Friday, June 22, 2007

Stitching EU up

Via The Ecclesiastical Eminence, I see that Benedict Brogan has been examining the draft EU Treaty and has picked up on a rather worrying point.
We've just been briefed by Downing Street on the back-room stitch-up between Tony Blair and Nicolas Sarkozy. In sum, we have caved in to French demands for a massive watering down of the EU's commitment to "free and undistorted" competition. And we wouldn't have known about it if the FT hadn't spotted it.

The French have craftily got the Germans to change the Union's objectives from "The Union shall establish an internal market where competition is free and undistorted" to "The Union shall establish an internal market." The result, according to the people who understand these things, is that next time Nicolas Sarkozy bungs a hefty wedge to one of its failing state industries, it has a legal get-out if the Commission then tries to take France to the European Court.

One of the few things that could possibly be said to be a benefit of the EU is the free market; if, however, a committment to this is not going to be in the Constitution treaty, then what will our politicos say when hard-pressed to come up with any pro-EU arguments?

Your humble Devil was lunching in Portcullis House today, with chaps from The Bruges Group and The Freedom Association, when we were joined by a researcher who mentioned the point made above.

He also made note of something rather more sinister that the MSM seems to have overlooked; apparently there is a clause demanding that all member states' parliaments adhere to "subsidiarity."

Now, we discussed what this word could possibly mean for a little while, but couldn't decide on a definition. However, Wikipedia defines subsidiarity in this way... [Emphasis mine.]
Subsidiarity is the principle which states that matters ought to be handled by the smallest (or, the lowest) competent authority. The Oxford English Dictionary defines subsidiarity as the idea that a central authority should have a subsidiary function, performing only those tasks which cannot be performed effectively at a more immediate or local level. The concept is applicable in the fields of government, political science, cybernetics and management. Subsidiarity is, ideally or in principle, one of the features of federalism.

Our researcher friend made it clear that, in his opinion, from a full reading of the text, that the Constitution treaty, for the first time, explicitly says that member states are subservient to the EU Institutions (which become a legal entity). In other words the EU becomes the supreme central authority, and member parliaments merely subsidiary local authorities.

Need I point out that I consider this to be an appalling—if predictable—development?

In other news (or should that be "olds"?), those in receipt of EU pensions continue to deny that these pensions (of up to £70,000 a year) should be a declarable financial interest even though—as Lord Pearson of Rannoch has so helpfully reminds us—these pensions can be withdrawn if the drawers displease their EU masters.
... EU pensions are unusual in that holders of them can lose them if, in the opinion of the Commission and the Luxembourg court they,
"fail to uphold the interests of the European Communities".

In other words, many of those who rule us—10 of the previous 22 speakers in that debate—have a financial interest in extolling the virtues of the EU for, if they do not, then they might lose their EU pension. I have given up being surprised; instead, it provides yet more proof that we are ruled, in the main, by some of the most corrupt and dishonest people in the country.

Meanwhile, over in Brussels, the Independence and Democracy Group—the EUsceptic EU Parliamentary grouping that UKIP belong to (and Cameron could instruct his MEPs to join were he not such a rampant EU-federalist)—decided to carry out a peaceful protest against the Constitution treaty: unfortunately, it was short-lived. Trixy has the details.
Got a phone call from colleague who is out there that the Belgian police, instructed by we can only guess had ordered a peaceful protest to the new EU Treaty up for discussion to be taken down.

When they asked why they were taking the peaceful protest down, which was placed on an area called 'Area of Free Expression' the officer in charge said "because I can". That's nice, isn't it! He was also asked whether or not the removal of any opposition to the new EU Treaty, which is essentially the EU Constitution but without the dreaded C-word (yes, yes it is. Everyone else in the EU is quite prepared to say so except our lying, cheating politicians who should all be hung, drawn and quartered. Even Merkel herself and the hateful Giscard D'Estaing)was politically motivated, which he refused to answer.

He threatened to arrest three MEPs there: UKIP leader Nigel Farage, the party chairman Dr John Whittaker and the London MEP Gerard Batten. When it was pointed out that they had immunity as elected representatives of some 2.6 million British people the police said they didn't care and that they would "put them in a cell for 12 hours and sort it out there."

I wonder if they would bother to tell them what they were being arrested for? For not agreeing with the Euro-Elite? For having the audacity to point out that sneaking around for months holding secret meetings with civil servants, Ministers being called in front of MPs and not answering their questions about what the Treaty is going to say and for ignoring the calls of people across the EU that they don't want any more integration is a bad thing?

They were asked on what authority they were taking the protest away from, and the answer that came was "a higher authority." That's nice. Someone just says, 'take down the perfectly peaceful opposition to what we are doing here as the TV cameras are on it and they're representing the views of rather too many people' and it is done.

Elaib has the story in pictures, and UKIP have a press release.
Four MEPs were threatened with arrest today after Belgian police objected to a peaceful protest outside the European Union summit.

