Tag Archive: Article 50

Suggesting the impossible

Prior to David Cameron’s ‘big speech’ to the Tory faithful today, Daniel Hannan has a few words of  advice on how he could convince the country that he ‘means business’.

Hannan lists 9 points; autonomous trade policy; fiscal freedom; UK citizenship; no CAP; no CFS; Common Law not EU Law; independent diplomacy; British social law; and Supremacy of Parliament, Not wishing to be unreasonable he states that it might be that Britain is able to secure some but not all of these points and that if he had to identify the most important ones, he would say 1 and 9.

Just how much longer must we endure this man proffering complete rubbish under the guise of informed political comment? 

Under the 1957 Treaty of Rome, goods, services, capital and people are supposed to be able to move freely across the Union’s internal borders. Those four freedoms negate most, if not all, Hannan’s suggestions; and let us not forget either that EU law has supremacy over national and constitutional law, coupled with the fact that it is on record from Barroso and Reding that those four freedoms are non-negotiable.

As Flexcit shows there is more to negotiating a simple free trade policy with the EU than the current political class believe; and if Hannan wants his wish-list to come to fruition then the only option is to invoke Article 50 and initially attempt a sideways move to EFTA/EEA – and then to start negotiations for a different form of membership.

Until Hannan can get his head round these simple facts he would be doing us all a favour by ‘zipping it’!

Article tweeted to @DanHannanMEP – not that I expect a response.



On Wednesday I caught sight of a tweet asking for signatures to this petition, with the plea it should be signed: to withdraw from the EU using article 50 before QMV takes effect on 1st Nov 2014.

What I cannot understand is the conflation of QMV with Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty on European Union (TEU). For the avoidance of doubt, once Article 50 has been invoked there is no vote on whether a member state can or cannot cease its membership of the European Union. It is a given that after two years, whether the European Union likes it or not and whether a new trading agreement has been agreed or not, that member state is then no longer part of the European Union – end of story!

That the date of 1st November has suddenly become important is also a matter of confusion where this blog is concerned. Where the matters affected by QMV – and mentioned in the linked petition – are concerned; they have been available for all to see since the signing of the Lisbon Treaty on 1st December 2009. What has changed is that it is now necessary for a ‘double majority’ to be achieved under Article 16 of the consolidated treaty,

It should also be noted that the 40+ items listed in the linked petition in no way affect Cameron’s ability to renegotiate the UK’s membership of the European Union – as there is no ability to renegotiate anything without invoking Article 50. The word ‘renegotiation’ does not appear anywhere in the Lisbon Treaty – and in any case, the European Commission has made it plain, on more than one occasion, that the ‘four freedoms’ are not up for renegotiation or ‘cherry picking’.

Neither is QMV involved in any new treaty as agreement to such is subject to unanimity among the other 27 member states – in other words they all have to agree to any new treaty and should one member state wish to veto it, they can.

All the foregoing has been spelled out clearly and in plain English here, here and here – just what is it about the English language that those who profess to read and understand it cannot comprehend?

It is impossible not to praise the enthusiasm of those who wish to ‘do their bit’ in promoting efforts to hasten the UK’s exit from the European Union – but one has to question what appears to be a rather infantile method of going about it. It does no good to the withdrawal cause, nor whatever party they support, nor themselves, to propose what can only be termed ‘rubbish causes’. At the end of the day such ‘rubbish’ only serves to ridicule the ‘exit cause’ and themselves.

Also one can but suggest to those of whom I complain that (a) they practise due diligence prior to issuing statements and; (b) that if they are unsure of their facts they approach those of us who may be able to help and thus avoid them making fools of themselves.

It is not my intention in writing that which I have to be discourteous to others, however hopefully they will appreciate that at times my frustration at that which I read causes a certain amount of impatience on my part.





Well, that’s a “priti” poor article……

Ms Patel, the “acknowledged” Eurosceptic Conservative MP for Witham, has an article on ConservativeHome in which she argues that the recent first tranche that has been released about EU competences does not go far enough – and that her party needs to go much, much further. This article is a classic example of a Conservative MP who wishes to “toe the party line” yet appear a Eurosceptic – while also illustrating that she knows squat-diddly about that on which she pontificates.

Immediately we are presented with the scenario that we need to repatriate more powers than have been envisaged. That we can even repatriate powers shows that Ms Patel understands not the Acquis, something which defines that a power ceded can never be reclaimed.

Leaving that small lack of knowledge to one side, Ms Patel compounds further an even greater lack of her knowledge when she cites the European President of Ford who has claimed that EU regulations add £6,000 to the cost of an average car. As one of those who consider themselves superior to we plebs – and therefore the guardians of our best interests, similar to that of a shepherd and his flock – she exhibits her total ignorance where the derivation of regulations is concerned. It is not EU regulations that add to the cost of an average car but the regulations, which the EU implements, that come from the  Harmonisation of Vehicle Regulations, administered by UNECE.

