Monday, March 29, 2004

Michael Howard Gives Strong Parliamentary Performance on EU Constitution

The following has been taken from a Conservative Party Press Release following this afternoon's Commons exchanges:-

The Prime Minister himself once agreed that there was no need for a constitution.

At the start of this process he said the British way for Europe was not for a `single, legally binding document called a Constitution?.

"So why does he now support a constitution which would give the EU many of The attributes and trappings of statehood: a president, a foreign minister, and a new legal status?

"Why did he change his mind?

The Prime Minister once agreed that the constitution was not essential for enlargement. In December he said: `"this is not constitutionally necessary inorder for enlargement to take place". "Now he says it is essential for enlargement.

"Why did he change his mind?

"The Prime Minister once said: "We have also ruled out other potentially damaging proposals. For example, others wanted to give the European Union explicit legal personality across all the pillars of the treaty. At our insistence, that was removed?.

In the draft constitution, that provision is back - meaning the EU would Have legal status on measures on criminal justice and immigration.

"Why did he change his mind?

"The Prime Minister once said: `Our case is that? the Charter of Fundamental Rights `should not have legal status, and we do not intend it to. We will have to fight that case?. "In the draft constitution, the Charter will be incorporated into EU law.

"Why did he change his mind?

"The Prime Minister once said there was `no proposal, no desire or decision For a separate European military planning capability? "Then he agreed it.

"Why did he change his mind?

"And just last December he told the House that `if it proceeds on the basis outlined by Prime Minister Berlusconi? criminal law will "remain the Province of the nation-state" namely, subject to decision-making by unanimity?.

But now his own Spokesman says there is "wiggle room" and his Minister For Europe says Britain might look favourably on a common European arrest system.

"Why did he change his mind on that?

"As for timing, in December his Spokesman said there wasn't `any great urgency?. Now the Prime Minister wants it to be ratified as soon as possible.

Why did he change his mind? Could it by chance be something to do with his desire to bounce Britain into this constitution before the General Election?

"It's nearly a decade ago now that the Prime Minister promised `I will Never allow this country to be isolated? "Ten years later, we know what he meant by that.

"He meant never leading, always following, others on Europe.

"Last week the Prime Minister said there was `widespread concern about the future of the UK?s fishing industry'.

What a surprise. There is indeed `widespread concern? about the UK fishing industry. There has been `widespread concern? for many years now. The question is why hasn't the Prime Minister done anything about it?

"Last week he said: `I want the UK to give a lead in reforming the Common Fisheries Policy ? by pushing the European Union further down the path of managing fish stocks on a regional level?.

"The constitution changes the basis of the common fisheries policy. It reinforces the Commission?s control. Why didn?t the Prime Minister take advantage of the opportunity available to him when the constitution was being negotiated - not by giving the EU even more control, but by giving this Parliament control?

"Was this another example of the Prime Minister?s opportunism: of his readiness to jump on any passing bandwagon, only to jump off when the issue stops hitting the headlines?

"He says his policy of following not leading gives him more influence. "But this Summit was meant to be about economic reform. So where's that got to? The red tape continues, his own MEPs keep voting for even more, the EU is not on track to meet the targets it set at Lisbon, and there are 14 million Europeans unemployed.

"So much for the Prime Minister's leadership.

"The Leader of the House once claimed this was `a tidying up exercise?. But the Prime Minister told a Cabinet Committee that the outcome of the Convention would be absolutely fundamental and would last for generations.

"The German Foreign Minister [Joschka Fischer] says: "We have a draft Constitution that is worthy of the word historic."

"The Belgian Prime Minister describes it as the "capstone? of a federal State".

"Mr Speaker, let us remind ourselves what the Prime Minister said.

"?Where there is clear constitutional change " the case? for a referendum `is very strong". Many other countries do it. It's entirely sensible if you're deciding how a country is governed"

That?s what the Rt Hon Gentleman said.

"The constitution will indeed decide how this country is governed.

"This is a Government which has held 34 referendums including one on a mayor for Hartlepool, and another on a mayor for Sedgefield. Soon there will be a 35th, on a mayor for Ceredigion, and three on regional government to come this Autumn.

"But on this historic issue, he refuses the British people a say.

"So let me make it clear. Any proposal for a new constitution must be put to the British people. At least seven other member states of the EU are giving their people a say.

"The Irish Government are going to trust the Irish people.

"The Dutch Government will trust the Dutch people.

"The Danish Government will trust the Danish people.

"The Portuguese Government will trust the Portuguese people.

"Why won't his Government trust the British people?

"The Prime Minister says trust him. We say trust the people"
Iain Duncan Smith Cleared

Bloomberg carries this report of the clearing of the name of the former party leader by Sir Philip Mawer, the parliamentary commissioner for standards report is linked from here.

