Saturday, June 30, 2007

Blair's secret EU side deal

The EU Referendum blog yesterday had a post quoting from a Daily Telegraph article by Bruno Waterfield, linked here. Quoting from the newspaper the blog reports the article as stating: Chillingly, Waterfield adds, "Portugal wants a quick treaty finish and will hold Mr Brown to the 15-page text (16 pages, actually), backed up by as yet unpublished legal documents signed by Mr Blair and regarded as binding for his successor." I was busy yesterday and did not read the post until this morning, when I went via the link to the paper to read the Waterfield item, linked here, I only found the following: Portugal wants a quick treaty finish and will hold Mr Brown to the 15-page text, backed up by as yet unpublished legal documents signed by Mr Blair and regarded as binding for his successor. It is a great shame that the phrase 'backed up by as yet unpublished legal documents signed by Mr Blair and regarded as binding for his successor' seems to have disappeared from the online newspaper particularly as a secret side commitment is exactly what I had forecast would take place, most noticeably on 30th May, linked here, from which the following is a quote: "Anybody who has chaired a multinational committee as I did for several years will be fully aware of the difficulties and time required to achieve unanimity. A committee with executive powers can agree by unanimity to change its own internal voting arrangements so that in certain cases and over certain issues unanimity will be deemed to have been achieved if those assenting exceed a certain lower percentage figure, preferably something neatly framed running to several percentage figures precisely calculated to empower a particular block of voters. Where it is not possible to change the terms under which the committee was established, defeated minority voting members could bind themselves to in future change their votes once defeated to ensure that the original principle of unanimty has theoretically been met. Machinations such as that mentioned above are entirely feasible when there are no obligations to publicize details of the inner workings or agreements of such a committee or where there is no regulatory body overseeing the committee, all of which applies to the European Council." As I warned on this blog on 2nd June, read here, an early dissolution of parliament could have saved the situation when it had been mostly disclosed in an ignored editorial in the FT on 1st June on which I posted the same day, in a blog titled 'Strictly limited scope for an IGC' read here. What now? If 27 nation state heads wish to authorise officials to negotiate a treaty within certain strictly limited guidelines then those officials have no choice but to do exactly that. But one of the 27 is no longer national leader (nor shamefully even a member of the parliamentary chamber he has so disgracefully sold out). Although I argued long and hard on this blog for Brown to represent Britain at the 21 - 23rd June European Council, so that the negotiator could answer to Parliament - the fact that he did not, could as the Portugese seem about to realise - provide Britain with the way out. Brown has to now reject the Treaty using his parliamentary majority. That way he may be able to meet his presumed main objective of becoming an elected PM. If he either accepts the referendum calls or passes the Treaty he is in my opinion politically doomed. Thus could the country (coincidentally) be salvaged!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

EU's Reform Treaty

Good article ' Sarkozy Scuttles EU With Change to Treaty Goals' from Matthew Lynn of Bloomberg, linked here. Simon Jenkins in yesterday's Guardian also makes some valid points, read it here.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Blair's last snub to democracy as PM

Tony Blair is to resign as an MP either today or at the latest tomorrow according to multiple press reports. NOW the man who handed away the remaining sovereign independence of this country, in secret, less than five days ago CANNOT now be summoned to Parliament as an MP to answer for what he agreed NOR even to reveal the exact details of any other understandings he might as then Prime Minister have agreed only last weekend. Do not overlook the importance that the so-called mandate for the neutered IGC is intended to be non-negotiable AND the effect of this agreement is that there will now be no need for further EU Treaties as that entity has been granted independence by Blair, representing Britain as PM, together with the power of deciding its own administrative arrangements in the future. There is much understandable demand for a referendum on the treaty he agreed. Were there any sense of honour or responsibility amongst the Labour Party back-bench MPs such a referendum would be entirely unnecessary as they would feel compelled by their own election commitments and personal principles to vote down the treaty, regardless of its terms, for the disgraceful and non-democratic manner in which it was negotiated and planned to be enacted by the two most recent Prime Ministers. So to the nation's deep shame it is all just as this blog repeatedly warned not least here from which comes this concluding paragraph on 23rd May: "It seems to this observer that the only means of meeting all the various individual objectives and contradictions mentioned in the article, plus those of the other large countries, will be for Blair to agree to a sweeping loss of sovereignty while pretending he has done nothing of the sort and Brown sweeping it through a whipped parliament in his Labour Party honeymoon period." Of course that was not all, earlier warnings were here, here and here while subsequent ones came here, here, here and here . There are of course far more on this blog regarding President Sarkozy's intentions going back many months.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

House of Commons debate on European Council 21/23 June

The link to the full debate from Hansard is here. A preliminary legal analysis nailing many of the outright lies told in the House may be read here in pdf format. This document was obtained from this morning's Daily Telegraph and provided to MPs for yesterday's so-called debate. The key questions regarding the status of the agreement in the Council versus the coming IGC were provided in these exchanges: Sir Menzies Campbell (North-East Fife) (LD): Are any of the issues contained in the mandate to the IGC capable of being reopened, or is the mandate the final word on what can be discussed at the IGC? ......................... The Prime Minister: The detail of what was agreed obviously has to be negotiated at the intergovernmental conference, but the key elements have been agreed. ====================== Mr. Austin Mitchell (Great Grimsby) (Lab): I wonder whether my right hon. Friend can help me. Surely we are talking not about a treaty but about a discussion in the Council of Ministers, which is a treaty organisation and therefore cannot negotiate its own treaties. In fact, a new treaty is the responsibility of the IGC, and that works on the basis of unanimity, not the simple majority voting of the Council of Ministers. So we now have a situation in which we can, and in my view should, still veto the whole unnecessary business. More importantly, can my right hon. Friend tell us how, assuming that the treaty pops up in October, we in this House can discuss it and decide on it before the IGC?

The Prime Minister: There will of course be ample opportunity, through the ratification process, to have a full debate on it. Why would we want to veto this treaty? It provides the means for a more effective working of the European Union. Let us be clear about this: my hon. Friend, and some Opposition Members, would call for a referendum even if we added a comma to the constitutional treaty, because what they really want is to take us out of Europe, and they might as well be honest about it.

Other exchanges I believe worth quoting are here: Ms Gisela Stuart (Birmingham, Edgbaston) (Lab): I wonder whether the Prime Minister can help me, as I am having trouble understanding something. Back in April 2004, the reasons for granting a referendum and making a manifesto commitment were not about constitutional change but because we should let the people have a say. The Prime Minister’s Foreign Secretary and Minister for Europe now argue that one of the main reasons why we should not have a referendum is that we are a parliamentary democracy—yet the document to which the Prime Minister signed up at the weekend grants the people of Europe a right that neither national Parliaments nor Governments have, which is to petition the Commission for legislative proposals. I find it difficult to reconcile, on the one hand, giving the people of Europe a right that we do not give our Parliament, yet on the other hand, not asking ourown people.

