Monday, February 22, 2016

Two Must-Reads for Those Considering Brexit

I am torn concerning the issue of Brexit, whether the UK should leave the UK. 

Don’t get me wrong.  If I were a subject of Her Majesty, I would run to vote to leave the EU on June 23rd.  But there was a little disagreement 240 years ago, so I am not a subject, and so it is not my place to campaign on something that is the choice of my UK friends, not my reticent self.

But I can pray they make the right choice, and I can suggest reading material.

So I strongly suggest reading Dominic Lawson’s latest in the Daily Mail which gives an interesting history of how what Maggie Thatcher called “Wet Tories” deceived the UK into the EU.  A sample:

Young was a strong supporter of British EU membership, which made his book’s revelations about the process by which Edward Heath persuaded Parliament to pass the 1972 European Community Act all the more telling: ‘Phrases were dreamed up that could mean all things to all men and women. “There is no question of any erosion of essential national sovereignty”, the government White Paper (proposing entry) said.

‘So “essential” glided into the vocabulary of reassurance. It offered the government deniability. For who could ever say the promise had been broken?’

Young’s forensic account went on: ‘This tendency continued in the House of Commons debates of 1971-2. Ministers did not lie, but they avoided telling the full truth. They refrained from stating categorically that the law of the European Community would have supremacy over British law.

‘This was a conscious, much deliberated choice. Spelled out in a clause that had to be openly debated and passed, Community supremacy would have had explosive possibilities.’

Young also spoke to one of the parliamentary draftsmen who crafted this legislation: this unnamed law officer recalled that he had been told to ‘tread carefully’, as full and open admission of what was being done to parliamentary sovereignty would have been ‘so astounding’ as to have put the whole Bill in danger.

As we know, it passed; though later, Sir Geoffrey Howe, who was the government law officer in charge of the process, wrote in a private letter to a colleague: ‘I remain at least plausibly exposed to the charge that less of our thinking than was appropriate was explicitly exposed to the House of Commons.’ This was Howe-ese for ‘we pulled the wool over their eyes’.

Yes, I do think the current Wet Tories in charge are also being less than forthcoming in trying to talk the UK into further subservience.

And let there be no mistake that the UK is already in subservience to the EU:

Over the past two decades there have been 72 occasions on which the UK has opposed a measure in the Council of Ministers. On every single one of those occasions, we have been outvoted.

This is the true measure of the extent to which we are really, as Cameron claims, ‘exercising influence in Europe’.

And the scale of this torrent of unwanted measures from Brussels has become vast. As the Conservative minister Dominic Raab said yesterday: ‘More than 60 per cent of UK laws are now made in, or derive from, the EU. Can we realistically expect such laws to reflect what Britons want, now they are the product of haggling with 27 governments and a European Commission of 33,000 civil servants?’

Some of these laws actually cost lives. Britain’s most prolific cancer researcher, Professor Angus Dalgleish, told me that the EU’s Clinical Trials Directive had increased the cost of his experiments more than ten-fold.

And he pointed out last month that ‘the unfathomable amount of EU regulation and bureaucracy has led to a third less clinical studies taking place in Britain. We were world-leading in these studies, but because of EU regulation, we now lag behind the United States.’

And what if in a future still in the EU, the UK elects a truly right-of-center government with the gumption to say “No” to EU enormities?  Well, Poland is already getting a taste of the bullying that would result, and there is more in store for other non-Socialist governments, too:

French President Francois Hollande warned Friday that an EU member state could be sanctioned if the extreme-right came to power there -- and could even be suspended from the bloc,AFP reports.

"A country can be suspended from the European Union," the President told France Inter radio.

“Human rights watchdog the Council of Europe last week expressed concern at legislative changes proposed by Poland's new right-wing government that have been described both at home and abroad as unconstitutional and undemocratic,” AFP goes on to say, adding that “similar concerns have been expressed about Hungary's right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban.”

"When the freedom of the media is in danger, when constitutions and human rights are under attack, Europe must not just be a safety net. It must put in place procedures to suspend (countries) -- it can go that far," Hollande said.
"Checks," he said, are necessary on Poland. 

There are a couple of things to note here. First, it's not at all clear why it should be up to France how another country's citizens vote. Indeed, there's something terribly ironic about the idea of punishing a country for their voting preferences in the name of democracy. There's certainly nothing democratic about telling entire countries who they're allowed to elect. 

But who said the EU is democratic?

The EU should come with a clear disclaimer: Abandon your petty sovereignty and democracy, all who enter here.

Again, I don’t have a vote on the matter, but I would get out while the getting is good.

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