``I'm immensely pleased that my name has been cleared,'' Duncan Smith, 49, told Sky News television. The decision spares his reputation, yet comes too late for his career. He was ousted by Conservative lawmakers Oct. 29 after a revolt among the party's financial backers.

The original complaint started as a result of information laid by a freelance journalist Michael Crick who was working on a BBC documentary. We quote :

``The commissioner did not uphold Mr. Crick's complaint that Mrs. Duncan Smith was improperly employed by her husband,'' the parliamentary report said. ``The commissioner found no evidence that Mr. Duncan Smith made improper claims'' on public funds.

Crick was working on a British Broadcasting Corp. documentary on Duncan Smith when he raised the complaint to Mawer. The inquiry cast doubt on ``the conduct of Mr. Crick.''

``We have grave doubts about some of the techniques used to gather the information submitted in support of his complaint,'' the all-party Standards Committee wrote in their report. ``These are matters for the BBC.''

It is clear to us that the Conservative Party, if they ever wish to fully regain the trust of the electorate (let alone even their own membership) should now carry out their own investigation as to how the details of the alleged misuse of funds came to be given to Mr Crick. Especially as the ensuing events not only robbed the Conservative Party of a leader then rising in the opinion polls, a situation no longer prevailing; but also and even more seriously has robbed the country of an even vaguely realistic opportunity to cast a eurosceptic vote in upcoming elections.

The clear beneficiary of this incident was the European Union and those who promote its constant advance in the country. The BBC is of course at their forefront.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

New Zealand Herald

A first rate explanation on the British political situation and various dilemmas over the EU Constitution is provided from the still Sovereign Nation of New Zealand, where Her Majesty remains the acknowledged and presently unchallenged Head of State and Parliament in Wellington makes all the laws. Who would have once thought that Britain would have thrown all that away, and to Continental Europeans to boot, not many Antipodeans I'll be bound? The full summary of pre-summit matters may be read from this link. We quote just the last paragraph:-

Mr Blair faces a dilemma over how to handle the negotiations. If he were to obstruct progress, it would put his strategy of "positive engagement" in Europe at risk. But if he signs up to the constitution, it could cost him the support of some voters and newspapers, such as The Sun and The Times, both owned by Rupert Murdoch, at the general election.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Howard Re-Clarifies his Clarification on the Constitution

(This is a duplicate of a post on UKIP Uncovered, where the first post on the Conservative Party's attitude to the EU Constitution began this morning.)


At 21:36 this evening local time I received this further expansion on what Howard might do, if he were ever to be Prime Minister, regarding the EU Constitution if such had already been ratified.

This time the statement comes from Conservative Central Office, under the title 'Michael Howard promises EU constitution overhaul' linked from here.

The essence now seems to be the following:-

Rather than the earlier Telegraph explanation of - "thinking he would be able to do what should be done to safeguard the vital interests of the country" (which is always a comforting thing to know about ones future leader, but otherwise means nothing), he has now .... promised that an in-coming Conservative government would seek to re-negotiate a new EU constitution adopted by Britain under Tony Blair.

I find these further updatings increasingly disturbing! 'Seek to re-negotiate' note especially, not demand, not progress and conclude negotiations just 'seek'. At least these constant amendments are making his true intent perfectly clear!

In another paragraph mention is made of opening negotiations "a Conservative government would re-open negotiations on it. I would start negotiating about it to change those arrangements." but that is not, as I read it the commitment. All know that the rest of the EU will quite simply refuse to contemplate such a course, so soon after a difficult and dangerous ratification process. They will tell Howard to give Britain's notice to quit or go away. And today's various statements make clear that Howard has no intention of pushing the matter nor even contemplating using empty threats.

Here is the further explanatory waffle put out by the now clearly and openly eurofederalist Conservative Party Central Office, Howard is quoted by his party as follows:-

"This constitution is unacceptable to me and, I think, to a majority of the people in this country. Were I faced with that position, I would do what has to be done in order to change a situation that is unacceptable. I think we will be able, as an incoming Conservative government, to do what needs to be done to safeguard the vital interests of this country," he said.

Mr Howard insisted that it would be possible to change the constitution - "if you have a very clear idea of what is in the interests of your country and you are determined to be resolute and firm about the way in which you negotiate to secure that objective. That is the kind of approach I would take after the election if I were faced with that position".

