Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Gerald Warner and the Song of Songs of unsophistication

The Telegraph has amassed a group of columnists guaranteed to keep British anti-EU feeling high and ignorance profound.

No wonder that the sophistication of Europhiles becomes the object of a scathing attack by Gerald Warner in “A ratified Lisbon Treaty 'cannot be abrogated'. So, are the Czechs still in the Warsaw Pact?” (The Telgraph, 20 October 2009).

In short, Warner argues for a UK referendum on the EU Lisbon Treaty, after its entry into force, an abrogation of the amending treaty and a unilateral return to the ‘status quo ante’.


Warner is not far from the truth, when he asserts that international treaties can be revoked.

However, he fails to make the distinction between a stand-alone treaty and an amending treaty, which supersedes the previous ones, in an evolving organisation like the European Union.

The European Union is different after the Treaty of Lisbon, including many institutional rules. Having one European Parliament, one Council and one Commission for the rest of the member states, and the old Nice Treaty version for Britain is like taking the first storey away from a multi-storey building. Quite sophisticated!

By all means, arrange a simple Yes/No referendum to “reclaim the country”, but on membership, for that is what it is.

Ralf Grahn

P.S. We are eagerly waiting for David Cameron and William Hague to present their “we won’t let matters rest there” vision on Europe, but our sincere hope is that they have more sophisticated advisors than Warner.