In a democracy, the principle of accountability holds that government officials — whether elected or appointed by those who have been elected — are responsible to the people for their decisions and actions.The Foreign Office file FCO 30/1048 is entitled LEGAL & CONSTITUTIONAL IMPLICATIONS OF ENTRY OF UK INTO EEC. It is stamped '1971' and marked CONFIDENTIAL. It contains a long piece of advice which is undated and unsigned. I shall call this 'the Rippon Advice'. The material mentioned here which is dated before 1971 is not in the Foreign Office file FCO 30/1048.
At the time leading up to our joining the Common Market - how it was labelled and sold then - the government understood full well '… the real and substantial public anxieties over national identity and alienation from government, fear of change and loss of control over their fate which are aroused by talk of "loss of sovereignty" ' (p. 5 paragraph 10 of the Rippon Advice.)
The people did not want to become alienated from government.The people wanted to continue to have control over their fate. That control was exercised through the democratic process by which electors voted for Members of Parliament and Parliament exercised control over the government. The government, as the Executive, made rules and regulations.Parliament scrutinised the rules and regulations (which we called Laws) and controlled those making them. For centuries, this was how people had control over their fate, and felt that they had control over their fate. The people wanted this to continue.I was one of them. I wanted this to continue.
The fundamental principle that people want to have control over their fate has found many expressions in our country and in the other Democracies, not least the United States. Abraham Lincoln said:
'No man is good enough to govern another man, without that other's consent. I say this is the leading principle – the sheet anchor of American republicanism. Our Declaration of Independence says: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, DERIVING THEIR JUST POWERS FROM THE CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED." ' (Peoria speech 1848.)
It should be mentioned that Thomas Jefferson, as he drafted the Declaration of Independence in July 1776 in a boarding house in Philadelphia, had the wording from the Constitution of Virginia, 'That all power is vested in, and consequently derived from, the people…' (The Constitution of Virginia 12th June 1776; Article 1; Bill of Rights, Section 2 People the source of power.)
Similarly, in Great Britain, power resided and resides now in the people. Samuel Johnson defined democracy in 1755 thus: 'One of the three forms of government; that in which the sovereign power is neither lodged in one man, nor in the nobles, but in the collective body of the people'. Professor Dicey writes: 'The plain truth is that as a matter of law, Parliament is the sovereign power in the state … It is, however, equally true that in a political sense the electors are the most important part of, we may even say are actually, the sovereign power, since their will is under the present constitution sure to obtain ultimate obedience. … The electors are a part of and the predominant part of the politically sovereign power' (Dicey Lectures Introductory to the Study of the Law of the Constitution,1885.)
Lord Hailsham said '… power is the reality of sovereignty' (Hansard; The Lord Chancellor Lord Hailsham 27th July, 1972.)
Robin Cook said '… political authority belongs only to those who secure the consent through elections of those over whom they exercise power.' (Point of Departure p. 33.)
So sound is this principle that it finds expression thus in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 21 (3):
The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.
If persons purport to govern without the will of the people having been established by 'periodic and genuine elections', then those persons have no authority to govern.
What advice was the Heath government given about sovereignty?
Lord Kilmuir advised Edward Heath by letter as follows:
'My Dear Ted,
You wrote to me on the 30th November  about the constitutional implications of our becoming a party to the Treaty of Rome. I have now had an opportunity of considering what you say in your letter and have studied the memoranda you sent me. I agree with you that there are important constitutional issues involved.
Adherence to the Treaty of Rome would, in my opinion, affect our sovereignty in three ways:
a. Parliament would be required to surrender some of its functions to the organs of the Community;
b. The Crown would be called on to transfer part of its treaty-making power to these organs;
c. Our courts of law would sacrifice some degree of independence by becoming subordinate in certain respects to the European Court of Justice …
Of these three objections, the first two are by far the most important. I must emphasise that in my view the surrenders of sovereignty involved are serious ones and I think that, as a matter of practical politics, it will not be easy to persuade Parliament or the public to accept them. I am sure that it would be a great mistake to under-estimate the force of the objections to them. But these objections ought to brought out into the open now because, if we attempt to gloss them over at this stage, those who are opposed to the whole idea of our joining the Community will certainly seize on them with more damaging effect later on.' (National Archives FO 371/150369 letter from Lord Kilmuir, Lord Chancellor, to Edward Heath 14th December 1960.) (My emphasis)
Therefore, it is clear from the first paragraph of this letter that Edward Heath knew the importance of the constitutional issues involved.
