The various trailings of John Redwood’s proposals over the weekend (together with a reaction from Labour that came with a script carefully written by the BBC) raised the prospect, not for the first time, that a Conservative Government would seek to restore the opt-out to the European Social Chapter abandoned by Vanity Blair as soon as he came to power in 1997, but also would seek to ‘disapply’ such parts of the EU Diktat that it considered not to be in the national interest. A particular target that has been mentioned is the “working time directive”, a particularly dotty piece of legislation that, if strictly applied, severely curtails the freedom of choice of those individuals who want or need to work long hours in order to make ends meet. As usual the EU Nanny thinks she knows best.

We must await the detail, perhaps, to see what the word ‘disapply’ actually means (it not being a word my Concise Oxford English Dictionary recognizes: but then it predates the era of spin by some thirty-five years). But in order for such policies to be in the least bit credible, the Conservative party, indeed any party which espouses the repatriation of powers from Europe, must spell out what is to happen if either (a) a proposal to Brussels for the repatriation of powers is emphatically rebuffed or (b) the UK unilaterally ceases to apply some legislation and is taken to the European Court of Justice by the EuroNabobs who will be full of fire and brimstone to get us to knuckle under like good little Europeans.

So, I ask: what is the plan for when either or both of these two come to pass, as they surely will as night follows day? The EU, having carefully, by deceit or not, accreted to it huge swathes of power formerly exercised by individual member Nation States is not going promptly to give those powers back just at the moment when it has finally assembled all the Institutions and Powers that go to make up an Independent Sovereign State. Faced with a country like Britain that is showing itself unwilling to obey any more, they are going to be very keen to wield as big a stick as possible as soon as possible to bring us into line. If it was France, of course, they would let her get away with murder before doing anything, but that is another story.

Is the plan to shrug our shoulders and say “We tried but we lost…” Or will we continue to defy the EU? Will we try and derail the work of the EU so that its work comes to a standstill? That will become almost impossible after 1st. January 2009 at which time the UK will be stripped of any worthwhile remaining power of veto anyway. If we continue to defy the EU, what will be the UK’s legal basis for so doing, given the primacy of EU law over our own law? Is there a ‘nuclear option’, so to speak, and if so what is it?

How are we going to get our way if the EU will not budge? These threats are not credible without a clear declaration of what we will do in the event of the EU refusing to agree. The voters in this country may well want a Referendum on the Mark II EU Constitution. They do so because they are far more intelligent than the EuroNabobery gives them credit for but they are also intelligent enough to know that these proposals are just so much hot air if not backed by a clear and unambiguous plan of what will happen in the event of EU intransigence.

What is more, Labour knows this and the LibDems know it and will pull such proposals to pieces when the time comes.

Surely the only possible answers are that either we negotiate a totally different relationship of a much more disengaged membership of the EU Club or we say that the final alternative is to leave after saying a very polite ‘goodbye, au revoir, totsiens, auf wiedersehn, hasta la vista, TTFN’?

We all recall one promise which Mr. Cameron has made, to the effect that he would pull the Conservative party out of the EPP. To date the party remains a part of the EPP, an avowedly Federalist entity. Why has this promise not been honoured? How can we believe in promises to defy the EU when a simple thing like this remains unimplemented nearly two years after it was first promised?

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