The Leader of the Opposition, now quite clearly, is totally unable to either say or commit to repeal or at the very least re-negotiate any EU Constitution passed by Blair!. Which is exactly the point where I began on this blog this morning. In the interim, I regret having taken up so much of this blog's space on what more properly belongs elsewhere namely Teetering Tories, where anything further on this topic will be found.
Howard Backtracks

Conservative Central Office seem to have realised the potential damage done to their party's cause by the Telegraph's editorial this morning and Howard's even more disastrous Radio 4 interview on 'Today', even while some others cannot.

Most unusually these days for the Electronic Telegraph the following was put out around lunchtime today and received by myself as a google news alert at 1317 local tme. This approximate timing can be verified by a visit to Google News, as quoted here copied a few minutes ago:-

"Tories 'would change EU constitution', UK - 5 hours ago
Mr Howard said the constitution was unacceptable to the majority of British
people and he would "do what has to be done" to change it. ..."

The article now claiming Howard will try to renegoiate the Constitution if elected is linked from here:- Tories 'would change EU constitution'

It appears the newspaper is again trying to misrepresent the record by stating Howard put this forward while Blair was flying to Spain, where he actually flew yesterday for dinner with Aznar. I quote the article:

Mr Howard said that if Britain signed up to the constitution, a vast range of powers would be handed to Brussels and, that while he favoured a Europe in which member states could intergrate further, Britain should not be forced to do so.

"I think we will be able, as an incoming Conservative government, to do what needs to be done to safeguard the vital interests of this country."

Mr Howard was speaking as Tony Blair flew to Spain to attend a memorial service for the victims of the Madrid bombing, before embarking on a whistle-stop diplomatic tour.

If that were Howard's position last night why, did Central Office allow the editorial in this morning's paper to appear as it did, and more significantly why did Howard answer as he did on the Radio this morning, as posted immediately below.

Whatever Michael Howard now states as his position, his intentions have been clearly exposed, IMHO he will not repeal the constitution and any attempt to re-negotaite will be window dressing and quickly abandoned.

We now have the definitive Conservative Party position on the EU Constitution, which is as follows:-

"I think we will be able, as an incoming Conservative government, to do what needs to be done to safeguard the vital interests of this country."

Well I suppose some might find it more positive than the earlier:-

There are a range of things, and I will consider them at the time and see what the best approach is. ......or is it?

Is the unusual spelling of "integrate" from the Torygraph another sign of a rush!

The only thing in Howard's mind is how to keep the opposing wings of his party together long enough to try and get elected, and to hell with the interests of the nation, that IS as clear to this writer as a pikestaff.
Howard on "Today" on doing nothing as PM on the EU Constitution

The following seems to entirely prove the point I was arguing earlier today on UKIP Uncovered as discussed in detail on the posting beneath this. Herewith this morning's radio interview with the Leader of the Opposition, presumably until Kennedy (or Lib/Dem) sub replaces him in that role:-


James Naughtie: If you come in as prime minister after the next election, and a constitution has been agreed, and you think its an intolerable constitution, what would you do about it?

Michael Howard: I will talk to them about it.

JN: (Laughing) It?s all very well talking about it, but what will you do?

MH: I will start negotiating about it to change those arrangements, but you're jumping very far ahead, if I may say so.

JN: Jumping 18 months ahead as you would have it, you think you?re going to be elected

MH: Hang on, hang on, let?s suppose that a constitution is agreed, it has to be ratified by all the countries of the European Union?. 7 of them have already agreed to have a referendum, it is quite disgraceful that the British government is not prepared to give the British people a say on a vital matter of this importance, but at least 7 other member states of the EU will give their people a referendum, its by no means clear that the people of those countries will actually vote yes, there are many, many hurdles this constitution has to overcome before its in place, so it?s a bit premature to speculate on what might or might not be done. What is clear is that we are against it, that this is a matter which goes far beyond party in this country, that there is a feeling of outrage that the British people are being denied a say in a referendum, it will undoubtedly be a very important issue in the European election in June, it may well be a very important issue in the general election when it comes, so I don't think we should rush
to the conclusion about the extent to which it is a foregone conclusion that it will be done and dusted before the general election.

JN: Indeed, it's not a foregone conclusion that you would be prime minister, but we all discuss these hypothetical situations, do we not, because it's what politics is about???.. How as prime minister, would you handle it if it was there?

MH: This constitution is unacceptable to me and, I think, to a majority of people in this country, and were I faced with that situation, I would do what needs to be done to change that ituation

JN: What does that mean?

MH: There are a range of things, and I will consider them at the time and see what the best approach is.


Amazingly he seems to even lack total conviction that the people in the country are totally opposed to the EU Constitution, first stating this emphatically - there is a feeling of outrage that the British people are being denied a say in a referendum then shortly after wording this hedged nonsense - This constitution is unacceptable to me and, I think, to a majority of people in this country.

