Welcome back to Moraymint Chatter. This is Post # 3-of-4 on the subject of the UK’s EU Referendum: how will you decide which way to vote? A Punter’s Point of View.
‘Europe’s nations should be guided towards the superstate without their people understanding what is happening. This can be accomplished by successive steps, each disguised as having an economic purpose, but which will eventually and irreversibly lead to federation.’
Jean Monnet, Founding Father of the European Union
The Culture of the European Union
In my first post a couple of weeks ago I invited you to bear in mind when contemplating the merits of Remaining in, or Leaving the EU, the culture of that organisation and, by association, our own Political Class. I pointed out that the history of the EU shows quite categorically that the organisation was founded upon, and operates to this day on the basis of deceit; ‘The Great Deception’ as Booker & North call it in their book of the same name. You will of course decide for yourself whether the EU is indeed a Great Deception, or a paragon of political virtue. In any case, for this and subsequent posts we should consider some of the factors affecting how to vote in the EU Referendum on 23 June 2016. Last week we looked at economic matters. This week we’re going to look at the politics of the European Union.
Let’s Not Talk About Politics
Have you noticed something? The Political Class, the ‘Remainians’, have never set out the political case for keeping the UK in the European Union, for keeping the UK lashed to the European Commission through Gordon Brown’s ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon? You’ll recall that in 2007, in keeping with the deceitful nature of the European Union and The Political Class, Gordon Brown – our then Prime Minister – signed the Lisbon Treaty in a bizarre, solo ceremony separate from the other EU leaders under what he had hoped would be a cloak of secrecy. The Lisbon Treaty is the Constitution of the European Superstate Union by another name. The Labour Party had promised a referendum on the UK’s ratification of the Constitution Treaty, but never kept its promise in government. Consequently, Gordon Brown sought to keep his signing of the Lisbon Treaty under wraps; in so doing he reinforced the ongoing transfer of the UK’s sovereign powers to the European Commission. We need, therefore, to investigate the politics of the EU.
‘I see no case for having a referendum on the new EU Constitution. We don’t govern this country by referendum.’
Tony Blair, Britain’s Prime Minister 1997 – 2007
‘The good thing about not calling [The Treaty of Lisbon] a Constitution is that no-one can ask for a referendum on it.’
Guiliano Amato, Italian Interior Minister 2006 – 08
‘The European Constitution will be an essential stage in the historic process of European integration.’
Jacques Chirac, President of France 1995 – 2007
The EU’s Political Institutions
In his book ’50 Political Ideas’, Ben Dupre explains that ‘politics is the natural habitat of [human beings], where they interact cooperatively to establish the laws and build the institutions on which social order and justice depend.’ A C Grayling, the British philosopher, suggests that politics is ‘the process by which groups, communities, nations or citizens of a state try among themselves to decide what to do, how things should be run, how social goods should be apportioned, how relations of authority and power should be managed.’ Grayling goes on to say that ‘questions arise concerning the legitimacy of how authority is gained and held (my underlining); much of the discussion in politics concerns this central point.’
Let’s take a look at the institutional arrangements that exist within the European Union and check out the legitimacy of how the EU’s authority is gained and held.
The European Commission
The European Commission has the unelected monopoly on proposing all EU legislation – which it does in secret; it issues ‘Regulations’ (laws) which are automatically binding on all EU member states. The European Commission is the de facto executive or government of the EU and has, to all intents and purposes, supreme authority over the legislative landscape of the UK. The Political Class will never in a million years explain this to you. The European Commission is the sole enforcer of all EU legislation and decisions and is supported as necessary by the European Court of Justice.
‘We need a political federation with the Commission as government.’
Vivian Reding, European Union Commissioner 1999 – 2014
The European Court of Justice
The European Court of Justice is not an independent court of law. It is the engine of the ‘ever closer union of the peoples of Europe’ required by the Treaty of Lisbon (remember that’s the treaty that Gordon Brown signed in the hope of not being noticed) and the treaties that went before it. The European Court of Justice is funded by the European Union (that is by your taxes) and has the final say on all EU matters. There’s no right of appeal against the verdicts of The European Court of Justice. Once again, The Political Class will never in a million years explain this to you.
The Committee of Permanent Representatives
The Comité des Représentants Permanent (COREPER) is a committee of bureaucrats who represent the member states of the EU. COREPER is a shadowy body where national horse-trading on the Commission’s proposals take place, again in secret. So, don’t tell anybody about this.
Council of Ministers
The Council of Ministers comprises ministers from the EU member states. They pass EU legislation, usually by majority voting and, again, in secret. Since records began, the UK has not managed to prevent a single proposal placed in front of the Council of Ministers from becoming European and, hence, UK law. Again, The Political Class will never in a million years explain this to you.
