Lies, baloney and Peter Hain
The remarks of the Secretary of State for Wales conceal
the single most important thing the public needs to know about the proposed
Constitution for Europe.
to Peter Hain, much of the case for a referendum on the European constitution
amounts to “lies” and “baloney” [His lies and his baloney] His remarks made on
the BBC television programme, The Politics Show on the 18th
May, 2003, followed an interview with the Guardian five days
earlier in which he declared: “I
knew the Tories would play the eurosceptic card at some stage, but this is
classic scaremongering by Little Englanders.”
fact, support for referendums on a nation-by-nation basis (rather than an
EU-wide basis) comes
from MP’s in all main parties including his own, from pro-Federalist groups
and from politicians in all of main EU member states including the French Prime
Minister. In addition, more than half
the members of the EU convention- of which Mr Hain is a member- support the
idea of referendums, while a recent poll conducted by YouGov demonstrates
massive public support for a national plebiscite (see eurofacts for 16th
disturbingly than Mr Hain’s attacks on his critics, however, are his misleading
descriptions of the likely impact of a Constitutional Treaty on Britain’s
political future. As the Government’s
representative on the European Convention, Mr Pain has a responsibility that
goes far beyond party politics, a responsibility that is betrayed if he is not
candid about the implications of the document now emerging from the Convention (See details on our
Eurofacts- notebook No 2)
with the present issue, we intend to monitor the statements made on the subject
by Mr Hain and other ministers and to point out if, in our view, those
misleading, partial or simply untrue.
three most commonly advanced arguments in favour of the Constitution to which
we would take exception are listed below:
(1) The work of the Convention is “ just a tidying-up
obviously this contradicts Mr Hain’s assertion that “three quarters of the new
treaty will come from existing treaties”
(Guardian, 14th May) This can only mean that 25% is
new; and even if Mr Hain’s calculation is correct a twenty five per cent
extension to the body of EU law cannot be regarded as cosmetic.
more importantly, Mr Hain’s description understates the status and significance
of the proposed treaty in quite a fundamental way. This is because the
Constitution, which the new Treaty will bring into being, has as its central
purpose the supplanting of member states and their existing constitutions as
the supreme source of legal authority and the elevation of the new Constitution
to that status.
is the single most important fact about the proposed treaty. And, even if the
Government manages to remove the ‘F’ word and succeeds in all of its
other negotiating goals – an unlikely outcome – the ratification of the Treaty
will still represent a qualitative leap forward in the creation of a
unitary European state.
The new Constitution will ensure that the EU is more democratic,
accountable and open – another Hain favourite. In fact, the Constitution pays lip service to
democracy, but as Martin Howe QC pointed out to a meeting of the Bruges Group
in London on 16th May 2003. It does so purely on a Europe-wide basis. An essential basis for
democracy is a common political culture and heritage.
But this will not exist in a Union, which will soon
grow to 25 countries. In other words of Mr Howe: “Even if the European
electorate were capable of thinking and acting collectively, the mechanisms by
which persons such as the new President of the Council are elected are
labyrinthine and oligarchic. Indeed, if the Union applied to join itself it
would be rejected on the grounds that its institutions are insufficiently undemocratic.”
The new Constitution will respect national parliaments – a claim advanced not only by
Mr Hain, but the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary. It is in fact an absurd claim, one that
insults the intelligence of the electorate.
True, members of national parliaments will be sent draft proposals, but
their only power will be to send in a “reasoned opinion” if they believe that
these would breach the principle of subsidiarity. Even if a third of parliaments don’t like a proposal on those
grounds, the only obligation of the Commission is to “review” it, after which
it may be withdraw, amend – or simply maintain it.
Plainly, when it comes to baloney Mr Hain has few
equals. Readers are invited to submit for scrutiny statements by ministers or
MP’s on this subject, which they believe, misrepresent the character of the
draft treaty, or its likely implications.
Unless you happened to be a constitutional lawyer
with a month’s leave on your hands it was difficult to make sense of the
Maastricht Treaty. By comparison, the
present draft treaty is a model of clarity and brevity; this time it is going
to be far more difficult for ministers to mislead either themselves or the
public about the enormity of what is at stake.
30th May 2003.
VOL8 No 16
Daniel Hannan - Forming an OPPOSITION to the EU
WITH THE ONLY PARTY WITH A MANDATE
TO SET YOU
TO RECLAIM YOUR DEMOCRACY DON'T VOTE FOR THE
TRIPARTITE PARTIES IN WESTMINSTER
SMALL PARTIES THAT SPEAK THEIR MINDS
WITHOUT SPIN AND LIES.
Home Rule for Scotland
HOME RULE for
[All underlined words have a separate
THE QUESTION THAT THE VOTER MUST ANSWER
‘DO YOU WISH TO BE GOVERNED BY YOUR OWN PEOPLE, LAW AND CUSTOM OR BY
THE CORRUPT ,EXPENSIVE UNACCOUNTABLE AND ALIEN BUSYBODY BRUSSELS’
-SIMPLE IS IT NOT?