Sunday, May 04, 2008

The Lisbon Treaty is Unconstitutional

In the wake of the news about Sverigedemokraterna’s legal action against the Swedish Prime Minister, several readers have reminded me that a British tycoon is undertaking a similar effort in the UK.

According to The Daily Telegraph, Stuart Wheeler, a longtime backer of the Conservative Party, has a good chance of focusing unwelcome attention on the Treaty of Lisbon via his lawsuit against the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary:

Stuart Wheeler, one of Britain’s richest men, has won the first round of his battle to force Gordon Brown to hold a referendum on the EU Reform Treaty.

He went to the High Court in London last month to seek a judicial review of the Government’s decision not to hold a referendum on the treaty.

Today judges ruled that the challenge can go ahead. The likely two-day court hearing could prove to be very embarrassing for ministers if internal Government memos and emails are revealed.

The legal challenge could also delay the ratification of the controversial treaty by months if court time is not granted shortly. Peers in the House of Lords are due to vote on the legislation later this month.

Mr Wheeler , who made his fortune from City spreadbetting firm IG Index, said: “I am absolutely delighted that we won the case.

“It’s clear to me that we have a very, very strong moral case for a referendum.

“And what this hearing was about was whether we had an arguable legal case.

“But, from what I’ve seen of the judgment, not only do we have an arguable but a rather strongly arguable case.”
- - - - - - - - -

Mr Wheeler originally wanted to claim the Government was illegally handing powers to Brussels.

However, he was advised he stood a greater chance of success if he challenged the Government over breaking a manifesto commitment to hold a manifesto on the defunct EU Constitution.

His case claimed that the EU Reform Treaty is almost entirely the same as the old constitution and therefore the Government should hold a referendum on it.


Mr Wheeler, who has bankrolled the Tories for years, said he hoped the legal challenge would be seen as an initiative “on behalf of all those of us — well over half the population — who want our say in a referendum” on the EU Reform treaty.

Although he is “suing” the Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Foreign Secretary David Miliband, he said he would not be calling either as a witness.

Mr Wheeler said: “It is a straight matter of law. We will be referring to the manifold statements by the heads of state in Europe, saying ‘isn’t it wonderful that this new Lisbon treaty contains everything that was in the old one of any importance’.”


Even if he loses, Mr Wheeler is hoping the negative publicity could put pressure on the Government.

It would make sense for the Sweden Democrats and Mr. Wheeler’s group to coordinate their publicity. Joint press conferences, simultaneous public events, and shared publicity would benefit both groups and help opponents of the Lisbon Treaty in all the countries of the EU.

Consider the impact of similar initiatives occurring at the same time in Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Austria, Germany, Italy, etc. Surely the constitutions of those countries also have clauses defining the meaning of “sovereignty” and describing the penalties for officials who traduce it…

Well, I can dream, can’t I?

EU Referendum has more on the subject.

Hat tips: Gaia, Sir Henry Morgan, and Queen.


Henrik R Clausen said...

For Denmark, it is highly dubious as well. We have a clause in our constitution (§20) for cooperation between people (it doesn't say states!), but nothing about joining a federal state.

Even if we had the promised constitution, that problem would have remained.

Henrik R Clausen said...

I meant of course the promised 'referendum'.

Have been reading about these issues all day. My brain is mushed, but my conclusion is clear:

This treaty, and the process around it, is going to bring us a lot of trouble.

I found a lot of good material at Open Europe.

kepiblanc said...

As far as I remember the former Danish PM, Mr. Nyrup Rasmussen, was sued for high treason after he signed one of those 'treaties' - to no avail, of course. IMHO is utterly naïve to count on the courts in this respect. Civil disobedience is much better.

Anonymous said...

It's not just media tycoons that are now mounting challenges to this insipid regime.

There coming from all sides, and all walks of life.

Here's one that was prepared a few weeks ago, from an ordinary British citizen...

This foul government are on the brink, and one constuctive push at the right moment in time, will send Gordon Brown crashing into pits of oblivion.

Anonymous said...

>cackling hysterically<

Your foul government is "on the brink" because its detractors have "a rather strongly arguable case"?

" constuctive push at the right moment in time..."

What is that a euphamism for? Voting? -- But that's what got you into the mess to start with.

Debbie said...

Could someone please explain the Lisbon Treaty? I've tried looking it up and every article is written as if the reader already knows the entire background of the EU and all the confusing treaties that led up to the Lisbon Treaty.


Anonymous said...


Here it is in full.....

And God are you gonna need a strong constitution to get through this.

It's tedious......

And the reason why nobody is able to educate you about it - is because they're unlikely to know themselves. ..._eureformtreaty

Findalis said...

This treaty would never pass in the US Senate. I could hear the screaming now. It's a shame that European nations don't have the same checks on their treaties as the US does.

Anonymous said...

Errrmmmmm findalis.....

Take a look at this????


Our alleged leaders want to bestow this C**p upon us all....

Debbie said...

Reverse - I appreciate the effort but the link is bad.

I guess I should've phrased my wish this way:

Can someone please explain to me the EU treaties and, in particular, the Lisbon Treaty? I'm not a Europhile at all - I've paid absolutely no attention to Europe until I began reading this blog. I have no point from which to start in understanding this confusion. There is no website that I've found that has it all in a nutshell. I remember when the EU was formed, though I don't know how it was formed (by a treaty I'm guessing - and countries were vying for membership - but I'm not even sure who decides those things) and what's occurred since.

