Saturday, 27 February 2016

Legal Advice

The senior law officer in the Government is the Attorney General. His advice to the Government has usually been confidential but since Lord Goldsmith's tenure, advice is now sometimes made public.

Legal Advice is just that - advice. It is not legally binding and may be incorrect (ask Lady Shirley Porter of Westminster Council fame).

The definition of Opinion is: 'A view or judgement formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge' (Oxford Dictionaries)

According to The Guardian:

"The government’s most senior lawyer has slapped down Michael Gove’s claim that the UK’s new deal with the EU could be ignored by the European court of justice, saying there was a consensus of opinion that it was legally binding.
Jeremy Wright, who sided with the government’s campaign to keep the UK in the EU, said this was not just his personal opinion but that of the government’s lawyers, the EU’s lawyers and a majority of lawyers in the country.
The attorney general, who at one point was said to be considering joining the leave camp, said: “The suggestion that this agreement does not have legal effect until it is incorporated into EU treaties is not correct.
“It has legal effect from the point the UK says it intends to remain in the EU, and the European court must take it into account. The job of the European court is to interpret the agreements between the 28 nation states of the EU. This is one of those agreements, with equivalent legal force to other agreements such as treaties.
“That is not just my opinion – it is the opinion of this government’s lawyers, lawyers for the EU, and, I suspect, the majority of lawyers in this country.”"
A 'Consensus of OPINION', not just his opinion but that of a MAJORITY (50.5%?) of Lawyers. What about the minority who have arguably an equally valid opinion?

'The European Court must take it (the agreement) into ACCOUNT' - does that mean the European Court, having taken the agreement into account, can then ignore it? 

'This is one of those agreements (that the European court must take into account) with equivalent legal force to other agreements such as treaties.'
What on earth does 'equivalent legal force' mean? 

The European Courts usually interpret treaties in a way that bolsters ever closer union. The agreement Mr Cameron has is either legally binding or it isn't.
'Equivalent legal force' could mean anything.
EUReferendum, in his post today, states:
'While the deal, does in fact cover different areas, those parts which require treaty change for their implementation cannot be valid, in that they breach fundamental principles of treaty law (Articles 34 and 61 of the Vienna Convention), in seeking to impose obligations on third parties, and being made dependent on actions over which the signatories have no control, the execution of which they cannot guarantee.'
I had better be clear here. I am no lawyer and have no legal qualification.
It is obvious, however, that there is a sharp difference of legal opinion on whether Mr Cameron's deal is legally valid or not. Many commentators and lawyers, albeit a minority, say it is not legally binding.
It is at least possible that some court could declare that the deal is not legally valid or that a court could take it into account and ignore it or, even worse, over rule it.
This is a vote about who governs Britain, about Sovereignty. There will probably not be another chance like this in my lifetime.
David Cameron has not done what he said he would do. Treaty change is not delivered now. The deal is not good enough. It may not be legally binding and is open to challenge. 

Treaty change will not happen until some unforeseen date in the future whilst France and Germany say that treaty change is not on the horizon. This is not even a promise of gruel tomorrow.

Please, I implore you, vote to make the United Kingdom independent of the European Union.