Later in 1961, the question of loss of sovereignty was again the subject of a series of Cabinet and ministerial meetings. From a Cabinet paper:
'In the past, the loss of national sovereignty has been the most potent argument against the United Kingdom participation in supranational institutions. It was to a large extent responsible for our decision, in 1950, not to join the European Coal and Steel Community and, in 1955, to withdraw from the discussions that led eventually to the drafting of the Treaty of Rome. Although the Treaty of Rome does not express this explicitly it has underlying political objectives that are to be brought about by a gradual surrender of sovereignty.
… the United Kingdom would, in accordance to the Treaty of Rome, be committing itself to a range of indefinite obligations over a wide field of action within the economic and social sphere which might subsequently be translated into specific obligations by means of a decision, directive or regulation with which we would not necessarily agree. This is a commitment of a kind different from obligations under other treaties.'
Notwithstanding this last sentence, the White Paper of July 1971 said this about sovereignty:
'Like any other treaty, the Treaty of Rome commits its signatories to support agreed aims; but the commitment represents the voluntary undertaking of a sovereign state to observe policies which it has helped to form. There is no question of any erosion of essential national sovereignty.'
The Treaty of Rome was not like any other treaty and the government knew as much. However, they kept this important fact from the people. The Heath government knew that the statement in the July 1971 White Paper was not an expression of truth. Beyond any doubt, it was fully aware that signing the treaty would involve an immense diminution of Britain's sovereignty.
The Rippon Advice was amongst the documents which came to light in 2001 under the 30 year-rule. It analysed 'the implications for British sovereignty of entry into the European Communities,' concluding that entry would result in very substantial restraints on Britain's powers of self-government, and that over the years this would become ever more obvious. Presciently, the paper also predicted that people would become increasingly alienated from government as it became more bureaucratic and remote, with ever more decisions being taken in Brussels and ever more power being exercised by unelected officials. … It was also suggested that these problems would only become fully evident many years into the future, possibly not until 'the end of the century' (The Great Deception by Christopher Booker and Richard North Chapter 8 p.144)
In January 1973, Edward Heath said:
'There are some in this country who fear that in going into Europe we shall in some way sacrifice independence and sovereignty. These fears, I need hardly say, are completely unjustified.' (Prime Ministerial TV broadcast January 1973 quoted in The Great Deception p.134)
Honesty is a duty of universal obligation.
The government used the label in its campaign "Common Market" and, indeed, I swallowed that as a young elector. I thought that we were entering into a trading relationship. I had no idea that there was a political element. Reading the whole file FCO 30/1048 is a shock to me. I was deceived. It was wicked conduct and it seems to me that the same is happening again.
Lack of Democracy
The Heath government gave the European Community the power to make rules and regulations (which hitherto had been undertaken by Parliament.) Paragraph 25 of the Rippon Advice (p,25) refers to '… the impact of entry upon sovereignty is closely related … to the relatively greater political responsibility of the bureaucracy of the Community and the lack of effective democratic control.'
David Marquand, who, according to the biographical details in his book "Parliament for Europe" (published in 1979) was a British delegate to the Council of Europe from 1970 to 1973 and Chief Adviser in the Secretariat General of the Commission, says:
'The Democratic Deficit: As things are at present, moreover, there are also strong arguments of democratic principle, against transferring power from the national to the Community level in the way which has been advocated here. There can be no democracy without accountability. In a democratic system, someone must always be in a position to use Harry Truman's motto 'the buck stops here'; decision-makers must be answerable to, and removable by, those in whose name the decisions were made. In the Community system, no one is unambiguously answerable for anything. The buck is never seen to stop; it is hidden from view, in an endless scrimmage of consultation and bargaining. This may not matter much when the Community's competences are restricted as they are at present . If they are extended sufficiently to overcome the challenges described above, it would matter a great deal.' (p. 64.) (My emphasis)
The lack of democratic control meant in practice that the people lost, and felt that they had lost, control of their fate. The electors had no mechanism by which those who made these rules and regulations would or could account to them; and there was no mechanism whereby those making these rules and regulations were required to stand directly before the electors for election. The Heath government, by giving these powers to make rules and regulations to the European Community, transformed the United Kingdom into a country which was no longer independent and self-governing. The government thereby eliminated any control by Parliament over those making such rules and regulations and eliminated any mechanism by which those who made such rules and regulations were required to account to the electors.
