ONE of the great clichés of politics is that Britain has no written Constitution. Like all such stale propositions it is wrong. Britains constitution is called the Treaty of Accession. It has been supplemented by the Treaties of Maastricht and Nice. It leaves us with an increasingly constricted area of national discretion. Our politicians can chunter about schools and healthcare while most other important topics are controlled or directed by the European Union (EU).
Remember Winston Churchills phrase about fighting them on the beaches. Well our beaches are entirely subject to the European Commissions directives. Britain cannot be responsible for the cleanliness of its shores, it seems. The EU is such an ambitious imperial force it is now assuming central control of defence procurement. Her Majesty the Queen will no longer have enemies for her military to fight. Martial matters are to be commanded by the EU.
You think I am exaggerating? We have the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), which determines Britains policies on all the commercial horizons. No, it does not. The DTI has few residual functions that matter. It is largely the messenger boy for the instructions from the Commission.
These complex and detailed commands can be found, though I agree few of us look, in the acquis communautaire, the bulky handbook that is the 86,000 pages-long body of European law. These are not amiable abstractions or expressions of goodwill. They are the body of laws under which every British business operates.
Chancellor Gordon Brown told the Labour Party conference last September :If we are to make poverty history we must make the scandal and waste of agricultural protectionism history. Yet what can the British Chancellor of the Exchequer actually do? He has no powers to relax the organised corruption that is the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). If, or when, he became our Prime Minister he could still do nothing. He can mutter. He can exhort. He has no executive authority. He has no levers. The CAP cannot be dented by words. It is the creation of the Commission. It is cocooned. Where is Britains trade policy devised now? The answer is the Article 133 Committee. It never publishes its deliberations. It meets in secret. Nobody joining its proceedings has ever been elected by anybody. Nor can they be dismissed. This is a conclave far more secretive than anything from the Da Vinci Code.
What do they do? They operate subtle but effective protectionist measures. Health and Safety Standards sound rather positive but in reality they are a bluff to deter