Our rulers are idiots

Dozens of Conservative MPs are urging David Cameron to give Parliament a veto over all EU laws, in an attempt to take back control of Britain’s borders.

Up to 80 backbenchers are expected to sign a letter to the Prime Minister calling for Parliament to be given the right to throw out existing laws from Brussels and block new ones.

The MPs say the move would allow Britain to ‘recover control over our borders, lift EU burdens on business, (and) regain control over energy policy…in popular and sensible ways.’

By agreeing to be in the EU you’ve signed away the right to do that. EU law is made in Brussels and then imposed in Westminster. It’s not something there’s any choice left over.

21 thoughts on “Our rulers are idiots”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    By agreeing to be in the EU you’ve signed away the right to do that. EU law is made in Brussels and then imposed in Westminster. It’s not something there’s any choice left over.

    I expect it is not quite that simple. After all Parliament is still sovereign. The question is what the Courts think. If the Courts assert that Parliament, by definition, is supreme and hence not bound by what the EU wants (or more directly, by treaties entered into by previous governments as no former Parliament can bind the present Parliament) then everything is rosy.

    Of course our judges are treasonable surrender monkeys to a man. Using that word loosely. So they won’t.

    We’re better off out.

  2. @SMFS, being out is pretty much the only way to have that choice. All countries ignore or fail to implement some European law, but there’s a limit to the extent to which you could do that before Brussels was asking why you bothered to be in the club.

  3. So Much For Subtlety

    JamesV – “All countries ignore or fail to implement some European law, but there’s a limit to the extent to which you could do that before Brussels was asking why you bothered to be in the club.”

    Britain is and always has been a net contributor to the EU as well as a major economy within it. I am fine with leaving. We should have never joined.

    But in this case, we should dare them. We should double dare them.

  4. I think the Metric Martyr judgment is still ‘good’ law, thus, as far as concerns what it calls ‘constitutional statutes’, unless parliament explicitly legislates to overrule them, they, too remain good law.

    In other words, parliament would have explicitly to legislate to overturn the European Communities Act, int al.

    Theoretically it could do so. As always, it’s a matter of will. Not as in Triumph of the, merely deciding to do so.

  5. Even if we did leave, isn’t all that European law now case law? How could you stop these judges referring to those precedents without explicitly legislating for all of them?

  6. I am sure it is complicated – there are lawyers involved! But surely EU law only becomes UK law when the UK Parliament enacts legislation. Don’t think there are any exceptions to this.

  7. It’s been a good few years since I studied basic law but, aren’t there two types of EU ‘law’ – directives and regulations? Directives have to be ratified/passed/rubber-stamped by Parliament, regulations become law automatically.

    So we can do f.a. about the regs, but the directives, at least, can surely be left to fester in the in-box – don’t the French use this very approach to anything they don’t like?

    It’s ironic that we are the most unhappy at our membership of the EU club, yet we are about the only ones who insist on following the club’s bl**dy rules.

  8. It’s ironic that we are the most unhappy at our membership of the EU club, yet we are about the only ones who insist on following the club’s bl**dy rules.

    Indeed. I work with the French, and their ability to ignore, when convenient for themselves, principles, contracts, precedents, prior agreements, procedures, specifications, and laws is staggering.

  9. It pains me to say that this does not prove backbench Tory MPs are idiots, but it doesn’t. It suggests that they are time wasting grandstanders who hope their consituents are idiots. They’ve got their Mail headline. Job done.

  10. Rob, if parliament is sovereign then it cannot bind its successors. This If parliament either repeals the EC Act, or explicitly legislates in contradistinction to it, then the new law is binding (unless and until parliament changes its mind again) and anything flowing from the old law, whilst it might be of persuasive influence, ceases to bind.

  11. It’s ironic that we are the most unhappy at our membership of the EU club, yet we are about the only ones who insist on following the club’s bl**dy rules.

    There’s nothing “ironic” about it at all. The EU’s governance model is one developed and fine tuned in the Anglosphere countries; it is a transnational form of the Progressive ideal; to over-simplify, a corporate state whose policies are formulated by pressure groups, NGOs, business interests and other corporate bodies.

    People seem to have this strange idea that if we left the EU we would stride into the bold sunlit uplands of something or other. The reality is, we would probably be if anything less free, and the same governance model would remain, simply at the national level, and not be restrained by having to ask the French and Czechs to agree with whatever the latest crazy regulation is.

    The benefit to our Proggie elite is that tranzi organisations are a means to export this Anglospheric model of soft tyranny and its particular ideological fetishes transnationally and globally. The American Proggies learned from alcohol that “Prohibition In One Country” tends to collapse; get everyone doing whatever the stupid thing is, and it can be made to stick, not least because of the “look, everyone is doing it!” argument.

    Anyone who thinks Britain would become some sort of free country if we left the EU is being overoptimistic. The best reason for leaving would be to protect the rest of the world from our madness and thus, indirectly, weaken the justification for that madness here at home.

  12. 1. Parliament can make or unmake any law and it remains sovereign.

