The European Union and the New British Constitution, by Sean Gabb

On Monday the 8th April 2013, Sean Gabb, Director of the Libertarian Alliance, spoke at a meeting of the other Libertarian Alliance on the subject “The European Union and the New British Constitution. Here is a brief summary of what he said:

I have never accepted that membership of the EU is an attack by weasily foreigners on our free institutions, and that leaving it would give us a reasonably accountable government with low taxes and the common law. The truth appears to be that we are utterly corrupt as a nation, and British membership is more a symptom of what we have become than its cause. I don’t see the hand of Europe in the transformation of the police into cowardly thugs, or the universal degradation of our politics and culture. Even very bad things like the European Arrest Warrant are not applied in other European Union countries with the same wooden stupidity as in Britain. In Germany, for instance, it is still not legal for citizens or even residents to be extradited for trial elsewhere.

The main disadvantage of being in the European Union is that it enables our own ruling class to govern by decree. British ministers and civil servants push for certain things behind closed doors in Brussels, and then tell us, when we complain about the resulting laws rammed through Parliament, that is it all the fault of those beastly Europeans. As a prime example of this, see the history of the rise and progress of the money laundering laws.

Of course, this is to be deplored, and a decent government – assuming we ever get one – would leave at once: its rules would prevent or delay policies of radical reform. Until that day comes, however, British membership gives us certain offsetting advantages. These are:

1. Oppression has to be co-ordinated between several dozen governments, not all of them run by certifiable lunatics. See, for example, the block so far on minimum pricing for alcohol. Or see the compelled harmonisation of our porn laws with those of more sensible countries. Without that brake on action, I have little doubt we would by now have bar codes tattooed on our foreheads and on the spot castration for suspected child molesters.

2. The supremacy of European Union law, and our associated importation of the European Convention on Human Rights into our domestic law, have empowered our courts to stage a slow-motion coup against the absolute legislative sovereignty of Parliament. This was just about acceptable when the country was run by a committee of hereditary landlords. It became an unmitigated evil once Parliament was filled up with scoundrels. I was one of the very few people on the right to welcome the judgment in Thoburn v Sunderland City Council. I thoroughly approve of the transformation of judicial review from a yapping at Parliament’s heels into an increasingly powerful weapon of control over legislation. It would be nice to go back to something like the 18th century constitution. Since that is not possible, the new constitution emerging round us is an improvement on what we had until recently.



  • Excellent, apart from the fourth paragraph (beginning ‘Of course…’). The fact is that we need Europe a lot more than Europe needs us. Our only hope of slowing our decline, culturally and economically, is to integrate into a United European Nation.

  • Yes good, article, the germans are not stupid, no doubt they are of course
    aware of the problems with British Justice, you’re right on porn laws, they
    are abit behind in the UK in relation to rest of world not just Europe.

  • Yep. Britain has the most heinous victim disarmament laws and the most baroque and insane public health / health and safety legislation in the EU. Politicians and punters like to scapegoat the EU for it when the proles get too restive, is all. The fundamental problem is the British political classes.

  • Excellent, especially the fourth paragraph beginning ‘Of course…’ All those who wish to live in a United States of Europe should pack up and move there. The UK should confidently go it’s own way – after all we are still not a part of Mainland Europe.

    That move will give clear choices for everyone and not just the Europhiles having it all their own way… again.

    Someone mentioned on this site recently how, during a trip to Berlin, they’d entered a pub where smoking remained approved of. I can confirm that whilst staying at a hotel on Saturday evening (Ritz-Carlton, Wolksburg) I was invited to join a group of German chaps in the lobby. From there, I was invited to the Rauch Zimmer where clouds of cigar smoke filled the air. Of course I took great delight in lighting up. So refreshing. A breath of fresh air in fact and all well away from England and it’s silly, dictatorial EU laws.

    Indeed the Germans are not stupid.

  • Good points Sean. it somewhat dovetails with my old argument that one important purpose of the international institutions (EU, UN, etc) is to reflect anglospheric authoritarianism back upon ourselves, and across the world. If you look at most of the lifestyle tyranny- from smoking to porn controls, etc- it’s basically coming from the Anglosphere at source.

    I remember you some time ago in a talk saying, with a little humour, that many Eurosceptics basically just want out of the EU so they can ban tits and bums on the telly, and I’ve always thought that was a pretty accurate assessment.

    As such, my primary argument for getting out of the EU is to save the rest of the world from us, and to deny the Anglosphere one of its vehicles for the dissemination of my “anglo-socialism”.

    • Yes, it is more complex than the frequent Eurosceptic conquest fantasy. Turning to another matter, you nagged me the other day for my continued support of the Tory Party. My answer is that our only effective choice where governments are concerned is between a turd sandwich and a snot pizza. I’ve chosen the latter, but haven’t at all given up my right to keep complaining about the taste of the bogies.

  • Very pleased to see your usual erudite comments coming up again Ian. Where have you been?

  • Sean – I remember Gerard Batten said in his 1997 election address (I am quoting him from memory); “The Maastricht Treaty was passed by three votes; two UKIP MPs would have been enough to stop it; an MP can be elected by one vote; that vote could be yours”.
    I often wonder what the historians of tomorrow will make of the fact that most of the voters of this country who wish to get out of the EU steadfastly vote for a party which is absolutely committed to keeping us in.
    Doesn’t make sense to me I’m afraid.

  • They would probably never understand that anyway, they would make no
    sense of it.

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