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Labour-oriented Brexiteers vs. Constitutional Revolution

Further evidence of the part played by Labour-oriented Brexiteers in winning the 2016 UK referendum victory for “Leave” was the elevation of three former Labour Party MPs to the House of Lords in last month’s British Honours list.

The best known of these is the redoubtable German-born Mrs Gisela Stuart, former MP for Birmingham Edgbaston, who was Tony Blair’s nominee to the EU Convention that drew up the Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe in 2003.

This was the EU Constitutional Treaty that was rejected by French and Dutch voters in referendums in 2005 and was then repackaged virtually unchanged in the form of amendments to the existing EU treaties as the Treaty of Lisbon – a ploy which ensured that most people were prevented from appreciating its profound constitutional significance.

The Treaty of Lisbon abolished the European Community, which had been the repository of supranational European laws from 1957 until 2009, and transferred its powers to a constitutionally new European Union, to which it gave explicit legal personality for the first time. It put foreign policy and crime and justice policy on the supranational EU level for the first time also.

It then gave us all an additional EU citizenship – “additional” being the term used in the Treaty – so that instead of being citizens of a unitary Irish State, we were all made citizens of a new Federal European Union.

Just as in such classical Federal States as the USA and Germany, where people are citizens of New York and California, of Bavaria and Brandenburg, as well as of the Federal USA or Germany, so it is now for all of us in the EU – in that we all have two citizenships, being Federal EU citizens as well as Irish National ones.

In the post-Lisbon EU, State sovereignty is divided, as in all classical Federal States, between the Federal level of Brussels and the national Member State level, and everyone is a citizen of each level, with the associated rights and duties of citizenship attaching to the two levels. The prime duty of a citizen is of course to obey the laws of the State one is a citizen of.

The rights and duties attaching to EU citizenship override the rights and duties attaching to Irish citizenship in any case of conflict between the two because of the primacy of EU law – a principle which the Lisbon treaty makes explicit for the first time also. One can only be a citizen of a state and all states consist of citizens. Lisbon also gave the post-Lisbon european union the power to impose its own taxes. And it gave it the power to decide our human rights.

This EU Constitution was then pushed through without referendums in every EU country except Ireland. When Irish voters voted No to Lisbon in 2008, they were made vote on it a second time to push it through unchanged in 2009.

Ireland’s statutory Referendum Commission, chaired by then High Court Justice Mr Frank Clarke, now Chief Justice, whose job it was to tell citizen voters what the Lisbon treaty referendum was about, quite failed to inform us of the constitutional revolution this treaty was making in our lives.

Having objected to being British citizens for generations, we were now being made EU citizens by stealth! This is surely a long way from “the unfettered control of Irish destinies” that was aspired to in the 1916 Proclamation.

Gisela Stuart MP was so disillusioned by the contempt for democracy shown by the Eurounionists whom she encountered during this saga that she wrote a Fabian Society pamphlet exposing how the EU obtained its Federal Constitution, and how it turned us all into real EU citizens for the first time also, with all the implications of that.

She went on to become the Labour joint-chairman of the official “Vote Leave” campaign in the 2016 UK Brexit referendum – her Conservative fellow chairman being Michael Gove MP.

The second Brexiteer Labour MP to be elevated to the House of Lords was Mr Frank Field, former MP for Birkenhead, where he was friends with the Irish labour historian the late C.Desmond Greaves (1913-1988), who lived and is buried in that constituency; and the third was Mrs Kate Hoey, former MP for Vauxhall, London.

You may care to note that the CIB web-site, www.CampaignforanIndependentBritain.org.uk, has much interesting material on the current state-of-play re Brexit. It gives information on the recently published 330-page book on “Ireland and the EU Post Brexit” by former Irish diplomat Dr Ray Bassett, as well as a video of a lecture that Dr Bassett gave at last year’s CIB annual conference criticising Irish Government policy on Brexit during the Theresa May regime as being effectively subversive of the Good Friday Agreement.

Dr Bassett’s revealing book is now available from YPS Publishing at www.yps-publishing.co.uk Its ISBN number is 978-1-8380397-0-7 if one is ordering it through bookshops.

Anthony Coughlan, The National Platform EU Research and Information Centre, 24 Crawford Avenue, Dublin DO9 C6E8; Tel.: 01-8305792

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