The Sketch: EU treaties lead us all to delusions of confusions

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The Independent Online

I know you don't find the Eurobabble as funny as I do, but when we propose the transposition of measures from Pillar 3 (at the time of our bulk opt-in) it matters whether the transitional items are amended measures or Schengen building measures.

I have absolutely no idea what any of that means. The EU negotiations are now so beyond any normal person's ability to understand that 99.9 per cent of the electorate is disenfranchised.

David Miliband held his own in the argument as far as I could tell, but I couldn't tell very far. He was given a couple of jolly good smacks. The chairman instructed him not to tell jokes that he'd just been telling the Foreign Affairs Committee (that stung). And Bill Cash said: "I know you've only been in the job a short while, but I find your judgement extremely faulty." That stung, too.

Here's what I could understand. The whole process leading up to this final negotiation has been characterised by a lack of candour. The discussions leading to the Mandate took place in secret (this from Michael Connarty, the Europhile chairman), texts and documents have been produced always at the last minute. "The process could not have been designed better to marginalise the role of national parliaments."

That's certainly true.

Has a fundamental constitutional change taken place? No, Miliband says. Yes, Cash says. All of Pillar 3 is being done away with. Is that a constitutional change? Not at all.

At this point, Connarty mentioned in his mild way that he had visions of "peace in our times". Connarty went on: "These are bullying clauses, and I am shocked you try to defend them. A lot of countries are implying that Britain is contaminating the negotiating process and are bringing in clauses to cajole us or pressure us..."

Miliband produced an entirely new mood. He was cut to the quick. To imply that he and Gordon Brown had made a deal with Adolf Hitler... "Maybe I'm sensitive for personal reasons." He is claiming some sort of emotional property rights in the Holocaust. This is an error of taste and judgement. Connarty's point was merely that Miliband didn't know what the future held and didn't know that he didn't know. At least that's a delusion we ignorant plebs don't suffer from.

simoncarr@sketch.sc

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