Archive for November, 2012
The Federalist No. 10
The Utility of the Union as a Safeguard Against Domestic Faction and Insurrection (continued)
Thursday, November 22, 1787
To the People of the State of New York:
AMONG the numerous advantages promised by a well constructed Union, none deserves to be more accurately developed than its tendency to break and control the violence of faction. The friend of popular governments never finds himself so much alarmed for their character and fate, as when he contemplates their propensity to this dangerous vice. He will not fail, therefore, to set a due value on any plan which, without violating the principles to which he is attached, provides a proper cure for it. The instability, injustice, and confusion introduced into the public councils, have, in truth, been the mortal diseases under which popular governments have everywhere perished; as they continue to be the favorite and fruitful topics from which the adversaries to liberty derive their most specious declamations. The valuable improvements made by the American constitutions on the popular models, both ancient and modern, cannot certainly be too much admired; but it would be an unwarrantable partiality, to contend that they have as effectually obviated the danger on this side, as was wished and expected. Complaints are everywhere heard from our most considerate and virtuous citizens, equally the friends of public and private faith, and of public and personal liberty, that our governments are too unstable, that the public good is disregarded in the conflicts of rival parties, and that measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority. However anxiously we may wish that these complaints had no foundation, the evidence, of known facts will not permit us to deny that they are in some degree true. It will be found, indeed, on a candid review of our situation, that some of the distresses under which we labor have been erroneously charged on the operation of our governments; but it will be found, at the same time, that other causes will not alone account for many of our heaviest misfortunes; and, particularly, for that prevailing and increasing distrust of public engagements, and alarm for private rights, which are echoed from one end of the continent to the other. These must be chiefly, if not wholly, effects of the unsteadiness and injustice with which a factious spirit has tainted our public administrations.
By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.
There are two methods of curing the mischiefs of faction: the one, by removing its causes; the other, by controlling its effects.
There are again two methods of removing the causes of faction: the one, by destroying the liberty which is essential to its existence; the other, by giving to every citizen the same opinions, the same passions, and the same interests.
It could never be more truly said than of the first remedy, that it was worse than the disease. Liberty is to faction what air is to fire, an aliment without which it instantly expires. But it could not be less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction, than it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency.
The second expedient is as impracticable as the first would be unwise. As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed. As long as the connection subsists between his reason and his self-love, his opinions and his passions will have a reciprocal influence on each other; and the former will be objects to which the latter will attach themselves. The diversity in the faculties of men, from which the rights of property originate, is not less an insuperable obstacle to a uniformity of interests. The protection of these faculties is the first object of government. From the protection of different and unequal faculties of acquiring property, the possession of different degrees and kinds of property immediately results; and from the influence of these on the sentiments and views of the respective proprietors, ensues a division of the society into different interests and parties.
The latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man; and we see them everywhere brought into different degrees of activity, according to the different circumstances of civil society. A zeal for different opinions concerning religion, concerning government, and many other points, as well of speculation as of practice; an attachment to different leaders ambitiously contending for pre-eminence and power; or to persons of other descriptions whose fortunes have been interesting to the human passions, have, in turn, divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to co-operate for their common good. So strong is this propensity of mankind to fall into mutual animosities, that where no substantial occasion presents itself, the most frivolous and fanciful distinctions have been sufficient to kindle their unfriendly passions and excite their most violent conflicts. But the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property. Those who hold and those who are without property have ever formed distinct interests in society. Those who are creditors, and those who are debtors, fall under a like discrimination. A landed interest, a manufacturing interest, a mercantile interest, a moneyed interest, with many lesser interests, grow up of necessity in civilized nations, and divide them into different classes, actuated by different sentiments and views. The regulation of these various and interfering interests forms the principal task of modern legislation, and involves the spirit of party and faction in the necessary and ordinary operations of the government.