If someone would be gracious enough to pretend I'm a child you're trying to teach about how the EU came to be and where it stands now, that's kind of what I'm looking for.

I'm guessing that I'm not the only American who is confused by all this - though I could be.


Anonymous said...


Even for Europeans, It's almost impossible to understand, for a number of different reasons, non more so, than the language barriers.

I don't know if your aware, but the Irish, unlike the British, are about to conduct a referendum, to ascertain whether or not they should join this Soviet style monstrosity.

With their: (the Irish) help, I can educate you, as to what the E.U. is all about...

Here, I'll post you the "Wise up journals" video link, but if you scan through their entire website, they leave very little to the imagination..

After you've watched and scanned the blog, as a non European, please give me your views on what you think!!!

Henrik R Clausen said...

Deadbambi, a nice and relevant question, eloquently phrased. I would love to have time to fulfil that request!

Those of us who start getting an idea about the faults of the system are usually alreay so deep into the details that we forget the beginning. The system and its intricacies sucks you in. And the more who get into the details and figure out the flaws, the better.

But if one sets out with the history of the system, death from boredom is a very real risk. Coal and Steel Union, Inner Market, new treaties every 5-10 years - it's the stuff that dust is made from.

One of the best ways, I think, to get annoyed enough to want to know more, is to read From Constitution to Lisbon by Jens-Peter Bonde, who has 26 years of MEP status. He writes a clear prose, explains a lot of the problems he's seen, and fights endlessly for fairness and transparency.

For more laughs, you may also grab Mamma Mia, where he relates some of the craziest things he's experienced.

I hope to see more intelligent people diving into this stuff.

Anonymous said...

Dead Bambi here is the deal: The Euros had a free-trade treaty called the Common Market that dates to the 70s. Just like we have NAFTA. Over the years a series of treaties have turned the free trade agreement into a European government ruled from Brussels. The Lisbon Treaty was formerly a Constitution that would have created a federal United States of Europe with local sovereignty ceded to Brussels -- the final step in creating a European superstate. The Constitution was rejected in 2005 by the Dutch and the French in two referenda that allowed the common people of both countries to vote on it. The EU elite then converted the Constitution into a "treaty" that does not require ratification by referenda. Only Ireland is allowed a referendum on the treaty because their own laws require it. The Labour government promised the British people in the 2005 general election to allow a referendum on the Consitition, and were re-elected partly because of that, but now say they don't have to have one because it's not a Constitution anymore, but a treaty.

X said...

Queen, almost right,. The common market was never a free trade area but a customs union, sold as a free trade agreement. The treaty creating the European Economic Community included all the provisions "ever closer union" and so on, and on anything other than a very cursory examination was obviously designed as another ratchet. Every treaty since the coal and steel union has been a ratchet, another step forward. They might give a few allowances and vetoes here and there, to assuage various fears and worries from various nations and individuals, but they do that in the knowledge that a future treaty or some EU institution will override them, as happened with the working time directive. We had an opt-out, specified in maastricht, but the European Court of "Justice" later ruled that it breaches the European Convention on Human Rights and forced the government to implement it.

Click. Another step forward.

Now we have Lisbon. Click. They're already talking about the next treaty. Click.

Never started out as anything but an attempt to pacify and control us. It was sold on a lie and is reinforced with more lies upon lies.

But apart from that you're right.

The only joy one can have from the situation is that it will fall apart under it's own weight sooner or later.

Anonymous said...

We have similar things happening here. Such as, the state of California, voted overwhelmingly in 1994 in a referendum to deny public benefits to illegal immigrants. The liberal courts threw it out. The state of Calfornia-- acting under pressure from various non-elected bodies, including the Government of Mexico -- refused to appeal the courts' decision, and 14 years later, we Californians are still forced to provide taxpayer funded welfare benefits to illegal immigrants. It's happening everywhere.

Anonymous said...

The latest polls show the Irish are losing enthusiasm for the Lisbon Treaty:

Note: The Irish also voted against the predecessor EU treaty, the Nice Treaty, but were forced to re-vote on it until they voted the "right" way.

Henrik R Clausen said...

Queen, actually the Danish Constitution requires a referendum as well, but our government circumvented that.

Insofar our Constitution even permits Danish participation in something like the European Union at all. I sincerely doubt that, and hold the opinion that it permits only participation in UN-style international orgs, not the supranational structure that the EU is now establishing.

Henrik R Clausen said...

The Lisbon Treaty was formerly a Constitution.

It still is, everything is there, apart from some sombolic and technical adjustments. Functionally, the two treaties are identical, Lisbon has just been fixed with the explicit purpose of avoiding referendums and public debate about the contents.

Which has worked quite well. People have been busy discussing why on earth we didn't get our referendums, not the contents proper. And we still don't get to vote on it, in spite of it being the largest change ever in the history of the EU.

For a brief intro of what Lisbon does, see:

These Boots Are Gonna Walk All Over You.

Henrik R Clausen said...

BTW, more panic over the Irish polls - and latest that of a union's attitude - over at EUobserver.

If the Irish get enough information in time, it just might fall. But then, they'll probably just ignore it.