Artist: The Common Linnets
Song (title and link): Calm After the Storm
Broadcaster: Sirion TV
"Yes, I agree. I think there's certainly scope for a general reduction of tariffs and for their elimination on many, perhaps even most, products. We'd also be interested in reducing some non-tariff barriers to trade - mutual recognition of certain standards and some professional qualifications, for example."
"Free trade has always benefited Angleter in the past, and I have every confidence that liberalising trade between our nations can only be good for all involved."
Perhaps Cllr Willow could have used her precious time better by actually listening to what I was saying. This law is, in its current form, all about ensuring that marriages and civil unions formed in one country are recognised across the EU. That's a legitimate cross-border issue and it's perfectly reasonable for the EU to legislate on it.
Whether same-sex marriages conducted in, for example, Omnibus should be recognised specifically as marriages in Angleter or Pravoslaviya or the Holy See, or whether those countries would be able to recognise them as civil unions, is unclear in the current legislation. Currently, for the record, Angleter does the latter. I would favour replacing the law with something that clarifies this, one way or the other.
What Angleter stands against is Cllr Granger's amendment, which seeks to force member states to legalise same-sex marriages within their own countries. Obviously, nobody in Angleter is banned from loving each other or condemned to live in loneliness. Perhaps some Councillors would do well to be more careful with their words.
As for Cllr Granger's argument that the Constitution mandates same-sex marriage, if that were true, she wouldn't need an amendment. There is no ruling endorsing that interpretation of the Constitution, and Angleter takes its Constitutional commitments very seriously. We follow the Constitution and we pay our contributions, and Cllr Granger should think carefully the next time she wants to accuse us of being treaty-breakers.
The EU exists to ease relations between member states, not to replace them. Decisions like whether to introduce same-sex marriage should be taken closer to the people, not here in Europolis.
As such, if it weren't already obvious, on behalf of the Apostolic Kingdom of Angleter, I vote AGAINST Cllr Granger's amendment.
Angleter's new European Councillor, Cllr Judith Gibbon, stood to speak
I'd like to thank Commissioner Clinton-Mezvinsky for initiating this discussion.
I'll first point out that Angleter is not here to have same-sex marriage forced on it at European level, nor are we here to have a barrage of insults thrown at our laws. We are a liberal European democracy just as much as any of you are, and the sovereign will of our people and Parliament is not 'absurd,' or 'arbitrary,' or 'outrageous,' or an 'individual belief system' that should be 'disregarded'. That's not what anybody sent me here for.
So I can tell everyone now that we will not accept this process leading to the imposition, EU-wide, of same-sex marriage. Regardless of the merits of same-sex marriage itself, that is exactly the road that my predecessors have opposed this region going down. Angleter has stood against EU-imposed same-sex marriage, just as it has stood against EU-imposed legal cannabis, or EU-imposed nuclear disarmament, or EU-imposed abolition of the death penalty.
I prefer, as a rule, the collective wisdom of millions of citizens in a nation-state over the collective wisdom of a handful of Councillors in Europolis. What replaces this legislation must respect that.
So what's wrong with this legislation is it's basically unclear and full of holes. What if an Angleteric couple get married in the UK and then go to the Duxburian Union? Now, their marriage is not lawfully formed in their country of origin, so, theoretically, they can't expect to be covered by this law.
That's one example. There's also the issue of whether a marriage in Angleter must be recognised as a marriage by the Duxburian authorities, or whether the Duxburians could classify it as a civil union instead. Or vice versa. Not all countries have civil unions, after all. And then there's the issue of the rights afforded to married couples or couples in civil unions - especially with civil unions, these can vary quite considerably from country to country. The law would fail, quite frankly, if a couple in a civil union in Angleter, where that affords virtually the same rights and privileges as marriage, were to move to a country which offered couples in a civil union considerably fewer such rights, and then found themselves losing many of the rights they enjoyed in Angleter. At the same time, we cannot simply harmonise the rights and privileges afforded by marriages and civil unions across the entire EU, not least because our countries have wildly differing welfare systems.
I will hold off on putting forward any amendments or draft replacement laws yet, but I think there is scope to tighten up the law and use clearer language, and also to refocus it towards preventing abuses where a country essentially retains the name 'marriage' or 'civil union', but offers few of the benefits offered in other member states. I'd be interested to see what other Councillors have to say before drafting anything.
Thursday, 15th February, 2018
Article by Marissa Varvaris
Angleter's new European Councillor, Dame Judith Gibbon
The Speaker of the Chamber of the Plebeians, Edeva Ziert, has confirmed that there will be no by-election in the seat vacated by Dame Judith Gibbon after her appointment as European Councillor.
Gibbon, 66, has served as Defence Minister since the Social Democrats came to power in 2015, and is known for her brusque, no-nonsense approach. One SDP insider told The National Observer that Gibbon was chosen because of her previous engagement with European affairs in discussions with foreign Defence Ministers, and because, in an election year, her blunt style will make the Government's ability to assert itself in Europolis 'as visible as possible'. "The last thing we want is Emryc Isla telling everyone that we're letting everyone else in Europe walk all over us," added the insider. "Judith makes sure people know we're standing up for ourselves."
