Norman Tebbitt, one of the few Politicians to really get blogging, says
“A sovereignty clause on EU law will place on the statute book this eternal truth: what a sovereign parliament can do, a sovereign parliament can also undo”. That really does worry me. It is a general rule of life that if a man in a pub declares loudly that he is stone cold sober, the odds are that he is drunkof course this is the central fear of the Euroskeptic, for whom the EU is nothing but Napoleon and Hitler's attempts to conquer Europe presented with a Ribbon round it. Now I am no fan of the EU, and on balance, were there a referendum on the issue tomorrow, I'd vote to leave, but I have flip-flopped on the issue. Such a policy would not be without cost, and frankly, I don't think it would change much. Most of the x% of British law that comes from the EU is perfectly reasonable attempts to keep the single market on an even keel. People jest about the relative lengths of the American declaration of independence vs. the EU rules for the importation of Duck eggs, but trade standards have to be detailed, wherever they come from. Does it really matter whether we write our own Duck Egg standard? Is that what you're going to the barricades for?
Of course some of it, EU arrest warrant etc... are potentially more sinister, placing Her Majesty's subjects under the legal jurisdiction of some foreign courts. And there is some idea that EU law has primacy over British law. And legally, it may do. For now.
But the idea that this cannot be undone, at a stroke is just ludicrous. At the international level, power flows from the Barrel of a gun, and Britain with the 3rd largest defence budget in the world, and the worlds second largest deployable military could simply say "no" to the EU whenever it likes. Who, pray is going to force duck egg standards on Britain? I've worked with German troops. They go home at the weekends for some soft drugs and hard sports, when British troops are still digging in. They've not the martial spirit of their grandparents.
So... EU law is paramount for now, but crucially it is BECAUSE, for whatever reason PARLIAMENT WILLS IT. In final analysis, whatever "EU law" says, Hague is right.
Now my heart would love what the Devil dismissively refers to "our new coalition overlords" to pick a fight with the EU. But if you were a Government having to pick a fight with the entire public sector, who are quiescent, for now; but are itching to trun the UK into France where the Unions call everyone out onto the streets because the retirement age is being RAISED TO 62, and who are going to resist every single "cut" with every last ounce of their strength. If you were having to take on the Major opinion former in the Land whilst doing so. If you were going to take on the Teaching profession, a fight st. Margaret of Thatcher shied away from, over a policy the public barely understand; would you really, honestly want to fight the EU too? Especially when the coalition contains one broadly Euroskeptic party and one bunch of filthy federasts, and a fight over the EU would split the coalition, and play into the BBC's hands. If YOU were Dave Cameron, would YOU want to fight the EU under these conditions?
Resistance to the EU will have to come when the damage wrought by Labour is undone, when every school is in the private sector, and parents are given vouchers, when the benefit system has been shrunk from 72 different benefits to a handful, when a flatter, fairer tax system is in place, which makes work pay, when the NHS has been given back to the Doctors from whom it was stolen in 1948, and when the banks are back in the hands of the Private sector, and when the Government accounts are in surplus again. Frankly the most illiberal, authoritarian, jack-booted nonsense as well as the fiscal lunacy and economic incompetence of the last couple of decades has come, not from Europe, but from Westminster. It is Westminster, not Brussels which turned the UK into a bankrupt panopticon.
The EU is not that important, to the UK, to the Electorate, and to the economy. In European elections, the people vote to indicate they don't like it much, by voting for UKIP in large numbers.. But they don't vote on the issue in the General election. As I predicted, UKIP polled fewer than a million votes. A Coalition battle over Europe would let Labour back in, and they're the people who left the UK in its current cancer-ridden state.
The best place for "Europe" as a political issue therefore is under the carpet.