Edward Spalton, Our Chairman, sent the following letter to several local and national newspapers:-
The referendum will be decided by the people, not the politicians who are well out of step with the people..
Anthony Scholefield,Vice Chairman of the Campaign for an Independent Britain commented on David Cameron’s EU proposed reforms and the House of Commons debate
“A referendum is called because the politicians cannot solve a problem and have to refer it to the people.
“Therefore the obsession of the media about Westminster and politicians’ views is misplaced. Politicians will not decide the referendum and especially not the political class of 2016.
“In the 1975 referendum,the Hose of Commons voted 396 to 170 to support Harold Wilson’s ‘renegotiations’, about 70% to 3o%. In the subsequent referendum,the electorate voted 67% to stay in and 33% to leave.so it was quite fair to observe that the people and the politicians were reasonably agreed.
“However in 2016,all the major parties including the ScotsNats are in favour of remaining in the EU and only about 70 MP’s, perhaps 12% of the House of Commons will vote to ;leave so it will be 88/12 in percentages.
“Yet there is not a single poll showing Remain above 60% of the vote and it is generally running at 50%;.
“The political class of 2016 is massively out of touch with the electorate on remaining in the EU.”
Donald Tusk’s proposals for changes to the EU following David Cameron’s negotiations have now been released.
Anthony Scholefield, Treasurer of the forty-year-old Campaign for an Independent Britain commented:
“Cameron’s proposals have been widely ridiculed. All he has done is to confirm the basic principle of the CIB. The European Union is unreformable because it insists on retaining a supranational authority which is incompatible with a free democracy.
“What is encouraging is that David Cameron has fired his biggest weapon, his prestige as Prime Minister, and completely wasted his opportunity to gain support among the undecided.
“I doubt that this announcement will gain Cameron a single vote. Polling last night at Sky News and in the Independent show it has been rejected by over two to one.
“The referendum is all to play for if the Leave side come out with a clear aim and a clear plan to achieve it.
“The lack of a clear aim and a clear exit plan determined the defeat of the Yes side in the Scottiish referendum.
By contrast, the Campaign for an Independent Britain has that clear aim and clear plan”‘
Dick Barton – Special Agent was a popular BBC radio thriller serial in the late 1940s. It often featured the line “With one bound Dick was free!” No matter how dangerous Dick’s dilemma, he would always escape by the easiest – and usually most contrived – method.
Some supporters of withdrawal still favour a similar approach to leaving the EU – repealing the European Communities Act of 1972. With one bound, the UK would be free – no need to bother with Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty – the EU’s prescribed method for withdrawal. However, in international law, states cannot use changes in their own internal constitutional arrangements or indeed existing constitutional arrangements as reasons to abrogate a treaty unless they were specified at the time of making the treaty.
Therefore, while such an approach may seem appealing, it would be a gung-ho, John-Bull-in-a-china-shop sort of thing to do, leaving us with all manner of problems. It would not help at all in the very necessary negotiations which will have to accompany leaving the EU in an orderly manner with a seamless continuation of mutually beneficial trade. It would be exactly the sort of “leap in the dark” with which Sir Stuart Rose is trying to scare people. It would immediately put the UK in the wrong in the eyes of the international community. It would be an initial declaration of bad faith – not the right foot to get off on.
It would also have a great many side effects which would be disadvantageous. For instance, all our food safety laws originate in an EU Regulation, not an Act of Parliament and they would be gone in an instant – a great hazard to domestic public health, placing our own considerable food exports to the EU in regulatory limbo so they would lose their access to the Single Market. Each delivery would have to be detained at the port of entry until it had been thoroughly tested before being released.
It is a proposal which would help the Europhiles greatly and show every businessman in the country what clots were running the Leave campaign. They will be praying for people to suggest it loudly.
A couple of years ago I wrote an article suggesting a way in which reasonable safeguards against any EU trickery might be built in to the process whilst observing the normal rules of civilised international conduct. In fact I am far more worried about our own officials, very comfortable in their EU servitude, than I am about the EU Commission. As Lord Tebbit remarked “It’s called the Foreign Office because it works for foreigners”.
The Independence Movement will not be the negotiators of the post-referendum settlement. Unless the Fixed Term Parliament Act is repealed, the task will fall to a government enjoying a majority in the present Parliament. Given that Mr Cameron has insisted that no preparations should be made for a referendum vote to leave, it will necessary for that government to establish wide public confidence in the expertise and bona fides of the independence negotiating team. Leave.eu is already urging commitment to steps in this direction. Otherwise there would be no public confidence that the Europhile majorities in Lords and Commons would press for a settlement, fully respecting a vote to leave.
As some of the details of David Cameron’s draft agreement with European Council President Donald Tusk have been published today, the final page of our Referendum Review underlines how poor a deal it will be. Of course, it is only a draft agreement. It has to be agreed by the other 27 member states at the forthcoming European Council, something which can by no means be guaranteed. However, even in draft form, Cameron’s proposals are nothing like as substantial as what he initially claimed he would be seeking, nor as ambitious as the Conservatives’ promises in their election manifesto. The Conservative MP Steve Baker said what was on offer was so trivial, he accused ministers of “polishing poo”. He is correct. As the chart in the Referendum Review shows clearly, there is no substantial change in our unhappy relationship with the EU. We would do far better by leaving.
Lord Stoddart said today:-
“It is quite obvious that in his haste for a rapid public relations victory, the Prime Minister has allowed himself to be fobbed off with vacuous promises that amount to little or no substantial change and abandoned most of the key commitments he has previously made.”
