This article was first published in Brexit Central and we republish with its kind permission.
Napoleon is reputed to have said, scornfully, that the British are “a nation of shopkeepers”. Well, he then discovered that as warriors we didn’t do too badly, at Trafalgar and Waterloo.
However, to a large extent he was right. This concern has become almost a fixation on trade to the exclusion of all else, as regards our relations with Europe and with the EU project. Right from the beginning we called it the Common Market. In 1975 we voted to remain in it, thinking (and being deliberately told) that it was basically just a free trade arrangement. Even today the argument is nearly all about how Remaining or Leaving will affect jobs and prosperity. We have disregarded the fact, openly proclaimed in continental nations, that the purpose of the project is to build a United State of Europe. The economic steps taken so far, like the single currency, have been but stepping stones to that ultimate aim, as the founding fathers wanted.
I have said a United State, singular, not United States, of Europe as it is commonly called. The Constitution of the United States (plural) of America defines matters which fall into the purview of the federal government and distinguishes them from matters which are the exclusive prerogative of each individual state.
Not so the draft EU ‘Constitution’, later translated into the Lisbon Treaty. This defines matters of “exclusive Union competence”, and matters of “shared competence”. The latter are areas where individual states may be allowed to legislate unless the union has already legislated in them. There are no areas reserved for the exclusive competence of the member states. This means all power is in effect concentrated in the centre. Such is the Napoleonic model.
Now, if Europe is going to become a single state, we need to ask, what does that mean in practice? What is the essence of state power? The state is that body in society which alone can use violence, legally, on the bodies of the citizens. If anybody else seizes someone and locks them up, against their will, beating them and manhandling them forcibly if they resist, they are criminal kidnappers. But if officers of the state do it, under its laws, it is called justice.
Likewise if a private person takes money from someone, threatening to seize their property by main force and lock them up if they refuse to pay, they are robbers or protection racketeers. But if the state does it, it is called taxation. These powers are regulated by the criminal laws of the state in question. The control of criminal laws is thus the handle for control of the state and of all the people in it.
The legal monopoly of the state over the use of violence also serves to constitute armed forces, which defend the state from external aggression, providing its external security. They can also be used on the home front, against disorders and rebellions, providing internal security where the police alone are unable, or perhaps unwilling, to cope.
For 370 years now we in Britain have experienced transfers of power without violence, by voting, elections and agreed legal procedures. We think that to win power, what matters is the presentation of ideas, winning debates, column inches in papers, airtime on radio and TV. We have forgotten the old truth that when push comes to shove, bullets beat ballots. Or as Mao Tse-Tung put it: “Power springs from the barrel of a gun”. They are learning that lesson in Venezuela today. And they are aware of it in continental Europe, where nearly every nation has experienced violent transfers of political power in living memory.
To pursue its aim of building a United State of Europe, the Eurocrats in Brussels are now openly taking steps to set up a unified European Defence Force. Mrs May’s (badly misnamed) ‘Withdrawal Agreement’ would bind the UK to sourcing our military matériel from EU providers. This alone would limit greatly our freedom of movement.
A group of retired high-ranking officers of our armed forces and intelligence services – Veterans for Britain – have been working to alert the public and the politicians to these developments. Their work has been largely ignored by the mainstream media. Clearly once the UK’s and other member states’ armed services are amalgamated into a unified force under the EU flag, controlled and commanded from Brussels, British regiments could be deployed to fight abroad in wars not decided by our Parliament.
Not only that, there is an even greater danger: our soldiers could then be stationed far from Britain, say, on the Ukrainian border, while, say, Latvian, German and Romanian units could be deployed in Britain, available for public order service, to face down riotous behaviour by members of the British public protesting, for instance, against laws passed by the Eurocrats in Brussels, who we did not elect and cannot dismiss.
This would be the consequence of handing control over our external security to Brussels as Theresa May was planning to do and, it appears, was already quietly doing (see PESCO and other measures monitored by Veterans for Britain). Her civil servants will doubtless aim to continue this process with her successor.
But Brussels also wants control over our internal security, our legal system and in particular our criminal laws. In 1997 the Commission held a seminar, which I attended, in Spain, to unveil its ‘Corpus Juris’ project for an embryo single criminal code for all Europe. This code embodies the principles used in the Napoleonic-inquisitorial procedures of continental European countries, and our unique safeguards of individual freedom such as Habeas Corpus and trial by independent jury, part of our Magna Carta heritage, were to be ditched.
It would set up a European Public Prosecutor, who would have a delegate in each member state, to whom national public prosecutors would owe a duty of ‘assistance’, i.e. would be subordinated. He and his delegates would be armed with fearsome powers of arrest and detention of suspects for up to six months, renewable for three months at a time, “pending investigation”, while the authorities seek evidence to justify the arrest, with no right by the prisoner to a public hearing during this time nor obligation on the prosecution to produce any evidence of a prima facie case to answer. This is the regular practice in countries governed by the Napoleonic-inquisitorial systems, and Corpus Juris would extend it to the British Isles.
Luckily this project was eventually brought to public attention, and in 1998 Kate Hoey, then Home Office Minister, promised Parliament that the Government would veto it if it were ever formally introduced.
Part 2 of this article will be published on Independence Daily tomorrow.