Tuesday, 2 February 2016
Cameron's red card is a political decoy
I've never been wholly clear about the internal mechanisms of the EU and certainly the procedures within the EU parliament remain opaque. My fellow Brexit bloggers will be able to add more substance to the proposal on the table.
As the Telegraph understands it though, the "red card" would allow the Commons to effectively veto any inappropriate EU legislation – as long as MPs and MEPs have the support of 55 per cent of the national parliaments in the EU.
Donald Tusk has it that "This will strengthen the power of Westminster to stop unnecessary EU laws and addresses concerns that the current ‘yellow card’ system has not proved strong enough,” a Number 10 source said. “It ensures that the European Commission cannot just ignore the will of national parliamentarians and delivers greater democratic control over what the EU does."
The circumstances and context in which this applies is unclear, but that is wholly irrelevant. It marks a nominal change in a single procedure, and does not in any way alter the relationship nor the substance of what the EU is. We are not looking at EU reform here.
More to the point, the red card applies only to the EU legislative process, which is essentially the rubber stamping house responsible for implementing international conventions and adopted technical regulations and standards. In this we see that the EU not only holds all the cards, it can use various legal instruments to subvert the process and afford itself more powers, blocking any means of protest long before it goes to a vote. As we noted last month, this has very real ramifications for Britain.
The suggested red card is little more than a decoy and a confidence trick in the knowledge that the public understanding of the legislative process is thin at best. Given the phantom veto stunt, it's not unreasonable for them to expect they will get away with a bit of cosmetic tinkering. Certainly the realm of law making that sits above the EU is largely obscured from view and gets little public attention, so most in the media will grant these measures far greater credit than they deserve.
In this we should pay very close attention to our politicians. Particularly those Tories with the nerve to call themselves eurosceptic. We will see a closing of ranks between the cynical and the profoundly ignorant who wish to sell us the idea that Mr Cameron has been successful in securing reforms. Such people either take us for fools or assume that their ignorance is superior to our own understanding.
When such people insist that we should stay in a "reformed EU", that caveat ought to suggest that they favour leaving since reform is absolutely not on the table, but in their reality what it actually means is "stay in at any cost". Their names must be marked for the future.
These are the people who wilfully insult our intelligence and lie for the sake of their tribe. Win or lose, we must ensure such hubris and insolence costs them. To that end, I will work doubly hard to ensure the Tories pay a heavy price. I imagine I won't be alone in that. Labour do not deserve to win the next election - but the Tories deserve to lose it.