Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Democracy dashed in its youth

The Czech people are to be denied a say in their coming complete subjugation to a corrupt EU super state by means of the EU Reform Treaty. What pressure/perks have their parliamentarians been offered? Read one report in the International Herald Tribune, from here. Note particularly these amazing voting numbers, unanimity such as this in lawmaking bodies is often a certain sign of tyranny: Of the 150 lawmakers present in the 200-seat chamber, 108 favored the vote in parliament and none opposed it. On this blog Democracy is a word used regarding a form of governance where the electorate can periodically and bloodlessly remove from office those who govern them all other forms are tyranny. This was all as defined by Karl Popper.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Will Rubbish prove the 'Tipping Point ' for the EU in Britain?

Even the BBC, read here, and its flagship current affairs radio propaganda programme the Today show has come clean over where the problems over Britain's garbage problems truly emanate. This morning on their news broadcasts they have been quiveringly reporting that the country could face fines of up to 180 million pounds a year from the EU, (probably more if the pound falls as a result of a decade of similar incompetence in the economics field). AND added in a more detailed report, sounding even more astounded, that some recyclable items can only be treated in Germany. Well surprise, surprise! Amazing stuff for the majority of the population, however, who may have swallowed the BBC, successive Governments and most of the media's misleading line that we have lost no sovereignty and the various successors to the Common Market were nothing more than harmless market arrangements designed to reward various rejects and misfits from Britain's otherwise honourable political system. Well phooey, if the EU Reform Treaty debate to be announced at the State Opening of Parliament next week, cunningly timed to axe two PMQs, is to be given the amount of parliamentary time being rumoured, then at least the background facts will be slowly leaking out to Britain's betrayed and gullible public who I trust will not flinch from properly advising their MPs of their individual election promises regarding the referendum on the Treaty. The Independent, linked from here, today carries Valéry Giscard d'Estaing's assertion that the constitution remains intact: "The proposed institutional reforms, the only ones which mattered to the drafting convention, are all to be found in the Treaty of Lisbon. They have merely been ordered differently and split up between previous treaties."

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Yet to speak, but not to be silenced!

The Secret People

Smile at us, pay us, pass us; but do not quite forget; For we are the people of England that never have spoken yet. There is many a fat farmer that drinks less cheerfully; There is many a free French peasant who is richer and sadder than we. There are no folk in the whole world so helpless or so wise. There is hunger in our bellies, there is laughter in our eyes; You laugh at us and love us, both mugs and eyes are wet: Only you do not know us. For we have not spoken yet.

The fine French kings came over in a flutter of flags and dames. We liked their smiles and battles, but we never could say their names. The blood ran red to Bosworth and the high French lords went down; There was naught but a naked people under a naked crown. And the eyes of the King's Servants turned terribly every way, And the gold of the King's Servants rose higher every day. They burnt the homes of the shaven men, that had been quaint and kind, Till there was no bed in a monk's house, nor food that man could find. The inns of God where no man paid, that were the wall of the weak. The King's Servants ate them all. And still we did not speak.

And the face of the King's Servants grew greater than the King: He tricked them, and they trapped him, and stood round him in a ring. The new grave lords closed round him, that had eaten the abbey's fruits, And the men of the new religion, with their bibles in their boots, We saw their shoulders moving, to menace or discuss, And some were pure and some were vile; but none took heed of us. We saw the King as they killed him, and his face was proud and pale; And a few men talked of freedom, while England talked of ale.

A war that we understood not came over the world and woke Americans, Frenchmen, Irish; but we knew not the things they spoke. They talked about rights and nature and peace and the people's reign: And the squires, our masters, bade us fight; and scorned us never again. Weak if we be for ever, could none condemn us then; Men called us serfs and drudges; men knew that we were men. In foam and flame at Trafalgar, on Albuera plains, We did and died like lions, to keep ourselves in chains, We lay in living ruins; firing and fearing not The strange fierce face of the Frenchmen who knew for what they fought, And the man who seemed to be more than a man we strained against and broke; And we broke our own rights with him. And still we never spoke.

Our patch of glory ended; we never heard guns again. But the squire seemed struck in the saddle; he was foolish, as if in pain, He leaned on a staggering lawyer, he clutched a cringing Jew, He was stricken; it may be, after all, he was stricken at Waterloo . Or perhaps the shades of the shaven men, whose spoil is in his house, Come back in shining shapes at last to spoil his last carouse: We only know the last sad squires rode slowly towards the sea, And a new people takes the land: and still it is not we.

They have given us into the hand of new unhappy lords, Lords without anger or honour, who dare not carry their swords. They fight by shuffling papers; they have bright dead alien eyes; They look at our labour and laughter as a tired man looks at flies. And the load of their loveless pity is worse than the ancient wrongs, Their doors are shut in the evening; and they know no songs.

We hear men speaking for us of new laws strong and sweet, Yet is there no man speaketh as we speak in the street. It may be we shall rise the last as Frenchmen rose the first, Our wrath come after Russia's wrath and our wrath be the worst. It may be we are meant to mark with our riot and our rest God's scorn for all men governing. It may be beer is best. But we are the people of England; and we have not spoken yet. Smile at us, pay us, pass us. But do not quite forget.

GK Chesterton - 1874-1936

Britain's media silent on pro-Referendum Rally

Apart from a passing reference in the slowly dying Telegraph referendum comment we must rely on the International Herald Tribune, linked here, for any real comment on yesterday's rally. The TV Channels lacked coverage, how shaming that the Judas poster mentioned in the IHT coverage was not displayed across the news bulletins. I quote: One poster showed a picture of Brown with the word "Judas" underneath. Another said: "Britain betrayed: Parliamentary treachery. ... Brown speaks with forked tongue." One report from the blogosphere is linked here. Simon Jenkins writing in the Sunday Times, linked here, adequately reflects how deep the rot has now spread in both Britain's politics and its media.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Hannan demands Cameron comes clean over EU

MEP Daniel Hannan's demand is on the BBC web site linked here.

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Economist calls for a Referendum

The dreadfully pro-EU but once fine and well informed Magazine The Economist has called for a referendum in its Leading Article this week, linked here.

Alerting the USA to the suppression of Freedom in the EU

The following press release, has been put out by the Campaign for an Independent Britain and already been re-issued by one organisation in the United States. The entire world should react with horror to the proposed suspension of democracy across almost the entire European Continent and act whenever they are able and in every international forum to bring home to the reckless heads of governments of Europe's former nation states that the proposed abandonment of democracy on such a scale will not be tolerated by the world's surviving democracies!

Germany's Reform Treaty: A Merkel Mandate for a Euro-state

Press Statement from THE CAMPAIGN for an INDEPENDENT BRITAIN, October 23, 2007

Since the Treaty of Rome and European Communities Act 1972, Britain has ceased to be a legally independent nation. Majority voting in the EU Council of Ministers automatically applies to Crown, courts, Parliament and people "without further enactment" (see Clause 2 – 1 ECA 1972).

Successive treaties have extended the powers of the original Treaty. Now a larger overall treaty the "Reform Treaty" - has been proposed under the German Presidency, likely to be signed in a final version before the end of this year under the Portuguese Presidency.

On June 7, 2007, Britain’s Foreign Secretary, Margaret Beckett, appeared before the House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee to be questioned about the Council of EU Ministers’ meeting planned for June 21/22. The ESC meeting had been specifically planned to ascertain the proposals by the German Presidency for the forthcoming conference so that our government and people would have some knowledge of the new treaty. They were stunned to hear that no draft proposals for the new treaty had been received from the German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

On the evening of June 19, the British Representative in Brussels was handed the draft proposal from the German Presidency (Document 11177/07) for the European Council to issue a "mandate" or instruction for the imminent Intergovernmental Conference of the representatives of EU member states as to how they should go about establishing a "Reform Treaty". This document, effectively a German diktat, of 31 pages and two small print detailed annexes, was accepted en bloc at the EU Council meeting attended by Tony Blair on June 21/22 without any record of debate.

