Sunday, November 12, 2006

EU Constitution on track

The chairman of the European Parliament’s Constitution Committee, the German Socialist, Jo Leinen, has suggested that France and the Netherlands should vote again on the European constitution, which they both rejected in referenda last year. Citing the precedents of Denmark and Ireland, both of which voted again (respectively, on the treaties of Maastricht and Nice) after having got the answer ‘wrong’ in 1992 and 2001, Leinen says that the same approach could be adopted for France and the Netherlands: ‘It could be that the price which will have to be paid will be that the new treaty is not called a “constitution” any more but a “Europe treaty”. The goal of having an actual constitution may have to be postponed and we may have to be satisfied with a basic treaty instead,’ (Der Standard, 20th October 2006).

Leinen claims that the absence of this treaty or constitution is the reason why Europe is under-performing in energy policy, the war on terror, the fight against illegal immigration, the fight against organised crime and many other areas. Essentially, ‘more Europe’ is the solution to Europe’s ills. He says that the German presidency in 2007 should work towards a consensus and that corrections and amendments to the old text should be agreed upon by 2008, by which time a new ratification process could begin. He wants the new treaty to be ratified by referendum – but by a single referendum taking place simultaneously across the whole of Europe, and that the ‘majority’ should be of voters as well as of states (this essentially destroys national sovereignty before the vote has even taken place). Leinen said it was quite wrong for the will of ‘the majority’ to be thwarted by ‘No’ votes in ‘one or two states’, notwithstanding that those two states were founder members of the whole project.

But the French Socialists are of the opinion that the Constitution has to be abandoned, and their leader in the National Assembly, Jean-Marc Ayrault, said: ‘It is not possible to make our citizens vote again on the same text,’ (Libération, 20th October 2006). By contrast, all the representatives of all the other EU Socialist groups refuse to accept that the Constitution is dead. Leinen said: ‘It is very dangerous to say that the treaty is dead,’ – even though Germany itself has not ratified the constitution since, although it was approved by the German Parliament, it has been successfully stalled by an appeal by anti-Constitution campaigners to the Federal Constitutional Court.

Where does this leave Britannia? Well, when Leinen was asked whether or not there should be a referendum in Austria, where anti-EU feeling is among the highest in the Union, he said that there should be no popular vote since there was provision for the Constitution to be ratified by the country’s Parliament. If it is re-branded a mere ‘treaty’, doubtless the same will be argued for the United Kingdom, and the Royal Prerogative will be the mechanism by which the Constitution is imposed.


Anonymous Voyager said...

Leinen, born 1948 is a Lawyer who has spent his time in Freiburg as an SPD lackey. It is hard to see what a lawyer-politician can contribute to public life beyond a devotion to increasing laws and complexity for ordinary people.

If Rousseau thought Man was born free but is everywhere in chains, he could reflect on the practitioners of the law who, once uncoupled from the limited nature of Canon Law went beserk as they embraced a secular vision of legislating their way to paradise and developed that peculiar German mental state that one could not be wrong so long as one is acting in conformity with law.

The Rules-Based System is anti-thetical to the English tradition and is the basis of Immorality and Amorality

12 November 2006 at 11:46  
Anonymous Ulster Man said...

Is this Cranmerion (there's a great new adjective!!) irony on Remembrance Sunday? On the day we remember the liberation of the free world from the oppressive forces of German fascism, His Grace posts on plans to impose the European Constitution.

And the Protestant Royal Prerogative is used to foist a Catholic-Social-Europe on a free United Kingdom. The Kaiser and Hitler must be laughing in hell.

12 November 2006 at 14:22  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

Not to mention Napoleon.

12 November 2006 at 14:36  
Blogger Sir Henry Morgan said...

In the first of these referenda in 1972, I voted 'yes' to a Common Market. We now have something other than what I (we) voted in favour of. I am entirely opposed to this something other, mainly because I believe it is what has enabled Islam to gain ground the way it has.

Two questions:

How did we get here (I still don't understand that properly)?

What are we going to DO about it? Who can we vote for, for example, to bring it to an end?

All we do on these blogs is talk. What can we DO?


12 November 2006 at 15:14  
Anonymous Voyager said...

In the first of these referenda in 1972, I voted 'yes' to a Common Market.

Most strange indeed..........the only Referendum on Britain's Membership of the EEC took place in 1975 when Prime Minister J. H. Wilson put to the British puvlic his revised terms for membership after re-negotiating some of what Heath had given away.