Vote to Leave the European Union

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

David Cameron's EU deal isn't legally binding

The following article appeared in CityA.M. and was written by Ryan Bourne who is head of Public Policy at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA)
"Boris Johnson sells papers. So for political hacks who view everything through the prism of party politics, both his divergence from David Cameron over the EU and the prospect of a future leadership run are understandably exciting. But in focusing so much on him, journalists are missing a far more important story which could influence the referendum result.
Despite what Cameron has claimed, as a matter of legal fact, even this new “thin gruel” UK-EU deal is not legally binding. As Vote Leave, Richard North and others have shown, it was agreed on an intergovernmental basis outside the EU treaty framework. This means it has no basis in EU law, and is reliant on the adoption of the measures in an unplanned and unspecified future treaty change. This might seem boring, but it matters. The pathetic “deal” represents nothing more than a series of clarifications and promises which might never happen, particularly given it relies on future leaders agreeing. Meanwhile, parts can be amended by the European Parliament or struck down by the European Court of Justice.
So we are simply being asked to trust that it will be delivered if we vote Remain. Cameron’s misleading words on this do not bode well. Nor does French President Francois Hollande saying there was “no revision of the treaties planned” or Angela Merkel explaining that it may never occur.
Unfortunately, being liberal with language seems to be a feature of Cameron’s behaviour on the referendum. Sovereignty was the weekend buzzword from his opponents, Michael Gove and Boris. That is “the ability for a governing body to govern itself without any interference from outside sources or bodies”. Or at least that is the official definition. On the Marr Show, Cameron instead tried to claim it was about an ability to “get things done”. Perhaps he took this definition from the same dodgy dictionary which gave him the meaning of “fundamental”, “reform”, “renegotiation” and “legally binding”.
The double-standards of some pro-EU journalists on Boris are breathtaking. Through the build-up to the mayor’s decision, it was clear that many were ready to spin his expected support for Cameron as a huge blow to the Leave campaign. As it happened, his decision to back Leave led to an outpouring of assertions that he is an unprincipled chancer, only thinking about his future leadership prospects. Maybe this was a factor. Maybe not. Yet those same people who castigated Boris (clearly an uncertain eurosceptic) have remained largely silent on the much larger number of lifelong Brexiteers who have enjoyed Damascene conversions to the EU after experiencing the delights of ministerial office.
Should Leavers spell out specifically what Britain would look like outside the EU? It’s a big strategic question. Many believe doing so would gift the EU and the Remain campaign an opportunity to close off the prospect. More importantly, many on the Leave spectrum disagree with each other about what they want or what is feasible in the probable two year initial exit process, and ultimately it will be the government, not the Leave campaign, undertaking that negotiation. Boris’s statement suggested to me that he would be happy with a European Economic Area style arrangement, a bit like Norway, inside the single market but outside political union. Others believe leaving the single market is necessary to tighten migration and that a free trade deal can be agreed quickly. Some believe in the much riskier option of striking out of free trade arrangements entirely. For others still, it is only feasible to remain within the single market to begin with, given how entrenched EU law and regulations are, before transitioning out.
There are disagreements over what is feasible and the extent to which we should be willing to give up some control temporarily to ease out. Where all Leavers agree, though, is that exiting is the only way to return sovereignty to the UK Parliament and prevent the UK from being swallowed into a deeper political union. Furthermore, leaving will allow us to exit damaging EU programmes such as the Common Agricultural Policy, take back our own seat on international bodies such as the World Trade Organisation, allow us control of our external trade policy and, to a lesser or greater extent, save on financial contributions."
The only way to return sovereignty to the UK Parliament and prevent the UK from being swallowed into a deeper political union is to exit the European Union. 
This referendum is about GOVERNANCE. Who governs the United Kingdom? 
The United Kingdom should be Sovereign and not an outer borough of a German dominated supranational state.
David Cameron's EU deal isn't legally binding.
Vote to Leave the European Union.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Cameron's deal has NO Substance

This is the second of two articles written by Ian Dunt which appear in Firstly, I am very grateful once again to Mr Dunt for his permission to quote his article in full. I make no apology for copying articles in support of the position I hold provided I have the permission of the authors involved. 

I will vote to Leave the European Union. 

I want as many other people as possible to vote to Leave the European Union. Any supporting evidence for that position is valuable. Besides, Mr Dunt's article rips the liar Cameron to shreds.

"Cameron's EU deal has all the substance of confetti at an autumn wedding"

