Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Time for EU to see if they've lied (again)

A few weeks ago, I pointed out that the Tories' "referendum lock" on EU Treaties was a pointless piece of posturing that would be utterly ineffective, even if applied.

The whole issue has quickly become relevant because of the desire for the EU—driven by Germany—to gain control over Member States' economies. David Cameron was supposed to have won a great victory by enabling Britain to opt out of the EU's budgetary vetting, in return for supporting the three new EU QUANGOs gaining regulatory powers over the City and banking in general.

I would say that was, at best, a Pyrrhic victory and, at worst, a craven and stupid piece of negotiation which Cameron—and, more to the point, everyone else in Britain—is going to regret bitterly.

As President Sarkozy pointed out...
"Only four months ago, the words 'economic governance' were a taboo. But the idea is progressing."

Indeed. And it seems like Tough Dave Cameron is totally on board with the project. And even were he not, has Dave really managed opt out of EU oversight of the British budget?
In the words of a German diplomat, who upon reportedly hearing British claims of a victory at the summit, said, "Let's wait until October".

Well, it is now October and, sure enough, Douglas Carswell MP has found a puzzling piece of small print in the proposed Treaty.
If you read the European Commission document 11807/10 [PDF], however, it doesn’t seem quite so clear cut. Studying it, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the new rules on fiscal oversight are going to apply to all EU Member States, not just members of the Euro.

The paper – subtitled “Tools for stronger EU economic governance” – focuses on how Member States, not just Euro countries, “will act in compliance with the EU framework.” The “new structured mechanism” for vetting each countries budget will be applied to “all Member States”.

In or out of the Euro, the paper suggests Britain may indeed have her budget subject to EU Commission vetting – albeit that the time table for this “semester” process might allow officials to claim that the Commons gets to see it first.

And what if Brussels did not approve of the tax and spend policies of our democratically elected government?

If such rules only apply to Eurozone countries, why does page 5 of the document, under the heading “Corrective Action”, say that “This mechanism would apply to all Member States”. Use of that word “all”, again. If there’s a caveat saying “all” excludes Britain, I couldn’t find it.

On the next day, Douglas reminds us that "the cast iron guarantee" on the Lisbon Treaty was reneged on. And now there looks like there will be another Treaty—without any referendum.
Prepare for the government spin, which will likely say:

1. This new agreement involving France and Germany etc is not really a new treaty.

2. It doesn't involve giving the EU new powers in new areas. Just transfers in existing areas. And when we promised a referendum on any further transfer of new powers, we meant in new transfers of power within new areas. Obviously.

3. Besides, this is not a significant transfer of power. We were careful to say there'd be a referendum only when there were significant transfers. And we don't think this is significant. So there.

4. This new thingy, which isn't really a treaty, doesn't involve us, as we're not in the Euro. Despite what the small print [PDF] might say.

5. Anyhow, look how tough we've been, getting Europe to mug us for a little less with a slightly reduced budget increase!

By Friday, there's a fair chance you'll have been fed variants of all five of the above...

Of course, what the government actually seems to be doing is keeping the whole thing very quiet indeed.

This may, of course, be because there is nothing to worry about—Britain's opt-out is in an as-yet-unpublished addendum, and this isn't therefore a Treaty that transfers any powers. I'm sure that Eurogoblin, Nosemonkey (award-winning darling of the EU establishment) or Jon Worth will pop up and tell me that there is nothing to get excited about.

Unfortunately, Douglas believes this not to be the case, and another betrayal by the government is on the cards.
EU competence is to be extended into member state’s fiscal policy, with the power to make law for "all EU Member States". And it appears to have been kept hidden until today.

Not even the European Scrutiny Committee, I’m told, had sight of a paper by the “Task Force to the European Council” called “Strengthening Economic Governance in the EU” until today.

This hidden paper appears to confirm two things:

a) Despite what we were told in June, UK budgets will now become EU business. They might not be able to impose sanctions on us if they disapprove – yet. But they are involved.

b) According to the document, “The Task Force recommends a deeper macro-economic surveillance with the introduction of a new mechanism underpinned by a new legal framework .... applying to all EU Member States”.

