Parliament’s European Scrutiny Committee has thrown something of a monkey-wrench into the smooth running engine of the Government’s and the FCO’s shameless efforts to pull the wool over the eyes of sixty million Britons as those two bodies attempt to prove that you can, indeed fool all of the people all of the time.


It has had the temerity to suggest that the red lines by which Brown and his ill-starred Junta set such store are not worth a fig and that the new Treaty is in essence the same as that which the French and the Dutch so firmly rejected in 2005 (and to which they are not to be allowed to say ‘No’ again). In the light of this it is instructive to see what the propaganda line of the day is.


At the risk of boring everyone to death, here is transcript of the Committee Chairman and Europe Minister Jim Murphy on ‘Today’. I do so because we are nearing a crucial moment in this process and as it affects the very independence of our country, it is vital that we pay attention to each and every move in the propaganda war and the steps that this dishonourable Prime Minister is taking in the cause of denying us our right to give or to withhold our whole-hearted consent to the extinction of our independence:

Sarah Montague: A committee of MPs says the new treaty and the old constitution are substantially equivalent and the ‘red lines’ won’t work….. I asked Mr. Conarty [Committee Chairman] if the Treaty was the same as the Constitution:

Michael Conarty: For those countries that wanted the Constitutional Treaty and voted for it which means that they got all of the Reform Treaty it is exactly the same apart from ‘no songs’ and ‘no symbols’. But for the UK and for Ireland, but particularly for the UK the agreement is that all other countries can get that Treaty and they as part of the deal will have the UK vote for that but they will vote for the UK to have derogations, an opt-in process on Justice & Home affairs and a Protocol on the Charter of Fundamental Rights. So it is the same Treaty but we have got some things which will not apply to us at this moment.

Montague: So all that’s being reported from what your Committee said, that it is substantially equivalent, is NOT actually the case. You are saying it is.

Conarty: Well it is because, you see, there is only one EU document, we got this agreed with Mr. Murphy when he came to us last Tuesday, the one document that will be agreed with everyone will put all of those things into the Treaty and in fact throughout the Charter of Fundamental Rights, as has been said by even Mr. Murphy, it is not an opt-out from the Charter of Fundamental Rights, it is just a Protocol to say that these things will not be allowed to change the UK law. Now that’s what the red line is. But it is still in the Charter, this Charter is still in the Treaty that we sign up to. Now we are, we believe that the red lines will NOT be sustainable. Looking at the legalities and use of the European Court of Justice, we believe these will be challenged bit by bit and eventually the UK will be in a position where it will have all of the Treaty, it may not be right away, but all of the Treaty will eventually apply to the UK over time.

Montague: So everything the Government says, the reason it is different for the UK is just not the case?

Conarty: Well, what we are saying is, we are asking the Government, see what we have done is not let this document out of scrutiny because we believe there are many of these questions to be answered. We have put our concerns to the Government, you see the way our document is phrased, we say what our concerns are and ask the Government to come back with firm evidence, firm evidence, that means some changes to the IGC Treaty that says these red lines will stand.

Montague: What sort of things?

Conarty: If they cannot get these firmed up, we think they will basically leak like a sieve.

Montague: But what sort of things do you need to see?

Conarty: For example we think the Government on the Charter must get a clear statement that, notwithstanding other provisions in the Treaties or Union Law generally, because what will happen is that someone will take us to the European Court of Justice and say “That must apply because we have already signed up to previous agreements on things like ‘The Working Time Directive’ or employment law” and therefore we are not applying that Charter the same as everyone else, therefore the European Court of Justice will be asked to rule against the UK Government. That is one of them. The other one is, we have opt-ins in Justice & Home Affairs. If we say that we would like to look at opting in to something, what we are worried about is we might say we want to look at opting into some of this, when they start the negotiations they cannot then get out, so we want an opt-out clause that says we can look at least to opt in but of we are not happy we can opt out. Now we were given an assurance by Mr. Murphy that this would happen but we cannot find in the Treaty a clause or a condition that allows us to do that. So we want those things strengthened before we can say ‘yes’, those red lines are secure.

Montague: Does you committee think that the Government has been misleading on this?

Conarty: No, it is not really that it has been misleading. What’s happened is, in fact, that this IGC Mandate and this Treaty was written in secret by the German Presidency. Our Officials, and Mr. Murphy admitted it, did not see it until forty-eight hours before it had to be approved, which means really that it was not drafted by our civil servants but it was drafted by the German Civil Service on behalf of the Presidency and as far as we can see on the evidence we got last week from Sian Morgan who was one of the officials who was our representative there, said they did not have any part in drafting it. We think the Government has to go in and redraft it in a way that we in the UK are happy with the fact that these red lines will not be broken down over the longer term.