"We're already forgetting about the EU deal. Even though it was only unveiled on Friday night, it's been quickly eclipsed by Boris Johnson's manoeuvring and the usual Tory civil war on Europe. Give it a few days and you'll barely remember it happened.
That's just as well, because the deal itself is typical of the way Cameron does politics. It is an advertising billboard for a product which doesn't exist.
Special status
Cameron claims to have secured the UK "special" status within the EU where it, and it alone, is not subject to 'ever-closer union' requirements. "It is recognised that the United Kingdom is not committed to further political integration in the European Union," the deal states. "References to ever-closer union do not apply to the United Kingdom."
It sounds impressive, until you consider that this is merely a reformulation of a statement the European Council put out in June 2014:
"The concept of ever closer union allows for different paths of integration for different countries, allowing those that want to deepen integration to move ahead, while respecting the wish of those who do not want to deepen any further". [My italics]
Cameron and his European negotiation partners treat the public like a fool, gambling that they can sell them a rewording as a fundamental constitutional development. It is nothing of the sort.
But even if that June 2014 statement didn't exist, the deal would still be meaningless. 'Ever-closer union' does not have any direct legal force, except for arguably – and this really is arguable – giving the European Court of Justice a sense of narrative and perceived political purpose. And even if that weren't the case, removing it now does not remove existing EU obligations.
One of Cameron's missions was to safeguard countries outside the Eurozone from the decisions made by those inside it. His great accomplishment here is that non-eurozone countries can force a debate among EU leaders on Eurozone decisions they're concerned about.
This does not address the problem Cameron and George Osborne have long worried about – that a caucus of Eurozone countries can outvote everyone else on the European Council. That remains the case. It is the case almost by definition.
Cameron's victory in securing a mechanism which triggers a debate is eerily reminiscent of the petitions system for the UK parliament, which is also functionally meaningless. Organisations are happy with debates. They just don't like to change things. The debate mechanism here is clearly a sop meant to give Cameron something he can point to back home. It won't stop any Eurozone law, regardless of the effect it has on the UK.
Cameron's most substantial accomplishment comes on benefits, but take a magnifying glass to it and it falls apart under observation. The prime minister claims he can reduce immigration to the UK and control benefit spending by reducing benefits given to the EU migrants who come here.
Just before his Bloomberg speech, Cameron said he wanted powers to impose an 'emergency brake' on immigration altogether. Then Angela Merkel got on the phone and told him he'd never get that, so perhaps he should stop mentioning it. He duly did. Now the emergency brake refers to stopping benefits for EU migrants for a set amount of time when they arrive in a new EU member state, if the member state can prove that it is suffering a harsh drain on its welfare provisions and job market due to immigration. The UK will qualify automatically for this status.
Cameron wanted the emergency rules to apply for 13 years for all EU migrants. Instead it will last for seven and apply only to EU migrants arriving from now on. The emergency brake can't be extended.
There is a lot that is wrong or misleading about this proposal. Firstly and most importantly, it will do nothing to stop immigration. People come to the UK because they want jobs, not benefits. There are innumerable studies demonstrating this.
None of them come from the Westminster government, of course, because it apparently has never bothered to try to calculate how much EU migrants cost. Treasury minister Lord O'Neill was asked by Labour peer Lord Beecha last week to reveal "the annual benefits paid to EU migrants in the UK and the contribution of those individuals to the public purse through income tax receipts and VAT". His answer? "The information is not available."
The government has tried previously to pretend that 40% of recent European Economic Area (EEA) migrants claim UK benefits, but the UK Statistics Authority said the data it was based on – an ad hoc Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) release – was "unsatisfactory".
But if we jokingly assume for a moment that the DWP is a paragon of reliable statistical data, it itself found that just 2.2% of the people who claim welfare benefits in the UK are EU nationals (114,000 out of five million).
Put simply: EU migrants don't come here to claim benefits, no serious people believe they do, and reducing their benefits entitlement will do nothing to stop them coming here.
So if the UK can't show that EU migrants are putting our welfare system at risk, how is the emergency brake being activated? It’s being done as a favour. The seven year period is exactly tallied to the period Britain allowed eastern European new member state citizens in without controls. So, fine – it's a favour. What’s a few mythical emergency brakes between friends?