What is this claptrap a quote for Bill Cash and then one for Ken Clarke. No wonder he thinks he can get away with the following waffle if he really only 'thinks' the British people are opposed:-

There are a range of things, and I will consider them at the time and see what the best approach is..

It is clear the only policy he really has is to hope that one of the other seven countries holding a referendum might fail to ratify. The same old conservative party's fond hopes that everything will turn out all right, and the Europeans don't really want a fedreal Europe that they have deluded themselve with for the past 30 PLUS years.

Howard and the EU Constitutional Treaty

I posted this morning on UKIP Uncovered a critique of both Michael Howard and this morning's Lead Article in the Daily Telegraph linked here titled 'How Not to Fight the EU'.

I received this reply from Christina Speight who objected to my stating opinion as fact:-


Really you let your prejudice spill over today into downright untruth.

You have taken the Telegraph's "~The Conservatives would oppose it, but they are not committed to repeal." and in BOLD TYPE and italics claimed that "the Conservatives WILL NOT repeal it."

This is disgraceful and neither true nor even proper reporting.

You ignore THE FACTS which is that horse's mouth itself said ..."It is on this basis that British Conservatives oppose the proposed constitution. We disagree with many of its contents, of course, but we also oppose the idea of having an EU constitution."

You comment yourself "The courts by then will be totally subject to European Control and will be entirely powerless to do anything other than the EU requires from enactment onwards."
This is untrue. Even the b****y constitution provides for us to repeal the treaty [article I-56 if I remember rightly and if they not renumbered it all]

The ONLY way forward is via Michael Howard ... Give him a thumping victory in June and Blair will nearer to conceding a referendum. Divide up the votes among a group of celebs, onentities and UKIP and it will be another nail in the anti-EU movement's coffin.
I propose to put this out on eurofaq/new-ind when you've had a chance to read it and comment.

Really ... (some personal comment removed)

The following response was sent by myself:-


Political reality makes it clear that if the Tories had the slightest intention of even considering the repeal of the constitution then they would have provided a hint and some ambiguity in their policy statement.(They must be aware they will lose votes because of this policy stance). None such exists. Howard has firmly closed the door to repeal, if you can show me anything that indicates otherwise I will correct the statement and provide a link or quote the text in my post.

The Tories are not committed to repeal and as far as I have been able to discover they have even ruled out considering the very idea. As to the provision for withdrawal, as presently drafted that allows a two year notice period during which the country would be stripped of any remaining assets by the EU making such a move equivalent to national economic suicide. Howard has specifically and repeatedly ruled out withdrawal from the EU so he has no intention of either repealing the constitutional treaty nor using its withdrawal procedures, therefore his party position on the constitution is exactly in step with that of the lib dems.

Let me deal with your specific quotes:-

THE FACTS which is that horse's mouth itself said ..."It is on this basis that British Conservatives oppose the proposed constitution. We disagree with many of its contents, of course, but we also oppose the idea of having an EU constitution."

He opposes it while in opposition and IDS was mounting a real campaign for a referendum which seems to have gone quiet since Howard's ascension. But he will not state that he will repeal it if put into Government, which to my view is no real opposition at all.

You comment yourself "The courts by then will be totally subject to European Control and will be entirely powerless to do anything other than the EU requires from enactment onwards."
This is untrue. Even the b****y constitution provides for us to repeal the treaty [article I-56 if I remember rightly and if they not renimbered it all]
See my point above, this is the exercise of a politically decided notice to withdraw from the EU, which is entirely different and nothing whatever to do with the then European subservient courts.

Do you understand what the DT Leader writer was getting at with that sentence
in that paragraph....its a mystery to me?

Believe you me, Christina, I would really wish it were otherwise, and if you can give me any Conservative statements (since Howard) indicating their policy is different to the way I have analysed it above, then I will be delighted to reconsider.


No such quotes arrived but rather this brief response and a posting very much along the lines of the first e-mailed protest was placed on the new-ind and eurofaq discussion fora.


What you reported as fact was Martin's opinion - NOTHING MORE.

So we depend on "as I have been able to discover" - what does that mean???

If Howard unequivocally says "we also oppose the idea of having an EU
constitution." that doesn't matter according to you. Martin knows better.

Sorry but I'm disappointed in you.


Before seeing the internet posts I then decided there might be a slight ambiguity as to whether I was posting opinion as fact and made the change now on the blog as detailed in this e-mail:-


Well I have read it again, and I felt as I had said that it was my comments interleaved in bold it could not be represented as a statement of fact, but in respect for your views I have further clarified the matter by changing the sentence to the following:-

'The key sentence is of course the clear statement that the Conservatives are not committed to repeal it, which in my opinion clearly means they WILL NEVER DO SO.'

