Thursday, January 13, 2011

They keep telling us

While the House of Commons struggles with the irrelevant European Union Bill (first day of Committee was on Tuesday and nothing much was achieved, as predicted, the colleagues out there are making the usual threats and statements.

Benedict Brogan tells us that the Anglophile French Prime Minister Fran├žois Fillon, has promised that France and Germany would do "anything" to save the euro. Well, there's a surprise that most of us did not foresee. Of course, the people and courts of Germany might think otherwise but the notion that the French and the German governmentswould do anything has been obvious for some time. Furthermore, M Fillon added in an interview with the newspaper no-one can read on line any more:
“In order to consolidate the euro we will need gradually to harmonise our economic, fiscal and social policies, hence we are going to go towards greater integration. We are going to need to put in place an economic system of governance for the eurozone. Great Britain is not part of the eurozone; at the same time the decision we will take will have great importance to Britain,” he says.

“The question is is the UK ready to accept or encourage greater integration of the eurozone or is the UK distrustful of that and will it create obstacles and make it more difficult to happen? I do believe the first solution would be much better. We in the eurozone have no other choice right now than further integration. Essentially the question is whether the UK wants to exert an influence on this changing Europe or not.”
So, in order to avoid the catastrophe of the euro's failure (and let's face it, the consequences will not be pleasant for anybody but the long-term future would be better) Britain must get more involved in creating an integrated economic governance.

No surprises there. Nor will there be any in the pusillanimous behaviour we can expect from the Boy-Ming and his side-kick, the Chancellor.

Meanwhile Joschka Fischer, the former German Foreign Minister has gone even further (not being the FM means that he can talk a little more openly):
At a large gathering on Wednesday evening (12 January) in the European Parliament, members of the Spinelli Group, a new network of prominent euro-federalists, called for an acceleration of European integration, arguing that a greater economic and political intertwining was urgently needed to solve the bloc's panoply of problems.

"To say that Europe is in a bad way would be euphemistic," the co-president of parliament's Green group and Spinelli member, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, said by way of introduction.

Former German foreign minister Joschka Fischer was equally pessimistic about the current state of affairs at the meeting, entitled 'A United States of Europe'. He acknowledged that "the EU's 'no-bailout' clause was quickly forgotten" in the face of Greek difficulties last year, and that "eurobonds are there, just in a different shape," but was critical of France and Germany's reluctance to move forward with further integration.

"Despite all the kisses [between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel], France and Germany are going through a difficult period," he said.
The idea that further integration will somehow create a strong, stable entity with a great deal of influence on the world is, of course, laughable but the amount of damage that will be done and is being done in the process is not.


  1. Hi Helen, I'm sure this is very relevant to our constitution as it now isn't and how far back we wish to go as a basis for a solution today.
    Lots of Dominion stuff to ignore but a crucial discussion of British v. Continental Law.
    A big ask, I'm sorry, but I hope you'll find it as intriguing as I do.

  2. Thanks Sandy. I shall definitely find the time to read it. We need to know the history.

  3. " To these causes of lawlessness honesty compels the addition of one cause which loyal citizens are most anxious not to bring into prominence. No sensible man can refuse to admit that crises occasionally, though very rarely, arise when armed rebellion against unjust and oppressive laws may be morally justifiable. This admission must certainly be made by any reasoner who sympathises with the principles inherited by modern Liberals from the Whigs of 1688"

    Um, that's A. V. Dicey God-Emperor of Constitutional Law, author of the Sov. of Parl. meme :D

  4. Well, since we are not about to have an armed rebellion, this is irrelevant. Also, Dicey is only one of those who wrote about the constitution, which existed before him as well. Sovereignty of Parliament is a very dubious concept and has, in the opinion of some, led to Parliament giving away this country's independence. If it is sovereign, it can do anything, literally anything. If there ifs or buts, it is not sovereign.

  5. Dicey defines what he meant by it, and it isn't the same as its current usage. He be spinning in his grave if he saw the abuses perpetrated under the phrase.

  6. "The sovereignty of Parliament is, from a legal point of view, the dominant characteristic of our political institutions. And my readers will remember that Parliament consists of the King, the House of Lords, and the House of Commons acting together. The principle, therefore, of parliamentary sovereignty means neither more nor less than this, namely that "Parliament" has "the right to make or unmake any law whatever; and further, that no person or body is recognised by the law of England as having a right to override or set aside the legislation of Parliament,"

  7. I agree about Dicey spinning in his grave but that is what happens. No definition is carved in stone. That is why we need to re-define and not simply quote the past. After all, Dicey was not afraid of defining matters; why should we be?

  8. Absolutely, but if we can dress up what we want as Ancient Liberties that we already have then it's harder to argue against. Anyway I hope that weighty tome triggers a post or two, not least to see if the same things strike you about it.

  9. Sandy, if we dress up new(ish) ideas as Ancient Liberties, we shall be following in the steps of the seventeenth century parliamentarians, who did just that. Sounds good to me. :)

  10. Anyway I can help let me know :D:D
    I do like an insistence on Dicey's definition of Parliament. The Commons has run amok and forgotten its primary job which is scrutiny of the Executive. The Lords as is is no more than a collection of Party poodles, rather than a collection of the incorruptible with the long-term interests of the Nation at heart.
    To curb the Commons and return it to its role of scrutiny, I think I'd suggest that Ministers are drawn from the Lords with a view to executive experience in industry, and that the Commons standing committees become the peak of an MPs ambitions.
    I still feel the root of our sell-out is the Judiciary, they should have called any treaty that threatened our Sovereignty unconstitutional up-front. I shall enjoy watching them being made accountable. :D

  11. The trouble with the Judiciary becoming "accountable" is that it really means elected, which turns them into another party political game. Not sure I like that idea - we have too much of that already.

    I think it might be worth thinking about the past experience (still in existence in America) of MPs resigning their seats if they become Ministers. They can still be accountable to Parliament by being summoned to explain their actions. As things stand we have next to no MPs who have any ambitions beyond climbing the greasy pole and with the ever growing pay-roll vote on both sides of the House, half of them are of no consequence at all from the point of view of parliamentary proceedings.