Except that there are potential European repercussions which follow from what is being agreed here. It's one of the rare areas where there is a concrete proposal in the deal – albeit one based on fiction. Other member states will be able to apply to the European Council for an emergency brake, probably through a qualified majority vote on a proposal from the Commission (read this for more on how the Council, the Commission and the parliament work). The European parliament will vote on the mechanism which is used, but it’s not clear if it'll have a part in deciding whether a member state qualifies.
Here's the problem: the first country to use the emergency brake - the UK - will hit the brake without there being an emergency. After all, the brakes should only apply when "an exceptional situation exists on a scale that affects essential aspects of [a member state's] social security system, including the primary purpose of its in-work benefits system, or which leads to difficulties which are serious and liable to persist in its employment market, or are putting an excessive pressure on the proper functioning of its public services".
As Jonathan Portes has pointed out, none of this describes the UK in 2016. In fact, it is quite the opposite: radically reducing immigration would be likely to affect our social security system, lead to employment market problems and put excess pressure on the functioning of our public services.
"After all, London schools are outperforming the rest of the country by miles, partly because of immigration.  NHS waiting times are actually lower in areas with higher immigration.  And EU migrants pay more into the welfare system than they take out. As for the labour market… Crisis, what crisis?  And if it doesn’t apply now, when would it?"
This is the Bizarro world of policy-making: we are blaming the thing which is solving a problem for creating it. Everything means the opposite of what is really the case.
Any Brit is used to the sort of debate by now, one driven by Daily Express headlines and shrieking half-mad backbench politicians. But this is something else. We're now exporting it to the rest of the continent. Any member state should be able to apply an emergency brake, because the first and only instance of it being used sets a benchmark so low as to be comically absurd.
Child benefit
Finally Cameron claims to have won a victory on child benefit being paid by the UK for children overseas when their parents work in the UK. He didn’t get the ban he wanted, but did manage to get the payments indexed to the standard of living in the home country.
Couple of problems here: Firstly, EU discrimination rules means this will inevitably end up being applied to UK citizens living abroad and sending child benefit back to their kids in the UK, so that should be subtracted from the savings it will apparently secure.
Secondly: What tiny savings they are. It's estimated that £27 million is paid out in this way per year, compared to a total child benefit bill of £12.22 billion. That's 0.22%.
The Scottish referendum cost £15.8 million, so if the EU referendum goes the same way merely holding it will use over 50% of the savings supposedly won by the measure.
The EU deal has almost nothing of substance within it. Its proposals address problems which do not exist with solutions which will not work. The sums it seeks to save are so miniscule as to be laughable. And where it does have potential far-reaching ramifications, they are to entrench Britain's tabloid myth-making into the regulatory structure of the European Union.
Ministers will not say that it is meaningless, because they need to pretend it has worth in order to justify their campaign to remain. Liberal and left-wing europhiles will not say it is meaningless because they are in the same cynical game as Cameron is in – pretending it's worthwhile in order to persuade the public to vote In. And right-wing eurosceptics are unlikely to say that is meaningless, because to do so tacitly acknowledges that all the arguments about benefit tourism and the damage of immigration they’ve been peddling for years are clearly nonsense. It’s a conspiracy of silence around an empty document.
The only things we can really learn from the EU deal is that Cameron is a terrible negotiator and that our political discourse has lost all contact with reality."
Mr Cameron has lied to the House of Commons and the British People. The legacy media and the BBC unsurprisingly are giving Mr Cameron a free pass on his lie. Just think of the honours and the special committee's such people will be rewarded with for their sycophancy. 
Even more disappointingly and disgracefully, the Labour opposition are giving him a free pass. You would have thought that they would want to rub Mr Cameron's nose in his disgrace but no they also want to remain in the European Union.
Mr Cameron has lied - he has NOT secured treaty change and what he has been promised at some unspecified date in the future (after he has left office?) is that the changes will be 'incorporated into the treaties at the time of their next revision'. Supposing Mr Cameron's successor doesn't care? Supposing Mr Cameron's successor is a Europhile dedicated to ever closer union? To a European Union single state?
Mr Cameron has lied. He has been given nothing. 
Vote to Leave the European Union.