This then became what is now called the "mandate" from the Council to the Intergovernmental Conference for its detailed work of putting together a treaty incorporating what is already in force together with many controversial additions. Subsequent questions have revealed that the government had not received any prior draft of the proposals from the Germans before June 19.

Minutes of meetings by Select Committees of the House of Commons reveal that the terms of this Reform Treaty agreed on June 21/22, had not only been drafted in Brussels under the then President Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, assisted by officials of the European Commission, but were accepted en bloc by heads of EU governments, less than two days after their publication. This left no time for national governments to consult their colleagues and still less their departments of State since the proposals were only given to them at most two days prior to the meeting. It would appear that this text was produced by officials of the German foreign office assisted by those from the European Parliament and EU Commission.

On Monday June 25, Tony Blair gave a verbal report to Parliament neglecting to mention that a copy of the so-called "mandate" had been lodged in Parliament’s Vote Office and available to MPs from the morning of June 25, so most MPs and all the public were entirely ignorant of the commitment by the British government, and governments of all EU member states. It had become accepted as a mandate or instruction from the European Council. The Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) itself is the body which, in the rules and organisation of the EU, is responsible for its own agenda. The European Council has no formal powers to instruct it.

Very soon afterwards Tony Blair tendered his resignation to the Queen and a couple of days later both he and Margaret Beckett surrendered their seals of office and responsibility and were no longer directly accountable to Parliament and people for one of the biggest surrenders in British history. Tony Blair left office to the ringing applause of MPs whom he had recently agreed to disempower permanently from the control of many areas of this nation’s life.

When questioned last week during a meeting of the European Scrutiny Committee, Minister for Europe, Jim Murphy, confirmed that the mandate is complete, closed and will not be reopened. The obligations entered into cannot be changed. The Minister stated that the process now is for the Reform Treaty to be translated into legal language into the principal and many other languages of member states, covering some 300 articles and declarations.

In spite of this major and largely unknown departure from established practice, Angela Merkel got her way. The procedures of proposals into the new treaty illustrate central power which could hardly be seen as compatible with any democratic principle. Objections from the Czech Republic and Poland were ruthlessly rejected. Without support from one large member country, they were powerless to resist. Nations of Europe and beyond opposed the building of a Euro-state by force of arms between 1939 and 1945. The democratic voices of the peoples of Europe must now be heard and acted upon by all peaceful means to reject this EU Constitution/Reform Treaty.

The European Scrutiny Committee of the House of Commons published a report on October 9, 2007 (Ref HC 1014). This concluded that the provisions of the proposed "Reform Treaty" were, for all practical purposes, the same as the EU Constitution, rejected by the French and Dutch peoples and upon which almost all sitting MPs had, in their election manifestos, promised their electors a referendum.

Statement issued on behalf of the Campaign for an Independent Britain (CIB), the cross-party coalition defending British sovereignty and freedom, by Dr Bob Spink MP, Chairman; George West, Edward Spalton and Nigel Spearing, for the CIB National Committee.

Has Parliament been bound?

An interesting exchange with the Foreign Secretary on 16th October 2007, from the House of Commons EU Scrutiny Committee's 'Uncorrected Record' of proceedings, linked here:

Q179 Chairman: Can I ask that our legal experts go through the document because there are a number of uses of the word "shall" not just in 8c but also, I note, in 63, and make sure that they are taken out wherever they exist because we will not be compelled as a Parliament?

David Miliband: The point is that obligations shall not be put on parliaments, and that is absolutely clear.

Q180 Mr Cash: You mean, despite the European Communities Act which actually imposes the obligation to accept all European law? That is why the argument is circular, Mr Miliband.

David Miliband: No, it is not because the rights that are extended to national parliaments have never existed before. Under this reform Treaty, stronger than the Constitutional Treaty, this Parliament has the right to contribute to the governance of the European Union. It has never had that before.

Q181 Mr Hands: That is an absurd argument, Foreign Secretary, that we have never before had the right as a Parliament to contribute to the governance of the European Union. That is what you have just said. Of course we have had the right to do that. As an elected UK Parliament, of course we have had the right to contribute to the governing of the EU.

David Miliband: Only through Treaty change. In the future, measures that have previously been adopted only by governments will now be open for national parliaments to have a say. I would have thought you would actually recognise that is a good thing, not a bad thing, we agree on that.

Q182 Mr Cash: We were there before 1972.

David Miliband: You were indeed there before 1972.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

France's Constitutional Dilemma

Constitutional problems exist elsewhere within the EU as evidenced by this article: Can the President overrule the people? We have here, then, an "amending" treaty that thus affirms that a charter that is not part of it has the same legal force as the very treaties that it serves to modify! A more contorted legal procedure has never been seen..... As anyone who followed the 2005 French referendum campaign can recall, during the campaign all the provisions of the treaty were criticized. Some of the critics focused on the Charter of Fundamental Rights and on the common policies; others on the transfer of powers to the European level, the shift from unanimity to majority voting, and the democracy deficit; and still others took offense at the federal symbols and principles. It is perhaps possible to perceive that the "no" of the Left was more concerned by the threat to the welfare state and the "no" of the Right by the loss of the state's sovereign powers. But it is surely impossible and inconceivable to probe the brain of each French citizen and thereby make out exactly the provisions of the treaty that each individual rejected and those that he or she approved.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Simon Jenkins in The Guardian

"The truth is that Brown has joined Europe's other leaders in a most alarming development, a collective flight from democracy because it scares them. This is not a pretty sight. If people cannot decide how they are to be ruled, why should they obey the rulers? It is a question that always ends in tears." Read the article from here.

A view from America

A good article on our loss of Sovereignty is linked here, from which comes this quote:

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is stubbornly opposing a referendum on the treaty. This is a big mistake politically, and will cost him numerous votes at the next election in 2008 or 2009 unless he reverses course. The Reform Treaty is hugely unpopular with the British public, and the Conservative Party is wisely outflanking Brown by pledging to hold a referendum if elected. In a new Daily Telegraph/YouGov poll 69 percent of Britons surveyed called for a British referendum on the treaty, including 87 percent of Conservative voters and 70 percent of Labour Party supporters. A mere six percent of the British electorate agrees with Downing Street's assertion that "the new treaty differs substantially from the old constitution."

The British people have always been uneasy with the notion of further integration in Europe, and if given a chance to vote on this issue will overwhelmingly oppose any attempt to strip away more powers from Westminster. Invoking the defiant spirit of Churchill, the hugely influential Sun newspaper in London, owned by Rupert Murdoch and edited by Rebekah Wade, has launched a large-scale campaign in support of a British referendum, which its several million readers are enthusiastically backing. In addition, over a hundred thousand Britons have signed an online petition for a referendum launched by theTelegraph.

With a keen eye on the polls, Brown may ultimately give in to public pressure and agree to a popular vote. A hundred Labour MPs have already come out calling on Brown to reverse his position. If he does so, the Treaty will be thrown out, effectively driving a stake through the biggest threat to British national sovereignty and the Anglo-American alliance of our generation.

A view from The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles blog, linked here is the following:

Monday, October 22, 2007

A paradox or a 'Constitution Crippler'?

