Monday, June 18, 2007

EU to ignore the voters

The voters are just ignorant nationalists and racists, you see

When the EU constitution went belly-up two years ago, having been decisively rejected by the voters of the Netherlands and France, wise heads predicted that this would not be the last we would hear of it. Those two referendum defeats were a catastrophic setback for the political elites of Europe, who were gung-ho for the creation of a single European superstate which the constitution would have brought formally into being. They fondly believed that, just as they had done since the dawn of the EU project, they could bamboozle the public into voting `yes' to the constitution by telling a pack of lies designed to conceal its far-reaching nature. To their astonishment and horror, however, the Dutch and the French saw through the spin and said `no', thus stopping the EU juggernaut in its tracks.

But while Tony Blair and other European leaders publicly intoned the death rites of the constitution, they were simultaneously plotting how they might reintroduce it and bypass the voters' right of veto altogether. Now we can see that their ruse is to re-introduce more or less the same constitution but declare it is not a constitution at all. Call it a `treaty' instead and hey presto, there is no need to have the referendum promised for the constitution. This is the Lewis Carroll school of politics.

The proposal for a `constitution-lite' has been floated by the German Chancellor Angela Merkel. At the end of last week's G8 summit the new French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, announced that he and Tony Blair had also agreed the `framework of a simplified treaty'. `That is quite something,' he said. Such a conspiracy by M. Sarkozy, Frau Merkel and Mr Blair to deceive their respective voters certainly is `quite something' indeed.

According to the British Government, what is being proposed is merely an `amending treaty' and thus doesn't require a referendum. Just who do they expect will be taken in by such transparently disingenuous nonsense? This so- called `amending treaty' will establish a permanent EU president and create a new EU foreign minister. But only states have presidents and foreign ministers.

What would happen if British foreign policy contradicted that of the EU? The answer is that it would not be allowed to do so. We would have signed away our right to have a foreign policy of our own. Some amendment! It will also take away the right of veto by member states on such fundamental issues as criminal justice, policing and the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Britain and other member states will thus no longer have the right of self-government in these crucial areas, yielding them up instead to the completely novel entity of an anti- democratic superstate. Some amendment!

The last vestige of doubt that this is the constitution by another name was destroyed by a leaked letter from Frau Merkel to the other EU heads of government, in which she revealed her plan `to use different terminology without changing the legal substance' of the constitution in order to make `the necessary presentational changes'. In other words, it was designed to deceive the European public - and to get round the awkward problem of another set of referendums that would undoubtedly be lost all over again. But the plain fact remains that if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck then it is. a constitution.

Since such a measure would alter fundamentally the relationship between the EU and its member states, public outrage required years ago that it should be put to the people as a whole. That was why the Labour party included the referendum promise in its last two election manifestos. In signing Britain up to this constitutional framework, Mr Blair's last act as Prime Minister will be to betray that promise.

Indeed, it will be a gross abuse of his office if he tries to sign away his country's powers of self-government just as the removal vans are trundling his personal effects out of Downing Street. In this unprecedented interregnum he has no authority to do anything that attempts to tie the hands of his successor, let alone emasculate the very democracy that once elected Mr Blair himself.

The reason for such ruthless behaviour is that for Mr Blair, European integration remains one of the deepest articles of political faith. Anyone who mistakenly thought that he believed in nothing except power for its own sake failed to grasp how passionately he subscribed to the EU's utopian delusions of `ever-closer union' - and how profound was his lack of belief in Britain's ability to go it alone outside the EU's protectionist cartel, and his contempt therefore for the country that he led. He may also want to place Gordon Brown in a bind at the very beginning of the premiership that Mr Blair has done so much to thwart. Mr Brown, after all, will be bound by the same manifesto commitment. If he holds a referendum on the new constitution, he will lose it. If he refuses to hold one, he will be ratting on the manifesto.

But the referendum itself was born of desperation as a last-ditch protection against something that should never have been accepted by democratically elected leaders in the first place. Mr Brown should simply refuse to put this proposal to the British Parliament at all.

The elephant in the room here is the EU itself. It remains the same old Franco-German protection outfit which, mafia-style, is once again making Britain an `offer it cannot refuse'. It wants Britain to sign up to the new superstate because it is not in its interests to have Britain outside, where it would enjoy so many advantages over sclerotic Europe. That's why it is so important for France and Germany that we are on board - and so vital for us that we are not.

On this, as on so many things, Gordon Brown is still an unknown quantity. He is said to be a Eurosceptic; but until now, he has shown precious little sign of acknowledging the already profound erosion by the EU of our powers of self-government beyond opposing the relatively narrow issue of the single currency and other economic measures. If he goes along with the ` constitution-lite' he will be making a terrible mistake. This kind of dishonest spin is precisely what Mr Brown is supposed to be consigning to history. What's more, the governmental impotence already inflicted upon us by the EU is one of the most important reasons for popular disaffection with politics.

