"A Country Called Europe"
The Hansard Society noted how much of our legislation was 'made in Europe' - up to 80% in the case of environment rules. The author Vernon Coleman points out that100,000 pages of new laws have arrived since 1973. (Coleman, England Our England, 2002)
Making laws faster than people can keep up with increases both the cost of compliance and the chances of otherwise law-abiding people getting a criminal record for non-compliance - ignorance of the law is no defence.
Some laws defy common sense, like the ban on selling "a pound of apples", or regulations forbidding the sale of vitamin supplements without exorbitant testing. This will destroy smaller retailers; European Commission adviser Graham Bannock admits that regulations generally hit hardest those creators of jobs, small businesses.(Vitamins, see Booker, Sunday Telegraph, 24.11.02; Bannock quoted in his ''Taxation in the European Community', 1990)
THE NEW LEGAL ORDER
The British legal tradition has been to allow what isn't forbidden by law whereas the continental is for what is permitted to be decided by the authorities. We are now seeing Directives that forbid a business to hold even basic information on its customers without a permit!(Data Protection Directive 1995; DP Act 1998)
During 2003, the EU is pushing for its own Constitution. In 1994, a European Parliament spokesman called for a Constitution as it would bind 'citizens' (us) whereas legally Treaties only bind governments!
The EU has the power to levy unlimited fines on those who breach Treaty obligations. There is no appeal against the verdicts of its court, the European Court of Justice.(Amsterdam treaty, article 256)
Having taken control of virtually all that can change hands for money, the EU is setting sights on the most sensitive areas of national life - e.g. direct taxation, defence, criminal justice, even the running & funding of political parties.
On 18.10.99, the New Labour government published its policy on the Cabinet Office website: that it was introducing a 'European' dimension into policy-making at all levels of Government.
2003: ID CARDS BY STEALTH AGREED?
In July 2002, the Home Office opened up a 'consultation' on 'Entitlement Cards' - which citizens will have to produce to receive the public services they have paid for.
Although the White Paper calls for a full and informed debate, it does not mention that it has already signed up to the 'entitlement cards' it proposes at an EU conference in Lisbon in 2000. Some feel that the consultation is a whitewash, and note that before October 2001, the Home Office used to refer to them more truthfully as "ID cards".
Under this EU programme, all EU citizens should have microchipped smart cards to get public services, and even transact on the Internet. They will not only carry personal information, but have payment capabilities (e.g. for bus fares, road user charges). They will enable our movements and even our lifestyle to be tracked.(E-Europe programme)
Statewatch, a civil liberties group, described what was envisaged as a "surveillance infrastructure".
It is also simple once ID/entitlement cards have been issued, to make it compulsory to carry them, as EU police chiefs have demanded. They are already compulsory in a number of EU member states.
With declining revenues putting pressure on essential public services, & the less-than-prudent Chancellor now having to borrow billions, the multi-billion pound scheme should never have been announced, but the Government's loyalty is foremost to the EU.
Europol, the EU's emerging police force is already compiling data on 'citizens' and their associates, even those with no connection to any crime. (Also, its officers have immunity from prosecution!)(SIS computer - These Tides magazine, no 1, 1997.)
According to the Times, 24.2.00, Ministry of Defence officials predicted that Britain's armed forces will be trained in the future to serve in a Euro-style army. A training strategy is being drawn up to take effectfrom 2010 and will take into account the possible formation of a European army.
This will include training of British personnel in continental military establishments. EU Ministers have already moved towards creating an EU army, approving a military staff for strategic planning. It follows a decision in December 1999 to set up an EU rapid reaction force of 60,000 men by 2003.(D Telegraph, 15.2.00)
There is currently controversy over plans to introduce a European Arrest Warrant that allows British citizens to be taken abroad and tried without any evidence of 'crime'. There is no legal safeguard of a fast public trial (habeas corpus) or trial by one's peers, be they a jury or a lay magistrate. A suspect can be detained for months at the authorities' whim.(See www.rights-under-threat.info)
At home, there is opposition to limiting rights to trial by jury, and loss of the double jeopardy rule, a safeguard against state abuse.
Some note that these are absent on the continent. Coincidentally, the European Commission has called for a continental style criminal code, Corpus Juris, that provides the authorities with draconian powers. Trial is by career judges, whom a suspect needs to convince of innocence!(Corpus Juris, publ: Editions Economica, France, 1997)
"The essential difficulty is that no British government has ever been frank with its people about Europe" - former Commission rep. in Washington, Sir Roy Denman, to an American readership(International Herald Tribune, 14.10.98)
In the Balance: 30 years of 'EU membership' examined
The Unwanted Euro - Tip of the Iceberg
There Is An Alternative
30:30 Vision: articles index
For a wider subject index