This is a revelation, perhaps I am not alone. Ok I know I am not but Phil sent this to me over the weekeend and whilst recovering from Beating and Sciatica I had a good read, the section on the referendum gets reproduced below completely;
"So, David Cameron. It's all fine and dandy to help the Libyans win the right to self-determination and democracy, but when we ask for the same thing at home it's a different kettle of fish.
Or should that be a different barrel of oil, perhaps?
It feels very odd to say this, given that in our opinion the Daily Mail is the worst newspaper in Britain – even worse than the Sunday Sport, which doesn't make any pretence to be a serious newspaper, but we must: the Daily Mail's strangely unattributed commentary on the recent Commons vote on an EU referendum is spot on, and accurately reflects both the facts and the mood of the majority of voters.
Basically, we've been sold down the river by successive governments. Nothing new there, then. In the Daily Mail's own words ... How's this for a starkly unequivocal promise? ‘The European Union has evolved significantly since the last public vote on membership over 30 years ago. Liberal Democrats, therefore, remain committed to an in/out referendum the next time a British Government signs up for fundamental change in the relationship between the UK and the EU.’
Such was the solemn manifesto pledge made to the British people by every Lib Dem candidate who stood for election less than 18 months ago. Yet on Monday night, guess how many of the party’s 57 MPs stood by that promise and voted for a Commons motion approving the principle of an EU referendum that would include an in/out option?
The shocking answer is just one — Adrian Sanders of Torbay — a solitary honourable man in a party of puppets. As with tuition fees, the other 56 apparently thought nothing of breaking their word to the people who voted them into power.
Or how about this for another unequivocal manifesto pledge? ‘We will be positive members of the European Union but we are clear that there should be no further extension of the EU’s power over the UK without the British people’s consent.
We will ensure that by law, no future Government can hand over areas of power to the EU or join the euro without a referendum of the British people.’ So said the Conservatives, every one of them, before that same election in May 2010 — and all praise to the 96 (out of 306) Tories who mounted the biggest rebellion in their party’s modern history on Monday night, keeping their word to their constituents and defying their leader’s orders to vote against the motion.
But given that manifesto pledge, what in the name of integrity possessed David Cameron to impose a three-line whip in the first place, instructing his MPs to breach their electors’ trust on pain of losing their government jobs or their hopes of promotion to the front bench?
And how profoundly depressing and unedifying to see those lifelong Eurosceptics William Hague and Michael Gove wriggling like maggots on a hook as they betrayed every belief about Europe they’ve espoused throughout their political careers. Cameron seems to think that running a country is like running a PR campaign.
It is not. Truly, there is something hideously wrong with the state of democracy in Britain today, when candidates say one thing to the electorate, only to be told by their party leaders to do the direct opposite when they are voted into the Commons.
Nowhere, of course, has that deficit been more glaringly apparent over the years than in the political establishment’s contempt for voters in all matters touching upon Europe. Indeed, the entire history of the relentless expansion of the EU’s powers since we joined what was then the Common Market in 1973 has been a tale of brazen deceit, broken promises and disenfranchisement of the electorate by all three major political parties.
Remember Labour’s 2005 manifesto pledge on the new European Constitution? ‘We will put it to the British people in a referendum.’ Nothing, surely, could have been more unequivocal. Yet when it came to signing the Lisbon Treaty, in which the new constitution was enshrined, Gordon Brown conveniently forgot about it. Or, rather, he fobbed off the public with the monstrous lie that Lisbon (referred to in official documents as ‘the Constitutional Treaty’) was not, in fact, a European Constitution at all.
The Tories and Lib Dems were no better. Both promised explicitly to put the Constitution to a referendum. But as soon as they were in a position to do so, they smirked and said: ‘No point now. Lisbon’s been signed.’
Wherever Europe is concerned, there’s always some snivelling shyster’s excuse, some weasel-worded legalistic technicality seized on by the politicians to wriggle out of their commitment to give the public their say.
And these days, when all else fails, there’s always that catch-all standby: ‘Sorry, old boy. The Coalition agreement won’t allow it.’
So it is that, one by one, the ancient powers of Britain’s once sovereign Parliament, paid for by the blood of our ancestors, slip away to Brussels — into the hands of unaccountable European Commission, where voters will never be able to touch them again.
And how can we boast of the West’s belief in liberal representative government while that abomination against democracy holds increasing sway over every aspect of our lives, from immigration control to working hours? Meanwhile in the Continent’s capitals, the Europhile political class pushes its ambitions ever further, enmeshing one nation after another in its anti-democratic web. Today, on the streets of Athens, Lisbon, Madrid, Rome and Dublin, we are seeing the disastrous consequences of those political ambitions.
