Don’t panic………..just yet!

article50
Dear friends, UK citizens (yes, that includes you Scotland), and EU nationals living in UK (you’re our friends too!) It’s really not over yet. It’s one thing to say we would like the government to leave the EU but it’s another thing to actually do it.
Yes, we’re talking about Article 50. Remember the Greek referendum? Yes, the Greeks clearly said they did not want to accept the bailout terms that were on offer. But when faced with the reality of actually carrying out those wishes, the Greek government who had actually been pushing for that result found they couldn’t. In the case of the UK referendum there now seems to be a real case of surprise at the result and a real fear that the potential for catastrophe is too great to actually leave. It’s also the case that the leader who said he would immediately enact Article 50 has now resigned, and he is not going to do it himself. So whoever is the next Prime Minister is not bound by the result if he or she thinks it’s not in the country’s best interest to do so. All is still to play for.

Federalism is still and has always been an alternative option for both UK and the EU.
And it’s suddenly looking a whole lot more appealing.

Stuart Clark
Leader of the Federalist Party of the United Kingdom

Kate Hoey MP – my undemocratic nightmare

Kate Hoey MP speaks about the EU having a democratic deficit. Well let me explain a few simple facts here. I have lived in Kennington for 22years and Kate Hoey has been my MP for all that time. She has a safe seat which means she pretty much has a job for life. I have voted in five General Elections here where my vote has not had any bearing on which government has been elected. I have not been able to vote for the Government of the day or for the Prime Minister. I have only been able to vote for my local MP and in a safe seat that vote is pretty worthless.
democraticdeficit
In the European elections however my vote can actually make more difference.
There are issues with the European Institutions. At EU elections we should be voting for EU parties and not national parties, the Commission and President should be elected directly by the people, but then so should our UK Prime Minister. And the Council of Ministers should be replaced by an elected chamber.
If Kate Hoey was really worried about democracy she would be advocating PR in the House of Commons and an elected 2nd Chamber. But then she would lose her job for life.
In a recent survey Lambeth was listed as the 4th most Europhile area in Britain, https://yougov.co.uk/news/2016/02/28/eurosceptic-map-britain/ so she certainly is not representing her constituents.
europhile
There are big challenges facing all of us in the European Union, but we can only overcome these challenges by working together, and we can only do that by moving closer to a Federal Europe. All the arguments being used currently in favour of us leaving the EU are the same arguments that can be used for us working together.
Kate Hoey should resign her seat and stand as an independent on her Grassroots out platform and see if she gets re-elected. Only then will I finally have a vote that counts.
Stuart Clark
Federalist Party of the United Kingdom

10 reasons I’m voting YES for the second time

Ten reasons we MUST stay in the European Union
1. A huge number of the laws (especially those relating to rights at work) which have benefitted ordinary people in the UK have originated in the EU. When it suits them, different UK governments (which have often fought against these laws at the EU) have then taken credit for them in elections.
2. The United States and China are the two dominant world powers, economically and (soon) politically. A united European Union can provide a challenge to this hegemony.
3. Most of the criticisms of the lack of democratic accountability in the EU are because the member states want the system to work this way. The powers of the democratically elected European Parliament are severely restricted because member states’ national governments want to keep the major decisions in their hands (at the Council of ministers). Want more democracy? Strengthen the powers of the elected European Parliament!
4. The reason the European Commission so often seems out of control is that the European Parliament lacks the powers to control it adequately on a day to day basis. Strengthen the powers of the European Parliament!
5. EU migrant workers are accused of coming to the UK because of the welfare system. This is largely untrue; they come to work and because wages are higher. They contribute taxes. On the other hand, many older British nationals (and other northern Europeans) retire to countries in the sunny south of the EU. When they become old and sick, they often impose enormous burdens on the health and social care systems of these countries, many of which are at present struggling economically. What do you think should happen to them if the UK leaves the EU?
6. Free movement of labour has immeasurably contributed to the diversity of skills available for member states’ businesses (including many small businesses), making them more flexible and responsive to the needs of a world market than any national economy could do alone.
7. EU education programmes have enabled thousands of British students to benefit from new perspectives in other EU countries in their subjects and to gain new skills (including language skills) they might never have otherwise acquired.
8. Arguments about staying in or leaving seem to concentrate almost exclusively on money and business. Think about the dream of a strong, united Europe, which could be a real moral diplomatic (and economic) force in the world. We need to transform the EU into this, not leave it.
9. No-one wants all Europeans to be the same. The cultural richness of Europe is part of its strength. The EU has done more than national governments to protect and strengthen this cultural and linguistic diversity.
10. I personally am in favour of a federal Europe (and before you tremble, think of other federations – the United States of America, for example. Are the rights of individual states trampled on? Of course not!) in which decisions which should rightly be taken at a national level are. But whatever you think of a federal Europe, remember that the European Union emerged after centuries of European wars; so much more unites us than divides us. Reform it, yes! Leave it and become a little island isolated in its dreams of old glories? No thank you!