I am perturbed that you voted in 1972 when Edward Heath was still Prime Minister - somewhat premature methinks

12 November 2006 at 15:33  
Anonymous Colin said...

Sir Henry Morgan,

You asked for suggestions about what to do.

For example, you could support the Bruges groups in its CAMPAIGN FOR AN OFFICIAL INQUIRY INTO THE COSTS OF EU MEMBERSHIP: " The Bruges Group wants you to join with us in the important campaign to force the Government to create an independent and official inquiry into the price we are paying to be members of the European Union.

To take part all you have to do is fill-in the form below and the add in the name of your Member of Parliament. Then sign and date the statement. This lobbying leaflet will then be sent by the Bruges Group to your MP allowing us to lobby them on your behalf."

As Professor A.J.P. Taylor said: “one of the lessons of history: the British people are always a good deal wiser and more sensible than those who govern them.”

12 November 2006 at 15:37  
Anonymous Colin said...

His Grace might enjoy a recent article by Jeffrey Herbener Small States, Global Economy: Is Empire Necessary? which emphasizes the importance of Christian ideals and small states instead of an European Empire for the development of liberty and prosperity:

"The 'rebirth' of freedom in some parts of Europe was the result of three necessary elements: Christian ideals, small political units, and within them, the appearance of a diversity of well-matched interest groups. There were no societies like these anywhere else in the world… The belief that God keeps order in the social realm by the operation of natural laws leads logically to the conclusion that the legislation of the state is unnecessary for or even harmful to social order.

Complementary to the belief in natural social order in supporting laissez faire was the Christian view of the human person. Each person bears the image of God and thus, stands, in certain respects, as an equal to all other persons. Moreover, salvation is for each person, not the human race, not the nation, not any collective. Empires rise and fall, states come and go, but each individual person will live forever. God has offered salvation to each person by the incarnation of His Son, who was born, lived, and died as a human person. At first, this line of thought resulted in the assertion by some of their rights against the state but eventually it led to conclusion that each person has the same rights to liberty; the proposition of equality in authority or political independence found in John Locke.

These laissez-faire currents then fed legal reform. Legislation should conform to natural law and therefore defend private property, contract, and so on. And these legal reforms became the foundation for a commercial revolution. The legal and commercial revolutions bore their first fruits of liberty and prosperity in the city states of northern Italy during the twelfth century. Venice, Genoa, Florence, and Milan were centers of wealth accumulation not only from trade but also profitable industries in textiles, glassware, iron, and other goods. Crucial to the liberty and prosperity of these cities were the decentralization of power within them and the competing centers of power outside them that could be played against each other. With state confiscation constrained, standards of living steadily improved and populations steadily rose. ..

Capitalism was spread to northern Europe by merchants from the cities of northern Italy… Bankers from the northern Italian cities established branches in Bruges from which they capitalized woolen production in Flanders. As a center of trade between English fleece producers and Flanders weavers and Flanders producers of woolens and southern Europe, Bruges became the Venice of the North in prosperity as well as canals in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries. War with France to annex Bruges .. caused merchants seeking freedom to move to Antwerp in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries.By the late fifteenth century Antwerp was the richest and most well known city in Europe. … the volume of trade passing through Antwerp far surpassed that of any port in history to that time.

However, Charles V's subjugation of southern Netherlands led to Antwerp's decline. Charles V also incorporated Italy into the Spanish realm and state predation, which had been held at bay for half a millennium, was loosed…Capitalism marched on from Antwerp to Amsterdam as displaced capitalists moved north where capitalism flourished in the late sixteenth and seventeenth century. Eventually, Amsterdam, too, succumbed to Spanish and French intrusions. By the thirteenth century, capitalism was well underway in England. Christian ideas of equality of natural rights had made further progress in England than elsewhere in Europe, which extended secure private property to a wider circle of persons than on the continent. As a result, English capitalism was not limited to cities…

Each step forward in the development of capitalism was possible because of a decentralized political system and each step backward was from political centralization,

Economic progress occurred despite, not because of, the British Empire. The product of a culture of natural rights, liberty, and capitalism, the American colonists thrived in the decentralized, nearly anarchic, conditions. … In contrast, areas of the British Empire that lacked these cultural traditions, having no history of liberty and capitalism, failed to flourish. Only now, and without being imposed by empire, are India and other non-Western regions such as China experiencing the blessings of economic progress.