So Cameron's got a deal has he?

This particular blog is a copy of an article in by Ian Dunt. I am very grateful to Mr Dunt for his permission to quote his article in full.

It's title is 

"Everything you need to know about Cameron's EU deal in Five Minutes":

"So Cameron's got his deal, has he?
He's got a deal, whether it's the one he said he wanted back in 2013 is another matter. There's loads of stuff left by the wayside, like an 'emergency break' on immigration, or 'repatriation of competences', or the social chapter, or a veto on Eurozone policy. Cameron's been hammering away at this for a couple of years and it looks like his demands have shrunk.
So what has he got?
Well there's four 'baskets'. Yeah, both Cameron and Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, insist on calling them baskets. No-one knows why. Some of them have nothing but a pile of promises in them, some of them have concrete policy. In order of vacuousness, they're: competitiveness, the Eurozone, subsidiarity and immigration/benefits.
Competitiveness is the most vacuous? Who'd have thought.
Quite. There'll be all sorts of declarations committing Europe to competitiveness, but there's no mention of an actual plan. That may or may not be a problem, depending on your perspective. The Centre for European Reform argued this week that Europe actually is pretty efficient, or at least many of its member states are. You can agree with that or not – but whatever your view, there's nothing in that agreement which would shake up the status quo. Love it or loathe it, things look like they'll carry on mostly as before.
What's this Eurozone stuff?
This has been bothering Cameron and George Osborne for a while. Their fear is that Eurozone rules, for instance on financial services, can go through for the Eurozone and affect the position of the City, but without Britain having any power to control it. Once upon a time he wanted a British veto, but now he's given up on that. It’s not entirely clear what he demanded instead though. At least with the veto you knew what he wanted, even if he was never going to get it. There are several core principles laid out in the Tusk letter, but they're all already the case. There's not much to see here really.
So where does that leave the Eurozone question?
Nowhere really. Europe had already recognised that it was developing a two-speed system of core Eurozone countries committed to further economic and political integration on one hand and then everyone else on the other. That's still the case. There are plenty of areas where this situation could become really troublesome. Britain fears a caucus of Eurozone countries outvoting everyone else in the European Council. It’s a valid concern but it's hard to see how you could really prevent it. If there are big ideas to do so they haven't been presented yet. Maybe they'll pop up in the coming days.
So far it's zero out of two. Has Cameron actually got an EU deal or not?
Kind of. The next two sections have a bit more substance.
What's next? Subsidiarity? What even is that?
It's an old Catholic term for a form of devolution – basically that decisions should be taken at the most local possible level. The EU has this too. But eurosceptics typically argue that, as a big transnational organisation, it sucks up more and more power for itself.
So what has Cameron secured here?
A red card system. There was already a yellow card system, and now there's a red card one.
You what?
OK, look. To explain that we're going to have to do something really grubby and unusual. We’re going to have to look at how European law is made.
Please don’t do that.
I'll make it as painless as possible. Imagine a triangle. The points of the triangle are The European Commission, the European parliament and the Council of Ministers. A European law starts with the European Commission.
Where do they get the idea from?
Consultation with national governments. These guys are always flying about to European capitals and having chats with officials in relevant ministries about whether they envisage legislation on a given subject. Or they talk to a minister's official while they’re in Europe for a meeting. The Commission is a weird entity. It’s not like a government and it's not quite like a civil service. It’s weak and powerful at the same time and a lot depends on the personality of the person running it and individual commissioners. But fundamentally, it only proposes ideas - it doesn't decide them.
So who does decide on them?
The other two points of the triangle. First, it goes to the European parliament. A specialist committee writes up a report and then MEPs vote on it. Very often they'll want changes from the Commission proposal. The Commission will then say whether it can make them. Usually they do so. Sometimes there's a bit of back and forth. Then it goes to the Council of Ministers.
What's that?
