With the European parliament back in session, Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan is back, writing his column for the Sunday Telegraph from "The Heart of Europe".
His theme this week is, "They won't listen, even if you vote against the constitution", whence he reports that a little thing like a no vote in one or more referendums will not put the federalists off. As far as they are concerned, the fact that the 25 heads of government have agreed the text is all the permission they need.
This Hannan picks up from a report before the EP's Home Affairs Committee which sternly declares that, "Even if the constitution has not yet been ratified, or even signed, it must certainly inspire, to a large extent, the future multiannual guidelines."
The fact that ratification is already being anticipated has in fact already been picked up by this Blog, with provisional monies being allocated to the space programme even though space policy only becomes a Community competence once the constitution is ratified, and in the developments in criminal justice harmonisation and the move towards the "European Enforcement Area" which relies on provisions in the constitution for its implementation.
It is clearly the case that ratification is being considered a “done deal” and whether or not the public in the member states approve it, the Eurocrats are already preparing to put the constitution into effect.
But what is also highly significant in Hannan’s piece is his observation that:
We often talk about the EU's democratic deficit as if it were a design flaw, an oversight by the founding fathers. In reality, it was their chief purpose. Monnet and Schuman knew that their project would never survive if it were regularly subjected to national electorates. That is why they vested supreme power in a civil service, insulated from public opinion. Their calculation was that, if people were simply presented with a fait accompli, they would go along with it.This again is something we have laboured in this Blog. The fact is that the European Union is not so much undemocratic but anti-democratic. Its institutions, structures and procedures were deliberately designed to circumvent the democratic process.
That much was set out in Spinelli’s original Ventotene Manifesto in 1942, when he set up the template for what would become the European Union, declaring that his “movement” would
…have the task of organising and guiding progressive forces, using all the popular bodies which form spontaneously, incandescent melting pots in which the revolutionary masses are mixed, not for the creation of plebiscites, but rather waiting to be guided.“It derives its vision and certainty of what must be done”, Spinelli wrote, “from the knowledge that it represents the deepest needs of modern society and not from any previous recognition by popular will, as yet non-existent. In this way it issues the basic guidelines of the new order, the first social discipline directed to the unformed masses. By this dictatorship of the revolutionary party a new State will be formed, and around this State new, genuine democracy will grow.”
In other words, first create the new state first and then, only when it is finished, let the people in on the project, and ask them for approval. It was all set out then, and the steamroller has trundled on, unabated. It is good to know, however, that at least Hannan has finally understood what it is all about.