Whichever way the special European Council decide the issue will have a profound impact in the United Kingdom. Sunday news reports maintain that the government is prepared to pull out of the European Convention on Human Rights if the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg should rule that new immigration legislation planned in the UK is illegal.
The news is currently dominated by arguments about Brexit. It might briefly be refreshing to have a debate about ‘Hurexit’ but predictably it would not be long before the public on both sides of the channel conclude that politics has crossed a frontier into a no man’s land of legislative confusion.
It is about time for everyone to take a step back and become fully aware of what is meant by constitutional democracy. As a reasonably informed person I have found myself involved in daily debates with an intelligent crowd of people taking coffee at Jane’s Tea Room in Walmer, near where I live in Kent.
I can report that notwithstanding differences of political opinion there is unanimity on the need for a reformed and WRITTEN constitution for the UK.
The current constitution is based on parchment documents signed in the year 1215. In simple terms the Magna Carta took power from the King and gave it to the people in terms of Common Law. There is a growing debate in certain quarters about how through ignorance those powers have been circumvented and handed to judges and to Parliament.
Right or wrong the case that people have been “enslaved” by the establishment is starting to build into movement if the lovely Jane’s conversion to the need for a written constitution is anything to go by. If the statement made by the Group of the Progressive Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament impacts on public opinion the views of the Jane’s Tea Rooms alliance might spread across the EU.
It is not necessarily a popular view but there is an inherent constitutional theme to their statement on controlling immigration: “Criminalising NGOs and constructing walls, a doctrine promoted by the right and the far right, will never be able to erase the reality that European society is and will always be diverse. We need not change the diversity of our societies, but we do need to change how migration is managed and show it has a clearly positive impact on our daily life.”
That is to some a provocative statement. To many in the UK the fact that 45,000 illegal migrants crossed the Channel last year, with forecasts of a 50 percent increase this year, dealing with migration has already crossed the line into a democratic no man’s land.
Brexit and Hurexit are not the issues. The fundamental one is informing citizens and allowing the people to decide democratically. Sensible border controls should have been adopted by the EU decades ago. Successive British governments refused to join Schengen because of weak or non existent border controls on EU frontiers. Now extremist legislation might be looming.
Both the EU and the UK are at a frontier. Next year British travellers will be photographed and fingerprinted and put on a data base.Nothing wrong with that, one might say, but the broad picture across the EU and in the UK is looking ever more autocratic. The argument that common law has been curtailed in favour of undemocratic administration in Europe is as true as the case in the UK.
I have not checked out their agenda but credit to The New Chartist Movement for the following statement: “It stands to reason that unless the people of the country have powers over their own government, the people will eventually find themselves in a place of tyranny.” Unless limitations are placed upon the government and more specifically how it creates legislation, that government will eventually write itself into a position of absolute power, because power ultimately lies with those that can deliver punishment.
Unless one concedes to a system of despotism, any thinking individual must realise that the government is indeed ultimately subordinate to the sovereignty of the people. Unfortunately the prevailing thinking in our society is that this is achieved through nothing more than the mechanisms of voting in elections: the idea that the people have influence over their own government merely by voting representatives into office.
So my message to Jane and her gang of thinkers is that we need to do a lot more research into the true standards of democracy.
Deal, Kent, February 5th 2023.