Where does sovereignty lie – can we have our country back?

 

                         We still call our Heads of State “sovereign”. Their “sovereign” powers have long been stripped away by Parliaments keen to take over the power of commanding  taxation, armies, public services and lawmaking.  Governments still make laws, sign Treaties and undertake deeds in the name of  Her Majesty.  The Queen would not dream of interfering in how they use these powers.

              Sometimes people write to me to say the Queen should intervene and demand back many of these “sovereign” powers that are now exercised by the EU. They sometimes  say they are writing to the Queen to insist on her upholding her Coronation Oath. They think she has some magical power to enforce Magna Carta, as if this ancient law has primacy or more relevance than the modern Statute law including the European Communities Act which commands us. Sometimes they demand the Queen requires  the repatriation of powers from the EU  which they wish had stayed here at home.

            A constitional monarch in an elected democracy has no such power. Parliament is the new sovereign, acting in the name of the people and dismissable by the people.  Parliament gave away important powers by first enacting the European Communities Act 1972, and then by subsequent enlargement of the areas of competence of the EU by ratifying and enacting subsequent Treaty changes. The powers were no longer the monarch’s to give away, and the monarch played no active part in doing so.

           Parliament consulted the people in a referendum in 1975 under the then Labour government about the transfer of sovereignty. Many now say fairly they were not around for such a vote. Some who were then voters  say that if they had read and understood the Treaty of Rome at the time, instead of relying on reassurances offered by various politicians, they might have voted against. The fact remains that the UK did vote to stay in the EEC. At no election since our joining has a pull out party won.  In the last decade the official Opposition, the Conservatives, opposed the major transfers of power at Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon. They spoke against them and voted against them in the Commons.  This made no favourable difference to General Election outcomes for the Conservatives.  They finally did better in an election in 2010 without offering repeal of the Treaties they had rightly voted against in the preceeding Parliaments, though individual Conservative candidates and MPs did wish to repeal these measures.

               Over the next few days I wish to explore more the damage done to our sovereignty, and the options we have for redeeming it.

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76 Comments

  1. lifelogic
    Posted June 3, 2012 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    I agree fully, but honestly, what are “the options we have for redeeming it”?

    With the three main parties, the BBC, some of the larger businesses, most self interest career politicians, politicians who make cast rubber promises and so little real effective democracy – are there any options in reality I see none?

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted June 3, 2012 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      How about this option?

      Apply a cap of, say, £1000 p.a. to the donations to political parties and restrict donations to electors (no companies or unions). Increase public funding of political parties in compensation, BUT do so on the basis of matching donations – that way there is no blank cheque and parties receive from public funds in proportion to the public support they can show they have. That way rich special interests have much less influence.

      Public support could be all or in part “in kind” rather than cash. For instance, free access to BBC TV broadcast slots to present the party political message. This also has the advantage of giving the parties an excellent facility to communicate directly with the public without having to chummy up to the media and without the message being subject to media editorial control.

      As to the BBC, the problem is not the Corporation but the Trust. The Trust is supposed to represent the public, and I would ensure it did so by appointing Trust Members by public vote. The BBC is jolly good at this sort of thing, so doing it for Trust elections as well would be a doddle.

      • lifelogic
        Posted June 3, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

        It alas falls at the first hurdle parliament is not going to enact such limits on political donations or the BBC. Thank to Cameron we have Lord Patten as head of the trustees. So I cannot see much positive coming from there. I assume he will put Ken Clark there next.

        • Alan Wheatley
          Posted June 4, 2012 at 9:43 am | Permalink

          Oh come on! If all good ideas are dismissed at the outset because the politicians are anticipated as being unsympathetic then we might as well give up and accept we live in a parliamentary dictatorship.

          • lifelogic
            Posted June 6, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

            Well maybe – but see if you can get a majority of MPs to put in place perhaps – a money purchase pension for MPs with no tax payer contributions (as most in the private sector have, if they have a pension at all). Also to scrap the MPs subsidised restaurants and bars and the new creche.
            After we are all in this together as they keep saying.

            Do you think this is a runner as a bill? I wish you luck?

    • Timaction
      Posted June 3, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      We have been consistantly lied to by all main parties about the EEC, then EU and its ever increasing grab of our sovereignty. This was spelt out clearly in a 1971 FCO briefing paper 10/3048 (Google and read yourself). It shows how Heath with the known connivance of the other parties lied about their true intentions in creating a European superstate by incremental treaty stealth. Everything has since come to pass and the people never had a chance to vote on this underhanded treacherous dishonesty. Well, the time of the internet has stopped political leaders lying to us with impunity. The EU is not a single issue as so much power has been ceded to it. It costs us a fortune (£10 billion net) and we run an annual deficit of £50 billion. Time we were out. Friendship and trade, nothing more.

      • uanime5
        Posted June 3, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

        Using treaties is hardly stealthy, especially since they’re negotiated among the leaders of various EU countries and are easily accessible.

        Also the best way to reduce the trade deficit of £50 billion is to export more or import less.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted June 4, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

          The use of subordinate national legislation can be stealthy – for example, one of the IMF Orders went through without a vote, sandwiched between two other Orders put before the Commons at 7.30 pm immediately after the division on the Third Reading of the Finance Bill – but the use of international treaties is far worse.

