The people don't agree - but so what?

IT ts said that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. Why is it though, that events and actions that will dramatically affect our lives largely go unreported?Most readers will be aware that last summer, in free and fair referendums, the people of both France and Holland rejected the proposed “Treaty to establish a Constitution.

IT ts said that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. Why is it though, that events and actions that will dramatically affect our lives largely go unreported?

Most readers will be aware that last summer, in free and fair referendums, the people of both France and Holland rejected the proposed “Treaty to establish a Constitution.” Most may also be aware that, as the Commission had no plan B to accommodate such an event a 'period of reflection' was agreed. This was supposed to remove the urgency from the ratification process, take the heat from the public gaze and give the shell-shocked bureaucrats time to consider their next move. Not content with that, our own East of England Liberal Democrat Euro MP Andrew Duff presented the parliament with a report insisting that the process be continued apace for fear that all would be lost were it to just be 'considered'.

You might be tempted to think therefore that much soul searching and public consultation would ensue. Perhaps even trying to find out what it was that the people wanted. But no. What these people have been doing - in your name of course - is finding ways of continuing the process of ratification; using existing, nebulously worded treaties to introduce elements that would otherwise have to wait for public consent.

Take for example the Charter of Fundamental Rights (CoFR). This was to have been an integral part of the draft constitution. Bringing it into force without any specific legal basis, you could be forgiven for thinking, might not be possible. Well think again. Under one of those ambiguously worded, catch-all 'articles' in the Treaty of Rome, (you know, the treaty that no-one really read and understood when we joined), it has been decided to bring the CoFR into effect.


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Article 308 states “If action by the Community should prove necessary to attain, in the course of the operation of the common market, one of the objectives of the Community and this treaty has not provided the necessary powers, the Council shall acting unanimously on a proposal from the Commission and after consulting the Parliament, take the appropriate measures” The implication here is that it should apply to something that already exists, not to something they want to do but has been opposed by the voters.

So why does this matter? The CoFR is so widely drawn that it can be used to concrete into the fabric of the EU, the social model that has so spectacularly failed in France and Germany. Is this being discussed in our newspapers? Are there debates in Westminster? Is there outrage that this is being signed up to, without scrutiny?

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This is but one of many circumventions of public opinion. The rationale is simple. If you cannot get the people to agree to it just do it anyway. After all, who is looking?

Tom Wise is a Euro MP for the East of England, representing the UK Independence Party. He can be contacted at thwise@europarl.eu.int

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