September 25, 2007

Getting it right on the referendum

Well Mr Brown may be in trouble. The Sun (source of this picture) has started a campaign for a referendum on the EU constitution, which Richard North has summarised here. Page 3 girls and others staged various stunts on the beach at Bournemouth. A student told the paper
We should definitely have a referendum. It’s a no-brainer.
So that should get the vote of many Sun readers.

Online they have a handy page with links to their "EU Referendum" features. The detail of the coverage wouldn't disgrace a heavy broadsheet. A long leader sets out how we got to here.
WAKE up Britain! Our proud nation faces the greatest threat as an independent sovereign state since the dark days of World War II.
And at last someone (in the form of The Sun) has set out some of the implications of the vetoes we would be giving up - it has taken these experienced populists to see how important this is.
THE new European Constitution threatens to transform virtually every aspect of British life for ever.

From immigration to defence, from the economy to vital public services, it will hand Europe unprecedented new powers.
The Treaty, they say, "strips Britain of control over vital issues — and tightens the grip of Brussels on our future".
Our ability to veto decisions will be swept away in a raft of key areas, from justice to energy.

It will become virtually impossible for us to deport illegal immigrants, yet officers from Europol will be given new powers to prosecute British citizens.
This is the sort of hard, concrete example the pro-referendum campaign has been lacking. After discussing the EU President, the paper moves to Services
THE Constitutional Treaty puts the EU in charge of public health and ends the right of veto in this area.

The EU would regulate medical standards and a new right to preventative health care would open the NHS up to costly ambulance-chasing legal cases.

And the Constitution ends the veto over trade agreements in public services like health and education. So our Parliament would no longer have a say over deals which determine how these services are managed.

It also does nothing to rein in the European Court of Justice. In recent years it has produced a string of rulings which make it difficult to prioritise NHS spending and allows those who are willing to threaten legal action to jump the queue.

Under the Treaty Britain gives up the veto in transport. Jacques Barrot, EU Transport Commissioner, recently backed Europe-wide road-pricing operations. The AA says this will lead to a loss of privacy.
The paper discusses Embassies, and then moves to The Economy -
BRUSSELS will co-ordinate economic, social and employment policy for all member states.

Those states who have adopted the European single currency will establish a formal organisation with its own president to oversee economic policy for the whole EU.

Britain repeatedly opposed this move because it would give Euro states power to vote on laws affecting the UK, while we would be unable to vote on measures affecting them. We abandoned this fight.

The City loses the freedom which has turned it into a multi-trillion dollar hub of world finance.

The European Central Bank gains new power to dictate to British banks and punish them for stepping out of line.

It will even have control over some Bank of England decisions, including how much cash it holds in reserves. And watch out for the unwanted Euro single currency coming in the back door.
Under vetoes it says -
BRITAIN will cease to have a final say in 60 important areas involving national sovereignty.

They include UK independence over police, justice and energy, transport, employment policy and financial regulation — vital areas of our daily lives. We could find Brussels dictating energy prices.

That includes who gets what if President Putin of Russia pulls the plug on gas supplies, with Britain at the end of the pipeline.

The EU also has an envious eye on our North Sea oil fields.

In sport, the EU will have power to regulate wage and transfer caps for soccer clubs, with the Commission taking over as ruler of the game across Europe.
The Courts -
THE Treaty means more rights for criminals — making it harder to fight crime.

Britain fought to stop the European Court of Justice winning power over our courts and police. We lost.

As a result, courtroom verdicts, sentencing policy and appeal rulings over detention of terrorists are likely to be overruled by unsympathetic foreign judges in Strasbourg.

The Government’s inability to send back to Italy Learco Chindamo, the thug who murdered headmaster Stephen Lawrence, shows how much power has already been lost. Under the Constitution EU judges would be able to go much further.

Our anti-terror laws would come under fire from Brussels. The Government admitted this would raise issues relating to national sovereignty. But later they caved in. Foreign aid could provoke serious disagreement.

Britain has ended funding to terrorists who run the Palestinian Authority. This could be overruled.
The Charter -
TONY Blair promised the Charter of Fundamental Rights would never become legally binding. Now it will have the full force of law.

To cover its embarrassment, the Government has been forced to negotiate “red lines” to protect British laws.

These opt-outs are unlikely to survive any challenge in the European Court. Swedish PM Frederick Reinfeldt says: “It should be stressed the UK was given a clarification, not an opt-out.”

EU judges could stop Justice Secretary Jack Straw recommending longer sentences for horrific crimes, making it impossible to recommend that serial killers should not be released from jail.

The Charter could also overturn recent laws allowing criminals to be tried a second time for the same offence.
On migrants -
THE new Charter of Fundamental Rights reads like a wish list for immigration lawyers.

It guarantees a “right to family life” and the “right to marry and found a family”, making it almost impossible to deport troublemakers or stop them bringing families to the UK. Deporting people like Abu Hamza would be almost impossible.

The Government has admitted that the proposals in the Constitutional Treaty will mean even more costly asylum and immigration appeals.

The European Court of Justice would be able to rule not just on whether applicants should gain asylum, but also on applicants’ rights to welfare payments.

If British politicians disagreed with these judges, it would be impossible to get the rulings over-turned.
On "Euro Cops" the paper says that -
FOREIGN police will be able to enter your home even if you have not broken British law.

The new Treaty gives the European prosecutors’ network “Eurojust” sweeping new powers, including the ability to launch criminal prosecutions in Britain even if no offence has been committed under British law.

Europol, the unaccountable EU police force, will be able to join UK police in raiding British homes.

Tony Blair opposed this extension of power but was defeated.
The paper discusses an EU army and EU foreign minister, and points to what it calls "Lost Power" -
UNLIKE previous treaties the Constitutional Treaty would be self-amending.

In future the powers of the EU could be increased further without the need for any new treaty. Further vetoes could be given up by EU leaders without the permission of our Parliament.

EU leaders stealthily and gradually give the EU more and more powers.

Its adoption would be the last ever opportunity to call for a referendum.
This is by a mile the best popular treatment of the issues. Now it's time for repetition, repetition, repetition.

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