The Prime Minister: I was in favour of the constitutional treaty, and said at the time that I didnot believe that it involved fundamental transfer of power, but I obviously had to accept that it is called a constitutional treaty and brings everything together in one place; indeed, it purports to be a constitution for the whole of Europe. Other countries were holding referendums on that basis. The two things that are different are, first, that we have abandoned that position and gone back to a conventional amending treaty—and I know that my hon. Friend would not say that Nice, Amsterdam and so on should have been subject to referendum. Secondly, in respect of the four areas, we have secured real changes. The right hon. Member for Witney (Mr. Cameron) was talking earlier about what the Irish Prime Minister said, but for Britain, justice and home affairs and the charter of fundamental human rights were the two main issues. As ever with the Eurosceptics—I do not include my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Edgbaston (Ms Stuart) among those—we give them one thing, but they just move on to the next. My hon. Friend is absolutely right to say that we were making those arguments, but in two main areas we now have a position that is completely different—and protected.

Mr. David Heathcoat-Amory (Wells) (Con): Under these proposals, the existing European community of member states is formally replaced by a new and separate Union with its own legal personality, and with much greater powers. Can the Prime Minister not see that denying people a vote on that not only breaks his own promise but also devalues politics? The powers we have here are lent to us by the people, but he is giving them away without the people’s consent, so will he, as his last act, keep his promise on that matter?

The Prime Minister: The premise of the right hon. Gentleman’s question—that new powers are given to Europe as a result of the single legal personality—is wrong. It is made specifically clear that the singlelegal personality does not extend the powers of the European Union. That is stated in terms. As forthe idea that Europe previously never had a legal personality, the European Union has already concluded scores of treaties; all this does is make sure that there are not two different methods, which sometimes come into conflict, for Europe to conclude treaties.

Monday, June 25, 2007

98.784 per cent of British MP's set to break their Election promise

Here’s a paradox, 650 out of 658 MPs fought the last election on the promise of a referendum on the European constitution. The above quote is the opening of an article "Save us from the Diplomats' by MEPs Dan Hannan and Douglas Carswell in the Daily Telegraph's "Think local" series, linked here. Have Britain's elected MPS really sunk so low that they are prepared to let Blair, Brown and the entire EU establishment and other European leaders get away with their constitution deception? If so, not one sitting MP should ever be elected ever again!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Told You So!

The following is from the Christopher Booker column today in the Sunday Telegraph, linked here: ....what is wholly new about yesterday's resolution is that, for the first time, the European Council has given an "exclusive mandate" to all the governments involved that they can only be permitted to discuss the treaty the European Council wants. In other words, they are no longer allowed to act as sovereign governments, as the international rules on treaties require, but can only act under the orders given them by the European Council.

This may sound like a typically arcane nicety of EU procedure, but it is of huge significance. The European Council is itself a "Community institution". It is therefore ordering the sovereign governments to hand over more powers to itself. This is something which, until it so dramatically changed the rules yesterday, no one would have thought the Council had the power to do.

We are thus to be presented with the constitution it wants, without any further opportunity for it to be amended. But, unless they decide to change the rules yet again, it will still have to be ratified by all 27 member states, several of which will need to hold referendums. Mrs Merkel's clever coup d'etat is not yet quite complete.

Not only have I been saying this over and over month after month, but had the likes of William Hague and Nigel Farage seen this obvious truth, they would at this point have been prepared with a campaign to reverse matters. Are they thus complicit?

Treaty is exactly as this blog repeatedly foretold - WHY?

The following is from the editorial, linked here, demanding a referendum in today's Sunday Telegraph: "If anyone needed proof that Europe's bureaucrats regard their mandate to rule as based on something other than the consent of the ruled, this is it.

The democratic deficit at the heart of the project of "ever closer European union" now gapes wider than ever. Worse, as the agreement reached yesterday in Brussels shows, the sovereignty of the individual nation states of Europe is to be diminished further.

The European Council, which is part of the EU, has now said that the Inter-Governmental Conference (IGC) - which represents the interests of the various nation states that make up the EU - when it comes to debate the new treaty can only discuss items on an agenda that the Council dictates. That agenda will not include most of the constitutional reforms adopted by the European Council.

So, instead of being discussed by the IGC, and possibly rejected by it, the latest reforms are now presented as a fait accompli that cannot be changed. The new procedure is not authorised by precedent, by treaty, or indeed by anything at all. It marks another power-grab by the Eurocrats.

Unless it is exposed and opposed, it will, like all their previous power grabs, soon become endorsed and immoveably enshrined in EU governance." BUT the point that should be considered, as anybody reading the postings on this blog over the past few months must quickly realise, is why have I been apparently alone in predicting this inevitable outcome? I have no inside knowledge, access to briefing papers, or contacts involved in either the negotiating process or the EU Commission, yet I exactly predicted both the outcome and manner of its accomplishment. The rest of the British political establishment including the Tories and UKIP must have been able to do the same. The conclusion, therefore, has to be that the whole thing is a stitch-up involving the entire British political establishment and that many of the loud calls for a referendum are simply a carefully planned and orchestrated smoke screen. If a referendum is called no doubt a similar plot is already in hand to ensure it cannot be won. EU money, threats of job losses and fear of house price falls will no doubt win the day for these non-democrats unless an appealing and youth driven alternative is presented to the electorate. Anti- EU democrats must present an attractive democratic alternative within the wider english speaking world where democracy, common law and true free trade based on historical maritime practises will govern. Can any now doubt such is impossible within the EU?

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Predictable EU Agreement BUT Will there be an IGC?

The Foreign Secretary on the BBC Radio 4 'Today' programme at 0948 BST this morning, declared the "mandate" would now go forward. Have she and Blair therefore sold out on an IGC as well as practically everything else? Time will tell. Earlier on the same programme, David Heathcoat-Amory and former Foreign Secretary Lord Owen made earnest and rational demands for a full referendum.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Poles folding

As always seemed likely, the Poles look to be about to capitulate, the treaty as otherwise agreed before the meeting now looks set to being sewn up. Read more here. Will there be an IGC?? More tomorrow!

Summit Update

The decision to remove 'free' from market in the treaty preamble has apparently been agreed, but will cause trouble in the UK. Nigel Farage of UKIP on Sky News from Brussels declared it as the end of the Common Market 'the only bit of the EU worth having' and even William Hague of the Tories has been quick to react saying it will rip the heart from the EU. Perhaps even MORE significantly Euronews is now reporting that the next phase will either be disagreement, a legal drafting process finished by the end of this year with ratification befor 2009 OR an Inter-Governmental Conference normally known as an IGC. As this blog has been warning an IGC looks like the present non-starter.