That non-western countries today can mimic Western prosperity also rests on the precondition that capitalism arose from Christendom with Christian ideas and decentralized states. Whether or not their nascent prosperity proves to be built on the firm foundation of natural rights is not yet clear. But one thing we do know: liberty was born in Christendom during the Middle Ages. It can be reborn in the same way it arose before. People can once again sanctify the natural rights of man, and civil society can be reinvigorated to once again transcend the state. Our task is to use the scope of action and wealth left to us by the state to advance natural rights and build the institutions of civil society. When liberty and capitalism were born over a millennium ago, states were small, decentralized, and weak.

By contrast, the EU constitution has been designed for making the EU a large, centralized state with overregulated businesses and limited civil liberties. It is A constitution to destroy Europe.

12 November 2006 at 16:39  
Blogger istanbultory said...

Political elites adore the EU as it offers them the ability to exercise power through secretive wheeler-dealing, without the accountability of recourse to annoying national electorates or judiciaries. Welfare has been used in a most effective fashion to narcotize European electorates since the 1950s. The EU’s federal drive remains firmly in place: the French and Dutch referendum results are of no significance whatsoever.
Thus, it’s only natural that the Euro constitution should re-emerge. Now in “new, improved treaty format” to ease its passage through the national parliaments. Fundamentally, nothing has changed as far as the EU institutions are concerned.

12 November 2006 at 16:48  
Blogger Sir Henry Morgan said...

Working from memory, I got the date wrong - it could well have been 1975, as you said. Sorry - memory plays tricks

12 November 2006 at 16:51  
Blogger Sir Henry Morgan said...


Bruges Group: done.

Thank you.

12 November 2006 at 17:06  
Anonymous DavidG said...

The Bruges Group is just a lightweight pressure group, no different from any other ad hoc Eurosceptic group. It just happens to have Margaret Thatcher as its patron, but she plays no central role in it. If Sir Henry Morgan really wants to have an effect on UK politics vis a vis the EU, join and vote for UKIP. As long as UKIP gets MEPs elected, and councillors, amd takes a few hundred votes in Westminster key marginal constituencies, the Tory Party will be affected for the better. Abandon UKIP, and the Tories will revert to a pro-EU party, which it has mostly been.

12 November 2006 at 17:36  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Colin you forgot to mention that the Flanders weavers needed English wool but that they came to England at the invitation of King Edward III and settled around Worstead in Norfolk which led to the cloth being named worsted

12 November 2006 at 17:52  
Anonymous Colin said...


Thank you for your erudite comments! I was glad to read that you are writing a book and I am eager to read it ASAP.
Hopefully, you will keep us informed about the publication date and title of your book. I wish you well for your writing and publication.

12 November 2006 at 18:23  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sir Henry ... to adapt Marx's Thesis on Feuerbach:

"The bloggers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it."

12 November 2006 at 19:58  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, Davidg, vote Ukip and ensure a Conservative is not elected....and end up with a pro-EU lab/Lib Dem MP. Under the first-past-the-post electoral system, a Ukip is a wasted vote. Your approach is, thus, uber-simplistic. The Conservative Party can be repositioned as a Europhobic party by pressure from within not be a wasted vote from without.

12 November 2006 at 20:25  
Anonymous DavidG said...

You are a total fool, Anonymous (8.25). There is not a hope in hell of the Tories being 'repositioned' from within - look what happened to Cameron's 'promise' to leave the EPP. They are europhile, but clever with it. Every single major advance in the EU has happened under a Tory government. Eurosceptics within are told they will never serve on Cameron's front bench. It is your approach that is uber-simplistic because it is uber-fiction. Only if they think they will never get back into power because their membership keep voting UKIP will they reform. Pressure from without is the only way. Cameron is at worst a liar and at best under the thumb of Gummer, Clarke, Heseltine, etc etc etc.

12 November 2006 at 21:03  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And Ukip will never enter the UK parliament. A wasted vote is a wasted vote.

12 November 2006 at 21:16  
Blogger CityUnslicker said...

We should take succour form the refusal to enter the Euro. By avoiding this economic straight-jacket we put ourselves at a competitive advantage.

Perversely, the French see this and decide that the Constitution will enfeeble them further into the Anglo-Saxon model.

they reject the Constituion for the opposite reasons to ourselves. With this in place we are for now safe.

Most of the people who advocate 'Greater Europe' are from Belgium, Denmark et al.

12 November 2006 at 23:47  
Anonymous Voyager said...

We should take succour form the refusal to enter the Euro.

