UK level playing field to be unlevelled by plough of EU and Juncker’s troops

With two competing pro-withdrawal groups, leave.eu and vote.leave launching their campaigns in the last fortnight, it is easy to feel that the withdrawal movement, for all its fragmentation is building up a head of steam.

In reality, however, our opponents intend to do all they can to ensure we vote to stay within the EU. Two articles have been brought to our attention which illustrate the contempt which some members of our own government have for democracy and that the powers that be will ensure that the forthcoming referendum will be anything but a level playing field.

Firstly, the European Commission has admitted to a UKIP MEP that it has set up a task force with an initial staffing of nine officials to “coordinate” its activities for Britain’s remain/leave referendum. And it says the Eurocrats will oversee “information activities” in the run-up to the vote.

The revelations will heighten concerns that Brussels intends to launch an all-out propaganda offensive, financed by taxpayers’ money, in order to persuade the British public to stay in the EU.

Commission President Jean Claude Juncker told Eastern Region MEP Patrick O’Flynn in a written parliamentary answer: “The Commission has decided to create a Task Force for Strategic Issues related to the United Kingdom referendum. It will coordinate the Commission’s work on all strategic issues related to the UK ahead of the referendum. In a later phase it will oversee the Commission’s input into information activities in the run-up to the UK referendum. In addition to its Head, the Task Force will consist initially of six administrators and two assistants.”

Mr O’Flynn said: “I am grateful to President Juncker for being reasonably open about the Commisssion preparing to launch a propaganda offensive designed to keep Britain in the EU. The British public will no doubt already be familiar with what the Commission considers ‘information activities’. If Mr Juncker has in mind something similar to the material that is circulated to schools then I think propaganda would be a more accurate label.”

“While this unit is relatively modestly staffed by Brussels standards, I note that Mr Juncker says that nine is merely its ‘initial’ size and I will be looking closely to see if it is expanded and by how much in the months ahead. In my view the referendum should be a matter for the British people alone and European Union institutions would be well advised to keep out. However, if this attempt to skew the referendum battleground were to prove counter-productive it would come as no surprise. British voters do not like anything that smacks of interference with fair play.”

Meanwhile another UKIP MEP, Gerard Batten, has highlighted how our own government is acting hand-in-glove with the EU institutions to undermine national democracy.

Speaking at a fringe meeting at the Conservative Party conference, Karen Bradley, the Home Office Minister boasted, “When I’ve sat down with my counterparts and ministers from European countries and talked about passenger name records it’s quite clear that at goverrment level in all these countries they also want passenger name records but they cannot get them through their national parliaments, so they say to us – please help us get it through at European level. One of our MEPs, Timothy Kirkhope, is pushing passenger name records through the European Parliament as we speak.”

Mr Batten responded. “It’s the transparent contempt for Parliamentary democracy that shines through. Now we have a Government Minister boasting how Conservative MEPs are doing other Governments’ bidding. It also shows why the establishment elite so love the EU. They can ignore the public and do whatever they want.”

A vote to leave the EU would therefore be final and impossible to contest, for it will have been achieved against overwhelming odds – not only against the ample resources of the European establishment but also against some unscrupulous and unsavoury members of our own political class.

With thanks to the UKIP head office and Gerard Batten MEP for permission to reproduce their articles. The originals may be viewed at http://www.ukip.org/juncker_admits_to_eu_referendum_taskforce and http://www.ukip.org/government_admits_it_uses_the_eu_to_subvert_democracy

Lies and more lies

The European Movement claims that we knew perfectly well what we were doing in joining the European Project. In other words, both our Parliament when it signed the Accession Treaty and the electorate when it voted to remain member of the EEC as it then was in Harold Wilson’s 1975 referendum, were aware that we had signed up to more than just free trade.

In a recent e-mail, the European Movement featured the following article:

Today’s Porky: We only Voted for Free Trade

We thought we were only joining a free trade zone”

Not true. We were never hoodwinked. We actually left a free trade zone (EFTA) to join the EU, specifically because we felt free trade was not enough. The government, setting out its reasons for applying in 1967, stressed that “Europe is now faced with the opportunity of a great move forward in political unity and we can — and indeed we must — play our full part in it”. And before the referendum in 1975, national newspapers on both left and right were clear that political, not just economic, integration was proposed and would be a positive outcome.

