Well, knock me down with the proverbial feather. Yesterday we were not invaded by the Romanian and Bulgarian Hordes.
That a group of MPs should choose to make a sad spectacle of themselves is beyond belief. Thatone of themshould then choose to write an ‘Opinion’ piece is beyond my powers of comprehension. Not only do MPs make fools of themselves but so it seems cana journalist.
Bearing in mind Vaz’s assertion that the first plane had 40 empty seats, this is in stark contrast to that which we were informed by theMail, a newspaper that assured us all flights and coaches were fully booked.
Only time will tell which one of the useful idiots will be proved right – Vaz, Alex Andreou – or Farage. Time will also tell us whether Vaz was having another ‘Beano‘ moment: He launched a concerted attempt to play down its significance – but I digress.
On 16th of this month the European Select Committee quizzed three other Chairs of committees (Alan Beith, Keith Vaz, David Davies) on various matters EU (video here), including how to obtain advance information on European Legislation prior to it becoming law. The first question related to a statement by David Lidington that departmental select committees need to take more seriously their strategic responsibility in scrutiny of european matters.
Alan Beith was of the opinion that while the UK Representative at Brussels (UKREP) and his staff were helpful, they could do more in the area of advance notification of matters that are in the pipeline. On this point it was made known that Select Committees are deliberately excluded from advance notification on the basis that the Government and UKREP feel it would tie their hands in negotiations. Keith Vaz made the point that, When Europe Minister, he invariably only received notice of measures right at the last minute, while making the point that Select Committees had not done the amount of detailed examination within their own fields of responsibility on matters EU that was necessary.
Michael Connarty made the admission that as a Parliament, they had disengaged themselves from Europe under the last government, making the point that with enacting the Lisbon Treaty, power now lies with the Commission, the Council and the European Parliament and that the UK is “left out of it”. David Davies, in answer to the question whether there is anything better could be done to engage with “Europe”, replied that what was needed was an “Idiots Guide” explaining very simply how legislation is developed within the EU.
Chris Heaton-Harris queried whether better use of MEPs could be made, with Alan Beith responding it was farcical (my word) that MPs on committees and MEPs in Brussels were, at times, “moving in different directions”. Keith Vaz made the point that he spends more time liaising with his equivalent in France and Germany rather than his equivalent in the EU/Europe as he does not consider Europe to be a country.
On the matter of liaison between the European Scrutiny Committee (ESC) and other departmental committees, Bill Cash made it known that in the year 2011-2012 it had requested 11 “opinions” on matters affecting departmental committees and during 2012-2013 (so far) requested 2 “opinions”. Of the 11 requests, 2 were still outstanding and neither of the 2 requests for 2012-2013 had received a response. Also making the point that the ESC could hardly be accused of asking too many questions, he queried whether in fact they should be making more requests.
Michael Connarty raised the matter that all Select Committee Chairs receive a document called the “Brussels Bulletin” and that Clerks to Select Committee chairs should perhaps, as a matter of course, “scan” this bulletin and bring to the attention of their chairs matters which appear to be gaining traction within Brussels. Keith Vaz responded that his Clerk did do that but that he would in future include that document in his “required reading” each day.
Keith Vaz also pointed out that matters EU are not of interest to everyone and that they should be as, because of that disinterest, Parliament has become a kind of sideshow to what is happening elsewhere due to the fact that matters EU is not publicised sufficiently.
In a supplementary question Penny Mordaunt asked the three wise men appearing before the ESC whether they thought the new family-friendly hours of the House were one of the reasons for matters EU not being discussed, not only in the House, but also by Select Committees. Keith Vaz responded that he vote against the change as now there was little time for debate in either place and if proper debate is not possible he queried why MPs were there.
So we have now discovered that MPs admit they have not been as diligent as they should have been on matters EU; don’t really understand the legislative process of the EU and feel that an “Idiots Guide” would help; have no idea how – and/or from whom – information can be extracted from Brussels about matters EU; that Parliament has become a bit of a side-show; and that where the governance of this country is concerned, power now lies elsewhere.
Am I alone in finding anMP pontificatingabout the police and law & order – said MP whose nickname in the Commons is “Vazeline” because nothing sticks where accusations of misconduct are concerned – rather unacceptable, distasteful and objectionable?
“Feel the liberation of simply admitting that no one can govern you better than yourself and certainly not the type of moron who sits in Manchester in the rain debating the merits of “diversity in the post modernist welfare structure”.”
The blame for the fact that we are not a free people, being dictated to at just about every point in our lives; that we do not have ‘home rule’- whether in a national or local context – and are no longer a sovereign nation, is not just due to the ‘morons in Manchester’; it is not due either to the fact that we are led by a duplicious political class – no, the blame can be laid four square at our door for believing all that we are told; and accepting what we are told without question.
