Just a thought on Europe

Now that Lisbon is reality we\’ve actually got something interesting here.

It is true that Lisbon provides a route out, negotiations and the rest, if a country wants to leave the EU. And it would be complex and difficult because those \”negotiations\” would lead to our being entirely screwed if the FCO had their way.

However, do note that what has been passed is in fact simply a set of amendments to the original Treaty of Rome. It isn\’t in fact a Constitution, despite the fact that it contains just about everything first proposed.

But the fact that it is simply a series of amendments to the Treaty of Rome means that it\’s very simple indeed in British law to withdraw from it. Repealing the 1972 European Communities Act repeals the whole lot, amendments and all.

Including, of course, the tortured system for a country to leave.

This might actually be the only significant difference between the Consitution and Lisbon. Because Lisbon is now all part of the one same treaty it\’s actually easier for us to leave.

One vote and we\’re out.

27 thoughts on “Just a thought on Europe”

  1. Do you really think that when people say “it’s difficult to leave” they’re referring to the legislative paperwork?

  2. Kay Tie, people use that as an excuse, but the trick would be to sub-divide MPs into committees, give them 10,000 regulations each and pay them £10 for each one they repeal and fine them £1,000 for each on they keep.

  3. It is all part of the voodoo of the EU elites that it is impossible to get out. What are these guys seriously thinking will happen if a UK government decided to leave? Invade us?

    Good points, Tim.

  4. You are quite right. That’s why, though I defer to no-one in my hatred for the anti-democratic EU, I have never banged on about “loss of sovereignty.” Our courts will stop listening to their courts the second our Parliament repeals the legislation that tells them too. Parliament has not sold our rights, but sub-let them. All it would take would be for the electorate to wake up. And all that would take would be for our corrupt political class to stop being bought off by the EU institutions. Hmm.

  5. WitteringsfromWitney

    We, the people, can vote for it – at the next general election one party is offering to repeal the 1972 ECA.

    All we have to do is vote Ukip.

    Lets do it!

  6. I think this is brilliant: we should have a million and one referendums on staying in but the second we want to leave it would be rammed through parliament on a three-line whip.

    In any case isn’t it a Treaty obligation, which of course states can simply tear up, but I’d rather they didn’t.

  7. To get out of the EU we need:-
    1/ Sufficient military force to make their invading us unprofitable- no we don’t need enough to beat them, just enough to make an invasion unprofitable. We have that in spades.
    2/ Significantly more people want out than want in- no that doesn’t mean want out as in “wouldn’t it be lovely but I won’t make any effort”, it means want out as in “prepared to make a serious effort”. I’m not at all sure we’ve got that at the moment.
    3 The overwhelming majority content to accept our leaving- I’m pretty sure we’ve got that.
    I’m guessing that the polls showing a majority want out include the “wouldn’t it be lovely, but I wont do anything” people, who will fade away in a referendum campaign. I would want to be much more sure of a result before an exit referendum during which the EU will undoubtedly frighten a large number of waverers- and effectively bribe a lot of politicians and commentators- the more so as a second referendum would be a long time coming. Also our chances of negotiating a decent trade deal with Europe will be much increased if the EU despairs of getting us back- which a narrow referendum result will not bring about.
    The Paperwork is irrelevant

  8. I’ve been trying to tell people for days that just because Europe constructs arguments why we can’t leave, the legal means are there already in the International Court.

  9. Matthew,

    We’ve only had one referendum on staying in and that was in 1975.

    Why shouldn’t we have another one now? It will at least give some of us he chance to atone for our stupidity and ignorance.

  10. We shouldn’t even call for a referendum until a cohesive, well-funded movement has been built to run the “out” campaign, because the taxpayers of all the EU countries would fund the “in” campaign. If Dan Hannan matures from his present rather aloof juvenile lead mode to be a plausible, and warm, leader then that might be possible in the next 10 years. He will need to speak to peoples hearts as well as their heads (because most voters heads are on other things) and he has not yet learned that art.

  11. “If Dan Hannan matures from his present rather aloof juvenile lead mode to be a plausible, and warm, leader”

    I’ll put a note in the calendar for the children’s children etc to celebrate our 1,000th year of joining then in 2973.


    Great simpleton, if even you can’t be trusted in referendums then I’m not too sure they are a great idea. But if you want to keep asking the question then go ahead, I’m all for it.

  12. @Matthew: Keep asking the question? Thats rich, given that every time a country votes No to some European treaty, they get told to vote again until they produce the ‘right’ answer. No country has ever had a second chance to vote having voted Yes.

    I’m 38 and I have never had the chance to vote whether we should be in or out of the EU. If the EU is such a good thing why should we not have regular referenda on whether we should be in or out? After all if the benefits are so obvious everyone will vote Yes won’t they?

    Or are you afraid of the will of the people like the rest of the Europhiles?

  13. What the hell is this nonsense about the EU trying to stop us from leaving, us requiring military force to deter them, etc? One of the changes created by Lisbon is that it provides an explicit procedure for any state that wants to leave the EU to do so.

  14. “If the EU is such a good thing why should we not have regular referenda on whether we should be in or out?”

    Similarly, let’s have regular referenda on every aspect of our constitution and legal system. Nobody’s ever consulted me on whether we should have an FPTP voting system, whether ultimate sovereignty should be held by the Crown in Parliament, etc.