These are meetings of ministers from the EU's member states. So somewhere in Europe there's an education council which Nicky Morgan sits on, or a health council which Jeremy Hunt sits on.
Poor Europeans
Precisely. It’s OK though, ministers will often just send their officials to represent them. So those councils meet to chat over developments in their remit and look at any legislation which comes under their purview. They vote and then parliament takes the final vote.
Purview. Very posh. So what's this got to do with subsidiarity again?
Well subsidiarity is supposed to be embedded into every stage of that process. The commission forms a judgement about whether a law is consistent with the principle of subsidiarity. Parliament then does the same. They can say the principle of subsidiarity has been breached and, if necessary, take it all the way to the European court of justice. Members of the Council of Ministers can do the same.
OK so what’s this yellow card thing?
The yellow card system was developed under the Lisbon treaty. If a third or more national parliaments say a law contradicts the subsidiarity principle it goes back to be reconsidered. They can eventually take this to the court of justice. But in truth it’s really rare. It’s happened twice so far.
So what has Cameron secured?
A red flag.
That sounds impressive.
It does, doesn't it? But then when your yellow card isn’t used one might question how much use the red one will be. It states that if 55% of national parliaments object, the plan goes back. But what happens then? Does it die, or is it like under the current system, where they merely have to think again? Tusk's language is predictably vague. Principles will be "duly taken into account" and then "appropriate arrangements" will be made.
This is all a nonsense isn't it?
Probably. You can look at it two ways: either the EU is so good at respecting subsidiarity that objections are very rarely made or it is so devious in preventing objections that hardly any are able to emerge. But either way, it's hard to see that this red card system will be significantly different to what already exists.
Dear God are we nearly done? I thought you said this was going to take five minutes.
I lied. I thought it would make a more compelling headline. Saying 'everything you need to know about Cameron's EU deal in seven minutes' sounds rubbish. There's just the benefits and immigration bit to go.
Get on with it.
This is the area where Cameron has arguably achieved the most. Most analysts thought he'd only be allowed to block migrant benefits for two years and that anything more would be considered discrimination. It looks like they’ve done a deal where he can limit benefits for four years, on the condition that a graded system allows them to increase the benefits they get throughout that period. It’s a pretty major win.
Will it limit EU immigration?
Not in the slightest. Study after study has found that immigrants don’t come to Britain to claim benefits. They come to work. But it's still the meatiest Cameron proposal and most people would probably consider it largely fair.
Won't eastern European countries cause a stink about it?
Yes. The plans needs to be accepted by everyone at a European Council meeting. That's like one of the Council of Ministers meetings but for the heads of state and governments – prime ministers, presidents and all that. Poland, which is one of the influential mid-level European powers, is pretty angry about this. But Cameron is in Warsaw now trying to offer something in return for their support. In all likelihood he'll agree to press for Nato troops to be stationed in Poland to guard against Russia. Cameron will be hoping he doesn't need to offer one of these little bonbons to all the EU's member states.
Who else is a threat to the plan?
Well, funnily enough, Portugal has been very vocal in its criticism. It has a left-wing eurosceptic government, so they're not too supportive of cutting benefits or immigration and they don’t much care if Britain falls out of the EU.
Can Cameron offer them anything?
Not really, but the chances are they won't want to waste valuable political capital digging their heels in on this one. When it comes to the crunch, Cameron is likely to get his plan through.
Except that the plan is largely empty.
Well this has been fun.
Imagine spending two years negotiating it. But anyway, all we’ve really talked about here is if Cameron has got what he wanted. That's the wrong question, really. This is more about internal Conservative politics than it is Britain's relationship with Europe. The right question is: will it be enough to get Tory MPs to support him?
Will it?
If you are a eurosceptic out of principle, there's nothing here that will change your mind. If you're more pragmatic, it’s possible it would convince you. But really, it's pretty tepid stuff. Cameron will need all his charm and influence to get them on board."

