Friday, 17 December 2010

Sound Mind

Margaret Thatcher has been advising UKIP? I doubt that very much. Like Harold Wilson, Iris Murdoch or Terry Pratchett, she indicates that if you have a pedestrian mind, then you will probably keep it to the end. (I don't know what happened with Ronald Reagan. But, so to speak, never mind.) So perhaps that is the excuse of Margaret Thatcher, unprotesting Cabinet Minister under Heath, flamboyant Yes campaigner in the 1975 referendum, and Prime Minister at the time of the Single European Act. I cannot think what else could be.

Still, is this Cameron's - oh, what a ghastly term - "Clause IV Moment"? He might not have withdrawn the Whip from Norman Tebbit, whose record matches Thatcher's, when he told the electorate to vote UKIP at the last European Elections. But even after all these years, Tebbit is not as big as Thatcher.

Meanwhile, some Lib Dem MEP is fomenting dissent about the proposal that future EU treaty amendments be "legally" subject to a referendum. "A device of demagogues and dictators," said Thatcher, favourably quoting Attlee. Get out of that one. Claiming to champion parliamentary sovereignty by championing this deeply flawed and utterly foreign device is quite, quite, quite beyond absurd. And look what happened at the last one. All that a referendum does is cede the decision to the BBC over the course of the month leading up the poll. Lisbon is self-amending, anyway, so there will never again be anything in this field on which a referendum might be held.

Away with David Lidington's European Union Bill. Who will put down amendments deleting all clauses and replacing them with the restoration of the supremacy of British over EU law, with the use of that provision to repatriate agriculture and to restore our historic fishing rights in accordance with international law, with the requirement that all EU law pass through both Houses of Parliament as if it had originated in one or other of them in order to have any effect in the United Kingdom, with the requirement British Ministers to 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, with the disapplication in the United Kingdom of any ruling of the European Court of Justice or of the European Court of Human Rights (or of the "Supreme Court") unless confirmed by a resolution of the House of Commons, and with 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?

The Lib Dems could not be seen to object to any of that. Many of them sincerely would not. And it would make a real difference. Unlike any provision for referendums. Never mind for referendums that can never in fact be held.

Ed Miliband, over to you.

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