Mind you, it is also a fact that when we do ‘question’, we can do so on a false premiss. There are, for example, a few individuals roaming our countryside – in an attempt to lay charges of treason against various politicians who are held to be complicit in taking this country into the European Union, or European Community as it then was – on the basis they consider themselves constitutional experts (they’ve read a couple of books and can quote some obscure document from 1865, don’t you know……).
It would seem that whatever you read or hear there is a subliminal message contained therein which leads us not to think, not to question, but to accept whatever the message is as fact. Witnessthis from Douglas Carswell in which he castigates the LSE for intimating that eurosceptism is all the fault of the newspapers, while querying whether it is in fact a case of newspapers mirroring the views of their readership. His question is preposterous as it cannot have escaped his notice that if his idea were true then the people would be in total agreement with the regurgitation of the crap uttered by our political class, of which Carswell is one, that constantly appears under the guise of journalism – and there is no subliminal message in Carswell’s piece?
We readhereandherethat Keith Vaz is back in the news amid allegations of conduct unbecoming a Member of Parliament. These reports also contain subliminal messages; namely that it is quite acceptable for the Metropolitan Commissioner of Police to be present at an event to celebrate the 25th tenure of the politician who is Chair of a select committee the purpose of which is to hold senior police officers to account; and that it is also acceptable for a politician who has committed misdemeanour to be overlooked and allowed to continue his career.
We are told that 3 million jobs in this country are dependent on our membership of the European Union – a message also with a subliminal undertone and one repeated ad infinitum, yet the basis of this message is what? AsFactCheckshows, there really isn’t a hard basis, the ‘fact’ has been ‘manufactured’.
Returning to matters EU and the stated policy of David Cameron to renegotiate our terms of membership, within that there is a subliminal message that such is possible, likewise with calls by some politicians that any referendum on our membership must be on the basis of one question, namely ‘In’ or ‘Out’ – an assertion trumpeted by among others, Ukip. It is accepted that renegotiation of our membership – or repatriation of powers as Cameron would wish to call the process – cannot be carried out as a power ceded to the European Union can never be ‘called back’. The only method by which that could be done would be throughArticle 50 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU)which effectively means that first a member state would have to give notice of the intention of leaving and during said negotiations to accomplish that it would simultaenously be negotiating a new form of membership – possibly one based on, for example, ‘EFTA’ membership. This opens up some interesting and intriguing questions/points.
Reading Article 50, readers will note that there is no specified procedure covering the position whereby a member state could change it’s mind and halt the process. Logically, therefore, it could be held that the process once started must continue to the end. However it must also be noted that there is nothing in Article 50 that states a member state cannot halt the process. Logically therefore it could be held that if a procedure is not catered for in a legal document it cannot then be allowed – but maybe I digress?
Use of Article 50 also raises intriguing and important questions regarding any referendum to be held, meaning that an ‘In’/’Out’ question can never be put on any ballot paper. If the political class intend to ‘renegotiate’ our terms of membership – or ‘repatriate’ powers – then the terms of that renegotiation must be agreed with the people beforehand by means of a referendum. On the basis that in any negotiation one never get what is wanted, that there is always ‘give and take’, it would also mean a further referendum with a simple Yes’/’No’ question in respect of acceptance of the renegotiation.
There is a further logical point to be made in respect of Aticle 50 – and that contains a contradiction. Until the terms are agreed and take effect, the member state remains bound by community law. However there remains the question how would/could the EU enforce such law? Since infraction proceedings take a maximum of 2 years and a case in the European Court of Justice for non-compliance of EU law can take years more, by the time the European Commission can actually take action for non-compliance the applicant state will have left. Thus, logically, from the time of notification of the intent to leave application of EU law becomes unenforceable – in other words, from the time of notification of the intent to leave the member state is out and could immediately resume its sovereignty.
On this question of sovereignty, much is made about the ability of parliament being able, having created an Act of Parliament being able to undo that Act, and thus in one bound the UK is free of the EU – and this is yet another message from the political class which contains subliminal undertones. On the subject of primacy of national law – even constitutional law – I would refer readers to this and this. End of discussion about the validity of repealing ECA 1972!
At the beginning of this post I blamed the people for their apathy, for accepting without question that which they are told – and it is understandable that that situation has come about as it is none to easy to recognise when one is being brainwashed in a most subtle manner. By what process of governance do our political class believe that they can interfere with our power of thought? In this context I am reminded of a scene from the film “Inherit The Wind”, starring Spencer Tracy. (For those who do not wish to view the entire clip please start at 3:40). Do draw you own conclusion regarding the similarity of God and our politicians as portrayed by Fredric March.
Consequently, a by-product of theHarrogate Agenda, one not immediately recognised methinks, is the wish to restore to the British people the power to think – and therefore reason – for themselves.