Referendum Now

Brown lacks majority to pass Treaty


A survey of MPs revealed today has shown that more than 50 Labour MPs had already pledged their support for a referendum on the EU Constitution before Tony Blair U-turned to promise one. The research - conducted through a letter-writing campaign by supporters of the eurosceptic Democracy Movement - revealed that 52 Labour MPs were prepared to rebel against the government and support a public vote.

The figures show the level of support for an EU referendum on Labour backbenches and clearly illustrates the struggle Gordon Brown will face should he try to railroad the new EU Constitution treaty through Parliament without giving people a say.

Today, the government only has a working majority of 67. Were just 34 of the original 52 pro-referendum Labour MPs to stick to their view - and opposition parties also continue to support a referendum - Gordon Brown would not have the majority necessary to ratify the revived EU Constitution treaty without first reviving his original promise of a public vote.

Marc Glendening, campaign director of the Democracy Movement, said: "The risk of an embarrassing Commons defeat is a real one for Gordon Brown, if he sets himself against so many of his backbench MPs – even some pro-EU - who clearly feel that still more powers cannot be transferred to Brussels without first giving people a say." The Democracy Movement - the grass-roots pressure group that came out of the eurosceptic Referendum Party - is set to launch a major new publicity campaign in the marginal seats of MPs who plan to go back on their manifesto promise of a referendum.

The first phase, set to start next month, will involve the distribution of two million leaflets and cards that can be posted to 10 Downing Street. The cards will be headlined ‘Gordon, Don’t be an EU Cheat’ and call on Brown to ‘Give us the Constitution Referendum you promised’. They will carry a photograph of the next PM with a speech bubble containing the words of Labour’s last manifesto: ‘We will put the Constitutional Treaty to the British people in a referendum…’

The next constituency-based phase of the campaign will result in the ‘outing’ as ‘referendum cheats’ those MPs intending to go back on their manifesto promise. Personalised leaflets and posters will be distributed in marginal constituencies explaining how the MPs targeted are planning to cheat their constituents out of the referendum they have committed to supporting. Local voters will be able to independently and directly download the campaign materials from the DM website. Anti-referendum MPs will be challenged to come to public meetings and justify their position. Rival election candidates from other parties will also be invited to tell voters where they stand, and so gain a possible electoral advantage at a time likely to be less than 18 months before a general election.

Marc Glendening said: ‘At the local level, MPs will find it particularly hard to explain to constituents - in the run up to a like May 2009 general election - why they're not honouring a clear promise made at the previous election.

‘Voters were given a categorical guarantee by all the major parties at the last election that there would be no hand-over of new powers to Brussels without the issue first being put directly to the British people.

‘MPs who vote for the next EU treaty will be transferring important new law-making powers that rightfully belong to their constituents.

‘We will target anti-referendum politicians of all parties with the intention of making them pay a heavy price for their betrayal of democracy.

‘With only a 2% swing needed to remove Gordon Brown’s parliamentary majority, many government MPs in marginal seats will be extremely nervous about being targeted in this way.

‘Our ‘Don’t be an EU Cheat’ campaign will help concentrate minds in the long run-up to the next general election’.

European Council - Morning Press

The FT reports the French success in changing the EU into a social market - read here, or just note note this: Last night Britain appeared unwilling to put up a fight on the issue Camilla Cavendish has some sound advice in The Times, linked here, which is certain to be ignored

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Barroso interferes in UK Politics

The EU Commission President has stated the following to the BBC: "Sometimes I hear people saying that for Parliament to approve it would be by the back door. "Britain is the country that exported Parliamentary democracy to the world. Do the British people consider Parliament the backdoor? "Do the British people who killed their king to protect the rights of Parliament consider it the back door? "Is that the respect some people show their Parliament , maybe the greatest Parliament in the world? I don't consider Parliament the back door." After thirty-five years of EU dirty tricks and subterfuge that is precisely the point, there is no respect for Parliament nor for the great majority of those within it. The BBC web report is linked here.

European Affairs Debate

The Hansard report begins from here. Contributions of particular importance from my point of view are linked below: Mr David Heathcoat-Amory, here. Mr William Cash, here. Mr Richard Shepherd, here. The following are in my opinion the most critical points: Mr. David Heathcoat-Amory (Wells) (Con): "These Europe debates are not simply formulaic; they are about the powers of this House and, by extension, of the people we represent. There has been a transfer of power, authority and decision making from this House to the European Union over many years, but if this constitution, as amended by the German proposals, goes through in anything like this form, it will be a giant step—a further emasculation of the powers of this House and an erosion of national self-government." "The Convention on the Future of Europe at least met in public, and I and others could report to the House on what was happening. The Government could also table amendments, and they tabled hundreds of them. Not many were accepted and they did not really like the final text, but at least we could discuss the British position. This time, it is all being done in secret, and that is a disgrace." "To make matters worse, all the way through the Convention on the Future of Europe, the Government told us sanctimoniously about the need to open up Europe, bring the citizens along and close the gap between the voters and leaders, but they do not do that at home. We are trying to export democracy to the middle east and we criticise China for its lack of democratic institutions, but when it comes to our own procedures, Ministers do not even tell us what has been happening in the negotiations.

Kelvin Hopkins: I agree with much of what the right hon. Gentleman says. Does he agree with the suggestion made earlier by the Liberal Democrat spokesperson that some of the countries in eastern Europe that have gained democracy might have it for only a short time before it is shoved upwards to the European Union? They might have only a short period of real, genuine national democracy between living under Soviet rule and the rule of the European Union.

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: I entirely agree with the hon. Gentleman. It is an irony that in many cases those countries have given up rule from Moscow and swapped it for rule from Brussels. Their liberation was an immensely important event in the history of Europe. However, having achieved self-government, they are now in the process of giving it up."

"I want to make a final point, about the transfer of power to which I have referred already. It is not some dry, academic exercise but has to do with the essence of democracy. Who makes decisions, and where? To whom are they accountable? Are they voted in, and can they be removed? Those are the questions that need to be answered, and they are crucial. This House is a forum where majorities come and go and Governments change, where laws are enacted and withdrawn. That is what democracy is about. Handing such matters over to another jurisdiction, irrevocably, means that we will be losing the powers of the people we represent. We should let them decide whether they want the constitution." =============================== Mr. William Cash (Stone) (Con): "I have looked atthe mandate of the intergovernmental conference. I have also listened with great interest to the Foreign Secretary, having cross-examined her recently in the European Scrutiny Committee, where she admitted in so many words that she did not know the position of the United Kingdom Government or, indeed, of the European Union......" "The mandate states not only that

    “The word ‘Community’ will throughout be replaced by the word ‘Union’”,


    “it will be stated that the two Treaties constitute the Treaties on which the Union is founded and that the Union replaces and succeeds the Community.”

