Not The Wharton Bill
Mon 24th Jun 2013
When James Wharton (pictured) stages his Canute-like attempt to prevent Labour from taking back Stockton South, then that party ought to put down an amendment declining to give the 'Daft Bill' a Second Reading in view of its entire failure to address immediately pressing concerns such as:
- The total failure of any “Social Europe” ever to save a single job, service, benefit or amenity;
- The European Union’s imposition of economic austerity;
- The long, and increasingly accelerated, creation of a militarised EU waging global wars of “liberal intervention” while sustaining a vast military-industrial complex selling arms to all and sundry;
- The refusal of the Council of Ministers to legislate in public and to publish an Official Report akin to Hansard;
- The presence in the Council of Ministers and in the European Parliament of all manner of extremist and politically undesirable legislators;
- The Common Agricultural Policy;
- The Common Fisheries Policy;
- EU control of industrial and regional policy;
- The moves towards a “free trade” agreement between the EU and the United States, to the ruination of jobs, workers' rights, consumer protection and environmental responsibility on two continents inhabited by many hundreds of millions of people;
- Social dumping;
- The drastic restrictions of civil liberties necessary in order to make possible the borderless Europe that has always been a stated aim of the EU;
- The centrality of EU law to the proposed privatisation of the Royal Mail;
- The illegality under EU law of any renationalisation of the utilities or of the railways once they have been privatised, although there is no obligation to privatise them in the first place, with the preposterous and pernicious consequence that British railways and utilities can be and are State-owned, just so long as the State in question is not the British State, while the least subsidised railway line in Great Britain has to be returned to the private sector from which it has already had to be rescued twice;
- The impossibility under EU law of using State aid to support two domestic sources of energy, so that it is impossible for this country both to have a nuclear power industry and to exploit our vast resources of coal;
- The abject incompetence of David Cameron in failing to deliver a real terms reduction in the United Kingdom’s contribution to the EU Budget at this time of austerity, as explicitly required by a resolution of the House of Commons; and
- The role of EU competition law in the ongoing dismantlement of the National Health Service in England.
There are more. But those ought to be enough to be getting on with. A Second Reading Amendment must not be too long. In this case, though, it all too easily could be.
Ed Miliband ought to make it clear that if this were not passed, then Labour would vote in both Lobbies on the unamended Second Reading motion, while the Whip would be withdrawn from anyone who voted in only one of them.
But Labour has not done splits over Europe in decades. The last Government was riven over joining the euro. Yet almost, if almost, never in public. And the right side won. A professional operation, you see. Not like the other lot.
Not least in view of Paul Kenny’s recent address to the GMB Conference saying that that union would campaign for withdrawal rather than accept any renegotiation acceptable to David Cameron and his swivel-eyed loons, what we really need is legislation with five, and therefore six, simple clauses.
First, the restoration of the supremacy of British over EU law, and its use to give effect, both to explicit Labour policy by repatriating industrial and regional policy (whereas the Conservatives are not committed to any specific repatriation), and to what is at least implicit Labour policy by repatriating agricultural policy and by reclaiming our historic fishing rights in accordance with international law: 200 miles, or to the median line.
Secondly, the requirement that, in order to have any effect in the United Kingdom, all EU law pass through both Houses of Parliament as if it had originated in one or other of them.
Thirdly, the requirement that British Ministers adopt the show-stopping Empty Chair Policy until such time as the Council of Ministers meets in public and publishes an Official Report akin to Hansard .
Fourthly, the disapplication in the United Kingdom of any ruling of the European Court of Justice or of the European Court of Human Rights unless confirmed by a resolution of the House of Commons, the High Court of Parliament.
Fifthly, the disapplication in the United Kingdom of anything passed by the European Parliament but not by the majority of those MEPs certified as politically acceptable by one or more seat-taking members of the House of Commons. Thus, we should no longer be subject to the legislative will of Stalinists and Trotskyists, neo-Fascists and neo-Nazis, members of Eastern Europe’s kleptomaniac nomenklatura , people who believe the Provisional Army Council to be the sovereign body throughout Ireland, or Dutch ultra-Calvinists who will not have women candidates.
And sixthly, since we must, the provision for a referendum on the question, “Do you wish the United Kingdom to remain a member of the European Union?” Not to be held in 2017. Not to be held after some renegotiation. To be held immediately upon the coming into effect of the legislation providing for it, and most obviously on Thursday 22 May 2014, the day of the European Elections.. The first five clauses would come into effect at the same time as that, and would not be conditional on any referendum’s outcome.
There might even be a penultimate clause giving effect to the express will of the House of Commons that the British contribution to the EU Budget be reduced in real terms. Again, that would come into effect regardless of whether or not any referendum were held.
What else is everyone from Paul Kenny to John Mills paying for?