Monday, June 09, 2008

A call to arms

Bravo Melanie Philips who writes in The Daily Mail today, under the heading, "The dirty little secret is that our MPs hardly matter any more".

In a text that could have been taken straight out of this blog, she opens her sterling piece with the words:

Cup your ears. What is that sound we are suddenly picking up on the bush telegraph? It is the distant but unmistakable trumpeting of the elephant in the room. And the name of that most dangerous but lamentably unscrutinised animal is the European Union.
She then notes that more and more people are realising that they have been lied to, "not only about the constitution but about the whole EU project." In Britain, we were told from the start that it was only an economic union which would entail no loss of sovereignty. That, she says, "was the very opposite of the truth. The dirty little secret is that, even without the constitution, political power has simply drained away from Westminster to Brussels."

Then referring to Peter Lilley's speech in the Commons last week, she cites his observations that last year the EU passed no fewer than 177 directives - more or less equivalent to our Acts of Parliament - and 2,033 regulations enforceable in the UK, as well as making 1,045 decisions which affect us. Melanie continues:

Our own Trade Minister has admitted that "around half of all UK legislation with an impact on business, charities and the voluntary sector" stems from laws passed in Brussels. Once these powers have been transferred to the EU, observed Mr Lilley, ministers engage "in a charade of pretence that they retain those powers" and often end up "nobly accepting responsibility for laws which they actually opposed in Brussels".
Thus, she asks, "Is it any wonder that so many are terminally disillusioned with the entire political process when politicians make promises which they are simply powerless to keep - a fact which they carefully conceal?"

Coming to the crunch, Melanie then tells us that the EU "has brought about a crisis for democracy within Europe. Which is why it is essential that we should renegotiate our place within it." She adds:

Politicians, however, run a mile from any such suggestion. The terror of acknowledging the true nature of what has happened, in case he is required to address it, has propelled David Cameron into a cul-de-sac. His pledge to allow the British people a vote on the constitution is worthless since - as he has only now admitted explicitly - once the treaty is ratified it will be almost impossible to do anything about it.

But since his party has warned that the constitution will spell the end of British self-government, this turns Mr Cameron into the Hamlet of the European debate - an awesome talent for speeches denouncing tyranny, but a complete inability to act against it. Mr Cameron is paralysed by fear of reigniting the Tories' internal civil war over Europe. But the Tory Europhiles are now moth-eaten has-beens who have comprehensively lost the argument with the British people.

The fact is that Parliament is now so emasculated it is becoming the equivalent of Westminster regional council in the Republic of Euroland. Why, therefore, should we bother to vote for politicians who will have no power except to do the bidding of the Brussels bureaucrats imposing their undemocratic rule over the British people?
Melanie then writes, "It is time to end this charade," a call with which we would heartily agree. That it is a charade is why we find it so very difficult to take "local" politics seriously. As more and more powers drain from Parliament, all we are left with is the theatre, yet so many of the political commentators simply cannot bring themselves to admit it.

Britain must now re-negotiate its relationship with the EU, says Melanie. "The politician who does so will be a hero to the nation. Which is why Mr Cameron should ignore the faint-hearts and suede-shod Euro-fanatics in his ranks. This country must rediscover its identity and sense of purpose, or else it is finished. It can do so only if it regains the power to govern itself."

And there is more:

The issue is quite simply whether democracy in Britain has a future at all. It could not be more fundamental. If Mr Cameron were to say he would renegotiate Britain's place in Europe, he would silence all the muttering that he is a blank page, an opportunist, a follower rather than a leader. He would immediately establish himself instead as a statesman of the first rank.

Come on, Mr Cameron: the people would not only be with you, but are simply desperate to hear a politician say that he will fight to preserve what so many of our fellow citizens down through the centuries have died to defend.
The only problem here, we fear, is that this is a "call to arms" from Melanie Philips in The Daily Mail. If he reads it at all, Cameron is unlikely to take notice. There are other agendas in the Conservative Party and renegotiation of the treaties is not one of them.


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