This is pretty damning and should have wide readership.

Cameron has got nothing that is tangible. Any declarations which require EU treaty change to put them into effect cannot be and are not binding.

There is no renegotiation here. This is the "Emperor's new clothes' for the Westminster bubble and the legacy media are letting Mr Cameron get away with falsehoods.

Vote to Leave the European Union

Sunday, 21 February 2016

23rd June - 17 Weeks

We are now on notice that, 17 weeks on Thursday, on Thursday 23rd June 2016 there will be the referendum on our future in the European Union that David Cameron promised.

"Those who want to leave Europe cannot tell you if British Business would be able to access Europe's free trade single market or if working people's jobs are safe or how much prices would rise. All they are offering is a risk at a time of uncertainty - a leap in the dark" (David Cameron)

It is impossible to leave Europe as that is a geographical construct. 

I want (hopefully we want) to leave the European Union - a supranational entity that governs the United Kingdom. If we vote to remain in the European Union we might as well not refurbish the Palace of Westminster but leave it as a rotting, asbestos riddled hulk - a symbol of a thousand years of British history given away without consent to a foreign power. An Island history abdicated by a Conservative Party that is not Conservative and is afraid of being in charge of a truly Sovereign Global power.

Those who want to leave the European Union CAN tell you if British Business would be able to access Europe's free trade single market - they can if we adopt Flexcit (The Market Solution) and leave under Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty which will mean leaving as a series of steps to the ultimate goal. David Cameron and his successors will have more power if we leave. 

"The choice goes to the heart of the kind of country we want to be. And the future that we want for our children. This is about how we trade with neighbouring countries to create jobs, prosperity and financial security for our families. And it is about how we co-operate to keep our people safe and our country strong" (David Cameron)

The kind of country I want to be is an independent one free from being shackled to a European Supranational State where we will never get what we want (because at least 13 other states will never agree with us) and where our bureaucracy, the Civil Service, gold plates every treaty and every agreement.

The deal is NOT legally binding - it relies on future treaty change that there is no guarantee that we will get. There are French and German elections to come and who knows if Mr Hollande or Frau Merkel will still be in office? Supposing future leaders of Germany and France veto the deal?

"The substance of this will be incorporated into the Treaties at the time of their next revision in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Treaties and the respective constitutional requirements of the Member States, so as to make it clear that the references to ever closer union do not apply to the United Kingdom." (My Emphasis)

EUReferendum states:

"In other words, the heads of state or government are making a promise which they are not in a position to make, and have no means of enforcing. In their role as heads of state or government, they cannot commit the European Union to triggering the Article 48 procedure, which requires action by the European Council and the European Parliament, and then agreement of the individual member states at some time in the unspecified future."

At some time in the unspecified future. At what date is the next treaty? Who will be in power then in France, Germany and the other 25 nations let alone in the United Kingdom as David Cameron says he will be gone by 2020? Will David Cameron's successors push for legally binding changes? What if they don't?

This is the most important decision of my lifetime (I was not old enough to vote in 1975) and it literally means the future of a country that I love for the rest of my life - I do not expect to get another referendum chance like this.

The choice to me is simply this: 

We can vote to remain in a Supranational United States of what is really Greater Germany governed, effectively, by the Franco-German axis or:

We can vote to Leave. 

If we Leave, we become, once again, an Independent Sovereign State where decisions are made for the benefit of the people of the United Kingdom. If we Leave, an independent Government will be at the top table in the Global arena where more and more law emanates from.

There is no second chance. This is it. I implore you:

Vote to Leave the European Union

Sunday, 7 February 2016

David Cameron has Lied to The People

What is it about Prime Ministers and the truth? They just seem to lose the ability to speak it. David Cameron is now firmly in the dock. Let us be clear - David Cameron did not tell the truth to the House of Commons when he said:

"Finally, let me be absolutely clear about the legal status of these changes that are now on offer. People said we would never get something that was legally binding - but this plan, if agreed, will be exactly that. These changes will be binding in international law, and will be deposited at the UN. They cannot be changed without the unanimous agreement of every EU country - and that includes Britain. So when I said I wanted change that is legally binding and irreversible, that is what I have got. And, in key areas, treaty change is envisaged in these documents."

EUReferendum states:

"The very fact that treaty change is necessary to cement in the provisions of this "settlement" means that they cannot be binding. And, since no one can guarantee the outcome of treaty negotiations still to be held, nothing dependent on them can be considered binding. 

Earlier, we even had that noted EU-enthusiast Andrew Duff making his own observations on Mr Cameron's core claim, which goes back many months. "If the heads of government want to placate Cameron", he wrote, "they can promise formally to change the treaty in the future, but such a promise will be neither legally-binding, nor irreversible".

Elaborating on his statement in the Commons, however, Mr Cameron is now insisting that: "If it [the settlement] is agreed it will be agreed as a legally binding treaty deposited at the United Nations".