          Even in these days of the internet it’s impossible for the average person to follow what’s going on within and between the different EU institutions even if they can make it their full time job; before the internet even the treaties themselves were not readily accessible, sometimes not even to MPs when they were expected to consider them but without being able to change them; moreover their contents are often incomprehensible to the layman and their consequences are frequently unpredictable even to the professional, and those legal consequences are almost entirely uncontrollable by those we elect supposedly to make our laws.

    • zorro
      Posted June 3, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

      Not really unless we can persuade a majority of MPs to overturn the 1972 Act…..QE2 has no influence here whatsoever.

      On a separate note, I see that Mr Soros estimates that the PIGIS owe 600 billion Euros to the Bundesbank…….Gosh, that will pay for a lot of beach huts!

      Zorro

      • Sean O'Hare
        Posted June 3, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

        QE2 has no influence here whatsoever

        Only because she either chose not to assert influence or honestly just did not understand what her coronation oath was all about. I don’t think she is that thick so I guess she just wasn’t strong enough to raise the objections that were so badly needed.

        • zorro
          Posted June 4, 2012 at 8:50 am | Permalink

          So she chose not to prevent the effective disintegration of her country, or did not understand what was happening….. so disinterested or something else.

          Zorro

      • Jagman 84
        Posted June 3, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

        Is that net of what Germany owe to Greece in WW2 reparations?

        • zorro
          Posted June 4, 2012 at 12:48 am | Permalink

          That is the joker still to be properly played……

          zorro

  2. colliemum
    Posted June 3, 2012 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    Thanks for this very welcome overview of what powers the Queen really has, and for pointing out where, historically, the responsibility for the loss of our sovereignty really lies.

    I find it shameful that an apparently huge number of those who comment on various websites are painfully unaware of what is meant by Constitutional Monarchy.

    On this of all days such reminder is very welcome.

  3. Sue
    Posted June 3, 2012 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Funny how politicians shove the blame on to us when you know very well that the whole process from start to finish has been shrouded in secrecy and lies. The times political parties have had “EU Referendum” or “clawing back powers” in their manifesto’s, only to go back on their words is the real con trick for getting votes. They’re even doing it again for the next election.

    “if she never projected the theft of our ancestral rights, it was her duty to resist that theft, and to resist without regard for the outcome – and it was in her power to resist without bringing on her head any of the penalties threatened or used against her subjects. But she did not resist. At no time in the past sixty years, has she raised a finger in public, or, it is probably the case, in private, to slow the destruction of an order of things she swore in the name of God to protect”

    No doubt in my mind that she should have resisted on her “people’s” behalf.

  4. Pete the Bike
    Posted June 3, 2012 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    “A constitutional monarch in an elected democracy has no such power.”

    What a pity. Million times rather have Liz and Phil than Rompuy and Barroso.

  5. ChrisXP
    Posted June 3, 2012 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    I wonder whether, if the Internet had been widely available in 1975, the vote on the EEC might have been different? We believed we were voting on a trade agreement, not political union and the ultimate abolition of nation states. One could not just press a button on a keyboard in those days and call up the Treaty of Rome to read.
    People were more trusting of the media and politicians. What a mistake that was. We were all well and truly had.

    • sjb
      Posted June 3, 2012 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

      Did you read the literature about the 1975 Referendum that was delivered to your household?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted June 4, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

        Yes, in my spare time, including the grossly misleading booklet urging a “yes” vote that the government had delivered to every household.

        • sjb
          Posted June 4, 2012 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

          Denis, it might help if you (or anyone else) point out which statements from HMG’s booklet
          Britain’s New Deal in Europe were grossly misleading.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted June 5, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

            Anybody who reads that 1975 pamphlet in the light of what has happened subsequently can see that it was misleading on at least three levels:

            1. It pretended that there had been a major re-negotiation of our terms of membership, when in fact there was no change of sufficient significance and permanence to require amendment of the treaty.

            2. It misrepresented the current situation as it was in 1975.

            3. It deliberately failed to make it clear that by design this was not a static situation, that the UK would be committed to a relentless process of “ever closer union” going far beyond the level of integration required for what it called “the Common Market”, and that the Court of Justice would not act as an impartial arbitrator in trade disputes but instead would help to drive that process on through its decisions.

            As examples, the first paragraph in the section “Will Parliament lose its power?”:

            “Another anxiety expressed about Britain’s membership of the Common Market is that Parliament could lose its supremacy, and we would have to obey laws passed by unelected ‘faceless bureaucrats’ sitting in their headquarters in Brussels.”

            ignored the 1963 assertion by the Court of Justice that the treaty had created a new legal order inherently superior to the national legal orders of the member states; while

            “No important new policy can be decided in Brussels or anywhere else without the consent of a British Minister answerable to a British Government and British Parliament”

            “The Minister representing Britain can veto any proposal for a new law or a new tax if he considers it to be against British interests.”

            were already untrue at that time.

            As was this assurance in an earlier section:

            “There was a threat to employment in Britain from the movement in the Common Market towards an Economic & Monetary Union. This could have forced us to accept fixed exchange rates for the pound, restricting industrial growth and putting jobs at risk. This threat has been removed.”

  6. Paul Danon
    Posted June 3, 2012 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    Grim though the situation is for Britain, the Lisbon-treaty allows for withdrawal from the union – perhaps our vestige of sovereignty. We could also leave the ambit of the human rights court and depart from Nato. This would leave just the Anglo-Irish agreement which compromises the sovereignty of one part of our nation.

