Most of us don’t know much about exactly how we got to the current European Union’s unsatisfactory setup, do we? Many of us do know though that it all started with a simple special ‘trading association’, the European Economic Community (EEC), back nearly sixty years ago. Initially Britain baulked at joining, and when it changed its mind, the UK’s application to join was turned down, not once but twice – the British weren’t seen as committed Europeans, were they? Nothing has changed much now, eh? Then the European ‘project’ marched forward nearly twenty five years ago (Maastricht Treaty) towards their prized objective of a fully integrated political union of European countries, with its own official currency, the Euro (which has failed but the UK kept out of thankfully).
A Convention group was to be set up to create a new ‘Constitution for Europe’ (a single document to replace the existing treaties), so following the turn of the century, the UK government sent two representatives, who spent nearly a year and a half of debate and effort working on it – Gisela Stuart MP (German born) and Peter Hain (now Baron) ex-MP (Kenya born). This document was never fully ratified, but large chunks of it were later incorporated into existing treaties (Lisbon 2009).
For Gisela Stuart, it became clear that the real reason for the Constitution, indeed its key objective, and main impact was the political deepening of the Union (whether or not that was what the people actually wanted), while Peter Hain said that ‘three quarters of the Constitution was tidying up – admitting though that a quarter then was solely focused on creating a new constitutional order for a new united states of Europe’ – and that is why we have got into the current straights where the UK is now facing a referendum on pulling out, isn’t it?
Now, Gisela Stuart Labour and an ex- law lecturer is with her unique background (and of course now a British citizen) is quite qualified to be on-the-ball regarding Europe. She has an impressive track record as being the only one able to wrestle her Birmingham Edgbaston constituency from nearly a hundred years of Conservative rule (and she still holds it after nearly twenty years, to boot). She therefore ought to be listened to on the Referendum issue when she recommends ‘Brexit’ – despite the fact that she has had a bit of a chequered history in her Parliamentary voting habits, eh?
She never voted on a transparent Parliament (broadcasting sessions), voted for introduction of the destructive student top-up fees, voted for the disastrous Iraq war and unbelievably against investigating it, voted for replacing the potentially bankrupting Trident replacement, but however she did vote for introducing the well overdue smoking ban, introducing ID cards (to deter terrorist attacks, identity theft, and misuse of public resources – ultimately ‘talked out’ by the Tories in the House of Lords), introducing foundation hospitals (NHS but more directly accountable to local people), Labour’s anti-terrorism laws (following-on from the sick devastating London attacks), the hunting ban (to stop the barbaric hunting and enjoyment killing of wild mammals like deer, foxes, hares and mink), as well as the discrimination removing equal gay rights bill – so she is a bit of a thinker, wouldn’t you say?
PM David Cameron failed miserable in his commendable attempts to alter the mindset of the other EU members and get meaningful change for all. He wanted them for example to ditch the Treaty objective of ‘ever closer union’ – they laughed out loud (LoL as current texters would type). What they did offer was a meaningless sop that it wouldn’t apply to the UK – oh yea? If you continue to travel on a train heading for a destination you don’t want, you will still arrive there, whether or not you sit in isolation in the very last carriage, won’t you?
[The people of Britain have ‘finally’ been given the chance to grab back control over our historic Country – do not squander it, our children’s & grandchildren’s future lives depend on it, don’t they?