For the slow-motion car crash of the euro — long predicted by wiser heads who understood the economic madness of a one-size-fits-all single currency for countries as diverse as Germany and Greece — is bringing misery and unemployment to countless millions.
Let the Mail lay all its cards on the table. This paper has no desire for Britain to pull out of Europe — and particularly not at a time like this, when withdrawal would add immeasurably to the uncertainties threatening our recovery and rocking the confidence of the markets.
For the same reason, we earnestly hope EU leaders will find a solution that saves the euro from disorderly collapse.
Inevitably, we believe, this will mean rewriting the EU constitution yet again, to bring the countries of the Eurozone under a single economic government, with more uniform tax and spending policies — almost certainly to be dictated by Germany.
Whether this can work in the long run is anybody’s guess. The Mail doubts it. But in the depths of this crisis, we see no other way. Herein, of course, lies great danger for Britain. For as a leopard never changes its spots, so the Euro empire-builders will surely seek to extend any new fiscal and regulatory powers beyond the Eurozone, with their eyes fixed firmly, as ever, on the wealth of the City of London.
But here, also, lies a golden opportunity, perhaps never to be repeated, to redefine our own relationship with the EU in a way that sets democracy back on its rightful throne at Westminster.
For what the Mail wants passionately — and we believe the overwhelming majority of Britons share our wish — is to reclaim powers over such matters as immigration, social policy and business regulation, which should never have been conceded to Brussels and which are daily threatening our ability to compete with developing super-giant economies such as India and China.
We have no illusions. Yet again, the Europhile élite will seek to introduce its constitutional changes in a way that leaves a loophole for the Coalition to duck out of its statutory obligation to hold a referendum on the transfer of any new powers to the EU.
So the Mail has a simple proposal: let there be a single-question referendum, asking the public if we wish to reclaim powers from Brussels, yes or no. True, it will not satisfy those who wish to withdraw altogether. But for them, better this than the nothing they will otherwise be offered.
As for the timing, let the referendum be called the moment a new treaty is drawn up. Or if it becomes clear that the new rules are to be introduced on the sly, without a treaty, then let it be held within 12 months from today.
There can be no more lies, no more deceit, no more creeping federalism without consent. This time, those unequivocal manifesto promises must be honoured. Only then will our political class redeem the disgrace of Monday night — and begin to reconnect with the people they were elected to represent.
Well said, that editor. And reporter Jason Groves went further to explain which powers we should be fighting to recover from Brussels ... Crime and Immigration Brussels was handed sweeping new powers to interfere in the British criminal justice system in the run-up to the Lisbon Treaty, which came into force in 2009 when some 90 new powers in this area were given over to the EU. They include the creation of a controversial European arrest warrant, allowing foreign countries to issue arrest warrants to Britons and try them in their absence, and the creation of a new, over-arching EU judicial body called Eurojust.
British judges and ministers are now barred from blocking the extradition of UK citizens to other EU countries — even where the charges appear to be trumped up. Eurojust already has the right to demand sensitive personal data about British citizens. It potentially has the power to investigate them directly, and even to initiate criminal investigations in this country.
The measures also allow for the UK’s DNA and fingerprint databases to be shared with other EU countries. EU rules on the free movement of labour are directly responsible for the unprecedented levels of immigration to the UK from Eastern Europe in recent years. It is questionable whether Prime Minister David Cameron can meet his pledge to cut net immigration to under 100,000 without breaching those rules.
The Lisbon Treaty will end Britain’s veto in many areas of immigration and border control, and ministers are now fighting an attempt by Brussels to repeal a law allowing Britain to deport asylum seekers to the country where they entered the EU. There are mounting concerns, too, about EU plans for ‘burden-sharing’ on immigration, which could see Britain forced to take more African immigrants arriving in southern European countries like Italy and Greece. EmploymentBrussels produces an endless stream of politically-correct social and employment law, which is blamed by business for crippling Britain’s international competitiveness and driving up unemployment.
The think-tank Open Europe estimates that EU employment legislation introduced since 1998 alone has cost the UK economy £38.9?billion. The controversial Working Time Directive — which limits the working week to 48 hours and places restrictions on shift patterns — is thought to cost Britain more than £3.5bn a year. It has played havoc with working practices in public sector organisations such as the NHS, and has resulted in a massive rise in the number of employment tribunals, which themselves impose a crippling burden on business. The number of tribunal cases soared by 56 per cent to 236,000 last year alone. One quarter of them stemmed directly from the Working Time Directive. Brussels’ obsession with employment rights has resulted in a new EU Temporary And Agency Workers Directive which will give one million agency workers in the UK the same rights as permanent staff, costing almost £2bn a year.