No man is allowed to be a judge in his own cause, because his interest would certainly bias his judgment, and, not improbably, corrupt his integrity. With equal, nay with greater reason, a body of men are unfit to be both judges and parties at the same time; yet what are many of the most important acts of legislation, but so many judicial determinations, not indeed concerning the rights of single persons, but concerning the rights of large bodies of citizens? And what are the different classes of legislators but advocates and parties to the causes which they determine? Is a law proposed concerning private debts? It is a question to which the creditors are parties on one side and the debtors on the other. Justice ought to hold the balance between them. Yet the parties are, and must be, themselves the judges; and the most numerous party, or, in other words, the most powerful faction must be expected to prevail. Shall domestic manufactures be encouraged, and in what degree, by restrictions on foreign manufactures? are questions which would be differently decided by the landed and the manufacturing classes, and probably by neither with a sole regard to justice and the public good. The apportionment of taxes on the various descriptions of property is an act which seems to require the most exact impartiality; yet there is, perhaps, no legislative act in which greater opportunity and temptation are given to a predominant party to trample on the rules of justice. Every shilling with which they overburden the inferior number, is a shilling saved to their own pockets.
It is in vain to say that enlightened statesmen will be able to adjust these clashing interests, and render them all subservient to the public good. Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm. Nor, in many cases, can such an adjustment be made at all without taking into view indirect and remote considerations, which will rarely prevail over the immediate interest which one party may find in disregarding the rights of another or the good of the whole.
The inference to which we are brought is, that the causes of faction cannot be removed, and that relief is only to be sought in the means of controlling its effects.
If a faction consists of less than a majority, relief is supplied by the republican principle, which enables the majority to defeat its sinister views by regular vote. It may clog the administration, it may convulse the society; but it will be unable to execute and mask its violence under the forms of the Constitution. When a majority is included in a faction, the form of popular government, on the other hand, enables it to sacrifice to its ruling passion or interest both the public good and the rights of other citizens. To secure the public good and private rights against the danger of such a faction, and at the same time to preserve the spirit and the form of popular government, is then the great object to which our inquiries are directed. Let me add that it is the great desideratum by which this form of government can be rescued from the opprobrium under which it has so long labored, and be recommended to the esteem and adoption of mankind.
By what means is this object attainable? Evidently by one of two only. Either the existence of the same passion or interest in a majority at the same time must be prevented, or the majority, having such coexistent passion or interest, must be rendered, by their number and local situation, unable to concert and carry into effect schemes of oppression. If the impulse and the opportunity be suffered to coincide, we well know that neither moral nor religious motives can be relied on as an adequate control. They are not found to be such on the injustice and violence of individuals, and lose their efficacy in proportion to the number combined together, that is, in proportion as their efficacy becomes needful.
From this view of the subject it may be concluded that a pure democracy, by which I mean a society consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the government in person, can admit of no cure for the mischiefs of faction. A common passion or interest will, in almost every case, be felt by a majority of the whole; a communication and concert result from the form of government itself; and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party or an obnoxious individual. Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths. Theoretic politicians, who have patronized this species of government, have erroneously supposed that by reducing mankind to a perfect equality in their political rights, they would, at the same time, be perfectly equalized and assimilated in their possessions, their opinions, and their passions.
A republic, by which I mean a government in which the scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect, and promises the cure for which we are seeking. Let us examine the points in which it varies from pure democracy, and we shall comprehend both the nature of the cure and the efficacy which it must derive from the Union.
The two great points of difference between a democracy and a republic are: first, the delegation of the government, in the latter, to a small number of citizens elected by the rest; secondly, the greater number of citizens, and greater sphere of country, over which the latter may be extended.
