- Supreme power or authority
- The authority of a state to govern itself or another state
- A self-governing state
|Volte-face it would seem!|
John Major poked his head up this week to declare his considered views about our relationship with the EU in a statesmanlike manner. I guess he's got time for that now considering that he's too old to dip his wrinkled little soldier in to Eggwina's yolk.
Okay, cheap jibe - but satisfying. It's hard not to feel contempt for the man who Peter Oborne describes as sneering at parliamentary sovereignty. You have to wonder why he surfaced with his 'Remain at all costs' message at the time of the European Council meeting.
In his article, Oborne also goes on to describe the historic relationship between Major, Cameron and Osborne who served him at a time when he was be besieged by the people he labelled 'bastards'. Oborne suggesting that the Radio 4 plea by Major was an orchestrated intervention and a collusion between the three. I couldn't agree more. You can read the article here:
Just as important, Oborne gains journalistic credibility for doing his homework and presenting the facts around the referendum time-scales. With credit to Dr Richard North, he points out that a summer referendum is unlikely on account of being illegal; the Electoral Commission requiring a ten month period between Royal Assent and the vote itself*. It's a shame that so many other journalists failed to seek any council before rushing off to publish the noise from the echo chamber.
If you're still convinced that Cameron's negotiations are sincere then consider this. In spite of his public facing position, that he's battling hard for Britain, it would seem clear that David 'EU cuff links' Cameron has just declared his loyalty to the European Project in front of the European Council. As tweeted by @whitewednesday recently:
|Snivelling weasel in action|
Original tweet here: https://twitter.com/WhiteWednesday/status/678120063120121856
If that's how Cameron battles for Britain, God help us. If there's ever a war, he'd be straight in the kitchen getting the tea and biscuits ready for his new friends. There can be no acceptance of this charade any more. Enough is enough.
What we've seen with the EU project is a succession of Prime Ministers who have acted against the interests of the British people from the perspective of their democratic rights. They don't see themselves as spearheading up a nation and protecting the rights of the people who elected them, more like caretaker managers working for a company that's been taken over. Their job is to transition the business functions across to the new model of ownership whilst trying not to frighten the existing staff away (before it's convenient to make them redundant of course).
When we elect a party, we do so on the basis of their promises and where better to look at their promises than their party manifestos to see what they have to say about the EU (or Europe as the case may be). Does the rhetoric match the reality?
Conservatives 1987 (pre Maastricht)
"The battle we had to fight to ensure that Britain paid no more than its fair share of the European Community Budget. We now get automatic rebates - this year, over £1.3 billion."
Basically - a swipe at the EC saying how hard they will fight for our national interests.
"Over a million extra jobs have been created since 1983 more than in the rest of the European Community put together. Unemployment, a problem throughout Europe, is now firmly on a downward trend - with youth unemployment in this country below the European average."
A nice brag about our national strength when compared to the rest of the EC. UK strong - EC weak.
"We will continue to play a leading part in European Community negotiations to reform the CAP"
Promises of reform. You get used to those being pledged and never fulfilled after a decade or two. Here comes the main section on our relationship with Europe:
"Europe Grows in Strength
This Government has taken Britain from the sidelines into the mainstream of Europe. But being good Europeans does not prevent us from standing up for British interests. The agreement we negotiated on the Community Budget has saved Britain £4,500 million since 1984.
We will continue to work for strict controls on the Community Budget.
Britain has led the way in establishing a genuine common market, with more trade and services moving freely across national boundaries.
We will campaign for the opening of the market in financial and other services and the extension of cheaper air fares in Europe.
We will also continue to work with our European partners to defend our own trading interests and press for freer trade among all nations.
All of this will help safeguard existing jobs and create new ones.
We will continue to play a responsible leading role in the development of the Community, while safeguarding our essential national interests."
It's nice to see that even then politicians were obsessed with using cheap air fares as a vehicle for EU promotion. Some things never change.