It then proceeds to the question of primacy.

We discussed the meaning of primacy a couple of years ago. It is well established, following the case of Costa v. ENEL, that there is an existing primacy in the European Union. I happen to take grave exception to the way in which it operates under sections 2 and 3 of the European Communities Act 1972, which is why I raised with my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond, Yorks (Mr. Hague), the shadow Foreign Secretary, the question of the legislative supremacy of this House. It is completely absurd for us to be in the position of legislating simply because a decision has been made at European level, irrespective of the impact on the ordinary everyday lives of the people of this country.

Mr. Hoon: We have engaged in this debate over the past 15 years, but it is important to discuss the point that the hon. Gentleman has raised. Is not his criticism of the provision relating to the supremacy of Community law a criticism of this House and this Parliament, given that this House and this Parliament passed a provision in the 1972 Act accepting the supremacy of Community law?

Mr. Cash: Yes, it most emphatically is such a criticism. It was an enormous mistake to have done that in that way. An amendment of mine to the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill—new clause 17—was supported by my party in the Commons and the Lords. It proposed in certain circumstances to override the 1972 Act, and, crucially, to require the judiciary to give effect to that latest expressly inconsistent enactment passed by this House on behalf of the electorate who put us in power.

Nothing is set in concrete forever; even the Minister will accept that things cannot remain static forever. In some circumstances, repatriation has blatantly become necessary. That is the sentiment of the British people, and it is probably also the sentiment of most other European countries. We must achieve the mechanism to deliver that, in the interests of the voters. [Interruption.] Is the Minister expressing approval? I think he must be, as he cannot disagree with my point. [Interruption.] I invite him to get up and disagree with me, by all means. We are talking about an important principle: democracy.

I do not dispute that the primacy of European law has been an established principle. That was set out under the Costa v. ENEL case of 1964—before we entered the EU—and there have been many other cases since. However, let me make my point on this subject by drawing an analogy with what happened in the 19th century, another time of enormous constitutional change. There was supremacy of Parliament before the passing of the Reform Acts, but it cannot be said that the supremacy of Parliament before the Reform Acts was the same as its supremacy after them. It was a new supremacy of Parliament, endorsed by its democratic accountability which came from everyone having been given the vote. Despite all the obfuscations and opaque and academic arguments about sovereignty that there are, the point I am making is simple. The question is whether the people of this country have the right to make the law through their elected representatives in line with their wishes in general elections.

The draft mandate states:

    “Concerning the primacy of EU law, the IGC will adopt a Declaration recalling the existing case law of the EU Court of Justice.”

That is an unexceptional statement until that primacy is related to the new functions that are being conferred. Those new functions involve a structural changein the relationships between the United Kingdomand Europe—and between the United Kingdom Government and Parliament and the electorate of our country. That is a fundamental structural change. When we impose that new primacy, although there is no repeal provision as such, the proposed constitutional arrangements are so close to the existing ones under the treaty that the Minister and the rest of his party voted for, that any distinction that was made would be a distinction without a sufficient difference. That is the key point. If that argument stands up to scrutiny, which I believe it does, then it follows that we must have a referendum.

Something else follows as well. I am taking the trouble to explain my points on the mandate document because they are important. Between now and next Monday when the Prime Minister returns to the House and tells us what has happened over the weekend, I invite the Government to consider the following idea. Many people agree with me about the new mandate, and if am right it follows that there is a case for expressing a refusal to accept the proposals which is far more potent and useful than the case for offering a referendum. I ask my Front-Bench colleagues to listen to what I am about to say, too.

Although there is no technical opportunity to exercise a veto because the meeting is not an IGC—which seems to have escaped some people’s attention—it could be made clear that we will not accept these proposals on the following grounds: first, they confer further powers; secondly, this represents a fundamental change; and thirdly, it is perfectly clear that the provisions would be unacceptable to the people of this country."


Mr. Richard Shepherd: "I enjoyed the exchange between the Minister for Europe and my hon. Friend the Member for Stone (Mr. Cash), if only because the Minister has woken up. There is a placidity to these debates normally. I shall not follow that exchange, other than to note that all European treaties are of a constitutional nature. We need not fool around: the constitution was the last endeavour, and it is not called that any more, but from 1972 onwards, we have had a framework document—the originating treaty—that has governed the relationship of this House, this people and this nation to developing institutions in Europe.

Most of us in Britain—simple souls such as myself—did not understand the seriousness or greatness of the design. Why should we? I was outside the House in 1972. I believed in free trade areas and the decision was presented to the public as a free trade deal, so that was simple. But when I became a Member of Parliament, I began to read the documents and see what they actually entailed. The treaty is a clever, slowly evolving—not so slowly, because it is now rapidly accelerating—attempt to change the very nature of the Government of the UK. Other nations must speak for themselves.

The Foreign Secretary graced us with the inadequacy of her knowledge about the process by which we will arrive at our position over the next couple of days, and she bewildered us in that she has to maintain the position that, although we will have—or may have—a treaty, it will, if it does not meet the red lines that have been constructed by the Government but necessitates some change, be somehow not constitutional. That is what we are arguing about. We went from 1972 to the Single European Act, which Mrs. Thatcher ultimately said she would not have signed if she had known what would happen. She repudiated the decision in a sense, and to begin with I did not understand the difference between a single and a common market. America is a common market. The European government, in its approach to the market, is a single market. Which do I prefer? I prefer the common market, in which each of us competes, strives and controls, within the state system, what we judge to be best. That is not the ambition of that organisation..."

"The European Economic Community became the European Community in 1992 in the treaty of union, in which the word “economic” was a limitation on the powers of the European Court. The burden of my argument is that whatever comes before us will be the first snapshot and opportunity—which I would takeat every point of change—for people who were not born in 1972, or who did not understand what was happening, to have a vote on whether these arrangements should be allowed to take away a constitutional trust.

This country formed its own arrangements. We are in conflict about legal systems—about the civil versus the common-law tradition. There are many differences, but this Chamber, which Churchill called this “little room”, reflects something deep—the trust of those who send us here.

Mr. Hoon: I am grateful to the hon. Gentlemanfor giving way. We do not always agree in thesedebates but I have always admired his commitment to parliamentary democracy and sovereignty. We have only ever had one national referendum in this country. How does he equate his commitment to parliamentary sovereignty with his apparent support for referendums?