Ms. Patel further displays a distinct lack of ignorance where “matters EU” are concerned when she maintains that the present Government’s focus should be on the 3 ‘R’s, namely Reform, Repatriation and Renegotiation – rather than withdrawal. First, reform cannot take place without treaty change and second, the latter two cannot be achieved without first invoking Article 50 of the TEU, the basis of which is dependent on notice of withdrawal.

While she also maintains that the review of competences is to further debate, one has to question how debate can take place when it is to be driven by one such as Ms. Patel who obviously knows not about that which she wishes to debate.

In my preceding post I queried whether we should not demand of our political elite proof of their superiority over we plebs where matters political are concerned. Methinks that Ms. Patel has just demonstrated that so to do would be a waste of our time and effort.



This I can’t wait to see…….

The BBC reports that David Cameron, on a visit to Crewe’s Bentley carpark where a Cameron Direct Q&A session/meeting was held, stated that:

“I think a greater uncertainty would be to put your head in the sand and pretend there isn’t a problem with Europe. There is a problem and I’m going to fix it.”

Really? And just when might someone who also believes he can walk on water deign to enlighten us mere mortals how this might be achieved? How does he believe he can reclaim powers ceded to an organisation that will never allow such? Does he, who now appears to believe he has the same powers as the Deity, intend to invoke Article 50 – or do an “Ian Smith“?

Knowing that he, or his office, read this blog – do tell Mr Cameron as I and no doubt at least half the country are all agog.


EU Referendum now!

So goes the cry from sections of the political bubble, each with their own “agenda” and each determined not to explain to the electorate just what is their “agenda”. We have the ‘In’ crowd, comprising Cameron, Clegg and MilibandE with other “think tanks/pressure groups who most certainly won’t fairly set out the pros and cons of membership – and opposing them we have the ‘No’ crowd who appear as if they can’t be arsed to even get out of bed. Then of course we have a third element in this “EU Referendum now” meme, namely Nigel Farage, who at times one can be forgiven for wondering if he even understands the meaning of the word “agenda”, let alone spell it.

Much vacuous wordage is penned on this subject and the two most recent examples come from John Prescott (a Temple worshipper) and Dominic Moffitt (Campaign Director of Labour for a Referendum). In all the aforesaid vacuous wordage you will find no mention of how we get out and what do we want if and when we get out. Oh there are cries of a need for a trading arrangement – and how does one get a trading arrangement? What are the conditions that need to be met in order to gain this “trading arrangement!? Do these trading arrangements grow on trees, ready for picking as and when required?

Further “mixing” the question about “A referendum now” meme are those who robotically say that we don’t need a referendum, we can just repeal ECA 1972 as Parliament is “sovereign”.. Yet these are the same people who rail against the loss of sovereignty to Brussels – which immediately begs the question that if we have lost sovereignty to Brussels, how then can Parliament be “sovereign”?

This country has signed an international treaty and as such is bound by international law and within that treaty is an exit clause. Having sourced some learned legal opinion, the consensus is that we are bound to follow that exit clause if we wish to terminate our membership of the EU. If one accepts said learned legal opinion, which I would argue we must, a further question arises for the “Repeal ECA 1972” brigade – were the UK to abrogate a treaty and the conditions imposed therein, what chance is there of having the party to a new treaty accepting our word and signature?

Those parroting the “Referendum now” meme are putting the British electorate in an impossible position. In this regard, it is worth recalling a point and question posed a few months ago by a female audience member of BBC Any Questions. That was: how are we [the people] supposed to make a decision on something about which we know nothing and do not the political class have a duty to present, fairly, the pros and cons of membership.

Reverting to the first paragraph of this post, bearing in mind the “agendas” about which I mentioned, that lady’s question just ain’t, ever, going to be answered. On reflection, it may get answered on blogs such as EUReferendum, Autonomous Mind, The Boiling Frog and this blog – to mention just a few of a small band – but one gets the impression that we are talking to, through no fault of their own, the deaf, dumb and blind


Cridland – or should the first vowel be a ‘u’?

Richard North, EUReferendum, links to the words of the head of the CBI – whose vacuous verbosity knows no bounds – hence my querying whether Richard North had made a “typo” where this man’s name is concerned; but I digress.

It is hoped that I am not the only one who has noticed the increase in articles and speeches “rubbishing” the article 50 exit strategy and a seamless move to  EFTA and the EEA. And as Richard North noted in an earlier post, just why should the needs of the business community “control” the question of whether this country remains a member of the EU, or its relationship with the EU? And the voice of the people?