A passionate “Stay in” supporter, who voted “yes” in 1975 and will do again this year.
Erif Rison
erif rison

EU Referendum statement from the Federalist Party of the United Kingdom

Cameron’s EU deal is a “Bullies Charter” and does nothing to help Europe work better.
We urge British citizens to vote REMAIN at the Referendum on 23rd June, because to leave would be disastrous for European society as a whole. But this referendum helps no one and should never have called on the terms of “UK demands”. That is not how Europe should work.
new EU
There is a widely understood need for reform of the EU and its institutions. This is understood; we should all be discussing how it should be reformed.
A European super state is not and has never been what most Federalists have argued for but the current situation, where national governments dictate policy and direction is not acceptable. This is particularly the case with the larger states, who bully the smaller ones, as we have seen clearly this weekend.
So what of the agreed re-negotiated package itself?
• Child benefit: Paying child benefit at the rate standard rate of the member state where the country resides is something that to most will seem perfectly logical and acceptable, but surely this should have been proposed for all member states. This form of negotiation and backroom horse trading is exactly what Europeans populations do not want to see.
Migrant welfare payments – This is mean spirted and is in the agreement to combat a small problem that has been twisted and magnified to become very important to those that wish to leave the EU, but will create second class citizens and demonise those from other parts of the EU if for any reason they need to use the welfare system.
• The Eurozone and protection for the City of London – Safeguards for Britain’s large financial services industry to prevent Eurozone regulations being imposed on it may seem on the face of it to be justified, but there is a real risk of the City of London gaining an advantage by not having to enforce Europe-wide regulations which are set to ensure the economic safety of all citizens. And shouldn’t long-term entry into the Eurozone still be a long-term desired goal?
• Sovereignty – In the same way that many Americans fear giving up the right to bear arms, many British people claim sovereignty and the fear of losing it as a reasonable justification for withdrawing from the EU. There is nothing to be feared from shared sovereignty; indeed, this should be seen as extending sovereignty
• ‘Red card’ for national parliaments – Terms such as Special Status and Veto have replaced Subsidiarity and Solidarity. David Cameron claims to want to work together with the rest of Europe, but his terms show that he is a national leader thinking only of his and his party’s election future instead of what is best for all European citizens,
• Competitiveness – Cutting red tape should not be used to resist regulation of the banking industry, which is needed in order to prevent a repeat of the banking crisis.
• Some limits on free movement – There are many steps and actions that can be taken to strengthen Europe’s external borders and discussion of how to manage the freedom of movement is something that should be happening all the time at EU level and not unilaterally by national governments

These renegotiated terms do nothing to help solve the current problems in the EU because instead of addressing the need for closer co-operation, they it much harder to reach collective decisions. This is certainly not the progress and development that Europe needs.
In the week when it was announced that, according to the UN Children’s Emergency Fund and the International Organization for Migration, at least 340 children, many of them babies and toddlers, drowned in the eastern Mediterranean trying to reach Europe, it was a sickening sight to see Europe’s national leaders spending so much time on these demands instead of working on the real problems that face Europe.

