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Torches and Pitchforks again?

by ceebs Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 06:39:48 AM EST

It looks like Tony is returning with a third time Lucky attempt for president of Europe.

BBC News - Tony Blair calls for elected president of Europe

Tony Blair has floated the idea of having a President of Europe directly elected by people across the continent.

The former UK prime minister made the suggestion in a speech to the Council for the Future of Europe in Berlin.

"Out of this European crisis can come the opportunity finally to achieve a model of European integration that is sustainable," said Mr Blair.

"A Europe wide election for the Presidency... is the most direct way to involve the public," he added.

So the question is do we restart the petition site? do we re-write it to fit the EU as it is now? or do we  say a plague on all your houses and sit this one out?


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Oh dear, I had forgotten that that guy is still alive. Who would support the candidacy of such an embarassing figure? Wouldn't a candidacy of the undead force Labour to finally distance itself from its disreputable past?
by Katrin on Tue Oct 30th, 2012 at 09:30:45 AM EST
One would hope, but there's the two or three elections he managed to win.
Party loyalty is a harsh mistress.

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sapere aude
by Number 6 on Tue Oct 30th, 2012 at 10:59:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wouldn't a candidacy of the undead force Labour to finally distance itself from its disreputable past?

Isn't Labour still a pro-austerity party? They are more likely to want to distance themselves from gasp, um, Brown than from Blair.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 30th, 2012 at 11:03:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Milliband is vaguely anti-austerity, pro-NHS, anti-cuts.

I'd say it depends on what the Tories are. Labour at the moment is the opposite of that.

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sapere aude

by Number 6 on Tue Oct 30th, 2012 at 11:12:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Milliband is also an opportunist asshole.

Cameron defeated over EU budget cut - Yahoo! News UK

The Prime Minister has suffered a humiliating defeat in the Commons as the issue of Europe again split the Conservative Party.

MPs voted by 307 votes to 294, majority 13, in favour of a rebel Tory call for a real-terms cut in the European Union's budget.

...

At Prime Minister's Questions earlier, Mr Cameron clashed with Labour leader Ed Miliband ahead of the vote.

Mr Miliband accused him of "throwing in the towel" over a cut before the negotiations had even begun.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 04:19:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There's no point making a petition against Blair at this point.

When it was going to be an appointed position, it made sense to picket the appointers to not pick an embarrassment.

If there is a Continent-wide election, people will be free to campaign for or against the actual prople running for the office.

A generic campaign against the idea of an elected president is less clear cut than a campaign against Blair personally. And campaigning against the elected president because of who supports the idea also lacks conviction.

When it comes to voting in a race between Merkel for the EPP and Blair for the PES, we can have a campaign handing people free barf bags.

Campaigning against Blair being nominated or endorsed by particular political parties is also a possibility, but not at this stage.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 30th, 2012 at 09:37:50 AM EST
I would also add that it is far from clear that the choice would be Merkel vs Blair. Having brand recognition and being from a large state should be an advantage, but in both these cases we are talking about persons who are disliked outside their home state. So maybe someone like Rumproy would win whatever process there might be to get candidates in place and go to win the election.

Now, what president does it make sense to elect directly? Well, that would be the executive president, the president of the Commission.

Now, is a directly elected president of the Commission better then one that is appointed by the Council? Yes, I think so. The Council is laregly elected on other factors then to appoint the Commission, and there is no real popular mandate in the process as it has been used in the past.

Is it better to have one directly elected then one appointed by the Parliament? No, I don't think so. The trend we have seen in the last decades is one of executive power-grabs which is made easier by a popular election. The diversity of the EP and the unlikelihood of any one party gaing majority is in my mind a safeguard against to much of ignoring popular opinions.

But then it boils down to what system we have today. Under the Lisbon treaty parliament is given some say in the matter but the practise is far from clear. If PES, EPP or both would run a public candidate in the 2014 EP elections I think the Council would not dare to nominate anyone else in the first round. If they don't I expect the Council to in reality appoint someone and Greens to protest in vain.

So have do we affect that, maybe a campaign for PES and EPP to tell us their president candidates. Hm, what if we assert that parliament will decide president and that not telling means hiding their real candidate. Which would be the most known and disliked candidates we could think of. For EPP perhaps Berlusconi, and for PES...? Blair?

