Monday, January 21, 2008

The EU Constitution Show

Since politics became a branch of the entertainment industry, Parliament has been obsessed with soundbites, visual imagery, and Punch & Judy showpieces (whatever the denials) because all of these constitute the very essence of theatre. But the House of Commons is about to stage a production which is scheduled to run for four weeks, the outcome of which will be an unmitigated flop.

No matter what they call this show – From Here to Lisbon, Around the EU in 80 days, Constitution Street, EUtopia Actually, A Referendum for All Seasons – the outcome is foreordained. The second reading of the European Union (Amendment) Bill begins today, and is allotted four weeks of debate. It is, of course, all about the Constitution for Europe Lisbon Treaty, and not one jot or tittle of it may pass away. It is set in stone, fixed, immutable, and yet it is to be talked about ad nauseam. Boredom will be the means by which this Bill will pass, as this duplicitous and deceitful government seeks to conceal all embarrassing points in the euro-speak and technical jargon which has for years been used by Brussels as camouflage. The hope is that both the media and the British people will find it all so deadly dull that they shall cease to be remotely concerned with the profound constitutional implications that the Bill represents. It is not so much the salami-slicing of ‘essential national sovereignty’ as a coup by soporific attrition.

Both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition will find themselves skating on ice as they attempt to maintain unity within their ranks. Backbench mutinies are likely within all parties, and it is the Prime Minister’s hope that the spectre of Maastricht will return to haunt the Conservative Party, whom the media will then parade to the nation as riddled with division and unfit to govern.

And the hope is not vain. Mr Cameron has yet to fulfil his pledge to leave the EPP, and he has not said what his policy will be if, after the next general election, he finds himself in power and subject to a treaty which the overwhelming majority of the Party opposes. A retrospective referendum has not been assured, and even if it were, there is precious little that inclines one to believe that it would be granted.

There is no reverse gear on the acquis, and the Church of England has been complicit through its allegiance to the Soul for Europe programme. The EU accretes power through an inverse subsidiarity which negates the very definition of the concept. There is no opportunity to renegotiate, and so the only alternative appears to be secession. The ‘in or out’ referendum unnerves all party leaders, but Cranmer is bemused to know why. If politicians bothered to serve the people instead of presuming to lord it over them, the people might just be more inclined to trust them. The whole sovereignty argument has been massively exacerbated by the undeniable reality that the British people no longer possess it at any level: if a vote for a local councillor can no longer change the frequency of refuse collection, it is beyond belief that a vote in a general election could ever repatriate policies on fishing, agriculture, immigration, justice, workers’ rights, human rights…

Make no mistake about it, this is an issue of nationhood and sovereignty. And it is about time that this once-great nation had visionary leaders with enough self-confidence to win our country back. And still Cranmer wonders if Mr Cameron might be the man. For the Conservative Party’s Europhiles are a dying breed, and each general election brings in new blood which is overwhelmingly sceptical.

And Mr Brown’s hope for interminable and embarrassing ‘Tory splits’ may be short-lived as he underestimates their thirst for government. Indeed, Mr Brown’s yearnings for Conservative divisions may well prove to be cohesive and unifying for the Party. When one understands this reality, and observes that the EU’s own research shows just a third of Britons believe the country has benefited from EU membership and just a quarter saying they trust the EU, this is a mood which the Conservative Party must embrace. And if it does, Cranmer prophesies victory.

And in the meantime, why does Mr Cameron not exhort his ‘Democracy Task Force’ to evolve a few policies which will move the Conservative Party to a sure and certain foundation? The very notion of a ‘Democracy Task Force’ is, in any case, a fraudulent façade as long as the UK remains shackled to the fundamentally undemocratic EU. So Mr Cameron should forget his proposal for a ‘Bill of Rights’ – we have one already, and it has served us well for more than three centuries. How about a policy for English courts to regard English common law as pre-eminent and superior to Strasbourg law? English laws for English judges, if you will. The implications for the UK’s relations with the EU would be obvious.

