Monday, June 25, 2007

I'd love to bend over and take it from EU

So, our politicians continue to sell the people of Britain down the river with the new EU Constitution treaty which so wonderfully benefits this country. Want a brief rundown of the fucking triumph that Blair has secured for us?
So we lose a functioning EU single market, the one benefit that makes membership worthwhile.

We keep the Common Agricultural Policy, which we all so love.

Our net payments double by 2011.

We gain:

A full-time EU president and foreign minister, with an EU diplomatic service.

A EU justice department, with an attorney-general (European Public Prosecutor), able to initiate investigations into EU citizens ... ie the sort of people reading this blog.

An EU supreme court, with jurisdiction over almost every line in the new treaty – ie its reach is broadened from `Community Law’ to ‘Union Law’. A great leap forward. It gains a say over criminal justice, and over elements of foreign affairs and defence through the early enabling clauses.

It will get to rule on a host of economic and social rights that do not exist in the English Common Law tradition, allowing judges to impose Continental corporatism by the back door. Our “opt-out” on the Charter of Fundamental Rights is only partial since it gives the ECJ the final say over whether or not we are exempted.

The EU gets “legal personality” for the first time, allowing it to negotiate treaties in its own right.

We give the European Parliament effective power of the purse, doubling its powers with a veto in 40 new areas.

We put the EU powers in charge of energy policy for the first time, allowing it to “coordinate” reserves in a crisis – which it defines. Quite a coup given that the UK hosts the majority of the EU’s oil reserves.

And for good measure, we get an automatic escalator so that EU treaties can now be pushed ever further without the need for referendums, or the sorts of battles we have just had.

Splendid.

For fuck's sake, is anyone as scared as I am yet? We are signing away our freedom to a bunch of unelected, foreign bureaucrats whose legal system doesn't even work on the same basis as ours. All those things that we have taken for granted all of these hundreds of years—common law, trial by jury, habeas corpus, the presumption of innocence—will all be superceded by the vastly inferior, and illiberal, Roman Law system of the Continent.

Why is no one doing anything about this? Why are our politicians colluding in this treachery? Oh, and whilst NuLabour screw us, and the LibDems would do so even more, can we look to the Tories to save us? Not fucking likely.

I reproduce, once again, my email conversation with Tory Head of Policy, Oliver Letwin.
Dear Mr Letwin,

A few weeks ago, I attended at your Bow Group lecture.

At the end of it, I asked you a question about our membership of the European Union as it related to your new ideas for Tory policy. I also maintained, with some off the cuff figures, that I simply could not see the benefits of remaining with this organisation.

Your answer was, essentially, that if I was as aware or informed of the arguments as yourself, then I would see the benefits of staying in. I wonder if you might enlighten me with a few of these benefits, as I am unable to see any that could not be achieved by simple inter-governmental Treaties on the relevent issues.

Yours sincerely

DK

His reply.
Dear DK,

Thank you for your email of 12 March.

I don't believe that we could achieve a European Emissions Trading Scheme except through the EU.

I don't believe that we could negotiate successfully at the WTO except by joining forces with other EU countries.

I don't believe that our economy would perform merely so strongly if we were not part of the Single Market arrangements.

I have listed just three of the reasons why I think it is worth being part of the EU.

But I certainly believe that, as well as resisting the new Constitution and avoiding the Euro, we need to move towards a much more open Europe - with, for example, much greater national powers over employment and social legislation.

With best wishes.

Yours sincerely,

Oliver Letwin,

Rt Hon Oliver Letwin, MP
Member of Parliament for West Dorset

I pulled apart his email (fisked in detail here)...
Dear Mr Letwin,

Thank you for your reply which, I have to say, I was a little disappointed with. I shall just take your three points in order.
I don't believe that we could achieve a European Emissions Trading Scheme except through the EU.

(I shall leave aside the fact that, having examined a good deal of the science surrounding this, I don't believe that human carbon emissions have any significant effect on the environment.)