For which we must thank Sir James Goldsmith

13 November 2006 at 07:23  
Blogger William said...

Sir Henry Morgan wonders, "How did we get here (I still don't understand that properly)?"...

Well, let's see. You could start with Margaret Thatcher's wonderful Single European Act 1986, then move on to John Major's equally brilliant European Communities (Amendment) Act 1993.

13 November 2006 at 17:47  
Blogger William said...

Actually, the idea of all member states' citizens voting simultaneously on the constitution is not half bad. It might be close, but I think the Noes would have it. Which is why it won't happen of course.

13 November 2006 at 17:53  
Anonymous Colin said...

Concerning the debate between DavidG and Anonymous, the address of Frederick Forsyth given at the Bruges group is certainly of interest. Parts of his speech:

"If we are ever to extricate this country of ours from a destiny that the Heseltines and the Hurds, the Pattens and the Clarkes, and the Majors and the Gummer, and the Britons and the Howes, would have us subscribe to, it is absolutely going to have to be done by an incumbent British government. It will not be done by an opposition, it will not be done by a protest group, it will not be done by the Anti-Maastricht Alliance or the Campaign for Independent Britain or the Democratic or, let’s face it, the Bruges Group. It will be done if at all by an incumbent British government. They are the only people who have or ever will have the power to do it...

I do not believe the leadership of the Labour party at the present or in the future, no matter who wins the succession, nor the Liberal Democratic party, nor the Conservative party, will ever do it unilaterally. Meaning, unless subjected to intolerable pressure. I do not believe that our present Conservative party leader will be toppled. I think David Cameron is there for the duration, by which I mean at least the next election, And I do not believe that he will be able to shake off the palsied grip of the Heseltines and the Gummers and the Clarkes who now surround him by his own choice. Therefore I do not believe that extrication will be achieved by the pursuit of the policy known as ‘BOO’ (Better Off Out). We may agree with it, we may applaud it, but I do not believe that despite ten Conservative MPs, or nine now because Eric Forth died of course, we’ll ever actually achieve a majority within the Conservative parliamentary party, I do not believe that BOO will achieve its end in one fell swoop...

what we have to seek, what we have to demand until the pressure becomes relentless, is a national referendum. It’s not as weird as it sounds. The first ever held in this country was held by a Labour Prime Minister called Harold Wilson in 1975. We have never had a national referendum since... We are, I believe, entitled to another one, on a number of grounds... every nation in Europe has had a referendum on an aspect of the EU since 1975... I believe that we can say with complete justification, we’re entitled to one. We are entitled to revisit 1975. We should demand, not I fear of the Labour party, I think we should demand of the Conservative party. But demanding is all very well; people have been demanding things like law and order, good policing, a bobby in the village, a copper on the street. It doesn’t change a damn thing. But you know things can occasionally change, even the Labour party. You may remember the 1997 election, that the one thing that the late James Goldsmith did actually bequeath to this country is that he frightened John Major into guaranteeing that we would not abolish the pound sterling without a referendum...

The only way to be heard, to be listened to and to be abided by, is to speak softly and carry one hell of a big stick. If those out there in the constituencies and the shires, those on the constituency associations can make it quite plain that this MP is not coming back to the house unless the Conservative leader gives a pledge that within twelve months of entering Downing Street he will grant this nation a national referendum. At the point where they know that they are going to lose fifty seats they’ll buckle, despite the screams of Clarke, Heseltine and Patten. They will buckle despite the whinging of Hurd and Howe. They will buckle because politics is about reality. The reality is, if it is clear to the present leadership that you are not going to enter Downing Street, because quite simply two to three or maybe even up to four million loyal Tory voters are going to mow the lawn on polling day, they will grant the referendum...

it’s got to be made quite plain that there are enough people in this country who simply will not vote for either of the main parties that fails to give the pledge of a referendum. I happen to think that there is going to be, unless it fails, a movement starting soon. I don’t know its name yet as it has not yet been discussed. It’s not political it is not party political, it is not pro- or anti-EU, it is not Labour, it is not Conservative, it is not Lib Dem, it is not UKIP – it is simply a movement that is going to demand a referendum and ask those who agree to log on and make their names heard and noted. This can be done online for the elderly who perhaps do not have a computer. It can be done with a small docket from a national newspaper that can be mailed back to a certain office. If the figure ever reaches, I put it at three million people spread over 300 of the most marginal constituencies of this country that are almost entirely in England, then I believe that it will be quite plain to the number crunchers both at Labour party headquarters and at the Tory party headquarters, that you are simply not going to win this election unless you take the pledge...