When the Foreign Secretary appeared before the House of Commons EU Scrutiny Committee just before departing for Lisbon to agree the EU Reform Treaty with Prime Minister Brown, he made a rather startling, but typically slick assertion that Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands having asserted that the Treaty was no longer a Constitution was assurance enough for him. This reference to the Dutch Royal Family seems particularly apt to remind us both of the background to the Bill of Rights of 1688 and to the founder member of the Bilderberg Group. David Milband's refusal to give the Committee an explanation as to why British legal experts were not being used to re-frame the English version of the EU Reform Treaty on the role of National Parliaments was, however, far more telling. I have tossed and turned for two nights in bed and googled and researched for many hours during the past two days trying to make sense of the Constitutional mess which the Treaty of Lisbon has created for England. I have concluded that English legal experts cannot re-draft that provision without involving themselves in proffering treasonous advice to either parliament or the monarch. Any International Treaty seeking to define the future functions of England's Parliament must be immediately in breach of this clause of that Bill of Rights, linked here: 9. That the Freedome of Speech and Debates or Proceedings in Parlyament ought not to be impeached or questioned in any Court or Place out of Parlyament. Consider the following sources and quotes: Prerogative powers As the prerogative is a residual power it cannot be used to amend the general law.? This is of particular interest in relation to international treaties. Although the Executive can commit the United Kingdom to obligations under international law, if a change to domestic law is required, it will only take effect if Parliament passes the necessary legislation. Also this memorandum from evidence to the House of Lords. Coronation Oath Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government: Whether they consider that they are bound by the Queen's Coronation Oath. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Earl Howe): The Coronation Oath is personal to Her Majesty. Members of Her Majesty's Government are not required on appointment to swear a ministerial equivalent of the Coronation Oath but they do of course take very seriously the moral duties and responsibilities associated with their position in that Government. Ministers would not advise Her Majesty to take any action which contradicted her Oath. Conclusion of letter of 23rd March 2001 to HM the Queen amplifying a petition on the non-legality of the Nice Treaty: We come back to the oath of allegiance. Magna Carta says: We will appoint as justices, constables, sheriffs, or other officials, only menthat know the law of the realm and are minded to keep it well.... How can such officers of the Crown organize such a referendum or plebiscite? These procedures would also infringe articles 1, 2 and 4 of the Bill ofRights: 1. That the pretended power of Suspending of Lawes or the Execution ofLawes by Regall Authority without Consent of Parlyament is illegall.(This must include the Coronation Oath Act.) 2. That the pretended Power of Dispensing with Lawes or the Executionof Lawes by Regal Authoritie as it hath beene assumed and exercised oflate is illegall. 4. That levying Money for or to the Use of the Crowne by pretence ofPrerogative without Grant of Parlyament for longer time or in othermanner than the same is or shall be granted is Illegall. (This isfurther protection of our common law rights.) In the event that the Treaty of Nice is considered for Royal Assent we respectfully request that Her Majesty grant us an opportunity to examine the opinion of those who seek to alter our constitution by contrary advice. Accordingly, under those same terms of Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights quoted earlier, we the undersigned, and others - have formed a Barons Constitutional Committee to be available forconsultation and to monitor the present situation as it develops..until redress has been obtained. We are and remain Her Majestys most loyal and obedient subjects. Ashbourne Rutland Massereene & Ferrard Hamilton of Dalzell LINK

Parliamentary Supremacy and Community Law

Parliamentary supremacy is now, of course, subject to the law of the European Community. The UK and other member states, in the words of the ECJ in Van Gend en Loos (1963), "have limited their sovereign rights" and under section 2(1) of the European Communities Act 1972, EC Law is directly applicable in the UK without further need for domestic legislation unless specifically provided.

A basic constitutional doctrine underpinning parliamentary sovereignty is that of implied repeal, by which a later legislative act takes precedence over an earlier one in so far as the two are inconsistent. This has been swept away by s2(4) ECA 1972, which provides that all UK law, whether prior or subsequent must be construed so as to comply with Community legislation.

This has now been acknowledged by the House of Lords. In the second Factortame case (1991), Lord Bridge declared that since 1972 it is clearly "...the duty of a United Kingdom court... to override any rule of national law found to be in conflict with any directly enforceable rule of Community law". The statute in question in that case, passed long after UK accession to the EC, was repealed as inconsistent with Community law. Thus was demolished another cornerstone of parliamentary supremacy, the doctrine that Parliament may legislate on any subject whatsoever.


This Treaty therefore seems to me to go beyond what at first seems to be an amusing paradox a la Pirates of Penzance, and is instead a dagger poised to destroy the very basis of England's Laws and its constitutional democracy.

If Gordon Brown initialed this document then already he may not now lawfully be able to continue in office with the same holding true for his Foreign Secretary. A Referendum cannot legitimise such a Treaty and Parliament itself will be acting unlawfully if it retains any portion of the section on the role of Parliament. This blog writer will await the EU's rewritten version with considerable anticipation.

Labour's manifesto promise

William Rees-Mogg writing in The Times, linked here, reproduces the exact wording of the Labour promise on a referendum: The manifesto paragraph needs to be read carefully: “The EU now has 25 members and will continue to expand. The new Constitutional Treaty ensures the new Europe can work effectively, and that Britain keeps control of key national interests like foreign policy, taxation, social security and defence. The Treaty sets out what the EU can do, and what it cannot. It strengthens the voice of national parliaments and governments in EU affairs. It is a good treaty for Britain and for the new Europe. We will put it to the British people in a referendum and campaign wholeheartedly for a ‘yes’ vote to keep Britain a leading nation in Europe.” The writer later adds this comment which I find crucial: Last week Mr Brown accepted the reform treaty but he has backed out of his party’s commitment to a referendum, on the false pretence that the two treaties are different. This is not an action in good faith. If he persists in it, he deserves to be removed from office. For a man to obtain an advantage by a trick is inherently dishonest. For a prime minister to do so destroys his covenant of trust with the people he is governing. The Daily Telegraph in its second leader has some stern words of warning to the every slippery Tories on their own EU policy, read it all here, it concludes with the following stikingly obvious demand: If the constitution is as bad as they say it is, the Conservatives must commit themselves to giving the people a say whenever they take power. Anything else, to borrow Mr Cameron's phrase, would be to treat people like fools.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Brown to attend Rugby final!

England rugby supporters lucky enough to have tickets and attending the Stade de France in Paris tomorrow will have the chance to show their feelings about this disgraceful Scot who has only today sold Britain and parliamentary democracy down the river. What a sweet moment that must have been for a man who has sworn his first priority to the people of Scotland. LOUD BOOS FOR BROWN PLEASE!!!!!!!

Across the EU the people must be asked Yes or NO!

The 27 leaders forcing this treaty over the heads of their electorates must each be speedily removed from office via the ballot box, the last remaining power available to the people of Europe. An international referendum campaign has been started, read from this link, but it is in any and every election that the party represented by the national leader in Lisbon must now be shunned, by individual voters everywhere within the now completely non-democratic European Union. They might then get the message before the official signing in Lisbon in December which is even before some Parliaments will even open the debate - OUTRAGEOUS!

Today Brown Agreed the EU Reform Treaty

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Mr Brown's Big Lie

The Business, here, has some astute observations on what is underway in Lisbon. Have 27 National Leaders ever before displayed such arrogance and contempt for those who gave them their offices and undeserved lavish lifestyles? The article begins as follows: Very little of what Karl Marx ever wrote turned out to be of lasting value but he was right about one thing: history does repeat itself, first as tragedy, then as a farce. This week the governments of the European Union (EU) meet in Lisbon to perpetrate a massive anti-democratic con on the European people: they will agree on a reheated and only slightly adulterated version of the European constitution (now re-branded as a reform treaty) so devastatingly defeated in referenda in France and the Netherlands two years ago. Europe’s leaders hold their electorates in such contempt that this time they will not make the mistake of asking them to vote on the matter.