This prediction expressed in the Rippon Advice in FCO 30/1048 materialised. The Kilbrandon Commission in 1973 had collected disturbing evidence of 'the widespread sense of powerlessness which ordinary people throughout the United Kingdom feel today against the omnipotence and remoteness of government' (Lord Crowther-Hunt's maiden speech quoted in Parliamentary Scrutiny of European Legislation by Martin Kolinsky, Cambridge University Press.)
By virtue of entry into the European Community, we became governed by the unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats located outside our own country for an indeterminate term.
The Rippon Advice contains this p.14 paragraph 15:
'(iii) Remoteness of the Bureaucracy
It is generally acknowledged that in modern industrialised society the impersonal and remote workings of the Government's bureaucracy are a source of major anxiety and mistrust. The operations of democracy seem decreasingly fitted to control the all-embracing regulatory activities of the Civil Service. In entry to the Community we may seem to be opting for a system in which bureaucracy will be more remote (as well as largely foreign) and will operate in ways many of which are already determined and which are deeply strange to us. This bureaucracy is by common consent more powerful compared with the democratic systems of the Community than is ideal.' (Foreign Office emphasis.)
The unelected, unaccountable, powerful, remote and strange bureaucracy were given, by Heath's government, power (which belonged to the People) to make rules and regulations in the following areas of government as set out in the Rippon Advice thus:
AREAS IN WHICH PARLIAMENT'S FREEDOM OF LEGISLATIVE ACTION WILL BE SIGNIFICANTLY RESTRAINED
Customs duties and all other matters incidental to the formation of a customs union; agriculture; free movement of labour; free movement of services; free movement of capital; transport; monopolies and restrictive practices; state aid for industry; coal and steel; nuclear energy industry; company law; insurance law; fisheries; value added tax; social security for migrant workers.
This list encompasses a very large part of the activities which the government undertook before 1972 and in respect of which Parliament exercised control on behalf of the people. The extent of the change in the governing of the British people is graphically described by Lord Denning MR in Bulmer v Bollinger SA (in 1974):
'But when we come to matters with a European element, the Treaty (of Rome) is like an incoming tide. It flows into the estuaries and up the rivers. It cannot be held back. Parliament has decreed that the Treaty is henceforward to be part of our law. It is equal in force to any statute of the United Kingdom.'
In respect of all these matters listed above, before 1973, we exercised our democratic control (through expressing our intentions by way of our votes leading to the election of Members of Parliament) and we governed ourselves. There was democratic accountability. In respect of all these matters listed above since 1973 there have been no periodic and genuine elections, by which those making the rules and regulations of the European Community have stood before the British public and (a) accounted directly to the electorate for their misconduct and conduct and (b) offered themselves for election. There was and is no democratic control; the British people were and are governed without their consent. The way the European Community operates, to paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, enables the few to deprive the many of a free exercise of the right of self-government.
In a democracy, the principle of accountability holds that government officials — whether elected or appointed by those who have been elected — are responsible to the people for their decisions and actions.
A visual metaphor of European accountability is the photograph of Junker with his fingers placed in his ears walking past a crowd of journalist on the day after the referendum.
As mentioned in the 1961 Cabinet Paper (above), the Heath government had committed itself, on behalf of the people, 'to a range of indefinite obligations over a wide field of action within the economic and social sphere which might subsequently be translated into specific obligations by means of a decision, directive or regulation.' These specific obligations materialised.