Much is made of those writing and speaking about membership of EFTA/EEA as our having no say over Directives issued by the EU – but that argument is comprehensively demolished by Richard North’s article.

What idiots like Cridland seem to forget, leaving to one side that we would have the ability to have a voice in the framing of legislation long before it reaches the EU to implement, is that we would then have the ability – through our membership of EFTA/EEA – to refuse to implement any Directive that we did not like.

Where any cessation of this country’s membership of the EU is concerned it has to be recognised that we who would wish to leave are in a war and what we are now hearing and seeing from those who wish to maintain the status quo is the “fog of war”. Witness the article by Mats Persson and that from Mandelson, plus this Guardian editorial – and acknowledging the article from WhiteWedneseday who shows Open Europe’s true colours – and it is apparent that already the “In” side are getting their plan of campaign and strategy together. Would that the “No” side engaged brain a tad!

What those asking for a different relationship with the EU tend to forget is that we cannot simply “walk away” – ie, repeal ECA1972 and job done – because, forgetting the Vienna Convention and the fact that the EU has already informed us that under the Lisbon Treaty, EU law is supreme not only to national law but national constitutional law, there are heaven knows how many treaties to which we are a party, but only as a member of the EU. Each of those treaties would need to be renegotiated by us as a separate country. Bearing in mind the enormity of that task, this could not be done in the space of two years, hence the obviousness of “parking” ourselves in EFTA and the EEA while we negotiate bilateral agreements with the EU, as has Switzerland – and negotiating  new individual treaties to replace those negotiated by the EU on our behalf.

 This entire subject – membership or not of the EU – is being highjacked by the Europhiles; and we on the outside are sitting on our hands and letting them set the argument.

Just saying…………..

Article 50 – and a “nag” or two…….

There has appeared on the blog of The Boiling Frog three articles on the above subject which should be required reading for all those interested in matters EU.

Besides being highly informative TBF debunks the arguments which are raised, should the UK invoke Article 50, about “punitive” laws being imposed on us, which as he states would be against the fundamental principles of the treaties and spirit of the EU and the Single Market. In dealing with the two-year period stipulated within Article 50 (it can, as TBF, states be shortened or lengthened by agreement) he explains how such punitive laws could not be imposed due to the timescale that the formation of law takes. In the final part TBF deals with the matter of possible retribution measures that might be taken by the EU for failing to implement any such law – were it able to be passed –  or, come to that, any law passed within this two year period.

There are two further points worth making at this juncture, one of which TBF covers in his articles. The first of these points is to do with the “repeal the ECA1972 and with one bound we are free” meme, one that once again John Redwood was proposing just a few days ago – a post within which when challenged by me in the comments section he refused to accept that he was wrong, although he did have the grace to concede that exiting from the EU via Article 50 was another way. With such “leading lights” as Redwood within the eurosceptic camp, one is left with a sense of foreboding where the success of the ‘No’ campaign is concerned.

The second point worth making is that Farage and Ukip, among others, are clamouring for a referendum now and until a week or so ago – on the occasion of Cameron’s speech – Farage had not mentioned the magic words “Article 50”. Having at last done so, why did the content of TBF’s three articles not appear on Ukip’s website? Why does it take an independent blogger to do this type of work?

On that last point, let me move onto the “matter du jour” – and no, it is not the EU budget “agreement”, another story on which the media have it so wrong – namely the question of horse meat having been found to enter the food chain. Richard North, EUReferendum, has three posts, here, here and here which are also “required reading” on this subject. Again, one has to query why it should be an independent blogger who provides all the “detail” and information? Just where are the MSM? As Richard North points out, this entire matter has arisen through a checking system introduced by the EU and which relies purely on a “paper trail” and as such is a massive failure by the EU. Food is an EU competence, as Owen Paterson has stated, consequently the UK cannot take unilateral action to solve the difficulties that the problem has thrown up which means that the incompetents that caused this problem – the EU – are now involved, something which does not give one much confidence in the new measures that will surely be forthcoming. One also has to ask where Ukip and Farage are on this matter as their silence has been rather noticeable – should they not be at the forefront of the condemnation, explaining how and why it has arisen?  At the time of writing, this is Ukip’s home page:

Neither the political class nor the MSM have the slightest understanding of the word omnishambles when they use it, which no doubt they will once they realize the true extent of this problem that presently nags at our attention. In plain, simple English it is not an omnishambles, it is a complete disaster, as is the European Union, politics in the UK and they system of democracy under which and by which we are governed.

By George, he’s got it!

Or perhaps that should be By Andrew, he’s got it.

