Saturday, 29 October 2011

Repatriation of powers: really?

The Daily Telegraph carries a report that David Cameron has ordered a review, involving every government department, of every aspect of the UK's membership of the European Union, with a view to creating a 'menu of demands' where repatriation of powers are concerned. Coupled with the Daily Telegraph article, the Mail (bless it's socks) carries a report that more than two-thirds of people believe the European Union is 'over-mighty.

At the risk of being accused of needless repetition - it ain't going to happen for one reason and one reason only: 'Acquis Communautire', a term which means that competences (or powers), once ceded to the EU, can never be returned. That Cameron can propose and allow to continue this fallacy is but disingeniousness on his part - a characteristic of which he has prior form. That the media can also propagate this idea, with no attempt that I have seen to question the possibility that this can be achieved, is an act of negligence on their part.

Let us digress for a moment and consider 'sovereignty', 'self-governance' and 'political power'. 'Sovereignty' is generally held to be the ability of having supreme, independent authority over a geographic area, such as a territory, ie a nation. It can also be said that 'sovereignty' has always been defined as the ability to guarantee the best interests of its own citizens, thus, if a state could not act in the best interests of its own citizens, it could not be thought of as a “sovereign” state. 'Self-governance' is generally held to be the ability to exercise all of the necessary functions of power without intervention from any authority which they cannot themselves alter. 'Power', in the political sense, is held to be the ability of a section of society which is elected to administer some, or all, public resources including defense of the realm. (Let us not, at this moment, enter into a discussion about 'administer' and 'dictate'). That the UK's membership of the European Union means that it is unable to qualify for just one of those terms means that Cameron and the rest of the political class, who maintain we 'must' remain a member of the EU, are in effect guilty of treasonous behaviour in that, without the people's consent, they have ceded, elsewhere, the ability of the UK to decide its own future.

And that, dear reader, is why first we need to slaughter our political elite and then tell the European Union that they need to indulge in the dance known as a 'Foxtrot', adding the word 'Oscar'!

Update: As has been pointed out to me the second paragraph has been badly worded - the "acquis communautaire" is just the body of law. It, itself does not prevent the repatriation of powers.  What does that is the Commission's monopoly of the power of initiation, combined with its role as guardian of the treaty.  Since it requires a law to repeal a law, and the Commission will never repeal a law unless it is replaced with another one, this ensures that the acquis continues to grow. However, this only applies to competences already defined in the treaties. There is nothing, in theory, to stop the member states reducing the Commission's powers (and thereby the acquis) with an amending treaty. In practice, though, that isn't going to happen.


john in cheshire said...

While I agree with your assertions, and I want us out of the EU asap, I suggest that if the EU elite can change the rules to suit themselves, then why can't we? The Lisbon 'thing' might not allow for it per se, but it didn't stop the EU mafia and so hasn't a precedent been set, that as in Alice in Wonderland, the words can mean what we want them to mean?

PeterCharles said...

This is just utter bollocks, a typically mendacious Cameron ploy to 'prove' he is really a Eurosceptic to the backbenches and to make sure the focus of any anti-EU movement is on repatriation and any 'out' focus is sidelined and marginalised.

The first clue is in the line, 'Ministers at the Foreign Office are privately backing plans by back-bench MPs and peers to set out a “menu” of demands from the EU, including repatriating powers on employment regulations and human rights legislation.'

The second clue is in, 'Sources said that the review draws on previously secret Whitehall reports drawn up before the last election as Civil Service “scenario-planning” for a possible Conservative government.'

The third clue is in the line, 'It is understood that every part of the British relationship with the EU and every set of European regulations will be scrutinised to see if the Government can and should try to water them down.' To me this also reveals the intended strategy; spend the next couple of years going through a ream or two of implemented directives, scrap a bit of our own gold-plating off here and there, proclaim this will be a major repatriation of powers that we will insist the EU repatriates ...... after the next election ..... heralding a huge victory in rolling back the powers of the evil EU and basking in the adulation of the Telegraph. If necessary they can even rescind those bits as they never originated in Europe anyway.

That is if they just don't drop the whole thing if things go quiet enough.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

jic: The problem can be solve at a stroke by repealing the ECA1972 - that is why, as PC says below, all this talk is complete b******s.....

PC: You are, once again, correct in your summation - especially the last paragraph, which is what I believe the game plan to be; ie string it out and hope it dies a death.....