Cranmer is burdened and yet elated by the feeling that the UK’s membership of the EU is heading for a very rough ride. Indeed, he believes with every fibre of his being that the UK is heading inexorably towards the exit; a fundamental renegotiation which will place the UK firmly within the trading bloc, and liberate the nation from the political curse of ‘ever closer union’. Whether it comes in one year, five, or ten, Cranmer does not know. No man knows the day or the hour. But it will happen. Rest assured. It will happen.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Much as I admire your optimism I have no faith that Cameron is to be our saviour, he will not even vote against the bill in my opinion. I fear for the Country because no one will stand up to the traitorous politicians and civil servants, there's an oxymoron for you. Democracy has gone from this land.

21 January 2008 at 11:35  
Anonymous oiznop said...

Cranmer is right on this. We are heading for a departure - ignominious or not. And there are quite a few who say its prophesied, so God says so!

21 January 2008 at 16:09  
Anonymous nedsherry said...

Cameron is brighter than Blair but otherwise the same kind of politician, dedicated to his own advance without any concern whatsoever for the country. To advance he has to serve the interests of those who are paying for his political career and will reward him when it's over, as Blair has been rewarded.

21 January 2008 at 17:23  
Anonymous mickey said...

Aside from issues of nationhood and sovereignty, there is also the matter of the Euro. When, not if, Brown signs up for the Euro we will become a fully integrated member of the EU, like it or not.

I suspect that Brown is now eyeing up the Euro as his (only) route to economic salvation. London, as a financial centre, is now just too big for the UK economy to underwrite and sterling is overly susceptible to orchestrated market fixes (by the likes of Soros et al). This being the case, it would seem that the UK will soon need the EU rather more than the EU needs us.

Basically, we're xxxxed and it's all Brown's fault!

21 January 2008 at 17:24  
Anonymous mary tudor - empress of europe :D said...

mickey said...

it would seem that the UK will soon need the EU rather more than the EU needs us.

damn right - the europhobe schtick is like a broken record

let's move on and join the grown ups

21 January 2008 at 18:48  
Blogger Homophobic Horse said...

William Rees Mogg = Silly little boy

21 January 2008 at 19:58  
Anonymous Nathan Hale said...

Hear hear! Thank-you Cranmer for your stirring battle-cry. Down with centralization! Up with liberty and independence!

21 January 2008 at 20:18  
OpenID curly15 said...

I agree with Cranmer, and William Rees Mogg, there is a grave matter of trust between the electorate and our politicians to be tested this coming month.

21 January 2008 at 23:04  
Anonymous hear o israel said...

thank you your grace
this is no treaty nor constitution of any value if the uk people are not in substantial majority agreement.
this is our choice in choosing how we wish to be governed, not a narrow bunch of eu socialists, my views are being disregarded by the labour party using a commons majority .
voting labour does not equate to handing over to governance by europe , the two are as different as questions as one could imagine.

if labour mps have doubts or even worse are not free of the whip , then it is a sham.
this idea of handing over powers to europe should stand on its own merits , if the labour party cannot even rise above this contempt for the british people it there party deserves to fall.

this is the worst form of democracy , it is pretend,fake and will stain labour for the rest of history

21 January 2008 at 23:56  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Disturb Brussels - Free Europe at!

22 January 2008 at 09:24  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love Europe. It is my continent. The euro skpetics are the enemy they are the buddy of the chinese. Who seek to divide and conquer us.

22 January 2008 at 14:02  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Ilove Europe" said Anonymous, so do I. My problem is with the EU which is a political entity and seeks to destroy my liberties guaranteed to me by my Country. We were asked to vote in favour of a free trade area and lied to when we asked about the loss of sovereignty. Had the truth been told Heath would have lost and we would not have our present problems. But then politicians all lie and have done since that infamous day. Even now they will not tell us the truth and the whole truth about the new Treaty/Constitution, that says it all.

22 January 2008 at 14:39  

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