All these areas, progressively from 1973 became, in the words of the Rippon Advice, the '… political responsibility of the bureaucracy of the Community ..' in respect of which there was '… lack of effective democratic control.'
In short, power to make rules and regulations which affect our lives in the United Kingdom was given to the European Community and we lost our sovereignty to a very serious degree. The power that was given to the European Community by Heath was the power that belonged to the people; it should have been returned at the end of that Parliament undiminished, intact.
Tony Benn put it thus: 'Members of Parliament are lent the powers of their constituents and they have to return those powers undiminished at the end. It is not for Members of Parliament to give away the powers which were lent to them because they don't belong to Members of Parliament: they belong to the electorate.'
On 4th February 2016, Hansard shows: 'We sometimes get into the idea that parliamentary sovereignty comes out of a vacuum, but in fact it is a means to an end; it is not an end in itself. It is the way we represent the sovereignty of the British people. They delegate to us, for five years, the right to make laws in their name, but at the end of those five years they expect to have the sovereignty returned to them intact, so that they can decide how it should be used in future" (Jacob Rees-Mogg.)
And again, power flows from the people. 'The electors are a part of and the predominant part of the politically sovereign power.' (Dicey, Lectures Introductory to the Study of the Law of the Constitution, 1885)
The Present Position
Now that all the power given by the Heath and subsequent governments is to come back to the people of the United Kingdom (as from 29th March 2019), we have to ensure that such powers are not given away again. They do not belong to Members of Parliament. Any proposal, such as the Chequers White Paper, must be scrutinised to see whether any powers are to be given away again. If they are, Parliament will be in breach of its duty to return such powers to the electorate undiminished.That will lead to our continuing to be a nation that is neither self-governing nor independent.
The Chequers White Paper
Ian Dunt has written in Politics.co.uk: 'At the heart of the Brexit white paper proposals - and of the whole future relationship negotiation really - is a simple question: who is in charge? The EU wants to remain the boss of how trade operates.' In other words, under the Chequers White Paper, the EU holds the power and the people do not. This amounts to a denial of self-government and a denial of independence - just as predicted in 1960, 1961 and 1971 and as detailed above.
The EU will continue under the Chequers White Paper to make the rules and regulations that affect our lives just as they do now; and nothing in that respect will change. There will be no Parliamentary control and we, the people, will not be in control of our lives. That is how it feels now and that is how it will feel if we do not succeed in getting our laws back.
Analyses of the Chequers White Paper which have taken place show, according to Ambrose Evans-Pritchard (Sunday Telegraph 15th July 2018) that:
1. The "common rule book" is the "EU Rule Book" which is the same rule book in force today;
2. The White Paper in 98 pages shows how Brussels will secure British compliance on EU laws covering (a) environment; (b) employment; (c) social policy; (d) consumer protection; (e) State Aid; (f) competition;
3. All these elements will remain place indefinitely;
4. The supremacy of the Courts of the United Kingdom will not be restored;
5. The White Paper shows that the government proposes to offer the EU 'non-regression' clauses on (a) environment; (b) employment and (c) social policy - which is what M. Barnier has been demanding all along. This is the legal mechanism used to prevent the UK gaining competitiveness – as he sees it – by means of social and economic dumping.
In April 2018, Michael Gove told Parliament why this wording is so crucial, saying, 'The "non-regression" clause, in essence, is a means of the EU giving itself potential control over domestic legislation. It goes against the spirit of taking back control.'
6. The White Paper pledges total compliance on EU competition law. Britain would 'commit to a common rule book on state aid' and would maintain 'current anti-trust prohibitions and the merger control system.'
For all these reasons, the Chequers White Paper is manifestly not in the interests of the country. It is manifestly not the will of the people; it is contrary to the manifesto of both main parties; it is contrary to the red lines set out by the Prime Minister at Lancaster House. As to the constant braying for compromising those manifesto commitments and those red lines and for the 'need to come to a compromise with the EU otherwise life will be a disaster' this from Roger Bootle:
'… trading with the EU under a no deal scenario simply means trading with it in the same way that we trade with most of the rest of the world. This is trading on WTO terms. That's how we do most of our trade outside the EU. So, what is this disaster? I don't understand it. This is, frankly, a vastly exaggerated problem. As and when we leave and we are trading under WTO terms that means we will trade under exactly the same terms that we trade with the United States, China, Japan and the rest of the world. It's not a disaster.'