Mr. Shepherd: Very easily. I believe in the Locke premise, which is that we cannot give things away without reference to the people. Churchill said that the people are sovereign, and I believe that we are merely their representatives. When this or any Government attempt to sell off or assign to others responsibility for judgments on great matters of public policy, that is a matter beyond our competence. It is a matter for the competence of the people as a whole, after an informed debate leading to a referendum. That is what I am arguing for.

I understand that the Minister for Europe may not know his Locke, but the thinking about these matters is very old. I can reconcile my approach, because the sovereignty of Parliament and democratic Government that we now espouse and promote—I am here by virtue of it—began with the autocratic dictatorship of monarchy and progressed through oligarchy. Our struggle has always been to hold the Crown in check, and that is what we do in this Chamber. Unfortunately, the Prime Minister’s majority means that the Crown is now with him in Downing street, but that is no excuse for us if we forget what our business is and where the trust of those whom we should serve lies. That is why the EU cannot satisfy the democratic question..."

The Minister is quieter now. Perhaps I have exhausted him, but the Foreign Office must pull itself together—or rather the Foreign Secretary must do so. We are in an absurd position. Two days before an important discussion about how the European Union will see its way through the misconceived judgments of the French and Dutch electorates, we are listening to a Prime Minister who is going out of the door having endorsed the constitution. That is the difficulty; he actually endorsed it.

The Prime Minister promised us a referendum should the constitution come about, although all his fingers and toes were crossed—we understand that—but the man who could endorse that and the Cabinet that could agree leave us doubtful as to their intent. I no longer trust the processes whereby Government proceed and accede to the European Union. It is disgraceful that we do not engage—that there is noway forward, no repatriation of powers and no understanding of what this country needs. That is why we must have a referendum."

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

IGC Mandate

In the mainly first class House of Commons debate on European Affairs today there were several references to a newly released IGC Mandate from the German EU Presidency, I have searched for a link to this crucial presentation so far without success. It will be posted here when possible as will the Hansard report of the crucial debate (unattended by Labour MPs) tomorrow morning at 0800 am. At least some in Parliament recognise their country has gone and that the last pretences of independence will soon be lost as well. Sad times indeed! Here are the bland terms in which the German Presidency plans to ditch much of Europes' remaining democracy:

Chancellor Angela Merkel invites the EU Heads of State and Government to the European Council in Brussels


It is with great pleasure that I invite you to the meeting of the European Council in Brussels on 21 and 22 June 2007.

Over the last few months, under the German Council Presidency, we have together made significant progress for Europe. Only together will we succeed in resolving the issues before us at this European Council meeting.

The central issue will be reform of the Treaties. In the Berlin Declaration of 25 March 2007 we reaffirmed together that we wished to place the European Union on a new treaty basis before the European Parliament elections in 2009. The important challenges that lie ahead demand capacity to act and legitimacy on the part of the European Union.

After a two year pause for reflection the European public now expects us to put the necessary reforms of the Union in hand. Following our consultations over the last few months the time has now come to set out the roadmap for the impending reform of the Treaties.

In addition we need to take practical measures that will have an immediate and positive influence on the everyday lives of our citizens. In this regard our conclusions will give important impetus in various areas.

The programme of our meeting is as follows:

We start our discussions at 17.30 on Thursday 21 June with a meeting of the Council in the composition of Heads of State and Government, for a discussion on the accession of Malta and Cyprus to the euro under Article 122(2) of the TEC. The President of the European Central Bank, Jean Claude Trichet, will attend this meeting.

At 18.00 we gather for the traditional family photo, followed by an exchange of views with the President of the European Parliament, Hans-Gert Pöttering.

Over dinner, which begins at 19.00, we will have an initial discussion on treaty reform.

At their dinner the Foreign Ministers will discuss the Western Balkans, EU-Africa relations, the EU's relations with Brazil and general questions relating to current and forthcoming EU missions.

The discussions will continue on Friday, followed by discussion and adoption of the European Council conclusions.

Press conferences will then be held.

The Presidency will brief the candidates for accession on the outcome of the discussions.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

EU's Barroso warns Poland and Britain on eve of German Presidency's Council

The International Herald Tribune has the latest news here So many deceptions! Now come the threats! Not at all NICE!

Sarkozy's Mini/Max Treaty

As this blog has been warning over many long months President Sarkozy's ideas for the future of the EU are about as far from those of the general British public as it is possible to get. All have ignored this message which has been clearly spelt out in his writings and statements. Witness the Daily Telegraph this morning, "EU Reform chaos..." linked here and "Adrift in Europe" here. For this reason I have been arguing that either Gordon Brown represent Britain or Parliament be dissolved and Britain represented by an empty chair see my post "Queen must dissolve Parliament immediately" of 2nd June. linked here. I have also repeatedly warned that the IGC following this week's meeting will be given ZERO negotiating authority, therefore it will not be a true IGC at all. Brown's one chance to affect the outcome if not attending is to offer Britain a referendum, which he now looks close to doing. Fans of the EU should realise that their refusal to openly face basic facts has thus brought Britain to the brink of withdrawal. President Sarkozy, the new main factor within the EU, has perceived this fact - hence his joining with Spain in calls for deeper integration. The referendum, if it now comes, will be closer than many think with two-faced Cameron certain to push the Tories in support of the EU and so much of the nation and its jobs controlled from the EU, fear and threats as well as buckets of euros will abound.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Pre- EU Summit Manouevres in the Sunday Press

The Sunday Times chooses the abandonment of resistance to the Charter of Fundamental Rights, read it here, while the Mail on Sunday reports on the dinner in Paris where Blair's compliance was reportedly secured, link here. The Observer uses the usual federalist supporters trick of pretending Britain will achieve all the exceptions it requires, laugh or cry as you read it here.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Sun maintains pressure on Blair and Brown

The latest from The Sun may be read from here. UKIP's leader Nigel Farage MEP will hit all the Sunday TV political programmes tomorrow, naturally David Cameron, for the so-called Conservatives, is as silent as ever when it comes to the EU!

In office 'Cash for Honours' leaving office 'Country for Presidency'?

Now that French President Sarkozy has let the cat out of the bag regarding Blair becoming the first permanent EU President as is now reported on Sky News, surely even our cowed and ineffective parliamentarians cannot permit Blair to single-handedly sell out his country next week. Even more intriguingly what motivated the French President to let this cat out of the bag? My guess is that he realises a Blair negotiated deal cannot now be sold in Britain! Gordon Brown must go and why not back Poland's Square Root voting, seems logical to me!

Poland's Parliament backs Square Root Voting

Although Zapatero claims a coming Polish climbdown, this report claims Parliamentary backing has now been given to the twins.

