Member for East Antrim Sammy Wilson said in his powerful speech about the

Member for east antrim sammy wilson said in his

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Member for East Antrim (Sammy Wilson) said in his powerful speech about the irreversibility of the process. Once we give away those powers, we will never get them back. British history is a long struggle to get powers under the control of those who are accountable to the people. Many wars have been fought to achieve that, and here we are giving those powers away in a treaty. It defies belief that a free Parliament should do that without losing a war. The treaty explicitly asserts the supremacy of EU law. That cannot be found in the existing treaties. This treaty repeats and writes down the self-interested case law of the European Court of Justice. It is a major 11 Mar 2008 : Column 234 advance for the ECJ to have in a treaty what it has up to now only asserted in its own case law. The treaty also creates a self-amending procedure through the so-called ratchet or passerelle clauses so that in future it can transfer more powers away from national Parliaments and member states up to the EU without the need for the traditional intergovernmental conference, parliamentary legislation or referendums. Those at the top of the EU in Brussels have decided that they will never again ask the people what they think. They have dismissed the people and given those powers to themselves. The treaty creates a Union that is all-powerful but politically weak. It is a hollow institution because it lacks popular allegiance and legitimacy. The reason for that is fundamental. Europe is not a single political entity on which democracy can operate. There is no European public opinion, as such. There is no single European electorate and no language of Europe. There is no shared political experience. In short, there is no demos on which democracy can operate. People obstinately identify with their own country where voting is concerned. Of course, we can build upwards on that: if we have a vibrant national democracy in Europe, we can co-operate on that solid foundation to tackle common problems. We on the Conservative Benches are the internationalists. We believe in countries, Governments and people getting together to tackle common scourges and the problems of the world, but the process must be built on a solid foundation: it must arise from below, whereas the EU method is top-down. The EU wants to be the dominant law- maker and we have to accept it. That has happened despite all the effort and money spent on trying to create a European political identity. The failure to do so is shown by the fact that the loss of democracy at national level, hollowed out by the relentless upward transfer of powers, is not being replaced by democracy at European Union level. The attitude of voters towards the European Parliament, which frequently boasts that it is the repository of the democratic impulse in Europe, shows that the reverse is happening. The Parliament has demanded and been given more powers in every treaty. It says, “Give us the powers and people will see that we are important. They’ll come out to vote and we shall express the popular will of the
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  • Fall '08
  • Finklerberg

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