The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

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Tony Blair, the euro and Europe: Can he be trusted?

Robert Oulds

Shortly the Treasury will conclude its analysis of the so-called 5 economic tests on whether Britain should replace the Pound with the euro. If Tony Blair does chance his hand and call a referendum his spin machine will argue that the tests have been met and it is now in our economic interests.

The 'Yes' campaign hope that a strong endorsement from the PM and his Government will persuade many to support the euro, but can the Prime Minister be trusted when it comes to Europe? Let's have a look at his record.

Tony Blair argues that the decision will be an economic one, however, Gus O'Donnell the Head of Macro Economic Policy at HM Treasury said that ultimately the decision will be political. Lord Marshall, the Chairman of Britain in Europe (the organisation that would front the campaign) also admitted this when he spoke to The Times (14/09/2002). Saying, "I have to assume that the Prime Minister is unlikely to go for a referendum unless he and the Chancellor are of the view that they are going to win."

So it is clear that counter to what the Government claim the decision will be judged on political and not economic grounds. Let's remember that Tony Blair said in 1997 that he, 'loved the Pound' but we know now that he would like nothing more than to scrap it.

Furthermore, under the cloak of reforming the European Union Tony Blair in a keynote speech (28/11/2002) set out his vision for Europe. It is a centralised European State controlled by a political elite based in Brussels. Yet he does not say that openly, one has to read between the lines to get to the heart of what he has in store for Britain.

On the one hand he said, 'We want a Europe of sovereign nations...' but on the other his proposals will mean that the EU could not be further from the previously mentioned platitudes. Blair says, '...Europe has to change', and so it must, but not in the way that he envisages. His vision will in fact give more power to the unaccountable and unelected European Commission and a greater role for Europe's leading political club (the Council of Ministers). Making the gulf between the EU and its citizens even greater.

Our Prime Minister also wants to expand the role of the European Court of Justice so that the EU institutions can throw their weight around more effectively. He has even called for a single European Union Foreign (and Defence) Policy and EU control over Justice and Home Affairs. His support for Federalism obviously knows no end. Perhaps the most notable 'reform' that he has called for is the creation of an appointed (note: not elected) European Presidency. Does his ambition know no end?

Tony Blair should have called for a Europe where national Parliaments and national laws are supreme instead of EU law and obscure EU institutions. He should have said that the process of centralisation must end and that powers must be returned to the nation-state starting with the Common Agricultural Policy and the Common Fisheries Policy. He should have said that the process by which Britain pays the European Union Billions of Pounds per year to be a member should end, but he didn't. He chooses not to tackle the issues of waste and corruption and has failed to address the EU's democratic deficit.

Two years ago the Prime Minister said that he believed Europe would not have a written constitution. Now he is not only enthusiastically supporting one, he is even submitting proposals that will quite clearly make democracy and self-government a thing of the past.

His Government also said that the Charter of Fundamental Rights, to be adopted in 2004, would have the legal force of the Beano or the Sun, we now know that it is in fact being considered as a key ingredient in creating a centralised European Union state.

On the continent, however, their politicians are honest. The EU commissioner for justice and home affairs, Antonio Vitorino is reported in the Financial Times (2/6/00) as saying that the Charter, "If brought off successfully ... would ... mark a definitive change in the Community". The Charter, he says, would "move [the Community] away from the essentially economic raison d'être of its origins to be a full political union." Not exactly the Beano then!

Tony Blair has achieved nothing in Europe; his consistent calls for economic reform have fallen on deaf ears. His approach has only succeeded in giving the EU more power to meddle in Britain's internal affairs and force more red tape onto Britain's businesses strangling our competitiveness in the global market place.

Let's remember that Blair is a politician skilled in the art of spin and will use smoke and mirrors to hide his real plans for Britain's incorporation into a centralised single European state - he must be closely watched.

This is taken from an article by Robert Oulds for Liberty News