Montague: So, just briefly, do you….

Conarty: Now it is a problem for us because we don’t think we have got the drafting that gives us the security that the red lines will be sustainable.

Montague: Michael Conarty, thank you. Well listening to that was the Europe Minister Jim Murphy. Do you accept that the Government should go back and redraft this Treaty which was drawn up by German Civil Servants?

Murphy: No. I don’t, on the basis that we have got a very strong deal for the United Kingdom, all of the members states of the European Union, all 27, have said that the Constitutional approach has been abandoned, so all nations have moved away from the Constitution but the fact, and Michael acknowledged and his report acknowledged it today is that the UK has moved furthest from the old Constitution of any member state and we have got a combination of protocols, opt-ins, qualified majority votings that do not apply to the United Kingdom, that mean it is a very strong and substantial deal for the United Kingdom.

Montague (incredulous): But you just heard Michael Conarty say that all those things that you have negotiated that make it different for the UK are effectively worthless because over time they will be eroded.

Murphy: Well that is not exactly what Michael said, but the point is, on the protocol that Michael spoke about, which is on the Charter of Fundamental Rights, look to be straightforward about this is that the Charter of Fundamental Rights doesn’t create any new rights in the United Kingdom or in any other member state and it does not create any new powers for the European Court of Justice or any domestic court to strike down any UK law. But what we have put in place, and we are the only country in the European Union to put this in place, is a legally binding Protocol which has the status of European Community Law, to make it absolutely clear that nothing in the Charter in future could extend the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice and that is an unique UK agreement with the rest of the member states and that’s…

Montague: But you have just…

Murphy: What is important to get across is that we have a separate version of the Treaty in the UK…

Montague: Yes but you have just heard Michael Conarty make the point that we have a separate version but it is not going to end up being separate because by the time there are challenges to it, the British position will be changed and they, the committee, are asking for further firm evidence from you that the red lines, Britain’s red lines will stand.

Murphy: Well that conversation will, of course, continue with committee but there is very very strong legal advice that the Protocol on the Charter of Fundamental Rights is watertight legally and remember that no other country has that Protocol at all, the opt-in on Justice & Home Affairs is, I think, only ourselves and Ireland that have that opt-in in Justice & Home Affairs and that works well at the moment and it’s an extension of it and really what it comes down to is that we have moved away from the Constitution, the UK’s moved further away than everyone else and out of the 27 members.

Montague: You are not saying anything, you have not said anything, you have not actually said anything which can answer that question that the committee has posed asking for firm evidence that the red lines will stand.

Murphy: Well we have been very clear with the committee and will continue to be so and will look into the specific recommendations they have made this morning.

The first thing to notice is the shameless way in which the Pro-EU BBC seizes upon anything, however specious, that it can to join in the hoodwinking process. Thus Montague as she immediately tried to turn the Committee’s opinion on its head: “So all that’s being reported from what your Committee said, that it is substantially equivalent, is NOT actually the case”. This was a particularly blatant piece of standing the English language on its head. You could not have a better example than this.


The second point is that, belatedly, the Committee has spotted the fatal flaw in the ludicrous ‘red lines wheeze’ which is that even if, and this is a matter of serious doubt, they have legal force on the face of it today, they have all the life expectancy of an alcoholic Glaswegian smoker and will soon be effaced by legal action or, the EU having arrogated to itself the power to do so, by EU Diktat.


Thirdly all this wonderful debate about the red lines surely misses the point which is that the rest of the Treaty creates a behemoth that acquires all the institutions that it needs to call itself an independent sovereign state: a defined territory, a settled population, the capacity to enter into foreign relations and the institutions essential to being a government. That in a sense is the whole point of these ‘red lines’: they are an ephemeral distraction designed to draw our eye away from the ball that is the Treaty.


Fourthly this helps us to discover the propaganda line of the moment. This is that the constitutional concept has been abandoned and everyone has moved away from such a concept, but the UK has moved “further than anyone else” and everyone is therefore wrong to say this is a Constitution by any other name and, indeed, the other twenty-six EU members actually signed a different Treaty from the one we have signed, so there.


Quite how you have a Treaty which has only been signed by one party is not explained. That, of course, they will never do, since that would be to expose this whole exercise for the giant confidence trick that it is.

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