"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

There, There. We Understand.

So says the government.  You don't need to be able to read between the lines to recognise that when every government department carries on regardless after asking for suggestions to improve the nation, they're taking us for idiots.

Just for the record I'm posting Our programme for government: Europe  in full, together with their response to requests for an in/out referendum on the EU:
"The Government believes that Britain should play a leading role in an enlarged European Union, but that no further powers should be transferred to Brussels without a referendum. This approach strikes the right balance between constructive engagement with the EU to deal with the issues that affect us all, and protecting our national sovereignty.
  • We will ensure that the British Government is a positive participant in the European Union, playing a strong and positive role with our partners, with the goal of ensuring that all the nations of Europe are equipped to face the challenges of the 21st century: global competitiveness, global warming and global poverty.
  • We will ensure that there is no further transfer of sovereignty or powers over the course of the next Parliament. We will examine the balance of the EU’s existing competences and will, in particular, work to limit the application of the Working Time Directive in the United Kingdom.
  • We will amend the 1972 European Communities Act so that any proposed future treaty that transferred areas of power, or competences, would be subject to a referendum on that treaty – a ‘referendum lock’. We will amend the 1972 European Communities Act so that the use of any /passerelle/ would require primary legislation.
  • We will examine the case for a United Kingdom Sovereignty Bill to make it clear that ultimate authority remains with Parliament.
  • We will ensure that Britain does not join or prepare to join the Euro in this Parliament.
  • We will strongly defend the UK’s national interests in the forthcoming EU budget negotiations and agree that the EU budget should only focus on those areas where the EU can add value.
  • We will press for the European Parliament to have only one seat, in Brussels.
  • We will approach forthcoming legislation in the area of criminal justice on a case-by-case basis, with a view to maximising our country’s security, protecting Britain’s civil liberties and preserving the integrity of our criminal justice system. Britain will not participate in the establishment of any European Public Prosecutor.
  • We support the further enlargement of the EU."
The comments are a hoot so do visit the link if you have time.  Here is their response, after taking the comments into account - *cough*:
We understand that so many of you feel jaded and sceptical about the EU. Speaking about the EU in Parliament, the Foreign Secretary said he knows there is “a profound disconnection between the British people and what has been done in their name by British Governments”. We want to deal with this.
That is why we have said we will not agree to any further transfer of sovereignty or powers from the UK to the EU during this Parliament. We are committed to ensuring that the British people have their say on any future proposed transfers of powers to the EU. So we are introducing a law to ensure that any future EU Treaty that transfers competences or areas of power from the UK to the EU will be subject to a referendum. This 'referendum lock’ will ensure no Government will be able to pass more powers to the EU without your consent. This is part of our commitment to be more accountable to you for what we do in the EU.  
The EU does need to change and do better. As is widely recognised across Europe, European countries through the EU really need to focus on how we can get our economies growing strongly. The Single Market could work better and cross-border regulation needs to be be simpler and smarter. We can help achieve this - and move Europe in the right direction. The government is clear that, at a time when so many countries across Europe are tightening their belts, the EU must do the same. At the same time, we are pushing for a larger EU. This would not just promote UK values of stability, security and prosperity to millions of people, but would also benefit UK interests. We stand to gain from the economic growth, energy security and low carbon growth in a larger EU. We are fighting for the UK’s interests in the EU and will play an active and activist role in making the EU a success.
The EU does offer real benefits and opportunities for people and businesses  and we want to ensure that the UK is able to make the most of them.
As a result of our EU membership British firms can sell their products and services in the 27 countries which make up the Single Market. That’s 500 million potential customers.  And this means our firms don’t have to deal with 26 separate lots of rules and regulations. They don’t have to get their products approved separately in 27 different countries. There are no customs documents, saving hours of form filling and delays at ports. This all saves money for the 300,000 UK firms which do business in the single market. Investors from other EU countries also put money into the UK, which helps create jobs. In 2007, over half the investment in the UK economy came from EU  countries . Keeping costs down and increasing investment  are vital for the economic growth  if we want to get Britain working again.
The Single Market also helps British consumers. EU action has  led to  lower mobile roaming prices across EU borders. It's also improved consumer rights  on the sale of goods. British citizens now have protection against faulty or substandard products bought locally, in another country or even from, say, Amazon in France.
Doing things through the EU helps in other ways  too: from the laws that protect our birds as they migrate between the British Isles and Africa,  to working with other EU countries to get our collective voice heard in world affairs. With so many world issues affecting us, working in partnership with group of nationals in the EU enables us to take more effective action for Britain's security and prosperity.
So yes, while the EU – that’s the EU institutions in Brussels and the governments of the countries that make up the EU - does some things well, there are many things it could do better - and some of what it does can be justly criticised. And it’s certainly true that the Government needs to become more democratically accountable for what happens in the EU. The Coalition Government wants to listen to what you have to say on this issue and, where there’s room for improvement, act on it.
Being a reasonable person I can see how one set of commercial rules for all twenty-seven countries will benefit business but nothing, absolutely nothing, in the above statement from the FCO details how being a member has improved the lives of British people.  There's  the often-cited reduced mobile roaming charge of course but I'm surprised they missed out on not having to change your holiday drachmas/ francs/pesetas.   What was wrong with the Sale of Goods Act and since when were birds "our birds"?  They're birds for heaven's sake and that sentence is just rank stupidity on the part of the FCO.

"We will not agree to any further transfer of sovereignty  or powers during this Parliament" is a bit of a giveaway though.   They also use the same phrase regarding the adoption of the euro.  Any signatory to the EU is beholden (is that still a word or has the OED relegated it to 'archaic' yet?) to "strive" for the adoption of the euro.  Just signing up to be in the EU makes it so and links are in the sidebar and labels.

An economic community which delivers for all business can only be good - but I think we went down that road in 1972.  These days businesses complain about the cost of applying EU regulations so whatever benefit the original EEC purported to have is negated, unless you're a big multi-nat-corp in which case the sky's the limit; just keep wining, dining and lobbying.

It's the same with the restrictions on free speech, freedom of movement and freedom of assembly.  Who saw that coming in 1972?  Still, at least it makes us easier to control, particularly when the msm toe the tripartite one-party line.  How strange that the DM hasn't had any further comments since half-past ten this morning.


1 comment:

  1. Nice one GV - on much the same lines as my opinion - but more polite!


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