"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."

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

The Doctrine Of The Occupied Field + Updates

There are very few MPs in the House at the moment - I expect they'll all leave their glasses of wine and pints of beer on the tables in the bars when the vote is called.  Between rocky camera shots I counted 5/6 Labour MPs, one SNPer, one unknown chap, and roughly 20/25 LibServatives on the benches. That's how important the European Union Bill, with its so-called 'referendum lock' and the sovereignty implications, is to them.

Bernard Jenkin is speaking at the moment and doing well enough. He makes the point that many powers and competences have already passed to the EU and the EU Bill, as it stands, will do nothing to safeguard the UK's sovereignty. He says that it would have been simple enough to incorporate the phrase "UK sovereignty remains paramount" but it was omitted from the Bill. He's raised good points about the ECJ, British judges being burdened by  European legislation and so on.

Europhile Michael Connarty (Lab) also spoke well - nothing can change unless the 1972 is repealed and the joke is on the Conservative euro-sceptics and the British public; that the tabled amendments just confuse matters.    He was interrupted several times by a vocal Angus MacNeill (SNP) who earned himself a stern ticking off from deputy Speaker Dawn Primarolo.  John Redwood, Bill Cash and Richard Shepherd spoke - the usual suspects in fact - all making pretty much the same points about the loss of sovereignty which alway bears repeating. Richard Shepherd is a particularly powerful speaker on parliamentary and constitutional matters and is always worth listening to. It's a shame he wasn't elected Speaker instead of Bercow. " 'We, the people', we are the representatives of those and it is their fortitutde that we are dependant upon and their trust." He spoke of the degradation, disillusion and depondency of the British people, of the widespread feeling that voting changes nothing and the confusion surrounding who makes the laws. I'll try to update with the relevant sections from Hansard* tomorrow for those who are interested.

Voting will take place later this evening (the debate is due to end at ten o'clock) but the government is widely expected to win because Labour are distancing themselves from what they call 'the euro-sceptic Tory rightwing'.

Doctrine of the occupied field - EU law

UPDATE:  Mats Persson of Open Europe has a good article in the Spectator.

Finally, apologies for lack of posting today - by the time my hard drive had been partitioned to protect from future crashes I'd lost the will  :-)

UPDATE: *  The record in HANSARD  Ayes 39, Noes 314

It's interesting to see that the EU Bill debate was quickly followed by this:

Europe 2020 Integrated Guidelines

    That this House takes note of European Union Document No. 9231/10, Recommendation for a Council Recommendation on broad guidelines for the economic policies of the Member States and of the Union-Part I of the Europe 2020 Integrated Guidelines, and European Union Document No. 9233/10, Proposal for a Council Decision on guidelines for the employment policies of the Member States-Part II of the Europe 2020 Integrated Guidelines; and supports the Government's engagement with the overall Europe 2020 Strategy which seeks to encourage the structural reforms needed to promote growth in Europe. -(Mr Dunne.)
Question agreed to.


  1. Get a Dropbox account. Got me out of numerous holes in recent times. Apologies for straying off topic.

  2. Thanks William, I checked it out but it doesn't fit the bill for me, I just wanted a separate p/word protected area. Also, if I've followed the logic, I'm not sure about the wisdom of keeping all my files on an external server.


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