Lord Stoddart continued: “So many things are missing from this ‘deal’ that I hardly know where to start. We were promised that we would regain control over social and employment policy, we were promised an opt out of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, we were promised an end to the EU overriding our common law, we were promised an end to the rulings of the European Court of Justice taking precedence over our criminal law, we were promised treaty changes before the referendum, and reform of the CAP and of EU structural funding. None of these things appear in this so-called deal.
“Mr Cameron has not even been able to put an end to child benefit being sent abroad to support children who will never live in this country, something about which he was particularly passionate. The best he has been able to achieve is for the payments to reflect local living standards rather than those prevalent here but the point is that large amounts of money will still be siphoned out of our economy and sent as well as spent abroad.
“It is particularly humiliating to see the Prime Minister begging for our freedom in so many areas and being treated with such contempt by the EU. If he expects the British people to vote to stay in the EU based on this watery brew, then he is taking the electorate for fools. If this deal is a victory for Britain, I would hate to see a defeat.”
David Cameron is keeping us guessing regarding the finer points of the “deal” he hopes to sell to us, in order to persuade us to remain in the EU, but a few key features are leaking out.
The most important of these is his claim that he will change our domestic law to state that Parliament is sovereign. “I think there is a good case for it,” he told Radio 4’s Today programme earlier this week. Michael Gove, the Justice Secretary has been asked to look into this. At first glance, it sounds like an important significant agreement has been made with the other member states, allowing us a major concession. This may well be his cynical tactic. “We’ve won power back from Brussels” could be a rallying cry for the all-important swing voters.
Nothing, however, is what it seems and Mr Cameron is deceiving us again. He is clearly determined to try to keep us in the EU or else he would not be trying to muddy the waters in the hope that we, the people, won’t look beneath the surface. While we only have the scantiest of clues to guide us at this stage, it is already obvious that talk of restoring sovereignty to Parliament is just smoke and mirrors and should not therefore make anybody waver in their desire to leave the failing political experiment of the EU with its aim of creating a Europe-wide centralised Superstate.
Let us start by taking Mr Cameron at face value and assume that he will come back with an agreement with the other 27 member states to allow the UK Parliament to veto ALL EU legislation; not very plausible. Firstly, what status will this “agreement” have? Without a treaty to back it up – and there is no sign of a new treaty in the offing – it will have no legal force within the EU or in this country. Furthermore, even if it did, we are faced with the uncomfortable reality that the majority of our MPs are Europhile. Six years ago, had Parliament so decided, it could have struck down the Lisbon Treaty – indeed, our MPs could have killed off every new treaty since the Single European Act of 1986. They already had sufficient powers back then, but did not choose to use them.
Analyse how Parliament handles its existing powers and Cameron’s great deal rapidly loses much of its force. Take the EU (Approvals) Bill of 2014. This Bill covered a number of EU-related issues, but most of the debate centred on the Europe Citizens’ Programme, a five-year programme costing €185 billion to fund educational projects that seek to enhance both the understanding of EU institutions and European integration. In other words, as one MP put it: “this grant-making exercise is aimed at providing propaganda, as I see it, for purposes of political union.”
In the House of Commons, only 32 MPs opposed it at this second reading, and just a couple of weeks later it went through its final stages with only 30 MPs opposing. Can we really trust our Parliament to stem the flow of European legislation? Its track record to date suggests we cannot.
Sometimes, of course, Parliament isn’t even given a say by our own Government ministers. The shambles last year over the opt-in to the 33 law and justice measures in the Lisbon Treaty from which the UK had earlier opted out is a classic illustration of this. MPs opposed to the opt-ins ended up accusing ministers of “tricking” them when it emerged that they would not be given an individual vote on the controversial European Arrest Warrant after being initially told that they would.
If MPs are not told the truth, giving them any extra power is of little value. As readers to John Ashworth’s series on fisheries may recall, Edward Heath deliberately misled the House of Commons over the nature of the UK’s “transitional derogation” from the Common Fisheries Policy. He assured them that we held a veto whereas we had nothing of the sort. Can this Conservative Europhile Prime Minister Mr Cameron really be trusted any more than the previous Conservative Europhile Prime Minister Mr Heath?
Indeed, we can go back to the vote on the original accession treaty. MPs were forced to vote on a document that most of them had not even read. Heath knew that in those days, when MPs were more likely to stick up for their country than their successors 40 years later, he would never have succeeded in passing the bill if his colleagues in Westminster knew the full truth.
So this ‘power’ which the UK Parliament may gain, according to Mr Cameron, is in reality, a paper tiger. Of course, so far we know nothing about its scope. EU legislation comes in three main forms: regulations, directives and decisions. Currently, only directives need to be run past Parliament. Is Mr Cameron proposing that Parliament has the power to veto regulations and decisions as well, instead of automatically rubber-stamping them? It would be good to know. Much EU legislation currently goes onto our statue books by Statutory Instrument, which means that Parliament is bypassed altogether
For all the smoke and mirrors of Cam’s great Sham, this latest “rabbit out of the hat” nevertheless requires a slight change of tactics by “Leave” campaigners. When the positions of UK and Norway have been compared, which they recently have been on this blog and elsewhere, it has been noted that Norway refused to implement the Third Postal Directive, even though it was marked as EEA-relevant. There is no point in trying to sell this to undecided voters. Cameron will be claiming to offer our toadying MPs similar powers; the problem, as we have outlined above, is that they won’t use them.
Instead, the focus of our campaign must be to tell all and sundry just how untrustworthy the majority of our politicians are. No doubt we will soon have ample evidence of this when scores of “Eurosceptic” Tory MPs all fall in line behind their leader saying what a wonderful new deal he has secured. Convince the country that they are talking rot and we may stand a chance not only of leaving the EU but of addressing a good few other failings in the way we are currently governed.