Michael Meacher on the EU’s ‘unnoticed power-grab’
Greece and Ireland have had their domestic fiscal policy-making amputated. This has been done without anaesthetic by Euro Commission surgeons supervised by the German finance ministry using hacksaws and chisels apparently loaned from Milton Friedman’s Chicago economics department.He then explains the lack of transparency in the EU’s decision-making process and the total absence of democratic accountability. He observes the shift towards EU harmonisation of wages, taxation and benefits. He decries that the European Parliament – ‘the only democratic EU institution’ – is able only to offer its ‘opinion’ but may not amend what the European Commission has already set in stone. And he is incredulous that recalcitrant countries can be bullied to conform or punished with fines if they refuse to submit to the suzerain power. He concludes:
That amounts to being forced to implement EU law, but without any say on the law being produced. The Commission is emerging, quietly and insidiously, as the European Tea Party movement of neoliberal fundamentalists. The AGS is an extraordinarily reactionary document, and Britain – and the Labour Party in particular – should be strongly rejecting this slide towards undemocratic government.Just where has Michael Meacher been for the past 40 years? He was elected to Parliament in 1970 and would have heard all the fractious debate surrounding UK accession to the EEC in 1973. He would have witnessed (and been party to) the 1975 referendum. He would have listened intently to the speeches of Enoch Powell on the implications for political sovereignty; his own party would still have been reverberating with the warning of Hugh Gaitskell that EEC membership would mean ‘the end of Britain as an independent nation state… the end of a thousand years of history’.
Yet Michael Meacher sat meekly by throughout the Blair years, climbing the greasy pole of ministerial responsibility, all the way to the Cabinet. He was mute through the Maastricht mêlée and noiseless through the Nice negotiations. He was silent through Lisbon, and completely quiescent on the Constitution. And now he stirs from his speechless slumber to warn us all of the EU’s ‘unnoticed power-grab’.
It is not going unnoticed at all. In fact, it is positively audacious in its shameless, immodest and barefaced raid on members’ sovereignty. This is a power-grab which comes as no surprise at all to those with an ounce of intelligence or discernment, for it was the stated objective from the outset: economic union implies monetary union which demands political union. Powell saw it; Gaitskell saw it; anyone with eyes can see it. It goes unnoticed only by those without the mental capacity to comprehend (ie, those who fall foul of the Lunacy [Vacating of Seats] Act 1886), and by those who choose to be blind and deaf to the plainly-disclosed and clearly-written objective of ‘ever-closer union’ (ie, subsidiarity is a sham). Those without the mental capacity to comprehend are barred from Parliament. Those who deceive the people damn well ought to be.