Stuart Clark
Federalist Party of the United Kingdom

Progressive Europeans: #EUfederaljourney

If a destination is desirable, then the journey is worth taking. The destination is a European Federation of nations with a federalist structure in place and the freedom of movement right for all citizens to move unencumbered anywhere in the federation.

Everything that is wrong with the European Union is caused because we have not reached this destination and do not have the required integration in place already.

So why are there is there such a vocal section of society, calling for us to abandon the journey altogether?
Because the journey is long and hazardous and requires commitment, self-belief, and there is no clear roadmap.
What is needed is National Leaders who are strong willed visionaries, who realise this, is our destiny. It was Churchill who wrote 21 October 1942:
‘Hard as it is to say now… I look forward to a United States of Europe, in which the barriers between the nations will be greatly minimised and unrestricted travel will be possible.’

What we see today is a French Prime Minister warning of the end of the EU, a German Chancellor struggling to unilaterally take decisions that would be easier if she was not the only one making the right choices, and a British Prime Minister saying he no longer wants to reach the destination but wants to keep walking anyway.

So for those of you worried that a federal Europe is no longer an attainable goal, or even a desired one – I say, do not worry. Like any journey, there will be setbacks, delays and hurdles. It may even be necessary to backtrack, and take a different route.

But we will get there, of that there is no doubt.

federal journey

-stuart clark
Federalist Party of the United Kingdom

The Missing Option: #voteREMAINplus

EU Referendum:
There are two main pro-Remain groups: Britain Stronger in Europe and British Influence, both are predominately business orientated groups suggesting that the reason for remaining in the EU is purely an economic one. We do, of course support both these groups but neither group is promoting a Federal Europe
We will be voting to REMAIN within the EU but we want to make it understood that there is a substantial section of British society who not only want to remain within the EU, but want to be an integral part of the EU at the heart of European government and society, not simply a trading partner.
We are looking for reform of the EU to a more federal structure. All of the problems that the EU has encountered during its journey, so far, to a European Federation are caused because the European Council, which defines the overall political direction and priorities of the EU and is made up of National Leaders, is not designed to make policy decisions for the good of European citizens. The National Leaders are of course basing all their decisions on a possible national response, and this is a failure of the current process.
Standardised rules and regulations across Europe coupled with the Freedom of movement for goods and services is if course a significant success, and withdrawing from that market and those rules will be detrimental to the UK Economy, there is no doubt of that. But for many of us Europeans there are other benefits to being in the EU which are of a higher priority.
#Rights – we’re talking about workers’ rights, Children’s rights, women’s rights , disability rights and animal rights. Over the years Britain has lead the way in establishing many of these rights and it would be disastrous to lose them.
Whether or not you are concerned about Nature and the environment or workers’ rights and equality you have a reason to be concerned, not only because there is a chance that we could withdraw from the EU and loose much of this protection. But that the “renegotiation” being proposed would stifle further progress.
So the Options in the Referendum are:
LEAVE – and lose all the benefits that we take for granted
REMAIN – but ruling out further progress on improving European Society
What is not being offered – the missing option – which we must be vocal about
REMAIN PLUS – To be progressive in working together for a better society and Environment
EU Referendum Ballot Paper plus

-stuart clark
Federalist Party of the United Kingdom

Jeremy Corbyn’s election to Labour Party Leader is exactly what the stale old Westminster Parliamentary system needs. #federalAlliance

Everyone in the country will have some Corbyn policies they like and some they loathe, but what Mr Corbyn has, that has been sadly missing from Westminster for some time is true conviction and a belief in the policies he espouses. For too long now Westminster has been full of self-obsessed egomaniacs, who play the absurd Westminster parlour games. Everyone is tired of these conviction deprived opportunists. This could be a turning point in British politics, sparking a desire in the young to become engaged to create a future and others to get involved in decision making at a local level.
Far from being a bad thing, Corbyn’s election could call time on the ridiculous bland policical duopoly that has dominated for so long.
He probably has two years to prove himself and if he fails to win the arguments, Labour will have David Milliband ready and waiting – whatever happens there’s nothing better on offer right now and the British people are looking for something new and ever so slightly more honest.

