Death of democracy day

Today the Prime Minister will sign away important powers of self government from the UK to the EU.

At least we have forced him to do the deed himself with cameras to record it for posterity.

This Treaty sacrifices more vetoes than any predecessor Treaty. It helps create an EU foreign policy. It reinforces EU moves to its own defence and criminal justice policy. It gives far too much power to the central EU institutions, to be exercised in an undemocratic way.

Not a vote has been cast in favour of such treachery.

This week we were allowed a debate on European matters. The government again ruled out the referendum on this transfer of powers which they promised before the last election. They made that promise because they knew the transfer of power was unpopular, and they wished to avoid debating it properly in the General Election. They kept saying in the Election there was no point in discussing the Treaty because there would be a full 3 week campaign and vote on it on another occasion.

The government’s case, put by the chief butcher of our freedoms, Mr Miliband, was that Parliament will decide. He claimed that is right way to do it in a Parliamentary democracy.

I and other Conservatives pointed out in the debate that if Parliament is to decide, it has to have a vote on this Treaty before the Prime Minister signs it. Miliband denied us that vote this week, tabling a motion on the adjournement, and refusing moves by Bill Cash and others to debate a proper motion on whether to ratify the Treaty or not. It makes a mockery of the government’s claim, that Parliament will decide, and that Parliament matters.

The government’s offer of around 20 days of debate on the Bill to put the Treaty into practise is cynical and crude party politics, not democratic procedure. They hope 20 days of debate on the EU will allow them to brand Conservatives as fixated about the EU which does not emerge high up voters’ list of priorities. Every time we table an amendment of substance to reduce the impact of the Treaty we will be told that it cannot be allowed because the Treaty is done, dusted and signed. It will be 20 wasted days, with the government majority used to steamroller through a disgraceful Bill that the British people and their elected representatives have been denied a vote on.

This should be remembered as the death of democracy day. This is the day that the UK accepts an undemocratic Treaty which even contains powers to avoid these difficulties in future when the EU wants to grab more power from us.

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24 Comments

  1. rob
    Posted December 13, 2007 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood,

    The EU is an undemocratic construct, staffed by unelected, unaccountable officials who are now our de facto government.

    We will only regain our true independence as a nation when we leave the EU. Will the Conservatives ever make this a part of their manifesto?

    Reply: Will Eurosceptics ever unite so we can have the majority? The Conservatives will fight the next eleciton on getting power back from the EU. The Lib Dems and Labour will be the federalist parties. The choice is yours.

  2. sjm
    Posted December 13, 2007 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    I thought that old age and many years of voluntary Party activity would have rendered me cynical about all Governments, but I, like many others of my generation (60's), find myself regularly teetering on the brink of angry hysteria at the actions of this dreadful NuLab crew.

    From having been a news junkie (and someone who always thought that fighting just one more arduous battle would help), the dire economic mismanagement, and total abandonment to the rape BY Europa, rather than 'of', by Brown and Co bring me regularly to the point of tears and serious depression.

    Thank you for continuing to fight, and representing so many of us, John.

  3. rob
    Posted December 13, 2007 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks for the reply. I would very much like to see eurosceptics of all parties unite – however you did not answer my question as to whether leaving the EU would ever be on the Conservative agenda. As to choice, there is UKIP commited to withdrawal from the EU – indeed it is their central to their manifesto.

    I am still undecided as to how I will vote between Cons and UKIP. Labour and Lib/Dems are not even in with a chance for my vote.

    Reply: David Cameron will not offer withdrawal. If you vote UKIP rather than Tory you might help elect another federalist Lib/Lab.

  4. Zorro
    Posted December 13, 2007 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    The way things are going, Labour are gonna get wiped out in 2009/10. Please just tell DC to /leave/ Europe once he's ensconced in No. 10.

    Z

  5. R.Rowan
    Posted December 13, 2007 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    What will the consevatives do about this,precious little it seems after 40 years of voting conservative i am on the verge of giving up voting as a pointless exercise.

  6. Posted December 13, 2007 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    What a dreadful day. The EU has a legislature, executive and judiciary; it is about to gain a full legal personality, a president and a foreign minister. It is a state but it still does not have democratic accountability. It is on track to subsume every aspect of our democracy. It has eroded our fundamental liberties. It will become an economic and social disaster.

    How has this come to pass? For 40 years, Europe has been on a trajectory to political union and most everyone has lied about it. Politicians have wrung their hands as people have become disengaged: what has there been to be engaged with? All significant power lies in QANGOs and the EU and no party has united against either.

    It's clear that the Tory Eurosceptics cannot extricate us from this mess: the situation is bad beyond credibility, enabling the left to laugh in their faces. The Tory Europhiles need to get on their feet and condemn this unaccountable, corrupt, undemocratic, authoritarian socialist experient in "social democracy" as irredeemable. They must propose that we leave while we can still achieve a strong negotiating position.