If you have anything however vague which gives a basis for your belief that Howard's Tories are likely to consider any renegotiation of the Constitutional Treaty let alone repeal, I would be delighted to see it.


All of which seems rather immaterial, but it does highlight the real doubt that the Tories have 'deliberately?' allowed to build over their true intentions regarding the constitution, should they regain office. It is significant that neither Christina Speight nor myself, who both follow these matters pretty closely, have been able to pin down any kind of statement. Any clarification any readers might be able to provide would be welcome.

Political prudence might normally justify a delay in a definitive statement pending the announcement of a general election, but with the European elections almost upon us, and so much hard European taxpayers cash at stake for the Conservatives, clearly now their main concern, it seems unlikely if they were prepared to take on the EU over the constitution once in power, that they would not by now be loudly saying so. It is possible that the EPP meeting on 31st March is causing this hesitancy, but I doubt it, which is perhaps why I somewhat overstated my own certainty into alleged emphatic statement of fact in my first UKIP Uncovered posting of the day. My money says I will be proved right however, as logic seems to offers no alternative.

By the way I deny being prejudiced against the Tories, dismayed they picked a leader, by conspiracy who I consider unelectable - yes indeed, but prejudiced I vehemently deny nor indeed untruthful. I see no lie in what I wrote today.

Friday, March 19, 2004

My MEP an Acknowledgement Arrives

Mr Daniel Hannan's office has acknowledged my last communication on the subject of 'Tyranny', advising me that he will not see my letter until the end of the month as he is away. Maybe a reply on not just the question of tyranny but the crucial matter of his stance on the EPP will also then be forthcoming.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

More on Tyranny for Hannan

In the absence of any response from my European Constituency MEP regarding tyranny, I have just sent this follow-up which was brought to my attention by a regular reader and correspondent:-

Dear Mr Hannan,

Some three hundred years ago, John Locke, had this to say regarding 'Tyranny'. I feel sure that he would immediately and 'plainly' recognise that the present EU clearly falls within his so accurate description of what a tyranny represents.

199. As usurpation is the exercise of power which another hath a right to, so tyranny is the exercise of power beyond right, which nobody can have a right to; and this is making use of the power any one has in his hands, not for the good of those who are under it, but for his own private, separate advantage. When the governor, however entitled, makes not the law, but his will, the rule, and his commands and actions are not directed to the preservation of the properties of his people, but the satisfaction of his own ambition, revenge, covetousness, or any other irregular passion.

Also applicable to this topic was this piece I wrote for the EU's discussion fora 'Europa' over a year ago. They refused to publish it and eventually I had it placed on one of the FT Discussion fora and also where it is linked from here: Democracy or Pan-European Totalitarianism.

It seems increasingly clear only the latter' Pan-European Totalitarianism' will be now be on offer, and that Britain's Conservative Party, including its lead MEP candidate for the South East Region on June 10th, will be in the vanguard of making only token resistance in democracy's defence! For "the satisfaction of his (their) own ambition, revenge, covetousness, or any (some) other irregular passion" I presume

Let's hope a real Eurorealist candidate, other than the totally corrupted Nigel Farage of UKIP and Daniel Hannan of the EPP rejoining Conservatives, will emerge to give people such as myself a proper vote against the EU and all its works come next June!

Monday, March 15, 2004

My Response to Hannan on Tyranny (and a reminder!)

Daniel Hannan's Euro Roundup referenced here is immediately below this post.


Dear Mr Hannan,

Congratulations on your legal case regarding the European poltical parties, as summarised in your Euro-roundup of today.

I must take issue with your statement regarding tyranny. You say "Whatever grievances we have against Brussels, it is plainly not a tyranny. It does not refuse to let us travel abroad, or throw us into prison camps without trial. Its constituent states are all liberal democracies."

It is of course, nevertheless still perfectly possible for the EU to be, or en route to being, a tyranny. 'The Collins English Dictionary' defines tyranny as follows:-

"1a. a government by a tyrant or tyrants; despotism. b. similarly oppressive and unjust government by more than one person. 2. arbitrary, unreasonable or despotic behaviour or use of authority. 3. any harsh discipline or oppression. 4. a political unit ruled by a tyrant. 5. (especially in ancient Greece) government by a usurper. 6 a tyrannical act."

Clearly the present EU more than meets many of those categories above. Of greater interest I believe, however, is the definition of 'tyranny' formulated by the philosopher Karl Popper during the war and set out in his book 'The Open Society and its Enemies'.

