service and a record of excellence); (b) for that reason, a judge is unlikely to have gone into the profession purely because they desire power; (c) they aren't subject to short term political pressures (because they aren't elected) so won't do / say whatever necessary in the short term for political gain.

Again, what do you trust them to do? I trust them to make judgments based on the law as it stands, as created by Parliament, that's their job, and for that (a) (b) and (c) are relevant. Totally different to the job of elected politicians.

> It is one example, yes. Part of the job of the judiciary is to ensure that politicians act within their power and don't exceed it. I don't see why you don't see this as a good thing...

I don't see it as a thing at all, in reference to Parliament. Parliament can make whatever laws they like.

> Under the HRA, if UK legislation is not compatible with the ECHR then the courts can issue a declaration of incompatibility. Parliament can then ignore that declaration if they choose, but the aim of such a declaration is to force parliament to re-examine what they've done, and in practice they will review the legislation (which is why May gets exercised about revoking the HRA).

Yes, they can ignore it if they choose, and that's crucial. May's problem with the HRA is s2, and the link to the ECHR, as I understand it.

> No system can prevent dictators taking power overall, because any system can be changed. My point is that by denying any oversight of parliament by the judiciary, you make such a change (and a move towards an autocratic system) more likely.

You're arguing that our system is dangerous, in reference to systems with written constitutions. The evidence doesn't support that conclusion. I'd say that passing on the protection of rights to judges encourages people to not think properly, to trust to authority to protect them and so to not act to protect their rights as they should. Voting for Trump's no risk, the constitution will protect your rights.
thomasadixon - on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to andyfallsoff:

> Just the same as we did with the EU. Either both are a compromise on sovereignty, or neither are.

Eh?
cb294 - on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to thomasadixon:

Pacta sunt servanda is a standard phrase in political or legal discussion in both English and German, nothing pretentious about this.

Anyway, I suspect that we even agree in principle, but not about what we predict the exit treaty will entail. My assumption is that it will be on the same level of multinational agreement as the EU membership it will supersede, and hence come with a supranational arbitration mechanism, which for practical reasons would involve the ECJ (plus maybe modifications like additional UK judges). We will indeed see have to wait and see what is agreed to in the eventual treaty by both sides.

As for the issue of sovereignty, of course any nation reserves the right to withdraw from previous agreements (*), as indeed exemplified by brexit. However, most bilateral treaties, and certainly all multilateral agreements, whether they are on trade, science, defence, or political integration, will include a protocol for termination to which any signatory country voluntarily binds itself, and, usually, some legal supervision to prevent anyone from simply walking away from their commitments. Whether this is always enforceable in practise is a different issue. Nevertheless, this limits the sovereignty of the signatory partners for the time the treaty is valid.

(*) Exceptions apply, as usual: Some treaties are so very fundamental that there is no mechanism for reversal. Examples include the 2+4 treaties establishing German reunification, or prior to that, the FRG (West Germany) signing treaties with Czechoslovakia and Poland ceding any territorial claims in perpetuity.

CB
andyfallsoff - on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to thomasadixon:

Perhaps we are talking at cross purposes to some extent. I agree Parliament can make whatever laws they see fit, but I think that the role of the judiciary in reviewing those laws (under the HRA is the most explicit example) is valuable. That is a check and balance, as far as I can see.

There do appear to be some differences between our views, as (being a common law jurisdiction) I think judges' role includes defining - which, to some extent, means making - the law.

I'm not arguing our system is dangerous in reference to systems with written constitutions - if that's what you've taken from my comments, then I apologise. I'm just arguing that your comments where you originally said that you don't want judges overruling parliament are too simplistic.
wbo - on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to thomasadixon: a degree of power for judges over parliament is necessary. As the phrase goes 'the law is an ass' and there is plenty of bad, overly vague, badly written or simply unfair law floating Around that needs interpretation. There have surely been enough examples of private litigation against the government recently (Gina Miller) . As an aside the current prime minister oversaw her departement in court on a few occasions, and also has form for overreach.

