As some will know the European Union Bill passed its third reading yesterday and now goes to the House of Lords. For those interested in reading what took place during the debate the Hansard record can be found here (beginning at column 779).
Speaking in the debate William Hague made a couple of interesting statements, the first following an intervention by John Redwood:
"It is already very clear, from our discussions on that treaty, that it will not have the effect on the United Kingdom which my right hon. Friend fears. There is no provision for it to do so; indeed, it is very clear that it should not do so. If any change were to be made to the arrangements of the European Union which imposed significant new sanctions or obligations on the United Kingdom, then of course a referendum would arise under the provisions of the Bill." (Cols: 848/849)
"This Bill is not a panacea for all the problems of the European Union, but it does deal with the biggest challenge that it poses to our democracy: that its development should be linked to popular consent." (Col: 853)
Now where have we heard similar phrases as "There is no provision for it to do so; indeed, it is very clear that it should not do so"? Did we not hear something similar from Edward Heath, at the time of our joining what was the European Economic Community, in respect to our sovereignty? As the proposed EU accession to the European Court of Human Rights would then place the entire body of EU law in the hands of judges at that court, is that not a "transfer of power"? Passing jurisdiction over EU law, which has to be implemented in the UK, to the Strasbourg court must surely qualify as such under the terms of the Bill, albeit that that "transfer of power" is not to Brussels but to Strasbourg. At the present time the European Union Bill only requires the Government to get a Parliamentary resolution to approve the EU’s accession to the ECHR.
If the development of the European Union should be linked to popular consent, then how in the name of all that is holy can it be argued that the initial question of membership of the European Union should not be linked to popular consent? How can Cameron preach "democracy" to the Libyans yet deny that same democracy to his own people, as he did today at PMQs by stating it is his opinion our nation should remain a member of the European Union? If as all politicians maintain they are elected to serve the will of the people, how can Cameron know the will of the people without having asked them?
Courtesy of Richard North, EU Referendum, it is possible to link to this statement by Cameron in the Daily Telegraph on 2nd April last year, prior to the general election:
"I developed a set of beliefs that remain with me to this day. The state is your servant, never your master. It should defend people from every threat – but it should not use that as a premise to infringe unnecessarily on the freedom of the individual. As far as humanly possible, it should crush bureaucracy and hand power to the people."
How kind of Cameron to demonstrate his belief that the state is our servant and never our master with his refusal to allow us a voice on membership of the European Union.
Yet another example of "Democratised Dictatorship"!