I quote from the Routledge paperback edition Volume 1 2003 London and New York ISBN 0-415-23731-9 page 132:

"For we may consider two main types of government. The first type consist of governments of which we may get rid without bloodshed -- for example, by way of general elections;that is to say, the social institutions provides means by which the rulers may be dismissed by the ruled, and the social traditions ensure that these institutions will not easily be destroyed by those in power. The second type consists of governments which the ruled cannot get rid of except by way of a successful revolution -- that is to say in most cases, not at all. I suggest the term 'democracy' as a short-hand label for a government of the first type, and the term tyranny or dictatorship for a government of the second."

I am sure you will agree that the EU clearly now falls into Karl Popper's second category, regardless of the fact that its founding constituent member states were at one time independent(and necessarily) sovereign liberal democracies but now ex-nation states.

If I may I would remind you that I am still waiting for a reply to my e-mail of 9th February 2004 on the subject of the European Peoples Party in general and the implications of its manifesto commitments regarding NATO in particular.

Yours sincerely,
Hannan's Roundup on Legal Action over European Parties

We quote the South East MEPs most recent Euro Roundup in full:-



Why I am going to the European Court

Let me choose my words with care. Whenever I raise this subject, I get deluged with angry letters saying that I am comparing the EU to a Stalinist autocracy, and thereby insulting the millions who died in the gulags.

So I want to be clear. Whatever grievances we have against Brussels, it is plainly not a tyranny. It does not refuse to let us travel abroad, or throw us into prison camps without trial. Its constituent member states are all liberal democracies.

None the less, something is happening in the European Parliament which can only be called dictatorial. Some months ago, the EU decided that, in order to bolster our sense of European identity, we needed trans-national political parties. These parties would be funded by the taxpayer, and would have to meet various criteria in order to qualify. They would need, for example, to win a minimum level of support in at least seven countries. They would need to contest elections across Europe as a whole, on a common and binding manifesto. And, critically, they would have to sign up to European values as set out in the EU treaties.

This may sound innocuous enough, but I believe it is one of the most sinister proposals to have crossed my desk since I was elected five years ago. In fact, I am going to court to try to block it. I and 25 other MEPs are funding our own legal action against the proposal, arguing that it is incompatible with the EU's stated commitment to democracy and pluralism. For the effect of this law would be to bar Euro-sceptic political parties.

It would do so in two ways. First, non-federalist parties are more likely to see themselves in national terms. They are therefore unlikely to want to merge themselves into pan-European movements. More immediately, though, they would be debarred by the requirement that they accept the values of the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms - not because they object to human rights, but because they believe that delicate questions of this kind should be settled by elected national parliamentarians rather than unelected European judges.

Supporters of the legislation rush to reassure me that mainstream Euro-sceptics, such as the British Tories, have nothing to fear. It is aimed only at far-Right groups, they say, such as Le Pen's National Front. But once we decide that some views may be placed off limits, where do we draw the line?

The idea that some parties are more equal than others is at odds with the principle of democracy. A free electoral system implies that people should be allowed to vote for anyone they like; and that their representatives, once elected, should be able to come together in any combinations they please. How they behave ought to be between them and their voters. If an MP expresses noxious views, it should be for his constituents to pass judgment on him. Taking this duty from them does not only traduce the democratic principle; it also infantilises the electorate.

One of my friends in the European parliament is a Polish MP. He has been here for the better part of a year, as one of the observers from the accession countries who are allowed to participate, but not vote, in the run-up to their countries' formal admission. When he saw the proposed statute on European political parties, he went white with anger.

"This is exactly what the Communists did in Poland," he told me. "They didn't ban elections: we had elections all the time. They didn't even ban opposition parties, at least not by the 1970s. All they did was to ban the opposition parties from contesting the elections. And do you know what their official excuse was? Exactly the same as this. They said it was to stop fascist parties. Only pretty soon that came to apply to everyone except the Communists and their Agrarian allies".

Unsurprisingly, several Poles are among those who are supporting the legal action against the proposal. They know exactly where you can end up once you start banning certain points of view. Consider my friend's experience. He is my age, having entered politics, like me, in his late twenties. He has a baby daughter, the same age as mine. He is a conservative and a free-marketeer. But he might have grown up in a different world.

His father had defected to Canada when he was a young boy. They contrived to meet once, in the 1980s in Cuba, the only country to which they were both able to travel. My friend's father tried to persuade his son to come and live in the West. My friend replied that he wanted to serve Poland: he thought that change was in the air, and he dreamed of sitting as a conservative and a patriot in a free Sejm. A few years later, he fulfilled his dream, but his father never got to see it. The old man had died shortly before travel restrictions were lifted, and the two had never had the chance to meet again.

Mercifully, Prodi's EU is not Jaruszelski's Poland. But it is saddens me that so few people seem perturbed by the principle of what is being proposed. Too many MEPs and Commissioners are gripped by a "Europe right or wrong" attitude which leads them to see freedom, democracy and the rule of law itself as subservient to the greater goal of European integration. That we are discarding the concept of political pluralism is seen as a small price to pay for dishing the sceptics.