  7. APL
    Posted June 3, 2012 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    JR: “They think she has some magical power to enforce Magna Carta, ”

    No but the monarch was commander in chief of the armed forces. Until they were all seduced by Nato, the non existent EU rapid reaction force, UN peacekeeping and all the other subversive initiatives introduced by the shadowy World Government brigade. The armed forces deliberately undermined by Blair’s inclusion of the services into the ‘human rights’ act, one result we saw with the disastrous IPOD episode when the Iranians stole our sailors.

    She had the support of the Lords, until the traitor Strathclyde finished that institution off completing what was started by the unconstitutional Parliament acts, the Lords is now packed with EU supporters in the pay of the European Union for example, (words left out) Mandelson,(etc-ed) Kinnock.

    We once had reason to imagine there were monarchists in the Commons, until we find out that even those of them supposedly right wing, don’t believe in the English constitution!

    So, ‘ slowly slowly catchy monkey’, the ‘progressives’ have destroyed this country, leaving us at the mercy of an self appointed oligarchy.

    Are we all that surprised to encounter Mandleson and Osbourn our home grown oligarchs enjoying the hospitality of a foreign oligarch, on his yacht?

    And finally, when John Redwood says we have no constitution, he is right but not because there are not well known restraints hallowed by time and tradition, but because the modern political class have deliberately chosen to ignore and circumvent the restraints of our constitution using supra national organization to do so.

    In short it is our semi autonomous political class that has destroyed our Nation.

  8. Boudicca
    Posted June 3, 2012 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    The history of our membership of the EEC/EU is one of lies, deceipt and deliberate distortion of the truth – by the elite of all 3 main parties.

    We weren’t offered a choice in General Elections. All 3 parties maintained a policy of EU membership and anyway, a General Election is where we are required to vote on national matters – the economy, health, education etc – not on international treaties involving transfer of Sovereignty.

    The fact is, the FCO and our parliamentarians have known for decades that the British were only in favour of a trade treaty. As FCO 30/1048 makes very clear, they deliberately deceived the people about the intention to morph the EEC into the EU, because they knew they couldn’t get a mandate any other way. http://www.acasefortreason.org.uk/images/documents/fco301048.pdf

    Our Parliament and The Establishment in general, betrayed us. There is no other word for it.

    There are several options for getting our Sovereignty back and the most obvious one is to vote UKIP. Because LibLabCON have amply demonstrated that they cannot be trusted to be truthful or honourable – or to give the British people the right to decide in a FREE and FAIR Referendum.

    We need a mainstream Party that is offering the British people a choice between the social democratic NuLabour/BlueLabour. We need a conservative party – and that is what UKIP is. The CON Party is now a tribute to Blair.

  9. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted June 3, 2012 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    JR : “At no election since our joining has a pull out party won.”
    I predict that UKIP will win the next elections to the European Parliament. That is when the voters minds are focused on the EU and not the multitude of other issues raised at general elections. There may also be some voting against an unpopular government party whcih will make my prediction even sounder.

    • David John Wilson
      Posted June 3, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      What is the point in voting for an MEP to represent us when he belongs to a party like UKIP whose only interest is in not getting involved in Europe. It is about time we had a European election where the candidates all put forward manifestos that showed how they intended to represent us in the parliament. I had great difficulty at the last election in finding any candidates who made any statements about what they intended to do in the parliament. They were only interested in telling us how their party was going to handle European statutes in the British parliament.

      I am fed up with being asked to vote for candidates who have no policy for how they intend to represent us. The local elections were as bad with at best a few statements about small local issues that were already mainly decided and no overall policy statements beyond the national ones.

  10. Denis Cooper
    Posted June 3, 2012 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    It’s not the best day for discussing this, as overall the Queen has served us very well for sixty years and fully deserves her celebration.

    However I do question whether successive generations of elected politicians have been allowed to go too far in imposing constitutional constraints on our Head of State.

    In theory the Queen can still refuse Royal Assent to a Bill passed by the two Houses of Parliament, as admitted on Parliament’s website:

    http://www.parliament.uk/site-information/glossary/royal-assent/

    “Royal Assent is the Monarch’s agreement to make a Bill into an Act of Parliament. The Monarch actually has the right to refuse Royal Assent but nowadays this does not happen and the Royal Assent is a formality.”

    If we had a codified constitution providing for an elected President with carefully defined powers then there would be less room for an ambivalent statement such as:

    “The President actually has the right to veto a Bill but nowadays this does not happen and his assent is a formality.”

    Either the President would have the right to veto a particular Bill, or he would not have the right to veto that Bill; and if that was written into the constitution then his right of veto would be less likely to fall into desuetude.

    Would the people want their King or Queen, as Head of State, to have a fully acknowledged role as a kind of constitutional longstop, blocking Bills passed by the politicians in the other two components of Parliament, of which the dominant component is a House of Commons controlled by MPs effectively put there at the behest of main party oligarchs?

    I think so, under certain restricted circumstances, and especially if the next step was always to pass the matter to the people to decide in a referendum.

    Which was proposed as a means of entrenching the “referendum lock” law against easy repeal, by a provision in the Act stating that the sovereign could not give Royal Assent to any Bill to amend that Act unless the amendment had first been approved by a referendum.

