The Reichstag burning, 1933

As the EU conducts its own version of Gleichschaltung, Provincial Governors are under extreme pressure to complete the process of getting the Enabling Act (aka The Treaty of Lisbon) into law as soon as possible so that the writ of Brussels Diktat can start to run at the very earliest opportunity. Gordon Brown has, therefore, decided to curtail debate.

Recently the Government of the United Kingdom (savour those words whilst you may, for the very concept is not long for this world) was promising that there would be extensive time for debate concerning the bill to ratify the Treaty of Lisbon but clearly Brown’s patience with the process is at an end and he has decided to call his dissenters to heel. Thus instead of the 20 to 25 days of debate that we thought, naively I suppose, would be allowed for examination of the Treaty, Government Whips are now saying that twelve days of ‘themed’ debate is going to be more than enough.

The idea of allotting to each day’s debate a specific theme is to enable the Government control of the agenda so that any controversial measure in the Treaty can be carefully avoided in favour of some mind-numbingly arcane area of the Treaty which is superficially favourable to British interests and which may thus safely be pored over at length. Clearly debate is to be strictly controlled and, once a fig leaf of propriety can be established, shut down completely.

One reason why Gordon Brown said we did not need a referendum was because the Treaty would be extensively debated ‘line by line’ in Parliament. That we now know was, as everything else he has said on the matter, nothing more and nothing less than a lie.

Some may say that my use of the comparison between the European Union of 2008 and the German Third Reich of 23rd. March 1933 is far fetched, offensive even. I apologise for nothing, for no apology is due when the comparison is one which is entirely valid. If you doubt this then look no further than this piece from the excellent Dan Hannan concerning the effacing of opposition to le Grand Projet in the European ‘Parliament’.

How else can one describe this process other than that it is the deliberate subversion of the Rule of Law in order to suppress opposition and dissent? How does that differ in any way from the activities of a dictatorship?

For that is what is taking place here.

Daniel Hannan forbears to make the comparison with what took place in 1933 on the grounds that to do so would be (a) disproportionate and (b) terribly rude to Herr Hans-Gert Pöttering, President of the Parliament, who, he says, lost a father in the Second World War. Only on those issues do I firmly dissent from what he says.

As to the matter of proportionality, in a strict narrow sense Daniel Hannan is right for it is the Treaty itself which is a dead ringer for the Enabling Act not the processes of the European Parliament. But this debauching of the rule of law is itself utterly dictatorial in nature and deserves the most severe condemnation as an act of wholly despotic authoritarianism.

As to the latter I feel no such constraint. What Herr Pöttering is up to is every bit as sinister as anything which the Nazis got up to in the Reichstag before that body became the emasculated poodle of Adolf Hitler after passage of the Enabling Act. How else can one describe a plan to give the President of the European Parliament power effectively to suppress otherwise perfectly legal means of debate?

If that is what is going on, then I am afraid Herr Pöttering’s tenderness on the subject of his long-dead father is as nothing compared with the destruction of the rule of law.

Hannan’s piece is a must-read item and contains some quite excellent and entirely apposite quotations from Shakespeare and Burke that I wished I had come up with myself and I was amused by his adoption of a Catoesque tactic of observing at the end of any offering of his to the EU ‘Parliament’ the latin sentence ‘Pacto Olisipiensis Censenda Est’. [The Lisbon Treaty must be Put to the Vote]

And from his picture, he looks so young!

Perhaps Herr Pöttering will counter this with one of his own:

Delenda est Brittania!1

1 Britain must be destroyed!