Somehow, the European Movement seems to be suffering from selective amnesia. The mid-1960s was a rare period of honesty about the real nature of the European project. On 17th November 1966, Edward Heath had said, “We should frankly recognise this surrender of sovereignty and its purpose.” Four years earlier, however, the Labour leader Hugh Gaitskell had observed that “The Tories have been indulging in their usual double talk. When they go to Brussels they show the greatest enthusiasm for political union. When they speak in the House of Commons they are most anxious to aver that there is no commitment whatever to any political union.”

One of the earliest pro-EU Tory MPs, Peter Thorneycroft, had stated that “no government dependent on a democratic vote could possibly agree in advance to the sacrifices which any adequate plan for European Union must involve. The people must be led slowly and unconsciously into the abandonment of their traditional economic defences, not asked.”

Heath’s determination to shackle us to the European project at any price meant that, when it subsequently became apparent that support for membership was so low, pro-EU Tories reverted to type and honesty once again went by the board. When the White Paper, The United Kingdom and the European Communities, was published in 1971, no mention was made of plans for economic or monetary union, nor the loss of sovereignty.

Even after our Parliament had signed the Accession Treaty, Heath said, “There are some in this country who fear that in going into Europe, we shall in some way sacrifice our independence and sovereignty. These fears, I need hardly say, are completely unjustified.” Heath had not allowed Parliament to read the full text of the Accession Treaty for he knew it would never have been passed if they did. He had to lie not only to the country but to his fellow MPs in order that they would, in effect, sign a blank cheque.

As for the coverage of the 1975 referendum by the Press, the national newspapers were anything but clear about the political nature of the project. Perhaps the many voters who have subsequently said “I voted to stay in because I thought it was just about trade with a Common Market” did not read the articles fully, but the tone of the “remain” campaign in 1975 focussed on the negatives of leaving: – how isolated we would be; how few friends we would have. The Government leaflet A New Deal in Europe did say “we cannot go it alone in the modern world,” but the focus on all the publicity was on how much of our independence would be preserved, not how much of it was to be surrendered.

In conclusion, it is the European Movement which is telling porkies, not its critics. In the 1960s and 1970s, the rank and file never understood the political nature of the European project – in fact, some people still don’t forty years later.

NB:- the European Movement regularly features so-called “porkies” which, on close examination, usually prove to be correct. Anyone wishing to produce further rebuttals of articles by the European Movement should contact [email protected]. The European Movement’s website is http://euromove.org.uk/

(With thanks to the Boiling Frog website and The Great Deception by Richard North and Christopher Booker – always a useful ready-at-hand source of information for rebutting europhiles)

Photo by Kai Hendry

The sequence of politicians who have broken their oath

This letter from our Chairman, Edward Spalton, appeared in the Derby Telegraph on 21st August 2015

I agree with correspondent MC Haines that the EU provides well-paid and lavishly pensioned second careers for politicians who have passed their sell-by date at home “EU is just a retirement club for politicians” (August 14).

Not only that – their salaries, pensions and perks are free of UK income tax but they still feel free to condemn the moral turpitude of tax avoidance by less favoured mortals!

If that was all the EU was about, it would be a nice little earner for them but relatively harmless.

Back in 1961 when the British government, under American pressure, was desperately trying to get in on the racket, the Lord Chancellor Lord Kilmuir advised what it was really about.

“It is clear … that the (European) Council of Ministers could … make regulations which would be binding on us even against our wishes, and which would, in fact, become for us part of the law of the land. For Parliament to do this would go far beyond the most extensive delegation of powers, even in wartime, that we have experienced and I do not think there is any likelihood of this being acceptable to the House of Commons … we should have therefore to accept a position where Parliament had no more power to repeal its own enactments … we could only comply with our obligations under the Treaty if Parliament abandoned its right of passing independent judgment on legislative proposals put before it.”