Five years in politics is enough to have taught me that court cases are expensive and uncertain. I am not embarking on this one lightly. But, on certain issues, we simply have to make a stand, whatever the cost. If not, what are we doing here?


Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Howard Wrong-footed Once More by Lib Dems?

BBC's 'PM' programme this evening was once again able to revel in making the Conservative Leader look at least clumsy, if not downright careless and accident prone. Reporting on Howard's meeting with immigration whistleblower Steve Moxon, for details read this link from Sheffield Today.

According to the Lib Dems, to which party Mr Moxon used to belong, they would have nothing to do with this individual, unsurprisingly in my view, if the BBC radio report is true, namely that Mr Moxon once suggested by e-mail to Panorama that nuclear weapons were a proper solution for muslim fundamentalism. Whoops! Teeter onwards!

(Update 11th March 0600 The Independent goes to town on this, the article is linked here).

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Tories Still Trailing in spite of Multiple Government Setbacks

Epolitix, linked here, in its report of the latest 'Populus' Poll in today's Times titled 'Howard speech fails to shift poll position ' says:-

A Populus survey for the Times on Tuesday gave the government the edge despite being taken over the weekend of the Tory Spring conference.

Michael Howard's high profile appearance failed to put his party in front at the end of a month in which the issues of Iraq and trust in Tony Blair continued to hinder Labour.

According to Populus, Labour are on 36 per cent, while the Tories trail at 34 per cent and the Liberal Democrats are on 22 points.

Naturally this blog is unsurprised!
A Baker's Dozen

The Conservative Party has 36 MEPs in the European Parliament; all, of course part of the federalist European Peoples Party. I have been reliably informed that of that total only 13 have gone on record to protest the decision of Michael Howard to reverse the previous policy to withdraw from that group in the next Parliament. Disputes with other members seem set to continue for the remainder of this month, but if Howard stays on his intended course the Conservatives look set to be deservedly annihalated next June.

Monday, March 08, 2004

EPP President Confirms its Uncompromising Federalist Structure

This quote is taken from today's EUobserver linked here:-

The President of the European People’s Party Wilfried Martens issued a rallying statement last week saying "This is an uncompromisingly pro-European party".

Michael Howard's determination to keep the Tories within that group after the 10th June election, condemns his MEPs to fight the EP election, if truthful and honest!!, also as UNCOMPROMISING PRO-EUROPEANS with all that corporatist, non-democratic, non-Nato, non-sovereign country statism that involves. Giving the British electorate no anti-EU voting opportunity whatsoever. Bring on some more Eurosceptic Independents.

Saturday, March 06, 2004

Titford Trembles

(This post is reproduced on our sister blogs Ironies and UKIP Uncovered

Jeffrey Titford, former member of the racist New Britain Party and ineffective one-time leader of UKIP, who either colluded in, or allowed to pass without sanction, the illegal BBC video tape copyright infringements of Nigel Farage and Mike Nattrass, yesterday with three other Eastern Region MEP colleagues clearly displayed the panic Martin Bell's Independent MEP Canditature is causing. We quote from this latest report from EDP24

"He really needs a party behind him otherwise he will just drift from thing to another," Mr Titford explained.

Like witnessing boxers reeling after taking a heavy blow you could sense that though stunned they may be about to come out fighting.

The full article 'Ringing the Bell for Change' is linked from here.

More independents in all regions is the only way voters will receive a proper chance to elect some non-corrupted representatives for the Augean Stables of the European Parliament.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Critique of the Conservative Stance on the EU

This comment by Sharon Burns was posted on an EU internet discussion forum yesterday. We thought it deserved broader circulation as a good basis for debate and I am happy to have been given permission to reproduce it here:-

A few highlights of Howard's speech on Europe

M. Howard is a committed europhile. In his position he well knows Britain's involvement in the EU is a disaster, yet he keeps the the trade benefit farce going:

"...The EU was designed to free up our markets so that we could compete globally." (Britain was trading globally before the EU was a twinkle in the devil's eye)

No, M. Howard. The European Union wasn't designed to free up anything.

The goal was to establish a single apparatus of governance centered in Europe with dominion over all commerce, taxation, immigration policy, employment, criminal justice, defense and the natural resources of the European Continent and Great Britain. The EU turned out the way it was planned.

In a nut shell.
Well before the 1960s, the founding masterminds of the EU in sync with the agenda of their globalist masters at the United Nations, correctly gauged the 'free market' concept the hook to draw the prey into the trap. Their well placed minions in each of the countries of the projected geographical range had been beavering away behind the scenes touting the unrealistic benefits of, and building political support for a single European market. They were quite successful.