EU Leaders betraying their electorates

All day a Harris Poll in the FT has been quoted as confirmation that all of the largest EU countries want a public referendum. Their leaders of course will wine, dine and defy them them. The group photograph at the end of this meeting will have 27 supposed democrats who somehow must be held to account. The CNN report on the poll is linked from here. This is a quote:

According to a poll conducted by the British newspaper The Financial Times, 70 percent of those questioned in Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain think the treaty decision should go to a vote. Another poll, in the right-wing Daily Telegraph of London, showed that 69 percent of British voters support a referendum.

In spite of the opposition, European leaders have vowed to push the treaty through, with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown telling parliament on Wednesday that he did not intend to put it to a national vote, insisting the treaty would not lead to a fundamental change in the way Britain is governed.

As Democracy Dies - One

In The Times a perceptive comment from Camilla Cavendish, 'We must stand up to this cynical stitch-up' (Its the elites of Europe versus the people) linked here, from which comes this quote:

Those who want the new treaty argue that it is just another step in the process of centralisation. But just because ordinary people are only gradually waking up to the drip-dripping away of their power does not mean that they should be denied a say in it. Some argue that a referendum would end up being a vote on the direction of the EU. But it should be. The EU needs to change direction, and its citizens want it to. The battleground is not Britain versus Europe, it is the elites versus the people.

The irony is that, six years ago, EU leaders seemed to agree. In the Laeken declaration of 2001, they specifically asked for more transparency, democracy and subsidiarity (powers returned to nation states). What they got was Valéry Giscard d’Estaing..... As if to prove the point in its letters column in the same paper, beneath more gobbledegook from the shameless Foreign Secretary, we have this group of corporatists: Lord Brittan of Spennithorne Roger Carr, Chairman, Centrica Guy Dawson, Founding Partner, Tricorn Partners Paul Marshall, Chairman, Marshall Wace Asset Management Vijay Patel, CEO, Waymade Healthcare Stuart Popham, Senior Partner, Clifford Chance Roland Rudd, Chairman, Business for New Europe Bill Thomas, President — Europe, Middle East & Africa, EDS Rosemary Thorne, Non-Executive Director, Abbey National Lord Tugendhat, Senior Adviser, Lehman Brothers Lord John Kerr, Deputy Chairman, Royal Dutch Shell .... recommending the Treaty with no mention of democracy but including this telling sentence: The business community has a lot to gain from a strong single market of 500 million people, with more effective institutions to police and enforce its rules. Lord Tugendhat for one is an ex-EU Commissioner, on a fat EU pension and as far from impartiality as it is possible to get. All their letter is perfect proof of the case put by Camilla Cavendish.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Brown continues to refuse an EU Treaty Referendum

The Guardian, linked here, carries a report of this afternoon's PMQ. A quote from our disgraceful Prime Minister: "We have managed to negotiate red lines in Europe which mean that the national interest is protected"

Miliband, Fascism and Chamberlain

The Daily Telegraph, linked here, reports that the Foreign Secretary is outraged that the European Scrutiny Committee Chairman had likened him to Neville Chamberlain conceding to Hitler in his evasiveness over the real consequences of the EU Reform Treaty. I quote the Foreign Secretary's remarks justifying his supposed astonishment at this comparison: "Maybe I feel this particularly personally but to say this is the equivalent of Neville Chamberlain coming back in the late 1930s from Munich claiming to have had an agreement with Adolf Hitler is not worthy of any committee," said an astonished Mr Miliband...... "Mr Miliband's father and grandfather both fled to England from Brussels to escape the advancing German army in May 1940. His mother stayed behind and joined his father after the war." The reality of the Holocaust must not be forgotten as the cartoon now circulating around the world by e-mail as reproduced below makes clear. BUT it is David Miliband and his boss Brown who are now behaving like the Nazis as my illustration, prompted entirely by the recent deceit and deviousness of the Foreign Secretary and titled 'Milinazi Band' (see below), was last evening intended to briefly but graphically portray. The fact that the nation of England with its long history as a refuge for those politically persecuted on the European Continent gave a safe haven to Miliband's parents and grandparents makes it even more outrageous that this comparative newcomer to our democracy should be about to destroy it through propaganda and lies. The fact that his father was a leading Marxist also makes his motivation seem suspect. In the Telegraph article it appears that this dishonest Foreign Secretary is implying that his religion exonerates him from charges of nazism. It is an unfortunate fact that some Jews during the holocaust sided with their persecutors against their fellow believers. Miliband seems of that ilk and should now examine every detail of his handling of the EU Reform Treaty since his taking of office, from the conspiracy of silence regarding the negotiations to the most recent withholding of a reply to the Scrutiny Committee's recent letter until one hour before the Committee convened. If the Foreign Secretary feels his behaviour and actions are honourable or worthy of any democrat then he is unfit for office on the grounds of flawed reasoning. What is unfolding over this treaty is proving the most disgraceful episode in Britain's democracy for centuries. Those largely responsible Tony Blair, Margaret Becket, Gordon Brown and David Miliband are toying with treason, parliament has to date allowed this to continue. We must hope that at Prime Ministers Questions today the rank and file of Members of Parliament from all parties will make it clear that Brown can neither agree nor initial any agreement that attempts to bind future parliaments nor offers "red lines" that are merely illusory.

A Reminder

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Milinazi Band

Miliband in the 'merde'

I quote from the report of today's EU Scrutiny Committee session with the devious Foreign Secretary as reported by the usually pro-government Guardian, linked here: 'Mr Miliband has said that as long as the red lines were respected, there was no question of a referendum on the draft treaty.

However, today it emerged during Mr Miliband's questioning that if the UK does not agree to opt in on certain measures, there may be penalties - both constitutional and financial - for not agreeing to them.

"The red lines are about the right to choose," Mr Miliband told the committee. "For each and every measure the UK has a choice on whether to opt in."

The UK has five years to decide whether to opt in on certain measures as they are transposed from the current EU treaty to the new treaty. But under questioning from James Clappison, Conservative MP for Hertsmere, it was revealed that there could be penalties for not opting in.

If the UK decides not to opt in on a certain measure, the results could be that the new measure is dropped from the treaty - denying Britain the chance to opt in in future - or that the European commission could urge the UK to opt in on a measure, or the UK could be charged for not opting in following a vote by member states.

"If there are costs that are incurred as a result of opting out, we will bear them," said Mr Miliband.

As the panel became visibly frustrated over the course of the session, the chairman of the committee, Michael Connarty, eventually said the treaty was using bullying tactics in order to be passed and told Mr Miliband he was "shocked" he was trying to defend them.

EU Scrutiny Committee

Live streaming may be viewed from here. The Committee received the answer to their crucial letter, read here, only one hour before sitting. Asked why only 45 minutes had been allowed on yesterday's Luxembourg agenda, this was justified as being the first agenda item to allow all their say, of which some twenty spoke and some 50 minutes had thus been allowed!!!! Miliband stated that there is a commitment to re-write the English version tying Parliament. Foreign Office lawyer, Mr Thomas, admits including the Charter is a political decision. Miliband asserts there are no new rights granted by the Charter of Rights. A link to the letter and transcript will be posted here when available.

