Tuesday 26 May 2009

David Cameron’s Horrorland speech

After reading David Cameron’s article in The Guardian, New politics: We need a massive, radical redistribution of power (25 May 2009), I could hardly wait to hear more about Britain under a Conservative government.

Since this is a blog about the European Union and European integration, I picked two items of interest ahead of today’s speech in the blog post Ailing United Kingdom: Proportional representation and EU membership:

1) People’s courts?

Fundamental rights and the rule of law seem alien to Cameron, who believes in a massive, sweeping, radical redistribution of power from judges to the people.

Does he want direct action by lynch mobs or does he prefer people’s courts to act as instruments in robbing individuals of protection against public authorities?

2) European Union

As Conservative leader Cameron demands a massive, sweeping, radical redistribution of power from the EU to Britain.

Ahead of the European Parliament elections it is only fair to ask which powers under the existing Treaty of Nice he wants repatriated.

If Cameron wants the United Kingdom to secede from the European Union, he should say so, but he would need to indicate the shape of the future outside.

If Cameron wants Britain to stay on in the European Union, he should explain why he believes that the other EU member states are going to accept by unanimity every Tory demand for even less British responsibilities and still keep the UK as a member state


Horrorland speech

I have now read Davic Cameron’s Horroland speech, serving generous helpings of indignities of contemporary life in Britain. Did the speech, officially called Fixing Broken Politics (26 May 2009). offer additional information about my questions?


Fundamental rights?

To curb the protection given by courts to individuals, Cameron proposes the following:

“And we will introduce a British Bill of Rights to strengthen our liberties, spell out the extent and limit of rights more clearly, and ensure proper democratic accountability over the creation of any new rights.”

The reasoning looks disingenious. Cameron is clearly out to restrict the protection offered by the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (UK: Human Rights Act), but he describes it as a strengthening of the liberties of the British people.

Naturally, he does not even mention the more modern Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, which the United Kingdom has opted out of together with then Kaczynski Poland, hardly the best proponents of human rights among the 27 EU member states.

Cameron does not go into details, although he should. Does a watered-down domestic Bill of Rights mean that Britain is going to secede from the European Human Rights Convention and leave the Council of Europe?


Goodbye, European Union?

Cameron’s offers the following recipe for UK relations with the European Union:

“We will therefore hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, pass a law requiring a referendum to approve any further transfers of power to the EU, negotiate the return of powers, and require far more detailed scrutiny in Parliament of EU legislation, regulation and spending.”

This time around, Cameron seems to promise a referendum on the Treaty of Lisbon regardless of its entry into force.

Every future transfer of powers to the European Union would be bogged down by a national referendum.

A Conservative government would – so it seems – negotiate a return of unspecified powers from the EU to the United Kingdom. We are none the wiser as to my questions: Why he believes that the other EU member states are going to accept by unanimity every Tory demand for even less British responsibilities and still keep the UK as a member state.

The membership of the United Kingdom is already a severe problem for Europe.

I see little reason for the rest of the EU member states to accept reverse integration or permanent immobility in an organisation plagued by the unanimity rules and detailed treaties.

Let the coming UK government make its demands explicit before the European elections. Failure to bring about the tearing up of the Treaty of Nice leaves the option of secession.

A constructive UK would be a loss, but British membership under Cameron would be a greater calamity for Europe.

Ralf Grahn

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