This advice remained a secret, kept from Parliament and people until long after Parliament was duped in 1972 by clever procedural business to vote by a narrow majority for a treaty which no MPs – apart from the ministers involved in the surrender – had ever had a chance to scrutinise. MPs signed a blank cheque for what was not their’s to give away: larger and larger surrenders of our right to democratic self-government have been made at every subsequent EU treaty.

Whilst we still have the pageantry of the state opening of Parliament and all the appearances of ancient, responsible, parliamentary government, it has been hollowed out: our institutions of state, evolved over centuries, will remain a complete fraud for as long as we remain subjects of the European Union.

And it has all been done over generations by ministers who had taken a solemn, binding oath to uphold the sovereignty of the Crown on behalf of the nation against all foreign powers and potentates.

Edward Spalton

Britain and its influence on the world stage

CIB wishes to congratulate CIB member Michael Clark on his letter to The Times 

Sir, President Obama has said Britain must remain in the EU to provide confidence in the strength of the transatlantic union and its strategic partnership with the US. He also says we will lose influence on the world stage if we leave the EU. Can we really consider this as a logical analysis of the present position facing America’s closest partner?
Britain has already lost a major part its influence in Europe as only one among an EU membership of 28. The political EU has subsumed Britain’s sovereign power and influence way beyond the original Common Market that we joined forty years ago.
How can Britain, stripped of its constitutional integrity and weakened by the ever increasing vacuum in the Westminster Parliament, retain or even gain more influence by continued membership of the EU?  This organization is in crisis and can but move towards a federal United States of Europe in order to maintain the eurozone.
I submit that Britain at this time needs to stand back from and if necessary, leave the EU, this in order to save Europe from itself — something we have done more than once over the past eight centuries.
MICHAEL CLARK

Photo by Ethan Bloch

Fewer Politicians – one advantage of “Brexit”

You can swiftly judge the flavour of a democracy by its decision-making. Westminster requires its elected representatives to dash in person to the voting place, state their name to the tellers, and see their footwork published as a matter of public record.

By contrast, the European Parliament once saw an MEP wedge a baguette into the abstain button and wander off for an extended coffee. His voting pattern was probably one of the more enlightened that day. It was certainly the most consistent. It would also have meant he met the attendance threshold to pick up his salary. If nothing else, it provides new meaning to the term ‘roll call vote’.

The European Parliament provides an illusion of democracy. It is a deception, a screen, and indeed an apt mirror of the town in which it sits, and of the institutions for which it is supposed to provide at least notional oversight.

For 15 years now, Brussels has displayed what the Eurosceptic writer David Wilkinson first identified and styled “façadism”. As the city anticipated the arrival of new money after EU expansion, property developers took to gutting old buildings but keeping just the street facing in place, providing literally a front to the stripping away that was happening just out of sight. Something not dissimilar has been happening to Europe’s democracies. The old frontage is still there, but the inner workings have been ripped out.

There are two problems with this management approach. In the first instance, the people in this country overwhelmingly don’t want it. They want to live in an accountable state where they can complain and something gets done; or if something doesn’t get done, they can then vote and get the blighters out.

But the EU is not an accountable democracy. Transitional, proto-federal, corporatist, lobby-orientated, blob-driven: perhaps ‘Kryptocracy’ best describes it in a nutshell, though ‘Pantarchy’ has a certain appeal on several levels. The second problem that follows is that it’s a dysfunctional system too.
The European model is the result of some very clever people playing with a meccano set while their parents were too distracted to stop them expanding across the floor. The construction has gone outwards and upwards as opportunity has permitted, with gaps left for further completion throughout.

Democratic accountability has been one of these. Had the EU’s founders been able from the outset to deliver a programme of open integration, these voids would already have been constructively filled. Stops and balances, valves and safeguards would be in place and the European institutions would today at least be trusted. But of course the foundations were built upon the nation states and they require current parliaments to first be cemented over, which has yet to fully happen.

Perhaps the EU’s builders took their inspiration from Antonio Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia, the hulking beautiful anarchy of a building site that has long loomed over Barcelona, with its hard hat halls and worker ant vistas. If so, they might also usefully reflect on the metaphor of how the distracted archictect ended his days when he re-encountered the real world in the form of a passing tram.

