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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“Europe” – a threat to our freedoms and our peace

Europe's rotten heart

Bernard Connolly

I'M AN ECONOMIST, and I’ve spent much of my career analysing the process of European monetary integration.

But I don’t want to concentrate primarily on economics today. For EMU, and still less “Europe”, has never been about economics.

Let me begin with two recent statements. One is from Joschka Fischer’s notorious Humboldt University speech in May. “The euro”, he said, “is not just an economic matter; it is a profoundly political act, for the euro symbolizes the power of the sovereign who guarantees it.”

Then Tony Blair, in his equally notorious speech in Warsaw just last month: “Europe is no longer just about peace” — as if it had ever been anything to do with peace — “It is about the projection of collective power.” “Europe”, he said, echoing Jacques Delors, “must become a superpower.”

Now an earlier declaration, one made 40 years ago in secret by Harold Macmillan to General de Gaulle: “European civilization is what at all cost we must preserve. It has survived for 3,000 years, but it is menaced from all quarters, by Africans, Asians and Communists … and the North Americans, Australians and New Zealanders. More than ever there is a need for real political unity in Europe.”

More recently again, in 1996, Phillippe Maystadt, then the Belgian Finance Minister and now president of the European Investment Bank, said that: “The purpose of the single currency is to prevent the encroachment of Anglo-Saxon values in Europe.”

I believe that these statements get us to the heart of what “Europe” is about. As I wrote five years ago in The Rotten Heart of Europe, “Europe is a threat not only to our wealth but to our freedoms and to our peace.”

Let me try to justify that prediction. First, briefly, our wealth.

Monetary union in Europe must mean massive macro-economic destabilisation. We are already seeing it in Ireland, where that country’s crass abandonment of its own monetary policy is producing a massive boom-bust. The bust part of the cycle is almost inevitable, and it will produce a devastating financial crisis.

Ireland shows how monetary union sets one country’s interests against another’s. For if ever Germany and France experience the structural economic revival that so many in the financial markets predict for them — though I have serious doubts about it — the rise in interest rates and the appreciation of the euro that would follow would condemn Ireland — and probably Spain, Portugal, Finland and Greece — to cataclysmic depression. As Eddie George has often said, in almost so many words, thank God that we are not trapped in this economic and financial Doomsday machine.

So what will happen when the small countries are made bust by EMU? I can tell you, as someone who spent many years on the inside, that the aim of those who created EMU was to produce a financial crisis that would leave the small countries with no alternative but to sign on the dotted line of a new treaty that would make them, in effect, colonies of France and Germany. If we were in, we too would become a colony. Blair thinks he could be a member of the Imperial Directorate. He is a fool. But even if his dreams were not foolish delusions, our country would still still be a colony of a tyrannical empire.

For Europe is certainly about destroying the freedoms that people in this country have taken for granted for hundreds of years. The Treaty of Nice will see to that. Our gutless government has given no indication that it will insist at Nice on retaining the veto in Justice and Home Affairs matters. It has not even said that it will definitely reject the Commission’s proposal for a new treaty article instituting a European Public Prosecutor whose powers of arrest without trial or evidence would be defined — widely — only by secondary legislation under majority voting. Indeed, I understand from Brussels that an early draft of Blairs’ Warsaw speech contained a message of British advocacy of majority voting in Justice and Home Affairs. This, probably, was drafted by the Commission’s man in the Cabinet Office, a certain Martin Donnelly, who previously worked in the Brussels Commission in the private office of either Kinnock or Leon Brittan — I can’t remember which (but it doesn’t matter — they’re both the same).

The Commission and the French presidency, and most other EU countries, also want to change the infamous Article 7 of the Amsterdam Treaty so as to be able to punish any country that elects to government a party that two-thirds of the EU countries consider a potential threat to “European values and or principles”.

Now throughout 3000 years of European civilisation that Macmillan wished to protect against the English-speaking world and the British Commonwealth, those values have been ones of absolutist power and tyranny. Nothing has changed.

Just last month, the Advocate-General of the institution ludicrously known as the European Court of Justice gave a legal opinion (in case C-274/99) that criticism of the EU, its institutions or its leading figures was akin to blasphemy, and that because laws against blasphemy were acceptable both under the common law of England and the existing European Human Rights Convention, then it followed that punishing someone for allegedly criticising the EU — even if such allegations were never proven nor supported by evidence — was not an infringement of free speech.

Moreover, the Advocate-General went on to say that the doctrine of the House of Lords in the case of Derbyshire County Council vs Times Newspapers in 1993 — the doctrine that states, and I quote: “It is of the highest public importance that any democratically-elected governmental body, or indeed any governmental body, should be open to uninhibited public criticism” — had no foundation in or relevance for European law.

The freedom of political expression and the freedom of the press in our country are both going to come under concerted attack from Europe. If one needed any more evidence of that it would be found in the so-called EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, whose Article 51 states that any and all rights must be limited by the competent legislative authority — that is, the EU voting by majority — if it is deemed necessary in the pursuit of “objectives of general interest pursued by the Union”. In other words, any criticism of any policy the EU has decided to adopt can be made unlawful.

The series of measures that Nice threatens to introduce amount to a replication of the Enabling Act that allowed the Nazis to overturn the Weimar democracy and institute a lawless tyranny in Germany. But, perhaps with the exception of its racial quasi-religious basis, the Nazi tyranny was little different from that practised in most parts of Europe throughout the past 300 years. In particular, it had much in common with the Ancien Regime in France.