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Oct 30th, 2012 at 12:00:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I try to imagine realistic candidates. A fey years against it would have been Bildt for the right against Prodi for the left. Perhaps Barroso, perhaps Juncker

rules:

a) no big country: Italy is the upper limit here

b) no small country bad luck for an aspiring politician from Malta or Cyprus

c) no new countries. So no eastern european. Cyprus disqualified once again

So politicians from mid-sized western european countries will be most sought after: Austria, Sweden, Belgium, Netherlands, Spain. Perhaps one day Poland.

by IM on Tue Oct 30th, 2012 at 12:45:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Austria

Schwarzenegger.....

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Tue Oct 30th, 2012 at 12:59:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
good idea. equally well known in every country of the EU.
by IM on Tue Oct 30th, 2012 at 01:19:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
With those rules I'd go with Guy Verhofstadt.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 30th, 2012 at 01:21:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but isn't he a liberal? Otherwise an almost perfect fit.
by IM on Tue Oct 30th, 2012 at 01:24:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nobody's perfect.

He has been one of the best MEPs during the Euro Crisis, warts and all.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 30th, 2012 at 01:36:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You mean he is actual qualified? No room in my rules for that.

That said, my exclusion was bit hasty. If there is a S & D against EPP race then ALDE and the greens could ally with one of the blocks, or the parties of ALDE or the greens could split down the middle, one part supporting a S  D alliance, the other a EPP alliance. So Verhoftstadt could still be a coalition candidate.

by IM on Tue Oct 30th, 2012 at 01:49:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
With the right glasses he could pretend to be Elton John ...


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sapere aude
by Number 6 on Tue Oct 30th, 2012 at 01:29:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you sure anyone would want to?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Oct 30th, 2012 at 03:12:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dye his hair black and he can look like Roy Orbison.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 30th, 2012 at 03:15:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
With the right glasses, this guy could look like Roy Orbison too...

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Oct 30th, 2012 at 03:32:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I didn't do anything to his hair...
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Oct 30th, 2012 at 03:33:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's Blair at 33?

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 30th, 2012 at 03:56:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My god...

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 11:27:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
you mean we get to poke his eyes out?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Oct 30th, 2012 at 06:03:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
fine upstanding warmongering sociopath citizen!

with the right glasses anyone can look like roy.

right spangles=elvis

etc.

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Oct 30th, 2012 at 09:55:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Duude!


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sapere aude
by Number 6 on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 05:14:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Far out!

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 05:17:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I should troll-rate you!!! And get you to pay my treatment for PTSD.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 01:27:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Following the realistic candidates train of thought:

Let's consider the dynamics of a continent-wide direct election of a single Officer.

How will people on the ground actually vote? Based on nationality? Based on national party endorsements? Based on whether the candidates speak one's language? How many people will actually vote?

Who can capture the German vote? Is it necessary to be able to be interviewed on German TV without an interpreter? Would that be enough to overcome party identification? That is, could a German-speaking Dutch Labour candidate carry a significant fraction of the vote among CDU sympathisers? Conversely, can we expect a Spanish conservative candidate to carry a significant fraction of the vote on the basis of a CDU endorsement even if they can't speak German?

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 30th, 2012 at 02:15:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sub-question: what tolerance do different audiences have for sub-titling or voice-overs?

In Sweden, I think most candidates would do fine as long as they speak in their native tongue and depend on tv's sub-titles and not the drone-like voice-overs they use in the EP. Doing a few token phrases would count as a plus.

Hm, since there is a tendency to sound ridiculous and/or a bit stupid in any language that you don't master really well (for example Svanberg's "little people" after the Gulf oil disaster), if language is crucial I think lesser language skills can be discounted. Speaking really well a few widely understood languages on the other hand should be a plus.

Where is that map of understanding secondary languages in the EU again?

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Oct 30th, 2012 at 02:41:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Incidentally, just this year the Eurobarometer Europeans and their languages has been updated.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 30th, 2012 at 02:46:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Seeing that the number of people who self-report being able to follow TV or Radio programmes in a foreign language is substantially lower than the number who claim to be able to hold a conversation.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 30th, 2012 at 02:54:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
54 vs 44 yes. Not that surprising considering that in a conversation people adapt their langugae to those they talk to, and a conversation is less stringently defined then being able to follow news.