Lacking democratic features, the EU has had to invent new ones. The flawed premise has led to some futile constructs. The Committee of the Regions provides a talking shop whose sole function has been to provide a shallow veneer of respectability. By buying-in municipal politicians, the Commission is able to point to individual reports as democratic mandate for their initiatives, while ignoring other products which are more troublesome.

The Economic and Social Committee, meanwhile, is intended to bring together corporatist partners and interest groups. Representation is largely by self-selection amongst the cognoscenti of the Brussels scene, since only full time insiders will spot the advertising of vacant national places (the FCO singularly does not help).

At €220m annually, these are somewhat expensive talking shops. EUObserver for instance has tartly noted: “In 2010, the 344 EESC members produced 181 opinions, which when divided with the annual budget means each opinion came at an average cost of €660,000, while no information is made available regarding how these opinions influenced legislation. If they did so at all.” The CotR has also been the subject of such serious fraud allegations it even triggered the emergence of whistleblowers.

The surfeit of politicians here is inversely matched by their retreat before three other wings of the Kryptocracy. Lobbyists and campaign groups can form a useful, potentially vital, adjunct to a democracy, particularly where their work is based on material that is independently produced. Scientific advisers can also supply fresh checks on potential institutional group-think that allows for assumptions to be challenged, an essential safeguard in a system so worm-holed with working groups that it even has a word for the structure and process: comitology.

The problem here is their interdependency. The problems of “Brussels talking to Brussels” and sock puppetry, so brilliantly exposed in papers by the IEA, exist because these privileged groups form a surrogate for actual democratic input. The EU, the Commission in particular, has yet to figure out that not all lobbyists – especially lobbyists it pays for – are necessarily representative, and that it needs to listen more to precisely those groups with which it disagrees the most and therefore shuts out.

The more I reflect on the democratic failings structurally underpinning the EU, the more I come to the conclusion that there is a choice between two absolutes. This building site and its façadism cannot continue – the lobbying of the unaccountable, by the unaccountable, for the unaccountable. Either MEPs fully assume their long-touted role, or MPs fully reassume theirs. There is no middle way. The former means the full adoption of a federal European state, with MPs becoming regional councillors in circumscribed roles. The latter route instead means the UK becoming an independent nation state, and cooperating with European neighbours in a manner which is transparent and accountable. There is no middle way. There is no tolerable status quo.

(This article first appeared on the Conservative Home website and is reproduced with the author’s permission)

Why Britain must repudiate the European Arrest Warrant

Justice photo

Copyright (c)  Torquil Dick-Erikson 2014

1) The EAW is unjust and oppressive, and tramples on our historic rights and freedoms

Habeas Corpus presupposes that any order to arrest a person must be based on evidence of a prima facie case to answer that has already been collected by the authorities. This requirement is negated by the EAW, which forbids UK courts from asking to see evidence collected by the requesting state. The reality is that under the Napoleonic-inquisitorial systems of criminal justice used on the continent, suspects are arrested on the basis of mere clues, and most of the investigation to seek evidence is conducted with the suspects under lock and key. This can last many months, and there is no right to any public hearing during this time. This cannot happen under British procedures, where Habeas Corpus ensures that within hours of arrest, a suspect must be brought into an open court hearing and there charged, with evidence already available to be shewn.

 

2) It is based on a false conception – that the European Convention on Human Rights gives equivalent protection to our rights in all EU countries.

Neither the governmentt nor even the legal profession has conducted any systematic research into continental criminal law systems. They all rely (lazily) on the fact that all EU states are signed up to the ECHR, and this is supposed to guarantee the fairness of their systems and their worthiness of recognition by our own. It is (presumably) supposed that the matter of evidence need not be examined by a British court, because the foreign court can be relied on to deal with it adequately and fairly.

The trouble with this is that the ECHR is vague and woolly in its wording, and totally inadequate when compared to the safeguards provided by our own Common Law system. For example, article 6 says a prisoner has a “right to a public hearing before an impartial tribunal in a reasonable time”. But it doesn’t say what is “reasonable”. This can be as long as a piece of string. For us it is hours after arrest. In Italy, for example, and in the EU’s Corpus Juris proposal for a single criminal code for all Europe, it can be up to six months, extensible. During this time there is no right to a public hearing. The time is used by the investigators to interrogate the suspect in prison, and to try to build a case against him. 

