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 The New Alliance

 - What Was New In 2000

The UK faces the threat of the next EU Treaty at Nice later in the year.

The exact proposals are yet to be revealed and the 5 November release deadline was missed. Expect proposals to enable the 'Corpus Juris' (European Legal Area) and European Public Prosecutor through the back door.

On 19 October, there was an interesting quote from German MEP Jo Leinen (Party of European Socialists; also a signatory to the sinister Charter for Global Democracy [sic]). It concerned the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, which is tipped to become an 'EU Constitution' via the Treaty.

'A right of a citizen is a right against the authorities. So believing that the charter is the beginning of a superstate is wrong'

Hold on. If you actually read the EU Charter, it gives the EU the 'right' to withdraw our 'rights'. As this is an over-riding reversal of what Mr Leinen claims, it looks rather like a superstate!

Click for our index of interesting websites

Politicians speaking abroad sometimes say things they wouldn't to a domestic audience. Speaking to the Warsaw Stock Exchange on 6 October, Tony Blair let it slip: 'The difficulty, however, with the view of Europe as a superstate, subsuming nations into a politics dominated by supranational institutions, is that it too fails the test of the people'.

Hang on, supranational means 'above nation-state'. Institutions such as the European Central Bank, the European Commission, European Court can dicate action and even policy to nation-states. The number of areas where decision-making has been transferred to European institution level is now so great, that the EU is effectively 'supranational' and thus a superstate. Fails the test of the people, Prime Minister?.

Blair speech on Foreign Office website

The BBC's Programme Complaints Unit, which deals with serious complaints about inaccuracies and bias in broadcasts has upheld two complaints. In March, reports on petrol prices in Northern Ireland were interspersed with irrelevant footage over the Republic of Ireland's membership of the Euro-zone - with the clear implication that the UK would get cheaper petrol by joining the Single Currency.

The decent course of action would have been to explain that the Republic simply taxed petrol less heavily than the UK. (Or to comment that the plummeting Euro would have made petrol even more expensive, as less dollar-priced petrol would have been bought by the weak Euro). So why didn't the BBC just do that?

Although admitting mis-reporting, the BBC amazingly claimed that it was not biased, We look forward to the pledge it must give on how to avoid a recurrence in the next Complaints Bulletin. The BBC was also shamed after falsely implying that Sir Winston Churchill had supported Britain joining the EEC.

An interesting development has been the appointment of Andrew Marr as BBC Political Editor. Marr was a key member of the Federal Trust Round Table in 1995/6. Despite claiming to be a charity with no political views of its own, it openly recommended that the UK join the single currency as soon as possible and "reinforcing the federal element" of the EU. Obviously an ideal man for the job?

Are you a small businessman, appalled at the prospect of having to change your stationery for yet another telephone number change? The Sunday Times, 24 April, reports that the European Commission ["Brussels"] has been pressurising telecoms companies to have a pan European code so that companies can have a location-independent EU identity. The codes, beginning 00 388 3 will be up to seventeen digits long and in use from late 2001.

National and local codes will vanish in this numbering scheme. It's optional now, but what's to stop the EU making it compulsory, especially if the new Treaty of Nice is passed? And if the history of Britain's '07000' codes is an indicator, will charges for local calls have to rise to subsidise international ones?

According to the Daily Telegraph, 16 March, European Commissioner for monetary union, Pedro Solbes told journalists "In the long term, it's not possible to be in the Union and outside EMU".

Although he had Denmark's Euro referendum in mind, there are legal issues at stake under the Maastricht Treaty, in which the UK's opt-out is from "the third stage of EMU"; and described rather than defined. In fact it is possible to conclude that having opted-out of the first wave of single currency joiners, we can be told to join by majority voting at a later sitting of the European Council.

Mr Solbes was using the term "EMU" very loosely; Britain has no opt-outs from other parts of 'Economic and Monetary Union', such as the rigged 'Single Market', and having to run the national economy for the benefit of 'Europe', and not our own country. He added that EMU should be seen as a bridge to full political union.

