Prime Minister’s Evasions
When the Leader of the Opposition raised a question about the EU constitution, the mutterings turned to uproar. It appears that the mere mention of ‘Europe’ is sufficient to fan the flames of disapproval, as if merely raising the issue were heresy. One could almost sense the desire to drag Mr Cameron from his pulpit and march him through the streets to his stake, where his body might be consumed by flames. But Mr Cameron’s crime was to ask a very precise question about a very precise subject of not insignificant importance to the governance of this nation:
The Irish Prime Minister says that 90 per cent of the constitution remains in the treaty and the Spanish Foreign Minister says that 98 per cent remains. What figure would the Prime Minister put on it?
The Prime Minister responded:
I see, Mr Speaker, that we are quickly back to the old agenda. I have to tell the Rt. Hon. Gentleman that, if he examines each aspect of the treaty and what we secured in our negotiations, he should support it, not oppose it. The first issue is the charter of rights - t is non-justiciable in British law, so we secured our negotiating objective. The second is justice and home affairs - we have an opt-in, so we secured our negotiating objective. The third issue is security, foreign affairs and defence policy, which remains intergovernmental, so we secured our objective. The fourth is social security - no expenditure affecting us will be made without an emergency brake that we can put on, so we secured our negotiating objective. National security will remain a matter for individual Governments, so we secured our negotiating objective. He might be better off, in the interests of unity within his own party, looking at what the chair of his democracy taskforce said only a few days ago. He said that, as a result of what we had negotiated, a European referendum would be ‘crackpot’, ‘dotty’ and ‘frankly absurd’.
A simple question which used figures and statistics comprehensible to any voter could have been simply answered, but the Prime Minister might as well have responded in Greek. Of course, politicians, the intelligentsia, and readers of Cranmer’s august blog understand the response, but for the ordinary voter-in-the-street the answer was a turn-off. There is little understanding, if any, of how this Westminster cult operates, and its priestly cabal appears alien to those outside.
The facts are clear:
In 2005, the Government promised a referendum on the ‘Constitution for Europe’.
While this has morphed into a ‘treaty’, M. Giscard d'Estaing says that more than 90 per cent of the Constitution remains, and Jean-Luc Dehaene says that 95 per cent remains.
The President of the Commission refers to the EU as ‘the world's first non-imperial empire’.
Labour’s Trade Minister, Lord (Digby) Jones, says: ‘This is a con to call this a treaty; it's not. It's exactly the same: it’s a constitution.’
Both friends and foes of the new 'treaty' deem it to be identical to the previous 'constitution'. Danish MEP Jens-Peter Bonde says that there is not 'one single difference in legal obligations'.
But the Prime Minister insists that ‘The constitutional concept, which consisted in repealing all existing Treaties and replacing them by a single text called “Constitution”, is abandoned.’
It is as though the constant recital of the mantra brings it into being; the words make truth. Democracy has been supplanted by glossocracy: government of the people, by the people and for the people, has been replaced by government of the word, by the word and for the word. And the more meaningless the word, the more useful it is for glossocrats. This is the impulse behind political correctness, which twists and obscures everyday language and terms, and enforces new words by changing the meaning of old ones. This totalitarian pursuit has been most effective in tearing down the religious fabric of society and eliminating the Church and Judeo-Christian thinking as ideological competitors. Thus words become weapons of crowd control, and those who fail to use the acceptable terms or to comply with the new definitions are heretics.
‘Europe’ is one such word. It is now synonymous with enlightenment, progress, optimism, truth, future, and salvation. To be ‘Euro-sceptic’ is to incarnate the antitheses of backward-looking medievalism, lies, and damnation. Yet the ordinary voting public somehow senses that this is not the case. There is something in the psyche of the British people which knows, deep down, that ‘Europe’ is antithetical to ‘British’.
If Mr Cameron were to make a manifesto pledge to a retrospective referendum on this ‘treaty’, there would, for the first time in a generation, be ‘clear blue water’ between the parties on Europe. The ordinary voting public would comprehend this, and be eternally grateful for the choice. Such a pledge would not only rally his own troops, it would bring back the errant UKIP vote by the thousand.
Trust the voting public, Mr Cameron: let the people decide.