But i suspect we will disagree on this.

I would also expect the judges to speak up if they saw obvious rubbish being proposed though that is really the job of the lords

What prinsipal difficulties does it cause Europe if the UK walls away?
RomTheBear on 13 Jul 2017
In reply to thomasadixon:
> Again, what do you trust them to do? I trust them to make judgments based on the law as it stands, as created by Parliament, that's their job, and for that (a) (b) and (c) are relevant. Totally different to the job of elected politicians.

Did it occur to you that laws can be interpreted and implemented in many different ways ?
It is the role of parliament to pass the laws, and the role of the judiciary to interpret them. It's a basic principle of separation of powers.

> I don't see it as a thing at all, in reference to Parliament. Parliament can make whatever laws they like.

> Yes, they can ignore it if they choose, and that's crucial. May's problem with the HRA is s2, and the link to the ECHR, as I understand it.

The only link to the ECHR is that the courts have to "take into account" (and not abide by) ECHR rulings. Which is kind of the minimum given that we are signatories.
As it has already happened, our courts have not always followed the ECHR. Which of course puts us at odds with international law and exposes us to litigations.

> You're arguing that our system is dangerous, in reference to systems with written constitutions. The evidence doesn't support that conclusion.

Actually it is pretty dangerous - even a tiny minority can completely reverse basic rights. Our membership of the EU and the ECHR acts as an useful safeguard to any excesses. And now we're blowing the lid of.
Post edited at 22:15
thomasadixon - on 14 Jul 2017
In reply to cb294:

> Anyway, I suspect that we even agree in principle, but not about what we predict the exit treaty will entail. My assumption is that it will be on the same level of multinational agreement as the EU membership it will supersede, and hence come with a supranational arbitration mechanism, which for practical reasons would involve the ECJ (plus maybe modifications like additional UK judges). We will indeed see have to wait and see what is agreed to in the eventual treaty by both sides.

What do you mean by on the same level? The question is how the mechanism works, if it's government to government fine, if it gives another body judicial power over the legislation parliament can make then we've just replaced the EU with mark 2.

> As for the issue of sovereignty, of course any nation reserves the right to withdraw from previous agreements (*), as indeed exemplified by brexit. However, most bilateral treaties, and certainly all multilateral agreements, whether they are on trade, science, defence, or political integration, will include a protocol for termination to which any signatory country voluntarily binds itself, and, usually, some legal supervision to prevent anyone from simply walking away from their commitments. Whether this is always enforceable in practise is a different issue. Nevertheless, this limits the sovereignty of the signatory partners for the time the treaty is valid.

I don't think we agree on what sovereignty means. If I enter into a contract to do work, as I do, that doesn't stop me from quitting tomorrow. I won't get a job if I go back, but in real terms I can quit and even if they sue me for not serving notice I only lose money and the good relations I have with my boss. I'm sovereign. Usually treaties are contracts with other nations. The UK government agrees to do certain things and the UK government is liable to the other nations in agreed ways, maybe financial penalties and, more realistically, good relations with your neighbours. They don't affect sovereignty either. The EU isn't that kind of treaty, it's not the UK government that's subject to the ECj's decisions it's Parliament and our courts.
1
thomasadixon - on 14 Jul 2017
In reply to andyfallsoff:

> Perhaps we are talking at cross purposes to some extent. I agree Parliament can make whatever laws they see fit, but I think that the role of the judiciary in reviewing those laws (under the HRA is the most explicit example) is valuable. That is a check and balance, as far as I can see.

It's a different level of power for it to be the kind of check that the US constitutional court (or the ECj) is. In the US the power is split between different bodies, and then the constitution overrules everything. That's what I think of as a check, there's no one group that can do what it likes. Here the power is all with Parliament, they can just change the HRA if the judges are reviewing it in the wrong way. There's no check on what they can do except the laws they create, and it doesn't make sense to call your own decisions a check on what you can do.

> There do appear to be some differences between our views, as (being a common law jurisdiction) I think judges' role includes defining - which, to some extent, means making - the law.