Yep. That’s right. The EU is to legislate in a new area. In a way that could apply to all EU Member States.

And you thought there would be no further transfers of power to Brussels, eh?

Douglas's post is entitled "Have we been had?"

The answer, I'm afraid, looks to be "yes, we have been deceived by a bunch of utter bastards who are quite as unscrupulous and inimicable to the interests or desires of the British people as the previous administration."

In other words, not only will regulation of our great financial centre be controlled by Brussels but our supposedly sovereign government will still have to run its Budget through an EU vetting process. In other words, Euro or no Euro, the EU will control vast swathes of our economy.

And what can we do about it? Nothing, it seems—not whilst we are "led" (for want of a better word) by the spineless, massive-foreheaded Dave Cameron.

On my bookshelf, there is a well-thumbed copy of 2008's The Plan, signed by its two authors. Both messages, though concise, are personal—and embarrassingly flattering (I am, after all, a vain man). It is the one written by Douglas that finishes with this uplifting phrase:
Our time will come!

I certainly hope so, Douglas. But whilst I fail to lead a small party, and The Kitchen (a shadow of its former self) slides down the popularity rankings, you are in government—and yet seem almost as powerless as I.

Our time may well come—but if not now, when?


Blue Eyes said...

I hope you are wrong and that Parliament will insist on the promised referendum on any new treaty. Or that the UK government will simply veto the treaty if it affects the UK.

The Boiling Frog said...

The hidden paper Douglas refers to is here:

Courtesy of Witherings from Witney.

Note the name on page 15 who helped draft it - George Osborne!

Dick Puddlecote said...

I think Carswell's time will come soon if he keeps talking sense while still in the Tory party.

All power to him.

Not a sheep said...

I fear that by the time we are allowed to know the truth of what the EU is planning, it will be too late.

Roger Thornhill said...

Yes, people will not see the truth, but will hear the clang of the prison door as it shuts behind them.

Ian E said...

So why is Douglas Carswell (and Hannan for that matter) staying in the Conservative party? The real conservatives should simply walk out and form a new party - or merge with UKIP. How else can Cameuron be stopped from selling us further down the river?

Anonymous said...

"When will our time come?" you ask. Well I will tell you: when the oil has run out and when the population of the UK has been depleted as a result of emigration to avoid high taxes necessary to pay down the debt. Your time will come when there is nothing left worth fighting for.

Unlike Mugabe you will not be left with valuable natural resources to feather an otherwise rather uncomfortable bed, in fact you will inherit nothing of interest and nobody will fight you for it.

That is unless like the rest of us you have not already emigrated

Cerberus said...

Business as usual. Rolling betrayals from the filthy piece of useless s**t that wormed its way into Number 10 having failed so miserably in the election.

But just who exactly tells LibLabCon what to do? Someone must because in all but fine detail their policies are identical, especially on the EUSSR. Are the individual politicians in those parties simply under direct orders personally from the foreigners?

Katabasis said...

Frankly, rational debate with the Political Class, or their bag carriers is now impossible and pointless. This has all been made abundantly clear for us by the likes of Peter Oborne ('Triumph of the Political Class') and Nick Davies ('Flat Earth News').

There is only one response worth giving now and it is almost like Godwinning a discussion thread. I have an ambition now to get involved in arranging a number of political class speakers to attend an event at my local university, only for this video to appear behind them before and after they have spoken:

The Muppet Show

Cerberus said...

The Torygraph isn't particularly renowned for humour, but seems to be trying to remedy that issue in fine fashion with this joyously laughable description of Camoron today: "Our most instinctively Eurosceptic Prime Minister for 20 years".

You don't say.

Gronk said...

I'd just like to say that, following the rebranding and toning down of the more pugnacious elements of your blog, I personally have found it a far more compelling read, and I dare say that there are many who would agree with me. Your blog is not a shadow of its former self, in fact it goes from strength to strength; and if you are sliding down the popularity rankings as you say, then those who are no longer reading are those whose opinion you wouldn't value and whose support would only harm your cause. I now check in with you every morning. Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

They have been keeping the EU secret for a long, long time. They know full well what is intended and that the people would not go along with it, so they lied, again and again and again. So do not expect any change soon.


shtove said...