UK Party Leader, Stuart Clark

JC

‘English Votes for English Laws’ cannot deliver devolution for England

The 2015 General Election left us with a new balance of power that has the potential to massively transform the way British politics works and fundamentally reshape the relationship between Westminster and the nations and regions of the UK. This week the Scottish National Party, empowered by their election success and the strength of their contingent of MPs at Westminster, appears to have landed a significant blow in favour of devolved democracy by forcing the government to postpone a vote on its proposed reform of the Hunting Act, a law which applies only in England and Wales and does not directly affect Scotland. It is precisely the kind of law that David Cameron is thinking of with his plan for ‘English Votes for English Laws’ which he claims would deliver a measure of devolution for England and finally address the ‘West Lothian question’.

Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP argue that such a proposal would leave Scottish MPs as ‘second class’ parliamentarians, unequal to their counterparts from England, and so undermining their authority in Westminster and Scotland’s place in the United Kingdom. But whilst it might look bad for Scotland, for the rest of the UK, and in particular England, the prospect of English Votes for English Laws is much worse. Scotland already has a devolved parliament with substantial powers over Scottish affairs and they may soon have ‘Home Rule’, meaning further powers including over taxation. The extent of devolution to other parts of the UK is limited at best, and in England it is nothing but a fantasy.

As English Votes for English Laws might leave Scottish MPs at Westminster in an inferior position, it is the voters in England who will find themselves short-changed by a proposal which pretends to offer English devolution, but in reality preserves the centralisation of power in a super-parliament at Westminster which will be supposed to act as both a parliament for the whole of the United Kingdom whilst simultaneously taking on the role of a devolved parliament, legislating for England alone. Whilst on the surface we could argue that there is no direct contradiction between these two roles, in practice England and its regions will miss out on having a dedicated legislature with its own MPs which could dedicate their time to devolved English issues (such as fox hunting). Under such an arrangement, the UK parliament at Westminster would be free to focus on areas relevant to the United Kingdom as a whole and its place in the world.

If the Westminster parliament, as it is today, is indeed a parliament for the whole of the United Kingdom, then it is important that all MPs elected there are of equal status and standing. Rather than addressing the democratic imbalance that the process of devolution in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland but not in England has left us with, the English Votes for English Laws plan risks further straining the unity and stability of the UK, and seeking only to counter one inequality with another, rather than removing the inequalities inherent in a system of asymmetric devolution, and replacing them with a fair and functional system of federalism, where each part of the UK is empowered to determine its own affairs and its own destiny whilst remaining comfortably anchored within the union.

As things stand, the government appears determined to push ahead with its plans and the SNP’s ‘intervention’ in English policy on the Hunting Act is likely to reinforce the determination of those in Westminster who, some argue, merely seek to strengthen their own position in parliament rather than deliver some kind of meaningful democratic settlement for the United Kingdom as a whole. Never before has the need for a serious and thorough overhaul of the UK’s constitutional arrangement been more urgent, and never before has the opportunity offered by federalism been so relevant, offering to deliver clear and democratic institutions and a fair political structure which can both accommodate and fulfil the diverse needs, identities and aspirations of all the peoples of the United Kingdom.

Disclaimer: This article expresses the personal views of its author, and may not necessarily reflect the official policies or views of the Federalist Party.

Immigration – misunderstandings and lost opportunities

The term “immigration” is widely used by the public in the UK to talk about three very different issues.

immigration

Three kinds of immigration.