The Pro-EU case for Brown to Brussels

Good article in the Telegraph this morning, linked here, which concludes as follows:

Moreover, Blair is on the way out. He must not bind his successor. Indeed, it is reasonable to think that in the peculiar circumstances created by his slow march out of office, it is improper for him to be at this summit at all. It would be better if he had stood aside and left discussions to Brown, for it is Brown who will have to live with the consequences. He has the reputation of being more Eurosceptic than Blair - although one should remember that he was one of those whose arguments in the late 1980s helped to force the Tory government into the Exchange Rate Mechanism.

In truth, no one knows just where Brown stands. However, he is essentially a practical man, concerned with what will work. He will be suspicious of measures which restrict the freedom of action of member states, even while recognising that on some issues - such as climate change - common European policies are not only desirable, but necessary.

Brown is intellectually more formidable than Blair, and probably more so than Merkel or Sarkozy. No one is better fitted to make the case that the future vitality of the EU requires the leaders of the member states to recognise that its strength lies in its diversity, not a suffocating and resented uniformity. Meantime in The Guardian, linked here, Martin Kettle on Comment is free, spells out exactly what the threat contained in yesterday's The Sun, we posted on below, means for Gordon Brown: Understand this. The country's best-selling newspaper has now warned Gordon Brown that he must choose between a deal with France and Germany on next week's prospective European Union treaty or winning the next general election. Rupert Murdoch's terms could hardly be plainer. Reject the treaty and keep the support of the Sun. Accept the treaty and lose the Sun. If words mean anything, then these say: who rules? the elected government or the unelected press?

Friday, June 15, 2007

Misreading the Dangers

The Daily Telegraph's editorial today, linked here, clearly illustrates how the nation is sleepwalking into subjugation:

"The suggestion that there should be a new treaty of such scope that it will require an inter-governmental conference to agree its contents must surely undermine Tony Blair's stance that democratic approval is not needed. Gordon Brown has already dropped hints through those who brief on his behalf that he was unwilling to be bound by a mini-treaty agreed to by Mr Blair: and Parliament would allow him, during the ratification process, to impose his separate vision on Britain's idea of the future of Europe.

Now Mr Brown seems set to inherit participation of several months in an IGC. This will give British diplomats an opportunity to impose our view on a new treaty, and Mr Brown can either agree or repudiate the outcome at a summit shortly before Christmas." NO, NO and again NO!. The whole plot as conceived by Sarkozy/Blair and confirmed in Merkel's report is that the EXACT terms will be agreed at the council meeting next week and handed to the IGC merely to translate to the various languages in the correct legalese. THAT IS THE REASON BROWN MUST BE THE ONE LEADING IN BRUSSELS TO BE ABLE TO AFTERWARDS ANSWER TO PARLIAMENT. SOVEREIGNTY WILL OTHERWISE BE SOLD BY A SHAMELESS SPECTRE>

Britain's biggest tabloid challenges Brown

The following is from today's editorial in The Sun, linked here:

"Sun readers will not wear being represented at the White House by a powerful new EU President.

"They won’t accept a new EU “international affairs” minister dictating British foreign policy at the UN.

"And they will not tolerate a major loss of power over crime, employment or any other issue that takes the EU’s fancy.

"We have just seven days before EU leaders sign up to a draconian new superstate.

"Since we aren’t being given the referendum we were promised, The Sun has decided to hold its own.

"And this newspaper will be bound by its verdict — right up until the next general election."

Spain now pressures the Poles

As Britain's politicians duck their democratic responsibilities it now seems to lie with Poland. Conscious of the main threat coming from Poland Zapatero is now in Warsaw, read here. A German Christian Democrat MEP heavyweight was reportedly in Downing Street this morning making sure his lackey lapdog Blair gave not one millimetre on any opportunity for the British people to have any say as he prepares his last but greatest treachery!

Treaty problems defined

The Daily Telegraph has provided the text of the German Presidency's report for the 21/22 June meeting of the European Council linked here. It provides stark confirmation that at Berlin the leaders of the EU's once nation states jointly decided to steam roller their citizens into a single EU state by non-democratic moves clearly designed to demonstrate its future non-democratic structure and therefore a tyrannical basis of rule. Key points from the linked document: "Settling this issue quickly is therefore a priority" NO justification or evidence of this need is provided. In fact the flow of regulations during this supposed period of stagnation has if anything increased!! "The Treaty on the European Union as modified would keep its present name, while the Treaty establishing the European Community would become the 'Treaty on the functioning of the Union', containing all the detailed implementing provisions, including the legal bases. Both Treaties would have the same legal value." "....the Presidency recommends that the June European Council agree to the rapid convening of an IGC. It suggests that the European Council give a precise and comprehensive mandate (on structure and content) to the IGC, thus allowing it to finalise its work on a new Treaty before the end of this year." As I have repeatedly warned on this blog, and my final quote makes absolutely clear, there is no normal IGC being planned. It is intended that the 21/22 June meeting will give a "precises and comprehensive mandate (on structure and content) to the IGC" leaving no room for subsequent negotiation. THAT IS WHY ONLY THE INCOMING PM SHOULD HOLD NEGOTIATING AUTHORITY FOR BRITAIN NEXT WEEK!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Blair AND Brown to meet Sarkozy

The report is linked here. Progress indeed, but now there is even more need for all British politicians to push for Brown's attendance at the European Council meeting two days after this London meeting with President Sarkozy. Apart from all the other arguments that have been put forwarded previously on this blog, it is quite clear that concessions from Britain are being planned, the only man who can resist is he who must pass the legislation and offer future commitments or consequences. ALL British politicians should now be bending ALL their efforts to ensure Brown represents Britain at the coming crucial meeting. Not a word from Cameron at PMQ and hardly a whimper since the Tories promised to harry daily on this topic. The referendum debate can come after the deal - first all the country must wish that the FUTURE man in charge must be the one to lead in the negotiations. This meeting is an indication this common sense is at last percolating the establishment.

EU Constitution implementation continues apace

It sounds like a sick joke but the Prum Convention drives a coach and horses through Britain's independence with an EU Big Brother Police State the certain end result. All this and not a wimper in Westminster nor apparently in the up-market media or BBC. The linked report here, is from today's Daily Mail. A quote:

Tory European Parliament spokesman Philip Bradbourn said that much of what had been agreed was originally part of the EU constitution.

He added: "Mr Blair has started the constitution sell-out today. Now everyone's personal details can be sent to police throughout Europe because Britain did not wield the veto.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Has Blair settled for only THREE Opt-Outs???

The following is from The Guardian , linked here, based on reports from The Independent apparently: Tony Blair will demand three opt-outs for Britain before signing up to the revived European constitution at his last international meeting next week, it was reported today.