    2. The consequence of the sovereignty of Parliament is that whether they like it or not, judges are bound to apply an Act of Parliament even where that Act provides for the application of judicial authority from a foreign court. This was the result of the European Communities Act 1972. The position of the judiciary is frequently misunderstood. Judges have no choice. They are bound by British law to follow the rulings of the Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxemburg. Our judiciary cannot set aside the law enacted by Parliament, nor suspend it nor dispense with it. – The Rt Hon. Lord Judge

  13. Ian, you may be right about our progressive elite’s export drive, yet I cannot help but think that were we to leave the EU the bastards would have less to hide behind, fewer opportunities to claim they’re being forced into whatever liberty-chafing idiocy is currently popular.

  14. Re: VC and AH: There is an EU Law principle called Direct Effect. It means, that if we don’t specifically enact EU Directives (the majority of EU rules), then they come into force in member states regardless.
    EU laws that are framed as ‘Regulations’ have direct effect anyway.

    Wikipedia Direct Effect.

    The interesting times start when the UK parliament enacts legislation that contradicts EU laws, in the knowledge that the UK law contradicts the EU law.
    Then it would be down to our judges to determine whether International law obligations trump domestic laws. On that matter, many of our senior judges are split. If I recall correctly, LJ Laws, for example thinks that UK law is sovereign, while LJ Hallet thinks that International law trumps it.

    …and don’t diss judges too much. Every single one senior judge that I have met is sharp as mustard, and fully understand the implications of their decisions.

  15. One thing is apparent from reading these comments: the law as it stands is far too complex. Just like our tax code, it has accumulated hundreds of years of cruft, and the volume of new laws is increasing exponentially.

    I envy the former communist states of Eastern Europe who were able to rewrite their legal and accounting statutes from scratch after the fall of the iron curtain. Scotland might get to do the same.

  16. Edward Lud-

    Indeed. That was sort of my point as well. But we need to remember that much of this shit is being driven at a level higher than the EU- UN conventions, etc. For instance, the UN framework Convention On Tobbaco Control; it was written by the Yanks, they got everyone else to sign up to it (often, this is a prerequisite of trade agreements) but then didn’t sign it themselves, which is surprisingly commonplace (since America was put on Earth by God to tell everyone else what to do, not to be on the same level as lesser nations). Same technique as the UN Convention On The Rights Of The Child.

    So anyway, the Anglo-Proggie tyranny has all these tranzi mechanisms for metastasising itself, and the EU is just one. We’d have to take them all down to get a useful effect.

    I’m engaged in another thread about this issue over at the Libertarian Alliance Blog, and it’s frustratingly hard to get people to grasp that all this “land of the free” stuff and myth of English liberty and whatnot is over and we are now the problem. In the post-war period, one can I think reasonably say that in terms of the source of proggie tyranny, it’s about 80% USA, 10% UK and 10% “others”. The primary job therefore for (at least, non-American) liberals and libertarians need to be finding a way to destroy the capacity of the USA (and lesser angloproggie nations) to exert “soft power”, and taking down tranzi organisations would be a major achievement in that regard. It’s just not about some kind of foreign influence problem, it’s about spannering our own post-marxist-puritan-whatever insanity.

  17. The EU concept was very sound to start with, and anybody who says otherwise is just repeating something he doesnt understand, Free movement of people, goods and money is a good thing.

    Rot set in with Delors and the concept of harmonisation. Instead of states competing with each other to our benefit, they now collude for their benefit.

  18. monoi, those good things you identify don’t need a supranational government – they just need less government at the national level.

  19. Jonathan Miller, senior judges are indeed typically among the best brains of their generation, although the mental gymnastics required in various cases to reconcile parliamentary sovereignty with the demands of EU membership is more the province of fiction and of the imagination.

    All of which said, intelligence is not the same thing as wisdom.

  20. I’ve read Mr Gabb’s speech and the following comments on the Libertarian Alliance and it all seems very chicken or the egg to me. On the one hand the EU is a good cover for statists to push through policies they couldn’t at a national level and in other cases allows foreign statists to impose their policies on us (CAP and CET), on the other hand in some instances it can make it more complicated for our statists to impose certain policies.

    Where Gabb errs big time is assuming that the EU deserves credit for the new British constitution. Actually developments here have been paralleled by developments in other commonwealth countries so that we can speak of a New Commonwealth Model of Constitutionalism. see Gardbaum’s book of that title for more information on this. Essentially, there is a sliding scale of judicial review of primary legislation, from American/German style on the one hand to Diceyan sovereignty of parliament on the other. Modern common law countries such as the UK, Canada, Israel, NZ and Australia fit in between those two extremes.

  21. It is not actually in any politicians interests to leave the EU. The vast majority of EU laws which apply in Britain are things that Britain would probably have done anyway. Health and Safety, Financial Regulation etc etc. This way the politicians have a nice little whipping boy they can blame for “forcing” them to do stuff they were always going to do anyway. Yes there may be some flexibility around the margins but that is about it.

    Also being outside the EU hasn’t done Switzerland much good. The majority of Swiss trade is with EU members and they end up being forced to introduce EU compliant laws simply to access to the EU market. Yes Britain does have broader trading interests outside Europe but I suspect that the EU would force Britain to adopt most EU directives anyway, that is what happens in Norway.

    On the US point the people who drafted the constitution knew what they were doing. The Executive can sign all sorts of international agreements but they must be ratified by congress to be of any effect. Congress recognises that once ratified they give the executive greater powers at the expense of congress. so very few international agreements get ratified by congress so the executive now no longer bothers to even sign them. Still force them on others though

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