 

3) It will give the EU the key power of statehood – arbitrary physical coercion over our bodies

 Only a State has the right to arrest someone and put them in prison, depriving them of their liberty. If anybody else does it, it is a kidnap, and kidnappers are common criminals. By giving the EU this power – which is henceforth to be submitted to the jurisdiction of the ECJ and the enforcement powers of the Commission, so placed quite beyond the reach of our Parliament – we will effectively be granting it Statehood.

By granting the EU the power to have people arrested in Britain on no evidence, we grant them the power to exercise physical coercion over us quite arbitrarily. The real reasons for arresting a person may be quite different from the ones ostensibly stated – ie the charges can be trumped up. Their purpose could be political.

 

4) The European Public Prosecutor will be able to use it against us (despite our opt-out)

The idea of “mutual recognition” by EU states of one another’s legal systems was originally put forward at Tampere in 1999 by Jack Straw as an alternative to the Corpus Juris proposal for a single system of criminal justice imposed on all (which he realised would be immediately unacceptable to the British people). The EAW is the first fruit of this idea. However the very first mention of a “European Warrant for Arrest” is actually in Corpus Juris itself (see below).

What seems to have escaped notice in Britain is that the EAW is not a permanent alternative to Corpus Juris, it is a stepping stone towards it. The centrepiece of Corpus Juris is the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor (EPP). Corpus Juris is the rule-book that defines his tasks and his powers. At least nine EU states are going ahead anyway with the EPP, under enhanced cooperation, though the UK has opted out.

However, our opt-out can be, and doubtless will be, sidestepped as have some other opt-outs in the past. Article 24.1.b of Corpus Juris (original edition, 1997) provides that “a European Warrant for Arrest, issued on the instructions of the EPP by a national judge… is valid across the whole territory…”. Obviously, since Britain has opted out of the EPP proposal, the EPP will not be able to instruct a British judge to issue an EAW. But he can order, say, a Belgian judge to issue one against a person in the UK. Unless we repudiate the EAW now, the British police will receive the EAW from Belgium, and will simply have to execute it, with no questions asked. The person will be trussed up and shipped over to Belgium, where he will await the pleasure of the Belgian judge, who will doubtless hand him over to the EPP, and there he will languish, under lock and key for up to six months, extensible by three months at a time (Corpus Juris, art. 20.3.g), and with no right to any public hearing during all this time.

Our own lawyers may well opine that “this would be an illegitimate use of the EAW”, but unless we repudiate the EAW now, the entire matter will be subject to the jurisdiction of the ECJ, so out of our hands. And as we know, the ECJ’s mission statement says its decisions must always further the aim of “ever-closer union”…            

It is not yet known who will have power to appoint the EPP, but it is highly likely that the unelected Commission, which holds the monopoly of legislative proposals in the EU, will have a say. Doubtless there will be some statement in the legislation to say that the EPP “must be impartial and independent” but he will surely feel beholden to whoever it was who selected him, and who will doubtless have a say in his re-selection when his term comes to an end.

 

5)  Its supposed advantages are non-existent for Britain

It is said by its apologists that the EAW is good for Britain because it enables us to obtain the speedy extradition of our own criminals who have taken refuge in other EU countries (and by the way, if we controlled our own borders this would not be so easy for them). Now our own police and crown prosecution service will never request the arrest of someone (whether inside or outside Britain) unless they have already collected enough prima facie evidence against him. They do this anyway, and they did it before the EAW – they would send an extradition request with an indication of the evidence against the suspect. They would continue to do it after the EAW was repudiated and we reverted to the previous arrangements. Our own procedures would not change. The difference would be that the foreign prosecutors requesting us to extradite someone would also have to provide evidence against the wanted person. At present they can have people extradited on a mere whim, or a hunch, or a “feeling” that the person in question is guilty, they do not need to shew any hard evidence.

