In our blog post “Cameron, Hague and the Golden Rule”, we concluded that by accepting the categorical imperative, “Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law”, David Cameron and William Hague will make Immanuel Kant and the rest of us proud.
Let us continue to imagine that a new Conservative Government in the United Kingdom has miraculously managed to reach an agreement on further British opt-outs from the Treaty of Lisbon.
As we said, these treaty changes have to be ratified by all the EU member states.
According to the principles established by the Tory leadership, Britain could offer no justification against any member state subjecting the possible agreement to a national referendum, or to a state figurehead refusing Royal or Presidential assent.
Let us imagine that one headstrong King, Queen or President has expressed doubts about signing the ratification instrument.
Enters Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, which sends a letter to this foreign head of state with ‘ultra vires’ tendencies, in order to make clear that it expects to scupper the deal after the next general election, if the matter is still unresolved.
Horror? Yes, and hotheads might call it treason, but the opposition would only be acting accordance with David Cameron’s and William Hague’s interpretation of the Golden Rule, the categorical imperative, the law of reciprocity, fair play, good faith, decency or whatever you want to call it. (Loyal cooperation in EU parlance.)
Loyalty is a virtue to cherish.
Precedents are important.
Some deeds are better left undone.