Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

Bruges Group Blog

Spearheading the intellectual battle against the EU. And for new thinking in international affairs.

A Dangerous Legacy

In 20th century Continental Europe, democracy had a rotten time. Russia's attempt to frame a liberal constitution, described by W. E. Mosse as "the only time in modern Russian history when the Russian people were able to play a significant part in the shaping of their destinies," was snuffed out by the Bolshevik revolution.

At first, the attempt to convert Germany to democracy fared better. Between 1923 and 1929 the Weimar Republic enjoyed the 'Goldene Zwanziger' period of relative calm, it prospered. The 1929 Wall Street crash dried up U.S. bank credit for German industry and the German economy crashed too. Despite the difficulties, the Reichstag was still a democratically elected body.

In January 1933, Hitler became Chancellor of a coalition government. The coalition's Enabling Act of 1933 ("Law to Remedy the Distress of People and Reich") empowered the cabinet to legislate without the approval of the Reichstag or the President. In coalition talks Hitler won the Centre Party's support by promising to respect its continued existence, protect Catholics' civil and religious liberties, religious schools and to retain Centre Party civil servants.The Reichstag voted 441 to 94 in favour of the act. Despite intimidation, the SPD voted against it. The Reichstag had democratically voted to end democracy. Almost immediately Centre Party adherents were targeted and civil servants fired. On 6th July, three months after the coalition passed the Enabling Act the party was declared illegal.

These lessons were well learned and applied after WW2. Diego Cupola, writing in the Atlantic, summed up Recep Tayyip Erdogan's June 2018 election victory with the headline, "Turks Have Voted Away Their Democracy."Echoing Jean-Claude Junker's comment on the French constitution referendum, "If it's a Yes, we will say 'on we go', and if it's a No we will say 'we continue', Erdogan explained, "For us, democracy is a means to an end."

It's not just the Turks who have squandered their democracy; members of the EU have knowingly done so too. They have ignored democracy and often manipulated it, in a process of deceit that has created the EU.

Following the rejection of the Constitutional treaty by French and Dutch voters, the EU elite had a "period of reflection." A group of wise men, the Amato Group, having reflected, came up with a cunning plan.A new treaty which would rewrite the Maastricht Treaty, amend the Treaty of Rome and give the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union a legally binding status. The new treaty would be based on the first and fourth parts of the Constitution, the rest of the Constitution's changes being achieved through amendments to the Treaty of Rome.

In June 2007, Member States agreed to abandon the constitution. They agreed a new treaty containing amendments to the existing treaties (primarily, the Treaty of Rome and the Treaty of Maastricht). The new treaty, which had previously been referred to as the Reform Treaty, became the Lisbon Treaty.

In October 2007, Valery Giscard d'Estaing, architect of the constitution, wrote in le Monde, "The EU's new treaty is the same as the rejected constitution - only the format has been changed to avoid referendums." The former French president sought to clarify the difference between the former draft constitution and the new Lisbon Treaty."Looking at the content, the result is that the institutional proposals of the constitutional treaty … are found complete in the Lisbon Treaty, only in a different order and inserted in former treaties." He added, "above all, it is to avoid having referendum thanks to the fact that the articles are spread out and constitutional vocabulary has been removed."Giscard argued that the Lisbon treaty represented a way for the EU institutions to take the lead after the "interference" of the members of parliament and politicians who were in the European Convention.

The Constitutional treaty had been subject to referenda in Spain and Luxembourg who voted "yes" and the Netherlands and France voting "no". Referenda were promised, but cancelled in Czech Republic, Denmark, Ireland, Poland, Portugal and UK. Claiming that Lisbon was different to the Constitution, member states that had promised referenda cancelled them. Blair had made a solemn pledge to hold a vote and reneged. Only Ireland put Lisbon to the vote. It was rejected and they were famously told to vote again. To ensure a yes vote the EU and Irish government agreed "Irish Guarantees." These provided that there would be no reduction in the number of permanent commissioners (important for the politicians), that Ireland's abortion laws would be respected, as would their military neutrality. In a second referendum, Lisbon was approved.

On 7th December 2017 the Irish parliament voted to join PESCO (the EU's permanent structured cooperation arrangements) under which national armed forces pursue structural integration.Leo Varadkar explained, "My view is that a Europe that is worth building is a Europe that is worth defending."Those who voted yes to Lisbon based on the guarantees would have benefited from looking at the 'guarantees' Hitler gave to the Catholic Centre Party.

President Macron of France echoes the Five EU presidents in calling for a euro-area budget, an EU asylum office, transnational lists in European elections and military cooperation leading to joint operations. The recent Merkel - Macron summit committed France and Germany to an EU army and closer cooperation, including cross border 'regions.' EU-supporting UK politicians refuse to explain why they want to end our status as a sovereign country.Why the UK should be dismembered and its citizens absorbed into the United States of EU. Rather, they seek to dupe the electorate by pretending that the EU is all about trade. Their dire warnings of economic collapse are repeated mantra like by the Orwellian sheep who follow them bleating, "Cliff edge baaabaaa…Catastrophe baaabaaa." Sadly, it does not occur to them that they are being herded into repeating Esau's mistake.

As exit day nears, anti democrat politicians hide behind Edmund Burke in ever more desperate attempts to prevent us regaining our sovereignty. Parliament has debated, scrutinised and passed several Bills relating to Brexit including the EU Withdrawal Act 2018, which specifically fixed our exit day in law as 29th March 2019. But, why respect the sovereign will of parliament when the sovereign will of the people is so contemptuously ignored?

Stopping Brexit or engineering a Puerto Rico status is overthrowing democracy. Those who seek that end may twist and turn as they wish, but the truth remains the truth. They are seeking to open a can of worms the consequences of which are potentially as dangerous as the Reichstag's 1933 vote. Democracy depends on respect. Respect for a free and fair result. Failure to show that respect is to destroy it. Democracy is not a pick and mix sweet shop. Either you accept everything or you accept nothing. Those who seek to destroy democracy have a limited time to pause, reflect, learn from history and draw back from committing a grievous crime against the people. They may also reflect that many who acted with contempt against democracy were the first to suffer the consequence of its demise.

Ronald Reagan said, "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction." Let it not be this generation that turns out the UK's proud democratic light. 

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Director : Robert Oulds
Tel: 020 7287 4414
Chairman: Barry Legg
The Bruges Group
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Founder President :
The Rt Hon. the Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven LG, OM, FRS 
Vice-President : The Rt Hon. the Lord Lamont of Lerwick,
Chairman: Barry Legg
Director : Robert Oulds MA, FRSA
Washington D.C. Representative : John O'Sullivan CBE
Founder Chairman : Lord Harris of High Cross
Head of Media: Jack Soames