And it is mention of the France of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries that brings me to the final threat Europe brings — the threat to our peace.

Ancien Regime France sought global hegemony. It sought it as a territorial power, one with absolutist internal structures that were both inimical to freedom and restrictive of economic growth. Its opponents were everywhere. But the main threats to its geo-political ambitions were its enemies the liberal, maritime powers: first the Dutch Republic and subsequently Great Britain.

Today, the roles of Ancien Regime France and of the maritime powers are played by “Europe” and the “Anglo-Saxon world” respectively. This is a struggle to the death. The euro was seen as a weapon against the United States. The destruction of Nato, which Blair now not only accepts but plots, is another. Yes, Blair — like Delors, Mitterrand, Kohl, Chirac and Fischer — wants Europe to be a superpower. What will a superpower do? It will confront and challenge the other superpower, the United States. It will engage in a new Cold War. It will fight proxy wars in all parts of the world, as the US and the Soviet Union used to fight proxy wars in the fifties, sixties and seventies. Already we have seen the disgusting and obscene spectacle of “Europe”, behind all the crocodile tears, seizing with great glee the opportunity presented by the tragic events in the Middle East. In the words of the Amsterdam Treaty, “Europe must assert its identity on the international scene”. It will cynically, hypocritically and ruthlessly use every strategy to destroy the Pax Americana that Western Europe has enjoyed for the past fifty years — and most of the world for the past twenty.

Internally, too, “Europe” creates real risks to peace. For it deliberately seeks to destroy a political sense of national identity. It will even take away our passports. It — and its allies in the left-wing British establishment — will not allow us to feel “British” any more. Soon, even expressions of a wish to be British will be punishable under the Amsterdam Treaty’s provisions on “racism and xenophobia” — provisions that will be given teeth by the Nice Treaty and the EU Charter.

But if we cannot define ourselves as British, how will we define ourselves? Certainly not as “European”. Instead, far too many of us will define ourselves by our colour, by our language, by our religion, by our tribal characteristics.

One can see this happening already in Belgium. There, political identity as “Belgians” has always been weak. The country was an artifical one, put together by the great powers for geo-political reasons, just as “Europe” is being put together. Now, “Europe” is seen as an excuse for overthrowing that identity entirely. In consequence, people in that country are increasingly defining themselves in tribal terms.

The linguistic conflict is nothing new, but is gaining in intensity again. Worse, neo-Nazi notions of ethnic purity are rapidly gaining ground. The ethnic Vlams Blok is now the biggest party in the Flemish-speaking region.

We, with our multi-ethnic and largely tolerant society, of which many of us are so proud, are particularly at risk if the political notion of Britishness is destroyed, as ”Europe” wants it to be destroyed. If ever Enoch Powell is proved right, and the Tiber is ever seen metaphorically foaming again with much blood, it will be because of “Europe”.

I’ve already referred to the struggle between France and the maritime powers in the seventeenth century. That parallel has enormous resonance today. For Louis XIV sought to secure an alliance with England, already a naval power but unlike the Dutch still absolutist, to destroy the Dutch Republic. He bought the allegiance of first Charles II — in the secret treaty of Dover — and then James II. The political prostitution of the later Stuarts proved their doom. They were swept away by the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and the alliance with the Dutch against the French (by the way, one of the saddest aspects of European history over the past forty years has been the betrayal by Dutch governments of their own country’s history and its traditions of freedom).

The Bill of Rights of 1689 was not a simple Act of Parliament. It was a treaty that defined the basis and limits of executive power. The EU treaties are arguably — and Nice certainly will be — an abrogation of the Bill of Rights and are therefore unlawful and indeed treasonable.

The treason will be perpetrated by the latest of all the Stuarts — Tony Blair. Like Charles II and James II , he will prostitute himself and enslave his country in alliance with the European territorial-dynastic tyrants. The alliance will be directed against democracy and freedom, and against the Anglo-Saxon world of which Britain is part. That, as Blair himself has made very clear, is what he sees “Europe as being all about.

“Europe” is a profoundly dangerous and malignant force in the world. I am bitterly ashamed that my country’s leaders want us to be part of it.

Instead, let us hope that Lilliburlero is soon again on everyone’s lips. Let us work to restore the fruits of the Glorious Revolution — freedom under the law and limits to executive power. For if we do not — if we do not sweep away the new Stuarts in our country, with their absolutists, monopolists, courtiers, fops, dandies, political gigolos of every sexual persuasion — then we shall be turned into a Europe that is doomed to the convulsions, violence and horrors of a new French Revolution and the decades of wars in Europe that followed it.

Tony Blair has said it, “Europe” is about the projection of collective power: the power of unaccountable elites over ordinary people, of the Establishment over — in the words of a Europhile Foreign Office official — “the sort of scum who read The Sun”. It is about the power of the Blairs, the Booths, the Irvings, the Falconers, the Mandelsons. The Jenkinses, the Ashdowns, the Heseltines, the Howes, the Clarkes and the Hurds. It is about ripping our country away from the liberal, democratic, Anglo-Saxon world. It is about subjecting it to the 3000-year-old European values of tyranny and oppression.

We must have nothing to do with it.