This country -- indeed, all countries -- make unilateral Treaties. There are a great many examples of this; the UN would be a good starting point. However, we could also take something more prosaic: the fact that my Airmail gets to its destination, for instance, is through these sorts of Treaties. If climate change is that important, I am sure that we would be able to negotiate a reasonable position on this issue (and not only with the EU, but with everyone in the world) through this avenue.
I don't believe that we could negotiate successfully at the WTO except by joining forces with other EU countries.

What are we rated at the moment? The fifth largest economy in the world -- something like that? Plus, you can factor in our links with all of the Commonwealth countries (and India) and the Anglosphere generally, and you think that we wouldn't be able to negotiate?

I might also ask what you think we need to negotiate? Most reasonable people believe that it is free trade that makes us rich, and it is certainly a central tenet of international trade economics that it is imports that make a nation's population richer. All we have to say at the WTO is that "Britain will erect no barriers, tariffs or quotas: come trade with us!"

This would, incidentally, go some way to solving two other problems: first, that of climate change as defined by the IPCC's A1 family of scenarios (utterly ignored by Stern in his valueless Review) which envision freer trade and increasing technological cooperation. Second, it would go a long way towards helping the peoples of the Developing World by providing a free market for their goods.

The EU actively hampers free-trade; worse, it derives a good proportion of its money from the tariffs imposed on goods entering the EU and so has zero incentive to reform this aspect of its job. The EU is a customs union.
I don't believe that our economy would perform merely so strongly if we were not part of the Single Market arrangements.

That is not the conclusion reached by this Civitas paper, or by the distinguished economist, Patrick Minford. My blogging colleague, Strange Stuff, sums all of this up quite nicely in the following passage.
However the EU also prevents the UK from many potentially good opportunities. Such as in 2003 when
a Bill was introduced in the Senate that would have created a free-trade agreement between the two countries. Alas, Blair had to decline this, shamefacedly (I’d like to think) having to point out that this country had no right to negotiate international trade agreements.

Free trade with the USA is not the only area that Britain could have been trying for, free trade agreements with fast growing Brazil, India, or China might have been possible where we not in the EU. Or Africa, allowing us cheaper food, and the African nations a way to build up their economies. But instead Britain is shackling to the slowly sinking states of old Europe and is impoverishing Africa thanks to the EU's CAP.

Estimating the costs of these lost opportunities can lead to total figures such for the cost of being in the EU that are truly horrendous.
when one adds on the costs described earlier to the opportunity costs, the current recurring annual net cost to the UK of EU membership is ten percent of GDP, or approximately £100 billion per year at present levels of UK GDP.

this from a newsletter in 2004 [PDF], so the numbers will probably have gone up since then. That rather makes the 20 billion that Mr Hague claims that the UK gets from the common market seem rather insignificant.

Well, quite.

The EU, through its protectionist policies, impoverishes those within and without its barriers. The EU's regulations lead to stagnating economies.

The EU has a massive democratic deficit, with its laws initiated by the unelected and amended and vetted in secret, behind closed doors.

The EU is a corrupt organisation, its accounts qualified for the last 12 years and any whistle-blowers persecuted. Indeed, we are breaking the EU's own anti-money laundering laws by giving funds to an organisation lacking in proper accounting procedures.

The EU's environmental record is appalling; just look at the disaster of the Common Fisheries Policy. Or, the massive waste and environmental damage occasioned by the constant to-ing and fro-ing between Brussels and Strasbourg.

Now, you can dismiss me as a crank, of course, but I have to say that you have utterly failed to convince me of the rectitude of your arguments. Further, you have failed to explain how you are going "move towards a much more open Europe" where everyone before you has failed on a similar slogan ("In Europe, not ruled by Europe", etc.).

Regards,

DK

One might have thought that, having received such a detailed response, dear old Ollie might possibly have got off his fat, tedious arse and decided to stick up for himself. After all, he was unequivocable about the need to remain in the EU.