Brussels has already granted full employment rights to part-time workers and those on fixed-term contracts. Small firms cannot afford to give part-time workers these rights and are put off taking on new staff and growing their businesses for fear of being sued. Other legislation in the pipeline includes proposals to increase fully-paid maternity leave from six weeks to 20.
Economy Brussels is assuming ever-more control over the regulation of financial services, and is now pressing for a new tax on financial transactions which could cost the UK more than £15bn. The new transactions tax would deal a devastating blow to the City, which is by far the biggest financial centre in Europe. Protecting the City from the dead hand of Brussels is seen as a key Government priority. There are major fears, too, that further political integration among the countries that use the euro could allow them to force through protectionist changes to the single market that damage Britain.
Even the Lib Dems are worried that the upheaval in the Eurozone could result in new moves that would disadvantage British businesses. Britain contributes almost £4bn a year to the EU’s failed regional development programme, which recycles taxpayers’ cash into local economic development projects.
The UK gets back barely a third of what it puts in, and huge sums are lost to bureaucracy. Repatriating the cash would allow ministers to target it on British priorities. Over the seven-year cycle of the current EU budget, Britain will pay in almost £90bn but get back just £40bn — a net loss of £50bn.
Our net contribution is bigger than those of France, Denmark and Spain put together. The biggest beneficiary of the EU’s largesse is Poland, which will get £56bn over the period.
Human Rights The Charter of Fundamental Rights is having a deep impact on life in Britain. It was included in the Lisbon Treaty and has given EU citizens more than 50 new rights — including a wide-ranging right to strike.
Labour claimed it had negotiated a ‘protocol’ that meant the Charter would not apply in the UK. But recent rulings by the European Court of Justice suggest this so-called opt-out is worthless. In particular, the ruling that insurance companies can no longer offer different premiums to men and women based on gender — which will send premiums soaring for women drivers — appears to draw heavily on the Charter.
Other controversial rulings, such as the order to give prisoners the vote, stem from the separate European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). This post-war convention, on which the Human Rights Act is based, is not strictly an EU measure, but many experts believe it would be almost impossible for Britain to quit the Convention without also leaving the EU.
Fishing The Common Fisheries Policy handed control of Britain’s once plentiful fishing grounds to Brussels. The policy is blamed for the destruction of Britain’s proud fishing industry, with the loss of thousands of jobs and billions of pounds in revenue. Britain’s annual cod catch fell from 300,000 tonnes a year when Britain joined the EU to a low of just 7,000 tonnes in 2007. Fishermen blame the dramatic decline directly on EU mismanagement.
Non-EU countries like Iceland have retained booming fishing industries and healthy fish stocks by keeping out competitors, like the Spanish, in a way that membership of the EU’s Fisheries Policy makes impossible. Withdrawing from a system that gives every EU country — including landlocked nations like Austria — a say in managing our fishing grounds is seen as essential in restoring them to health.
Farming The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which pays subsidies to farmers, costs £38bn a year — equal to almost one-third of the entire EU budget. The policy levies high tariffs on food imports, pushing up food prices in Britain and costing the average British family about £500 a year. The CAP’s damaging impact on exports from developing countries far exceeds any benefit from the EU’s foreign aid budget.
The scheme is also a byword for bureaucracy, with the average financial claim by an individual British farmer costing £742 to process, even for amounts as small as £5. The unfairness of the CAP was the basis for Britain’s EU rebate — but we still get back barely half of the cash we put in. Britain is already the second biggest net contributor to the EU budget after Germany. But this position is set to worsen dramatically in the coming years following a decision by Tony Blair to surrender much of the historic rebate secured in 1984 by Margaret Thatcher.
The GOS says: All jolly good, quite agree. And why won't any of this happen? Here's a clue: Mrs.Miriam Clegg, wife of Lib-Dem leader Nick Clegg, has just got a job as “independent adviser” to Acciona, the world’s largest provider of wind farms.
The company, which specialises in energy, construction and services, was recently awarded a contract to run Britain’s first desalination plant on the site of the Thames Barrier.
Acciona has also built four wind farms in this country. Mrs.Clegg's day job is as a partner at DLA Piper, a London-based law firm, where she is in charge of international trade and EU law practice.
Before that she worked for the European Commission, where she met Nick Clegg who was an aide to Leon Brittan, the then-EU trade commissioner.
You see where I'm going with this?
The EU is a colossal gravy-train. With the companies that service it, tender to it, pander to it, feed off it, the whole mess is a giant trough of lucrative swill in which all the politician piggies and lawyer piggies and bureaucrat piggies can snout and snuffle as much as they like.
That's why we can't have the referendum we were promised. Because most of the politicians who control the government have got an eye to the main chance. I mean, they've got to have something to look forward to when the shine rubs off Westminster, haven't they, and a cushy job with the EU or one of its satellites companies will fit the bill rather well.