‘The Council of Ministers will have far more power over the budgets of member states.’
Jean-Claude Trichet, President of the European Central Bank 2003 – 11
The European Parliament
The European Parliament comprises 751 MEPs elected every 5 years; the UK has 73 MEPs; that’s less than 10% of the voting power of that Parliament. The European Parliament cannot propose legislation, but it can delay or block it. The evidence shows, however, that in practice MEPs choose not to de-rail their infamous gravy train – and so the European Project proceeds largely unchallenged. On the subject of the European Union gravy train, remember that those dyed-in-the-wool socialists, Neil and Glenys Kinnock, have become multi-millionaires from their lucrative ride on the EU gravy train. The European Parliament is probably thought of, at best, as a Mickey Mouse affair, but in reality is a puppet of the European Commission.
The Court of Auditors
The Court of Auditors is also financed out of the EU budget (that is, again, from your taxes) and is supposed to guarantee to us taxpayers the proper use of EU funds. However, the Court of Auditors has not signed off the European Union’s accounts as being a true and fair record of the workings of the organisation for the past 20 years. For a political organisation founded upon deceit and governing largely on the basis of secrecy, we shouldn’t be too surprised that the EU is, in essence, corrupt. No other organisations in society are allowed to operate on the basis of dodgy accounting.
It’s interesting that The Political Class, the Remainians, never set out the European Union’s political infrastructure as I’ve done above and cried, ‘Look at this! Now, this is how a state should be organised and governed. Forget 500 years of British political history; it’s pish. We argue that the governance arrangements in the European Union represent a master class of freedom, democracy, transparency and good governance – and we commend it to you when you vote on 23 June!’ Fat chance. As you’ve read above, the EU’s political arrangements are a frightening cross between Kafkaesque (‘marked by a senseless, disorienting, often menacing complexity’) and Orwellian (‘destructive to the welfare of a free and open society’).
‘Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realise that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.’
Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America 1981 – 89
The Political Class knows full well that the EU’s political infrastructure is at best questionable, but is in reality a lethal cocktail of self-serving ineptitude, corruption and secrecy. That’s why promoting the EU’s political arrangements is absolutely not on the Remainian’s agenda for the EU Referendum debate. What makes this situation both sad and unnerving is that The Political Class’s campaign to keep the UK lashed to the travesty of governance that I’ve described above is led by our very own Prime Minister. The man holding the UK’s highest office of state is advocating that the British people should be governed under the Kafkaesque-Orwellian political system that is the European Union. I never thought I’d see such a day.
‘Europe obviously has a much better electoral system than Great Britain.’
Manfred Weber, German Member of the European Parliament
‘I look forward to the day when the Westminster Parliament is just a council chamber in Europe.’
Kenneth Clarke, Chancellor of the Exchequer 1993 – 97
Reforming the European Union
‘If you want to go on hoping that the EU can be reformed from within, don’t read [Marta Andreasen’s book, ‘Brussels Laid Bare’].’
Lord Pearson of Rannoch
Bear this in mind too. There’s been much talk lately about ‘reforming the European Union’. The Political Class would have you and I believe that the EU is open to institutional reform (indeed Moray Council’s Convener, Tory Councillor Allan Wright, said as much in a letter to The Daily Telegraph recently). Do you believe that? Look again at the Council of Ministers where, as I stated above, since records began the UK has not managed to prevent a single proposal placed in front of the Council of Ministers from becoming European and, hence, UK law. The opposite will apply, of course. The chances of the UK persuading the European Union’s politico-bureaucratic elites to abandon their cherished superstate ambitions which have been developed, enforced and reinforced over the past 50 years or so are nil – don’t you think? For as long as the UK remains a signatory to the Lisbon Treaty and, hence, a member of the European Union, the UK will be crushed under the European superstate steamroller. At the vote on 23 June, if you remember just one sentence from this series of EU Referendum essays here on Moraymint Chatter, read again and remember the previous sentence.
‘The fusion of economic functions would compel nations to fuse their sovereignty into that of a single European superstate.’
Jean Monnet, Founding Father of the European Union
‘No longer is European law an incoming tide flowing up the estuaries of England. It is now like a tidal wave bringing down our sea walls and flowing inland over our fields and houses.’