The effect of the first difference is, on the one hand, to refine and enlarge the public views, by passing them through the medium of a chosen body of citizens, whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of their country, and whose patriotism and love of justice will be least likely to sacrifice it to temporary or partial considerations. Under such a regulation, it may well happen that the public voice, pronounced by the representatives of the people, will be more consonant to the public good than if pronounced by the people themselves, convened for the purpose. On the other hand, the effect may be inverted. Men of factious tempers, of local prejudices, or of sinister designs, may, by intrigue, by corruption, or by other means, first obtain the suffrages, and then betray the interests, of the people. The question resulting is, whether small or extensive republics are more favorable to the election of proper guardians of the public weal; and it is clearly decided in favor of the latter by two obvious considerations:
In the first place, it is to be remarked that, however small the republic may be, the representatives must be raised to a certain number, in order to guard against the cabals of a few; and that, however large it may be, they must be limited to a certain number, in order to guard against the confusion of a multitude. Hence, the number of representatives in the two cases not being in proportion to that of the two constituents, and being proportionally greater in the small republic, it follows that, if the proportion of fit characters be not less in the large than in the small republic, the former will present a greater option, and consequently a greater probability of a fit choice.
In the next place, as each representative will be chosen by a greater number of citizens in the large than in the small republic, it will be more difficult for unworthy candidates to practice with success the vicious arts by which elections are too often carried; and the suffrages of the people being more free, will be more likely to centre in men who possess the most attractive merit and the most diffusive and established characters.
It must be confessed that in this, as in most other cases, there is a mean, on both sides of which inconveniences will be found to lie. By enlarging too much the number of electors, you render the representatives too little acquainted with all their local circumstances and lesser interests; as by reducing it too much, you render him unduly attached to these, and too little fit to comprehend and pursue great and national objects. The federal Constitution forms a happy combination in this respect; the great and aggregate interests being referred to the national, the local and particular to the State legislatures.
The other point of difference is, the greater number of citizens and extent of territory which may be brought within the compass of republican than of democratic government; and it is this circumstance principally which renders factious combinations less to be dreaded in the former than in the latter. The smaller the society, the fewer probably will be the distinct parties and interests composing it; the fewer the distinct parties and interests, the more frequently will a majority be found of the same party; and the smaller the number of individuals composing a majority, and the smaller the compass within which they are placed, the more easily will they concert and execute their plans of oppression. Extend the sphere, and you take in a greater variety of parties and interests; you make it less probable that a majority of the whole will have a common motive to invade the rights of other citizens; or if such a common motive exists, it will be more difficult for all who feel it to discover their own strength, and to act in unison with each other. Besides other impediments, it may be remarked that, where there is a consciousness of unjust or dishonorable purposes, communication is always checked by distrust in proportion to the number whose concurrence is necessary.
Hence, it clearly appears, that the same advantage which a republic has over a democracy, in controlling the effects of faction, is enjoyed by a large over a small republic, — is enjoyed by the Union over the States composing it. Does the advantage consist in the substitution of representatives whose enlightened views and virtuous sentiments render them superior to local prejudices and schemes of injustice? It will not be denied that the representation of the Union will be most likely to possess these requisite endowments. Does it consist in the greater security afforded by a greater variety of parties, against the event of any one party being able to outnumber and oppress the rest? In an equal degree does the increased variety of parties comprised within the Union, increase this security. Does it, in fine, consist in the greater obstacles opposed to the concert and accomplishment of the secret wishes of an unjust and interested majority? Here, again, the extent of the Union gives it the most palpable advantage.
The influence of factious leaders may kindle a flame within their particular States, but will be unable to spread a general conflagration through the other States. A religious sect may degenerate into a political faction in a part of the Confederacy; but the variety of sects dispersed over the entire face of it must secure the national councils against any danger from that source. A rage for paper money, for an abolition of debts, for an equal division of property, or for any other improper or wicked project, will be less apt to pervade the whole body of the Union than a particular member of it; in the same proportion as such a malady is more likely to taint a particular county or district, than an entire State.
In the extent and proper structure of the Union, therefore, we behold a republican remedy for the diseases most incident to republican government. And according to the degree of pleasure and pride we feel in being republicans, ought to be our zeal in cherishing the spirit and supporting the character of Federalists.