    • Jeremy Hummerstone
      Posted June 4, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      Until the Queen actually writes “La Reine s’avisera” how can we know what her power might be? Some would say that when faced with the demand to subordinate herself to the EU she ought to have done it.

  11. Nick
    Posted June 3, 2012 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    Parliament is the new sovereign, acting in the name of the people and dismissable by the people.

    ————-

    So what happens when parliament lies? What happens when parliament commits fraud? What happens when parliament doesn’t do what it promises, does things it has kept secret.

    When you say acting in the name of the people you are behaving just like a criminal blaming its victims.

    If you run a fraudulent set of books, you are not acting in our name, You’re committing fraud.

  12. Damien
    Posted June 3, 2012 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    You mention the Magna Carta but most of that has been repealed with the exception of a few City of London provisions. I hope you consider that had we had a written constitution like the Irish we could have had referendums before agreeing to various EU treaties.

    Also please consider the relationship between sovereignty and religion. Dr Rowan Williams is on record supporting Sharia law in the UK and there are now over 1000 Sharia courts in operation. Which law is supreme in a sovereign state? Any group that issues its own laws and adjudicates is in effect a state within a state however small.

    Does a sovereign state not have to have control over its borders and immigration policy? If so then why has Damien Green been unable to reduce the annual immigration below 550,000? Is it that despite the best intentions we simply have lost control of our borders and immigration policy as we have no sovereignty in that also?

    • Sean O'Hare
      Posted June 3, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      You mention the Magna Carta but most of that has been repealed with the exception of a few City of London provisions

      Magna Carta was signed, admittedly under duress, by King John and the feudal barons on behalf of the people. Parliament was not involved. Some time after they confirmed Magna Carta into statute law and it is clauses of that statute that have been repealed. Magna Carta itself still stands and cannot ever be repealed by Parliament.

  13. Denis Cooper
    Posted June 3, 2012 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    And that method of entrenchment of an Act against easy repeal was actually adopted in this “United Kingdom Parliamentary Sovereignty Bill” which was “presented by Mr William Cash, supported by Mr John Redwood …” in January 2010:

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmbills/048/2010048.pdf

    “4 Royal Assent

    Her Majesty the Queen shall not signify her Royal Assent to any Bill which contravenes this Act or to any future Bill amending this Act or which purports so to do except and until the Bill, having been approved by both Houses of Parliament, has also been approved in a referendum of the electorate in the United Kingdom pursuant to an Act of the United Kingdom Parliament.”

  14. Matthew
    Posted June 3, 2012 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    There hasn’t really been a proper debate on the issue of the UK’s continuing relationship with the EU.

    Seems that Germany pursues her objectives, to keep its currency competitive and drive exports. Many of the other countries want to grab onto her coat tails, getting low interest rates or waiting for hand-outs.

    The UK’s objective, as a net contributor is a bit unclear.

    To the pro Europeans, we need to be at the “Top table, involved in decision making”, but if we take a contrary view to the majority, then we’ve taken ourselves from the heart of Europe to the side-lines, regardless of our argument.

    The level of debate from the Lib Dems is so poor – Mr Clegg has repeatedly implied that 3 million “Jobs of our countrymen” are under threat should be choose to leave the EU. A ridiculous statement that doesn’t begin to stand up to scrutiny.

    A bit on the lines of “Nice little job you have here, pity if anything happened to it” This from the man that implored us to join the single currency.

    I think it is the perceived threat to jobs that sways many people to stay in the EU.

    • uanime5
      Posted June 3, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

      In this case Nick Clegg is right because if the UK leaves the EU companies that trade with the EU will be subject to import tax and quotas. As they will be less able to compete with other EU companies this will definitely lead to job losses.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted June 4, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

        You do realise that trade barriers can operate both ways?

        • uanime5
          Posted June 4, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

          Yes but the UK will suffer more by losing access to 26 markets than the EU will suffer from losing access to 1.

      • zorro
        Posted June 4, 2012 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

        Just not true uanime5, as Denis says, it works both ways, and it would not at all be in the EU interest to do so as it would affect them disproportionately….and we could always trade with the rest of the World…..Mind you if it meant that we had to do without Mr Clegg it all might be worth it.

        zorro

    • Alexis
      Posted June 3, 2012 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

      The concept of being ‘at the top table, involved in decision-making’ rather than on the sidelines, should be exposed for the nonsense it is.

      First, when it comes to votes, we have about 1/13th of a say. Big fat deal. I’d love to see anyone ‘influence’ a company with that proportion of shareholder votes.

      Secondly, there is no great evidence of our having influenced anything, at any point in the EU’s history.

      Thirdly, it’s a lot simpler to have 100% influence over your own rules, and make them quickly in response to changing situations, rather than waiting for a gigantic international committee to decide what to agree on – then agree on it – then actually do it. (There’s no sign of action or decision-making in the current situation – is it 18 or 19 ’emergency summits’ now? )

      The ‘relegated to the sidelines’ argument is nothing more than a mental construct, with no basis in truth. It just sounds frightening to people. No one was scared of being ‘on the sidelines’ of the Soviet Union’s trading and political arrangements, as I recall. No-one suggested that because it was big and we weren’t, we ought to join.

      As to the legendary 3 million jobs – that’s what they are. Legendary.

      It is no more than an extrapolation, or a guess. Anyone can verify this by asking your MP which jobs they are.