Other than the lone voice of Christopher Booker, this is the first piece I can recall seeing in the MSM that believes Cameron’s “renegotiation tactics” are based on a false premise, while mentioning Article 50 as the route of choice. From the piece by Andrew Stuttaford in the weekly Standard:

“There is a credible way for the U.K. to exit the EU (it involves Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty; I’ll spare you the technicalities), but Cameron’s “negotiations” are not it. Anything involving the repatriation of enough powers to impress enough euroskeptics would need a new treaty to be agreed on by each EU country, a tall order for reasons that are both practical (there are currently 27 member states) and philosophical. The EU is driven by the idea of “ever closer union,” a process that only moves in one direction. Once a competence has been transferred from the national level to the EU it cannot​—​must not​—​be handed back. Were Britain to win an exception to this principle, it would make a shambles of what the EU is meant to be. “Europe,” warned the EU’s prominenti, is not “à la carte.” Britain was either in or, well, the rest was left unsaid by just about everyone other than the French.”

There we have the situation in regard to this “renegotiation meme” spelt out in plain, simple English that even Cameron should be able to understand. However, I won’t be holding my breath……..

And yet another voice on Article 50

“The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.”
Winston Churchill

In a recent post on matters EU, Richard North EUReferendum linked to the fact that Charles Crawford – an ex-Ambassador of this country – had stated that the only way out was through Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.

We now have another voice saying the same thing:

“This Friday, the mainstream media must focus on exposing the feeble foundations of his EU policy. If David Cameron is serious about renegotiation, he must first notify the EU that Britain will leave.”

We have all seen that David Cameron was not the dog’s “important bits” where the truth was concerned on his “government-by-fax” accusation in respect of Norway – as he will be shown not to be over his renegotiation meme.

Just watch……….

Liar, liar, pants on fire

“Liar Liar Pants On Fire” is a phrase that children like to scream at each other whenever they think the other is lying. They also like to scream it at adults who tell them fairy tales. The fact that adults do not copy their children is the reason that that yet more and more politicians and their sycophants are still able to ‘ply their trade’ – which is yet another reason this country is in the state it is where our democracy is concerned.

Richard North, EU Referendum, has posted on some articles that have appeared in the Guardian, all based on the “fear meme” that for the UK to leave the European Union would be to our country’s detriment. I would go further than Richard North and state that Mats Persson is not only a liar but a fool, one who knows not about that which he writes.

For example, Persson writes that in respect of Switzerland and that country’s bi-lateral arrangements and were we to follow, it would leave the UK at the mercy of the EU in that we would basically have no influence over EU laws but would be subject to all of them; and that that, by inference, would also be the case were we to follow the Norway option of becoming a member of EFTA. Neither is true, as will be shown later. It is of course more than possible that Persson is confusing that which happens once Article 50 is invoked and in particular the fact that under section 4 of that Article the Member State in question is excluded from having any input to proposed legislation during the 2-year-period. To achieve either option would involve invoking Article 50 of the TEU which, for the avoidance of doubt, states:

“1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.
2. A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. That agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.EN 30.3.2010 Official Journal of the European Union C 83.

3. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.
4. For the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 3, the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it.
A qualified majority shall be defined in accordance with Article 238(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
5. If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49.” (Emphasis mine)

For Persson to maintain the myth that were the UK to become a member of EFTA it would literally not be in the EU but run by it is utter tosh as has been admirably demonstrated by this post from Richard North. That one such as Persson is allowed to occupy the position he does without criticism in the MSM beggars belief – that Cameron allows Persson (and Leadsom) to continue their propoganda does not beggar belief!

What Persson also fails to mention is the point that Richard North makes in his latest article, namely that were the UK to leave the EU then other nations such as Denmark, Sweden and Finland may well follow in our wake which must increase the probability that the implosion of the EU is hastened.

The article in the Guardian by Mats Persson – a non-persson as far as I am concerned – to which Richard North links, is but part of the PR exercise being conducted by the left and those Europhiles (same animal?) that wish the EU membership status quo to prevail. Yet another article in this series is this one, again published in the Guardian and one that features such luminaries as Mandelson, Heseltine and Leon Brittan.

It is important to make the point and in this instance to repeat it, namely that were a referendum to be called, the ‘No’ campaign cannot – and must not – be left in the control of people like Mats Persson and Open Europe, nor Matthew Elliot. It becomes even more important that the Harrogate Agenda becomes involved and – in the best of all worlds – becomes the ‘lead’ of that campaign. It is also vitally important that a coalition of voices to combat the present PR ‘Pro-EU Campaign’ that the Guardian, along with Open Europe, appears to be spearheading, is promptly ‘nipped in the bud’. Unfortunately, in view of the New Year Message issued by Nigel Farage – and the ‘tosh’ contained therein, especially in Farage’s interpretation of Article 50 of the TEU – there is not much chance, nor point, in allowing Ukip to take the lead

Just saying……….




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