Divisional Commander Pierre Vandernissen said he was "acting on instructions from a higher authority" when he confiscated an inflatable bulldozer and threatened to arrest MEPs Nigel Farage, John Whittaker, Derek Clark and Gerard Batten. When questioned why he was doing it, he answered "because I have the power" and refused to say whether or not it was politically motivated. "I don't have to answer you" he said.

Part of the discussions over the new EU Treaty is the plan to decide Justice and Home Affairs by Qualified Majority Voting and remove the veto which Britain currently has.

The inflatable bulldozer was part of an €11,000 display by the Independence and Democracy group attacking EU politicians for their secrecy over the treaty. On it was written, 'Clearing the way for the EU constitution' and 'Don't let them bulldoze the treaty through'.

Within 20 minutes of the bulldozer being inflated, just yards from the entrance to the European Council on the 'Zone of Free Expression', 35 policemen had arrived, switched the generator off and parked their police vans to obscure the view of the world's TV cameras which had been trained on the spot. The inflatable was confiscated and will not be returned until the end of the summit, if then.

The police commander told Mr Farage that "you will go to a cell for 12 hours and then we will sort it out." He later threatened to arrest everyone in the area, including civil servants and members of the press.

UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage slammed the moves by police as "storm trooper tactics."

"I have seen the future of Europe, and I don't like it." said Mr Farage. "It was an outrageous response to what was intended to be a humorous counterpoint to the debate over the future of the continent".

"We have protested all over Europe without a complaint from anybody. This is a deliberate attempt to stifle any objection to the new EU treaty.

"Once again we have seen that the EU don't want to know about concerns people may have. They can't accept that 'no' means 'no' which is why they are holding discussions over this treaty in secret, and they are trying to sneak in parts of the EU Constitution even though the French and Dutch voted against it.

"How Labour, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats can want to hand over more power to these people is, frankly, astonishing."

What a wonderful foreshadowing of how peaceful protest will be dealt with in this country is a few short years when whichever traitorous bastard politician finally sells us down the fucking Swannee by signing the bloody Constitution treaty. [Sorry, I really must stop making that mistake—DK]

Labour, LibDems, Tories: it doesn't matter which you vote for. Remember this time for later years, when you are talking to your children; because when they ask you (struggling with the unfamiliar words), "Mummy, Daddy, what was "democracy"? What was "freedom"? And then you can tell them about it; and you can tell them about how some corrupt and hypocritical politicians (they will know that word all right) sold us into slavery and how the British people—grown fat and lazy and stupid and apathetic on a diet of mindless TV and state handouts—let the politicians do it because they had abdicated their freedoms to the state, sacrificed their liberty on the altar of an Easy Life.

Well, we've already had one quote from V For Vendetta in the last 24 hours, so let us have another; this is from the film and I consider it to be rather superior to that of the graphic novel (and that, I will admit, is partly because of my politics).
Good evening, London. Allow me first to apologize for this interruption. I do, like many of you, appreciate the comforts of every day routine- the security of the familiar, the tranquility of repetition. I enjoy them as much as any bloke. But in the spirit of commemoration, thereby those important events of the past usually associated with someone's death or the end of some awful bloody struggle, are celebrated with a nice holiday, I thought we could mark this November the 5th, a day that is sadly no longer remembered, by taking some time out of our daily lives to sit down and have a little chat.

There are of course those who do not want us to speak. I suspect even now, orders are being shouted into telephones, and men with guns will soon be on their way. Why? Because while the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of a truth.

And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn't there? Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission. How did this happen? Who's to blame? Well, certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you're looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror.

I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn't be? War, terror, disease. There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Fear got the best of you, and in your panic you turned to the now High Chancellor, Adam Sutler.

He promised you order, he promised you peace, and all he demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent. Last night I sought to end that silence.

Last night I destroyed the Old Bailey, to remind this country of what it has forgotten. More than four hundred years ago a great citizen wished to embed the fifth of November forever in our memory. His hope was to remind the world that fairness, justice, and freedom are more than words, they are perspectives. So if you've seen nothing, if the crimes of this government remain unknown to you, then I would suggest you allow the fifth of November to pass unmarked.

But if you see what I see, if you feel as I feel, and if you would seek as I seek, then I ask you to stand beside me one year from tonight, outside the gates of Parliament, and together we shall give them a fifth of November that shall never, ever be forgot.

Although I find myself despairing at the apathy and ignorance of the people of this country, the film inspires, I think; it allows for the possibility that maybe—just maybe—people can be made to understand what they have sacrificed, to be inspired to stand up and regain their freedom.

And then I look around at our media—The Sun, Heat, Poly Toynbee—and our politicians and the people that I meet and I think (melodramatically), alas, it is only a film. Only in the blogosphere do I find any hope that something might change: maybe the best that we can hope for are some politicians who care about more than merely stuffing their faces and pockets...