Original source : The Independent (UK)
It has been less than a month since Mitt Romney was forced to abandon his 1,118-word victory speech, but already the Grand Old Party has begun the search for its great new hope, with many Republican heads turning in the direction of Texas and the name Bush… George Bush.
This isn’t a flashback. Nephew and grandson of ex-Presidents George W and George H W respectively, the young GOP dynast in question is George P Bush, the son of former Florida Governor (and potential presidential runner) Jeb Bush.
Even as talk turns to his father’s ambitions for 2016, 36-year old George’s decision to file preliminary paperwork to run for office in Texas in 2014 has whetted the appetite of more than a few Republican strategists. The Lone Star State was, after all, his uncle George W’s springboard to the White House.
As if this pedigree wasn’t enough, the P in his name is for Prescott, as in Senator Prescott Sheldon Bush, the first President Bush’s father. George the youngest is also half Hispanic. His mother, and Jeb Bush’s ex-wife, Columba Garnica Gallo, is a naturalised citizen originally from Mexico.
The heritage matters. On 6 November, exit polls showed that 10 per cent of the electorate was Hispanic, against 9 per cent in 2008 and 8 per cent in 2004. Many argue that Barack Obama, who received more than 70 per cent of the national Latino vote, compared with 27 per cent for Mr Romney, would have been out of a job without the community’s support.
Alive to the potency of his nephew’s genes, his uncle George W Bush wheeled him out for a bilingual speech (he speaks fluent Spanish) at the Republican Party Convention in 2000. By then he was already an experienced hand, having made his convention debut at the age of 12 in 1988, when his grandfather was nominated for the presidency.
His target in Texas remains unclear. The real estate investor, who served in Afghanistan with the US Navy and co-founded a political action committee called Hispanic Republicans for Texas, submitted paperwork appointing a campaign treasurer with the state’s ethics commission earlier this month in what is the first step for any candidate seeking state office. A subsequent email to supporters from his father Jeb suggested that he might be aiming for the Texas Land Commissioner’s office.
Meanwhile, attention is also turning to George’s father, who is being touted as a potential Republican nominee for the 2016 White House polls. Jeb Bush is said to be taking stock of his finances and place within the party, according to The New York Times, as he contemplates a run for the highest office in the land.
His son, and George P’s brother, Jeb Jnr, fanned speculation during a recent interview with CNN. Asked if he wanted to see his father make a bid, he replied: “I don’t know. No comment. I certainty hope so.”
Mohamed Morsi, Egyptian president, will meet senior judges on Monday to try to ease a crisis over his seizure of new powers which has set off violent protests reminiscent of last year’s revolution which brought him to power.
Activists on Sunday were camped in Cairo’s Tahrir Square for a third day, blocking traffic with makeshift barricades to protest against what they said was a power-grab by Morsi. Nearby, riot police and protesters clashed intermittently.
One Muslim Brotherhood member was killed and 60 people were injured late on Sunday in an attack on the main office of the Brotherhood in the Egyptian Nile Delta town of Damanhour, the website of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party said.
More than 500 people have been injured in clashes between police and protesters worried Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood is trying to consolidate power.
The country’s highest judicial authority hinted at compromise to avert a further escalation, though Morsi’s opponents want nothing less than the complete cancellation of a decree they see as a danger to democracy.
The Supreme Judicial Council said Morsi’s decree should apply only to “sovereign matters”, suggesting it did not reject the declaration outright, and called on judges and prosecutors, some of whom began a strike on Sunday, to return to work.
Morsi will meet the council on Monday, state media said.
Morsi’s office repeated assurances that the measures would be temporary, and said he wanted dialogue with political groups to find “common ground” over what should go in Egypt’s constitution, one of the issues at the heart of the crisis.
Hassan Nafaa, a professor of political science at Cairo University, saw an effort by the presidency and judiciary to resolve the crisis, but added their statements were “vague”.
“The situation is heading towards more trouble,” he said.
Sunday’s stock market fall of nearly 10 per cent – halted only by automatic curbs – was the worst since the uprising that toppled Mubarak in February, 2011.