Scare propaganda telling Brits they'd be 'left out' and 'isolated' outside Europe's mega-market went out to every household in Britain before the big sellout, with government-knows-best assurances to the effect that no British liberties are at risk here folks, it's all about Trade.

The gullible in government fell in with those whose loyalty to Britain had already turned. Loyalists were given the push or were overruled. As they are today.

Fast forward to 2004.
M. Howard's own words prove he is indeed disabused of the trade 'bait' premise used to justify the creation of the European Union (& Britain's participation in it) as, 18 years after his Party steered Britain's ship-of-state into the 'Bermuda triangle' he's having to 'suggest' proposals to achieve the national control Britain possessed for a millennium before traitors or fools (take
your pick) paid it out in a membership fee to 'Club Trade' across the Channel.

May we please have a teeny bit of our freedom back?
M. Howard: "The kind of approach I am suggesting should also enable adjustments to be made to the acquis communautaire. Where it is clear that policies can be more effectively implemented on a national basis the European Union should be prepared to recognise this. PROPOSALS TO ACHIEVE NATIONAL CONTROL (emph. added) in such circumstances should be treated on their merits and not automatically rejected as an affront to the European ideal, (but M. Howard, a winkle of independence in the E Zone IS an affront to the "European ideal.")

Howard plays the game: "But the weight and burden of the directives and laws it has introduced have had almost exactly the opposite effect damming the flood of enterprise that should be sweeping across our ('our' - denoting joint ownership of Europe by Britain or more scary - Britain by Europe?) continent."

Howard quotes the Dutch Minister of Finance: "...over 50% of the administrative burden on businesses in the Netherlands has a direct European origin. On a European scale these costs must be enormous...The decision makers involved, including the politicians in the parliament and the council, should realise the pressure they put on the economic potential," (is everyone who negotiates for Britain in Europe this naive? - or do they just pretend to be?)

M.Howard: "...But reform is simply not happening. The nation states of the European Union are still bedeviled by rules, regulation and red tape, which significantly impede our ability to compete..."

The above facts have been noted by those suffering the repercussions.

So, as you've watched Britain's economy deteriorate bogged down by compulsory rules foisted on it because your Party sold your country out to a foreign entity, and decades of negotiating Britain's 'side' have achieved nothing except to make Brussels Mandates one of life's certainties along with death and taxes, and you say, ' Reform is simply not happening,' it sounds as if there's a bit of cognitive dissonance at work in your brain, M. Howard. You know the EU is dead wrong and Britain never should have joined it, let alone hung around in it for so long, but you like it.

I thought Britain needed the European Union to survive? But now he says...

M. Howard: "Britain has always been a global trading nation. We have historic connections with our Commonwealth partners and with the United States...

Britain is the second largest economy in Europe. It is also the strongest military power in Europe. So we should have no fears about our influence." And: "More of our trade is with non-EU members than is the case for any other member state. We have more overseas investments in non-European markets than any other state. We are unique in the EU in having a global financial centre."

Having voiced the above truisms re: Britain's worthiness as a global power, would the Honorable M. Howard just remind us again of the great benefits accruing to Britain for conducting the nation's business on the same 'level playing field' as it's EU brother-states ?

M. Howard, champion of democracy. "Now, some fifteen years later, ten new countries will be joining the EU, many of whom never expected to experience freedom in our time. Their assession to the Union is a matter for celebration."

M. Howard equates freedom with the European Union.

Sharon Burns

(This post has also been placed on 'Ironies')

Monday, March 01, 2004

Michael Howard Pulls Tories from Butler Inquiry on Iraq War and gets Rattled on Radio

The following is a post just placed on our blog Ironies:-

The Daily Telegraph linked here carries a report on the main British opposition party's withdrawal from the Butler inquiry. We presume this is not unconnected with Blairs continuing refusal to give the full advice on the legality of the war as requested in a rare TV appearence from ex-Prime-Minister John Major. Ostensibly the reason is that the remit to examine the use to which intelligence was put (ie the actions of ministers) was about to be side-tracked.

Once again Howard is left appearing to look wrong-footed by the Liberal Democratic leader Charles Kennedy, who made that very point from the very start and refused to take part in Blair's charade.

On an interview with the BBC's PM Programme Howard floundered when trying to explain the reasons why the Conservative Party's representative on the inquiry Michael Mates, was planning to continue in attendance. Amazingly he had not spoken to his representative today before making the announcement, neither had he apparently tried to talk over the weekend in spite of having raised his concerns about the restricting of inquiry matters to "systems, structures and processes" at the end last week.