Miliband's unsubstantiated bluster and the facts

In The Guardian, linked here, we are informed as follows: Britain's "red lines" over a new EU treaty are not only holding but getting stronger, Foreign Secretary David Miliband said. Open Europe have issued a FACTUAL paper showing the truth is exactly the opposite, linked here, from which comes this quote: 1) The red lines are not going to work. The red lines are unlikely to be effective in preventing the kind of developments in the EU which the UK seeks to avoid, for the reasons set out in detail below. 2) The red lines are not even new, and so can’t be used as an excuse to back out of a referendum. The four red lines are essentially the same as in the original Constitution. Two of the red lines (social security and foreign policy) are more or less identical to their equivalents in the original EU Constitution, and could not be used as an excuse to back out of a referendum. The other two red lines – on the Charter and Justice and Home Affairs - have been tweaked compared to the original. However, the changes do not make any substantive difference. 3) The red lines only cover the ground the Government wants to fight on. The red lines are the issues which the Government wants to focus attention on. They are intended to distract from the many other areas where the Government is handing over more powers to the EU. These include: Majority voting in 60 new areas, covering everything from energy policy to employment law for the self employed. A 30% cut in Britain’s power to block legislation when votes are taken, meaning that more legislation the UK opposes will be passed. A de facto EU Foreign Minister, an EU Diplomatic Service, plus moves to a common defence through a new defence group. A powerful EU President – who could eventually be directly elected, like the US President. New EU powers over our public services – including health and education, public spending and transport. Making it easier for the EU to gain even more powers in the future. The new Treaty would allow EU leaders to move to majority voting in any of the areas covered by unanimity, without even needing to ratify these changes in national parliaments. Prediction: what will Brown do next week? Unless Gordon Brown is seen to have responded to the requests of the European Scrutiny Committee for clarifications he will further alienate a key group of MPs. Brown is therefore likely to at the very least insist on the changes to the Charter protocol and the JHA arrangements which the Committee has suggested. Brown will probably also try to undo the changes to Justice and Home Affairs made in the October draft. The October proposal would catastrophically undermine the “opt-in” arrangement and would deal a disastrous blow to the attempt to avoid a referendum. However, these are the very minimum changes that Brown is likely to seek. With referendum pressure building and his personal authority seen as damaged by most commentators, the PM can ill-afford to be seen to be giving way. In reality the UK has a veto – Gordon Brown can and will insist on much more widespread changes. He will then go on to claim a “historic victory” some time on Friday. As usual, the media should be wary of taking such claims at face value…

Miliband claims reassurances on role of Parliament

The lying Foreign Secretary of zero experience and amazingly even less credibility has claimed on the Today programme this morning that he has "reassurances" from our EU 'partners' on the role of our Parliament in the ever broader EU tyranny. This blog will research with interest to learn the exact nature of such "reassurances" but doubts whether they can prevent this clear attempt to bind future parliaments AND hand parliamentary authority to a foreign power!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Daily Mirror columnist turns on Brown

The following is a quote from an article appearing in the staunchly Labour paper the Daily Mirror, linked here: There were only ever two arguments against a referendum on the EU treaty. One - it is not the same as the EU constitution rejected by French and Dutch voters. Two - Gordon Brown had secured "red lines", on the treaty ensuring sovereign British rights were protected. They were the only arguments against a referendum, as Labour specifically promised a referendum on the EU constitution in its 2005 election manifesto. "It's actually not a constitution and, even if it was, we have secured clever little opt-out clauses. So there." But both those arguments disintegrated last week when the Labour-dominated House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee reported that, "the Reform Treaty produces a general framework which is substantially equivalent to the Constitutional Treaty," and in reality those clever little red lines would "leak like a sieve". The treaty Brown will be urged to sign in Lisbon means we would lose even more sovereignty and 60 powers of veto. The European Court would stick its snout into all manner of British affairs, from foreign policy to welfare. It would mean even deeper integration with Europe, which the majority of British people simply do not want. Gordon Brown has stood his ground against Brussels before. He is the only reason you are not walking around with Monopoly money in your pocket. Now he has to fight for Britain like never before. Gordon Brown ducked an election because he thought he might lose it. That is fine. But he simply does not have the option to duck a referendum on the EU treaty because he thinks he might lose.

45 minutes for Treaty Discussion

The Times reports that when the EU Foreign Ministers meet in Luxembourg today the treaty that will destroy most of Europes democracy is slated for a mere 45 minutes of their agenda schedule.

Bruges Group Press Release

PRESS RELEASEFor Immediate Release Immigration, AsylumAnd the Revived EU ConstitutionNew EU Constitution Threat to UK Border Control More breaches of the Government's Red Lines The Bruges Group has uncovered that the revived and renamed EU Constitution will blow a hole wide open in Britain's borders allowing the EU to take full control over Britain's asylum and immigration policies. The Treaty that Gordon Brown is expected to sign Britain up to next week includes new provisions; these will impose upon the UK the duty to be:"fair towards third-country nationals".'Fairness' is subjective. This will allow the European Court of Justice to rule that an Australian style quota policy cannot be used to restrict immigration. There will also be more costs placed on the taxpayer. The asylum provisions contain a solidarity clause. Under Article 69 c there will be increased demands on the taxpayer as Britain will be expected to share the financial burden of immigration. This will lead to Britain supporting asylum seekers in EU states that have a lower GDP than the UK. EU expert Dr Lee Rotherham says,"Once again, the renamed EU Constitution proves to be a Trojan Horse. Now we find that our ability to get a grip on asylum and immigration issues is under threat - our opt out is dangerously undermined. "When we pick at the details the Government's case for downplaying the text endlessly unravels. We must have a referendum." How the EU's immigration plans affect the Red Lines The Benefit SystemOne of the Government's so-called Red Lines relates to Britain's system of benefits. This will be breached because the EU desires that migrants to the UK should receive the same benefits as UK citizens. Home AffairsThe safe guards will not stop the EU pressurising Britain to hand over these important home affairs powers, thus breaching another red line.The Charter of Fundamental Rights The red line relating to the Charter will also be shattered by the EU's immigration policies because Protocol 22 will make the Charter of Fundamental Rights apply in cases of asylum. Key provisions of the Treaty The Bruges Group has argued, now with the support of the House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee, that the Government's opt-out clauses are not watertight and will not adequately defend Britain's interests. This will allow the EU to fulfil its long-term plans to take full control over asylum, immigration and Britain's border controls. Article 69 1 (a) The EU shall ensure:'the absence of any controls on persons, whatever their nationality, when crossing internal borders'Article 69 1 (c) The EU shall introduce: 'an integrated management system for external borders'Furthermore, Article 69 2 will give the EU the power to decide on who and for how long residents of non-EU states, even those from the Commonwealth, will be able to stay in Britain. The European Union will also determine the border checks that those people face. Article 69a sections 1 and 2 will give the EU full power over asylum and introduce easier immigration for those that it feels should receive subsidiary protection. Article 69b gives the EU full control over Britain's immigration policy.Under sections 2, 3 and 4 of that Article the EU even has the power to determine the rules that apply to people from so-called third-countries; this could end Britain's close ties with other Commonwealth nations. The implications of EU control over immigration If the Treaty is ratified we can expect that the implications will be severe: A Threat to British Civil Liberties: Section 3 of Article 69 even gives the EU the power to force Britain to adopt identity cards without our Parliament being able to reject themMore immigration: Mutual recognition of asylum decisions across the EU, allowing asylum seekers who received their status in one EU county to travel to Britain and automatically be given the same rights and benefits in the UK Britain being forced to take on the burden of immigrants arriving in other EU member states, particularly those arriving in Southern Europe Described as 'mobility partnerships' the EU will take control over migration and will make it easier for people to enter Britain Refugees that are awarded indefinite leave to remain in one EU country can then come and reside in Britain Asylum seekers that have been in Britain for more than five years will also be allowed to remain here indefinitely, regardless of change of circumstances in their country of origin. This will make it almost impossible for the UK to return refugees to their country of origin A more costly asylum system: The EU will replace the minimum standards for asylum seekers with costly mandatory standards to improve their treatment The EU will also force the British government to spend more on integrating asylum seekers The EU will force Britain to give immigrants and asylum seekers the same access to benefits as British citizensEnding British control: The EU will even take away power from the UK Government to implement the policies by establishing a European Support Office and determining common guidelines on enforcement of the rules relating to asylum seekers The EU will create a single process for designating and assessing applications for refugee status The EU will also decide, not the British government, who should be eligible for subsidiary protection thus allowing them access to the UK The EU will also take control over the UK's borders by awarding MORE power to FRONTEX (the EU agency for the management of operational cooperation at the EU's external borders) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- For further information contact:Robert OuldsDirectorThe Bruges Group227 Linen Hall, 162-168 Regent Street, London W1B 5TB