The subtext of what the apologists for the EAW are saying is actually that, unless we continue to allow the foreign authorities to haul over anybody they fancy, providing no evidence, then they will retaliate, and put up all sorts of difficulties when we request an extradition from them. Even though our extradition requests are furnished with serious evidence. If this is really how they would behave, then they would be behaving in a petty and spiteful manner, and their behaviour would amount to blackmail. The British response to any type of blackmail should surely be robust. 

 

6) It will have good political traction with the public

It is said that arrests and extraditions only affect a tiny minority of the public, so people are not too concerned about it. It would thereby not be worth investing political capital in this matter. As long as we have confidence in the justice system under which we live, so that only real criminals are badly affected, this consideration may well be true.

However, one of the reasons to be proud to be British, is that British people actually do care when they see an innocent person wrongfully locked up. We do not just shrug and say “Well, that’s tough, but that is how the cookie crumbles”. On the whole we tend to get indignant, and we say “That is not how the cookie should crumble, and if it does, we damn well need to change it.” Hundreds of years ago, the English poet William Blake summed up the national feeling when he wrote, “A robin redbreast in a cage, Puts all heaven in a rage”. British people know, in their bones, that freedom from arbitrary arrest and wrongful imprisonment is important. Indeed it is important enough for past generations to have fought wars and laid down their lives to prevent it happening to us in our own country. Freedom and fairness are the values inscribed on our banner, in our laws, and in our hearts. We may be a “nation of shopkeepers” and we do realise the importance of economics, but we also cherish higher values than money (and indeed without freedom economics languishes).

At present people in Britain are accustomed to enjoying personal freedom and the safeguards of British law such as Habeas Corpus and Trial by Jury, as much as they are accustomed to breathing air without having to pay for it. Some are perturbed at some of the cases thrown up by the EAW, but overall they have accepted – so far – the bland reassurances by the politicos regarding the ECHR (“you know the Convention was drawn up largely by British lawyers…”), and by the unspoken assumption that the other EU countries are politically democratic and so surely must have fair and democratic criminal law systems too, even though not quite as scrupulously applied as our own. So they do not feel immediately threatened. They are like people lying on a beach facing the land and not seeing the tsunami wave rushing in from the ocean to drown them all. We just need to give them the facts, ie tell them to look over their shoulders towards the sea. When they see the tidal wave coming, they will react, just as they did in 1940. 

 

7) Repudiating it will not require the government to breach the Treaty, so no renegotiation is needed.

It seems to be insufficiently appreciated that this is an open goal. Under Lisbon, our government and Parliament were entirely at liberty to exercise the block opt-out from the 130 Justice and Home Affairs measures listed. They have done that, despite the shrill protests from Commissioner Reding. And now it is entirely up to us to choose freely which measures to opt back into, or not. No negotiation is needed. No permission or agreement from any EU body nor any other EU state is required. Opting back in is an entirely voluntary act. 

 

8) Not to repudiate it will make a mockery of Cameron’s stated aim to “claw back powers from the EU”

 In view of the above, the government’s stated aim to opt back into 35 of the JHA measures, including the EAW, makes a mockery of Cameron’s other stated aim to “claw back powers from the EU”.

Especially since the EAW is the ace of trumps, it is the key state power trumping all others, it will grant de facto statehood to the EU.

 

9)  Not to repudiate it will make a mockery of the Magna Carta celebrations currently planned by the government.

800 years ago, England made a major contribution to human civilisation, by beginning a process of limiting the power of the State, putting constraints on the power of the king. There is a general awareness in Britain today, and in the English-speaking world that shares our traditions, that in 1215 we did something good and important, and worth celebrating.

But we must also realise that at the same time, in continental Europe the Pope was setting up the machinery of the Inquisition, which vastly extended the power of the State over the individual. Only England to a fair extent escaped the ravages of the Inquisition during the centuries that followed. The EAW, and then Corpus Juris, by submitting us to the writ of continental prosecutors and judges, and of the EPP himself, will bring us under the sway of a Europe that uses the Napoleonic-inquisitorial method. Thus we shall be terminating 800 years of our own distinctive legal history, where the law has also been a shield for the individual against the otherwise overweening power of the State, instead of merely a weapon for the ruler to impose his will on the people.