Theresa May and her civil servants are the ones responsible for creating this 'vastly exaggerated problem.'
Not all components in European goods come from Europe. Some come from outside Europe, some from the USA, China or elsewhere. And even 'just in time' manufacturing will not suffer. We would simply join those countries on to the same trading arrangements as they conduct their trade.
What is being currently said reminds me of what was said in other European campaigns which I mention below. The people do not believe what is being said; specifically, I refer below to what Hugo Young said.
The deception deployed by the present government
The People are now wise to the deception which has been practised upon them from 1971 onwards as regards Europe. Robin Aitkin, in his book Can we trust the BBC? writes on p. 95:
'In the (BBC Radio 4) Documentary programme ("Letters to the Times broadcast, 3rd February 2000) there is a telling quote from Roy Hattersley (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VArbRzbIu0g to which I would ask you to listen:
"What we did throughout all those years, all the Europeans would say, 'let's not risk trying to make fundamental changes by telling the whole truth; let's do it through public relations rather than real 'proselytizing and the IRD [Information Research Department, a discrete propaganda unit inside the Foreign Office] was always one to 'spin' the arguments rather than 'expose' the argument. … Joining the European Community did involve loss of sovereignty but by telling the British People that was not involved, I think the rest of the argument was prejudiced for the next 20, 30 years."
This is a profound political truth; people were not told the truth back in the early 1970s, which led to a deep mistrust of the whole European project.' (Author's emphasis)
'Hattersley was right, over twenty five years after the event. At the time, the truth could not be told because the British people would have rejected it. And the same pattern can be seen today in the dissembling of politicians about both the single currency and the implications of any new constitutional settlement for Europe.' (Off Whitehall ibid p.197.)
'Sovereignty is a matter of authority – the final legal and political authority to make decisions. In the EU, once competence (power, the peoples' power) is handed over, sovereignty is gone. People may have different views as to whether this is a good or bad thing, but it is misleading to pretend it hasn't happened.' (Off Whitehall ibid p.198.)
The present Government and its civil servants are using the same tactics as the Heath Government
The government must obey the constitutional principle that it will always conform to the will of the nation (Dicey ibid p.441.) Currently, many Members of Parliament, civil servants government ministers and the lamentable series of events leading up to the Cabinet meeting at Chequers and the Chequers White Paper seem to show that the Prime Minister as well does not wish to conform to the will of the nation.
To me, we have a constitutional crisis. The electors must now be told the truth and the whole truth. The government is employing the same tactics as were used in earlier campaigns to convince us, the People, to believe in a state of affairs that did not then and does not now exist in truth. The People do not want the government to deceive them.Neither do the People want the government to deceive by omission – namely the wilful avoidance of divulging important information.They require the whole truth.
Dissembling by the Heath government and its civil service
According to Derek Scott in Off Whitehall: A View from Downing Street p.195, 'There was no suggestion from it (the Heath government) that signing up to the Treaty of Rome was not "just like any other treaty." Still less, that "successful" membership would entail further erosion of Britain's sovereignty on a broad front and in its ability to control its own affairs.' I repeat the sentence from the 1960 advice set out above: 'This (in the Treaty of Rome) is a commitment of a kind different from obligations under other treaties.'
Thirty years later, Edward Heath's private secretary admitted that although the issues involving Britain's loss of sovereignty 'were very much in the mind of the negotiators,' the line was that 'the less that came out in the open the better.'
In the Chequers White Paper, no mention is made as to the true position of the sovereignty of the people, of Parliamentary sovereignty or even as to how the people, through Parliament, are able to scrutinise the rules and regulations and control those making them. Do the proposals guarantee that we shall able to govern ourselves just as we did in the '60s before Heath made us join the European Community, before we lost our power to govern ourselves as a people? Are we to be independent and self-governing in all our affairs? Are we, let me say it again, to have Parliamentary control over those who make the rules and regulations which apply to us? From my understanding of the White Paper, none of these points are discussed, let alone guaranteed. But they should have been. These principles must be set out clearly and in terms that are not ambiguous or devious – both characteristics of the Heath government and its civil servants.