Just over two fifths (44%) of Europeans say that they are able to understand at least one foreign language well enough to be able to follow the news on radio or television. English is the most widely understood, with a quarter (25%) of Europeans able to follow radio or television news in the language. French and German are mentioned by 7% of respondents each, while Spanish (5%), Russian (3%) and Italian (2%).

This is probably the relevant level to understand political speech.

In addition we have the native speakers:

In accordance with the EU population, the most widely spoken mother tongue is German (16%), followed by Italian and English (13% each), French (12%), then Spanish and Polish (8% each).

Adding up to:
English 38%
German 23%
French 19%
Italian 15%

As that is the proportion reached with each language (they overlap of course). However, the 25% that has english as a second language might not mind so much hearing mangled second-language english. After all, it is how our leaders speak.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Oct 30th, 2012 at 03:07:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And how. It's embarrassing hearing our Swedish prime ministers trying to outdo each other with the Swedish Chef by way of Minnesota accents.

(Of course the next generation won't speak Swedish - it will be English with Swedish words. Already happening in online forae.
Now you kids get the heck off my lawn.)


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sapere aude

by Number 6 on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 11:42:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Who selects the candidates? What would stop you from having a Spanish conservative candidate, a German one, a Bavarian one and so on. Then you have to decide how to select the winnder.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Tue Oct 30th, 2012 at 03:01:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course the optimal solution would be a single-transferable voter system with an open field. But again, what would be the dynamics in that case? What do you do when you have dozens of candidates campaigning in two dozen countries?

To judge by the experience of the Gray Davis recall election in California, you'd basically have a celebrity popularity contest, and Schwarzenegger (as suggested elsewhere in this thread) would win.

Now seriously, who would be the European celebrity politician most likely to win an open field election?

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 30th, 2012 at 03:11:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
Now seriously, who would be the European celebrity politician most likely to win an open field election?

Lacking a common media/celebrity circus my serious answer is the one backed by the EPP.

My flippant answer is last years Eurovision winner. People have at least voted for he/she/them once before.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Oct 30th, 2012 at 03:31:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lordi for EU president!

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 30th, 2012 at 03:32:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This goes back to whethet having the local party support you guarantees that party voters who don't know who you are and cannot understand you speak will vote for you.

Then again, how many voters vote for a candidate they've actually know let alone hears speak, even in domestic elections. What fraction of the voters just vote based on the party logo?

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 30th, 2012 at 03:34:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Without having any candidates who you know who they are and can understand their speak, I think local party approval is everything. In particular since the local party or no one at all will campaign for the candidate in media and on the streets.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Tue Oct 30th, 2012 at 04:08:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hm, in 19th century US how many voters heard the presidential candidates speak? Railroads, mass meatings and good vocal training can only do so much.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Tue Oct 30th, 2012 at 05:14:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is easier to follow the judgment of a party if you can re-assure yourself that you could check up yourself if it matters. A candidate speaking in a language you can't understand doesn't gives you that excuse.
by IM on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 03:36:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To be able to mount a campaign in all (or at least most) states you need an organisation, in particular since the EU does not have common media. So in reality I expect the european parties to field candidates, one for each or together in coalitions depending on election system.

And since the european parties are what they are, I expect some convoluted internal process where deals are struck related to other seats. Then when the EPP and PES has one each it is only as local splinters that other conservative or soc-dem candidates can play a role. How is the Bavarian conservative going to campaign in Portugal if the local EPP supports the official EPP candidate?

If we have french-style two-round direct election (which I think is most likely if there is direct elections) then the other european parties field one each and gets knocked out in the first round. If we have the parliament appoint the president the candidates supported by EPP and PES becomes the real alternatives, just like the party leaders for SDP and CDU are the real alternatives for chancellor.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Oct 30th, 2012 at 03:27:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Aren't you assuming decent turnout? If turnout is very low, the countries or regions with a local candidate may get much higher turnout, possibly enough to counterbalance the lack of support elsewhere.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Tue Oct 30th, 2012 at 03:35:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hm, lets put some numbers in it. Which of course demands a host of assumptions.