  7. Posted December 13, 2007 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    "David Cameron will not offer withdrawal. If you vote UKIP rather than Tory you might help elect another federalist Lib/Lab."

    Indeed, this must be made absolutely clear to the voters.

  8. Cliff
    Posted December 13, 2007 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    Today is indeed a sad day for true Brits. The Labour government have, in my opinion, committed a treasonous act by signing us up to an undemocratic EUSSR.
    I also believe Mr Cameron has sat back and let Blair/Brown do it. A true Conservative leader would be more patriotic and completely distance himself from the new EUSSR and would have made more fuss and noise in both parliament and the media. I do not believe Mr Cameron has done this. I have always voted Conservative but I am not sure I will at the next election. I actually think the BNP have more Conservative style policies than "David Cameron's Conservatives" it is a sad day for democracy when many Conservative supporters feel alienated by their touchy so called leader.
    John, I think you are right that dissatisfied Conservatives voting for UKIP/BNP are likely to give us another term of Labour or worse, but what can you and other more traditional Conservatives do other than oust Mr Cameron?
    I have not met a single person that is happy with the signing of the treaty (sic) but still the government go ahead with it. Where is Her Majesty's opposition when you need them?

    Reply: The Opposition has been in Parliament complaining about the Treaty and opposing it!

  9. Junk2Rubbish
    Posted December 13, 2007 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    JR in Reply to comment above: Will Eurosceptics ever unite so we can have the majority?

    Teck Khongon: David Cameron will not offer withdrawal. If you vote UKIP rather than Tory you might help elect another federalist Lib/Lab.

  10. bratz
    Posted December 13, 2007 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    up until 1997 and with my working class background i always thought of myself as a labour type of person but with this new liebour party in power i have now gone to the opposite end of the political spectrum .seeing my country the country i love being given away to mainland europe without having a say and the way big brother as taken over our lives i feel i must "come out" now and admit i have conservative tendencies .

  11. Posted December 13, 2007 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    "Indeed, this must be made absolutely clear to the voters."

    you have lost me there !

    so we vote for a europe that, as at present, tells us what to do and stands above our parliament; or a federalist europe that tells us what to do and stands above our parliament in the future.

    some choice !

    I think I will vote to get out.

    Reply: You will not be able to vote to get out all the time Euroenthusiast Lib/Labs are in charge. The Out party will not win a single seat at the next General Election – it did not win a single seat at the last one.

  12. Posted December 13, 2007 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    Now he has signed, Gordon Brown is now little more than the Town Clerk of Britain, in charge of a provincial entity without sovereignty.

    However, IIRC, he has no authority to sign away our sovereignty, so not only is the document invalid, Gordon is a traitor.

  13. Posted December 13, 2007 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

    I would have agreed with Teck before Lisbon.

    After the original Constitution was democratically rejected, and after a long period of reflection, the best the EU could propose was to make the constitution harder to read and to otherwise obfuscate it in the hope of sidestepping referenda. It is therefore evident that there are no plans to make the EU a democracy any time soon.

    Fundamental reform of the EU, along the lines proposed by the Movement for European Reform would be welcome, but how likely is this to succeed? We have spent decades in the club exercising "influence", but to what end?

    In the last few weeks, I have learned all I can of the EU and pushed the limits of what friends, family and colleagues are prepared to bear in discussion. People mostly want to hear simply that we are leaving. A leftist colleague had defaulted to being in favour of membership, but a brief outline of the democratic deficit, the European Arrest Warrant and Europol's immunity from prosecution seemed to hit home.

    People do care about the grand issues of government, but they are simply not being explained concisely and credibly. People will care very much when the "red lines" are breached so that we lose the presumption of innocence and trial by jury and indeed when the burden of proof is reversed. Put this in the context of ill-defined "statement" legislation on hate – "Racism and Xenophobia" is a Europol competence – and the situation is bleak. How is a person to prove they are not a xenophobe?

    R Rowan is not alone. People know a UKIP vote is wasted, but what is the point of voting Conservative if a Conservative government is going to be a minority voice against a qualified majority on most issues?

    I am confident that a Conservative promise of fundamental reform or exit would result in the greatest of landslides. How else can David Cameron deliver the "post-bureaucratic age"?

  14. rob
    Posted December 14, 2007 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood, or the aide who writes your replies.

    Thanks for taking the time to reply to me regarding UKIP/Tory voting intentions.

    I have given a great deal of thought to the matter over the past few years and with the bulk of our laws now framed by the EU and rubber stamped by a compliant parliament, I do not see what difference it makes whether the rubber stampers are Consverative, New Labour or Liberal.

