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Saturday, June 28, 2008

EU Lawyer Gets Angry


EU lawyer Ralf Grahn is getting angry.

The thing that's upsetting him is the existence of 'eurosceptics', people like me and many others, in fact a majority of the people in Britain and now, it appears, also Ireland. As he comes to grips with the realisation that not everyone around the continent of Europe is happy to be subjected into a state of eu serfdom, he finds himself becoming a little emotional. That's a good thing, Ralf. It shows that you are at last getting to grips with the reality of the situation as regards the EU, and not hiding away in an ivory tower as do most europhiliacs on the make.

This is the post from his blog Grahnlaw today, which shows you what I mean - 'Let's call a spade a spade' he says.

I agree with him.

Let's do exactly that, Ralf.

Anti-EU by any other name

By the way, I have wondered at the widespread acceptance of the ‘Euroscepticism’ as the label people use, whose attitude reveals nothing sceptic. No doubts, no uncertainty, no open minds. After reading a lot of these outpourings, I am beginning to think that the ‘Eurosceptic’ in search of truths has yet to be born.

Thus, the label is woolly and misleading. Let’s call a spade a spade.

The early constitutional history of the United States saw the debate between Federalists and anti-Federalists. Let people who identify with Europe be called Europeans, pro-Europeans or pro-EU, and let the people who want to wreck the European Union be called by the most objective term available: anti-EU.

(Some of them, for reasons yet to be verified, deny that they are anti-Europeans. They are only vehemently against Europe’s common institutions and manifestations)

***

Another healthy distinction would be to see EU detractors clearly define what they are against (if a viable programme for anything proves too demanding).

Do they want to dismember the European Union completely, or would they be content to see their own country secede from the EU?

If they have nothing against the vast majority of Europeans deepening European integration, these campaigners could redirect their energies towards secession. With a sharper focus they could perhaps improve their chances of success.

Actually, if their ideals are the ‘free nations of Europe’, why not let the other free nations decide for themselves on cooperation and common action, without insult or injury?

Traders (and nations of shopkeepers) want to keep their customers happy and engage in profitable relations with their providers, don’t they?

Why cause a lot of aggravation, if they only want to live happily ever after behind their moat?



This is my reply to Ralf.

No Ralf. You are not pro-European. You are pro-EU or as we say, europhiliac.

We are (as you say) not eurosceptics at all, but EU-opponents, but as the media uses the term eurosceptic, we get stuck with it.

The idea from our opponents is that we have doubts, are not sure etc., but that's not the case.

We are totally sure we don't want the EU. As you say, the term eurosceptic is wrong.

But don't play the Europe trick. We are pro-Europe - as a continent of democracies free trading. It is you who are anti-Europe and wish to destroy its current democratic way of life.

If you are so sure that Europeans desire the EU, why do you not permit them to vote on that?

You are deluding yourself that your programme of EU integration is popular.

Please understand. In Britain only 29% of voters want the EU as it is. The rest either want total withdrawal as I do, or they want a free trading relationship with no political relationship.

I am pro-Europe, as Europe could be - fast-growing, informed, free, confident - not the corrupt and naive structure that hangs around and destroys the way of life of millions of free people.

I was born free. I intend to die free. That's why I and millions like me are leaving. I will only return if the UK gets out of the EU. Otherwise my children will grow up in another part of the world as free people, not European serfs.


That's calling a spade a spade, I think you would agree.

4 comments:

Grahnlaw said...

Angry, you are dreaming.

Smiling, perhaps taunting...

:-)

tapestry said...

That's not good enough. We demand rage from you at the very least Mr Grahn. You accuse us of being anti-Europe and then you want to smile.

Any chance of a referendum then?

Grahnlaw said...

Tapestry,

Being a supporter of representative and deliberative democracy, I can do little to satisfy your craving for referenda, although I wonder if you want them only to obstruct the EU, or if you are a principled adherent of direct democracy (including possible secession of Scotland and Wales).

In fact, there is one situation where I could imagine a pan-EU referendum:

If the EU got a real federal Constitution, this qualitative jump could legitimise a pan-EU referendum, with a double majority of citizens and states.

The Constitution would then enter into force between the states where the population has voted for.

No-voters could later apply for membership.

tapestry said...

Ralf, let a senior British left-wing politician explain.


Libertarians from the Left and Right sometimes meet in the middle against an authoritarian state. In 1961, having served for 10 years as an MP for Bristol South East, I was declared disqualified because my father had been a peer and he had died. It was argued that I had inherited his peerage.


Tony Benn shares a platform with Tory rebel David Davis
in a debate about civil liberties


A by-election was called, and, despite my disqualification, I decided to contest it to argue a point of principle. Winston Churchill, the former Conservative Prime Minister, sent me a letter of support for which I am, to this day, most grateful.

I must be the only Labour candidate who has ever circulated 30,000 copies of a letter from a Tory leader to my constituents. The law that prevented me sitting in the Commons was later changed as a result of that by-election.

So when I heard that David Davis was standing in the Haltemprice and Howden by-election, I decided to support him. I hope the Government's move towards 42 days' detention without charge, recently passed in the House of Commons, will be stopped as a result of his campaign.

The civil liberties issues on which Mr Davis stands are important to the future of this country. Last Friday I attended a conference organised by Lincoln Cathedral on Magna Carta, an original of which they hold. Magna Carta had nothing to do with democracy, but one phrase in it has registered worldwide: "no man shall be taken [and] imprisoned… except by the lawful judgement of his peers."

advertisementJonathan Isaby : Haltemprice and Howden's ballot paper conundrum
For many years the Labour government has boasted about the traditional values and freedoms of this country; and yet, when its MPs voted to amend the Terrorism Act and permit 42 days in prison without charge, they effectively repealed Magna Carta.

Such a law would mean that people could be imprisoned for six weeks, then released without charge or trial but also without ever being properly acquitted: a cloud of suspicion would remain.

It is also clear that anyone released after such a period would almost certainly find their life destroyed, with their job lost and real risk posed to any prospect of future employment.

There are two other critical ways in which liberties are being eroded, both highlighted by Mr Davis.

The first is identity cards. I have no objection to them in principle, because in the course of my life I have held many cards with my photo, name and profession printed on them. What matters more is the huge database being established in concert with ID cards, on which will be gathered every bit of information that it is possible to collect. It may contain your financial status, political opinions, email contacts and more - no one will really know what is on that database.

Indeed, the information held may be inaccurate. When I recently renewed my passport, I noticed that I am still described as a Member of Parliament. If the Government does not know that I am not an MP seven years after I stepped down, it does not inspire confidence that a more wide-ranging identity database would be very reliable.

The information may leak, and it would be valuable for commercial and other purposes, including fraud and terrorism. Despite the guarantees of ministers, and regardless of whatever safeguards are promised, we know from recent examples that information held by the Government can escape.

Second, the Lisbon Treaty diminishes the sovereign powers of British democracy, which belong to the people and are lent to MPs. MPs have no right to dispose of them to the EU.

The Irish have defeated the Lisbon Treaty democratically, and Britain was denied a referendum on the Treaty only because it was clear that the Government would be defeated on it here.

Because the people are sovereign, governments get their powers from us; we do not get our rights from them. This issue is becoming crucial because the centralisation of power to political elites is a threat to our freedom and democracy.


Tony Benn 29th June 2008