      • uanime5
        Posted June 4, 2012 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

        In most companies having 5% of the shares is enough to influence the entire policy of the company. Especially when everyone else has less than 1% of the shares.

        It is was possible for Ireland, Portugal, Greece, Spain, or Italy yo solve their own problems they would have already solved them. These countries are turning to the EU because they’re not able to fix their problems.

        The 3 million jobs are the ones involved with selling things to other EU countries. Basically if we leave the EU we lose complete access to the EU markets.

      • zorro
        Posted June 4, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

        All their arguments are based on fear – fear of losing jobs, influence, position….As FDR said in a different situation, but particularly apposite for us, ‘the only thing we have to fear is fear itself’.

        zorro

  15. Alan Wheatley
    Posted June 3, 2012 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    As I understand it, all acts of parliament have to be signed by the Sovereign, given the Royal Assent, before they pass into law. It is taken as read that this is something the Sovereign will always do, indeed if the Sovereign did not do so then we would have a MAJOR constitutional crisis.

    One thing I am not clear about is what power the Sovereign has in relation to the Royal Assent. A few years ago a significant number of people wrote to the Queen asking her not to give her assent to a law the then Labour government were proposing on the basis that the government were intending to do something that was at odds with popular opinion and could not be reversed following votes at a general election. So many wrote that the Palace had to put out a statement, which as I recall was to the effect the the Sovereign did not have the power to refuse to sign a bill put in front of her for the Royal Assent.

    This was a potentially alarming situation, but in the end the whole thing blew over.

    If the Sovereign does indeed not have the power to refuse the Royal Assent then we may as well do away with a pointless sham.

    For myself, I particularly like the idea that the Sovereign has the power to refuse to sign, and that there is nothing Parliament can do about it. Clearly this would be an extremely risky thing for the Sovereign to do, but armed with an enormous number of petitions not to sign would the government dare do anything other than, presumably, amend the bill or call a general election.

    In practice the crisis would never arise, as the typical British compromise would be found. But I do like the notion of the ultimate deterrent, and like the best deterrents its existence, plus the will to deploy it, means that it never has to be deployed.

    • Sean O'Hare
      Posted June 3, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      But I do like the notion of the ultimate deterrent

      Yes the English constitution is/was a very good one. Such a pity that our corrupt Parliament have so undermined it!

    • uanime5
      Posted June 3, 2012 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

      Expect the requirement for the Royal Assent to be removed if the monarch ever refuses to sign a bill. Laws should be created by a democratically elected Parliament, not the whims of an unelected monarch.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted June 4, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

        How would the requirement for Royal Assent be “removed”?

        By an Act of Parliament, a Bill passed by both Houses and then given Royal Assent?

        Under Cromwell Parliament purported to abolish the monarchy through an Act, without Royal Assent, but that was a revolutionary situation and he had the victorious Parliamentary army behind him; naturally after the Restoration that Act was declared null and void.

        The sovereign has never agreed to relinquish the right to veto a Bill passed by the two Houses of Parliament, as a reserve power, and nor would it be in the interests of his people for him to do so given the types who predominate in those two Houses.

        You say “Laws should be created by a democratically elected Parliament”, but then MPs have already agreed to have their hands tied by the EU.

        It seems to me that there is much to be said for an Act like that proposed in January 2010, mentioned above:

        http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmbills/048/2010048.pdf

        whereby all three components of Parliament would agree that one component, the constitutional monarch, must in future veto any Bill for MPs to further tie their hands through that process without first asking the people in a referendum.

        That would be a valuable legal protection for the people, for their democracy, against dishonest, lying, cheating elected politicians.

        • uanime5
          Posted June 4, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

          There’s no problem as long as an Act of Parliament isn’t need to remove the Royal Assent.

          Removing power from the EU just delivers more power into the hands of the dishonest, lying, cheating elected politicians of this country. Most bad laws come from our own politicians, while most protections and rights come from the EU and ECHR.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted June 5, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

            Without an Act, complete with Royal Assent, through which the monarch agreed that henceforth Royal Assent would not needed for Bills to become law, you’d have to find some other way to persuade the courts that they should start to treat Bills as law even in the absence of Royal Assent.

          • Lindsay McDougall
            Posted June 8, 2012 at 2:40 am | Permalink

            At least our elected politicians are ‘bastards of our own begetting’. Which is more than you could say of the likes of Jacques Santier or one of his cohort, our very own two time reject Niel Kinnock.

      • Alan Wheatley
        Posted June 5, 2012 at 8:21 am | Permalink

        As I pointed out, to refuse to sign would be an extremely risky thing to do. To do so “on a whim” would probably be akin to (forced?) abdication.

        As I also pointed out, if the Sovereign is in receipt of personally and individually sent communications (letters, emails, texts etc) by a very large percentage of her subjects requesting she acts in a particular way, then to agree to those wishes would seem to me the right thing to do and would receive popular acclaim.

  16. Barbara
    Posted June 3, 2012 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    The UK voted to stay in because Ted Heath lied to us that there would be no loss of sovereignty. In my opinion, therefore, that mandate to stay in was fraudulently obtained.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted June 3, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

      Barbara, it wasn’t just Heath. Heseltine gave me his own personal assurance that no such thing would happen, yet there he was, pictured with Clarke and Blair, busily telling us what a good idea it would be to join the single currency, in the full knowledge it would eventually lead to full political unity also.

      Such Rattlesnakes should have their heads on a spike outside Traitor’s Gate!