Crucially, though, this cannot be agreed as an EU treaty. As Duff points out, Article 48 of the Treaty of the European Union (TEU) would automatically kick in, requiring a convention and a full intergovernmental conference, in a process that would take about three years, assuming that the European Parliament would consent to holding convention.

Thus, Mr Cameron is relying on is the fiction that the European Council meeting on 18-19 February will, for the purpose of this settlement, constitute itself as an intergovernmental body comprising heads of government and prime ministers of the member states, with power to make a binding agreement.

This status is confirmed by the Tusk Letter, where the Council President states that: "Most of the substance of this proposal takes the form of a legally binding Decision of the Heads of State or Governments".

Notice, he does not state that this is a European Council decision. There is no such thing envisaged in the treaties in respect of this situation. He refers to "Heads of State or Governments". And like Mr Cameron, he wrongly states that it is "legally binding", although he does not say that it is irreversible.

At the very best, though, before this agreement (or "decision" as Mr Tusk would have it) could have any legal force as a "legally binding treaty", it would have to be ratified by all 28 Member States. This included the UK. The Government would need to gain parliamentary approval.

But if that is fraught, that is probably the least of the problems. There are, in fact, two insurmountable obstacles. Firstly, the settlement requires, in respect of several provisions, that the Member States agree to EU treaty amendments to give legal effect to those provisions.

The point here is that none of the signatories could guarantee the passage of treaty amendments and, even if they were to secure the amendments, none could guarantee their ratification.In this context, the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (Article 61) kicks in. As we noted previously, it states: 
A party may invoke the impossibility of performing a treaty as a ground for terminating or withdrawing from it if the impossibility results from the permanent disappearance or destruction of an object indispensable for the execution of the treaty.
The "object indispensable for the execution of the treaty" in this case is an amended treaty which, if it does not materialise, renders Mr Cameron's settlement unenforceable. As such, it is neither legally binding nor irreversible.

As to the second obstacle, the original settlement, agreement by heads of government, etc., acting as an intergovernmental body, are outside the framework of the EU treaties. But amendments to the EU treaty require actions by the European Council, legally an entirely separate body, and the European Parliament. 

Here, the dictum res inter alios acta vel iudicata, aliis nec nocet nec prodocet applies (two or more people cannot agree amongst each other to establish an obligation for a third party who was not involved in the agreement). This is translated into treaty law by Article 34 of the Vienna Convention, which states that "a treaty does not create either obligations or rights for a third State without its consent".

Put simply, no agreement can be binding if its execution depends on something outside the control of the parties making that agreement, rendering it impossible to deliver. And then no parties to a treaty can bind a another to its provisions, without their consent (which the EU is not in a position to give).

With that, as we averred in our previous piece and again here, the Prime Minister is guilty of the most grievous of all sins – misleading the House. By any other name, he is lying to the Commons. 

Now, if the serried ranks of MPs can't or won't do their job, and call him out, then in a democracy this task falls to the media. And here, as always, the fourth estate is failing in its duty. The best it seems we can expect is the likes of the "Guardian" conveying the views of Martin Schulz, president of the European parliament, who has said that the settlement was "reversible".

Reported in terms of a "he said – she said" argument between Schultz and Cameron, none of the media accounts dwell on who might be right. Sky News, for instance, simply says Schultz is causing the Prime Minister a "headache" because "his comments threaten to play into Eurosceptic arguments".

Thus by gutless politicians and a gutless and witless media, the public are so ill-served that a Prime Minister can quite deliberately lie though his teeth and (so far) get away with it."

This is not the first time that Mr Cameron has lied to the people and the House of Commons and I don't doubt that it will not be the last. This lie is massive. The changes proposed will not be legally binding without treaty change which any of the other nations can veto.

This is not jam tomorrow - it is not even margarine tomorrow. What the 'deal' cooked up between Mr Tusk and Mr Cameron depends on is the goodwill (and vote) of the other 27 members. There is no guarantee that this will be forthcoming. 

This particular offer is a conditional offer and we should reject it peremptorily.

Vote to Leave the European Union.