He gave me three reasons why this was the case which I comprehensively demolished, with supporting evidence. And the great Letwin's reply?
Dear DK,

Thank you for your further email of 19 March.

I am sorry that you and I do not agree about this matter - but I fear that we shall have to agree to differ.

At least we shall find ourselves on the same side of the argument if, as I suspect, we need to mount a campaign for a referendum on a new constitutional proposal and thereafter a campaign against the acceptance of such a constitution.

With best wishes.

Yours sincerely,

Oliver Letwin

Rt Hon Oliver Letwin, MP
Member of Parliament for West Dorset

That, ladies and gentlemen is the Head of Policy for the Tories. Given that the EU should be our first and absolute priority—after all, EU law has primacy over our own and politicians enable policy through making laws; what is the point of that if the laws that you make can be over-ruled by a foreign body?—will the Tories not change their policy? If not, why not?

I feel another email to Ollie coming on...

UPDATE: an email duly sent to Letwin.
Dear Mr Letwin (or whichever researcher gets saddled with answering this email),

In April 1970, Edward Heath said that further European integration would not happen
“except with the full-hearted consent of the Parliaments and peoples of the new member countries.”

Despite that, there was no referendum and we joined the EEC in 1973.

In the first half of 1975 (two years before I was born), the British public were asked the following question.

"Do you think the UK should stay in the European Community (Common Market)?"

The people were specifically told that Britain was joining a Common Market and not a federalist superstate project. This was, as we now know, a quite deliberate lie, initiated by Heath and perpetrated by many politicians since.

During our email conversation in mid-March, you gave three reasons why we should remain within the EU. Leaving aside the fact that I disagreed with these reasons (at length and with supporting documents), you did sign off with the following:
At least we shall find ourselves on the same side of the argument if, as I suspect, we need to mount a campaign for a referendum on a new constitutional proposal and thereafter a campaign against the acceptance of such a constitution.

Now that we know the shape of the Constitution, will the Conservatives start the campaign for a referendum before we sign the document (presumably at some point at the end of this year)?

The treaty will establish the EU as a legal entity and will, amongst other things, further erode our Common Law tradition; these are not simply words, they are our way of life and our protection from the tyranny of the state. I like the presumption of innocence; I like habeas corpus; I like the right to trial by jury, and I do not want to see them destroyed under the EU corpus juris.

So, will you start campaigning for a referendum now, or shall we assume that the Conservatives stand against these three basic (and hard-won) pillars of justice?

Further, we now know that, to appease the French, the treaty reneges on the EU commitment to the free internal market, with the words "The Union shall establish an internal market where competition is free and undistorted" altered simply to "The Union shall establish an internal market."

Given that the free market was the only decent justification for being part of the EU, will the Conservatives not be the political party courageous enough to call for a referendum on our membership of the entire project? Two recent polls have shown that 80% of the British people want a referendum on this issue: why is the Conservative Party so determined to fly in the face of public opinion? Just simply on a practical basis, the promise to hold a referendum on EU membership would ensure a landslide Tory win at the next election (and neuter UKIP).

I look forward to your reply,

Regards,

DK

Let us see whether some poor fucking dope of a researcher Oliver addresses this email with any more guts than he did the last.

I'm not holding my breath but, you know, one continues to hope that maybe—just maybe—one of these corrupt fuckers might pull a miracle out of his fat, over-fed arsehole.

3 comments:

Mark Wadsworth said...

DK< don't forget to mention the EU's suggested motto "Unity in diversity".

Which they will no doubt follow up with "Ignorance is strength", "Freedom is slavery" and "War is peace".

haddock said...

It is quite likely that the tories will 'demand' a referendum, which will give them credence with voters and then actively campaign for the status quo. These are politicians you are talking to DK, they do not have the morals of the common herd.

Bag said...

DK, You are in fine form lately. I suspect that by the time we get to the next election the MPs only role in the UK is to vote themselves more wages, perks and work towards removing elections.

I'm looking forward walking in Westminster and having a politician danglng from every lamppost.