In an address to the German parliament on April 27, Chancellor Angela Merkel had tough words for the British government. The European Union’s most powerful leader told the Bundestag that the United Kingdom, “cannot and will not have the same rights” after it leaves the union. In other words, the British government should expect European leaders to refuse to negotiate and grant total access to the European market.
These words have been harshly criticized by British Prime Minister Theresa May, who accused the EU of “lining up” to oppose the United Kingdom. While one may disagree with the punitive attitude of European leaders, May’s naivety is to be deplored: The European Union’s behavior was predictable.
Continue reading in the Eurasia Review
“F**k it, we’ll do it live!”
Bill O’Reilly’s iconic moment as a peeved host of “Inside Edition,” mixed with his more recent habit of dominating the ratings at Fox News, seem unusual in Europe. Here, TV, especially shows about politics and culture, attempts to maintain a facade of earnestness. Apart from the UK’s “Prime Minister’s Questions,” the weekly shouty session of witty jokes and sassy remarks between the government and the opposition, European politics is usually something you skip on the channels. Even diehard fans of the spotlight are unable to avoid yawning at the banality of political “entertainment.”
The reason for this is simple: many stations are publicly owned, and those that aren’t still tend to remain apolitical. In Germany, privately owned TV stations have only existed since 1984, with state-owned channels ARD and ZDF covering almost the entirety of political news broadcasting. Public stations make up 45 percent of the market there. In France, among the top five stations, two (23.1 percent of the market share) are owned publicly, while three (34.5 percent of the market share) are in private hands
Continue reading at RARE Politics
Should we be free to eat what we want? The British government doesn’t seem to think so. It requires that your favourite restaurants must obtain special permission to serve you your favourite burger.
Last month, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) implemented a new set of regulations that dictate how all food businesses must serve minced meat products (such as burgers). Businesses must now obtain specific approval to serve anything different from what the FSA regards as “thoroughly cooked”. This new requirement is applicable in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland (different regulations apply to Scotland). If a restaurant is caught violating these new regulations, it will either be served a notice or immediately prosecuted.
According to the agency, the new regulations are meant to prevent infections by bacteria like E. Coli. Bacteria are likely to be found on the outside surfaces of meat and can be spread to an entire burger when minced during preparation. According to a report by a committee called the Advisory Committee on Microbiological Safety of Food (ACMSF), cooking at 70℃ for two minutes at the centre of the meat or 75 ℃ for 30 seconds is sufficient to drastically reduce such pathogens.
Continue reading in CapX
Risen eyebrows, perplexed faces: some visitors at The Society Club on Cheshire Street in Shoreditch, London looked slightly confused at the sight of the city’s very first Nanny Store on April 20. For one day only, the student group Students for Liberty and the Consumer Choice Center took on themselves to ridicule the creeping interventionist nature of what is often referred to as the Nanny State: the overregulation of people’s habits.
Chocolate bars, cans of soda, crisps: all plain packaged and covered in warning labels such as “Chocolate seriously increases your risk of obesity,” the products sold at the student’s Nanny Store surely come off as patronizing. “I wouldn’t want to live in country where this would be real,” says one customer.
“It was our goal to start the Nanny State Store in London to mock the increasing level of lifestyle regulations being passed by all levels of government. Students For Liberty has done this successfully around the world, and we wanted to bring the fight to the UK,” says Alex Christakou, local coordinator with Students For Liberty
Read more at the Daily Caller
The UK High Court has struck down Brexit. Such a repudiation of the national will, and of legislation already approved by parliament, has the potential to permanently warp Great Britain’s rule of law. Indeed, it may already have.
This controversy, at the core, highlights a battle over democracy and parliamentary sovereignty. An indispensable feature of both is that there must be a warranty that once a fully rendered decision is arrived at and approved through proper means, that decision must hold.
Once such a warranty no longer exists, people will lose faith in their government. This loss of confidence may require a new government, which is normally the case in smaller, less threatening crises. Prime Minister David Cameron himself resigned after campaigning to keep Britain in the European Union and failing to do so.
Big crises, constitutional crises, happen when a sovereign power is meant to or guarantees to abide by the results of a decision by the people and then reneges on that promise. And that is precisely what happened when three judges from the UK High Court ruled that Britain can’t leave the EU without having a parliamentary vote to do so. Yet that parliamentary vote already happened with the European Referendum Act of 2015.
Great Britain has contended with crises of serious proportions before, involving existential questions about nationhood. And although British rule of law survived, the resolution required a wholesale reconfiguration of the constitutional monarchy.
Continue reading at Townhall.