It's an interesting discussion, but I don't think it really matters, it's philosophy. In practical terms if judges make law in that sense that Parliament disagrees with then Parliament can simply make new law and the judges'll have to follow that from then on. They don't have that much discretion.

> I'm not arguing our system is dangerous in reference to systems with written constitutions - if that's what you've taken from my comments, then I apologise. I'm just arguing that your comments where you originally said that you don't want judges overruling parliament are too simplistic.

I don't think it is I'm afraid, I simply don't think that unelected people should be making the moral decisions that our Parliament is elected to make. They're not qualified. They can make them day to day, sure, that's practical and works well, but Parliament needs to reserve the power to overrule them.
thomasadixon - on 14 Jul 2017
In reply to wbo:

We're talking about different things. Judges need to interpret, absolutely, badly written and vague law is a problem. But the need to interpret is because legislation's imperfect, not because the laws Parliament makes need to be changed. I would not expect judges to rule against clearly written legislation, would you? If it turns out the law's a mistake in some way, Parliament has to fix it, that's not the job of the judiciary.

> What prinsipal difficulties does it cause Europe if the UK walls away?

I'm not sure what you mean. Walls away?
thomasadixon - on 14 Jul 2017
In reply to RomTheBear:

> Did it occur to you that laws can be interpreted and implemented in many different ways ?

Oh my god, really? That's crazy.

> Actually it is pretty dangerous - even a tiny minority can completely reverse basic rights. Our membership of the EU and the ECHR acts as an useful safeguard to any excesses. And now we're blowing the lid of.

I'm terrified. Not quite sure how this tiny minority's going to get a majority in Parliament though...
thomasadixon - on 14 Jul 2017
In reply to andyfallsoff:

> Er - what is a "constitutional system", and why aren't we one? We do have a constitution, before you trot out that old inaccuracy (it just isn't codified into a single doc like say the US).

I missed this. I meant a system that has a single document or set of documents that govern how the system works. It's a different sense of the term. The US constitution is the "constitution", but in the sense you mean you have to include lots of other things, and some of it's always unwritten.
RomTheBear on 14 Jul 2017
In reply to thomasadixon:
> Oh my god, really? That's crazy.

No it's not crazy, it's obvious, quite odd that you don't seem to get it.

> I'm terrified. Not quite sure how this tiny minority's going to get a majority in Parliament though...

You should be, or at least concerned. Those who are going to lose precious individual rights after brexit are. And I obviously meant "tiny majority".
Post edited at 08:22
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 14 Jul 2017
In reply to thomasadixon:

> Oh my god, really? That's crazy.

> I'm terrified. Not quite sure how this tiny minority's going to get a majority in Parliament though...

By propping up a failed administration dependant on their votes to stay in power.

Step forward, the DUP...

;-)
jkarran - on 14 Jul 2017
In reply to thomasadixon:

> I'm terrified. Not quite sure how this tiny minority's going to get a majority in Parliament though...

Step forward the DUP and take a bow. Majority: strictly speaking, no. Power utterly disproportionate to their support base: yes.
jk
ads.ukclimbing.com
jkarran - on 14 Jul 2017
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

LOL. Snap!
andyfallsoff - on 14 Jul 2017
In reply to thomasadixon:

OK - well we can agree to disagree about the level of control the courts should be able to exercise over parliament, and let's leave it at that.

Presumably in your desire for Parliament to be supreme, you'll be up in arms over the use of Henry VIII clauses in the great repeal bill, then? Quoted from David Allen Green at the FT:

> ministers will be given legislative powers equal to passing acts of parliament. These powers mean, in effect, that the executive can legislate at whim, subject only to the ultimate supervision of the High Court. Parliament will be effectively by-passed.

thomasadixon - on 14 Jul 2017
In reply to andyfallsoff:

> OK - well we can agree to disagree about the level of control the courts should be able to exercise over parliament, and let's leave it at that.