There is a very sharp move back to the left and this could be Seldon part two and they could be very different in government. Now, how Sir are you going to convince even David Cameron's regime, which is far more left wing than that of John Major, to pursue your particular course of action?..


I can only reply: I don’t care who they are – if they are up there, they are susceptible to what I would call an iron bar across the back of the head. I’ve never known a politician who wasn’t. I think when they realise they are going to get an iron bar across the back of the head, it would mean a loss of all their offices, salaries and all their perks. Or they do what people want them – they’ll buckle. They’re not going to buckle without immense pressure.


I think UKIP could be an umbrella generating support for the referendum that you suggested. What do you think?


UKIP has not won one single parliamentary seat. They continually lose all their deposits and the cost of that is very high. I do not see Mr Farage as our Prime Minister in Downing Street...I do not think it will be the target of the referendum campaign because I do not think they will be in a position to grant us a referendum. Only two parties I think in my lifetime will be able to grant a national referendum at the moment. One is headed by Gordon Brown and the other is headed by David Cameron...


Why is there such denial by the leaders of this country about the European project?


To appear you’re a skeptic in high office you have to know that almost the entirety of the diplomatic core is against you. The whole civil service is against you. Large swathes of academia are against you. Starting with the BBC of course, which is passionately pro EU, well over fifty per cent of the media are against you. You really have to have a streak of masochism to say: 'I’m going to lead this party in this direction', knowing that even if I do so I will be crucified on an hourly basis by half the media and denounced by what you might call the establishment down to about ninety five percent."

The transcript of his speech is here

13 November 2006 at 18:09  
Blogger youdontknowme said...

I can just see blair rubbing his hands in glee at the thought of giving more of our country away.

13 November 2006 at 18:17  
Anonymous G Eagle Esq said...

Your Grace

Is Sir Henry Morgan a relation or a friend of Captain Jack Sparrow, who certainly displayed Socialist idealism, when it came to distributing goods from the citizen towards himself

Nowadays it's called EU promotion of development in obscure places like the Highlands & Islands of Scotland and Chepstow

In 18th Century Hollywood, it's called "Pirates of the Caribbean"

There is of course for Britain an alternative to the European Union - it is to join NAFTA (North American Free Trade Association) - what is your Grace's opinion of this alternative

In Christ, I remain your obedient servant etc

G Eagle

13 November 2006 at 18:18  
Blogger Sir Henry Morgan said...

g eagle esq

No relation. Indeed, never even heard of him.

And I still don't know how we got from where we were in 1975, to where we are now.

I could certainly go with FF on the referendum issue. I can see no good reason why there must be EU rather than EFTA.

There is plenty wrong with this country, but I like it just the same.

13 November 2006 at 22:48  
Anonymous Voyager said...

And I still don't know how we got from where we were in 1975, to where we are now.

I do.

1975 represented the last British Government with a thin majority, it had to take into account public opinion and pressures. It was a time of instability because government had to respond to the public; it was when the MI5 plot to destabilise the Wilson Government was afoot, and rumours of Army coups.

With the arrival of Margaret Thatcher in Downing Street in 1979 an era of large parliamentary majorities arrived unbroken to this day. Government was free of public opinion.

There Is No Alternative made it easy for internal party politicking to replace discussion with the voters, and it was possible for Thatcher to be maniulated into taking Britain deeper into Europe whilst at the same time weakening British local government and institutions by centralising power.

It was the Conservatives who capped councils, stripped them of powers, consolidated Army regiments, allowed local companies like Rowntree to be globalised, and stripped the regions of any autonomy rendering everything centralised.

The voters turned away, the local politicians set out to make money - like Derek Hatton - and consumerism replaced political activism.

The political elite simply ruled from the centre and paid no attention to domestic voters until the public, seeing a New Labour Party, sought to end the Conservatives' Revolution From Above and replaced the political elite with another large majority - which found the centralised power and trappings of office just what Labour had always dreamed of - a National Curriculum to control schools; rate-capping to control Councils, PFI to hide spending; and Europe to circumvent Parliament.

The Conservative Party made it all possible.............when they woke up they tried to make a last stand on Maastricht but John Major made it a Confidence Motion with a 3-Line Whip

16 November 2006 at 06:09  

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