Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Do we really want to be part of all this?

Much to the chagrin of David Cameron, the one subject he wishes to avoid has been dominating the political scene and consequently the media - namely, 'Europe'. Setting to one side Cameron's use of a veto - and whether it was a veto, but I digress - a number of events have happened, which prompts the question raised in the heading to this post. Richard North, EU Referendum, penned a resumé of events leading up to 'Events Bruxelles' at the end of last week and also linked to an article by Peter Hitchens, writing in the Mail, said article being well worth reading.

We read today that Van Rompuy wants a new fiscal treaty in place by March; Olli Rehn insists that the UK's excessive deficit and debt will still be the subject of surveillance like other member states; from EUobserver we learn that the IMF euro rescue is stating to unravel and that Britain's annual rebate is to be called into question, whilst the same source reports that contrary to Cameron's initial claim (another 'U' turn?) the UK will not prevent the use of EU institutions for fiscal compact.

 Various theories have been put forward for the reason David Cameron exercised his 'veto', one of which is that he was adamant that no referendum would be held in the UK on Britain's membership of the EU. It is worth mentioning that, in actual fact, he would have been ceding the power to decide the economic method of conducting such business had the 26 accepted his 'requirements' - a result which, if not in his eyes, would most definitely been seen as a loss of power in the eyes of the electorate. However, Ian Parker-Joseph has put forward an alternative reason why Cameron did that which he did; and having spoken to him I know that he stands by every word he wrote, although there would seem to be a 'twist' to the entire question. One needs to revert to IPJ's post on the ESM - to which he links - and read the comments from Denis Cooper which are extremely pertinent. It was originally thought that this link, which it was intimated formed Cameron's 'objections' - and which referred to the recent EU Heads of State meeting - would appear to refer to the ESM treaty.

Some may consider what follows a digression - it is however, relevant - but I wish to refer to the debate that took place this evening on Nigel Dodd's motion on the UK's relationship with theEU - a debate which can be seen here (starts at 16:48:15), the Hansard report to which I will link once it is available. In that debate David Lidington agreed the Common Agricultural Policy CAP) and the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) had had detrimental effects for the UK - so why the hell do we continue to belong to a 'club' whose rules harm us? Lidington also made derogatory remarks about the centralisation of the EU - but where does that differ to the practises of our own government? Emma Reynolds, speaking for the opposition, stated that the UK was in a minority of 26-1 - really, when the actual facts are different? She made mention of the fact that millions of jobs are being created by Indian investment in this country - but what, exactly, does that have to do with our membership of the EU? Mark Durkan made an interesting comment which was that the 'Eurosceptics' in the debate were most noticeable by their absence but, like me, he digressed. It was also regrettable that the leaders of the three parties, who believe in this nation's membership of the EU, failed to make an appearance - yet as the 'drivers' of this policy one has to question their absence. Democracy? A further point has to be that a subject, one that is at the heart of democracy - ie, governance of this country - was 'constrained' by time limits? Democracy? Nigel Dodd's motion was 'carried' by 278-200, yet at any one time there was only about 50/60 MPs in the chamber, taking part in the debate - democracy? No; more likely the modern day version of the 'charge of the 600 - well it would have been had the remainder bothered.*

What passed at the 'Events Bruxelles' - and in the House of Commons this evening - is but a travesty of democracy. This also begs the question of what do the people matter when democracy is based on the system of 'representation'? It also begs the question whether we would, indeed, be better were a system involving 'Referism' and 'Direct Democracy' introduced. At least, we would only have ourselves to blame...........

I can but repeat the heading to this post - or would the EU just expel us? We don't really mind, either way, providing the outcome is just that: OUT! Of course, if we had politicians with 'cojones'.............

Update: The Hansard report can be read here. It will be noticed the Liberal Democrats appear to have abstained en-masse*. Ana the Imp has two posts on the subject of the European Union here and here, from the second of which I reproduce a cartoon which seems to encapsulate all that is wrong with the euro and the european union.


IanPJ said...

Excellent post, nicely put.

Woodsy42 said...

"or would the EU just expel us?"

I fear you are indulging in wishful thinking WfW! They want us there as an obedient source of money.
Just maybe the more astute of them fear what we might achieve without their dragging at our heels, which would demonstrate the disfunctionality of the EU. But perhaps that's wishful thinking on my part?

F***W*T TW****R said...

See Dan Hannan"s latest blog and especially the early comments.

banned said...

@ F***W*T TW****R this one.

"Eurocrats no longer trouble to disguise their loathing for Britain Why do we submit to government from people who plainly detest us?"

which I just posted on, brilliant speech by Dan.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

IPJ: Thank you.

W42: Yup, wishful thinking indeed.

FWTTWR & b Thanks for the link. Agree, but still have my doubts about DH.......

cosmic said...

There's really no question of a full EU treaty being an answer to the Euro's problems; it would be too cumbersome, have too many pitfalls and take too long. The idea of it being done and dusted by March is ridiculous.

An intergovernmental movement amongst the Euro states would be more focused, more nimble and have greater chance of success, which isn't saying much because the Euro is a lost cause.

There is no way the UK can protect The City against EU interference while we are a member; not Cameron's 'modest proposals', not anything.

The main players each walked away from the meeting with something. Merkozy with the way clear to arrange intergovernmental action, Cameron with his bogus Eurosceptic credentials endorsed and something to encourage the Europlastics and absorb withdrawalist sentiment in the UK. Arguably he also headed off pressure for a referendum. The press certainly seems to have swallowed Cameron saying 'no' to 'Europe' without chewing it. The main players all came away with something for the home audience.

I think we are seeing the end of the EU introduced by the end of the Euro. It won't be a sudden death after a short illness, it will be a long drawn out process with any amount of effort put into keeping the corpse showing signs of life.

I suspect all the players are keeping up appearances and bearing in mind what happens when the inevitable happens and the treaties become meaningless because everyone is simply ignoring them.

As to why we are involved in this club when it has no benefits, it's been discussed before.

We have a political and administrative establishment with its own agenda which the EU serves very well, and if the interests of the UK conflict with that agenda, too bad. It certainly can't admit that the game's up.

The determining factor and a ticking bomb is the fate of the Euro and there is no easy way to stabilise it.

As to why the EU doesn't expel us, there are all sorts of reasons, but one of them is that it would be an enormously destabilising move for it, a huge admission of failure and a psychological blow. Another one is that no means exists within the treaties to do that as far as I'm aware.

eddyh said...

We don't need to leave the EU. Just do not implement any laws we don't agree with and repeal any that have already gone through.This will see us thrown out in time without embarrasing Cast Iron Dave by a referendum.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

c: First para: Agreed. 2nd para: True but would not be allowed to use EU institutions to implement. 3rd para: Agreed. 4th para: Agreed. 5th para: Agreed and it will be messy. 6th para and remainder Agreed, but bear in mind suggestion of being expelled was 'tongue in cheek'. I am well aware of what the LT says (slapped wrist for you!)

e: Wouldn't work - they would just keep us in whilst piling on fine after fine.......