Charles Moore: EU Constitution decreed by ‘papal conclave’.
Whilst it is true that no British voter under the age of 50 has ever been consulted directly on anything related to EU matters, it is indisputable that two of the EEC’s founding members - France and Holland - voted ‘No’ in their respective referenda on proposals for an EU constitution. When these plans were rejected, the 'Constitution for Europe' was declared to be dead. Then there were rumours of resurrection; then evidence of 'un accident' which resulted in coma; then murmurs of reincarnation. The Prime Minister said: ‘What you cannot do is have a situation where you get a rejection of the treaty and bring it back with a few amendments and say, “Have another go”. You cannot do that.’
Cranmer foresaw years ago that they would, and they are. Chancellor Merkel was concerned to agree some ‘presentational changes’ and schemes ‘to use different terminology without changing the legal substance’, and now she is joined by President Sarkozy. As ever, it is the Franco-German alliance - the empire which President Sarkozy termed 'sacred' - which is setting the agenda. The Constitution is very much 'on track', because, according to Chancellor Merkel, it is 'Europe's soul'
On June 22, days before Prime Minister Blair is due to step down, there will be a European Council in Berlin. The resurrection of the ‘Constitution for Europe’, under the guise of a mere ‘treaty’, will be top of the agenda - indeed, the only item on the agenda - and Cranmer prophesies that Mr Blair will sign this on behalf of the United Kingdom. It will signify the agreement of the British Parliament to the provision of a permanent President of the EU, and an EU foreign minister with the authority to speak on behalf of all member states.
Prime Minister Brown will be silent on the matter.
Charles Moore takes Cranmer’s theme when he asserts that the inexorable drive to ever-closer union ‘is being conducted like a papal conclave’. In this, he echoes the late Lord Shore of Stepney, who observed that the Commission behaves ‘like a priestly caste - similar to what it must have been in pre-Reformation days, when the Bible was in Latin, not English; the Pope, his cardinals and bishops decided the content of canon law and the message came down to the laymen, only when the Latin text was translated into the vernacular by the dutiful parish priest’.
Cranmer remembers all to well what it was like, and is grateful that the Lord is opening the eyes of journalists and politicians to the nature of the beast. Such a top-down, autocratic system of government is antithetical to the bottom-up model of accountability which beats with the heart of Protestant theology. Much encouraged by this support, His Grace is in a prophesying mood, and foresees:
1) Prime Minister Brown will renege on New Labour’s commitment to hold a referendum on the EU Constitution. He will not give the British people a vote, for he knows he will not win it.
2) Her Majesty’s Opposition will miss the most significant vote-winning opportunity that could present itself; the sure and certain path to No 10. Mr Cameron might indeed offer the British people a retrospective referendum, but the folly of this strategy was evidenced in 1975 when the British people did not vote to reverse the decision taken to join the EEC in 1973. People tend to vote for the status quo: thus Mr Cameron’s offer, if it is made, and if a manifesto pledge is actually fulfilled (unlike his pledge to leave the EPP ‘in weeks’), may not, in fact, reverse the decision.
3) Ex-Prime Minister Blair will convert to Roman Catholicism, and, despite all his assertions to the contrary, shall become the first ‘President of Europe’, and thereby assure himself of his much longed-for place in history.
Of course, Mr Cameron need not pledge a referendum at all. He could simply pledge to assert parliamentary sovereignty, and give an assurance that the Labour Government’s decision to subjugate the Constitution of the United Kingdom to the ‘Constitution for Europe’ will be repealed by an incoming Conservative government. The effects of the ‘treaty’ would become null and void, and the United Kingdom would be liberated from the ‘ever closer union’ which is leading inexorably to the single State of the European Union. If the oaths taken by our elected representatives mean anything, they would consider the liberty, customs, and traditions of the 66 million people they seek to represent, and realise that in a parliamentary democracy sovereignty ultimately rests with the people. If the Conservative Party is to remain Conservative, it must pledge itself to this strategy.