Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Trick or Treaty?

It is considered ‘unparliamentary’ to accuse an honourable or right honourable member of the House of Commons of lying or misleading the House, but when the evidence becomes overwhelming, Cranmer thinks it worth inciting the Speaker, not least because his judgement on this issue may well be worth invoking.

The Prime Minister insists that the Lisbon Treaty is not the ‘Constitution for Europe’. The latter was abandoned, he argues, or rather its ‘concept’ was abandoned, and the present Treaty therefore requires no referendum. Yet Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, the man who was president of the Convention on the Future of Europe which drafted a new constitution, has now stated unequivocally that the Treaty is the same as the rejected constitution, and that only the format has been changed in order to avoid referenda. The difference between the original Constitution and the present Lisbon Treaty is one of approach, rather than content.

In an open letter published in Le Monde, the former French president has sought to clarify the difference between former draft constitution - which was shelved after French and Dutch voters rejected the text in 2005 - and the new Lisbon Treaty which EU leaders agreed earlier this month. He said:

Looking at the content, the result is that the institutional proposals of the constitutional treaty … are found complete in the Lisbon Treaty, only in a different order and inserted in former treaties… Above all, it is to avoid having referendum thanks to the fact that the articles are spread out and constitutional vocabulary has been removed.’

This could not be clearer. The Treaty is simply more complex, convoluted, unpenetrable and inaccessible, in order to minimise scrutiny and analysis, and such obfuscation is considered to render the need for a referendum redundant since few will comprehend what they are voting about. And he warns starkly of the consequences of this, when he says: ‘They are therefore imposing a return to the language that they master and to the procedures they favour, and in doing so alienate the citizens further’.

There are, however, some differences. Firstly, the noun ‘constitution’ and the adjective ‘constitutional’ have been banished from the text, as though they describe something inadmissible. At the same time, all mention of the symbols of the EU have been suppressed, including the flag (which already flies everywhere), and the European anthem (which is already played everywhere).

But these concessions are more symbolic than substantial. There remains a permanent Emperor President; a streamlined Commission; a Parliament with genuine legislative rights; a Foreign Minister, even if he has been given another inadequate title, decisions taken by a double majority of governments and citizens, and the most advanced charter of fundamental rights in the world. The expression ‘free and undistorted competition’ has also been excised at the request of President Sarkozy. It reappears, at the request of the British, in an annexed protocol to the Treaty which stipulates that ‘the internal market, such as is defined in Article 3 of the treaty, includes a system guaranteeing that competition is undistorted’. And far more important concessions are made to the British: the Charter of Fundamental Rights – an improved and updated version of the Charter of Human Rights – has been withdrawn from the draft treaty and made into a separate text, to which Britain will not be bound. In the area of judicial harmonisation and co-operation, Britain will have the right to duck in and out of the system as it pleases. Having already weakened all attempts at further European integration – such as by refusing the title of Minister for Foreign Affairs – Britain has also been allowed to be the odd man out whenever it feels like it. Yet these ‘red lines’ have been judged to be insecure, and are also more symbolic than substantial.

The only difference between the Constitution and the Treaty is that the original proposals of the former have simply been dispersed through old treaties in the form of amendments. And such a subtle change is deemed to be of such significance that referenda are no longer required. This is no Treaty; it is manifestly the Constitution. The trick is in the obscurity of the language, and the constant denial that they are the same. It is a lie, and now that M Giscard d'Estaing has said as much, the Conservative Party should not be afraid to use the word.


Blogger Dr.D said...

Don't you just love it when the politically correct tell you that up is down, left is right, black is white, etc.? When will we get to the point where people quit paying any attention at all to these fools and simply go back to reason? They have no power whatsoever except what is given to them by those that they lord it over. All that is required is to tell them to drop dead and then ignore them totally.

This is a very serious matter, and it baffles me how Great Britain can let this happen. It must, absolutely must, be stopped.

31 October 2007 at 22:00  
Anonymous Stephen Gash said...

1 November 2007 at 00:05  
Anonymous Ms Williams said...

I agree with Dr D.
There is hardly anything about this in the news.

I have managed to find a 'Laying of Information / Notice of Treason' letter, which relates to Tony Blair and 'The Signing Away of Britain and its Laws at the Treaty of Nice, Dec 2000'. This was sent out to various courts in 2000.

I am hoping that we can ammend this letter to make it relevent to todays issue.
If there is anyone out there who can help with this, either legally or by spreading the word pls contact me via email.

1 November 2007 at 23:47  

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