EU has a population of 500 millions. Say 400 millions of voting age.

In 2009 43,24% voted for EP. The EP election in general has lower participation rate then the national elections.

Germany is largest single country with 81 millions. Say 65 millions of voting age.

Assume first round of french style election with the european parties each fielding a candidate, except the German CDU that fields a splinter candidate.

Now say that only 30% would vote across the board and German CDU would field a splinter candidate bringing interest and a 60% participation rate. Say that the EPP candidate gets 36% of the votes outside Germany (EPP share in 2009) and the German CDU candidate gets 50% of votes in Germany (CDU+CSU had 40% in the last German election + homestate bonus).

So 36% of 30% of (400-65) millions = 35 millions for the EPP-candidate vs 50% of 60% of 65 millions = 19,5 millions for the CDU candidate.

The real winner here is of course the PES candidate that with 27% of the EU vote and say the same of the German vote, yielding 27% of 30% of (400-65) millions = 27 millions and 27% of 60% of 65 millions = 10,5 millions wins the first round and faces of against an EPP candidate with weak support in Germany in round two.

So no, I don't think low participation rate is not enough to over come the splintered nature.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Oct 30th, 2012 at 04:06:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As you say, a host of assumptions. But the one that might be wrong is the assumption that EP elections are a guide. EP elections are usually for local, national parties. If the vote is for somebody from another country, participation might be a lot lower; I don't see any way to estimate this.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Tue Oct 30th, 2012 at 04:11:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought 30% instead of 43% was significantly lower...

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Tue Oct 30th, 2012 at 04:21:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thinking some more. Say that we adjust paticipation rates so the CDU candidate knocks out the EPP candidate. The PES candidate benefits even more as he/she faces a candidate without support outside Germany.

In either scenario, the smart thing for EPP to do is to nominate the German.

The really interesting question is if the european parties can gather behind a candidate and a program or if the effort will split them. Or if they hold together, what effect it will have locally. Will we get the European version of the demise of dixiecrats and New England republicans?

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Oct 30th, 2012 at 05:11:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I somehow don't see the Powers That Be organising an EU-wide election any time soon. They need all their energy to fight over what bank supervision will supervise, and whether Schäuble will get his little Brussels komissar who can override governments' budgets. Anyway, could they trust the electorate to cast a Serious™ vote?

This is just Blair finding a way to get in the media for five minutes.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Oct 30th, 2012 at 12:47:07 PM EST
when beppe's finished putting italy under the grillo, maybe he could do it.

i'd vote for cohn-bendit in a ny second...

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Oct 30th, 2012 at 10:04:49 PM EST
Let's get half serious. My disclaimer's simple. I could care less about elections. Sortition or sortition combined with elections would be better. Look at the elections in the States, Obama is going to win because of several factors: for example, he's taller, he's an incumbent. You call that stuff debates. All you're getting is lazy decisions over peripheral cues. Voters don't have to think.

So, for a European president, let's get people back to seriously thinking what citizenry is all about. No one's gonna go for a Dane on the stump in Canicatti. For each legislature each nation chooses a number of candidates based on weighted lots. Candidates are selected and elected in local wards through public deliberation. The elected individuals are then up for sortition on a national level. Each nation has then a set number of citizens who may be chosen through sortition for a fixed and short period to be president or co-president. There could be, say, dual presidency for six month periods. If a legislation lasts for example five years, there would be ten presidents during that period if each pair were to serve six months.  

All European citizens would feel that they are participating because the system would be random and there would be a high probability for a number of states to be represented by distinguished individuals.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 04:48:30 PM EST
Good start. My favourite part:
chosen through sortition for a fixed and short period

Pay? Median wage (based on full time, all sectors, all genders.)

There's a fetishism about the word "elected" (and "voting" and "representative") that equals that of ruling "by the grace of God".


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sapere aude

by Number 6 on Thu Nov 1st, 2012 at 05:51:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd rather have a powerfull EP that can elect a government and control it. Then, maybe, in ten to twenty years people will think in EU wide modes.

res humą m'és alič
by Antoni Jaume on Fri Nov 2nd, 2012 at 07:44:23 PM EST


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