My subjective experience over the period since June 2016 leads me to say, again, that I do not trust Theresa May. Her conduct at Chequers and during the period leading up to Chequers (including blind-siding David Davis, operating a parallel unit in Number 10 headed by a civil servant intent on ignoring the will of the people) was, I feel, indicative of her attitude, clearly inappropriate and not in accordance with the following:
Peter Shore said (Hansard, 15th February 1972 European Communities Bill col 301) there is ' … an enduring, if tacit, bargain between Government and governed that the former will play fair and will be scrupulous in how they deal with the people's rights. But if Governments do not play fair, if they behave in a way people consider to be in itself unconstitutional, there is evidence enough in British history to show we are not a docile people but a very determined and fierce one indeed.' Note: There is no such bargain between the British people and those who make the rules and regulations in Brussels.
Heath did not comply with this.
In 1972, the disparity between the two sides was dramatic: the 'Yes' campaign raised and spent £1 million, the 'No' campaign a mere £8,000, a ratio of 120:1. (BBC documentary, 3rd February 2000.) Sir James Spicer of the Conservative Group for Europe suggested that up to £5 million had been raised, mainly from industry, to fund the pro-European side. (Can we trust the BBC by Robin Aitkin, p.96) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VArbRzbIu0g
That was not playing fair with the British people.
In April 2016, the government spent £9,300,000 of the people's money on leaflets sent to every household in the United Kingdom on a date just before the start of the period in which the two camps (Remain and Leave) became legally entitled to spend a finite and limited amount of funds on the Referendum. That was not playing fair with the British people either and they took a dim view of that behaviour. I was not alone in considering that conduct as cheating.
I don't think that Theresa May or her civil servants are currently complying with what Peter Shore set out.Instead, they are following the same path taken in the 1970's. A letter written by an elector in June 1971 appears in the FCO 30/1048 file and contains the following:
'I am more and more certain that the Conservative Party, if it heads for the Common Market, is going to destroy itself … I think you will become more and more aware that the British people do not intend to be led over the cliff like lemmings. For the umpteenth time in history a relatively few people are confusing and betraying a very great number. I am sure it will never happen. You are using devious means to give away the sovereignty of Parliament in perpetuity. This is quite different to making a treaty which can be cancelled by a subsequent Parliament. From your talk … and communications with Geoffrey Rippon and other members of your government, I am satisfied that the real dangers in the situation are just not understood.'
How right he was.
The FCO 30/1048 reveals this: In May 1971, a Member of Parliament asked a Parliamentary Question as to the basis of Parliamentary consent and a possible answer was drafted by, presumably, a civil servant:
'I am aware that this (the draft answer) provides only the flimsiest answer to the middle part of the Question about the basis of Parliamentary consent for the delegation of powers to the Community. This would possibly be covered by reviving as an additional second sentence in the answer the words (or a variation of them) proposed at one time by Mr Newman of the Lord Chancellor's Office viz:-
"But approval by Parliament of Instruments of Accession to the Treaties of the Communities necessarily implies a willingness on the part of Parliament to exercise certain restraints in the use of its constitutional powers."
If formulae above give away too much perhaps the following alternative might be a better basis …' (My emphasis)
The actual answer given by Mr Rippon in the Commons was:
'If we enter the European Economic Community, Parliament will, in most areas of policy, continue to exercise its powers as it does today.
After our accession it would be open to our Parliament, as it is to the Parliaments of other member States, to debate before their enactment, those Community instruments to be submitted by the Commission to the Council of Ministers for approval. We shall be represented in all the Community institutions, including the European Parliament.'
The attitude of the government (as confirmed by Heath's Private Secretary) was 'the less that came out in the open the better.'