      When people vote for a party, they vote for a whole raft of policies. Yet some vote despite not even knowing the name of their own MP or even the name of the Prime Minister. Given the complexity of the EU issue, to some extent, they can be forgiven for not fully appreciating how dangerous it was to vote for a pro-EU party.

      It is the ignorance factor, the pro-EU toadies have been banking on, but even the most ill-informed voter can now see what a disaster the EU has been right across the continent and beyond.

      The Tories are best placed to deliver us from it, but who in their right mind would trust them in the future given their appalling track record?

      Would anyone trust a burglar not to burgle our property merely on the assurances they gave, when they have broken those pledges before?

      That, I venture, is why the tainted Tory brand hasn’t cut it with the electorate since he who wears his underpants on the outside was trounced in 1997.

      The Tories need to say all the things UKIP are saying, but actually mean it. It takes time for a political party to become established, but I predict many people will turn to UKIP unless the Conservative party gets real, and once the toadies see that there are no votes, no personal political advancement, nor financial incentives in being pro-EU any longer, they’ll bend with the prevailing wind as sure as night follows day.

      The signposts are there. The way is pointed out to us. We can still salvage this mess, but we don’t have long, and it needs the leadership of a Churchill, not a Chamberlain.

      Tad Davison

      Cambridge

      • APL
        Posted June 4, 2012 at 11:08 am | Permalink

        Tad Davison: “yet there he was, pictured with Clarke and Blair, busily telling us what a good idea it would be to join the single currency,”

        Some mishtake shurely?

        Hestletine, Clarke and Blair consorting together?

        Different parties, different political ideologies, … or perhaps not!

        • zorro
          Posted June 4, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

          I distinctly remember seeing all three sitting on a stage metaphorically canoodling in a Euro love fest!

          zorro

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted June 3, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

      I agree.

  17. Sean O'Hare
    Posted June 3, 2012 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    They think she has some magical power to enforce Magna Carta, as if this ancient law has primacy or more relevance than the modern Statute law

    That is not to say that Magna Carta should not have primacy or more relevance. The fact that it appears not to have is the fault of corrupt parliaments who have sought to undermine Magna Carta and various other constitutional documents to which they were not party. This was done by “confirming” them in Statute and subsequently repealing them. The original common law documents still stand and cannot be repealed by Parliament.

    • APL
      Posted June 4, 2012 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      Sean O’Hare: “corrupt parliaments who have sought to undermine Magna Carta and various other constitutional documents to which they were not party.”

      Exactly.

      The political class do not want any constraints on their freedom of action. The very thing a constitution imposes and the reason they have been busy subverting the UK constitution.

  18. Tim
    Posted June 3, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    The fact that a pull out party, namely UKIP has not been elected is because our FPTP system is built around the perception of a left right divide, albeit a divide that is increasingly difficult to see. Mr Redwood himself belongs to the failed strategy of reform from within and come election time tells us that a UKIP vote is wasted. So the above description implying a failure of UKIP is a direct result if his own judas goat politics that persuade tribal voters that there is no other viable option.

  19. Acorn
    Posted June 3, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    I reckon now would be a good time to set up a breakaway movement. Remember there used to be EFTA – European Free Trade Association. There are only three nations left in it, but it did make an agreement with EEC now EU, to form the 30 nation EEA – European Economic Area.

    Basically we would all stop going to the EU meetings; and, accidentally forget to pay the subscriptions. We turn up at EEA meetings instead. We cut back the EU “four freedoms”. We keep the free movement of goods, services, and capital among the EEA countries and have a think about the free movement of persons. Everybody has their own currency, ex-Euro ones would be pegged together to start with and gradually floated when we work out how to set interest rates to match economic ability.

    Fanciful; probably. Outside of a military coup, I don’t see anything changing. It is very frustrating and even more depressing. Hi Ho Silver. Where is the lone ranger?

  20. Derek Emery
    Posted June 3, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    The UK justification for joining was that the EU would deliver high growth and hence jobs was the but this was and still is an outright lie. Few in the UK were or are interested in the the central idea of an external rule of law based on the French Napoleonic principles except the political elite here. In fact most would be opposed to this idea.

    The EU has delivered low growth for decades so now we are being overtaken by countries that were previously third world.

    Because the EU elite are only interested in the EU as a political project leading to complete union it has become a financial disaster due to the downside effects their from lack of interest or understanding in economics.

    The EU is owned by Germany as the strongest financially so its up to Germany whether the EZ survives. If it survives the UK will be outside the EZ and likely to need a different arrangement with the EU. If the EZ breaks up the EU would well be affected and again the question of the UK relationship with the EU comes to the fore.
    In any event the EU is 100% guaranteed to continue to be an area of low GDP growth simply because private sector growth is not of any direct interest to the EU elite as this is outside political union. In another decade we will be even more behind the Far East.

    In contrast in the Far East the performance of the private sector is of primary concern. In China many of the top officials own private companies and their state salaries are low so their wealth is dependent on private sector performance. In contrast in the EU many politicians are already rich so private sector wealth generation is unimportant ad anyway is not an essential part of left liberal principles.

    It is likely that the Far East will continue to assert itself leaving the EU as an isolated area of lower technology and lower productivity (i.e. poorer).

    The UK public will become increasingly disenchanted with the EU which cannot deliver increased wealth for them as they have little interest in the project in political terms.