Click for an analysis on Britain's "opt-out"

And the Guardian, 15 March, highlighted a clash between two EU officials. The European Ombudsman, Jacob Soderman, had complained about the secrecy surrounding access to EU documents. Commission President Romano Prodi reacted angrily, claiming that this view was "detrimental to the normal functioning of institutions".

So much for "citizen's rights" promised in the EU Amsterdam Treaty! Mr Prodi's attitude was described as "irresponsible" by Tony Bunyan of London-based civil liberties group Statewatch.

According to the Times, 24 February: Minstry of Defence officials predicted that Britain's armed forces will be trained in the future to serve in a Euro-style army. A training strategy is being drawn up to take effect from 2010 and will take into account the possible formation of a European army. This will include training of British personnel in continental military establishments.

It doesn't shed a very credible light on Foreign Secretary Robin Cook's assurances in the Government's position paper IGC: Reform for Enlargement. According to the Times, 16 February, the Government claims it will veto an expansion of EU powers in treaty amendments, border controls, tax, social security, defence and revenue raising [for the EU budget].

According to the Daily Telegraph, 15 February, EU Foreign Ministers took a step towards creating an EU army, approving an embryonic military staff with an operational role in early warning and strategic planning. It follows a decision in December 1999 to set up an EU rapid reaction force of 60,000 men by 2003.

Click for information on our current NATO defence arrangement, which preserves our sovereignty

Click for information on our April London talk on defence

According to PA News (Political Correspondent Andrew Woodcock, Feb 20) - former Chancellor Kenneth Clarke said on Sunday that that his opinion on the euro and William Hague's were "not diametrically opposed" and that the difference between and their views is only a matter of timing, as both believe that Britain will eventually join.

Clarke suggested that Tory policy on the euro might even change within the lifetime of the next Parliament: "I accept that if we have a Conservative government, it won't want to join the single currency during the next Parliament, but by the end of that Parliament, who knows where we will be?"

He added that he didn't believe for one moment that any Conservative MP is going to be deselected for his political views, "certainly not on an issue where, as far as William Hague is concerned, we have a free vote and freedom to campaign".

This comes as an embarrassment to Hague on his "Keep The Pound" tour, subtitled by some as "But only for 5 years". Readers may remember that Hague begged Conservative Associations not to deselect Europhile MPs.

New Alliance has requested a disclaimer from the Tory campaign and will be happy to publish one here if it is ever received. To date, we have just had something bland from Ms Isla Glaister, stating that Mr Hague is opposed "for the next Parliament", and that he cannot foresee the economic conditions for joining being right!

Click for story on an emerging problem for Hague in Europe

The Guardian (1.4.99) reported that in a BRMB poll of over 1,000 people, only 15% preferred metrication. A massive 72% of both adults and young people wanted to keep Britain's traditional measurements, with clear majorities in every age group.

Vivian Linacre, Director of the Edinburgh-based British Weights and Measures Association (BWMA) commented that many of the new young generation wanted to break out of the "official" metric culture imposed on them at school.

Vivian adds: "The entire metrication process is legally unsound on several grounds. Until its doubtful legality is tested in a Court of law, - by defence of an honest trader facing prosecution - BWMA urges that both compliance and enforcement should be deferred. If the authorities are confident that compulsory metrication is constitutionally as well as administratively proper, what have they to fear from test cases? Or do they realise that the media and public opinion will be outraged by the enforcement of these wholly unjust and unnecessary regulations?"

However from this year, when Britain is supposed to implement an EC Directive, it will be illegal to sell loose food, such a fruit and vegetables in imperial measures. Penalties for this is are up to six months in prison and/or a 5,000 fine - the same as for assaulting a police officer. No wonder former Lib Dem leader, Paddy Ashdown MP was quoted "One of the failings of the EU seems to be its readiness to get involved in relatively insignificant areas of everyday life"

It is no surprise that many traders will carry on using measures that their customers both understand and prefer. If you are in difficulties over wanting to use Imperial measures, contact UKIP MEP Jeffrey Titford's office on 01245-266466.

Click for BWMA website

Click for 1998/9 news stories on the Euro, jobs, referendum and falling support for the EU

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This page updated: 11 November 2000

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