Fair enough. I still don't understand why people put their trust in judges to make moral decisions though. What specialist knowledge tells a judge what our "right to life" ought to mean? Is it a right not to be killed, or a right to protection by the state, or a right to healthcare (and if so how much healthcare, do judges get to dictate the NHS system over the alternatives?)? Same for all the other rights, of course, as they're similarly vague.

> Presumably in your desire for Parliament to be supreme, you'll be up in arms over the use of Henry VIII clauses in the great repeal bill, then? Quoted from David Allen Green at the FT:

Can't say I have much belief in what the FT says, they're biased and so very much untrustworthy on these issues. What powers are they talking about, exactly? Henry VIII clauses are common and useful for practical reasons.

Also, given that all of this is power coming back to Parliament that had been passed away (through signing the Treaties) it's hard to get too concerned about it. At least if the executive do it, rather than the EU, Parliament have oversight of that. It's still better than the previous situation.
2
thomasadixon - on 14 Jul 2017
In reply to RomTheBear:

> No it's not crazy, it's obvious, quite odd that you don't seem to get it.

Thankfully I've got you to enlighten me. I'm so grateful.

> You should be, or at least concerned. Those who are going to lose precious individual rights after brexit are. And I obviously meant "tiny majority".

I am, really. We're going to lose our rights! The precious ones!
cb294 - on 14 Jul 2017
In reply to thomasadixon:

IMO this is a ridiculously fundamentalist view of sovereignty. Of course what is relevant is not the theoretical power of a sovereign (whether you take that to be monarch, parliament, or electorate) to enter in or withdraw from agreements on behalf of a nation, but what that sovereign voluntarily limits themselves to in their relations with other nations while bound to such agreements.

Thus, it is a typical sovereign decision to forfeit some rights normally invested in the sovereign for some time through an international treaty (e.g. the right to have a national currency for Euro states, the right to negotiate separate trade agreements for all EU members, etc. ). This will almost always also include submitting to judgments of an international court. All of this will limit practical sovereignty, while having no effect on your beloved principal sovereignty (as indeed proved by brexit, some timing issues aside, that fundamental level sovereignty was never in question).

As to replacing the ECJ with another court MK2, sure, welcome to reality. This is inevitably what is going to happen in one form or another, whatever the outcome of the brexit negotiations. What mechanism do you imagine would be used to resolve disputes that would most definitely arise if the UK tried to default to trading under WTO rules? Bilateral diplomacy?

Hint, it is called the WTO dispute settlement body, which issues binding rulings to resolve disagreements between the sovereign states that have voluntarily signed up to the agreement. This body has issued many more rulings than the ECJ, and would be incredibly busy should the UK start trading under WTO rules. It is not even possible for the UK to simply continue to use EU WTO agreements, any country will be able challenge the UK, especially on quotas (e.g., which fraction of Brazilian beef imported to the EU under a WTO set special tariff would apply to the UK?). Plenty of options for disputes there, and there will be many players happy to take advantage of the weakened position the UK will have post brexit due to having to sign alternative agreements.

Finally, the new relation between UK and rEU, whatever it will look like when the negotiations are done, will be based on a multilateral agreement signed off by 28 national governments plus various EU bodies, and potentially the devolved governments. Do you REALLY believe that such an agreement, which will necessarily cover contentious issues like the Irish border, and will affect millions of citizens and companies living or working on the respective other side, will come without a designated dispute settlement mechanism / ECJ involvement? Not likely, it will be a similarly complex agreement to the original membership, which is what I meant by same level. Should be obvious, really.

My bet would be that, for all of May and Johnson´´´ s rhethoric, in the end the UK will end up first with a deadline extension and then with some EFTA-like deal, including the four freedoms and ECJ control, i.e. brexit largely in name with a few token regulations. This would probably for the best for the rEU, but would make you wonder what the benefit of the whole exercise for the UK was supposed to be.

With this I am out, the weather in the Alps looks too good!

CB

thomasadixon - on 14 Jul 2017
In reply to cb294:

So in effect, you think we won't leave the EU, and that this what we should do. I'm not sure what will happen, but given what's happened so far it doesn't look like our government are planning to ignore the referendum, as would happen on the continent. We'll see.