Firstly there is EU migration, the Freedom of Movement for workers (and certain other groups) in the European Union. It’s a pretty straightforward easy to understand term for something desirable for both citizens and member states; it makes sense that where there is work available, workers should be able to move to a location as near to that work as possible. Having available work in one location and workers being idle in other parts of the Union makes no sense. It’s up to individual member states to invest in infrastructure in those areas of high employment to deal with any influx of workers and for member states to invest in businesses in areas of low employment to attract workers back. Without workers paying tax you cannot run your country. Having a debate about the rules of when workers moving between member states can claim any type of welfare benefits is perfectly normal and agreements can be reached without too much issue, and without having any effect on the principle of Freedom of Movement.

Secondly there is immigration from outside the EU. There is at this stage in the world’s development no Freedom of Movement worldwide so people without EU passports can enter only by applying to individual member states or by trying to get in illegally. Dealing with legal immigration is a fairly straightforward process of quotas and applications. Dealing with the issue of illegal immigration is a bigger issue, and this is where agreement between EU member states is vital. A collective response is needed.

Thirdly there are asylum seekers, or would-be refugees, who are people fleeing their home states because of persecution or fear of persecution and often fleeing war. In this case it is our moral as well as legal obligation to offer them safe refuge.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, the real debate can begin. The current mass influx of migrants arriving on the southern coasts of Europe, a combination of economic migrants and asylum seekers, is a big problem. Sometimes categorising who is an economic migrant and who is a genuine asylum seeker is not always an easy one. And in circumstances of War and oppression where the objective of both is simply survival, then the categorisation is superfluous.

In the case of those escaping the horrors of war, the UK government is saying the root cause of their leaving must be dealt with. Well, yes, this is obvious, but dealing with the root cause must come hand in hand with dealing with the effect, and this is where the Common Borders campaign comes in http://www.commonborders.eu/ . A fireman who goes looking for the cause of the fire without dealing with the flames would be rightly condemned for dereliction of duty.

How we deal with our share of asylum seekers and economic migrants in a compassionate and responsible way must be the current debate – not whether or not we accept them!

Missed Opportunities!

There is turmoil in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon and those stuck in these countries are forcibly subject to an ideology at odds with that of any civilised society. We do not wish to encourage these dangerous boat journeys but those people who have made that journey, and those in camps in Lebanon and Turkey must be helped. And some of them relocated in Europe, even temporarily.

Many migrants will potentially return. Each EU member state should take its quota of asylum seekers and migrants and help them recover from their ordeals.

Part of that help could be to give them new skills so that in future they can return to their countries and help to rebuild them. We can help them to form overseas aid groups and even potentially forces that can attempt rescue missions, so they can be of help to those who have been left behind. These are people with the language skills, an understanding of the situation, culture and challenges faced in their homelands, information that is invaluable to helping to restore peace and prosperity there. These ideas need to be discussed in an open and constructive environment.

What we must not do is turn our backs to suffering and cries for help.

UK Party Leader: Stuart Clark

Disclaimer: This article expresses the personal views of its author, and may not necessarily reflect the official policies or views of the Federalist Party.

Federalist Party of the United Kingdom meet-up

Dear Federalist Party members and supporters,

It’s time for The Federalist Party to introduce ourselves to the people of the Britain and present Federalism as a new alternative to the current dysfunctional political system we have here in the UK.

To make this happen, we’re organising a big meet-up in London at Ye Olde Cock Tavern in Fleet Street.

Saturday 13 June 2015 @15:00-17:00
22 Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1AA

details of how to get there from their website
http://www.taylor-walker.co.uk/pub/ye-olde-cock-tavern-holborn/c1188/

We’ll talk about how we want to make a difference and about our ideas for upgrading our democracy. It’ll be social as well, of course, and we will elect a new board for the organisation, but it’s mostly a forum for like-minded people to get together and discuss what we can do to make our country and our society better to live in for all. And a chance to do something about it!

We’d really like you to come! Please let us know if you are able to be part of this event as we’re trying to get a suitable venue according to how many people will show up.

thanks – stuart

UK Party Leader: Stuart Clark
stuart@federalists.org.uk