The outgoing prime minister will refuse to give up the British veto on foreign policy, employment and criminal law when he attends a summit of EU leaders in Brussels, according to today's Independent.

Slow Progress on Parliamentary Accountability

The Telegraph today pushes Brown on the European Council meeting, read here, and a picture that has been around the net since last week which for some reason the UK media seemed to have been keeping under wraps (see my post of 8th June below). The statement on what Sarkozy claimed (linked in my post below) - "He added that he had agreed with Blair on how to tackle the thorny issue of fundamental rights that were enshrined in the old constitution, but did not go into details" has still gone unreported in Britain as far as I can see, it certainly has caused no political concern which is odd in view of all that has gone before. Are Britain's media involved in a conspiracy of silence on this? The French reports certainly carried the aside on Thursday evening as I quoted in another post below: "On a parlé du texte sur les droits fondamentaux et on a trouvé une solution" Now that David Cameron the leader of the Conservative Party has finally taken an interest in calling for an eventual referendum, perhaps he will soon grasp the major point of the sidelining of Parliament which will result from a Blair/Beckett lone attendance at the meeting. The Telegraph states that "Tory sources said they would turning up the heat on Mr Brown every day between now and the EU summit." Let us hope so, we will be watching! To see the doughty parliamentarian the Labour MP Frank Field also alongside on this argument is also most encouraging. The BBC report from its Europe Correspondent on the Radio 4 Today programme in its supercilious tone might have been prepared after a brief read of the seriously flawed arguments recently presented on the EU Referendum blog, linked here, which at least reflected a brief return to its supposed raison d'être. (On visiting EU Referendum for the above link, I note they have at least returned to the topic once again, but conclude with the same dangerous do-nothing line peddled by David Heathcoat-Amory in his speech to the Bruges Group - can this wild folly among the opponents of EU Federalism really be maintained over the coming week?)

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Brown/Blair Constitutional Treachery finally in the MSM

The main concern of this blog over many months has finally received some press attention. Read here.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Sarkozy and Blair agree on the Charter of Fundamental Rights

The French report is absolutely clear and explicit and is shown below as it appears on this link:

Alors que les discussions vont bon train en ce moment, au sommet du G8 à Heiligendamm (Allemagne), Nicolas Sarkozy a déclaré avoir trouvé un accord avec Tony Blair, à propos d’un traité simplifié pour sortir l’Union européenne de sa crise institutionnelle.

"Avec Tony Blair, on vient de se mettre d’accord sur ce que pourrait être le cadre du traité simplifié", a déclaré Nicolas Sarkozy à l’issue d’un entretien avec Tony Blair, en marge du sommet du G8.

"Ça doit être un nouveau traité, et pas une petite constitution", a-t-il déclaré. Avant d’ajouter : "On a parlé du texte sur les droits fondamentaux et on a trouvé une solution".........

In plain English:


Parliamentary Summer Recess

If Brown and Blair wish to bury as quickly as possible the surrender of sovereignty they jointly plan in Brussels at the European Council on 21/22 June there is a precedent for an earlier than normal July Summer Recess, this in 1993:

Recess dates 1992-93 State Opening: 6 May 1992 Prorogation: 5 November 1993

Total number of sitting days: 240


Rise of the House

Return of the House

Spring Bank Holiday

22 May 1992

2 Jun 1992


16 Jul 1992

19 Oct 1992


17 Dec 1992

11 Jan 1993


2 Apr 1993

14 Apr 1993

May day

30 Apr 1993

4 May 1993

Spring Bank Holiday

27 May 1993

7 Jun 1993


27 Jun 1993

18 Oct 1993

Sarkozy has Blair's agreement on Mini/Max Treaty

The following report was from EU Business last evening, linked here. No trace in the British media naturally enough! The item begins:

Sarkozy says has agreed outline of EU 'treaty' with Blair

07 June 2007, 20:41 CET

(HEILIGENDAMM) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy said here on Thursday he and British Prime Minister Tony Blair had agreed on "what could be the framework of a simplified treaty" for the European Union.

"Tony Blair and I have just agreed on what could be the framework of a simplified treaty," Sarkozy said on the sidelines of the Group of Eight summit in the Baltic Sea resort of Heiligendamm.................

This report on the same press release from 'The Peninsula Online' in Qatar, linked here, also has this concluding paragraph:

He added that he had agreed with Blair on how to tackle the thorny issue of fundamental rights that were enshrined in the old constitution, but did not go into details. Combined with the statement in yesterday's Financial Times editorial, linked from the post below, it appears the scam incorporating the document on 'Fundamental Rights' is also a done deal, rather than the comic book irrelevance once claimed by Blair's Government. I quote: So the British are demanding all they can get, going back on all sorts of previous agreements – such as majority voting on police co-operation (needed for counter-terrorism) and incorporating the charter of fundamental rights in the treaty.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

FT joins my campaign for Brown to attend European Council

Although the Financial Times editorial today does not use any of the constitutional arguments which I have been raising on this blog, their conclusion that Gordon Brown must attend the crucial meeting of 21/22 June in Brusssels is exactly the same as mine. Their view may be read from this link and concludes as follows:

Britain, on the other hand, presents a more complex dilemma: Tony Blair, leading the negotiations, will hand power to Gordon Brown within days of striking a deal. He cannot guarantee that Mr Brown will sign up to the same package. The next prime minister wants at all costs to avoid a referendum and is looking over his shoulder at the opposition Conservatives. So the British are demanding all they can get, going back on all sorts of previous agreements – such as majority voting on police co-operation (needed for counter-terrorism) and incorporating the charter of fundamental rights in the treaty.

Ms Merkel wants to agree binding texts so that the subsequent inter-governmental conference does not turn into an interminable haggle. Mr Brown does not want an endless process, either. So he should attend the summit with Mr Blair and sign whatever they both can agree. He can go instead of Margaret Beckett, foreign secretary. Staying at home is an abdication of responsibility.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Sarkozy sets sights on Brown

FINALLY the Tories seem to be noticing what is going on in Europe. The new French President has made clear that the old rules and methods no longer apply and the Shadow Foreign Secretary seems to have at last twigged that it might be a huge error to send a spent force such as Blair to confront this building hurricane. The following welcome quotes come from a Telegraph report in the paper today, linked here:

William Hague, the shadow foreign secretary, has attacked the shuttle diplomacy of recent weeks.

"We are in the bizarre position that Merkel and Sarkozy seem to know more about the British Government's policy on Europe than the British public," he said.

"Tony Blair meets Merkel this weekend in a position of completely unnecessary weakness. No Prime Minister can properly represent his country in important negotiations when he has less than a month to go in office."