Morsi’s supporters and opponents plan big demonstrations on Tuesday that could be a trigger for more street violence.
“We are back to square one, politically, socially,” said Mohamed Radwan of Pharos Securities, an Egyptian brokerage firm.
Morsi’s decree marks an effort to consolidate his influence after he successfully sidelined Mubarak-era generals in August.
It reflects his suspicions of a judiciary little reformed since the Mubarak era.
Issued just a day after Morsi received glowing tributes from Washington for his work brokering a deal to end eight days of violence between Israel and Hamas, the decree drew warnings from the West to uphold democracy.
The Morsi administration has defended his decree as an effort to speed up reforms that will complete Egypt’s democratic transformation.
Yet leftists, liberals, socialists and others say it has exposed the autocratic impulses of a man once jailed by Mubarak.
“There is no room for dialogue when a dictator imposes the most oppressive, abhorrent measures and then says ‘let us split the difference’,” prominent opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei said
Voters in the economically powerful region of Catalonia on Sunday punished the leader who made a referendum over breaking away from Spain a central plank of his campaign, seeing his party’s majority reduced by a dozen seats.
Regional president Artur Mas called the early election as part of a power struggle with Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy regarding the size of Catalonia’s contribution to national coffers. But what began as a quarrel over money turned into a test of Spain’s territorial integrity.
Mas had asked the electorate to give him an absolute majority to lend weight to his Convergence and Union party’s center-right policies, including the call for a referendum. Instead, voters have left him 18 votes short and in need to make a coalition to guarantee staying in power.
His party now has 50 seats in the 135-seat regional legislature.
The second-most voted party is pro-referendum Republican Left, which has been very critical of Mas’ austerity drive.
“The vote is fragmented but the message is clear,” said Ferran Requejo, political science professor at Barcelona’s Pompeu Fabra University. “Two-thirds of the electorate voted for parties that are in favor of calling an independence referendum, but Mas has been hit hard for his austerity policies.”
Mas appeared on television to thank his party for its support and to acknowledge that they could no longer rule alone as a minority government. He also said that those who think the referendum plan had been aborted needed to do the math.
“Those who want to abort the process should take into account that they have to know how to add and subtract because the sum of the political parties in favor of the right to choose form a great majority in parliament.”
Two pro-unity parties — Rajoy’s Popular Party and the Catalan Ciutadans — did make modest advances, boosting their seats by seven to 28.
“For those who want a Catalonia outside Spain, matters have got worse,” PP spokeswoman Maria Dolores de Cospedal said.
Catalonia is responsible for around a fifth of Spain’s economic output, and many residents feel the central government gives back too little in recognition of the region’s contribution.
Catalans have said during growing public protests that their industrialized region is being hit harder than most by austerity measures aimed at avoiding a national bailout like those needed by Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Cyprus.
Madrid has traditionally said that simplifying the state’s financial model by excluding overall costs such as defense only creates a distorted image of how taxation and spending are distributed.
A rising tide of Catalan separatist sentiment was spurred when Rajoy failed to agree to Mas’ proposals to lighten Catalonia’s tax load and 1.5 million people turned out in Barcelona on Sept. 11 for the largest nationalist rally in the region since the 1970s.
These growing economic concerns have combined with a longstanding nationalist streak in Catalonia, which has its own cultural traditions that were harshly repressed by the military dictatorship of Francisco Franco from the end of Spain’s Civil War in 1939, to Franco’s death in 1975.
One of the most potent symbols of the divisions distancing Catalonia and the country’s capital city can be seen in the bitter rivalry between the Barcelona and Real Madrid soccer clubs.
In recent years grassroots groups have held unofficial referendums on independence in towns throughout the region, while some small villages have gone to the extreme of declaring themselves “free Catalan territories.”
Catalans are viewed by most Spaniards as thrifty, hardworking people, and most — not least many Catalans — have been shocked by how their regional debt has swelled to €42 billion ($54.4 billion) of the staggering €140 billion debt ascribed to all of Spain’s regional governments.