Somebody remind me why it's a bad thing to have the City regulated from abroad?

A greater bunch of thieves you could not find.

Michael Fowke said...

I'm just glad I voted UKIP. I knew the Tories would turn out like this.

Anonymous said...

"I fear that by the time we are allowed to know the truth of what the EU is planning, it will be too late."


"They have been keeping the EU secret for a long, long time."

But there is no secret evil plan. We are already at the endgame: the EU superstate in all its Brezhnevite glory. That was the plan, and now we have it. Job done.

It is a secret only to people who do not want it to be so. No political power (or will) remains to resist it.

Mr Ecks said...

Stove: Look at the EU for your bigger bunch.

Where is Ali Baba when you need him?

Phil Mill said...

Back in 2005 David Cameron delivered a good speech, without notes, at the Conservative Party conference. Sadly, this impressive but rather trivial event culminated in his winning the leadership of the party ahead of EU-sceptic and small government campaigner, David Davis.

What did, and indeed what do, we know about Cameron? Unfortunately, like Americans watching Obama's Presidency unfold, we are now consigned to finding out from his actions as PM.

Phil Mill said...

We are already at the endgame: the EU superstate in all its Brezhnevite glory.

Nearly the endgame, but not quite. First they need to ratchet up the powers of the EU quango to include budgetary powers. An EU-wide VAT has been mooted and control over member states' budgets will go some of the way.

When the powers of the EU are significant on a day-to-day basis*, the usual suspects will call for more direct democratic accountability. There will then be calls for a Presidential election at the ballot box throughout the entire continent in order to check the burgeoning legislature with proper executive control. This stage would be the endgame because, should that happen, the democratic will of any member state will be no longer be sufficient to leave the union. The countries of Europe will have been abolished as sovereign democracies.

With this in mind, the current negotiations over budget assume a greater significance. Cameron really could be the final Heath in the coffin.

* The BBC does what it can to bring this about as soon as possible by reporting the EU as much as possible.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

He's not in government.

He is a member of the party which is currently the largest in our local administration.

The government is in Brussels.

permanentexpat said...

Cameron is a liar.
The British electorate is stupid.
The EU is a money-grubbing, unelected, bureaucratic dictatorship dedicated to supporting the profligacy of others with your money.
If you like paying other folks' mortgages, just keep on taking the pills.
You couldn't make it up!

Eurogoblin said...

Bit late to the party, sorry.

First - The Kitchen is certainly not a "shadow of its former self." It's become eminently more considered and approachable since you've toned down the swear-factor. Good stuff.

Second - no doubt about it, Cameron failed to achieve anything of any substance at the Council. The 2.9% reduction in the budget he "negotiated" had already been agreed on by the Council back in August. If he'd got it below 2.9% - that might have been more impressive. Anyway, the actual figure might end up higher than a 2.9% increase because a joint-text now has to be agreed with the European Parliament. On the other hand, the Council could still freeze the budget (by refusing to agree on a joint-text) if the Parliament were to want a higher figure - so perhaps the figure is accurate.

Nonetheless, Carswell is misrepresenting things slightly when he says:

If such rules only apply to Eurozone countries, why does page 5 of the document, under the heading “Corrective Action”, say that “This mechanism would apply to all Member States”. Use of that word “all”, again. If there’s a caveat saying “all” excludes Britain, I couldn’t find it.

If he'd looked a little harder (in fact, the next sentence) he would have seen that it says: "As with the EU's fiscal framework, which also applies to all EU Member States, more stringent rules would apply to euro area Member States."

In other words, the "corrective" arm of the SGP is limited to "policy recommendations" for non-Eurozone states. These, of course, aren't legally binding.

Eurogoblin said...

Sorry - that should read "the reduction of the budget increase to 2.9%."

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