The paper elsewhere reports that the real target of Sarkozy has already become Gordon Brown, read here "Gordon Brown has advanced and modernised the British economy over 10 years," Mr Sarkozy said.

"I hope that in moving from number 11 to 10 Downing Street he understands that Europe is not outmoded."

The remarks reflect long-standing irritation about Mr Brown's euro-scepticism. In Paris and Berlin there are fears that he will take a less integrationist position than Mr Blair in talks on the future of the EU, including those on a mini-treaty to replace the defunct European constitution.

If only that were true, for if it were, would not Brown insist on leading negotiations in Brussels on 21/22 June as would be constitutionally correct given that it is only he who can guide any necessary resulting legislation through Parliament........ or is my repeated suspicion the more likely case? Namely that the vetoes will be effectively lost in the revised decision-making procedures of the European Council, which changes will not become fully clear until long after Blair and Beckett have departed from office??????

Do not be fooled by the constant use of the term mini-Treaty, it means minimum legislation and verbiage incorporating the maximum possible content of the old EU Constitutional Treaty entirely to circumvent the democratic rejection of the same by the people of France, Holland and naturally of the UK were they not already living in a tyrannical if not totalitarian state.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Justice and Home Affairs Veto

Various reports that Britain will retain its judicial veto such as this from linked here and headlined :

UK won't lose veto on EU crime policy

Bollocks of course. Police and judicial co-operation are already matters for enhanced cooperation which combined with the European Arrest Warrant allowing the extradition of UK citizens for actions not criminal in the UK, little independence in the field of Home Affairs once contained in the "pillar" with a complete national veto now remains. Add in the oft stated intention to make Immigration subject to QMV this June and what national independence is now really left. What other secret deals will Blair now make, backed only by Margaret Beckett who will both be gone days after??? Answers come there none!!!! Parliamentary objections from either opposition party have yet to be tabled. Time remaining in which to act gets ever shorter. Parliament should be dissolved to prevent Blair attending the EU council unless Brown and his Foreign Secretary designate are allowed to attend the meetings in his place.... Tony could attend the dinners and the group photo session....NOTHING MORE!!!!!!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Sarkozy gains Portugese support for mini/max constitution

The IHT report may be read from this link. A quote to make democrats quake is this:

Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates is the latest European leader to come out in favor of the new French leader's plan and said he hoped a scaled-down treaty would be adopted by the end of this year.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair has endorsed Sarkozy's plan while European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende have voiced support for the idea of a trimmed-down treaty.

Another sham trial to shame justice opens in The Hague

Remembering the last such event led to the death in custody of the accused Head of State this report on the opening of the trial of Charles Taylor makes chilling reading. Is this what the poor of Africa who must be watching in their millions are to learn from Western justice? Read the FT account from here.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

The Queen must dissolve Parliament immediately.

The Queen's Prime Minister, Tony Blair MP, will represent Britain at the G8 summit next week. The fact that this body merely issues statements that its members later feel they can mostly ignore makes the fact that Blair is a finished first amongst similarly finished or fully fatigued members of a cabinet of equals a matter of very little concern. The Berlin EU meeting in less than three weeks time is an entirely different matter. EU Commission President Barroso's threats to Britain detailed and linked from the post below partly explain why. Details of the negotiations regarding the substitute EU Constitution now revealed as to being planned to be finalised in substance at the Berlin meeting are being withheld from Parliament. The Minister for Europe, Geoff Hoon, MP is refusing to appear before the House of Common EU monitoring committee any earlier than one week ahead of the European Council, far too late for action as revealed by David Heathcoat-Amory a member of that committee in his speech last month to the Bruges Group, linked from a posting below. The next meeting of the Privy Council is not until 13th June, similarly too late. If Parliament cannot bind the Prime Minister before he attends this meeting, neither can the lame duck cabinet which Blair now heads. It will be another very different cabinet that will be collectively responsible for the legislation when put before Parliament in the autumn. Will they be able to question either the former PM or his Foreign Minister on what they actually agreed? Parliament itself will be powerless to summon the former PM and his present Foreign Secretary, Margaret Becket, MP (who in her present and former ministerial posts has shown herself completely unaware of what occurs in the world around her) should both these individuals decide to quietly retire to the back-benches or from Parliament altogether. The members of the majority party in the House have made clear their wish for Gordon Brown to lead their party and therefore become the Queen's first minister of a new cabinet and administration. Parliament should therefore be immediately dissolved by the Queen and Gordon Brown, MP summoned to the palace and instructed to form an immediate cabinet and government which can collectively agree a detailed brief and grant negotiating authority for the Berlin EU Council meeting. Delay will leave the only alternative to Blair attending without any proper constitutional mandate so to do or a last minute dissolution leaving an empty British chair at the council, which may well now be the best option but would be one best arrived at deliberately rather than through pressure of events. Letting Tony Blair attend will forever throw into doubt the constitutionality of the means by which perhaps our final independent sovereignty is to be sacrificed. When Blair made his 1999 conference speech on destroying the Forces of Conservatism, linked here, little could he have dreamed of the power that circumstances now seem to afford him so to do. Only the Queen, who perhaps best epitomizes those very forces in the country that Tony Blair has done so much to destroy can now contrive to prevent him.

Friday, June 01, 2007

"Strictly limited scope for an IGC"

As I have been banging on about for weeks, the reality of the June Berlin summit is finally leaking out, Sarkozy got Zapatero alongside in Spain yesterday, even with reduced votes for Spain according to some accounts, but this from the FT gives the clearest clues of the day:

Tony Blair will represent Britain at a European summit on June 21-22 in virtually his last act as prime minister, and will be asked to agree the outline of a slimmed-down treaty to replace the constitution.

Mr Brown is insisting that Mr Blair avoid any overt transfer of British sovereignty – such as the removal of national vetoes over justice matters and giving the EU a “legal personality” – that would put him under pressure to hold a referendum.

With Mr Brown waiting in the wings, Angela Merkel, German chancellor, hopes to nail down the outline of the new treaty with the help of Mr Blair, minimising the risk the new prime minister might try to unpick the agreement later.

Mr Barroso said he expected the June EU summit to produce a “precise and clear mandate” for the new treaty, strictly limiting the scope of an inter-governmental conference which would finalise the text. He said detailed work could start in July and end by December.

The European Commission president has warned Mr Brown privately that if he fights a rearguard action against the new treaty this autumn it would seriously harm his relations with Ms Merkel and other European leaders.

Mr Brown’s aides are studying the details of the proposed new treaty carefully, but Mr Blair’s team believe it could suit the chancellor of the exchequer for the dirty work to be done by the outgoing premier.