The economic crisis has highlighted the high cost of running Spain’s 17 semi-autonomous regions alongside a central government. The Catalan government has had to ask for a €5 billion ($6.5 million) bailout from Spain like other indebted regions.
Mas’ government counters that each year it contributes €16 billion ($21 billion) more than it gets back from Spain. It also complains that important infrastructure projects needed to revive Spain’s sick economy are being left unfunded.
Even so, many people feel they are both Catalan and Spanish, and are wary of the idea of trying to divide the country.
“We are not separatists, we want to remain part of Spain,” said retired industrial designer Francisco Palau, 69, who emerged from a polling station alongside his wife. “We defend current plurality,” he said, adding that setting up a new state and government “would be very expensive.”
The Brussels summit has ended without agreement on the 27-strong union’s next seven-year budget, as the the 27 heads of state and government bitterly divided over spending policy, felt there was little hope of a deal on a trillion-euro budget for 2014-20 during the two-day summit.
“There is no agreement,” one EU official said on Friday.
Tensions between rich and poor states and Britain’s demands for austerity in the budget for the seven years from 2014 to 2020 had set the summit on a rocky course from the start.
Britain was cast as the potential chief spoiler at the meeting, with David Cameron, UK prime minister, threatening to wield his veto unless spending was frozen in real terms, arguing that at a time of austerity at home the EU must also make cuts.
Britain, like many countries across Europe, is responding to the economic crisis with major public spending cuts and Cameron argues that at a time of austerity at home, the EU must also make deep cuts.
Nearly a year after he angered his European counterparts by vetoing a pact to resolve the eurozone crisis, Cameron was again at odds with them by demanding cuts to the perks enjoyed by so-called eurocrats – the well-paid EU civil servants frequently targeted by the British press.
An EU diplomat said the main obstacle at the summit was Cameron’s demand for reductions in the planned trillion-dollar budget, adding that “the most virulent” countries seeking cuts were Britain, Sweden and the Netherlands.
Cameron had pledged to bring down the budget from a proposed 1.047tn euros ($1.347tn) to 886bn euros.
Herman Van Rompuy, EU president, submitted new proposals on Friday that reintroduced his own earlier figure of 972bn euros in spending, which comes to just over one per cent of the EU’s total economic output, the usual benchmark used in Brussels budget talks.
The latest blueprint which negotiators worked from on Friday spread the funds more generously to sensitive envelopes like the “cohesion” funds for regional development, and the Common Agricultural Policy, the farm subsidy programme cherished by France that is the budget’s biggest single item.
But that was not enough, and EU leaders gave up mid-afternoon.
The first recriminations beegan to fly, with a British source criticising a lack of preparation by Van Rompuy for the summit, saying it made negotiations more difficult.
So-called cohesion funds – billions of euros outlayed each year to the EU’s newer and poorer entrants in the south and east of the continent so they can catch up with richer neighbours – were also central to the battle at the Brussels summit.
The funds were defended tooth and nail by the 15 Friends of Cohesion nations – led by Poland and Portugal – who are net beneficiaries of the EU budget.
The cohesion funds are the second-biggest budget item after CAP payments to farmers and fishermen, which are another bone of contention.
France is by far the biggest CAP beneficiary, and French President Francois Hollande pledged to fight to keep the prized agricultural subsidies, while denying he was purely defending national interests.
Earlier this week he criticised countries which defended budget rebates, the third contenious issue at the summit.
He did not name any specific countries, but Britain in particular cherishes its budget rebate, which Margaret Thatcher, then prime minister, obtained in 1984 on the grounds that UK was paying too much into the bloc’s coffers.
The British rebate was worth 3.6bn euros last year, and Cameron promised on Thursday that he had no plans to give it up.
Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and Austria also insisted on keeping their rebates.
The sense of summit crisis was heightened by the failure on Wednesday at a eurozone finance ministers’ meeting to unblock bailout funds needed to keep Greece from bankruptcy.
