One reason I like the treatyand prefer it to the constitutionis that it builds

One reason i like the treatyand prefer it to the

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One reason I like the treaty—and prefer it to the constitution—is that it builds incrementally on other treaties. The hon. Member for Aldridge-Brownhills talked about English common law being built up over centuries. Europe is new, and we are building its measures up in a way that is parallel to the building up of English common law. We have had a series of treaties, and I like that process; one of the reasons I shall vote in favour of Third Reading is that the treaty builds incrementally. I was a Member of this House at the time of debate on the Maastricht treaty, and I voted on it, as you did, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I remember all the arguments then, saying how wicked and iniquitous it was to have a guillotine. Members used to say that Mrs.—now Baroness—Thatcher was wicked to introduce guillotines on such important matters and that that was the end of parliamentary democracy as we knew it; and we have heard the same arguments again over the past weeks. However, we must see such steps in the context of Governments having to get their business through. They will get their business done; I am afraid that that is the nature of this place. However, it must be said that Lisbon is a much less significant treaty than Maastricht; that was the big hurdle.
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The Lisbon treaty is better than the original constitution. The constitution would have wiped out all the previous treaties and started again. I did not like that; I did not think it was necessary. As a politician, I preferred an accretion of effort—building on the last thing that we had constructed and modifying it and changing the bits that have not worked or that we did not like. I do not like the common agricultural policy and what it has done to our agriculture, and I do not like aspects of the common fisheries policy, but I do like other bits of the treaties. Let me explain why I shall go home tonight content about voting for Third Reading. My generation was born during the dark period when this House was being bombed by German aircraft. We can remember the second world war; I was born towards the end of it, but I can remember what Europe did to itself then. I think what a wonderful life I have had and what a wonderful life my children and grandchildren will have bearing in mind certain ghastly things in English history. There are wonderful things about English history, but for goodness’ sake there have been wars 11 Mar 2008 : Column 231 after wars. The Napoleonic wars were followed by more wars and then by the first world war. The war that brought more of my generation into politics than any other was the first world war, because we thought that it should never happen again. One can read about the history of the first world war and the disgraceful decisions taken by politicians of every party across Europe that made that war happen and made millions of young men die in the trenches. Like many people of my generation, I came into politics to build a country and a Europe where that would never happen again.
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  • Fall '08
  • Finklerberg

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