For years, voters have been told that to be against the EU is to be against progress. The truth, however, is that the EU is a failed, backward-looking project whose days are numbered. It must eventually implode under the pressure of its own fundamental contradictions. The rejection of the constitution by the peoples of Europe should not give rise to yet another attempt to pull the wool over their eyes. It should instead trigger a rethink of the proper relationship between them - the development of a looser association of nation-states rather than the final realisation of an anti- democratic nightmare. It is a golden opportunity for a statesman with vision to lead Europe in a new and truly progressive direction. Mr Brown is seeking a way to draw a line under Blairism. This is it.


Has Maryland School Board Found "Gay Gene"?

New Curriculum Claims Homosexuality Inborn, but Produces No Evidence

The Montgomery County School Board has recently approved a new sex education curriculum for public schools. The curriculum teaches that homosexuality is caused by a specific "gay gene." In response to the school board's decision, Parents and Friends of ExGays and Gays (PFOX) released the following statement:

"According to the American Psychiatric Association, there are no replicated scientific studies supporting any specific biological cause for homosexuality. But now the Montgomery County Board of Education has done what science and medicine could not do by declaring in its newly approved curriculum that homosexuality is `innate' or inborn. The board could not produce any factual evidence for what it will now teach students-only political `pledges' and payoffs for last year's school board elections as claimed by gay rights activists."

PFOX, Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum and Family Leader Network filed a court appeal of the curriculum, pointing out "factual inaccuracies and violations of state and federal law". Order of Maryland State Superintendent Nancy Grasmick stated that the Maryland Board of Education would decide in July whether the education material was legally suitable. Before the final decision, however, the Maryland school board accepted the new material.

PFOX calls this action a sign of the board's "bias" and "ignorance", stating, "The local board's action in adopting a final curriculum without waiting for the state board's decision as to the legality of that curriculum tramples on the rights of parents and violates the intent of the Superintendent's Order."

The new curriculum does not instruct children how to deal with ex-gays. PFOX comments that ex-gays are "a group that is the object of harassment encouraged by Montgomery County public school staff and students, a fact which the Montgomery County Board of Education does not deny." In fact, supported by Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) student clubs, many schools tried to oppose PFOX from encouraging tolerance of ex-gays in public high schools.

In Winston Churchill High School, for example, students labeled "PFOX" on school garbage cans so that students would throw out PFOX pamphlets supporting ex-gay tolerance. The school principal, Dr. Joan Benz, stood guard over a can in support of the anti-ExGay protest. In Wootten High School, a gay teacher, "warned PFOX to stay out of the public schools, compared sexual preference to African-Americans' skin color, and also compared PFOX to the Ku Klux Klan."

The PFOX press release states, "This discriminatory treatment is not corrected by the curriculum on teaching tolerance for sexual orientation because former homosexuals are not included in the curriculum. Why did the Board approve a curriculum that is supposed to teach respect for diverse sexual orientations when it excludes former homosexuals-the only sexual orientation that is subject to intolerance by both students and teachers?"


The unhinged Left in Australia

By Andrew Bolt

I WENT to Doctor S yesterday up at the Epworth and said I was in strife. That much I know is true. Something was wrong with my vision, I said. I wasn't seeing things as they surely must be if all was well. And that's true, too. Please tell me all I need is the long holiday I'm going on this very week, I pleaded. But Dr S rules out stress. So the awful suspicion grows that there's nothing wrong with my vision and the unbelievable things I've been seeing are all true, as well. How frightening.

For a start, I this week read - or thought I read - a United Nations Environment Program manual, which insisted the real problem with Zimbabwe was not that it was ground so deep in the dirt by its brutal leader that it was short of food, work and even power. No, it was simply growing too fast. "Zimbabwe is presently entering a stage of rapid industrialisation and motorisation," the UNEP sighed. "This has resulted in increased air pollution, as well as the increased emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide." Still, I guess the country's huge power blackouts will soon fix that.

But please tell me, dear reader, that it's just my eyes letting me down. Can such madness really be? Not all the odd things I'm seeing are so serious. Take Dust, a book the ABC has published with the sole purpose, it seems, of making happy children very sad. Again I thought I must have gone cross-eyed because no publicist could sell a children's book like this:

"In a perfect world, this book would not exist. But we do not live in a perfect world. At any given moment of any given day, there are people dying from natural disasters over which we have no control. Beyond natural disasters we add disasters of our own making, but even if we all learn to live in peace, there will still be millions of people who need help."

And no book for children could open with these words of a starved child in Niger: "I died last night." Or end with an image of the Grim Reaper leading black children across a hill littered with skulls. I know this is just a trivial example of those things I see that cannot be, yet like all the others it shows glad being subverted for grim, or foul being hailed as fair, or evil mistaken for good. A world stood on its head.