    The only party that can change this situation is a party that states outright that the UK will leave the EU. As you state, Mr Cameron and the Conservatives will not advocate that move, thus I will vote UKIP.

    Reply: I write my own replies. Voting UKIP just gives the country away by letting the minority federalists in.

  15. rob
    Posted December 14, 2007 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood,

    Thanks again for taking the time to reply to my post and for letting me know that I am indeed corresponding directly with you.

    I have thought about the very issue you raise re splitting the Consvertative vote by voting UKIP.

    I am consverative in my business and political outlook but cannot square the circle in the sense that a party that should (and to my mind used to) support individuality, free enterprise and the limitation of governmental involvement in the life of the citizen, would still support in any form the opposite of all of the above in the shape of the EU.

    I honestly state it is not enough to "take back" control from the EU, as that political construction will never yield power. Exit is the only option to regain control of our own destiny as a soveriegn nation.

    Reply: As someone who voted "No" in 1975 I understand how you feel. However, if Eurosceptics remain divided we will never be in a position to do anything.

  16. Posted December 14, 2007 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    Steven Baker (13 Dec 2007 at 9:42 pm), I believe there are still possibilities post-Lisbon and suspect that David Cameron is monitoring the situation to formulate a strategy based on the broadest possible range of opinions, then compare this issue with the others to ascertain which could cause the maximum seismic damage.

    What is the basis for the suspicion that he's conducting some reconnaissance? On 12th December, David Cameron wrote about his proposals for Afghanistan on Conservative Home; on the 13th there was an interesting Ipsos-MORI graphical analysis of the fortunes of Brown-versus-Cameron ("A Tale of Two Leaders"), and today, there are two further graphical analysis on complementary themes – "Voters believe that Britain is on the wrong course" and "Cameron must keep Conservatism broad in 2008".

  17. Posted December 15, 2007 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    On discovering Fabian gradualism, I just had an "Aha!" moment. If you will forgive me, I would like to refer the interested to my own blog at:
    http://www.stevebaker.info/wp/?p=236

  18. Elizabeth Elliot-Pyl
    Posted December 15, 2007 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, I am a great admirer of yours. I often watch BBC Parliament and notice how often you speak and what sense you talk. I want you to know that I think you are a GOOD THING in politics, whereas my opinion of most other politicians is lower than low.
    Now then, my question is this: how on earth are we to extricate ourselves from this undemocratic mess that is the EU? Whatever the Conservative party says, we cannot remain members and have any influence, and certainly not change anything. It is a club, which suits the continentals (most of them) but does not suit the British – we actually OBEY rules, whereas they dont unless the rules suit them.
    My thinking is that if the Union of Scotland and England were to break up, England would be to all intents and purposes a NEW country (that had never joined the EU, EEC, Common Market or whatever) and we would have to decide whether to join or not. Problem solved. We would HAVE to be given a referendum on whether to join. I cannot believe that a majority would elect to join at this juncture.
    Do you have any idea whether I could be right, and what the constitutional situation would be? I am serious about this. I dont really care about the Union (Scot and Eng) but if it would get us out of the EU I would be all for the break up. Would value your comments, and keep up the good work.
    (By the way, my vote is in a rock solid constituency, so I feel free to vote UKIP – knowing that it wont make any difference in the grand scheme of things.)
    Yours sincerely, Elizabeth Elliot-Pyle.

    Reply: I think the EU would be reluctant to allow England to leave if the Union had broken up, although they have "threatened" Scotland with the possibility that Scotland would not be a member of the EU if she left the UK. As there are no clear rules on this I assume the EU would do the bidding of the UK authorities on this, or would do whatever annoyed us most!
    I do not think splitting the Union will automatically solve the problem, and think the strains of the Union may take longer to resolve than the EU issue itself. I prefer concentrating on the EU issue as the most presssing. The first thing we need is a Eurosceptic government in charge at Westminster. That will make a huge difference, and can only come about with a majority Conservative administration. Referendum,UKIP,English democrats etc have shown they can never win a single seat let alone 350 seats.
    Once we have such a government that government has to set about renegotiating, as the Conseravtives have voted against all the centralising Treaties under Labour and have made it clear we cannot live with this amount of EU power. At the last election we offered the country a referendum on the results, giving the people the choice of a better deal with the EU or no deal at all. I expect something similar will emerge as policy for the next election. At the moment the leadership understandably wants to keep the government on the hook for the referendum they promised to get through the last General Election. All our efforts should be concentrated on trying to force a referendum now. How can people do that? By writing to Labour MPs in marginals telling them they must honour their promise or lose their seats. All Conservative MPs will be on a three line whip to vote for the referendum. If each marginal Labour MP received 1000 emails or letters from constituents demanding the referendum they might be persuaded.

  19. Posted December 15, 2007 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    Aha, so we "must vote Tory to get NuLabour out, a UKIP vote is a wasted vote". That seems to be the official line in this thread.

