Euro enthusiaists confuse power and sovereignty

Today I have received a draft chapter for a new book on the thinking of the right in the UK. In the first draft I am accused of being muddled because I both object to the erosion of national sovereignty by the EU and assert that a globalised world makes the EU irrelevant as it demonstrates the great power of international corporations. I have written back to the author with the following comments:

I am afraid here you are simply wrong.
The important distinction that I always make but Euro enthusiasts fail to grasp is the distinction between sovereignty and power.
No single country – not even the USA – is all powerful. Every country has to take into account world opinion, the attitude of neighbouring countries and the world institutions, the approach of larger corporations and the variable ability of people from one country to move to another if they do not like their country’s approach.

The USA is clearly more powerful than Iceland as the USA can project its views and values more widely thanks to its economic, diplomatic and military power. However, both the USA and Iceland are sovereign countries, in that their elected governments can do whatever they like in a democratic way without intervention from other countries/ regional blocs. They have to work within the framework of international agreements they have consented to, but they remain free to remove themselves from such agreements and institutions if need arises.

Both the USA and Iceland are natural government areas, where the governed think they belong to the same nation and wish to belong to it, and where they wish their government to make the best decisions it can within the limits of its powers both internal and external.

Members of the EU are no longer in that sovereign position. In large areas of activity they can no longer pass or repeal the laws they wish to, and in many areas they have to accept the judicial interpretation of Treaty law and Directives from the Federal court. As I do not think most people in the UK regard the EU as their country or natural governing area, I have opposed so much power passing to EU institutions.

At the same time I counter the Euro enthusiast argument about power, not sovereignty, that we need to belong to a larger bloc in the world to have more power to stand up for our interests in a rapidly globalising world. My case is that the regional bloc is too small to regulate or tackle the problems of the global market – international banking requires world wide standards and surveillance, not regional regulation for example. The EU is short of energy, so the solutions to its energy problems lie outside its borders. The EU is in long term decline (its own forecasts say it will decline from 18% of world output in 2000 to 10% in 2050 and that is optimistic). The Uk’s future will be based on the global market, and on working with like minded countries to ensure sensible styles and levels of regulation for the new global industries and corporations that characterise this phase of globalisation.

I am a defender of sovereignty in the UK as I believe our natural allegiance is to UK governing institutions not to EU ones. I am a believer that we need to work with other like minded countries to influence and improve the global regulatory framework for big business, which is too big to be contained by the EU. I am not a "little Englander" but a "big worlder"

<strong>Click on the link below to download John Redwood’s presentation on globalisation.</strong>

<a href=’http://www.johnredwoodsdiary.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/02/globalisation-2008.ppt’ title=’globalisation-2008.ppt’>globalisation-2008.ppt</a>

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5 Comments

  1. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted January 12, 2008 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Whilst these Euro enthusiasts preach the spreading of democracy around the world they are constantly denuding the democratic rights of the people of the member states of the EU.

  2. mikestallard
    Posted January 13, 2008 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    I was reading this up on the internet last evening.
    The three pillars have now been, after Lisbon, removed. So allow me to correct you – there is no area of competence which is not under the European Commission and the Council of Europe to decide.
    The Foreign Office team is already in place after Lisbon.
    I notice that Jose Manuel Barroso appears in all sorts of places speaking for Europe, as president.
    I understand that Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" is treated, at the European Parliamentary Sessions, like the National Anthem, with Members placing their hands on their hearts like Americans.
    You are – alas! – too late.
    Our Sovereignty has been stolen.

    I think this explains a lot why Ministers have started to look like cheap salesmen instead of decision makers: they are there to publicise and "cascade" the laws which the new state is passing down to our regional governments. In return they get a rich salary and perks – like their compatriots in the European Parliament and Commission.

    Personally, I await the day when an issue like slavery in the USA, Islam in Nigeria, or tribalism in Kenya is mishandled by the second raters in the Commission/Council.
    On that day there will be a Civil War in Europe because the Treaty of Lisbon has made it very difficult to leave constitutionally.

  3. APL
    Posted January 14, 2008 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    Mikestallard: "On that day there will be a Civil War in Europe because the Treaty of Lisbon has made it very difficult to leave constitutionally."

    Well, we have seen what wars in Europe are like, personally I would prefer not to have another one.

    But we can leave "constitutionally" at any time. We just need to assert the Consititutional doctrine, accepted in this country pretty much ever since Parliament came into being.

    The current Parliament can overturn any decision a previous parliament might have passed into law.

    So, leaving the EU in a constitutional fashon needs just one act by the British Parliament – Repeal the '72 Act.

    All the European Union rules regulations, laws and petty restrictions derive their authority in the United Kindgom from this one single act.

    Repeal that act and "with a single bound" we are free!

    Personally, I couldn't care two figs for their pretend democracy, nor their pretend Union, nor their pretent anthem.

    MikeStallard: "Our Sovereignty has been stolen."

    Given away actually. By the very people charged with protecting the autonomy of the United Kindgom.

    Shameful!

  4. Elizabeth Elliot-Pyl
    Posted January 15, 2008 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    Whether we are 'constitutionally' allowed to leave the EU or not, I would say the thing to do would be to stop paying anything into it. After a while, they would HAVE to let us go. After all, they dont really want us if we are not contributing, do they?

  5. apl
    Posted January 15, 2008 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    Elizabeth Elliot-Pyle:

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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