Surely one of them must understand surely they must feel that at least one

Surely one of them must understand surely they must

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must understand that there have been benefits from our joining the EU. Surely one of them must understand; surely they must feel that at least one thing has benefited the British people. Perhaps that one thing is the 3 million jobs that have been created, the fact that we have peace and security in Europe, or the fact that we can co-operate on a range of issues to tackle the justice and home affairs agenda. Those are just three examples; I can think of hundreds more. In the quiet of the night, after hon. Members have gone home and realised that all their posturing has not stopped the Bill from going through the House of Commons, they will realise how much the EU has benefited Britain. I am happy to have spoken in this debate, and I hope that the Bill will be carried with a huge majority tonight. 6.19 pm Mr. William Cash (Stone) (Con): I am glad to follow the right hon. Member for Leicester, East (Keith Vaz), because for many years he and I have carried on conversation, dialogue and argument on this subject. As I pointed out in an intervention, he took part in the European forum, which we set up, chaired by Lord Waddington. The right hon. Member for Leicester, East gave evidence to us, as did the right hon. Member for Rotherham (Mr. MacShane) and Will Hutton. People from all sides of the political debate discussed as objectively as possible the question of where we were going on Europe. The proceedings were published and have been acknowledged as a significant contribution to trying to find common ground on the direction of European reform. The problem is this treaty. The treaty is the product not of the people who came to the European reform forum but of people in the unelected enclaves of the European Commission—the 11 Mar 2008 : Column 198 people who are not listening. They are not listening to the vote in France and Holland or to the people in this country. They are breaking promises. They have produced a treaty deliberately written, we are told, by “a leader” so that it is unreadable. The treaty is not merely unreadable, it is undecipherable, which is where the problem lies for those of us who are not intimately connected with this matter. I pay tribute again to the hon. Member for Linlithgow and East Falkirk (Michael Connarty), the excellent Chairman of our European Scrutiny Committee. Anybody who has tried to read the dense material in the treaty should ask themselves whether the man in the street—given the impact of the document on his daily life—could possibly be expected to understand what it is all about. Passerelles, subsidiarity, constitutional concepts: it is unbelievable that such a document should be the ruling document of the people of this country for the indefinite future. Let us compare the treaty to the simple language of the American constitution. In far less space and with far fewer words—far less verbiage—it encapsulates ideas that have managed to carry that country from the day the constitution was signed. There have been some amendments, but not to the integral part of the constitution. In this country, we have had to revise treaties from time to time. Over the last 200 or 300 years, we have
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  • Fall '08
  • Finklerberg

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