As I understand, Parliament could have debated the issue but was impotent to do anything about it. So, why not give a straight answer? The answer I can only presume, would have been that, if a straight answer had been given and the British people had been told the truth, they would never have approved the accession. The government had to trick the British people out of the power that belonged to the people.
In the 1975 Referendum, Hugo Young observed that there was, throughout the YES campaign, a 'golden thread of deceptive reassurance that runs through the history of Britain's relationship with the European Union up to the present day: our entry is essential, our membership is vital, our assistance in the consolidation imperative – but nothing you really care about will change.' (My emphasis.) (Off Whitehall by Derek Scott, Chap 14 'Deceivers and Dreamers') This is echoed today, an example of which I have given above from Roger Bootle.
The same lack of candour applies to the Chequers White Paper. The government has lost the trust of the people; the people do not believe what they are being told. There needs to be a sea change. The government and its civil servants must start telling the truth; the whole truth. The government must stop using tricky formulations that are intentionally ambiguous.
Do Mrs May and the civil servants really 'know better'?
The minutes of the Cheques cabinet meeting show that 'The Leader of the House of Commons said that she hated the proposal and regarded it as a breaching the Government's red lines and not being true to the 17.2 million people who had voted for Brexit. Those people had known what they were voting for and the Government could not just congratulate itself on knowing better than them' and in her view, 'the majority of both minister and civil servants had Remainer tendencies and what came with that was an arrogance that they knew better.'
That is a denial of democracy. The Heath government and its civil servants also acted like they 'knew better.' Theresa May and her civil servants are behaving the same way. Before the Referendum, the Prime Minister on behalf of the government, told the British People:
'It will be your decision whether to remain in the EU on the basis of the reforms we secure, or whether we leave. Your decision. Nobody else's. Not politicians'. Not Parliament's. Not lobby groups'. Not mine. Just you. You, the British people, will decide.'
But now we hear that senior civil servants in Downing Street bypassed Brexit Secretary David Davis in a bid to stop Britain leaving the EU.
According to Theresa May herself, the decision was not hers, nor any civil servant's – senior or otherwise - to make.It was the People's decision. The people voted to Leave. In a Democracy, the majority decision is what carries. But the White Paper proves that Theresa May and her civil servants have decided that Brexit means Remain.
'Every person in England hath as clear a right to Elect his representative as the greatest person in England. I conceive that's an undeniable maxim of Government: that all government is in the free consent of the people.' John Wildman at Putney Church 20th October 1647. The Enlightenment followed, leading to the Declaration: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, DERIVING THEIR JUST POWERS FROM THE CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED.'
All people are created equal and we have universal suffrage: one person, one vote. In voting, the greatest person in the country is exercising the same power as anyone else; no more, no less. In the United States, Justice Douglas in Gray v. Sanders (1963) held: 'The conception of political equality from the Declaration of Independence, to Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, to the Fifteenth, Seventeenth, and Nineteenth Amendments can mean only one thing - one person, one vote.'
If, as appears to be the case, Theresa May and the civil servants in Downing Street are attempting to stop Britain leaving the EU, then the prime minister and civil service are attempting to wield more power than that expressed by 17,400,000 people at the Referendum. However, in a Democracy, a minority cannot defeat the majority since the decision of the majority is held to be right. Who are these people to deny the majority? What do May and her civil servants possess which gives them such heavy weighting that they can simply trump the Referendum result and proceed as if the majority had cast a Remain vote? Is what they possess called 'tyrannical power'?
Our democracy is 'dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal' and is, as Churchill said to the US Congress in December 1941, 'the Gettysburg ideal of government of the people, by the people, for the people.'
To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, the British People are actually being deprived of the privilege of governing themselves by the action of a very few. The constituent who wrote the letter mentioned above in June 1971 said the same thing: '… a relatively few people are confusing and betraying a very great number. Are you a democrat? Or are you, as a Member of Parliament, going to do the same, namely confuse and betray the British people?'
BBC television programme "The Poisoned Chalice" shown in 1996. It can be seen athttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9GhIDvoF44 .
A full analysis of FCO 30/1048 by Dr Richard North appears at: http://www.eureferendum.com/documents/FCOsovereignty2.pdf