The UK has officially recognized the Syrian Opposition Coalition, promising financial assistance to them and pledging to put more pressure on Assad’s government.
The UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said that his country is increasing humanitarian assistance to Syria as the crisis deepens and winter approaches. He announced a £1 million package of communications support, “which could for instance include mobile internet hubs and satellite phones to improve the Coalition’s ability to communicate inside Syria.”
The communications support promised will include Internet hubs and satellite phones, to enable the opposition to communicate when they are in the field.
“But of course when we say the field, what we mean is the battle field. So people will be worried about what this communications equipment will be used for. And they will be saying how you use communications in the field is to essentially to more effectively target bombs and other ammunition,” she said.
Hague has also pledged another package of humanitarian assistance, that would amount to £2 million. The UK has so far contributed £53.5 million in humanitarian assistance which has been distributed through international agencies such as the World Food Programme and UN Refugee Agency.
Britain is appealing to other members of the international community to give more money to the Syrian opposition.
The critics say, though, that the new British aid package is by no means humanitarian.
“These [£1 million] are meant for military use – they’re part of weaponizing the opposition in Syria. That will be the direction in which they would like to go, but were worried about going because they haven’t been able to have a reliable recipient for those weapons before now,” John Rees from the Stop the War coalition said.
The Foreign Office also tweeted that the UK will invite the new Syrian Opposition Coalition to appoint a political representative to the UK, even while factions in the disparate Syrian rebels refused to recognize the Coalition.
Hague said that the UK will renew efforts to persuade Russia and China “to work with us at the United Nations Security Council”. He added that the UK will not rule out any option in accordance with international law that might save innocent lives in Syria.
“We will continue to increase the pressure on Assad and those who support him through EU sanctions,” he said, adding that they would work with Syria’s neighbors to mitigate the effects of the crisis.
He said that a Stabilization Force will be deployed to the region to work with the Coalition in Syria.
However, as Britain and other Western countries recognize the Syrian National Coalition, which was formed in Qatar a few weeks ago, there are doubts about how much support it can muster in Syria itself.
The split in the Syrian rebel camp between various factions based outside Syria, more moderate domestic opposition groups, the Free Syrian Army fighting against Assad on the ground and the Islamic cells have raised doubts that unified action is possible within the Syrian opposition.
Islamist groups operating in Syria have rejected the Coalition and have unitarily declared the city of Aleppo an Islamic state. Members from 13 Islamic groups released a video where they branded the Coalition a Western tool.
With many Syrian groups opposed to the idea of Western intervention, including a large number of ordinary Syrians in the opposition, the legitimacy of the opposition government is highly questionable, John Rees argued.
“One reason why it won’t be a legitimate government, is because of the role that the West is playing. The danger is, as we saw in Iraq and in other places, that unrepresentative groups, once they get the support of the West, can come to dominate larger numbers of people on the ground,” the anti-war activist said
David Cameron faces the near impossible task this week of finding an EU budget deal acceptable to mutinous party members and to exasperated fellow EU leaders.
The prime minister’s threat to veto the union’s long-term budget at a Brussels summit starting on Thursday appealed to the anti-EU wing of his Conservative Party, emboldened after defeating him in a parliamentary vote calling for European spending cuts.
Blocking a deal might tap into a hardening Eurosceptical mood at home, but it would not bury an issue that felled his predecessor Margaret Thatcher, fomented civil war in his party in the 1990s and helped keep it in opposition for 13 years.
A veto would anger fellow European leaders, further isolate Britain in the 27-nation bloc, its biggest trading partner, and could lead to London paying more into Brussels coffers through alternative, annual budget deals.
The negotiations have reopened decades-long divisions over Britain’s often fraught EU membership, bringing talk of a possible British exit, sometimes dubbed “Brixit” or “Brexit”, to the centre of political debate from the fringes.
Business leaders warned that burning bridges with Europe would damage the fragile $2.5 trillion economy and the broadly pro-European opposition Labour Party said Britain risked “sleepwalking” out of the EU.