Enjoy the climbing, only 6 more hours of work for me!
Doug on 14 Jul 2017
In reply to thomasadixon:

"At least if the executive do it, rather than the EU, Parliament have oversight of that."

Except that as currently proposed, parliament won't have oversight - that's what much of the fuss is about
thomasadixon - on 14 Jul 2017
In reply to Doug:

They can kick the executive out, that's oversight.
RomTheBear on 14 Jul 2017
In reply to thomasadixon:
> Thankfully I've got you to enlighten me. I'm so grateful.

indeed you should be.

> I am, really. We're going to lose our rights! The precious ones!

indeed. To an extent we've already lost quite a lot within the past decade. To name a few, privacy is all but gone, right to private family life have been restricted, and access to the courts is curtailed or made impossible in many areas.
In many cases we're at the limit of what is possible given our current international obligations, once these frameworks are removed, there is virtually no limitation.
Post edited at 12:23
thomasadixon - on 14 Jul 2017
In reply to RomTheBear:

> indeed. To an extent we've already lost quite a lot within the past decade. To name a few, privacy is all but gone, right to private family life have been restricted, and access to the courts is curtailed or made impossible in many areas.

But how could that possibly happen, with the EU and the ECHR standing guard over us and protecting our rights?
Doug on 14 Jul 2017
In reply to thomasadixon:

> They can kick the executive out, that's oversight.

eventually yes, but likely after a period of a few years during which, for example, the weakening of environmental legislation could lead to damage taking many years to fix, or in some cases such as destruction of previously protected habitats which take centuries to recover (if at all) complete loss in real terms

Plus a General election is a blunt tool for fixing particular issues as so many items are all rolled into one - does anyone support all the policies of the party they vote for ?
RomTheBear on 14 Jul 2017
In reply to thomasadixon:
> But how could that possibly happen, with the EU and the ECHR standing guard over us and protecting our rights?

I thought this would be obvious, but I guess I'll have to explain... the rights enshrined in EU treaties and the ECHR are setting minimum standards which have limited scope of application. Our standard used to be better, but in the past decade we've been pushing them so low that we're hitting the floor set by the ECHR and the EU treaties.

Basically it has limited the damage to quite an extent, but once we get out, these last safeguards are gone.
Post edited at 13:09
thomasadixon - on 14 Jul 2017
In reply to Doug:

> eventually yes, but likely after a period of a few years during which, for example, the weakening of environmental legislation could lead to damage taking many years to fix, or in some cases such as destruction of previously protected habitats which take centuries to recover (if at all) complete loss in real terms

Eventually? They can do it whenever they like, a few years is Parliament's term in office. Currently to make changes we need to leave the EU first. That certainly seems to be taking several years and membership has entailed huge damage (eg fish) which we've just had to accept as part of membership.

> Plus a General election is a blunt tool for fixing particular issues as so many items are all rolled into one - does anyone support all the policies of the party they vote for ?

That's true, representative democracy is a blunt tool, and probably not. Not quite sure what it's got to do with the subject though, the EU Parliament is elected in the same way, and so is the Council.
thomasadixon - on 14 Jul 2017
In reply to RomTheBear:

> I thought this would be obvious, but I guess I'll have to explain... the rights enshrined in EU treaties and the ECHR are setting minimum standards which have limited scope of application. Our standard used to be better, but in the past decade we've been pushing them so low that we're hitting the floor set by the ECHR and the EU treaties.

Oh I get it, they set minimum standards that are worse than ours were before we signed up to them, and since signing up to them we've fallen to those standards. They're working so well to keep our standards up!

> Basically it has limited the damage to quite an extent, but once we get out, these last safeguards are gone.

And we'll go back to working the way we were before, when standards were higher. Sounds awful.
Ramblin dave - on 14 Jul 2017
In reply to thomasadixon:
> Oh I get it, they set minimum standards that are worse than ours were before we signed up to them, and since signing up to them we've fallen to those standards. They're working so well to keep our standards up!

