Sunday, June 24, 2007

Blair: ‘EU treaty good for UK’

Well, he would say that, wouldn’t he?

But what is it that is so good for the United Kingdom? It very much depends which side of the fence one is on: whether one is a sheep or a goat, so to speak. As expected, the text upon which the ‘Reform Treaty’ will be based is essentially the Constitution re-clothed. It simply removes the ‘C’ word altogether. It also eliminates overt references to anything contentious, thus, the primacy of EU law over national law is sustained, but there will simply be no new reference to it. Those things which are ‘good for the UK’ include:

There will be, for the first time since the fall of the Roman Empire, a President of Europe. He shall be called ‘Mr President’, and his term of office shall be two-and-a-half years.

There will be an EU foreign minister, but he shall be called the ‘High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy’. Snazzy title, huh? Just to avoid the clarity of the term 'foreign minister', but it amounts to exactly the same thing.

The Commission will be reduced to 18 members, selected on a system of rotation. There will therefore be five-year periods when the UK has no commissioner.

The EU acquires the much longed-for status of a legal personality. It will be able to enter into agreements, sign treaties, and strut itself on the world stage with all the legal status of a sovereign state. Doubtless its eyes are seats at the UN and to the Security Council, to add to its seats on world trade and finance bodies.

There is a clear directive, indeed, a direct order, in the clause: ‘National parliaments shall contribute actively to the good functioning of the Union’.

The UK has an opt-out from the Charter of Human Rights, but this will be subject to legal interpretation, and history tells us which way those judgements go. This opt-out will be found to be worthless. The EU has thereby established a ‘Bill of Rights’, superceding the English Bill of Rights and all such foundational constitutional contracts which have assured the British people of their liberties for centuries. Since the EU has authority to overrule national laws which are incompatible with the European Court of Justice, the court is rendered supreme.

It was the late great James Hacker who observed of the EU that it has 'the organising ability of the Italians, the flexibility of the Germans, the modesty of the French, topped up by the imagination of the Belgians, the generosity of the Dutch and the intelligence of the Irish'. Remarkable perception quite lacking in any minister or prime minister since.

There is, however, one glimmer of hope in this 'Reform Treaty' for the UK. For the first time, an EU treaty includes an article for the process for voluntary withdrawal of a member state from the union. And therein this ‘treaty’ is indeed ‘good for the UK’, for it that one clause lies our salvation; our survival as an independent, sovereign nation.


Anonymous Voyager said...

Democracy ended up as Rule by Thomas Jefferson noted:

To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions [is] a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges are as honest as other men and not more so. They have with others the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps. Their maxim is boni judicis est ampliare jurisdictionem [good justice is broad jurisdiction], and their power the more dangerous as they are in office for life and not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to the elective control. The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with the corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots. It has more wisely made all the departments co-equal and co-sovereign within themselves

Letter to William C. Jarvis, 1820

24 June 2007 at 10:11  
Blogger Man in a shed said...

We're going to have to work on this.

24 June 2007 at 12:10  
Blogger A S Grey said...

Very enlightening article.

Sadly, however, so many are still oblivious to what membership of the EU really means.

Bye bye, freedom...

24 June 2007 at 21:19  
Anonymous The Recusant said...

Your Grace did you see what the the Holy Father had to say to Mr Blair? Miracles are hard to come by in England

25 June 2007 at 12:32  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Miracles are hard to come by in England

Which is why Cardinal Newman cannot be evidence of miracles

25 June 2007 at 17:23  
Anonymous The Recusant said...

In 1991 Cardinal Newman was proclaimed venerable; in August 2006 the Archbishop of Boston passed details of a miracle attributed to Cardinal Newman to the Vatican. If it is confirmed he may be beatified and then one more miracle would be necessary before he could be canonized. I’m sure you know this does not mean he will then go to heaven, it just recognises that he is already there.

25 June 2007 at 19:49  

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