    But why vote Tory? I can't tell him apart from Blair! Surrounded by spin doctors, moving this way and that to gain favourable sound bites, the man has no principles. And what we are about here is principles. The principle that the UK is a self governing State that makes treaties as an equal not a submissive.

    If that is the best that the Tory party can do, the Peter Hitchins is right when he write that there is no hope of escape from the present mess until the Tory party implodes and new parties are formed from the wreckage.

    As a life-long (but no longer) Tory voter all I can say to the party is "get some spine to do what is right by this nation".

    Reply: I stick with the Conservatives because they offer me:

    1. Opposition to Nice, Amsterdam and the Constitutional Treaty
    2. A referendum on the Constitution
    3. No to the Euro in principle
    4. Powers back from the EU

    Voting any other way makes it more likely you have a Lib/Lab pro EU government.

  20. andy
    Posted December 16, 2007 at 12:37 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood,I"m afraid i must agree with the other posters on here,while i would class myself as a natural tory i am in total despair at the spineless atitude of the tory party to Europe.Dear God!You must surely realise just how utterly sick to death people are of having their lives controlled by unelected and unaccountable placemen and jobsworths whose seem more interested in getting their noses into the trough as soon as possible than actually doing something worthwhile for the mere taxpayers who fund those lavish lifestyles of theirs.Untill the tory party makes a clear promise to leave the EU i will be voting UKIP.

  21. Bazman
    Posted December 16, 2007 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Britain leaves the EU….Then what? Are we going to be an offshore tax haven standing alone, using the imperial system? Living in a Britain. No! an England that never was and never will be?
    Many Tories should take a look at Britain's standard of living in relation to some some of our European neighbours. On the ground Germany is much more rich and advanced. Bavaria a conservative fantasy. Very rich, religious, but tolerant, advanced technology with green credentials, clean streets and little crime. A lot of foreigners, but more German than Germany. Cheap clean trains and fantastic roads.
    How many people would support a return to the imperial system despite the world using metric? You are wrong. America? They are so big, rich and powerful they can use whatever system they like.
    We often seem to be the best at being worse in many areas and I don't imagine right wing Little Englander mentalities improving this one bit. Upper middle class fantasies leaving the masses to face the consequences. We'll see…

  22. Elizabeth Elliot-Pyl
    Posted December 16, 2007 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood, thank you so much for your reply, which was most thought provoking and considered.
    My point is that if the union between England and Scotland were broken there would no longer BE any UK. Of course the EU want England to remain a member (where else would they get all that money?)
    We would be a new country, and as such would not be members of the EU – we joined as the UK remember.
    As for a Conservative government making a difference to our position in the EU – we have been promised this by EVERY government since we joined, yet nothing seems to change. I find it heartbreaking, and very scary.
    Thank you for taking the time to reply.
    Yours sincerely,
    Elizabeth Elliot-Pyle
    PS My point about voting UKIP is that it would be a protest vote. My vote is virtually useless as I live in a rock solid constituency, so wouldnt make any difference.

    Reply: protest votes give succour to the federalists. My point is that the EU might choose to ignore the fact that the UK no longer existed, and deem England to be the successor.

  23. Elizabeth Elliot-Pyl
    Posted December 16, 2007 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood,
    many thanks for your good manners and interest in my wife's letter.
    Living in France we can see the obvious gravy train…the French have organised the EU to their own advantage for which everyone has to pay.
    My wife would make an excellent candidate but despite our encouragement she has been unable to make the plunge.
    She is an extremely attractive and articulate (as you can tell) 50 year old.
    We hail from Battle where I was a GP for many years, Liz's mum was a JP, and the present incumbent is likely to lose votes for a variety of reasons.
    Can you help?
    Robert Elliot-Pyle.

    Reply: By all means send me a letter with a CV and what you are trying to achieve.

  24. Posted December 19, 2007 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    John Redwood replying to Elizabeth Elliot-Pyle: "I think the EU would be reluctant to allow England to leave if the Union had broken up,"

    John…"allow"? Look at the word used. Does that not demand we as a Sovereign nation leave? How can we be part of an organisation that thinks it is able to grant permission or deny it?

    Re: Bazman. You might be suffering from Post Hoc fallacy. Bavaria may well be EVEN RICHER if it were outside of the EU. I suspect its immigrant population would be different and crime levels would be lower. The EU most certainly thinks it has Sovereign power over the UK. I did not ask for it. It did not ask me so I reject it out of hand REGARDLESS of so-called benefits. That is NOT the way to interact with free peoples. Maybe you are not a free person by choice. Fine. It is not my choice. If you want to jump off the cliff to end your sorrows go ahead, but do not grab onto us all and drag us over so as to dilute your woes.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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