The European Union Is No Longer
The Telegraph - 6 December
Europe finally tramples Magna Carta into
If you have a spare evening, read the
Magna Carta. It is a restraining document. What leaps out
from the pages of Langtonís text is the intent to protect
subjects from overweening [WGFT Ed: dictatorship]
authority (in this case, Norman-French despotism), by restoring
I have a copy dated MDCCLXVI (1766) left to me by my father, and
to him by his father. The customary law is Saxon, Celtic, even
"All men in our Kingdom have and hold the aforesaid liberties
and rights, well and in peace, freely and quietly, fully and
wholly, for ever."
"No free man shall be taken or imprisoned, or outlawed, or
exiled, or in any way destroyed, unless by lawful judgment of
his peers." ... "No constable or bailiff shall take another
manís corn or chattels without immediate payment, nor take any
horses or any manís timber for castles." ... "Any one may leave
the Kingdom and return at will, unless in time of war, when he
may be restrained for some short space for the common good".
Here is a nice one, as the Square Mile falls under the control
EU authorities with "binding powers". "The City of London shall
have all its ancient liberties and free customs." Merchants
should be free from "evil tolls".
The founding texts of the English Constitution - charter,
petition, bill of rights - have one theme in common: they create
nothing. They assert old freedoms; they restore lost harmony.
In this they guided Americaís Revolution, itself a codification
of early colonial liberties.
Europeís Constitution - the Lisbon Treaty, as we know it - began
as a sort of Magna Carta. EU leaders agreed at Laeken in 2001
that the Project needed restraining after Danes and Swedes
rejected EMU, the Irish rejected Nice, and youth torched
Gothenburg in anti-EU riots.
People do not want Europe inveigling its way into "every nook
and cranny of life", they said. Needless to say, insiders
hijacked the process. A Hegelian monstrosity emerged. The
text says much about the heightened powers of EU bodies, but
scarcely a word to restrain EU bailiffs and constables.
The Charter of Fundamental Rights - legally binding in the UK as
of Tuesday, when Lisbon came into force - asserts that the EU
has the authority to circumscribe all rights and freedoms.
The text was modified after I threw a tantrum in the Daily
Telegraph during the drafting process, comparing it to the
"general interest" clause used by Fascist regimes to crush
dissent in the 1930s. Article 52 now reads: "Subject to the
principle of proportionality, limitations may be made only if
they are necessary and genuinely meet objectives of general
interest recognised by the Union." Donít be misled by this
inverted wording. What it states is that the EU may indeed limit
rights in the "general interest". In other words, our Magna
Carta has been superseded.
It is the European Court (ECJ) that decides what is
"proportional" or "necessary", and it cannot be trusted. The ECJ
behaves like the Star Chamber of Charles I, as I learned
following three cases where it rubber-stamped the abuse of state
power against whistleblowers Bernard Connolly and Marta
Andreasen, and German journalist Hans-Martin Tillack. Mr Tillack
was arrested by Belgian police and held incommunicado for ten
hours. Incommunicado on the basis of a fabricated allegation by
two EU officials. Police went through his notes and computers,
identifying his network of informants inside the EU apparatus.
Mr Tillack took the case to the ECJ. It ruled in favour of the
system. It always does.
This is our new Supreme Court under Lisbon, its jurisdiction
vastly expanded from narrow commercial law (Pillar I) to the
breadth of Union law (Pillars I, II, and III).
As my colleague Daniel Hannan writes, Lisbon gives the EU "legal
personality" to enter treaties as a state, and contains an
escalator clause that lets it aggregate further power without
need for ratification by national parliaments - it draws
charisma (papal usage) from itself.
French and Dutch voters rejected this leap from a treaty
organisation to a unitary state when given a chance in 2005.
The revamped version was slipped through by parliaments - except
in Ireland, where voters said No, until coerced by events into
acquiescence. In Britain, Labour did this knowing with
absolute certainty that citizens would have voted No. You
can conjure a Burkean argument to justify the denial of a
referendum, but that is to traduce Burke.
'Yes' votes are always pocketed in perpetuity: 'No' votes are
good only until the weather changes. Those who feign not to see
the asymmetry of this are being cynical.
By acting in this way, the EU has crossed a subtle line.
is no longer legitimate.
So what can a dissenting citizen do? Do we retreat into
realpolitik, betting that the EU Project can go only so far
before it provokes into an even bigger backlash from Europeís
tribes, and will in any case spend much of the next decade
dealing with bitter fall-out from a currency that pits North
Or do we let out a primordial scream, and agitate for total
withdrawal from the EU - knowing that our backs are pressed
against the wall, that this Government has spent us to the
brink of a debt-compound spiral? Morgan Stanley has warned
of a Gilts crisis next year. So have others. This is a perilous
for time for heroics.
Makes you weep.
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