    Future Sovereignty in the UK is a function of what happens in the low growth EU with its EZ unresolved problems.

    • uanime5
      Posted June 3, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

      Who are these EU elite you keep mentioning? Are they the leaders of Germany or do they come from multiple EU countries?

      You’d be surprised how low an MP’s salary is compared to the salary of some people who own companies. Though it doesn’t make them any more willing to improve the private sector.

      One thing you forgot to mention is that under Communism all Chinese companies used to be owned by the state, now the state is the majority shareholder in these companies. Perhaps owning all the private Chinese companies is why the Chinese Government wants them to grow. Maybe the UK Government should try to become the majority shareholder in UK companies as well.

    • Mark Thackray
      Posted June 3, 2012 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

      The EU to me is an insular organisation inward looking it is a small and shrinking part of the world.
      We are were we are because of our own actions in the 80’s and early 90’s I was part of a team of British experts traveling to so called developing countries transfering technology. It was part of government policy to transfer my industry to developing countries. It was said that we would retain the technical bits. As I came to see more of the picture I resolved to work only for my own countries industry. What the planners could not grasp is that an ecconomy is interlinked and each part is dependant on the other and like a house of cards, the supporting engineering, chemical, and the colapse continues, enhanced by the asset strippers. Germany did not go down our path they grew there industry kept and expanded there technology.
      We must look to ourselves for our own prosperity not to others we must look to our industry to prosper and build a future for our children.

  21. Bernard Juby
    Posted June 3, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    “Over the next few days I wish to explore more the damage done to our sovereignty, and the options we have for redeeming it.”
    Can’t wait!

  22. Electro-Kevin
    Posted June 3, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    I trust that the Queen was better informed than most in 1975

    Anyway. The cat has long been out of the bag on Europe and we’ve known what it really is for some while now. There have always been opportunities to beat the retreat.

  23. Jon burgess
    Posted June 3, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    Nice of you to mention Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon, but the damage was already done by your party with Rome, the Single European Act and the fabulously treasonous Maastrict, which you voted for. I trust you’ll explain to us why?

    Reply: I resigned from the Cabinet to make sure we exercised the opt out from the single currency, which was the main point of Maastricht.

    • APL
      Posted June 4, 2012 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      JR: “the single currency, which was the main point of Maastricht.”

      Gobsmacked!!

      From wiki, which will do for now.

      The treaty led to the creation of the euro, and created what was commonly referred to as the pillar structure of the European Union. The treaty established the three pillars of the European Union — the European Community (EC) pillar, the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) pillar, and the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) pillar.

      The CF&SP gives us the EUropean rapid reaction force, aka the nacent EUropean army.

      The J&HA gives us the EUropean arrest warrant, leading to extradition with out judicial scrutiny of a British Crown subject to a foreign jurisdiction.

      Reply: The reason for three pillars was UK insistence of no qmv control over Jutsice and the army – i.e. we kept our sovereignty in those crucial areas. Labour subsequently signed up to Treatues which reduced the intergovernmental veto based 2nd and 3rd pillars and put much more under qmv against our wishes.

      • APL
        Posted June 4, 2012 at 11:05 am | Permalink

        “The CF&SP gives us the .. ”

        Not to mention the EUropean diplomatic corp, the closing of UK embassies abroad and folding of our international interests into the EU diplomatic corp.

        It also gave us ..

        Baroness Ashton of Upholland, the European Union’s High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

        God help us!

    • Jon Burgess
      Posted June 4, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

      You and I know the main point of Maastrict was not the single currency.

      You resigned in 1995, long after Maastrict passed through the commons. Perhaps I wasn’t clear in what I asked, so I’ll have another go:

      What was it about Maastrict that made you support it, when some of your colleagues couldn’t?

      Reply: The main point of Maastricht was the single surrency. I fought it from inside, then I fought it from outside.

  24. Mark Thackray
    Posted June 3, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    Your words offer no hope for the future as you say no party has won an election offering an out vote. At the last general election many of my former colleuges in the conservative party complained bitterly that I and my new colleuges in UKIP would loose them the ellection.
    Well the ellection was not won, UKIP continues to grow threatening future election victories by the conservative party. We only wish to exercise our democratic rights and we are called verious things, you have to be thicked skined to servive in politics, and Mr Cameron is galvernising our beliefs and our vigour to grow our cause. The message our cause is becoming clearer and stronger showing we are not the loonies Mr Cameron and his retoric would have the ellectorate believe.
    It would be good to believe our anchient law like Magna Carta still protected the people from our wayward rulers but we know this is nolonger true and thus we can only look to something new to take back our democracy.

  25. David Langley
    Posted June 4, 2012 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    It seems a lot of your contributors are reading more about the EU and how our past politicians betrayed us through either ignorance of the its purpose, or deliberately because they did know and it was what they wanted.
    As a result we are now directed by the supranational body to do what we are told under threat of penalties applied by the EU council. The threats are backed up by the ECJ, I am not sure how they would be enforced if we did as some contributors said, “Say go stuff yourself” or words to that effect.
    In any event our fishings stocks and fishing industries are gone, we pay French farmers to dump on the world markets. The trade tariffs ring fence our Commonwealth from supplying us, and we see small businesses put out of business by our own jobsworths who in addition are gold plating these EU directives.
    I vote UKIP because John you are outnumbered in your own party, and you will not bring daylight into your party by the next election.

