Jim McConalogue: How Europe threatens British national life
Jim McConalogue, Editor of the European Journal, offers a general introduction to what's wrong with our relationship with the EU.
The European Union threatens British national life to the extent that the European Treaties which have led to the creation of a European government subvert the laws, governance and way of life inherent to the British nation state, its laws and its society. This perceived threat is not derived from being sceptical about internationalism, since this is at the heart of being British and neither is it about being sceptical of trading with Europe since it is in Britain’s foremost interest to maintain excellent trading relationships with the rest of Europe and the rest of the world within a low/no-tariff free trade area. But there is a very real threat.
The everyday reality of the threat of Europe on British national life is explained by its negative effect on Parliament, the legislative process, British businesses, Britain’s inability to give a helping hand to the economies of countries in the world less fortunate than our own, a failure to control its trade policy and an inability to control immigration flows:
- Absence of Parliamentary authority: The European Commission which produces 60% of Britain’s statute book has no directly elected officials. Westminster has voluntarily surrendered its authority to Brussels through the European Treaties. Britain is in fact already largely governed by Europe over matters on which it has no say.
- Absence of Legislative Process: The British people no longer have a legitimate reason for electing Members of Parliament to govern their constituencies. Since the European Commission has no elected officials, the people do not legislate in any sense for their own laws and their own society. So, in the last general election, of the 44 million people who were eligible to vote, only 27 million people actually did so, and of the sector of society that has grown up with Europe as an unchallengeable facet of modern government – those between 18 to 25 – only one third bothered to vote at all.
- Failure of British business and enterprise: By its own admission, the Commission has been forced to declare that a massive €600 billion per year is spent on over-regulation of business. The British Chambers of Commerce estimates that red tape has cost British business £55.66 billion in total; and that 72. 5 per cent (£40 billion) of this is derived from EU red tape. Under the tides of EU legislation and bureaucracy, Britain has forced business from its shores.
- Deprivation of the World’s Developing Countries: As a global trading nation, Britain is left powerless to manage its own trade policy since it is now largely in the hands of the EU. So, the European Union, as a customs union, has reduced tariffs for those trading within the EU whilst it has maintained tariffs for poorer developing economies where the economies operate at desperate levels of poverty and deprivation. Since those economies cannot access the European markets, they can earn no money to live, and since they cannot earn the money to live … This is the state of Britain in Europe.
- Control over British Immigration and Asylum: The Labour Government of the past decade has inaccurately reported on the statistics relating to immigration and asylum. Its disastrous relaxation of controls on EU citizens – justified under the “free movement of EU citizens” – created severe problems for Britain’s public services which were put under considerable strain because, for example, no government warning had been provided for a 600,000 influx during 2005-2006.
These are all matters on which the British people have no say. The threat of the expanding European Union to British national life is real – it is derived from a presentation of the facts. Britain’s place within the European Economic Community, beginning with the Treaty of Rome, was aimed at strengthening our relationship with the European trading zone but became undermined by the creation of a bureaucratic European government leading to an official “Union” as defined under Maastricht in 1992, the creation and accumulation of powers under Amsterdam (1997) and Nice (2001) and the assertion of an undesirable European Constitution for a new Europe, rejected by the French and Dutch by a public vote in 2005 but then asserted by the EU upon the citizens of all 27 states in the form of the Lisbon Treaty (pushed through from 2007-2009). Europe has taken control of: most areas of responsibility of our national Government, our necessity of being represented through our Members of Parliament, vital parts of our immigration system, a new system of rights, European legislation leading to the closure and failures of our businesses, an agricultural policy of providing subsidies (in return for nothing), many aspects of our foreign and security policy, and a national contribution of about £10.7 billion pounds.
It has long been the British Government’s mission to remain silent on Europe and thereby defend the consensus on the “necessary” European controls over Britain – and the only hope of the battle remains to be through an elected Conservative government, which has historically been the Party of self-government, minimising state interference and promoting the national interest. The current push towards an integrated European government is met with hostility by the British people, since what is needed is a European free trade area to serve the interests of our economy through which Britain and the various nation states of Europe can operate democratically in a looser arrangement of associated nation states. To say that the European Union merely undermines British culture, its taxpayers or businesses is itself an underestimation of the true facts. Europe threatens British national life in a massive and fundamental way. It must be stopped.