  15. Matthew

    Great simpleton, if even you can’t be trusted in referendums then I’m not too sure they are a great idea. But if you want to keep asking the question then go ahead, I’m all for it.

    Curious what you mean by “can’t be trusted”? If those on the left think that democracy can’t he trusted because it occasionally returns answers you don’t like then would mind campaigning on that basis: an end to democracy so the great unwashed and unenlightened are disenfranchised?


    A great and comforting post- would anyone care to restart this petition? Probably get a slightly different answer to it now.

    Of course, were assuming Cambo isn’t planning on a new constitutional settlement but that woul be…oh…

    good post

  16. Tim, you’re wrong. Simply repealing the ECA would not result in the UK having left the EU. We would still be bound by our treaty obligations that the executive signed on our behalf. Unless you believe we can simply ignore these. That is part of the reason I am surprised that sceptics are so against Lisbon since it provides a legal route out of the EU. Previously, the method for leaving was largely unknown as no one had tried.

    I’m not even sure what repealing the ECA would achieve. Would EU law still be the highest source of law in its relevant competences? Could our courts ignore EU law and not be liable to the costs of such actions, as laid in in the various treaties we have signed up to? It would be a bit of a mess. Best to follow the procedures as laid out in Lisbon.

  17. Brian, follower of Deornoth

    I suspect that nuking Brussels would result in our leaving the EU. It’d be only one of the Trident missiles we have, after all. Luxemburg and Strassburg might need two more (depends on the footprint of the MIRVs).

    Vote for me and I’ll order it!

  18. @Brian, follower of Deornoth

    Well, I lol’d. +1

    Wasn’t sure who the hell to vote for next year, but am definitely going for UKIP with the aim of a hung parliament. As, I suspect, are a significant portion of the electorate.

    Time to end the Punch & Judy Lab-Con political pendulum in Britain once and for all.

  19. Hugh – once it becomes important enough the paperwork/legalities are irrelevant. Once a state decides they really want to leave the only thing that matters is whether it’s important enough for the union or whatever to force them to stay – and whether they have the capability – and I can’t see that happening for the EU, unlike equivalent examples like the US Civil War, which pretty much determined whether US states could leave the Union, or the various English/Welsh/Scottish wars for that matter, which of course ended in permanent losses of sovereignty for parts of the UK (regional autonomy and national parliaments aside). The question is really whether this particular amalgamation is a good idea (probably not) and whether they can force you to stay (almost certainly not). Can your courts ignore EU laws and not be liable for the costs? Sure just don’t pay them.

    Treaty obligations can always be repudiated, with a corresponding loss of reputation, trade relations, risk of war, etc of course, but if you can show sufficient casus belli for the action then the damage can be minimised.

  20. Ltw,

    no, the key was always the price that would be extracted for trying to leave the EU, not whether you would be forced to remain within the Union. Your examples are not exact either because the US was a single nation state in itself. No matter what the more emotional Eurosceptics say, the EU is not a nation state. It is a Union of 27 nations that have agreed to pool their sovereignty in certain areas of policy. That is all. We are not looking at the creation of a single nation state called Europe. Anyone saying otherwise is not being serious.

    My point was that we joined the EEC/EU the moment Ted Heath signed the Treaty of Rome, not when the ECA was passed. All that did was ensure that EEC/EU law would be passed into British law, and its area of competences, it would be superior to British law. Repealing the ECA would, I guess, mean that future EU legislation would no longer be passed into British law. All existing legislation would still be on the statute books. It would achieve very little, therefore, and certainly would not mean we had withdrawn from the EU.

    Although I think your use of the phrase casus belli is way overblown, your essential question is right. Is it worth staying in the EU? It is slightly amusing that the more emotional sceptics were scathing of Lisbon when I feel they should have been supportive because it provides the UK with a legal path out of the EU, if that is what we choose to do. Again, I don’t know what exactly is involved and what costs would be extracted from us. And I’m sure that there will be some fall out with our neighbours in terms of trade, reputation etc but that will always be overcome in the end. But even to suggest that there would be a risk of war in our leaving the EU is utter guff. I know talking about the EU is dry and tedious stuff but there really is no need to attempt to make it more interesting with that kind of fantastical nonsense.

  21. If you leave your gun laws, your self-defence laws, your sense of entitlement and your healthcare system back in The U.K., you’ll be welcome in Canada.

    If you can deal with the U.S. immigration requirements, Texas or The Carolinas, Alabama, or Mississipi, or Oklahoma would be a breath of freedom, along with a dose of heat and humidity.

    Of course, if Obama and his Socialists keep shoving legislation through, you might find yourself in the middle of an armed revolution. Better to be in Texas, though, than in Cali or NY for that.

  22. Tom – Yes, as John B it was Great Simpleton who said he was stupid and ignorant (I assume hence his name) not me.

    Jim – have you every thought of reading the comments rather that spluttering some Spectator talking point you’ve half understood? I said ‘if you want to keep asking the question [on staying in the EU or not] they go ahead, I’m all for it’ which is the exact opposite of not trusting the people.

  23. @25, Canada has pretty much the same healthcare system (in practice if not in legal structure), and the same self-defence laws as the UK. And the gun laws in Canada’s urban areas are +/- the same as the UK’s too.

    (also, in the rather unlikely event that passing some watered-down-but-vaguely-sensible laws started a violent revolution in the US, I’d rather be on the side of the government, the money and the army than the side of the nutters, so I’m with the North. See also: what happened last time…)

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