  26. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted June 4, 2012 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    And the people that were around for the 1975 Referendum were lied to. I have met many ‘Yes’ voters who thought that they were voting for a trade agreement. They shouldn’t have done because many politicians on the ‘No’ side told the voters exactly what was in the Treaty of Rome to which we had acceeded and about the effect of EC directives.

    The problem was that these politicians were perceived as mavericks on the Left and on the Right and did not convey a coherent alternative. But as Enoch said at the time: “All sorts and conditions of men and women can oppose the destruction of their country.”

  27. Richard
    Posted June 4, 2012 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood,

    “Yes”, we can have our country back but only if we leave the EU.

    This can clearly only be achieved by sufficient numbers voting for an “EU-Out” party such as UKIP because not one of the 3 main parties currently wishes to leave the EU.

    My conservative MP describes himself to me in a letter as “strongly euro-sceptic” but in the same letter says that he is opposed to an EU in/out referendum (party policy) and wishes to see the EU further expanded to include Turkey.

    It appears that the definition of “euro-sceptism” in the Conservative party now appears to be completely different from mine.

    You are absolutely correct in saying that no “EU-Out” party has got anywhere near achieving one single MP.

    From this you conclude that the population as a whole are not desperate enough to leave the EU and other considerations at election time are more important.

    You have also made the point that a vote for any party such as UKIP is a “wasted vote”.

    So what do I do ?

    Whilst I have succumbed to this argument in the past I have now decided I simply must register my wish for the UK to leave the EU even if this means that my vote is “wasted”

    So, as a result, and despite voting Conservative at every single opportunity for the last 47 years, I will no longer vote for the Conservative party and will be voting UKIP (if a UKIP candidate exists – otherwise I will become another “non voter”).

  28. rose
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Now that the Jubilee is over, I would like to ask you whether the Queen has ever taken your advice as a Privy Councillor.

    Also, whether she could have asserted her prerogative in resisting the loss of our sovereignty. And the loss of our national identity and borders. Also the severe reduction of our navy, her navy.

    I sometimes wonder whether she has been so absorbed in preserving the integrity of the commonwealth that she has taken her eye off the ball as far as the integrity of the nation is concerned.

    Reply: The Queen invites PCs to Privy Councils as needed, usually drawing on current Ministers who are also PCs. The Privy Council transacts formal royal business. The Queen is a constitutional monarch, so she does not see it as her job to seek advice and seek to influence current political questions through active political dialogue with Ministers and MPs, nor to interfere with the deliberations of Parliament about the relative powers of the EU and Westminster. Blame Parliament, not the Queen, and look to Parliament for change. She has a weekly private audience with the Prime Minister, so he can keep her informed. She needs to know the government’s intentions, so she can host state occasions intelligently. The audience is not designed to allow her to reshape the Manifesto or political agenda the ruling party has set out.

    • rose
      Posted June 7, 2012 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for this full and informative reply. We need to be educated about our constitutional monarchy in the detail, but in the absence of a conscientious public broadcaster, we never are.

      I had not seen it said anywhere in the 19th or 20th century sources that not all PCs are eligible to attend every PC meeting if they so wish. I thought it was like the House of Lords, over-endowed with members, but anyone could turn up if they wanted to, and the meeting would benefit from their knowledge and experience. I realized of course that there was a hard core of regular attenders, as in Victorian times.

      Does the PC still deal with much of the undergrowth of legislation, for instance approving and altering the statutes of colleges, to say nothing of the business of the Church establishment, and business relating to Crown dependencies overseas? Or has it all been hived off to Parliament and Synod? The elevation of a town into a city, or the granting of royal borough status, presumably do still remain?

      What about the declaration of a state of emergency? Does that still reside with the Crown in Council? Surely that can’t come from Parliament.

      Reply: Some of the matters remain business of the PC. Declaring a state of emergency is a matter for the government through Parliament. The government selects towns to become cities.

      • rose
        Posted June 7, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

        PS I didn’t intend any criticism or blame to be attached to HM. It is astonishing how much serious work, on top of the many visible worldwide engagements, she does, and has always done. I just meant that keeping the commonwealth together has been a superhuman feat, and was bound to have come at a cost. After all, she must have used up a lot of capital in terms of personal influence, counselling, warning, and advising in that area, for most of her reign.

  29. rose
    Posted June 7, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    PS I forgot to add the loss of our national solvency.

  30. James Reade
    Posted June 8, 2012 at 12:39 am | Permalink

    What is, of course, hilarious about all of this is at least two things.

    1) Even if we gripped hold of the EU and demanded everything back, we still wouldn’t have sovereignty over the things that matter most to our economy, such as the setting of interest rates and other prices. We just don’t have that kind of influence as a relatively small, open economy.

    2) Our politicians at Westminster would make just as bad decisions just as often as the politicians in Brussels do. I guess though somehow it’s better if we screw up ourselves rather than have Eurocrats do it on our behalf?

    Reply: You are confusing sovereignty with power. No country is all powerful, but most countries are sovereign because they wish to be self governing.

    • James Reade
      Posted June 9, 2012 at 4:12 am | Permalink

      My definition from my Mac says “acting or done independently without outside influence”.

      If outside influence is currency flows on international markets meaning we can’t set our own interest rates, doesn’t that then mean we aren’t actually sovereign, since there’s some outside influence?

  • About John Redwood


    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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