AD Scott said...

This is how things are done. Bit by bit they will take away our freedom, masquerading under the umbrella of counter-terrorism and public health.

The real problem is that they actually believe they are doing the RIGHT thing by the public. They are immune to reason.

How long before the backlash and we sor out this sorry state of affairs?

Mark Wadsworth said...

Ad Scott, soon, hopefully soon.

AntiCitizenOne said...

...and so the coup moves into its final stage.

Anyone know a good producer of spikes? I'll need them for some heads that will be collected soon.

Roger Thornhill said...

As Farage said in his Blair-busting tirade a year or so back, the French look after their own National interests and in their case they see the ability to twist and distort the market for their own needs.

And we are asked to compete in open tenders with such people? It is a joke. The thing is their own folly can be their own affair - the issue is we are being forced to join the economice suicide pact.

I am also most concerned at the fate of the inflatable bulldozer (there is something so powerfully ridiculous about it - a form of ridicule that projects upon those of the EU). Actions of the protest group are superb ways to highlight the true colours of the EU. It is likely to expose the true colours of the MSM and 3 main parties, too.

The V quote I like is:

Chancellor: "What we need right now is a clear message to the people of this country. This message must be read in every newspaper, heard on every radio, seen on every television. This message must resound throughout the entire Interlink! I want this country to realize that we stand on the edge of oblivion. I want every man, woman and child to understand how close we are to chaos. I want everyone to remember why they need us!"

word verification: lieyfin

Gawain Towler said...

How bored am I, liveblogging the European Council

Doktorb said...

"Only in the blogosphere do I find any hope that something might change"

Aaah, that is the problem, though. Politicos on line will always get together and give themselves the impression that things will change. I work in an office with a dozen under-30s: you'd be hard pressed to get them to know what the EU /is/, never mind specific treaties.

You're right - so many of the population are happy in thier ignorance, making it easier to sign away our freedoms.

BBC News this morning - 3 minutes on the Consti..Treaty, over 30minutes in total on driving lessons or somesuch trivial guff.

laurence said...

"I find myself despairing at the apathy and ignorance of the people of this country"

Sadly, this is how I feel much of the time, these days. I mean - the incident in Brussels with the fascist Belgian police action - it should be a national scandal; the whole nation should be up in arms about it - our elected representatives (even if they are only elected to the piece of crap known as the EU 'parliament') being threatened with arbitrary arrest for peacefully exercising their right to protest (although there may well not be such a right in Belgium - most European countries have never developed anything as advanced as 'habeas corpus' or Magna Carta or the Bill of Rights - the things that used to protect our freedoms in Britain). Are they up in arms? Are there headlines on every newspaper? Are people rioting in the streets and burning effigies of EU leaders? My arse!! They are more likely to be watching 'Big Brother', getting pissed and beating one another over the head with broken bottles, or shooting up. Or if they are half-educated their brains have been so addled with left-wing propaganda they will happily see the last vestiges of our ancient liberties handed over to the EU reich and think it all so lovely and fluffy and 'cosmopolitan'. I sometimes feel there is no hope. I can't bear, though, to think that after what Churchill called 'the long annals' of our amazing history as a country we should end in abject surrender and the rape of our culture, society, constitution and whole way of life. I just can't believe we can go on putting up with this appalling shit. UKIP gives me *some* hope - but then I realise just how few people are even interested enough or capable of coherent thought on the subject to vote for them. And the great droves of mindless sheep that will vote for whatever shallow con-man (are you listening, Dave?) makes them some shiny new promises that no-one but a complete moron imagines they will ever fulfil. Pardon this outburst, but God - it makes me so bitter!
No - we must pull ourselves together and keep on trying. 'We shall never surrender!' - remember those words? Though perhaps we should start preparing for some sort of underground resistance movement? They had to do it in occupied Europe under the Nazis, and under the Soviet tyranny - maybe we have taken our freedoms for granted for too long? Perhaps we will have to start earning them all again? I hope I have the courage.
Mr. Hughes

Unknown said...

With regards to subsidiarity DK, can I point out that even the most cursory parsing of the definition you so kindly provided points out that you are exactly wrong.

The principle of subsidiarity determines that "a central authority should have a subsidiary function, performing only those tasks which cannot be performed effectively at a more immediate or local level". IE - where possible everything should be done at the nation-state rather than the european level. It is associated with federalism in that in federalism power is held away from the centre.

Surely you should be cheering attempts to circumscribe the power of the European centre (or at least swearing loudly at the fact that they are happenning in name only). Don't get all het-up just because the definition has the word 'federalism' in it. In this context subsidiarity is something we want a damn-sight more of.

Devil's Kitchen said...


Yes, yes; I take your point: however, I would ask you to note that the "central authority" is the ultimate power in this arrangement.

And ultimately, the extent to which the EU devolves its responsibilities is, ultimately, up to the EU and not our government.


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