But you won’t hear anything about it from the BBC or Westminster politicians
We are still not having a proper debate in the UK about our relationship with the EU. It suits our political class to pretend that all things EU are ‘over there’ and need not worry us.
Look at what happened last week. We saw an astonishing powergrab launched in Brussels. Yet silence in Westminister.
We heard a lot about the Hillsborough Report. It still proves to be a powerful and emotive subject and the arguments about the behaviour of the police are very important. But it meant the EU plans were completely overlooked.
On the morning of Prime Minister’s Questions a plan for a complete EU takeover of regulations of our banking industry was trailed in the FT and Telegraph. In Westminster there was silence. Then hours before the PM stood up European Commission President Barroso had announced that he wanted a new EU Treaty ready in time for the 2014 European election. Again one could see the tumbleweed rolling over the Treasury benches. There was not a single mention of the EU question at PMQs, instead there was much concern over speed bumps.
Just as Ken Clarke had once envisaged, Westminster was a debating chamber of a local rate-capped authority. It was as if events of earlier in the day in Strasbourg had simply not happened.
“From my close up ringside seat I watched a speech that repulsed me”
Jose Manuel Barroso has never been the most inspiring Commission President and the old hands in Brussels still miss the days of Jaques Delors. For the third year in a row he delivered his ‘State of the Union’ speech. It is strange, given how much they hate the USA that such mimicry should exist. In my thirteen years sitting in the European Parliament never have I heard the bosses be so open and clear about their intentions: Whilst Barroso’s style may have excited little, his words were very strong. From my close up ringside seat I watched a speech that repulsed me. We must have a Federal Europe, democracy was to be transferred from the nations to the EU level and a stronger European Army was needed. The objective was clear, to be a global power.
I sat thinking, if only every UK voter could see and hear this, we would all say ‘no way, Jose’.
The only real point of contention was whether the structure should be a Federal Europe of Nation States or a Federal Union with the official abolition of states, I found it difficult to stay in the chamber.
Of these great events, including the German Constitutional Court rejecting an application to strike down the Euro rescue fund, the great British public will learn little. The BBC, our state broadcaster, covered events in the chamber in a cursory way, just another story. Our national press, including the eurosceptic ones, gave brief coverage in the foreign pages. I did not see a single British journalist in Strasbourg myself, but am told the BBC have a new chap but he hasn’t bothered to introduce himself. I would have thought that the UKIP leader, whose Party came second in the 2009 European Elections, being personally abused by Barroso might count. Apparently not. It is only newsworthy if I call someone a damp rag, that being a national disgrace. According to Barroso I am an extreme populist and irrelevant to the EU debate. I didn’t know he cared.
I did at least expect a question to David Cameron about one of Barroso’s proposals, the creation of an EU Banking Union. Whilst we have considerable problems with our banks and radical reform is badly needed, the last thing we should want to do is to hand over control of this vital sector. Elsewhere the Czech President, Vaclav Klaus, had spoken out strongly against all these ideas. But no, nothing. No challenge to Cameron to demand a veto, clearly speed bumps are what concerns our modern day career MPs.
There is one major consolation though. Through the blogosphere and YouTube the voters will realise that a new European Treaty is on its way and that a referendum will be impossible to ignore. It will all depend now on the question, but I am sure that the majority of us want no more fudges, just a simple choice.
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