But largely, it's fair to say that the tone is one of strict regulations in order to rein in budgets, promotion of free trade and defence of our interests. Yet during this period we encounter The Maastricht Treaty - once known as the Treaty on European Union. The European Project advanced significantly at this time, moving in to areas like justice and foreign policy and creating the dreaded 'Euro'.
Maastricht was signed in February 1992, on the cusp of another general election for the UK - yet it had to be subsequently ratified by the UK parliament. So looking again at the relevant manifesto for the winning party (Conservatives) of the April 1992 election, we can see what important things they have to say about the EU. Let's start with an extract from the 'Forward' written by John Major himself:
"we must stand up for our interests in shaping a free-market Europe of sovereign nation states"
and then there's this warning ..
"There is, of course, an alternative on offer: [snip]; to succumb to a centralised Europe while calling it 'not being isolated;'[snip]. To risk this alternative would be a disaster for our country."
So the former Prime Minister pledged to us, when the seeds of the modern day EU were being nurtured, that we should have sovereign nation states - and to avoid using isolationist rhetoric in order to drive further federalism. Yet twenty three years later and he's doing exactly that on national radio.
His words on Radio 4's Today program "... to break off and to head in to splendid isolation doesn't seem to be in our interests"
The manifesto goes on to discuss "A Confident, United and Sovereign Nation" - also suggesting they would "seek a partnership of nation states in Europe, and not allow Britain to be part of a federal European state."
Whilst there was no manifesto pledge to support the level of integration that Maastricht would set in motion, and the ruling party had lost the confidence of many of its own MPs who famously rebelled - Major fought to ensure that the treaty was ratified in spite of the fact that it laid the foundations of the very federation which their manifesto promised to protect us from.
Do the electorate sit through and read a manifesto cover to cover? Do they understand many of the topics that are discussed? The answer for most people is probably not - but it's important from the point of being a reference to the party in question. From the manifesto, we can judge their promises against their actions - and where we don't understand the detail, we use the tone of the message to fill the gaps.
Examining the tone, we see - continual anti EU sentiment; assertion of reform; suggestion of containment and the complete repudiation of Federal Europe.
If you want to read any of the previous party manifestos, you can look at the following link:
This is the slow, drip drip approach of the European Project in effect, as promoted by the caretaker managers at the helm of national government. The tone of the content is the misdirection here, gently assuring the reader that they will be protected from enlargement and encroachment, similarly bigging up Britain to project an image of immutable sovereignty. Yet when time passes, the opposite is shown to be true. For the caretakers - the end justifies the means - say one thing and do another. And for this reason, it's to our own shores and previous 'leaders' that we should be venting our frustrations; it's in our own back yards that the betrayals have been happening.
I have no reason to believe that Cameron will be any different. Yet he's not willing to wait twenty three years to demonstrate his two faced nature. It's happening now before our eyes. To the British public he promises to battle hard, even suggesting that he will front the Brexit camp if he doesn't get his way in negotiations. Yet, when speaking to the European Council, he's the king of the sycophants telling them what a compliant European he is. I liken him to Grima Wormtongue, the vile corruptor of words whose lips continually spill malevolent dark charms in order to mislead and confound King Theoden. His role is to neutralise any genuine concern and ensure inaction in order to remove resistance when it is needed the most.
Regardless of what spills from his mouth, what Cameron desires is to keep us hitched to the EU. He's made the fatal mistake of allowing the people to have a democratic say and now he's got to make sure that the result goes in the right direction. If he fails to enchant us with his lies, we can only hope that he will ride off in to exile just like Wormtongue because it will likely mean the end of his political career.
Consider the definition of Sovereignty at the start of this post and then consider all the manifesto promises that were made to defend it. In spite of everything that has been said, there has only ever been more and more EU - and our sovereignty is fading fast. It is our right to regain that sovereignty and a moral obligation to stand up to self serving liars like Major and Cameron who would happily give it away over our heads.
* For more clarification on the required referendum timescales, this article by Christopher Booker in the Telegraph makes it quite clear: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/12060012/David-Camerons-new-EU-relationship-is-not-what-were-being-told.html