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Red Line threatened on Justice

The following is taken from an item from 'Open Europe': Commons Committee: UK red line on criminal justice further weakened in new draft Most papers report on Gordon Brown’s comments yesterday, made at a joint press conference with Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, apparently threatening to veto any treaty that did not guarantee UK ‘red lines’. He said, "I believe we have succeeded in our negotiating objectives. If we were not to achieve our red lines, we could not accept the amending treaty." However, the Commons European Scrutiny Committee questioned whether the UK red lines offered any real safeguard, arguing in a letter to David Miliband that the UK could be corralled into accepting EU control over criminal justice. The Committee said that the latest legal draft suggested the UK could only remain outside the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice for five years on justice and home affairs issues, and after that might face serious consequences if it decided not to accept ECJ jurisdiction. The Committee also warned that if the UK did not accept the jurisdiction, all EU measures adopted so far would cease to apply, and Britain would risk incurring "a potentially unlimited financial responsibility". At present Britain can choose to opt in to justice and home affairs issues, such as the European Arrest Warrant, but is not required to accept ECJ jurisdiction. "If we have understood the position correctly, the amendment to the Protocol and the Declaration could well have the effect of persuading the UK to opt in for fear of unpredictable consequences if it did not," Committee Chair Michael Connarty wrote. The FT’s Political Editor George Parker argues that Brown’s stance on the EU Treaty is “spin in its most juvenile form”. He goes on to say “I recently returned from a five-year stint as the FT’s Brussels bureau chief, and I can confirm that the new Treaty is – essentially – the same as the Constitution upon which the government did promise a referendum.” Simon Carr argues in the Independent, “The European Scrutiny Committee has identified serious weaknesses in the Government's position on this treaty. The committee, is, as it were, dealing with the treaty's language, not the linguistics, the spinnables. They lay out precisely how the red lines will be chewed up over time, bite by bite in the European Court of Justice. No one in Downing Street has asked the committee's chairman for a briefing, or advice or even a gloss on its report. They should. At least they'd weasel with more authority.” Michael White argues in the Guardian that the Committee “has spotted that Mr Blair's ‘opt-in’ option to pick and choose what bits of the justice and home affairs (JHA) agenda to embrace may only be good for five years. After that, it would be all JHA or nothing. Britain could lose a lot of cooperation on terrorism and crime - a growing EU concern - including extradition of terror suspects, where our own record is spotty.” A leader in the Sun argues that Brown must respond to the drop in the polls by calling a referendum on the revised EU Constitution.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Danes demanding a vote

Denmark now has 54 per cent wanting a vote on the misnamed EU Reform Treaty (Carry on corrupting would be more apt) but only 35 per cent would vote for the treaty, more cause for the EU member states leaders to continue to deny their people any say if they are to preserve the chances of later juicy plum EU employment. This report comes from China, linked here, believe it or not. Comment on the proposed reduction of MEPs only seems available this morning from Canada linked here. Am I the only person finding all this very, very peculiar?

Referendum Rally Update

Dear Friends,
The indoor speeches (QEII) part of the rally events of 27 October have been removed from the programme. This is due to the postal strikes and the number of people wanting to attend QEII. These two issues have combined to make it impossible to organise the access, ensure security and issue tickets. Following discussions with various authorities we have therefore decided to concentrate on the outdoor elements of the day, including a number of outdoor speakers. This will enable all who attend to experience the full rally and I am sure will be greatly welcomed.
All those who have purchased tickets will be contacted as soon as possible with refunds, unless they request that their ticket money is retained by PRR as a donation to the costs of the rally.
We will have a superb public rally, leading the nation on this most important issue and we are most grateful for your continued help in defending Britain. The events will commence at 12.15pm and continue with the mock ballot, outside the Houses of Parliament and speeches from politicians and others of great note.
This is the definitive opportunity to show the depth of support for people to be consulted. The opposition to the so-called 'EU Reform Treaty' is remarkable, even the Labour-dominated Parliamentary Scrutiny Committee now say it is just the rejected EU Constitution, with un-defendable red lines.
Details of when and where to join the Rally are available on the Rally website at
I look forward to seeing you at around 12.15pm on 27 October, opposite old Palace Yard (the House of Lords). The event will end by 3 pm.
Yours sincerely
Dr Bob Spink MP
Chairman, Pro Referendum Rally Steering Group

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Brown to "initial" deal in Lisbon

The report comes from the EU's pet poodle in the BBC Mark Mardell who nowadays, not content with his near monopoly propaganda spot in that disgracefully biased organisation, also runs a blog in which he states here: In practice, it means they want to get the Reform Treaty signed off with the minimum of fuss. Well, not actually signed off. The signing won’t come until that December summit. I understand the leaders may be asked to initial a document in Lisbon, so they have their monikers attached to a piece of paper without having formally “signed up” to the treaty. The interesting point here being with what authority can Brown give any agreement let alone append any written form of consent, to a document which will clearly breach the 1688 Bill of Rights, still in full effect. Moves by the Queen to transfer certain powers to parliament announced shortly after Brown became PM seem to indicate Her Majesty recognised the risk of a certain breach of her coronation oath. Brown as a Scottish MP is in an already delicate constitutional position, I had assumed it was one that might not arise until December, but if this "initialing" of documents really goes ahead, our thoroughly untrustworthy PM seems to be going to stare treason in the face this time next week1

Barroso shows his ignorance on Free Trade

A quote from the Guardian, here, exposes the President of the EU Commission's woeful ignorance on free trade, for centuries Britain prospered because we traded freely with the world, now we are in economic free fall stuck in the over-regulated EU while our so-called partners rob us blind, yet Barroso believes the following: Later, the European commission president will use a speech at St Antony's College, Oxford, to urge Britain to fully engage in Europe if it is to face up to the challenges posed by globalisation.

"I think it's important and I can't believe that Britain can be open to the world and closed to Europe," he said.

The facts of course speak otherwise. Britain's wealth can only come from the GROWING economies where democracy is entrenched or developing, not in an EU whose leaders can mount a massive conspiracy against their own citizens such as the non-referendumable EU Reform Treaty.

Italy under Prodi will accept any humiliation

Former EU Commission President Prodi and present PM of Italy has declared his country will happily lose six of their MEPs. Britain is set to lose five seats but France only four. Clearly the huge pension and EU benefits manipulate national leaders after holding EU posts as well as only in expectation as Britain is constantly witnessing with its hugely corrupt political class. We first blogged on this loss of parity with France here, but in the nine days that have since passed, has their been any British media coverage? -- None that I have been able to find! An IHT report is here. (Note the Irony in the body of the article and the headline - if the change is not to be part of the EU Reform Treaty negotiations why does the headline report that Prodi will not block the treaty on that topic?)