Lord Denning, English Lawyer and Judge, Master of the Rolls 1962 – 1982
We should look at the way in which many, if not most of our laws in the UK are made today. Nobody really knows what proportion of UK legislation originates in Brussels: estimates range from 15% to 70% of the statute book. According to Full Fact (an independent, non-partisan fact checking charity) some two-thirds of UK laws now originate in the EU. The significant point is that we are increasingly subjected to laws dumped into our society from an unelected bureaucracy (the European Commission) employing some 23,000 people who generate 12 new laws each working day. Open Europe (a non-partisan, independent, policy think-tank) calculates that 72% of the cost of regulation in the UK is EU derived. All told, the EU has generated some 134,500 laws, other acts, verdicts and standards all of which bear down on our society with no democratic checks or balances. This is a shocking abuse of power as far as I’m concerned, and is almost medieval in its nature. Shame on the likes of my local (Tory) politician, Councillor Allan Wright, for thinking for a moment that this dreadful state of affairs will ever be reformed, still less reversed and unwound. It won’t be unless and until the UK withdraws from the Treaty of Lisbon; in other words unless and until the UK Leaves the European Union; it’s as simple as that.
Common Law and Civil Law Traditions
There’s another arguably more important aspect of this legislature issue that should concern us and it relates to the differences in law-making between Europe and the UK. In the UK, we live under common law with its origins in the Middle Ages. Common law means that, by and large, anything and everything is allowed unless it is expressly forbidden. There is no comprehensive compilation of legal rules and statutes; law is largely based on precedent, ie judicial decisions that have already been made in the past. A jury of ordinary people without legal training decides on the facts of a particular case before the court. The judge then determines the appropriate sentence based on the jury’s verdict.
In continental Europe, civil law applies. Civil law means that, by and large, anything and everything is forbidden unless it is expressly allowed. So, European countries – exemplified by the European Union, of course – have comprehensively, continuously updated legal codes (12 new laws per day, 134,500 laws over time) which specify all matters capable of being brought before a court, the applicable procedure, and the appropriate punishment for each offence. The judge’s role is to establish the facts of the case and to apply the provisions of the applicable code. Ordinary people feature nowhere in this code of law.
So, since 1973, the processes of law-making and the outcomes of legal process in the UK have been steadily removed from ordinary people and shifted towards political and legal elites based on foreign soil. The centuries old traditions of legislature in the UK have been, and continue to be usurped by unelected, unaccountable elites applying legal traditions quite alien to British society. Furthermore, as stated earlier, there is no right of appeal against verdicts of The European Court of ‘Justice’ (sic). Today, EU law takes precedence over UK law. From where I’m sitting as a layman, the pernicious evolution of British society’s 500 year-old law-making traditions from common law to civil law is a travesty of justice. Yet again, The Political Class will never in a million years explain this to you, still less argue that you should vote for this ongoing transformation of our legal landscape on 23 June.
Sovereignty – Do We Have It In The UK?
Sovereignty is the authority of a state to govern itself, or another state. Recall earlier in this essay I pointed out that the British philosopher, A C Grayling, said that in politics ‘questions arise concerning the legitimacy of how authority is gained and held (my underlining); much of the discussion in politics concerns this central point.’
Having looked at the political and legal institutional arrangements that exist within the European Union, I’ll leave it to you to decide whether the European Union has legitimate authority to govern the UK as it does today. I’ll leave you to decide whether the UK is a sovereign state and whether the political institutions of the European Union are worth fighting and dying for.
‘Creating a single European state … is the decisive task of our time.’
Joschka Fischer, Vice-Chancellor of Germany, 1998 – 2005
In the next post we’ll look at the social and societal implications of the European Union. Please comment on this post, challenging my own views if you wish. Indeed, why not link this post to your MP, your MSP, your MEP and your local councillor? Ask them for their views. Share it with your family and friends. Share it on Twitter. Share it on your Facebook page. Get the word out. Show The Political Class that they don’t have a monopoly on this debate. Remember that despite the best efforts of the Prime Minister (who is at the vanguard of The Political Class) to dictate a single view, you and I have a choice here. Don’t be intimated; trust your great British judgement.
Look to the right of this web page and you’ll see a section ‘FOLLOW BLOG VIA EMAIL’. Enter your email address in the box, click on the ‘Follow’ button, follow the on-screen instructions and you’ll be alerted to the next post in this series. All the best for now and many thanks for taking the trouble to visit Moraymint Chatter. Remember, the future of our country is at stake.
‘If the answer is No, the vote will probably have to be done again, because it absolutely has to be Yes.’
Jean-Luc Dehaene, Belgium’s Prime Minister 1992 – 99
Finally, please take a few moments to watch these brief videos. In the first video, Nigel Farage comments on the nature of law making in the European Union. In the second video, the late Tony Benn talks with some poignancy about why he was opposed to EU membership.
Nigel Farage on EU Law Making
Tony Benn on Democracy