The appointment of Gibbon, who has been an MP since 1993, has created two vacancies: one at the Defence Ministry, which has been swiftly filled by Procurement Minister Will Prosser (who in turn has had his former role filled by backbencher Lynn Montague); and another in her seat of Harran. Based in the commuter belt of the city of Maien, Harran is a competitive seat where all three main parties would expect to be competitive, especially after the departure of Gibbon, who hails from the city of Maien and has represented the area since the reintroduction of first-past-the-post.
However, what would have been a much-anticipated by-election has been avoided after Speaker Ziert announced that, due to elections being due in June, the seat would remain vacant until the pre-election dissolution of the Chamber. According to a statement from the Speaker's Office, "it would be impossible to justify the expense of electing a candidate in mid-March at the earliest, only for them to serve less than two months before having to re-contest the seat in the general election."
Both the Democrats and the Citizen Alliance have registered their protest at the Speaker's decision. James Fermier, Citizen Alliance spokesman for Maien and MP for the neighbouring seat of Telbarsip, issued a furious statement accusing the Speaker of "making a colony out of Harran in order to cover for the SDP." He continued: "We would win that seat in a by-election and they know it. We will win the seat, and countless others, in June because normal Angleteric people have grown tired of being taken for fools by the SDP and the entire ruling elite of this country. Judith Gibbon has always been, and always will be, a paper tiger; and Harran's gain is Europolis' loss. Sam Courtenay, Dame Judith, and Dame Edeva should all watch their backs."
Democrat leader Sue Fareham, who is out campaigning for her favoured candidates in the Democrats' primary elections, due to be held this weekend, told reporters on the campaign trail in Norham Gardens, Elkhand, that "we'll have our candidates in place by the end of Sunday, so we're ready. We'd have been ready for the by-election, but any Democrat MP knows that Speaker Ziert always makes sure the SDP Government doesn't get embarrassed."
When asked about the appointment itself, Fareham shared Fermier's cynicism. "She's only there to throw shade and cover up for an atrocious European policy. The SDP will throw her acid tongue in our faces and tell us you can trust them with Europe. But nobody will buy it. Everyone knows that the only reason the SDP are in power today and we're not is because they promised to end the DK War by New Year's Eve 2015. It's just broken promise after broken promise, and Angleter deserves better."
Fareham faces an uphill battle if she's to overturn the result of the 2015 election. Despite regaining some ground in recent months, the Democrats continue to languish in third place on 23%, trailing the Citizen Alliance on 27%, and a resurgent SDP on 37%. The SDP have opened up a ten-point lead despite an aggressive Citizen Alliance campaign reminding voters of Courtenay's pledge that 2017 would be Angleter's last year in Dromund Kaas, with analysts arguing that a strong economy and the relatively low intensity of the DK War giving Sam Courtenay a welcome fillip as the election draws near.
Georgius Rex fidelibus suis per totam Angleterem salutem.
Sciatis that the Rt Hon Dame Judith Gibbon MP has been appointed as the representative of the Apostolic Crown in the European Council.
Anno domini 2018, Feb. 15.
+ HM Theodora Regina
+ The Rt Hon Samuel Courtenay MP
+ The Rt Hon Mary d'Ivry MP
Nation Name in RP (full, with short name bolded): The Republic of Pentalia Nation Name on NS (short):Pentalia Puppet (if so, of whom?):n/a Map plot requested:52 Capital city:Contres Currency:Quar National language(s):English, and Spanish Head of State (Title + Mr/Ms/Mx* + name in bold):Mr.Angel Contreras Head of Government (Title + Mr/Ms/Mx* + name in bold):Mr.Braxton Janda Governing party:Democratic Parliamentary System
European Councillor (Mr/Ms/Mx* + name in bold):Ms.Ella Heder Political group (if any): European Conservatives
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My country accepts the Constitution of the European Union (Y/N): Yes
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"Ah! Welcome to the non-neutral world!" Courtenay joked.
"In all seriousness, this is excellent news. I'm certain that Australia will be a valuable partner in military and intelligence affairs in the future. Obviously you'll have our support in repealing your neutrality in the Council."
Courtenay laid back in his chair
"As for governing, it's been... a balancing act. Obviously the situations are different to some extent, but I've found it frustrating at times when you want to do something, especially something in your manifesto and that would appeal to your most loyal supporters, and then the Citizen Alliance - or in your case Labor - stops it. I mean, we've been trying to keep the Citizen Alliance on side, and in some way that's a good thing because that means the SDP can appeal more to centrist and centre-right voters, which we have to do as a centre-left party in a country like Angleter, but at the same time we've got to do some firefighting on our left flank. There's this new party called the CSL, which is basically an enlarged Communist Party with a lot of people, especially students, who've left us because they've found our record in government too centrist, especially on social issues; and we've got to stop them eating into our core vote."
"So it's like walking a tightrope. You can't lean too far to the left to keep the CSL in check, and you can't lean too far to the right to keep the Citizen Alliance happy. But I suppose that's politics; and you know what?"
Courtenay leaned in again
"One thing I and my MPs have found is that when you go and talk to ordinary people, they respect what you've done. If you're open and upfront about the circumstances you're in, and keep reminding them of those circumstances, then people see that you're making the best of a difficult situation. I hope, anyway! Not long now before we find out over here."
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