Telegraph demands 'Let people decide"

Read the leading article from today's newspaper linked from here.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Bruges Group on Red Line breach


Gordon Brown’s Government has watered down the UK’s opt-out on justice & security matters so that it becomes almost meaningless. Under the terms of the so-called Reform Treaty, the notoriously centralising European Court of Justice (which always agrees with those who favour taking power from the nation-state) will seize more power over Justice and Home Affairs. For purely cosmetic reasons the UK has managed to delay the EU’s takeover of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters for just 5 years. After this 5 year period, the UK has a right to opt out from any legislation on that area. However, both the general 5 year transitional period and the UK opt out cover only the legislation in force before the treaty becomes law (which is expected to happen on 1st January 2009). Additionally under Protocol 10 Article 10 (4) the EU by Qualified Majority Vote can force the UK to pay financial penalties for the opt out. Furthermore, a new article, 4a (2) in the Protocol on the Position of UK and Ireland (in respect of the area of freedom, security and justice) has been added to the Treaty protocol, giving the legal right to the EU Council of Ministers to put pressure on the UK to participate in the EU’s plans to control Britain’s legal system. This will lead to pressure for the UK to surrender more power in the following areas:

  • Immigration and frontier controls
  • (Loss of any pretence that we control our immigration policy)
  • Judicial co-operation in criminal matters
  • (Legal harmonisation)
  • Minimum rules for the definition of criminal offences and sanctions
  • (EU to control criminal law)
  • Eurojust (structure, operation, field of action and tasks)
  • (EU control over the fight against organised crime)
  • Police co-operation (data sharing and training)
  • (Britain’s policing to become like policing on the continent)
  • Europol (structure, operation, field of action and tasks)
  • (EU Police)
  • Specialised courts (establishment of specialised first instance courts)
  • (The undermining of Britain’s system of Common Law)
  • Establishment of integrated management system for external borders
  • (EU control of Britain’s borders)
  • Mechanism for peer review of member states' implementation of policies in the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) area
  • (Britain’s legal system to become accountable to the EU)
  • Measures to promote crime prevention
  • (More EU control over policing)
What is more if these powers are handed over there is nothing that our own democratic process can do to overturn those decisions.

Click on the links below to read the renamed EU Constitutional Treaty:

IGC report by European Scrutiny Committee

The change to a fresh set of lies by HM Government to avoid giving the people their promised referendum now centres on the 'Red Line' issues, I quote what the parliamentary committee stated in its report issued yesterday as follows: ======================= — the Government’s ‘red-line’ issues 51. The table in the Annex shows that the overall effect of the Reform Treaty for countries which do not seek agreements that some parts of the new Treaty do not apply is substantially equivalent to the Constitutional Treaty. Given the importance which the Government has attached to its “preconditions” or “red lines” for agreeing to any new Treaty, we think it useful to examine the extent to which the Reform Treaty marks a difference from the corresponding provision made in the Constitutional Treaty and meets those conditions, or whether any further amendments are required for those conditions tobe met. 52. In his appearance before the Liaison Committee on 18 June the then Prime Minister in response to questions from the Committee’s Chairman stated the Government’s position prior to the European Council as follows: “First, we will not accept a treaty that allows the Charter of Fundamental Rights to change UK law in any way. Secondly, we will not agree to something which displaces the role of British foreign policy and our foreign minister. Thirdly, we will not agree to give up our ability to control our common law and judicial and police system. Fourthly,we will not agree to anything that moves to qualified majority voting, something that can have a big say in our own tax and benefit system.” 53. These four conditions are re-stated (although in more general terms) in the White Paper as “protection of the UK’s existing labour and social legislation”, “maintenance of the UK’s independent foreign and defence policy”, “protection of the UK’s common law system, and our police and judicial processes” and “protection of the UK’s tax and social security system”. Additionally, the White Paper stated that the Government wished “to clearly establish that national security is a matter for the Member States”. In terms of the Reform Treaty these matters are covered in the provisions concerning the Charter of Fundamental Rights, the CFSP and ESDP, Justice and Home Affairs and on the extension of QMV to social security, respectively. — the Charter of Fundamental Rights 54. In relation to the Charter of Fundamental Rights, the White Paper states that the Government has achieved its aim of ensuring that “nothing in the [Charter] would give national or European courts any new powers to strike down or reinterpret UK law, including labour and social legislation”. To support this statement the Government relies on the Protocol which appeared at footnote 19 to the IGC Mandate and which is now set out in Protocol No 7 to the Reform Treaty. The Protocol has two main substantive articles, the first44 of which provides that: “1. The Charter does not extend the ability of the Court of Justice, or any court or tribunal of the United Kingdom, to find that the laws, regulations or administrative provisions, practices or action of the United Kingdom are inconsistent with the fundamental rights, freedoms and principles that it reaffirms. 2. In particular, and for the avoidance of doubt, nothing in Title IV of the Charter creates justiciable rights applicable to the United Kingdom except in so far as the United Kingdom has provided for such rights in its national law.” 55. We raised with the Minister a number of issues concerning the effect of the Protocol. As the Charter would apply to Member States when implementing Union law, the question arises of whether the UK would be bound by ECJ case law when the latter interprets Union law as implemented in other Member States in circumstances where the same Union law is also implemented in the United Kingdom. On the one hand, the Protocol states that the 44 Article 2 of the Protocol provides “To the extent that a provision of the Charter refers to national laws and practices, it shall only apply in the United Kingdom to the extent that the rights or principles that it contains are recognised in the law or practices of the United Kingdom”. Charter does not “extend” the ability of the ECJ to find that UK law is inconsistent with the Charter, but, on the other, the Protocol is itself expressed to be “without prejudice to other obligations of the United Kingdom under the Treaty on European Union, the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and Union law generally”. 56. In view of this possible inconsistency between the Protocol and the Treaties, we asked the Minister, when he gave evidence to us on 4 July, whether the general obligation to ensure the uniform application of Union law would give way to the Protocol when it came to the interpretation of Union law which had been implemented in the United Kingdom. The Minister replied that the ECJ already insists on the uniformity of application of EU law to which the UK has agreed, but that the Charter “does not create any new rights but brings together existing rights found under the ECHR, current EC Treaties and other instruments so there are no additional powers of consequence of the chapter being treated in this way”45. In our letter of 11 July to the Minister we said that the Minister appeared to acknowledge that the ECJ already interprets measures adopted at EU level in a uniform way and that interpretations by the ECJ in the light of the Charter would be binding on the UK in respect of measures to which the UK had already agreed. We asked the Minister if, by reason of the Protocol it was the Government’s position that the same consequence would not apply to new measures i.e. those adopted after the Protocol comes into force. 57. In his letter of 31 July the Minister replies as follows: “The UK-specific Protocol which the Government secured is not an ‘opt-out’ from the Charter. Rather, the Protocol clarifies the effect the Charter will have in the UK. The UK Protocol confirms that nothing in the Charter extends the ability of any court to strike down UK law. In particular, the social and economic provisions of Title IV give people no greater rights than are given in UK law. Any Charter rights referring to national law and practice will have the same limitations as those rights in national law. The Protocol confirms that since the Charter creates no rights, or circumstances in which those rights can be relied on before the courts, it does not change the status quo.” 58. We recall that the Commission’s opinion on the IGC Mandate states that the Charter “will apply in full to acts of implementation of Union law even if not in all Member States”, from which it could be inferred that ECJ interpretations based on the Charter would not apply to measures adopted in the UK to implement Union law. It could be argued that such an inference is not sustainable as the words of the recital reaffirm that the Protocol is “without prejudice to other obligations of the United Kingdom under the Treaty on European Union, the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and Union law generally”. The Minister also confirms that the Protocol is not an ‘opt-out’ from the Charter. If it is intended that ECJ case law based on the Charter should have no effect at all within the UK, we would have expected some provision in the Protocol to make it clear that the Protocol takes effect notwithstanding other provisions in the Treaties or Union law generally. This would be the more necessary given the tendency for any derogation from the Treaties to be interpreted restrictively by the ECJ. To take a possible example, the Working Time Directive46 contains provisions limiting the weekly hours of work of (Footnotes) 45 Q49 HC862-i. 46 Council Directive 104/93/EC, implemented in the UK by the Working Time Regulations 1998 SI 1998/1833. 20 European Scrutiny Committee, 35th Report, Session 2006-07 a worker to 48 hours per week, but with the possibility of agreements to waive those limits. As Article II-91(1) of the Charter provides that “every worker has the right to limitation of maximum working hours” we have some concern that it seems quite possible that following a reference to the ECJ from some other Member State the Court might find that, in the light of the Charter, the derogation from the Directive allowing such waivers has to be interpreted more restrictively than before (i.e. before the Charter had legal effect). 59. As another possible example, Article II-81 of the Charter prohibits discrimination “on any ground such as sex, race, colour, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, birth, disability, age or sexual orientation”. We would be concerned that, following a reference to the ECJ from some other Member State, the Court might find that a measure adopted at EU level (such as Council Directive 200/43/EC) had to be given an extended interpretation in the light of the wide grounds47 for prohibiting discrimination under the Charter. 60. If the Member States have indeed agreed in the IGC Mandate that a ruling from the ECJ in such cases should have no effect in the UK, then this ought to be made clear. In our view, there is here at least an ambiguity which should be resolved and the UK’s safeguards made firmer in the course of the IGC if the results claimed by the Government are to be secured. We would wish the Government to show how they have secured the UK from such interpretations and ask that they secure the phrasing “notwithstanding other provisions in the Treaties or Union law generally” in the text of the Protocol. 61. A secondary issue which we raised with the Minister was whether the provisions of Article 1(2) of the Protocol applied to the whole Charter or only to Title IV. We note the Minister’s confirmation in his letter of 16 July that the Protocol applies to all the Titles of the Charter, but we also observe that in the IGC Mandate text the reference to Title IV in Article 1(2) was in square brackets, so that it was not clear to us if the provision in Article 1(2) (which was a particular provision for the avoidance of doubt) applied only to Title IV or to the Charter as a whole. The Minister confirmed in his letter of 16 July to us that Article 1(2) referred only to Title IV.48 The Minister described the provision as securing “in particular that the Charter will not extend the ECJ’s or national courts’ power to challenge or reinterpret UK employment or social legislation” [our emphasis]. We accept that this was intended to underline the Government’s particular concern to secure its industrial relations legislative position. 62. We would be concerned if the assurances given by the Minister that the provision will secure the results which have been claimed prove to be flawed. As far as we are aware, avoidance of doubt provisions are a rarity in the Treaties and lead us to question why, in this case, the specific reference was only to Title IV. We would seek more concrete evidence from the Government that this provision could not be read as suggesting that the other provisions of the Charter do create justiciable rights applicable to the United Kingdom. We accept that the avoidance of doubt provision does not apply “in so far as the United Kingdom has provided for such rights in its national law”. (Footnotes) 47 The grounds of social origin, language, political or any other opinion, property and birth are not mentioned in Article 13 EC. 48 Title IV of the Charter (Articles 87-106) is concerned with social and employment rights, including the right to strike. The application of this exception would, ultimately, be a matter for the ECJ in the event of a dispute involving UK law. We would seek to clarify with the Government what protection there is for their safeguards in this area and if the ECJ could decide that the exception would not apply, because the UK had made provision of some kind in an area (e.g. in relation to limits on working time) even if the provision did not exactly match what the ECJ might consider was required by the Charter. We would wish to know what value the Government’s claimed safeguards would provide if this was to occur. — CFSP and ESDP 63. The Constitutional Treaty provided for European decisions relating to the Common Foreign and Security Policy to be adopted by unanimity, “except in the cases referred to in Part III”.49 These cases largely corresponded to those for which QMV is already provided for by Article 23(2)EU, but now include decisions on proposals from the High Representative where these have been specifically requested by the European Council by unanimity, the decision to establish ‘permanent structured cooperation’ in defence by those Member States willing to do so, and decisions (by the special legislative procedure) for cooperation on diplomatic and consular protection. These provisions of the Constitutional Treaty will be taken over in a new Title V EU which will maintain the largely intergovernmental nature of the CFSP and ESDP. 64. A point which concerned our predecessors when they considered the Constitutional Treaty was that the jurisdiction of ECJ was not excluded in respect of Article I-16 CT (which set out Union competence and provided for a duty on Member States actively and unreservedly to support the Union’s common foreign and security policy) even though the ECJ had no jurisdiction in relation to CFSP under Part III of the Constitutional Treaty. We welcome the clarification (by a new Article 11(1) EU) that the ECJ will not have jurisdiction, save in respect of monitoring compliance with the provisions Article III-308 (which preserve the non-CFSP competences of the institutions) and in relation to the legality of restrictive measures imposed on natural or legal persons. — Justice and Home Affairs 65. The provisions of the Constitutional Treaty on judicial cooperation in criminal matters will be reproduced in the Reform Treaty in the form of an amended Title IV which will incorporate Articles III-257-277 of the Constitutional Treaty and, accordingly, measures under that Title will for the most part50 be adopted by QMV and codecision. The previous Committee drew attention to similar proposals when it considered the Convention51. The previous Committee was not persuaded that there was any need to abandon the safeguard of unanimity in such sensitive areas, and paid particular attention to the so-called ‘emergency brake’ which was introduced in the Constitutional Treaty and would allow a Member State to require that a proposal should be referred to the European Council if it 49 Article I-40(6) CT. (Footnotes) 50 Exceptionally, unanimity is required for measures concerning family law (Article 69d [Article III-269 CT]), the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (Article 69i [Article III-274 CT]), operational cooperation between police authorities (Article 69j [Article III-275]), operations of police and other authorities within territory of another Member State (Article 69l [Article III-277]). 51 HC 63 –xxvi-I (2002-03) (25 June 2003). affected fundamental aspects of its criminal justice system.52 The previous Committee had reservations about the voting arrangements for the adoption of criminal justice measures under that Treaty, but accepted that the ‘emergency brake’ procedure could provide an effective mechanism to protect Member States which are initially outvoted.53 However, an emergency brake cannot be applied very frequently and it may be difficult to protect against the repackaging of controversial proposals into smaller measures. 66. A further safeguard for the UK (and Ireland) is now proposed in the Reform Treaty to the effect that the existing ‘opt-in’ arrangements under the Protocol on the position of the United Kingdom and Ireland54 should also apply to the new provisions now transferred to Title IV. It is clear from the ‘opt-in’ arrangements that the United Kingdom is free to decide whether or not to take part in the negotiation of proposals under the transferred provisions, and to that extent is able to protect the distinctive features of the legal systems of the UK, including criminal law and procedure. 67. It is less clear if, having once made a decision to opt in, the United Kingdom remains free not to take part in a measure should the negotiations produce a text which is not acceptable. The Protocol does not provide for any revocation of the decision to opt in and, as far as we are aware, there has been no case in which the UK having once opted in to a measure under Title IV EC, has subsequently not taken part in that measure. There is, therefore, a risk that having once opted in to a draft measure, the UK will find itself unable to prevent amendments in the course of negotiations which are disadvantageous to the UK, since these will be adopted by QMV and codecision. This is a particular risk in civil matters where the ‘emergency brake’ is not available. Even where the emergency brake is in principle available, we consider that the interests of the UK would be better protected if it were confirmed that the UK is free to revoke its decision to opt in if the final text is not acceptable. We will seek to explore with the Government the necessity of achieving this agreement at the IGC. =================================== The document in pdf or html format is available from this link.