Wednesday, January 23, 2008

How Will The UK Be Freed From The EU?

Simon Heffer weighs in on the mendacious effort by Labour, through their adoption of the Treaty of Lisbon without a referendum of the people, to transfer British sovereignty to the EU. Heffer sees two viable options for stopping this coup - a successful bid for a referendum led by the David Cameron and the Tory party or massive civil unrest. Both Labour and Tory have shown little but disdain for the concept of democracy, though if British history has any lessons - and you can check Brits At Their Best to see what those lessons are - they do so at their own peril.

I do not pretend to understand how a British conservative can possibly support the UK's ascession to the EU as a province. Everything about the EU is antithetical to the concepts of capitalism, liberal democracy, and small government. Yet the issue of whether the EU should aspire to nationhood and whether the UK should be a member of the EU in such case has split the conservative Tory party in years past. In fact, this issue was responsible for the downfall of Tory Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher when she took a stand against the EU.

In a 1988 speech at in Belgium, Thacher spoke out against EU proposals for a federal structure and centralized decision making that were to become reality in the Treaty of Maastricht. Thatcher sagely opined that the role of the EC should be limited to ensuring free trade and effective competition: "We have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the state in Britain, only to see them re-imposed at a European level, with a European super-state exercising a new dominance from Brussels." Could she have been more prophetic? But for her stand on this issue, she was driven from leadersip to the Tory party.

In any event, the Tory Party has been playing political games with this, hinting that they would grant a referendum to the people about whether to ratify the latest Treaty of Lisbon, but not saying it unequivocably. In other words, they are attempting to make the maximum political gain out opposing Labour's incredible act of cynicism, but are not going so far as to actually promising to do anything about it. It is no wonder Brits are so incredibly cynical about their politicians (and it is another reason I thank the Gods we directly elect our Chief Executive). At any rate, it says much when you have the opion pages of the nation's leading conservative newspaper given over to a piece that makes the case for insurrection as a second viable option.

This today from Simon Heffer:

For the avoidance of doubt - and I would never want you to have any of that - let me state where, for what it is worth, I stand on the European Union. I am against it. This is not a johnny-come-lately position. I have been against it since before we were in it. . .

The root of my opposition is straightforward. I wish to live in a country that governs itself. I wish to vote for people who, if elected, have power to take decisions and to alter the policies with which we are governed. I am not sure that is too much to ask.

I grew up believing that was why my father and grandfather fought in two world wars. I have never understood why so many of our politicians, who bang on about "rights" and "democracy" when they stand in our elections seem quite happy to forgo the same where Europe is concerned.

What is the point of electing governments, if there are vital policies that they cannot alter? That to me has always been the clinching argument against our entering the single currency. We would be slaves to someone else's economic policy.

At present, if the way a government runs our economy is offensive, we can change the government and with it the policy. If we were economically administered from Frankfurt, simply unelecting one government and replacing it with another would be a footling exercise. The economic policy would stay the same.

The only way we might change things would be to riot to such an extent that a new European political accommodation would have to be made. If you think I exaggerate, look at France.

. . . We are not in the single currency, though its temporary strength is sure to provoke another round of ignorant claims that we should be. We are, however, in the process of ratifying the Treaty of Lisbon, which will allow much wider European interference in many of our already diminished sovereign rights: such as in home affairs and justice, immigration and energy policy, and that's only the start.

. . . Some of [Labour's] own backbenchers - but not so many as is hoped - will stand out against it. Some of the opposition parties will attempt to enhance the Government's discomfort by seeking to prevent ratification by joining forces with these rebels. If that does not succeed - and it is hard to see it will, at this stage - then, in the end, the wretched thing will be on the statute book.

The EU's principal aim - to get its own way, irrespective of the democratic feelings of its member states - would have been fulfilled. A significant step closer towards federalism would have been taken. The rioters will be a little nearer the barricades.

This treaty is, though, poisonous in a way even Maastricht was not. In 1992-93 we wanted a referendum, but none was promised: [Tory PM]John Major knew what the result would be. So, now, does Gordon Brown: and he therefore has reneged on his predecessor's promise to hold one. Do not believe the casuistic claptrap that the Prime Minister and his morally defective cronies come out with to seek to justify this breach of promise.

The treaty is substantially the same as the rejected constitution. Everybody knows that, and many high officials here and abroad have admitted as much. Mr Brown, who treats the electorate as if we were something he has trodden in on the pavement, may regard this as simply another act of contempt with which he will, in time, get away. He is wrong.

The EU is now reaching a point where its centralising, sovereignty-stealing obsessions will cause day-to-day outrage to the public. It may take this, or perhaps even one more federalising pile of dishonesty after it, to push us to breaking point: but we will break. We will break because we are, in our hearts, a democratic people.

We resent the spectacle of our politicians - low though so many of them are - being humiliated by having to kow-tow to their, and our, masters in Brussels. We are revolted by the sight of our Parliament being rendered impotent.

We feel special disgust - and here the Conservative Party should take note - at not being offered an adequate choice at elections on the future of Europe. That is why, for all the ridicule heaped on it, the UK Independence Party continues to have MEPs elected, and to cost the Tory party seats in Westminster elections.

I am in no doubt that, for all sorts of reasons, both honourable and cynical, the Conservatives will fight this treaty. I applaud their opposition to the ratification process, and their failed attempt - thwarted by the Speaker - to have the Bill amended to force a plebiscite.

But they need a clear plan of what to do if, or rather when, all else fails. It is obvious what it must be: an unequivocal commitment to repeal the Act ratifying the treaty should they be returned to office after the next election.

David Cameron is nervous about giving such an undertaking. Does he seriously want to win power, or is he interested only in making a series of fashion statements? . . .

. . . [Cameron] would simply be undoing the betrayal by the present Government that the treaty would represent, given the breach of promise about a referendum. Some of his MPs - seven who have signed up to the Better Off Out movement, and many more who lack the guts or have too much greasy ambition to do so - would rather he promised to repeal the 1972 Act ratifying the Treaty of Brussels, which took us in to this neo-soviet cartel in the first place.

I know he cannot go that far. But he can make a principled and populist commitment to stop any more of our democracy being flushed down the euro-lavatory. We must hope it doesn't come to that. However, there is no excuse for a responsible opposition - and an opposition that says it would like to win power - to have no plan in place for when and if the horrid day comes, however much it might frighten the horses.

Read the entire article here. I note as an aside that it may never come to Cameron and the Tories. You can read here about an untterly fascinating lawsuit, that if approved, would work a fundamental change to Briitsh politics and law and that would nullify Parliament's unilateral ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon.

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