If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Better Off Out

Sue has a nice bit of music to accompany a headline in a major English newspaper that I thought I would never see:


(Which should, of course, read "out of the EU" - Britain isn't leaving Europe unless there are some pretty powerful tugboats out beyond the Irish Sea.)

The Daily Express has come out in favour of a British withdrawal from the EU. Leading article in the link above. They are also running an online petition, linked in the article. I have signed.

Regular readers will know that I love Europe, meaning the European Nations. As a Brit, I feel part of Europe emotionally, and I believe that co-operation between European nations is a good thing. What I can't stand is the unaccountable, corrupt and profoundly undemocratic European Union. I voted 'yes' in 1975, when what was on offer was membership of a trading bloc. That is nothing like what the EU is today, after 35 years of name-changes and mission creep, and at no point have I, or any other Briton, been asked my opinion on whether I want to be part of it. This is not xenophobia: this is a belief in independence and self-government, democracy and accountability, and a hatred of corruption and self-serving elites.

Perhaps this is the first crack in the dam.


  1. I'm largely in favour of withdrawing from the EU, for all the reasons you list and it's interesting that the Express has stuck it's head way above the parapet now.

    What I'd like to see is a grown-up debate on the subject, with a fairly clear cost-benefit analysis presented as part of the argument (simply because, whatever my gut instinct, I'm not entirely certain of all the economic pros and cons of withdrawal).

    My only slight caveat would be that, actually, during the worst of NuLabour's authoritarian excesses, the only thing stopping them ramming home some seriously illiberal legislation was the ECHR. I think I'd want to see a commitment that the British judiciary (or some other suitable body) would retain similar powers to prevent parliament from enacting similar laws in future.

  2. This is not xenophobia: this is a belief in independence and self-government, democracy and accountability, and a hatred of corruption and self-serving elites.

    Amen to that.

  3. @ endemoniada 88

    I'm fairly sure the ECHR is a body outwith the EU (not to be confused with the ECJ).

    You are not alone in wanting to see a clear cost-benefit analysis of EU membership, and I leave it to your imagination as to why no British government has acceded to requests for one.

  4. You are right - the ECHR is nothing to do with the EU, and we signed up to that long ago. Again, it's not human rights I have a problem with, it's the way they interpret it. I refer the honorable gentleman to the quote from P J O'Rourke below the header of this blog.

  5. You are indeed right, gents. I'd made the unwarranted assumption that the ECHR had been absorbed into EU infrastructure, whereas it is in fact still covered by the Council of Europe* while the ECJ mirrors some of its' functions within the EU. Evidently, I was giving the EU undeserved credit for achieving something useful there.

    It doesn't lessen the fact that we did need Strasbourg to declare on several occasions that NuLabour were attempting to legislate unlawfully, but it does of course render it irrelevant in this context. It just always struck me as ironic (and rather disappointing) that we needed Europe, often denounced for unwarranted interference, to protect us from our own government.

    I certainly don't have a problem with PJ's rather pithy aphorism!

    * To be honest, I'd pretty much forgotten that still existed as an independent entity...can't remember the last time I heard it referenced in any way.

  6. The Council of Europe, of which the UK was a founder member in 1949 (Treaty of London, heh) is a much more benign organisation than the EU. Although it is supposed to work towards European integration, it focuses on the rule of law, cultural co-operation and human rights, rather than extorting money and wasting it telling us how great it is. For that, it gets a gold star in its exercise book from me.

    Of course, every time the ECHR tried to curtail the repressive instincts of Blair/Brown, they were as far as possible ignored or trashed, showing the respect for the rule of law held by our former rulers. I'd just as soon not have to answer to any outside body for issues of UK justice, but at least it made Labour's arrogance clear for all to see.


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