“It would be a betrayal of our national interest,” Labour leader Ed Miliband said in a speech on Monday.
In a balancing act described by several newspapers as a “mission impossible”, Cameron is looking for a deal that will win support from his fractious party in parliament and avoid upsetting European trading partners at a time of weak economic growth, tax rises and public spending cuts.
“I think I have got the people of Europe on my side in arguing that we should stop picking their pockets and spending more and more money through the EU budget,” Cameron said.
He has called for a freeze in real terms in EU spending from 2014 to 2020 while most of the 26 other leaders want to allow some increase, mostly to fund development projects in poorer member states in central Europe.
Labour piled pressure on Cameron last month by siding with Conservative rebels in parliament to demand a real spending cut. It has yet to say whether it would repeat a move denounced by critics as opportunistic when lawmakers vote on the outcome of the budget negotiations.
Miliband has since talked of the need for Britain – Europe’s third largest economy after Germany and France – to stay in the EU.
If Cameron lurched towards the Eurosceptic camp, he could deepen rifts with his pro-European coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats. Their leader Nick Clegg has criticised Cameron’s pledge to retrieve powers from Brussels as a “false promise wrapped in a Union Jack”.
Cameron has wielded the veto once before. Last December, he blocked an EU treaty change to enforce stricter fiscal rules in the euro zone. All other member states except the Czech Republic bypassed his move by signing a separate treaty.
The island nation has been lukewarm towards Europe ever since joining the EU’s forerunner in 1973, refusing to drop the pound for the euro and staying out of the Schengen zone of passport-free travel.
Although the EU budget accounts for just over 1 percent of EU gross domestic product, compared to national spending of between 40 and 56 percent, Britain’s influential right-wing media often portray Brussels as a sinister superstate bent on taking more money and power from London.
“Secret EU plot to stitch up Britain,” screamed the anti-EU Daily Express tabloid in a front page headline on Tuesday.
British voters’ attitudes are hardening against Europe.
If given a say in a referendum, 56 percent of Britons would vote to leave the EU, 30 percent would choose to stay inside and the rest were unsure, according to one opinion poll published on Sunday.
The Conservatives, who oppose an in-or-out referendum, are trailing Labour in the polls before a 2015 election and face a growing threat from the small anti-EU UK Independence Party.
Cameron has pledged to protect Britain’s rebate, worth about 3 billion pounds a year, which Thatcher secured in 1984. One EU official involved in the talks said the rebate was safe and there was some flexibility in finding ways to keep a tighter control on spending that would appeal to Cameron.
“The UK is not the biggest problem… at this stage,” the official said, hinting that big farming powers France and Poland were potentially bigger worries, given that so much effort has been made to find numbers that are palatable to Britain by cutting agriculture funding.
Cameron has avoided setting a target, but most officials believe Britain wants a cut of around 120-150 billion euros from the original European Commission seven-year budget proposal of 1.048 billion euros ($1.34 billion).
So far European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, who will chair the summit, has proposed about 80 billion euros in cuts, angering the French and Poles.
Germany, the EU’s biggest paymaster, wants more shaved off.
“The budget cut which is on table now, the last proposal from Van Rompuy, is in our view still too high regarding total payments,” German Europe minister Michael Link said after talks with Van Rompuy on Monday night. “We believe there are still cuts to be made, and we expect this to happen. We also want to modernise the contents.”
The EU official said the “landing zone” for a deal could involve cutting between 80 and 120 billion euros.
In a sign of the pressure on Cameron from inside his party, London Mayor Boris Johnson, tipped as a possible future prime minister, said he should copy Thatcher’s hardline stance when she said “No!, No!, No!” to Brussels increasing its powers.
“It is time for David Cameron to put on that pineapple-coloured wig and powder blue suit, whirl his handbag round his head and bring it crashing to the table with the words ‘no, non, nein, neen, nee, ne, ei and ochi’, until they get the message,” Johnson wrote.