I first feared my eyes were playing up when I read the diatribe of Amnesty International's chief, Irene Khan, in her latest annual report on the world's worst villainy. She'd singled out just four evildoers by name: in order, our John Howard, the US's George Bush, Sudan's genocidal Field Marshal Omar Al-Bashir and Zimbabwe's brutal Robert Mugabe. I must be reading wrong, right?

Or is it really also true that of all the regimes that crush workers, ban unions and shoot union leaders, our ACTU picked Australia for the International Labor Organisation's shame file of the worst of the worst? Indeed, I heard ACTU president Sharan Burrow on radio, confirming that's exactly what she did. So maybe the problem's affecting my hearing, as well.

After all, yesterday I heard journalist David Marr complain for 15 minutes on the government-funded ABC that this Howard Government was silencing exactly his kind of dissent. What's more, I've witnessed Marr make the same claim on ABC television (twice) and in a new book and huge articles this month in The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. If the Government is crushing dissent, what is this Dissenting Marr, this Sydney Solzhenitsyn? Just another of my strange visions? Indeed, Marr even spent a whole session of the government-backed Sydney Writers Festival whingeing along with Clive Hamilton, who so furiously agrees the Government is stifling debate that he's written his own book, Silencing Dissent, one of at least six new tomes this past year that damn dissent-crushing Howard. Whole perches of intellectuals now squawk that they cannot speak in fascist Australia, deafening us with complaints of being silenced, and deaf to irony themselves.

I'd laugh if I wasn't still worrying about my eyes, which cannot see the Australia that all these smart people say festers under my feet. Take retired County Court judge Peter Gebhardt, who this week said he agreed with Fascist America, in 10 easy steps, in which writer Naomi Wolf tells how America supposedly lost its freedoms under Fuhrer Bush. Gebhardt listed some of the ways: "creating a gulag (Guantanamo Bay); developing a thug caste (security contractors); setting up an internal surveillance system; harassing citizens' groups; engaging in arbitrary detention and release; targeting key individuals; controlling the media (arrests of US journalists are at a record level); believing that dissent equals treason; suspending the rule of law . . ." And he warned: "Over the past decade, many of Wolf's 10 steps have been evident in this country . . ."

Gosh, they have? Yet the police state this ex-judge describes resembles nothing remotely like the country I've lived in, and still see today. But you see why I worry. Surely all these intellectuals, so many with important public jobs, cannot all be mad? You might try to cheer me by saying such people see things more gloomily than the rest of us, but up bobs Prof Robert Manne, voted our Most Influential Public Intellectual. Sure, Manne is as convinced as Marr that "debate is presently under threat", but he's also quick to hail a kinder, gentler, more moral society when he's told of one.

Hear barking Manne start to coo when he describes not our own foul society, but the "enchanted world" of Aborigines before whites came: "(Anthropologists have) discovered a world that was filled with economic purpose; leavened by playfulness, joy and humour; soaked in magic, sorcery, mystery and ritual; pregnant at every moment with deep and unquestioned meaning." But still I worry: How could our top intellectual so praise a society in which the strong ruled the weak, infanticide was common, death rates by warfare horrific, life expectancy low and bashing of women - as measured by the fractured skulls since found - astonishingly high?

Is it me? Or is upside now down? Inside out? Maybe it is. Consider . . . We now worship global warming preachers who belch more greenhouse gases from their mansions and private planes than do their disciples. Our richest musicians stage Make Poverty History concerts in which not a dollar is raised for the poor and even the fans get in free. Our politicians say "sorry" for stealing Aboriginal children no one can find or name. The head of Melbourne University Press, formed to publish academic works of the highest quality, now wants to publish the memoirs of al-Qaida recruit and dropout David Hicks. The Sydney Peace Prize is given to a writer who tells us to join the "Iraqi resistance" - now blowing up women and children - because their "battle is our battle".

The Australian Catholic University gives an honorary PhD to Age cartoonist Michael Leunig, who likens Israel to Auschwitz, paints George Bush as the devil, asks us to pray for Osama bin Laden and praises "the music you can hear playing in your toes at night". Our leading historians defend the fashionable untruths they tell about our "genocidal" past by sighing - as did Professor Lyndall Ryan - "Two truths are told. Is only one 'truth' correct?" Marrickville Council, in inner Sydney, decides this month to twin, not with any town in Israel, but with the Palestinian town of Bethlehem, now under the control of Hamas extremists.

On it goes: the artists who take pride in displeasing; the Age columnist who yesterday declared, "I'd be happy with a benevolent socialist dictatorship"; the prominent Leftists, led by the ABC's Phillip Adams, who invite Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez to come here to "inspire" us to be just that; the academics who want to try George Bush, not David Hicks; the immigrants who want Australia to be more like the countries they fled; the discrimination police who entrap Christian pastors, but leave hate-preaching imams well alone; and . . . And? God, it's all true. I'm out of here. Goodbye.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


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