No, we've been working to lower our standards. The ECHR may now have been starting to keep our standards up, because without it we'd have been able to go even lower.

> And we'll go back to working the way we were before, when standards were higher. Sounds awful.

Sorry, what? We could raise our standards back to where they were before any time we wanted, we've just chosen not to. It seems quite likely that without the additional protection, we're going to drop them further.

I mean, you might think that human rights are namby pamby fluff that prevents our elected sovereign government from keeping us safe by locking people up indefinitely for looking a bit foreign, but arguing that the ECHR has caused the erosion of our human rights by setting a minimum standard for them is just bafflingly illogical.
Post edited at 14:58
RomTheBear on 14 Jul 2017
In reply to baron:
> How do other non EU countries regulate and arbitrate their atomic trade?

Well to a large extent, they just don't do much atomic trade, or they have to negotiate arrangements on a an ad-hoc basis, get politicians involved, which of course is more difficult/inneficient/uncompetitive/costly and less transparent.
Post edited at 15:46
RomTheBear on 14 Jul 2017
In reply to thomasadixon:
> Oh I get it, they set minimum standards that are worse than ours were before we signed up to them, and since signing up to them we've fallen to those standards. They're working so well to keep our standards up!

Well yes, they've worked fairly well at limiting the damage.

> And we'll go back to working the way we were before, when standards were higher. Sounds awful.

Ok, you really didn't get it. We have been lowering our own standards down to the point where it starts to clash with the minimums set out in those treaties. Once we exit those treaties the floor disappears.
Post edited at 15:53
RomTheBear on 14 Jul 2017
In reply to Ramblin dave:
> but arguing that the ECHR has caused the erosion of our human rights by setting a minimum standard for them is just bafflingly illogical.

Indeed, not sure what's going on with him, impossible to have a rational conversation.
Post edited at 15:56
jkarran - on 14 Jul 2017
In reply to thomasadixon:

> Oh I get it, they set minimum standards that are worse than ours were before we signed up to them, and since signing up to them we've fallen to those standards. They're working so well to keep our standards up!

I simply do not believe you don't understand this. The idea that by underpinning our rights it's the ECHR that is causing or facilitating their erosion (it's our Conservative government we're crystal clear) is totally bonkers! You've got cause and effect totally arse about face.

> And we'll go back to working the way we were before, when standards were higher. Sounds awful.

Are you so wedded to the idea of leaving the EU, whatever the cost that you're willing to embarrass yourself like this in the hope a few skim readers will assume you're making sense or have you just completely stopped listening to prevent cognitive dissonance as reality intrudes on the fantasy?
jk
thomasadixon - on 14 Jul 2017
In reply to RomTheBear:

You think I'm trying to have a rational discussion with you!?
1
RomTheBear on 14 Jul 2017
In reply to thomasadixon:
> You think I'm trying to have a rational discussion with you!?

Well I don't know if you're trying, but you're definitely not succeeding. Not with anybody else for that matter.
Let me ask you, if you're not trying to have a rational discussion, what are you trying to achieve then ?
Post edited at 16:23
1
thomasadixon - on 14 Jul 2017
In reply to RomTheBear:

Achieve? Nothing, I'm messing around - I'm surprised my replies didn't make that obvious! I gave up trying to have rational discussions with you a while ago. It's pointless.
2
thomasadixon - on 14 Jul 2017
In reply to jkarran:

Willing to embarrass myself? It's an online forum, who cares!

Frankly most people's thinking on human rights is seriously muddled. The idea that "increased" or "decreased" rights has any meaning at all is nonsense. If we move to having entirely unrestricted freedom of speech and lose privacy have our rights increased or decreased? Neither.

How we best protect our freedom of expression, or whatever other freedom is an interesting topic, but I don't think it'd go anywhere. That the ECHR is Good is a canon of faith.
4
RomTheBear on 14 Jul 2017
In reply to thomasadixon:
> Achieve? Nothing, I'm messing around - I'm surprised my replies didn't make that obvious!

