This article was first published by the Bruges Group here, and we republish with their kind permission.
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Looking ahead, let us suppose that Boris Johnson wins a majority of seats on 12th December, as hoped. He has then promised to have his “Withdrawal Agreement” Treaty with the EU ratified by Parliament, possibly by Christmas.
From then on, according to some optimists, it should be plain sailing to “Brexit” on 31st January, whereupon a “Transition Period” will begin. During this period a Free Trade Agreement will be negotiated with the EU. This Free Trade Agreement should be finalised by the end of 2020, although the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier has said the Transition will surely have to last until the end of 2022. The rules governing EU-UK relations during this period are laid down in the Withdrawal Agreement, which is due to become a binding Treaty between the UK and the EU on 31st January, if all goes according to plan.
Now, in an article in the Telegraph last month, reported in the Express, Iain Duncan Smith raised the question of how to preserve British sovereignty during this “transition period”. The main point of his answer is for the UK not to hand over the money of the “divorce bill” until a Free Trade Agreement has been finalised. Of course no money must be given to the EU by the UK, I’d say not even at the conclusion of a FTA (since the balance of trade is heavily in their favour, why should we pay them extra cash…).
But what I would like to say to IDS, is this:
He is quite right to raise the question of how to maintain our sovereignty during the transition period. Our sovereignty cannot be taken for granted. Article 95 of the Treaty makes us completely subservient to every law and decision by the EU, as regulated “exclusively” by the European Court of Justice, and we will no longer have any voice or vote, let alone veto, in any of their decision-making bodies.
We will need a strategy to make sure that after the transition period is over, we may emerge at the other end “blinking into the sovereign sunlight” as IDS puts it, without having been crippled economically or politically during this phase, which has been compared to a colonial administration.
The EU’s leaders have often proclaimed their intention to turn the EU into a single European State. Brexit means we will not be an integral part of this State. But we must take care lest the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement lead to us ending up as a satellite of the EU State, rather as the Warsaw Pact countries of Eastern Europe were satellite states of the Soviet Union.
I maintain that in order to do this, we must make absolutely sure that the means of hard-power physical enforcement, to be exercised on British soil, remain throughout firmly in British hands and in no others. This is even more important than the financial aspect.
a) revoking and repealing all and any measures or agreements that Mrs May (or any other) has signed us up to, regarding the planned amalgamation of our armed forces into the nascent European Army. This includes the rules accepted for defence procurement contracts. The significant top brass in Veterans for Britain have been monitoring these sinister developments and flagging them up, so far with little attention being paid by any politician or indeed mainstream media. They are billed as “Security and Defence” measures of “common interest”. They are formally quite separate from our Withdrawal Agreement, and are intended to continue indefinitely into the future independently from Brexit. But once enacted, our ability to exercise our sovereignty in practice will be irreparably compromised. See details.
b) repealing our membership of Europol and our subjugation to the European Arrest Warrant; the EAW has struck a number of innocent victims in the UK, who have been suddenly shipped abroad and then held for long months in prison, only to have charges dropped for lack of evidence. They are then released, but meanwhile their lives have been ruined.
Now the EAW is not just an unfortunate accident that happens to a few random innocent victims, such as young Andrew Symeou, or the retired British Judge Colin Dines. It is also a tool for tyranny that can be used for political purposes, since no evidence is required by the continental Napoleonic-inquisitorial systems of criminal justice in order to have suspects arrested and imprisoned for many long months with no public hearing, “pending investigation”. It opens up immense possibilities of abuse and of using trumped-up allegations against “inconvenient” politicians or journalists. See details.
c) an explicit denunciation and repudiation of the reply given by T May’s Home Office on 11th June 2012 to a Parliamentary Question by Dominic Raab MP, when she said that “of course” she would ask for assistance from “special intervention units” from “our European allies” to set foot “on British soil”, if needed. See the Hansard record of the Question and the Answer, which is quoted verbatim on page 37 of the written evidence to the House of Lords, in my submission “Serious Risks“.
None of these steps involve touching any of the provisions of the Treaty that Mr Johnson has laboriously negotiated with the EU. There ought therefore to be no objection from our European “friends and partners” if they are taken by the new Parliament.
Unless these steps are taken by Boris Johnson’s government, the real danger is that during the transition period, Brussels will take advantage of the extraordinarily total powers it will hold over us, to install its own armed, hard-power, enforcement agents on British soil.
They would then not feel under any obligation to leave if asked to, later, by a British government, owing their allegiance solely to Brussels. We would in fact be completely at their mercy, and our sovereignty would be compromised in a manner really not seen since the Normans conquered and overran the country in 1066.
We must not allow ourselves to be mesmerised into thinking that, since a Treaty we have signed up to says that EU laws and decisions have supremacy over our own, this is necessarily and permanently the case, and that we need their “permission” to repeal it. It may be so under “EU law”, but it is not the case under our own constitutional provisions, which – as we resume our independence – reacquire their legal supremacy in the United Kingdom.
Any jurisdiction of the ECJ or supposed legal supremacy of Brussels over us can be dispelled, and any Treaty can be unilaterally revoked, if and when the British people elect a Parliament that decides to do this, under the unalterable basic provision of OUR constitution that “No Parliament Can Bind Its Successors”. If we do this, as we will have to if they misuse or abuse the absolute powers they will have over us under article 95 during the “Transition period”, the only way they will have to stop us is by the use of brute force.
Throughout history, it has always been the case that when two sovereign entities claim supremacy over the same territory, legal argument gives way to force of arms. Laws can only be meaningfully and bindingly applied if both parties lie under the same sovereign power.
If the Eurocrats already have their own lethally-armed militarised boots on our soil, who will obey them and not our Queen in Parliament, they will be able to assert their supremacy over us. Just as Spain has asserted its physical supremacy over Catalonia, so Brussels will likewise be empowered to assert its own “sovereign” supremacy over us. Manu militari. The British people would be most unlikely to take this lying down, and there could well be bloodshed.
The EU is already preparing itself for statehood by amalgamating not only the member states’ defence forces, but also the paramilitary riot-police forces of (so far) 8 member states, who are being welded together into a European Gendarmerie Force in a location in Northern Italy. If any think this is a “dangerous fantasy” they will find positive corroboration of its reality in the EGF’s own official website. These are in fact the “special intervention units” that Home Secretary Theresa May would “of course” have asked to come over onto British soil, “if needed”.
To allow this to happen, by not taking the steps outlined above, would be the height of irresponsibility. Blood spilt during confrontations between armed European “special units” and British military units or British people armed or unarmed in lawful rebellion (cf art. 61 of Magna Carta), would be on the hands not only of the European militias, but also of any British government that allowed them to set foot on British soil.