Richard North, EUReferendum, has commented on William Hague’s announcement in the House of Commons in respect of the ‘EU Audit’, or to give it its full title “Review of the Balance of Competences between the United Kingdom and the European Union“, that the Coalition propose to conduct.
Reading Hansard’s report of the debate, a few points:
“The review will be an outward-facing exercise, both domestically and internationally, and Departments will be tasked with consulting and inviting evidence from everyone with a knowledge of and interest in the exercise of the EU’s competences, including not only Committees of Parliament and the devolved Administrations but businesses, civil society, other interested parties and individuals with expertise in and experience of each area.”
Of course civil society does not mean civilian society but those quangos, think tanks etc that believe they know everything there is to know (that should rule out Mats Persson of Open Europe then – but I digress). It would seem from Hague’s statement that as the ‘man in the street’ will not be considered to have the required expertise and experience, then we, the public, may as well save ourselves the price of a stamp.
“It is my view, as it is the Prime Minister’s, that in future we must take the opportunities for Britain to shape its relationship with Europe in ways that advance our national interest in free trade, open markets and co-operation. That should involve less cost, less bureaucracy and less meddling in the issues that belong to nation states.”
which begs the question that if a nation is to remain sovereign, then do not all issues belong to nation states?
Douglas Alexander, for the Official Opposition (Labour) confirms that his party too believes in the UK remaining in the EU which means they may as well sport the same rosette come election time: and we all know that mixing blue and red gives purple (oh hang on, some other party has got that colour and some would unkindly point out that they also have a yellow streak – but again I digress). From his remarks Alexander would also appear to believe in this idea that one can repatriate certain powers – and if Richard North believes Hague is from Planet Zog, then so must be Alexander.
In response to the question from Anne McIntosh (and her question did encompass a certain amount of ‘tosh’), the response of Hague was informative because he, in effect, admitted that what were once our waters are no longer; and that hopefully the EU would allow member states a certain latitude in how future measures were implemented. Cameron and Hague would have us believe they govern our country? Sheesh!
The question from Chris Heaton-Harris, translated from ‘Parliamentese’ reads: “With all the fudge we in Fresh Start have managed to put out, coupled with what no doubt will be a well ‘managed’ audit, are we able to ensure that the public will be misled again and that they will then agree with what we recommend?”
As a last comment, I wonder what odds might be obtained from a bookmaker that a very powerful and unexpected reason will arise whereby not all the evidence will be publicly available?