You indeed achieve nothing. Haven't you got nothing better to do with your life than embarrassing yourself repeatedly on an online forum ? Try to make an argument, do some research on your topic, and try to learn something, what's the point of posting here otherwise ?

> I gave up trying to have rational discussions with you a while ago. It's pointless.

Or rather you can't bring yourself to a rational discussion which may lead to a conclusion you don't like. How narrow minded. Or maybe you're just too lazy to make any effort.
Post edited at 20:59
1
RomTheBear on 14 Jul 2017
In reply to thomasadixon:
> Frankly most people's thinking on human rights is seriously muddled. The idea that "increased" or "decreased" rights has any meaning at all is nonsense. If we move to having entirely unrestricted freedom of speech and lose privacy have our rights increased or decreased? Neither.

I think it's your thinking that's seriously muddled. You can't get out of simplistic ideas. These are not abstract concepts, we're taking about laws that have very practical, and sometimes life-changing, consequences for individuals.
Post edited at 21:03
John2 - on 14 Jul 2017
In reply to RomTheBear:

The fact is that people who live in the UK have pretty good human rights by world standards. The Human Development Index outs us at number 16 world wide https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_Human_Development_Index - behind Germany, Netherlands and Ireland but ahead of France, Belgium, Austria, Italy, Spain. When we leave the EU we're not suddenly going to turn into Stalin-era USSR.
RomTheBear on 14 Jul 2017
In reply to John2:

> The fact is that people who live in the UK have pretty good human rights by world standards. The Human Development Index outs us at number 16 world wide https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_Human_Development_Index - behind Germany, Netherlands and Ireland but ahead of France, Belgium, Austria, Italy, Spain. When we leave the EU we're not suddenly going to turn into Stalin-era USSR.

That's not what HDI is for....

thomasadixon - on 14 Jul 2017
In reply to RomTheBear:
Everyone else I spoke to I tried to engage, and it's interesting to hear other points of view. From past experience, you don't engage. What are you achieving, d'you think? I am generally too lazy to try with you anymore I'm afraid. I figured the "Oh my god!" made the sarcasm pretty obvious, sorry if you didn't get that.

I'll give it one go though. The idea of "more" or "less" rights, which is what I referred to, is an abstract concept. The right to have a gay pride cake from whatever shop you want to go to cancels out the right to sell cakes subject to your own rules/code. The right to publish (free speech) cancels to some extent the right to privacy. The right to play loud music cancels the right to silence. More rights just doesn't make sense, it's a simplistic meaningless concept.

Human rights of specific forms exist, absolutely, but the argument isn't on the detail, because people pigeon hole (see Ramblin Dave's comment above) into for rights or against rights. Looking at human rights as just laws, because that's all they are, and considering whether they're necessary and useful to achieve the aims they're supposed to isn't possible in a for or against climate. It's also not possible for us to correct the law when judges make it in courts not subject to Parliament, and judges are certainly not infallible moral authorities, they're just people.
Post edited at 21:38
2
andyfallsoff - on 14 Jul 2017
In reply to John2:

FFS. Apart from the fact that, as Rom says, HDI isn't a measure of human rights, have you never thought that the UK's moderately good record of protecting human rights is because we've got a history of not being afraid of signing up to things and allowing our behaviour to be held to account.

Saying that we don't want to be judged anymore removes that - it's a step towards things getting worse. It's like saying "we've not had many accidents so far so let's remove the rules that help prevent them". It's a stupid, and arrogant, attitude.
wercat on 14 Jul 2017
In reply to thomasadixon:

In almost very one of the posts you've made schoolboy mistakes and assertions about constitutional law and constitutions in general. You seem to know little about it. Go and do some reading and look up Dicey and Montesquieu to see how our constitution works

If I were an American I'd say it grinds my gears to see someone saying so much based on so little knowledge. I'm not usually as direct as this but you deserve it
1
RomTheBear on 14 Jul 2017
In reply to thomasadixon:
> Everyone else I spoke to I tried to engage, and it's interesting to hear other points of view. From past experience, you don't engage.

