Tuesday, 6 March 2007

David Cameron and the Six Words

David Cameron (pictured, with friend) has been talking a bit about the EU lately. I suppose that talking about issues that actually matter must be a nice, if somewhat intellectually challenging, change for the Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition.

ia EU Referendum, I also find that he has, with the Czech Prime Minister, written a piece in the Telegraph setting out his views on the EU. Essentially, the theme of Cameron's drivelling, so far as there is one (both the speech and the article are the usual Cameron exercises in saying nothing concrete, while making people feel warm and fuzzy inside), is that all the problems of the EU can be eradicated by himself, his Czech sidekick, and the magic word "modernisation". The entirety of what Cameron has said has been dealt with either at EU Referendum, or in this lengthy post at the Devil's Kitchen, and I do not propose to go into any particular detail myself.

However, I would emphasise one thing. The common refrain from the Tories, is "in Europe, not run by Europe". I once had a dispute with a stereotypical Tory Boy, whose entire argument consisted of rephrasing those Six Words over and over again, and then asserting that he'd demonstrated the truth of his position.

The problem with "in Europe, not run by Europe" is that it is a contradiction in terms. One of the key principles of the EU is the supremacy of EU law over national law. This was laid down by the European Court of Justice in 1963 (so when our politicians told us in the 1970s that we were only entering a free trade area, they were lying), and recognised by the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords in 1994. Therefore, if the EU passes a law inconsistent with British law, then the British law will be overturned. Our own parliament cannot pass a law inconsistent with EU law. For the Six Words to work, the Tories would have to change the fundamental nature of the EU. Not, I think, very likely, particularly if the Franco-German axis stands in opposition to them.

Although Cameron had the sense not to use the dreaded Six Words, the substance of what he says indicates that he adheres to them, or at least wishes to give the impression that he does. He talks about "a Europe of nation states", and the need to protect British interests. However, the EU stands in opposition to the very concept of a nation state, and British interests are best protected by preserving British national sovereignty. Asserting that one believes in staying in the EU, and yet that one favours an independent Britain, is at best stupid, and at worst mendacious. Personally, I think that Cameron is both.

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