In this era of devolution, cost-cutting decentralisation, the European Union is beginning to behave like a state, and an opulent one at that. In the past fortnight it has once again suggested that it should raise taxes. It has also inaugurated the European Investigatory Order that mandates police officers to follow requests lodged from overseas, which, because of the vast migration within Europe will place huge pressure on police forces. And now the diplomatic service, under the aegis of the fragrant Baroness Ashton, has spread to all four corners of the globe, and talks without definition of ‘common positions’ and why they need diplomatic representation in addition to sovereign delegations.
The British government has not resisted these events; it has been entirely quiescent. So much for the Referendum Lock, and this brings me to John Redwood’s impassioned plea to William Hague:
‘It is time Mr Hague went to Brussels and tackled some of the issues which feed our sense of unfairness. Many people in the UK are fed up with power seeping away. We did not like Mr Hague’s acceptance of an enlarged EU diplomatic service. That is more cost for the member states, seeking to undermine our own Foreign office and diplomatic service. We did not like Mr Hague’s opting in to more of the EU’s movement into criminal justice affairs. We do not wish to see the UK have to pay out £150 million for a technical infringement, at a time of public spending restraint. We would like the EU to cut its budget to help with our spending review, and would like to see EU spending cut back rather than important domestic programmes.’
It is a staggering vent from a man of considered intelligence and subtly. The Tory right has the potential to harm the government’s European policy, and they have a duty to do so because ‘reducing the EU budget’ is a mere vanity – at the very least, institutional reform to save money and empower people is required. I do not share Redwood’s unique antipathy for the European Union, but concede that he is right on these points at this time. Public services, defence establishments and personal wealth are being butchered, but the EU has lost none of its plutocratic tastes.
UPDATE: The Foreign Office contact me to state that the EU isn't proposng to levy taxes, that the EIO won't put additional stress on police forces and that the European diplomatic service will not replace the UK diplomatic service.