That is simply false. I've replied to everything with arguments and explanations.

> I'll give it one go though. The idea of "more" or "less" rights, which is what I referred to, is an abstract concept. The right to have a gay pride cake from whatever shop you want to go to cancels out the right to sell cakes subject to your own rules/code. The right to publish (free speech) cancels to some extent the right to privacy. The right to play loud music cancels the right to silence. More rights just doesn't make sense, it's a simplistic meaningless

Sorry but that's a very vague side point, made deliberately vague, and rather off topic, I don't really care what more rights or less rights mean, it's just point of semantic of little interest.

Back to the point, having a point a reference in international law for individual rights is very useful.

For one of my friend, the simple fact that the UK is part of the ECHR, that was the difference from being deported from the country within 14 days and separated from her child (because of a missing payslip over five years in her ILR application...), and being able to stay and have a normal family life.

You may think it doesn't mean anything, but in real life, it's pretty concrete and serious stuff.


> Human rights of specific forms exist, absolutely, but the argument isn't on the detail

The argument IS on the detail, this is what matters with human rights conventions, they offer real protection for individuals against the short term political calculations of any given parliament. A problem even more acute in the UK where any parliament can remove any rights with a simple majority.
Post edited at 22:23
thomasadixon - on 14 Jul 2017
In reply to RomTheBear:

> Sorry but that's a very vague side point, made deliberately vague, and rather off topic, I don't really care what more rights or less rights mean, it's just point of semantic of little interest.

Rather off topic? You were replying to my post, and that's what I was talking about. That's what I mean when I say you don't engage.

> You may think it doesn't mean anything, but in real life, it's pretty concrete and serious stuff.

So because a particular law resulted in an outcome you were happy with human rights are a Good? That's what I mean by for or against climate.

Wercat - I note you don't point to anything in particular, when it should be easy enough to point out schoolboy errors. Care to say why I should take your opinion over my own?
2
thomasadixon - on 14 Jul 2017
In reply to jkarran:

> I simply do not believe you don't understand this. The idea that by underpinning our rights it's the ECHR that is causing or facilitating their erosion (it's our Conservative government we're crystal clear) is totally bonkers! You've got cause and effect totally arse about face.

https://www.theguardian.com/culture/video/2016/apr/25/patrick-stewart-sketch-what-has-the-echr-ever-...

This came to mind - from start to finish messing up cause and effect. The ECHR gave us the right to a fair trial, freedom from torture, freedom from slavery!? Absolute nonsense, we've had those since before the ECHR existed. As people say again and again the ECHR was formed partly from our law - you could say we gave them these things. This is the level of debate about rights, if you're not pro the ECHR you don't think rights matter at all. For or against, black and white.
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RomTheBear on 15 Jul 2017
In reply to thomasadixon:
> Rather off topic? You were replying to my post, and that's what I was talking about. That's what I mean when I say you don't engage.

Bollocks, the discussion was about the benefits , or not, of binding ourselves to international protections of human rights, not some vague irrelevant and moot point as to whether human rights are a quantifiable thing.

> So because a particular law resulted in an outcome you were happy with human rights are a Good? That's what I mean by for or against climate.

It's an example to illustrate an argument. And now you diverge against.

> Wercat - I note you don't point to anything in particular, when it should be easy enough to point out schoolboy errors. Care to say why I should take your opinion over my own?

Maybe because it's been pointed out to you repeatedly ?
Post edited at 06:49
RomTheBear on 15 Jul 2017
In reply to thomasadixon:

> This came to mind - from start to finish messing up cause and effect. The ECHR gave us the right to a fair trial, freedom from torture, freedom from slavery!? Absolute nonsense, we've had those since before the ECHR existed.

Again, you're getting things arse about face.
The reason countries participated in the creation of the ECHR is because they wanted to recognise these basic rights as immovable minimum standards, and make it more difficult for us to remove them in the future.
As it turns out, it was rather wise, pressures around immigration and global terrorism, as we have seen, have made it very tempting for governments to try to erode these rights for short-term political gain.
Post edited at 07:28

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